Sunday, April 17, 2011

Crusader Tip

Hey Crusaders,

I am going to start posting a weekly tip which will help make your pursuit of the ultimate candy and chocolate a bit more interesting. Thanks to my friend and fellow crusader Corbin, the weekly tip is meant to inspire innovation and adventure in your every day candy consumption.

Tip 1: Anything with a different center (Swiss cake rolls, Junior Mints, PopTarts, Rolos, Reeses Peanut Butter Cups etc...) try them frozen. Nuff said. Its great.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Cadbury Crusader

Alright, I am just going to come out and say it. I LOVE Easter candy. I mean I love holidays in general and any excuse for limited edition candy and chocolate to cover the shelves of the candy aisle is fine by me!
Another thing I love is the Mallomar. When you combine a mutated Mallomar cookie draped in smooth Cadbury chocolate for Ltd. Easter production you get the best cookie EVER.....ohh baby. Game over.

Although I have spent the last 4 years of my life in Canada, I am still an American to the core and thats why Mallomars have a special place 
in my heart.
And to make me feel better about my addiction I find out that I am not the only one thats overly obsessed with these sultry little temptresses, the demand for these bad boys is so high, that they have become an American icon of chocolatey proportions. 

People are legit nuts for Mallomars and 70% of them are sold in NY. Insanity. People are so crazy about these little 'smore-esque' crack-cookies that during the production months, people stock up on boxes to store them during the summer months when they are not available.

A Little History Lesson for all you crusaders:
Made since 1913 by Nabisco (then called the National Biscuit Company) in a single Pennsylvania bakery, Mallomars have a thick layer of rounded, smooth marshmallow on a circular Graham cracker base, all covered in pure dark chocolate. Because of the way in which the chocolate is poured over the marshmallow and Graham cracker, there is a nipple atop the Mallomar. Like on top of a soft serve ice cream cone. The best first bite.

Mallomar w/nipple bitten off
Mallomars are re-introduced by Nabisco every fall to salivating consumers in October and then usually disappear in mid-March. Because of the way they are made, Mallomars can't be made in the summer months. The Canadian factory that makes them halts production in March and resumes in September. oddly they are made in Canada but not sold there, they do have a crappier  alternate version called a Viva Puff.

Alright Crusaders, now Cadbury Came out with a limited edition amped up version of a Mallomar for Easter and its delicious. The anatomy of this gorgeous little cookie-of-the-gods is a chocolate biscuit replacing the grahm, then a round mallow with an orange jam in the middle and for the grand finale, its all drenched in sweet Cadbury milk chocolate.
Bigger isnt always better

These sweet little gems are so amazing. There is no nipple on the top, but the sweet, smooth milky chocolate is characteristically Cadbury. The Combination with the chocolate biscuit cookie would be too sweet, but the orange jelly in the middle has a really nice tangy citrus which cuts the sweetness nicely. The proportion between all three components is alright, the orange jam is off center and there should be more. They come in a great package of 10. I ate them all in 1 sitting.

Feed your addiction: Easter Style

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Mmmm..... Mint

One trend that has kinda become a thing of the 80's is aerated chocolate. It was cool when it first came out, but seemed to be more of a novelty to American consumers rather than turning into a staple. Even though these bad boys are not really found in the US you can still find them and the staples are still out there, lucky for me... well, for you too.

Now lets talk Aero Bars. 

6.5 out of 10

Its not widely available in the USA but for a brief period of time in the 1980 they we in the US for mass distribution. Originally by Nestle UK they are now widely distributed in other countries in Europe as well as Australia. They come is a surprising amount of flavors, I didn't even know they had such diverse product lines! Who knew... And apparently you can et them if you're a BRO, so all of the Bros out there: DO NOT PANIC! YOU CAN EAT AERO BARS!

The flavors include the Original Aero (which consists of milk chocolate throughout) , Mint Aero, Caramel Aero, Dark Chocolate Aero, White Chocolate Aero, Latte flavour Aero, and Crispy Aeros (similar to NestlĂ© Crunch bars). Orange Aeros were sold for a while as well (and were my personal favorite). In the 1970s there were also Strawberry flavour bars (which are still sold in Japan). In the UK, and recently Canada, Aero Bubbles are also available which are small, round 'pop-able' morsels of awesome, but these are available in the milk chocolate and mint only. The Mint is the best alternative flavor and is easy for people to get their hands on. However there are 2 problems:
       1. They contain a lot of added crap such as soy lethicin (an emulsifier), and modified palm oil (which is code for: "I contain a ton of saturated fat which clogs your arteries and makes eating chocolate way less awesome")

Now Crusaders listen up:
Now, "over the counter" candy is awesome. Its all the generic stuff that you buy for a buck at gas stations, grocery stores and when you are just needing to get your fix. Trust me, I understand, however there is a price to pay for indulging a cheap, delicious 'self-medication' for your craving. Most of the generic candy has a significant amount of trans and saturated fats which is needed for their mass produced, long shelf lived lives so be careful!
That being said, I love mint aero bars. Its probably because they taste like Shamrock Shakes in chocolate bar form. even posing pictures of them makes me want to lick my computer screen. Yah, I have no shame.

