Christopher’s Big Cherry is one of those hard to find regional/retro candies that I’ve been meaning to get my hands on for ages. It was only when I found myself in Los Angeles, Big Cherry’s home turf, that I was able to finally buy one to try. It boggles my mind sometimes how I search high and low for a certain candy out East where I live, only to find it sitting in every gas station store once I get out West. It makes things interesting (and frustrating) for sure.
The big selling point for Christopher’s Big Cherry is that in the very middle of this big mound of mockolate, peanuts, and fondant sits a whole maraschino cherry. Over the years the candy has changed companies and now currently resides with the Adam & Brooks candy company.
The candy smells very sweet of the mockolate and there’s a strong peanutty edge to it. It looks like an unimpressive lumpy mound. The peanut bits give the surface and uneven texture, and the mockolate is lackluster and unexciting.
The flavor is sweet; so very, very sweet. The mockolate delivers a subtle cocoa flavor and a greasy mouth feel. The best part of this candy so far comes from the peanut bits which give it a nice, nutty flavor. They also have a knack for getting themselves lodged in my teeth. The fondant in the center is a brilliant Pepto Bismal pink with a thick texture and a subtle grain. The flavor is awfully sweet, but doesn’t really taste of cherry. I didn’t get any cherry flavor at all, in fact, until I bit into the maraschino cherry. The cherry is throat-searingly strong with that sweet and bitterly fake cherry flavor and the crystallized cherry texture.
I’m glad to have finally tried this, but the bland mockolate and the intense sweetness doesn’t tempt me enough to give it a second try anytime soon.
Rating: Might Eat Again
Adam & Brooks 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
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
As a child of the 80s, I remember commercials for the Whatchamacallit very vividly. They were always one of the coolest candy commercials on the TV. Chances were, though, if you asked me exactly what it was, I wouldn’t have been able to tell you as it was something I never begged my parents for at the checkout line in the grocery store.
So what exactly is a Whatchamacallit? The wrapper describes it as: “peanut flavor crisps, caramel, rich chocolatey coating”. As an adult I’ve avoided this bar for the longest time simply because I know it’s covered in mockolate, which I feel is the scourge of the candy world. I know it’s a question of production costs and shelf stability, but really, chocolate is perfect the way it is, why mess with it? I digress.
The bar is long and wide; imagine if two Kitkat fingers were laid out and flatted with a rolling pin. I have a hard time trying to think of another candy that’s more short and wide than it is tall and thick, but I am drawing a blank. So the shape immediately feels unique to me. The top is pretty with subtle textural ripples from the enrobing. The bottom is even better, with that lovely diamond criss cross pattern from the conveyor belt. Does anyone else admire this along with me? I may be alone in my appreciation.
I’m surprised that Whatchamacallit smells quite chocolatey considering the questionable ingredients. There’s aromas of caramel and a lack of any suggestion of peanut butter. I find myself again reminded of Kitkat. My first bite was really nice: you get some thick, chewy textures from the caramel and a nice crispy crunch from the peanut butter crisp. The first flavor is the chocolatey coating mixed with the caramel giving it a sweet kick. Then comes the peanut butter crisp which is very nutty and perfectly salty. The crisp’s flavor is also well balanced: not as intense as a Reeses’, yet it’s not subtle enough to let the other flavors shove it to the sidelines. Even so, I do think it’s the star taste in this bar.
Ok, so color me surprised. I liked this bar despite the mockolate. The flavors of the caramel and peanut butter crisp deliver solid flavors that are strong enough to mask the lack of real chocolate. I also find that the textural contrast of the the caramel and peanut butter crisp overshadow the unusual greasiness that mockloate always has. This is an excellent example how the combination of ingredients can make or break a candy bar. I probably won’t buy this again because of the mockolate, since I don’t like to willingly eat the trans fats, but I will eye Whatchamacallit with subtle affection every time I see it at the checkout counter from now on.
Rating: Not Worth It
Whatchamacallit commercial on YouTube.com
The new Limited Edition Junior Fruit Cremes are new twist on the classic Junior Mints, which are the classic panned chocolates with a creamy mint fondant center. With this new variant has a fruit flavored fondant center with a white mockolate coating. Sounds tasty already, eh? The brightly colored box is very playful and I find the green background very eye-catching. As with all my candy discoveries, I peek at the ingredients list which I immediately find disappointing since trans fats are the second thing listed. Ah well, it’s not like candy is supposed to be good for you.
The pieces look like Junior Mints: little rounded plops, similar to smooth river stones. They have that bit of puckering on the bottom, which is their candy belly button. The Fruit Cremes come in four colors: orange, purple, dark pink and light pink with no indication of the flavors. They don’t look pretty at all: they have a little gloss to them but they still look flat and sort of gray. The colors are muted and aren’t very bright and inviting. There’s also no aroma to them at all.
Orange: A nice, authentic sweet orange flavor. It reminded me of Starburst’s orange flavor, minus the zestiness and the saliva-inducing chew.
Purple: Tastes like the purple Sweet Tart: a berry flavor with hints of grape in it. *Very* sweet.
Dark Pink: This just tastes sweet, I get no flavor at all. This really makes my throat burn.
Light Pink: Hard to say what this tastes like since this is also obnoxiously sweet. There’s a light berry flavor, maybe? If I *had* to choose, I’d say it’s a hint of strawberry.
The texture of these is odd. They are very cool and smooth in the mouth, with a creamy feeling that isn’t greasy. The shell is soft and immediately opens to the creamy interior, which is smooth and brightly flavored.
I couldn’t finish the recommended serving of these since I they were burning out my esophagus with the sugar hit. I am not kidding, my throat just *burns* for all the sugar in this. I was coughing for a good 20 minutes after eating seven of these and even a glass of water didn’t help. Mind you, this has never happened to me before because I have a pretty high sugar threshold. I liked the taste from what I got out of the two that did have flavor, but overall they’re disappointing. I don’t want candy that I can’t taste half of and have to chase with three glasses of water. I’ll pass.