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4-Benign

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Big Tex Giant Jelly Beans

Giant Jelly BeansI’ve heard about these giant jelly beans they grow down in Texas. They’re made by Judson-Atkinson Candies, which makes the popular Cherry Sours (not my favorite, but they do come in tangerine in the assorted mix) but are pretty hard to find.

I stumbled across this smart little half pound bag at Robitailles Fine Candies and carefully selected a bag that had all the colors. It was hard because there were only about 24 in the bag and seven colors.

You might think looking at that bag that it’s tiny or light, but these quantum singularities of sucrose are hefty. The bag might have been slightly bigger than a 3x5 card but then remember ... a half a pound! So if you’re looking for something to put in a sock instead of a roll of quarter when beating that guy who refuses to pay up on those bad debts ... this is the candy.

Giant Jelly Bean

The photo above really doesn’t give the scale. They’re about an inch and a half long, but the picture makes them look like teensy licorice pastels.

So when I was shooting them, I though, I’ll put something in there for scale. For some reason instead of a coin or M&M, I went with my finger (because they’re about the size of the top two knuckles of my index finger). But then I remembered after looking at the photo ... my fingers are abnormal ... and not a very attractive addition to Candy Blog. (You can view it here.)

Giant Jelly BeanThey come in seven flavors. The first I tried was orange, which is not a good flavor to try if you wanted to establish whether these were spice flavored or fruit flavored, as orange is often in both.

The Orange jelly bean is very crunchy and hard on the outside. The interesting aspect here is that it’s apparent that the jelly center is flavored. (Many regular pectin-style beans are not - the flavor is in the innermost layer of the shell.)

So the next flavor I tried was Cherry Red. This was, in fact cherry. It’s a soft and medicinal flavor, not tangy, just sweet but with a little cherry blossom note to it. I hated it.

Black Licorice is pretty intense. The anise flavor is light & bright but has a lingering burning sensation that builds up over the several bites that it takes to consume it. It lacks the deeper woodsy licorice notes but it’s still rather nice. The food coloring makes my tongue green/black and leaves a bitter aftertaste.

Purple Grape might be more vile than Cherry. It’s bitter and floral and insanely sweet.

Lemon Yellow is quite zesty which helps to balance out the sugary grain to the shell.

White Vanilla was confusing at first. I thought maybe it was coconut but then I realized that it wasn’t even vanilla, just kind of unflavored. But I was grateful for the break from food coloring.

Pink Strawberry tasted rather like bubblegum at first ... and may actually be bubble gum flavor for all I know. It was sweet and bitter and reminded me of bad childhood friendships.

I think there’s also a green one, but I didn’t get that in my mix.

The citrus ones were passably interesting. I have to say that they’re much better than the Hiding Eggs, but I wouldn’t call that a recommendation. I liked the novelty of the size and enjoyed feeling like a giant for a little while. But the intense crunchy shell (which is very much like the Easter marshmallow eggs) didn’t really do much more than add crunch & extra sugar instead of some flavor.

So this just goes to show that the proportions of modern jelly beans (both the Pectin Bean size and the chic Jelly Belly size) are optimal.

Related Candies

  1. Spree Jelly Beans
  2. Big Bite Gummy Bear
  3. EveryBurger
  4. Gimbal’s Gourmet Jelly Beans
  5. Wonka Nerds Jelly Beans
  6. Gummi Lightning Bugs
  7. Starburst and Jelly Belly Jelly Beans
Name: Big Tex Jelly Beans
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Judson-Atkinson Candies
Place Purchased: Robitaille's Fine Candies (Carpenteria, CA)
Price: $2.38
Size: 7.7 ounces
Calories per ounce: unknown
Categories: Jelly, United States, Lake Champlain, Kosher

POSTED BY Cybele AT 9:40 am     Comments (7)

Monday, August 17, 2009

Short & Sweet: Summer Bites

Blood Orange HiCHEWYou may be disappointed to hear that I only cover about half of the candy I eat hear on Candy Blog. For some reason I can’t always muster a whole review on every candy.

Here are a few of those items that I can at least tell you a little about.

Blood Orange HiCHEW from Morinaga are tasty little taffy-like chews I picked up in Little Tokyo about a month ago.

Like most HiCHEW, they’re individually wrapped and come in a single flavor pack. They also have a different color center.

