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6-Tempting

Thursday, May 17, 2007

LifeSavers

imageThe story of how LifeSavers were created is one of those classic happy accidents. They came about in 1912 when Clarence Crane was looking for a candy to sell in the summer when chocolate was difficult to store. He concieved of a hard mint and engaged a pill manufacturer to make them for him. They found that the candies were easier to make if they were donut shaped and thus the candy and name Lifesavers was born.

The Five Flavor LifeSavers are not a compressed dextrose candy, instead they’re a boiled sugar candy. While the Pep-O-Mint was going strong, the fruit flavored versions were introduced in 1924 as simple hard candy disks. In 1929 technology caught up with demand and LifeSavers got their holes. The original fruit roll was all citrus - Lemon, Lime and Orange. In 1935 they became the Five Flavor Roll with Cherry and Pineapple joining the mix. And that’s how it was until 2003.

Then the internet mucked it all up. Wrigley’s, who now owns LifeSavers, decided to change up the flavors in the roll because they thought that the old flavors were hurting sales. So they let voters add their voice at their website. I think this was their first mistake. First, you could only vote for the flavors on their list. Second, they were only polling those people who visited their site ... I’m sure the great majority of LifeSavers consumers do not visit CandyStand.com, which appears to be designed for kids.

imageBut I digress. Or ramble. And will continue to ... this is just one of those posts.

I had a yard sale over the weekend and my neighbor Robin brought some stuff over, which included a bunch of stuff from her desk that included a roll of LifeSavers. I, of course, wanted them. They looked like the original flavors (you can tell because it doesn’t have the purple stripe) but I wasn’t sure because it listed CandyStand.com.

I took them up to the Candy Blog labs for a look and found that they were in fact the original Five Flavor roll (the ones pictured above, not here to the left). They were not in great condition, as hard candies often get milky looking after about three years. But there they were, the original Five Flavors: Orange, Lemon, Cherry, Pineapple and Lime. They were stuck together and stood up easily for the photo. The package also spells out the word Five, and important distinction.

The new roll heralds that it has NEW FLAVORS! though it makes no mention of what they are. I understand not mentioning the flavors on the old roll, they’d been around since 1935 ... LifeSavers, a part of living.

The new roll also saves copoius amounts of ink by calling itself 5 Flavors, thus saving on those icky and expensive letters.

The flavors, in case you’re wondering are: Pineapple, Blackberry, Cherry, Watermelon & Orange. (This article points out that Orange was dropped in ‘03 in favor of Blackberry, but it appears it was quietly restored ... or maybe that’s the new flavor they’re talking about on the package.) It could also be because Nabisco sold LifeSavers to Wrigley’s in 2004.

Raspberry is good, nice and fruity with a good wine robustness. Watermelon is nice, fruity and floral. And of course the original pineapple is a glorious song that I hope will never end, orange is dependable and citrusy and cherry continues to be the epitome of medicinal-tasting candy. The old flavor set held one candy I would always give away ... the new one has three I don’t care for. I can’t just buy a LifeSavers 5 Flavor roll for orange and pineapple.

The saddest part of the whole LifeSavers story is that they stopped making the single flavor rolls that I loved so much. Tangerine was simply marvelous. More juicy, more zesty and more tangy that the simple orange, I could eat a whole roll in one sitting, no matter how long I was sitting down. While I might complain at the loss of flavors, I do have to applaud them for putting more in a roll. (I believe the old rolls used to hold 12 candies, the newer ones hold 14.) I might have to switch to Tropical Fruit as my go-to roll ... I wonder how much they’ve mucked that up lately.

Note: LifeSavers are now made in Canada. They also don’t have those little green strings that help you start a roll anymore.

UPDATE 2008: LifeSavers are now: Watermelon, Pineapple, Cherry, Raspberry, Orange ... so blackberry is now raspberry but pretty much looks the same.

