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Just Born

Monday, February 28, 2011

Peeps Peepsters (Milk & Dark Chocolate)

Peeps Peepsters - Milk Chocolate CremesJust Born has been steadily expanding the Peeps line of products for the the past five years or so. Beyond just new colors and shapes for the iconic sugar crusted marshmallows, they’ve also delved into flavors and more recently, the addition of chocolate.

The newest member of the Peeps repertoire is Peeps Peepsters Chocolate with Marshmallow Flavored Creme. They come in two varieties, milk and dark chocolate and sound like an interesting new version, more about the chocolate and less about the marshmallow.

I found them at the drug store before Valentine’s Day, so I paid full price for my bags - $3.99, which I found startling for 11 ounces of candy whose first ingredient was sugar and contained palm kernel oil.

I’ll start with the Peepsters Milk Chocolate with Marshmallow Flavored Creme which are enclosed in an easy to spot yellow bag with brown and green trim. The pieces inside are visible through a little window and foil wrapped in a matte pastel assortment of yellow, orange and pink.

Peeps Peepsters - Milk Chocolate Cremes

The pieces are a little bit bigger than a Rolo. They feel solid and firm. Even without unwrapping them a vague soft vanilla flavor wafted from the bag. The little domes on the pieces have a little Peep on them, but that’s the only chicky thing about them. There’s really nothing that otherwise makes these feel Peepy except that the packaging tells me so.

The chocolate is smooth and has an excellent snap (however, it is rather cold in Los Angeles right now, they’ve been sitting in the unheated Candy Blog studio, which is about 58 degrees right now). It’s quite sweet but what’s most notable about the creme center is how firm it is. It seems to have the same density as the chocolate. So biting into it is like biting into a thick chunk of chocolate. As you can see from the cross section, there’s a lot of chocolate and not much filling.

The chocolate is sweet and milky, which adds to the marshmallow notes. The cream center does melt a bit on the tongue, kind of like a white chocolate but without the extra milk notes and malty flavor. Instead it’s all vanilla and sweetness. I didn’t get marshmallow at all. If this was served to me without a name, I don’t think think I would have come up with marshmallow as a descriptor. The essential elements of marshmallow are missing. (Lightness, fluffiness and smooth melt.)

Peeps Peepsters Dark Chocolate CremesThe Peepsters Dark Chocolate filled with Marshmallow Flavored Creme are similar to the milk counterpart. They come in a blue bag with white polka dots and the same brown trim. The foil wrapping on the pieces is blue, green and lilac. (So you could mix these in a bowl and knowing the key, pick out your preference.)

The dark chocolate contains milk fat, so it’s not suitable for vegans ... but the creme center has milk products in it anyway. There is no gelatin in it though, so lacto-ovo vegetarians can indulge if they want to. The thickener used for the center is gum arabic.

The caloric density on the dark version is slightly higher, there are two more grams of fat per serving in this version.

Peeps Peepsters - Dark Chocolate Marshmallow Cremes

Again there’s nothing Peepish about these. They have a much more pronounced vanilla smells to them, and less of the milky notes.

The chocolate is deep and rich, though not entirely well rounded. There are bitter, woodsy notes of charcoal and a lack of fruity notes to balance it all out. So it’s a very rough sort of flavors in combination - the one note sweet vanilla flavored center and then the cocoa powder outside. The balance of sweetness in this was much better though, so I definitely felt much less throat-searing on this version.

Peeps Peepsters - Dark Chocolate Marshmallow Cremes

It’s an interesting brand extension from a company that I’ve never really though of much more than a sugar candy manufacturer. The foil is cute, but the ratio of center to chocolate was a bit off for something that I thought was going to have the lightness of marshmallow. The attention to detail on the production though is much better than my recent experiences with the Chocolate Covered Peeps. The pieces were well made and protected appropriately by their wrappings. I like that there’s no unnecessary food coloring used in the centers to make them violently yellow - so parents can feel better about giving these to kids. And for once vegetarians can enjoy a Peeps product.

