These peanut butter cups consist of a white chocolate shell surrounding a peanut butter filling. Honestly, I usually prefer dark or semi-sweet chocolate to white, but the buttery flavor of white chocolate fits well with the earthy peanut butter taste.
The peanut butter filling seems like the same mixture they sell as a separate product, with a smooth, rich flavor and no strange overtones.
Justin’s also sells milk chocolate and dark chocolate versions of this product which are also quite tasty. What I really like about this set of products is that they are easy to eat on the go and make portion control easy.
One serving is two cups (40 grams), and contains 180 calories, 17 grams of sugar, and 4 grams of protein.
These cups pack a hefty sweetness in a small package, but after all they are considered a candy and meant to be eaten only a pack at a time.
As with Justin’s other products, the ingredients are top class and are all organic, all natural, with no artifical/natural flavors or colorings of any sort. They are also fair-trade which means buying this product helps farmers in developing countries build sustainable businesses, another thing which should make you feel good about this product.
Ingredients: Organic White Chocolate (Organic Sugar, Organic Cocoa Butter, Organic Whole Milk Powder, Organic Soy Lecithin, Organic Vanilla), Organic Peanuts, Organic Evaporated Cane Sugar, Organic Cocoa Butter, Organic Palm Fruit Oil, Organic Vanilla Flavor, Sea Salt.
According to Justin’s web site, these are only available via Whole Foods Market for a limited time. I have only seen them in the stores very recently, so I guess they are intended for the holiday season, possibly for a “white christmas” concept.
Ratings: Flavor: 7.5 Nutrition/Ingredients: 8.5 Price: 8.0 Overall: 8.0
These sweet peanut butter cups are a great healthy snack with ingredients you don’t have to fret about. Be sure to try a pack or two before they stop production.
We bought this to bring to a family thanksgiving celebration. It’s rare for me to eat super sweet cakes like this, and even rarer to buy them, but once in a while its nice.
Descriptive text from their web page: “Mmmm… Dark double-layer chocolate cake with velvety mocha filling and cream cheese frosting. This Bay Area favorite “weekend cake” is so popular we decided to call it our everyday cake.”
The chocolate cake is very moist, with mild sweetness (slightly less than I expected), and the cream cheese frosting is pretty much what you would expect – very sweet. I didn’t detect much of a chocolate or coffee flavor.
Overall this cake was pretty typical and neither disappointed nor exceeded my expectations. It was tasty enough for me to have a second piece, but I doubt I would go out of my way to buy it again. I think they should consider adding nuts to give a more unique texture and flavor.
The great thing about this cake is that the frosting isn’t too thick or filled with strange ingredients so you can eat a good portion of it safely. Typically when I eat alot of icing on similar cakes I start to feel a little strange, but I had no such effect here.
There are 8 servings per container, each containing 79 grams (2.8 ounces).
A single serving packs 300 calories, a little over a third (120) from fat. There is also 220 mg of salt (9% of recommended daily amount), 1 gram of fiber and 3 of protein.
As you would expect this super-sweet cake contains a massive 33 grams of sugars. This is par for the course in cakes of this sort, but its good to know if you are watching your sugar intake. Not only is this number a concern, but the fact that Sugar is the #1 ingredient listed on the label, so you know its used in a higher proportion than anything else.
The ingredikents are pretty typical for a chocolate cake. There is no artificial or natural flavorings, colors, or preservatives, which makes this cake upper class in my booknjj.
Sugar, Cream Cheese (Cultured Milk And Cream Salt, Xanthan Gum, Guar Gum And Or Carob Bean Gum), Flour (Unbleached Wheat Flour, Malted Barley Flour, Niacin, Iron, Thiamin Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Water, Sour Cream,Chocolate Decorations (Sugar, Cocoa Mass, Cocoa Butter, Whey Powder,Lactose, Lecithin, Vanilla), Eggs, Butter, Chocolate (Unsweetened), Expeller Pressed Canola Oil, Vanilla Extract, Sodium Bicarbonate, Coffee Extract, Salt, Soy Lecithin (Emulsifier), Xanthan Gum, Guar Gum.
We got this for $13.99 at Whole Foods Market.
