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Mexico

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Classic Gums: Black Jack, Clove, Beemans & Teaberry

The world of gum is huge these days. No longer is it just a world of soothing mint & peppy cinnamon. There are at least a half a dozen formats: sticks, gumballs, nuggets, chicklets, tape & goo filled pieces and the flavors are all over the map with the general array of mints & fruits but now there are sour gums, exotic flavors and even more combinations & special ingredients than ever.

Beemans Gums: Beemans, Black Jack & Clove

Chewing gum started out, early on, as a simple little stick of chicle base with sugar and a little flavoring. Some of the earliest varieties, launched in the late 1800s still survive today in pretty much the same format. For your chewing enjoyment I have a few classic gums: Black Jack, Clove and Beemans plus Clark’s Teaberry.

Clark's TeaberryFirst is my favorite gum of all time: Clark’s Teaberry.

Teaberry is a regional name for wintergreen (also known as Canada tea, which may explain the name of Canada mints which are also wintergreen flavored).

The D.L. Clark Company used to be a rather large & diverse candy manufacturer in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania which made both candy bars and gums starting in 1886. At one point the company was making 150 different kinds of confections. In 1921 the gum side of the business (which was made in a separate factory anyway) was spun off into its own company: Clark Brothers Chewing Gum Company (later shortened to Clark Gum Company). They were best known for two flavors: Teaberry and Tendermint.

Though Tendermint is no longer produced, Teaberry is still available.

Clark's TeaberryThe gum is rather simple and mild. The wintergreen flavor is mellow, not too much like some sort of analgesic balm or Pepto Bismol. The flavor lasts for a while as well, long after the sugar is gone.

The biggest issue I’ve had with purchasing Teaberry gum in the past 10 years or so, besides it being rather difficult to find is freshness. The pieces, first of all, seem a bit thinner than I remember them. Second, they’re often stale & crispy instead of soft & pliable. (Yes, sometimes I like to roll up my sticks.)

Even so, I’ve never felt that gum needs to be “fresh” in order to be enjoyed, though sometimes the flavor isn’t quite a vibrant.

Like all the gums profiled in this review, Teaberry is still made with sugar and no other sweeteners. (Though it’s now made in Mexico.)

Here’s an old commercial from Teaberry’s heyday in the 60s called the Teaberry Shuffle performed by Herb Alpert.

Though the Clark’s Gum Company is only a vague shadow of what it used to be, Adams is the oldest gum company and some of the classic flavors are still produced today now that it’s part of the Cadbury Adams company. The Adams nostalgic line is still made sporadically (in Colombia), in fact, the gums are back on store shelves presently (and when the inventory is gone, it’s pretty much gone until they make more in a year or two). I got mine at Cost Plus World Market.

Black Jack GumThe Thomas Adams gum story is pretty interesting. (If you want to know far more than I’m prepared to cover, please read this great page.)

Black Jack gum is the first flavored gum in the United States, starting in 1871.

The package doesn’t even say what it is, but I found the flavors are anise, ginger & green woodsmoke.

If I’ve had Black Jack before this, I’d forgotten (for the most part all I chew is Peppermint Chiclets, Teaberry and bubble gum balls). It’s much more mellow than I would have expected after the scent. Caramel, molasses & licorice but it also reminds me of the woodsy ginseng gum I pick up in Chinatown from time to time. A little weird bitter metallic taste to it but also a very, very sweet note that doesn’t go away even when the sugar is gone.


Clove GumI’m not much of a clove fan, but I thought I’d give Clove Chewing Gum a try anyway.

The scent is pure clove, just like sticking my nose in a bottle of the spicy, dried flower buds.

The chew is soft and mellow, the clove also has a hint of cinnamon to it, making the whole thing reminiscent of spiced cider and a baked ham.

My biggest issue with clove is its association with dental problems. Clove oil is a natural analgesic and one that can be applied topically in the mouth without worry of poisoning. So the mere scent of it reminds me other teething issues ... probably not my own, probably more of an association with other screaming toddlers.

The numbing quality is a bit evident as I chewed it, I could swear that my tongue felt a little like putty towards the end. Overall, this kind of changed my mind about the clove flavor, it wasn’t as medicinal as I expected and the flavor certainly lasted a long time for a sugared gum.

Beemans Chewing GumThe final in my assortment is simply called Beemans Chewing Gum without any further description.

