Emily’s Chocolate Covered Berries and Cherries

June 25, 2008

I don’t often seek fruit flavors with my chocolate, but I do love chocolate-covered fruit. Give me a pot of melted chocolate and an assortment of fresh fruit, and I’m one happy blogger.

I received these samples of Emily’s dark-chocolate-covered fruit, and I was intrigued. The only dried fruit I’ve had covered in chocolate are raisins. It’s the only thing (that I know of) that’s widely available. The addition of chocolate covered strawberries, blueberries, cranberries, and cherries is certainly a welcome one, especially for the summer.

I like Emily’s packaging. It’s simple and clean, but still attractive and practical. The bags are resealable, which I really appreciate.

The berries themselves are lovely, shiny little things, thanks in part to a coating of confectioner’s glaze. They’re all covered in the same rich dark chocolate, which is quite good, if a tad sweet.

Strawberry, Cherry, Blueberry, Cranberry

Strawberries: You may expect the strawberry to be lost in that thick coat of chocolate, but trust me, that berry packs a lot of flavor. The strawberry is a perfect compliment to the dark chocolate, and the balance is great. Even though it’s a dried strawberry, it still tastes fresh and juicy to me. What can I say? I really loved these. Rating: 9/10

Blueberries: These are good, but inconsistent. The larger berries are great, right up there with the strawberries. They pack a great blueberry flavor that balances nicely with the chocolate. This balance is lost with the smaller berries, which are overwhelmed by the thick chocolate coating. The result is more like a mild blueberry-flavored chocolate. It’s still tasty, but they aren’t reaching their potential. Rating: 7/10

Cranberries: Like some of the blueberries, all of the cranberries were overwhelmed by their chocolate coating. These reminded me a lot of Raisinets, just with more (and better) chocolate. Again, they were tasty, I just wanted more cranberry out of these. Rating: 6/10

Chocolate Covered CherriesCherries: While the berries are sweet, the cherries are very tart, making for an excellent contrast with the chocolate. If you like sour cherries, these are a real treat. They’re a little overwhelming if you eat too many at once, but two or three after dinner makes for a nice dessert. Rating: 8/10

Bottom Line: I liked all of these, but I thought the Strawberries and Cherries were the standouts — I would buy those again.

Name: Dark Chocolate Covered Berries
Brand: Emily’s
Price: Samples, but they retail for 3.99 each.
Store: Samples, but retail partners are listed here.
Weight: 6-7 oz each.


Choxie Key Lime Bar

June 3, 2008

I crave fruit year-round, but with the heat comes the craving for citrus. My favorite citrus flavor is lime. Of course, the fruit itself is a bit tart to eat alone, so I’m constantly looking for recipes that utilize limes, as well as lime-flavored things.

Enter Choxie’s key lime bar. I was wary, partly because Choxie products have been hit or miss with me, but also because fruit and chocolate combos aren’t usually my favorite.

This is a dark chocolate bar filled with key lime flavored white chocolate and studded with graham cracker pieces. The aroma is a mix of dark chocolate and citrus-scented cleaning product… not exactly appealing, but I soldiered on.

The dark chocolate was ashy, but still decent on it’s own, but it doesn’t work well with the filling. However, to be fair, I don’t think anything would work well with this filling. Keeping with the scent, it tastes like a cleaning product — bitter and artificial. The graham bits are more like crumbs, and are fairly evenly distributed throughout the bar. They don’t add any flavor, but they give the bar a grainy/crunchy texture, depending if you let it melt or bite right in.

Bottom Line: Ick.

Nutrition Breakdown: Serving size is 1/2 bar. There are 200 calories, 13g of fat (9g saturated), 17g of sugar, and 2g of protein per serving.

Rating: 2/10

Name: Dark Chocolate Key Lime Truffle Bar
Brand: Choxie
Store: Target
Price: $2.00
Weight: 2.5 oz.


Hershey’s Cacao Reserve Truffles

May 5, 2008

I love this idea. It’s like emergency chocolate — little one-bite truffles in a portable tin. Each Altoids-like tin is filled with eight itty-bitty molded truffles, though they do have a homespun look to them.

I found these on clearance, but they usually ring up at $2.50 per tin. That’s a pretty steep price for Hershey’s fare. I know it’s part of the Cacao Reserve line, but for me, premium Hershey’s doesn’t equal upscale.

Milk Chocolate: These melt away into something thick and greasy that coats my mouth unpleasantly. The taste is similar to Hershey’s milk chocolate — tangy and yogurt-y, but more so. It’s actually borderline sour. I’d rather have a tin of mini Hershey’s Kisses.

Nutrition Breakdown: Serving size is one package. There are 310 calories, 22g of fat (14g saturated), 23g of sugar, and 3g of protein per serving. That breaks down to about 40 calories and 3g of fat per truffle.