With caramel top.. Like seriously, how effing good does this look?!

Although you can't taste the super milky and sweet milk chocolate coating, whatever, its not trying to be like an After Eight Bar or Junior Mints. Mint chocolate without a fondant center is a nice change of pace.

 Still the most ridiculously LEGIT and funky-fresh thing about Aero Bars is that.....
Japan has produced dozens of unique Aero flavors!!! YES! Just like Kit-Kats!! Among them Vanilla Milkshake, Hot Milk, Green Tea and others. They usually consist a flavoured, coloured chocolate centre and outer milk chocolate layer. Aero Cocoa (plain, Green Tea and Strawberry flavours) is also sold in Japan. In Australia there is also an Aero Temptations bar, which has the bubbly chocolate, but with a caramel topping.
Hot Milk

Ohhhh man, I love it! Now if they would stop putting saturated fat in everything then we would be golden. Try the 70% dark bar as a healthy addition to your EVERYDAY diet! 
Feed your Addiction Crusaders.

Monday, April 4, 2011

So Delicious It Should Be Criminal

Now Crusaders,

I am from Chicago. So recently I have been inspired by one of my idols David Leibovitz to write about Garett's Popcorn. He is in Chicago now and has been lucky enough to get to try some for the first time.

The Holy Grail is no secret. Its Garett's Popcorn. Yes I do realize this blog has not covered 'candy' so much per se, however this sh*t is so beyond delicious that monuments should be built in its honor. Seriously. You have not lived until you have tried the infamous Chicago Mix from the even more famous, Garett's Popcorn.

Garett's popcorn is a Chicago staple. When you come to the CHI you need to try 3 things: deep dish pizza, a chicago style dog and Garett's popcorn. Around the holidays, people stand in the freezing Chicago winter for hours, just to get their hands on some. Yeah, this is the big leagues.

Now if here is one thing that I do not ever do (consciously at least) is judge food and even more so... dessert. The more disgusting/interesting the food sounds, the more I am intrigued. Its cause I am obsessed with sweets. It's a problem.

The Chicago Mix (don't judge) is THE classic combination of Garrett's rich, coma-enducing, crunchy caramel corn and their salty, buttery cheese corn. Yes Crusaders, it is a combination of caramel and cheese corn and yes. It will make you eternally happy, and your fingers eternally yellow.

Garrett's popcorn is a Chicago staple, an icon if you may... its even one of Oprah's favorite things. Part of what makes it so good Is that they use 2 different types of popcorn. The mushroom and the butterfly variety (which is new news to me. thanks David Leibovitz!). The two help to create a texture in which the caramel and cheese can settle into the different depth crevices to create the perfect balance. Harmony has never tasted so good....
See if you can spot the 'mushroom capped' kernals vs. the butterfly kernels

Now the pastry mastermind David Leibovitz got to go legit BEHIND THE SCENES and get a never before sneak peek into the manufacturing of this food of the gods. I am so jealous I am foaming that the mouth. okay not really, but check out his amazing action shots here:

Now luckily for everyone Garrett's ships anywhere in the USA! They do have special holiday flavors, caramel crisp with almonds, cashews or macadamia nuts as well as plain (or as I like to call it: Naked Corn), but the Chicago mix is the best. Duh.  The Chicago pack (ordered on Lou Comes with 2 Lou Malnati's Deep Dish Pizzas...holy amazing.

                        Eat up Crusaders, you will want a large tin and elastic pants. Its good for you.
                                                                           Trust me.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Hey Crusaders,

Something that I have been overly obsessed with lately is The Icecreamists. This relatively new company epitomizes what it means to be a modern day crusader within the food industry. Just when you thought sh*t couldn't get crazier, between the molecular gastronomy craze and foodies becoming increasingly demanding for innovation, The Icecreamists in the UK provide adventurists and foodies alike to be able to lick their addiction. Yeah, I know...these guys are my idols too.


Finally, their first ice cream boutique is open and rocking everyones' world. 
The S&M/Punk/ Nirvana has been getting some serious press not just because of the aesthetic appeal, but because of their Breast Milk Ice Cream! 

