Wednesday, March 26, 2008


At a smaller grocery store in Jerusalem, I picked up a candy bar called Tortit. The packaging describes its contents as being a “coated wafer bar with almond cream.” The candy bar is about the length of my hand, so it looks like a nice item to fill up my tummy with, but I forget that wafers aren’t that heavy and Tortit bars are simply wafers coated in chocolate with almond cream- the packaging did not lie.

The bar was very light, but had a delicate taste of almond. It was very sweet, but still definitively almond. The thin layer of chocolate was not overpowering, but instead it complimented the almond cream nicely.

Tortit is a nice Israeli chocolate bar, but it will not fill you up. It’s simple, but pretty tasty. It’s nothing outstanding, but it’s worthwhile to try.

6.5 of 10

Monday, March 17, 2008

Gummi Bear Life

I've always been a big fan of Gummi Bears. There was one particular summer that I remember where I would go through over a half of a pound of Brach's gummi bears in a day. My teeth have become rather irritated to the cold and the sweet ever since, but I still hold that it was a very worthwhile endeavor. I'll certainly be giving a comparative review on a few different kinds of gummi bear brands in the future, I'll be thinking about them fondly, and maybe (if Emily, my fiancee, would agree) somehow get them into our wedding. Gummi bear party favors? Not such a bad idea.

Admiration for the more delicious qualities of gummi bears is one thing, but curiousity of their lives outside of the vacuum sealed bag and our tummies is quite another. Since July of 2005 a certain blog about gummi bears chronicles the adventures of a colony of gummi bears. It's very charming and in a lot ways it's very artful. It's definitely worth a look.

Friday, March 14, 2008

i eat too much candy

hello again, all, from Kenya. the past few weeks have brought mid-term exams and research projects, which beget stress, which begets an increased consumption of candy. that being said, let me bring to your attention some chocolatey treats worthy of a good thumbing.

the first, called bueno is manufactured by the Italian company Kinder. as the name may suggest, this was exceptionally bueno. I picked it up at the suggestion of a Swedish friend of mine who has access to all kinds of European delights that I am sadly not privy to in the states. the candy is a bit hard to explain, but let me try… imagine a toblerone bar with its different break-off-able compartments. now, the base of such a bar is a kit-kat-like wafer, and in each compartment (bueno’s are domed where toblerone’s are peaked) is a milky hazlenut cream. the entire thing, of course, is covered in chocolate. you have the crunch and the creaminess, as well as the sweet, sweet chocolate. plus, it’s packaged so that you get two such bars about as wide as your thumb in each serving, much like a twix, making it easy to share and/ or save for later. thumbs up, my friends. thumbs waaaaay up.

my second candy is produced by Kenya’s Cadbury company. in Kenya, you cannot easily (or affordably) find a hershey’s chocolate bar. so, when I was looking for a simple, honest-to-goodness chocolate bar, nothing fancy, what I found was a Cadbury dairy milk bar. unfortunately. the chocolate I found to be crumbly in texture, which was quite suspicious. chocolate should be creamy, yes? especially milk chocolate. in addition, I had a hard time tasting the ‘chocolate.’ the bar was brown, it was called chocolate, it tasted vaguely like chocolate, but I think mostly it was just sweet. bad texture, bad taste—thumbs down.

another thumbs down to Cadbury’s mint-choco bar. this was supposed to be a minty, creamy center covered in chocolate. however, the texture of the filling was again disheartening. I found it a bit waxy and sticky—not cool or refreshing, the best quality of mint and arguably the best compliment to chocolate. the chocolate coating I found waxy and again not tasting of chocolate. the whole thing stuck to my mouth and left my teeth feeling fuzzy. the worst. thumbs down.

in the interest of ending on a good note, I must mention a candy I tried only last night. this one again made by the Cadbury company, but this time based in Egypt. most of the wrapper is in Arabic, so I don’t understand it, but far be it from me to deny a candy just because I don’t know what it is. anyhow, the treat is called half time, and it is wonderful. essentially, it’s a twix, I have to admit. there’s the cookie/ biscuit, the caramel, and the chocolate covering. however, I would split hairs on this one and comment that the half-time’s cookie is softer than the twix, and for me that made it a very nice change. instead of crunching away and getting crumbs everywhere (does anyone else have that problem?) I enjoyed a nice, quiet snack. I should also comment on the size—it was much smaller than standard candies in the states. I prefer this for the times when you want just a taste of something sweet without committing to an entire glob of sugar. it also keeps the bar true to its name: half-time, and that’s something we can all appreciate. thumbs up, tiger.

