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July 2006

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Gummi Lightning Bugs

imageI miss living where there are lightning bugs. When I was in Pennsylvania last month it was a little early for them ... we saw one or two, but not the nighttime display I so longed to see. It was certainly fun catching them as kids and putting them in a jar and setting them on a bookshelf in my bedroom overnight to watch all night (and then release in the morning).

I thought this product was pretty cool looking. It’s just gummis shaped like bugs and they include a set of tweezers with a battery and LED at the tip that activates when you close them around something.

The tweezers work really well, they’ll light up when they get close to being closed, so you can grasp one of the gummis and without even squeezing hard they light up.

image

The LED is red, which is kind of disappointing because fireflies have a more green/yellow color to their luminescence in real life, but I understand the limitations of making a novelty product at a particular price point. The other thing that I found a little bit of a bummer is that the gummis aren’t actually lightning bugs ... they’re glow-worms. 

The gummis are pretty good. A little different than a Haribo, more like a Trolli. They come in two different colors: red and yellow. They’re very soft and chewy. The orange one is citrus of some sort and the red one tastes like strawberry.

Once you’ve eaten the small portion they give you, the fun with the tweezers isn’t over. You can pick up all sorts of things with them. Light colored jelly beans worked well, gumdrops, hard candies (they’re really cool with these), vitamin gel capsules and of course any small gummis like the traditional bears. If the battery lasts as long as that light up lolly I got last year, you can have hours of fun with them!

I’ve never been particularly fond of most of the novelty items out there (such as clear plastic cell phones with little candy inside) but this one really seems to provide interactivity and promotes imagination ... as well as being a candy delivery device!

If you’re looking for a fun little party favor for a summer kids birthday celebration, these aren’t priced too bad at $1 per if you find a good sale. However, I’m seeing them online for about $1.50 each ... still not a bad deal for a little toy.

Name: Lightning Bugs gummi
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Kandy Kastle
Place Purchased: Savon (Hollywood)
Price: $1.00
Size: 1.41 ounces
Calories per ounce: 92
Categories: Gummi, China

POSTED BY Cybele AT 5:58 am     Comments (15)

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Tootsie Tropical Pops

It’s hot. I’ve mentioned it before, and I know it’s summer ... but I’m guessing it’s hot wherever you are too and you’re wondering, “what sort of candy can I eat right now?”

imageLately I’ve found myself indulging in Tootsie Pops in the afternoon. Usually orange ones, sometimes grape. They’re way cheap, and pretty easy to find as singles at the convenience store.

But then I saw these at the 99 Cent Only Store. Tootsie has timed their new Limited Edition Pops rather well. It’s an assortment of five new flavors. Though they’re hardly tropical, as far as I’m concerned, they’re all nice flavors.

What’s great about Tootsie Pops is that there’s a bit of variety in that single sphere - a tangy piece of hard candy and the soft, vaguely chocolatey center. They’re easy to hold and don’t get you all sticky and only 60 calories a pop.

Pineapple - the one truly tropical flavor here, it’s peppy, tangy and nicely fragrant.

Tangerine - hardly tropical and barely different from the traditional orange, but I’m a huge fan of tangerine flavors and this one is pretty nice and goes really well with the lamely chocolate Tootsie Roll center.

Lemon-Lime - even less tropical because it’s not even exotic, but hey, it’s a nice sassy flavor. A little ordinary and not a very good combo with the Tootsie Roll core.

Watermelon - I’m never much of a fan of watermelon. The only watermelon I care much for is Jolly Ranchers ... but this was nice and the Tootsie Roll goes oddly well with the rather bland and sweet flavor.

Purple Punch - a rather nondescript punch flavor. Tangy, with some passion fruit notes but mostly a bland orangey.

Tootsie Pops aren’t the perfect lolly - they’re a little inconsistent, there are voids in the candy that can make them sharp from time to time and of course the twisted wrapper doesn’t always protect them from more humid conditions.

How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop? I dunno ... but the commercial sure was cute and memorable ... much better than this later commercial in the eighties.

