Saturday, June 30, 2012

Candy Contest: Darrell Lea Liqourice

The good people from Darrell Lea want to give you free licorice, or "liqourice" if you will (written with an Australian accent). Or at least a Public Relations firm out of Long Island wants to give it away. I'll be getting licorice in I can't even wait to see what condition considering that 95ยบ means it's cooled off. It's more than 20 degrees cooler over there. I'm not kidding.
Wisconsin, ya'll.
There will be candy and coupons and everyone is a winner. Just for reading this sentence, you've won.
Here are the rules, there are no rules, but send me something to do with licorice or Australia. Write it, illustrate it, shoot it (with a still or video camera), audio it, whatever it and send to:
The Ched Curtain.
That's it.
The first winner is Mary Ruth, former Ched, current rabid Packer fan who saw our announcement on The Candy Dish Curtain Facebook Page.
Snaps, btw, are a BIG ol' favorite around here, and many still speak of the Snaps licorice drought some six years back.

Burt in better times
Congrats, Mary Ruth.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Great Grape, Welch's Filled Licorice

I got two packs of warm Welch's Filled Licorice through the mail and they perked up like a wilted potted plant after cooling off in the fridge. Will we ever have normal weather again? I think not.
The only two flavors they have right now are Strawberry and Concord Grape.
The Strawberry Licorice was substantially better chilled, but sugary and bland compared to the flagship Grape.
The Strawberry Filled Licorice tasted more like fruit snacks than I wanted, decent, edible, not great.

The Concord Grape Filled Licorice showed promise even as the filling drained from its center. It reanimated in the fridge that 90 who knows what hellish degree day, and spurred a quest to find a store that sold it.
The marketing firm that sent the samples couldn't tell me where to buy more, but I did get a half dozen names from Welch's, who also sent two .50 cent coupons if I ever did track down a store that sold their product.

One place was Dollar General, which I get mixed up with all the others and rarely frequent, another was Piggy Wiggly, gone for decades, and the final recommendation was try your Super Walmart.
After doing nasty, unfixable things to a broiling pan, I was in the Sun Prairie Walmart looking for a new one so I looked for some Welch's Licorice too. Didn't find any, kept shopping, came back for a gummy fix, and found a few packs of the Concord Grape all but buried on a rack with one of the packages ripped open.
I can't say I'm impressed with their distribution efforts in Wisconsin.


If you find it, go for the Grape and be greeted by the quintessential aroma of real grape juice.The jelly filling might be too subtle, but it's there and greatly contributes to a lighter texture and attractive glop at the end of the straw. I love the texture, it feels right and easy to bite.
The licorice itself is fairly delicious, maybe more aromatic than flavorful, yet a fine treat, landing more on the candy than fruit snack side of the nosh.
My Godfather here loved it, and he's a picky food expert. He said he couldn't taste the filling, but it didn't seem to diminish the taste. It was a little like a fruit roll-up, though more solid.
He and Jackie, a regular Dish taste tester, were psyched the licorice tasted so much like Welch's Concord Grape Juice. They said they'd buy it, and all this from a warm pack that was sitting in the car for who knows how long waiting to be photographed.
Be warned, there are 26 grams of sugar in five pieces, there are 10 pieces in a pack. Half a pack has 170 calories and only 20mg of sodium.
Three purple thumbs up for the Concord Grape, I wasn't impressed with the Strawberry, what's going on with the distribution?

Friday, June 22, 2012

Floating Into Summer: The Dish Summer of Root Beer, Test One

Tall Culver's Rootbeer Float

The funny thing about the shade when it's still 95° in it, the point is moot. Especially on concrete. Concrete Shade, Concrete Shake, the two don't mix well in the heat and Root Beer Floats are even worse. Concrete Shade, that would make a good name for a band.
Now that I look at the tall glass with the medium sized hole on top, I can see how it looks like a fourth grade science experiment. 
And speaking of experiment, The Dish will be making an extra effort to bring all things root beer, especially float-wise, to its pages this summer.

These did not look like this for long. The one in back is already losing it

This is the first of two taste tests we had that day, the condition of these Culver's floats forcing a second to be posted later. It's also the first in a series, kicking off and continuing throughout the summer.
So much root beer, so much ice cream, a fair amount of time.
The thing about Culver's, they're everywhere. You can't roll into a population of 2k without seeing one—ooh, they've got an Old Fashioned Cherry Soda.
The Culver's chains have beaten Mickey D's into a flat sandwich around here and their Flavors of the Day taunt you from every crevice of the city.

Culver's Root Beer Float
I broke down and started sipping, then slurping, then gulping the Tall Root Beer Floats ($3.59 each). This was mostly because they began melting and the photo shoot was over.
Culver's is not just about frozen custard, rich, buttery, over the top custard. Their root beer is one of my favorites in a field which includes Sprecher, probably the best root beer made.
You'll see more from these two later
There was a perfect proportion of root beer to custard, creating creamy root beer suds. They tasted like carbonated clouds of heaven.
You do have to dig down deep for the last glops of custard nestled in the bottom of the plastic container, but well worth it. Melting didn't detract much from the flavor, probably due to the strength of the custard.
Warning: Don't trust a cardboard tray to hold or tame your floats. Just ask the front seat of my car.

