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 (

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.