Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Puntini Jujubes - Frutti Tropicali

Every once in a while when I’m at an Italian restaurant, I see a bowl of tiny waxed paper candies offered by the hostess desk. They’re usually green and look a bit like confetti. I used to get these in my stocking as a kid (in the eucalyptus version). They’re Italian jujubes called Puntini ... tiny little firm jelly disks that seem to last forever.

I got a whole bag of the Frutti Tropicali (Tropical Fruit) version from Candy Warehouse a few weeks ago and have been enjoying these tiny nibbles that come in five flavors.

Puntini Tropical - PineappleYellow = Pineapple

These are tiny little candies. Think the size of CeDe Smarties. About one half an inch around and a quarter of an inch high, the disk has a slight depression in one side.

Drop one on a hard surface and it sounds like a bit of plastic. Smooth and dry to the touch, it looks more like a piece of unpolished amber than candy.

While it may not look like candy immediately, it tastes like it. This little nubbin of yellow has an immediate flavor of pineapple. Granted, it’s more like canned pineapple, but still tangy & floral.

It dissolves slowly, and as it melts away it has a bit of a glycerin texture that I find soothing to my throat. Of course if you’re not patient enough to let it dissolve, it can get stuck in the teeth.

Puntini Tropical - PinkPink = Passion Fruit

The candies are mostly all natural. They’re naturally colored and flavored with some artificial flavors as well.

What I surprised about, since this was the first time I’ve had them with an actual packaged to check the ingredients, was that there is no gelatin in them. They’re thickened with Gum Arabic and starch. So these are completely vegan (the pink color comes from elderberry juice not cochineal).

The passion fruit was kind of like a punch flavor with a little hint of hibiscus ... not quite like the passion fruit flavors I’m used to. But what worked really well here was the texture, that smooth and gooey style works to sell the passion fruit as that’s what the fresh seeds are like.

Puntini Tropical - BlueBlue = Guava

Guava was my least favorite, but that’s a personal thing. I’m not that keen on fresh guavas and this has that same musky flavor to it - kind of like a really potent cantaloupe rind. It’s tangy and sweet and definitely fragrant.

Besides taking rather long to eat, these are ridiculously low in calories for a candy that’s not made with any low cal sweeteners. They clock in at less than 3 calories a piece ... yeah ... you can eat a whole ounce of them (which would be about 30 of them) and only take in 75 calories.

Puntini Tropical - LimeGreen = Key Lime

Tangy and zesty. I didn’t really get that key lime chalky note, but the zest seems true and more on the grapefruit side of things to keep it from going into bathroom cleaner territory.

The zest actually gives a lingering bitterness to it, but also means that the flavor lasts as well, giving this a good freshening aspect.

One of the other things I enjoyed, besides having a jar of them in my office with their bright & summery colors was the size. There’s a place in this world for a tiny candy. They’re pretty discreet to, so it’s easy to suck on one in a meeting without having a big bulge in your cheek if you need to talk.

Puntini Tropical - TangerineOrange = Mandarin Orange

This one was rather vividly colored orange.

Before I looked up what the flavors were supposed to be, I thought this was tangerine. But Mandarin Orange is probably a better description.

It’s tangy and has a zesty pop to it. It tastes a little like marmalade from time to time, less like an orange hard candy or a Tang drink mix.

I was really pleased with these, far more than I thought I’d be. They’re rather enduring. Simply packaged, compelling and probably a flavor for everyone in the mix. (I definitely want to try the Sambuca or Licorice version.)

I actually saw these for sale in little tins at Starbucks on Sunday, so they’re available in more reasonably sized packages than the internet ... but once you fall in love with them, the investment for a 3.3 pound bag might be worth it.

Note: the importer’s website says they are Gluten Free. Unfortunately there is no listing that says they’re Kosher.

