Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Old Fashioned Candy in the Mall

Sisters and Brothers as I hope you have noticed, your Chocolate Priestess reveals chocolate to you that comes primarily from two general categories.  Mass produced and readily available but also gourmet chocolate products that you can find in small shops or order via the phone or online.  There are shops out there that combine these two general categories of chocolate treats in one store.  In our local mall, called "College Mall" there is a candy shop called "Inside Scoop".  Inside there are a variety of candies as these photos will show during this review.  This first one is of the Milk Chocolate Acolyte entering the store.

The store sells individual gourmet style candies, this is merely one section to the left of the entrance, as well as a lot of other products.  Honestly I wasn't interested in the stuffed animals or silly hats so when those appear in the photographs it is merely a sign of how the store is arranged.

I looked around for quite some time until I spotted a section of older candy bars that I either had not seen for some time or have never seen before.  I decided to pick up five and try them out.  The bulk of this post will look at these five treats that you may want to try yourself or steer clear of.

The five old fashioned bars in question include Necco's "Chocolate Wafers” and their “Sky Bar,” the Boyer “Mallo Cup,” a “French Chew Taffy” and a “Charleston Chew” which I think I've tried before though it has been years.  I'm going to describe each more fully though given that this is not a "Sacrament" I didn't take individually pictures of each treat.

“Necco Chocolate Wafers” are approximately one inch in diameter and very tan in color and have “Necco” impressed on them.  There is a very slight cocoa scent.  One roll, 2.02oz, equals one serving according to the nutritional information.  It contains 220 calories made up entirely of sugars and flavors including chocolate gelatin and artificial flavors and dyes.  Oddly the flavor isn’t really sugary but more starchy and dull though it has a very nice crunch because it’s like a little flat rock.

In another section of Inside Scoop you can see more bins of the individual candies along their aisles and again the Milk Chocolate Acolyte who seemed more interested in the stuff animals that day.  I resisted temptation and only got the five products I'm revealing to you so let's move on to the next one.

Necco also makes the “Sky Bar” which I have never heard of or seen before.  The wrapper, a very bright yellow, blue and red design, claims it has four flavors in one bar: caramel, vanilla, peanut, and fudge all in milk chocolate.  That sounds unique, let’s see what it looks like.  It looks like four pillows linked together, one flavor per pillow I assume.  It doesn’t break cleanly but not too badly, I do not lose or reveal any of the inner filling after I break it apart.  It has a very waxy smell that may be a results of several added oils listed on the ingredients.  This also contacts eggs, milk, peanuts and soy in case those are allergy concerns for you.  One 1.5oz bar equals one serving with 200 calories, 5g saturated fat, 5mg cholesterol, 50mg sodium, 27g sugars, 2g protein, with 4% calcium and 2% iron that an adult needs every day.  But how does it taste?  The chocolate by itself is very waxy and cheap tasting, if it was only the chocolate, I wouldn’t take another bite but I need to reveal the fillings to you, Sisters and Brothers.   The first part is the fudge and that filling redeems the poor outer shield with it’s solid chocolate flavor.  The next section is the peanut which is soft and uniquely sweet and tangy at the same time, again overcoming the poor outer shell but honestly does not taste much like peanut butter.  The third section is the vanilla filling that tastes very little like vanilla and mostly like, well, simple gritty sugar paste.  The last section is the caramel which is a tangy variety that is smooth and soft easily overpowering the weak chocolate covering.  This was a unique bar but not one I am likely to buy again.

If you want a more traditional and modern candy you can always find M&Ms in Scoop.  In fact, they have this display where you can buy them by the color.  Frankly I have seen bigger selections in other stores though not recently so I wonder if the fad of buying specific colors of M&Ms is fading out.  Of course, the entire point of doing this was to appeal to people's desire to do something a bit special for a loved one or to honor someone by giving them the ability to choose their favorite colors, the colors of their school or team, or to do your own advertisements via M&Ms.

