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5-Pleasant

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Candy Rocks and Rock Candy

In the continuing quest for “that candy people bring you from vacation” I’ve got two new ones.

imageThis one is called, not surprisingly, Rock Candy. Though it’s nothing like the large sugar crystals most of us call Rock Candy, it really looks like rocks. They look like those pretty tumbled, polished and choice pebbles you see in jars a kitschy gift shops. These came from Colorado.

They’re really jelly beans. Each apparently random variety of rock is actually a different flavor. The panning and artistry on them is great. The colors are deep and complex and really convey the “rockness” of them. It would have been nice if they gave you some sort of guide about the flavors though.

imageGreen: Lime ... yeah, just plain old lime. Sweet with a nice floral aromatic that of course reminded me of household cleaners.

Maroon: Cherry. Pretty flavorful, a little tart bite and the rest was just sweet black cherry flavor.

Purple: Grape. Kind of a strange and artificial tasting grape, but the prettiest of all the rocks.

Putty: Lemon. Really nice and flavorful. Wholly unexpected because of the color.

Brown: Spice. Nice and strong with a spicy cinnamon and licorice combo. It might just be licorice, but I can’t tell and why is it brown?

Aqua: Wintergreen. Nice and cool.

imageThe other rock candy were these Glacier River Rocks from “Montana’s Glacier Country”. They really do look like rocks. Instead of going for the ultra-polished look, these are kind of lumpy. Most are the size of raisins and even have a bit of pucker to their coats. They’re muted colors and the shells of the rocks are soft and matte.

Inside the crisp shell is a rather sweet and milky tasting milk chocolate. The crunch is nice and the look is great, but the chocolate is not very chocolatey - more milky and because of the ratio of shell to filling, thy don’t have a lot of flavor.

I really liked the look of both candies, even together.

image

Neither are a candy I’d probably purchase as a native of either of these areas, but they’re pretty and easy to carry gifts that have a little more pizazz than the ordinary salt water taffy.

Name: Rock Candy & Glacier River Rocks
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Taste of the Rockies & Montana Tom's Chocolate Goodies
Place Purchased: gifts (see websites for ordering info)
Price: $2.50 & $3.99
Size: 5 ounces & 4 ounces
Calories per ounce: unknown
Categories: Chocolate, Jelly, United States

POSTED BY Cybele AT 6:41 am     Comments (12)

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Lifesaver Musk

Months and months ago a reader suggested I get familiar with a strange favorite it Australia - musk sticks. Basically they’re pressed candy stick flavored like musk. You know, the perfume. I figured if I’ve eaten violet candies, rosewater ice cream and 10 year old Lifesavers, there’s no reason I shouldn’t try these.

image

I found them at Mel & Rose’s, which seems to carry a lot of Australian candies. The package doesn’t make them look that appealing, the word musk has those little “smell wafts” coming off of it. The candies themselves are the pressed chalk variety like Pep-O-Mint, not a hard candy like the Butter Rum Lifesavers.

They smell like incense or a soap shop. It’s more like a lightly floral patchouli. So when I took the photo and then put the roll in my desk drawer, it was kind of like a sachet in there.

The little candy is sweet and of course easy to crunch. The flavor has no other notes besides this soapy detergent scent and made me wonder if this is what it’d be like to eat incense cones. There isn’t any listing of ingredients on the package or dietary info, so for all I know, they are meant to be burned.

I have no idea if the Lifesavers version of musk is consistent with the other musk sticks so popular in Australia and New Zealand, but I think my curiosity is satisfied. I suppose if I were trying to cover up strong mouth odors (like smoking or antibiotic side effects) this might be a good candy, but for some reason I think my neck should be perfumed, not my breath.

Note: though these candies are branded Lifesavers, they’re made by licensing agreement by Nestle.

