Thursday, December 31, 2009

Diatribe: East Coast/ West Coast Licorice Wars

I was recently in the Bay Area visiting family for Christmas. In the midst of family bonding at the movies for maybe the 5th night in a row, I discovered a vending machine selling Red Vines. Not only were Red Vines sold at the concession stand but they were at even closer hand at a vending machine. Red Vines could also be found at the corner grocer as well as on the counter of a local record shop. The Red Vines were Everywhere. After half my life now spent on the East Coast I've gotten used to the cultural contradictions between the coasts. There is one, however, that I will never adjust to: the lack of Red Vines in movie theaters here in NYC and other Eastern cities. Are we not civilized!? Twizzlers constitute a waxy insufficient substitute for those perfect Red Vine licorice ropes. You can't even sip your soda at the movies through a Twizzler, unlike the brilliant Red Vines. Twizzlers remain a lump of strawberry plastic in one's mouth unless chewed vigorously, whereas Red Vines melt away naturally leaving this fantastic sweet aftertaste unmatched by any other licorice, gourmet or no. If I were forced to eat only one candy for the rest of my life- we're talking desert island situation here- the choice would be Red Vines, no contest. And thus I end my year lodging a complaint/ request with those who stock the candy selection at the Loew's, AMC's, and independent theaters of the East. Please order Red Vines instead of Twizzlers, it would make my 2010 far more spectacular!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Interview with Roni-Sue

I've written numerous times of my adulation of Ronie-Sue, the creator of addictive Pig Candy available at Essex Street Market (as well as online). Today's Edible Manhattan blog features a fantastic interview with Ronie-Sue, herself! Read on!
This Little Piggy Went to Chocolate Heaven: Inside the Kooky World of Ronie' Sue's Chocolates, by Gabriella Gershenson

Monday, December 28, 2009

Tootsie Christmas Dots



I feel so pleased that Tootsie is pulling out all the stops with wonderful holiday-themed Dots! Back at Halloween, they released three alluring limited-edition varieties- bat, ghost, and candy corn- and they were all pretty brilliant and delicious, especially the candy corn flavor. These Christmas Dots maintain the traditional candy's lime and cherry flavors and then a parfait-like layer of vanilla flavor on top. Besides looking super festive, the flavors are great. I meant to eat a few and then share the rest but realized too late I had eaten the whole box! I did manage to deliver a couple to my tasting committee (read: my mom. i'm visiting family over the holidays and she's also a big fan of the traditional Dots) and she also decreed that these Christmas Dots are a mouth-watering success! Keep it going, Tootsie! What will they bring us for Valentine's Day or Easter? I can't wait to find out!

Score: 4

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Nestle Carlos V chocolate bar

Though I'm quite fond of the packaging of this snack-size Mexican chocolate bar made by Nestle, I simply don't like the chocolate. I've never liked Nestle chocolate as much as other big brands like Hershey's or the sublime Cadbury. This Carlos V chocolate, though, is not your typical Nestle chocolate. It's less milky and more waxy. There's no way it would ever melt in one's mouth, and isn't that really the appeal of chocolate? The whole body-heat meltation thing? The flavor is mellower, again missing that milky undertone. Wouldn't revisit but glad to have tried it! Thanks for tracking this down, Tara!

Score: 2

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Haribo Pico-balla Chewy Candy


The consistency of these tasty mini soccer balls resembles licorice more than the rest of the Haribo gummy line, and I appreciate that. The flavors of fruit punch, green apple, lemon, blue raspberry are also a bit less synthetic than typical gummies. I love them, and feel vaguely athletic while consuming the little wheels!

Score: 4

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Eti Wanted Bumba Chocolate Bar

Oh my I enjoyed this Wanted Bumba chocolate bar by Eti! Rice Krispies are a common ingredient in American candy bars, as is coconut, but the combination of the two in the Wanted Bumba appears to be entirely unique- and delightful! Not usually a fan of candy with coconut, I approached the combination Wanted Bumba (not to be confused with the traditional Wanted or Bumba bars) warily. To my surprise, however, the coconut filling tastes like real flakes cohered with some seriously dense sugar syrup. If only I could find these closer to home. Thanks to my Mom for carrying this back from Turkey!