Name: LifeSavers Five Flavors & 5 Flavors
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Wrigley's
Place Purchased: 7-11 (Hollywood)
Price: $.89
Size: 1.14 ounces
Calories per ounce: unknown
Categories: Hard Candy, Canada, Wrigley, Discontinued

POSTED BY Cybele AT 6:56 am    

Friday, May 11, 2007

Starburst Retro

imageSometimes I don’t read the directions. Especially when it comes to things like Ikea furniture and software. On an evening walk a couple of weeks ago with the neighbors and my lovely site programming/design team, we stopped at the 7-11. I scanned the racks for something new and sure enough found the Limited Edition Retro Starburst Fruit Chews. Or so I thought.

I got them home and the next morning went to take their picture. As you can see, that went pretty well. Then I opened the pack only to find that it was the regular flavors with just one of the limited edition array inside. Drat! Not only did I have to buy keep searching, I’d have to buy another package ... and take another photo. Drat!

As luck would have it (I do have plenty) I got an email from a similarly snack-obsessed reader in Colorado who said that they had the large bags at Safeway (called Von’s in my area). So I stopped at Von’s on my way home and lo and behold they serviced all my limited edition needs on sale.

imageI’ve decided after living with them in a jar on my desk all week that I LOVE the Skittles Carnival flavors. For that same period of time I’ve had the Starburst Retro bag on my desk as well. Granted, they fruit chews are not in a pretty glass jar, but I have to admit the tie-dye look of the package is pretty fun and tasty looking.

The package shows a slice of watermelon, a mango, a lime and some cherries. Not really a good sign for me. The concept of retro confuses me as well. From the package design I was expecting something from the sixties and seventies; perhaps the original Starbust flavors (which would be lame as originally the Cherry chew was Lime).

Or maybe retro is just anything that used to be a fad and is no longer popular.

image

  • Psychideli-melon - I consider watermelon a classic flavor, but not one that’s ever really gone out of favor, certainly not in the candy world. It was one of my early favorites from Jolly Rancher. This is tasty and has a big punch of watermelon flavor in it, though a slight bitter aftertaste to me.
  •  

  • Optimus Lime - I’m guessing this name is taken from Optimus Prime, the Transformer with a chest shaped like a Mack Truck. First introduced in 1984 as a toy and later a cartoon, I guess this concept qualifies as retro. As a candy flavor, well, it’s lime. Classic lime. Tart, full bodied with zesty notes and a long slow, salivary-gland-activating chew.
  •  

  • Hey Mango-rena! - I never thought I’d have to bring up the Macarena on Candy Blog. The song and dance of the same name hit big in the States in the summer/fall of 1996. Is that old enough to be retro? The mango is a classic tropical fruit consumed for thousdands of years which only became widely available in the United States in the early eighties. The flavor isn’t really very mango-ish. It takes more like fruit punch to me.
  •  

  • Disco Berry - so we’ve got the eighties and nineties represented, I guess Disco Berry is going to carry the seventies in this mix. This is a very dark red chew that also happens to turn the tongue a similar color. It’s a good berry flavor, kind of like punch but not terribly different from the Mango-rena.
  • As a mix I wasn’t that fond of these. Lime was nice, well, they were all nice, but I never felt like picking out a particular flavor and preferred to eat the Skittles all week. What I really want is a good Citrus Mix. Grapefruit ... why haven’t they done grapefruit? They could put in a tangy tangerine, zesty lemon, biting grapefruit and a key lime.

    Name: Limited Edition Starburst Retro
      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: Vons (Los Feliz)
    Price: $2.59
    Size: 16 ounces
    Calories per ounce: 120
    Categories: Chew, United States, Mars, Starburst, Limited Edition

    POSTED BY Cybele AT 6:59 am     Comments (26)

    Thursday, May 10, 2007

    Bug Jar Candy

    Buggin' Glow PopI’m not sure how it is that there’s an actual novelty candy category for Bug Jars, but perhaps I underestimate the fascination people have with insects. Okay, I like insects too and spent many an hour catching fireflies and watching ants. I like the idea of a candy container having a life after the candy is gone and the candy being themed to the package is a nice touch.

