Runts were always a candy I loved to look at and handle, but never actually eat. I’m not quite sure why I decided they were more fitting as pretty objects than something edible to me, perhaps because they were always in that nickel bin by the capsule toys at the grocery store. The banana one in particular fascinated me with it’s strangely accurate oblong shape and its smooth sugar shell.
To be honest, I don’t ever remember really eating Runts before doing this review. I find it humorous that even one of the most common and beloved candies in our culture passed underneath my radar for so many years. It probably would have stayed that way too if I wasn’t so intent on trying, well, everything. I was partly pleased and disappointed to see that my timing for trying Runts was on the verge of a big change. These are not the Runts I remember from my childhood, which were made of up of Cherry, Banana, Strawberry, Lime and Orange. Somewhere this mix got changed and the Lime was dropped and Blue Raspberry and Watermelon were added (which are flavors that’re so 1990s).
Now the Runts are new and improved (even bilingual) with a whole new set of flavors. I can’t compare them to the old ones, so I won’t attempt to get all nostalgic about them.
Orange: Very watery tasting with a light fake orange-like essence to it. There’s floral, perfume-y and lightly sweet aftertastes. Odd.
Mango: (large red oval) I hate mangoes, but surprisingly I actually liked this. The flavor does read as mango to me though, but without that odd carrot like aftertaste I associate with the fresh stuff. I think here they’ve kept the best qualities: it’s sweet, lightly peachy with notes of apple and very tropical. It has a bit of tang to it in the beginning before the sugar inside washes out all the flavor.
Strawberry: (red heart) Very sweet, and light on flavor. It taste more like “berry” than “strawberry”, but it’s still tasty and easy to place out of the bunch.
Banana: Firsty of all I love the shape of these and always have. It’s just so cute! The flavor is so floral, fruity and just that standard fake banana flavor. I also notice this one is the hardest to chew of the assortment, due to it’s oblong shape. The extra second or two it takes for me to cleave it open with my molars makes it that much more enjoyable.
Pineapple: I had high hopes for this one. It startes off tasting strange, but then it develops into a more real pineapple flavor once the sugar insides dissolve a little. It’s nice, juicy, and zesty. Even though it’s not quite what I was hoping for, it was still pretty good.
This was a fun little adventure into new candy territory. Flavors aside, texture-wise Runts are so easy to crunch so I’m usually done with them in 2 seconds in my mouth. I get bored with them too easily. There’s the cracking of the shell, the rush of the sugar insides and then the all too quick dissolve. Which really sums up the whole Runts experience for me: instant gratification with no satisfaction.
Rating: Not Worth It
I’m not a big gum chewer. I don’t know what it is about the stuff: the excessive chewing, the transient flavor, or the lack of swallowing. There’s just something about gum that doesn’t sit right with me. I’m not even that interested the potential breath freshening that so many chew gum for in the first place. I’d rather have a mint.
I cannot really explain why I picked these up. Morbid curiosity perhaps? I can’t remember the shopping trip in detail, as it easily could have been an act of desperation since I didn’t find anything in the candy aisle that was new. Looking at the boxes once I was at home, I felt better about my purchase. With words such as “New!” and “Sensations” written on it, how bad could it be? Artificial sweeteners aside, the design coaxed me into thinking I’d actually enjoy this gum.
The packages are set up unlike any gum I’ve had before (even though that doesn’t say much). The flap opens at the top and folds nicely inwards, revealing the rows of full sized sticks of gum. They’re immediately fragrant, just begging to be chewed.
Strawberry Banana: Very powerful on the banana end with the tell tale starchy sweetness. The strawberry is fresh and adds a nice tart berry edge.
Berry Paradise: I was pleased by how flavorful this was. I got strong notes of pear and blackberries and enjoyed how distinguishable they were.
Sweet Watermelon: Wow, this flavor is so juicy! It has that standard artificial watermelon flavor with those odd tangy floral flavors, but it’s mellowed by the rush of saliva that the chewing creates.
