Country the Candy Comes From
I first became familiar with Sour Punch Straws during my freshman year of college. My roommate was intent on searching them down and hoarding them for special care packages she’d send to her friends at home. It was during this time that I tasted them for the first time and now whenever I have them, I am overcome with an extreme sense of nostalgia.
The packaging is very approachable with bright colors and puckering smiley faces on them. It feels very comical to me, as the expressions are of pleasure yet there’s electric bolts shooting from their mouths. It makes me very optimistic about the sourness of the straws, to say the least.
Sour Punch Straws come in many flavors, but I figured the tastiest one to start with would be the Strikin’ Strawberry flavor. They come nicely packed in a tray that pulls out easily from the wrapper. The straws are long, about 6 inches and about 1/4 inch diameter, and are very brightly colored with a sanding of granular sugar. The smell of the straws is tart and fake, and reminds me more of “cherry” then “strawberry”
The sandy sugar coating is the sour part, but I wouldn’t call it “punchy”. Instead, it’s a nice “sassy” sour, noticeable and certainly the starring trait of this candy, but not anything over the top. The chew is dense as I’m reminded of a good red licorice stick. As for the strawberry flavor, it’s not really. It tastes more “red” than anything, with strong artificial flavor and little indication of any specific fruit.
I like how these are flavorful yet don’t burn my mouth out like really intense sour candy tends to. My interest is piqued and I’m eager to check out the other Sour Punch Straw flavor offerings.
Rating:Will Buy Again
Sour Punch Website
As soon as I lamented in the Hershey’s Caramel Apple Kisses review that I couldn’t find the Pumpkin Spice flavor, and lo and behold, I find them by the checkouts during an emergency Target run. Luck was surely smiling upon me then. After squealing with glee and making myself look like an utter idiot to the other shoppers, I nabbed a few packages and rushed home with my sweet, pumpkin flavored candy treasure.
I’m in love with these already and I’m just looking at the package. Beautiful hues of orange in a spider web pattern and a grinning jack ‘o lantern decorate the package. The wrappers are pretty too with deep oranges and brown stripes on them and the little flags are brown with white lettering. Beautifully festive, it just screams fall and Halloween!
It gets better too, if you can believe it! The kiss itself it is orange, which I discovered when I undressed one for the photo shoot. The kisses smell of pumpkin pie with accents of cinnamon. Biting into my photography sample, I found that there’s a creamy beige center to these. I’m curious as to how this impacts the flavor. Such anticipation!
The flavor is very pumpkin-y I’m ecstatic to report. Words cannot express my love for pumpkin. There’s also a good mild spice to compliment it too, as I taste cinnamon, clove and a little ginger. It’s very creamy and sweet. What I find amusing is that I was expecting pumpkin pie sort of flavor, but this is more like pumpkin cheesecake. Delicious!
Sometimes things are too good to be true though, and I do have a few complaints with these. The first is that there isn’t real cocoa butter in these, and instead it’s more of those nasty tropical oils. Why Hershey’s, why? The second is by the time I ate last my last kiss (nine pieces, I was good!) I did have a bit of throat burn from the sweetness. Nothing that can’t be solved from a glass of water though.
Verdict? Delicious. I’m going to by more right now.
Hershey’s Kisses Website
Russell Stover is a big name in my household. If there’s any need for a cheaper chocolate bonbon candy treat, Russell Stover is the “to go to”. I remember getting the small assorted boxes every year at Valentines Day from my parents and my sister now always had a box of the assorted creams on hand. I can’t say exactly why we always keep turning to them, if it’s because they’re delicious or affordable or both. I always have a special place in my heart for them though.
I was surprised to see one day a new Russell Stover offering on the shelf at the store that I hadn’t seen before. A rarity, for sure. The Russell Stover Pecan Roll just called to me since it looked so incredibly kitchy. It stuck out right away in it’s bright yellow wrapper, bold red lettering and very detailed photo of the candy itself on on the front. Inspecting it quickly I noted a promise of a “Vermont Fudge Center” written on the front as well, which was certainly enticing even thought I have no idea what that is.
The roll looks very small in package but weights in at a hefty 50g, so it’s a compact little thing. Unwrapped, it’s a very home-made looking: a small log that’s roughly been rolled in large, uneven pecan chunks. The sort of thing you’d expect to see if your mom just took some pecans to town with a ziploc bag and a rolling pin. It smells wonderful fresh of pecans: nutty, buttery, and sweet.
