Monday, November 21, 2011

Pigging Out On Candy Canes

Normally I'd shop for my criminally insane bacon products somewhere like, so I was thrilled to look no further than the Urban Outfitters on lower State for these.

I also got a little blue tree which goes well with my favorite Christmas theme of late, If You Can't Beat Them, Join Them or A Tacky Little Christmas. Putting a hook through raw bacon might be more in line with the latter, but these will do pig, these will do.

After the horror of tasting holiday bacon hard candy, I think they're best treated as decorations or possibly a seasonal threat for profane children. As I'm sitting here with one stuck in my mouth like Ralphie in A Christmas Story, I find the trick is not to swallow.

How funny is it that Accoutrements Hanukkah Candy Canes (peppermint) are next to the Bacon canes on one page and a Moses action figure on another?

Sunday, November 13, 2011

A Fistful of GrapeVines

Coke or Pepsi, Twizzlers or Red Vines, I like all four, but now I love GrapeVines more.

You can almost taste the smell of grape. No, I'm not tripping, there's a distinct grape flavor that breaks through the five senses creating the sense of smell-taste, "smaste" as it were. Your Grape Jolly Rancher, Sun-Rise Grape Soda, and other fine grape pops have it (Grape Juicy Twists do not).

GrapeVines Purple Grape Twists have that honest, earnest retro grape flavor that works fresh or stale—I love a candy that, like fine wine and Peeps, gets better with age.

GrapeVines seem lighter and more addictive than RedVines, with a pleasant aftertaste minus the artificial flavor that makes you want to wash your mouth out with Dove. The candy, not the soap.

The American Licorice Company's Timeline has the Purple Grape Twists making an appearance in 2002, but I just found and tried my first "tray." I see reference to other Fruit Vines such as Orange (tempting), Green Watermelon, and Blue Raspberry (not). I don't, however, see where to buy them online, at least not on the first page of search results so I'm out. And since I can't remember where I got these, I'm making a mental note to start making mental notes where I get candy.

Mental Note: Invent edible mental notes.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Cinnabon Candy Canes

Cinnabon. The name evokes sweet dripping sin and an aroma that make angels (on a diet) cry. That's all the label of 12 canes says,  "CINNABON," and that's all it needs to say.

The candy canes, with their orange and brown stripes painted on butter cream white, are just in time for Thanksgiving. They would have been nice for your Halloween tree, yes, that's a thing, but I didn't notice them until they cleared out the Halloween stuff and jammed the aisles with Christmas decorations. 

The first bite might not be as tantric as biting into a hot, gooey bun dripping with frosting on a bed of warm dough and cinnamon, but it's pretty, pretty, pretty good. 

The essence of morning bun smacks your tongue with the unmistakable mark of Cinnabon and lingers there with a tantalizing combination of cinnamon and sugar. I got these at Walgreens, and see a few places that carry them online. Cinnabon candy canes are made by Spangler, best known for their classic peppermint candy canes, so I imagine they'll be in wide release.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Poppin' Cane: Candy Cane Tootsie Pop Drops

The idea of minting up a Tootsie Pop Drop seemed repugnant on a sunny autumn day. Then I sampled as I photographed, as is my custom, and am currently working my way through the 3.5 oz box. 

Too much drop, not enough Tootsie was my first thought, now I'm just worried I'll run out. The center of the Candy Cane Tootsie Pop Drop is about the size of chewed Chiclets, so although not big enough, delicious just the same. The one broken peppermint drop I found seemed to benefit from the break more than a fractured orange or grape or cherry Pop Drop.

Instead of sweet and salty or sweet and sour, Candy Cane Tootsie Pop Drops are sweet and minty and hard and chewy. The peppermint is a good, hearty flavored drop which could rival any cane and begs the question, wouldn't a Tootsie Roll Pop Candy Cane be cool.

The box is a little busy, but the silver pouch is a great color choice, keeps the candy fresh, and opens easier than any packet of candy I've ever torn into. It's a good choice for movie sized—easy to open in the dark, not too noisy, easy to sneak in and would sell well at the counter. I bet they'd go over great in a candy dish and the weather might help prevent hard candy stick.

It might be a little early to sample Christmas candy and crack open filbert nuts with meat mallets, but build it (point of purchase displays and candy aisles) and they'll succumb. 

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Halloween Leftovers

Out of ideas for leftover Halloween candy, might I suggest a maggot and tomato sandwich. Except for the gelatin, the It's Alive Creepy Crawly Sandwich with Marshmallow & Gummy Candy is vegan. So I guess it's not then.

