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Jelly Candy

Monday, July 19, 2010

Goody Good Stuff Sour Mix & Match

Goody Good Stuff Sour Mix & MatchIt’s not hard to find candy that’s colorful and flavorful, but what makes it harder is when you want it to be all natural, free of the major allergens (wheat, soy, dairy, nuts) and vegan. So Goody Good Stuff is here to fill that hole in your life.

I picked up this sample of their Sour Mix & Match at some trade show and have been hanging onto it until it hit the stores.

Now here’s the thing, their marketing says that these are vegan gummis. Instead of gelatin, which is made from pigs, cows or fish, Goody Good Stuff is using a new gelling agent called gellan. (I first noticed the ingredient in Halal Mentos.) Gellan is made from bacteria, not vertebrates. It sounds like a great idea, however in practice gellan is closer to agar (that jelly stuff in petri dishes) that’s made from seaweed than gelatin. Gelatin is a protein; gellan is polysaccharide. They’re simply different, they do different things and behave in different ways.

At first glance jelly candies and gummis look very similar, but they don’t behave the same way. Gummis tear sharply - you can pull a gummi apart and it will make flat edges where it breaks. Pull apart a jelly and it just, well, pulls. It doesn’t bounce, though sometimes it might jiggle nicely. The great thing is that both carry fruit flavors really well, they create a smooth texture and often a glass-like appearance.

Goody Good Stuff

So with all that chemistry aside, I’ve got a handful of candy to taste. There are quite a few different pieces in this mix and match, but I could only review three versions because I needed at least three tries to taste the flavors. They’re like little bulbous, rounded planks - about an inch and a half long.

Without any clue as to what the flavors are supposed to be, and that these are British (which is always a little different in the fruity flavors), I can only describe what I’ve got.

Green & Peach - it tastes like peach. Both ends taste the same as far as I’m concerned, but there’s a weird “ketchup” note to it that I find a little disturbing. The peach is tangy and light with a good sour bite at the start. The jelly center is smooth and doesn’t stick too much.

Red & Yellow - tastes like strawberry lemonade. The lemon is strong, sour and zesty with a slight floral note I attribute to strawberry.

Orange & Blue - is shocking. The blue is amazing for a natural product. It’s zesty and well rounded and tastes mostly like grapefruit but maybe with some pineapple thrown in.

For those who were curious, here’s what’s inside:

Ingredients: Glucose syrup; sugar; modified corn starch; Acidulant:  malic acid, citric acid; Gelling agent: gellan; flavours;  Acidity regulator: trisodium citrate; concentrates of fruits and plants (orange, elderberry, lemon, aronia, black currant, apple, kiwi, spinach, nettle); caramelized sugar syrup; elderberry extract, fructose, invert sugar syrup.

imageThese look and taste like there is no compromise. The colors are intense and I’d say kind of unnatural looking. The shape is fun and easy to grasp. They’re not messy at all, the sugar crust stays on so well there were scarcely ten grains in the bottom of the bag of these I had. They’re sour, but not that searing kind that’s likely to create blisters on the tongue after a serving.

I feel like kids or grown ups who have had true gummis before may be disappointed with the texture based on my expectations.

They also make a few other products that I’m quite eager to try: Strawberry and Cream, Cola Breeze, Sour Fruit Salad, Tropical Fruit, Koala Gummy Bears while the ones that I found less interesting were Summer Peaches and Cheery Cherries. These should be available in Stop & Shop on the East Coast and Booths and ASDA in the UK.

Related Candies

  1. Sweet Earth Chocolates
  2. Surf Sweets Gummi Swirls
  3. Organic Zootons
  4. Sjaak’s Vegan Chocolate Assortment
  5. St. Claire’s Organic Mints & Tarts
  6. Organic Surf Sweets


Name: Sour Mix & Match
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Goody Good Stuff
Place Purchased: sample from ExpoWest
Price: unknown
Size: 3.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 98
Categories: All Natural, Candy, Jelly Candy, Kosher, Sour, 7-Worth It, United Kingdom

POSTED BY Cybele AT 8:31 am     All NaturalCandyGoody Good StuffJelly CandyKosherSour7-Worth ItUnited KingdomComments (2)

Friday, July 16, 2010

Jelly Belly Cocktail Classics

One of the most popular new items at the Sweets & Snacks Expo was Jelly Belly’s Cocktail Classics mix.

Jelly Belly Cocktail Classics

The five flavor mix reminds us that It’s five o’clock somewhere (and has trademarked the phrase, to boot). They’re based on popular fruity cocktails: Pina Colada, Strawberry Daiquiri, Mojito, Peach Bellini and Pomegranate Cosmo. They’re non-alcoholic and available in a variety of packages like 9 ounce bags, 1 pound tubs (best value) and this gift box that actually guarantees that you get the same amount of each flavor.