Summer of Root Beer Rating: 4.5 Mugs (out of 5)

Friday, June 15, 2012

A Fistful of Taffy

.87 Cents Worth of Salt Water Taffy From Shopko

I was looking for more Welch's Filled Licorice to shoot before I posted, but ended up with a delicious handful of Taffy Town candy (and a bath mat) instead. I'd already feasted on a few before pulling out the camera, but you get the idea.

Does this look like a deal for .87? I thought so.

The Flavors:

Rootbeer Float
Wonderful, you can taste the carbonation. Manages to be be salt water without screaming "My *sshole cousin dumped salt in my chocolate milk shake!" So good I'm thinking of doing a series of root beer float posts. 

Licorice Swirl
One of my favorite flavors pretty much across the board. Taffy Town does not disappoint with its generous smack of black licorice, salty overtones, and sassy bite.

Caramel Apple
Tarter than Green Apple with the distinctive taste of caramel. A classic pairing which works especially well in a salt water taffy.

Chocolate can be one of the saltiest taffies, but not so with Taffy Town. A little disappointing, a bit bland but I wouldn't kick it out of bed for being taffy.

Caramel Swirl
Tastes like a caramel, not much of a sweet-and-salt balance, but it's there. Would go well with popcorn and do better in a Dish Curtain popcorn pretzel test than as a stand alone taffy. May be interesting with an apple.

Cotton Candy
Seemed to absorb the wax paper, dull, almost bitter.

An agreeable tartness with a hint of something sweeter. Although it calls itself "Watermelon," I would have guessed Green Apple or possibly Candy Apple. Slightly sour, pleasant, sweet enough without assaulting the palette.

Generally a least favorite flavor, blue or otherwise (Taffy Towns calls it "Raspberry"), but it has a salty kick with a cautious berry tongue.

The newest TT flavors are Maple Bacon and Chili Mango. I didn't see either at Shopko, but I may be compelled to write the company for samples.
Guest blogger Jill did a post on Taffy Town a few years ago. Conclusion, "Excellent."

As for the Welch's Filled Licorice, I know where it can't be found, and would guess it's not yet in distribution. I'm waiting on the PR company or Welch's to get back to me.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

More Toxic Waste: Sour Smog Balls

You may know it as candy you'd eat after the last cough drop is gone. Toxic Waste usually comes in a teeming yellow drum of green hazardous material and has 8-year-old boy written all over it.
It's known for sour candy and gum, is colorful, sour, and distinctively novel. It doesn't taste great, but is fun fun fun.
The back of the bag tells the story of Dr. Smogg who's making it rain, but the cheap bastard is raining solid waste instead of bills.

It's nice the flavors are pictured, because once again, who can tell? I will say the balls did well in a hot car going up to Steven's Point's Green Circle, durability usually being a bonus for novelty candy.

They also did well with the Dish Curtain popcorn pretzel test (chewy sour candy paired with popcorn or pretzels for a sweet and salty bacchanalia).
I'm not crazy about the crunchy protective shell, which crunches harder on some balls than others. Cutting that train of thought short, the package is better than the product, but it's decent emergency candy with a sufficiently sour center, a nice chew, and should go over well with kids and novelty candy fans.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Triple Lic-ables, Kiss Your Fillings Goodbye

One of my favorite places to get candy is the video store. For one thing, there aren't many video stores left so "huzzah" for interacting with human beings, especially ones who like movies. Secondly, over priced or crazy old, video store candy is always fun. And isn't that what candy is all about, fun? Isn't it?
In the spirit of fun despite the chances you'll forcibly pull out something you'd rather keep fixed in your mouth, I give you Triple Lic-ables.

The three flavors taste much the same after you work through the sour coating, but let's start with my favorite, Blue Raspberry with Cherry Taffy.
Blue Raspberry anything is usually not for me, so this was a nice surprise. The Blue Raz was a little less overwhelming than the Strawberry with Vanilla, my second favorite, and a scoch more addictive.The taffy seemed to roll off the plastic stick more easily, but it's probably because I was really going to town on it. I'll buy that the taffy was cherry.

Strawberry with Vanilla Taffy
The Strawberry could be cherry or possibly raspberry, and the vanilla taffy could be any flavor hell bent on dislodging fillings from teeth and teeth from mouths. If you decide to invoke a little will power and suck down the Triple Lic-ables, a name I object to, btw, it will sandpaper your cheeks with one of the two sour flavors. I could only taste one sour flavor which also could have been anything, but the coarse coating is only there to be eliminated.

Sour Apple with Banana Taffy
Not surprisingly, my least favorite. With the exception of Tootsie's exceptional Caramel Apple Pops, candy makers can't seem to get this flavor right. I did pick up the taste of banana here, but didn't really want to.

I still don't know how much hard candy there was or if the rough sour coating should remind you of a cat's tongue as much as it did, but the taffy is best when it's been masticated to the point of unraveling from the plastic stick. And by the time I got that far I realized I couldn't stop eating it.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Election Tuesday

All we can do now is pray and eat Mac and Cheese pizza from Ian's.
Wordless Wednesday can be found on the Ched Curtain here.