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Hard Candy & Lollipops

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Repost: CraniYUMS!

NOTE: I’m not going to make a habit of revisiting previous reviews, but I was contacted by Jason Barba, the inventor of CraniYUMS! He pointed out the product that I tasted was probably not at its best:

Not a bad review considering the picture of our candy looks like its been in the sun for a while (causing oxidation and giving the skin a tinted yellow appearance see www.craniyumspops.com, the skin should have almost a glass like appearance).  Oxidation changes the pH and leads to what is called a maillard reaction or denaturing the proteins in the gummy gelatin.  I’m sure the texture and flavor were not favorable.

I have to admit that I got my sample last summer and hung onto it for many months (and perhaps didn’t store it properly, as I opened the package, took the photo and didn’t eat it for several days). The new samples seemed “plumper” which leads me to believe that mine dried out a bit. Combine that with the candy center which was opaque instead of transparent and it seems like I had an over-ripe sample.

So, here’s an updated review.

image

See previous picture here.

What is it? It’s a hard candy lolly in the shape of a Tyrannosaurus rex skull then covered in a gummi “flesh”. The fleshy part is transparent, so you can see the skull shape at the center. It’s actually a pretty fun idea.

The skin is soft and pliable, like a very soft gummi (not the more firm ones like Haribo). The mellow, uncolored cherry flesh tears easily from the skeleton and reveals a transparent green skull in the shape of a T-Rex.  The skin is pretty mild, not tart but not terribly sweet either. The center candy is dense and smooth in a very pretty shade of emerald green. The other flavor is lemon flesh with a cherry hard lolly center. The gummi on this one is actually really good - it’s very zesty with an intense burst of lemon essence. Again, not very tart, but really fragrant.

I’m obviously not the target market for this candy, but I can see it being a fun thing to pick up at a museum gift shop for my nephew should we go look at a dinosaur exhibit. It’s a good combination of taste, interactivity and design. I’m upgrading my review from a 5 out of 10 to an 8 out of 10. Still a little pricey, but a nice treat. If they made a giant ape one, they could sell them as a set for fans of King Kong! Maybe something to think about if you’re planning a DVD viewing party.

Previous review here.

Name: CraniYUMS Pops
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: CraniYUMS!
Place Purchased: samples from manufacturer
Price: $1.65
Size: 1.52 ounces
Calories per ounce: unknown
Categories: Gummi, Hard Candy/Lolly,United States, China

POSTED BY Cybele AT 2:16 pm    

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Malaysian Hard Candies

My site designers/programmers Susie & Travis (from Hop Studios) sent me a bag o’ treats a few months ago from their trip to Singapore. I don’t really have any specs on the candies since it was a mix, so here’s a sample of what they looked like:

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It took me a while too steel myself for trying so many mysterious things, but I’ve finally plowed through most of the treats. Some were just variations on the candies we have available here, different kinds of mints (chewy, hard, soft), coffee hard toffees, ginger chews (made in Indonesia) and of course fruit hard candies. Some were rather normal, based on the ubiquitous citrus fruits but a good number were curious.

Durian and Tamarind top the list of scary candies. I’ve heard horror stories of Durian, which is rather common throughout Southeast Asia. It’s a sizeable and formidable looking fruit and I’m told an acquired taste for outsiders (and some who’ve grown up there have never been fond of it). It’s a divisive fruit, actually, as so many people can’t stand it because of its rather pungent odor, it’s not allowed on public transportation in many large cities.

The durian hard candy is probably just as much an acquired taste and not one I’m likely to accomplish. This hard candy tastes okay at first, a little sweet, a little tart and then rather like boiled shallots. Yes, onions or garlic or perhaps a little like Slim Jims.

The Tamarind, which I’ve never had and is surprising as I live in Los Angeles and it’s all over the place, was actually nice. It’s a little toasty, rather ordinary after all being so worked up about trying that.

imageThe most curious one was the Creamy Corn. It tasted just like it sounds. Like creamed corn. Only in a hard toffee instead of running on my plate into my fried chicken. I have to say that it was very faithful to the name, and I ate the whole thing and was fascinated by it, but I can’t say I enjoyed it. It’s rather like eating the Buttered Popcorn Jelly Bellies. It’s a novelty, not a pleasure. At least not for me.

