26 07 2010

Here comes another candy review from our favorite guest blogger – Phil. The “Zero” bar is an older candy bar that has become a rarity today. If you happen to find one, is it worth a purchase?

Phil: This is one of those old candy bars that’s sort of hard to find, so it’s one of the few unique candy options Hershey’s carries at Chocolate World. Apparently Zero is not an original Hershey product, but rather one of the candies it absorbed when it bought some Finnish candy company in 1996. The bar has been around since 1920 and was created in Minnesota so you know it has a cult granny following. Unfortunately it’s not named Zero because it has no calories (duh), but because it’s supposed to be awesomely cool, like zero degrees cool, dude. So I cut my candy bar down the middle and tried it at room temperature and frozen for comparison purposes.

Zero Ingredients: White fudge outer layer, base of dark brown nougat with a few crushed peanut/almond pieces mixed in, layer of caramel over nougat

Room Temperature: Well I think this might be the first candy bar that I would rather have as a one of those fun size versions that you get at Halloween rather than full size. This sucker is sweet and rich. I ate half of a King Size (so a little smaller than a regular sized bar) and I was more than ok with not eating the full King Size bar. If it were a Fast Break, Take5, Butterfinger, or Milky Way you would have to get that angry lady from The Biggest Loser to force it out of my mouth. The best layer of the candy bar was probably the caramel (think caramel similar to Milky Way). The nougat wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t Three Musketeers or Milky Way good. I did like the peanut/almond pieces in the nougat. I never had that before in a candy bar and it provided a nice texture contrast. The white fudge is really the defining feature of the candy bar, and I wasn’t a fan of it. Instead of the chocolate being a nice semi-bitter compliment to the nougat/nuts/caramel, you get an all-around punch of sweet. Also, the white fudge is really soft and flaky so when you bite into the bar the caramel is really the only resistance. I didn’t really like that or the taste of the white fudge. It was just too darn sweet.

Frozen: I never eat frozen candy bars, so I stupidly bit into the bar once I took it out of the freezer. Ouch. After I let my teeth recover and the candy bar warm up for a minute I gave it another go. Definitely better frozen, because much of the sugar overload is taken away due to the temperature of the bar. The nougat and caramel stand out more when the bar is cold. After I finished though, I still felt like I just ate a giant stick of sugar.

Overall I think this is definitely a unique candy bar that you should try once if you are a candy lover. Definitely try it frozen, it’s actually better. The best thing it has going for it is the Zero aesthetic. It just looks fantastic, the retro packaging and the snow white bar itself. The metallic silver wrapper stands out amongst the brown, black, orange and yellow packages of most candy bars. It grabs your attention and once you read the ingredients it stands out even more. The adventurous will try it, the rest won’t. That’s probably a good thing since I don’t think this candy bar appeals to everyone, only those with a super sweet tooth. It’s a little too sweet for me, but give it a try if you see it in the grocery store check out line. Just don’t get the King Size…

Jamie: I never really was a fan of “white” chocolate. It tastes bad and it piggybacks on chocolate’s good name. This might be a good candy bar for those who avoid chocolate, but if you avoid chocolate you should probably avoid this too…

I will be posting another review this week, stay tuned.


Dogfish Head Brewpub

6 07 2010

One of the more memorable dining experiences while vacationing in Ocean City was my trip to the Dogfish Head brewpub in Rehoboth Beach. I have always liked Dogfish’s selection of beers, and having a chance to visit their actual point of origin was an exciting prospect. I had originally booked a tour of the actual brewery, but their location in Rehoboth had a restaurant built in – which meant tons of beer and food to sample.

Speaking of samples, I started off with the sampler –

A great selection overall. Most of these beers can be found in liquor stores in the Maryland area. Included in the sampler was everything from a lager to a stout, including one of my favorite India Pale Ales – Dogfish Head 60 min IPA.

Here were my initial thoughts on each beer –

  • Shelter Pale Ale – A decent, somewhat generic pale ale. Slightly hoppy, with a cool, bitter finish. Definitely palatable but I wouldn’t make an effort to search for it again.
  • Indian Brown Ale – I am not usually a fan of brown ales, and this wasn’t an exception.  Very earthly, chocolaty flavor that fills you up like a meal.
  • 60 min IPA – This is the little brother of my all-time favorite beer, 90 min IPA. It is a little milder than 90 min, and some may believe – more drinkable as well.  Beer drinkers used to Bud and Miller light should stay away, however. This beer packs a lot of hops and character. Highly recommended.
  • Raison D’Etre – This was the underdog of the bunch – the “Raison” in the name made me think of fruity beers, which I usually try to avoid. I was pleasantly surprised by my first taste – smooth, slightly hoppy, with a mild undertone of raisins and other complex flavors. The fruit essences were not overpowering in the least.
  • Chicory Stout – I am a stout lover on occasion, and this one was average. It had more of a round, malt flavor, with more taste than Guinness. This did come at the price of feeling slightly heavier going down. A decent beer if you are in the mood for a stout, but Dogfish brews better beers.

After sampling these beers, I was already pretty full (and feeling good). For my main course, I decided to go with a small bowl of chili. But not just any chili…

Duck Chili!

Duck is a meat that you don’t see quite as often as the run of the mill chicken, pork, and beef. Its a shame too, because this chili was delicious. The meat had the consistency of slow roasted, melt in your mouth dark meat chicken. The chili sauce was mildly spicy with a strong cinnamon base. Each bite of this chili made me want to have another drink of beer, and each drink of beer led to another bite of chili. They compliment each other well. Normally I would think a combination like Bud Light and Hormel canned chili would be gross, but there is something about the complex flavors of each Dogfish creation that makes it work perfectly.

If there is a lesson to be learned here – try new things! You never know what you might like. More OC meals to come, stay posted.