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Friday, July 20, 2007

Charms Blow Pops & Zip-a-Dee

Charms Zip-a-DeeCharms Blow Pops are a classic lollipop. Like their Tootsie Pop cousin, they’re a hard candy pop with another candy inside, in this case it’s bubble gum. However, Tootsie Pops and Charms Blow Pops are related only by marriage. Tootsie bought the Charms Company in 1988, making Tootsie the world’s largest lollipop producer.

I was especially fond of Charms pops as a kid and the little Charms hard candies in a roll. In the case of the Charms Blow Pop, it was always grape for me. The current flavor range is Cherry, Watermelon, Sour Apple, Strawberry and that Grape.

blow pops

Blow Pops are pretty big, they’re not Dum Dums. Of course if you’re going to put a decent sized piece of bubble gum at the core, the lollipop has to be bigger (unless you’ve somehow invented the candy-equivalent of the TARDIS or bag of ultimate holding ... depending on what sort of geek you are).

The hard candy is passably good. It’s flavorful but usually has a lot of bubbles and voids in it and because of the size it means that there’s a very good chance I’m going to tear up the inside of my mouth at some point. That’s okay, bubble gum has soothing properties, right?

My preferred method for eating is to suck on the lolly until I’ve gotten down to a spot that’s close enough to the bubble gum center that I could start biting and crunching.

It’s okay to get some candy in your bubble gum.

The bubble gum center is usually soft enough to chew easily, though I’ve had bad ones that were rock hard. The gum has a lot of sugar in it, so it takes a while to get it to a consistency that supports bubble blowing. The cool thing about Blow Pops is that they’re usually available as individual items. Usually about 25 cents ... so you can buy a few of them or just add it to your impulse purchases at the check out.

As lollipops that I’d eat as a child the order of preference went something like this:
1. Orange Tootsie Pop
2. Grape Tootsie Pop
3. Charms Lemon Sweet & Sour Pop
4. Charms Orange Pop
5. Grape Blow Pop

image

The Charms line at Tootsie also added the Zip-a-Dee Mini Pops assortment to their line of candies recently. They’re smaller round pops, kind of like miniature Blow Pops in format, except for the lack of a gum center.

I though the flavor assortment sounded good and I was actually really pleased by the packaging on these. If you’re a fan of the smaller format of Dum Dums, this might be a nice change. They’re slightly longer than Dum Dums and perhaps a little zazzier.

Charms Zip-a-DeeThe little wrappers are pretty solids with a white printed design for each flavor. I thought they were so charming, I’d recommend these to folks who are looking for a nice, inexpensive candy to include in a Candy Buffet (they’re popular at weddings and showers these days). I got this half pound bag for $1, so filling up some pretty glass jars or vases with these would be a snap for those on a budget but still want to look elegant.

  • Crazy Cotton Candy - sweet and rather bland and a disconcerting opaque light blue color. Tasty.
  • Strawberry Splash - mild and really fruity, not too tart but a nice round summery flavor.
  • Groovy Grape - pretty much the same grape from the Blow Pop. Not terribly strong, but then again, not terribly fake tasting either. More like grape soda than grape candy.
  • Cherry Mania - I ate two of these just to be sure, they tasted more like watermelon than cherry.
  • Watermelon Rush - light and refreshing, not too tart, kind of like cotton candy.
  • Awesome Orange - sweet and zesty and a little tangy.
  • Chillin’ Pink Lemonade - tart and lemony but rather sweet as well.
  • Boppin’ Banana - nice, a little fake tasting and also has a little tart bite to it that I don’t care much for.
  • Fruit Punch Blast - mellow and more on the berry side of things than anything else, a weird little bitter aftertaste for me, but that could just be the red coloring.
  • Bubble Gum Burst - really tastes like bubble gum, it has that sweet and round bouncy flavor that also has a little hint of the medicinal wintergreen in the background that says BASEBALL CARDS to me.
  • Green Apple Crash - this was kind of like the lemonade to me, and maybe tasted more of lime than green apple. Not unpleasant, just not what I thought.
  • Blue Razzberry - tangy and fruity with florals, tasted a little like the fruit punch.
  • Lollipops are just a way to dress up hard candy, but it does solve the essential problem of wanting to take the candy out of your mouth and not touch it with your fingers. Genius!

