First off—no, I did not make these! Pictured above is a homemade candy bar from BonBonBar.com. BonBonBar was started by fellow blogger, Nina, over at Sweet Napa. I’ve been reading her blog for over a year and was excited when she announced she was going to start her own candy business last October. I ordered her BonBonBars online last week and was hoping to hide my identity from Nina, figuring that if I purchased the chocolates anonymously, that this unsolicited review would be more genuine. I assumed she wouldn’t remember my surname since our last email correspondence was a good 6 months ago. I even used my work email address during the checkout process, hoping she wouldn’t figure out it was me, but when I opened the package I saw a hand written note on the invoice. Nina wrote that she threw in some marshmallows so I would have a complete sampler of her products since I had ordered the candy bar sampler.
I carefully opened the packaging and examined the contents before unwrapping a dark chocolate Caramel Nut Bar. I smelled the candy bar and right away I knew this was going to be a completely brand new candy experience. It’s funny how the prevalence of mass-produced confections sets our expectations of what a “good” candy bar is. We settle for the familiar and await the new ways that a machine can assemble chocolate, caramel, nuts, and/or cookies. Hey, why not fry them? King size, fun size—the candy bar has long been a commodity defined by convenience and thrift. So why on earth would you want to pay $5.00 for a candy bar?
“Oh, that’s expensive” you say between sips of your venti nonfat half-caff vanilla soy triple mocha. Actually, it’s kind of a bargain considering how much it costs to keep things out of a candy bar. These BonBonBars are missing a few things that you might have become accustomed to like corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, artificial flavorings and—oh yeah—a long shelf life. You don’t see candy bar ads from manufacturers extolling their products’ freshness over competitors. These candy bars are the freshest tasting candy bars I have ever had. It’s amazing what happens when you combine fresh ingredients and consume them soon afterwards. My BonBonBars indicated a “best by” date only 3 weeks away. My wife and I quickly discovered that being perishable was of no concern as we quickly consumed 3 different bars in a single sitting.
The buttery Caramel Nut Bar was just amazing and definitely our favorite. The molded chocolate shell makes for a very attractive bar and helps you ration the bar into smaller chunks to savor one at a time. The caramel was so soft and buttery I first thought the nuts were chunks of toffee. The salted nut flavor quickly follows and makes for a very nice finish. The taste was incredibly fresh and the quality of the chocolate and caramel were second to none. I’m already thinking about how I can make my own caramels with so much rich, buttery goodness.
Next, we tried the Malt Bars. I’m a huge fan of dark chocolate so I was surprised to discover that I actually prefer the milk chocolate Malt Bars more over the dark chocolate version. Although the fillings are presumably the same, I felt that the dark chocolate overpowered the malt flavor and wasn’t a harmonious match like the milk chocolate and malt pairing. The crunchy shortbread cookie in each of these bars was really good. I would have liked to just munch on the cookies alone. Finally, we opened the marshmallows. I wasn’t really expecting much since I’m not a huge marshmallow fan outside of campfires, but these were really good. The Vanilla Marshmallow had texture and freshness unlike any marshmallow I have had before. Equally fresh and light, the Passion Fruit Marshmallow was accurately described as tart and refreshing. Before trying it, I thought passion fruit seemed like an odd flavor to choose, but after eating one you want another.
These BonBonBars were fantastic and really opened up my eyes to the true potential of a candy bar. Brava!