Mango was actually really nice, better than any other mango candy I’ve had, probably because they did more than make it taste like peaches. There were a few mango flavored ones, but the best overall were the ones branded Lot100 (the Blackcurrant was good, too). It had a nice pine essence to it, which is one of the things that I find so interesting about real mangoes, they have a woodsy flavor to them.

The best one was called Great Monster and I think was simply an orange hard candy. Simple, tart and zesty.

I had high hopes for those labeled barley sugar candies, but they didn’t really taste like the barley sugar I know of here in the states. They were nice, especially the lime torrone one (which was not at all like an Italian Torrone).

There are still a few I haven’t tried, but give me a few more days to get my courage back.

Rating - 6 out of 10 overall (some higher some lower ... it’s an average)

POSTED BY Cybele AT 1:52 pm     CandyReviewHard Candy & Lollipops6-TemptingMalaysiaComments (10)

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

CraniYUMS Pops

Name: CraniYUMS Pops
Brand: CraniYUMS
Place Purchased: sample from Candy Warehouse
Price: $1.65
Size: 1.52 ounces
Calories per ounce: unknown
Type: Hard Candy/Gummi/Lolly

I’ve noticed that I get a lot of Google search hits on this blog for CraniYUMS. Well, that and Choxie. So it’s about time I gave folks what they’re looking for. This has got to be one of the more innovative candy formats I’ve seen. I got this as a sample at my Candy Warehouse visit over the summer. They hadn’t decided to carry the pops, so I didn’t want to blog about it until it was available then I forgot about it until I saw Candy Addict‘s post a few weeks ago.

image

What is it? It’s a hard candy lolly in the shape of a Tyrannosaurus rex skull then covered in a gummi “flesh”. The fleshy part is transparent, so you can see the skull shape at the center. It’s actually a pretty fun idea.

I wasn’t quite sure how to approach consuming it. A gelatinous skin does not lend itself to sucking, and of course it’s a bit big for putting in the mouth whole. So when I tried nibbling on the end of his snout, I kind of get the sense that there should be some growling involved. The gummi part is definitely gummi, but I guess that’s a good thing. You kind of have to rip it off the candy skull with your teeth. As a gummi it’s rather mild, not zesty orintensely flavored. The skin is cherry flavored and the skeleton is green apple. Once a corner has been started it’s pretty easy to nibble off pieces then to get to the center. The skeletal center is hard candy, but not quite hard, because I’m guessing the gummi softens it a little bit. The flavor overall was just bland, I wanted some zip to it all. Maybe mine was a little old, but I also think I’d prefer the lemon/cherry combo.

I’m obviously not the target market for this candy, but I can see it being a fun thing to pick up at a museum gift shop for my nephew should we go look at a dinosaur exhibit. But I can also see a kid getting kind of bored with it after a few minutes. It depends on the kid. I found myself eating all the gummi skin but I didn’t eat the center. They get big points from me on originality, but I see it as more of a special occasion candy than a regular one.

The package says it’s made in China, but it’s distributed by an Denver, CO company.

Rating - 5 out of 10

UPDATE: Please see the revised review here where I now give CraniYUMS! an 8 out of 10.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 12:02 pm     CandyReviewGummi CandyHard Candy & Lollipops5-PleasantChinaUnited StatesComments (0)

Friday, December 16, 2005

Ribbon Candy

Name: Ribbon Candy
Brand: Sevigny’s - owned by F.B. Washburn
Place Purchased: Candy Baron (Santa Monica)
Price: $4.79
Size: 9 ounces
Calories per ounce: 53
Type: Hard Candy

When I was a kid I used to buy ribbon candy for my mother for Christmas. It was pretty stuff but I never remembered it being very good. I think part of the problem is that most people put it in a dish or some sort of display for the holidays and it gets all sticky.