But if I were to pick up an Easter themed cream, I think I’d stick with the Russell Stover eggs line, even though the ratio of chocolate to cream is pretty much the opposite.

UPDATE 11/29/2012: Just Born updated the packaging look for Peepsters this year, though the product remains the same. They also introduced a Christmas-themed version with red and green foil wrappings.

Related Candies

  1. Peeps Dark Chocolate Covered Mint Marshmallow
  2. Chocolate Covered Peeps
  3. Peeps Mash Ups - Savory
  4. Russell Stover Eggs
  5. Peeps Mash Ups
  6. Cadbury Eggs: Creme & Caramel


Name: Peeps Peepsters Milk Chocolate with Marshmallow Flavored Creme
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Just Born
Place Purchased: RiteAid (Miracle Mile)
Price: $3.99
Size: 11 ounces
Calories per ounce: 128
Categories: Candy, Easter, Just Born, Chocolate, Kosher, 6-Tempting, United States, Rite Aid


Name: Peeps Peepsters Dark Chocolate with Marshmallow Flavored Creme
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Just Born
Place Purchased: RiteAid (Miracle Mile)
Price: $3.99
Size: 11 ounces
Calories per ounce: 142
Categories: Candy, Easter, Just Born, Chocolate, Kosher, 6-Tempting, United States, Rite Aid

POSTED BY Cybele AT 9:25 am     CandyPeepsReviewEasterJust BornChocolateKosher6-TemptingUnited StatesRite AidComments (35)

Friday, December 3, 2010

Peeps Dark Chocolate Covered Mint Marshmallow

Peeps Dark Chocolate Covered Mint MarshmallowJust Born introduced Chocolate Covered Peeps for Easter 2010. They also made an appearance in the pumpkin shape for Halloween. But the most interesting of their new chocolate covered version of the marshmallow shapes is the Christmas introduction of the Peeps Dark Chocolate Covered Mint Flavored Marshmallow.

The candies come individually wrapped and weigh 1 ounce exactly. (There’s also a milk chocolate version, but both that I bought were crushed & sticky so I’ll have to find more.) Like the other chocolate covered versions before, they’re not just a chocolate covered classic Peep, they lack the sugar crust so the chocolate is the cloak it gets instead of the grainy coating.

Peeps Dark Chocolate Covered Mint Marshmallow

The tree shaped minty Christmas Peep is just shy of three inches long and pretty tall at about an inch thick. The dark chocolate shell contains a bit of milkfat but is otherwise has a pleasing dark sheen and makes a convincing tree shape. The package says that they’re gluten free, but of course aren’t vegan (gelatin & milk) and may contain peanuts, tree nuts, eggs and coconut.

Peeps Dark Chocolate Covered Mint Marshmallow

They actually smell more like sweet dark chocolate out of the package than mint, which I thought was a good sign after the overly sweet and underwhelming Easter and Halloween versions.

Biting into it, I found what I expected, which was a bright green, soft and moist marshmallow flavored with peppermint. The marshmallow is interesting, it’s fluffy without being foamy or latexy. The mint flavor is appropriately strong - strong enough to have a distinctive taste but not so strong to overwhelm the chocolate chip qualities of the dark coating. The smooth dissolve of the marshmallow is better than the slightly grainy and chalky chocolate.

I don’t generally get an aftertaste from green food colorings (blue & yellow), so my repulsion at the color was aesthetic, not technical. It did go far to convince me that this was something flavored like Creme de Menthe.

The product idea is sound, a flavored marshmallow in a festive, seasonal shape covered in chocolate. There aren’t any other mass-marketed candies like that. I still question the necessity of the strong food colorings (and maybe some sprinkles on there would serve a similar purpose of the tree “decoration.” I’m still not much of a marshmallow fan, so these don’t suit me, but I’m sure there are some fans who will enjoy these. They could benefit from higher quality chocolate and eschew the strong colors.

