Friday, May 30, 2008
Hershey is clearly trying to tap into the M&M market with their Kissables line-colorful candy coated mini-kisses. Candy size and colors similar to M&Ms, just with a diff shape and no cool characters- but everyone knows what Hershey Kisses are- they have been around even longer than M&Ms (1907)! Now in addition to the milk choc they have Special Dark, and started making Special Editions for major choc holidays (Valentines, Halloween, Christmas, Easter) Not sure if these are available outside the US (I do know that M&Ms have been worldwide for quite a long time now) but I think they are doing ok here as far as sales. What's interesting is that this rivalry for the candy market goes waaaay back between Hershey & Mars/M&M, so here it still is alive and quite well- just like the Coke VS Pepsi war, this is good old fashioned brand competition, and it makes both sides stronger and better- so bring it on I say! More power to you both!
Here are the last few years M&M packaging for 4th of July- U.S. Independence Day. And with of course red, white, & blue colored candy, these are really fun to go with the barbeques, parties, and fireworks! I havn't seen them this year but I suspect its because M&Ms are too busy promoting the new Indiana Jones movie (see earlier posts with great new packaging)...I do know in June they are slated to launch some all new gourmet flavors, so keep an eye out here for that!
Here are examples of chocolates made in Scandinavia- Norway, Sweden, & Finland. I know Freia is a popular brand there (not to be confused with Fry's of England or Frey's of Switzerland!)I got all of these at a local Scandinavian import store and found them all to taste quite good. I could only read the ingredients on one bar- they were all listed in multiple languages and again Im happy that no matter what european language I read, the word for chocolate always seems to have something familiar to it. On these bars are the words:
So cool- they are all just barely similar enough to english to look/sound like chocolate/ cacao/ milk chocolate. Love that! choc on
Well these looked like fun so I had to try them- who doesn't love choc and marshmallows? Perfect for summer. Opening the bag the smell is delicious, exactly like those two flavors melted together. The packaging is fun, with checkered foil and trademark flag announcing the flavor. And they are mmmm mmmm tasty- as soon as I tried one I thought of S'Mores of course! Which led to a fun summer recipe idea-
Golden Graham Cereal S'mores: take a large bowl of marshmallows and a bit of butter, melt it in the microwave till they puff up- mix it till its gooey- pour in a half box of Golden Graham cereal and a cup of unwrapped Choc Marshmallow kisses- mix all together till the choc is melted and its all marshmallowy coated, spread in a greased pan and wait to cool- cut and serve!
Chex cereal, one of the most popular in the US, has added Chocolate to their mix of flavors- and surprise! its good! I was skeptical but had to try it since I love cereal and try all the new ones- and I was really impressed with this one! There's a mix of choc and regular rice chex in there but the cocoa flavor is really strong and theres almost a kick to it- the kind of mysterious kick that makes you keep wanting more- its actually delicious (especially with choc milk, which is the only way to eat any cereal in my mind). Chex Mix for snacking also came out with a Dark Chocolate version using the choc cereal, dark choc covered mini pretzels, mini choc cookies, and mini M&M type candies- mmmmmm this is good stuff, seriously....try it. Im a believer!
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Here are some examples of Israeli Chocolate- sent to me years ago by my good friend Jenny. The chocolate was all milk - one is a plain milk choc bar (elephant cartoon), one is choc w/hazelnuts, and the super colorful one is like choc candy coated crispies if I remember correctly- wish I could read the writing. It's beautiful script- love it! Will have to ask my friend to translate- Thanx Jenny!
Here is the new Reeses movie promo tie-in for the Batman movie opening this summer- "The Dark Knight". They are called Bats on the pkg and are basically oval shaped Reeses cups with a bat design on the foil. Most exciting is the choice of milk AND dark choc- a rarity for Reeses. Good call! Love them both......