Ratings: Flavor: 7.0 Nutrition/Ingredients: 8.0 Price: 7.0 Overall: 7.3
This cake is good for those who are trying to avoid artificial flavors, colorings, or other mysterious ingredients. However a run-of-the-mill flavor along with slightly expensive price makes it hard to recommend this for everyone.
I am not the biggest fan of strawberry-flavored products but when my wife saw this for the first time in the frozen section, we had to try it out. I have always felt alliteration is an important technique used in product naming, and this is another of Talenti’s products where it is employed, along with others like “Lisbon Lemon” and “Coffee Chocolate Chip”.
The flavor of this ice cream is in keeping with its name: all you taste is strawberry mixed with milk. Within creamy texture there is occasionally a gritty sensation as you chew on fibrous parts of a whole strawberry, though they are quite subtle so you might miss them.
As this ice cream doesn’t have any mix-ins such as chocolate chips or nuts, it feels a little incomplete to me. And while I do enjoy eating fresh strawberries, much of the enjoyment comes from their juicy, almost meaty texture which doesn’t really translate here.
One serving is 1/2 cup (104 grams) which contains 170 calories, 60 of which are from fat. There is 24 grams of sugars, a bit higher than many other company’s products, but on the low end of the Talenti line (23 – 36 grams). The calorie count is also near the low end for other milk-based Talenti products, although the water-based ones (for example Roman Raspberry) can be as low as 110.
Except for the “natural flavor”, which fortunately is listed last, I don’t have any issues with this ice cream’s ingredients. There is only eight and the rest of them are well known substances. For those of you who don’t commonly read ingredient,s you may not be familiar with carob gum. It’s used as a thickening agent and also goes by the name “Locus bean gum”.
Though I typically scoff at natural flavors, the taste of this ice cream is so… well “simple” that I feel it really doesn’t need any additional mysterious flavor. I’m not sure what they added but I definitely can’t taste it.
The thing I love about Simply Strawberry is that strawberries are used in a higher proportion than sugar, which gives this product its great natural strawberry taste. I checked Bryer’s Natural Strawberry as a comparison and this also have the same order for the first four ingredients. Ben and Jerry’s Strawberry, however, had more sugar than strawberries.
In any case, with the high amount of real strawberries, its reasonable to expect some of their nutritional benefits when eating this product.
Full ingredients list: Milk, strawberries, sugar, cream, dextrose, carob gum, vanilla, natural flavor.
I purchased this at Publix for $5.99 where it had just appeared on the shelves recently. I checked and this flavor has been out for some time in other places.
Ratings: Flavor: 7.0 Nutrition/Ingredients: 8.0 Price:8.0 Overall: 7.6
The simplicity of Simply Strawberry is both its best strength and worst weakness. I feel that major fans of strawberry should try this out once, but for the rest of us the lack of a deep or complex flavor limits the enjoyment.
The reason I bought this is because I felt like trying their dark chocolate, and many of their other products were much more expensive. This has only 63% cocoa content, but their products with higher percentage were either not in bar form or required refrigeration which was a no-go for a traveller like me.
The product name “Black” is actually not listed in English on the front of the package, though the black font does convey this image. It is listed at the bottom in Japanese (ブラック / burak-ku).
The descriptive text for this product on their website says “Authentic dark chocolate with a superb balance of bitter”.
The chocolate bar is contained in a airtight, plastic bag inside of the external wrapper. Many other chocolatiers make similar efforts, but this is the best job I’ve seen in terms of keeping the chocolate in perfect shape right up until you take your first bite.
The little square nuggets this chocolate is segmented into (32 total) are a little thicker than I usually prefer, but I quickly got over this minor issue as I placed one gently into my mouth. Just like the marketing material, the bitterness of cocoa was balanced with a succulent chocolaty sweetness that was out of this world.
I usually eat higher concentration chocolate so this tasted extra sweet to me, but in my memory of eating bars in the 60-70% range this was the best tasting. Having said that, I hope to review another chocolate bar in the near future with the same cocoa content and see how it stacks up in a side-by-side taste test.
There isn’t much else to say about this bar – there isn’t any special texture or add-ins. But for semi-sweet chocolate lovers there is little to complain about and lots to love!
A 130g package contains 4.5 servings, each composed of 7 blocks (30 g) of chocolate. One serving has 180, with 120 of those from fat.
