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Friday, January 30, 2015

Brach’s Conversation Heart Jelly Beans

DSC_8359rbBrach’s has another new item for their Valentine’s Day line: Brach’s Conversation Heart Jelly Beans.

Think about that name for a minute when you consider the product. They’re jelly beans with words printed on them. They’re bean shaped. The words are gushy commands or endearments. There are no hearts. There really aren’t even any conversations.

There’s no key on the package for the flavors, there’s not even a description of what the candy is. I consider this lazy. As far as I’m concerned, what happens is the confectioners come up with a product and the marketing and packaging people agree to make the most enticing package they can without actually committing to anything. So there’s no list of flavors, just some pictures of the candy and a name ... plus those obligatory things our government demands like ingredients and a nutritional panel.

There are six colors: pink, purple, green, orange, yellow and white. They’re not exactly pastel, like the package shows them, but not quite royal. The little mottoes include: Yours 4 Ever, I [heart] You, Peace, ILY, SWAK, Miss U, Hug Me, and Love. The print was red and hard to read on the orange, pink and purple beans, so only half were conversational, the others were whispering behind my back.

DSC_8385rb

White is probably Pineapple. It’s tangy and finishes with a tropical floral note.
Purple is Grape. This is a sad flavor, it’s sweet and tastes like ball point pens smell.
Pink is Watermelon. I was pretty surprised at the flavor. I can’t say that I couldn’t tell what it was. It starts very fake and floral with a little sour layer at the margin of the shell and the bean center ... and then it’s just sweet.
Green is Green Apple. This is the worst kind of fake apple flavor. It’s not tart or vibrant at first, but does end on a note that is more like actual apple juice.
Orange is Orange. These are fine. A little metallic and like orange Pixy Stix without the sour than a good orange jelly bean should be. (And Brach’s makes a more than competent Orange Slice, so they should know how to do an orange Jelly Bean.)
Yellow is Lemon. This is the best of the bunch and has a lot in common with Lemonheads, even though it’s a bit more mild.

All of the flavors were odd and evoked a strange association for me. The Watermelon, each time I ate one, left a sort of a hot iron flavor swirling around. Pineapple finished like a cream soda served in an anodized aluminum cup. Lemon reminded me of fresh roasted Hatch chili peppers. There were no actual flavors, just a weird note to each of them that was certainly atypical.

I didn’t like these much. I only liked half the flavors enough to pick them out: orange, lemon and pineapple ... if pressed, I would grab a grape. The printing wasn’t very good and the little lines weren’t interesting enough to warrant putting my glasses on to discern them. I will give them credit for adding in something like watermelon, which is pretty uncommon. I might like a little bit of warning next time.

Brach’s was part of the Farley’s & Sathers candy company for a few years, but now they’re rolled into Ferrara Candy Company. I actually like a lot of their jelly beans, especially the Lemonhead & Friends Jelly Beans. The unique take on conversation items might simply be something with more flavor than the traditional chalky heart. Instead, the Brach’s Conversation Heart Beans have only slightly bested the wafer based candies ...which was too low of a bar.

Related Candies

  1. Brach’s Gummi Conversation Hearts
  2. Brach’s Ice Cream Conversation Hearts
  3. David’s Signature Beans Jelly Bean Sampler
  4. Starburst Crazy Beans
  5. Brach’s Conversation Hearts
  6. Lemonhead & Friends Jelly Beans
  7. Necco Conversation Hearts (Sweethearts) 2010
  8. Jelly Belly for Valentine’s Day


Name: Conversation Heart Jelly Beans
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Brach’s
Place Purchased: Target (Eagle Rock)
Price: $2.79
Size: 13 ounces
Calories per ounce: 94
Categories: Candy, Valentines, Brach's, Ferrara Pan, Jelly Candy, 5-Pleasant, United States, Target

POSTED BY Cybele AT 5:25 pm     CandyReviewValentinesBrach'sFerrara PanJelly Candy5-PleasantUnited StatesTargetComments (1)

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Yum Junkie Pufflettes

Yum Junkie PufflettesI keep a candy buffet going in my office, usually three to five jars of candy. I try to balance the offerings to complete a full “candy diet” of all the essentials: sour, gummi, spicy, chocolatey and nutty. Sometimes I’ll swap out chewy for spicy or creamy for nutty, but the basic goal is variety.

I mention this because candy buffets are big, they’re ubiquitous at events like weddings, showers and birthday parties. I like to curate my daily candy buffet based on what I’d want to eat, but a party buffet is a little different, because it’s also about being a decoration. Most candy buffet resources show off how to arrange candy based on colors, not textures or experiences. Sometimes there will be a nostalgic bent, so the packaging is the focus.

