Wednesday, July 21, 2010
I don’t believe in “retro candy”. We don’t think of Snickers or Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups as retro, yet they’ve been around as long as Tootsie Rolls or Heath Bars. Some candies are simply classic, they endure because they’re good at what they do. Here’s an interview I did for Professional Candy Buyer. Click to enlarge to read the text ... or just look at the pictures.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Bottlecaps are underrated. Just look at them, soda pop flavored pressed dextrose candies shaped like bottle caps! What would be more fun or better for sharing?
Cherry, Cola, Grape, Root Beer and Orange. (In an ideal world there would also be a Squirt version, but I guess others will complain that Dr. Pepper & Sprite are missing.)
Monday, July 19, 2010
It’s not hard to find candy that’s colorful and flavorful, but what makes it harder is when you want it to be all natural, free of the major allergens (wheat, soy, dairy, nuts) and vegan. So Goody Good Stuff is here to fill that hole in your life.
I picked up this sample of their Sour Mix & Match at some trade show and have been hanging onto it until it hit the stores.
Now here’s the thing, their marketing says that these are vegan gummis. Instead of gelatin, which is made from pigs, cows or fish, Goody Good Stuff is using a new gelling agent called gellan. (I first noticed the ingredient in Halal Mentos.) Gellan is made from bacteria, not vertebrates. It sounds like a great idea, however in practice gellan is closer to agar (that jelly stuff in petri dishes) that’s made from seaweed than gelatin. Gelatin is a protein; gellan is polysaccharide. They’re simply different, they do different things and behave in different ways.
At first glance jelly candies and gummis look very similar, but they don’t behave the same way. Gummis tear sharply - you can pull a gummi apart and it will make flat edges where it breaks. Pull apart a jelly and it just, well, pulls. It doesn’t bounce, though sometimes it might jiggle nicely. The great thing is that both carry fruit flavors really well, they create a smooth texture and often a glass-like appearance.
So with all that chemistry aside, I’ve got a handful of candy to taste. There are quite a few different pieces in this mix and match, but I could only review three versions because I needed at least three tries to taste the flavors. They’re like little bulbous, rounded planks - about an inch and a half long.
Without any clue as to what the flavors are supposed to be, and that these are British (which is always a little different in the fruity flavors), I can only describe what I’ve got.
Green & Peach - it tastes like peach. Both ends taste the same as far as I’m concerned, but there’s a weird “ketchup” note to it that I find a little disturbing. The peach is tangy and light with a good sour bite at the start. The jelly center is smooth and doesn’t stick too much.
Red & Yellow - tastes like strawberry lemonade. The lemon is strong, sour and zesty with a slight floral note I attribute to strawberry.
Orange & Blue - is shocking. The blue is amazing for a natural product. It’s zesty and well rounded and tastes mostly like grapefruit but maybe with some pineapple thrown in.
For those who were curious, here’s what’s inside:
These look and taste like there is no compromise. The colors are intense and I’d say kind of unnatural looking. The shape is fun and easy to grasp. They’re not messy at all, the sugar crust stays on so well there were scarcely ten grains in the bottom of the bag of these I had. They’re sour, but not that searing kind that’s likely to create blisters on the tongue after a serving.
I feel like kids or grown ups who have had true gummis before may be disappointed with the texture based on my expectations.
They also make a few other products that I’m quite eager to try: Strawberry and Cream, Cola Breeze, Sour Fruit Salad, Tropical Fruit, Koala Gummy Bears while the ones that I found less interesting were Summer Peaches and Cheery Cherries. These should be available in Stop & Shop on the East Coast and Booths and ASDA in the UK.
Sunday, July 18, 2010
I liked these Black Sugar hard candies from Japan because they were so nicely made. They had a deep color of amber and a striated crystal, almost like Tiger’s Eye. The taste was a little weird though, they were a combination of Black Sugar (like molasses) and vinegar. Probably good for a sore throat, but a little too savory for me.
Saturday, July 17, 2010
I’m headed off to the Buckeye State, which has always proved to be a rich source of candy for me. Above is a photo of Harry London Buckeyes, an Ohio specialty.
My plans of interest to Candy Blog readers are: Aldi, the Spangler Factory and Albanese Confectionery Factory Store ... perhaps some Fanny May when I get to Chicago on the second portion of the trip. Plus whatever else I see along the way.
So while I’m off doing that, I’m just going to post new reviews on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Don’t worry, they’ll still be something every day, including Eat with Your Eyes and other special treats. Of course if I run across something extraordinary I’ll be tweeting.
Meticulously photographed and documented reviews of candy from around the world. And the occasional other sweet adventures. Open your mouth, expand your mind.