Archive for September, 2007

Free candy from other people!

The All Candy Expo was last week, and I really wish I could’ve gone. It’s a like a career fair for candy!

Candy Blog and Candy Addict are giving away extras from ther Candy Expo hauls, so throw your hat in the ring!

Chocolate Bytes is giving away these gorgeous autumn-themed See’s chocolates. I entered, and you should too.

And if one of y’all win one of these candy giveaways, and I don’t, I will be very jealous of you.

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September 29, 2007 at 7:03 pm Leave a comment

Hubba Bubba Sour Gummi Tape – Ragin’ Blue Raspberry

I find it so weird that some candy companies feel the need to add adjectives to their flavors. It’s not blue raspberry flavored; it’s ragin’ blue raspberry. Of course, now that I’ve pointed that out, I can’t think of any other examples, but they’re out there! I know they are.

The Hubba Bubba Sour Gummi Tape (BUY!) is a play on their Bubble Tape (BUY!). Aha! That’s where stupid adjective modifiers are popular: Gushing Grape, Lightning Lemonade, Snappy Strawberry, etc. Like Bubble Tape, Gummi Tape comes in a six-foot roll in a plastic dispenser.

I haven’t had Bubble Tape in at least a decade, so I don’t remember how effective the dispenser was for gum, but it doesn’t work very well for the Gummi Tape. It’s serrated edge is too dull for tearing the gummi against, scotch tape style, and closing the dispenser on the tape bypasses the serrated edge and also doesn’t cut the gummi. You have to clamp the dispenser shut, squeeze hard, and pull hard to have any hope of cutting the Gummi Tape so that you can share it. Of course, while you’re doing this, the sugar coating gets everywhere. I found it easier just to bite pieces right off. Boorish, maybe, but Gummi Tape isn’t exactly haute cuisine.

Gummi Tape is similar to the sour belts you can buy out of bulk candy bins, only it’s a little thicker and firmer. The texture was reminiscent of a flattened Sour Patch Kid, so not too bad in the sticks-in-your-teeth-department. The taste was your standard artificially sweetened blue raspberry candy (not one of my favorite flavors, by the way) and not terribly sour. Nothing exceptional or surprising there.

I like gummis, and I liked this enough to be willing to try it in other flavors. Right now it looks like it only comes in Ragin’ Blue Raspberry and Shocking Strawberry, which Cybele reviewed (I laughed inside when I read that she had the same issues with the sugary mess). If they made it in apple or something citrusy, I’d give it another shot.

This only gets an O because Au’somes did the concept way better with their Fruit Juice String. Cybele has a review of that as well (I bought a roll of Fruit Juice String from a sketchy convenience store in Austin before I started this blog, polished it off on the drive home and alas! have yet to come across another one). Here’s the Au’somes website, which distressingly does not mention the Fruit Juice String, but it’s still in their nutrition info pdf, so I hope it’s still being made.

September 28, 2007 at 8:00 am Leave a comment

Cock-a-doodle Chew – This Gum Tastes Like Chicken

Is it weird that I got really excited to see this gum that tastes like chicken? It was bizarre enough to be intriguing, and I was already imagining how I could casually brag about my brave willingness to try chicken-flavored gum.

Upon closer inspection however, disappointment. Cinnamon. Yummy, but in this context, boring. Cassie was disappointed to, as she bought it for me because she knew that I would be adventurous enough to try chicken flavored gum. Chicken gum is novel and interesting. Cinnamon gum is banal. False advertising! Fine print! Another candy packaging foul!

The little box contained 8 pieces of Chiclet shaped gum, with a characteristically hard sugar shell around the actual gum. The gum was super strong! It was almost eye-wateringly spicy and tingly, and the tingling sensation lingers. I chewed a single piece, which yielded a ridiculously minuscule amount of actual gum, but I didn’t dare pop more pieces in my mouth. If that lone, tiny piece could set my taste buds on fire, two or three pieces would probably be unbearable.

As far as gum goes, it’s pretty good cinnamon-flavored gum, and those who really like spicy, cinnamon candies would probably like its strong flavor. However, because each piece yields such a tiny amount of gum and because the advertising is deliberately misleading, it warrants only an O in my book. I’ll stick with buying just normal cinnamon gum.

September 27, 2007 at 8:00 am Leave a comment

Lake Champlain chocolate-covered caramel

I apologize in advance for the color-balancing issues you’ll see in this post. I take my pictures with my little digital point-and-shoot (a Canon SD-1000, which I love) in a dorm room with no overhead lighting, so they’re not exactly studio quality.

Lake Champlain (BUY!) is a nice chocolatier that I can’t really afford entire boxes of, especially after buying all my textbooks for the semester, so I was excited to see a jar of these individually wrapped chocolate-covered caramels by the cash register of a Bruegger’s Bagels. I also picked up a tiny square of their dark chocolate, which I will review as soon as I find it.

The chocolates are pretty and prettily packaged. They’re wrapped in a gold foil embossed with the words “Lake Champlain”, and the chocolate inside has a good sheen and is molded with a nice design – two flowers and what I think is a beehive.