Score: 4

Monday, December 14, 2009

Eti Pufs

photo courtesy of ragingyoghurt

In her ongoing quest to discover the most startling and esoteric sweet treats offered in the United Kingdom, Tara sent me a handful of these Turkish Eti Puf marshmallow biscuits with sprinkles. I love the packaging and the cheerful multi-colored sprinkles. The marshmallow, however, is rather dry and flavorless, as are the biscuits, as are the sprinkles. (And although each package sports a different color of sprinkles, I could not differentiate between flavors.) Altogether, these one-per-pack cookies would taste good paired with coffee or tea (or chocolate milk...or a milkshake...) but unless cohered with a liquid, they disintegrate into a pile of multi-colored crumbs upon first bite. Anything involved with marshmallow should never result in catching crumbs, this is the glory of sugary marshmallow goo. These weren't quite delicious enough to merit the mess.

Score: 2

Breaking News: Tootsie Rolls Now Kosher


Just in time for this year's festival of lights, Tootsie Rolls are now Kosher!
Tootsie Rolls get kosher OK just in time for Hanukkah (BostonHerald.com)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Trader Joe's Blueberry Blast Yogurt Candy


I think my high expectations ruined these Trader Joe's Blueberry Blast Fruit Flavored Yogurt Candy. I was expecting to open the cool tin and find little dried blueberries smothered in layers of sweet vanilla yogurt. Instead, I encountered hard pellets that look like medicine. And taste a bit medicinal, to boot. The yogurt flavor was pretty realistic, but the infused blueberry tasted overpowering and synthetic. Oh no, I did not like these one bit. But as I said, it may have been the high register anticipation, because I asked a few coworkers to taste-test the little tablets and they were pronounced refreshing and fun by all. So maybe it's just me. But blech, I'd rather eat a Flintstones chewable vitamin. (If you'd like to see these little "candies" used in a science experiment, check out this link at Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories!)

Score: 1

Topps Blue Razz Wazoo Bar




I've previously written glowing words about the astoundingly delicious Wazoo Bar in Wild Berriez flavor. Its unapologetic synthetic makeup- disturbingly colored, unnerving consistency- makes the Wazoo all the more alluring. This Blue Razz Wazoo does instill the same thrill as its purple Berriez counterpoint but sadly the blue razz overshadows the interior flavors. The flavor mix just isn't as compelling. Despite being less appealing than the Wild Berriez version, though, this Blue Razz Wazoo still makes for a hearty funny and vaguely perverse snack. I recommend it fully and with great enthusiasm. They're just a little hard to track down. If you see them, send a bunch to me!

Score: 4

Wonka Kazoozles Chewy Candy in Pink Lemonade


Though bestowed the vague description of "chewy candy" on the packaging, these new Pink Lemonade flavored Kazoozles by Wonka are basically filled licorice. The candy comes with its own questionable motto: "The 'delickoricious' chewy candy that feeds your imagination." Fine, I suppose it fed mine, but I still don't agree with the term delickoricious. The tart lemon tubes overflow with a softer goo flavored to resemble pink lemonade. The consistency is fantastic, emitting a little burst of goo as you bite into the firmer exterior, and the flavor combination works well. Though these would never replace the classic Red Vines in my estimation (or even Twizzlers), these are an excellent light sweet treat. The candy comes in two flavors, Pink Lemonade and Cherry Punch. I must search out the Cherry Punch variety as it does appear to be (do I dare?) "delickoricious."

