I found this gem in a very neglected dollar store in the middle of upstate New York. Sometimes, the places you find the candy is as interesting as the candy itself. These Haviland Wintergreen Patties sat on the shelf next to several candies that shouldn’t technically be sold anymore. We’re talking the likes of Marshmallow Take 5 and other candies from 2006. I was relieved to find a date, and a fresh one, on the back of this mysterious Wintergreen Patty. I decided to give it a home.
Another tidbit about my personal tastes: I’ve never been big on mint, peppermint, and spearmint. Especially when it’s mixed with other things, like chocolate. But wintergreen? I’m all over that stuff, I can’t get enough of it. So all the rules from my taste buds about minty things are out the window when wintergreen shows up. I love it that much!
I was perplexed why I hadn’t heard of this candy before, considering that I do make an effort to seek out wintergreen flavored things. Part of the answer is that Haviland is a subcategory of NECCO, which have a very interesting niche of products for the candy market. It immediately made sense in my mind; why it was so rare to find and of course in a place where people who’d remember it from childhood would possibly shop. I’d almost liken it to a regional candy in that respect.
When you open the package, you immediately you smell the wintergreen. The patty is large, 2 inches in diameter and about 1/3 inch thick. The chocolate is glossy and a nice rippled effect on top, like patterns on windblown sand. Breaking it in half, you can tell it’s dense as it has that thick “give” to it like a Mounds or Almond Joy. The center is an incredibly bright pink and it looks very striking against the dark chocolate.
Surprisingly the wintergreen smell doesn’t overpower the aroma of the chocolate, which is nice and sweet with notes of caramel. They blend beautifully together.
The wintetrgreen hits you right off in the first bite. It’s strong yet it’s not too much, and delivers that great minty, fresh, slightly spicy flavor. The taste does mellow and allows the chocolate to show the tastebuds some attention, and it comes across as nicely sweet and smooth with good notes of cocoa and a hint of coconut. I didn’t find this as off putting in terms of minty “fresh” intensity like a York Peppermint Patty, but this has a good level of freshness, sweetness, and then the chocolate to balance it all out. The texture is awesome as it’s thick and smooth with a slight graininess to it. It lasts a good time in the mouth if you just savor it slowly, which really adds to the satisfaction level.
So in conclusion: wintergreen+chocolate=YUM! Why isn’t there more of this out there?
Haviland Wintergreen Patties on the NECCO Website
This is one candy that I fail to understand why it has so many fans. I remember seeing childhood friends opt for Jolly Ranchers over a KitKat or a Milkyway (gasp!) and feeling totally nonplussed by it. Perhaps the fact that the they were just a “cool” candy because the colors were bright, the flavors fake, and the fact that every business had them in a candy basket for us to grab when the parents weren’t looking.
I wasn’t so desperate for sugar, as my parents rationed it to me well, so I found I didn’t eat Jolly Ranchers at all. Oddly enough something about the flavors always stuck with me, partly because they are so iconic in how artificial they taste. I find myself referencing the Jolly Rancher flavors often, so I decided it was time I tried them again and give them a full review.
Opening the bag up it smells sickeningly sweet and of chemicals. The smell is so mixed up that I can’t identify a single specific flavor. Once unwrapped the candies are cylindrical and pretty to look at with their semi opaque colors. The surface is mostly smooth except in spots where it gets tacky from moisture.
Blue Raspberry: I really don’t get what’s up with this flavor, really, blue raspberries? It’s tart with strong floral flavors mixed with melon and berries. It turned my tongue blue.
Watermelon: Intensely tart and powerful flavors right away. It’s artificial with sharp perfume-y notes and a juicy fruitiness. There’s also hints of bitterness lurking in there that I don’t find very pleasing.
Green Apple: Sweet, with strong juicy apple nuances. It reminds me of a very strong cider. There’s a tartness to them which makes me think of granny smiths. There’s a slight perfume-y aftertaste, yet I really like this one.
Cherry: This one is intense right away. The flavor is very deep, woodsy, and with a strong fruitiness. It reminds me of tart cherries and it really gets my saliva going. I was frightened that this would be very medicinal tasting, but it’s not.
Grape: Tastes of Dimetapp Elixir. It’s mainly sour and metallic with the grape flavor only showing briefly from time to time. It’s very syrupy sweet and artificial. Like the others, there’s an odd floral note and it just launched this flavor into the “nasty” zone. I spit this one out.
These are not any better from what I remember. In fact, they’re worse. Little about Jolly Ranchers appeal to me and I am once again stumped by them. Especially since my roommate was so happy to take the rest of the bag and then proceeded to polish them all off in one evening.
