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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Mike and Ike Fruit Flavored Bubblegum

Mike and Ike Fruit Flavored Bubble GumYou’ve probably noticed by now that I’m not a big gum chewer. But I’ve had to do a lot of thinking at work lately, and there have been studies that show that chewing gum enhances learning and reduces stress.

I found this bag of 75 pieces of Mike and Ike Fruit Flavored Bubblegum in my package of samples from the National Confectioners Association that arrived in advance of the Sweets & Snacks Expo later this month. I’ve seen these on store shelves already. They’re little bubble gum pieces in the same five flavors as Mike and Ike: strawberry, lime, lemon, orange and cherry.

The bag is an odd portion, it’s 4.25 ounces but a serving size is 2 pieces. Of course that’s just a recommendation. My mode of gum consumption is to chew it quickly until it loses its flavor, toss and start with a new piece/pieces. A portion for me is about 20 pieces for a session. (There are 5 calories per rod.)

The gum itself is made by Ford Gum under license from Just Born, makers of Mike and Ike, Hot Tamales and Marshmallow Peeps.

Mike and Ike Fruit Flavored Bubble Gum

The rods are just about the same size as the classic Mike and Ike. The only differences are that they’re opaque and more regularly shaped. The outer coating was a light candy shell, not completely crunchy but it had a satisfying grain that created a good texture at the start of the chew and it also released a lot of flavor into the mix.

Orange was better than I expected. I was afraid it would be too tangy and reminiscent of Aspergum. It is a nice citrus flavor, tart at first but then a sweet orange flavor. It hangs onto the zest notes the longest, though it’s not as though it’s a long time at all.

Lemon started out sweet, then got a nice tangy lemonade vibe going on, then all the flavor just up and left.

Lime is all the things I love and hate about lime. It’s metallic and bitter but also zesty and tangy. The lime flavor is rather realistic but part of me is wondering why I’d want to chew lime gum.

Strawberry is fun because it’s sweet and a little like lemon with its tart bite. It seemed to be the one with the best bubble blowing, but that might have been because I chewed it the longest.

Cherry looked a lot like Strawberry much of the time, just a smidge darker. It was like a LifeSavers Wild Cherry gum rod. I liked it, even though it was medicinal, syrupy and rather bitter towards the end. It was also thin and soupy in parts and never really made good bubbles.

Mike and Ike Original FruitsI liked chewing mine in pairs. Two pieces made a perfect portion for later bubble blowing. I was mostly a purist, but occasionally mixed the flavors together. Of course all citrus go together and strawberry with lemon is good.

I’d say I liked these better than actual Mike and Ike, but that’s not saying much as a I find the jelly rods a bit bland. Fruit flavored gum made with actual sugar isn’t that easy to find.

They also make a Hot Tamales version of the gum, but it’s made with artificial sweeteners, so I gave it away for a cinnamon gum fan.

Related Candies

  1. Dubble Bubble Chewola Bubble Gum Crayons
  2. Classic Gums: Black Jack, Clove, Beemans & Teaberry
  3. Mike and Ike Alex’s Lemonade Stand
  4. Tiny Size Chiclets
  5. Gold Mine Gum
  6. Short & Sweet: Gums
  7. Mike and Ike Tangy Twister

POSTED BY Cybele AT 2:39 pm     CandyJust BornGum4-BenignUnited StatesComments (1)

Friday, March 26, 2010

Jumbo Gum Ball Eggs

Jumbo Gum BallIn my attempt to try everything this Easter I bought some pretty stupid candies. The Jumbo Gum Ball Eggs are pretty high up there. It wasn’t so much that it’s a stupid purchase (it was only 99 cents) but that it’s a stupid product.

But let me go backwards a bit. I have a definition for candy. It’s kind of long and includes a list of criteria. One of them is that the product needs to be ready-to-eat. This means it doesn’t need assembly (though might benefit from it) and doesn’t require implements or tools, especially ones not provided.

Jumbo Gum Ball

They are 2.25 inches tall and weigh about 1.75 ounces each. Yes, they’re hollow but they’re about a third of an inch thick.

A gumball the size of a small chicken egg requires tools. I used a saw.

Jumbo Gum Ball

I was able to stand on one of them without smashing it. After chewing the slice I’d cut off the top I did manage to smash and pull apart the larger piece by stomping on it and then prying it apart. It’s tough stuff. The package says that a single serving is half an egg, but of course gives no clue about how to sever it yourself.

