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

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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.


Pucca Choco Pretzel

April 14, 2008

The Japanese know how to do cute, and their sweets are no exception. These little fish-shaped pretzel-cookies are filled with “choco cream” — think of an inside-out chocolate covered pretzel. They are absolutely adorable. In addition the the fish, my box contained at least one octopus-shaped cookie. I thought it was deformed at first, but then I noticed that octopus shapes were featured on the box. So, sorry octopus. You’re aren’t deformed; in fact, you’re just as cute as your fish-shaped companions!

Unfortunately, my infatuation with these starts with the cuteness and abruptly ends with the flavor.

The pretzel shell is nice and crunchy, but it’s really nothing but a bland cracker. It has no taste, not even a hint of salt. That’s a shame, because I really love the salty-sweet combo of a chocolate covered pretzel.

The “choco cream” is a mixture of sugar, vegetable shortening, cocoa mass, and powdered milk. I’m not loving it or, well, even liking it. The taste is tolerable — it has a strong dairy component and is slightly malty. The texture, however, is terribly greasy and coats my mouth unpleasantly.

Overall, these are cute, but the taste and especially the texture of the filling killed these for me. I believe they also come in a strawberry flavor.

Nutrition Breakdown: Serving size is 4 cookies. There are 80 calories, 4.5g of fat (2.5g saturated), 4g of sugar, and less than 1g of protein per serving.

Rating: 4/10

Name: Pucca Choco Pretzel
Brand: Meiji
Store: World Market
Price: $1.50
Weight: 1.76 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.


Hershey’s Nut Lovers Miniatures

March 31, 2008

A few weeks ago, I admitted to not liking nuts as a kids. These days, however, I am a certified nut lover. I like the simple combination of nuts and chocolate. The Nut Lovers Miniatures have been trying to get my attention for a while now, so I finally gave in and bought them.

Extra Creamy Milk Chocolate with Cashews:
While I love to eat cashews out of hand, I think they have a hard time standing up to chocolate. That’s certainly the case here. There are just a few pieces of chopped cashews strewn throughout the chocolate. It’s just enough to lend a mild nutty flavor and a slight salty bite, nothing more. It needs more cashews.

I always find the extra creamy milk chocolate to be off-putting. It’s just not Hershey’s chocolate. It’s less chocolate-ty, and it trades the classic tangy yogurt notes for something more akin to sweet whipped cream. It’s not bad, per se, but come on Hershey, don’t be afraid to be yourself! (To their credit, the cashews would definitely be lost in traditional Hershey’s chocolate.)

Made with Chocolate and Peanuts: Mr. Goodbar, what have they done to you? It makes sense that this would be included in the mix, but not redressed as “made with chocolate and peanuts.” I guess the name Mr. Goodbar doesn’t fit in with the rest of the mix, but they could have kept it as a simple Hershey’s with Peanuts. *sigh* I think I let these things get to me too much.

Despite the name change, this is the same Mr. Goodbar that you find with the traditional Miniatures. It’s only bar in the mix with a sufficient amount of nuts, I think. I love ‘em. The simple combination of peanuts and chocolate is great.

Milk Chocolate with Almonds: Here’s another familiar face, but in name more than composition, opposite our dear Mr. Goodbar. The full-sized Hershey’s with Almonds employs full-sized almonds, but we’ve got crushed almonds here. It’s a disadvantage; there aren’t enough almonds to get a satisfying crunch or flavor.

Pecans and Crème: I was wary of this one. I wasn’t sure how pecans would go with white chocolate confection. After tasting this, I think it could be a decent combination, but there aren’t enough pecans here to make a fair assessment. The white confection is overly sweet and tastes strongly of vanilla. The occasional pecan is pleasing, but these were mostly a miss for me.

Nutrition Breakdown: Serving size is 5 pieces. There are 220 calories, 14g of fat (7g saturated), 21g of sugar, and 4g of protein per serving.

Rating: 6/10 (because Mr. Goodbar rules)

Name: Nut Lovers Miniatures
Brand: Hershey’s
Store: Target
Price: $2.00
Weight: 11 oz.


Lindt Carrots, Bugs, and Bees, Oh My!

March 20, 2008

Lindt has several cute foil-wrapped chocolate products out for Easter. There are bunnies, chicks, and lambs, but I went for the slightly less conventional carrots and insects. Why? Well, these are the hazelnut products, and I’m a sucker for anything hazelnut.