image

Ribbon Candy is simply hard candy flattened out into long ribbons and then folded up like little puffs and twists. They’re usually pretty colors and often flavored according to those colors. This box contains a mix of minty and fruity flavors. The box also has a beautiful photo of the candy on it. The stuff inside doesn’t look quite like that.

image

First, the ribbons are not uniform. The doubling of the candy strips to form the loops was rather inconsistent and the ribbons weren’t flat, so I’d set them out to photograph and they’d rock. Second, they were not glossy and luminous like the box. I know that they have been in the past. I know the stuff I used to get for my mother looked like it was spun glass. I don’t know if it’s because this is a bad batch or that it’s just not as good anymore, but mine looked milky and dull. Only one was broken, so I was pleased that the poor box wasn’t handled poorly.

The candy itself is kind of neat to eat. Messy, but pretty interesting. You can’t just break off a little loop, it seems for each loop that you want the other half is pulverized into shards as you break it off. We’re all used to the dense sugar of the hard candy, but the wafer thin ribbons rather melt on your tongue. The flavors are ordinary and sweet, no tartness in the citrus flavors. The plain white one was cool because it was vanilla. There aren’t that many vanilla hard candies out there. The oddest thing was that the red and green striped one was some sort of strange mint. A toothpaste mint, which I’m guessing is a blend of spearmint and peppermint but tastes a little too much like toothbrush for me.

You can read more about F.B. Washburn and Sevigny’s at their home page. But here’s the part I liked best:

In June 1986, FB Washburn Candy purchased Sevigny’s Candy, its major competitor in the ribbon candy business, making Washburn Candy the only major producer of this delicacy. The ribbon candy business has grown and the product is shipped throughout the United States and Canada. Today FB Washburn Candy is a major factor in the hard candy business, supplying many rebaggers, private label and major discounters with their line of wrapped hard candies.

Did you know that there’s a “ribbon candy business” and that it was so consolidated now?

The other interesting thing is how low in calories these are. A full ribbon, which is a little over an ounce and looks huge is only about 60 calories. So if you’re looking for a little holiday indulgence that won’t fatten you up so fast, a couple of ribbons instead of a piece of pie ala mode might save you about 300 calories. It’s actually kind of nice to have with a little tea and the calories probably end up being lower consider that much of it shatters into microscopic shards that you’re more likely to inhale than consume.

Rating - 6 out of 10.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 10:12 am     CandyReviewChristmasHard Candy & Lollipops6-TemptingUnited StatesComments (20)

Thursday, November 3, 2005

Whistle Pops

Name: Whistle Pops
Brand: Chupa Chups
Place Purchased:  99 Cent Only Store
Price: $.99
Size: .635 ounces each
Calories per ounce: 113
Type: Lollipop

If you ever saw Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, you’ll know exactly what this is. It’s a candy, it’s a musical instrument! Though the whistle pops tooted by Dick Van Dyke were more like little recorders (ala a piccolo), these are slide whistles.

Chupa Chups, I must say, are awesome lollipops. First, they’re very flavorful. They’re well packaged (nothing worse than a damp piece of hard candy) and have the added bonus of a plastic stick. Why is this good? Well, I’m a drooler and don’t like the pasty mess that a paper stick becomes when I’m eating something like a Charms or Tootsie Pop.

There were four flavors in this package: Green Apple (unwrapped in the photo), Blue Raspberry, Watermelon and Strawberry. Basically, some of my least favorite hard candy flavors (my favorite Chupa Chups are the coffee ones). The texture of the candy is a little different, a little less clear and sparkly. This might be a manufacturing thing so that they can operate as whistles or might be the fact that I bought them at the 99 Cent Store.

Instead of just being a one note whistle, these have a hollow straw for the stick and there is a little sliding plunger that allows you to change the pitch of your whistling. They really work and they sound pretty good. However, as soon as you bite off the top or dissolve enough of the top, the whistling effect is gone. The flavor is nice, tart and highly scented. All change the color of your tongue. (Made in Spain.)

