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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)

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Three Pink Bubble Gums

I know I don’t do many gum reviews, I don’t consider myself a great connoisseur of the stuff. I’m perfectly happy with good old Peppermint Chiklets. But the All Candy Expo box included about 25 packages of gum, here are three that caught my attention:

Glee Gum - Bubblegum FlavorGlee Gum Bubblegum Flavor: The natural pink coloring here is from beets and I can’t think of a more lovely way for a beet to be displayed. The little chicklets in this case are made with actual chicle, a natural sap from Manilkara trees native to the Americas. Very few gums are made with this natural base these days. Harvesting the gum from the trees is rather like tapping Maple trees for sap or Rubber trees for latex - it doesn’t harm the trees and helps to preserve forest & their inhabitants. (Though they harvest it by making huge gashes in the bark that allow the gum to ooze out for collection unlike the little metal spiked taps that they use for maple harvests, the trees are essentially unharmed.)

I’ve tried Glee before, it’s sold at the checkout at Trader Joe’s and the infectiously cute box tempts me every time. I didn’t care for orange, which seemed grainier and stuck to my fillings, but have had the peppermint a few times since then.

The crunchy sugar shell is lightly flavored, bubblegum flavor is usually fresh tasting, a little like cotton candy with a little dash of root beer. The sugary sweetness doesn’t last that long, then it’s a very mild flavor and a good soft & smooth chew.

I have had some of my amalgam fillings replaced with composite, so I’m not having the sticking problem I used to. I don’t think the bubblegum flavor is for me, probably because it’s not actually bubble gum. (See more about this all natural gum at the Glee Gum website.)

Rating: 7 out of 10

Strawberry WOWzersWOWzers Strawberry from Maxim International describes itself on the package as Explosive and Sour Powder Bubble Gum. I wasn’t really sure what it was. At first I thought it was a tube of something like Pixy Stix that you chew until it becomes gum (like a powdered Razzle).

Instead, it’s a long tube of bubble gum (strawberry flavored, in this case) about as big around as a bubble gum cigar. Inside it’s hollow and filled with a white crumbly, crunchy & grainy sour powder (a la Pixy Stix).

Strawberry WOWzersIt feels overpackaged. It’s inside a long mylar wrapper, which has a little waxed cardstock tray that wraps around three sides of the product. The version I have is 1.2 ounces but the one I teased yesterday are 3.6 ounces (and probably about three times the length). They also come in Fruit Punch, Apple & Grape.

First, the product looks, well, a little odd out of the package. Kind of like a 9 inch long extremely thin hot dog. It’s not made into individual portions, which I’d figure is about 2 inches.

The bite is soft and easy, immediately tangy and grainy. The candy sand dissolves and dissipates pretty quickly. It’s sour and certainly gets the salivary glands working, much in the way the old Quench Gum did. After that wears away with chewing it’s a rather sweet and plain strawberry bubble gum. It’s a very soft chew which takes a while before it’s appropriate for bubble blowing.

These are made in China. I don’t think they’re for me, but it’s a fun new blend of confections and might please some kids.

Rating: 5 out of 10

Hubba Bubba Glop - Watermelon & StrawberryOkay, I was kind of liberal with the “pink” part of the title. Hubba Bubba Glop Strawberry Gush is actually red when it comes out of the package. It gets pink when you chew it. It also comes in watermelon flavor.

These are already available on stores, I saw them at CVS in Hollywood earlier this week. They come in a hard plastic tube with a flip top. It seems like a bit too much packaging, though I can see a few ways to reuse the tube, which is coded 05 (polypropylene) for recycling. The outer wrap comes off, so it’d just be a plain red tube good for holding extra batteries, more candy, a very small portion of carrot sticks, condiments or some headphones.

Hubba Bubba Glop (Strawberry)Inside are five huge pieces. They’re shaped like footballs and are the size of a small pecan in the shell.

