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August 2014
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Jul
23



Hershey's Bliss Packages

Like most every American kid, I grew up on Hershey’s chocolate. It was the chocolate bar to have with its iconic wrapper and powerful sweetness. It was the only chocolate acceptable to make S’mores with. Despite how my tastes have changed since the days of my youth, Hershey’s chocolate is still ingrained deeply into my sweets psyche. It plays an important role as a basis for all the chocolate I’ll experience for the rest of my life, whether I like it or not.

Chocolate is a thriving business and there’s always a demand to somehow re-invent it to increase sales. That is essentially what Hershey’s is doing here with their new line of Bliss chocolates. Not only are they trying to grab attention with a new brand and re-packaged look but they’re also trying to compete with the Dove Chocolate line. This move of Hershey’s to try and make a “premium” chocolate line is interesting to me, especially after their stance on changing the definition of chocolate.

The new Bliss chocolate come in large bags with the little individually foil-wrapped squares inside, very similar to how the Kisses are packaged. Depending on where you shop, you can find other flavors in the line. I recall seeing a Raspberry flavor in Target last week. I was lucky and stumbled across these mini packets in my grocery store so I could sample just a few without much risk.

 

Hershey's Bliss

Milk Chocolate: Immediately very soft and sweet. It’s creamy, light milky and caramel notes to it. Thankfully it doesn’t come across as waxy to me at all.

Milk Chocolate Meltaway: The texture is noticeable “fudgier” than the other milk chocolate; it feels thicker and more slippery in the mouth. There isn’t a “center” per se, like in a Lindt Lindor. I got no shell/creamy center separation as the chocolate just overall seemed softer. There’s more caramel notes here and a salty touch, but other than that there’s not much else that appears different to me from the regular milk chocolate.

Dark Chocolate: Pretty flavorless and waxy. There’s light chocolately notes, but they have an odd muskiness about them that’s very off-putting. That problem was all fixed when I paired it with a cup of coffee.

Considering what is trying to be accomplished, it’s a decent attempt on Hershey’s behalf. It’s still far from good enough to get me to buy it over something much better, such as Droste, Chocolove or Michel Cluizel (just to name a few!).  The funny thing with chocolate is it’s really such an individual thing, so even though it’s not my chocolate Bliss, it might be yours. 

Rating: Not Worth It

 

Not Worth It


Jul
22



New Runts Package

Runts were always a candy I loved to look at and handle, but never actually eat. I’m not quite sure why I decided they were more fitting as pretty objects than something edible to me, perhaps because they were always in that nickel bin by the capsule toys at the grocery store. The banana one in particular fascinated me with it’s strangely accurate oblong shape and its smooth sugar shell.

To be honest, I don’t ever remember really eating Runts before doing this review. I find it humorous that even one of the most common and beloved candies in our culture passed underneath my radar for so many years. It probably would have stayed that way too if I wasn’t so intent on trying, well, everything. I was partly pleased and disappointed to see that my timing for trying Runts was on the verge of a big change. These are not the Runts I remember from my childhood, which were made of up of Cherry, Banana, Strawberry, Lime and Orange. Somewhere this mix got changed and the Lime was dropped and Blue Raspberry and Watermelon were added (which are flavors that’re so 1990s).

Now the Runts are new and improved (even bilingual) with a whole new set of flavors. I can’t compare them to the old ones, so I won’t attempt to get all nostalgic about them.

 

New Runts I

Orange: Very watery tasting with a light fake orange-like essence to it. There’s floral, perfume-y and lightly sweet aftertastes. Odd.

Mango: (large red oval)  I hate mangoes, but surprisingly I actually liked this. The flavor does read as mango to me though, but without that odd carrot like aftertaste I associate with the fresh stuff. I think here they’ve kept the best qualities: it’s sweet, lightly peachy with notes of apple and very tropical. It has a bit of tang to it in the beginning before the sugar inside washes out all the flavor. 