Rating - 7 out of 10

Related Candies

  1. Big Bite Gummy Bear
  2. Ratatouille Pocket Slider Lollipop
  3. Gummy Fishies
  4. Peeps Lollipop Rings
  5. Gummi Lightning Bugs
  6. Light Lollipops

POSTED BY Cybele AT 8:55 am     CandyReviewPerfetti van MelleHard Candy & LollipopsNovelty/Toy7-Worth ItSpain99 Cent Only StoreComments (6)

Tuesday, November 1, 2005

Barley Sugar Candy

Name: Barley Sugar
Brand: Pascall (Monkhill Confectionery now part of Cadbury)
Place Purchased: Sainsbury (West Los Angeles)
Price: $3.99
Size: 185 grams
Calories per 100 grams: 380 calories
Type: hard candy

Some folks look down their noses at hard candy. Like it’s not candy or it’s a last resort. What’s great about hard candy is that it’s incredibly portable and comes in huge varieties and is generally pretty cheap. And for the most part it’s pure sugar. While I don’t buy a lot of hard candy, I do enjoy it for particular tasks, like high-velocity noveling, whale watching excursions and long car trips.

When I was a kid we used to get barley sugar pops. They were lollipops shaped like old fashioned toys like trains, teddy bears, little dollhouses and animals. The flavors were delicate, not like a Charms sweet & sour pop, but more like a dreamy honey flavor with a touch of lemon or orange. Some have no flavor at all, like the Valentine’s hearts pops. For some reason most barley sugar candy seems to come in lollies. I have no idea why.

Barley Sugar is kind of like molasses, it’s a rather raw syrup made from germinated grains (usually barley) and is often used along with cane sugar and corn syrup to both add flavor and color to boiled candies.

These little sweets look a little like Clementine orange slices, a rich amber orange hard candy. The flavor is sweet with a nice touch of orange essence and no hint of sour. The candies are very solid and smooth with no voids or bubbles in them. The dissolve evenly and have a nice crunch if you’re one of those (I am, I can’t just let a candy dissolve in my mouth, I will chew it up).

They’re a little ordinary, but sometimes I like that ... sometimes I don’t want screaming green apple or supersour lemon drops. Sometimes I want a cup of Earl Grey tea and a few demure sweets. They’re not attention grabbers, but they’re a wonderful background music for my other pursuits.

Rating - 8 out of 10 (a little pricey for sugar)

Related Candies

  1. Regennas Clear Toys
  2. Hard Candy: Juntsuyu

POSTED BY Cybele AT 8:24 am     CandyReviewCadburyHard Candy & Lollipops8-TastyUnited KingdomComments (6)

Friday, July 29, 2005

Pop Rocks Dips

Name: Pop Rocks Dips
Brand: Pop Rocks
Place Purchased: Sample from CandyWarehouse.com
Price: $.95
Size: .63 oz
Calories per ounce: 100
Type: Sour


I’m old enough to remember Pop Rocks when they were first introduced (then made by General Foods which later dropped them). And I liked them then. I also liked to experiment with them. You know, what happens if you put them in soda? In milk? Will the dog eat them? What if you dry your tongue out by holding it in front of a fan for twenty minutes and then put the pop rocks on it? The variety as a child was endless. (I guess my mother never stressed that whole, “don’t play with your food thing.”)

This new iteration of Pop Rocks solves one of the issues of dispensing Pop Rocks for consumption. Before you’d either have to pour it into your mouth or out onto you hand and it’d invariably get sticky there. This packet of Pop Rocks includes a little rocket shaped lollipop (of the same flavor) for wetting in your mouth and dipping into the foil pack. The lolly itself is pretty good, not terribly sour or flavorful, but a good delivery device.

Pop Rocks themselves are interesting, probably a candy to be enjoyed in a group. Tart and crunchy with a good fizz. When I was a kid, I think the only flavors they came in were orange and grape. I liked the orange best. The rocks themselves are more like flakes (I’m not sure, but I thought they looked like little crisped rice kernels when I was a kid, but who knows).

If I have one tip for the packaging is to put the lolly in a separate package and make the Pop Rocks envelope a little smaller. It’s damn hard to get the little lolly into that big bag where the Pop Rocks only cover the bottom of it. Also, it’s been damn humid here lately, so if you open the package and don’t eat it right away, be sure to close it tightly, mine ended up being one big pop rock.