Okay now pay close attention: 
Its is not a breast milk flavored- ice cream... the 75% breast milk (25% cream) is used as a base for a lemon zest and Madagascar vanilla bean flavored ice cream, however due to the amount of time lactating and other factors, the flavor can change dramatically from batch to batch. 

Now fame whore  Lady Gaga (barf) has sent a cease and desist letter to the Icecreamistss, saying that It tarnishes her reputation. Not only that but Matt O'Connor states that:

"Worse still she threatens me, my family and my personal assets (ask my ex-wife, she knows where they are), in an example of heavy-handed legal thuggery straight out of an episode of the Soprano’s....How can she possibly claim ownership of the word ‘gaga’ which since the dawn of time has been one of the first discernable phrases to come from a baby’s mouth. This is why we chose the name. She owns no rights in the primal utterances of our children.

Now I am not a huge Gaga fan anyways, but this puts me over the edge. Its okay for her to act different and make a statement but when someone else does it, she threatens their family and tries to ruin his business. RUDE. Anyways enough of the rant, Matt O'Connor is doing some seriously radical things besides the breast milk ice cream! 

His hallucinatory freezer cabinets serves us nice portions of Viagra liquid nitrogen cocktails, globally inspired flavors and for people who seriously need to 'lick their addiction' and go into ice-cream rehab therapy, they can be treated in their boutique with various ice cream treatments, from syringe transfusions to baby bottles, bombes and more. My personal fave: hazelnut gelato served on PANNETONE (see below)! Drool.

My personal fave: hazelnut gelato served on PANNETONE! Drool.

At 22$USD/scoop the baby gaga Ice cream may not be for everyone, but I wish they could keep it in stock long enough for me to get my greedy hands on some, but no biggie; these foodie dream boats are beginning to make people wonder: Is it better to eat ice cream made with milk that is pumped with hormones, or to go Au Natural and use breast milk? Either way these crusaders are taking the ice cream world by storm and I am totally along for the ride. Are you ready to lick your addiction?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Cake Bark. Oh yeah, You Heard Me.

Via Candy Addict and How Sweet it is I have found Birthday Cake Bark. Cake which has been transformed into an even more sinful and arguably disgusting form. Crusaders this looks too sexy to pass up. You will just have to take the plunge and find out for yourself. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Alright Crusaders,

Now I know EVERYONE is absolutely insane about cupcakes right now. I get it. They are classic. A small indulgent treat thats portable, cute and appealing to basically everyone who has a tongue. To top it off pastry crusaders all over the country are whipping up some flavor combinations that are revolutionizing the cupcake world.

Well Crusaders, you are hearing it from me first: The trend is over. The 'Cupcakery' is officially overdone. However, their impact should not be forgotten. Now lets talk business:

Robicelli's Cupcakes
The Holy Grail: Chicken N' Waffle Cupcake

Robicelli's Cupcakes are out of Brooklyn and are LEGIT.The flavor combos are awesome and have cool names to boot! The Bluth is a chocolate-banana cake topped with chocolate frosting and walnuts and inspired by Arrested Development. They even created the Chicken 'n' Waffles cupcake which is a "waffle" cake covered with vanilla buttercream and maple-glazed fried chicken which is beyond brilliant. There are just two of 78 varieties dreamed up by Matt and Allison Robicelli.

This Cupcake should be illegal its so dangerous! Damn, these guys know how to raise the bar...

Being a crusader, an innovator and a pioneer comes from the heart. Its an eternal addiction. Its drives your spirit  and it gives you the drive to push the creative and conceptual boundaries of your passion. These guys rock.  Talk about crusaders, these are the people helping to shape and push culinary direction. Check it out!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Peeps go to the Dark Side

Easter is upon us, which means the Just Born candy company is busy pumping out mass quantities of, you guessed it, PEEPS.

PEEPS are just one of those things in life, you either love them or you hate them. I (obviously) think they are delicious in a nasty kind of way. The gritty sugar crystals crunch in your mouth and the marshmallow tastes like the packaging, but somehow they are strangely addictive and I am not the only one who thinks so. The Just Born company pumps out millions of ducks, bunnies and other specialty holiday shapes and flavors each year, but finally they are doing something even more legit... dipping them in chocolate. Thats right, its about to get dirty and I was able to get my hands on the dark chocolate version. PEEPS are finally going over to the dark side, in a good way.

The Ducks Go Dark, How Mysterious...

They are considerably better than the PEEPS that are totally covered in Chocolate. You get the crunchy head and upper torso of the peep which is intensely sweet, and then you get a simple, light dark chocolate shell on the bottom. Surprisingly, the chocolate has a nice bitter flavor and a very quick, smooth melt. I am impressed.