The blood orange flavor wasn’t distinctively different from the other orange flavors I’ve had like Tangerine and Orange. It was juicy and had a nice mix of zest and tang ... but ultimately it wasn’t quite as exotic as I’d hoped.

Not that it kept me from finishing the package.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Paskesz Nutty Chews

I went to Munchies on Pico a few weeks ago looking for some Israeli candy (reviews to come). I was pleased to find these little Paskesz Nutty Chews which were available in the bulk bins in these little individually wrapped pieces. I thought, How cool! They sound like Goldenberg’s Peanut Chews! (They were also available in a “bar format” which held I think five or six of these in a package.)

At about 25 cents each, it was a nice little chewy morsel, a vegan caramel with a good note of molasses with very dark roasted peanuts all covered in a dark mockolate.

After reading the ingredients, and noting that they’re made in the United States I’ve concluded that these ARE simply repackaged Goldenberg’s Peanut Chews. sigh

Rating: 8 out of 10 (same as Goldenberg’s)

Littlejohn Pecan Praline

I’ve been craving butter and sugar ever since my vacation when I started thinking about Bananas Foster. What doesn’t help is that Littlejohn Toffee is at the Farmers Market ... walking distance from my office.

So one day I was over there and decided to pick up a couple of their Pecan Pralines for review. They’re large puddles over four inches across (shaped in a shallow fluted cup) studded with pecans. Instead of the chewy style of praline, these are the sandy style. The recipe tastes pretty simple, butter, sugar and pecans (though I can’t be sure).

They melt in my mouth and the pecan provide a nice chewy, even fattier punch to the whole thing. You’d think it’d be too sweet, but the nuts seem to moderate it. It sandy and crumbly and doesn’t even look that good, but it smells like sweet buttery caramel sauce. Something about the texture wins me over.

After my first purchase of them (and failed photo shoot because I had my camera settings wrong) I had to go back and buy another one. And I’m sure it won’t be the last - it sounds like they’re expensive at $2.50 each, but after having one I’d probably pay double.

Rating: 9 out of 10

White Confection shaped like a deviled egg

This was an impulse purchase at Robitaille’s Fine Candies while on vacation.

As you can see, it’s a deviled egg ... made of white confection. It was packaged in a tiny plastic bag with a curl of ribbon. No name, no ingredients ... the appearance was really all I needed. (I think I paid $1.85 for it ... more than I think I’d pay for a real deviled egg.)

The egg white is really white, something now found in real white chocolate (and knowing what they put into their Inaugural Mints, I’m going to guess that I’ve been eating all sorts of partially hydrogenated tropical oils). It’s smooth and rather pleasant.

The egg white is sweet, sweet with a touch of fake vanilla. The yolk cream is minted (with a few little nonpariels).

The only issue with the verisimilitude is the half egg doesn’t actually have a little depression for the yolk ... small quibble.

The Cafe Society - Candy Girls reviewed a similar version of this made with a crisped rice mixed in, which sounds much better. Of course best would be some really good quality white chocolate ... but I’m still swooning over my LEGOLAND white chocolate blocks and savoring the last few.

Rating: 4 out of 10

Related Candies

  1. Candy Trends: Packaging
  2. HiCHEW Aloe Yogurt
  3. Lindt Lindor Truffle Eggs
  4. HiCHEW Yuzu & Valencia
  5. Paskesz Milk Munch
  6. Texas Chewy Pralines
  7. Charleston Pralines
  8. Littlejohn Caramel Marshmallows

POSTED BY Cybele AT 10:22 am     CandyReviewMorinagaPaskeszCaramelChewsKosherMockolatePeanuts4-Benign7-Worth It8-Tasty9-YummyJapanUnited StatesComments (13)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Disney Pixie Perfect Gummies

Pixie Perfect GummiesWhen I was a kid I loved craft kits. Things like Shrinky Dinks, Spirograph, those looms for making your own rag potholders, and of course lots of improvised crafts with yarn, fabric & items around the house. My brother had similar leanings and in particular he had an insect maker called Creepy Crawlers Bug Making Kit (or something similar from the late seventies era).

I’m sure there were girly versions of this kit where you stuck latexy goo into little molds, let them set and then popped out a squishy temporary toy. Perhaps you could make your own hair jewelry or flair for your My Little Pony or Polly Pocket ... not that I had either of those toys.