Name: Tropical Tootsie Pops Bunch (Limited Edition)
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Tootsie
Place Purchased: 99 Cent Only Store
Price: $.99 (10 pops)
Size: 6 ounces
Calories per ounce: 100
Categories: Chew, Hard Candy, Mexico, Tootsie, Limited Edition

POSTED BY Cybele AT 6:26 am     Comments (26)

Monday, July 17, 2006

M&M Shipwreck Treasure

I’ve never tried M&M minis before, and I figured the gimmicky Shipwreck Treasure mix was as good a reason as any to pick some up. The little plastic tube with a large flip top was brown with a slight woodgrain to it. The trick here is that the colors of the M&Ms are kind of oceany - blue, aqua and green.

imageThe green ones actually change color ... if you put them in your mouth and take them back out, it’ll be gold. Or so they say. I tried tossing them in a little glass of water and it seems to work.

They’re certainly cute and the little tube is a great way to carry them in a resealable container.

But I’m not that keen on them. The shell is thinner and not quite as crunchy, but still very sweet. Because of the small burst of chocolate, they didn’t seem as chocolatey.

Part of what you’re paying for here is the tube, which is cute and the EXACT size for storing quarters. If I still went to the laundromat or rode the bus, this would be very helpful.

The size is cute, but unnecessary unless you’re using them for cooking (I can see them going over much better in cookies than the traditional size) or some sort of decorative purpose.

These M&Ms are part of a marketing tie-in for the Pirates of the Caribbean sequel. I also reviewed the Pirate Pearls White Chocolate M&Ms.

Related Candies

  1. Mint Crisp M&Ms (Indiana Jones)
  2. Skittles Chocolate Mix
  3. M&Ms Razzberry - Limited Edition
  4. Cherry Almondine M&Ms
  5. M&Ms Line
  6. M&M Pirate Pearls
  7. Darth M&Ms
Name: M&Ms Minis Shipwreck Treasure Mix
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: M&Ms (Mars)
Place Purchased: 7-11 (Hollywood)
Price: $.85
Size: 1.08 ounces
Calories per ounce: 139
Categories: Chocolate, United States, Mars, Limited Edition

POSTED BY Cybele AT 6:24 am     Comments (14)

Friday, July 14, 2006

Tic Tac Bold!

There’s nothing wrong with Tic Tacs. They’re a great mint. Smooth and soft on the tongue, with a complex taste that’s more than peppermint - it has a little hint of licorice or menthol or something that sets it apart from others. Tic Tacs don’t need to be mintier. They’re exceptionally durable too and I’ve eaten plenty found at the bottom of my purse and have a box of cinnamon Tic Tacs in my car that have been there for two and half years.

image

But Ferrero is a little behind the curve on the whole “extreme” thing and they went and introduced Bold! Tic Tacs this year. (Come on, how long have Altoids been popular?)

So here I am with a slightly different Tic Tac. Out of the little box they look exactly the same (in fact, that photo has one of each ... can you tell which is which?). The box, however, is a lovely cobalt blue and a little more streamlined. So it’s less stackable than before.

The mint itself doesn’t seem any different at first. You pop it in your mouth and it’s lightly sweet, lightly minty. Then it starts to grow. Really, it’s a pretty strong mint, strong enough to freshen your breath with just one. See! It’s like being a low calorie mint - half the calories satisfies!

I prefer the mellowness of the classic Tic Tacs and I hope they don’t stop making them. The Bold! line also includes a Fruit version, which I didn’t bring home, but I wanted to note that the candies in there are also white. Way to confuse people! Anyway, there’s a very nice timeline about Tic Tacs on the website (there are two versions ... look at the real one).

So, if I approach this product as if I’ve never seen a Tic Tac before, these are very good. Mellow, strong and the mint certainly lasts. The packaging is nice for dispensing and a recognizable color and shape.

This product was made in Ecuador.

(As a side note, does anyone else remember Dynamints? They were sold in a horizontal clear dispenser box and were pretty much the same as Tic Tacs. Here’s a photo and here’s a commercial from 1978. They were made by Dentyne.)