While most gumballs are hollow, the glop part of this gum fills that void. The gum has a hard crunchy shell, then the soft and sweet gum then a reservoir of sweet strawberry goo in the center. The goo is tangy and sticky, but pretty flavorful.

It’s a good chewing bubble gum. I don’t think I need the gooey center, but it’s interesting and as long as you know it’s going to be there, adds some more flavor. The bubbles were good, large without being too sticky. A single piece was a good portion for chewing.

(I’m really intrigued by this Cola version available in Australia - regular Hubba Bubba is also available in Cola flavor in other parts of the world.)

Rating: 7 out of 10

Related Candies

  1. Tiny Size Chiclets
  2. Gold Mine Gum
  3. Short & Sweet: Gums
  4. Sandy Candy
  5. Giant Pixy Stix
  6. Dubble Bubble Fluff
  7. Glee Gum: If You Like Stuff Stuck to Your Teeth

POSTED BY Cybele AT 8:59 am     All Candy ExpoAll NaturalCandyGoo FilledReviewWrigley'sGum5-Pleasant7-Worth ItChinaUnited States

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

XyliChew

XyliChewChewing gum is a logical product to make sugar free, and for many years there have been products that use Xylitol as an alternative (and better) gum sweetener.

I got a few samples at ExpoWest of their different flavors, but ended up opting for a full package of the Cinnamon XyliChew for this review.

The package is a nice paperboard box with a blisterpack that holds 12 pieces inside. Two pieces are normal serving size (though sometimes I go for three pieces).

XyliChew boasts 70% of its content is xylitol, which is supposed to have many health benefits. Studies link lower incidences of dental caries (cavities) to consistent use of xylitol (either in gum or mouthwash) and others have said that it keeps teeth & bones strong as we age. But the amount needed for those more substantial positive effects are probably greater than would be consumed normally. A pair of pieces gives the chewer only 1.6 grams per serving. (Studies were using dosages of 20-40 grams per day.) You can read more of the features at their website.

But that aside, this is gum and most often we’re chewing it for other reasons, such as to freshen the breath, a boost of flavor, keep us from munching and just plain old enjoyment of chewing.

These are cool on the tongue immediately, which is one of the big appeals of xylitol as a confectionery sweetener. The cinnamon flavor is much more like the powdered spice or chewing on an actual stick of the bark than those “cinnamon flavors”, so it’s a bit deeper. It’s not at all spicy though, there’s no burning feeling to it. The chew lacks much grain to it like sugared gums have (well, there’s a little from the shell, but that dissipates quickly). The flavor remains for quite a while, I tracked it as still having a satisfactory amount of cinnamon flavor after 30 minutes, though the sweetness had abated.

It didn’t stick to my teeth, which is also a nice feature (yes, I have fillings - those old fashioned amalgam & those new fangled white composite ones).

As a sugar free product, I don’t feel like I’m missing a thing. Some folks may not like that cooling sensation and of course you have to get used to xylitol. I still prefer my good old Peppermint Chiclets, but I could get used to this, too.

XyliChew is all natural, even the gum base is from the sapodilla tree. It uses beeswax though, so may not be appropriate for all vegans.

Many stores like Whole Foods, Nature Mart and health food shops carry XyliChew, you can also order online through Nature Mart or Amazon. They retail for about $2 a package. It also comes in other flavors like: spearmint, peppermint, tropical fruit, licorice and chocolate.

UPDATE: Also, be aware that xylitol is dangerous to dogs, so be very careful to keep xylitol sweetened products away from pets.

Related Candies

  1. Gimbal’s Lavaballs
  2. Atomic Fireballs
  3. Tiny Size Chiclets
  4. Gold Mine Gum
  5. Razzles
  6. No Time & Black Black
Name: XyliChew
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Tundra Trading, Inc.
Place Purchased: samples from ExpoWest
Price: $2.00 retail
Size: .47 ounces
Calories per ounce: 49 (if you chewed 25 pieces)
Categories: Gum, Cinnamon, Finland, Sugar Free, All Natural

POSTED BY Cybele AT 9:00 am     Comments (1)

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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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