I saw an old friend of mine today. We sat down and had lunch and caught up on the last three years. It was a wonderful afternoon. It's pretty interesting to see people after a hiatus. You both have ideas of who they were in your head from the last time you saw them, paused in ambered suspension, and those conceptions are slowly eaten up as you see who they are now. I find it fascinating to see how people change.
When I got home, I decided to see if similar emotions translated well to a new candy bar, another Fancy Food Show flavor. The original Zzzang! Bar, and yes, the exclamation point is mandatory like grammatical errors are mandatory to tween Facebook status updates, consists of peanut butter nougat, caramel, and butter-roasted peanuts enrobed in a sexy coating of sexy chocolate. Remind you of anything? Your old pal Snickers? With nearly identical ingredients, it was a toss of the coin and a roll of the eyes as to what this would be...perhaps an inferior incarnation, or a paradisiacal piece of candy!
The candy bar comes in a box covered in cute drawings of candy, which I think is a nice touch. Why? Because I hate the environment like cuh-razy. The bar is then wrapped in a silver wrapper reminiscent of that coating mystery action figures in blister packs. Inside is a treat rarer than all of the Charizards I ever found in my Pokeballs, though. I give credit to Zingerman's for taking ingredients found in a very popular candy and using them differently. I'd have been happy with a higher-quality Hershey, but I'm practically peeing my pants with this one.
The real key component in this bar was the dark chocolate, a soft, matte coating with an even color and no irregularities to speak of. In using a particularly bold and fruity chocolate, a 65% dark bark, in conservative amounts, it really imparts some of the subtle flavors of this particular bean, like a rich smokiness that complements the peanuts and caramel perfectly. Finding smokiness in chocolate is unique. Finding it in a filled bar is next to impossible, like finding a full bottle of CSP's Piroguier. Calling the filling nougat is a stretch, but I'm biased as I'm conditioned to view nougat as the hard, fruity Torrone I ate as a child at Christmas. This filling is soft and airy like a marshmallow, but the flavor is fairly sweet and one-noted. I wouldn't have discerned the peanut butter mixed in if I hadn't read about it on the box.
The caramel, applied in a more restrained manner than that of its mass-produced cousin, was weak and sugary when I swiped a bit off the knife with my finger, but amplified in intensity when eaten with the chocolate. So unless you're the type of Dexter-esque candy scientist who needs to dissect a chocolate bar to its raw components to make it worth eating, you'll probably find the caramel quite pleasurable. The peanuts disappointed me. I hyped them up in my head and after eating one in the raw, knowing that they were just chunks of tooth hatin' crunch was like waking up on Christmas morning and discovering that the presents are all on layaway and could be repossessed at any moment. That might have been a stretch. But you probably laughed, right?
In all, I can look at the Zzzang! Bar and nod my head in a manner not unlike James Cromwell in Babe. I'm happy with it, it's delicious, and it's different than the candy I traditionally eat. In being so, it has reinvented itself in a remarkable fashion. I couldn't ask for much else in a candy. That'll do, bar. That'll do.
Labels: 9, chocolate, dessert, snack