I bought today’s review from CyberCandy, although I can’t remember how much it cost me exactly- the Covent Garden shop was overflowing with tourists so I just had to grab and run. (Well, and pay obviously.) There were actually a couple of American tourists in there (obviously tourists from the ill-fitting fanny packs around their waists!) which was a bit weird… unless they were on a long holiday and just fancied ‘a taste of home’, it seems a little strange to visit a shop which imports stuff you see every day at home. If an Eskimo went on holiday, he wouldn’t buy snow would he?
I eventually managed to fight my way to the till through children of various nationalities (who were being told no, nein, nyet, non and hakuna to their respective requests) and leave the store with the Hammond’s PB&J Sandwich bar. Regular readers won’t be too surprised to see my buying a product of this flavour- i’m a huge fan of peanut butter and jelly combinations as I’ve mentioned in the past about 87,000 times. I don’t know why it works- fruitness shouldn’t really ‘go’ wth nuttiness. But I laaaaav it.
The PB&J Sandwich is from a whole retro range of chocolate bars from Hammond’s. Having had a look at their stateside website, some of their things look awesome and i’m a little gutted that they don’t ship abroad. So for the time being i’l have to console myself with just the retro range which CyberCandy are stocking and is therefore accessible to me. Other bars similar to this include the Malted Milkshake and More S’Mores, but this got the nod because of the PB&J element.
I said that the Hammond’s range is retro themed, and the look tied in with that fantastically. This pulled off the 1950’s kind of look really well aesthetically for me; the first thing I thought of is the scene in the old Willy Wonka movie when Charlie finds his quarter or whatever the coin is down a drain and goes into his local candy shop. The walls in the shop are adorned with wrappers looking similar to this one used by Hammond’s. Good film that- shame about the Johnny Deep remake.
The classical look on the wrapper- simple but elegant- was a big hit. And the paper wrapper with a golden coloured foil insert worked nicely too. The whole range is packaged like this by Hammond’s, and I think it’s a job very well done. Then, after you get past the packaging to the chocolate itself, you find that each piece is neatly embossed with an ‘H’ logo. The presentation is successful from the outer wrapper right down to the design of the chocolate pieces themselves.
I had seen this as very much a novelty type chocolate bar, so was anticipating a rather nasty sugary smell with maybe a little fake raspberry flavour thrown in for good measure. In actual fact the bar was surprisingly rich and semi-bitter in scent, almost as if it has a dash of alcohol in it or something. There was a sweetness to it too, after the initial richness, and it was pretty nice all in all. I couldn’t smell any peanut butter or raspberry jam (sorry, ‘jelly’!) but as those components are enrobed in chocolate within each individual piece, this was to be expected.
Something that I forgot to mention earlier, was a little more about who Hammond’s actually are… I normally try and introduce companies a little but I lost my head laughing at the memory of all of those children getting berated in CyberCandy by their parents for their demands. (It was like a little kiddie U.N meeting I swear!) Hammond’s are a candy company based in Denver, Colorado. At nearly a century old, their brand seems to be based on traditionalism and the company image is a sort of ‘good, old-fashioned America’. I can’t say specifically what their place in the U.S market is, but their pricing would appear to put them on a par with Green& Black’s/Divine etc over here.
I had a bit of a dabble with some more ‘chocolate surgery’ to find out exactly how each piece was structured, and found that the bar is split, so that each individual chunk is exactly half yellowy peanut butter and half crimson jam. Or jelly. No, I’m sticking to my English guns- it’s definitely jam.
The chocolate is pleasant enough and much more chocolatey than I had predicted. It had smelt semi-bitter but it actually tasted fairly sweet by American chocolate standards- it was closer to an English milk chocolate in flavour. Which is a good thing! The predominant flavour was a continental style milkiness, with a bit of chocolate coming through after that. I maintain that there is some kind of booze in it as well; there was definitely a slight zing to it, almost like you get in chocolate liquors etc.
The PB&J is at the core of each piece, surrounded in milk chocolate. The jam has a delicious flavour to it, with an unmistakable raspberry flavour. That taste, of both tartness but also fruity sweetness was great and worked very well in combination with the milk chocolate.
However my one niggle with this chocolate bar from Hammond’s is that the peanut butter flavour is way too weak. The chocolate is nice, the jam is nice…but much as I was searching for some creaminess and nuttiness, there was barely any there. To be fair to Hammond’s, I could see from my chocolate surgery which I carried out with a knife that there was a fair amount of peanut butter in each piece. But the balance was just a little off and weighted in favour of the jam.
Hammond’s attempt a slightly unusual chocolate bar flavour in their PB&J Sandwich, and I enjoyed trying it. Apart from the HeavenlyCakes’ Peanut Butter Jelly Time cake, I don’t think I’ve tried a PB&J flavour combination in chocolate before.
The chocolate here isn’t bad at all, and the jam is excellent; bursting with flavour and raspberry zing. The only weakness in the bar is the lack of a strong peanut butter, which would have given the bar another dimension with some semi- savoury and creamy flavours.
That said, I still found this most pleasant to eat, and I am interested in trying more of their stuff- both retro style and modern- in the future. Not a bad start to your SnackReview career Hammond’s, not a bad start at all.