Yum Junkie is a new company based in the Los Angeles area that caters to the colorful candy buffet market with color-divided candies in most of the major sugar candy genres. When they asked me if I wanted to try some of their new candies, I opted for their Pufflettes, which come in the regular size and a mini called Petite Pufflettes. They describe themselves as Yummy, Gummy Bites. I got mixed bags, but they also come in single color/flavor packages as well.

DSC_8002rb

Pufflettes are actually made in Spain in an array of six flavors. The candy is a puffy gummi with a white base and a fruity flavored top. The larger size is about 1 inch long and .75 inches wide and high. They’re a not quite round, more like an oval base. There are a few makers of candies like these, notably I’ve seen Trolli makes a strawberry version of these called Strawberry Puffs. Pufflettes are the first I’ve seen not only of a multitude of colors and flavors, but also the ability to buy them either mixed or separately. (But the minimum purchase is 5 pounds.)

Strawberry —Pink & White - this is the one that kind of got me interested in Pufflettes in the first place, because a few European gummi companies already make a strawberry gummi puff. These are, well, okay. It’s not quite as good as the Haribo layered Strawberries & Cream, or one of those artisinal real strawberry jam mixed with a vanilla marshmallows. The texture is nice and the floral-tart blend is good. But the white base could use more vanilla or toasted sugar notes.
Grape —Purple & White - this is an unusual flavor, since grape is rather uncommon in gummi candies. There’s more of a creamy note to the white base and the grape is rather mild. I wish it was a little more like a Pixy Stix grape.
Raspberry—Blue & White - It’s a very blue flavor, with a lot of floral notes and sort of scented-candle sort of experience, not as tangy as others, but seems to have a creamy note.

DSC_8015rb

The Petite Pufflettes are only .75 inches long and .5 inches wide. The product description online lists the regular sized ones at 75 pieces per pound, while the Petites are 125 pieces per pound.

Green Apple—Green & White - the listing said that green was lime, but it’s actually Green Apple. It’s definitely on the green side of things, with an almost grassy note to it. It’s tangy and vibrant.
Orange —Orange & White - my regular sized mix didn’t have orange, only the Petites. It’s zesty, which I liked, and a little creamy, so it reminded me a lot of an orange creamsicle.
Lemon —Yellow & White - these are tangy and have a sort of metallic lemon note to them, like a lemonade mix. The flavor lasts for quite a white and isn’t overly sweet.

DSC_8065rb

I usually prefer my gummis to be much more intense. And the puffy texture, while fun at first, really just made them bigger than I wanted when it came to the regular sized ones. I’m more likely to pick up an intense gummi like the Haribo Ginger Lemon, so these are not going to be something I’d buy for myself.

As a decorative item to include in a buffet, these are great. They’re more substantial than a regular marshmallow, and more flavorful. They’re also bulky and provide a lot of visual impact per pound, because they’re fluffy. So I usually put about 3.5 pounds of candy into one half gallon candy jar (these Anchor Hocking dealies). I only needed about 2.5 pounds to make a half gallon jar look full (didn’t really matter which size). The mixed colors are beautiful and not too chaotic looking because the white bases give them a continuity. The individual colors are a great option of you’re making a buffet according to a design plan, especially if you need a lot of bang for you buck and don’t want to have only candies that people can get every day.

The Pufflettes are currently available on CandyWarehouse.com but I also saw them at the Fancy Food Show, so they may show up at other shops in bulk or other packaging.



Name: Pufflettes (Multi)
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Yum Junkie
Place Purchased: Samples from Yum Junkie
Price: $19.50
Size: 5 pounds
Calories per ounce: 96
Categories: Candy, Gummi Candy, 6-Tempting, Spain

POSTED BY Cybele AT 3:12 pm     CandyReviewGummi Candy6-TemptingSpainComments (0)

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Nestle Butterfinger Peanut Butter Cups Minis

Butterfinger Mini CupsNestle got into the peanut butter cup game about 100 years late last year. They introduced the Nestle Butterfinger Peanut Butter Cups, which feature a smooth and crunchy center.

The newest trend, though, is unwrapped mini items, so Nestle has obliged with their 2015 version called Butterfinger Peanut Butter Cups Minis.

I picked up a stand-up bag that holds a half a pound, but they also come in a king-size sharing bag.

The bag is appealing and easy to spot on the shelf. There are a lot of options on the morszelization front these days, with M&Ms as well as all the new unwrapped mini versions of things.

Butterfinger Mini Cups

The design of the little unwrapped cups is well done. They’re fluted and have a rounded square top and circular bottom. However, they suffer from the same problem all of these unwrapped items in a bag do ... they get scuffed up. So they come out looking a little shabby, the chocolate dust often gives the appearance of bloom.

