Posts Tagged ‘caramels’

passion_fruit

Photo from Petit Amuse.
Click on the pic to go there.

Product Description:

If you love passion fruit, this is the treat for you! The tart, tropical passion fruit truly shines and is complemented but not overshadowed by the smooth caramel and luscious chocolate.

I received a box of these caramels in my November Petit Amuse box and they can be purchased on the Petit Amuse website.

Tea Suggestion:

Given the delectable, intense flavor of the passion fruit in these caramels, I recommend going for a pure tea, rather than one that’s flavored.  No need to obscure the flavors here!  I chose this Pheonix Pearl Black Tea from Zen Tea.  The rich, natural cocoa notes of the tea enhanced the luscious flavor of chocolate in these caramels … and the caramel brought out the natural caramel-y undertones in the tea.  A very synergistic pairing!

What I Think:

Oh my goodness!  These are so good!

Before biting into one of these soft, sweet caramels, I worried that the flavors of caramel and chocolate would overwhelm the flavor of passion fruit, but it doesn’t.  The passion fruit comes through loud and clear!  It is sweet, luscious, and just a wee bit tart.  And it’s that tart note that (surprisingly, at least for me!) makes all the difference with these caramels.  Because as much as I love caramel, I often find it to be just a wee bit cloying, especially when it’s been encased in milk chocolate like these have been.  So, my palate really appreciates a little contrast like sea salt, for example, or in the case of these caramels, the tartness from the passion fruit.

The caramel is a rich, soft and gooey kind of caramel … the kind that sumptuously melts in your mouth rather than a harder caramel that requires some effort to chew it.  Both are very satisfying caramels, but they are different!  The passion fruit tastes very true to the fruit, as if real passion fruit was made to create the chocolate covered caramels, rather than a flavor extract.  And a quick glance over the ingredient list tells me that this is the case.

As I indicated before, the chocolate used here is a milk chocolate, and I think if I were to change anything at all about these chocolates, it would be to change it to a dark chocolate.  I think that the complexity of a dark chocolate would have enhanced these even further.

My Final Thoughts:

So yummy.  I’m really glad that I got to try them.  I still prefer a salted caramel, but, these are really good – and different!   Sometimes it’s nice to change things up a little bit, and these certainly are a delicious surprise for the taste buds.  I think these would make a great gift for the passion fruit aficionado!

Product Description:

Classic rich caramel with a bit of French Sea Salt to open the taste buds.

Learn more about Jonboy on their website.

Tea Suggestion:

I actually enjoyed these caramels on two separate occasions.  The first time, I had a glass of iced tea at my side, and I really loved this RadioactiTEA Iced Tea from 52Teas with these.  One of the best “pure” iced teas I’ve had in a very long time, and the sweet flavors of the Assam complimented the flavor of the caramel quite well.  Based upon that experience, I decided to try another Assam with this tea – this time, I served it hot.  This 2nd Flush Assam from Tea Horse went along with the caramel tones very nicely too.  These caramels make a really decadent tea-time treat!

What I Think:

When I saw that Fleur de Sel Caramels were going to be included with the Seattle Box (my last box from Foodzie!), it was probably the main selling point for the box and what led me to ultimately decide to choose the Seattle Box over the other selections.  I mean, why go healthy with the raw food when I can have salted caramels, right?  I mean, if I’m in a sample line at Costco (just using Costco as an example, since that is typically where I find many sample tables!) and I have to choose between a sweet, creamy salted caramel and a raw granola health food concoction, I’m going to choose the salted caramel every single time.  Sure, I enjoy a good granola bar, and I’ve reviewed a few here on this blog… but, when it comes to my taste buds preference, well, I’d say they’re more sweet toothed than health foodie.

I know I’ve mentioned before my adoration for salted caramels … and while I didn’t know which company was going to be supplying the Fleur de Sel Caramels.  There was part of me that was sort of wishing for Fran’s Chocolates, because, well, they hold a special place in my heart as I’ve mentioned before.  But even if it wasn’t Fran’s Chocolates – and it wasn’t! – I was still excited over the opportunity to try a new candy company, and, well, caramel generally just makes me happy.

And these salted caramels are making me very happy!  They are soft and chewy and absolutely yummy.  These aren’t the hard-to-chew kind of caramels that seem to require a good amount of effort on the part of the jaw to break down … these are so soft that the teeth sink right into them.  I can feel the Fleur de Sel in these, it isn’t a hard crunch but there is a slight texture from them.  The salt is mostly noticeable in the taste though, and there’s no mistaking it.  I love the sharp contrast between the creamy, sweet caramel flavor and the salt.  The salt cuts right through it, eliminating that cloying sensation that I’d probably experience with unsalted caramels.

My Final Thoughts:

Completely and utterly yummy.  I really loved these caramels.  Maybe not quite as fancy as Fran’s Chocolate salted caramels, but for simple, pure salted caramel enjoyment, it doesn’t get any better than this.  My only complaint is that I wanted more.  The package in the box was not one of those boxes in the photo at the top… it was a smaller package – not quite a sampler with only two or three caramels, but, not quite a box either.  I don’t know exactly how many were in the package because I tore into it and started eating before it occurred to me that I should count them.