Rating: Not Worth It
Jolly Rancher Website
I’ve heard of these Cream Nut Clusters long before I ever found them to try. Like yesterday’s Tronky bar, they were something I discovered in the DiBruno Bros. store and as soon as I saw them, I snatched them us as if there were the last bit of food on earth. Yes, I was that excited to try them.
The Cream Nut Peanut Butter Clusters are made by Koeze Company, who specializes in making the infamous Cream Nut Peanut Butter. I’ve heard it’s the best peanut butter out there, but I haven’t tried it myself. As if my opinions on peanut butter on a candy blog would matter, anyways. These clusters use that peanut butter, blend it with white chocolate to make a creamy center, then layer it on fresh pecans before covering it all in dark chocolate. I’m drooling already.
They look similar to caramel turtles: a ploop with edges that curl under into a little mound. It’s large too, about 2 inches in diameter and 1/2 in tall. It smells chocolatey with a hint of coconut to it.
The first bite is terribly creamy. The chocolate is a good thickness and cleanly snaps when you bite into it. The peanut butter white chocolate center is terribly smooth and very sweet. The peanut butter flavor is not very strong as it’s been diluted by the white chocolate, but it still is the start of the whole candy. The pecan bits are a perfect size; not too big or small. They deliver a wonderful light nutty flavor with an incredibly fresh, meaty texture that’s crunchy at first then buttery smooth for the rest of the time.
The entire symphony of flavors works beautifully: the chocolate provides a deep, characteristic flavor which balances out the sweet creamy center and ends with the crunchy pecans. Think of this as a extreme quality Russell Stover creme bonbon or maybe what the Reeses’ Select Clusters should be like.
Rating: Will Buy Again
Cactus candy, which is a type of that fruit jelly that makes my heart go pitter patter, was something I’d had my eye on for a long time. I’d see it on random places online, but it wasn’t until I had a layover in the Phoenix airport that I actually saw it in the flesh. I quickly picked up a medium sized box of the prickly pear flavor and bought it. For once I felt grateful for those cheesy airline terminal gift shops.
Inside the box the squares of the candy are beautifully arranged in little white fluted cups to prevent them from sticking together. They’re incredible to look at with a gorgeous intensely deep rose red color. It reminds me of fresh guava pulp and they feel so exotic. I was a little disappointed to find that the color is helped a bit by bitter tasting Red 40.
The texture is very chewy, much more “gummi” than other fruit jellies that I’ve had. They stick a little in the mouth, but not enough for it to become annoying. It’s very dense so I automatically find it very satisfying.
I’ve never had prickly pear before and the best I can describe it is it’s lightly fruity and “watery”. It reminds me of aloe in the sense it’s refreshing and sweet, but these lack the herbal flavors. You can taste the lemon oil that’s been added to enhance the overall flavor, and I can’t decide of that’s a good thing or not. It’s nice to have that bright zestiness to heighten the light watery flavor but I can’t help but wonder how much of the prickly pear flavor is lost because of it.
I was pleasantly surprised with these, as I was expecting them to come across as odd more than anything else. I finished my box (I shared a few of course) and look forward to getting some again next time I’m in Arizona. Whenever that will be.
Rating: Will Buy Again
You can’t have Hershey’s without the Hershey’s Kiss. They are one of America’s most iconic candies with its classic tear-drop like shape, bright foil wrapper and thin paper strip at the top. This, like the Cookies ‘n Creme Kisses I reviewed earlier this month, is one of the new limited editions Kisses to be found on store shelves. I found these in my local Walgreens.
I admit, I am a Kiss junkie. I cannot resist trying the latest and (sometimes not the) greatest Kiss variety I see when I’m in the store. I since lost count of the flavors I’ve tasted, but it’s always fun for me to just give them a try. I found these Marshmallow Creme ones especially appealing because last year Hershey’s released a Chocolate Marshmallow Kiss variety that was less than stellar. When I saw the illustration of the Marshmallow Creme Kiss on the package showing a filled center, I couldn’t help but get excited about it.
The Kisses are very cute with their silver and brown checkered foil wrappers. The texture of them is very creamy and the smooth interior makes them much less structurally sound than the other kisses I’ve had. You just look at the buggers and they melt.
The inside isn’t a marshmallow creme at all. Actually, it really reminds me more of that tub frosting you can buy at the store. It’s thick, creamy and has that roasted vanilla flavor that marshmallows get after you toast them. Combined with the chocolate coating, it’s a very sweet little Kiss. I can’t help but wonder what they’d taste like smooshed between some graham crackers. I’ll put it on my to do list.
I like these better than a majority of the Kiss varieties I’ve had to date, but they don’t take home the blue ribbon. I found myself finishing the bag with no problem, so at least I know they’re good enough to be addictive. I’m looking forward to seeing what else Hershey’s does with the Kisses.
Rating: Will Eat Again