    The Buggin’ Glow Pop by Impact Confections doesn’t really provide much candy. It’s a hard candy pop mounted to the underside of a plastic jar lid. The 21st century bonus here is that there’s a little button on the top that turns on an LED.

    I struggled with the little button for a while because I wanted to figure out a way to keep it turned on. Alas, the button is too sensitive and I never did find a way.

    Buggin' Glow PopThe pop itself is shaped like some sort of bug. I think it looks like a potato bug (not something I want to put in my mouth) or perhaps a chubby dragon fly. He’s holding his little hands together ala Mr. Burns saying, “Excellent.” This one is watermelon flavored. Which is a good summer flavor.

    It’s tasty. Very sweet, not at all tangy. When you’re not eating it, it sits back on top of the jar easily or just set it upright. It’s little abdomen glows when you press the button. The whole jar is nice clear plastic, about the size of a large baby food jar. The plastic label comes off it quite easily so it’s a completely unbranded jar with a light on the top (and a few non-functioning air holes).

    imageI was most interested in finishing the candy so I could see the inner works of the LED. It wasn’t easy once the candy was dissolved down to the base. This is not easy stuff to crunch when it’s so close to the batteries and light. The LED itself is encased in some tough plastic. The LED itself is white, not green like the candy (which makes sense because the pops are available in some other flavors that were of no interest to me when I picked this out and have since forgotten).

    So now I have a jar that’s great for putting change in and I can actually tell what’s in there without turning on the lights. Maybe I’ll keep it in my purse.
    Bug City Candy TartsThe Ferrara Pan Bug City Candy Tarts were more traditional novelty candy fare.

    The jar is slightly bigger than the Buggin’ Glow Pop one and has a little purple flip top. Inside the jar are oodles of little compressed dextrose candies. (Like SweeTarts.) They’re shaped like little bug characters, vaguely related to the pictures on the label.

    It’s a little disconcerting that these look like Flintstone’s Chewable Vitamins. Luckily they don’t taste like them. The candies come in three colors and flavors:

    Bug City Candy Tarts

  • Green (apple) - a little tart, a little floral, vaguely green apple.
  •  

  • Purple (grape) - yeah, fake grape. I liked it. It could be tarter, but I was pleased enough to pick these out first.
  •  

  • Pink (cherry) - blechy, blechy. Cherry, followed by a slight bitter burn and an unpleasant aftertaste. 
  • The flip top has an inner thin foam liner that can be removed so that the air holes actually work and you can put bugs in the jar.

    These were both cute and fun and I’d buy either again if I had a kid and back yard to share them with. They were a little pricey at the Dollar General (um, a dollar each) but perhaps you’ll find them cheaper. As summer is coming up, candies that support kid’s curiosity and non-programmed play should have a place in most homes. Either one might make fun favors for a themed birthday party or tiny take-along item for a camping trip.

    Name: Buggin' Glow Pop & Bug City Candy Tarts
      RATING:
    • 10 SUPERB
    • 9 YUMMY
    • 8 TASTY
    • 7 WORTH IT
    • 6 TEMPTING
    • 5 PLEASANT
    • 4 BENIGN
    • 3 UNAPPEALING
    • 2 APPALLING
    • 1 INEDIBLE
    Brand: Impact Confections & Ferrara Pan
    Place Purchased: Dollar Tree (Harbor City)
    Price: $1.00 each
    Size: .92 ounces & 2.4 ounces
    Calories per ounce: 110 & 94
    Categories: Hard Candy, Chalk, Sour, United States, Impact Confections, Ferrara Pan

    POSTED BY Cybele AT 11:35 am     Comments (4)

    Friday, May 4, 2007

    Hubba Bubba Sour Gummi Tape

    Hubba Bubba Sour Gummi TapeThis is a new level of portability for tape shaped gummi products. Capitalizing on the bubble gum tape dispenser (with the ultimate application being the Bubble Roll Message Maker) this little plastic disk holds six feet of candy.