You’re probably wondering at this point, when is she going to mention what the candy for review is? Well, I don’t want to. I bought it, I took pictures of it ... but I just can’t seem to bring myself to eat it just yet.

Pixie Perfect GummiesThe Pixie Perfect Gummies have a pretty appealing package. It features the Disney Fairies, with Tinkerbell right there in an outfit where her dress matches the candies.

The package says that it contains two 100 calories packs inside. I sigh at this, because I’m concerned about children counting calories, especially when the creatures on the package are no bigger than my hand and couldn’t possibly need more than 100 calories in a day (well, I’m not actually sure of that, since I don’t know about the combination of warm-bloodedness and wings/flight would have on energy demands and google was no help).

But enough about that.

Each little packet had five gummi items in it. Each is about 1.25 to 1.5 inches across.

Pixie Perfect Gummies

The color & texture is startling. While I found it appealing, I felt like it was more appropriate for a plastic pin that I’d affix to my rainbow suspenders than something I’d like to eat. (Which brings me back to that molded insect toy maker.) The texture was soft and pliable, much like those sticky octopods that you could buy for a quarter in a vending machine at the grocery store. (Something like this?)

Pink Daisy: Watermelon - soft and chewy, it was perfumy with a slight tangy note to it. Besides the bright pink color, it was much like most other gummis, expect the food coloring gave it a bitter aftertaste for me.

Blue Butterfly: Raspberry - the flavor was mild and pleasant, again with a strong artificial bent like the watermelon, though less weird aftertaste.

Green Flower: Apple - this one was the most artificial of them all and had an unpleasant dank note to it.

In this case the candies looked exactly like they did on the package. I didn’t care for the flavors, but the texture was good. They’re actually more fun, as far as I’m concerned, as toys. They stick pretty nicely on glass (like a mirror or car window) but of course leave a bit of a greasy film.

The actual candies have no affiliation with the Pixies ... they’re not items the Fairies eat, not shaped like characters or even named for anything in particular that relates.

I’d prefer if Disney stopped using these companies that manufactured in China and used so many artificial ingredients without much regard to how the licensed product fit into the image of the characters & story. (I think the Bertie Bott’s/Jelly Belly/Harry Potter is one of the truest tie ins.)

Related Candies

  1. M&Ms Memorable Moments (Disney)
  2. Albanese Gummi Butterflies
  3. Ratatouille Pocket Slider Lollipop
  4. Disneyland Candy Novelties
  5. Airheads
Name: Disney Pixie Perfect Gummies
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Flix Candy
Place Purchased: 99 Cent Only (Miracle Mile)
Price: $.60
Size: 1.8 ounces
Calories per ounce: 90
Categories: Gummi, China, Flix Candy

POSTED BY Cybele AT 1:40 pm     Comments (7)

Friday, July 17, 2009

World Confections: Jaw Slammers

Long Lasting Jaw SlammersI picked up this variety pack of jawbreakers from a brand called World Confections at the Dollar Tree, mostly because they’re made in Pakistan. 

Each variety is a little different and sports a different package design. And each package holds a little over an ounce. (Actually, the boxes were basically twice as big as they needed to be.)

The Fruit Flavors Jaw Slammers introduced me to the product line’s mascot, this blond kid with a big jawbreaker in his mouth.

Long Lasting Jaw SlammersThere’s no list on the box of what the fruit flavors should be, so I was left to guess.

But more disturbing than the lack of info was the look of the jawbreakers.

Each is about the size of a garbanzo bean, nicely spherical but mottled and uneven in color.

The melt on the tongue isn’t smooth until the first layer of color dissolves away.

I tried a few of the colors but the flavor was never more than “bland fruit” with a blend of citrus, banana and sweet berry. The texture is much like most jawbreakers, smooth and then a little burst of flavor (it you could call it that) and then a little bit rougher texture ... then smooth again.

About two layers down the candy stops and becomes a piece of compressed dextrose about the size of the old Tart n Tinys. But unflavored.

They’re wholly unoffensive, but not terribly stimulating or satisfying. I don’t feel ripped off, but I was hoping for a bit more flavor.

Sour Jaw Slammers

The Sour Jaw Slammers box is pretty bold in color.

At first the pieces looked to be similarly mottled as the fruit ones, but after touching them, they’re softly textured. I expected that to be a sour blast coating like Toxic Waste. Instead it was just the same as the fruit.

