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
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
It seems fitting that for my inaugural post that I’d review a candy that is very dear to me: the Zero bar. As a candy enthusiast, the Zero bar epitomizes the idea of why we all love candy. Usually our preferences are based on what tastes good to us, by what memories we associate with it, what company makes it, etc. Sometimes though, we get a candy like the Zero bar that’s a favorite, well, just because. The love exists without logic.
The Zero bar, which is made up of almond nougat, peanuts, caramel and enrobed in white fudge; was originally made by Hollywood Brands candy company back in 1920. Zero’s name comes from the white covering along with its tendency to be eaten frozen (at “zero” degrees). Over the years it has jumped from company to company and in 1996 it became a member of the Hershey candy lineup. It still remains, as far as I know, the only candy bar to be covered in white chocolate.
I find it odd that despite my love for this candy bar, I cannot recall specifically how I discovered it or when I first tasted it. I only have a general sense of when it appeared in my life and how: I believe it was during middle school when my Mom brought it back to me from a shopping trip. She thought I’d like to try it simply because it was white chocolate. Sometimes the simplest of actions have very large impacts.
The bar once unwrapped is a beautiful pristine white. It smells sweet with a light, nutty, almond touch. Breaking it in half, the caramel ribbon makes a wonderful gooey thread: it’s not too thick nor too flowing. Perfect. The almond nougat is a nice chocolately brown color and you could easily mistake it as such if it wasn’t for the nutty almond smell.
The first bite is lovely: the chocolate feels smooth and cool, the caramel sweet and the nougat fluffy with a nice graininess as it melts in your mouth. The flavor is very sweet, but the nutty almond flavor of the nougat and the peanuts help cut it a little. Surprisingly, the nougat tastes more of real almonds and not amaretto, complimented with a slight touch of malt, that stands out as the main flavor of Zero. The sweet caramel and white chocolate coating providing a light base for the flavors of the nougat to build upon. The pieces of peanuts are small and not heavily distributed (thank goodness!) provide an extra nutty kick as well as a crunchy textural element. The balance of delicate and simple flavors with a good mix of textures of this bar makes it a total winner in my book. So tasty.
So there you have it, the candy bar for which I feel unconditional love for. Some will disagree with my opinion, but that’s what makes loving a certain candy so special: only you truly know how to appreciate it to the fullest.
Have you tried Zero bar before? Do let me know how you like it!
Zero Bar Webpage