    Hubba Bubba introduced these in two flavors: Sour Blue Raspberry and Shocking Strawberry. Though the product calls itself gummi, it’s looks more like Red Vines from the ingredients: Sugar, Corn Syrup, Wheat Flour, Corn Starch, Partially Hydrogenated Palm Oil, Malic Acid, Apple Juice Concentrate, Citric Acid, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Mono & Di-Glycerides, Red 40.

    There isn’t any gelatin in there, which is what I consider a defining ingredient of gummis. To continue that thought, jellies use pectin or corn starch, licorice or vines use wheat flour.

    image

    Naming aside, the dense roll unravels to reveal a long and flat tape with a coating of sugar and flavor on it (a little sour bite) which keeps it from sticking to itself. The chew is pretty dense and leathery, like a rather dry Red Vine.

    I found the package frustrating, as the cutter didn’t really cut, it just held the tape in place while I stretched it until it split and broke. Of course it would also scatter bits of the sugary coating around as well. I guess they’re worried about giving sharp objects to kids. I guess they’re not worried about stuff getting in my keyboard. Or maybe they have a co-marketing deal with those compressed air can companies.

    The candy is tasty but the novelty of the roll in a pack you can put in your back pocket isn’t well executed. These remind me of a bunch of different products, including the Sour Punch Straws and the unbranded stuff you can get in the bulk bins at the grocery store. Basically there are better values out there, however, if you’re looking for a light candy snack, especially for kids that involves some portion control, this might be fun.

    Name: Sour Gummi Tape - Shocking Strawberry
      RATING:
    • 10 SUPERB
    • 9 YUMMY
    • 8 TASTY
    • 7 WORTH IT
    • 6 TEMPTING
    • 5 PLEASANT
    • 4 BENIGN
    • 3 UNAPPEALING
    • 2 APPALLING
    • 1 INEDIBLE
    Brand: Hubba Bubba (Wrigley's)
    Place Purchased: 7-11 (Hollywood)
    Price: $1.19
    Size: 2.1 ounces
    Calories per ounce: 115
    Categories: Gummi, Sour, Turkey, Wrigley

    POSTED BY Cybele AT 7:31 am     Comments (15)

    Wednesday, May 2, 2007

    Skittles (Fruits, Wild Berry, Tropical, Smoothies & Sour)

    imageSkittles are insanely tasty little morsels. Rather like little bits of Starburst covered in a candy shell. Skittles were first introduced in 1974 in the UK and parts of Europe. They spread to the States as an import for a while and then in 1981 Mars began making them in the States.

    Obsessive folks (perhaps I’m one of them and speaking from experience) like to divide up the colors and eat them. I usually eat mine in pairs of same flavors, but when it comes down to the end of the pack, there are certain acceptable combos (all the citruses can be paired and grape and strawberry can go together ... strawberry and lemon are also acceptable but never ever put orange and grape together).

    Original Fruit Skittles

  • Lime (Green) - classic lime, leaning more towards the tart side than the floor-wax side of things.
  • Grape (Purple) - a pretty well rounded fake grape flavor
  • Lemon (Yellow) - good and sour with some hints of zest
  • Orange (Orange) - juicy and flavorful
  • Strawberry (Red) - one of the few red candies I like, it smells like cotton candy and has a tangy, creamy berry taste
  • image

    While the Skittles website asserts that the flavor distribution is random, I’ve always felt that there were fewer green and purple ones in most bags. But as you can see from the photo, it’s just the green ones that seemed slighted in this mix (and I’m not going to complain). I took copious photos of all of the bags as well, so if you’re curious they’re here.

    You might want to partake of some of my favorite Skittles commercials: Man with Beard, Skittles Leak, this one is from the previous campaign (one that I think captures a bit of the wonder of candy and magic better) and the original with great costumes ... oh, wait, those aren’t costumes, that’s what we used to wear back in the day.