Jelly Belly Cocktail Classics

Pina Colada - a Pina Colada is a fruity tropical blend of strained pineapple and coconut cream along with rum.
The jelly bean version is a little bit of a milky yellow color. The flavor at first is a tart but not too tangy pineapple, nicely floral and authentic. Then as the center takes over a creamy coconut flavor comes to the front. A little more coconut than I would have liked, especially because it became so sweet.

Strawberry Daiquiri - a plain daiquiri is rum, lime juice and sugar (served over ice or chilled). Later it became a slush drink or frozen daiquiri. A strawberry version varies and can be the frozen variety with just a few strawberries thrown into the blender but sometimes strawberry liqueur is added.
The jelly bean version looked like a smoothie, a soft medium pink with speckles. The flavor is mellow, more like jam than fresh strawberries. There’s a hint of tartness from time to time, but no real note of the lime or rum flavors.

Mojito - this drink has become very popular lately, it’s a mix of white rum, sugar (preferably cane juice), lime, seltzer water and muddled mint.
The jelly bean version is light green, slightly transparent and speckled with darker green. It’s kind of chaotic, which matches the drink itself. The spearmint and lime notes come at once, so it’s minty and tangy and zesty all at once. The second wave of flavor from the jelly center has a little bit of a rum note to it. This one succeeded best in capturing the combination of notes that an actual drink has. But Mojitos aren’t really a favorite of mine.

Peach Bellini - is a mix of peach puree and sparkling wine.
The jelly bean version is orange. I’ve never actually had a real bellini, so I can’t comment on this candy simulation in that respect. The peach notes are quite strong, but pretty authentic (having eaten half a peach this morning). The tangy, sweet and fuzz blend well. There’s a white wine note in there, kind of like a white grape juice with a weirdly realistic alcohol bite to it.

Jelly Belly Cocktail ClassicsPomegranate Cosmo - Cosmo is short for the original name of the Cosmopolitan cocktail. It’s a mix of vodka, Triple Sec (orange), cranberry juice and lime juice. I’m guessing the pomegranate version just subs out the cranberry juice for pomegranate juice.
The jelly bean version is a pale garnet red. The flavors aren’t quite distinct. I felt like it was simply a nice raspberry jelly bean, I wasn’t getting the orange & lime notes, just what they were pushing as pomegranate flavor.

As with most Jelly Belly flavor mixes, I love the quality of the jelly beans themselves. In this instance there were really only two I cared to eat, the Pomegranate Cosmo and Pina Colada, but given dozen of other great flavors that Jelly Belly makes, I’d still stick with the citrus mix. For me, it wouldn’t make sense to buy this mix. As a theme it’s fun and certainly pretty. The value for the box shown here is pretty bad - it’s 4.5 ounces and costs $5.99 on the Jelly Belly website - that’s over $21 a pound. So if you’ve got to have these, get them in the tub or bulk.

Related Candies

  1. Jelly Belly Sunkist Citrus Mix
  2. Cholive
  3. Jelly Belly: Lollibeans
  4. Jelly Belly Soda Pop Shoppe
  5. MarieBelle Chocolates
  6. Jelly Belly - Full Line


Name: Cocktail Classics Jelly Belly
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Jelly Belly
Place Purchased: samples from Jelly Belly
Price: $5.99 retail
Size: 4.25 ounces
Calories per ounce: 99
Categories: Candy, Jelly Belly, Jelly Candy, Kosher, 7-Worth It, United States

POSTED BY Cybele AT 10:21 am     CandyReviewJelly BellyJelly CandyKosher7-Worth ItUnited StatesComments (10)

Friday, June 11, 2010

Nory Rahat Locum

Lokum MasticaSometimes I look at photos of the markets in Turkey, with stalls piled high with different kinds of lokum (also called Turkish Delight, locum or lokumi - I’ll just call it locum for this review) and wish that places like that existed a bit closer to me.

But it turns out that they do. No, they don’t sell in big open air markets. Los Angeles has its own classic locumist (is that a word?) called Nory Rahat Locum. In 1964 a Romanian-Armenian confectioner named Norayr settled in Hollywood and started making classic locum using his family’s 100 year-old recipes. Norayr retired and sold the company to the Jibilians in 1979, who in turn sold it to Sahakians last year when they retired.

They’re dedicated to making a local product, right down to the citrus flavors and nuts in it, the boxes for packaging. The only non-American content is the mastic used for the Mastica flavor, imported from one of the few sources, the island of Chios in Greece.

DSC_4618rb

Locum is made from simple ingredients: sugar, water, starch and perhaps corn syrup and citric acid, some nuts, flavorings and colors. It’s rather like a dairy-free pudding. The mixture is boiled until the starch combines completely with the liquid and sugars to form a silky smooth paste. Then it’s poured and cooled in a shallow baking pan until it’s ready to be cut into squares. The traditional method of storing and serving involves tossing the cubes with a mixture of confectioners sugar and corn starch to keep them from sticking.