    Related Candies

    1. Gold Mine Gum
    2. Blow Pop Minis
    3. Tootsie Tropical Pops
    4. Razzles
    Name: Blow Pops and Zip-a-Dee Assortment
      RATING:
    • 10 SUPERB
    • 9 YUMMY
    • 8 TASTY
    • 7 WORTH IT
    • 6 TEMPTING
    • 5 PLEASANT
    • 4 BENIGN
    • 3 UNAPPEALING
    • 2 APPALLING
    • 1 INEDIBLE
    Brand: Charms (Tootsie)
    Place Purchased: 99 Cent Only Store (Harbor City)
    Price: $.25 & $.99
    Size: .65 & 8 ounces
    Calories per pop: 60 & 17
    Categories: Hard Candy, Gum, United States, Tootsie

    POSTED BY Cybele AT 7:21 am     Comments (7)

    Thursday, June 7, 2007

    Tiny Size Chiclets

    Tiny Sized ChicletsChiclets are my absolute favorite gum of all time. I love the classic white gum. It’s not easy to find any longer, I usually pick up six packs at the 99 Cent Only Store. They used to come in a lot of flavors, Spearmint and Fruit and if I’m not crazy, I think there was a Cinnamon at one time. The boxes are clean and feature nicely packed little candy-coated tile-like pieces of gum. Crunchy, flavorful ... easy to share. No messy wrappers.

    At one time the Fruit Chiclets were different flavors, but eventually all the colors became the familiar fruit flavor (kind of like JuicyFruit). On rare occasions I also see the Tiny Size Chiclets at the store. Tiny Size are, well, just adorable. They the perfect size to offer to your Barbie doll. You know, if she’s a gum chewer ... maybe trying to break a smoking habit.

    Tiny Sized ChicletsI stopped at the CVS to pick up some toothpaste the other day after work and spotted these at the checkout. I couldn’t resist. Sure, I had a six pack of Peppermint at home, but I hadn’t had the Tiny Size in years and that Gold Mine Gum was still pretty fresh in my mind.

    While the regular pack boasts 12 pieces, which is pretty much six portions, the Tiny Size is only one half of an ounce.

    image

    For me this amounted to about three portions. The chew is satisfyingly crunchy, but not as grainy as the larger Chiclets can be. The fruit flavor is pleasant. A little bland and of course doesn’t last very long.

    As cute as these little freaks are, I don’t think I’m going to buy them again, unless I’m working on some sort of candy craft project. The colors are unusual, the package seems to indicate that they’re rather neon tinted, in reality they’re just bright.

    Peppermint Chiclets were introduced by the Fleer company in 1906. Fleer was later swallowed up by Warner Lambert in 1962, also the year that the Tiny Size was introduced. Warner Lambert sold their gum concerns to Cadbury Adams in 2000. Chiclets are still made with sugar but are manufactured in Colombia.

    Name: Tiny Size Chiclets
      RATING:
    • 10 SUPERB
    • 9 YUMMY
    • 8 TASTY
    • 7 WORTH IT
    • 6 TEMPTING
    • 5 PLEASANT
    • 4 BENIGN
    • 3 UNAPPEALING
    • 2 APPALLING
    • 1 INEDIBLE
    Brand: Adams (Cadbury)
    Place Purchased: CVS (Hollywood)
    Price: $.69
    Size: .5 ounces
    Calories per ounce: 100
    Categories: Gum, Colombia, Cadbury

    POSTED BY Cybele AT 11:04 am     Comments (14)

    Wednesday, April 18, 2007

    Gold Mine Gum

    Gold Mine GumThis was one of the worst purchases I would make as a kid. I love little nuggets of gum (and often bought those Chicklets Tinys as well) but really the selling point here was the fact that it came in a real cloth bag! Still, it was a sweet treat with a reusable package (I would keep little pieces of beach glass or pennies flattened by trains in mine).

    I have no idea if this is the same brand that I would buy at the Stop ‘n Go in Munroe Falls, OH. I seem to recall a little miner in a big hat grinning his fool’s gold heart out on the front, but I might have imagined that.

    image

    Gold Mine Gum is just little candy coated nuggets of gum. I recall it being a fruity flavor (ala Juicyfruit) when I was a kid, but this stuff tastes kind of like cherry to me.

