for the love of chocolate

Triple Chocolate M&M’s July 23, 2008

Filed under: chocolate candy — cacaobug @ 10:41 am
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Triple Chocolate M&M's

Have you tried the new M&M’s Premiums? They’re Mars’ latest foray into the semi-upscale chocolate segment. Sold in elongated vertical boxes, premium M&M’s come in five varieties: Chocolate Almond, Mocha, Triple Chocolate, Raspberry Almond, and Mint Chocolate.

I was pleasantly surprised to find the Triple Chocolate variety at Walgreens yesterday. Opening the plastic pouch that’s inside the box, I sampled one of the plump, multicolored chocolates. The milk chocolate center was coated with a layer of white chocolate, which in turn was ensconced in a thin layer of dark chocolate (see cross section). Surprisingly, the exterior wasn’t crunchy like a normal M&M. Not sure why Mars decided against the traditional M&M shell—doesn’t quite seem like an M&M without it.

Nevertheless, these M&M’s are tasty! The chocolate is smoother and less sugary than that of regular M&M’s, and the mixture of milk, white, and dark chocolate is quite nice, although the dark doesn’t come through quite as strongly as I would like. The only drawback? The price. At Walgreens, a 6oz package will set you back $4.99. I highly recommend giving them a try, but you’ll have to decide whether they’re worth adding to your chocolate diet.


Mint Crisp M&M’s April 14, 2008

Filed under: chocolate candy — cacaobug @ 10:05 pm
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Mint Crisp M&M's

This must be my lucky day! Right on the heels of my cherry M&M’s find, I discover mint crisp M&M’s in the frozen foods section of my local grocery store. Why they chose that particular aisle to feature these limited edition M&M’s is beyond me, but I’m glad they did, because I wasn’t actually shopping for candy today. (On second thought, maybe the frozen foods section isn’t so crazy after all?)

This time I simply couldn’t wait until after dinner to try my bounty. Upon arriving home, I eagerly tore into the medium-sized bag. Of course, I read Sera’s review earlier today so I had an idea of what to expect, but my experience with the cherry M&M’s left me feeling a tad trepidatious. Fortunately, my worries turned out to be unfounded, as the mint crisp M&M’s are a solid contender in the novelty M&M’s candy category.

At first the mint flavor seems a bit strong, but after several M&M’s it mellows out. In fact, the mint adds an interesting dimension to the semisweet M&M chocolate. Reading the ingredients, I note that, unlike the cherry M&M’s, the flavoring in these M&M’s is natural, not artificial. Happily, the crisped rice adds the perfect amount of crunch (see cross section here) to the already crunchy M&M shells.

My only complaint is with the irregular sizes. The mint crisp M&M’s range from tiny (as in quite a bit smaller than normal M&M’s) to large (as in peanut butter M&M size). The large ones have the perfect ratio of crisped rice to chocolate, while the small ones, in contrast, seem ill proportioned and lacking in substance.

Overall, the mint crisp M&M’s are a winner! If you like M&M’s and enjoy the taste of mint and chocolate, I think you’re going to love these.


Wildly Cherry M&M’s April 10, 2008

Filed under: chocolate candy — cacaobug @ 7:58 pm
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Wildly Cherry M&M's Package by princess_of_llyr on flickrI’ve been desperate to try the limited edition Wildly Cherry M&M’s ever since I read about them in Sera’s review on Candy Addict. After months’ of looking (I kid you not), I found them today at my local Walgreens. And on sale at that!

After dinner, I giddily tore into the medium-sized bag. Pouring the M&M’s into a bowl, I detected a faint cherry aroma. These M&M’s are a bit more rotund than the ordinary variety, but otherwise they’re similarly sized. They come in two colors: deep red (like a very ripe Bing cherry) and light red (like a—you guessed it—less ripe Bing cherry). Honestly, they’re pretty to look at!

So how do they taste? Well, let me start by saying I’m not a huge fan of cherry-flavored candy. The overuse of artificial cherry flavoring in children’s medicines pretty much soured me on cherry flavoring at a young age. I do enjoy the taste of maraschino cherries, though, and Sera really seemed to like these M&M’s, so I was determined to give them a fair shot.

On my first M&M, the cherry flavor made its presence known. It wasn’t overwhelming, but it was distinct. In fact, the chocolate of the M&M reminded me of the flavored chocolate of a Frango mint. A handful of M&M’s later I’m still tasting cherry, only now the novelty is starting to wear off. I decide to stop for a minute and that’s when it hits me—the artificial cherry aftertaste. Oh, dear. Memories of cough syrup start rushing back and I quickly reach for a strong dark chocolate to clear the taste.