The 63% of cocoa in this product is really at the low end of what is considered “dark” (60-70% is the typical minimum). As a lover of chocolate in the range 75-90%, I wish they would put out a bar with higher concentration. However, as I mentioned in another of my reviews on Lindt chocolates, the strong bitterness of hardcore dark chocolate is an acquired taste, so it makes sense for producers to pick a mixture that everyone can enjoy.
There is 11 grams of sugar per serving, typical for semi-sweet chocolate. There is also 2 grams of protein, and 2 of fiber.
Containing two of ingredients I dislike for health reasons, “natural flavor” and “artificial flavor”, I can’t recommend this to anyone who is picky about whats in the food you eat. But for those who don’t care (or those that do but can make an exception time to time), the extra flavor resulting from these mysterious ingredients is well worth it.
Ingredients: Chocolate liquor, sugar, cocoa butter, soy lecithin, natural and artificial flavor.
This sells for $7.99 and is only available by going directly to the Royce stores in New York, which were recently established in 2012.
Doing a quick price comparison against Lindt’s 50% bar, we see the price for Royce “Dark” is about 1.5 times higher. I feel the price is worth it for a rare, imported product.
Ratings: Flavor: 8.5 Nutrition/Ingredients: 6.0 Price: 6.5 Overall: 7.0
Though a little pricy, this refined chocolate imported from Japan packs a savory taste that’s top class. Just be aware that the ingredients contained are not fully disclosed and are certainly not natural.
On the last night of my recent business trip to New York, I went searching again for a delicious, unique dessert to enjoy before I called it a night. After a long time searching through Grand Central Station, I finally settled on a brownie from Financier Patisserie, a company which sells traditional and signature French pastries since 2002. I have a soft spot for powdered cocoa on sweets which is one of the reasons this product caught my eye.
This brownie has the flavor of typical soft, chewy brownie with a few nice additions. Fresh, crunchy walnuts give a mouth-pleasing texture, and the top layer of the brownie is covered with a sweet chocolate ganache. A third of the bar has an additional layer of cocoa powder on top, quite pure from its bitter taste. Finally, one corner is nicely ornamented with two small green things which seem like caramelized pistachios from their appearance and flavor.
Financier hasn’t exactly invented a new form of dessert, but they’ve made incremental improvements on a classic to make it that much better. Fans of traditional brownies will surely love this decadent item.
This product is sold alone without packaging and the ingredients and nutritional information is not made public, to my knowledge. Their website doesn’t say anything particular about ingredients (organic, natural, no colorings, etc.) so you can’t make any assumptions about what is used.
I’d guess there is a good amount of sugar in one brownie, maybe at least 20 grams.
I got this medium sized brownie for $3.50 at Financier Patisserie in New York’s Grand Central Station, but there are several other locations of this patisserie around the city.
Ratings: Flavor: 8.0 Nutrition/Ingredients: N/A Price: 7.0 Overall:7.5
I highly recommend this supercharged, stylish brownie to everyone but those extremely picky about nutrition or ingredients, who might want to think twice before eating this.
This is the first of two products I will be reviewing from the Japanese chocolatier Royce, whose store I discussed here.
I purchased this because its’ one of the few products sold in the US which is flavored with real green tea powder.
Flavor / Appearance
Each of the 30 chocolate wafers is individually wrapped and stacked in 6 bins. I’ve noticed this type of packaging is pretty common in Japanese candies, and has the advantages of maintaining freshness and cleanliness, in addition to adding to the ‘gourmet chocolate’ feeling. On the other hand, it contributes to extra waste and adds time to the process of eating each one.
Opening one of these little packs reveals a light green candy in the shape of a perfect square. It’s slightly larger than a quarter and has name ‘Royce’ printed across several times diagonally. It’s also extremely thin, surely the thinnest chocolate I have seen in my life, roughly three or four times shorter than your average chocolate bar.
Before you take a bite, you may notice a buttery smell reminiscent of white chocolate, with a definite note of green tea. The flavor and texture are also very similar to white chocolate, again with a subtle taste of green tea powder, almost what I would call an aftertaste but nevertheless the real thing.
Inside each thin wafer there is an even smaller portion of “maccha sauce” (translated directly from the Japanese text inside the package), which is basically like a maccha-flavored jelly with an extra touch of sweetness. The practically microscopic size of this jelly makes it difficult to appreciate, however.
