Brand of Candy
I found this gem in a very neglected dollar store in the middle of upstate New York. Sometimes, the places you find the candy is as interesting as the candy itself. These Haviland Wintergreen Patties sat on the shelf next to several candies that shouldn’t technically be sold anymore. We’re talking the likes of Marshmallow Take 5 and other candies from 2006. I was relieved to find a date, and a fresh one, on the back of this mysterious Wintergreen Patty. I decided to give it a home.
Another tidbit about my personal tastes: I’ve never been big on mint, peppermint, and spearmint. Especially when it’s mixed with other things, like chocolate. But wintergreen? I’m all over that stuff, I can’t get enough of it. So all the rules from my taste buds about minty things are out the window when wintergreen shows up. I love it that much!
I was perplexed why I hadn’t heard of this candy before, considering that I do make an effort to seek out wintergreen flavored things. Part of the answer is that Haviland is a subcategory of NECCO, which have a very interesting niche of products for the candy market. It immediately made sense in my mind; why it was so rare to find and of course in a place where people who’d remember it from childhood would possibly shop. I’d almost liken it to a regional candy in that respect.
When you open the package, you immediately you smell the wintergreen. The patty is large, 2 inches in diameter and about 1/3 inch thick. The chocolate is glossy and a nice rippled effect on top, like patterns on windblown sand. Breaking it in half, you can tell it’s dense as it has that thick “give” to it like a Mounds or Almond Joy. The center is an incredibly bright pink and it looks very striking against the dark chocolate.
Surprisingly the wintergreen smell doesn’t overpower the aroma of the chocolate, which is nice and sweet with notes of caramel. They blend beautifully together.
The wintetrgreen hits you right off in the first bite. It’s strong yet it’s not too much, and delivers that great minty, fresh, slightly spicy flavor. The taste does mellow and allows the chocolate to show the tastebuds some attention, and it comes across as nicely sweet and smooth with good notes of cocoa and a hint of coconut. I didn’t find this as off putting in terms of minty “fresh” intensity like a York Peppermint Patty, but this has a good level of freshness, sweetness, and then the chocolate to balance it all out. The texture is awesome as it’s thick and smooth with a slight graininess to it. It lasts a good time in the mouth if you just savor it slowly, which really adds to the satisfaction level.
So in conclusion: wintergreen+chocolate=YUM! Why isn’t there more of this out there?
Haviland Wintergreen Patties on the NECCO Website
This is one candy that I fail to understand why it has so many fans. I remember seeing childhood friends opt for Jolly Ranchers over a KitKat or a Milkyway (gasp!) and feeling totally nonplussed by it. Perhaps the fact that the they were just a “cool” candy because the colors were bright, the flavors fake, and the fact that every business had them in a candy basket for us to grab when the parents weren’t looking.
I wasn’t so desperate for sugar, as my parents rationed it to me well, so I found I didn’t eat Jolly Ranchers at all. Oddly enough something about the flavors always stuck with me, partly because they are so iconic in how artificial they taste. I find myself referencing the Jolly Rancher flavors often, so I decided it was time I tried them again and give them a full review.
Opening the bag up it smells sickeningly sweet and of chemicals. The smell is so mixed up that I can’t identify a single specific flavor. Once unwrapped the candies are cylindrical and pretty to look at with their semi opaque colors. The surface is mostly smooth except in spots where it gets tacky from moisture.
Blue Raspberry: I really don’t get what’s up with this flavor, really, blue raspberries? It’s tart with strong floral flavors mixed with melon and berries. It turned my tongue blue.
Watermelon: Intensely tart and powerful flavors right away. It’s artificial with sharp perfume-y notes and a juicy fruitiness. There’s also hints of bitterness lurking in there that I don’t find very pleasing.
Green Apple: Sweet, with strong juicy apple nuances. It reminds me of a very strong cider. There’s a tartness to them which makes me think of granny smiths. There’s a slight perfume-y aftertaste, yet I really like this one.
