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Monday, September 14, 2009

Halloween Dots: Bat, Candy Corn & Ghost

Candy Season has started with the first Halloween candy entering the aisles as drug stores, discount warehouses & grocery chains move their summer & back to school merchandise to clearance.

Bat Dots

I was excited to find the new Bat Dots in the large theater-sized box at Target over the weekend. They haven’t quite put out all their Halloween items yet, but I found these in the regular candy aisle on a little hanging display at an endcap. I first tried them after All Candy Expo and was looking forward to seeing this single flavor box.

Bat Dots are black but instead of being the black licorice Crows in a different box, they’re Blood Orange.

The package is great and plays with themes of the orange as a harvest moon, the word bat is juicy and the little bat shaped Dot uses an orange slice as a smile.

It’s unusual to find a box of Dots that has just one flavor, and for it to be blood orange is quite a coup for citrus lovers.

As far as flavor goes, these are packed with it. There’s an immediate tartness followed by some nice zesty notes and a strong orange juice flavor. They’re soft and easy to chew ... and for some reason they’re not sticking to my teeth quite as much as other Dots.

My only misgiving with these is the heavy use of food coloring so I get a little weird aftertaste ... if I don’t pop another one in my mouth right away.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Candy Corn Dots

Candy Corn Dots seem like a natural mash-up. They look pretty cute - though I have to say that they weren’t as consistent as the package leads me to believe. The layering is sometimes spot on, with a yellow third on the bottom and an orange top (no white tip) but other times I had to turn over the Dots to even see the yellow.

I didn’t know what flavor to expect but I girding myself for fake butter. Instead they ended up being a pleasant French vanilla or maybe pudding flavor. It was missing that light touch of honey that the better candy corn has ... but overall it’s a cute take on Dots.

Rating: 5 out of 10

Ghost Dots

Ghost Dots have actually been a seasonal product for three years now. Again, I give Tootsie some props for the package design and the concept itself.

They’re regular fruit Dots, but they’re all the same translucent & spooky beach glass light green color.

The spooky part is you never know what you’re going to get. It’s rather interesting to experience the flavors without the color contribution to the flavor event. It confirmed that I really don’t like cherry much, even if there isn’t a crazy aftertaste and I had trouble telling my citrus apart from time to time. It’s tempting to think that they should be glow in the dark, but I don’t think that’d be safe. (Though maybe it would be - kids could mount them on little sticks and carry them around while trick or treating for extra visibility!)

Rating: 6 out of 10

I really couldn’t beat the price on these either - for a buck they’re a fun change-up and hopefully they’ll go over well and return every year. (I haven’t seen them in the Trick-or-Treat size yet ... has anyone else?)

Related Candies

  1. Short & Sweet: Summer Bites
  2. Dots Elements: Earth, Air, Fire & Water
  3. Candy Corn Kisses
  4. Dots
  5. Gourmet Goodies Candy Corn
Name: Bat Dots, Candy Corn Dots & Ghost Dots
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Tootsie
Place Purchased: Target (Eagle Rock)
Price: $1.00
Size: 7 ounces
Calories per ounce: 92
Categories: Jelly, United States, Tootsie, Halloween

POSTED BY Cybele AT 9:19 am     Comments (26)

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, December 11, 2008

Candy Cane Tootsie Pops

imageBefore Tootsie came out with their seasonal Candy Cane Tootsie Pops fans of peppermint and Tootsie Rolls were relegated to making their own. Though it was relatively simple to jam a Tootsie Roll on a chop stick and then smash a couple of starlight mints onto it, it just didn’t have the same classy, holiday flair as this store-bought version.