Related Candies

  1. Russell Stover Giant S’mores Bar & Mint Dream
  2. Chocolate Covered Peeps
  3. Pete’s Gourmet Confections: Marshmallows
  4. Christmas Mint Round Up
  5. Peeps Chocolate Mousse (Bears & Bunnies)
  6. Peeps inside a Milk Chocolate Egg
  7. Peppermint Peep Stars


Name: Peeps Dark Chocolate Covered Mint Marshmallow
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Just Born
Place Purchased: Rite Aid (Vermonica)
Price: $.50
Size: 1 ounce
Calories per ounce: 120
Categories: Candy, Christmas, Just Born, Chocolate, Marshmallow, Mints, 7-Worth It, United States, Rite Aid

POSTED BY Cybele AT 3:23 pm     CandyPeepsReviewChristmasJust BornChocolateMarshmallowMints7-Worth ItUnited StatesRite AidComments (6)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Candy Tease: Just Born 2010

Just Born is more than just PEEPS, they also make Mike and Ike and Goldenberg’s Peanut Chews. At Sweets & Snacks Expo they announced their new products for 2010-11.

Just Born for Halloween

image• NEW PEEPS Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Pumpkins available in single-serve packages.
• PEEPS Chocolate Mousse Flavored Marshmallow Cats in a Take-Home packages.
• PEEPS Sugar-Free Pumpkins in Count-Good packages.
• PEEPS Pumpkins and Ghosts in both Count-Good and Take-Home packages.
• MIKE AND IKE HOT TAMALES and PEANUT CHEWS Brand Candies available in a variety of treat-giving snack size bags.

My take: I’d love to see these “treat-giving snack size bags” of Goldenberg’s Peanut Chews. I only see the in the single serve package in my area but I would actually give them out as a Halloween treat if I had the option (the dark one is vegan). The rest of the product line is pretty much the same as this year’s Easter. The addition of the chocolate covered pumpkins is new - though I have to say that I’m disappointed that they’re making the marshmallow center orange instead of leaving them natural like the Peeps are (on the inside at least).

Just Born for Christmas

image• NEW PEEPS Chocolate Covered Mint Flavored Marshmallow Trees in single serve packages. The PEEPS Brand is offering fans its most extravagant PEEPS yet, PEEPS Chocolate Covered Mint Flavored Marshmallow Trees, heralding the Brand’s first chocolate-covered item with a flavored marshmallow center.
• NEW PEEPS Sugar-free Peppermint Stars in Count-Good packages.
• PEEPS Chocolate Mousse Flavored Marshmallow Reindeer available in Take-Home packages.
• PEEPS Marshmallow Trees and Snowmen in both Count-Good and Take-Home packages.
• PEEPS Sugar Cookie Flavored Marshmallow Cutouts in Take-Home packages.
• PEEPS Peppermint Flavored Marshmallow Stars in Take-Home packages.

My take: I’m really excited about the Chocolate Covered Peppermint Peeps. I hope they don’t have artificial sweeteners in them like the uncoated marshmallows do right now. They seem like they’d be a refreshing chocolate treat but still spare on the calories.

Just Born for Valentines

image• New PEEPS Chocolate Covered Raspberry Flavored Marshmallow Hearts in single-serve packages. This year, PEEPS Brand Marshmallow Candies are melting hearts with their new PEEPS Chocolate Covered Raspberry Flavored Marshmallow Hearts. Delicious milk or dark chocolate cover raspberry flavored PEEPS to create a scrumptious chocolate and marshmallow experience.
• New MIKE AND IKE Passion Mix in 6 oz Theater Boxes.
• New HOT TAMALES Untamed Love Mix in 6 oz Theater Boxes.
• PEEPS “I (heart) U” and Pink Hearts in both Count-Good and Take-Home packages.
• Red PEEPS Sugar-Free Hearts in a Count-Good packages.
• PEEPS Chocolate Mousse Flavored Marshmallow Bears in a Take-Home Packages.
• PEEPS Vanilla Creme and Strawberry Creme Flavored Hearts in Take-Home Packages.

