Saturday, October 26, 2013

Two Fannie May Scares

For our final Saturday Sacrament in our 5th Annual Halloween Treat Challenge we have two Fannie May gifts sent to us by 1-800 Flowers.  Both look like a fun Frankenstein's monster face but the gifts are different.  The box has "Delights" which is a collection of several different chocolates individually wrapped.  The bag has eight different candies, seven of which are chocolate. These Halloween boxes do not appear on the brand's website so the designs you see in our photos come from 1-800 Flowers (who owns the brand by the way) and we'll link to each as we look at them.  I want to thank all of my assistants who helped me with the testing.

Let's start with the bag of goodies called the Frankie Treats Bag.  Light, almost lime green paper fills the top quarter of the bag and it can be recycled which we did (remember we are the only planet with chocolate, protect it!)  Inside are eight types of treat, six of which are chocolate!  The only ones that aren't chocolate is an 8oz bag of Jelly Pumpkins that make me remember the cupcakes I made to start of the Challenge this year and two white Halloween Pretzels that are not white chocolate only white candy coating.


We'll look at the chocolate treats one at a time but above is a photo of them together just to spark your interest, Sisters and Brothers.

Two mix chocolate Halloween Pretzels are included in the bag and you can see the orange strips on them.  Here in our photo I've included one of the white covered pretzels, too, so you can see they each have the light orange drizzle over them. These have a very sweet, tangy scent with an undercurrent of cocoa.  These make a loud initial snap then a soft crunch as you chew because of the hard pretzel inside. At first there is a burst of sweet cocoa then the carb pretzel followed by saltiness that lingers for some time after you finish a bite.  I think a darker chocolate would have been better able to compete with the carbs and salt.

Two Halloween wrapped Milk Chocolate Pops on sticks were included, each has a different design but is the same treat inside made of cocoa butter and chocolate liquor.  Each pop is 1 oz and as you can see a large round block of milk chocolate on a stick but there is no specific design on the candy.  This has a tangy sweet, creamy cocoa scent and is a good heft when I lift it up. It makes a soft snap when I take a bite.  The flavors mirror the fragrance -- at first a sweetness with a slight caramel like tang, then a burst of creaminess, a cocoa build up that fades into a sweeter chocolate remnant in my mouth.  Eating it on a stick is fun and I could see kids especially getting a kick out of this but putting the chocolate on the stick also makes sure your hands are not messy if it should melt while you eat.

There is a Milk Chocolate Bar with a Halloween wrapper wishing us a "Happy Haunting" and a witch flying across the full night moon is nestled into the bag. This is the largest treat in this gift bag at 2oz and two servings according to the label.  This is very much a real chocolate bar with cocoa butter and chocolate liquor but the nutritional values on the wrapper do not quite match the gift bag insert for some reason; not off by much, only 10 calories a serving but it might be important for some of you and Fannie May should be aware of this difference, too.  The bar on the gift tag list also is a 4 not a 2 ounce milk chocolate bar making me wonder if the wrong bar was included in the bag.  The bar has a darker than expected fragrance with an underlining sweetness to it.  I snap one of the six sections off and it feels cool in my fingers starting to melt right away.  Biting it makes a sharp snap but chewing is silent.  The flavor is at once this darker, creamy chocolate with a hint of almost tangy sweetness.

Beyond the Halloween wrapped or decorated items are two Milk Squares each 0.8oz wrapped in white with lettering in red.  The two Dark Squares are also 0.8oz each as well but with a wrapper inverted so a red wrapper with white lettering.  This, like the Milk  Square,  has both chocolate liquor and cocoa butter so this is real chocolate in every sense.  As the photo shows the dark is clearly darker in color but otherwise the squares are identical.  The darker square has a more intense cocoa scent but also a weaker one.  Both are cool to my touch and start to melt slightly if I hold them for more than a few seconds.  The Milk Square has a lightly sweet flavor, a touch of creaminess that is slightly buttery, and then a burst of cocoa flavor that is more intense if you let a bite melt in your mouth which will coat your entire mouth for a long-lasting pleasure.  The Dark Square has a much stronger cocoa flavor that is immediately there when I take a bite that makes a soft snap.  There is a tartly sweet flavor that underneath the dark chocolate that is much weaker if you let your bites melt in your mouth.