I have heard of the Boyer “Mallo Cup” but I’ve never had one.  I was too busy enjoying the Reeses cups that were far more popular when I was a child in Iowa.  Each is 2.25 inches across and about half an inch tall.  This one serving, 1.6oz treat cost me $1.19, which is rather outrageous compared to most Reeses two cup treats you can usually get for under 80¢ though I remember when candy bars cost a quarter.  Oh, dear, I see this has coconut in it so I pass it along to the Chocolate Coconut Acolyte to try.  Here is her opinion of the product: "Each cup measures 2 1/4" in diameter and 1/2" thick.  Two cups equal one serving which will provide you with 220 calories (90 from fat), 28 grams of carbs, 2 grams of protein and 10 grams of fat.   When I break apart a cup, the filling is very sticky, as one would expect from a marshmallow creme center and pulls apart rather like taffy.  The chocolate scent isn't noticeable until I get the candy closer to my nose.  Surprisingly I do detect a faint coconut smell as well.  The chocolate shell melts easily in my fingers and when I bite into it, I can feel the coconut more than taste it as it appears to be mixed in with the chocolate that makes up the top of the cup.  The candy is intensely sweet, almost overpowering any chocolate flavor and completely obliterating any taste of coconut.  After eating one cup, I experience a huge sugar rush and quickly drink a pint of water to help get the taste out of my mouth.  I look at the second cup but decide that one is clearly enough.  Time to brush my teeth and remove the sugar."

The chocolate flavored “French Chew Taffy” says to hit the bar against a table to break it into pieces but frankly it is too soft and chewy for that to work.  I literally have to work at peeling the plastic wrap off this 1.62oz, 7.25 X 1.75 inch rectangle.  It is very soft and the wrapper sticks everywhere.  Chocolate is the third ingredient but corn syrup and sugar are the first.  One bar is one serving with 160 calories, 70mg sodium and 23g sugars with less than 1g fiber; basically pure sugar with chocolate flavors.  It does smell like chocolate, a bit like chocolate fudge.  Ripping off a bite then eating it is exactly like I remember chocolate taffy tasting though a lot softer than most taffies I’ve had in the past.

Compared to the M&Ms display, the gourmet jelly bean section of Scoop is huge.  You can choose small bags of them in flavor groups such as soda pop or traditional or tropical for example or you can buy them by the flavor/color.  The next time I go back to Scoop I'll have to ask them why this display is so much larger than the other.  As the leader of The Chocolate Cult I am surprised but given how many other types of chocolate this store cares, I'm not offended in any way. 

I have heard of and probably had “Charleston Chew” before though that was a very long time ago.  This 1.875oz bar is one long piece measuring 8.25 inches long, 0.75 inches wide and 0.50 inches thick.  Immediately you can see that this bar has not been stored properly and that wasn’t me, it came from the store this way.  That, Sisters and Brothers, is what happens in Fat Bloom.  Fat Bloom happens when a product is stored in to high temperatures, which I do not do at The Chocolate Cult, or it has been through rapid and extreme temperature changes.  Frankly it can also just happen over a year or so of storage.  But this should not effect the flavor very much.  This bar has a very waxy feeling against my finger tips and light cocoa scent.  Biting into the soft bar I am shocked by the sour taste that fills my mouth.  It may have been a while since I’ve had this candy but I doubt it had this taste to it. It must be the conditions under which it was store or just a poor batch.  Very disappointing.  If you want to give this bar a try though it contains 230 calories made of 4.5g saturated fat, 30mg sodium, 1g fiber, 30g sugars, 2g protein with 4% calcium and 6% iron needed daily.

The Inside Scoop in the College Mall in Bloomington, Indiana, has a huge range of candies to choose from as well as stuffed animals and silly hats.  I’ll probably go back and sample more or perhaps they’ll contact me and ask about being part of a Saturday Sacrament.  Over all these old-fashioned candies were disappointing.  If this is what they normally taste like, I think their time has come and gone and they need to move out of the way for other brands. 

Sisters and Brothers, may you too take the time to slowly appreciate what the Divine and human ingenuity have offered you in chocolate.  Remember, our First Pilgrimage will be happening in November at the Chocolate Walk.


mavido79 said...

I never understood all the fuss about the Skye Bars myself. Blech! I've found both the taffy and the Charleston Chew are improved when they're chilled. They break more cleanly that way and are less likely to pull out any dental work. Necco Wafers are okay but not really the kind of candy I like.

I'll get my impressions of the Mallow Cup to you later tonight.

Teanna said...

I'd be in Candy heaven!!! And I LOVE Charleston Chew. I used to eat it all of the time when I was a kid. And then I tried my first one in years about two months ago on a whim... and I didn't like it! It made me so sad! But I used to eat them frozen and this one was not, so that may have made a difference... or it could have been because it was 10 or 15 years since I last had one haha! Great post and what a great store!

TheChocolatePriestess said...

Thank you both for commenting. Your joint idea of freezing some of this is great and not one I would have thought of so see, this is why getting feedback from all of you is so very important to The Chocolate Cult.

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