Monday, December 19, 2005

Jelly Belly - Full Line

Name: Jelly Belly Classic Candies - Jelly Belly jelly beans, Fruit Pectin, Jordan Almonds, JBz, Cinnamon Bears, Dutch Mints, Licorice & Berry Mix
Brand: Jelly Belly
Place Purchased: Jelly Belly Factory Store
Price: $9.99
Size: 15.1 ounces
Calories per ounce: 99
Type: Jelly/Licorice/Nuts/Chocolate/Gummi

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At the beginning of December I took a trip to San Francisco and had to stop at the Jelly Belly factory (see that article with pics here). I was lucky enough to have a guided tour of the facility by none other than the publicist for the company, Tomi Holt. At the end of my factory tour she wanted me to try more of the Jelly Belly line than just the jelly beans. She picked out a few items including this box called Classic Candies which includes samples of many of the candy in Jelly Belly’s line (see my review of their Malted Milk Balls). A lot of it was surprising to me, I didn’t know they made pectin fruits or gummis and if you’re looking for some new tastes without buying a full package this is a good option.

imageOf course the box contains a good assortment of the most popular Jelly Belly flavors incuding Lemon, Sizzling Cinnamon, Cotton Candy, Licorice, Green Apple, Peach, Very Cherry, Buttered Popcorn, Blueberry and Juicy Pear. I have to admit that I’m not fond of all of them, but I appreciate the complexity of the flavors. The peach is a good example. While many “peach flavored” things get one or two notes of peach in there, somehow the Jelly Belly tastes like it has fuzz (I consider that an accomplishment). My favorites are Licorice, Sizzling Cinnamon and Lemon, but some others are growing on me like Cotton Candy and Blueberry. If you’ve never had a Jelly Belly, the first thing you should know is that they contain no gelatin. So if you’re a vegan, you can eat these! (Though the plant uses milk in some products and cannot guarantee that there aren’t traces.) They’re also Kosher.

imageThe Raspberries and Blackberries were another pleasant surprise. I was expecting those German berries that I’ve had before that are nice, but a little sweet and a little chewy. These are tart and flavorful, with a complex combination of the sour, the crunchiness of the sprinkles that mimic berry seeds and then a good aromatic lingering aftertaste. This was much more pronounced in the blackberry, which was downright pungent.

imageI’m adding this little gem in here even though it wasn’t in the box. They’re called “Champagne Bubbles” and they’re very much like the Raspberries & Blackberries in that it’s a tart fruit jelly/gummi center with a crunchy shell of dots. The flavor here is a rather bubbly white grape juice that actually has a little sizzle. They’re not as aromatic as the berries but they’re easier to eat in large quantities that way. The sassy appearance makes them a good item to use for weddings and showers if you want a little change from Jordan Almonds.

imageI didn’t even know Jelly Belly made these! They’re gummi bears in a zesty cinnamon flavor. They’re sanded with sugar and not the same gummi we’re used to from Europe. They’re more of a jelly chew but they’re positively hot. I guess that’s why they call them Unbearably Hot Cinnamon Bears.

imageIt’s odd that one of the things that started this Jelly Belly oddysey was an email I got from a former member of the marketing team at Jelly Belly. He complimented me on the blog and then suggested that I give JBz another try (pronounced Jay-Bees) since they’re reformulated them. I’m not really into trying things I didn’t like again, but I’ll have to admit that I wanted to like these and of course free samples never hurts. I’m going to guess, first of all, that the box I got at Bed, Bath and Beyond was probably a little old and perhaps suffered from sitting around with too many scented soaps. The JBz that I tried at the Factory and in this box were actually really good. The chocolate itself is still very sweet and lacks it’s own chocolate punch, but as a medium for delivering the other flavors, it’s very successful. I liked the capuccino and chocolate caramel ones best (but then again I got a lot of those in my assortment).

imageNo company that does panning can call themselves that unless they make Jordan Almonds. I don’t know who thought up making an inpenetrable shell on a rather large nut, but there you have it. Perhaps you’re not supposed to bite them, but I can’t help it. The coating is smooth and crunchy and the almonds are large and top grade.

imageI reviewed the Jelly Belly Confections Licorice Bridge Mix some months ago and I was pleased by it, but not wowed. I have now found that my mix may have been a little stale (it was on sale), as this stuff was softer and more flavorful. At the time I gave them a harsh 6 out of 10. While I still like a little more licorice inside my pastels, these were very nice since they were soft and chewy. The colorful dots are just so joyfully pretty (I’ve since bought them at a Sweets Factory just because I liked the look of them) and the other black and white dots are nice and mild (think of licorice flavored candy corn).