Strawberry: (red heart) Very sweet, and light on flavor. It taste more like “berry” than “strawberry”, but it’s still tasty and easy to place out of the bunch.

Banana: Firsty of all I love the shape of these and always have. It’s just so cute! The flavor is so floral, fruity and just that standard fake banana flavor. I also notice this one is the hardest to chew of the assortment, due to it’s oblong shape. The extra second or two it takes for me to cleave it open with my molars makes it that much more enjoyable.

Pineapple: I had high hopes for this one. It startes off tasting strange, but then it develops into a more real pineapple flavor once the sugar insides dissolve a little. It’s nice, juicy, and zesty. Even though it’s not quite what I was hoping for, it was still pretty good.

This was a fun little adventure into new candy territory. Flavors aside, texture-wise Runts are so easy to crunch so I’m usually done with them in 2 seconds in my mouth. I get bored with them too easily. There’s the cracking of the shell, the rush of the sugar insides and then the all too quick dissolve. Which really sums up the whole Runts experience for me: instant gratification with no satisfaction.

Rating: Not Worth It

 

Not Worth It


Jul
21



Katjes Gelee Fruchte Package

I love fruit jelly candies. They go by many different names and forms depending on where they originate and you may easily recognize them in the forms of pâtes de fruit, jelly belly beans and gummi bears to name just a few. These jellied sweets (made either with gelatin, pectin, or sometimes agar agar) deliver bold fruity flavors and satisfying textures, both of which make my knees feel as if they were made of jelly too.

Imagine my delight as I saw these on the shelf during one of my first visits to a Cost Plus World Market with Cybele. There were many different foreign candy options to choose from, but these German “fruit gelees” caught my eye immediately. The package beautifully illustrates the candies as variation of the traditional pâtes de fruit in a variety of colorful shapes. It was really too much for me to resist.

Taking the candies out of the package, I couldn’t help but feel I was handling little edible jewels. The are strikingly beautiful, with bright colors and a nice glittering effect from their granulated sugar coating. Taking a bite I find that the texture is just lovely: a little on the firm side, which is not as tough as a gum drop but still enough to hold it all together. You teeth sink into them like you would a tender steak; slowly and savoring each moment.

 

Katjes Gelee Fruchte

Kirsche (cherry): Round red one: The flavor is the oddest and most authentic cherry I’ve had I think. It’s tart, slightly sweet, and has a spicy fruity flavor that’s a little bitter.
Ananas (pineapple): Tear dropped white one: The flavor is sweet and starchy with notes of sweet juicy pineapple. Toward the end of the flavor there’s a nice burst of tartness to it. Milder than the real thing and the less “authentic” flavor of the bunch, but still really tasty.

Orange (orange): Moon shaped orange one: Very flavorful. Nice juicy, orange flavor that is both sweet and tart. Reminds me of a slightly watered down orange juice.

Apfel (apple): Round green one: the flavor is authentic, light and zesty. Just like a tart apple cider.

Zitrone (lemon): Moon shaped yellow one: Whoa, this is tart! It tastes exactly like the inside of a lemon meringue pie: sharp, zesty and terribly fresh.

Johannisbeere (currant): Oblong dark red: Bright, juicy, fruity flavor with notes of pine.

These are wonderful and make me realize that I need to eat more of this type of candy more often. I wish they’d be more mainstream and therefore easier to find, as I always feel like it’s a bit of a hunt to come across treats like these. The flip side is they feel like treasure when I do, and perhaps seeing them more often would kill the magic (and my waistline). I can count on these to deliver flavor and sweetness when I need it most and it’s a special craving that only jellied candy can satisfy. I strongly urge you to give these a try if you see them, as it’ll introduce your taste buds to something amazing.

The only thing keeping me from giving these a “Hoard” rating is that there’s so many jellied candies out there, I gotta make room to try them all before I decide on a favorite.

Rating: Will Buy Again

Will Buy Again


Jul
18



Extra Fruit Sensations Gum

I’m not a big gum chewer. I don’t know what it is about the stuff: the excessive chewing, the transient flavor, or the lack of swallowing. There’s just something about gum that doesn’t sit right with me. I’m not even that interested the potential breath freshening that so many chew gum for in the first place. I’d rather have a mint.