I really do like the way they look, though. Perhaps I’ll keep them in a glass bowl on my desk. Then I can appreciate the colors while I share them with my colleagues.

Thanks to princess_of_llyr for posting the above photo to flickr!


Nestlé Coffee Crisp comes to the U.S. March 10, 2008

Filed under: chocolate bars,chocolate candy — cacaobug @ 12:45 pm
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Nestlé Coffee Crisp
My friend in Montréal tells me Nestlé Coffee Crisp has quite a cult following in Canada. In fact, there was even an Internet petition to bring Coffee Crisp to the United States. Amazingly, the petition was a success, and Nestlé has begun marketing Coffee Crisp to U.S. consumers.

So what is Coffee Crisp? According to Nestlé, it’s a wafer bar with a coffee crème center. Given the name and the tagline (“How do you like your coffee?”), it should come as no surprise that coffee is one of the ingredients. Sadly, there isn’t much of a coffee flavor. Certainly nothing as flavorful as Ritter Sport’s Cappuccino chocolate bar, for instance. There is a bit of a caffeine kick, though, so perhaps that’s the purpose of the coffee.

My disappointment with the flavor notwithstanding, the Coffee Crisp has a nice crunch to it. At 260 calories, I’m not sure it qualifies as a “light snack” (as advertised on the packaging), but it’s true that it doesn’t taste as rich as other chocolate snacks. In fact, it reminds me of Little Debbie Nutty Bars, albeit lighter, crunchier, and sans peanut butter flavor.

I wouldn’t go out of my way for a Coffee Crisp, but if you happen to see one at your local retailer, give it a try. If nothing else, you’ll know what your friends north of the border are raving about!

(For the latest on the availability of Coffee Crisp in the U.S., see Nestlé Coffee Crisp bar is finally coming to the USA.)


Reese’s Whipps January 26, 2008

Reese's WhippsHave you tried Reese’s Whipps yet? They’re like 3 Musketeers, but with a peanut butter-flavored whip in the center. Separating the whip from a milk chocolate exterior is a thin layer of peanut butter candy. The overall peanut butter flavor isn’t as pronounced as in a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, but it’s noticeable nonetheless.

Reese’s Whipps are also similar to 3 Musketeers in that they have “40% less fat than the leading chocolate candy. ” (Mars claims 3 Musketeers have “45% less fat than [the] average of the leading chocolate brands.”) To make up for the fat, Hershey’s apparently decided to increase the sugar content, as Reese’s Whipps are awfully sweet.

Personally, I think I’d go for a 3 Musketeers if I was in the mood for whipped chocolate, and a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup or ReeseSticks if I was in the mood for peanut butter and chocolate. If you really want both, though, perhaps Reese’s Whipps will work for you.


Belgian Chocolate Popsicles January 9, 2008

Filed under: chocolate candy,deals — cacaobug @ 4:34 pm
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Chocolate PopsiclesThese Bite-Sized Belgian Chocolate Popsicles from Cocoa Deli are part of Walgreens’ Christmas clearance sale, which means you can get them for 75% off while they’re in stock. Even at 75% off, I hesitated—they come in a paper tub after all—but I couldn’t resist. I just had to see what Belgian chocolate popsicles were.

Perhaps not surprisingly, they’re chocolates in the shape of popsicles. Slightly larger than boxed chocolates, each individually-wrapped popsicle has a small chocolate extrusion for its “stick”. The popsicles come in four flavors: vanilla caramel, citrus chocolate, peppermint crunch truffle, and raspberry truffle. The flavors are not evenly distributed, though; my tub contained mostly vanilla caramel, with only one raspberry truffle.

For over-the-counter Belgian chocolates made in England, these aren’t half bad. If you’re in the mood for a tub of chocolate, definitely see if they’re on sale at your local Walgreens.


Reese Hazelnut Crème January 8, 2008

Filed under: chocolate candy — cacaobug @ 12:00 pm
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Reese Hazelnut CrèmeI had been lusting after the Reese Hazelnut Crème ever since I saw this photo on flickr. As far as I know it’s not available in the U.S., so a friend kindly sent me some from Canada. The packaging is gorgeous; you can just imagine your teeth sinking into the soft chocolate and creamy hazelnut.

Sadly, this is not the case. Unlike Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, these are hard, all the way from the solid chocolate exterior to the firm hazelnut center. They also seem smaller than Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. Curiously, they’re missing the signature wax paper that normally cradles each cup. And although hazelnuts are listed as an ingredient (after “sugar, modified milk ingredients, hydrogenated palm kernel oil, hydrogenated coconut oil”), there isn’t much of a hazelnut taste.

Overall, a very poor showing by Hershey’s. Happily, my friend had also sent some Coffee Crisp by Nestlé, which quickly eased my disappointment with the Reese’s!