Nory Rahat Locum makes a huge variety of Locum products. They have the traditional rosewater, mint and orange as well as the nut versions including pistachio, almond, hazelnut and walnut. But what caught my eye were flavors like Bergamot, Licorice and Mastica.

Lokum MasticaI don’t know much about Mastic (or in this case Mastica).  I looked it up of course, since the whole point of Candy Blog is to explore new flavors. I know that it’s a natural plant resin that can be chewed like chicle. You might even recognize it as the root of the word masticate (to chew). The mastic tree (Pistacia lentiscus) is part of the Cashew family and is closely related to the Pistachio. I’ve had mastic gum before, I picked up some samples at some trade show along the way and it like the name implies, it’s like chewing on tree sap when you get it in its pure form. (Still stimulating and fresh-tasting, if a little hard to chew after a while.)

The idea of using mastic as a flavoring was new to me, even though the internet tells me it’s a classic confectionery flavor in the Middle East and Mediterranean.

The pieces appear uncolored, just a pale yellow. The texture is smooth and moist, with an easy bite.

The flavor is lightly woodsy, a little earthy. It reminds me of ginseng gum. A cross between tongue depressors, rosemary with a slight whiff of golden beets. At times it reminded me of office supplies, like Scotch tape, envelope adhesive and laser printers. There’s a fresh, slightly jasmine aftertaste. I know this all sounds unappealing but it’s soothing and comforting, like the smell of rain.

8 out of 10

DSC_4612rbWhile I was most excited by the exotics, there were more mainstream flavors.

Mint was bright green on the inside, like a traffic signal. This was some powerful peppermint. Probably too minty for me. It was smooth and had an excellent texture, the mint was so strong that it had a bit of a warm sensation for me but it did cut the sweetness. 7 out of 10

Rose - flowery and a bit like honey but without the over soapy notes that florals sometimes have. 7 out of 10

Orange - instead of orange blossom or orange zest this was like a whole orange flavor. A little like sweet, low acid orange juice without the pulp. It wasn’t my favorite in the bunch, I would have liked more zest in it. However, I can see this being a very accessible and easy flavor for those new to lokum to enjoy. It’s very similar to Orange Slice jellies, though so much smoother since there’s no granulated sugar crust. 7 out of 10

DSC_4613rbPomegranate was deeply colored and had a scent that was a combination of rose and raspberry. The floral and berry notes were good, but I think this one suffered with an overuse of food coloring, which gave it a weird metallic/bitter tone that was inconsistent with a desirable flavor. 7 out of 10

Licorice (not shown) was a polite dose of anise, like those Anise Bears except so much smoother and a little warmer, like there was a touch of ginger in it. Again, the food coloring gave it a weird taste as well. At this point I should note that part way through my tastings of the locum I emailed with Armand Sahakian and noted the difficulties I had with the heavily colored flavors. He confirmed that he was planning to take the products all natural by the end of the year, so this will not be an issue in the future. 7 out of 10

Bergamot was uncolored, which really helped the flavors to take the center stage. It wasn’t as strongly flavored as I thought I could tolerate, just a light kiss of what most people know as the essential flavor of Earl Grey tea. Not too sweet, soft and smooth. 8 out of 10

Lokum Pistachio (Bergamot)

The same locum also came in a nutty version: Bergamot and Pistachio. The floral and grassy notes of the soft and chewy pistachios go so well with the light herbal and citrus flavors of bergamot. If it weren’t so messy I’d probably eat the whole box.

The other nutty varieties were supplied to me in the more mainstream combinations. Hazelnut was in a vanilla locum as was Almond. They were mild and pleasant, sweet but then again the lack of the addition flavor really let the nutty notes come through. The hazelnut was really nice because the roasted flavors go so well with vanilla. It got me to wondering how this variety would do with a few cacao nibs tossed in.

8 out of 10

Part of me wanted more nuts, but that’s where it’s lucky that Nory has another line called Supreme Squares.

Nory Rahat Locum - Supreme Squares - Pistachio

Supreme Squares (they also come in bars) are a thicker version of locum with far more nuts. I tried two versions, one is the Pistachio and Rose shown above, which had a light floral note with the sweet and grassy crunch of the pistachios. The chew of the locum was fun, not quite a caramel, but still a bit on the stringy side but ultimately smooth. I ate them all. Just to let you know, I had eight pounds of locum (yes, 8 full boxes) that I’d been eating over the past two months, this was the only box that I finished all by myself.

Nory Rahat Locum - Supreme Squares - AlmondThe second version I tried was the Almond which has a vanilla base, like the locum I tried. It reminded me a bit of a translucent jelly version of Nougat de Montelimar. In fact it would benefit from a little dash of honey. The vanilla gave it a sweeter taste but the super crunchy nuts balanced it out. I definitely preferred it to the standard, less-nutty variety.