My take: Raspberry chocolate covered Peeps for Valentines ... what more do I need to say?

POSTED BY Cybele AT 10:25 am     CandyNew Product AnnouncementJust BornFeatured NewsComments (4)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Mike and Ike Fruit Flavored Bubblegum

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

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

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

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

Mike and Ike Fruit Flavored Bubble Gum

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Related Candies

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

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

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Chocolate Covered Peeps

Dark Chocolate Covered Marshmallow PeepsPeeps Dark Chocolate Covered Marshmallow is pretty much the biggest thing to happen to Peeps. Oh sure, they’ve dabbled with cocoa flavored Peeps or maybe put them inside a chocolate shell, but an actual chocolate dipped Peep made by Just Born is pretty revolutionary.

First thing, they’re singles and they’re individually wrapped. Other Peeps are sold in trays with more than one serving. So each one will be fresh and ready to eat. (This may or may not be a good thing, I’m not sure if Just Born is going to make Chocolate Covered Stale Peeps.)

I’m going to start with the dark chocolate covered version because that’s what I was attracted to first, but I also have the milk chocolate version. They’re nicely priced, I think the regular retail is about 80 cents, but I picked these up at RiteAid at two for a dollar.

Dark Chocolate Covered Peeps
(No, the Chocolate Peeps do not poop M&Ms ... that’s just there for scale, you silly goose.)

The big thing about Peeps in their chick format (not the bunny format) is that they sit upright. A standard array comes in a conjoined row of five weighing 1.5 ounces. In this case a single Peep is covered in chocolate and sits on its side. They’re huge but well detailed for a chocolate enrobed item. (Think about how hard it is to get details on the blanket covering something that’s extruded in the first place.)

Dark Chocolate Covered Peeps

Each piece is one ounce and biting into it answers several questions I had:

First, it’s a yellow Peep in there. Unlike a standard Peep which is only colored on the outside sugar crust, this Peep has coloring all the way through the marshmallow. (Not really something I’m fond of, in fact, I prefer the Ghost Peeps for Halloween which have no artificial colorings.)

Second, there is no sugar crust. It’s just a skinless Peep covered in chocolate.

The dark chocolate coating isn’t a terribly complex chocolate or even that dark (there’s no percentage on the package). It has milk fat in it (but it’s not like we had any hopes that a chocolate covered marshmallow was going to be vegan, did we?). The shell is rather thin, perhaps a little thicker than I’m accustomed to with the Russell Stover versions.

The marshmallow texture is airy and far lighter and less latexy than I experience with Peeps. I can put my tongue through it in my mouth, kind of like a smooth sugary foam instead of a marshmallow.

It’s sweet of course but not grainy. The dark chocolate has a bittersweet and dry quality to it that helps round out the fake vanilla flavoring.

Milk Chocolate Covered Marshmallow PeepsThe Peeps Milk Chocolate Covered Marshmallow comes in a bright yellow wrapper (kind of violating the unspoken industry standard that blue is milk chocolate). It was extremely easy to spot when I first walked into RiteAid, so they can definitely say that the package fits the brand.

The interesting thing that I noticed about the ingredients is that it doesn’t seem that these are just your regular individual Peeps run through an enrober. These appear to be a different formula. The marshmallow portion goes like this: Sugar, corn syrup, partially hydrogenated palm kernel oil, whey (milk), gelatin, cocoa processed with alkali, and less than .5% of the following: invertase, natural and artificial flavors, soy lecithin, yellow #5 and potassium sorbate.