The candy shell is thick and crunchy and the gum inside is rough and leathery, kind of like playing with thick rawhide. It smells slightly like Juicyfruit gum. The overall flavor is sweet with a light fruity and tangy note that disappears quickly as the sugar dissolves with chewing. The flavor is inconsistent and has cinnamon and bubble gum notes from time to time. It’s an all sugar gum, which tend to lose their flavor quicker than the artificially sweetened ones. That’s fine with me, I like to chew mine up, make a few bubbles then toss it out and put in a new piece.

It does work as a bubble gum, but certainly not very well.

They’re fun to look at and would make nice decorations. For a child they’d be a frustrating mess. If you lick it the blue colored shell will run (and could stain clothing or upholstery). A parent or older child would need to help with creating manageable bites - so really I don’t recommend this for anyone under the age of 14 and of course must caution folks when using tools like saws or a serrated knife to cut this open.

Again I come back to saying that these are probably better than plastic stuff for decorating, though obviously they’re not waterproof.

They’re made in China under the house brand of CVS. They also came in pink (photo of them on store shelf here). I admit that I’m concerned about the safety of the food colorings because of the origin of the product but I have no facts to support that.

Related Candies

  1. CVS Marshmallow Pop
  2. R.M. Palmer Quax - The Yummy Ducky
  3. Three Pink Bubble Gums
  4. Bear Bubble Gum
  5. Smarties Bubble Gum
Name: Jumbo Gum Ball Eggs
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: CVS
Place Purchased: CVS (Silver Lake)
Price: $.99
Size: 3.53 ounces
Calories per ounce: 91
Categories: Gum, China, Easter

POSTED BY Cybele AT 1:14 pm     Comments (8)

Monday, August 3, 2009

Shakespearean Insult Gum

Shakespearean Insult GumSometimes I pick things up to save you the trouble. Because I know that you’re the babbling ill-nurtured ingested-lump that’d be tempted to buy Shakespearean Insult Gum. The little “shelf” of “books” is actually a set of boxes that hold two gumballs and a line from one of the scribe’s plays.

William Shakespeare was the master of the witty insult and now you can amaze your friends with these highbrow putdowns!

It’s like an episode of Frasier, but with gum!

The assortment of boxes feature names of Shakespeare’s tragedies on the spines: King Lear, Macbeth, Romeo & Juliet, Henry V, Hamlet, Richard III and Othello. My fobbing idle-headed whey-face couldn’t remember that many insults from the great dramas, figuring that just a transcription of The Taming of the Shrew is probably all the insults one would need for any novelty product. (You remember the wildly popular Katherina doll called the Spewing Shrew that you pulled the little cord on the top of her head and she would animate and push you out of your chair and call you names ... they were pulled from the market pretty quickly so they’re quite the collector’s item.)

Shakespearean Insult Gum

Each little box contains two gumballs. They came in a variety of colors, though four of the boxes had one green and one white. I feared, knowing they were made in China that I would end up with spongy long-tongued botch.

The gum itself are solid little balls (though not quite spherical), not those hollow ones that slanderous flap-mouthed skainsmates try to pawn off on unsuspecting gum-chewers. They were pretty small, so it’d probably be more of an engineering issue to make them any lighter. Even two pieces didn’t make a decent chewing amount.

Pink was cherry. A little tangy, rather soft but mercifully free of bitterness. Yellow was lemon which was a soft flavor that dispensed some tartness as I chewed it. Green was probably supposed to be apple, but it didn’t taste like much. White was watermelon, and while it was no spongey hell-hated odoriferous stench it did remind me of an Avon lady’s neck.

Really, it wasn’t bad so much as it was pointless. What do gumballs have to do with Shakespeare?

Shakespearean Insult GumThere are quite a few things wrong with this, besides the price of $1.99 for 14 Chinese gumballs.

First, I’ll spoil the surprised and show you 7 out of the possible 25 quotes you could get:

Macbeth = Dissembling harlot, thou are false in all (Comedy of Errors)

King Lear = How foul and loathsome is thine image (The Taming of the Shrew)

Henry V = Bless me, what a fry of fornication is at the door (King Henry VIII)

Richard III = A plague on both your houses (Romeo and Juliet)

Romeo & Juliet = Base dunghill villain and mechanical, I’ll have thy head (Henry VI Part 2)

Hamlet = Thou art likest to a hogs head (Love’s Labour Lost)

Othello = Hang, beg, starve, die in the streets (Romeo and Juliet)

Two of them, I’d reckon, are not insults but actually curses.