In one serving (7 pieces / 30 grams), there is 180 calories, half from fat, and 11 grams of sugars. This amount of sugar roughly corresponds to a chocolate with 60% cocoa.
This product is essentially a white chocolate, and therefore does not contain cocoa solids, only cocoa butter. Unfortunately this means it also lacks many of the antioxidant properties of dark or semi-sweet chocolate.
The ingredients are fairly commonplace, and not particularly unhealthy, except for “artificial flavor” which is even worse than my pet peeve “natural flavor”. I generally try to avoid any artificial flavors, which are basically chemicals cooked up in a lab which try to simulate the taste of real, organic substances. The composition of these compounds could technically be the same as their organic counterparts, however they were created via some form of chemistry magic, so cannot be considered “natural”.
While Royce does a good job putting out a high class chocolate image, its clear they are not catering to the health-seeking crowd, with artificial flavorings and no other special qualifications (organic,vegan, etc.).
Ingredients: cocoa butter, sugar, glucose syrup, skim milk powder, whole milk powder, lactose, powdered green tea, soy lechitin, artificial flavor
In America, this is only officially available via one of their two (soon to be three) New York stores, where it sells for $18. You may be able to find third parties importing it from Japan, but there is usually a very high mark-up, on the order of 200%-300%.
Ratings: Flavor: 7 Nutrition/Ingredients: 7 Price: 6.0 Overall: 6.66
Royce has put great effort into the appearance and packaging of this product, but the taste itself is basically white chocolate with some green tea powder added in. Artificial flavors, plus a high price, makes it hard to recommend it for most people except green tea fans who are more likely to appreciate the flavor.
This ice cream has a very different flavor that is hard to put into words, especially if I force myself to not cheat and use the ingredients list as a reference. The best I can do is call it a nutty sweetness, punctuated with many small almond pieces – just enough to strike the perfect texture balance. There is a fudge sauce which winds to and fro within this creamy confection, but doesn’t seem to have much of a unique taste to it. Its nothing like any milk- or coconut-based frozen dessert.
I haven’t had almond milk yet, but will have to try it sometime so I can determine if that is what lends the strongest taste component to this frozen dessert.
Though a foreign flavor at first, if you take a few partially-melted spoonfuls you will soon find yourself yearning for more.
I don’t really detect much coffee or chocolate taste, but the well thought out mixture of ingredients results in a complex flavor that is more than the sum of its parts.
In a 85 gram, 1/2 cup serving (four total in the package), there is only 160 calories and 10 grams of sugars. The calorie count is much lower than Talenti’s ice creams (rough average 200) and many of Ben & Jerry’s (rough average 250), though it’s right in league with So Delicious coconut milk based frozen desserts. The amount of sugars is also very low, nearly one-half to one-third that found in many other frozen desserts or ice creams. At first I was clueless on how they can achieve such a great perception of sweetness with only 10 grams of sugars. Then when I read through the ingredient list I discovered erythritol – a nearly zero calorie sweetener which is also utilized in other sugar-free ice creams to add sweetness.
Erythritol is 50-60% as sweet as table sugar, does not cause cavities, and only effects blood sugar (if at all). Sugar alcohols have gotten bad press because they can intestinal problems, such as nauesa, in large quantities. However, erythritol is claimed to have a less chance of these side effects compared to other sugar alcohols, and they are frequently reported only in doses over 50 grams.
I emailed So Delicious and though they would not disclose the exact amount of sugar alcohol employed, I was told that there is less than 2%. This works out to be at most around 2 grams. To reach 50 grams dosage it would take 25 servings, or over 6 packages of this frozen dessert. Clearly there is little health concern, and I feel in this case erythritol advantages outweigh its weaknesses, especially if your diet does not contain any other products with this sweetener. Having said that, I think those who haven’t had sugar alcohols before should take it slowly – don’t eat a whole carton in one sitting.
Tapioca syrup is listed as the sweetener present in the highest amount. It is made from the cassava root and is said to be a healthy alternative sweetener which is GMO and pesticide free.
Fiber is 5 grams per serving. Protein is 2 grams per serving, a good bit lower than many other milk-based products which have easily have 5-6 grams. But honestly, nobody is going to be choosing which dessert they eat purely based on protein content. And while we are on this topic, even the difference between 160 and 250 calories is pretty minor. Even though its 40% more, for those eating only one or two servings it’s a very small fraction of most people’s daily calories. Having said that, if choosing between two ice creams that both taste great, I’ll usually choose the one that is lower in calories and sugar.