Rating: 4/10

Dark Chocolate: The outer shell is a bittersweet chocolate with a dry snap that sets it apart from the creamy center. The filling may or may not be the same as the milk, but it does have the same thick and greasy texture. It contains cream and milk, which accounts for the tangy dairy flavor I get. Overall, it was actually rather bland, but I still prefer it to the milk version. These are best enjoyed by popping the whole thing in your mouth and letting it melt away.

Nutrition Breakdown: Serving size is one package. There are 290 calories, 22g of fat (15g saturated), 17g of sugar, and 4g of protein per serving. That breaks down to about 35 calories and 3g of fat per truffle.

Rating: 4/10
(taking the regular price into account)

Overall, as much as I love the idea, these are overpriced and not all that tasty. I’m going to keep the tins to see what other wee treats I can fit inside.

Name: Cacao Reserve Milk and Dark Chocolate Truffles
Brand: Hershey’s
Store: Target
Price: $1.24 / $0.62 (regular $2.50 each)
Weight: 1.8 oz. each


Chuao Chinita Nibs

April 28, 2008

It took a few bites over a few days, but Chuao’s Chinita Nibs and I have developed a respectful relationship. It’s a 4×6 tablet wrapped in gorgeous purple foil. In fact, that purple color is what roped me into buying the bar in the first place.

At first bite, I really disliked it. The nutmeg flavor is quite potent, and it reminded me, honestly, of crab boil seasoning. Now, Chuao’s tagline is “unusual, unexpected, and delicious.” This was the unexpected part I guess, but it wasn‘t delicious. Crab boil is not a flavor that I really want mixed with my chocolate.

I pulled the bar out again the next day with little enthusiasm, but I wanted to write this review. I was quite surprised to find myself appreciating the bar’s earthy flavor. Now that I knew what to expect, I found the bar to be quite pleasant, and the unfortunate crab boil comparisons faded. The bar is grassy and spicy, but not hot.

The bar is full of nibs; they’re quite visible along the bottom of the bar. They’re crunchy and not fibrous at all. The chocolate is 60% cacao, not too dark but still substantial. However, it definitely plays second-string to the nutmeg’s start. It seems lovely and makes me want to get my hands on more of Chuao’s stuff.

Nutmeg is a spice that is easy to overdo, and I think Chuao crossed the line here. That didn’t stop me from enjoying the bar in small doses, but I don’t have any desire to buy another one. Still, I think a lot of people will love this bar, even if I didn’t.

Nutrition Breakdown: Serving size is 1/2 a bar. There are 200 calories, 15g of fat (6g saturated), 16g of sugar, and 2g of protein per serving.

Rating: 6/10

Name: Chinita Nibs
Brand: Chuao Chocolatier
Store: World Market
Price: $3.99 (sale)
Weight: 2.82 oz. / 80g


Toblerone One By Ones

April 21, 2008

Toblerone One by Ones are individually wrapped Toblerone peaks. There are five varieties in the box. My box included nine milk, four white, four milk/white, three praline, and three dark for a total of 23 pieces, close to the box’s specified amount of 20 chocolates.

Dark (black): This one is a slightly fruity, semi-sweet chocolate. It’s far too sweet for my tastes — that often tends to be my problem with dark chocolate. There’s nothing to balance out the sweetness, and the actual chocolate flavors are overwhelmed. I didn’t get any of the honey or almond nougat flavors here.

Praline (red): I have to admit that I was a little disappointed with this one. It’s not bad, but I was hoping for a hazelnut filling, like the Ritter Praline. Instead, it’s a milk chocolate piece with a soft milk chocolate cream filling. The innards are studded with nougat, but the outside is not — that’s how you can tell it from the milk chocolate piece when unwrapped. The taste is quite milky and a little musky. It has a truffle-like melt which is quite nice. I didn’t get the nougat much in this one either.

Milk (yellow): I like this one. I taste coconut, and I love that compliment to my chocolate. I’m not sure where the coconut flavor is coming from, but I won’t complain. The chocolate is quite milky and not too sweet. The strong dairy flavor is brightened up by the honey nougat. It’s not stellar, but it’s solid.

White (white): This is easily the milkiest white chocolate that I have ever had. The dusky milk notes really tone down the sweetness and work well with the vanilla and honey notes. I like it.

Milk/White (blue): This one is adorable. It looks like a little snowcapped mountain, which I’m sure is what they were going for. The (rather boring) name is self-explanatory. It’s a combo of the milk and white chocolates. The white chocolate brings a little more vanilla to the party, but it mostly tastes like the milk chocolate.