I waited through the layers until finally I got to that chalky candy layer and was rewarded with a very tart SweeTart like nugget.

Again, none of the flavors were particularly distinct, but the sweet outer layer and then the textural difference of the sour center was at least interesting.

Bubble Gum Center Jaw Slammers

Once I got the style of these candies down, I thought I knew what to expect with the Bubble Gum Center Jaw Slammers.

These were even more bumply than the others.

They were also more flavorful. Not a good flavor. It was a combination of Country Time Lemonade and ketchup.

Then there was the center.

I was expecting a piece of bubble gum at the center. Because that’s what the box said .. with bubble gum center.

So get to the middle and it feels just like a piece of compressed dextrose ... a bit tangy though. So I chew and find that it’s like a Razzle.

The net amount of gum (bubble gum, you know, for blowing bubbles) is about the size of a mustard seed.

These are terrible.
Hot Red Shockers

Hot Red Shockers are, as I expected, to be like mini Atomic Fireballs.

The box design is a bit more of a downer than the others. Nowhere does it say that these are cinnamon.

In truth, they’re not just cinnamon. After first the little ball was a smooth and sweet cinnamon, then it ebbed into spearmint territory. The combination was like toothpaste or mouthwash. But then it came back around to cinnamon and there was definitely a red hot layer in there somewhere before the center became just a sugar ball.

I’m not sure why I would buy these when there are already two very good jawbreakers that fit the bill: Gobstoppers and Atomic Fireballs.

But I suppose if if I needed some water soluble ball bearings, this would fit the bill. Perhaps if I was looking for something to give away to people that I don’t care if they like me or not after receiving it. But not for me.

Related Candies

  1. Cinnamon Imperial Hearts
  2. Boston Baked Beans
  3. Atomic Fireballs
  4. Gobs of Gobstoppers
Name: Jaw Slammers, Sour Jaw Slammers, Bubble Gum Filled Jaw Slammers, Red Hot Shockers
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: World Confections
Place Purchased: Dollar Tree (Anaheim)
Price: $1.00 for set
Size: 4.08 ounces
Calories per ounce: 120
Categories: Hard Candy, Cinnamon, Chalk

POSTED BY Cybele AT 2:34 pm     Comments (3)

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Nips: Mocha and Chocolate Parfait

Chocolate Parfait & Mocha NipsThe last two varieties to complete my set of Nips reviews are Chocolate Parfait Nips and Mocha Nips.

In case you haven’t been reading along, Nips are a hard caramel, first made by a company called Pearson’s which was later bought out by Nestle. They’re a great summer candy because they don’t melt but have a rich creamy flavor that can satisfy that craving even on the stickiest of days.

Both are variations on previously reviewed Nips, as they’re filled & flavored.

Chocolate Parfait Nips

The Chocolate Parfait Nips are made up of a Caramel Nip outside and a chocolate flavored inside.

The caramel is a little salty, creamy and with a silky sweet melt on the tongue. Sometimes it softens up a bit for splitting & bending ... or cementing teeth together.

Inside the bliss of the confection loses track for me. The chocolate center is like an oily Tootsie Roll. The chocolate flavor is weak and the texture is worse than that, a sort of waxy, greasy mess.

I’ve had this box for several months and I’ve eaten all of four of them so far.

Mocha Nips

The Mocha Nips are a bit darker looking. The rich hardened caramel is coffee flavored, just like the original Coffee Nips. In this case the mocha element comes from the cocoa paste filling.

The creamy, milky coffee outer portion is just like the classic Nip ... a good rounded coffee flavor. The inside though, like the Chocolate Parfait isn’t quite chocolate, it’s more like a frosting.

The bold strength of the coffee flavored outside masks the chocolate deficiencies better than the Chocolate Parfait, so I did end up finishing most of the box.

While I appreciate the attempt to create a few other versions, the chocolate just isn’t good enough to make me chose these over the classic solid flavors.