Candy Cane Tootsie Pops are a little different than other special flavor editions of Tootsie Pops. But not in remarkable ways. Yet I’ll list them for you anyway. First, the they’re in a clear cellophane wrapper. Second, the wrapper is done in a double twist at both the base of the pop and at the top of the pop. (Remember, the regular wrappers cover the pop and twist only where the stick meets the pop.) Third, the shape is not like the regular Tootsie Pop, which has a band that extends from the base up and around the top. Instead this band goes around the middle, just like a Charms Blow Pop. (Hmm, the wrappers are the same as Blow Pops too ... wouldn’t it be fun if they made mint Blow Pops?)

The wrappers are vexing. They’re sealed at the base, so hard to get off and not as easy to rewrap around the candy if you don’t finish it all at once.

The mint hard candy outside is peppermint. It has a pleasant swirl of red that goes through the white dominant base. It’s very smooth, in fact, smoother than a regular Tootsie Pop, fewer voids. Honestly, it made me wonder why Tootsie Pops aren’t all this smooth.

I’m a cruncher, so it didn’t take long before I was able to dissolve away enough of the hard candy outside to crunch into the Tootsie Roll center. Let me state that’s where this gets disappointing. A Tootsie Roll is just a chocolate flavored taffy. I like them well enough as a durable, all weather candy. But they’re really only good inside Tootsie Pops (orange). Because mint is rather one note (no tartness, just sweetness and cool mint) instead of complex like the fruit flavors (the flavor, the tart, the tangy all combined) the Tootsie Roll scent becomes very obvious. It smells like chocolate scented cardboard.

It smells like the box hot cocoa mixes come in after you take the packets out.

It’s just disappointing.

I think these are a fun idea, but there’s really no way to improve them without fixing the Tootsie Roll. The combo just doesn’t bring out the best that a Tootsie Roll has to offer and hide its shortcomings.

Related Candies

  1. Chocolate Dipped Altoids - Creme de Menthe
  2. Baskin-Robbins Soft Candy
  3. Tootsie Pop Drops
  4. Jo’s Peppermint Crunch
  5. Tootsie Rolls & Fruit Rolls
  6. Charms Blow Pops & Zip-a-Dee
  7. Hot Tamales Ice
Name: Candy Cane Tootsie Pops
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Tootsie
Place Purchased: Target (WeHo)
Price: $1.99
Size: 9.6 ounces
Calories per ounce: 100
Categories: Chew, Mint, Hard Candy, United States, Tootsie, Christmas

POSTED BY Cybele AT 10:16 am     Comments (11)

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Holiday Edition Sugar Babies

Holiday Edition Sugar BabiesFor years Sugar Babies were just plain old Sugar Babies.

Tiny little caramels panned with a sugar shell like a jelly bean.

Perfect just the way they are.

But Tootsie, like so many other companies, needed to expand the brand. So they covered them in chocolate and then some bitter green ogre skin (oh, wait, that was green apple flavor). Those were interesting extensions, because they actually built on the unique caramel of Sugar Babies and then added something else.

Now Tootsie has given us Sugar Babies Holiday Edition.

What’s different about these?

image

They’re white, red and green. That’s it.

I went out and bought a box of regular Sugar Babies just to be sure.

Even the original have artificial colors in them (why?) but the only addition to the list of ingredients for the Holiday Edition is titanium dioxide. (Mmm, like licking a lifeguard’s nose.)

Frankly, these Holiday Edition ones are downright ugly. They look like leftover nubs of erasers. The colors are dull but not muted enough to look like it’s on purpose. (And of course I can tell which ones are red by the bitter aftertaste that I get from Red 40.)

The other funky thing about these is the package design. I actually liked the blue and plain clip art style snowman. But I was extremely irritated by the little “snowflake” type decorative elements. Why? Because they have eight points.

Snowflakes have six sides or points.

Instead Holiday Edition Sugar Babies boxes are decorated with asterisks. And you know what asterisks make me think of?

If you have a Sugar Babies lover in your life and want to give them a little treat, make it a fresh box of the classic ones. The only reason to buy these is because you love Kurt Vonnegut.