Friday, February 29, 2008


I'm currently studying abroad in Jerusalem and I've made it part of my morning ritual that I snag 2-3 pieces of halivah before I start my day. Some pronounce this little treat Halvah but I prefer Halivah. So yeah.

Halivah is a pressed sesame seed treat. It's a little bit gritty and crumbly, but that makes it break into natural tiny portions. Unlike most Western candies that I'm used to, this wasn't terribly sweet. Halivah has just the tiniest bit of sweet- just enough to keep it from being too bland or bitter. It is a little bland, but this downside is overcome with "developing a taste" for the sesame flavor.

My biggest qualm (and perhaps it is a trivial one) with halivah is that it is a little dry and that its brittle nature causes it to get stuck in your teeth in a most uncomfortable way. Otherwise it's a delicious treat that you can eat for breakfast without feeling guilty.

This treat is not exclusive to Israel, but I'm sure that you can get it in any grocery store that carries a decent foreign aisle of foods. I wouldn't be surprised if Wegmans carried a few varieties of halivah.

6.2 out of 10

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Chicko Sticks

Butter Fingers are great. A candied log covered in chocolate cannot go wrong.

Unless It's summertime.

Then it usually goes wrong within a matter of minutes of heat exposure.

This summer I was sitting in my apartment wishing for melt-proof Butter Fingers. Deep down I knew it was the chocolate that was the Butter Finger's downfall, but I couldn't concede to the obvious so easily. I thought, and I thought. Instead of leaving me with this dilemma indefinitely, divine intervention came to my aid in the form of Dan Stevens (Also the giver of the Chocolate Orange.).

Dan gave me a Chicko Stick. A Chicko Stick is essentially a Butter Finger without chocolate. It can be exposed to extreme temperatures and humidity levels without taste alteration.

It is, in short:



as of right now, i am half-way through a semester in nairobi, kenya. you might expect a fresh-faced liberal college student in my position to be writing about politics or philiosophy or human rights issues, but i'd like to dedicate some of my time to a less-explored issue: candy.
after a few weeks here, as i became comfortable with public transportation and the local wal-mart, i decided to treat myself to something i had been craving for a long time: chocolate. my choice was a "coco dance x2" bar. i wasn't quite sure what to expect, but i like coco (being a key ingredient of chocolate) and there were little pictures of coconuts on the package, which are also enjoyable. the only words in english were "milk compound chocolate coated coconut bar". sawa. the rest of the wrapper is in arabic and turkish. maybe if my body doesn't know how much fat and sugar is in it, said fat and sugar will give my mid-section a pass...
so how did this confection taste? it was good! essentially, it was an american 'mounds' bar-- coconut filling in a milk chocolate outside. it was even divided into two smaller bars, making it a very satisfying taste of home away from home.
i kind of want to do some research on how chocolate is made in different climates. i've heard european chocolate is best because in the states we need to add wax so that it doesn't melt prematurely. i'll keep you posted ;-)

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Chocolate Oranges

A few days ago I received a chocolate orange as a gift. It was my second chocolate orange in this lifetime. After smashing it repeatedly on the arm of my futon I proceeded to unwrap the aluminum packaging. It was very satisfying to see the individual chocolate slices that remained as a result of my violence. Somewhat less satisfying was the taste of the orange. It was better than plain milk chocolate, but not good enough to warrant full consumption in one sitting. My friend Phil and I agreed that our verdict on the orange could not yet be reached.

Then, last night, I tried something new. I had a hankering for hot chocolate, which I made promptly. As I fearfully sipped on the scalding beverage I had the idea to place an orange slice in the hot chocolate. It mixed in easily and dissolved. It was still too hot to drink comfortably so I slipped another orange slice in the beverage. After stirring well and allowing a few more minutes to cool I gave it a try.