    Rating: 10 out of 10

    imageWild Berry Skittles

    These have been around for a long time, but I never really noticed them. I never saw a reason to get anything other than the regular Skittles. All of the flavors were great. Sure I ate the grape ones last, if at all (always share!), but they were one of those candies you can eat in a dark movie theater without having to spit out mistakes.

    Wild Berry Skittles come in a super purple pack, so there’s no mistaking them at the store (not like the M&M Pirate Pearls and M&M Almond). The colors look vaguely familiar, but without the vibrant orange and yellow. Instead they have a mousy pink in the mix which just makes them feel bland.

    image

     

  • Raspberry (Blue) - it’s a good berry flavor, perhaps a little more jammy and caramelized than I’d like
  • Strawberry (Pink) - I don’t know why these are pink, it confuses me ... why not just keep the same red from the classic mix?
  • Wild Cherry (Red) - cherries aren’t berries ... these are dreadful, they taste like Sucrets but without the numbing power
  • Berry Punch (Purple) - this one isn’t that different from the raspberry, perhaps a little more floral and less tart
  • Melon Berry (Green) - melons aren’t berries. It definitely tastes like watermelon and something kind of lemony.
  • Not enough of these flavors are actually berries and berries as a mix aren’t that interesting to me.

    Rating: 6 out of 10

    imageTropical Skittles

    As I was looking through a bunch of old commercials for Skittles online I realized that this was another flavor mix that I completely ignored. However, part of that may be that the flavors were different back then. The original mix of Tropical Skittles included two different flavors: Passion Punch (Blue), Mango Peach (Orange), Strawberry Watermelon (Pink), the new flavors are noted with an *.

    image

     

  • Banana Berry (Yellow)  - I was hoping this would be like Laffy Taffy. Alas, the banana and berry mix was not pleasant.
  • Kiwi Lime (Green) - good kiwi flavor, not enough lime
  • Mango Tangelo *  (Orange) - it’s kind of nice, but tastes more like peach than mango.
  • Pineapple Passionfruit * (Blue) - finally! A blue flavor I like. The pineapple part was great.
  • Strawberry Starfruit * (Pink) - I don’t eat Starfruits very often, only when they show up as a garnish on an expensive meal. These don’t taste like starfruit or strawberries. This tastes like the way ink pens smell.
  • I loved the look of these spread out on the table but again the proportion of “tasty” ones was too small to warrant buying the whole bag. (How long before Skittles goes the way of M&Ms and you can special order flavor mixes?)

    Rating: 6 out of 10

    imageSmoothie Mix Skittles

    I’m not sure if a consumer wrote to Skittles and said, “I love your chewy little morsels, but could you make them with less flavor? I just can’t take it.” And of course being capitalists wishing to capitalize on all corners of the untapped Skittles market, they did.

    Smoothies in real life are great. They’re like shakes only made with lots and lots of fruit. At least when I make them that’s how they taste. Some folks put yogurt or ice cream or sherbet in there, so I guess that’s where the watering-down of the flavor comes from.

    image

     

  • Lemon Berry (Yellow) - like lemon sherbet, just a little flavor and no tartness
  • Mixed Berry (Lavender) - the most flavorful of the bunch, berries lend a good floral brightness to this
  • Peach Pear (Light Green) - my two of my least favorite fruit flavors ... which don’t taste at all like peach or pear in this mix (more like banana)
  • Orange Mango (Light Orange) - smells like orange and tastes like papaya
  • Strawberry Banana (Pink) - I like this, probably because banana creates its own creaminess in smoothies, so it’s a believable flavor
  • These are just too bland. Maybe if I’d just come out of a coma these would be good for easing me back into the world ... or might put me back into a vegetative state.