Regular sugar-crusted Peeps contain: Sugar, corn syrup, gelatin, contains less than 0.5% of the following: potassium sorbate, artificial flavors, yellow #5, carnauba wax. (The wax, I believe, is the eyes.)

Milk Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Peeps

The sweetness and moistness of the marshmallow is even more noticeable over the dark chocolate version. The milk chocolate shell has some good dairy notes, but it isn’t quite as creamy as I would have liked. The good thing is that it held together well, I didn’t have big flakes coming off as I bit into the fluffy marshmallow.

The texture differences were rather minor here, not at all like the ordinary sugar crust but not enough of a contrast to provide added interest.

Mostly I found the milk chocolate version too sweet though the fake vanilla was actually kind of fun - like a White Toostie Roll is fun for a while and then I realize that there is food out there with real flavor.

I don’t quite understand why they had to make them yellow inside, I think a lot of parents might have preferred them to leave out the Yellow #5.

I know that many bakeries, candy stores and fudge shops have been dipping Peeps and offering them to their customers for many years, so this version may be a bit of an adjustment and some may prefer the inner sugar crusting.

The package says that they may contain peanuts, tree nuts, egg and coconut - in addition to the ingredients soy and gelatin. They are gluten free.

Related Candies

  1. Peeps Mash Ups - Savory
  2. Russell Stover Marshmallow Rabbits
  3. Pete’s Gourmet Confections: Marshmallows
  4. Peeps inside a Milk Chocolate Egg
  5. Peeps Mash Ups
  6. Peeps
Name: Peeps Dark Chocolate & Milk Chocolate Covered Marshmallow
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Just Born
Place Purchased: Rite Aid (Echo Park)
Price: $.50 on sale
Size: 1 ounce
Calories per ounce: 110
Categories: Chocolate, Marshmallow, United States, Just Born, Easter

POSTED BY Cybele AT 8:56 am     Comments (21)

Friday, October 16, 2009

Mike and Ike Autumn Medley

Mike and Ike Autumn MedleyJust Born announced some new mixes of their classic Mike and Ike jelly rods for different seasons. The first one on the calendar is the Autumn Medley which features four flavors in a fall color array.

The package, at first glance, looks like the Tangy Twister, but on closer inspection has some pumpkins on it and a little scarecrow. It also has a little pile of fruit to represent the flavors inside. They’re Strawberry, Orange, Lemon and Cherry. If you picked up a regular bag of Mike and Ike you’d get five flavors, four of which are in this mix. The only one missing is Lime. So if you’ve always wanted a lime-free Mike and Ike mix, this is your product.

Instead of a box that can let the jelly rods get stale, this sealed plastic wrapper keeps them fresh. If you’ve never had Mike and Ike, they’re basically jelly beans. Rod shaped jelly beans that are available year round in mixes of fruit flavors (except for Jolly Joes which are all grape).

Mike and Ike Autumn Medley

My positive experiences with Mike and Ike up to this point have been with their more intensely flavored products like the Tangy Twister and the spice-flavored Hot Tamales and Jelly Beans. I know I’ve had the regular Mike and Ike before, but never thought much of them so I’ve kind of ignored them.

Cherry - It’s easy to spot the dark red rods in the batch. They taste pretty much like they look, a jelly version of a Black Cherry LifeSaver but without the satisfying tangy counterpoint to the woodsy medicinal flavors. So they come off as non-medicated Sucrets to me.

Strawberry - The lighter red rods are supposed to be Strawberry, but there’s very little here. There’s absolutely no tartness, just a sweet and slightly floral flavor. All I can say is it didn’t taste artificial to me ... it just lacked any taste at all. Not that I didn’t enjoy the blandness.

Orange - This one has a little sour note at the start in the grainy shell, but the flavor dissipates to just sweet jelly with a touch of orange oil. They’re actually quite nice, the zest is not too strong and the texture is rather like the classic Orange Slice jellies.

