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caramel

À la carte – Humbolt Chocolate – Dark with Caramel

Posted in A la carte, Candy

À la carte is a small little weekend feature that I am going to be adding to my site for items that I don’t feel warrant a full review.

Normally I tend to stick to things that are somewhat readily available to most readers in the USA (because that’s where I am based) but last night while at Safeway grabbing a few odds and ends for dinner, I noticed this small display of (somewhat) local chocolate. I of course was instantly drawn to the dark chocolate because that is my favorite and decided to grab two bars, the dark with caramel and the salted almond. Did I ever tell you guys my New Years Eve dark chocolate story?

My Mom and I are both dark chocolate lovers and to celebrate New Years we decide to grab a bar of dark chocolate. We, without thinking grabbed a bar of 90% cacao because what could go wrong? It was our favorite chocolate! Flash forward a few hours and as the ball dropped we counted down, both broke off a small piece, popped it in our mouths and gave each other the tiniest peck at midnight… then promptly made a mad dash for the trashcan to spit out the chocolate. How did we not anticipate how BITTER that chocolate would be?! To add insult to injury, I had braces at the time, and all of that bittery chocolately goodness was totally trapped in its metal cage to my teeth. Hilarious moment, but totally gross.

ANYWAYS.

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This chocolate bar was okay. I was expecting something a little more exciting? While the chocolate was a good balance of sweet and bitter (the caramel helped with this too) it felt like the chocolate, once you started chewing it, just wouldn’t come together? If that makes any sense? It felt dry without actually being old or dried out. My Mom ate the salted almond one and agreed that she had the same problem with her bar. The caramel was buttery and sweet, which I could have eaten a lot more of, but at 3 dollars a bar, I would most likely not buy this again.

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Found at Safeway on sale 2/$6.00

April 15, 2017
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Oreo Cookies – Limited Edition – Caramel Apple

Oreo week lives on (I actually bumped the review that I had planned on posting today until later so that I could talk about these Oreos!)! Caramel Apple? What? What? You can tell the fall season is starting to creep in when you start spotting things like caramel apple flavored things, pumpkin spice, etc. and color me excited. Fall is my absolute favorite time of the year and sadly here in my neck of the woods in California we don’t really get much fall, maybe a few weeks.

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So I am kind of curious how Nabisco is deciding what flavors to make, because lately they have been churning out everything between cookie dough, to limeade, to banana split, and I don’t really see a train of thought here. My next hope is that they make a pumpkin spice Oreo. If they do it right, I might just die right now. Mmmmm… I’m having a Homer Simpson moment. In the grand scheme of flavors when it comes to sweets, apple is probably one of my least favorites – and what I dislike even more is when I am fooled into thinking a green candy is going to be lime (my favorite), and it is indeed apple. YUCK. On the flip side of this, I really love caramel. I rarely eat it, I think because I have a subconscious aversion due to the copious amounts of fillings I have, but it is hands down one of my favorite sweets.

Nabisco pulls the same set up that I hate, which is a half and half creme filling. If I bite into one side, I’ll get all caramel, if I bite into the other, I will get all apple – can’t a girl just get a swirl in the middle? Jeez! Other than my disappointment from the 50/50 split, these cookies are actually rather good. Who knew!? The apple flavoring does not taste overly artificial and the caramel is buttery and complimentary. I think that the apple flavoring is missing the crisp fresh taste that you expect from an apple, but I think Nabisco did a good job of getting the flavor right.

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Texture: 3/5 – Run of the mill Oreo – the creme is… creamy… and the cookies are fresh and crunchy.

Smell: 3/5 – Upon smelling the package when I first opened it, I was greeted with the scent of caramel sweetness. At no point did I smell any sort of apple.

Appearance: 3/5 – These Oreos are no frills, they have a half and half glob of flavoring in the middle, but nothing fancy.

Taste: 4/5 – I was honestly surprised I would like these due to my general ambivalence towards apples and apple flavored foods. The overall flavoring is airy and not overbearing. The apple flavoring has a very slight tart undertone that you would expect from a green apple, and the caramel creme is delicious as well. The golden cookie ties the flavors together and gives the crunch factor. I would say that this fall flavor is a success, and I would even consider buying another package.