    Rating: 5 out of 10

    UPDATE: Smoothies are discontinued.

    imageSour Skittles

    While all the other bags were virtually identical in format (same size and weight and materials) this bag is different. It’s a little shorter than the others and made with a much thicker plastic (that’s annoyingly hard to open). I’m guessing it’s because these are rather different Skittles. Instead of all the sour being locked up under that candy shell, here it’s on the outside of the shell in a sparkly sanded coating.

    image

     

  • Blue Raspberry (Blue)  - a good sour and then a berry hit and then a weird aftertaste
  • Grape (Purple) - the tartness felt more like citrus than malic acid and I kind of lost the grape flavor and just had a sweet chew
  • Lemon (Yellow) - the tartness really works on this, it feels citrusy on the outside and on the inside
  • Orange (Orange) - a slight blister at first and then a good sweet chew
  • Strawberry (Red) - really sour, then pleasantly floral, kind of like eating a not-quite-ripe strawberry and then a ripe one ... or maybe some limeade with some strawberries in it
  • The chew towards the end on all of these seemed grainier than usual. I don’t mind that as a feature though. I don’t like how messy these are. I like to line up my Skittles on my desk in little lines of each color as I dump small amounts out. These leave a dusting of sour on the desk. A word of caution as well, don’t ever get the sour powder in your eyes. It’s also very easy to just suck the sour off the outside, though it tastes the same on all of them, it also seems to lead to more tongue damage.

    UPDATE: The flavors changed, here’s a re-review.

    Rating: 7 out of 10

    Other products:

  • Tart & Tangy (discontinued)
  • Ice Cream Skittles (limited edition)
  • Fresh Mint Skittles (discontinued)
  • Carnival Flavors Skittles (limited edition)
  • Skittles Bubble Gum (contains artificial sweeteners, so I haven’t tried it)
  • Skittles Chocolate Mix (introduced in 2007 - probably discontinued as of 2009)
  • Skittles Crazy Cores (new introduction January 2009)
  • Skittles Fizzl’d Fruits (new introduction March 2010)
  • Skittles Blenders (new introduction January 2011)
  • Skittles Riddles (new introduction January 2012)
  • Notes:

  • Skittles made in the United States before 2009 contain gelatin, therefore were not suitable for vegans and are not Kosher. As of mid-2009 with the introduction of the new Skittles Crazy Cores they are made without gelatin and marked as being Gluten-Free
  • Skittles made in Europe do not contain gelatin (but I’m not sure if they’re Kosher).
  • Skittles have less fat than Starbursts: 2.5 grams per pack, all saturated versus 5 grams with 4.5 grams saturated in Starbursts.
  • In 2008 Mars and Wrigley’s merged and as of 2009 Skittles are marked as a Wrigley’s product.

  • Related Candies

    1. Skittles Riddles
    2. Skittles Blenders
    3. Skittles Fizzl’d Fruits
    4. New Flavors: Skittles Sour & Wonka Runts
    5. Skittles Crazy Cores
    6. Skittles Chocolate Mix
    7. Skittles from the UK
    8. Skittles Carnival Flavors
    9. Skittles (Fruits, Wild Berry, Tropical, Smoothies & Sour)
    10. Skittles Fresh Mint
    11. Skittles Ice Cream
    Name: Skittles
      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: RiteAid & 7-11
    Price: $.69-$.89
    Size: 2.17 ounces (1.8 ounces for Sour Skittles)
    Calories per ounce: 115
    Categories: Chew, Sour, United States, Mars

    POSTED BY Cybele AT 8:04 am    

    Friday, April 27, 2007

    Dove Caramels & Chocolate Covered Almonds

    imageI tried the Dove chocolate last year and was pleased with it. It’s kind of a slick chocolate, both in packaging and in texture. They market this as silky, and I’m not sure if it’s the level of fat in it or the size of the particles of cocoa solids ... or perhaps both.

    While I’m not that keen on the plain bars, I got a note from some marketing folks offering me some of their other products and I figured, “what they hey!”

    The Dove line is built around their plain dark and milk chocolate, sold in single-serve bars and the more popular “Promises” which I think of as a hybrid of Hershey’s Kisses and Perugina Baci (pure chocolate plus a little note in the wrapper).

    image

    These aren’t called anything ... just Smooth Milk Chocolate with Caramel. The bronzy foil holds a little rounded chocolate square with a filling of a caramel-like goo.

