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
Sometimes something sounds so strange, you just have to try it. That’s exactly what prompted me to try Sweet Vellies. My love of fruit jelly candy obviously far surpasses the name, as these are vegetable juices instead. Yes, you heard me, vegetables. So how else to test my love for a certain confection with a flavor assortment that’s totally out of the box?
I found these on a recent venture into New York City at The Sweet Life down in the lower east side. I couldn’t tell much from the very simplistic packaging they came in as they didn’t list anything other then the name and ingredients. There wasn’t even a flavor key! Still, I knew these would be something terribly unique and were worth a try. I even Googled them once I was back home and didn’t find much information. I got a suggestion of flavors (Mint, Tomato Basil, Red Pepper, Strawberry Rhubarb, Beet, Corn, Lemon Verbena, Blueberry Sage, Carrot Ginger, Passion Fruit) but not that it helped me very much.
When I went to taste them a few days later, I couldn’t even eat the one package as it molded right away. Phooey. A suggest shelf life would have been a nice addition to the packaging.
I noticed some differences right away. First, the texture is grainier than other pates that I’ve had, which I found very strange. I’m used to smooth, dense jelly but these felt as if some of the pulp of the vegetables were kept intact. It was strange at first, then I didn’t mind it so much after a few bites.
Dark red: Very sweet, immediately fresh, juicy and tart. I think it’s blueberries, raspberries and beets.
Green: Minty with sharp underlying tart notes that I can’t really place. Maybe cucumber?
Light yellow/green: This one is hard to describe, as it tastes slightly sweet and starchy. I think this is corn.
Opaque yellow: Whoa, ok, no, that last one wasn’t corn. This one is and it’s awful. I immediately spit it out. It tastes like hardened creamed corn soup.
Orange: This one is easy to peg: tomato basil. It tastes of slightly sweet spaghetti sauce.
An interesting idea with horrible execution. It felt like playing Russian Roulette with the flavors and none of them tasted interesting to me at all. Keep the vegetables at the dinner table, ok?
Rating:Not Worth It
Sweet Vellies at the Sweet Life Website
Cactus candy, which is a type of that fruit jelly that makes my heart go pitter patter, was something I’d had my eye on for a long time. I’d see it on random places online, but it wasn’t until I had a layover in the Phoenix airport that I actually saw it in the flesh. I quickly picked up a medium sized box of the prickly pear flavor and bought it. For once I felt grateful for those cheesy airline terminal gift shops.
Inside the box the squares of the candy are beautifully arranged in little white fluted cups to prevent them from sticking together. They’re incredible to look at with a gorgeous intensely deep rose red color. It reminds me of fresh guava pulp and they feel so exotic. I was a little disappointed to find that the color is helped a bit by bitter tasting Red 40.
The texture is very chewy, much more “gummi” than other fruit jellies that I’ve had. They stick a little in the mouth, but not enough for it to become annoying. It’s very dense so I automatically find it very satisfying.
I’ve never had prickly pear before and the best I can describe it is it’s lightly fruity and “watery”. It reminds me of aloe in the sense it’s refreshing and sweet, but these lack the herbal flavors. You can taste the lemon oil that’s been added to enhance the overall flavor, and I can’t decide of that’s a good thing or not. It’s nice to have that bright zestiness to heighten the light watery flavor but I can’t help but wonder how much of the prickly pear flavor is lost because of it.
I was pleasantly surprised with these, as I was expecting them to come across as odd more than anything else. I finished my box (I shared a few of course) and look forward to getting some again next time I’m in Arizona. Whenever that will be.
Rating: Will Buy Again
“Black licorice and fruit gummies?” was what ran through my head as I saw these on the shelf at a Cost Plus World Market. I have a big spot in my heart for black licorice, and the idea of a chewy version of it combined with fruit flavors was too much for me to handle. So into my shopping bag they went.
The fruit flavors here are tropical: kiwi, mango and passion fruit. I’m tickled by this choice, as I’d imagine more domestic fruits like apples, pears, peaches and strawberries blending better with licorice. I’m not a candy maker though, so what would I know? I can only imagine and express what my taste buds say to me.
The shapes of these are really cute; some are round and coin shaped while the others are more slender and oblong. The texture is like how I’d imagine a flat DOT would be: soft, chewy, lightly firm and nice staying power in the mouth.
Kiwi (green): The kiwi flavors are really juicy and the taste a nice mix between apple and peach. I don’t know how that translates to kiwi, but I’m open to the interpretation. The licorice matches with it well; it’s refreshing with strong notes of molasses and an herbal zest to it.
Mango (yellow): The mango is not quite mango in my mind. It’s more peachy and a little more berry tasting than the kiwi. It also lacks that signature “bite” I associate with mango. The flavor mixes nicely with the licorice side which tastes milder to me than the licorice in the kiwi.
Passion fruit (red): Tastes of peach (I’m seeing a trend here), strawberry and grape. Also blends nicely with a milder licorice.
These were fun to try and certainly quite tasty. I admit I’m slowly working on my bag, choosing to savor them as opposed to feeling that I need to gobble them up immediately. I love how unique they are, I cannot think of anything like this sold here in the United States. I’m happy that I got to try them, but I don’t see myself craving these once my bag is gone.
Rating: Will Eat Again
There’s been word floating about the candy-sphere that there were new DOTS to be released sometime this year. I really hadn’t paid it much attention since I’m not an avid DOT eater, but when I spied them in a Vons on a recent trip to LA, well, I decided to change my mind. New candy is always worthy of attention.
I almost passed these boxes by on the shelf, since their design is so different from most other candy packages out there, it just didn’t read as “candy” to me right away. With colors that are predominately dark completed with a black backdrop, overall it feels very masculine and I wanted to move them next to all the energy drinks.
The boxes are big too as they’re the giant theater sized boxes with about 2 1/2 servings in them. Thankfully I was able to share my find with Cybele who shared her thoughts on these last week. I admit I couldn’t even finish them even after Cybele took a share of them.
Earth (Pomegranate): A pretty, deep, berry purple color. The most similar of the bunch to the regular DOTS line, as it’s fruit flavored. It tastes very fruity with accents of grape and cherry. Sweet, yet tangy and it reminds me of red licorice a little. The flavor doesn’t really read as “pomegranate” to me, but I forgive them since it’s a difficult essence to peg since it’s not very iconic.
Air (Wintergreen): The color of these is so bright and it immediately reminds me of toothpaste. The wintergreen flavor is mellow, which I love becaue it doesn’t feel like I’m eating a mint. It has a subtle herbal edge to it, with notes of root beer and licorice that I find very pleasing.
Fire (Cinnamon): A very intense bright semi-opaque red, it almost comes across as neon to me. The cinnamon flavor is medium intensity, not fully sweet but not “hot” either. It has subtle woodsy notes and a bit ofcherry flavor to it.
Water (Green Tea): This combination I found amusing, since I drink green tea so often it might as well be water. The color is an odd, delicate yellow green which doesn’t read as “watery” or like “green tea” at all. The flavor is full of very floral and light soapy notes. The “plantiness” of it is reminiscent of green tea but so very, very removed. On top of that it’s lightly sweet and the whole thing just comes off as gross to me.
I liked the fact that Tootsie took the daring step with trying more unconventional flavors for DOTS. In theory I would have loved to eat green tea and wintergreen DOTS, it’s something I’d see myself buying often. However, the flavors didn’t strike home with me, so DOTS Elements just come across as a wasted opportunity. I just hope these don’t scare away ideas of any new and better attempts, because I’d love for candy to branch more in this direction.
Rating: Not Worth It