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Thursday, July 26, 2007

The Simpsons Fruit Snacks

Simpsons Fruit SnacksThere’s a movie coming out this week called The Simpsons Movie which is based on some long-running cartoon also called The Simpsons. (Yes, I know you know who The Simpsons are!) I live in Los Angeles and we’re blessed with two live-action promotions for the movie ... they’ve turned two 7-11 stores into Kwik-E-Marts. It’s kind of fun, you can go into the store and see dimensional cut outs of your favorite characters and partake of a few of their favorite fictional foods. This means Buzz Cola, Krusty-Os and those pink glazed & sprinkled donuts are actually available.

Sadly, there is no candy actually associate with the series, but I did pick up these Simpsons Fruit Snacks, which have been out for a few years. (If you want other candy content from The Simpsons, check out

Brian’s

Jamie’s awesome list with videos!)

The Simpsons Fruit Snack is about as lame as a product you’d expect to find if you really lived in Springfield. The package is nice and happy and says things that are totally true like “mixed fruit flavor”, “no preservatives” and “made with real fruit juice” and sports images of the Simpsons kids: Maggie, Lisa and Bart.

But once the package is open and not in view there is absolutely nothing “Simpsons” about these. They’re shaped like little fruits ... not little characters.

So I decided that I just wasn’t working hard enough at this ... that I wasn’t taxing my imagination and decided that they ARE Springfield characters ... if you really work at it. (The illustrations below may require a bit of squinting to make it work.)

image
image

Orange:  Apu (on those formal occasions when he wears his turban)
Grape: Sherry and Terri
Strawberry: The Space Coyote
Apple: Kang & Kodos
Cherry: Radioactive Man
Yellow: Just about any other Simpsons character but I like to think it’s Mr. Sparkle

The promise of the package and the Simpsons tie in aside, the flavor of the candies is pleasant. They’re a gummi (with gelatin), but extremely soft. I was happier once I let mine sit out for a couple of days. They do have a full days allowance of vitamin C and they do have fruit juice as the first ingredient (just as those Scooby and Hello Kitty snacks had real fruit juice).  So for a friendly fruit gummi, they’re a pretty good deal for $1.59. Not really flavorful, just, well, pleasant.

Other irritated opinions about the lack of relationship between the Simpsons and the fruit snacks: Taquitos.net, Amazon.com & VeganCore (may be a different version of the snacks that didn’t have gelatin though).

Related Candies

  1. Dogs versus Cats (fruit snacks that is)
  2. Starburst Retro
  3. Skittles (Fruits, Wild Berry, Tropical, Smoothies & Sour)
  4. Haribo Gummi Bears vs Trolli Gummi Bears
Name: The Simpsons Fruit Snacks
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Taste of Nature
Place Purchased: Kwik-E-Mart (7-11 in Burbank)
Price: unknown
Size: 5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 100
Categories: Gummi, United States

POSTED BY Cybele AT 9:21 am     Comments (4)

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Sour Gummi Bears

Sour Gummi BearsMonths ago YumSugar urged me to try the Sour Gummi Bears from Bristol Farms, and I didn’t. Most of the time when I go into Bristol Farms (which may be five or six times a year) I opt for the Licorice Pastilles or some imported chocolate bar. But this time I not only remembered, I found a bag that was mostly clear ones (that means Pineapple, my friends!). This didn’t stop me from picking up that Italian torrone as well.

YumSugar wasn’t wrong, these are tasty gummi bears. They’re rather like the Sour Patch Kids - a sour sand covers a traditional fruity gummi bear. I suspect that these are made by Farley’s & Sathers. I’m actually concerned that these are not labeled correctly, the ingredients said: Corn Syrup, Sugar, Modified Corn Starch, Fumaric Acid, Citric Acid, Lactic Acid, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Artificial Colors. What’s missing on this list is some sort of jelling agent, like Gelatin. I actually sent Bristol Farms an email, but it’s been over a week and there hasn’t been even an automated response (so much for trusting them with my top dollars).

Sour Gummi BearsThe bears come in the normal Gummi Bear flavor array: green apple, lemon, pineapple, strawberry and orange.

The gummis are soft and chewy (and most definitely gummis with some gelatin in them, you can’t get this texture with corn starch). The flavors aren’t deep, the sour sand keeps everything on a tangy + sweet level. The orange one reminds me a lot of orange jell-o with a hit of orange pixy stix. They’re not quite as tart as Sour Patch Kids, but of course they’re also a different flavor set, so it’s not an apples to apples comparison.

I was especially thrilled at the high ratio of Pineapple ones, which is a flavor that goes so well with the sour sand it’s ridiculous. The least favorite flavor out of the bunch, oddly enough, was the green apple, which I would have thought would do well. The red was strawberry instead of cherry, so the assortment scored points there.

I’m sure there are cheaper places to get these, especially if they are made by Farley’s & Sathers, which are a really well priced, good quality brand.