Good fun. Additional Info - How Do Pop Rocks Work?, Mikey from the Life Cereal Commercials and Pop Rocks, Super 70s Website and the unofficial Pop Rocks website.

Rating - 6 out of 10 (I might buy it again if they made orange)

POSTED BY Cybele AT 9:18 am     CandyReviewPop RocksCarbonatedHard Candy & Lollipops6-TemptingSpainComments (5)

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Japanese Black Sugar Candy Finds

One of the best things about this blog is finding out about completely new varieties of candies I’d never heard of. One of these is Japanese Black Sugar Candy. Known as kuro sato, black sugar is basically brown sugar/molasses.

True brown sugar is basically sugar made from the whole boiled cane instead of just the cane juice that keeps the molasses. Molasses and black sugar is high in potassium as well as traces of iron, calcium and even a little salt. The taste of black sugar is similar to muscovado and has a salty, smokey taste to it. In the States, most brown sugar that you buy in the grocery store is just white sugar that has a bit of molasses added back into it.

Some Japanese just eat nuggets of black sugar as a treat (similar to maple sugar candies or Mexican panela). In fact, I used to eat brown sugar right out of the box as a kid. I loved the flavor of it. Many doctors and pharmacists have for years used muscovado-type sugars for medicinal use, either as a base for cough remedies or added to make medicinal syrups.

The Japanese use the bold taste of kuro sato to full effect in a lot of candies. Most are hard candies which are either for eating or for use as cough drops (often with the addition of honey or menthol).

Here are a few I found:

Name: Kuro Ame
Brand: Kasugai
Place Purchased: Jbox
Price: $2.00
Size: 200 grams
Calories per ounce: unknown
Type: Hard Candy

from JBox - “A wonderful traditional Japanese hard candy, this is “Kuro-Ame” (Black Candy), a famous Japanese treat loved by everyone since the 1860’s. With a long history and a unique brown-sugar taste, this is a classical Japanese treat. One bag includes 22+ individual wrapped candies.”

Name: Pocket Black Sugar Throat Treatment Candy
Brand: Nobel
Place Purchased: Jbox
Price: $1.50
Size: 50 grams
Calories per ounce: unknown
Type: Hard Candy

In the tradition of a cough drop (similar to Ludens), this black sugar candy is packaged to carry easily in your pocket. Each piece is individually wrapped and has the distinctive taste of black sugar mellowed with a tinge of honey and menthol.

Name: Kasugai Honey & Black Sugar Candy
Brand: Kasugai
Place Purchased: Jbox
Price: $1.50
Size: 250 grams
Calories per ounce: unknown
Type: Hard Candy

Shaped like little gems, these black sugar hard candies are individually sealed and packed with a little silica gel pack to keep them dry. They have a very smooth, sweet taste because of the honey. Not as smokey tasting as the Kuro Ame made by the same company, these are probably a great one to carry as a little pick me up and throat soother. Of the three products I bought, this is the one that is already gone.

Ratings - Kuro Ame - 6 out of 10
Pocket Black Sugar Throat Treatment Candy - 7 out of 10
Kasugai Black Sugar & Honey - 8 out of 10

For more reading: Black food power, Sugar Cane - Okinawa’s Way of Life, Kokutoo - Black Sugar

Also - see previous review of Asahi Drops (I didn’t know what Japanese black sugar was when I reviewed them)

POSTED BY Cybele AT 9:32 am     CandyReviewKasugaiHard Candy & Lollipops6-Tempting7-Worth It8-TastyJapanComments (5)

Page 16 of 18 pages ‹ First  < 14 15 16 17 18 > 

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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Choose one or more:

  •   Halloween
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ON DECK

These candies will be reviewed shortly:

• Necco Skybar Zombie Food

• Eat with your Eyes: Fruity Gumballs

• Seattle Chocolates Devil’s Delight Bar

• 10 Candies that Shouldn’t Be So Disappointing

• Orgran Molasses Licorice

 

 

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