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Candy Review: Zingerman’s Zzang! Candy Bars

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Zingerman’s Original
Seldom do I get as excited about candy as I did when the shipment of Zingerman’s Zzang! Bars arrived after a long workday. The hip, slick packaging, the simple mixed with fancy ingredients, and the interesting flavor combinations promised a unique treat. And, with three varieties, I felt sure my palate would be artfully stimulated.

I tore into the Original first, because I wanted to use it as a base to compare to the other flavors. Zingerman’s marketing team made me salivate with anticipation:

“Starting with a honey nougat made with natural peanut butter, we dip it in a sensual caramel made from muscovado brown sugar. The biggest and best butter roasted peanuts we can find come next, and the whole endeavor is finished off with a dip into a rich bath of dark chocolate.”

It looked great and smelled good, but the taste was disappointing. It was very peanutty and rich, but left an odd, almost smoky, aftertaste in my mouth. I expected the bar to be sweeter, and was left wishing I’d eaten a Snickers instead. Dang. Next…

Zingerman’s Cashew Cow

Again, great marketing. The name “Cashew Cow” is fun and original, and with ingredients like cashew butter, roasted cashews, cashew brittle, puffed rice, and milk and dark chocolate, I was ready for Zingerman’s to redeem themselves from my Original experience. But it was not to be. Despite hoping for love, I only found disappointment. In fact, I couldn’t stand the Cashew Cow. The bar was salty, slightly bitter, and had a stale taste. I cut off a piece and gave it to a friend, and she was a little more positive about the Cashew Cow, but not much.

Zingerman’s What the Fudge

I love the name “What the Fudge?” and hoped to love the bar. I admit, my optimism was dim after tasting the other Zingerman’s bars, but I cleared my palate with some milk and dug in for the third bar. Finally, a winner! Layered milk chocolate fudge, muscovado brown sugar caramel, and malted milk cream with a dark chocolate jacket was exactly what I needed after two disappointments. What the Fudge? was soft, rich, creamy, and good. It was very sweet, and had an almost liquory essence. Nice name, nice candy bar.

One for three isn’t a great taste record, especially considering each bar retails for $7, but I give Zingerman’s big props for originality, quality ingredients, and fun. Since the company actually bills itself as a bakehouse, I think they did reasonably well in the candy department. I have hope that they will improve their candy line, and I look forward to the creative new products that I’m sure they’re going to produce.

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7 Responses to “Candy Review: Zingerman’s Zzang! Candy Bars”

  1. 1
    Robert says:

    Zingerman’s is frickin’ expensive in everything they sell. Their “magic” brownies are ALMOST worth it. I have always been disapointed in their breads (they usually arrive stale and hard…maybe I have just had bad batches). I love their catalogs, and I hope to be pleasantly surprised… someday . . .

  2. 2
    oakling says:

    That fudge one sounds really freaking good. I suspect that the snickers-y one is a matter of taste; I like dark and smoky better than snickers’ “sweet sweet sweet (salty)” thing, but if candy makes you think “sweet” right off (which does seem reasonable) then they should probably do something with their marketing to change your expectations….

  3. 3
    Savannah says:

    I have had all three and my favorite is the original. I have tried it next to the snickers and feel the original is full flavored and balanced. The snickers leaves a chemical-y taste in my mouth and the bar itself has probably never been touched by human hands. I would spring for a hand made bar with more flavor any day. Also, if you visit any of the Zing’s locations in person, the bars might be cheaper, if I am remembering correctly.

  4. 4
    Millarca says:

    I totally love the original Zzang Bar, so was very surprised to read you panned it. Perhaps you’re the type of person that prefers milk chocolate to the dark chocolate (which covers the outside of the zzang). Different strokes for different folks is what it boils down to, I guess.

  5. 5
    Joy says:

    I’ve had these bars and love them, but they are more than just sweet. They have layers of flavors. The Cashew Cow is my favorite because it has sea salt in it. Sure they are $7 by mail, but they are only $4 if you are lucky enough to buy them in Ann Arbor. Besides where else in the country can you get a hand-made candy bar? I agree its all a matter of your taste.

  6. 6
    lollirocks says:

    I used to live in Ann Arbor and Zingerman’s rocks!

  7. 7
    Amy Jurist says:

    Bought one this weekend. had one with caramel in my hand, but made the mistake of asking the clerk which one he liked best. he recommended the cashew cow… wow that was the most disgusting thing i’d ever had in my mouth. i felt like i was eating something I had scooped out of the kitty litter box. the texture and flavor were awful. I totally thought it was stale too! it was like eating the desert. so dry, salty – just disgusting. and $5 – are you kidding me? it’s the greatest scam going!

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