I liked the watermelon best out of the three even though the flavor isn’t unique to the Fruit Sensations line, which is usually a big selling point for me. The flavors lasted a decent length of time in my mouth, so I felt satisfied in that regard. Still, as nice as the flavors were, something about this still doesn’t catch me. I feel I am forever doomed in regard to gum appreciation, so I encourage those of you who do love the stuff, these are worth giving a try.
Rating: Not Worth It
These gummis were introduced by Hershey’s sometime in the early 1990s. This is yet another example of a candy whose mesmerizing commercial caught me every time. I guess Hershey’s had a real cracker jack marketing team back then during my childhood.
I had practicaly forgotten about these until I saw them in the candy kiosk in my local mall. I seriously thought they were discontinued or something. But how could I deny the fact that I saw them there staring back at me from amongst the Haribo and Trolli gummi bear packs? I figured they were probably ancient, but curiously got the best of me and I was paying for a few packs next thing I knew. No matter how bad they may taste, I couldn’t help resisting the nostalgia.
The packing is certainly eye catching with it’s simplistic 90’s styled graphic design and bold colors. The little bears are only a little over an inch long with not much detail. They have little nubbins for legs and arms and slightly protruding dots for ears, eyes and a nose. The texture is very chewy and they are very hard to chew at first. Only after a bit do they slowly become softer. The colors are ghastly to me, very pale and washed out and not appetizing at all.
Green Apple (green): Light, floral and juicy apple flavor. It’s very natural, not sour or fake tasting when I think of jolly ranchers. More of a fuji/gold delicious flavor
Grape (odd purple): This tasted floral and slightly juicy and has a very slight concord grape flavor.
Orange (orange): Almost impossibly hard to decipher from the strawberry and I only did so by holding them up to a light bulb. This is very bright and citrusy, and the orange tootsie pop immediately comes to mind.
Cherry (red): The most intense of the colors. The flavor is mild with a deep floral note to it. It does read as cherry, but not medicinal.
Strawberry (also orangish): Light with a good authentic berry flavor. My second favorite of them all.
Pineapple (light yellow): My favorite! It has a bright, sweet pineapple flavor with a hint of tartness.
So they weren’t impressive to me in the least. I don’t know if it was that my pack was old or if the “natural” flavor that Hershey marketed with these is just no competition for what’s available today. I’m happy to just remember them as memory serves me best: not as candy, but as really awesome commercials.
Rating: Not Worth It
Amazin’ Fruit Gummis Commercial on YouTube
Scharffen Berger is one of the few, if not the first, American chocolate company to work from “bean to bar”. What does that mean you may ask? To put it simply, it means that the company oversees the whole chocolate production: from sourcing the beans to the molding and wrapping the final bar. This level of control allows the chocolate makers to assure that the chocolate is made to their level of taste and satisfaction. The results are usually a fantastic bar of chocolate.
I’ve known of Scharffen Berger for a long time as I’d often seen it in gourmet stores and the shelves of my local Whole Foods. I always considered them too easily available for me to make an impromptu buy, but I’d knew it’d happen someday when I felt like trying something new (which is all the time, but you know what I mean). I saw this little tasting kit and I knew this would be a perfect way to try out Scarffen Berger’s selection, so into my cart it went.
41% Milk: It has a nice color and the aroma is extremely decadent: sweet with notes of cream, caramel and vanilla. It reminds me of ice cream. The flavor is lovely; chocolatey and creamy with neither flavor dominating over the other. Between the two big players there, there’s hints of the caramel and vanilla to give it that extra sweetness and depth. The mouth feel is extremely silky too, very luxurious. One of the better milk chocolates I’ve had to date.
70% Bittersweet: I love bittersweet, so this will be interesting. It has a strong medium brown color which is a little on the darker side. Smells of cocoa, coffee, and wood. The flavor is very earthy at first, with notes of vegetables, wood and fungi. Then a caramel like sweetness blossoms and mellows the flavor a little until the finish when the earthy notes return. It’s very reminiscent of the jungle where the cacao comes from.
