Monday, October 23, 2006
Yeah, candy corn. What can I say about candy corn? Some people love it, some people hate it. Joanna at SugarSavvy.net already covered one of my favorite passages about candy corn by Lewis Black.
Based on her review I went off in search of candy corn last week. My results were dismal. I came home with one bag. Some stores did not have ANY candy corn at all (well, some also had CHRISTMAS candy out already so they had the lame reindeer corn). I picked up the Brach’s Autumn Mix. It’s a mix of pumpkin mallowcreams, candy corn and Indian corn.
Brach’s always makes nice looking, high quality candy. Their candy corn is no different and uses top-notch ingredients. Though candy corn is basically sugar and corn syrup boiled into a stiff fondant, Brach’s throws a little honey in there for taste besides the colorings.
The candy corn is big and narrow. Good definition between the colors, bright and with an attractively sweet smell. It’s soft and a bit grainy, but I kind of like that. Plain candy corn is eaten by putting the entire thing in the mouth and chewing.
Another variety of candy corn that is seen from time to time is often called “Indian Corn” but is really chocolate candy corn. Well, kind of chocolate. Someone walked by a vat of candy corn batter with a chocolate bar.
In order to rationalize the purchase of Indian corn, one must eat it by biting off the chocolate bottom first. It tastes like candy corn, but perhaps with a tint of a Tootsie Roll chocolatey-ness added.
The big plus in this bag of the Autumn mix is that it has the pumpkins in it. They’re a dense, semi-soft piece of sugar. There’s a throat burning sweetness that makes you want to go back to eating the candy corn for a moment until the lure of the large, compact sugar-singularity calls to you again. By the time you learn your lesson, the bag is empty, your teeth hurt and your stomach aches.
When I was in grad school I saw a production of a play called Seventy Scenes of Halloween by Jeffrey M. Jones. Candy corn is featured heavily in it. I don’t know why I mention that, but you know, in case someone was looking for advice on what plays to include in a candy themed theatre festival, I’d love to help!
I like candy corn as a concept. I like it as decoration. I don’t think it’s great as a candy, but I have to give it a passing grade because I keep eating it. I really like to buy it when it’s 10 cents for a pound of it sometime in late November. Then it scores a 7 out of 10.
For another view on Brach’s Autumn Mix, Rebecca coincidentally posted on the same product today.
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
It’s hot. I’ve mentioned it before, and I know it’s summer ... but I’m guessing it’s hot wherever you are too and you’re wondering, “what sort of candy can I eat right now?”
But then I saw these at the 99 Cent Only Store. Tootsie has timed their new Limited Edition Pops rather well. It’s an assortment of five new flavors. Though they’re hardly tropical, as far as I’m concerned, they’re all nice flavors.
What’s great about Tootsie Pops is that there’s a bit of variety in that single sphere - a tangy piece of hard candy and the soft, vaguely chocolatey center. They’re easy to hold and don’t get you all sticky and only 60 calories a pop.
Pineapple - the one truly tropical flavor here, it’s peppy, tangy and nicely fragrant.
Tangerine - hardly tropical and barely different from the traditional orange, but I’m a huge fan of tangerine flavors and this one is pretty nice and goes really well with the lamely chocolate Tootsie Roll center.
Lemon-Lime - even less tropical because it’s not even exotic, but hey, it’s a nice sassy flavor. A little ordinary and not a very good combo with the Tootsie Roll core.
Watermelon - I’m never much of a fan of watermelon. The only watermelon I care much for is Jolly Ranchers ... but this was nice and the Tootsie Roll goes oddly well with the rather bland and sweet flavor.
Purple Punch - a rather nondescript punch flavor. Tangy, with some passion fruit notes but mostly a bland orangey.
Tootsie Pops aren’t the perfect lolly - they’re a little inconsistent, there are voids in the candy that can make them sharp from time to time and of course the twisted wrapper doesn’t always protect them from more humid conditions.
Thursday, March 16, 2006
The traditional icon for Easter candy has always been Jelly Beans. I’m not sure when they were invented, but they’re a great candy because they are their own wrapper. You can hold them in your hand and unless you’re exceptionally sweaty, they don’t melt. Back in the day jelly beans were like gumdrops and came in spice flavors. Sometime late in the last century this changed and spice beans fell out of favor and now just about all jelly beans are fruit flavored.
The Starburst Jelly Beans are really fruity flavored jelly beans. A little smaller than the old fashioned spice ones but not as small as a Jelly Belly. They come in Cherry, Strawberry, Green Apple, Orange, Lemon and Grape. Like Jelly Belly, the Starburst beans use both a flavored center and flavored shell to maximize the taste. The Starburst beans are zesty and fruity, with a nice ring of tart. The shell, though a little grainy at first when you chew it, dissolves nicely. The whole candy dissolves very well instead of sticking like the Jelly Belly tend to do. (Note: Starburst Jelly Beans are made in Mexico.)