Name: Lifesavers Musk
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Lifesavers (Nestle)
Place Purchased: Mel & Rose's
Price: $1.00
Size: 22 grams
Calories per ounce: unknown
Categories: Mint, New Zealand, Nestle

POSTED BY Cybele AT 6:22 am     Comments (55)

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Wonka Sour Nerds

Nerds have been around since the early eighties and I’ve never tried them. I was an early member of the Wonka fan club (you had to send in proofs of purchase) and I’ve never tried them. There’s actually a pretty long list of very common candy items that I’ve never tried, but this was one I decided to tick off my list.

imageNerds are little panned crunchy and sour candies. They’re made by taking a little crystal of sugar and then tumbling them with successive layers of sour coating, then a coat of color. Nerds are irregular with some as small as a sesame seed and others as large as a dried pea. The unique selling proposition with Nerds is that they come in packages with two flavors in them and a separate dispensing opening. The flavor combo that got me off my bum to try them was Lightning Lemon/Amped Apple.

What I found out is that I’m not really missing anything by not eating Nerds.

The texture is good and the consistent crunchiness has a lot to recommend it, however, there’s really no flavor there. The distinction between the apple and lemon is rather scant. They’re both tart but little else. As for the SOUR! emblazoned on the box, well, they were sour, but not in all caps.

I can see these being very useful for a decorative element for cupcakes, but I can’t see myself buying them again. I know they have their fans, but I think I’m going to stick with Tart ‘n’ Tiny. For the record, I’m not an ice-chewer, so maybe that’s who these are marketed for. I have actually purchased the new Nerds Rope twice, but I haven’t actually eaten them (I think I gave one away in one of the contests), but I suspect they’re better in combination with something else like a gummi.

(While I’m on the subject of decorating with candy, check out Candy Addict’s Swimming Pool Cake ... if he decided to make an aquarium instead, this would make great colored gravel.)

Name: SOUR! Nerds: Lightning Lemon/Amped Apple
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Wonka (Nestle)
Place Purchased: Powell's Sweet Shoppe
Price: $.89
Size: 1.65 ounces
Calories per ounce: unknown
Categories: Hard Candy, Sour, United States, Nestle

POSTED BY Cybele AT 6:22 am     Comments (31)

Tuesday, August 8, 2006

Necco Mint Julep

Here’s a candy that never entered into my field of candy vision: the Mint Julep. In fact, until about a year ago, I’m not sure I knew these existed. It’s not like I’m mint-blind. I guess what brought these into my realm was a new push by Necco to introduce them to new generations. That and there was a huge barrel of them at the All Candy Expo’s freebie room.

image

Frankly, I was afraid they were going to be like Mary Janes and pull out my teeth or something. Or maybe they were going to be like mint-flavored Starbursts.

But here’s what they are: they’re spearmint taffy.

They were nice. Not super strong tasting, very soft and chewy and pleasant. They didn’t rock my world, but I think they have a solid place in it now. They’re a really satisfying little candy - larger than a Starburst and in a flavor you’re not going to get anywhere else in this format. I can’t see myself buying a tub of these online or anything, but I would pick up one or two after brunch or something at the local diner to clear my palate.

Mint Juleps are also known as Southies and were made by the Squirrel company that also makes Nut Zippers. They are most often sold in little tubs by the register at convenience stores and diners. (This type of retailing is called “changemakers” as people will often spend the change from their bill on little items. The tubs are placed in places where it makes sense for such an impulse buy.) They were introduced in the 30s and then disappeared back in the nineties as the company was bought out and went through some changes. Necco brought them back about a year ago.

In case you were wondering what’s in the drink also called a Mint Julep, it’s simple syrup with some muddled spearmint sprigs in it, then combined with Bourbon and served over ice with more mint.

Mint Juleps are gluten free according to the Necco website (and the drink probably is too!).

Name: Mint Julep
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Necco
Place Purchased: All Candy Expo samples
Price: $.10 each
Size: unknown
Calories per ounce: unknown
Categories: Chew, United States, Necco, Mint

POSTED BY Cybele AT 6:04 am     Comments (13)

Friday, August 4, 2006

More Satisfying Snickers Almond?

image image
This is breaking news. Or at least it was breaking news to me: the Snickers Almond bar now contains peanuts ... I’m not talking about “processed in a facility and equipment along with peanuts” kind of thing. I’m talking about a main ingredient. (Click on the photos for more readable versions.)

I don’t know if I would have noticed, except that the Sav-on had both the old version of the bar (sans peanuts) and the new one side by side and I was curious why the packaging was suddenly different and what made the new one “more satisfying.”