Related Candies

  1. Sour Patch Kids
  2. Sour Extinguisher
  3. Sandy Candy
  4. Haribo Fizzy Cola
  5. Giant Pixy Stix
Name: Sour Gummi Bears
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Bristol Farms (private label)
Place Purchased: Bristol Farms (Pasadena)
Price: $1.59
Size: 5 ounces
Calories per ounce: unknown
Categories: Gummi, Sour, United States

POSTED BY Cybele AT 7:06 am     Comments (4)

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Jujyfruits & Jujubes

imageI’ve always loved Jujyfruits, but probably for the wrong reasons. I never particularly enjoyed eating them, but they’re stunning to look at.

What’s particularly odd about Jujyfruits is that they’re less fruit flavored and more vegetable-oriented: asparagus (which I always thought was a little corncob), banana (the one that says Heide), grapes, pea pod, pineapple, raspberry and tomato (which I thought was the bottom of a bell pepper or just a flower). The shapes, further, have nothing to do with the flavors and are randomized so that all shapes come in all flavors.

And the flavors? Lemon, Lime, Cherry, Orange and Licorice. (Kind of like Chuckles which are also made by Farley’s & Sathers now.)

At the end of the last millennium, a customer survey revealed that the original spearmint green Jujyfruit was not popular enough and was replaced with lime. I rather miss that ... I liked being able to get a licorice and a spearmint candy in one package. Jujyfruits are rather soft when fresh, though not quite as soft as Dots in my experience. They’re chewy and pretty flavorful, though lacking in any tangy notes, it’s all sweet. They’re sticky and can leave big hunks congealed to the sides of molars. I really like the licorice one, which has very nice anise notes and a very clean flavor.

image

Candy Wrapper Museum has a nice image of an earlier version of the Jujyfruits box, which I much prefer. The current box is rather, I don’t know, primitive looking. (Keep clicking around at the other old Heide products there at the CWM, quite fun to see they had a Good & Plenty knock-off called Hi-D-Ho that were also pink and white.)

A little more history: The Heide company that invented the Juju candies was started by Henry Heidi, a German immigrant in 1869. The company introduced Jujyfruits and Jujubes in 1920. Heide continued as a family run company after Henry Heide died and was then run by his son Andrew and his grandson Philip. But in 1995 they sold out to Hershey’s. Hershey’s then sold Heide (along with their other famous candies Red Hot Dollars and line of gummis) to Farley’s & Sather.

imageWhile the Jujyfruits have remained relatively unchanged over the years, the Jujubes have gone through some substantial changes.

According to the Food Network show Unwrapped, the difference between Jujubes and Jujyfruits is really only that Jujubes use Potato Starch instead of Corn Starch as their primary thickener. Add to that, Jujubes are “cured” longer, so they’re firmer.

When I was a kid, Jujubes were always hard as rocks and only a fool would try to chew them. (We were all fools back then. Of course the cool part was to soften them up enough to chomp down and glue your teeth together ... what fun!)

The Jujube that both the Jujyfruits and Jujubes are named after is a little tropical berry that really has nothing to do with the candy, it was probably just a romantic sounding name and in the early part of the last century many candies tried to adopt such exotic names. Both candies actually used something called Ju-Ju Gum at one time as an ingredient (it’s similar to many of the other vegetable gums like Gum Arabic, Acacia, Agar or Guar).

image

Today Jujubes are a little softer, kind of like stale Jujyfruits. They also have a bit more range in their flavors which are: Lemon (yellow), Violet (purple), Lilac (orange), Lime (green) and Cherry (red). So they’re basically little floral pastilles that are slightly soft. (Think of them like the Grether or Doolittle pastilles.)

I haven’t had them in years and was actually rather pleased with them. I don’t think I really need a box of 6.5 ounces, a little tin filled with an ounce or two might do me for a week. All of the flavors, even the fruity ones, are rather delicate and floral. I wish they did still make the spearmint ones (but it’s okay if there’s no rose in there, I think two flowers is enough).

They’re just lovely to look at and because of their durable and inert nature, I feel fine leaving them sitting out on my desk without worrying about anyone eating them or them getting any staler. If you do find them inedible, a fun craft project is to stick an ordinary sewing pin through them and use them as push pins!

Overall, neither are candy I’m likely to buy or consume, but it was fun to revisit them and I’m glad they’re still around and have their ardent admirers.

Related Candies

  1. Dots
  2. Black Ace Licorice
  3. Pastiglie Leone
  4. Grapefruit & Blackcurrant Pastilles
Name: Jujyfruits & Jujubes
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Heide (Farley's & Sather)
Place Purchased: Dollar Tree (Harbor City)
Price: $1.00
Size: 7.8 ounces & 6.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 85 & 78
Categories: Jelly, United States, Farley's & Sathers, Kosher

POSTED BY Cybele AT 7:10 am     Comments (51)

Monday, July 23, 2007

Dots

imageDots are one of those candies that I see a lot at stores, but I rarely see anyone buying them or eating them.

