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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Brach’s Gummi Conversation Hearts

Brach's Gummi Conversation HeartsBrach’s, which has named itself “America’s Candy Maker” has introduced a pretty wide array of candies for Valentine’s Day this year.

They include the returning JuJu Hearts in cinnamon and cherry flavors, Peppermint Heart Nougats and at least three different kinds of wafer Conversation Hearts. The new items, which I’ll try to review this year, include today’s item, Brach’s Gummi Conversation Hearts.

They come in a 10 ounce stand up, resealable bag and cost $2.79. There’s no description on the package of what the candy actually is, just the name.

DSC_8329rb

The hearts come in six colors: pink, orange, green, white, yellow and lavender. Each has lumpy motto molded into them, nearly all are in text-ese. I might have preferred emoticons.

The mottoes depicted were short, as I think the limit was 2 characters + 3 characters + 1 character stacked. So they went something like: 2 HOT or XO XO or QT PIE or BFF. Not exactly a conversation.

The gummis are opaque and look like latex paint. They smell a little off, a little too much like cherry and plastic. It didn’t matter which color they were, they all smelled like cherry.

DSC_8335rb

Yellow is Lemon. The texture is quite bouncy. Each piece is really the right size for a gummi, not more than a bite, and easy enough to conceal if you like to let it dissolve or chew. It’s quite mild, not overly tart or zesty. Not even strong enough to classify as pleasant.

Green is Lime. This was floral and only has the smallest tangy bite. It’s so bland, I had a hard time figuring its flavor for a while.

Lavender is Grape. Grape is a rare flavor in gummis, so it ought to be savored ... this one has a little grape soda note to it, but not much else going for it.

Pink is Cherry. This is probably the best one, not that I like cherry, but it’s definitely cherry and a bit more vibrant than the others.

Orange is Orange. There weren’t a lot of these in my mix, which is fine. They had a lot of zest notes, which is good, but not much in the way of juice.

White is Pineapple. Probably. I don’t know what this is, there are not colorings (except for the titanium dioxide) so it’s definitely more of a blank slate. It’s a little tangy, kind of bright, but not citrusy, but then again, it kind of tasted like cherry.

I think Brach’s does some candies well, such as Candy Corn. Gummis are not something I would select Brach’s as my brand of choice. There are too many other companies making better gummis with better flavors and better shapes. Since they’re not appealing even as a decoration, I’d say these are not worth anyone’s time.

Related Candies

  1. Brach’s Triple Fruit Gummies
  2. Brach’s Ice Cream Conversation Hearts
  3. Brach’s Cherry Cordial Nougats
  4. Brach’s Conversation Hearts
  5. Necco Conversation Hearts (Sweethearts) 2010
  6. Jelly Belly for Valentine’s Day
  7. Brach’s Gummi+Plus & Tropical Gummis


Name: Gummi Conversation Hearts
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Brach’s
Place Purchased: Walgreen's (Glendale)
Price: $2.79
Size: 10 ounces
Calories per ounce: 103
Categories: Candy, Valentines, Brach's, Ferrara Pan, Gummi Candy, 4-Benign, United States, Walgreen's

POSTED BY Cybele AT 2:47 pm     CandyReviewValentinesBrach'sFerrara PanGummi Candy4-BenignUnited StatesWalgreen'sComments (2)

Monday, January 26, 2015

Starburst Superfruit Flavors

DSC_8416rbWrigley’s releases a new Starburst assortment every year. This year they’re a little behind the marketing trends and present Starburst Superfruit Flavors.

I wasn’t sure what a superfruit was, so I looked it up and apparently it’s just a marketing term. The general idea is that a superfruit is a fruit that has nutritional or health benefits beyond a normal fruit. Blueberries, goji berries and acai are included in this non-standardized list for their high antioxidant and flavanoid content. Many of these foods are sold with ORAC ratings on the package, which are meant to codify the antioxidant capabilities of the food.

Of course a candy that’s simply flavored for these “miraculous” foods is missing the point.

The new flavor assortment is: Raspberry Pomegranate, Strawberry Starfruit, Passionfruit Punch and Blueberry Acai. The ingredients are pretty much the same as the ingredients as all the other Starburst flavors, which are made from corn syrup, sugar, hydrogenated palm kernel oil and less than 2% apple juice concentrate. They add in a bit of vitamin C (20% of your RDA) and some artificial colors and flavors.

DSC_8427rb
Blueberry Acai comes in a blue wrapper but the candy is more on the lilac side of things. It has that inky floral flavor, not really like blueberries (which have a steeped tea note to me). My experience with Acai is limited, but this seems pretty accurate to the sharpness.

Strawberry Starfruit is much more tart than the usual Strawberry but with less of the floral and toasted sugar notes. The Starfruit might add that additional tangy zap, as the fruit is usually rather white grape-like with a note of green apple thrown in.

Raspberry Pomegranate is the darkest red of the batch and comes in a purple wrapper. The chew is actually very intensely pomegranate and berry, not too sweet, very floral and with an almost dry finish that you can get with pomegranates.