Overall, I liked these. They’re attractive candy dish filler, and there is a little something for everyone. I liked all the pieces aside from the dark, which wasn’t actually bad.

Nutrition Breakdown: Serving size is 5 pieces. There are 220 calories, 13g of fat, 25g of sugar, and 2g of protein per serving.

Rating: 7/10

Name: Toblerone One By Ones
Brand: Kraft
Store: Wal-mart
Price: $3.88
Weight: 7.05 oz.


Mint Crisp M&Ms

April 15, 2008

M&Ms has a history of movie tie-ins — at least, I know they’ve done tie-ins with Star Wars and Pirates of the Caribbean in recent years. The Star Wars campaign brought us the Dark M&Ms, which are now part of the permanent lineup. The white chocolate Pirate Pearls didn’t fare quite as well.

This year the big blockbuster is Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull. I’m a little young for Indy, but my dad is a big fan. I’ve been rewatching the three movies before I see the fourth with him. I just love Indy’s theme song.

The bag features Green, who obviously has the hots for Dr. Jones. Hey, he’s Harrison Ford, so I totally get it. It also features phrases like “Dig New Mint Crisp M&Ms” and “Get ‘M’ Before They’re Lost.” On the back are two “arti-facts.” Mine are:

1. Green made her first TV appearance in 1997. (I remember this!)
2. The Mola Ram character doesn’t make his first appearance in Temple of Doom until an hour into the movie.

Inside the bag, the M&Ms feature a skull, Indy’s hat, a pyramid/ziggurat, a compass, and a face/mask. Each design incorporates the classic ‘m’ somehow. They’re more than a little irregular, and aren’t all that pretty. They come in various sizes, ranging from tiny to very large, and are lumpy and bumpy.

As for the taste — well, if memory serves me correctly, these taste almost just like the Mint M&Ms that I had during the Christmas season. That’s not a bad thing. It’s a semi-sweet chocolate with a fairly strong mint flavor. The difference is, of course, the crisp. I really like the crisp; it adds fun texture and a burst of salt. The crisp leads these to one-up the Christmas Mint M&Ms.

I like these, though I don’t think I would buy them often. It would be nice if they were added to the holiday line-up, when I seem to crave mint the most (or at least, when mint products are pervasive).

These have also been reviewed by Sugarhog, Candy Addict, and Candy Blog.

Nutrition Breakdown: Please note that this is for the large “tear ‘n share” bag. Serving size is one package. There are 380 calories, 17g of fat (10g saturated), 38g of sugar, and 4g of protein per serving.

Rating: 7/10

Name: Mint Crisp M&Ms
Brand: Mars
Store: Wal-mart
Price: Unknown
Weight: 2.7 oz.


Godiva Easter Eggs

April 8, 2008

Ah, more post-holiday fare. I just found these last Friday — almost two weeks after Easter! Cost Plus World Market still had a decent amount of Easter fare left over, at 75% off. I picked up a couple boxes of Lindt Chocolate Carrots and these Godiva Eggs.

I usually steer clear of Godiva. I find their products to be good, but overpriced. This box of 16 eggs was regular $16, but I got it for $4 — good deal. The net weight is 6.75 ounces, so I figure that each egg must weight about 0.4 ounces. It’s the perfect little two-bite size.

The box contains four varieties — solid milk chocolate (gold), solid dark chocolate (green), dark chocolate with coconut (pink), and milk chocolate with almond butter (blue).

Milk Chocolate: This is a good, if standard, rich milk chocolate. I don’t have much more to say, but I liked them.

Dark Chocolate: I love dark chocolate, but I can be picky about it. This is good, a little fruity, but not too complex overall. It’s nothing spectacular, but I like it.

Coconut: I love coconut flavor but not always coconut texture. Luckily, the texture here is fine. There are pieces of coconut in the filling, but they don’t stick in my teeth. The filling is sweet, but not cloying, and the coconut and dark chocolate compliment each other well.

Almond Butter: I really liked this one. I love almond butter, so it’s nice to see it used instead of the more classic peanut butter. The almond butter is very thick and slightly gritty, so that it has a more ‘natural’ feel. It’s very nutty and not at all too sweet, so the milk chocolate makes a nice compliment. The outside is a bit greasy, and the whole thing is quite soft. However, that’s partly my fault because they sat in my hot car for a few minutes.

Overall, I liked this mix very much. I wouldn’t shell out $16 dollars for it, but I’ll try to find them on sale again.

Nutrition Breakdown: Serving size is 3 pieces. There are 210 calories, 13g of fat (7g saturated), 19g of sugar, and 3g of protein per serving.

Rating: 8/10

Name: Easter Eggs
Brand: Godiva
Store: World Market
Price: $4.00 (regular $16.00)
Weight: 6.75 oz.