As many of you might be aware of by now, I have a real soft spot in my candy loving heart for classic/retro candies. You know, the ones that often have that dated, garish packaging and are only found in limited and difficult to find areas and stores around the United States. I cannot place my finger on all the reasons why I love these candies so much, but one reason is that I am really drawn to the history of them. Another reason is I’m very curious to taste something that has survived the test of time.
Annabelle’s Candy Company is what I’d consider one of these classic/retro candy manufacturers. Located in Northern California, they’ve an impressive history and have been around making sweets since the 1950s. They have a solid lineup of sweet treats and I admit they they make some of my favorites.
Living on the East Coast makes it hard for me to find Annabelle’s candy in stores, but when I do I am certain to stock up. I was excited to find this Abba-Zaba Sour Apple in a remote gas station and snatched it up as if my life depended on it. Especially since it was alone on a shelf, not even sitting in a box. It needed a home.
I’ve had regular Abba-Zabas before, which are basically a sweet taffy with a peanut butter center, and I liked them despite being a plainer sibling to my favorite the Big Hunk. This was a sour apple version though, and I wasn’t sure what to expect from it. The idea of the flavored taffy with the peanut butter sounded interesting.
First thing I was surprised to find the taffy a bright, bright green. I expected sour apple flavor, yes, but sour apple color? No, so this was a surprise. It smelled salty and lightly of peanut butter. The texture of the taffy is hard and it’s crunchy in the parts on the ends that are thin enough to dry out. Once warmed in the mouth and worked with the teeth, it softens and has a lovely chew.
The flavor is spot on with a standard sour apple flavor. It’s not as powerful as the Jolly Rancher thankfully, but it has it’s moments of sour and sweet both mixing together wonderfully and playfully transitioning between the two. Even thought I’m not much of a sour person, this had a mildness to it where I didn’t feel it crossed the line.
In fact, I’d call it tart as opposed to sour as it felt more natural like the sweet sourness that real apples have. The peanut butter is what you’d expect: creamy, sweet-salty and nutty. I was reminded of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches at certain moments.
So yes, Abba-Zaba Sour Apple is a quite tasty and very satisfying dense and chewy taffy. Though I had a hard time biting off chunks to chew, it was still entertaining to eat. It especially made things interesting when trying to type my tasting notes during consumption; one hand recording the data and the other busy supplying my sugar addiction for the day.
Rating: Might Eat Again
Annabelle’s Candy Co. Website
As I’m always on the prowl for new flavors and types of candy, so I get pretty thrilled when I find something new to try. I found this Schmerling’s Swss Chocolate bar amongst other Kosher chocolate in the import section on one of my local grocery stores. What drew me to it immediately was the “Honey Moon” name, as it’s flavored with honey and nougat bits. Neither of which I’ve had in a chocolate bar before.
Unwrapped, the bar is a nice medium brown color like a respectable milk chocolate and the creaminess of the color shows a high milk content. The flecks of the nougat are visible all though-ought the bar, giving it a pretty spotted look. The break is surprisingly hard for a milk chocolate, which are normally soft and almost fudgy.
The flavor is surprising to say the least. There’s no chocolate or dairy flavors at all. Instead you mainly taste the nougat, which has an almond/hazelnut flavor with just a touch of honey to it. The chocolate manifests itself as a throat burning sweetness that appeares in the finish and leaves a long aftertaste in the mouth. The texture is a little crunchy because of the nougat bits, which feel like nuts as they’re a little crispy but have a “meaty” texture to them. The chocolate’s texture is unremarkable; not grainy but not smooth either.
Overall, I was disappointed because this wasn’t as “honey nougat-y chocolaty” tasting as I’d hoped. If I move past that it’s ok tasting and delivers a mean sugar burn, so if I was even in need of something intense, this could do the trick.
Rating: Not Worth It
You gotta love the name of this one: Nerds. How cute and catchy is that? I know when I was a kid I wanted these because they just sounded like so much fun. They are a simple candy too, basically tiny lumps that are sugar crystals that are panned and coated with a colored flavored shell.