Passionfruit Punch comes in the magenta wrapper and does taste exactly like a fruit punch. It’s quite tart, which is refreshing and gets my salivary glands going. I’m not usually fond of fruit punch flavors, but this one had a sort of dry finish to it which kept it all from getting too fake or metallic at the end.

I thought this was a stupid idea when I read about these for the reasons I introduced earlier. However, Starburst has succeeded in making each of the flavors distinct and intense. I don’t care for the smoothies or the cream flavors for Starburst, I prefer the really dense fruit chew that Starburst usually delivers. So, on that front they’re quite successful. I don’t know if I would want this mix over the traditional fruits version which has the citrus flavors I love, but I have to say that I actually liked each and every flavor in this package and have no reason to even look at the wrapper before eating.

Related Candies

  1. Starburst Very Berry
  2. Skittles Darkside
  3. Brookside Dark Chocolate Pomegranate
  4. Necco Wafers SmartFruits
  5. Wonka Exceptionals Fruit Jellies: Grapefruit, Goji Berry & Red Apple
  6. HiCHEW World Fruit: Dragonfruit, CamuCamu, Durian & White Peach
  7. Bissinger’s Pink Grapefruit Gummy Pandas
  8. Starburst Sour & Sweet
  9. Starburst Baja California & Tropical
  10. Starburst


Name: Starburst Superfruit
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Wrigley’s
Place Purchased: Target (Eagle Rock)
Price: $2.00 (on sale)
Size: 14 ounces
Calories per ounce: 103
Categories: Candy, Mars, Wrigley's, Chews, 8-Tasty, United States, Target

POSTED BY Cybele AT 1:46 pm     CandyReviewMarsWrigley'sChews8-TastyUnited StatesTargetComments (1)

Friday, January 23, 2015

Candyology 101 - Podcast Episode 6 -  The Winter Fancy Food Show

Candyology-Episode-6

Last week I went to the Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco. Most times I present tasting notes from each day of the show, but this year I’ve got a podcast that does it all!

Join me with Maria as we explore the new flavor trends and product introductions:

You can download the MP3 here and of course check out the extensive show notes that have links to many of the products mentioned.

Here’s the full set of photos I’ve posted. You can also read my previous Fancy Food Show notes going back to 2007 here, kind of interesting to see how packaging has changed for some companies and how other heralded flavor trends did not catch on.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 10:21 am     CandyFancy Food ShowHighlightFeatured NewsRadio InterviewsComments (0)

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Dove Milk Chocolate & Red Velvet Swirl Promises

Dove Red Velvet SwirlLast year Mars released Red Velvet M&Ms as a Walmart exclusive for Valentine’s Day. This year they’ve created Dove Milk Chocolate & Red Velvet Swirl Promises which are found only at Target.

The description on the bag of the bag is vague about what a Red Velvet Swirl Heart is actually like, only saying that it’s “a delicious blend of luxuriously smooth chocolate and rich red velvet flavor.” But it never elaborates what constitutes red velvet’s flavor ... which might be the buttermilk touched with cocoa of the cake or the cream cheese frosting.

DSC_8344rb

There are two different colors of foil, but the pieces inside are the same inside. The heart shapes and foil colors are elegant, I always appreciate how well Dove does the packaging of their Promises. I was surprised at how light colored the actual pieces are. I know it’s a milk chocolate Promise, but the combination of the lightness of the milk chocolate and the pink swirled white chocolate makes it a very pale candy.

The scent is odd, I’ve had a few red velvet flavored chocolates now, but this one is not quite the same. It’s not just vanilla or pound cake scented, there’s a note of strawberry in there. Now, I have nothing against vanilla, strawberry and chocolate as a combination, there’s actually a lot of history to the Neapolitan. The melt is nice, as always, it’s excpetionally sweet and there is an immediately “cake” flavor that I can’t quite figure out ... but then there are other flavors that just sit on top of the experience. There’s something that’s a little cheesy and something that’s a little metallic. It’s all dreadful, as far as I’m concerned.

I’m absolutely the wrong target demographic for this candy, as I’m not a fan of Red Velvet cake in the first place, but I haven’t seen anyone who I’ve offered this to (that will eat it) that actually liked it.

On a side note, there will be Red Velvet Oreos this year, which makes a bit more sense as a platform for the flavors.

Related Candies

  1. Red Velvet Peeps
  2. Dove Hazelnut Crisp Dark Chocolate Promises
  3. Candy Made to Taste Like Cake
  4. M&Ms Milk Chocolate Red Velvet
  5. Dove Mint & Dark Chocolate Swirl Promises
  6. Dove 71% Cacao Silky Smooth Dark Chocolate (Rainforest Alliance)
  7. Russell Stover Red Velvet Santa
  8. Dove Promises White Chocolate


Name: Dove Milk Chocolate & Red Velvet Swirl Promises
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Mars
Place Purchased: Target (San Francisco)
Price: $3.59
Size: 7.94 ounces
Calories per ounce: 155
Categories: Candy, Valentines, Mars, Chocolate, Kosher, 4-Benign, United States, Target

POSTED BY Cybele AT 2:26 pm     CandyReviewValentinesMarsChocolateKosher4-BenignUnited StatesTargetComments (1)

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Skittles Orchards

DSC_8257rbIn the world of grouped things there are litters (kittens & puppies), packs (mules), troops (monkeys), prides (lions), passels (pigs), pods (whales & dolphins), scurries (squirrels), hives (bees) and orchards (fruit trees). So, Wrigley’s new variety mix is simply called Skittles Orchards since it contains Orange, Red Apple, Lime, Peach and Cherry flavors.

