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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Ts & Js Sour Gummies

DSC_9263rbTrader Joe’s makes little fanfare with their new products, they just quietly appear on the shelf and perhaps get a mention in the Fearless Flyer. There are rarely announcements of upcoming products, they just show up. However, the same day that the email announced the new Trader Joe’s Ts & Js Sour Gummies, I wanted some for myself. (Sadly, the first location I tried didn’t have them yet, just a blank space.)

The new sour candy pieces are shaped like the letter T or J and come in four flavors: Key Lime, Tangerine, Meyer Lemon and Grapefruit.

As I mentioned last month in a long profile about the difference between gummis and jellies, this is another case of jelly candies called gummies. It’s kind of sad that Trader Joe’s did that, because their ingredients are quite clean and vegetarians would probably be more likely to pick them up if they weren’t called gummies.

So, if there’s an analogue to this candy in the big brand world, these are all natural, citrus-flavored Sour Patch Letters. Sorry, I think Trader Joe’s buried the lede ... because this is an incredible concept. It’s everything I already like in Sour Patch Kids, with flavors I prefer and ingredients that shouldn’t interfere with the intensity of the flavors.

Ingredients: Cane Sugar, Tapioca Syrup, Modified Corn Starch, Dextrose (Corn), Malic Acid, Natural Flavors (Key Lime, Meyer Lemon, Tangerine and Grapefruit), Citric Acid, Colored with Fruit and Vegetable Extracts (Pumpkin, Carrot, Black Currant), Sodium Citrate, Spirulina Extract (Color), Palm Oil. MANUFACTURED IN A FACILITY THAT PROCESSES PEANUTS AND TREE NUTS.

Trader Joe's Sour Gummies

The colors are muted, with the lime and grapefruit a little hard to tell apart ... except for the fact that I liked both and didn’t care after a while. All are similar to the structure of Sour Patch candies, a sweet jelly center with a mild flavor and an intense sour sanded exterior. Each piece is a mere bite, not too big and pretty clean to eat with minimal mess.

The red ones are Tangerine: the sour coating is tangy and textured, but melts away easily or provides a bit of crunch if you can’t wait. The center is less flavorful, more zesty. The orange notes definitely veer off into authentic tangerine with quite a bit of orange peel flavor.

The light orange are Lemon: the combination of the sour sanding and lemon peel notes of the center give a good approximation of Meyer lemon, which is more mild than the common Eureka lemons.

Clear is Grapefruit: such a great tangy coating with a very strong bitter zest component. Definitely a winner.

Light green is Key Lime: These have a bright lime flavor that’s pretty generic but really refreshing in a too green apple world. It’s pretty good Key lime notes, which have a little creamy component to them instead of the straight acid of Persian limes.

They’re vegan, there are no artificial colors or flavors ... Kosher and priced pretty well. Really, my only complaint is the fact that they call them gummis.

Related Candies

  1. Trader Joe’s Candy Coated Licorice
  2. Sour Patch Kids Berries
  3. Glico Pocky Cookie Crush
  4. Gimbal’s Sour Lovers
  5. Trader Joe’s Jelly Beans & Citrus Gum Drops
  6. Tootsie Sour Dots
  7. Trader Joe’s Gummy Tummies
  8. Sour Patch Kids
  9. Pink Grapefruit Mentos


Name: Ts & Js Sour Gummies
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Trader Joe’s
Place Purchased: Trader Joe's (Glendale)
Price: $1.99
Size: 7 ounces
Calories per ounce: 104
Categories: All Natural, Candy, Trader Joe's, Jelly Candy, Kosher, Sour, 9-Yummy, United States

POSTED BY Cybele AT 1:03 pm     All NaturalCandyReviewTrader Joe'sJelly CandyKosherSour9-YummyUnited StatesComments (2)

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Candy Tease: Sweets & Snacks Part 1

The Sweets & Snacks Expo started today in Chicago, with 650 exhibitors profiling thousands of candy products. Here are a few highlight of the new products announced.