Related Candies

  1. Coffee Rio
  2. Nips: Butter Rum & Peanut Butter Parfait
  3. Nips: Caramel & Dulce de Leche
  4. Coffee Nips
  5. M&Ms Premiums
  6. Nestle Crunch Cappuccino Stixx
  7. Cafe Select Chocolate Coffee Trios
Name: Chocolate Parfait & Mocha Nips
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Nestle
Place Purchased: 99 Cent Only Store (Miracle Mile)
Price: $.99
Size: 4 ounces
Calories per ounce: 121
Categories: Coffee, Caramel, Mockolate, United States, Nestle, Kosher

POSTED BY Cybele AT 8:59 am     Comments (4)

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Cadbury Dairy Milk Snack

Dairy Milk SnackCadbury is a dominant chocolate brand around the world. (See this article from Business Week that shows it as the #2 chocolate on the planet.)

What’s especially fun about Cadbury chocolate is the little variations depending on the country. One of those is the Australian set of candy bars. I picked up this single serve bar of Dairy Milk Snack after seeing it in Sera’s photo stream last year (I didn’t really want the big size bar).

It’s a simple concept - a segmented bar with different flavored fillings in each piece. (Note that the large bar has only five segments.)

Dairy Milk SnackThe first thing that sets this little bar apart is that each piece is coded with the contents. Though the package didn’t say what the fillings are (and please, why?) I did figure out the pineapple one immediately and took a good guess at the strawberry and orange.

The flavors in all are: caramel, pineapple, coconut ice (I have no idea what that is), strawberry, Turkish delight and orange.

My bar was fresh, unmarred and in great condition.

Dairy Milk Snack

Caramel - I thought it’d be like the Caramello, but it’s a little firmer, a little thicker. The chocolate outside is rather strange - it has a good snap, but not a very good melt. It’s a bit stiff, a little chalky. The flavor is recognizably Cadbury with a strong powdered milk flavor and a gentle malty cocoa taste.

Pineapple - has a light tangy pineapple scent. The fondant is thick, it has a good sheen to it, but it doesn’t flow. The flavor is sweet and has a tangy pineapple bite. It’s an odd combination with the musky chocolate, but I enjoyed the change of pace.

Coconut Ice - honestly I don’t know what this is. It’s pink and it’s crumbly and has a slight sweet flavor that I can’t quite place. If it’s supposed to be coconut, it’s missing that completely.

Strawberry - the fondant is smooth, but a little more crumbly than the pineapple. Fragrant and floral, there’s not tart component. Rather authentic tasting and pleasant.

Turkish Delight - wow, they went all out for the rose here. The texture is quite soft, more like a jelly than a firm paste. The floral notes are pungent with a slight tangy middle note that dissipates quickly. I rather liked it, but I can tell that this would be quite off-putting for many Americans and other cultures not accustomed to floral flavors.

Orange - I had hoped this would be the winner piece, but I found it rather bland. The fondant was too firm and lacking a distinctive zest.

Just as a little touchstone, I picked up an American Cadbury Dairy Milk bar to compare the flavors, and I do find that I prefer the stickier, fudgier texture of the Hershey-made version, but that may just be what I’m accustomed to.

It’s a fun bar and honestly I’d probably enjoy a whole bar of the pineapple or Turkish delight, the rest of the flavors just didn’t feel like they were the best that Cadbury could muster. (I know they can do better with the caramel & chocolate combination.) For the money, especially since I’m paying import prices, if I felt like boxed chocolate candy, I’d be better off getting some Russell Stover or finding a See’s or I’d probably even choose a Whitman’s Sampler of this.

One of the best things I can say about Cadbury right now is that they’re making a huge effort to go Fair Trade with their chocolate though it’s going to be a long process.

Some other reviews: Jim’s Chocolate Mission, Chocolate Reviews,  Sera at The Candy Enthusiast.

Related Candies

  1. Cadbury Crunchie
  2. KitKat Temptations: Hazelnut & Coconut
  3. Cadbury Eggs: Creme & Caramel
  4. Necco Sky Bar
  5. Cadbury Twirl and Snow Flake
  6. Violet Crumble
Name: Dairy Milk Snack
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Cadbury
Place Purchased: Mel & Rose (Los Angeles)
Price: $1.59
Size: 1.94 ounces
Calories per ounce: unknown
Categories: Chocolate, Fondant, Caramel, Australia, Cadbury

POSTED BY Cybele AT 12:29 pm     Comments (24)

Monday, June 22, 2009

Brach’s Indulge Almonds: Coconut & Caramel

Brach's Indulge Almond EscapesBesides the regular chocolate covered nuts that Brach’s has been making for about a hundred years, Brach’s has more recently branched out into more than the old fashioned pick-a-mix items.

the new Indulge gable-box line includes some boxed chocolate items (like Cherry Creme Clusters) as well as the standard bridge mixes and chocolate covered nuts.