imageAnother fun thing that Jelly Belly makes is Dutch Mints. They’re a mint fondant-type center covered with a thin layer of chocolate and then given a candy shell. Instead of a high gloss, Dutch mints have a soft, matte finish that always makes them look so soothing. (It also seems to make them nearly impossible to photograph well.) The shell is cool to the tongue and kind of slick, then it releases a huge burst of mint. The chocolate is subtle, really barely noticeable, after all this is all about the mint. The centers are soft without being gooey.

imageTomi and I also spend some time in the store while we were there since that’s the one place to see all the candies Jelly Belly makes, not just the ones being produced that week. One of the things she introduced me to were the Pectin Fruits. She pulled out a clear pineapple one for me to taste and can I just use the phrase “bursting with flavor?” It was seriously fruity and had many of the pineapple notes, not just the tart one, but those aromatics and that actual piney taste that a pineapple has. The only thing I was disappointed about was that there was no pineapple one in this box. I did get to try the raspberry and again I have to say that I am usually not a fan of raspberry flavored things, however this tastes like it’s got raspberries in it. The citrus ones are zesty and tart with a well-rounded flavor. The jelly is firm without being too sticky or crusty. I’ve always loved orange slices and spearmints leaves but since tasting these I may never go back. Even the lime was complex, with more than the “household cleaner” smell to it.

I didn’t photograph these, but you know what they look like: Candy Corn. After years of eating old, stale and waxy candy corn this was pretty good stuff. It’s sweet and slightly chewy. Not terribly complex but nice and all the little pieces were wonderfully consistent looking.

imageOne of the newer products (also not in the box) is their Mint Trio. I’m glad Jelly Belly is finally putting out a contender for the pocket mint business. This sassy little trio has peppermint (Jelly Belly sadly discontinued the blue mint years ago), spearmint and wintergreen. I know that a lot of folks don’t like wintergreen but I’m a huge fan. All the beans have a huge boost of mint in them and will easily work as breath mints if you choose. They’re easy to share and I don’t know of many multi-mint breath mint options out there in one package. (Maybe those mint Skittles.) The only problem with them is that I haven’t seen them anywhere but the Jelly Belly store!

Last, I tried a few Bertie Botts while I was at the store. I’m not really into eating gross things, I generally want to like what I eat. But I did try a few that I actually liked and ended up buying a mix of. If you have the opportunity to just do a mix of the “tasty” Bertie Botts, I can recommend Grass (which is just a mellow, fresh flavor), Black Pepper (sweet and hot) and Soap (if you just think of it as a floral bouquet and not like soap it’s tasty).

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Whew! That’s a lot of candy. Overall I give the Jelly Belly top marks for consistent quality, diverse flavors and innovation. They’re a little more expensive than most “sugar” candies out there, but I think you’re getting a lot for the money when you consider that you’re getting such consistency and flavor packed into those little beans. However, at those prices, unless you like all the flavors, go for a bulk pick-a-mix where you can get just the ones you like. I’m fond of their citrus flavors so when I was there I made my own mix which was Tangerine, Pink Grapefruit, Lemon, Lemon Drop, and Margarita. Not only are they zesty, saliva-gland-popping flavors, they go really well together. They even had a new flavor there that may not be in wide release yet called Pomegranate (the red one there). It was interesting, rather like a cross between raspberry and cranberry - good tartness but a lot of floral flavors to it. It didn’t taste like pomegranate to me, but it was certainly good.

Rating - 9 out of 10 for general Jelly Belly line of products

Related Candies

  1. Jelly Belly Sunkist Citrus Mix
  2. Jelly Belly for Valentine’s Day
  3. Jelly Belly Ice Cream Parlor Mix
  4. Jelly Belly - All Natural
  5. Jelly Belly Licorice Bears
  6. Jelly Belly: Lollibeans

POSTED BY Cybele AT 10:52 am Tracker Pixel for Entry     CandyReviewJelly BellyChocolateGummi CandyJelly CandyKosherLicorice CandyMintsNuts9-YummyUnited States

Comments
  1. Great looking post (and site).  One of the great elements of candy (jelly beans in particular) is its colors.  Some of the colors are quite exotic-so thanks.

    Comment by Kelley Ritchey on 12/20/05 at 2:05 am #
  2. Cybele's avatar

    Thanks Kelley - it’s one of the funnest parts of running a candy blog ... I get to take so many photos of the stuff and half the time I pick it out because I think it’ll look good on the blog.

    Comment by Cybele on 12/20/05 at 11:04 am #
  3. The last time I was at the Great Escape in Queensbury, NY (about a year ago) they had the mint Jelly Bellies. Boy, were they good! I still miss Ice Blue Mint, though.