The ratings for the nutty Locum and the Supreme Squares are a solid 8 out of 10.

Armand Sahakian has done a great job of updating their product website and doing more outreach in social media (facebook and twitter), it’s fun to see a candy with such a long heritage stay current. He tells me that the packages will also be updated as well. The boxes that I got all looked the same with simple stickers denoting what flavor was inside, the new ones will be specific to the contents.

The only issue I actually have with lokum in general is how messy it is. It’s a sitting down candy, not an on-the-run candy. It’s messy, though thankfully already portioned. The Brits have a great idea there with dipping it in chocolate, but that just adds another flavor to it. Also, in the case of Nory, the package sizes are just too big for me. I don’t want a pound. I have a short attention span for candy (even in my pre-blogging days). I might want 8 ounces, but not a whole pound. I might like even smaller - like 4 ounces or “bar format” that would just be a little tray with 2 ounces. The Supreme Squares are apparently available that way.

Nory has mostly California distribution (via Indo-European Foods and Kradjian Importing Co), though I believe it’s also available online. Markets that carry Turkish, Armenian, Greek and Persian foods are most likely to have them.

Related Candies

  1. Fard’s Persian Pistachio Nougat
  2. Loukoumi Artisan Confections
  3. Nougat de Montelimar
  4. Halvah and Turkish Delight
  5. Candy Essay: Turkish Delight
  6. Turkish Delight


Name: Nory Rahat Locum
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Nory Candy and Pastry
Place Purchased: samples from Nory
Price: retail $6.50
Size: 16 ounces
Calories per ounce: 102
Categories: Candy, Jelly Candy, Nuts, 7-Worth It, 8-Tasty, United States

POSTED BY Cybele AT 1:30 pm     CandyJelly CandyNuts7-Worth It8-TastyUnited StatesComments (6)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Gimbal’s Honey Lovers

Gimbal's Honey LoversLast year Gimbal’s Candy introduced Cherry Lovers, a fanciful assortment of nine different cherry flavored jelly candies in the shape of hearts. It wasn’t my kind of thing and I wished that there was a citrus version. Gimbal’s went far more inventive than that and created Honey Lovers which features 16 different honey infused flavors of jelly beans.

Gimbal’s makes a wide array of panned candies and licorice but the big selling point for them is that they operate in a low-allergen facility. No peanuts, no tree nuts, no gluten, no dairy, no eggs and no soy. Honey isn’t just a flavoring here, the third ingredient on the list is actually honey. (The first two are sugar and corn syrup.)

The Honey Lovers come in either a 10 ounce bag or a 38 ounce resealable tub. Each of the hearts is colored and patterned to match their flavor. They also feature 25% of the RDA of vitamin C. On top of that, Gimbal’s is donating 5% of their sales to honey bee research at the University of California at Davis (which is just 100 miles or so away).

Gimbal's Honey Lovers

Golden Honey a wonderful and simple little jelly bean heart. It’s not a bright sweetness, it’s more of a concentrated honey with a little sugary grain from the shell ... which mimicked crystallized honey or honeycomb. The flavor was just a little different from the Jelly Belly Honey Bean, not quite as caramelized but still authentic.
Peaches and Honey tastes like peach fuzz and honey, kind of strange but true. Honey and peach have similar syrupy notes, so these go together well, kind of like a peach cobbler flavor.
Tangy Orange Honey starts our like a plain juicy orange jelly bean then becomes a deep honey flavored and smooth chew.
Buttered Honey Popcorn was the one I avoided. I detest fake butter flavor and this one had that “old movie theater” flavor. It was a little on the toffee side because of the honey, but still my least favorite of the bunch. (I’m sure some folks will be in love with it.)
Meyer Lemon Honey is kind of like a cough drop without the menthol. The lemon is light and only slightly zesty but no sign of tartness. The honey note is defined but separated from the lemon-ness, like the lemon is on the shell and the honey is in the center.

Gimbal's Honey Lovers
Cinnamon Honey wasn’t terribly strong but mostly cinnamon. I didn’t catch much honey on the end of it. Not as blazing as Gimbal’s stellar Lava Balls, but still fun and quite a change up from the rest of the primarily fruity bunch in this mix.
Black Cherry Honey has a little tartness at the front and was a very well balanced heart. The cherry flavors weren’t exceptionally strong, but still lasted well into the emergence of the honey flavors.
Honey Mocha Toffee (not pictured because I thought it was Black Cherry Honey) is just dreadful, there’s that fake butter flavor that I guess is supposed to be toffee and then a faint whiff of instant coffee. It’s like a bad hazelnut coffee creamer.
Coconut Honey is terribly sweet and with a strong tropical vibe. The coconut is strong on this one and since it’s easily confused with the vanilla, I ate it by mistake a few times. As long as you’re looking for something really coconutty, this is a great little heart.
Honey Vanilla this was my absolute favorite, I kept searching the bags for this one. It’s like a jelly bean version of the marshmallow in a See’s Scotchmallow. Fragrant and soft vanilla with the deep sweetness of honey.
Honey Raspberry is deep red and jammy sweet with just the right touch of honey at the end. The floral berry notes lingered long after the chew was gone.