August 23, 2014
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Hawaiian Host – Aloha Macs & Christmas Macadamia Medley

Posted in Candy, Confectionaries

So the lovely people at Hawaiian Host recently contacted me to see if I would be interested in reviewing some of their holiday products – UH DUH. Of course I obliged and instantly the video above played repeatedly in my head until these treats arrived at my doorstep from that place I’ve never been to… Hawaii. (Please note, any travel agencies reading my blog that would like me to review a resort in Hawaii, the answer is always yes – just sayin.)

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I thought I would start off with the ole standard of milk chocolate covered macadamia nuts. Its no surprise here that these were delicious. Combining delicious macadamia nuts with chocolate is a match made in heaven – and gives chocolate and peanut butter a run for their money for best confectionary duo. Or is that hazelnuts and chocolate… OKAY NUTS AND CHOCOLATE BELONG TOGETHER. These are dangerous to have around the house because they seem to magically disappear and by magically disappear I mean that I can eat the entire tray in one sitting while watching tv. One thing that makes you feel less horrible about yourself is that there are considerably less in the tray than in a box of See’s Candy.

Texture: 3.5/5 – So I am unsure if during their journey to my doorstep if they were melted a little and then re-solidified but the chocolate had that weird crumbly texture to it on some of them, but for the most part the macadamia nuts were crunchy and the chocolate was smooth.

Smell: 4/5 – The only thing that you can really smell is the chocolate you are about to consume and it smells tasty!

Appearance: 3/5 – Like I touched on earlier, some of the chocolate was a little crumbly and had that oh so appealing white film, but that didn’t stop me from eating the hell out of them.

Taste: 4.5/5 – Well I think I made my point that these were good and unlike most of the other food that I review, did not make it into the hands of anyone else in my immediate circle of family and friends. YUM!

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20140301-094324.jpgSo I like to think that I saved the best for last with the Christmas Macadamia Medley. It contains two flavors that I have consumed before, milk chocolate covered macadamia nuts and dark chocolate macadamia nuts but also has two that I have not tried, MacNut Crunch and Maui Caramacs. Of the two, I really enjoyed the MacNut Crunch. The macadamia nut to chocolate ratio is evened out by it being minced into small pieces instead of two large lumps in the middle of chocolate. The Caramac was really good as well, but I was expecting more of a chewy caramel instead of a rip your fillings out one bite at a time caramel.

Texture : 4.5/5 – The texture of the MacNut Crunch was similar to that of a Crunch bar. I really enjoyed the texture as it seemed more airy than the standard chocolate covered macadamia nut. The Caramac on the other hand gave me a jaw cramp from the chewiness of the caramel.

Smell : 5/5 - This box of chocolates smelled just as yummy as the previous box I consumed prior.

Appearance : 5/5 - This box of chocolate fared much better than the other box did, sparing itself from the weird white film and crumbly chocolate – and all of the chocolates looked simply delectable.

Taste : 5/5 - Now before I get into the taste of these chocolates, how come no one has ever made an edible tray in the box? If you look at the close up picture of the chocolates, the brown tray looks almost good enough to eat – how come no one has capitalized on it? Environmentally friendly and makes my inner fat kid happy. The MacNut Crunch chocolates were very very good, I would eat an entire box of these alone. I could take or leave the Caramacs, while they are good because I enjoy caramel, I did not find them very rememberable. I do however like that they chopped up the macadamia nut instead of taking a whole nut, covering it in caramel then covering it chocolate.

Of the two boxes that I was sent, I would probably be more apt to purchase the medley because I like the variety but both of them were very good. I’d like to thank Hawaiian Host for the opportunity to sample both of these boxes of treats and that the opinions I have posted are my own and I have not been compensated in any way other than the boxes of chocolates. Merry Christmas peoples!

 

December 23, 2013
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Klondike Caramel – The Candy!

Posted in Candy

For most of my years of employment I have worked in a various form of retail. I know the tricks of the trade to make consumers buy things, product placement, if I’m really getting a deal on that item that is on sale, etc. One thing that was ingrained into my brain during the beginning years of my retail life was the saying “Eye level is buy level!” My old district manager used to say that as some sort of retail chant that would take him to sales heaven. It has always stuck with me, and to this day I still joke about it. But! There is some truth to this mantra. The items that stores want you to buy are often put in the middle sections of the aisles. Why do they put all the bad for you food at kids eye level? Because they know that as soon as the child sees the brightly packaged food, they HAVE to have it. So where am I going with this?

