Monday, June 29, 2015

This Week In Candy

This week is a very important week for me.  I'm sure all of you American's are saying, "it's the 4th of July week", but that's not what I'm talking about.  For some reason the Canadian leaders of 1867 decided that they would sign the Charlottetown accord (a piece of paper that would separate Canada from the Brits) on July 1st only 4 days away from the American's independence day.  I'm sure our great Canadian Founding Fathers figured that Canada would grow to be a stronger country than the US, and that we wouldn't be bombarded with red, white and blue Facebook and Instagram photos all week.  It can be hard living above such noisy neighbours, but this week on candycritic.org, it's going to be all about just the red and white.

This week on Snack Facts we're going to celebrating some of Canada's most famous treats.  Every day on our Instagram feed we're going to teach you a new fun fact about a classic Canadian snack.  If you don't use Instagram, don't worry, you can learn all about these Canadian treats by following our Facebook page or Twitter feed as well.

Normally on "This Week In Candy" I also tell you what we're working on at Candy Critic, such as writing projects and photo work, but not this week.  This week I'm just going to enjoy being Canadian as much as I can (it's particularly difficult because I'm not actually in Canada right now *tear*).  To start off my, Canada is awesome week, I'm just going to mention that Kinder Eggs are abundant in Canada.

This week's review is also very Canadian.  The story behind it is amazing, small town Canadian boys making it big in the candy business.  OMG's are the next generation of great Canadian treats, and we have some of the best in the world.  Click here to read the OMG's review.

CC

Friday, June 26, 2015

Candy In The Media



People always ask me how I can review candy, and not look like Jaba the Hut.  The answer is simple, I don't eat like this girl.  The idea of eating 3kg of ramen noodles makes my stomach ache and gives me the sweats.  The sport of competitive eating is really taking off, and while it amazes me, it's not something I've ever aspired to do.

CC

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

A Scary Skull Candy Thing


The great thing about silicon molds is the amazing diversity of things you can make with them.  These skull shaped ice molds will make your next drink party pretty awesome, but they'll also make your next batch of cake pops fantastic, and if you're into making your own chocolates you'll have some awesome results.  I think the idea of making a cake pop that's filled with a blood read cherry cream or syrup would be the perfect addition to any macabre party.

CC

Monday, June 22, 2015

This Week In Candy

I think it's safe to say that summer has arrived.  While I'm far away from my North American roots right now, I'm getting news from home that people are wearing shorts and t-shirts.  This year I'm going to try and tap into my love of summer, particularly since my love of candy is really based on my many summer activities as a child.  When I was a kid my dad used to take us on long walks that would always start with a bag of candy from the local store.  I also used to ride my bike to the local park with a stop at the local store to fill up on treats with all of my friends.  Pretty much all of my summer memories involved some kind of candy I'm sure.

This past week my writing plans suddenly took a bit of a turn.  My agent contacted me to see what I was up to, we exchanged notes and she decided that I should focus on a cookbook, instead of the history of chocolate.  Don't get me wrong, I've dedicated enough time that I'm going to finish the history of chocolate book, but it looks like my focus might turn to baking once again.  That means I'm going to need help from any of you guys that are willing.  Be it technical advice, or just some inspiration, I get the feeling I'll need anything I can get.

Seeing as summer is here, this week on Snack Facts, our Instagram feed, we're looking at Kool-Aid.  Why not learn a fun fact about one of the most interesting drinks in the world.  All you have to do is follow us on Instagram right here, and every day this week you'll learn something new about this brightly coloured drink.  If you don't use Instagram, you can also follow Snack Facts on our Twitter feed and Facebook page as well.

Today's new review is from a fairly recent trip I took to Cyprus. I love this small little island country because of the amazing diversity of candy (all foods actually) that you can find there.  While the reasons for this diversity isn't the greatest (occupations and wars) there is no arguing that it's a really fascinating place to visit for any foodie.  Click here to read about an interesting Cypriot treat.

CC

Friday, June 19, 2015

Candy In The Media



I'm not really a big fan of these modern commercials that use special effects to get old or dead celebrities into their modern commercials.  My biggest problem is I often find myself trying to figure out how they did it, instead of paying attention to the product or the story.  I'm also not too sure how many kids would consider Audrey Hepburn as an influence towards their chocolate bar choices.