Score: 3

Christmas Treats at Dylan's Candy Bar

The Village Voice offers an overview of new, entrancing, and downright odd Christmas sweets available at New York City's candy department store, Dylan's Candy Bar.
Strange Snacks of the World: Weird Holiday Candy at Dylan's Candy Bar on the UES

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Hollywood Chewing Gum




Hollywood Sugarless Chewing Gum is distributed in a number of enticing flavors. Unfortunately, I tried three and two of them just didn't delight in the least. The raspberry gum filled with a burst of peach liquid was pretty fruity and fun for sugarless gum. However, I found the idea of a little bitter chocolate burst emanating from the respective mint and caramel flavored chiclets completely off-putting. Somehow the chocolate never synthesized with the gum flavors and just felt out of place on my tongue. Despite the tempting packaging and optimistic flavor pairings, I just couldn't get into the Hollywood Chewing Gum gestalt. Stick with Freshen Up or Trident Blast if you want a delicious liquid filling added into your gum chewing delight! Thanks, Dan, for scoping these out in Paris!

Score: 2

Candy Sales Rise as Economy Sinks

A good article in the New York Times exploring the historic rise in candy sales during economic depressions.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Pig Candy


I've written an ode to Ronie-Sue's incredible Pig Candy before. Having procured and consumed perhaps my 5th batch, I simply felt the need to reiterate how unnaturally delicious this chocolate covered bacon is. It comes in both milk and dark chocolate. Unfortunately, another New York-based treat, but Pig Candy can also be special ordered anywhere! It's worth it!

Score: 4

Yogurt and Sour Cherries




Ok, I set out to write solely about candy on this blog, but simply can't help but include some incredibly delicious sweets outside the candy realm. This Greek yogurt with sour cherries from The Yoghurt Place II on Sullivan Street in Soho is sublime. The consistency, the tartness, the combination with sour cherries, it's all indescribable. Try this is you possibly can, it's simply amazing. I'm entertaining thoughts of quitting it all in order to work there in trade for unlimited yogurt treats. Next time I'm trying the quince topping.

Score: 5 (while clapping wildly)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Bat Dots

The Full Array!


Thanks to Carmen for tracking down the most elusive, and best, of the three limited edition Halloween Dots! The Ghosts were intriguing, the Candy Corn Dots compelling, but these blood orange-flavored Bats are startlingly fantastic! Most Dots flavors are really mellow but these are tangy and a bit less cloyingly sweet. These should replace the original bland orange flavor in the year-long Dots fruit mix. So sad the Halloween holiday candy season has ended.

Score: 5

Monday, November 9, 2009

Cause for Concern

Uh oh. Kraft is attempting a hostile takeover of the classic Cadbury brand. As someone who feels strongly that Cadbury constitutes by far the best mass-produced chocolate on the market, I'm fretting. Think about Kraft cheese singles! I don't want that to happen to Cadbury chocolate! Fingers crossed Kraft fails and Cadbury retains power to keep its own products so uniquely delicious!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Bubblicious Ink'd Sour Frantic Fruit



The major seeling point of Bubblicious Ink'd is that it dyes your tongue. I find that pretty appealing although perhaps not appropriate for the office or formal events. There's a time and a place. that said, I enjoyed have a blue tongue for a few hours and kept checking out the results in the mirror to see how long it would last. The gum's got that same soft Bubblicious consistency of the rest of the brand's line, but this version is filled with an additional blue liquid center. I can't really describe the flavor of Sour Frantic Fruit. If a flavor doesn't even identify where on the fruit spectrum it lies, you've gotta be wary. This tasted like a close approximation to tangy artificial blue raspberry which doesn't exist in nature and so seems appropriate for the product. I enjoyed it but it certainly won't replace my everyday chewing gum.

Score: 3

Gummy Bugs






I've previously written about my curiosity and admiration for the anonymous person responsible for ordering candy to stock at my local Blockbuster. They've got a bewilderingly esoteric selection. Sadly, the Blockbuster is going out of business. Knowing this was my last chance to stock up, not to mention that everything in the store (even the fixtures!) are 60% off, I went a little wild. These Gummy Bugs by Flix Candy were the first selection I grabbed off the shelf. Like the glowing Lightning Bugs and Grillz lollipop, these border on repulsive and yet enticing in a twisted way. They're almost too realistically buggy, especially the yellow centipede. However, the consistency of gummy was perfect and the fruit flavors were tangy and pleasingly distinctive. Once I got into biting off the heads, I really enjoyed the product. Kudos to Blockbuster! I'll miss you!