What’s sad about this is how completely hobbled it is by its own parameters. Only 25 insults? They’d better be the best ... but they’re not! Here, have some fun with this random Shakespeare insult generator (where I got the ones peppered in here ... you don’t think I actually remember that much from college, do you?).

Why are they tucked into these little volumes like this? They don’t match the spine, so there’s no way to even chose what you think might be the right one for your occasion.  And then, why do I have to tear the little boxes apart to get at the insult?

The website says Sure to offend the intellectuals and confuse the dimwitted!. Yeah, I’m not sure I’m an intellectual, but I’m certainly offended that this was such a dimwitted product. What do they take me for? An unmuzzled tardy-gaited hedge-pig?

Related Candies

  1. R.M. Palmer Quax - The Yummy Ducky
  2. Big Bite Gummy Bear
  3. Bratz Candy Cosmetics
  4. Gummy Fishies
  5. Gold Mine Gum
  6. Bear Bubble Gum
Name: Shakespearean Insult Gum
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Accoutrements
Place Purchased: ITSUGAR (Universal CityWalk)
Price: $1.99
Size: .64 ounces
Calories per ounce: unknown
Categories: Gum, Novelty, China

POSTED BY Cybele AT 9:08 am     Comments (9)

Friday, July 24, 2009

Dubble Bubble Chewola Bubble Gum Crayons

Dubble Bubble Chewola Bubble GumI spied these at the check out aisle of the 99 Cent Store and figured they were Dubble Bubble ... and they know gum. The Chewola Bubble Gum box looks like it holds a small set of crayons like you’d get in a favor bag at a party or at a restaurant with your “shut up and let the parents enjoy food they didn’t cook” meal.

The problem with the package right at the start is that they look even more generic than Prang. Ever get generic crayons? They’re filled with pebbles, floor sweepings and smell like rendered road kill. (Non-toxic? Maybe, but not even the weirdest kids would eat those.) Happily these smelled like powdered sugar.

First real issue: they’re not fully styled as crayons (as the box depicts). I mean, what sort of twisted & cruel adult would give kids unsharpened crayons? 90% of the fun of a pristine box of crayons is the fresh point. How many of us eschew the colors that have the tips broken off before you even opened the box?

Dubble Bubble Chewola Bubble Gum

Instead they look an awful lot like candy cigarettes. They even have that satisfying “smoke blow” when you puff against one end to get the waft of corn starch through the wrapper.

Two of the crayons were red. That means 40% of the package is one color. How would you like it if you opened your box of 264 Crayolas and 105 of them were the same shade of red? How creative would you feel? Especially when you did those drawings for the nice talking doctor that your parents sent you to, don’t you think he’d be inclined to think you were abnormally angry because you used so much red in your drawings? Do you think he’d understand that it’s not your fault, that you can only use the tools you’re provided ... and if you’re given angry colors, then well, you’re going to make angry looking drawings? (But look at the box, it has happy kids that say happy things in red like “A TIME TO LOVE.”)

So packaging & childhood traumas aside (not my traumas ... those were for hilarious effect, right, you get that, right?) they’re just rods of gum.

Purple is an extremely mild grape. A kind of stiff chew at first with a vague fake grape flavor. It was sweet, very very sweet. So sweet that I reread the ingredients because this couldn’t possibly be just sugar. But it was.

A single crayon makes for a good sized piece for bubble blowing. It took a while to chew away enough sugar. The gum wasn’t grainy like many gums, so it was hard to know quite when it was ready without some trials. The final bubbles were decent, not huge but satisfying.

The gum didn’t stick to my dental work, so that was a plus.

Red is cherry. Again, very sweet but at least a bit stronger in flavor.

Orange was orange. It was really chalky and messy with all the corn starch on it, but after that it was pretty flavorful ... it reminded me of Froot Loops. Mmm, why didn’t they ever make a Froot Loops gum ... the little pieces could be shaped like little Froot Loops.

Green was a surprise. I thought it’d be lime or green apple, instead it’s wintergreen. Rather pleasant, the best of the set of flavors.

The gum was decent, the theming was pretty good. (Ultimately I think putting two reds in there is probably a good plan, especially when kids are supposed to share and then there are no fights.) I wish it was a bit fresher, but I bought it at the 99 Cent Store, so I give a little bit more leeway. They would make a nice themed favor or decoration at a party. There’s also a lot of gum in the box for the price. 