Gimbal's Honey Lovers
Honey Dipped Strawberry is sweet and has that great summer taste to it, the honey isn’t a strong as the others, but then again, I didn’t need it to be with the great toasted sugar notes of the strawberry there.
Huckleberry Honey is kind of a mystery to me. I don’t know huckleberries that well, but can definitely say that the light berry and summer fruit notes have a tangy bite and a sweet finish.
Pomegranate Honey is a nondescript tart berry flavor where the honey takes over pretty quickly.
Blueberry Honey is like the other berry and fruit flavors, quite mild and mellow. I caught a faint bit of blueberry flavor to it, but mostly it tasted like a very honey-laden iced tea. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
Orchard Pear ‘n Honey tastes rather green in the best way possible. It doesn’t have the same crunchy grain of a real pear, but the deep malty flavors of the honey go well with the grassy notes.

Overall this was a very inventive mix. Of the 16 flavors there were only two that I picked out and refused to eat (Mocha Toffee and Popcorn), and another three that I picked around but didn’t toss back in there if I got by accident. But the ones I liked, I thought were stellar (Vanilla Honey, Honey, Meyer Lemon, Strawberry). Even if I didn’t like some, there were others whom I shared these with who did, so they are a real crowd pleaser. The only suggestion I’d have would be to have a smaller flavor mix (with 5-8 flavors in a more limited color palette) that might do better for themed buffets and folks who simply buy candy for the colors.

Related Candies

  1. Eat with your Eyes: 100% Honey
  2. Jelly Belly Honey Beans
  3. Cool Honey Altoids
  4. Puffy Candy Corn
  5. Boules de Miel (balls of honey)
  6. Melville Candy Company Honey Spoons


Name: Honey Lovers
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Gimbal’s Candy
Place Purchased: sample from Sweets & Snacks Expo
Price: unknown
Size: 9 ounces
Calories per ounce: 99
Categories: Candy, Gimbal's Candy, Jelly Candy, Kosher, 7-Worth It, United States

POSTED BY Cybele AT 4:13 pm     CandyGimbal's CandyJelly CandyKosher7-Worth ItUnited StatesComments (6)

Monday, May 24, 2010

Jelly Belly Fruit Snacks

Jelly Belly Fruit SnacksJelly Belly Fruit Snacks are smooth fruity jelly chews in six flavors and made with seven fruit juices.

The package is simple and appealing, focusing on the fruits and the fruit shapes of the candy inside. They’re entering a very crowded markeplace, there are dozens of fruit snacks already on the market, many with licensing tie ins with cartoon characters.

They come in: Berry, Cherry, Orange, Lemon, Strawberry and Apple. Each flavor is a different color and shaped for the fruit it’s emulating.

Jelly Belly Fruit Snacks
(Sorry about the photo, I’m missing the apple one from that array - it looks strikingly like the strawberry, just no little seed bumps.)

Overall the texture is closer to gum drops (like Dots) than jelly beans or gummis. It’s an easy and smooth chew, but still a little sticky.

Cherry - is quite mild, a light woodsy black cherry with a tartness to it, but nothing terribly overwhelming.

Lemon - is vivid - a good blend of tangy and zesty.

Strawberry - is floral and a little bit on the fruit punch side of things. It’s mostly jammy sweet without much sourness.

Orange - is a bit ordinary but hard to be disappointed with a decent mix of juicy and zesty.

Berry - was hard to find in my mixes that I got. Two of the single serve bags that I opened didn’t have them at all. It’s a good raspberry flavor, but a little on the non-descript side.

Apple - is fresh and authentic, a lot like apple cider and nothing like “green apple.”

The caloric density on these is very low. As an all-sugar candy there’s no fat in it but also not much in the way of nutrition… no protein, no fiber. But there is a good dose of vitamin C and of course the fact that you can eat a handful for less than 100 calories can help a lot with a craving.

They’re pretty late to a crowded market where there are a lot of choices. The price point is a bit higher than I think many folks are willing to spend but it’s the kind of candy I might pick in a vending machine or if it came in theater boxes - the idea of a naturally flavored and colored version of Dots or Jujyfruits is probably appealing to parents as well.