Because of the white package I always assumed that this was peppermint flavored gum and I saw no need to switch from Wrigley’s Spearmint of Doublemint gum for this niche product.

Even though the sticks were white, once I opened the package it became apparent that this is a wintergreen flavored gum.

A little backstory about wintergreen & Beemans.

The gum was developed by an Ohio physician named Dr. Edward E. Beeman. Pepsin was a common treatment for digestive issues and working it into a gum was a good solution for delivering it in a slow dose. The Adams company purchased it from Beeman in 1898.

The flavor is a bit more intense than Teaberry. Actual pepsin doesn’t appear as an ingredient on the label. The chew is soft and smooth but after the sugar is gone it has a bit of a warming quality, like Ben Gay for the tongue. (Which may or may not be a selling point.)

I prefer Teaberry ... though I like the fact that the Beemans and Clove have no artificial colors in them.

They’re all rather simple gums and lack a liquid center, fancy graphics and huge marketing campaigns. They’re quiet and contemplative ... comforting and a rather cheap little way to buy some nostalgia.

Related Candies

  1. Sugar Coated Fennel
  2. Three Pink Bubble Gums
  3. Canada Wintergreen
  4. Hot Tamales Spice Jelly Beans
  5. Necco Conversation Hearts (Sweethearts)
  6. Tiny Size Chiclets
  7. Razzles
  8. Glee Gum: If You Like Stuff Stuck to Your Teeth
Name: Teaberry, Black Jack, Clove & Beemans
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Clark Gum Company & Cadbury Adams
Place Purchased: Dollar Tree & Cost Plus World Market
Price: $.25 and $1.25
Size: unknown
Calories per ounce: unknown
Categories: Gum, Cadbury, Mexico, Colombia

POSTED BY Cybele AT 10:49 am    

Friday, March 27, 2009

Spree Jelly Beans

Spree Jelly Beans (lemon)It used to be that only Black Licorice jelly beans were sold in single flavor bags. Then Jelly Belly came along and let folks pick out just their favorite flavor and the whole world of jelly beans changed. But other than the gourmet beans, it still seemed like pre-packaged single flavors were pretty rare.

This year, as I was looking at the shelves at the drug store and grocery aisle, I was pleased to see so many different jelly bean flavor singles. (Gimbal’s also had color mixes that I might try to pick up on sale after Easter.)

Last year Nestle introduced the Nerds Bumpy Jelly Beans, this year I found a new jelly bean version of one of their classic candies, the Spree Jelly Beans.

What pleased me even more than the new product was that I could just buy the lemon ones. I found these only at Ralph’s (grocery chain) this year, not at any of my other regular Easter candy aisles. They also come in Green Apple (light green) and Cherry (pink).

Lemon Spree Jelly Beans

The first thing I noticed about these beans was that they seemed more opaque. In fact, completely opaque. No vague translucence here. The second thing I noticed was that they’re very smooth and have no “bottom” to them like most beans.

The ingredients say dextrose first. Most jelly beans start with sugar (a disaccharide, dextrose is a monosaccharide which is also known as glucose). Dextrose is what Sprees are made of! (As well as most “chalk” candies.)

On the tongue the flavor is mild and slightly cool. Dextrose is a little lighter sweetness than sucrose. The shell dissolves pretty quickly but it’s definitely different from the usual jelly bean shell. It’s not grainy except at the margin between the jelly center and the shell.

The flavor is a very mild sweet lemon at first, then there’s a little burst of tangy flavor at the edge of the shell and center. However, it wasn’t consistent. Every once in a while I’d run across a bean that had a really good Lemonhead burst to it, but most were much milder. I’d say most failed on the Spree motto of a kick in the mouth, which is too bad, because when they got their kicks in, they were definitely sizzling.

The crunch of the shell, if I chewed them up, wasn’t quite M&Ms style or as thick as the Nerds Jelly Beans, but still closer to that than a traditional jelly bean. The centers were basically flavorless, but a smooth and firm jelly.

On the whole, these were a very nice changeup from a regular jelly bean. They’re not quite as fun as the Nerds version, but the fact that they come in the pretty standup bags in specific flavors sets them apart. But they are a bit more expensive than regular beans. I got these on sale for $2, which I still thought was a bit high for seven ounces of sugar candy.