Let’s start with the bugs and bees. There are two ladybugs, two bees, and one unidentifiable bug. Unwrapped, they all look the same. They’re adorable, but a little pricey at $3.00 for less than two ounces.

Like the Lindor truffles, which many are familiar with, these have a slightly greasy outside. The center is filled with a thick, slick hazelnut paste and crisped rice. It’s not too sweet, but nice and nutty. Nutella fans will approve. The crisp rice brings a fun texture, but no additional flavor.

I liked these; they were quite tasty. They’re on the expensive side, so I won’t be filling any Easter baskets with these, but I will look for them on clearance.

Nutrition Facts: Serving size is four pieces. There are 210 calories, 13g of fat (6g saturated), 21g of sugar, and 3g of protein per serving.

Rating: 8/10

The carrots are equally adorable. I was surprised to find that these are served on stick, so that they resemble chocolate umbrellas. Unlike the bugs, they aren’t filled. Instead we’re treated to a solid blend of chocolate and hazelnut paste. Think gianduja/Nutella on a stick. Seriously, does life get much better? It’s sticky, nutty, and quite satisfying, even though each piece weighs less than a half an ounce.

I’ll certainly be looking for these on clearance, though they’re already a great price at $1.33.

Nutrition Facts: Serving size is three carrots. There are 210 calories, 14g of fat (8g saturated), 18g of sugar, and 3g of protein per serving. Oh, and 10% of your RDA of calcium.

Rating: 9/10

Name: Lindt Bugs and Bees / Chocolate Carrots
Brand: Lindt
Store: Target
Price: $2.99 / $1.33
Weight: 1.76 oz. / 1.8 oz


Elmer’s Easter Eggs II

March 10, 2008

One thing I forgot to mention in the first leg of the Elmer’s roundup was that it’s pretty cheap. These here were three for a dollar.

Sometimes cheap things bring pleasant surprises. Sometimes you get what you pay for. Here are examples of each.

Gold Brick Egg: I remember these. I would always get at least a couple in my Easter basket and would never eat them because they contained pecans. If the formula was the same then as it is now, I had little to worry about. There are practically no pecans here, and that’s a problem if you’re going to call it a “pecan melt-a-way.” There are a few pecan chips, which is what you see in the photo, but it’s not nearly enough to add flavor. I don’t like it when candy lies.

On to the chocolate. It doesn’t get much better here. It tastes more of fudge than chocolate… which is okay, I guess. I thought it might be fake!chocolate, so I checked the ingredients. Like the Dove Truffle Egg, this is chocolate filled with a “melt-a-way” filling. In the Dove Egg, coconut oil is used to create that silky texture. In the Gold Brick Egg, partially hydrogenated palm kernel oil is used. It’s certainly not quality ingredients, but I don’t know that I’d call it mockolate. (The outer layer of chocolate is quite real.)

In the end, I’m concerned with the taste. It’s not offensive, just bland. I don’t like or dislike it. It was cheap and it‘s a classic/novelty, so I considered giving it a 5. Then I remembered that it lied about the pecans. That demoted it to a 4.

Nutritional Breakdown: Serving size is one piece. There are 160 calories, 10g of fat (7g saturated), 16g of sugar, and 1g of protein per serving.

Rating: 4/10

Heavenly Hash: Let’s move on to something much better. Marshmallow and almonds enrobed in milk chocolate? Sounds great to me! The chocolate coating is fine, nothing outstanding, but perfectly acceptable. The marshmallow is a bit sweet, but the texture is nice — soft, moist, and stretchy. Now the almonds… yum! The almonds are great. They are whole, crunchy, fresh, and perfectly roasted. The nuttiness cuts through the sweetness and gives the piece a nice balance. Unfortunately, there were only two or three almonds in mine. I would really love (and certainly be willing to pay more than 33 cents for) this if it had more almonds. Still, it’s quite good.

Nutrition Breakdown: Serving size is one piece. There are 160 calories, 6g of fat (3g saturated), 23g of sugar, and 1g of protein per serving.

Rating: 7/10

Name: Gold Brick Egg / Heavenly Hash
Brand: Elmer’s
Store: Walgreens
Price: $0.33 each
Weight: 1 oz / 1.33 oz