Thursday, May 1, 2008
Here are more Chocolates of the World that I found by simply visiting my local Asian/Oriental grocery stores- turns out they have some great choc products and packaging! I found choc cookies, ice cream bars, cakes, and a few choc bars. It's mostly quite good and tasty- not as high quality or fancy as European choc but yummy nontheless, and not expensive at all. This entire haul cost less than $30! Another bonus is that within the packages many items are individually wrapped so they will stay fresh longer and are perfect for sharing- gotta share the love :)
Altough I've been lucky enough to visit 12 countries over the years, by no means do I have the budget to just up and fly away anytime to exotic locales. Being a chocolate afficianado on a budget means that I had to learn how to satisfy my craving/fascination for international chocolates by travelling locally- to nearby import ethnic grocery stores! Turns out if you are in any decent sized city (mine is medium size) you will find at least a few ethnic import grocery markets catering to local foreign groups that live there and want the taste of their homes. Their products cannot be found in the average American grocery store- these shops are run by native Russians, Koreans, Italians, Japanese, Indians, Polish, Mexicans, etc...who feed the need for their own people's cuisine. I LOVE visiting these shops and the major bonus is that almost every one offers chocolate in some form, be it bars, cookies, cakes, or drinks. The wonderful truth is that CHOCOLATE IS OMNIPRESENT and loved worldwide! So here I plan to showcase Chocolates of the World and celebrate the beautiful packaging and variety of choc available locally to any armchair traveler- Enjoy!
PS- to find these import grocery stores in your area just visit Citysearch.com or Yellowpages.com and search for the type of market you want...they give addresses, phone #s and maps- easy.
This is my second entry showing the multitude of unique packaging for holiday M&Ms- turns out Walmart and Target have their own special packaging that is different from "mass market". Here you can really see the differences!
Earlier post showed Halloween M&M packaging....
I just had to show the beautiful rainbow of flavors offered by Frey's Supreme line of choc- they are a Swiss co. that apparently made this line exclusivley for Target stores to break into the American market (according to their website press releases) A little history: Frey is a 100% Swiss co. started waaaay back in 1887 in the little village of Aargau, Switzerland as a small family business run by brothers Max & Robert Frey. Today, Chocolate Frey is still made entirely in Buchs, Switz. where the complete manufacture process, from bean-to-bar, occurs. The bars are quite slim and have some very UNIQUE flavors- here's a list:
Rhubarb & Aloe Vera, White Lemon & Lime, Japonaise (hazelnut & meringue crunch), Tiramisu, Hot Chili Pepper, Bouquet D'Oranges, Citron & Poivre (black pepper), Cafe & Cacao Nib, Pecan & Caramel, Coeur de Macadamie, Cinnamon & Blood Orange, White w/Blueberry, Merveille de Lait, Noir Satin, Gingerbread (holiday only), Cinnamon Coriander (holiday only).
Very impressive! About half of these are white choc based, but I have only tried the dark & milk ( I just can't eat white choc- its an imposter and gross to me). The flavors I tried were excellent and-bonus- they are very affordable at only $1.99. So ck these out at a Target near you and have a very unique chocolate flavor adventure!
Has anyone else seen the PREMIUM CHOCOLATE KIOSKS in AIRPORTS around the country? My airport here in FL has these fabulous stand alone kiosks labeled "Premium Chocolate" at all the news stands- they have been here about a year or so. They sell Scharffen Berger, Gold & Blacks, Dagoba, Guylian, Dove Rich Dark, Ghirardelli Intense Dark & squares, Cacao Reserve by Hershey, Nestle Treasures bar and truffles, and Hershey Organic. I think its so great to see better choc getting to this level, where the general public has way more to choose from than just the old standard Hershey bar (which by the way I see their Special Dark avail more than the milk lately...) I am not aware of any brand connection besides Hershey/Dagoba/Scharffen Berger - in fact several of the chocs here are direct competitors, so not sure who is creating the kisoks- must be the airport itself. Well good for them! Of course the prices are higher than normal, but not out of reach. Obviously our tastes are changing and all the advertising is paying off.....So look out for these kiosks in airports and buy yourself some great chocolate for the trip!