    The wrappers also have little notes inside. Mine said things like Smile at yourself in the mirror and Sing along with the elevator music ... honey, I don’t need my candy telling me to sing out loud in public. I’m sure the folks at the Ralph’s on Glendale Blvd. are well aware of me belting out the 80s tunes when I visit and would probably hide these candies from me if they knew what they were telling me to do.

    The chocolate here is smooth and creamy, perhaps a little sticky and sweet. The caramel filling doesn’t really have enough of the true caramel qualities I like, such as a burnt sugar taste or soft chew. I wanted more salt. But the whole thing is tasty and certainly worth the price of admission (free with my comp). But the thing that’s most appealing to me was how photogenic they were.

    6 out of 10

    image

    The second item that’s much more up my alley is the Smooth Milk Chocolate Covered Almonds. I think the publicist who sent these to me intended to give me the dark chocolate ones, as there were two bags of milk chocolate in my little box. Oh well. The almonds are rather good, not as large and choice as the Trader Joe’s version that I often pick up, but there wasn’t a bad one in the bunch. They’re nicely toasted and crunchy. The chocolate is sweet and offsets the almond’s toasty flavors pretty well.

    7 out of 10

    At a regular price of $3.50 a bag, I don’t think I’d get these, except maybe if I was stuck in an airport and looking for something to bring on the plane. Both bags are easy to open and reclose, which is always a plus. I would probably pick them up on sale if I could get them for something like $2.50 though.

    Related Candies

    1. Dove Desserts Bananas Foster
    2. Dove Silky Smooth Milk Chocolate Bars
    3. Hershey’s Heart’s Desire
    4. Sconza 70% Dark Chocolate Toffee Almonds
    5. Cocoavia Chocolate Almonds
    Name: Dove Caramels & Milk Chocolate Covered Almonds
      RATING:
    • 10 SUPERB
    • 9 YUMMY
    • 8 TASTY
    • 7 WORTH IT
    • 6 TEMPTING
    • 5 PLEASANT
    • 4 BENIGN
    • 3 UNAPPEALING
    • 2 APPALLING
    • 1 INEDIBLE
    Brand: Dove (Mars)
    Place Purchased: samples from Dove
    Price: retail $3.49
    Size: 6.21 ounces & 4.5 ounces
    Calories per ounce: 142 & 160
    Categories: Chocolate, Caramel, Nuts, United States, Mars, Kosher

    POSTED BY Cybele AT 10:29 am     Comments (8)

    Wednesday, April 25, 2007

    Gandour Bars from Malaysia

    I love the names on all of these candy bars! Santos of Scent of Green Bananas gave them to me a while back. They reminded me a bit of my uneven bunch of Peruvian candies.

    image

    Tourist
    A crisp wafer plank with two domed compartments with a chocolatey paste inside.

    The brand Gandour heralds they have the ingredients for happiness. Those ingredients include shea butter. Okee dokee.

    The chocolate filling is rather firm, a little salty and pretty creamy. It’s not very chocolatey, more on the fudgy side. The crisp wafers are fun, though a little dry. The whole thing reminded me of the Happy Hippo, though there’s no hazelnut in this creme paste filling.

    6 out of 10 (Halal)

    Safari

    This one is sporting a sassy jungle green wraper and woodsy font. Inside is a stack of wafers and creme then some caramel and crunchies with a mockolate coating.

    It’s a big old jumble not jungle inside the package. The lumpy crispies and mockolate don’t quite get a good grip on the caramel and wafer center. It just doesn’t work for me. There’s too much mockolate and not enough caramel.

    4 out of 10 (Halal)

    XL’Z

    M&M knock-offs made with mockolate. These were kind of a hybrid in size between Smarties and M&Ms. They’re bigger than M&Ms but thicker than Smarties. The colors were vivid. Though the package showed red, blue,  yellow, green and orange, I only had orange, red and green in my bag (which held 17 morsels). The mockolate was less milky than the other products and passably good. It actually tasted better than Garfield’s Chocobites. Kind of smoky and rounded, though not quite the smooth mouthfeel of cocoa butter chocolate. For a treat for little kids, I guess these would be just fine, but I could probably only bring myself to decorate a cake with them.