I picked out these two from the samples that Farley’s & Sathers sent me: Coconut Almond Escape and Caramel Almond escape because they both have almonds at the center but were definitely outside of the normal panned nuts offerings.

Besides the color coding of the boxes, it’s hard to tell the candies apart from the pictures on the package ... they’ve obviously taken some artistic license or are able to produce identical candies in both dark and milk chocolate. (Click to see it a bit bigger on Flickr.)

Brach's Indulge Coconut Almond Escape

Coconut Almond Escape is called Rich, creamy, coconut covered almonds coated in luscious dark chocolate.

They make it sound simple but it’s really not. There is an almond at the core and there is a “sweet chocolate” coating (which has lactose as the second ingredient after sugar and before chocolate & cocoa butter). But that white stuff in between goes like this:

sugar, vegetable oil (palm & palm kernel), nonfat milk, titanium dioxide, soy lecithin, vanilla, gum arabic, corn syrup, modified food starch, salt, coconut oil, natural and artificial colors

So that “coconut covering” has very little actual coconut in it ... as far as I can tell the smallest dash of coconut oil and maybe that natural flavoring.

They certainly smell coconutty - like suntan lotion. The pieces are glossy and large. The almonds are crunchy and nicely toasted. The white cream is soft and has a good melt on the tongue ... not quite fondant and rather salty. Sometimes I get a fake butter flavor from it, which turns me off. The whole effect is rather good otherwise and rather different.

I was hoping for the elusive Dark Chocolate Almond Joy experience, but without actual coconut flakes, all the chewy texture is provided by the almonds. It tastes rather fake, but the hit of salt gives them a good munchability. But on the other hand I’m hesitant to recommend a candy that has more coloring (titanium dioxide in this case) than salt. But I don’t know what my daily recommend intake of titanium is. Maybe it makes my cell phone reception better. Or makes me impervious to UV radiation.

Brach's Indulge Caramel Almond Escape

Caramel Almond Escape is Rich creamy, caramel covered almonds in luscious milk chocolate.

I should have photographed these two candies together to show the difference in size. Most of these are about the size of a Peanut M&M.

These milk chocolate pieces look great otherwise, very nicely panned they’re shiny and smooth. I was rather surprised when I opened the package that they smell like maple.

I was hoping for a nice chewy caramel, but probably expecting a Brach’s Milk Maid Caramel.

Instead it’s more like a maple fudge instead of anything resembling a caramel. And it’s an awful like like fake maple.

The nuts are crunchy, but their tiny size leaves the proportions here a bit off as well. I’ve been eating the, but I have a hard time believing that I’d buy them.

Rating: 4 out of 10

It’s nice to see Brach’s bringing production back to the United States, but I’d like to see some less convoluted recipes ... or I’ll just stick to the Bridge Mix, Candy Corn and Spearmint Leaves that they do so well.

Related Candies

  1. Brach’s Indulge Cookie Nibbles
  2. Marich Easter Select Mix
  3. Brach’s Chocolate Candy Corn & Halloween Mix
  4. Almond Joy
  5. World’s Finest Continental Chocolate Almonds
  6. Sconza 70% Dark Chocolate Toffee Almonds
  7. Dove Caramels & Chocolate Covered Almonds
Name: Brach's Indulge Almonds: Coconut & Caramel
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Brach's (Farley's & Sathers)
Place Purchased: samples from Farley's & Sathers
Price: retail $3.49
Size: 6 ounces
Calories per ounce: 156
Categories: Chocolate, Caramel, Coconut, Nuts, United States, Brach's

POSTED BY Cybele AT 2:19 pm     Comments (2)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Short & Sweet: Tropical Flavors

As I was on my little candy walkabout late last week I noticed a lot of popular candies have a tropical flavor mix. So I decided to start picking them all up and do a little roundup.

Tropical Candy

For the most part I consider the tropical flavors to be pineapple, mango, papaya, durian (not that I advocate its use), carambola (starfruit), passionfruit, banana, lychee, guava and coconut. Citrus goes in there but things like strawberries and melons are definitely not a tropical fruit (my rule is if it can be grown in Ohio, it’s not tropical).