    Comment by Melissa Mead on 8/10/06 at 2:50 pm #
  4. The raspberries are the best. I used to have them as a kid in Spain and they always bring back good memories.

    Comment by yanina on 12/07/06 at 10:55 am #
  5. Someone gave me a box of the Harry Potter Jelly Belly candy.  Listed in the ingredients were Cod Fish and Beeswax.  So, the common usage of the word “vegetarian” may apply to these, but not “vegan”.  Maybe certain ones are? 

    Another consideration: the food coloring might not be vegan (i.e. crushed beetles for red—no flames please, I’m not saying it’s in there, this is only an example of the labeling possibly being legally deceptive).

    Comment by vegan Harry_Potter _fan on 7/30/07 at 4:17 am #
  6. Cybele's avatar

    vegan Harry Potter fan - The biggest thing about Jelly Belly is that they do not use cane sugar which may have passed through bone char. They use beet sugar. Since so much of the candy is sugar, this is a huge thing to know. I have noted in later reviews of Jelly Belly that they do have beeswax on their beans. If you want a truly vegan product from them, the pectin jellies are probably the best bet. I’ve never seen carmine listed in their colors, but it’s always good to read again. (I wouldn’t have expected the Bertie Botts to follow the same rules when they have fish and meat flavors.)

    Comment by Cybele on 7/30/07 at 5:05 am #
  7. Finally! Someone remembers the Ice Blue Mint flavor! That was my favorite as a child (I called them “minty blues”). Does anyone know of a list of discontinued Jelly Belly flavors? Or is that the only one?!

    Comment by Luau on 2/26/08 at 12:19 pm #
  8. Ask and ye shall receive:

    http://brandon.ikevin.net/beanguide/index.htm#retired

    Comment by Melissa Mead on 2/26/08 at 1:33 pm #
  9. Thank you Melissa! You rock!

    Comment by Luau on 2/27/08 at 6:39 am #
  10. You’re welcome!

    Comment by Melissa Mead on 2/27/08 at 10:42 am #
  11. whenever I’d try some Bertie Bots, I’d always end up with the vomit or ear wax flavored ones.  I can honestly say it’s every bit as gross as you’d expect vomit or ear wax to taste.

    Comment by brak on 3/13/08 at 5:27 pm #
  12. Hi,
    I would like to know if Jelly Belly candies are Halal.
    Regards
    Salman

    Comment by Salman Hafeez on 3/19/08 at 12:13 am #
  13. Cybele's avatar

    Salman - Jelly Belly are not Halal, just Kosher.

    Comment by Cybele on 3/19/08 at 5:15 am #
  14. Just so you know, Jelly Belly jelly beans are not vegan because they are coated with beeswax (to add shine).  Vegans don’t use any animal products including those from bees.  They are vegetarian though!

    Comment by jessica on 8/29/08 at 12:16 pm #
  15. Cybele's avatar

    jessica - as I commented earlier to vegan harry potter, some Jelly Belly products do use beeswax and I have noted that on later product reviews.

    Comment by Cybele on 8/29/08 at 12:19 pm #
  16. They say so often that American candy is not as good as European, but here you can see the exact opposite :D In the entire Europe there are no such quality jellies like the Jelly Belly beans…

    Comment by litsa on 11/26/08 at 1:55 pm #
  17. i would like to know why jelly belly beans are not halaal please,what ingredients do they contain?

    Comment by shameema on 6/09/09 at 4:32 am #
  18. Cybele's avatar

    Shameema - Jelly Belly is not certified Halal. They are Kosher certified though. You should contact Jelly Belly for the exact ingredients for the particular product you’re considering.

    Comment by Cybele on 6/09/09 at 4:56 am #
  19. I love the raspberries and blackberries. I see that on the lable it says k-gelatin. what exactly is that? the little research I have done on it before finding this sight says it could be kosher or pig fat or from fish bladders. I am toarchered about this because I made the mistake of going a head and buying some for my boyfriends stocking and now the box is mocking my attempts to stay faithful to being a vegan. please help!!!! lol.
    thanks for being here too this is a pretty cool blog. LONG LIVE CANDY

    Comment by happyvegan on 12/18/09 at 6:07 pm #
  20. Cybele's avatar

    happyvegan - Kosher gelatin means that it’s not made with pork (pig) products. Usually it’s fish in origin. There is no such thing as “vegan gelatin” (though there are vegan jelling agents but none can create the same texture).

    Sorry.

    Comment by Cybele on 12/18/09 at 6:33 pm #

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