    The gum was actually inside a little clear cellophane bag inside, which is a good thing. After I took the photo (and chewed up everything outside of the bag in the picture), I didn’t put it back in the wrapper. The stuff I chewed right then was nice and soft. The stuff I’m chewing right now as I write this is a little crumbly to start, but as with trading card gum wafers, it softens up eventually. It’s sweet and sugary and then loses its flavor. The bubbles are okay, not super-smooth like the high-tech bubble gums that came long later.

    But back to the bad purchase ... there’s not a lot in here. 2 ounces of gum isn’t much and at a retail price of $1.25, there are better deal out there. But there’s something about the idea of chewing representations of an ore that may one day be made into your dental work that’s appealing.

    Note: this isn’t the same brand of gum from when I was a kid.

    Name: Gold Mine Nugget 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: Espeez
    Place Purchased: sample from Espeez
    Price: retail $1.25
    Size: 2 ounces
    Calories per ounce: unknown
    Categories: Gum, Mexico

    POSTED BY Cybele AT 12:23 pm     Comments (20)

    Monday, February 19, 2007

    Short & Sweet: Gums

    I’m a little sick, just bronchitis, nothing to block my enjoyment of candy but I’m a little tired. I’m spending more time on the computer and just read an interesting article about some of the benefits of gum to help build memory or as a delivery method for supplements. (Link to LATimes.)

    So I thought I’d profile a few gums today, just in short because, well, it’s just gum.

    image

    I picked this Cool Cola Hubba Bubba up at Munchies here in Los Angeles. I rather enjoy cola flavor, though I rarely drink soda. This gum is from Israel and I can’t tell you what the label says beyond the flavor.

    The chew is soft like Hubba Bubba but has a really good rounded cola flavor, complete with a tangy lemon element and the spicy cola notes. The flavor doesn’t last very long, but as it peters out it does taste a bit like old cinnamon gum, which isn’t unpleasant at all. The bubble blowing is pretty good too. I can’t say that the color is as appealing as regular pink bubble gum, but the size of the bubbles can be impressive. While I wasn’t a huge fan of this, I really think it should be marketed in the US, it fills a gaping hole in the flavor range of our bubble gums.

    (A little housekeeping note, I like to put on some lip balm before blowing bubbles to keep the gum from sticking to my lips.)

    Rating: 6 out of 10

    image

    I bought this gum in a Family Guy tin with Stewie on the front last summer at Powell’s Sweet Shoppe. It mostly bought it for the tin and this one was the least offensive of the Family Guy sayings there. (Not that I don’t like Family Guy, but this is a family-friendly blog.)

    The little gum pieces are as cute as can be, light orange and shiny. The flavor says it’s orange, but I’d call it a juicyfruit plus orange. It’s not very strong gum and not really that good. It sticks to my teeth (I have fillings) and doesn’t last very long. But I liked the tin and will find something to stuff in there at some point when I bring myself to finish the gum that’s probably all tacky and stuck to the bottom now.

    Rating: 4 out of 10

    image

    Talk about your unimaginative names. Cafe Coffee Gum! Whee!

    I picked this up because I was actually curious about the new Wrigley Kona Coffee gum, but I’m not gonna buy that, because it’s got artificial sweeteners in it. So when I saw this, and that it had sugar, I figured it was destiny. And though I make fun of the name, the package design was rather pleasing.

    It’s not strongly flavored, but rather nice and mildly sweet coffee-flavored. The flavor doesn’t last very long and when it peters out along with the sugar it’s rather musty tasting. But swapping for another piece solves that problem. I can go through a pack of gum in a matter of an hour that way.

    Rating: 4 out of 10

    POSTED BY Cybele AT 9:59 am     CandyReviewLotteWrigley'sCoffeeGum4-Benign6-TemptingIsraelUnited StatesComments (5)

    Friday, January 12, 2007

    Blow Pop Minis

    imageI’m a big lollipop fan. (No, not that I like big lollipops.) My favorite cheapo lollipop is the Orange Tootsie Pop (though I enjoyed the Limited Edition Tropical flavors last year, too). Blow Pops aren’t quite as good, mostly because the gum isn’t candy and they don’t come in orange.