Related Candies

  1. Junior Fruit Cremes
  2. Whoppers Sno-Balls
  3. Peppermint Peep Stars
  4. Junior Mints Pastels
  5. Cadbury Christmas Candy Thingies
  6. Junior Caramels
Name: Holiday Edition Sugar Babies
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Tootsie
Place Purchased: Target (WeHo)
Price: $1.39
Size: 5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 112
Categories: Caramel, United States, Tootsie, Limited Edition, Christmas

POSTED BY Cybele AT 1:00 pm     Comments (9)

Friday, October 10, 2008

Andes Fall Harvest Mix

Andes Fall HarvestWhile I’m probably painted as something of an anti-mockolate crusader, I don’t hate all quasi-chocolate products. Things like Andes Mints and Goldenberg’s Peanut Chew are pretty good even though they’re not quite real chocolate candies.

So I thought I’d give the Andes Fall Harvet limited edition mix a try.

It includes three flavors: toffee, orange and cocoa. Each little plank of candy is individually wrapped and comes in a nicely designed bag with orange leaf outlines all over it. Instead of the usual Andes logo on each piece of candy, these have three random embossed harvest themed designs.

The ingredients aren’t promising: Sugar, partially hydrogenated vegetable oils (palm kernel & palm), nonfat milk, cocoa, lactose, milk protein concentrate, cocoa processed wtih alkalai, corn syrup solids, soy lecithin, salt, baking soda, molasses, orange oil, natural and artificial flavors, artificial colors (yellow 5 & 6).

Andes Fall Harvest ToffeeThe burnt yellow wrapper makes me think more of mustard than Toffee. It smells of butter and sugar, which is a very encouraging sign.

This piece is the only one of the set that’s not layered like Andes Mints. Instead it’s a milk chocolatey confection with toffee bits mixed in.

The toffee bits are very crisp and crunchy and remind me more of a brittle (which is often a bit foamy but not quite a honeycomb or sponge candy). The crunches are a little salty as well. The mockolate confection is very sweet but doesn’t have much cocoa flavor to it. A little on the waxy side at room temperature, it does okay texture-wise in the mouth.

Andes Fall Harvest OrangeI love the combo of orange and chocolate. The Orange was really what got me to buy this bag.

It smells like orange confection, kind of like a cheap version of Terry’s Chocolate Orange.

It’s quite sweet and a little grainy on the tongue (kind of like a Terry’s Chocolate Orange). The orange essence is quite pronounced with a strong zest and slight bitterness to it. To balance that there’s plenty of sugar. But don’t expect any dash of chocolate flavor in there. It might be a cocoa colored confection on the top and bottom, but the orange flavor goes straight through.

Andes Fall Harvest CocoaThe least appealing of the assortment was Cocoa.

It’s the same light colored mockolate confection as the other two, this time with a darker mockolate sandwiched in the middle.

It’s a little saltier than the orange one, which helps. It does taste a bit like hot cocoa, but also a little like cardboard and Tootsie Rolls.

Four pieces provided 50% of my daily intake of saturated fat ... and not even a good one like cocoa butter.

I think I’ll stick with the original from now on.

Related Candies

  1. Goldie’s Premium Carob Bar
  2. Bel Chocolatey Bars
  3. Kissables (Reformulated)
  4. M&Ms Premiums
  5. Dove Silky Smooth Milk Chocolate Bars
  6. Roca Buttercrunch Thins
Name: Andes Fall Harvest
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Tootsie
Place Purchased: Albertson's (Los Feliz)
Price: $2.50
Size: 9.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 150
Categories: Mockolate, Toffee, United States, Tootsie, Kosher, Limited Edition

POSTED BY Cybele AT 8:07 am     Comments (4)

Monday, August 4, 2008

Junior Fruit Cremes

Junior Fruit CremesSometimes I let me curiosity get the better of me. And in the case of Limited Edition Junior Fruit Cremes, it wasn’t that exhilarating sense of discovery that made me do it. It was because I’d already seen a bunch of reviews and was pretty convinced that they were bad.