tic tac mixersName: Tic Tac® Mixers
Brand: Ferrero U.S.A.
Description: Introducing new Tic Tac Mixers, the newest addition to the Tic Tac family of products. Two exciting flavors in every piece. The first delicious flavor layer of Tic Tac Mixers delights you as it touches your tongue. As you let it melt in your mouth, Tic Tac Mixers transitions to a great tasting flavor combination that will surprise your senses.
Introduction Date: 05/01/2015

Notes: It’s a fascinating idea, though not original. Layering flavors so that the product experience changes over time. The two flavors (Cherry + Cola and Peach + Lemonade) aren’t quite up my alley, but I’m curious how vivid the flavor definition is.

russell stover freeze itName: Russell Stover Freeze-it Big Bites
Brand: Russell Stover Candies
Description: A new twist on a classic favorite, ice cream! The Freeze-It candy bars are signature ice cream flavors in convenient and ready-to-go packaging. We offer two classic flavors; smooth vanilla bean or crisp mint chocolate chip both smothered in rich dark chocolate. You can enjoy them immediately after purchasing or place them in your freezer for just 30 minutes to enjoy a frozen ice cream flavored treat.
Introduction Date: Summer 2015

Notes: I like the idea of a mint chocolate chip ice cream candy treat, though I find it hard to believe that it will taste better frozen than actual ice cream.

Goetze PopName: Caramel Creams® Pop
Brand: Goetze’s Candy Company
Description: Caramel Creams® Pop features the unique flavor of a nostalgic Caramel Creams®, but now in a lollipop format.
Introduction Date: 06/01/2015

Notes: I’m a huge fan of Goetze’s Caramel Creams and really enjoy eating the parts separately. But the proportions on this, based on the image, look completely odd. But I’m willing to give it a try.


Flipz BDay CakeName: FLIPZ® Birthday Cake Covered Pretzels
Brand: DeMet’s Candy Company
Description: Introducing New Flipz® Birthday Cake Covered Pretzels! The perfect combination of sweet, creamy cake frosting, and the salty crunch of a pretzel. Flipz®, the most flippin’ awesome snack ever!
Introduction Date: 05/15/2015

Notes: This sounds dreadful. The only thing that sounds good is the salt. I don’t even understand the obsession with birthday cake, let alone making it into a candy that covers a snack.


lindt hello bitesName: Lindt HELLO Bites
Brand: Lindt & Sprungli
Description: HELLO Bites chocolate covered bite sized pieces available in three flavors, packaged in re-sealable stand-up pouches. Pretzel Bites, Toffee Bites and Minty Bites
Introduction Date: 08/01/2015

Notes: Lindt does great chocolate, but this foray into panned candies and the morselization trend is a little odd. For Christmas they do make some panned nuts, but I don’t recall anything along these lines before. The descriptions for the individual products are a little vague.

All images courtesy of their respective makers.

Related Candies

  1. Candy Tease Fall 2014
  2. Candy Tease - Sweets & Snacks Part 2
  3. Candy Tease - Sweets & Snacks Part 1
  4. Birthday Cake M&Ms
  5. Lindt Holiday Almonds
  6. Zitrone Honig Tic Tac

POSTED BY Cybele AT 10:52 pm     All Candy ExpoCandyNew Product AnnouncementHighlightComments (6)

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Candyology 101 - Podcast Episode 14 - Panned Candy

Brach's Bridge Mix

In this new episode of Candyology101, Maria and I talk about one of the oldest and most flexible candy processes: panning. Stick around until the end of the podcast and we have an expanded Treat or Trick section with plenty of Sweets & Snacks Expo teases.

Download the MP3 and of course check up on the full show notes.

 

POSTED BY Cybele AT 6:42 am     All Candy ExpoCandyHighlightRadio InterviewsComments (0)

Monday, May 11, 2015

Brach’s Milk and Dark Chocolate Caramel and Nut Mix

Brach's Milk & Dark Chocolate Caramel & Nut MixBrach’s has expanded their line of stand up bag offerings. I spotted these at Target: Brach’s Milk and Dark Chocolate Caramel & Nut Mix. It sounds like a much simpler Bridge Mix.

Like most Brach’s products, the package is vague about the product once you get past the name. There’s a list of ingredients, but other than that, I was kind of left to guess what was in my mix.