Overpackaging on Tropical Nerds Rope

First, I have to say that I’ve never had Nerds Rope before. It arrived on the scene sometime after my candy experimental days (you know, when you’re a kid) but before it was launched as a new product during my Candy Blog phase.

But the concept is simple, a sticky gummi rope is rolled in Nerds. In this case it’s a Tropical Nerds Rope.

Tropical Nerds Rope

The candy is kind of odd in that it’s rather over-packaged and overpriced (look how long the rope is compared to the wrapper). It’s less than an ounce but costs the same as a regular candy bar. But then again, it’s a 100 calorie snack! (90 to be precise.)

There are no flavors actually mentioned on the packages, just eensy images of Nerds in swim trunks and flower leis. In this case the gummi cord at the center is a sparkly green. The tangy Nerds are mostly pineapple tasting.

The chewy center and excellent Nerd stickage makes this much less messy than I had anticipated. The combination of textures and flavors is really nice. I enjoy the pineapple quite a bit (maybe some papaya in there) and don’t really feel the need to try any other flavor after this. (I could see a build your own rope kit too, a little length of gummi and kids could roll their own.)

Rating: 7 out of 10 (Made in USA by Wonka/Nestle)

Tropical Now and LaterNow and Later were off limits to me for a long time, mostly because I thought they were too risky for my teeth. But now that I have a good dentist, I’m not as apt to give into such unfounded fears.

Tropical Now and Later has a flavor assortment that’s right up my alley: Mango Melon, Pineapple and Banana. (I’ve never met a yellow flavor I didn’t like.)

Mango Melon Tropical Now and LaterMango Melon is Orange

Often mango flavored candies taste a lot like peach to me. And peach flavored candies often taste more like over-syruped peach pie than actual peaches. This was pretty much like that. The dominant flavor was of the musky mango with a little cantaloupe thrown in.

It got tangier the more I chewed, which I enjoyed, because that took over the flavor profile for the most part.

Banana Tropical Now and LaterBanana are Yellow

These are everything you’d expect from a banana taffy. Bold and artificial tasting with a strange blast of dry cleaning smell in the back of my throat and the old standby - fingernail polish remover.

Still, I love banana taffy.

Pineapple Tropical Now and LaterPineapple is also Yellow

This is only slightly lighter than the Banana, but luckily they print the name of the flavor on there.

Tangy and fruity but with a strange, warm Play Doh note in the middle.

I found them pretty much irresistible even if they were rather fake.

Rating: 6 out of 10 (Made in Mexico by Farley’s & Sathers)

Mike and Ike Tropical Typhoon

On the back of the box of Mike and Ike Tropical Typhoon is a flavor guide. It includes little images of fruits: banana, kiwi, lime, mango, strawberry and pineapple (also on the front).

The flavors, on the other hand, don’t quite match up.

Blue = Caribbean Punch: the initial flavor is a bit green & pine-ish. Then it becomes more punch-like. It’s all sweet and no tangy.

Peach = Mango: a little tart at first, then rather floral. Not exactly mango but definitely not peach and the longer I chewed the closer it got to the rosemary notes that mangoes have.

Red = Strawberry-Banana: the initial note here is sweet banana, then a little strawberry bobs by for a little floral note.

Green = Kiwi-Banana: it starts like the strawberry banana but then just stops ... it’s not that it’s an all banana flavored Mike and Ike, but just half-flavored. Some of them had a slight tangy melon flavor on the shell, but not all of them and it certainly didn’t taste like kiwi to me.

Pink = Paradise Punch : just a slight tingle of tangy in there, but it’s mostly a sweet punch flavor ... like the Caribbean Punch but without the strange balsam notes.

Overall, too much like the original Mike and Ike - too bland and not enough real punchy flavor in there. I really wanted some pineapple flavor in there, too. I’ll stick to Tangy Twister (which has Pineapple) or the Alex’s Lemonade Stand mixes.

Rating: 6 out of 10. (Made in USA by Just Born)

Tropical Dots

I have to say that I’ve always regarded the Tootsie company as rather traditional and slow to adopt to changing American tastes. But then it’s like they have this strange rebellious group known as the Dots Makers. They’re fully encouraged to do bizarre flavor assortments from the crazy Ghost Dots at Halloween (to be paired with Bat Dots this year which are Blood Orange flavored - which I would have called Blood Dots) then the Yogurt Dots but the real innovation came in the limited edition line called Elements that came in single flavor packages of Cinnamon, Green Tea, Wintergreen and Pomegranate.