The milk chocolate covering is good. It’s not too sweet, like some milk chocolates can be, and it’s got a great mouthfeel. It takes a long time to melt in your mouth. The chocolate to caramel ratio is heavy on the chocolate, which is a good thing, as the caramel isn’t so good. It’s super stiff and sticky without any ooze, and it’s slightly bitter. While I usually enjoy bitter, slightly burnt tasting caramel, it didn’t work for me here. I’m going to give them a tepid O. Based on taste alone, they deserve an OM, but they’re rather pricey and did not live up to their hype.

September 26, 2007 at 8:00 am Leave a comment

Cry Baby Tears minis

These days, candy that only costs 25 cents a box is definitely a rarity. I’m guessing that Cry Baby Tears (BUY!) are a retro/nostalgia candy that have been around for a while. From the looks of the packaging, Cry Baby Tears are supposed to be so sour that they make you cry. They certainly were tart and puckery, even if they didn’t actually bring me to tears.

Cry Baby Tears are little tear-shaped compressed sugar candies with Cry Baby stamped on them. You can’t tell from the pictures because the New Haven humidity wreaked havoc on them, but it’s there. They’re also not supposed to be all yicky and mottled looking. Again, the humidity. Grr!

Cry Baby Tears come in grape (purple), watermelon (green), cherry (red), lemon (yellow), and orange (orange). The cherry flavor is the weakest and overpowered by the sour, while the lemon packs a puckery kick, and the orange has a nice finish. The candies themselves are sour, and they also have a sour coating for a little extra wallop.

I’d give Cry Baby Tears an OM. They’re good and sour – so sour that I can’t eat too many before my mouth and throat start hurting – and that’s exactly what you want in a sour candy.

September 25, 2007 at 8:00 am Leave a comment

Asian candies II

As promised, more Asian candies!

Juice hard candy

I don’t what these guys are actually called – the wrapper just says Juice and has some pictures of fruit on it – but I love them. I realize that’s not very helpful if you want to try to find them yourself, and I apologize. All I remember is that they came in a red bag that was square and rather flat, and I bought it at Asia Market in Austin.

The flavor is difficult to describe; I’d call it a light, citrusy fruit punch that’s the perfect amount of sweet. The texture is perfect, as it’s crunchable and cleaves cleanly if you choose to chomp on it, but it melts beautifully in your mouth if you choose to savor it. Though I’m usually a hard candy chomper, I always try to force myself to savor these because they’re so good, and I usually succeed. An OMG on the ZOMG! scale.

Coco Coll

This coconut milk candy has the look and mouthfeel of a Werther’s Original (BUY!), and it melts and cleaves in the same way. While I have negative to ambivalent feelings towards coconut itself, I love coconut milk, and I love this candy. It’s lightly sweet and milky, with just the hint of coconut essence. Another OMG, if only because it’s managed to undo a lifetime of Mounds induced coconut-candy prejudice. And isn’t the wrapper gorgeous?

Li Hing Sour Patch Kids (BUY!)

These are courtesy of Catherine, my chocolate-hating (!) suitemate from Hawaii, who brought them from, you guessed it, Hawaii. I adore Sour Patch Kids (BUY!), so I was excited to see how the Hawaiian version would stack up.

Visually, the Li Hing version is already at a disadvantage. While regular Sour Patch Kids are bright, glittery, and covered in sugar, these guys are darker and kind of slimy. They’re also not shaped like regular Sour Patch Kids, but I prefer the Li Hing as they make me think of long-haired girls in hula skirts.

The texture is also not that of a real Sour Patch Kid. It’s much too firm, like Dots, and got horribly stuck in my teeth. The Li Hing Hula Girls also aren’t bright and fruity like real Sour Patch Kids, and as far as I can tell, they’re not sour. So basically these candies neither look nor feel nor taste like Sour Patch Kids, which makes me think that the Aloha Gourmet company may be treading on copyright issues, but they seem to be a rather small company, and I certainly don’t want to get them in trouble.

The Li Hing part of the candy is the rather unattractive brown coating (you can kind of see it in first the picture). The taste reminded me of the salty-sweet Asian plum candies my parents love so much, and lo and behold, Wikipedia says that li hing mui is a salty, dried plum (while I speak Mandarin, the name didn’t register because it’s in Cantonese). I don’t mind the li hing taste because I ate it as a kid, but I agree that it’s an acquired taste that not everyone would enjoy.

I think these Li Hing Sour Patch Hula Girls suffer because of the underlying gummi rather than the Li Hing flavor. A quick search shows that other companies seem to make versions using actual Sour Patch Kids, which would probably taste much better and be more texturally pleasing. I like the Li Hing flavor enough to want to try the other kinds of Li Hing coated gummis that I never knew existed. I give these an O for the execution, but I think a version with real Sour Patch Kids or other gummis would warrant an OM. The only logical next step would be to go to Hawaii and taste for myself – for the sake of this blog, of course.

September 24, 2007 at 8:00 am Leave a comment

First Home Game!

Here’s where I let my personal life creep into my candy blog, as promised in my opening post. I’m so excited about today’s home opener! Go Bulldogs! Yay football!

Let’s make this candy related: We’re playing Cornell, aka the Big Red. Big Red is also the name of a cinnamon gum that I hated as a kid because it was so spicy. Now that I’m old enough to appreciate cinnamon gum, I wonder if I’d like it… Must buy Big Red gum for a taste test soon.

Ta da! Everything in life can be tied to candy!

update: We won, as expected. Final score, not so expected: 51-12.

September 22, 2007 at 7:59 am 2 comments

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