So, what do we have? Pretty much what the name says. There’s an assortment of two different shapes of chocolate covered nuts ... peanuts and almonds. Then there are some gumdrop looking things that are caramels and some oblong bits that are chocolate covered brittle.

Brach's Nut & Caramel Mix

The whole mix smells sweet, a little like peanuts and cocoa. The sweetness has a fake vanilla note to it that isn’t very encouraging, though the appearance of the mix is pretty attractive. The panning is good, everything is shiny and smooth.

Milk Chocolate Peanuts are satisfying. There’s not a lot of chocolate, but far better than Nestle’s Goobers. There’s a little hint of salt to make these much more of a snack than a sweet.

Dark Chocolate Peanuts also have a hint of salt and a noticeable bitterness to the chocolate which again keeps the whole mix from getting to sticky sweet.

Milk Chocolate Caramels were lackluster. The texture was excellent, the caramel was chewy but not too stiff and it had a smooth consistency. However, it lacked actual caramel flavor and didn’t offset the milk chocolate coating much.

Brach's Nut & Caramel Mix

Dark Chocolate Covered Peanut Brittle are easy to spot. They’re large and have a thick coating of chocolate. The brittle center may be big, but it crunches easily. The nutty flavor is not front and center, this piece is more about the textures of the crushed nuts, the dark chocolate and the sugary brittle. The nut bits are quite small, so it’s almost like the sesame brittle found in Kosher delis.

Dark Chocolate Covered Almonds are one of the larger pieces, though some are small enough to be mistaken for peanuts. The almonds have a light blanching, they’re not overly roasted. They’re crunchy and hold up well to the rather sweet dark chocolate.

This mix takes a lot of guess work out of what can be candy roulette. I liked all the pieces and didn’t really long for anything else that wasn’t in here. I thought the peanuts were great, and it all looked good in a little bowl. I certainly preferred it to the actual Bridge Mix that Brach’s sells.

The product contains milk, peanuts, almonds and soy and is made on shared equipment with other tree nuts, eggs and wheat.

Related Candies

  1. The Recent History of Brach’s Fiesta Malted Milk Eggs
  2. Ghirardelli Milk Chocolate Spiced Almond
  3. See’s Bridge Mix
  4. Brach’s Bridge Mix
  5. Snack Mix for Traveling
  6. Recchiuti Asphalt Jungle Mix
  7. Brach’s Indulge Almonds: Coconut & Caramel


Name: Milk & Dark Chocolate Caramel & Nut Mix
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Ferrara Pan
Place Purchased: Target (Eagle Rock)
Price: $3.99
Size: 8 ounces
Calories per ounce: 133
Categories: Candy, Brach's, Ferrara Pan, Brittle, Caramel, Chocolate, Nuts, Peanuts, 7-Worth It, United States, Target

POSTED BY Cybele AT 10:33 am     CandyReviewBrach'sFerrara PanCaramelChocolateNutsPeanuts7-Worth ItUnited StatesTargetComments (1)

Monday, May 4, 2015

Strawberry Cajillions

DSC_9143rbYears ago, at my first visit to the All Candy Expo (now known as the Sweets & Snacks Expo), I was excited to see a candy called Gazillions. They were little boxes, probably sold for a quarter, that had tiny chewy candies in them, like mini Skittles but single flavors. They came in pineapple. And then I never saw them in stores.

Here it is, 8 years later and I finally found a package at Economy Candy. Except they’re called Cajillions. They’re billed as The Tiny Tasty Candies.

Ingredients: sugar, glucose syrup, hydrogenated palm oil, apple juice, citric acid, artificial flavor, gum arabic, malic acid, carnauba wax, artificial color (cochineal extract)

DSC_9151rb

They’re rather like teensy, rustic bits of deep fried Starburst chews. They’re about the size of lentils.

I hesitate to say that they have an actual shell, but they’re definitely coated and sealed, so they don’t get sticky.

The strawberry flavor is rather clean. The outside is sweet and a little like cotton candy at first, but upon chewing the bits, it’s tangy and pretty smooth. They’re a lot like Skittles, except there’s something that’s not quite right about them. It might be the fact that they use apple juice, so there’s a little note to it that’s just a bit like apple peels to me. But perhaps a little metallic as well.