6 out of 10 

Okay, last year they introduced PEEPS covered entirely in chocolate, but it was an epic fail. True PEEP lovers go crazy over the sugar crystal coating and by smothering the whole thing in chocolate, they changed the anatomy of the PEEP. Bad move. Now they have gone back to the drawing board and have come out with milk and dark chocolate varieties which have just the bottom covered in chocolate. Bingo. Way better product. As pictured below, the PEEP completely engulfed in milk chocolate is nothing special. The marshmallow has that mass-produced generic flavor and the milk chocolate is chalky and sweet. This is not a total crime against candy, but its definitely on the verge. Good in theory, but so many people do it so much better. The flavored versions such as the raspberry chocolate Valentines Day heart are better because it has a bit of that floral, jammy flavor in the mallow.

3 out of 10
(For not knowing WHY people love your product)

Overall, these are a good addition to the traditional Easter Line of Chicks and Bunnies. Although they have a TON of line extensions within the PEEP Brand, this one seems to have some longevity and I think It will do well. The packaging safely protects the chicks, so they come nice and pristine and are at a great price point. For all 3, they come in at 170cal, which makes it a nice chocolate treat for the more calorie conscious. 

Ohh baby, these chicks are dangerous.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Michevious Mast brothers

Mast Brothers Chocolate

Talk about some serious Chocolate Crusaders! These brothers from Brooklyn are LEGIT. No big deal or anything but when they decided to open their doors and create a premium quality, single-origin, craft chocolate they inadvertently turned the industry on its head, becoming the creators of the single-origin chocolate trend. From having close personal relationships with the cacao farmers they work with, to roasting, winnowing, stone grinding ad tempering their own chocolate these guys have some mad skills when it comes to creating some damn good chocolate. Not that they could become any more awesome, but each of their ridiculously gorgeous chocolate bars are hand wrapped with a thick artisanal-style 'butcher' paper up-ing the trendy factor of these

My good friend Karlye just happened to be in NYC last week and picked me up a couple. I had
-The Brooklyn Bar (Their signature. Which just happens to be extremely badass)
- Sea Salt and Almond Bar

The Brooklyn Bar (See below)

Alright this is their signature. Its a 74% Blend from beans on a couple different continents. (South America and Africa) Although the melt is a bit slow to start you get a very smooth texture once it gets going. There are sweet notes of plum,  and tobacco and has a really earthy intense flavor. Its name fits perfectly. The bar is dark and interesting with complex flavor notes. I guess thats what happens when you take such care in making your chocolate... it turns out fantastic.

Beautiful Temper

The Sea Salt and Almond Bar (See below)
This beauty comes in having 81% cacao. The almonds come from a local farm, are roasted in olive oil and are sprinkled on the top of the singe-origin Dominican Republic  Beans. So awesome. The salt cuts the smooth 'buttery' melt of the chocolate of the chocolate creating a wonderfully complex taste and the almonds are roasted, so the smokiness adds a dimension of depth as well. The minimal amount of salt compliments the smoky notes and helps to bring out all of the flavors, not overwhelming them.
The Sea Salt Almond Bar. Isnt is awesome?
  I personally think that there could be more almonds so you can get more in each bite, creating a better ration, but whatever these guys know how to make some serious stuff.

Overall these guys are pretty gangster, the ultimate crusaders, making everyone else look bad, one bar at a time.

The Brooklyn Bar: 8 out of 10
The Sea Salt Almond: 9 out of 10

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

ohh yah already getting shout outs on twitter. The Candy Crusader is legit. Click on link to check out the SweeTweet!!

Sultry Snickers

     Alright crusaders, now I know that this blog is about pushing the creative limits of the candy and chocolate industry, but we can't ignore the classics now can we? The SNICKERS bar is one, if not THE most iconic candy bar ever created. The candy bar in itself is an icon, but this beast takes it to a whole different dimension. Now I am a huge fan of the craft and artisanal chocolate trend as much as the next person, but the vast majority of us eat 'over the counter' chocolate and with global sales of over 2 billion dollars last year i think the SNICKERS is a sweet way to start.
    The most important element of any chocolate bar is the ratio of the stuff that is inside. Bad ratio, bad bar. It throws off the harmony, essentially ruining the essence of the chocolate bar... now having said that, the classic SNICKERS has the perfect ratio of peanuts, chocolate, caramel and nougat. Maybe thats why its the most widely consumed candy bar in the world?

Isnt she a beauty?
Weighing in at 57g the SNICKERS has around 270 calories and 28g of sugar
Eat up crusaders its good for your soul.
8 out of10


This blog is now up and running for all the crusaders out there. It will discuss the trends in candy and chocolate, pushing the creative limits of sweets. A dessert revolution.