Special Bonus: because it’s a tuck-flap box, when emptied it works spectacularly as a noisemaker.

Related Candies

  1. Classic Gums: Black Jack, Clove, Beemans & Teaberry
  2. Three Pink Bubble Gums
  3. Tiny Size Chiclets
  4. Gold Mine Gum
  5. Nerds Gumballs
  6. Bubble Roll Message Maker
  7. Bear Bubble Gum
Name: Chewola Bubble Gum
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Dubble Bubble (Concord Confections)
Place Purchased: 99 Cent Only (Miracle Mile)
Price: $.60
Size: 1.2 ounces
Calories per ounce: 104 (I don't think that's accurate for gum)
Categories: Gum, Canada, Concord Confections

POSTED BY Cybele AT 9:09 am    

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)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Classic Gums: Black Jack, Clove, Beemans & Teaberry

The world of gum is huge these days. No longer is it just a world of soothing mint & peppy cinnamon. There are at least a half a dozen formats: sticks, gumballs, nuggets, chicklets, tape & goo filled pieces and the flavors are all over the map with the general array of mints & fruits but now there are sour gums, exotic flavors and even more combinations & special ingredients than ever.

Beemans Gums: Beemans, Black Jack & Clove

Chewing gum started out, early on, as a simple little stick of chicle base with sugar and a little flavoring. Some of the earliest varieties, launched in the late 1800s still survive today in pretty much the same format. For your chewing enjoyment I have a few classic gums: Black Jack, Clove and Beemans plus Clark’s Teaberry.

Clark's TeaberryFirst is my favorite gum of all time: Clark’s Teaberry.

Teaberry is a regional name for wintergreen (also known as Canada tea, which may explain the name of Canada mints which are also wintergreen flavored).

The D.L. Clark Company used to be a rather large & diverse candy manufacturer in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania which made both candy bars and gums starting in 1886. At one point the company was making 150 different kinds of confections. In 1921 the gum side of the business (which was made in a separate factory anyway) was spun off into its own company: Clark Brothers Chewing Gum Company (later shortened to Clark Gum Company). They were best known for two flavors: Teaberry and Tendermint.

Though Tendermint is no longer produced, Teaberry is still available.

Clark's TeaberryThe gum is rather simple and mild. The wintergreen flavor is mellow, not too much like some sort of analgesic balm or Pepto Bismol. The flavor lasts for a while as well, long after the sugar is gone.

The biggest issue I’ve had with purchasing Teaberry gum in the past 10 years or so, besides it being rather difficult to find is freshness. The pieces, first of all, seem a bit thinner than I remember them. Second, they’re often stale & crispy instead of soft & pliable. (Yes, sometimes I like to roll up my sticks.)

Even so, I’ve never felt that gum needs to be “fresh” in order to be enjoyed, though sometimes the flavor isn’t quite a vibrant.

Like all the gums profiled in this review, Teaberry is still made with sugar and no other sweeteners. (Though it’s now made in Mexico.)

Here’s an old commercial from Teaberry’s heyday in the 60s called the Teaberry Shuffle performed by Herb Alpert.

Though the Clark’s Gum Company is only a vague shadow of what it used to be, Adams is the oldest gum company and some of the classic flavors are still produced today now that it’s part of the Cadbury Adams company. The Adams nostalgic line is still made sporadically (in Colombia), in fact, the gums are back on store shelves presently (and when the inventory is gone, it’s pretty much gone until they make more in a year or two). I got mine at Cost Plus World Market.

Black Jack GumThe Thomas Adams gum story is pretty interesting. (If you want to know far more than I’m prepared to cover, please read this great page.)

Black Jack gum is the first flavored gum in the United States, starting in 1871.

The package doesn’t even say what it is, but I found the flavors are anise, ginger & green woodsmoke.

If I’ve had Black Jack before this, I’d forgotten (for the most part all I chew is Peppermint Chiclets, Teaberry and bubble gum balls). It’s much more mellow than I would have expected after the scent. Caramel, molasses & licorice but it also reminds me of the woodsy ginseng gum I pick up in Chinatown from time to time. A little weird bitter metallic taste to it but also a very, very sweet note that doesn’t go away even when the sugar is gone.


