Country the Candy Comes From
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
I’ve heard of these Cream Nut Clusters long before I ever found them to try. Like yesterday’s Tronky bar, they were something I discovered in the DiBruno Bros. store and as soon as I saw them, I snatched them us as if there were the last bit of food on earth. Yes, I was that excited to try them.
The Cream Nut Peanut Butter Clusters are made by Koeze Company, who specializes in making the infamous Cream Nut Peanut Butter. I’ve heard it’s the best peanut butter out there, but I haven’t tried it myself. As if my opinions on peanut butter on a candy blog would matter, anyways. These clusters use that peanut butter, blend it with white chocolate to make a creamy center, then layer it on fresh pecans before covering it all in dark chocolate. I’m drooling already.
They look similar to caramel turtles: a ploop with edges that curl under into a little mound. It’s large too, about 2 inches in diameter and 1/2 in tall. It smells chocolatey with a hint of coconut to it.
The first bite is terribly creamy. The chocolate is a good thickness and cleanly snaps when you bite into it. The peanut butter white chocolate center is terribly smooth and very sweet. The peanut butter flavor is not very strong as it’s been diluted by the white chocolate, but it still is the start of the whole candy. The pecan bits are a perfect size; not too big or small. They deliver a wonderful light nutty flavor with an incredibly fresh, meaty texture that’s crunchy at first then buttery smooth for the rest of the time.
The entire symphony of flavors works beautifully: the chocolate provides a deep, characteristic flavor which balances out the sweet creamy center and ends with the crunchy pecans. Think of this as a extreme quality Russell Stover creme bonbon or maybe what the Reeses’ Select Clusters should be like.
Rating: Will Buy Again
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
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