Product Description:

Positively addictive, these chewy caramels are made from coconut palm sugar, then topped with puffed brown rice. The decadent, rich caramel is dipped in bittersweet chocolate, and finished with a delicate dusting of sea salt. It’s no wonder these handmade bars have a cult following.

Learn more about Kika’s Treats on their website.

Tea Suggestion:

As with most chocolate-y, caramel-y confections, I recommend selecting a black tea to enjoy with this treat.  I selected this Bolivian Whole Leaf Black Tea from KTeas to drink while tasting this candy, and it was the perfect choice.  The deep caramel-y flavors of the tea complemented the sweetness of the candy without adding a more cloying taste to the palate.  Instead, it actually seemed to refresh and cleanse the palate.  Delightful!

What I Think:

WOW!

Let me say that again:  WOW!

These are amazing!  I’m not at all surprised to see that these were voted the Best Caramels at San Francisco’s Chocolate Salon.  (As an aside, I think that I really need to attend this Chocolate Salon)

What really surprised me with my first bite was the crispy puffed brown rice.  Having not read the description of these caramels before taking a bite, it was a pleasant surprise to discover the crackly crunch of rice “crispies” in this confection.

The bittersweet chocolate is just a thin shell of chocolate, but, it provides the perfect ratio of bitterness to the candy.  I really like the balance of tastes.  Yes, it is sweet, but it is also salty with just a hint of bitter from that chocolate.  One confection tastes neither too sweet or salty or bitter, but, it is sweet enough to satisfy the sweet tooth after just one confection.

The caramel is made from coconut palm sugar, and while I don’t taste a lot of coconut influence in the overall confection, I can taste a hint of coconut there.  The texture of the caramel is slightly hard to the tooth when I first bite into the candy, but it quickly gives way and becomes chewy and softer.

I think what I’m enjoying most about these chocolates is that they possess not only a delicious balance of contrasting flavors but also contrasting textures, from the snap of the chocolate to the chewy caramel and crispy rice and crunch of the salt on top … these little squares are packed full of flavor.

My Final Thoughts:

These caramels are really delicious.  I don’t know that I like them better than my beloved Fran’s Caramels, but Kika certainly could give Fran a run for her money!  I like that this isn’t made from corn syrup (yeah, I know that they say “sugar is sugar” but I like it when I find a candy company that uses alternative sweeteners).  Not only does my sweet tooth approve, but somehow, I’m able to rationalize that these are better for me than the average candy bar, and I appreciate that.

 

For the month of February, Foodzie focused on Valentine’s-y type themes from which to choose for the subscribers of the monthly tasting box.  There was the “Date Night” box which included ingredients to help make a memorable dinner at home for that someone special.  There was also the “Movie Night” box which included gourmet concession stand type goodies such as heirloom popcorn and chocolate covered raisins.  I was leaning towards choosing the Movie Night box because it included one ingredient that really intrigued me:  Chai Cola from Taylor’s Tonics.

However, the other items in the Movie Night box, while delicious in their own right, simply did not excite me as much as the idea of the Valentine’s Box which is filled with chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate … plus some hand pulled hard candies.  Did I mention the chocolate?

YES, I said chocolate!  And when Foodzie goes for the chocolate, they REALLY go for it!

Tucked inside my box this month is one of the most tempting array of chocolates I’ve yet to lay my eyes on.  (For a more tempting array, I suggest visiting The Meadow and feasting your eyes upon their wall of chocolate.) This box includes Dark Chocolate Toffee from Valerie Confections, Coconut Palm Sugar Caramels from Kika’s Treats, Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownie from Blissful Brownies, Dark Chocolate Salted Almond Bar from Theo Chocolate, Dark Chocolate Covered Pistachios from Fiddyment Farms, and finally a bag of Valentine’s Candy from Papabubble.

This is truly a box created for … well, me!  The only thing that could have made it more perfect for me is perhaps some chocolate flavored tea, but then, as you might imagine, I do have some chocolate flavored tea in my tea cupboard that I will be brewing to enjoy with the sweet delights from this box.

Also tucked inside the box was the theme card.  Here is what the theme card has to say about the inspiration behind the Valentine’s Box:

My dad was my first Valentine long before Rob came along.  He would come home with a red heart-shaped box of chocolates and a big red balloon with a roll of SweeTarts weighted to the bottom for each of his four girls.  (I think those candies were always his subtle way of saying having daughters is mostly sweet with just a hint of sour.)  This box is our way of creating that same delight on Valentine’s Day, with a slightly more grown-up taste.  We’re thinking outside the heart-shaped box, with a full artisan chocolate bar, hand-pulled hard candies, palm sugar caramels, pistachios enrobed in chocolate, a fudgy peanut butter brownie, and dark chocolate-covered toffee.  Perhaps you’ll share them with a spouse, a significant other, or a few of your besties, but if you choose to keep hem all to yourself, we won’t love you any less for it.  ~Emily & Rob

Hmm… sharing chocolate is not something that comes easily for me.  So I’ll keep you posted on that.