The cups are 3/4 of an inch across and about 1/2 of an inch high and each weighs about 4.5 grams (.16 ounces). The smell is like fake butter, the whole bag was a bit like kettle corn.

DSC_8404rb

A serving is 9 pieces and has 220 calories. I can’t say for sure, but it feels like there’s a larger proportion of chocolate to the filling compared to the regular cups, but the ingredients and nutritional panel are virtually the same.

The chocolate is sweet, has a fudgy melt and is generally smooth on the tongue. The filling is a mix of small crunchy shards of Butterfinger center and a creamed peanut butter filling. It’s a nice texture with a good balance between sweet and salty, crunchy and creamy. The chocolate boost from the coating is nonexistent, I got more milk flavors from it than anything.

Overall, this version of the cup relies too much on the chocolate, a problem I also recognized with the Reese’s Minis as well. , It’s a shame that Nestle makes such lackluster chocolate, but at least this product is supposed to be about the other flavors and textures. They’re probably great mixed in with pretzels, nuts and popcorn as a snack mix. But they’re still probably too big to use as an ice cream topping. I don’t plan on buying them again, as the proportions for this size are just off for me and the chocolate is so bad.

Related Candies

  1. Theo Peanut Butter Cups (Milk and Dark Chocolate)
  2. Nestle Butterfinger Peanut Butter Cups
  3. Jer’s Peanut Butter Bars
  4. Nestle Butterfinger Bites
  5. RM Palmer Giant 1/4 Lb. Peanut Butter Cup
  6. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups Minis
  7. Head to Head: Clark, Butterfinger & 5th Avenue
  8. Butterfinger Stixx


Name: Butterfinger Peanut Butter Cups Minis
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Nestle
Place Purchased: Target (Eagle Rock)
Price: $2.79
Size: 8 ounces
Calories per ounce: 152
Categories: Candy, Morselization, Nestle, Chocolate, Peanuts, 6-Tempting, United States, Target

POSTED BY Cybele AT 2:10 pm     CandyMorselizationReviewNestleChocolatePeanuts6-TemptingUnited StatesTargetComments (0)

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Brach’s Gummi Conversation Hearts

Brach's Gummi Conversation HeartsBrach’s, which has named itself “America’s Candy Maker” has introduced a pretty wide array of candies for Valentine’s Day this year.

They include the returning JuJu Hearts in cinnamon and cherry flavors, Peppermint Heart Nougats and at least three different kinds of wafer Conversation Hearts. The new items, which I’ll try to review this year, include today’s item, Brach’s Gummi Conversation Hearts.

They come in a 10 ounce stand up, resealable bag and cost $2.79. There’s no description on the package of what the candy actually is, just the name.

DSC_8329rb

The hearts come in six colors: pink, orange, green, white, yellow and lavender. Each has lumpy motto molded into them, nearly all are in text-ese. I might have preferred emoticons.

The mottoes depicted were short, as I think the limit was 2 characters + 3 characters + 1 character stacked. So they went something like: 2 HOT or XO XO or QT PIE or BFF. Not exactly a conversation.

The gummis are opaque and look like latex paint. They smell a little off, a little too much like cherry and plastic. It didn’t matter which color they were, they all smelled like cherry.

DSC_8335rb

Yellow is Lemon. The texture is quite bouncy. Each piece is really the right size for a gummi, not more than a bite, and easy enough to conceal if you like to let it dissolve or chew. It’s quite mild, not overly tart or zesty. Not even strong enough to classify as pleasant.

Green is Lime. This was floral and only has the smallest tangy bite. It’s so bland, I had a hard time figuring its flavor for a while.

Lavender is Grape. Grape is a rare flavor in gummis, so it ought to be savored ... this one has a little grape soda note to it, but not much else going for it.

Pink is Cherry. This is probably the best one, not that I like cherry, but it’s definitely cherry and a bit more vibrant than the others.

Orange is Orange. There weren’t a lot of these in my mix, which is fine. They had a lot of zest notes, which is good, but not much in the way of juice.

White is Pineapple. Probably. I don’t know what this is, there are not colorings (except for the titanium dioxide) so it’s definitely more of a blank slate. It’s a little tangy, kind of bright, but not citrusy, but then again, it kind of tasted like cherry.

I think Brach’s does some candies well, such as Candy Corn. Gummis are not something I would select Brach’s as my brand of choice. There are too many other companies making better gummis with better flavors and better shapes. Since they’re not appealing even as a decoration, I’d say these are not worth anyone’s time.

