Wednesday, April 16, 2014

New Russell Stover Bunnies!

I thought last year that I had seen all of the varieties of Russell Stover's chocolate bunnies but then with the after holiday sales I found.  Count them, yup that's correct, you see five varieties!  At this rate the increase of varieties of their chocolate bunnies is starting to mimic the reproductive capabilities of actually bunnies.  We'll look at these in increasing level of chocolate ingredient intensity.

We start with "Cookies and Cream" and just like 99% of every brand that makes this category this is oil and dairy based white stuff with cookies added; in this case the only cacao related ingredient is the cocoa for said cookie pieces.  The cookies are very crunchy but frankly they just can't overcome the sharply vanilla white stuff.  I can't recommend this one, Sisters and Brothers.

The "Caramel Milk Chocolate" bunny has chocolate and cocoa butter; the next two bunnies have the same ingredients so I organized them according to what I think their chocolateness will be. The bulk of the caramel is in the head and body but surprisingly the ears of a little bit as well   The caramel is more sweet than tangy while the chocolate is very creamy.  Choose this if you or your loved one really prefers very, very sweet chocolate.

The "Kris P. Pretzel" bunny in milk chocolate show specks of pretzel through the chocolate; I hope you can see that in our photo.  This has more sodium than the other varieties because of the pretzel pieces but still not as much as a handful of pretezels by themselves.  In terms of the flavor the salt really comes through strong as you crunch up a bite and I found it overwhelming personally.

What to know how huge our next bunny is? Just telling that this is a 7oz versus a 3oz bunny means little to most of your reading so look at this photo comparing the previous bunny with the crispies one.

The Crispies and Milk Chocolate bunny is identical to the others in terms of the etched designs on the same basic bunny form.  As with the previous bunny you can see hints of the crispies through the milk chocolate.  This is even more crunchy than the pretzel bunny and it has almost no salt flavor so the creamy milk chocolate come through strong.  It is a bit huge so share it, trust me, share this or eat it over several days otherwise one of these bunnies has well over 1000 calories!

Finally there is a Dark Chocolate bunny from Russell Stover and you can see the difference in this photo comparing the dark with their traditional milk chocolate bunny.  See the difference?  Can you tell which is dark and which is milk?

The Dark Chocolate Bunny has chocolate, cocoa butter, and cocoa in it so it is the most intense of these five varieties.  It has zero sodium and no dairy (obviously) so this should be good, pure chocolate.  It has a slight bitterness that you should get with darker chocolate but also surprisingly a creaminess and hint of vanilla as well.

There you go, Sisters and Brothers.  How many of these varieties of bunnies from Russell Stover have you tried?  Are there any new ones out that we need to know about here on The Chocolate Cult?

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Easter Chocolate Recalls April 13, 2014

Well, drat!  I have two chocolate related recalls from the FDA to share with you all. One of these is about Easter candy so I'm going to start with that one while the other is about gelato -- not the one we recently featured.

Bissinger’s Announces a Voluntary Recall of Its DarkChocolate Bunny Ears Due to Undeclared Milk

Consumers Contact:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - April 10, 2014 - Karl Bissinger’s LLC today announced a recall of its Dark Chocolate Bunny Ears because one lot was mislabeled and contains undeclared milk.

People who have a severe sensitivity to milk run the risk of a serious or life threatening reaction if they consume this product.

This product is labeled as:

Bissinger’s Dark Chocolate Bunny Ears are packaged in a clear film with an ingredient card.
Lot Code: 4981 Best By FEB 2015 UPC: 846107009795

The product was distributed to retailers and wholesalers nationwide from January 28, 2014 through April 4, 2014. Those who have received this are asked to destroy product and report affected quantities to Bissinger’s for a full refund.

No adverse reactions have been reported to date for a milk allergen in association with this product.

The recall was initiated after a customer discovered milk chocolate products in the dark chocolate product packaging. The dark chocolate labels do not list milk as an ingredient.

