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
Yes, I am aware that these are way past their original release date of last fall. I saw them at one of my local candy haunts and thought I’d swipe them up before they disappeared or end up inedible. So here you are .The code on the back says 727FRCLVO*, so they’re really not past their prime.
The package is an obnoxious bright pink with, I’m guessing, a relative of Red standing behind a large raspberry made of M&Ms pieces (logo and all) with a very sassy look on his face. With an expression like that, I’d expect it to be reserved for Green!
The actual M&Ms are on the larger side, about the same as I remember the old Crispy M&Ms being. They share the same bright pink color as the packaging with the white “M” stamped onto them. There’s no aroma so it’s hard to gage what the flavor will be like.
As for the taste, well, it’s…odd. I admit they do taste like raspberry, but not the type of raspberry you’d want to be eating. It’s terribly artificial with strong floral notes that really overpower any actual “berry” flavor present. It’s such a loud flavor and it reminds me of old Bath and Body works perfume: powerfully smelly and so far removed from the natural essence that it’s hard to identify it anymore. Thankfully you do taste the chocolate. It provides a brief respite from the “razzberry” taste and delivers a solid chocolate flavor and a good sweetness.
After tasting a few of these I feel like I had perfume sprayed on my tongue.
I’m glad that these were a limited edition release that didn’t last too long. The concept of the raspberry flavor is good, but the execution of the flavors really don’t work for me. They’re best to be avoided.
Rating: Not Worth It
* To read these magical codes, be sure to check out Cybele’s awesome explanation over at Candyblog.net.
I loved these as a kid. They were one of the most colorful offerings in the bins at the grocery store my Mom would shop at, so naturally I was attracted to them right away. I’d chose them as my treat on occasions when I wanted something hefty and chewy that delivered a good flavor punch. I also would reach for these when I wanted chocolate but wasn’t allowed it. Something about these just satisfied the craving so I didn’t end up making myself crazy.
The Royals, or Milk Maids as they’re called in some areas, are really just little logs of sweet caramel with a flavored creme filling. Colorfully coded by type, you can easily tell at the store which flavors the masses prefer. When I bought mine the bin was woefully lacking in the blue Vanilla variety. Oddly enough, you can also guess as to the manufacturer’s favorite (or least favorite, I should say) because when I found my grab bag of these, not a single Maple flavored one was in the mix. I found that mildly annoying.
Chocolate (brown): I mainly taste the caramel in this one, it’s sweet with a few milky notes thrown in. The chocolate creme center only delivers a mild cocoa flavor and left me craving a bigger chocolate hit. Overall it reminds me a little of a tootsie roll with a softer texture.
Raspberry (dark pink): The rasberry flavor is very light and floral with a juicy kick to it. It’s not as strong as I hoped but it does work nicely with the caramel coating.
Vanilla (blue): The vanilla filling gives a great robust flavor and an extra milky punch to the whole caramel. It’s really lovely.
Orange (orange): This one is really cool because the combination of the sweet milky notes of the caramel with the orange center makes it taste of a creamsicle.
Butter Rum (yellow): The strong butter flavor tastes artificial to me. However, the slight “burning” flavor of the rum goes seamlessly with the caramel which I find really nice.
Maple (red): The one I was looking forward to the most! The maple flavor is detectable, but it’s more of a fake pancake syrup flavor as opposed to the real thing. It adds a nice woodsy and brown sugar flavor which really compliments the caramel.
I can see why I haven’t really visited these since my childhood. The flavors are mediocre and when you’re a kid eager to get a sugar hit, theses deliver enough flavor to satisfy the taste buds too. I find as an adult, I crave something more sophisticated than what these have to offer. I think my Mom summed it up perfectly when she saw my bag of Royals in my shopping bag: “Oh, I love those, but I haven’t had them in years!”. Some candies are best in memory.
Rating: Not Worth It
Royals/Milk Maid Webpage