But sometimes I have to find out how bad they are for myself (call it the curiosity of Schrodinger’s cat). Here are a few highlights of what I knew I was in for:

Joann at Sugar Hi: All I could taste was sweet. The raspberry was also sickeningly sweet and reminded me of those candy coated marshmallow Easter eggs that are always leftover on the store shelves weeks after Easter.

AV Club: A.V. Club testers back at the office were pretty dubious about Junior Fruit Cremes, praising their initial tart burst of juicy fruit taste, but not so much the way the flavor quickly passed, leaving us all with waxy mouthfuls of the outer coating.

Sera at The Candy Enthusiast: I couldn’t finish the recommended serving of these since I they were burning out my esophagus with the sugar hit. I am not kidding, my throat just *burns* for all the sugar in this.

Patti at Candy Yum Yum: On the package, the drawings of the cremes look all bright and shiny and oozy in the center. In reality, they’re grayish, and the centers are dry, like a thin mint patty. I can’t even describe the taste. Gross, like a bad grammar school fruit dessert.

Junior Fruit Cremes

At first glance they look a lot like the Pastel Junior Mints that were out around Easter. It’s some sort of white confection (well, pastel colored in this case) that looks like melted crayons but is probably supposed to remind us of real white chocolate. They’re nicely domed and have little belly buttons on the underside like regular Junor Mints.

The smell, well, even if I wasn’t getting over a bout of food poisoning (and I wasn’t when I took the pictures and had a similar reaction), I found the too sweet and fake fruity scent repulsive. It smells more like cheap air freshener than something to eat. And let’s face it, that’s odd for me because orange blossom is one of my favorite ice cream flavors.

The box has three flavors: Black Cherry (the darkest pink), Orange and Raspberry (light pink). They don’t smell any different from each other.

The candy shell is soft and waxy. It melts slowly and reveals a fondant center with a bit more of a flavor pop and some sort of super sweet center. When I say super sweet, I mean that it exhibits extraordinary characteristics not known in nature. It’s as if Tootsie has taken over a particle accelerator and has somehow found a way to use supercolliders to violate the laws of two objects existing in the same space. There’s twice as much sugar in here as was formerly possible in confectionery to this point.

But of course in order to contain this physical impossibility they’ve contained the super dense fondant in some sort of subspace warp field with an oscillating polarity and improbability drive to power it (that’s housed in the little belly button area). I think the base material was a pile of used crayons found behind on of those restaurants that has the paper on the tables & little cups of generic crayons.

The density of it shocks my teeth, and perhaps creates some sort of electrical field or radiation or something because it makes me woozy and gives the bones in my lower jaw a deep ache.

I fear for the scientists creating these, the texture of the candies was inconsistent. The orange ones had a rather soft center, the cherry ones a sort of crumbly one (apparently the firmness effects the glucose delivery via the wormhole or whatever and it wasn’t as painful). Raspberry was the mildest of the three, which isn’t really a recommendation.

I’m all for investigating the cosmos and believe that many problems can be solved through innovation, but these incredible scientific feats are being used for evil. Pure evil.

They must be destroyed.

And the way to destroy a limited edition candy is to look away. Yes, that’s right, don’t buy it, don’t even pick it up and handle it at the store. Just walk away ... keep going. The fate of the universe depends on you. Don’t try to save me, I’m already infected. Save yourself!

I couldn’t give it a rating of 1 for inedible, as I have to applaud the scientific breakthrough of super-density sweetness.

(Special note, these have no candy category. I have 30 or so “candy type” categories like chocolate or mint or chew and these don’t fit into any of them! They simply cannot exist.)