Name: Spree Lemon Jelly Beans
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Nestle
Place Purchased: Ralph's (Glendale)
Price: $2.00
Size: 7 ounces
Calories per ounce: 99
Categories: Jelly, Mexico, Nestle, Easter

POSTED BY Cybele AT 1:34 pm     Comments (3)

Friday, December 19, 2008

Christmas Mint Round Up

I’m buried in mints! So here’s a huge roundup of all the mint items in my queue that I wanted to get through before Christmas.

Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate MintsLike the Trader Joe’s Espresso Pillows I picked up a few months ago, Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Mints come in a cute round tin and hold 2.45 ounces. Unlike the Espresso Pillows, these are not a very original product.

Inside the tin is a fluted liner that holds a large handful of soft, white candy-shelled mints. Each is about the size of a kidney bean. The tin says that there are no artificial flavors or preservatives. I think they shy from the “all natural” part because the white shell is created with titanium dioxide.

They reminded me of the classic Dutch Mints and luckily I had some of those around for comparison.

image

Jelly Belly makes a large variety of Dutch Mints. They come in different colors, these are all hot pink and individually wrapped, though you can also get them in the stark white, pastel mint colors or right now in the Christmas assortment of red, green and white. (And they’re Kosher.)

The Dutch Mint is the size of a garbanzo bean but my guess is the same mass as the TJ’s.

They’re both the same construction, a soft mint fondant with a thin layer or dark chocolate then a crispy candy shell.

Both are lovely and addictive. The Trader Joe’s retails for $1.22 an ounce. The Jelly Belly can go for anywhere from $.70 an ounce for the small 2.9 ounce bag to $.56 for a one pound tub (check out Cost Plus World Market).

Jelly Belly Dutch Mints get a rating of: 8 out of 10
Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Mints get a rating of: 7 out of 10 because they’re so expensive.

These also closely resemble the York Mints that also come in a tin.

Divine After Dinner MintsThe previous are great for toting around and especially nice if a restaurant gives you a few with the check. But if you’re entertaining, you might want to provide some other more chocolatey mint morsels.

I’ve always loved After Eight Mints, which are a flowing mint fondant in an ultra thin square. I used to love how they came in individual glassine envelopes, like a little file box of deliciousness.

Of course After Eights are made by Nestle now and not nearly as good as I remember them on top of the controversies that they’re made from questionably sourced chocolate. The Fair Trade movement has been working to bring families and communities out of poverty through fair payment for goods & services.

Divine Chocolate has been doing this since 1998 in the United Kingdom and recently expanded into the United States. Not only do they have tasty bars they also have addition treats like these Divine After Dinner Mints.

image

The mints are nicely sized for two bites at about 1.5” square. The mild semi-sweet chocolate is crisp and cracks well. The mint fondant center is creamy and minted only slightly so as not to overpower the chocolate. The dark chocolate has some berry and fruity tones that combine well with the cool peppermint flavors.

I’ve seen these at Whole Foods (at an endcap display for hostess giving), so they should be pretty widely available this season.

Divine After Dinner Mints get a rating of 7 out of 10.

Creme de Menthe Altoids

Creme de Menthe Altoids have been out for a few months, though it took me a while to find the variety that isn’t covered in chocolate. I realized that I might have seen them before, the green of the package is only slightly lighter than the Spearmint boxes. These were on sale for $1.50 to boot!

Basically the flavor of these is like a Peppermint TicTac. It has a powdery vanilla scent, softer than a harsh peppermint and perhaps just a hint of licorice.

But these are Altoids. Though they might start out mild, they do pack a much stronger kick later on. I like the flavor a bit better than the straight Peppermint if only because of the mix of aromas.

Creme de Menthe Altoids get a rating of 8 out of 10.

King Leo Soft Peppermint BallsQuite a few folks have been lamenting that Trader Joe’s discontinued their English Soft Peppermints. I’m pretty keen on the generic & mild butter mints I find at the drug store, but those were some pretty good mints.

Around this time of year, however, I see a lot of these See’s Peppermint Twists in candy dishes around the office. It took me a while, but I think I found out who makes them. There were two contenders: King Leo Soft Peppermint Candy or Bob’s Sweet Stripes.