Name: Tic Tac Bold!
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Ferrero
Place Purchased: All Candy Expo sample
Price: MSRP $.85
Size: .625 ounces
Calories per ounce: 112
Categories: Mint, Ecuador, Ferrero

POSTED BY Cybele AT 6:28 am    

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Feel Envy

When I was in New York earlier this year I took a trip down to Chinatown where I prowled the aisles of several grocers in search of candy. Much of it was familiar stuff I’d seen before ... and stuff you’ve seen too like M&Ms and the occasional plain UK KitKat.

But one of the thigns that I was compelled to buy was this package from Chocolat NY called Feel Envy. They look like the Kitten Tongues I’ve seen before. These are packaged in a rather tacky-but-trying-to-be-upscale and I pretty much dig it.

image

The one I picked out (there are several varieties in the line) that said it was rich milk chocolate featuring a blend of Vanilla and coconut flavor.

Most of the front of the package was in English, with all of the reverse in Japanese.

The top of the box flips up to reveal more of the embossed faux-croc cardboard in the oh-so-lovely purple and the acid green matte texture inside. Four little compartments hold three pieces each.

There little paddles of chocolate, each is individually wrapped, in clear cellophane with more of the black butterflies on it. The little paddle is all milk chocolate with a little swirl of white/coconut chocolate on one half.

The milk chocolate is pleasant, but has a strong flavor of dried milk (the second ingredient is whole milk powder). You’d think it would have more than a trace of calcium for all that milk! After getting over that there is a distinct coconut flavor it the chocolate and a few little coconut bits.

The packaging is cute, if a little bulky, but keeps the candy fresh and makes it easy share. It’s a bit expensive as well for the product quality (about $16 a pound) but a nice novelty item or stocking stuffer.

Other reviews: Dreamlogic.net, Giant Jeans Parlor tried Feel Safari and Platinum Cats. The official website seems to be gone ... maybe someone can tell me what this page says.

Name: Chocolat NY: Feel Envy
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Fujiya
Place Purchased: Dynasty Grocery (Chinatown, NYC)
Price: $1.88
Size: 1.9 ounces
Calories per ounce: 153
Categories: Chocolate, Coconut, Japan

POSTED BY Cybele AT 6:26 am     Comments (9)

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Tootsie Roll Mini Chews

I picked these up several months ago, the same time I got the Chocolate Covered Sugar Babies. I ate a few, and while they were fresh, they weren’t really stunning and I gave the rest of the package away.

When I was at the All Candy Expo, Tootsie really seemed to be pushing them, so I thought I’d give them another try.

image

My first mistake was eating a Storck Chocolate Riesen before eating a Mini Chew ... how could a Tootsie Roll, chocolate coated or otherwise, ever measure up to the chocolatey perfection of a Riesen? Let me just say that it can’t.

The glossy little Mini Chews are certainly cute, though they look like some sort of pelletized animal feed.

The chocolate is sweet and smooth once you get past the food-grade shellac that makes them so shiny. They’re not very chocolatey, but certainly more complex than the Tootsie center.

The Tootsie centers were nice and soft, easy to chew and had a slightly chocolatey hit that never really reached that creamy state that you expect.

If anything, the chocolate coating makes it quite evident that a Tootsie roll is no substitute for chocolate. It tastes too much like cardboard. Watery cardboard.

However, if you set aside your expectations for a chocolate experience and come at Tootsie Rolls like they’re taffy or a chew, they’re pretty good. The best thing about Tootsie Rolls is their durability. With the summer months, I often look for a chocolate alternative because of the heat and Tootsies were often a solution. The Mini Chews probably won’t fit the bill because of the real chocolate though. If you’re dieting, they might be a good option - a little blast of chocolate, but not much in the way of fat. For me, I’m sticking to Orange Tootsie Pops as a Tootsie delivery device.

Name: Tootsie Roll Mini Chews
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Tootsie
Place Purchased: Dollar Tree
Price: $1.00
Size: 4.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: unknown
Categories: Chocolate, Chew, United States, Tootsie

POSTED BY Cybele AT 6:03 am     Comments (6)

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Villars Swiss Milk Chocolate

Candy Blog reader Karen clued me in to Villars bars. I had no idea these Swiss-style milk chocolate bars had MALT in them! I’ve seen them at the checkout at Trader Joe’s for some time, but the old-fashioned looking packaging just didn’t grab me.

image

Don’t be misled - they’re not malted milk bars or anything, must sweet, creamy Swiss milk chocolate with a little hint of malt. If I didn’t know better, I would have said it was hazelnut, but it’s definitely a malty quality.