Related Candies

  1. Junior Mints Peppermint Crunch
  2. Junior Mints Pastels
  3. The Shame of Some “Healthy” Candy
  4. Brachs Bunny Basket Eggs
  5. Inside Out Junior Mints
Name: Limited Edition Junior Fruit Cremes
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Tootsie
Place Purchased: Dollar Tree (Dublin, CA)
Price: $1.00
Size: 4.75 ounces
Calories per ounce: 124
Categories: Fondant, United States, Tootsie, Limited Edition

POSTED BY Cybele AT 8:19 am     Comments (26)

Friday, July 18, 2008

Mini Charleston Chews

Mini Charleston ChewsAfter my stellar experience with the Look! bar last month, Christine suggested in the comments that it was like Charleston Chews.

Honestly, I’ve avoided Charleston Chews, mostly because they have the dreaded mockolate coating. I bought a bar once before and upon opening, it was apparent that it wasn’t fresh or maybe that’s the way they were supposed to look, so I opted not to review it.

However, at the Walgreen’s the other day they were having a sale on theater box candy. I really wanted some Good & Plenty, but the sale was 3 for $3.00 instead of $1.50 each, so I obviously bought three boxes of candy. (The other was Crows.)

Charleston Chews are named after the dance craze of the 20s. Introduced in 1922 by the Fox-Cross Candy Company they’ve changed hands a few times, manufactured by Warner-Lambert and then Nabisco before being picked up by the Tootsie company in the 90s. Tootsie understands a good taffy chew. The design of the box is classic, as are many Tootsie items. It conveys what to expect, some sort of small white bar of chew covered in a delicious chocolatey coating.

Though the box tells me that these are Vanilla, I know that the long bars come in other flavors including Chocolate and Strawberry. I’ve never seen those in the mini chew size. (Which is too bad, because I think it’d be fun to be able to buy a mixed box.)

Mini Charleston Chews

This box was so much better than the first bar I had, so things were encouraging. First, it has a cellophane overwrap. Second, the Walgreen’s where I usually shop has pretty good control over their temperature. I’ve never been in there and found it to be sweltering (and there are plenty of other drug stores in Southern California that have that problem and I won’t buy chocolate candy there ... or even chocolatey candy.)

The mockolate coating is kind of chalky looking but I figured that was because of the friction of rattling around in the box. The coating is thin, but enough to usually contain the fluffed chew in the center.

They smell sweet, like vanilla candles. It’s soft enough to bite in half or simply chew up. It’s a smooth chew to the very end (not like Starbursts or Sugar Babies which both disintegrate into a grainy mess).

The flavor is pleasant, the fake chocolate contributes next to nothing here, not even a little cocoa pop. But the chew is enjoyable enough that I ate most of the box (but didn’t have access to much other candy as I’m traveling). As a movie treat, they’re easy to eat mindlessly.

However, having had the Look! bar, which is a chew covered in real chocolate, this is a silly waste of my time. But I still think I’ll try the Strawberry & Chocolate varieties at some point.

Rosa at ZOMG Candy also wasn’t thrilled with them.

These contain egg whites (and oodles of milk products) so are not suitable for vegans. Kosher.

Related Candies

  1. Now & Later
  2. Tootsie Rolls & Fruit Rolls
  3. Bit-O-Honey
  4. Eat-More
  5. Doscher’s French Chew Taffy
Name: Mini Charleston Chews
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Tootsie
Place Purchased: Walgreen's (Echo Park)
Price: $1.00
Size: 4.75 ounces
Calories per ounce: 128
Categories: Mockolate, Chew, United States, Tootsie, Kosher

POSTED BY Cybele AT 4:51 am     Comments (14)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Dots Elements: Earth, Air, Fire & Water

Earlier this year I teased a new line of Dots from Tootsie. The single flavor boxes of the [Aristotelian] Elements line are based on the four elements: Earth, Air, Fire and Water. Each of these elements is assigned a flavor and a not-found-in-nature color. (There’s actually a fifth element in Aristotle’s list, Ether, which makes up the stars and celestial bodies.)