I saw this box of King Leo Soft Peppermint Candy at the 99 Cent Only Store and thought I’d give them a whirl. They were a dollar for 3.5 ounces.

image

I thought they were “butter mints” and read through this to see how I came to that conclusion:

For over one hundred years, King Leo has made delicious peppermint stick candy using only the purest ingredients and old-fashioned care. Now we’ve taken that same quality and care and created new King Leo Soft Peppermint Candy. The same great King Leo taste folks have come to expect, now in a truly soft new candy [emphasis mine] Thanks to a special process we’ve perfected, these bite-sized treats are soft from the moment you open the box. [emphasis mine] No wonder everyone loves King Leo Soft Peppermint Candy so much.

So I was expecting a soft mint. Either crumbly soft or mushy soft.

These were neither. They’re soft as in rounded and smooth, but after that they were not butter mints until I sucked on them for a while. Which is kind of the opposite of “soft from the moment you open the box”. Annoyance aside, they’re peppermint candies. They are airy and dissolve nicely and of course none of those hard candy sharp edges. They’re sweet and a bit less intense than a starlight mint and really pretty to look at. Like those English Soft Peppermints that were really made in the Netherlands, King Leo are made in Mexico. Kosher.

King Leo Soft Peppermint Candy gets a 6 out of 10.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Trader Joe’s Sweet Story

Trader Joe's Sweet Story BoxSome Christmas candy isn’t really particularly special for the holidays, it’s the packaging that sells it.

Long ago there were LifeSavers Sweet Story Books. They were just a folded box that looked like a book that had a bunch of LifeSavers rolls inside. They still make them, every few years the graphics and the rolls included inside change with fashion.

Trader Joe’s has their own house-branded version of this, called Trader Joe’s Sweet Story. There are six no-artificial-anything, vegan, kosher and gluten-free hard candy rolls inside.

The package design is pretty straight forward, it’s a box with a front flap that reveals a “story” on the inside, which is a little poem about the candies. (Probably not so fun for kids.)

Trader Joe's Sweet Story RollsI was pretty pleased to see the flavor array and that pineapple was on it. (The others are lemon, orange, cherry, pomegranate and raspberry.)

The box is well constructed (and is even printed on the inside). The rolls aren’t revealed inside the box flap though, you have to open it at the top to reveal them, all sealed together inside a cellophane bag.

Each roll is about the size of a LifeSavers product, 1.1 ounces. The rolls themselves are a bit more demure, a color-coded monochrome array.

Opening them was a disappointment and exercise in frustration.

Trader Joe's Sweet Story Sticky Packaging

Though it was not humid on Sunday when I bought these and photographed them, the paper-lined foil was stuck to the candies.

I resorted to picking the bits of foil off the candies before consuming (though still got a fair bit of paper in my mouth). Some rolls were better than others, but all had some degree of issues.

Trader Joe's Sweet Story CandiesLemon - one of the stickiest. Very tart, like a good lemon drop. Nice balance of zest, juice and sweet.

Cherry - Sucrets. Without the throat numbing properties.

Orange - really zesty, to the point of being slightly bitter at times. Sweet and tangy.

Pineapple - mild, more like those “low acid” pineapples these days that have a nice floral and strawberry cotton candy flavor but not that tart.

Raspberry - pretty much tasted like raspberry flavoring. A lot of sweet floral “flavor” and some tangy berry notes.

Pomegranate - a combination of raspberry and those winterberry scented candles. It’s trying too hard.

The package was $1.99, which breaks down to 33 cents a roll. Not really a bad price. And the flavor assortment was better than the current LifeSavers array. For those who need something that’s gluten free or all-natural, yeah, it’s a nice way to go. But I sure hope yours aren’t stuck to the wrapping like mine were, because that completely ruined it for me. And bumped my fiber intake.

Other remembrances of the LifeSavers Storybook: The Joy Of ..., Jason Liebig has an actual photo of an old one with the rolls still in it, Candy Critic, and of course The Imaginary World has some (I like this one).

Related Candies

  1. Hammond’s Pantry Candies
  2. LifeSavers
  3. Regennas Clear Toys
  4. Yummy Earth Organic Pops
  5. College Farm Organic Naturepops
  6. Goodbye Reed’s
Name: Sweet Story Candy Rolls
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Trader Joe's
Place Purchased: Trader Joe's (Silverlake)
Price: $1.99
Size: 6.6 ounces
Calories per ounce: 113
Categories: Hard Candy, Mexico, Trader Joe's, Kosher, Christmas, All Natural

POSTED BY Cybele AT 1:04 pm     Comments (7)

Monday, October 20, 2008

De la Rosa Mazapan

de La Rosa MazapanDe la Rosa Mazapan is a dulce de cacahuate or peanut confection. It seems like one of the most common candies to every culture is some sort of sweetened nut paste. Halvah, marzipan and if you throw in a little chocolate, gianduia, and all of their different variations.