Related Candies

  1. Brach’s Triple Fruit Gummies
  2. Brach’s Ice Cream Conversation Hearts
  3. Brach’s Cherry Cordial Nougats
  4. Brach’s Conversation Hearts
  5. Necco Conversation Hearts (Sweethearts) 2010
  6. Jelly Belly for Valentine’s Day
  7. Brach’s Gummi+Plus & Tropical Gummis


Name: Gummi Conversation Hearts
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Brach’s
Place Purchased: Walgreen's (Glendale)
Price: $2.79
Size: 10 ounces
Calories per ounce: 103
Categories: Candy, Valentines, Brach's, Ferrara Pan, Gummi Candy, 4-Benign, United States, Walgreen's

POSTED BY Cybele AT 2:47 pm     CandyReviewValentinesBrach'sFerrara PanGummi Candy4-BenignUnited StatesWalgreen'sComments (2)

Monday, January 26, 2015

Starburst Superfruit Flavors

DSC_8416rbWrigley’s releases a new Starburst assortment every year. This year they’re a little behind the marketing trends and present Starburst Superfruit Flavors.

I wasn’t sure what a superfruit was, so I looked it up and apparently it’s just a marketing term. The general idea is that a superfruit is a fruit that has nutritional or health benefits beyond a normal fruit. Blueberries, goji berries and acai are included in this non-standardized list for their high antioxidant and flavanoid content. Many of these foods are sold with ORAC ratings on the package, which are meant to codify the antioxidant capabilities of the food.

Of course a candy that’s simply flavored for these “miraculous” foods is missing the point.

The new flavor assortment is: Raspberry Pomegranate, Strawberry Starfruit, Passionfruit Punch and Blueberry Acai. The ingredients are pretty much the same as the ingredients as all the other Starburst flavors, which are made from corn syrup, sugar, hydrogenated palm kernel oil and less than 2% apple juice concentrate. They add in a bit of vitamin C (20% of your RDA) and some artificial colors and flavors.

DSC_8427rb
Blueberry Acai comes in a blue wrapper but the candy is more on the lilac side of things. It has that inky floral flavor, not really like blueberries (which have a steeped tea note to me). My experience with Acai is limited, but this seems pretty accurate to the sharpness.

Strawberry Starfruit is much more tart than the usual Strawberry but with less of the floral and toasted sugar notes. The Starfruit might add that additional tangy zap, as the fruit is usually rather white grape-like with a note of green apple thrown in.

Raspberry Pomegranate is the darkest red of the batch and comes in a purple wrapper. The chew is actually very intensely pomegranate and berry, not too sweet, very floral and with an almost dry finish that you can get with pomegranates.

Passionfruit Punch comes in the magenta wrapper and does taste exactly like a fruit punch. It’s quite tart, which is refreshing and gets my salivary glands going. I’m not usually fond of fruit punch flavors, but this one had a sort of dry finish to it which kept it all from getting too fake or metallic at the end.

I thought this was a stupid idea when I read about these for the reasons I introduced earlier. However, Starburst has succeeded in making each of the flavors distinct and intense. I don’t care for the smoothies or the cream flavors for Starburst, I prefer the really dense fruit chew that Starburst usually delivers. So, on that front they’re quite successful. I don’t know if I would want this mix over the traditional fruits version which has the citrus flavors I love, but I have to say that I actually liked each and every flavor in this package and have no reason to even look at the wrapper before eating.

Related Candies

  1. Starburst Very Berry
  2. Skittles Darkside
  3. Brookside Dark Chocolate Pomegranate
  4. Necco Wafers SmartFruits
  5. Wonka Exceptionals Fruit Jellies: Grapefruit, Goji Berry & Red Apple
  6. HiCHEW World Fruit: Dragonfruit, CamuCamu, Durian & White Peach
  7. Bissinger’s Pink Grapefruit Gummy Pandas
  8. Starburst Sour & Sweet
  9. Starburst Baja California & Tropical
  10. Starburst


Name: Starburst Superfruit
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Wrigley’s
Place Purchased: Target (Eagle Rock)
Price: $2.00 (on sale)
Size: 14 ounces
Calories per ounce: 103
Categories: Candy, Mars, Wrigley's, Chews, 8-Tasty, United States, Target

POSTED BY Cybele AT 1:46 pm     CandyReviewMarsWrigley'sChews8-TastyUnited StatesTargetComments (2)

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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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ON DECK

These candies will be reviewed shortly:

• Candy Encyclopedia: The Difference Between Gummi and Jelly

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

• Candy Rant: Stimulants are not Energy

• 10 Candies that Shouldn’t Be So Disappointing

• Willie’s Cacao - Venezuelan

 

 

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