Dots Elements

The idea behind these elements was that they were combinations of heat and moisture, or lack thereof. So Water is wet and cold, Fire is hot and dry, etc. We now have an exceptionally complex table of the elements which takes a completely different approach to what makes up the physical world.

The packages for Dots Elements are quite striking. Black and neon, they’re hard to miss at the store as they stand out from other theater-sized boxed candies. (This is the only size I know that these come in so far.)

I didn’t buy these, instead Sera who was visiting Los Angeles last week shared her bounty of huge boxes with me (so look for her perspective soon).

Green Tea DotsWater = Green Tea

The color is hard to describe, it’s translucent and reminds me of the color that results when you mix water with absinthe. Milky green.

The scent is, well, like walking into a Bed, Bath & Beyond. A strange floral smell that I can’t quite put my finger on.

The nice thing was that these were exceptionally fresh. The smooth bite gives way to a rather delicate sweet flavor.

I tastes very little like green tea to me, which usually has a rather grassy flavor to it. They’re fresh but a little cloying. They remind me a lot of Turkish Delight.

Cinnamon DotsFire = Cinnamon

This was the most predictable flavor of the new line. What’s more, there used to be Hot Dots (made from 2004-06, I stumbled across some very old boxes at the 99 Cent Store in Hollywood late last year).

The color is a bit light, but that’s okay with me, as I don’t need the bitter food coloring especially when there’s only one flavor in the box.

These don’t smell like much at all, but have a pleasant cinnamon bite to the. Not too sweet either, there are little pockets of sizzle now and then, they remind me of Spearmint Leaves.

I’d be pretty happy if these stuck around.

Wintergreen DotsAir = Wintergreen

This color was freaky ocean blue ... unless you put them under florescent lights and then they were more green.

Like the cinnamon they don’t smell like much.

These seemed a bit firmer than the rest but still had a smooth chew to them.

The wintergreen flavor is pretty strong and brings to mind things like root beer (pleasant), teaberry gum (yum) and ben gay (ewww).

They feel fresh. But I’m always hesitant to eat wintergreen things because so many people have a visceral reaction to them. The good thing is that until you chew them up, no one knows what they are.

Pomegranate DotsEarth = Pomegranate

This is the only fruit flavor among the group and it makes sense that it represents the earth. The pomegranate was actually cultivated in Aristotle’s time and had great cultural significance.

As daring as I thought the green tea flavor was, I think pomegranate is pretty high up there. I love pomegranates though I don’t eat them as much as I used to. Real pomegranates are intense with a combination of tart berry flavors, a dark drying quality in the mouth and of course a deep syrupy sweetness. Oh, and they’re very pretty both on the tree (they look like huge rose hips) and taken apart in a bowl.

Instead of being a garnet-colored drop these are purple, which I guess is what color pomegranate juice is. This is the only Dot in this group that has a touch of tanginess to it. The flavor doesn’t really feel like pomegranate. If someone gave these to me I’d just say that they’re cherry-berry.

On the whole, I actually think they’re a good effort. They’re different, the hook of the elements had me more than interested and of course they’re dirt cheap. It’s a bit different for Dots to have just one flavor in a box, so you’d really better like it. I finished the cinnamon first, then the green tea, then the wintergreen and I still have some pomegranate left.

Dots are a starch-thickened candy, so there’s no gelatin in there. These are suitable for vegetarians and even vegans.

Related Candies

  1. Canada Wintergreen
  2. Cinnamon Fire Twizzlers
  3. Jujyfruits & Jujubes
  4. Dots
  5. Jelly Belly Pomegranate
Name: Dots Elements: Earth, Air, Fire & Water
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Tootsie
Place Purchased: Von's (Purchased & shared by Sera - thanks!)
Price: $1.29
Size: 7 ounces
Calories per ounce: 92
Categories: Jelly, Mint, Cinnamon, United States, Tootsie

POSTED BY Cybele AT 4:59 am     Comments (18)

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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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