I see these little disks of mazapan at the grocery stores all the time in Los Angeles, but this was the first time I saw them with their complete packaging with full ingredients & nutrition labeling. I picture them as something that a mom would tuck into their child’s lunch bag as a special little treat.

The ingredients are pretty simple and two thirds wholesome: peanuts and sugar and artificial flavors.

So first, I’ll tell you what I expected: I thought it’d be a sweet peanut butter disk. I thought it’d be like halvah, a little more crumbly than almond marzipan.

de La Rosa Mazapan

Here’s what it was actually like:

It was crumbly. When I opened the package it cracked into several large pieces easily. It smells wonderful, like peanut butter cookie dough.

But instead of being spiky and crystalline like halvah, it was smooth and cool on the tongue, dissolving like peanut butter flavored icing sugar.

Oh, it’s sweet. It’s absolutely more sugar than peanuts. The peanut flavor is throughout with some little crunchy chunks here and there.

I love the texture, though definitely not the mess. (Someday I’ll compile a list of “not keyboard friendly” candies and this will certainly be on it.) I wish it was just a little fattier, but far be it from me to mess with a traditional candy. Or maybe a little salt added, but again, that’s a personal preference, I like a bit of salt with my peanuts.

It strikes me that this would be a great hiking candy, a good mix of straight and easily accessible sugars and some satisfying protein. But again, it’s so very sweet and far too dry.

But I can’t really get behind it. Maybe I’ll give out the rest for Halloween. Or maybe try stuffing some into some crescent rolls to see what kind of a treat that makes.

Related Candies

  1. Nips: Butter Rum & Peanut Butter Parfait
  2. Fairhaven Candy Crumblz!
  3. Colt’s Bolts
  4. Reese’s Pieces
  5. Planters Peanut Bar Original
Name: Mazapan
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: de la Rosa
Place Purchased: 99 Cent Only (Miracle Mile)
Price: $.99
Size: 7.9 ounces
Calories per ounce: 130
Categories: Peanuts, Mexico

POSTED BY Cybele AT 2:20 am     Comments (10)

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Brach’s Chocolate Candy Corn & Halloween Mix

Brach's Milk Maid Chocolate Caramel Candy CornFirst thing I have to say about Brach’s Milk Maid Chocolate Caramel Candy Corn is that the name is too long. If the name takes up three lines, it’s too long. These are tiny little pieces of candy ... the name should not weigh more than the candy itself.

I knew this candy existed, but I was having trouble finding it. I was delighted not only to find it at Walgreen’s, but also in this 7 ounce bag (instead of the 9.5 ounce Caramel Apple Candy Corn a few weeks ago and the mondo 22 ounce bag I got of the the Caramel Candy Corn last year).

The package says that it’s made with real cocoa and real milk. I’d never really thought about candy corn being a dairy product. (Makes me think about creamed corn.)

Brach's Milk Maid Chocolate Caramel Candy CornThe pieces are attractive. A medium brown bottom, a darker brown middle and a white tip.

My bag was exceptionally sloppy. There weren’t many well-formed pieces, some were missing a color but mostly they were just irregular. Part of the fun is the attractiveness of candy corn. This didn’t quite measure up.

The base flavor is the caramel. It’s a bit salty and has that fake butter flavor to it that I can handle in tiny doses. The middle section has a light cocoa flavor and the white top is, of course, unadulterated sweetness. They taste a bit richer than the typical orange & yellow candy corn, but I found the fake butter a little too artificial to keep me eating these.

It makes me wish they sold these in 1 ounce bags. That would have been enough to satisfy my curiosity.

The ingredients list salt above the actual milk in here. There’s also gelatin, so no good for vegetarians and it’s not Kosher.

This was the first Brach’s package I’ve seen so far that makes note of the new Farley’s & Sathers ownership.

Brach's Assorted Halloween MellowcremesI was rather excited to see the Brach’s Assorted Halloween Mellowcremes on the same shelf. I thought they discontinued or perhaps only available in bulk.

The package joyfully tells me it’s America’s #1! (It’s also made in Mexico.)