Clove GumI’m not much of a clove fan, but I thought I’d give Clove Chewing Gum a try anyway.

The scent is pure clove, just like sticking my nose in a bottle of the spicy, dried flower buds.

The chew is soft and mellow, the clove also has a hint of cinnamon to it, making the whole thing reminiscent of spiced cider and a baked ham.

My biggest issue with clove is its association with dental problems. Clove oil is a natural analgesic and one that can be applied topically in the mouth without worry of poisoning. So the mere scent of it reminds me other teething issues ... probably not my own, probably more of an association with other screaming toddlers.

The numbing quality is a bit evident as I chewed it, I could swear that my tongue felt a little like putty towards the end. Overall, this kind of changed my mind about the clove flavor, it wasn’t as medicinal as I expected and the flavor certainly lasted a long time for a sugared gum.

Beemans Chewing GumThe final in my assortment is simply called Beemans Chewing Gum without any further description.

Because of the white package I always assumed that this was peppermint flavored gum and I saw no need to switch from Wrigley’s Spearmint of Doublemint gum for this niche product.

Even though the sticks were white, once I opened the package it became apparent that this is a wintergreen flavored gum.

A little backstory about wintergreen & Beemans.

The gum was developed by an Ohio physician named Dr. Edward E. Beeman. Pepsin was a common treatment for digestive issues and working it into a gum was a good solution for delivering it in a slow dose. The Adams company purchased it from Beeman in 1898.

The flavor is a bit more intense than Teaberry. Actual pepsin doesn’t appear as an ingredient on the label. The chew is soft and smooth but after the sugar is gone it has a bit of a warming quality, like Ben Gay for the tongue. (Which may or may not be a selling point.)

I prefer Teaberry ... though I like the fact that the Beemans and Clove have no artificial colors in them.

They’re all rather simple gums and lack a liquid center, fancy graphics and huge marketing campaigns. They’re quiet and contemplative ... comforting and a rather cheap little way to buy some nostalgia.

Related Candies

  1. Sugar Coated Fennel
  2. Three Pink Bubble Gums
  3. Canada Wintergreen
  4. Hot Tamales Spice Jelly Beans
  5. Necco Conversation Hearts (Sweethearts)
  6. Tiny Size Chiclets
  7. Razzles
  8. Glee Gum: If You Like Stuff Stuck to Your Teeth
Name: Teaberry, Black Jack, Clove & Beemans
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Clark Gum Company & Cadbury Adams
Place Purchased: Dollar Tree & Cost Plus World Market
Price: $.25 and $1.25
Size: unknown
Calories per ounce: unknown
Categories: Gum, Cadbury, Mexico, Colombia

POSTED BY Cybele AT 10:49 am    

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Short & Sweet: International Flavors

Meiji Rich Strawberry ChocolateFlavored white chocolate is kind of a strange thing, not something I cared much for as a kid, but as an adult I’m warming up to it. Perhaps because there are some really good options out there.

Meiji, one of Japan’s major candy & snack companies uses white and flavored white chocolates in many of their confections. The flavors range from berry and flower flavors (sakura) to green tea and caramel.

I found this Meiji Rich Strawberry Chocolate bar in Little Tokyo at Murukai Market, but every store seemed to carry them.

Meiji Rich Strawberry Chocolate

The bar is much deeper in color than the KitKats or even the limited edition Hershey’s flavored white chocolate bars that I’ve had. And the intensity of the color matches the flavor. It’s much more in the berry range than the “light touch of berries”. It’s both tangy and sweet, with that woodsy flavor of seeds in there as well.

I wasn’t as fond of it as a I’d hoped. Something about the tangy mixed with the sweetness and a bit of grain from the real berry in there made me miss the cocoa butter and milk base. But for $1.29, it was a great buy for a little more exotic taste than the ordinary.

Rating: 6 out of 10

Klene KrokantjesFor Licorice Fans, the Klene Krokantjes are all licorice, but three different “jelly bean” style varieties in one bag.

I wasn’t sure what these would be, I thought something like the Skoolkrijt that I’ve come to love. I assumed it was a licorice center with a candy coating. I found a description online that said, “Salty Salmiak & Mint Flavor with a crunchy outer shell” which didn’t really capture it all (except that it included that it was salted licorice, not the straight sweet kind).

There are three shapes, a dark and a light jelly bean style and a larger, um, rock. I didn’t even know there was a third shape at first, as there were only two in the bag so I didn’t photograph it.