Besides my usual pet-peeve “natural flavors” (present in both the fudge sause and the base), there isn’t too much that bothers me in the ingredient list. Water, used a base in both the almond milk and the fudge sauce, helps to keep the calorie and sugar amount down.
Full ingredient list: ALMOND MILK (WATER, ALMONDS), ORGANIC TAPIOCA SYRUP, FUDGE SAUCE [DRIED CANE SYRUP, WATER, ORGANIC COCOA (PROCESSED WITH ALKALI), TAPIOCA STARCH, NATURAL FLAVORS, ORGANIC CHOCOLATE LIQUOR], ALMONDS (ALMONDS, COTTONSEED OIL, SALT), CHICORY ROOT EXTRACT, DRIED CANE SYRUP, ERYTHRITOL, PEA PROTEIN, NATURAL FLAVOR, COFFEE, CAROB BEAN GUM, GUAR GUM, KOSHER SEA SALT, MONK FRUIT.
I just purchased mine for $5.99 at Whole Foods Market, where I recently noticed it in the frozen section.
Ratings: Flavor: 7.5 Nutrition/Ingredients:8.0 Price:7.0 Overall: 7.5
This almond-based frozen dessert has a unique, delicious flavor that’s addictive. I highly recommend trying some to bring variation and nutritionally round out your ice cream “diet”, especially to those who eat mostly milk-based products.
Product Review – Goo Goo Cluster Peanut Butter flavor – “The original southern confection with real milk chocolate”
I bought this product at the same time as this one which I reviewed recently. It was something I hadn’t seen before, and I figured that I couldn’t go wrong with a cluster of peanut butter and chocolate
The Standard Candy Company has been around for over 100 years, and the GooGoo cluster was invented in 1912, in Nashville. Although the peanut butter variant wasn’t created until 1991, this line of candy can be seen as a true southern classic because it was the world’s first ever combination candy bar.
This candy has three parts: a layer of thick peanut butter, whole peanuts placed here and there above the layer, and a sweet, nutty icing surrounding the two and creamily filling in the spaces between. As you might expect, the combination of chocolate and peanut butter is very similar to Reese’s Peanut Butter cups, though the texture of the crunchy peanuts and icing make the overall taste experience very different. The bumpy, irregular shape gives a little surprise to each bite as you try to guess how many peanuts you’ll gobble up.
I thoroughly enjoyed this delicious treat, but things ended a bit too quick for my liking because the size is small for the amount of calories (230) and sugar packed within (to be fair, I was biased because I had read the calorie count before taking my first bite). I had to stop myself from eating a second, and then a third. The package is also a bit oversized for the volume of the three clusters inside (individually wrapped), but what company doesn’t do this? It’s better than some chip products where, after settling, half of the bag is empty air.
This product also isn’t very filling, at least considering the amount of calories. That’s probably because the amount of whole peanuts is relatively small and there is a large ratio of sugar to other ingredients. Compare to Clif Crunch Peanut Butter bar, which contains only 190 calories and feels two to three times as filling. A product like that, designed more to nourish than as a sweet treat, also takes longer to eat.
The more I discuss calorie and sugar content, the more I feel it is becoming less relevant, especially for those who eat candy once in a while. I may omit the discussion of nutrition metrics completely in the future and focus just on ingredients, but for the short term I’ll continue to at least report the basic figures.
A single serving (43 grams) contains 230 calories and 17 grams of sugars. These values are pretty standard for this type of candy, though the calories from fat is somewhat high (140). Protein per serving is 6 grams. There isn’t much else unique about the nutritional profile.
The ingredients are all pretty typical, and reasonably healthy with no artificial flavorings or colorings. The unique thing about this is it actually contains eight ingredients derived from nuts (or the nuts themselves), including peanuts, almonds, pecans, walnuts, cashews, and hazelnuts. Most of these are used in relatively small proportions (except peanuts which are listed as the most prominent ingredient), but with all the potential health benefits of nuts this gives me a good feeling.