Honestly it’s been so long since I had the Brach’s Mellowcremes, I didn’t remember whether they were flavored or not. (The Autumn Mix is not distinctly flavored.)

These little fondant nuggets come in four colors and eight shapes: crescent moon, black cat, pumpkin, jug, jack o’lantern, bat, corn cob and sheaf of wheat.

Brach's Assorted Halloween Mellowcremes

The flavors are determined by the color of the Mellowcreme.

  • Yellow = Banana - either you love fake banana or you don’t. As strong as my aversion is to fake butter flavor, my affection for artificial banana matches it. The flavor is mellow, with a touch of honey and salt. It’s soft and slightly grainy but melts easily.

  • Tan = Maple - this was the surprise of the package. I fully expected these to be the caramel flavor. Instead they have a nice woodsy/toasted taste to them, like a hunk of brown sugar.

  • Dark Brown = Cocoa - far more cocoa flavored than any Indian Corn I’ve ever had. But not really that good either, terribly empty and cardboard tasting, like a Tootsie Roll that’s been freeze dried, pulverized and smashed into a bat shape.

  • Orange = Candy Corn - the pumpkins are faithful to the Brach’s Candy Corn flavor. Sweet, bland and with a slight touch of honey. (Though there’s no honey in here.)

  • The package I picked has more yellow and tan ones, so I think I did well here as those are the ones I’m picking out to eat anyway.

    The salt really helps these out. There’s 110 mg of Sodium in every serving, which is quite a lot for a candy (but an excellent stat if this was a canned soup). Consider it a boost to your electrolytes, maybe athletes will start carrying Mellowcremes as a recovery supplement.

    I think the bragging rights are earned here. I now think that Mellowcremes are worth the search. (These also contain gelatin.) 7 out of 10

    Related Candies

    1. Hershey’s Pumpkin Spice Kisses
    2. Zachary Candy Corn & Jelly Pumpkins
    3. Candy Corn Kisses
    4. Jelly Belly Deluxe Easter Mix
    5. Gourmet Goodies Candy Corn
    6. The Great Pumpkin Roundup
    Name: Milk Maid Chocolate Caramel Candy Corn & Assorted Halloween Mellowcremes
      RATING:
    • 10 SUPERB
    • 9 YUMMY
    • 8 TASTY
    • 7 WORTH IT
    • 6 TEMPTING
    • 5 PLEASANT
    • 4 BENIGN
    • 3 UNAPPEALING
    • 2 APPALLING
    • 1 INEDIBLE
    Brand: Brach's
    Place Purchased: Walgreen's (Echo Park)
    Price: $1.39
    Size: 9.5 ounces
    Calories per ounce: 99
    Categories: Caramel, Fondant, United States, Mexico, Brach's, Halloween

    POSTED BY Cybele AT 10:09 am     Comments (33)

    Tuesday, August 12, 2008

    Carlos V: Dark Knight

    Nestle Carlos V Dark KnightNestle made a big deal earlier this year with their American launch of their popular Mexican chocolate bar, Carlos V. The bar comes in two varieties, Milk Chocolate Style and Dark Chocolate Style.

    I tried the Mexican import some years ago, back when it was just a milk chocolate bar and found it interesting, very milky and quite different from American or UK style chocolate.

    What I found alarming about the new bars that Nestle’s is now selling in the US market is this nuevo dark chocolate style bar. Gotta wonder what the style of dark chocolate is. I’ve got to tip my hat to Nestle, dark chocolate style sounds much better than mockolate or chocolatey or chocolate flavored.

    It reminds me of the Superfriends characters of Zan and Jayna when I was a kid. They’d activate their Wonder Twin Powers (tm), Zan would take the form of something made with water and Jayna would take the shape of an animal. See, they weren’t actually changing, Zan wouldn’t actually be a huge iceberg, he’d just be the shape of an iceberg with iceberg qualities but remain sentient and with the full power to change back. Same with Jayna, she’d become a sea eagle, but that wouldn’t mean that she’d suddenly lose her senses and eat Gleek.

    So while I get that this is a bar that walks like a chocolate bar and talks like a chocolate bar, that doesn’t make it a chocolate bar.

    Nestle Carlos V Dark Knight

    The Nestle Carlos V Dark Knight is nicely packaged. The new version is full sized, 1.41 ounces instead of the old 3/4 of an ounce version. The bar is nicely domed and segmented.