The shape is pretty good, they’re appealing to look at, though there was a bit of a yellow cast to mine, which made me wonder about whether they were fresh. They don’t roll around, but because they’re so small, they’re not easy to pick up with my fumbly fingers. About five makes a small taste, a dozen is a decent mouthful for a flavorful chew. I could see them working well in candy buffets, especially if they’re available in a wide array of colors and flavors.

I don’t have much interest in the other flavors, which are Blue Raspberry, Green Apple and Watermelon in addition to the Strawberry. No mixes, no Pineapple. I’ll pass for now.

Related Candies

  1. Candyology 101 - Podcast Episode 13 - Skittles
  2. Yum Junkie Pufflettes
  3. Morinaga HiCHEW Mini
  4. Mentos Tutti Frutti
  5. Airheads Bites
  6. Russell Stover Color Me Candies
  7. Mike and Ike Alex’s Lemonade Stand


Name: Strawberry Cajillions
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Foreign Candy Company
Place Purchased: Economy Candy (New York, NY)
Price: $1.00
Size: 1.9 ounces
Calories per ounce: 116
Categories: Candy, Foreign Candy Company, Chews, 5-Pleasant, China

POSTED BY Cybele AT 12:09 pm     CandyReviewForeign Candy CompanyChews5-PleasantChinaComments (2)

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Candyology 101 - Podcast Episode 13 - Skittles

Candyology_Episode_13

If you were to make your own perfect mix of Skittles, what flavors would you include?

What new Skittles varieties would you like to see?

List in to episode 13 of Candyology 101 where Maria and discuss all things Skittles (that would fit into 50 minutes).

download the MP3 directly and take a look at our show notes.

Skittles

POSTED BY Cybele AT 12:39 pm     CandyHighlightRadio InterviewsComments (0)

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Mike and Ike Cotton Candy

Mike and Ike Cotton CandyJust Born, which makes the class Peeps marshmallows and Hot Tamales also make Mike and Ike. Since these are classic candies, recently they’ve been marketing them in nostalgic packaging, sold especially at places like Cracker Barrel and in decade themed gift baskets. Every once in a while they revive a classic flavor mix, as well.

This year Just Born announced the return of their Mike and Ike Cotton Candy, which was discontinued in 2002, and Mike and Ike Root Beer Float.

I’ve been looking for these since they were announced and finally found them at a Dollar Tree in Pennsylvania (but not at two I checked in California). I’m always curious how Mike and Ike does these limited mixes, especially since I know that cotton candy isn’t much of a flavor.

There are two colors in the mix, pink and blue, but it’s unclear if they’re intended to be different flavors of cotton candy.

DSC_9168rb

The box smells like the box, no fruity or floral aromas, nothing that reminded me of the county fair. Cotton Candy isn’t much of a flavor to begin with. Originally cotton candy was just spun sugar, so the flavor is toasted but otherwise just sweet. But somewhere along the way cotton candy was colored (a great choice, in my opinion) and given different flavors. The flavoring of cotton candy is usually subtle, often strawberry or blueberry.

The blue and pink jelly rods tasted the same to me. They’re sweet, with that burnt sugar note and a the lightest hint of strawberries. There’s no tartness, no zest, not much else ... these could be sold without any color at all as minimalist Mike and Ike.

I found the flavor pleasant and clean. The texture as good, they felt fresh, kind of like that feeling I have about 10 minutes after a nice cup of jasmine tea.

I don’t know if I would buy these specifically for the flavor, but because of the extra mild flavor and the pastel colors, they’d be great for a party favor or decorating baked goods.