Cherry: This one is intense right away. The flavor is very deep, woodsy, and with a strong fruitiness. It reminds me of tart cherries and it really gets my saliva going. I was frightened that this would be very medicinal tasting, but it’s not.
Grape: Tastes of Dimetapp Elixir. It’s mainly sour and metallic with the grape flavor only showing briefly from time to time. It’s very syrupy sweet and artificial. Like the others, there’s an odd floral note and it just launched this flavor into the “nasty” zone. I spit this one out.
These are not any better from what I remember. In fact, they’re worse. Little about Jolly Ranchers appeal to me and I am once again stumped by them. Especially since my roommate was so happy to take the rest of the bag and then proceeded to polish them all off in one evening.
Rating: Not Worth It
Jolly Rancher Website
Ferrero is an Italian confectioner know for their excellent line of candies that feature chocolate and hazelnuts. One of the most popular is Ferrero Rocher line that you can pretty much find everywhere. Ferrero is also the masterminds behind Nutella, which is something I cannot keep safely in my apartment. Tronky is one of their rarer bars, at least here in the United States. I first encountered it in the DiBruno Bros. store in Philadelphia, and I haven’t seen it since.
Tronky is a long, log shaped wafer with hazelnut chocolate creme and chopped hazelnut bits on the inside. It’s very light since the wafer makes up such a large majority of the bar . The wafer’s design its so cute too: it has a wood grain pattern molded in it so it’s stick-like and it’s really lovely (even though sticks aren’t that tasty…).
The wafter is light and bland, like most wafers are. It’s crunchy and soft and is a great texture. The chocolate creme on the inside is very smooth, dense, and is very similar to Nutella. The exception is you get these tiny hazelnut pieces in there, but more noticeably I don’t find the chocolate and hazelnut flavors to be very bold here.
These delicate flavors all work together very nicely and make Tronky quite delicious. The texture contrast between the light and crunchy and the dense creamy center is my favorite part. In fact, it reminds me very much of Manner biscuits, which are a longtime favorite of mine.
Rating:Will Eat Again
I’ve always admired the Les Anis de Flavigny line of candies on the store shelves. For the longest time I didn’t even know what they were exactly, but their beautiful tins kept me eying them regardless. It was only a matter of time before I gave them a try.
Anis de Flavigny has been producing these candy pastilles for hundreds of years. Each are made using a traditional panning technique, where a single fennel seed is combined with a sugar syrup and dried in a rotating drum. This process is repeated for 15 days until one pastille is completed, so a lot of work went into each of these little treats! The tins are just as classic as the candies they hold; with scenes of two young people finding love.
There’s a whole slew of flavors that you can find in the line: Mint, Orange Blossom, Violet, Licorice, Anise, and Rose. All of which strike me as very classic, refined, and romantic flavors. The one I was given is the Mint flavor, showing the two lovers idling by a freshwater stream.
Now, there’s something to be said about mints and candy. Some mints, in my opinion, aren’t very candy-like. Take Tic Tacs for example. Other mints, like Junior Mints, are more like candy to me. These fall more into the candy category to me, as they’re very sweet and long lasting, and I certainly eat them for the flavor and not how fresh they make my breath.
The outside of these pastilles are very smooth and cool feeling. The first couple of pastilles I just sucked on and got a wonderful sweet minty flavor that lasted such a long time because these take forever to dissolve. I was surprised by how incredibly hard they are and was frightened for my teeth if I decided to try and chew one. As I gained more experience I got to a point where I knew it was safe to munch on them and my eating time was shortened considerably. I know, shame on me, but I’m a chewer all the way.
I’d pick these up over most other mints any day for many reasons. I’m also really drawn to the history, the flavor, and the design. Having a cute tin to keep afterward in a plus too. I’m happy to have finally tasted these and I looking forward to trying out the other flavors soon.
Rating: Will Buy Again
Anise de Flavigny website
“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