Originally they were made by a company called Mason, who also made Black Crows (a licorice gumdrop). Black Crows were introduced in the 1890s, but Dots came along a bit later in 1945. What’s fun about Dots is that they’re gumdrops, but they don’t have that sugar sanding on them. The Mason company was sold to Tootsie in 1972, but some folks still call them Mason Dots (even the Tootsie site refers to them on their nutritional data page).

They’re sold in a few different sizes, the regular single sized box, a fun size (often in assortments of Tootsie products) and the “Movie Box”. I have to say that the movie box I picked up last week makes these look darn appealing. And taking the candies out of the box, I was pleased that they really do look like they do on the box.

image

Dots come in five flavors that are supposedly random in the box:

  • Strawberry (pink) - lightly floral and fruity, kind of like cotton candy.
  • Cherry (red) - you know, cherry flavor with that light bitter aftertaste of Red 40. Not bad, I didn’t pick them out of the box but actually ate them.
  • Orange (orange) - nice round orange flavor, rather sweet with a slightly bitter zest that comes a little later.
  • Lemon (yellow) - wonderfully zesty, but then a mellower flavor with a very slight tartness.
  • Lime (green) - a light lime with both the zest and light tangy note ... as with many lime things, it’s a little too much like bathroom cleaner.
  • This box had a clear plastic overwrapper, so these were fresh. The Dots were soft and easy to chew. Of course they’re also kind of sticky, not in the way that threatens fillings, but big lumps will get stuck on the sides of my teeth. I’ve had my share of stale Dots and they’re really not a chewable food.

    Overall, they’re a nice candy. They don’t really thrill me much, but I had these sitting on my desk for several days and did actually eat them. I don’t see myself buying them for any reason though. If you’re a Dot lover, please testify to their enduring greatness.

    Each Dot has about 12 calories and no fat (it’s all sugar, baby).

    There’s no gelatin in these (that’d make them gummis) so they’re suitable for vegetarians and vegans who eat white sugar.

    Related Candies

    1. Tootsie Roll Mini Chews
    2. Chuckles
    3. Swedish Aqua Life
    4. The Real Jelly Babies
    Name: Mason 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: Dollar Tree (Harbor City)
    Price: $1.00
    Size: 6.5 ounces
    Calories per ounce: 92
    Categories: Jelly, United States, Tootsie

    POSTED BY Cybele AT 6:28 am    

    Friday, July 20, 2007

    This Week in Candy - Can you Recall?

    Food safety (and Easy Bake Oven safety as well) has become a large issue not just in the United States but also in China. There’s a lot of fur flying around between the US and China on the issue, but I thought I’d just address a few things as they pertain to candy.

    First, there’s White Rabbit, a beloved vanilla taffy with a rice paper wrapper from China. Earlier this week the Philippines declared that they detected formalin (a nasty carcinogen) in the candy (even in the candy made in the Philippines) and ordered it to be removed from the shelves.

    Then China said that they tested the candy and found no such traces of formalin. (And another test.)

    Now, it’s entirely possible that the contamination is true and that it’s happening somewhere along the supply chain, perhaps in the warehousing or the repackaging for particular markets. I don’t know what to make of it and if you put one of the candies in front of me, I might eat it. But I sure wouldn’t eat more than one. I’ll keep eye on the story. (Here’s my White Rabbit review ... one of the very early ones from the archives.) There was a food contamination hoax earlier this week.

    In other news domestically Artisan Confections has recalled some lots of the Scharffen Berger Kumasi Sambriano bar because of possible milk contents that aren’t marked on the wrapper. My feeling on that is if you don’t have a problem with milk, go ahead and eat the bar, but if you are in a household with folks that do, be sure to return it.

    In a follow up to the Cadbury Salmonenlla contamination in the UK, the chocolate manufacturer was fined 1 million pounds (about two million dollars American) for their negligence in the matter. I’m sure it also cost them a lot in lost sales.

    Almond ClusterJust to cleanse our palate, here’s a completely unrelated and absolutely safe photo of an almond chocolate cluster from Charles Chocolates. (Think of it as the Candy Blog equivalent of a Unicorn Chaser.)
    Here’s a review of this week’s reviews!

    Monday: L’Artisan du Chocolat (7 out of 10)

    Tuesday: Flamigni Torrone (9 out of 10)

    Wednesday: Rum Cordials (8 out of 10)

    Thursday: KitKat Inside Out (5 out of 10)

    Friday: Charms Blow Pops & Zip-a-Dee (7 out of 10)
    Ratatouille Push Pops (4 out of 10)
    Bazooka Bubble Gum Pops (4 out of 10)

    Weekly Average: 6.375 ... 25% chocolate content.

    Related Candies

    1. Salmonella spurs Hershey’s Canada Recall
    2. Cadbury May Face Charges
    3. Factory Follow-Ups
    4. Mars Factory Closed by Health Inspectors
    5. Cadbury Recall

    POSTED BY Cybele AT 4:39 pm     CandyFun StuffNewsComments (83)

    Page 372 of 561 pages ‹ First  < 370 371 372 373 374 >  Last ›

    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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