I spotted these candy morsels on the very bottom shelf, slightly pushed aside in the check out line of Walmart the other day. I’m sure you know the ole saying “What would you doooOOOooo for a Klondike bar?” Want the truth? Not much. I honestly don’t care for Klondike bars because I don’t like the chocolate they use on the outside of their perfectly square ice creams, although I will eat the hell out of a Choco Taco. I was not expecting to find these tucked away on a bottom shelf, but in the more predominate section of the candy section, but I guess they haven’t been jumped into the gang yet.

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Now I find it a little weird that they had to proclaim ‘The Candy!’ on the outside of the package. Were they concerned that if they put a box of these on the shelf without the warning that someone would think that stores were trying to sell thawed ice cream at checkout stands? I was slightly apprehensive about buying these because of my dislike of their ice cream, but I figured that at less than a dollar, what have I got to lose?

As I was putting groceries away I completely forgot that I purchased these, shows the lasting impression they made eh? But I was excited to try them because I like caramel a lot. I tend to shy away from caramel because I have 16 fillings in my mouth, and the thought of yanking one out is enough to make me pass up the treat entirely, but a girl wants what a girl wants, right?

I opened the package and was… expecting a little more. Literally. I’m not sure why I was expecting more, the package is not very big, but the pieces were about the size of.. the middle of a nickel and a quarter. quickel. I bit into one of the pieces and was surprised. The caramel was buttery and soft and the chocolate was okay. Note that on the package it says chocolate flavored coating. It could be wax for all I know. The coating still reminded me of the outside of a Klondike bar, but the ratio of chocolate coating to caramel is quite small, so you hardly taste it.

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Texture : 4/5 – The texture of this candy is nice. The caramel is smooth and chewy, and the chocolate coating is not bad. It could be worse, it could be coated in Palmers chocolate – gaaaa-ross.

Smell : 3/5 – The smell of the candy before you bite into has a noticeable chocolate smell. Nothing spectacular.

Appearance : 3/5 -I get that they were modeling the appearance of these after their famed ice cream treat, but they were pretty lack luster in the appearance department. They had that nice white film that chocolate gets when it is old, but my guess is that it was probably from being frozen or refrigerated during transport vs age.

Taste : 3/5 -These were OK – but they are no Rolo. I really enjoyed the caramel in the middle. I tend to like my caramel more on the chewy side vs the gooey side, so these worked out nicely. Due to the size of the candy, the chocolate coating wasn’t overpowering like I was expecting it to be. I could take or leave these. One thing that I do wish that they would have done is done a no frills wrapping on each chocolate piece so I did not feel obligated to eat the entire package because I didn’t want to scrounge around for a bag to put the others in, but that’s just me.

So what would YOU do for a Klondike bar? Or candy?

October 1, 2013
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Starbucks – Caramel Ribbon Crunch Frappuchino & Lemon Cake Pop

Confession time – did you know that I did a brief stint as a Starbucks manager? Working for Starbucks was actually pretty fun. I always took the complicated drinks as a fun challenge and liked making friends with my regular customers. The major confession is though that I cannot stand coffee at all. When I was little, I was diagnosed with chronic migraines (which I still have to this day) and my doctor prescribed a small cup of coffee a day. No matter how much cream, sugar, or whatever my Mom put it in the coffee, it was still beyond gross to me, and I still share this feeling. The hardest part of my Starbucks training was the fact that I had to try every drink I made, which not only sent me bouncing off the walls because I don’t drink soda or energy drinks, so my caffeine intake is pretty minimal, but they all tasted gross to me.

Since I am full of confessions today, my heart actually is with Dutch Bros. Coffee, but sadly the closest one to me is way out of the way on my route to work. I finally figured out how to tweak the drinks that I liked getting there for the Starbucks recipes that I used to make every day at work and now I have some pretty awesome custom drinks that I like to throw the new kids at my local ‘bucks through.

Anywho – today marks the launch of Starbucks new spring/summer menu items and I decided to break away from my normal routine and try a few this morning.