Klene KrokantjesThe candies look like little granite pebbles. Black and white and gray, they’re speckled and natural looking. They don’t smell like much, just a bit sweet with a slight anise note.

The beans are two different flavors. The light one is a peppermint, menthol and licorice mix of flavors. There’s a lot of crunch outside, it’s a bit grainy. The inside isn’t a molasses/wheat chewy licorice. Instead it’s a gelatin gummi flavored with licorice (and salt). The combo isn’t bad, a little metallic but the mint helps kind of smooth it all together.

The gray ones were similar but more on the straight licorice side. (They might not have been minted, but the proximity made them so.)

The lumps were a piece of the wheat based chew, again a little salted and covered with the minty crunch. That was my favorite.

They’re a little confusing for me. Not enough of one thing or another and the lack of the molasses punch to go with the licorice (my favorite combo) just didn’t make me want more and I never finished the bag.

Rating: 4 out of 10.

Kosher JuicyFruit GumMy favorite gum is Chiclets. They’re not easy to find but are one of the few gums that is still made with sugar and not artificial sweeteners (and no coloring either, for whatever that’s worth).

I was saddened several years ago to see that Wrigley’s altered their time-tested favorites: Wrigley’s Spearmint, Doublemint, Juicyfruit and Big Red gums to include those sorts of things. But then at Munchies in Los Angeles I stumbled across this little treasure - Juicy Fruit Gum, not only is it Kosher (which I don’t really need) but it’s also made with sugar and on top of that, they’re candy coated chicklets!

The box was cute and held 20 pellets. I usually chew three pieces at a time, so at 50 cents it’s no different in price than the regular pack.

I liked the crunch of the sugar shell and the indeterminate mellow fruity flavor of the chew. The flavor doesn’t last very long, but I don’t usually chew gum for a long time, just long enough to get most of the sugar out then I rinse and repeat.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Related Candies

  1. Three Pink Bubble Gums
  2. Licorice Assortment
  3. KitKat Chocolatier (Strawberry & Green Tea)
  4. Short & Sweet: Japanese Goodies
  5. Hershey’s Raspberries ‘n’ Creme
  6. Salted Licorices: Djungelvral and Dubbel Zout

POSTED BY Cybele AT 11:45 am     CandyReviewKleneMeijiWrigley'sGumKosherLicorice CandyWhite Chocolate4-Benign6-Tempting8-TastyFranceJapanNetherlandsComments (9)

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Wii Candy Dispenser & Nintendo Gummis

Wii Klik-on Candy DispenserI’ve been waiting for a long time for a really good crossover from the confectionery world to the gaming world.

Please note, I’m not a gamer. I do play, but not enough to be anything more than personally aware of how addictive and fun these things can be, but it takes a special game to suck me in. At home we have an XBOX 360 right now (loved the Lego Star Wars last summer), before that it was a PS2 and before that it was a Turbo Grafx (well, that wasn’t technically mine, I was “storing” it for my brother while he was living in Europe).

I’ve never played the Wii, but I totally see the attraction and I love the selection of games.

Wii Klik-on Candy Dispenser

To capitalize on the affection folks have for their platforms, Au’some has these cute little Wii Klik-on Candy Dispensers shaped like the innovative game controllers (Wiimote).

Wii Klik-on Candy DispenserThey’re officially licensed (and who would have thought that plain old proprietary hardware would end up being a status symbol like this) so they bear all the proper design elements.

It’s just a dispenser, like PEZ, and it comes with four rolls of candy - two Smarties-like rolls and two mini-rolls of Smarties Bubble Gum. The rolls fit in the battery compartment (because they’re the same size as batteries).

Wii Klik-on Candy DispenserIn order to load the candy package, just slide the faceplate up and it reveals a small empty space (probably where there’d be some circuitry if it worked). The candies are placed flat then the controller tipped down slightly, the little trigger button on the underside of the top is pressed, and bingo, a piece of candy comes out.

PEZ does not fit in the Wii Candy Dispenser, just like Nintendo Wii games don’t work in XBox 360.

I think the design of the item is pretty cute. I wish it put out really cool candy, it’s like they spent all that time on the plastic box and then said, “Eh, throw some Smarties in there.” It doesn’t even hold a whole roll of Smarties at once (though the battery compartment holding more is pretty ingenious). Filling it with something better would improve the appeal of this.