Where to Buy:  AvenueSweets on Foodzie

Price:  $10.75 for an 8-oz. box

Product Description:

It’s like Pumpkin Pie in a caramel! Rich, delicious and filled with all of the yummy pumpkin flavors like cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cloves and ginger – these are wonderful caramels to enjoy year round. Created in small batches, AvenueSweets confections are handcrafted using only the freshest ingredients. There are no additives or preservatives ensuring fresh, rich flavors that are delectable.

What I Think:

This may just prove to be the most difficult review I’ve ever written.

Why?

Because these are incredible.  So incredible, in fact, that while I am chewing on one, it is hard to come up with words to describe just how delicious they are, except to resort to a childhood response of “Mmmmm” whilst chewing, and after I’m finished with a bite, all I can think about is “I want another one.”  I am having difficulty getting beyond that.  Words fail me.

These are quite possibly the best caramels I’ve ever eaten.  And I’ve eaten quite a bit of caramel, as it is probably my favorite confection after chocolate.  These Pumpkin Spice Caramels are soft that my teeth sink into them … I’m not really even biting, my teeth just sink right into the candy.  And of course, they are chewy (ever have caramel that isn’t chewy?)  But what makes these SO different from all the rest is that they are remarkably creamy and smooth.  No grit or sugary texture.  Just silky smooth creaminess – as if it were just made.  I can taste the fresh cream and butter in these.  But at the same time, I don’t feel like they’re coated in butter, the way so many other caramels taste, especially some of those “handcrafted” caramels that you might find at a local farmer’s market.

Others that have tried these claim to taste “pumpkin” in these, but I do not.  I do taste the spices that you would put into a pumpkin pie:  cinnamon, ginger, cloves, allspice, and my favorite, nutmeg.  So I get while these are called “Pumpkin Spice,” but in the opinion of this tea lover, they could just as easily be called “Chai Spice.”  Or even “Autumn Spice.”

But to be honest, it doesn’t really matter what they are called.  These are OUTSTANDING caramel candies.

My Final Thoughts:

I opened this review by stating it would be difficult to come up with words to describe these, and now that I’ve finished them, the only words that I can come up with are:  I want more.

I really wasn’t expecting this to arrive today.  I thought maybe tomorrow… but, hurray for the Postal Service, they were expedient and got my packaged delivered promptly!  Yippee!

This month’s theme is Fall Harvest.  And what a bountiful harvest it is!  Inside the box, there are samplings of Gravenstein Apple Juice from Nana Mae’s Organics, Sea Salted Pumpkin Seeds from CB’s Nuts, Persimmon & Kumquat Fruit Leather from La Vigne Organics, Maple Syrup from Ben’s Sugar Shack, Pumpkin Spice Caramels from AvenueSweets, and an Apple Cinnamon Bar from Off The Farm Foods.

Yummy!  I’m especially excited that I’ve not yet tried any of these items, each will be an adventure.

The card insert (no longer a map card!) was also enclosed.  On the card, Emily (Chief Eater) and Rob (CEO of Foodzie) talk a little bit about this month’s theme:

Before Rob and I started Foodzie, I had spent my entire life on the East Coast, most of it in Maryland, where there were for distinct seasons.  Fall was always my favorite [my favorite, too, Emily!] Three years later, I’m now happily living in San Francisco.  If you’ve never been here, the weather is sorta crazy; it’s cold in July, and the weather hovers around 55 – 60° all year long.  So I’ve stopped thinking about the seasons as something defined by weather, and focus more on each season as how it’s defined by food.  As October nears, I’m craving pumpkin, apples, spices, caramel and persimmons, and so of course that’s what we’ve packed inside your Tasting Box this month.  I hope you enjoy it!

Thank you Emily and Rob!  I think I will enjoy it, and I think I will start digging in… NOW!

Being a foodie, I was very excited to learn that Foodzie had started a Tasting Box subscription.  Every month, they put together a box filled with samples of tasty morsels from various sellers on Foodzie.  When I saw that it was actually an affordable price (just $19.99 per month), I decided that I must sign up!

My first box was for the month of February.  Six samples were tucked inside, as well as a card from Foodzie detailing a little bit about the contents of the box and on the opposite side of the card there is a map to show the location from which each product hails.

What fun!

My package contained:  Sweet & Spicy Walnuts from NutC, Cabernet Brownies from Marché Noir, Parisian Mendiants from La Châtelaine Chocolat, Caramels from Liddabit Sweets, Charlie’s Truffled Popcorn from Susan Rice Truffles, and a Chocolate Peanut Trail Bar from Olympic Granola.  YUM!

On the homepage of Foodzie, it indicates that Clarine’s Florentines were also supposed to be in the box… they weren’t in mine though.  Perhaps some boxes are different from others – I don’t know. Also, as you can see from the above scan of my enclosed postcard, the trail bar from Olympic Granola should have been the Almond Chocolate bar, but instead, I got the Chocolate Peanut bar.

Other than these few minor discrepancies, this box exceeds my expectations! I’m excited to dig in and start sampling! I will review these items I did receive individually as I taste them.  Please stay tuned!

My final thoughts: 

A great box of Foodzie delights, I’m excited to try them and I look forward to next month!