Friday, March 3, 2006

The Lemonhead & Fruit Heads

Ferrara Pan is a favorite of mine for one product they make: Lemonheads. No one else makes anything like it. It’s a hard, sweet lemon candy coated in a grainy, super sour coat and then a sweet “lemon peel”. Genius.

When I was a kid there were a bunch of varieties of these candies and they each had a cool name. There was Alexander the Grape, Johnny Apple Treats and Mr. Melon. Somewhere between the late eighties and the present Ferrara Pan dumped those names and reintroduced the fruit flavored, layered candies under the Lemonheads style naming convention.

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The original. The classic. The. Perfect. Lemon. Candy.

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Fantastic idea - it’s a Lemonhead, only it’s orange! The color is vibrant and they have both the zesty orange taste and the tartness. They’re not as blisteringly tart as Lemonheads, but the flavor can’t be beat. I don’t think these existed under another name way back when, but better late than never! My second favorite fruit head!

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Well, folks know my feelings about cherry flavor. This is the classic cherry with some good rounded fruity notes and a sour bite to it. Like a cherry Lifesaver, only spherical and tarter. The original name of this candy was Cherry Chan ... so it’s probably good that Ferrara Pan decided to rename the whole line into something less offensive. (Though they briefly renamed them to Cherry Clan and changed the art a little bit.)

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I used to eat these all the time as a kid. I loved the name, Alexander the Grape and the package logo was a little grape wearing a Trojan helmet. The color is a little surprising, as it’s very dark purple, almost navy blue or black. The flavor is a more complex grape than many other grape flavored candies these days and the package boasts “real fruit juice.” Of course the real fruit juice listed is apple. There are Appleheads, but I didn’t find those at the store (and had to get a smaller box of the Grapeheads because they weren’t available in the larger size).

When I first started on my Lemonheads/Alexander the Grape kick I was in grade school. We lived in Munroe Falls, OH and in good weather me and my older sister and younger brother were allowed to walk about a half a mile down the rural highway, over the Cuyahoga River and the Falls and then train tracks to the Stop ‘n Go in “downtown” Munroe Falls. This was the store where I also discovered such non-confectionery wonders as Pringles, Doritos and of course Starbursts, the Marathon Bar, Jolly Rancher Fire Stix and Charms Sweet ‘n Sour Pops with my allowance. Lemonheads were desireable because they were cheap and the box could be used as a noisemaker later. Sadly, the boxes are now the tab-top variety and no longer make that noise. (Chicket’s boxes still do, though.)

I like to eat my Lemonheads by peeling them with my teeth. First I anchor a candy at my first molar and crack about a third of the shell off. This reveals the super sour layer. Then I move the candy to my front teeth and pry off the rest of the peel using my teeth and tongue (if you’re wondering, yes, I can tie a cherry stem in a knot with my tongue). Then after the sourness is exhausted, I chew up the rest of the sweet candy and repeat until the box is empty. Giant Lemonheads are dealt with in a similar manner but I think that classic Lemonheads are better since the ratio of sour coating to candy is a little better. I wish the candy centers had a bit more flavor, but I’ve loved them ‘as-is’ forever, so I shouldn’t be advocating any changes. I also wish the the unfortunate Narbles that they introduced a few years back had this same sour peel to them.

Lemonheads and their fruity brethren are the perfect traveling candy. I enjoy hard candy when I’m on long road trips because of the variety of flavors and the interactivity which requires no hands (some fireballs must be removed from the mouth when they get too hot). The little burst of sour keeps me awake and engaged and of course being a pure sugar candy there’s fewer calories per ounce than something with chocolate in it. On my wishlist would be a few other flavors - including Grapefruit and maybe Strawberry and it would be cool to be able to buy a mixed bag of all the flavors.

You can watch a virtual tour of how Lemonheads are made in the panning process.

Name: Lemonheads, Orangeheads, Grapeheads & Cherryheads
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Ferrara Pan
Place Purchased: Baldinger's (Zelienople, PA)
Price: $.10 and $.25
Size: .8 and 1.25 ounces
Calories per ounce: 100
Categories: Hard Candy, United States

POSTED BY Cybele AT 10:12 am Tracker Pixel for Entry    

Comments
  1. Wow, I didn’t even know there were different flavored Lemonheads. Cherry and Apple sound awesome, though.

    Comment by 573 on 3/03/06 at 1:15 pm #
  2. the only thing i don’t like about lemonheads is how they’ll make the tip of my tounge feel all weird from eating too many of them.  they don’t beat chocolate in my book, but they are a bit of candy perfection.  i must find these other flavors.

    Comment by erin on 3/03/06 at 2:40 pm #
  3. Yum, Lemonheads!  The only thing that I think would make these better is if they were tart all the way through.  Or at least a little less sweet since I’m not such a fan of sweet lemon.  Grapeheads are yummy too, but still just a little more tang throughout would be awesome.  It’s interesting that you have candy eating rituals within your mouth.  I have them, too, though not with these.

    Comment by Julilla on 3/03/06 at 3:46 pm #
  4. Cybele's avatar

    573 - I wish they had the Apple ones! I feel like I’m missing an important piece of the fruit head puzzle.

    Erin - I often give my tongue chemical burns from too-sour candy. Of course I do that by eating too much pineapple too.

    Julilla - I wish they were more flavorful ... in fact, my co-worker was finishing up my cherry ones and she actually spit out the center ... cuz what’s the point of finishing it if the best part is gone? It’s like the candy center is a cherry pit or something.