The retail price on these is $2 or so, but who knows what they’re going for in the wild. I got this one as a sample from All Candy Expo. They can be found on the internet and at places like Urban Outfitters.

Rating: 5 out of 10

On the other side of things, Au’some has another line of candies also themed off of a more classic Nintendo product: Mario Bros. They’re called Nintendo 3D Gummy Candies.

The Donkey Kong & Mario Bros. characters have been around since 1981 and have become recurring characters in the Nintendo game pantheon, so these aren’t some flash in the pan licensing tie-ins. Even if you’ve never played or haven’t in years, most of us have great affection for the little Italian plumber who battles the strange ape named Donkey.

imageMario is a hardworking guy. Not only does he hold a contractors license and perform excellent plumbing work, in the original version of the game he was a carpenter. He’s also a superhero. He can rescue a damsel in distress or vanquish an infestation of angry apes all on the clock.

The Mario 3D Gummi is, well, awesome. It’s actually three dimensional. At about 2.75 inches tall, he’s the same height as his gummi brethren, though pretty narrow (I guess he slimmed down for his session with the mold-maker). His little hat has an M on it and he has big work boots.

The texture of the gummis short, that is, biting into it, it’s not at all stringy. It’s more like Jell-O than Swedish Fish.

Mario is Strawberry. He’s sweet and slightly floral, a little tangy and has a well-rounded artificial berry flavor. I think he’s two bites, but it’s up to you.

imageDonkey Kong actually started this whole thing with his game named after him. Mario was simply known as Jumpman back then. Donkey didn’t have much of a personality either, he was just angry and grabby.

In later years Donkey Kong started wearing a tie, which might have caused part of his anger issue (it was the go-go-eighties, even Donkey Kong learned a lot from Gordon Gecko). But Donkey Kong never really returned to his primary role, this is the sad fate of monsters.

In this gummi Donkey Kong is Orange in both color and flavor. He’s actually rather sparkly. The flavor of the gummi isn’t particularly complex, rather like concentrated Tang.

Definitely one of my favorites and it wouldn’t be a batch of gummis without Donkey Kong or an orange flavor.

imageDiddy Kong is probably not even technically a Kong. (I think they call him a nephew somewhere, but that’s like saying that humans and orangutans are cousins.) Though he’s some sort of ape, he’s not the same species as Donkey Kong. I think he’s some sort of chimp, as far as I can tell (he has smaller, narrower chest).

But he also wears a cap and tee shirt. While Donkey Kong was the big bad guy in many of the adventures, Diddy is the one who sets off to rescue Donkey Kong, in a way redeeming the Kong family name.

(For a while I thought it was Donkey Kong Junior, feel free to dispute this in the comments.)

He’s a lovely aqua color and Raspberry flavored. Tangy, pretty zesty and flavorful.

imageFinally we have Yoshi. Yoshi is some sort of baby dinosaur and is one of the only characters who displays any sense of self preservation (when you’re not in control of course) and actually runs from danger.

His large snout makes it nearly impossible to sit this gummi upright (if you feel like lining them all up like some sort of action figure display). I took this photo by holding him in place, releasing my finger, then snapping the shot before he fell over.

While he’s cute and has wonderful detail with his little crest and buggy eyes, the flavor is weird. I think it’s supposed to be watermelon or green apple. It’s kind of metallic but tangy. It’s not bad as long as you don’t get too hung up on what it is.

The Nintendo 3D Gummy Candies are available in bags at grocery stores, drug stores and at other specialty shops. I got mine from CandyWarehouse, who sells them in bulk, just individually wrapped. (Of course you also end up with a 100 of them.) It’s a much better price than most of the smaller packages. Individual wrapping means they stay fresh and you can throw them in a bowl at a party or gaming night.

Rating: 7 out of 10

(If video games aren’t your bag but you think that this 3-D Gummi technology is cool enough to eat, try the Wildlife ones where they also say that they’re donating money to protect endangered species.)

Victoria has a cool list of other Nintendo-themed candies at Candy Addict.

Related Candies

  1. Mint Crisp M&Ms (Indiana Jones)
  2. Ratatouille Pocket Slider Lollipop
  3. Gummy Fishies
  4. Bubble Roll Message Maker
  5. Gummi Lightning Bugs

POSTED BY Cybele AT 7:36 am     CandyReviewAu'some CandyCompressed DextroseGumGummi CandyNovelty/Toy5-Pleasant7-Worth ItChinaComments (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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