Here’s the array to match up the flavors of (Jelly Belly) and Starbursts for my taste test. From top left to lower right it goes: (Green Apple) Green Apple, (Blueberry) Grape, (Orange) Orange, (Strawberry Daquiri) Strawberry, (Lemon) Lemon, (Very Cherry) Cherry.
I’ve already said lots about the Jelly Belly. I think they’re fantastic jelly beans. I don’t really care for the flavor mix boxes, I prefer to pick out my own jelly bean flavors. I usually go with a citrus mix of the various lemons, orange, tangerine and grapefruit and maybe a little pina colada.
What I prefer about the Starburst is that there’s just fewer flavors, and the colors are pretty easy to distinguish so there are no surprises. I found the cherry flavor okay and if I had to drop a flavor, it’d be the grape.
When I was at the store it was obvious that there’s been an explosion of jelly bean brands. Everyone is making them now. You can get Lifesaver branded ones, Ferrara Pan, SweeTarts, Starburst has several other flavor mixes ... I could go on and on. If you’re looking for value, well, the Starburst are FAR less expensive and with Easter candy half the fun is the insane quantity. Really, you can’t go wrong with jelly beans. What I always liked about jelly beans is that they were a candy you could leave out, unwrapped, in a bowl or in the grass of your Easter basket and as long as they didn’t get wet, they seemed to stay fresh forever. Well, I’ve never tested forever ... a jelly bean never lasted long in my house.
If you’ve tried these or one of the other brands of jelly beans, like SweeTarts or Lifesavers, what did you think?
Monday, May 16, 2005
Name: Mueca Acidito
These curious little plastic cups have a mango lolly in the lid and a cup filled with a sour/spicy powder to dip into. Muecas, as far as I know, means face in Spanish. Maybe it’s in reference to the faces you make when you eat this stuff.
The mango pop itself is rather pleasant, as long as you like mango flavored things. It tasted rather like peach to me, but I guess mangos are rather peachy. (I love real mangos, just like I love real peaches, but I don’t care for things that are “flavored” like them.) Mango is a great, versatile fruit that goes well with savories, especially mango salsa with jerk chicken.
But I digress. Mostly because I don’t really wanna talk about these puppies, but I’ve got another eight of them at home, and once I blog them, I think I can safely give them away or throw them away.
The dipping powder looks kind of like lemon pepper, but has an overwhelming scent of corn meal. I’m not sure if there’s any actual corn in there, but that’s what it smells like. The stuff itself is just a citrusy powder with a little chili kick. Not overly hot and a good combination, in theory, with the sweet lolly.
Unfortunately I found the aftertaste of both the pop and the powder to be too unappealing and I threw it out (because the corny smell was just repulsive). The little resealable bottle was pretty neat though, and allowed you to save it for later. Or dispose of it and not be able to smell the contents.
I think the concept is sound though, and I’m sure there’s a combination out there of spicy/sour/sweets that would please my American palate.
Rating: 2 out of 10 (mostly because the packaging was cool)
Tuesday, May 10, 2005
Name: Carlos V
First, I have to say that I appreciate the size of these bars. They’re not miniature sized and not full candy bar sized. They’re the right size. You can eat two and probably not feel bad about it.
The image of Carlos V on the front kind of creeps me out the same way that the Burger King pantomime character in the recent commercials does, but maybe you don’t have a problem with that.
Anyway, what’s inside is a small milk chocolate bar. It’s kind of a cross between a European Cadbury bar, with its sticky milkyness and an American Nestle bar with its strong chocolate flavor. It’s very sweet, but I know that’s most people’s attraction to milk chocolate over dark chocolate. It was not at all grainy and had a pleasant vanilla scent. It melted well on the tongue. Mostly what I got from it though is a taste of powdered milk - which if you don’t think about it too hard tastes kind of like malt. But don’t think too hard if you’re going to enjoy this bar, just eat it.
Rating: 6 out of 10.
Monday, May 02, 2005
The surprise breakout hit of the candy party. I call it a suprise because when doing my little photoshoot, I sampled most of the candy for the party (I took it out of the package and figured I may as well have something to snack on while shooting) and found this to be so foul that I threw it out after a few licks.
Billed as a chile flavored lolly, this amply sized ball has four layers (alternating red and then green), the outside is textured (reminded me of stucco) with what I guess to be chili power. The thing is, I don’t mind spicy candy, it’s salty candy that baffles me, and this was damn salty.
However I felt about it, Will and Amy seemed sufficiently engaged by the candy to rate it about a five (they’d eat one if someone gave it to them, in fact, they took the extras home with them), but Robin seemed only to tolerate it enough to get to a second layer.
My rating: 2 out of 10.
Meticulously photographed and documented reviews of candy from around the world. And the occasional other sweet adventures. Open your mouth, expand your mind.