I cannot really explain why I picked these up. Morbid curiosity perhaps? I can’t remember the shopping trip in detail, as it easily could have been an act of desperation since I didn’t find anything in the candy aisle that was new. Looking at the boxes once I was at home, I felt better about my purchase. With words such as “New!” and “Sensations” written on it, how bad could it be? Artificial sweeteners aside, the design coaxed me into thinking I’d actually enjoy this gum.

The packages are set up unlike any gum I’ve had before (even though that doesn’t say much). The flap opens at the top and folds nicely inwards, revealing the rows of full sized sticks of gum. They’re immediately fragrant, just begging to be chewed.

Strawberry Banana: Very powerful on the banana end with the tell tale starchy sweetness. The strawberry is fresh and adds a nice tart berry edge.

Berry Paradise: I was pleased by how flavorful this was. I got strong notes of pear and blackberries and enjoyed how distinguishable they were.

Sweet Watermelon: Wow, this flavor is so juicy! It has that standard artificial watermelon flavor with those odd tangy floral flavors, but it’s mellowed by the rush of saliva that the chewing creates.

I liked the watermelon best out of the three even though the flavor isn’t unique to the Fruit Sensations line, which is usually a big selling point for me. The flavors lasted a decent length of time in my mouth, so I felt satisfied in that regard. Still, as nice as the flavors were, something about this still doesn’t catch me. I feel I am forever doomed in regard to gum appreciation, so I encourage those of you who do love the stuff, these are worth giving a try.

Rating: Not Worth It

 

Not Worth It

 

 


Jul
17



Amazin' Fruit Gummi Bears Package

These gummis were introduced by Hershey’s sometime in the early 1990s. This is yet another example of a candy whose mesmerizing commercial caught me every time. I guess Hershey’s had a real cracker jack marketing team back then during my childhood.

I had practicaly forgotten about these until I saw them in the candy kiosk in my local mall. I seriously thought they were discontinued or something. But how could I deny the fact that I saw them there staring back at me from amongst the Haribo and Trolli gummi bear packs? I figured they were probably ancient, but curiously got the best of me and I was paying for a few packs next thing I knew. No matter how bad they may taste, I couldn’t help resisting the nostalgia.

 

Amazin' Fruit Gummi Bears I

The packing is certainly eye catching with it’s simplistic 90’s styled graphic design and bold colors. The little bears are only a little over an inch long with not much detail. They have little nubbins for legs and arms and slightly protruding dots for ears, eyes and a nose. The texture is very chewy and they are very hard to chew at first. Only after a bit do they slowly become softer. The colors are ghastly to me, very pale and washed out and not appetizing at all.

Green Apple (green): Light, floral and juicy apple flavor. It’s very natural, not sour or fake tasting when I think of jolly ranchers. More of a fuji/gold delicious flavor

Grape (odd purple): This tasted floral and slightly juicy and has a very slight concord grape flavor.

Orange (orange): Almost impossibly hard to decipher from the strawberry and I only did so by holding them up to a light bulb. This is very bright and citrusy, and the orange tootsie pop immediately comes to mind.

Cherry (red): The most intense of the colors. The flavor is mild with a deep floral note to it. It does read as cherry, but not medicinal.

Strawberry (also orangish): Light with a good authentic berry flavor. My second favorite of them all.

Pineapple (light yellow): My favorite! It has a bright, sweet pineapple flavor with a hint of tartness.

 

Amazin' Fruit Gummi Bears II

So they weren’t impressive to me in the least. I don’t know if it was that my pack was old or if the “natural” flavor that Hershey marketed with these is just no competition for what’s available today. I’m happy to just remember them as memory serves me best: not as candy, but as really awesome commercials.

Rating: Not Worth It

 

Not Worth It

Links:
Amazin’ Fruit Gummis Commercial on YouTube


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