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
Hershey’s Kisses have been busy this year with their 100th anniversary, as they’ve been releasing various limited edition flavors to celebrate the occasion. The Cookies ‘n’ Creme flavor is one of the newest Kiss offerings that I stumbled across on a recent trip to Wal-Mart. Despite the fact that the bag of these is huge, I happily tossed it into my cart without a second thought.
These new Kisses are described as white chocolate with “cookie bits”. The wrapper is a pleasing bright sky blue with designs of cookies printed in silver on them and I find it very attractive. I turned over the bag to read the ingredients list to find that these are sadly not real white chocolate. Tropical oils are present towards the top, which cheapens the product as well as manufacturing costs. It’s discouraging to see these aren’t all cocoa butter like they should be. To add to the frustration, PGPR shows up as well so you know Hershey’s isn’t making a top notch Kiss here. I’m already disappointed without even tasting them yet.
The Kisses look pretty with their milky appearance and brown spots peeking though, which look suspiciously like brown non pariels. The taste is very strong on the vanilla flavor and are quite creamy, yet they still carry that “white chocolate” essence to it. I was correct, the “cookie bits” are indeed chocolate non pariels. They provide an interesting textural crunch but no actual cookie flavor. These are also pretty sweet as far as Kisses go and as a result are very cloying. The flavor is very compelling though, since the overall effect does taste like cookies to me.
As far as the limited edition Kisses go, I liked these more than most of the varieties that’ve been released. My only wish is that they’d used real cocoa butter and the non pariels were actually cookie bits. Otherwise I feel a bit cheated by the false promise of cookies and creme.
Rating: Might Eat Again
Spree were candies I was never particularly drawn to. I witnessed them being enjoyed by many of my friends and family, but there was something about them that never called to me. I think a big reason was the fact that I am such a big fan of Starburst, that I couldn’t imagine fitting another chewy fruity candy into my regular rotation. Especially one that I didn’t think would compete on the same level.
It wasn’t until a few weeks ago that I decided to give them a try. It was all my roommate’s doing, as she had bought a bunch and was munching away on them in the living room. My “candy that I haven’t tried yet” radar went off and I immediately went to check out her sugar-fest. The next day I made sure to pick some up at the store for adequate Candy Enthusiast tastings.
These are about the size of nickels and double the thickness. They come in grape, cherry, apple, orange and lemon, white are pretty run of the mill in terms of fruit flavored candy offerings. The texture of these is fun, as it takes a bit of pressure to get the shell to crack. I prefer to shove them back to my molars for the job. Once broken, there’s a very nice flavor release and the center gives a nice chew. I find that it takes a good 10-25 chomps before everything dissolves. It’s very satisfying to eat.
Grape: Nothing about this tasted like grape to me. It really just tastes sour.
Apple: I do get apple notes here: fruity, juicy and a little spice to them as if cinnamon was added. The sour works well with it too, making it more “true to life”.
Cherry: Very berry like, not much of a cherry flavor, more of a generic “red”. The tartness is more pronounced in this and it gaves me a little throat burn.
Orange: This is going to sound strange, but this tasted of the orange Fruit Loop. Just add some tartness to it and you got this flavor to a T.
Lemon: It took a couple of chews before I got the flavor to come out. It’s not as zesty and sour as I hoped, but it does have a light lemony taste to it. I want more of it.
I found these pleasant and I prefer the texture of these to the flavors, which is regrettable since you mainly want to eat candy for how it tastes. Texture is only part of the equation, and sadly it isn’t enough for me to pick these up in the future. If only they tasted as sumptuous as they look!
Rating: Not Worth It.
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