Score (flavor): 3

Score (concept): 4

Friday, November 6, 2009

Mike and Ike Tangy Twister



Unlike the Tropical Typhoon Mike and Ikes previously discussed, these Tangy Twisters are fantastic! Besides the Apple flavor, which is so hard to get right, all of the new tastes are so delicious, especially the raspberry and citrus punch. Thanks for finding these, Dan, they're the best limited edition Mike and Ikes yet!

Score: 4

Mike and Ike Tropical Typhoon




I've written before about my penchant for sorting out unfavorable flavors from candy mixes. If there are enough good flavors to outweigh the bad, then it makes the endeavor worth it. Unfortunately, this mix of Tropical Typhoon Mike and Ikes wielded more distasteful than delightful new candies. The two banana-infused flavors were totally unpleasant and the Caribbean Punch tasted more like blue raspberry mixed with coconut-blech. I enjoyed the Mango and Paradise Punch flavors but they just worth digging for. Despite my dislike for the new Tropical Typhoon assortment, I applaud Mike and Ike for trying out all of these new blends.

Score: 3

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Wonka Giant Chew Nerds


Same great product, terrible new name. These hard-shell Giant Chew Nerds are so exceedingly delicious. You can read my previous preview of them from a few months back when they were called Nerds Bumpy Jelly Beans. Isn't that far more appropriate? Whichever way Wonka decides to market the candy, I'm just glad they're trying to find a permanent place for these in their candy lineup!

Score: 5

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Hubba Bubba Glop Strawberry Gush


Each piece of Hubba Bubba Glop is the perfect size- Big. When you crunch into the shell the promised strawberry-flavored glop is a short-lived rush. This is pretty liquidy glop, but I liked it that way. This is also very sweet artificial strawberry layered with more strawberry, but I like it that way, too. And thanks to great packaging in a hard plastic tube, it didn't get crushed in my bag. An excellent treat. Great bubbles.

Score: 4

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Chocolate Skittles

Michael Swaim over at cracked.com wrote a far more adept review of these disastrous Chocolate Mix Skittles than I ever will. He captures their essence perfectly.
Chocolate Skittles: Like Being Mouth Raped by Candy

Score: 2

Candy Responsible For Recovering Masterpiece


I know this is old news, but I missed it the first time around and place it squarely in the "truth is stranger than fiction" category (oh, and the "candy fixes everything" category, too). Two years ago M&Ms launched their permanent line of dark chocolate candies with Munch's 'The Scream' utilized as the art used to market the new product. The original Scream was stolen back in 2004 from the Munch Museum in Oslo, Norway, and so M&M's offered 2 million dark M&M's as reward for return of the painting. Amazingly, the painting was returned a few days later and yet the M&M reward remains unclaimed. For more on this seamy story of art and candy and thievery and all of the elements that make a great mystery, check out this CNN article from a few years back.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Ghost Dots



I tried Ghost Dots in an enthusiastic followup to the delightful Candy Corn Dots. The gummy bonbons follow the traditional variety of mellow fruit flavors of the original Dots candy. This edition of Dots comes, though, in one sole color- a "ghosty" translucent green slime color that indicates at the potential (but failure) to glow in the dark. The basic problem is I like to know what flavor I'm putting in my mouth. Obviously I enjoy the synthetic nature of candy and am aware that each Dot hosts an entirely synthetic mix of chemical that equals cherry or orange or lemon on my tongue, but it throws me off to have each candy look identical yet laden with a flavor surprise. Feh. Same great Dots taste and consistency, cool color, but the concept doesn't work for me.

Score: 3 (Despite complaints, I ate the whole box in one go)