Friday, December 4, 2009

Russell Stover’s Sugar Free, 4 Flavors

Your Chocolate Priestess bought this four flavor bag of sugar free candies from Russell Stover a few months ago, they were on sale at my local Kroger.  We have some friends who have to watch their sugar consumption so I wanted to see if this was a good option for them.  During this holiday season you, too, may want to think about sugar free products.  While you may not want to give this specific bag I bet that the flavor quality will be the same regardless of the packaging.  Fancy packaging does not equal better quality chocolate, the package is only one aspect you should consider.

This bag contains Toffee Squares, Mint Patties, Pecan Delights, and Peanut Butter Cups in a 10oz bag.  Each flavor has individual nutritional information on the bag.  The Toffee and Min pieces are 3 pieces = 1 serving size but the Pecan and Peanut Butter varieties are only 2 piece = 1 serving.  Rather than give you all the nutritional details I’ll highlight the Toffee then tell you how the other varieties differ.  Be wary when eating sugar free products because eating too many, too soon can cause intestinal problems.

The "Toffee Square" has 210 calories with 9g saturated fat, 25mg cholesterol, 140mg sodium, 1g dietary fiber, 23g sugar alcohol, and 2g protein.  Of the four standard vitamins and minerals listed on these nutritional labels only Vitamin A and Iron ever show up ranging from 0-8% in any given piece.  The toffee is a 1.5 inch square piece.  This square has the tangy sweet toffee scent to it and it snaps apart when I take a bite.  Inside is the very hard and yet chewy toffee center that doesn’t have nearly as much taste as similar sugar containing products do.  Same for the chocolate coating.

The "Mint Patties" have fewer calories, fat, cholesterol and sodium but 2g fiber.  This is almost identical to the Weight Watcher’s Double Chocolate Mousse candy, a dark circle of 1.5 inches across with wavy lines on top.  This has a sharp, cool mint fragrance edged with dark cocoa when I take a whiff.  The outer shell is hard to bite into and makes a snap revealing a semi-soft white interior.  Sadly the flavor while cool is not terribly minty nor chocolaty, the cocoa is a bit stale tasting, neither sweet nor bitter but just dull which means this is a disappointing choice.   Yes, it will cool your mouth down but this just isn’t enough cocoa or mint flavor to compare to other mint patties.

The "Pecan Delights" have the fewest calories but remember, Sisters and Brothers, it is only two pieces, and also 2g fibers but less fat, cholesterol, sodium, and sugar alcohols.  Is also 1.5 inch light chocolate circle with a few bumps.  This has a slight caramel, cocoa and pecan scent to it.  Biting in, I can see small nut pieces and very soft caramel that is very sticky when I chew.  This has a good balance of nut, chocolate and caramel with not too much sweetness so I’m pleased.

The "Peanut Butter Cups" has about the same nutritional values as the Pecan Delights but have more 60mg more sodium and only 1g fiber.  Again this is 1.5 inches in diameter and has the little ridges along the edge like many similar confections do.  It smells like very roasted peanuts primarily but the taste is like stale peanut butter coupled with almost tasteless chocolate.  Not very good at all and very disappointing to me since I love the combination of peanuts and chocolate. 

Ultimately you have to be comparable to the sugar product if you want anyone to use your product who is not diabetic, otherwise you might as well practice moderation with what you eat rather than spend the extra money for sugar free products.  If this is the quality diabetics have to enjoy in terms of chocolate, I feel deeply depressed for them.  No one should have to have inferior chocolate in their lives.  In the end, only one of these four varieties was worth it: "Pecan Delights".

Sisters and Brothers, may you too take the time to slowly appreciate what the Divine and human ingenuity have offered you in chocolate. 

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