CC

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Hagelslaging

Every time I try and explain hagelslag to my friends who have never tasted it before, there's a great misunderstanding.  This misunderstanding comes from the idea that hagelslag and cheap candy sprinkles are the same thing.  Before I even start this article I want to explain one thing, they are two very different things.  A good quality hagelslag may look like sprinkles, but they're much more chocolaty, and much softer.  This is important because if you were to put sprinkles on toast with butter, sprinkles don't melt, however hagelslag does.  Hagelslag also adds a chocolaty flavour to the butter and toast, where as cheap sprinkles do not.

For the experiment today I've tasted 5 different varieties of hagelslag mady by De Ruyter.  The hagelslag purists will probably argue that only two of the varities I'm tasting today are real hagelslag, however I'm curious about how this treat can be expanded. To taste test each variety I took two slices of bread cut into 6 sections.  One of the slices had been toasted, while the other had not.  I'd put butter on each section, and then quickly added a generous sprinkle of hagel.  I'd also left one piece on each slice with just plain butter, mostly because I only had 5 varieties of hagel to choose from.
The first variety of hagelslag that I sampled was the Melk (or milk chocolate) variety.  If you ask any hagelslag purist, this is really the way to go.  I would tend to agree, as you'll see by the end of this article.  This is a pretty safe place to put the bar when it comes to hagelslag, as it's tasty, and it melts just perfectly on the toasted bread.  I will say that when you compare the toasted bread to the non-toasted bread, toasting is a great improvement.  I'm not sure how the purist stand on this subject, but I don't think I'll be eating much more hagelslag on un-toasted bread in the future.
The next variety I sampled was the Puur (or dark chocolate) variety.  Now you can see from the photo that these hagelslags (?) are much darker than the milk chocolate variety.  Unfortunately this is about the only difference I could really taste.  I was so convinced that there was no difference that I decided to taste test the Melk and Puur hagelslag without the bread, to see if I could find any difference.  As it turns out there is a subtle difference between the two, however with the butter and bread this difference doesn't come through at all.  I will say that I don't dislike the Puur hagelslag, however it's a little disappointing that it's so similar to its cousin.  A nice dark chocolate flavour probably would have worked very well with salty butter and crunchy toast.
The next hagelslag that I sampled was not so much sprinkles as curls of chocolate.  One would think that as a chocolate fan I would have enjoyed this even more, but strangely I didn't.  I found that the quality of the chocolate wasn't that great, it's not bad, but it didn't seem to melt that much on the toasted bread.  Melted chocolate on toasted bread sounds like a great idea, unfortunately this doesn't deliver.  Because it's just curled chocolate, it also doesn't have the same novelty as the traditional hagelslag either.  The chocolate quality just didn't deliver, and the novelty wasn't that impressive.  I think I may save a few of these and put it on the next chocolate sundae I make for myself instead.
Much like the dark chocolate traditional hagelslag, these dark chocolate curls were also a disappointment.  They had a very subtle difference in flavour from their milk chocolate cousins, but again with the toast and butter this difference was totally lost.  I think De Ruyter could have gone for a really dark bitter chocolate instead and that would have worked so well.  I imagine that this dark chocolate is probably in the 50% area at best, where I think a 80% cocoa chocolate would have done wonders.  This also suffered from the same problems as the milk chocolate curls in that they didn't really melt that much on the toast.
This is probably the point of the article where I'm going to lose a whole bunch of you.  Of the five different kinds of hagelslag that I sampled for this article, this was probably my second favorite.  While the chocolate curls, and the dark chocolate hagelslag disappointed me, this didn't.  It surprised me in so many ways that I was actually pretty impressed.  First of all the flavour took me back to my childhood, and that's because these tasted exactly like Fruity Pebbles cereal.  Secondly the creativity to make fruit flavoured hagelslag is pretty daring and out of the box.  Finally the texture and flavour worked really well, particularly on the toasted bread.  I'm sure after writing this I'll never be allowed in the Netherlands again, but what can I say, I love fruity treats.

Hagelslag is probably the least known, and under appreciated treat to come out of the Netherlands.  I'm not really sure why we don't see hagelslag on every store shelf around the world.  It could be because of the deluge of cheap sprinkles sold all over the world, or it could be that the Dutch just don't want to share.

CC

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

A Cake Covering Bacon Thing

Does you cake need a little more bacon?  If I wanted to ad bacon to my cake, I'd probably candy bacon and sprinkle it on top, or bake it into my cake.  I'm not sure bacon frosting is really the solution.  Unless you wanted to do a super bacon cake.  You could use bacon fat as your oil, bake in bacon bits into the cake. Then you could frost your cake with bacon icing, and top the cake off with candied bacon bits. Now that would be a heart stopping cake.

CC