A 3-piece bag of Mini Pixies is included and just like the previous two types of candy there isn't anything particularly Halloween about these but they are also made with cocoa butter and chocolate liquor so they are real chocolate but unlike the other chocolate treats in this bag they also have a lot more added ingredients and tree nuts so that might be a concern for some of you.  The look very much like the average "turtle" don't they?  When I take a bite it barely makes a sound since there is a lot of buttery caramel inside; the only sound is when I hit a piece of pecan which is often since they line the bottom of each piece.  The chocolate blends well with the pecans and caramel, that tangy sweetness of the other milk chocolate candies is missing, balanced out by the buttery caramel I think and the nuts.  There is nothing particularly Halloween about this but the three pieces in the bag are also loose, not individual wrapped which I personally think is a good thing since that is less trash to dispose of.

The other Fannie May Halloween gift we received to test and review for you all was the Frankie Halloween Delights box.  Inside are 35 individually wrapped pieces of chocolate of seven different varieties. The only one variety is labeled -- the White Peanut Cluster -- and I can only assume that is it made of the same candy coating as the White Pretzels in the box of Halloween treats so we won't focus on these but turn our attention to the other 28 pieces.

Figuring out what these six chocolate pieces were was a bit of a challenge since I could only find a nutritional guide that listed them all and this was without photos.  Because of this I'm just going to talk briefly about them in the same turn as you see in this photo to the left by starting with the top row on the left, going to the right, then back to the bottom row left to right.

There are three of what appear to be clearly truffles of some type.  The scent is simply milk chocolate but my eyes flew open wide when I took a bite that crunched and yet was soft. Inside was a crunchy yet very soft, rather creamy but not particularly well flavored center.  I have no idea what flavor this might be at all to be blunt but it covers the milk chocolate.

Four of the shorter dome pieces with the ridged edge around it were in the bag.  There is only a light cocoa and sweet scent to this and when I take a bite I'm surprised to find this is solid milk chocolate given that the edging often appears on peanut butter treats. It reminded me a lot of the milk chocolate bar from the Frankie Halloween box.

The large rectangular pieces were only three in number.  This one surprised me because once I bit into it I discovered a very buttery and thick caramel that allowed the milk chocolate to come through well.  This is better than the next smaller piece.

These square pieces, which are softer than the previous ones, were also three in number.  I think these are the milk chocolate dipped caramels and they have a good balance of the milk chocolate and the tangy, buttery caramel though the caramel is the lasting flavor here. I preferred the larger ones with the less tangy and more buttery caramel because it let more of the chocolate through.

The only dark chocolate piece is this molded square one made up to look like a gift box itself totaled six pieces. This cool feeling piece has an undercurrent of sweetness and a light yet darker cocoa scent.  It is a solid bittersweet chocolate that grows but more bitter and more sweet with each chew and with each bite.  Definitely not the best tasting dark chocolate we've been sent to review, very candy light versus pure.

The final one looks a lot like the Pixies from the Frankie Halloween box we've all ready looked at but I double-checked for all of you, Sisters and Brothers.  There were nine of these in all.  This was a less pecan version of the Pixie it seemed like, much sweeter in flavor over all with less milk chocolate getting through but a more tangy caramel, too.


Fannie May goes back to 1920 with a single shop in Chicago but today you can find their creations in gifts shops and online.  1-800 Flowers offers holiday specific designs and gifts using Fannie May that you can't find in the shops so if these two packages interested you, you'll want to hurry up and place an order before the spirits, ghouls, and monsters report for duty on October 31st.  All of the milk and dark chocolates in these two gifts are made with cocoa butter and chocolate liquor but none of what you think maybe white chocolate meet the legal definition in Europe or the USA.  But then not everyone likes or can even eat chocolate -- shocking but true -- so having these non-chocolate options mean more people can share the gifts.  The products in the Frankie Treat Bag were more chocolate in terms of flavor and seemed higher quality for some odd reason.  Furthermore the Frankie Treat Bag has all the information you need about what is included if you have allergy concerns or merely want to know the calories.  Thus the Frankie Treat Bag is superior to the other item in all ways as far as we are concerned here on The Chocolate Cult.

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