    While wasting time at the Pittsburgh Airport, I found these Blow Pop Minis. They herald, “It’s a Blow Pop with NO Stick!” Hallelujah! Now adults can eat their Blow Pops without being branded Rejuveniles.

    image

    While they say they’re Blow Pops without sticks, they’re also without mass. They’re wee little candies, about the size of a smooshed garbanzo bean. And they’re mostly candy. They come in four flavors: Watermelon, Blue Razz, Cherry and Sour Apple. (No, no grape, which is a classic Blow Pop flavor.)

    imageI talk a lot about proportions when it comes to candy. Sometimes something can be coated in too much chocolate or not have enough of a particular element. Let me just say that the blow part of the Blow Pop Minis is sadly lacking.

    First, the gum is hard and tacky. Some of the time it wouldn’t even chew, just sit in the crevasses of my molars until I picked it out or ate something to dislodge it. Second, if I got the gum to chew, it was a wee amount. We’re talking the size of a BB. It would probably take six candies to make the amount of gum in one Chicklet.

    These are stupid. Why not make one large enough to hold a responsible amount of gum? These little candies are probably a third of the size of a Root Beer Barrel. And you’re wondering, why not just sell them has plain old unfilled hard candies? Well, then they’d just be Charms.

    The gum ends up being tough and flavorless ... rather like chewing a stamp or a piece of paper.

    The candy part isn’t bad but, of course, none of the flavors are favorites of mine.

    This is just a bad idea.

    Name: Blow Pop Minis
      RATING:
    • 10 SUPERB
    • 9 YUMMY
    • 8 TASTY
    • 7 WORTH IT
    • 6 TEMPTING
    • 5 PLEASANT
    • 4 BENIGN
    • 3 UNAPPEALING
    • 2 APPALLING
    • 1 INEDIBLE
    Brand: Tootise
    Place Purchased: Eckert (Pittsburgh Airport)
    Price: $.69
    Size: 2 ounces
    Calories per ounce: 100
    Categories: Hard Candy, , Gum, SourUnited States, Tootsie, Gum

    POSTED BY Cybele AT 7:11 am     Comments (17)

    Monday, October 30, 2006

    Nerds Gumballs

    I have only one gum that I consume regularly. It’s plain old Chiclets (peppermint). They’re not that easy to find (and I think made in Colombia now) so when I see the multipack at the 99 Cent Only store I usually grab one.

    I then empty out the box on my desk and divide the pieces up into groups of three. I chew three pieces at a time and then spit it out when the sugar is gone. Rinse, repeat. A whole box of 12 pieces might last an hour.

    Sugarless gum is great for freshening breath and calming a queasy stomach, but Chicklets are like candy to me. But let’s face it, they’re just white tiles ... sometimes I want something pretty to chew on.

    image

    So the 99 Cent Only store didn’t have the Chiclets last time I was in there ... so I bought these gumballs (hey, at 4 for 99 cents, how could I resist?). Made by Wonka, they’re plain old large gumballs with Nerds inside.

    They’re big gumballs and have a pleasant rattle when you shake them close to your ear. The Nerds inside are confetti colored and have no relation to the outside color/flavor of the gumball itself. Some gumballs had lots of Nerds in them, with 12 being about average. However, there were two gumballs (I consumed two packages) that had four or less.

    The gum itself was ordinary with a light fruity flavor.

    Orange: orange - mild and pleasant. The tart bump of the Nerds was nice and combined well with the sugary graininess of the gum.

    Purple: grape - it had that bitter initial taste to it, which I suspect is the food coloring. The flavor was floral and fruity though it faded quickly but went well with the Nerds.

    Red: cherry - a light cherry flavor and a slight bitter tinge but sweet and pleasant after the flavor was halfway gone.

    Green: apple - I’m not sure what flavor this was, it was sweet and fruity and had a slight sour bite which goes nicely with the grainy tartness of the Nerds.

    Yellow: lemon - sweet and tangy and probably the most flavorful of all of them, not that it lasted very long.

    I’m not going to switch to these. The flavor wasn’t very intense, though the gum was nice and soft and had a good sugar charge to it that was supplemented by the Nerds. If you’re one of those people who likes to eat saltines with your gum for a nice crunch, these might be perfect for you.