Related Candies

  1. Lemonhead Fruit Snacks
  2. The Simpsons Fruit Snacks
  3. Dogs versus Cats (fruit snacks that is)
  4. Sunkist Fruit Gems
  5. Fruit Parfaits


Name: Fruit Snacks
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Jelly Belly
Place Purchased: samples from Jelly Belly
Price: $2.50
Size: 2.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 92
Categories: All Natural, Candy, Jelly Belly, Chews, Jelly Candy, 7-Worth It, United States

POSTED BY Cybele AT 4:20 pm     CandyJelly BellyJelly CandyKosher7-Worth ItUnited StatesComments (3)

Friday, May 7, 2010

Trader Joe’s Jelly Beans & Citrus Gum Drops

Trader Joe's Jelly BeansTrader Joe’s is getting its “summer candy” on the shelves. Summer candy is usually sugar candy, or candy that bears the heat well. The great thing about summer candy is that it often reflects the taste of summer fruits.

One product is Trader Joe’s Gourmet Jelly Beans in 18 natural flavors. The jelly beans are even naturally colored with vegetable and fruit sources. (They’re not quite vegan though, since they use beeswax for the final polish.)

At first I thought that they might be actual Jelly Belly, but without the Jelly Belly stamp. But then I thought maybe they were Marich, who makes Green Beans for Whole Foods. Then flipping over the box I saw that they’re made in Ireland ... which really doesn’t make much sense to me because there are so many great jelly bean makers here in California.

Trader Joe's Jelly Beans

The flavor mix is almost all fruits, except for liquorice, which is really essential for any mix. The box is a nice size at 5 ounces and $1.99 they’re cheaper than Jelly Belly ($6.40 a pound versus about $9 a pound for most Jelly Belly).

Trader Joe's Jelly Beans
(The photos don’t match up with the flavor review ... they’re just illustrative.)

The citrus flavors included: Lemon, Lemon & Lime, Tangerine and Pink Grapefruit. All were sunny and zesty, though sweeter and not as intense as Jelly Belly. The zest was a little uneven as well, some were rather bitter from the peel oils but the same flavor another time wasn’t at all.

The berry flavors included: Strawberry Smoothie, Strawberry, Blueberry, Raspberry and Blackberry. These flavors had good combinations of both tartness, sweetness and the fragrant floral notes that accompany berries. I liked the raspberry quite a bit, it wasn’t quite jammy but still the best rounded (and possibly the most ubiquitous flavor in my box) but on the other end blueberry was completely lacking in any flavor at all.

Traditional fruits were Cherry, Apple and Grape.

Cherry was weird, in fact, I wasn’t sure for a while that it was the cherry, but process of elimination meant that it couldn’t be anything other.

Apple was dark green, not the light green shown on the package. It’s mild but convincing.

I can’t say that I remember eating the grape.

Trader Joe's Jelly Beans
(The photos don’t match up with the flavor review ... they’re just illustrative.)

Exotics were Banana Split, Coconut, Mango, Passion Fruit, Liquorice and Pomegranate.

Coconut was watery and sweet but still had a “coconut flavor” to it. I didn’t care much for it on its own but combined with other flavors like pomegranate or banana split it was a nice pop.

Pomegranate was sweet and a bit like cotton candy and raspberry.

I was quite fond of Liquorice, mostly because it was the first all natural licorice jelly bean that I think I’ve had. It had all the anise and licorice flavor - very sweet but a balanced woodsy and spicy character - but didn’t have any of the food coloring bitterness.

Mango was like peach for me, a little too much like the peel (or fuzz in the case of peaches) and not enough of the luscious tangy and custardy flesh.

Passion Fruit was similar to mango in that it didn’t quite get the fresh fruit for me, but it was a good mix of sweetness and toasted sugar flavors.

I loved Banana Split. It was sweet but still a good rounded banana flavor that made it taste creamy.

The texture overall is firmer than Jelly Belly and other gourmet beans. They’re smooth and very well made but chewy. Some folks may prefer that texture but I thought they were lacking punch and many didn’t taste different enough to warrant 18 flavors over 12 or 8.

Trader Joe's Citrus Gum DropsThe more exciting product for me was the new Citrus Gum Drops which feature my favorite flavor genre. Tangerine, Key Lime, Pink Grapefruit and Lemon.

Like the Jelly Beans, these are all natural and vegan. They’re also Kosher.

They’re also a better value, at 8 ounces for the same $1.99 price tag. I was hoping they’d be as good as the Starbucks teensy gum drops or the comparably priced but huge Whole Foods Gourmet Gum Drops.

Trader Joe's Citrus Gum Drops

The gum drops fit right in as gum drop sized. Like a thimble of firm jelly candy. The sugar sanding is fine grained and stuck well, so there’s not a lot of dust.

Trader Joe's Citrus GumdropsLemon - spectacularly well rounded, more like a marmalade than lemonade. Very zesty and only lightly tangy. The citrus oils are very pronounced and have a bitter aftertaste that I love until I’m done eating them and I have a bit of a burning tongue.

Pink Grapefruit - I had high hopes for these but they were a bit blander than I’d hoped. They’re more about the juice flavors than the peel. So they’re not bitter but just lacking a well rounded citrus punch but did have a bit of a caramelized sugar/honey smoothness.

Key Lime is subtle and quietly peppery. A little tangy and zesty but much deeper than the usual lime.

