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…
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.
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.