I usually see Nerds in boxes with two flavors each that are separated so you can can mix and match if you feel like it. I decided on getting the giant theater sized box for greater flavor variety. The sizes are far from uniform. I got some that were extremely tiny and others that were huge clusters. Some of the Nerds were even missing their candy shells and were just the little cut crystals of clear sugar.
Orange: Orange is seldom a disappointing flavor and this is no exception. It’s nice and juicy with a tangyness to it.
Lemon: An intense lemon flavor with a littlse zestiness to it.
Green: Apple-y, with that standard Jolly Rancher type quality flavor to it. also has some tartness.
Red: Very cherry, which starts sweet and then very gets sour. It’s not medicinal at all and very nice due to the sourness.
Purple: Grape, and it’s very much like grape soda. This one is sour the whole time and leaves the longest aftertaste in my mouth of the strong grape flavor.
Pink: Strawberry I think? After tasting a few I decided it is. It’s all sweet as opposed to having a sour note like the others. The flavor is very berry-like and has good fruity nuances to it. I can’t think of a comparapble candy flavor to compare it to. It’s very tasty.
I also had a white one which was a large cluster and I wonder if it was a fluke. There was more then one though, and it was my favorite of them all with a bright pineapple flavor and a tart aftertaste.
I like these. I don’t know if they’re something I’d return to often. They’re so pretty to look at though. I can see them being used creatively in other foods; like on ice cream, cakes and cookies.
Rating:Might Eat Again
Mike & Ike were totally absent from my childhood, like a pair of dysfunctional friends who said they’d site with me during lunch but didn’t. I got my first taste of Mike & Ike during high school and was annoyed as to what I was missing out on all these years. I have been a faithful devotee to the regular mix and it wasn’t until recently I branched out into the other flavor offerings. The Tangy Twister mix with its cheery bright orange box and promising flavors begged to be first in line.
I was so looking forward to trying this Tangy Twister blend because of the pineapple flavor. So when I brought my movie sized box home and opened it up to eat I discovered that I had one pineapple in the whole box. Talk about disappointed!
Cherry: Very tart and oddly enough, reads as a “candy” cherry flavor but not as a bad “medicinal” one. The sourness lingers so the sweetness typical of Mike & Ike didn’t really last for very long.
Raspberry: A really nice raspberry flavor that has a strong juiciness to it with good floral and fruity notes. It’s not too tart, but just enough for it to taste authentic. It was nice how this mimicked the way real berries always have that little sourness before turning sweet.
Orange Punch: Oh, this is strange. It does taste fruity but not of oranges. It is very punch-like with a tropical essence to it as if passion fruit and limes were in there. Maybe it’s labeled orange because of the color?
Pineapple: Wow, This one is so extremely good. It tastes exactly like pineapple with a burst of zesty sweetness and a slight pine-y bite to it. Simply amazing. I need to buy another box to get more of these. I’m not kidding.
Apple: Tart, juicy and is very zesty and a little sweet. A nice sour apple flavor that isn’t overly artificial.
I liked this mix and will certainly pick it up again. I’m just hoping my flavor mix is a little more even next time.
Rating: Will Buy Again
Mike & Ike Website
Last year Brach’s, my favorite brand for candy corn, surprised us all with new flavor varieties of this iconic fall candy: Milk Maid Caramel Apple and Milk Mail Caramel. I reviewed these last year when I was writing for CandyAddict, and you can see my impressions of them there. I was pleased to find in my local Target that Brach’s is continuing the tradition and released a new flavor: Milk Maid Chocolate Caramel Candy Corn.
The candy corn still smells sweet, but now there’s a really strong buttery smell to them. The kernels are really pretty to Different shades of
The flavor is very interesting. It’s immediately sweet and the flavor is immediately the caramel. It comes across as a very intense, salty, fake, buttery flavor. The cocoa appears in the finish and aftertaste working hard to mellow out the strength of the butter flavor. I know it sounds odd, but this works. The caramel and cocoa flavors match well and neither come across as overpowering. My only criticism is that the caramel has a stronger presence than the cocoa, but I can live with this.
I love candy corn to begin with, so these will be a nice addition to my eating rotation so things won’t get too boring.
Rating: Will Buy Again