Right off the bat, I knew this wouldn’t have anything berry or pineapple ...

The package is a rich green color, so it was easy to spot on the shelf at the 7-11.

DSC_8276rb

Red Apple is different from the new green apple that appears in the Original Fruits variety. It’s not as sour and has a more juice and peel type flavor that you might get from cider instead of a Jolly Rancher candy. The Red Apple flavor is the lighter of the two red colors in this mix ...why they couldn’t make it some other shade of red, I’m not certain because I kept getting it confused with the cherry at first glance.

Lime is, well, classic. It’s a little tart but mostly has the sweet and zesty notes of lime peel. I missed it.

Orange is rather sedate. There are a lot of juice flavors but it lacks a more powerful zest note that the lime has. This was an opportunity for Wrigley’s to put in something like Mandarin Orange or Tangerine ... instead they just threw in a flavor they already make.

DSC_8272rb

Cherry is the darker red and I’m sure that lovers of the Starburst cherry are going to go nuts for this package of Skittles. I can’t tell if it’s actually different from the Wild Cherry that comes in the Wild Berry Skittles mix, but it is nice to see them putting Cherry into another mix.

Peach is disappointing, though I actually liked it. It’s a little tangy and has an immediate sort of balsam note to it, but it lacks that peachness. There more like a vague tropical punch flavor, which isn’t a bad thing.

As far as combining the flavors. Of course Orange and Lime went together, and Cherry and Lime went together. Peach and Orange were okay, but not stellar. And of course Red Apple was like the new Green Apple in the Fruits mix ... it just doesn’t combine well with anything but itself.

There’s nothing innovative about this packet of Skittles, but then again, that’s not what folks want. If that’s what they wanted, varieties like Chocolate Mix and Fizzl’d Fruits would have survived. Instead this mix delivers solid contenders for “I enjoy this flavor” though nothing that would scream, “I love this flavor.” That’s probably enough in the Skittles world where it’s about the variety, it’s all about the rainbow, it’s never about one color. I don’t think this version will survive long, Wrigley’s will move on to another mix up of other tried and true flavors that it’s done before within 18 months.

Just to clarify, there are at least 60 flavors that have been released in the US flavor mixes before. Here’s the list that I have (in alphabetical order): Banana Berry, Berry Punch, Blood Orange, Blue Raspberry-Lemon, Blueberry Tart, Brownie Batter, Bubble Gum, Candy Apple, Caramel Ripple, Cherry Tropicolada, Cherry-Lemonade, Chocolate, Chocolate Caramel, Chocolate Pudding, Cool Mint, Cotton Candy, Dark Berry, Forbidden Fruit, Grape, Green Apple, Green Slushy, Key Lime Pie, Kiwi Lime, Lemon, Lemon Berry, Lime, Mango Lemonade Freeze, Mango Tangelo, Mango-Peach, Melon Berry Burst, Midnight Lime, Mixed Berry, Orange, Orange Creme, Orange Mango, Peach Pear, Peppermint , Pineapple Passionfruit, Pomegranate, Punch, Raspberry, Raspberry Sorbet, Red Licorice, S’More, Sour Grape, Sour Green Apple, Sour Lemon, Sour Orange, Sour Strawberry, Spearmint, Strawberry, Strawberry Banana, Strawberry Lime Burst, Strawberry Milkshake, Strawberry Starfruit, Strawberry-Watermelon, Sweet Mint, Vanilla, Vanilla Swirl, Watermelon, Watermelon Green Apple Freeze, Wild Cherry, Wintergreen.

Related Candies

  1. Morinaga HiCHEW Mini
  2. Mentos: Ume, Honeyed Apple and Lemon Squash
  3. Mentos Rainbow
  4. Skittles Blenders
  5. HiCHEW World Fruit: Dragonfruit, CamuCamu, Durian & White Peach
  6. Skittles (Fruits, Wild Berry, Tropical, Smoothies & Sour)
  7. Skittles Fresh Mint


Name: Skittles Orchards
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Wrigley’s
Place Purchased: 7-11 (Silver Lake)
Price: $1.99
Size: 4 ounces
Calories per ounce: 115
Categories: Candy, Mars, Wrigley's, Chews, 6-Tempting, United States, 7-11

POSTED BY Cybele AT 2:50 pm     CandyReviewSkittlesMarsWrigley'sChews6-TemptingUnited States7-11Comments (0)

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