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.
Lifesavers are one of those candies that have always been in my life. I vividly remember enjoying them often in my childhood: I enjoyed each flavor and happily took the rejected green ones my friends didn’t like. As an adult, I don’t eat them as frequently, but I do pick them up when the craving strikes. Sometimes I have a hankering for the 5 Flavor roll (now sadly changed from the original) or the Butter Rum, but most often I find myself reaching for the Tropical flavored mix.
I think I keep reaching for the Tropical flavors more often simply because the flavors seem more fun to me. Most any hard candy offers you cherry, green apple, orange, etc. and it simply gets too boring after a bit. Plus some of my favorite flavors, such as pineapple, are usually found in these exotic mixes. So I’m always game for a roll of Lifesavers Tropicals when the mood strikes.
Fruit Punch: Fire engine red colored and a bright and perfectly punchy in flavor! I get all the notes of oranges, berries, banana in there. Think Hawaiian punch but more authentic.
Pina Colada: Clear and whitish in color. It has great zesty pineapple notes and comes across as very juicy. The coconut shows up as a mild sweetness that tastes a little milky that really rounds the flavor out. The best of the bunch.
Mango Melon: This one has a milky creamsicle appearance which is neat and unique. The flavor is much more melon than mango, thankfully. It’s mildly sweet with light juicy undertones. More like honeydew than cantaloupe or watermelon with some nice floral notes.
Tangerine: Light orange in color. The flavor is nice and orangy with that extra zestiness characteristic of tangerines. Not as “juicy” as I was hoping but very tasty.
Banana: (yellow) This one also has a milky creamy appearance. The flavor is banana, with it’s familiar sweet starchy flavor. This somehow tastes like a “greener” banana as opposed to an overly ripe one, since there’s a small and subtle tartness to it which delivers an authentic edge.
What more can I say? Even the flavors I didn’t prefer so much ended up being better than I expected (and remembered). These make a perfect hot day treat and I like how I can easily just toss a roll into my purse and know they’ll be good still later on when the sweet tooth comes calling. That’s what I call a Lifesaver!
Rating: Will Buy Again
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.
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