Bissinger’s regrets any inconvenience this may cause and customers may call 800-325-8881, Monday-Friday, 9am to 5pm CDT to discuss questions or concerns.

About Bissinger’s: Granted the title of “Confiseur Imperial” in honor of confectionery excellence in 17th Century France, Bissinger's has been crafting fine confections sourcing premium ingredients ever since. We are committed to crafting high-quality, healthful confections sourcing all-natural ingredients with social and environmental sustainability.
Sinco Inc Issues Allergy alert on undeclared Peanut Protein in Archer Farms Chocolate Hazelnut Swirl Gelato

Consumers Contact:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - April 11, 2014 - SINCO INC is voluntarily recalling from sale Archer Farms Chocolate Hazelnut Swirl Gelato 30 FL OZ (UPC 085239-703618), imported from Italy and sold exclusively at Target stores nationwide. This product may contain traces of peanut protein, which is not declared on the label. Printed on the edge lid is the following:

L13-102 BEST BY: 12OCT2014

There have been two reports of an allergic reaction associated with this item. People who have an allergy or sensitivity to peanuts should not consume this product. No other Archer Farms gelato items are included.

The recall was initiated after lab testing detected a possible presence of peanut protein in one production lot with a Best By date of October 12, 2014. Other production lots tested negative for traces of peanut proteins are also being voluntarily withdrawn as a precautionary measure.

Consumers who have purchased Archer Farms Chocolate Hazelnut Swirl Gelato imported from Italy may return the product to a Target store for a full refund. For further questions please call SINCO at 617-395-6900, Monday - Friday, 9am to 5pm EST.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Tons of Chocolate Easter Bunnies

Some days I feel overwhelmed by the samples we get to test and share with you all around the world.  Some days I'm so blown away by the quality of the products that I just want to tell you to go buy them.  Some days there is so much to write that our feature can't go live for hours after the normal time.  Today's post is based on one of those "some days" starting back on Wednesday and ending today. Now let me assure you that Your Chocolate Priestess did NOT eat all of these, I didn't even try all of these, only one of the milk chocolate and one of the dark chocolate minis that we'll get to... Moderation is one of our hallmarks here on The Chocolate Cult.  I'm not sure what to do with the rest but if you have a suggestion, let it in a comment please. Come, Sisters and Brothers, and look at the Easter art from Emvi Chocolate.

Emvi Chocolate was so generous that they sent us 17 Mini Dark Chocolate Easter Bunny that come in at 0.5oz each of just dark chocolate.  We'll use for our description of the dark chocolate in these cute creations.  The Dark Chocolate has a strong cocoa and vanilla scent and feel very cool to my fingertips.  It makes a sharp snap when I take a bite and the first flavor is a light cocoa and vanilla, a slight bitterness, what you want with dark chocolate, builds with each chew and lingers pleasantly on the tongue.  If you let it melt in your mouth you actually get less bitterness and more vanilla so chosen which you prefer but in fact letting it melt also increases that cocoa buzz that makes your eyes feel a bit wider and your breathing seem a bit deeper. Wonderful!

Likewise we'll use the Mini Milk Chocolate Easter Bunny for our testing of Emvi milk chocolate. Four of these minis were included in the see-through box containing the Box Bunny Milk Chocolate that you see in this photo's center. The minis are exactly like the dark ones above but the Box Bunny is the largest bunny we were sent weighing in at 10.6oz.  This largest bunny is primarily made of milk chocolate but it has a dark chocolate layer on the nose and eyes and white chocolate (made with cocoa butter and no other fats) on the ears, teeth, all four paws, and tail.   The Milk Chocolate in these bunnies (and chick) has a very strong vanilla scent with a current of creamy chocolate under it.  Taking a bite makes a snap and the initial flavor is creamy chocolate with a growing vanilla and chocolate nature with each chew. If you let it melt in your mouth the creaminess remains stronger than the vanilla but it also lets more of the chocolate out.