    The color is good though the snap is a bit soft.

    As a chocolate style bar, it has a good amount of chocolate in it, the ingredients go like this:

    Sugar, chocolate, cocoa butter, vegetable oils (palm, shea and/or illpe), lactose, milkfat and less than 1% soy lecithin, natural and artificial flavors.

    So it’s not even vegan friendly (also it is made in a facility that processes peanuts and wheat products).

    It smells like cocoa, sweet and kind of empty.

    The taste is, well, similarly empty. It’s chocolatey, in the sense that it’s the flavor, but not much else qualifies it as such. It’s not creamy, it doesn’t really melt well though it is rather smooth once chewed up. But later there’s an aftertaste ... of vitamins. You know, those tasty large horsepills with a high B vitamin content. Oh, the aftertaste, kind of bitter and musty.

    It has very little style, chocolate or otherwise, and it’s sad. The traditional Carlos V bar has also become milk chocolate style, Candy Snob reviewed the new version recently.

    (No, I’m not even going to go into how cheesy I think naming the bar Dark Knight is.)

    Related Candies

    1. Kissables (Reformulated)
    2. Bubu Lubu
    3. Reese Hazelnut Creme
    4. Palmer Hollow Chocolate Flavored Bunny
    5. Sixlets & Limited Edition Dark Chocolate Flavored Sixlets
    6. Peruvian Candies
    Name: Carlos V Dark Knight
      RATING:
    • 10 SUPERB
    • 9 YUMMY
    • 8 TASTY
    • 7 WORTH IT
    • 6 TEMPTING
    • 5 PLEASANT
    • 4 BENIGN
    • 3 UNAPPEALING
    • 2 APPALLING
    • 1 INEDIBLE
    Brand: Nestle
    Place Purchased: that new grocery store next to Walgreen's in Echo Park
    Price: $.33
    Size: 1.41 ounces
    Calories per ounce: 136
    Categories: Mockolate, Mexico, Nestle

    POSTED BY Cybele AT 7:38 am     Comments (2)

    Tuesday, July 1, 2008

    Now & Later

    Classic Now & LaterNow and Later were first introduced in 1962 with only three flavors by the Phoenix Candy Company. They were designed as an all-year-round candy, no problem eating these in the summer.

    The little individually wrapped taffy squares start hard but become chewy. One of the original taglines for the candy was “Eat some now, save some for later.” (I remember the tune for the jingle, but nothing beyond those words.) They currently say, “Hard ‘n Fruity Now, Soft ‘n Chewy Later.”

    The 18 piece classic bar features the flavors Strawberry, Grape and Lime. In some ways they resemble Starburst, since they are a fruit chew (they were introduced as Opal Fruits in 1960 in the UK) or Tangy Taffy which was sold in bars that you could whack and break into bite size pieces. (That’s now discontinued.)

    Classic Now & LaterNow and Later have gone through a few different standard flavors and even a few owners. Phoenix Candy Company of Brooklyn, NY later sold out to Beatrice Foods (1978), who later sold their confectionery lines to Huhtamaki Oy of Finland (1983) which then turned around and sold it off in 1986 to a Finnish investment firm called Kouri Capital. They held onto it until 1992 when they sold it to Nabisco (who also held LifeSavers back then). Then it was sold to Kraft ... ultimately landing at Farley’s and Sathers in 2002. (Either people really love this candy or just don’t know what to do with it.)

    Wikipedia has a fun list of all the flavors known to have existed. Even today, there are a lot of flavors of Now and Later, though I never see them in stores.

    The most common format for the candy these days is either the pack shown here or in tubs of either mixed flavors or single flavors.

    I ate a lot of these as a kid. They came in 5 cent packs (little stacks of the squares), so were easy to buy even when I had little money. But I gave up on them later as I got my permanent teeth. There was something anxiety-producing as I wasn’t disciplined enough to just let them soften in my mouth, I had to chew them while they were still hard and then anchor my jaw together.

    Soft Now & Later and Classic Now & LaterGrape: was always my favorite in the Now and Later pantheon. Artificial through and through, it tastes like SweeTarts and ball point pen ink smells. Not terribly tangy, but still flavored to the very end and never gritty or grainy.

    Lime: the neon green wax wrapper is matched by the neon green color of the candy. It’s very tangy and has the flavor of Lime Kool-Aid.