    Name: Nerds Gumballs
      RATING:
    • 10 SUPERB
    • 9 YUMMY
    • 8 TASTY
    • 7 WORTH IT
    • 6 TEMPTING
    • 5 PLEASANT
    • 4 BENIGN
    • 3 UNAPPEALING
    • 2 APPALLING
    • 1 INEDIBLE
    Brand: Wonka (Nestle)
    Place Purchased: 99 Cent Only Store
    Price: $.25
    Size: 1.3 ounces
    Calories per ounce: unknown
    Categories: Gum, Sour, United States, Nestle

    POSTED BY Cybele AT 8:36 am     Comments (14)

    Wednesday, September 27, 2006

    Bubble Roll Message Maker

    This really isn’t a candy review so much as a product highlight. While I generally don’t like candy novelties, there are a few new products this year that really engaged me (the Gummi Lightning Bugs). Mostly because they combined candy and interactivity, instead of just being a fancy shaped container.

    image

    The Bubble Message Maker is a like the old Dymo label makers that uses strips of tape that you embossed letters on, one at a time. Here you make messages one letter at a time on bubble gum strips (bubble tape).

    The center handle portion holds the roll of bubble tape, in this sample I have green apple, but the cool thing is that you can refill the Bubble Roll Message Maker with ANY standard width bubble tape.

    The top of the message maker has a dial with all 26 letters (but no numbers or punctuation). You simply turn the dial to the desired letter and then press firmly on the little button to imprint the bubble tape. Roll the tape forward a full click and then repeat for your desired word or words.

    The button was a little hard to press, so it took me a couple of tries to get the hang of it. The message isn’t really that clear, but it’s possible different colors of bubble tape are better for this than others.

    Making a message is a little time consuming and of course takes patience (and there’s no delete button) but looks like a fun toy with a bit of candy with it with the added bonus that it’s refillable.

    (The gum is made in the US, the toy is made in China.)

    Name: Bubble Roll Message Maker
      RATING:
    • 10 SUPERB
    • 9 YUMMY
    • 8 TASTY
    • 7 WORTH IT
    • 6 TEMPTING
    • 5 PLEASANT
    • 4 BENIGN
    • 3 UNAPPEALING
    • 2 APPALLING
    • 1 INEDIBLE
    Brand: Au'some Candy
    Place Purchased: All Candy Expo sample
    Price: retail ~ $2.50
    Size: unknown
    Calories per ounce: varies
    Categories: Gum, United States

    POSTED BY Cybele AT 8:44 am    

    Friday, August 11, 2006

    Bear Bubble Gum

    I actually went out and bought these. I saw that they were being introduced at the All Candy Expo and I kept meaning to go over to their booth and pick them up, but I just kept missing them.

    image

    I’m not a huge gum fan so I’m not sure what attracted me to these, but there you have it, I bought them when I was them at Powell’s late last month.

    They’re just bubble gum, but they’re in such cute teddy bear shapes! The pieces are ample and there are four different flavors in each package. Each piece boasts “hand decorated” elements (the eyes, nose and bow tie). I was concerned that they would be hard crunchy bits that wouldn’t go well with the gum.

    Each piece is isolated in a little blister pack dome. The package is nice, you can see each of the little guys in their own window and the fruity shapes and colors make them look very appealing and not too child-oriented.

    imageGrape - tart and fragrant with a strong fake grape flavor. The chew was soft and bouncy and it kept some of its flavor even after the sugar was gone, but got a rather odd chemical/menthol flavor. Sure enough, the ingredients lists menthol. The bubbles were ultrasmooth.

    imageTutti Fruitti - tangy but with a much stronger menthol element. There was little fruitiness to it, just a tart, sweet bite. I was hoping for a more mellow sweet flavor like a JuicyFruit. Yeah, his little eyeballs were kinda cockeyed, and one fell off before I chewed it.

    imageStrawberry - very little trace of the menthol, sweet and flowery with a little pop of sour that fills out the flavor. The menthol flavor appears towards the end of the chew, just when the bubbles are getting good.

    imageMelon - wonderfully delicate and fragrant but it turns dark with the menthol long before the flavor runs out. The little sugar frosting bits were also kind of nice. They were cool and smooth and didn’t distract from the gum at all, integrating well.

    On the whole I think the whole gag is a little precious. You don’t get a lot for your money (however, the Mineco website says that they should retail for less than half what I paid for them) and of course with the flavor assortment they’re not really good for combining into super-pieces. The menthol flavor was a real turn off for me and I can’t imagine it being very compelling for children.

    Name: Bear 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: Mineco
    Place Purchased: Powell's Sweet Shoppe
    Price: $1.49
    Size: 6.7 ounces
    Calories per ounce: 76
    Categories: Gum, China

    POSTED BY Cybele AT 6:09 am    

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