Lemon - I’m always up for a lemon candy, it’s hard for me to name a yellow candy I don’t like. Oddly enough, the lemon was not as tart a the orange, which is disappointing, because I know Mike and Ike can do a nice lemon because they made a whole product called Alex’s Lemonade Stand.

What I think would be a fun are real harvest inspired flavors: things like Mulled Apple Cider, Baked Caramel Pear, Cranberry Orange and White Grape. But as a simple repackage based on colors, I guess they’re fine for folks who like the classic Mike and Ike.

There will be a version for Christmas that will be styled in green & red and a version for Valentine’s Day in pinks & purples.

Related Candies

  1. Good & Fiery
  2. Hot Tamales Black Licorice Jelly Beans
  3. Mike and Ike Italian Ice
  4. Hot Tamales Ice
  5. Brach’s Autumn Mix
  6. Jelly Belly Soda Pop Shoppe
Name: Mike and Ike Autumn Medley
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Just Born
Place Purchased: sample from All Candy Expo
Price: unknown
Size: 9 ounces
Calories per ounce: 104
Categories: Jelly, United States, Just Born, Kosher, Halloween

POSTED BY Cybele AT 7:25 am     Comments (4)

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)

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Mike and Ike Berry Blast

Mike and Ike Berry BlastI’d like to say that I’m reviewing Mike and Ike Berry Blast because they’ve changed their flavors. Honestly, I’m reviewing them because I’ve never actually had them before.

Well, let me make a correction: yes, I’ve had packages before ... but I’ve never actually opened them up and eaten them.

The previous flavors were Blueberry (blue), Strawberry (red), Mixed Berry (purple), Raspberry (pink), Wild Berry (green) while the new flavors are Blueberry, Strawberry, Blue Raspberry, Peach Berry and Wild Berry. So besides a color shift for some of the returning flavors, the new flavor here is Peach Berry.

Mike and ike Berry Blast

Strawberry (pink) - a mild strawberry flavor. Sweet for the most part with a little tangy layer around the sugary shell.

Blue Raspberry (light blue) - again, mild. I really couldn’t tell it was raspberry specifically, but at least there was no red food coloring aftertaste. The tart bite was completely missing.

Blueberry (blue) - I’m rarely fond of blueberry flavored candies, as blueberries aren’t that intense to begin with and are best fresh or in pancakes. It’s sweet and has a bit of an iced tea vibe to it ... nice, but rather bland.

Peach Berry (peach)  - I’m not sure who thought peaches & berries go together, but it doesn’t make much of a difference on this one since the flavor is boldly peach and only vaguely raspberry. Well, the bold part is an overstatement, the peach isn’t in my face like Jolly Ranchers, just a sedate sort of background note.

Wild Berry (dark purple) - I got only one of these, so it’s hard to make much of an assessment based on that. It tasted a lot like the raspberry, perhaps a little more intense.

Overall, I think it’s just my personal preference for more intensely flavored candies that are assertive in their flavors. But as far as flavor mixes go, I like that these are all in the same flavor family and if I mixed the colors in the same mouthful, there isn’t a bad combination to be had. Add to that, the jelly bean quality here is very smooth and I enjoyed the color variations. The bag is a decent value since it holds 2.12 ounces, I’ve found that the bags are fresher than the theater boxes.

Related Candies

  1. Mike and Ike Italian Ice
  2. Mike and Ike Alex’s Lemonade Stand
  3. Jelly Belly - All Natural
  4. Hot Tamales Ice
  5. Mike and Ike Jolly Joes
  6. Mike and Ike Tangy Twister
  7. Hot Tamales and Hotter Tamales
Name: Mike and Ike Berry Blast
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Just Born
Place Purchased: sample from All Candy Expo
Price: $..79
Size: 2.12 ounces
Calories per ounce: 104
Categories: Jelly, United States, Just Born, Kosher

POSTED BY Cybele AT 6:42 am     Comments (5)

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