Tangerine - it says tangerine but it tastes simply like orange, perhaps even like Tang. Sweet and juicy, but not zesty or tart.

The gum drops were so well suited to my preferences, it’s like Trader Joe’s has been reading the blog. I liked the size and of course the price was great for a premium item. They’re not pate de fruits but they’re more vibrant than Dots.

Related Candies

  1. Wonka Exceptionals Fruit Jellies: Grapefruit, Goji Berry & Red Apple
  2. Tootsie Sour Dots
  3. Gourmet Gumdrops
  4. Harry & David Fall Leaves Fruit Gels
  5. Organic Zootons


Name: Gourmet Jelly Beans 18 Flavors
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Trader Joe’s
Place Purchased: Trader Joe's (Silver Lake)
Price: $1.99
Size: 5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 106
Categories: All Natural, Candy, Trader Joe's, Jelly Candy, 6-Tempting


Name: Citrus Gum Drops
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Trader Joe’s
Place Purchased: Trader Joe's (Silver Lake)
Price: $1.99
Size: 8 ounces
Calories per ounce: 102
Categories: All Natural, Candy, Trader Joe's, Jelly Candy, Kosher, 8-Tasty, United States

POSTED BY Cybele AT 4:00 pm     All NaturalCandyTrader Joe'sJelly CandyKosher6-Tempting8-TastyUnited StatesComments (9)

Friday, April 30, 2010

Wonka Exceptionals Fruit Jellies: Grapefruit, Goji Berry & Red Apple

Wonka Fruit Jellies - GrapefruitThe new line of Wonka Exceptionals includes new chocolate bars to replace the classic Wonka Bar and the completely new Wonka Fruit Marvels.

The Wonka Exceptionals Fruit Jellies are a bit more classic. They’re simple cubes of real fruit jelly made from all natural ingredients in Mexico. They come in single flavor boxes, the initial varieties are Grapefruit, Goji Berry and Red Apple.

They are packaged similarly to the Fruit Marvels. The label sleeve is over an eye-popping magenta and maroon box. Inside the box is an unlabeled purple mylar bag. It’s a lot of layers, and while I enjoy the fancifulness, it’s really wasteful.

Wonka Fruit Jellies - Goji, Apple & Grapefruit

The package simply describes them as fantastically flavorful soft jellies dusted with sugar. I also got a press release that said:

Made with natural ingredients, no artificial colors and 25 percent real fruit juice, these cheery confections are perfect for everyday indulgence or casual gift giving.

The ingredients go like this:

Sugar, corn syrup, water, pear juice concentrate, and less than 2% of pectin, natural flavor, beta carotene and citric acid.

The beta carotene is the only ingredient that isn’t marked as all natural, though it’s certainly not an artificial color.

Wonka Fruit Jellies - Goji, Apple & Grapefruit

I’ve had a lot of pate de fruits over the years, which are full fruit jellies. They’re usually thickened with the actual fruit instead of corn starch though sometimes there’s additional pectin (depending on the fruit). Though the new Wonka Fruit Jellies don’t quite rise to the level of pate, they do a good job with the texture and are less sweet than gum drops or fruit jellies like Boston Fruit Slices.

Wonka Fruit Jellies - GrapefruitGrapefruit is light yellow, none of this pink grapefruit stuff for Wonka.

The scent is a beguilingly authentic grapefruit peel. Grapefruit is a favorite smell for me, even clinical testing backs up its use for aromatherapy - the smell of grapefruit soothes, engenders trust and youthfulness (for women being sniffed by men, anyway). I like it because it smells like something I want to eat. It’s a mix of balsam, lavender, lemon and windy beach.

The half inch jelly cubes are rough and dusted with sugar. They’re a little messier than a gum drop but not as dusty as Turkish Delight. They’re soft to the touch but firm enough that they can’t be squeezed flat very easily. The moist jelly has a nice give, it’s not a sticky as a gum drop, these are more of a jam you can eat.

The flavor is mostly about the zest and grapefruit peel but there’s a light juice note with a little tangy snap. They’re not too cloying or sticky sweet, but not quite intense enough for me to call them a true pate de fruits.
 
Wonka Fruit Jellies - Goji BerryWhile I’ve had a lifetime of experience with Grapefruits and Apples, my interaction with Goji Berry is pretty limited. I’ve had dried goji berries quite a few times in the past three or four years. The dried berries are leathery and chewy but not terribly flavorful. Goji berries (also known as wolfberries) have a near-miraculous ability to fill my spam box with offers of all sorts of products. I’m sure goji berries were sad to see the rise in acai.

The berries are related to tomatoes, peppers and eggplants. They have tiny little seeds in them but they’re edible and provide a little bit of texture, though not quite like, say, kiwi or fig seeds do.

The package says nothing about where the flavor for these comes from, just that it’s natural. The whole point, as far as I can tell, of people eating goji is because of its high antioxidant properties, so just flavoring something with goji seems like a miss.