So Tropical Dots are kind of tame in comparison, but they must be popular because they’ve been around since 2003.

Tropical Dots

Bright Pink = Tropical Nectar: it tastes like Hawaiian Punch with a strong bitter aftertaste. Sweet, tangy and definitely with that “tropical candy flavor” that I think is papaya.

Orange = Wild Mango: tart and rather citrusy with a pretty good imitation of mango flavor in there. Still tastes like the mango version of Tang.

Turquoise = Paradise Punch: an insane color for a candy, it’s rather similar to the Tropical Nectar but with more of a citrus twang to it and less aftertaste.

Yellow = Grapefruit Cooler: why didn’t someone tell me there was a grapefruit Dot? These are fabulous and I want to buy them by the box. The first notes are tangy then there’s a deep zesty flavor that has a black cherry note to it that dissipates and then it’s just a nice grapefruit & citrus flavor.

Green = Carambola Melon: - when my mother came to visit last time we went to a new Korean market in Little Tokyo (that replaced my favorite market, Mitsuwa). They had these little melons called Korean Melons ... they were small, about the size of a papaya or mango. Bright yellow with some mild bumps and distinct ridges. I bought two. I cut them up and was rather unimpressed with the flavor - like weak Musk Melon. The problem was later in the evening I kept smelling something like garbage. I turned out it was the melon. (I really like the idea of a one-serving melon though.)

Anyway, this one is supposed to be starfruit and melon. I don’t know starfruit that well. I usually eat it off of garnishes at dessert displays, but I’ve never actually bought my own from the produce department and tasted it. It had a rather musty taste to it that was also on the violet side of things ... it was just weird, but not in a terrible way, just in a “this is new to me” way.

The box was wrapped in cellophane so the Dots were soft and fresh. This didn’t stop them from sticking to my teeth, but still, it’s worth it for their smooth texture.

Rating: 7 out of 10. (Made in USA by Tootsie)

Tropical Razzles

The final item on my list is Tropical Razzles.

Like all Razzles, they look terrible out of the package.

Yellow = Pineapple: Nice tangy burst but with a light flavor & texture of a chewable vitamin C tablet. It holds its flavor pretty well, though becomes less tart and more sweet towards the end when it becomes as appealing and chewed paper.

Pink = Strawberry-Banana: nice mix of strawberry & banana notes, almost reminds me of the old Wacky Wafers at first. Chewing too long just disappoints, I vote for spitting out when it become sweet but the grain wanes.

Red = Tropical Punch: definitely like Hawaiian punch. Strong bitter aftertaste & cherry notes towards the end. The gum was much tougher on this one too.

Orange = Tangerine: more orange than tangerine. The tangy notes aren’t as forward as some of the others. When the flavor is gone there’s a weird metallic aftertaste.

Green = Kiwi-Lime: if there was kiwi in here, I missed it completely. This was lime. Very lime, nicely tangy with a little bitter zest note (or maybe the food coloring).

Overall, I think that Razzles suffer from too much artificial coloring. After chewing the pieces they’re extremely dark & vibrant ... that’s a lot of food coloring. If I wanted to treat it like candy (which I do), it means a lot of sticky leftover bits in a very short period of time.

Rating: 4 out of 10 (Made in Canada by Concord Brands)

Related Candies

  1. Mike and Ike Berry Blast
  2. Mike and Ike Italian Ice
  3. Tropical and Xtreme Sour Smarties
  4. Mentos Tropical & Black Currant
  5. Wonka Nerds Jelly Beans
  6. Starburst Baja California & Tropical
  7. Nerds Gumballs
  8. Tootsie Tropical Pops

POSTED BY Cybele AT 9:46 am     CandyReviewConcord ConfectionsFarley's & SathersJust BornNestleTootsieChewsGumGummi CandyJelly Candy4-Benign6-Tempting7-Worth ItCanadaMexicoUnited StatesDollar TreeWalgreen'sComments (6)

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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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ON DECK

These candies will be reviewed shortly:

• Candy Encyclopedia: The Difference Between Gummi and Jelly

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

• Candy Rant: Stimulants are not Energy

• 10 Candies that Shouldn’t Be So Disappointing

• Willie’s Cacao - Venezuelan

 

 

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