The first bite was lovely as the pecans are fresh with their smooth texture and rich flavor. The “Vermont fudge center” is a maple penuche fudge with a thick, grainy texture and a quick melt in the mouth with an intense brown sugar maple flavor followed with an intense sweetness. This roll is like a slice of pecan pie that’s been condensed into a little log. It’s really lovely in it’s simplicity of concept and execution and “wholesomeness” of flavor.
I hope to run into this one again so that I can introduce it to my family. I don’t know if that’ll be a good or bad thing!
Rating: Will Buy Again
Russell Stover Website
Hershey’s is following in their footsteps from last year and are releasing new flavors of Kisses for the fall. The big newbie last year were the Candy Corn Kisses, which were an exclusive limited edition release for Target. For those of you who were fans of those Kisses will be happy to know they’re back with a wider release this year and brought new friends with them this time: Caramel Apple Kisses and Pumpkin Spice Kisses.
I searched high and low for these new flavors, and unfortunately have had success in finding the former. The hunt for the Pumpkin Spice continues, I will not rest until I find them.
The Caramel Apple Kisses are beautiful to observe. The packaging is attractive with nice rich festive colors and nice illustrations. The Kisses are wrapped in even more eye-catching fall-colored wrappers with brilliant red and orange stripes. I look at these and am immediately reminded as to why I love fall so much.
Opening the bag with great anticipation, the kisses smell perfectly normal: sweet and chocolatey.
I took one of the Kisses to cut one in half for a photo. This proved dangerous as the center wanted to ooze everywhere. The caramel center is almost liquid, I was very surprised by. I don’t recall the regular Caramel Kisses being so flowing.
The flavor is first the sweet Hershey’s chocolate along with the creamy caramel flavors with nice burnt sugar notes. After that is when the apple taste comes in. It’s very artificial with a floral essence and strong juicy notes that have a slight tang to it. It reminds me of what candied apples taste like in a way: fruity, but something is a little off from the coating. They really remind me of those radioactive green Caramel Apple Pops that Charms makes. Despite the flavor oddness from the apple, the Kisses work somehow for me. They taste like fall.
As a side note, not everyone I shared these with agreed with me. As I fed some to one of my sisters and she scrunched her nose up at them.
Rating: Might Eat Again
Hershey’s Kisses Website
I can’t say what attracted me more to this candy bar: the fact that it uses pineapple as a base flavor or its unusual name. Maybe both? This candy bar hails from New Zealand where they strike me as more adventurous and broad with their confections. Still, what’s up with Pineapple Lumps? I don’t really consider lumps of any kind appetizing, so I can’t understand how this name seemed like a good idea.
Inside the package there’s two thin flat rectangular bars, er, lumps. They’re coated in mockolate since the ingredients list has no cocoa butter or liqueur in it, just vegetable oil and cocoa powder. At least there’s real pineapple juice concentrate in here, right? For the sake of experimentation I decided to eat one half of the “twin bar” at room temperature and the other frozen. That’s my best surmise as to how lumps should be eaten.
The smell is of sweet, diary-like chocolate. It reminds me of Halloween candy in that faint sugary/chocolate sort of way. I do also detect a bit of frutiness, but I can’t pin it to a specific fruit, not even the pineapple. The first bite has a good give to it. It’s not totally soft like marshmallow and it’s not hard like a Charleston Chew. The coating just tastes “sweet” and easily flaked off the very soft and strangely textured center.
As for the pineapple center? Think of it texture-wise as a dense, spongy, slightly grainy marshmallow. The flavor is fruity but I’m reminded more of Juicy Fruit gum than I am of pineapple. There’s a tropical-ness to it with some tangyness, but somewhere something goes wrong and it gets a strange sweetness and a funny bubblegum-like flavor.
Eating this is a totally different beast when it’s frozen. The squishy interior becomes rock hard and cleaves off in sharp chunks when bitten into, leaving a flawlessly clean break. The texture of it in the mouth is slightly tacky at first, then it deflates immediately into a filmy paste than quickly melts away. You only notice the odd flavor briefly, so all you manage to taste is the overly sweet mockolate left behind.
Overall a very odd candy. I’m happy to have tried it for the novelty value but it’s not something I’m not going to seek out again.
Rating: Not Worth It