Related Candies

  1. Short & Sweet: Tropical Flavors
  2. Gourmet Gumdrops
  3. Dr. Doolittle’s Pastilles (Lemon, Grapefruit & Wild Berry)
  4. Licorice Assortment
  5. Jujyfruits & Jujubes
  6. Starburst Baja California & Tropical
  7. Pastiglie Leone
Name: Puntini Frutti Tropicali
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Chipurnoi Inc.
Place Purchased: samples from Candy Warehouse
Price: $50.00
Size: 54.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 75
Categories: Jelly, Italy

POSTED BY Cybele AT 10:34 am Tracker Pixel for Entry    

Comments
  1. Aren’t these available at Trader Joes, as well. In the past I have purchased something exactly like this, but in silver/metallic wrappers. Anyway, that would be a good source for people near TJs.

    Comment by KateC on 8/19/09 at 12:00 pm #
  2. THAT’S what they are!!! I remember buying a couple of really large bags at the candy store when I was in high school. I ate them all the time in class, mainly cuz they were so small the teachers didn’t notice!

    Comment by Cat on 8/20/09 at 6:27 pm #
  3. You can get these direct from the maker:

    http://www.checkmatescandy.com/about-us/

    Checkmates Candy is the sales and marketing division of Chipurnoi. Puntini is one of their four lines, the others being Glitterati, Chips, and Sugar Free. Lots of tempting, nicely-packaged stuff from quality ingredients.

    Comment by Moshe Feder on 3/07/14 at 3:26 am #
  4. KateC asks if they are at Trader Joe’s. When that comment was written (in 2009), Glitterati were available at TJ’s. Glitterati are the hard version. My family prefers the Puntini chewy ones, which (unfortunately) I’ve never seen at Trader Joe’s. I have not seen the Glitterati at Trader Joe’s for several years.

    Moshe includes a link to the manufacturer’s site. I was surprised to see that their rates aren’t great, and that Economy Candy from New York has them beat on prices. At the time I’m typing this (Jan 2017), Checkmates wants $75.70 shipped for their bulk bag of 1400 candies (3 lb, 6 oz). Economy Candy will sell you 4 lbs for $57.25 shipped. That’s 10 extra ounces for 3/4 the price of Checkmates. If you REALLY like the Puntini, 2 bags (6lbs 12 oz) from Checkmates gets you into free shipping territory, so $127.50 shipped, but 7 lbs (4 ounces more than Checkmates) works out to $90.10 from Economy Candy. Maybe Chipurnoi intentionally avoids selling at low prices so nobody will accuse them of cannibalizing sales from the candy retailers that sell their products.

    After buying online from Economy Candy several times, I had the chance to visit their store when I had a brief stopover in New York last month. Wow. The store had the largest assortment and the best prices of any candy shop I have seen. Worth a visit, but allocate more than the 30 minutes we had to spare. The store is not huge, but it is densely packed. I felt like I only saw half of the candy they offered. I don’t see the tropical flavors on their website, but I suspect that they do have them in the store.

    Comment by Shane on 1/07/17 at 1:25 pm #
  5. I endorse Shane’s recommendation of Economy Candy, both as a mailorder source and a wondrous place to visit. I’m a regular customer there, following the example of my mom, who lived in the neighborhood and was a customer before I was born. I’ve actually bought the Puntini there myself.

    Lately though, my most important purchases there have been boxes of the revived Regal Crown Sour Lemon and Sour Cherry roll candies, which I’m addicted to.

    Comment by Moshe Feder on 1/07/17 at 1:43 pm #
  6. Moshe—funny to think that you and I could have bumped shoulders squeezing past each other in the narrow aisles at Economy Candy last month. Like your mom, my wife lived on the Lower East Side (decades ago), which is how she knew about both Puntini and Economy Candy.

    I just called the shop to confirm my recollection—they DO have the tropical flavor in stock
    “at the moment” (implying they don’t always have this variety, perhaps explaining why it’s not on their website). The lady I spoke with on the phone told me to order the regular fruit flavor, and if I wanted some to be tropical flavor, to simply tell them in the “notes” section of the online order form.

    Comment by Shane on 1/07/17 at 1:59 pm #
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