So I purchased both and went off to the Candy Blog labs to do some analyses. First, the bars say they weigh the same, but when placed on the trusty postal scale the More Satisfying with Peanuts version came in at exactly 2.0 ounces and the Less Satisfying with just Almonds clocked in at 1.9 ounces. What’s even more puzzling about this is that the label says that they weigh 1.76 ounces ... at least Mars is generous.

image

The original version shown above was easier to slice and seemed more “solid”. There weren’t copious amounts of almonds, but a fair amount. The bar was rather bland, as I mentioned in my review before. But there is something missing here, a toastiness, some sort of flavor.

image

So the big thing I noticed right away was how difficult it was to slice this bar easily. It was kind of mucky ... not melted or anything, just not as structural. I think there may be more caramel now. Instead of just going back to a better tasting nougat, the Mars folks created the hybrid Snickers/Mars Frankenbar. It’s a Mars bar that tastes like a Snickers. Really, why buy this? It doesn’t taste like almonds ... if anything, it’s just a Snickers bar that’s a little smaller.

As a touchstone I went out and bought/consumed a standard Snickers bar. It really tasted no different except the Snickers Almond was a little crunchier because almonds are bigger than peanuts.

This got me to thinking about the ingredients, so here’s a run down of the top contents of the Less Satisfying Snickers Almond, More Satisfying Snickers Almond and the Satisfying Snickers (Peanut):

LS Snickers Almond…...MS Snickers Almond…..Plain Old Snickers
Milk Chocolate….........Milk Chocolate…......Milk Chocolate
Almonds….................Corn Syrup…................Peanuts
Corn Syrup…...............Almonds…...............Corn Syrup
Sugar….....................Sugar….....................Sugar
Skim Milk…................Peanuts….................Milk Fat
Hydr’ted Palm Kernel Oil….Milkfat…................Skim Milk

But let’s go back to that statement on the new Snickers Almond bar ... what exactly makes satisfaction?

Less Satisfying Snickers Almond: 230 Calories & 1.76 ounces (that’s 131 calories per ounce)
More Satisfying Snickers Almond: 240 Calories & 1.76 ounces (that’s 136 calories per ounce)
Snickers: 280 calories & 2.07 ounces (that’s 135 calories per ounce)

Could satisfaction be another word for caloric density?

While I find the More Satisfying Snickers Almond a little more tasty than before, its resemblance to the classic Snickers Peanut makes it superfluous. There are so few almond choices out there, why take this one away? I’m giving the Now More Satisfying Snickers Almond bar the same rating I gave the original.

(I’m also a little miffed that I consumed about 750 calories for this one review! I just hope none of them contained mouse droppings.)

Note: I looked at the Snickers website and they still list the old ingredients for the Snickers Almond bar.

UPDATE 9/2/2008: Well, the old new Snickers Almond is back. Here’s a brief revisit with the bar:

Snickers Almond

I like the bar (though I prefer the dark chocolate version) and I’m glad they brought it back.

Product: Mars Snickers Almond
Previous Review: 12/28/2005
Change: reverting to old recipe (eliminating peanut ingredients from previous version)
Result: A great bar with a long history and I’m glad that it’s back to a more classic formulation so it bumps up a notch. 6 out of 10

Related Candies

  1. Revisit: Take 5, Sunkist Fruit Gems & Snickers Almond
  2. Snickers Rockin’ Nut Road Bar
  3. Snickers Nut ‘n Butter Crunch
  4. Snickers Almond Dark
  5. Snickers Dark
  6. Snickers Xtreme
Name: Now More Satisfying Snickers Almond
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Mars
Place Purchased: Savon (Hollywood)
Price: $.65
Size: 1.76 ounces
Calories per ounce: 136
Categories: Chocolate, Nuts, Nougat, Caramel, Peanuts, United States, Mars

POSTED BY Cybele AT 6:29 am     Comments (30)

Friday, July 28, 2006

Jolly Rancher Screaming Sours

imageThere was nothing else like a Jolly Rancher when they first came out. Back then green apple and watermelon were radical flavors ... actually, when I was a kid, the slang term “radical” wasn’t even in use yet.

I really wanted these to be good ... like a gummi bear version of a Jolly Rancher, only in Jolly Rancher flavors.