The packaging is quite nice, a decorated box with a flip and tuck top for storing uneaten portions and the bar itself is cloaked in thin aluminum foil. A little thin for my taste, but it’s nicely designed with large and flat with flowers inside each of the squares (I’m going to say they’re edelweiss). This chocolate doesn’t have that cloying dairy flavor that some other Swiss chocolates have but it is creamy and certainly melts easily.

I ate the bar pretty quickly as it was hot this weekend and for most of the time it was the consistency of fudge because it was about 90 degress in my house. Instead of breaking off small pieces (after I’d broken into big ones for the photograph while it was still cool in the morning), the bar pretty much bent or tore. Holding the pieces in the heat was dicey too, as they got very slippery.

I fear that chocolate must be put aside for the rest of the summer or reserved for the early morning cool.

But back to the chocolate bar! It’s a great deal for a Swiss style chocolate with a more interesting malty hit than you might be used to. If you’ve got a Trader Joe’s around you, pick one up. They also have a dark bar (no malt) and a hazelnut bar (which I’ll be trying after it cools off).

Name: Villars Swiss Milk Chocolate
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Villars
Place Purchased: Trader Joe's
Price: $1.69
Size: 3.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 157
Categories: Chocolate, Switzerland, Malt

POSTED BY Cybele AT 6:10 am     Comments (15)

Monday, July 10, 2006

Mounds Island Orange

This review is in honor of the New York Times Magazine column yesterday, called Consumed and written by Rob Walker on the subject of limited edition candies.

This particular candy is the perfect example. It’s a good, tasty bar that probably has limited appeal and will therefore never be seen on shelves again. Oh, how I mourn for some of these here-and-gone bars.

When I was a teenager my mother got a hold of a tapioca pudding mix that was coconut and orange flavored. You wouldn’t think that’d be a good idea, and I’m not sure I even liked it at first, but here it is, some 25 years later and I’m still pining for it.

image

The Mounds Island Orange bar is as close as I’ve come to recapturing that taste. (Yes, my mother tried to make it from scratch last time I was at her house, but it just wasn’t the same - something about the proportions was wrong ... don’t get me wrong, it was still tasty and I had two helpings. I love tapioca.)

It’s a regular old Mounds bar from the outside, it doesn’t even smell any different. A strong chocolatey aroma but no trace of the orange burst that awaits inside. That’s right, the coconut is orange flavored. Zesty orange and coconut, which really cuts the sweetness of the filling and allows the chocolate to shine through. (This is a much better idea than last years Key Lime Almond Joy which had a white chocolate coating flavored with lime ... whereas I would have preferred a coconut center with some lime essence in it.)

The center is a freakish orange color, as if someone took the pulp out of a fresh orange. It’s rather unnaturally orange, and it seems pretty silly that they would color the inside of it like that. But the flavor feels natural - not chemical in the least and I really enjoyed how each of the flavors played off each other.

I bought two of these bars, mostly because I saw that Joanna loved them as well, so if you’re a Mounds fan and enjoy zesty flavors, pick it up before it’s gone.

Name: Mounds Island Orange
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Hershey's
Place Purchased: 7-11 (Hollywood)
Price: $.85
Size: 1.65 ounces
Calories per ounce: 133
Categories: Chocolate, Coconut, United States, Hershey's, Limited Edition

POSTED BY Cybele AT 4:09 am    

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Meticulously photographed and documented reviews of candy from around the world. And the occasional other sweet adventures. Open your mouth, expand your mind.

 

 

 

 

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Which seasonal candy selection do you prefer?

Choose one or more:

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ON DECK

These candies will be reviewed shortly:

• Patric Chocolate

• Amano Chocolates

• Candy Rant: Stimulants are not Energy

• Candy Encyclopedia: The Difference Between Gummi and Jelly

• Candy Rant: If your Licorice isn’t black, it isn’t Licorice

 

 

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