    4 out of 10 (Halal)

    Tofi Luk

    This is one that I had no clue about judging from the name. But the description and image on the wrapper seemed pretty agreeable. A biscuit bar with caramel and a chocolate flavored coating. So it’s like a Twix! The bar was just a little flatter and a little shorter than a Twix, but it’s kind of fun that they sell these smaller portions. It looked pretty good, with the same rippled appearance on the coating.

    The inside was a lot different from a Twix. Instead of being a very dry shortbread, this one was a little salty and reminded me of a dense Ritz Cracker plank. The caramel was not chewy or gooey here, just a sweeter texture between the cookie and mockolate (and not always there either). The whole thing had a rather strong “butter flavor” to it.

    5 out of 10 (Halal)

    POSTED BY Cybele AT 6:02 am     CandyReviewCaramelCookieMockolate4-Benign5-Pleasant6-TemptingMalaysiaComments (8)

    Monday, April 23, 2007

    Starburst Baja California & Tropical

    Starburst Baja CaliforniaI’ve never been to Baja. I hear that the experience in the lagoons where the Grey Whales nurse their calves is amazing. I also hear they make great fish tacos there. But I also hear they eat these. It still hasn’t been enough to get me to drive that 200 miles south.

    The Starburst Baja California commericals make it seem to be a paradise.

    It might well be.

    image

    I admit that I’m always enchanted with candy that’s named for a place.

    Limon - this was strange. It started with the distinct flavor of bubble gum. I can’t explain it. Then it got very tart with a pleasant lemon-lime flavor and a slight hint of key lime.

    Strawberry Watermelon -  yes, this tasted just like you’d think a strawberry and watermelon Starburst should.

    Baja Dragon Fruit - as a blue flavor, I was a little put off, I can’t quite put my finger on the flavor. It reminded me of mango and a little bit of plum.

    Aztec Punch - the first time I tried this I thought I got my mixes mixed and it was a cherry one. So I dug out another one and the same thing happened. It tastes like cherry. Maybe that’s what the Aztecs put in their punch.

    Starburst TropicalI often shun Tropical flavored stuff because it all ends up being passion fruit, papaya and guava, which I think are good fresh fruits but not really flavors I’m keen on.

    But this array in Starburst Tropical of flavors sounded pretty good.

    image

    Mango Melon - I don’t know. It was kind of melon, kind of mango, but not the best aspects of either of those flavors. Not tangy enough, not zesty enough.

    Strawberry Banana - I don’t consider strawberries a tropical fruit. If something is indigenous to England, it’s not tropical. This was bad. I wanted to like it, as I love real strawberry and banana things, but the banana was just ooky, a little too fake and a little too much like a scented candle.

    Royal Berry Punch - another punch flavor. It’s like they thought that there weren’t enough specific tropical fruit flavors so they had to do these punchy things. This is nice though, a little note of coconut with some melon and citrus and maybe kiwi.

    Pina Colada - very coconutty and with a good tingly blast of pineapple. It doesn’t have that buttery flavor that coconut stuff often does, but the fully-rounded notes of the pineapple are great.

    If I were to create a Tropical Fruit mix, I’d keep it simple and pick from these: Pineapple, Mango, Lychee, Passion Fruit & Banana. The ultimate mix from these two packs would consist of: Limon, Pina Colada and Royal Berry Punch. No, I can’t even manage to pick a fourth. They’re all okay, but I prefer the original mix best (because of its high citrus content).

    Name: Starburst Baja California and Tropical
      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: Rite Aid (3rd & Fairfax)
    Price: $.69
    Size: 2.07 ounces
    Calories per ounce: 120
    Categories: Chew, United States, Mars, Starburst

    POSTED BY Cybele AT 7:16 am     Comments (35)

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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:

    • Brach’s Chocolate Caramel Pretzel Bites

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