They come in four flavors - Watermelon, Apple, Orange and Cherry. They’re a little tart jelly candy with a sugar sand coating on them. They’re not gummis at all, there’s not even any gelatin or pectin in the ingredients list, it’s sugar, corn syrup and corn starch plus a little flavor, tartness and color. They’re kind of small morsels too, about the same size around as a nickel.

image

Cherry - not quite a black cherry flavor, this was like a sour cherry and definitely a chemical flavor. This one differed most from the hard candies I was used to.

Watermelon - oh, it’s like summer distilled into a strange pink chemical. Sweet, tart and floral all at once but not really much like the real stuff. But still good.

Apple - tart and appley with that distinct artificial taste, but completely faithful to the Jolly Rancher flavor.

Orange - as usual, my favorite. Tart and with a good citrus essence mixed with a completely middle-of-the-road Tang flavor. Satisfying.

The package warns that mouth irritation may result from the high “sour level” but I didn’t find them that sour at all. The flavors actually blended pretty well - you can pop an apple and watermelon in your mouth together or an orange and cherry and find a pleasant surprise. But they weren’t “Screamingly” sour in the slightest.

My biggest quarrel with these is that they go sticky very quickly. I don’t know if it was the insane heat of Los Angeles or that they just do that after the package has been opened. It doesn’t seem to have effected the flavor, except maybe they’ve bled together a smidge. But really, there’s nothing really compelling here. It’s not a true chew like a Starburst or a gummi or a jelly ... they’re just kind of soft and certainly not sour enough to warrant being called anything more than tangy jellies.

Name: Screaming Sours
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Jolly Rancher (Hershey's)
Place Purchased: gift from Joz (thanks!)
Price: unknown
Size: 6.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 99
Categories: Jelly, Sour, United States, Hershey

POSTED BY Cybele AT 5:22 am     Comments (25)

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)

Thursday, July 6, 2006

Limited Edition Marshmallows

Though there’s little reason for me to be buying candy with the huge stockpile I have from the All Candy Expo, I couldn’t help but stop at the 7-11 on Friday on my way home from work. That’s when I spotted these two marshmallow limited edition items: Marshmallow Take 5 and Marshmallow Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.

image

In the Marshmallow Take 5, the marshmallow replaces the caramel that’s normally found in there. Hershey’s has been mucking around with the Take 5 in these limited editions for a while, but none of the newer versions have been very satisfying in my opinion and this one is no different.

The bar smells wonderfully sweet and peanutty, but upon biting into it, it becomes freakishly fake tasting with a strong vanillin component. The peanut butter holds its own and the salty pretzel gives a welcome crunchy component but it still can’t drown out the sickly sweet marshmallow.

The thing I noticed about both of these bars is that the marshmallow isn’t fluffy like I’m used to with the Campfire kind. It’s rather latexy but very smooth.

(See other Take 5 reviews: Take 5, Take 5 White Chocolate, Take 5 Cookie & Take 5 Peanut Butter.)

image

The Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup with Marshmallow was similar to the Take 5 in that it smelled and looked normal until you bit into it. Then there was a bit of flowing and slick marshmallow at the bottom of the cup, similar to the new Reese’s Caramel cup.

I found eating the first cup that I didn’t really like how overwhelming the marshmallow was to the texture of the crumbly peanut butter center. So for the second one I turned it over, so that the peanut butter layer hit my tongue first. Much better, but still, the sweetness of the marshmallow gave me a sore throat and didn’t really add anything to the experience.

I’m wondering, however, what a candy cup with caramel at the bottom and then flowing marshmallow (like a See’s Scotchmallow) might go over. Joanna at SugarSavvy.net also reviewed them yesterday.

(See other Reese’s reviews: Reese’s full line, Easter EggsSnack Barz, Nutrageous, Reese’s Sticks, Fast Break, Reese’s Cookies, White Chocolate Reese’s & Reese’s Bars.)

In the mean time, I hope Hershey’s has gotten the impulse to add marshmallows to everything out of their system.

Name: Marshmallow Take 5 & Reese's Peanut Butter Cups with Marshmallow
    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: 1.3 oz & 1.4 oz
Calories per ounce: 138 & 143
Categories: Chocolate, Marshmallow, Cookie, Peanuts, United States, Hershey, Limited Edition

POSTED BY Cybele AT 6:20 am     Comments (15)

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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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