Saturday, July 10, 2010
A mint humbug in the colors of the South African flag.
Friday, July 9, 2010
I was cruising the aisles of Cost Plus World Market looking for a pick me up after Christmas and saw this rather generic looking Sukoka Soft Coffee Candy by Unican on the shelf. It said it was made with real milk and apparently real coffee, so I figured it’d have a little caffeinated kick. So I bought it. Then I ate them all, without reviewing them. So I had to buy another bag.
It seemed a bit on the expensive side, 3.2 ounces was $1.99. But it was also only $2 and it might be great, so why not give it a try.
Mostly the package was focused on the nutritional benefits: With 6% daily value Calcium in each serving, which is 5 pieces. So a little more than 1% per piece. There are 30 pieces in the bag, so at least I know if I went wild, I wouldn’t overdose on calcium.
Each little piece was individually wrapped and sealed. I’ve noticed this is common with candy from Indonesia (also Malaysia and Philippines), I’m guessing it’s because people buy single pieces and that the weather there is very humid so sugar candy needs to be well sealed to keep from getting sticky.
The description on the back of the package goes on to extol more of the virtues of the candy:
But I don’t think that the ingredients are the very best (that that they’re terrible):
I don’t know what condensed filled milk is, I’m guessing it’s sweetened condensed milk.
The pieces are about the size and shape of a cough drop. Just light and creamy brown lozenges. They smell sweet and like black coffee. The flavor is immediately like coffee ice cream: milky and with a soft bitter note of coffee and burnt sugar. The toffee notes are most evident and the coffee has a good mix of bitterness, charcoal and woodsiness. They’re firm but have a give to them that’s more dense and more dairy than a caramel. The chew is smooth but never quite gets grainy or diluted.
The coffee flavor wasn’t intense but it was satisfying and rich. I have no idea if there’s a measurable amount of caffeine in them, I didn’t notice any effects, and I’m rather sensitive to it. I bought this second bag yesterday and it’s already gone, so I must have liked them. I wouldn’t eat them for the health benefits though.
These are a great summer candy. They’re exceptionally durable, even in the heat they might melt a bit, but are still perfectly edible even if they lose their shape and reform. They’re creamy and rich, so it’s kind of like chocolate without the sticky mess. The individual wrapping means you can even tuck them in your pocket.
Unican also makes a milk tea version called Suteka and a mint chocolate one called Mint Choka as well as a whole line of fruity milk candies called Milkita (strawberry & melon). The tea one sounds like it would be very good. These are marked Halal and should be suitable for vegetarians (but not vegans, obviously).
Thursday, July 8, 2010
Beechies are one of America’s older gum brands. Introduced in 1936 by Beech-Nut, maker of jarred food products like fruits, vegetables and most known for their current line of baby food. They invented the vacuum sealed gasket that makes modern canning ubiquitous.
Here in the United States the Beechies gum were like Chiclets, little candy coated rectangles of gum. They came in an array of flavors and were packaged in boxes that had a pleasant rattle to them. They’re still made, though I don’t see them often. Usually it’s the peppermint or spearmint variety in a little box with a corporate sponsors name on it, as a giveaway at a convention or trade show. Though Beechies in the US are run by Richardson Brands, in other countries they’re made by Kraft. This package of Musk Beechies is from South Africa.
Musk is a popular flavor in Australia, I’ve tried a few of their musk lollies and have a hard time getting over the idea of eating an air freshener for you car. But the gum version is something that’s a little easier for me to accept. I’ve had Choward’s Scented Gum since I was a kid and though it’s not something that I actually enjoy, I at least see that other folks might.
The little gum pellets are long rectangles, nicely rounded. They’re bright pink for no apparent reason, except to advertise the weirdness of what one might be about to consume. The candy shell is a bit thinner and less crunchy than Chiclets, but still crispy. The flavor and pinkess goes through and through.
Musk is a bit generic, it’s not earthy or animalistic like it sounds. It’s more commercial, like an incense from a store in the mall. It has honey notes, some sort of deep rose and sandalwood to it. It’s not mouthwatering, but also not as on-the-nose as something like rose or violet.
The flavor did actually last a really long time, at least twenty minutes, which is long after I lose interest in any gum I might be chewing. I’m more of a “chew the sugar out of it and spit it out” kind of person.
I don’t plan on chewing these again, though for some odd reason I bought two packages. So I’ll save the other ones for freaking people out.
Meticulously photographed and documented reviews of candy from around the world. And the occasional other sweet adventures. Open your mouth, expand your mind.