Related Candies

  1. Mike and Ike Strawberry Reunion
  2. Elmer Cotton Candy Marshmallow Eggs
  3. Cupcake Bites
  4. Festival HiCHEW: Candied Apple & Cotton Candy
  5. Disneyland for Candy Bloggers
  6. Skittles Carnival Flavors
  7. Regennas Clear Toys


Name: Mike and Ike Cotton Candy
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Just Born
Place Purchased: Dollar Tree (Harrisburg, PA)
Price: $1.00
Size: 5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 99
Categories: Candy, Just Born, Jelly Candy, 7-Worth It, United States, Dollar Tree

POSTED BY Cybele AT 2:22 pm     CandyReviewJust BornJelly Candy7-Worth ItUnited StatesDollar TreeComments (1)

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Choceur Dark Chocolate Covered Superberries - Pomegranate

DSC_9028rbThere’s a strange new genre of candy, which I can only call the” nuggets of dark berry flavored jelly candy covered in dark chocolate.” It started with Brookside Chocolate, which made several versions with combinations like Blueberry & Acai or Goji & Raspberry and the trendy Pomegranate.  The candy went over so well that Hershey’s bought the company, even though they never bothered to name the candy. Trader Joe’s at least called its version Powerberries, which is probably the best name they’ve had so far. Since then other companies have come along with their versions, like Brach’s and Target’s house brand Simply Balanced.

I found this new Aldi version in the earlier this month. They at least have a real name: Choceur Dark Chocolate Covered Superberries Pomegranate. There was also a blueberry acai version on the shelves, in a blue package. At $2.99 for a 7 ounce package, they were certainly better priced that most other candies of this kind.

DSC_9171rb

The style of the candy is an intensely flavored jelly center is covered with chocolate. The early marketing for these candies capitalized on the idea that berries and chocolate were have lots of antioxidants in them. Though certainly not healthy, the idea was that there was at least some value to eating this indulgence.

These particular candies diverge quite a bit from that original mission. The chocolate isn’t particularly dark (though there’s no mention of the percentages) and the “pomegranate juice drop” centers are actually made from corn syrup, sugar, corn starch and then a concentrated blend of pear and pomegranate juice, malic acid and some natural flavors.

The pieces are big and quite attractive. They’re about 3/4 of an inch across and the rounded dome pieces are about 1/2 inch high.

DSC_9174rb

The curious thing about them is that they’re definitely gumdrop style, except that the center is intensely flavored. They’re floral and tangy and do actually have a little note of honey and pear to them. The texture is very smooth, though a little tough. The dissolve of the centers, though, was wonderfully smooth with the bright flavor consistent throughout as the chocolate disappeared faster than the jelly.

The chocolate was okay, it was a little sweet for this type of candy, but smooth and had a well rounded flavor that was mostly overshadowed by the tartness of the fruit.

The centers are uncolored, and actually quite translucent if you take all the chocolate off. So, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that there’s not much in the way of antioxidants here. It’s just good tasting candy.

As long as we admit we’ve left the world of health food, there’s no reason the flavors can’t be expanded to include citrus or raspberry.

Superberries are made in the USA. They contain soy and milk and may have traces of peanuts, tree nuts, wheat and eggs.

Related Candies

  1. Route 1 Racer Bar
  2. Brookside Dark Chocolate Pomegranate
  3. Wonka Exceptionals Fruit Jellies: Grapefruit, Goji Berry & Red Apple
  4. Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Powerberries
  5. Choceur After Dinner Mints: Orange & Peppermint
  6. Jelly Belly Pomegranate


Name: Pomegranate Dark Chocolate Covered Superberries
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Aldi
Place Purchased: Aldi (Camp Hill, PA)
Price: $2.99
Size: 7 ounces
Calories per ounce: 121
Categories: Candy, Morselization, Review, Aldi, Chocolate, Jelly Candy, 8-Tasty, United States

POSTED BY Cybele AT 1:57 pm     CandyMorselizationReviewAldiChocolateJelly Candy8-TastyUnited StatesComments (1)

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COUNTDOWN.

Candy Season Ends

-51 days

Read previous coverage

 

 

Which seasonal candy selection do you prefer?

Choose one or more:

  •   Halloween
  •   Christmas
  •   Valentine's Day
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ON DECK

These candies will be reviewed shortly:

• Mars Milky Way Marshmallow with Caramel

• Snickers Mixed Nuts

• Flavor Trends: The Slow Extinction of Lime

• Hachez Braune Blatter (Chocolate Leaves)

• Rogue Chocolatier

 

 

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