I’m starting to tolerate natural flavor more as it’s been in so many products I’ve reviewed lately, but I still wish it would be one of the last ingredients or eliminated completely. Here it is used in a higher proportion than many of the other nuts or nut-based ingredients.
Sugar is the second most prominent ingredient, but for a candy (especially a classic one) this is to be expected.
Full ingredient list: Peanut Butter (Dry Roasted Peanuts, Dextrose, Hydrogenated Cottonseed, Rapeseed Oil and Salt), Sugar, Peanuts, Dextrose, Cocoa butter, Fractionless Palm Kernel Oil, Chocolate Liquor, Whole Milk Powder, Soy Lechitin, Cocoa (processed with Alkali), Whey Powder, Nonfat Dry Milk, Salt, Cornstarch, Natural Flavor, Peanut Flour, Soy Protein Isolate, Wheat Starch, Almond Flour, Pecans, Walnuts, Cashews, Hazelnuts.
I got this 3-pack carton at the Nashville airport for $6.99, but you can get this online directly at the company’s website for $4.25. They also sell this product in 12- and 72-pack cartons, for a significant savings on unit price.
Using their online store locator, a quick search shows that there only a handful of places in South Florida which carry this, mostly Cracker Barrel Old Country Stores. I take this limited availability as a good thing – it gives the product a feeling of being special and fits with its image of being a southern classic candy.
Ratings: Flavor: 8.5 Nutrition/Ingredients: 8.0 Price: 8.0 Overall: 8.2
Apart from its small size (which pained me all the more because of the great taste), I have little to complain about this product with it’s unique texture and generally healthy ingredients. Highly recommended for fans of peanut butter and chocolate, this item also has historical significance tied to Nashville, Tennessee.
On a late night during a recent New York business trip, I was looking for something alcoholic to drink without resorting to products where there is no ingredient list. This product had nice bottle design, potential for great taste, and above all a fully disclosed ingredient list, so I decided to try it out.
I am not a big wine drinker, but a little research indicates that moscato wine is a popular white wine which is sometimes used as a “dessert wine” and typically has a pronounced sweet floral aura.
This is my first time drinking moscato wine, and also my first post to feature an alcoholic beverage.
This drink has a light, sweet flavor, with subtle overtones of coconut. Usually when drinking a product with alcohol the question is how much can I bear the bad taste (including most beers), but this drink left me pleasantly surprised with its drinkability and practically no taste of alcohol. It really goes down smooth and I quickly polished off all four bottles in a few minutes.
Overall, I feel that both wine lovers and those with a sweet tooth will enjoy this well balanced beverage.
There is 140 calories and 17 sugars in a 187 ml bottle. Its hard to compare this since many alcoholic drinks don’t advertise these numbers, but they seem reasonable to me.
There are various research studies which claim either good or bad effects of wine on health. I am not going to pick a side now, but for those that feel wine is healthy (in moderation) I suggest this product. It has 5.5% alcohol, a bit low for moscato wines, though it is in league with wine coolers which are conceptually similar to this drink.
Nutritionally, this product is much better (or at least less riskier) than those which do not list their ingredients of nutritional information. This is a wide majority, including personal favorites such as kahlua or Irish cream. Myx uses no artificial flavors or colors, which surely can’t be said about many other liquor products.
Natural flavors are present but since this is an alcoholic dream I’ll be a bit more forgiving. This includes the main coconut flavor since there is no actual coconut list. My biggest concern is the three preservatives used which could have negative effects on the body. Potassium sorbate, for example, can contribute to nutritional deficiencies by impairing absorption of nutrients in certain cases.
A nice plus is that much of the sweetness is achieved by grape juice and its concentrate, and sugar is only used in smaller proportions.
Full ingredient list: moscato wine, water, grape juice, grape juice concentrate, sugar, natural flavors, citric acid, carbon dioxide, potassium sorbate, potassium benzoate, and potassium metabisulfite (to preserve freshness).
This product is sold in 4 packs of 187 ml bottles. I purchased it from the Walgreens in Times Square (not your average Walgreens for those who are interested) for $11.99.
Ratings: Flavor: 7.0 Nutrition/Ingredients: 6.0 Price: 7.0 Overall: 6.66
A nice sweet wine-based drink with healthier ingredients that many wine-coolers and alcoholic beverages out there. For lovers of wine and sweet alcoholic drinks this is a must-try.