The rest of this review is really going to be a series of photos with a basic description so you can understand them more fully. The ingredients and methods used for each bunny (and chick, you'll see) strongly suggest the scent, flavor, texture, and sound will be the same or have very little variation.

Only one of all of these samples were damaged in transport; that is a risk you have whenever you order most things.  The Basket Bunny Milk Chocolate is 5.5oz and the second largest sample we were sent.  If you look closely you can see that he has dark chocolate on his eyes, nose, and in the center section of the basket he is sort of cuddling.  White chocolate forms the inside of his ears, his prominent teeth, and the bulk of his eyes.

One good thing about him breaking is that this allows me to show you that these are hollow molds.  You can see they are have varying thickness based on what body part we are looking into.

At 4.5oz the Easterly Bunny is the largest dark chocolate sample from Emvi Chocolate that we received. This is a lot like the minis were, far less anthropomorphic than most of the other samples but still very adorable, don't you think?  The only points of milk chocolate are in the eyes and the nose while white chocolate can be found on the inside of the ears and most of the eyes.

The funniest critter of this set from Emvi Chocolate has to be the Hunz Bunny Milk Chocolate, a chubby fellow with tummy exposed by his too short shirt as he chills out almost shyly.  He weighs 3oz and he's not ashamed of that fact, just a bit laid back with his flopped down ears and overalls as he waits for you to enjoy him.

Not everything is bunny, bunny, bunny at Easter nor it is all crosses if you saw our previous essay this season.  Chicks or other types of young animals are common because they represent birth and spring and so Emvi Chocolate has this Chick Milk Chocolate just coming out of his white shell that sits on head and around lower body.  This is the most white chocolate of any of the molded Easter samples but it only is on the front, the back is milk chocolate.  You can also see some dark chocolate in the eyes as well as an orange that is likely colored white chocolate.

Colored white chocolate is also part of the last two samples in the eggs that are part of the Small Bunny with Egg Barrel.  We got this model in both dark and milk chocolate variety. The milk chocolate version has white on the front of the egg he's rolling around as well as on his feet, tail, teeth, and eyes; dark chocolate highlights his eyes, nose, but also form the wheelbarrow tray.  The dark chocolate bunny has white chocolate on his tail, eyes, and teeth but I suspect also the yellow egg he's moving is really white chocolate; milk chocolate forms the tray of the wheelbarrow, his nose, and part of his eyes.

Look at the photos again, Sisters and Brothers, consider the fine details and adorableness.  Know that these real ingredients resulted in a very wonderful dark chocolate and great creamy milk chocolate.  Small American family produced only adds to the appeal and makes it easy to declare these Sacrament Worthy.  Please do check out Emvi Chocolate and let them know what you think about their creations that we've shared with you today.  If you live in Brooklyn you may be able to find these today but don't want because these guys should be hopping into cars for Easter fast.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Hershey's Six Bunny Packs

Last year after Easter I went shopping and found several chocolate items.  I don't know whether or not you'll still be able to find these six packs of Hershey bunnies or not but let me share how they were well over a year ago.  Hang on, here goes our time machine, Sisters and Brothers.

The Cookies 'n' Creme bunnies are not really white chocolate. Sure there is cocoa butter but it is merely the first of five different ingredients listed under "vegetable oil."  There is cocoa and chocolate in the cookies but wouldn't you think that Hershey could also come up with a good white chocolate?  There's my challenge to Hershey if any of them are reading this review: Make real white chocolate and share it with the world.  Back to the bunny.  The cookies are crunchy and cocoa intense and that stands out against the creamy white stuff.

On the other hand the Milk Chocolate bunnies are made from chocolate and cocoa butter and has no added fats or oils.  This makes it real chocolate and worthy of our reviewing.  This bunny is pretty much identical to the previous non-chocolate cousin.  It has that Hershey's milk chocolate scent and each bunny is 1.2oz is you get a good amount of chocolate.  There is good detail on the front of the bunny and he looks very happy. It has a chocolatey and creamy flavor as well. Just what we expect from Hershey.

So have you seen these available in your stores this year?