82% Extra Dark: Sharp, dark color with reddish undertones. Smells very bright and fruity with subte notes of cherries and coffee. It’s a lovely aroma, which is also surprisingly pretty sweet smelling. The snap is really hard: loud and clean showing the good tempering of the chocolate. The flavor is very complex. It starts off with light cocoa flavors, then toward the middle bright sour notes of cherries and green coffee burst forward. Those flavors linger and a dry finish comes from under them and washes it all away in a cocoa like aftertaste. Beginners might be put off toward the bitterness, but I found the notes nicely controlled and flavorful. I enjoyed it.
This is nice to try so I could get an idea of what the range of the chocolate coming from Scharffen Berger. It’s a good step for beginners as it gives the opportunity taste the differences between the different cacao percentages. I liked how I know what to expect from them in the “mix in” bars and in their future products. A good chocolate that’s worth returning to every so often.
Rating: Will Eat Again
One of the new products that were announced at the All Candy Expo this year were a new line of “fancy” M&M’s. These M&M’s not only looked different, but they also come in an array of new flavors to appeal to more sophisticated palates. I eagerly awaited these beauties to show up in stores and when I finally say them in Target, I scooped up the three most appealing flavors (hey, they’re $3.99 apiece!) so I could give them a try.
These M&M’s Premiums are different in many ways, but the biggest difference for me is that they lack the candied shell of the originals. I find it really odd not having the shell there. The M&M’s feel like you’ve sucked on them already and have dissolved the shell, so all that hits your tongue is the smooth creamy milk chocolate. This is frustrating, since the shell kept the M&M from “dying” too quickly in my mouth and helped the taste and experience longer. That shell kept the delicious party raging on longer and I miss it.
The packages are cute, I give them that. They’re tall cardboard boxes that curve inward at the waist. They have a little window in the tummy area so you can see the M&M’s inside, all shiny and looking like twinkling treasure. Inside, the design gets even more intuitive. The M&M’s come in a re-sealable little plastic pouch, making it easy to take a little now and safely store the rest for later.
These have the bright blue speckled exterior and I’m reminded of sapphires. The almond is terribly fresh, with a good crunch and a strong nutty flavor. The chocolate is sweet and compliments the nut well. The only thing I wondered was were these worth paying more than the normal Almond M&M’s? I think the only difference is the exterior. My conclusion is no, since I’d rather have the shell and pay a little less.
These are purple and pink spattered and look very pretty. The “triple” comes from the fact they have milk, dark, and white chocolate layered in them. Their size is larger, similar to the size of the Razzberry and Cherry M&Ms.
These are incredibly creamy right off. Again, the lack of shell means you get an intense chocolate hit right away. It’s very sweet, milky and terribly smooth in texture. When bitten in half the cross section shows dark chocolate on top, a layer of white in the middle and the center is the milk. The chocolate is pleasant, as it’s really sweet and milky, with a slight caramel and coffee note in there. Other than that it isn’t any more complex than that (really, it’s an M&M, what do you expect?). Regardless, it’s very satisfying and tasty. I don’t really get a sense of all three chocolates but it’s a good blend that makes this richer than the regular M&M’s.
The fairest of them all in my humble opinion with their bronze, copper and golden colors. They’re the size of plain M&M’s and smell chocolatey with a hint of coffee. Good points right away, since I’m scared they wouldn’t taste very “mocha” like at all.
Like the Triple Chocolate, these are very creamy and have a good coffee flavor right away. It’s strong enough to stand out, but not drown out the chocolate flavor. Thankfully the M&M is not overly sweet and it really reminds me of the mocha you can get at the coffee shop. The coffee flavor is bold and slightly acidic, and tastes of a good brew and not just like there was some Folgers flavoring mixed in there. So if you’ve been looking for a good coffee flavored chocolate, this is worth a try.
The M&M’s Premiums are a fun little experiment. The new colors and flavors are attractive and fun, but with the higher price I don’t find them complex enough to keep me from buying more. I hope these do well since I am a fan of M&M’s, and I hope Mars would consider adding more flavors to the mix so something more unique would come along.
Rating: Will Eat Again