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First up we have the new Caramel Ribbon Crunch Frappuchino. I normally get a chai frapp when I am at Starbucks if I am in the mood for something cold, but caramel sounded really good this morning. You may be asking yourself, what is the difference between this drink and their regular frappuchino? A regular caramel frappuchino uses only one type of caramel where the caramel ribbon crunch uses 4 different kinds blended into the drink. The caramel ribbon crunch version has a dark caramel drizzle on top with caramel crunchies on top (technical term here) I enjoy mine with soy and no whip because of the ole lactose intolerance factor, but let me assure you, this drink is wicked good. If you are not into super sweet drinks, this drink may not be for you as it is really rich from all the caramel, but maybe skip dessert one day and have one of these bad boys instead. Just don’t look at the calories, you’ll thank yourself for it.

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Next we have the new Lemon cake pop. I have enjoyed all of the cake pops that Starbucks has had in their pastry case so I figured that this would be no different and boy was I right. My favorite bakery item that I usually get is the lemon loaf, and lemon in general is my go to flavor when it comes to dessert choices if chocolate or peanut butter is not involved. The lemon cake pop is a perfect balance of sweet with a light tinge of tart lemon, making for a delicious two bite snack. The flavor reminds me of the lemon muffins that I used to get off the food truck near my Dad’s work as a kid. Except with way less preservative flavoring and more yummy.

So my vote is that these two items can stay forever – I know this won’t happen, but a girl can dream. Starbucks is also offering a new bunch of salads to their cold cases as well as adding valencia orange to their line up of refreshers in June. If you’re more of a tea person, they will also be adding the shaken peach green tea lemonade in June as well.

(please note that I was not compensated for this post by Starbucks in any way, and that my review is based purely on my own opinions)

April 30, 2013
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479 Popcorn – Ginger Sesame Caramel

Posted in Chips

G’day food lovers! As I’m sure some of you have noticed things aren’t being updated as timely as they used to be – things have been just a bit hectic around here and there are a lot of reviews that have been sadly sitting in draft status waiting to be edited and post to the site. For this, I apologize. I do a lot of blogging on my phone, but due to my perfectionist self, it feels weird not to give it a once over on my computer before sending it off into the intertubes.

Anyways, without further delay, I bring you 479 Popcorn! Ginger Sesame Carmel to be exact. I passed by this at the store about a week ago and couldn’t decide if it was something I wanted to try. Something about ginger popcorn did not seem very appealing, but the other night while at Bel Air, I decided to pick up a bag and give it a shot.
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Now call me ignorant, but I don’t think I have honestly never seen a black sesame seed in my life. According to the almighty Google, they are not that unheard of, so I guess I am just uncultured :) 479 Popcorn is located not to far from me in the neighboring city of San Francisco, so it does not surprise me that this popcorn is a slice of fancy.

The bag itself is rather small, and for an almost 4 dollar price tag, I will admit that this was one of the main reasons why I passed it up at the store the first time. I popped a few pieces into my mouth and was surprised to find that it was rather good. The main flavor is the caramel, but you get a slight spiciness from the ginger that is infused into it. I did not notice any sort of extra flavoring from the sesame seeds. The more I ate the more the ginger flavor became apparent. This popcorn is exceptionally good. The kind of good where you need to call a family member or friend to take the bag away from you because you might the eat whole thing in one sitting, despite just eating dinner.

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Texture: 4/5 - Sometimes caramel popcorn gets a little gummy and chewy, but that is not the case with this popcorn. The generous helping of ginger caramel has done an excellent job of sealing in the classic crunch of popcorn. Now if only popcorn manufacturers could figure out how to remove those pesky husks that like to get trapped between your teeth.

Smell: 5/5 - The buttery caramel mixed with the ginger and the normal smell of popcorn, is rather divine.

Appearance: 3/5 - While I like to think I understand 479’s intentions with the black sesame seeds (to bring more crunch and that ginger and sesame often go together), they honestly look like teeny rat poops in your popcorn. Zoinks.

Taste: 4.5/5 – This popcorn is very very good. The only thing I would change about it would be to add the teeniest tiniest bit of salt (which I guess I could do myself, hellooooo lazy). This makes for a delicious snack, even if you are not craving a sweet treat. The ginger helps balance out the sweetness to the caramel and does an extremely good job of doing so. I would definitely buy this again, but only if it was on sale.

December 11, 2012
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