They’re sweet with a little tangy note. Kind of like raisin and orange. Not really that interesting to me.

Note: the Goji variety of the Fruit Jellies uses cochineal color, so they are not vegan.

Wonka Fruit Jellies - AppleRed Apple was much more appealing than I expected. It’s quite red, which was refreshing instead of the more common acid green that candies end up being.

The flavor notes are reminiscent of apple cider. There are notes of apple peel, a mellow and honey-like sweetness along with a light tart bite.

My hesitations with these are because of the excessive packaging, but for a natural fruit jelly product they’re priced rather well but still quite a bit steeper than other gummis or jellies. (They’re about twice the price per ounce compared to the Wonka Sploshberries.) The size of the pieces is perfect, I just pop them in my mouth, no messing biting & putting half aside. I do love grapefruit, which is a hard flavor to find, and apple lovers may enjoy a real fruit experience too. Goji can go, hopefully replaced by something really inventive ... maybe we’ll finally find out what a snozzberry is.

Related Candies

  1. Au’some Snerdles Super Mario Power Up Box
  2. Wonka Fruit Marvels
  3. Meiji Poifull
  4. Bissinger’s Pink Grapefruit Gummy Pandas
  5. Wonka Puckerooms
  6. Wonka Sluggles
  7. Dr. Doolittle’s Pastilles (Lemon, Grapefruit & Wild Berry)
  8. Terra Nostra Pocket Bars


Name: Wonka Exceptionals Fruit Jellies
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Nestle
Place Purchased: samples from Wonka
Price: $2.99 retail
Size: 5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 88
Categories: All Natural, Candy, Nestle, Jelly Candy, Kosher, 7-Worth It, Mexico

POSTED BY Cybele AT 12:16 pm     All NaturalCandyReviewNestleDiscontinuedJelly Candy7-Worth ItMexicoComments (7)

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Tootsie Sour Dots

Sour DotsA new addition to the Tootsie line of Dots is Sour Dots.

As with many sour iterations of popular products the package went for yellow and green, the seemingly universal colors of tartness.

The package design is cute. In this case the blue Dots logo dominates to give cohesion with the other boxes on the shelf (currently I’ve been seeing classic Dots, Yogurt Dots and Tropical). The little Dots themselves are depicted in each of the five colors with puckery faces. They’re called The Dot that bites back!

Sour Dots

The flavor assortment is middle of the road, though not just a sour dusted version of the regular fruit Dots (which come in Strawberry, Cherry, Lemon, Lime & Orange), these are Grape, Orange, Lemon, Green Apple and Cherry

The Dots are a traditional smooth jelly center with a sour coating that includes citric acid and malic acid. Dots boxes are wrapped in cellophane so they’re soft and fresh.

Sour Dots

The sour coating is definitely tart, the kind of sour that makes the back of my jaw tingle.

Grape - very sour and quite artificial but ultimately a chewy gum drop version of Pixy Stix.

Orange - so sour it’s almost salty at first, but the zesty notes of the gum drop give this a flavor depth that few other sour citrus candies have.

Lemon - really more like lemon peel than lemon juice, it’s fresh, bitter and tangy all at once. It really gave the feeling of those shaken lemonades from the fair.

Green Apple - not quite a Jolly Rancher, it’s far too tart. It’s more than just the chemical green apple, there is a hint of apple juice in there.

Cherry - this one was simply caustic. The cherry flavors were artificial and buried beneath the sourness, it was like fruity/woodsy toilet cleaner. I do admit that the cherry notes, once the sour is gone are rather deep, but still not my thing.

The smooth gum drop centers set these apart from other sour dusted jelly candies like Sour Patch Kids. They’re chewy, but kind of a slick smoothness that the others don’t have, there’s no graininess after the sour sanding dissipates. They don’t even stick to the teeth in the quite the same way as regular Dots. They’re a great value for only a dollar and some nice deep flavors. I found myself avoiding the cherry and green apple, but I’m sure that I could find friends (or husbands) to share those with.

Related Candies

  1. Halloween Dots: Bat, Candy Corn & Ghost
  2. New Flavors: Skittles Sour & Wonka Runts
  3. Dots Elements: Earth, Air, Fire & Water
  4. Dots
  5. Sour Patch Kids
  6. Florida’s Natural Sour Fruit Juice String
  7. The Lemonhead & Fruit Heads


Name: Sour Dots
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Tootsie
Place Purchased: RiteAid (Echo Park)
Price: $1.00
Size: 7 ounces
Calories per ounce: 94
Categories: Candy, Tootsie, Jelly Candy, Kosher, Sour, 7-Worth It, United States, Rite Aid

POSTED BY Cybele AT 10:05 am     CandyReviewTootsieJelly CandyKosherSour7-Worth ItUnited StatesRite AidComments (18)

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