    Comment by Cybele on 3/03/06 at 5:35 pm #
  5. Now, I am craving the members of the Lemonhead family.  I haven’t forgotten about the little buggers but I sure haven’t had any in a long time.  I remember the grape ones being my favorite with the cherry and classic lemon coming a close second. Also, I agree with you that they need the apple ones.  It just doesn’t feel quite right without them.

    Comment by Alex on 3/03/06 at 5:49 pm #
  6. I didn’t even know I had a Lemonhead-eating ritual until you described yours, and then I realized you were describing (to a T) what happens to a Lemonhead once it gets inside my mouth.  Weird.  I do something similar with an M+M - and I, too, can tie the cherry stem with my tongue.
    Grapefruitheads!  You’re a freakin’ genious.  Call Ferrara Pan ASAP - that’s THE Fruithead-in-waiting… it really needs to happen.

    Comment by jo on 3/03/06 at 11:02 pm #
  7. Wow! I feel like a kid again…

    Thanks, Cybele!

    Comment by desertwind on 3/04/06 at 12:56 am #
  8. Hello!
    I’m truly amazed with your blog!
    It’s… gorgeous! Full of great stories and dreamy pictures, and of course very yammy-yammy :-D
    I’m here for hours and I just can’t leave…
    If you want, I’ll be very happy to send you some goodies from this side of the planet. Just tell me where to.
    Congratulations once again, and again!

    (oh! and about the post: yes, I remember Lemonheads very sour flavor. It was a regular gift from my new yorker cousin, when we were kids)

    Comment by fada*do*lar on 3/04/06 at 2:47 pm #
  9. I loved Lemonheads and Alexander the Grapes as a kid. We got them super cheap from the ice cream man at the pool. Such fond memories. I’ll have to go out and find some of these to try again.

    Comment by g on 3/06/06 at 7:38 am #
  10. Any leads on where the grape and cherry flavored heads are available here in Los Angeles? I’ve never seen them around here. Only the luscious lemon ones.

    Comment by Will Campbell on 3/06/06 at 12:37 pm #
  11. Cybele's avatar

    fada*do*lar - thanks for the offer and the high praise for my little diversion known as candyblog!

    Will - I think I’ve seen many of the Ferrara Pan candies at SavOn, but I’m not sure about the cherry ones (definitely grape). But I’ll keep my eye out and let you know.

    Comment by Cybele on 3/06/06 at 1:25 pm #
  12. I remember really liking the grape and apple flavors, but I haven’t seen any of the non-lemon varieties in years.  They definitely had more of an actual fruit flavor to them, especially the apple.  And the alexander the grapes were one of the few grape candies that I actually enjoyed.  And you also mentioned the Jolly Rancher fire sticks.  Those were a classic.  Nowadays, I can only find the regular sized candies in the fire flavor, and they seem to have changed the recipe.  It tastes fruitier, and not as hot.

    Comment by john on 3/08/06 at 1:39 am #
  13. Went to a friends home and she had this huge jar of candy.  I grabed a nice bunch of colors, and of course tried the yellow ones first.  Once in my mouth, “OH MY” it’s a lemonhead.  Had to try each of the other flavors.  What a wonderful surprise.
      Ouida, Landenberg, PA

    Comment by Ouida on 4/10/06 at 2:06 pm #
  14. I know that you wrote this a few months ago, but just thought I’d let you know that I went the 99 Cent store this weekend and found a large mixed bag of all the flavors.  So you may want to keep an eye out!

    The 99 Cent store is a great place to go for completely random candy.  I found a bunch of limited editions and stuff from the East Coast.

    Comment by Lesley on 7/24/06 at 4:53 am #
  15. Cybele's avatar

    Lesley - I just bought some yesterday! Thanks so much for the tip. (I’ll post about them later this week.)

    Comment by Cybele on 8/09/06 at 2:38 pm #
  16. I hate Peeps!!!  I’ve always hated Peeps.  And for some strange reason I’ve been compelled from time to time to give them “one last shot.”  Always with the same results.  The slightly sparkly, colored sugar grates on my teeth in an excruciating fashion.  I’ve even tried letting them melt in my mouth, but that never works as the substance used to color them is horribly bitter.  The only two things more bitter that I can think of is the pith of citrus fruit and penicillin.  But your comment of their extreme flammability had me laughing out loud at 3:09 a.m.

    Comment by Kristie on 8/26/06 at 9:09 pm #
  17. Alas, the assorted fruit headliners were short-lived. After becoming hopelessly addicted to these unbelievably delicious jems, I was recently crushed to find that Ferrara Pan had discontinued them. A sad, sad day for candy lovers…

    Comment by Brian on 9/01/06 at 3:26 pm #
  18. Alexander the Grape is my all-time favorite candy - the only grape-flavored ANYTHING I like. (I love grapes, just nothing grape flavored.) I’ve discovered Grapeheads at a local Chevron gas station, of all places… are these Alexander the Grape’s, reincarnated? Are ATG’s manufactured anymore?

    Comment by Suzi on 9/19/06 at 6:20 pm #
  19. I would like to know what ever happened to the fruit cocktail that you all use to sale? Those were a likable item. I really wish you all would start back to selling those again.


    Concerned
    Annette Waits

    Comment by Annette Waits on 10/13/06 at 5:38 pm #
  20. I agree with number 19 - I really loved those fruit coctails and also wish that you would start selling them again.

    Comment by Joycelyn on 10/22/06 at 3:46 am #
  21. i want fruit cocktails! sell that shiznit! i would pay serious cash

    Comment by tim on 11/03/06 at 4:28 pm #
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