    Strawberry: is a rich pink color. The flavor is at once like strawberry jam and those Italian strawberry hard candies that have the gooey filling. Tangy, fragrant, artificial and satisfying.

    Now and Later don’t pretend to be healthy, there’s no real fruit juice in there, no detectable levels of vitamin C.

    They can also be considered vegan, as they contain no animal products. (But do have soy, for those who might be sensitive and are processed on machinery that also handles eggs.)

    Soft Now & Later and Classic Now & LaterA while back Farley’s & Sathers introduced Soft Now and Later, which seem to solve that problem most adults have with them.

    Soft Now and Later are actually soft! They’re soft enough to bend while still in the wrapper.

    A regular N&L is one inch square and a quarter of an inch high. The Soft N&L is one and a quarter inches square and a third of an inch high.

    And they come in oodles of flavors. 

    Soft Now & Laters

    Grape: this was the only crossover flavor I had between the regular and soft. It has an identical flavor. The texture makes it a little less punchy at first, but after that it’s tangy and artificial to the very end.

    Banana : insanely chemical, so much that it’s like inhaling fingernail polish remover. Sweet and chewy, not quite as good as Laffy Taffy, but darn close. Even though they’re pretty horrible, I love them more than any of the other flavors. (I can’t explain it any further, it’s kind of like circus peanuts.)

    Vanilla: is a nice toasty cream color. It tastes extremely artificial, but pleasant, rather like toasted marshmallows. Much softer chew than Tootsie’s version.

    Chocolate: it’s a glossy-rich red-brown. It doesn’t smell like much, and really doesn’t taste like it either. Kind of like a very sweet brownie batter. The chew is nice, but overall I’d probably go with Tootsie Rolls.

    Watermelon: is a zap of summer in the mouth. At first it’s that fake watermelon scent, then it tastes more like real apple juice. Not at all what I expected, and fans of fake watermelon and Bonne Bell lipsmackers will probably be disappointed.

    Apple is a really weird light green color, almost has a cast of blue to it that makes me think it might be minty. Nope, it’s pure green apple flavor.

    Cherry looks exactly like the Watermelon out of the wrapper (maybe a smidge darker). It has an intense black cherry flavor, nicely tart and less medicinal than many cherry candies.

    The fun thing about the Soft N&L is that they are soft enough for mash-ups. I took my vanilla and chocolate and twisted them together. (It didn’t really make them any better.) Then I twisted them in with some banana. (Still not really better, just fun.) I pushed some bits of the Watermelon and Apple together and it looked horrid and tasted even worse. (But there have to be good combos in there somewhere.)

    As a soft taffy with intense flavors, these aren’t quite Starburst. However, they don’t have any gelatin in them (but do have egg whites, so they’re not suitable for vegans but fine for vegetarians).

    Other reviews: Candy Addict, Wisconsin Candy Dish & Slashfood.

    Related Candies

    1. Look! and Big Hunk
    2. Banana n Cream & Red Orange Mentos
    3. Tootsie Pop Drops
    4. Tootsie Rolls & Fruit Rolls
    5. Starburst
    6. Doscher’s French Chew Taffy
    Name: Now and Later & Soft Now and Later
      RATING:
    • 10 SUPERB
    • 9 YUMMY
    • 8 TASTY
    • 7 WORTH IT
    • 6 TEMPTING
    • 5 PLEASANT
    • 4 BENIGN
    • 3 UNAPPEALING
    • 2 APPALLING
    • 1 INEDIBLE
    Brand: Farley's and Sathers
    Place Purchased: Rite Aid (Glendale) & samples from CandyWarehouse.com
    Price: $.89 & $18 per tub
    Size: 2.75 ounces & 57 ounces
    Calories per ounce: 87
    Categories: Chew, Mexico, Farley's and Sathers

    POSTED BY Cybele AT 12:35 pm     Comments (52)

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    Meticulously photographed and documented reviews of candy from around the world. And the occasional other sweet adventures. Open your mouth, expand your mind.

     

     

     

     

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    COUNTDOWN

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    Which seasonal candy selection do you prefer?

    Choose one or more:

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    ON DECK

    These candies will be reviewed shortly:

    • Patric Chocolate

    • Amano Chocolates

    • Candy Rant: Stimulants are not Energy

    • Candy Encyclopedia: The Difference Between Gummi and Jelly

    • Candy Rant: If your Licorice isn’t black, it isn’t Licorice

     

     

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