It's a 4.9 oz grotesque gummy marshmallow sandwich made in China and distributed by Riviera Brands. The stomach churning behemoth comes in a half sandwich shaped plastic container, then another plastic wrapper which goes a long way to explain its outstanding taste, plastic. The wrappers are helpful because granulated sugar falls off the candy bread as soon as you open it.

The smell is not pleasant, like something approaching black licorice marinated in Vick's Formula 44.

It's hefty. The marshmallow sandwich has the opposite of an aftertaste, it has a foretaste. Before you taste it, you know you shouldn't be eating it.

A dignified nibble—who am I kidding—treats you to a mouth full of something as organic as a Lady Gaga lettuce dress. It's far worse if you also get a bite of gummy whatever. The sickening smell comes more from the gummy fixin's than the thick marshmallow slices. There's a combination of plastic, perfume, and possibly rubber flavoring at play. The pickle, lettuce piece might have been green apple and a peck at the worm maggot wasn't as indigestible as the rest.

Better used as a threat, weapon, or a prop, you'd be better off with real maggots and spiders and hard pressed to tell the difference. Was that last part too much?

Friday, October 28, 2011

Goo Goo Gone Wild

Pleasant View Candy Shop Goo Goo Bars, eight ounces of Amish candy from Soldier's Grove by way of The Shoe Box,  is one of those chewy, gooey, mawkish messes that gets inside your head until you take it in your jaws like a werewolf tearing through flesh even though you had no intention of ever touching it because it was for your parents who treat Amish candy like Kosher wine at seder.

Wait, "Ma, I'm not Jewish."

The Amish Goo Goo Bar is built with piles of mini marshmallows, junk chocolate, and globs of caramel. I believe the slab capable of moving across the desktop and running amuck. I fully expect it to pop out of my stomach Alien-style later.

A quick whiff could put ten pounds on your arse and send the plastic container into reactive hypoglycemia. Okay, I'm done now.

I thought it was turtle candy at first, then thought it something you have to shove in your mouth without thought or warning damn the consequences. It's the thick caramel seductively sliding off the marshmallows that get you.

This brick needs nuts or a cookie to counter the onslaught of sugar. Less than half—which is still a lot—makes you want low sodium soup, or multi grain bread, or spinach or grass or grits or something.

I do like how the caramel lingers, but the last thing this hunk of calories needs is a foundation of lousy chocolate. If ever a dessert screamed for crunch and salt, it's the Pleasant View Candy Shop Goo Goo Bar.

It was surprisingly less than appalling with diet Mtn Dew.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Crunchy Bones

In other words, these Skeleton Bones are crunchy Cheetos with white cheddar. Although none of the skeleton bones are detailed to look like either skeletons or bones, the color is a sickly white and would look good in a ghoulish serving dish.

The white cheddar adds a lighter and less savory twist which gives you more crunch than flavor, making them seem stale.

Yet there's a consistency to the airiness of the corn snacks, making me wonder if they're supposed to be heavier on crunch than taste. There should be more complexity to the lackluster cheese flavor, but  since the bones are a one-time holiday snack, it might not really matter. They're more addictive than they should be and could be fun at parties.

They're also short on crumbs and don't stain your fingers. I'm not sure if the packaging is simple or bold, but I'd want to leave the package around or label the dish to let people know they're skeleton bones, not stale white Cheetos.

World Market's Skeleton Bones aren't the worst thing I've washed down with beer, but much of their charm depends upon knowing they're skeletal remains. Okay for the season, I'd look elsewhere to satisfy my corn curl Jones.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Twix A Box and a Hard Place

An enthusiastic I'm assuming young man named Brad sent me a grocery store sized box of crunchy caramel-dripping candy bars on behalf of Twix. I ate one and felt the need to drive around town until the other 35 were gone and out of reach. I didn't have to drive far.

I hilariously attacked the box after a manicure when I'd gotten enough open with a dull scissors to see what was inside. I then turned into a far less co-ordinated version of Edward Scissorhands, snipping at every possible angle while holding my nails aloft. Long story short, manicure ruined, Twix consumed in inhuman manner in a parking lot while two women watched from a car in what was either shock or admiration.

That hit of sugar sent me straight to a computer to rave about the first candy bar I've had in I don't know how long. The devilish milk chocolate draped over the crunchiest bit of heaven to hold up a pillow of caramel—my cell phone vibrates—it's my dad, he locked his keys in his car. He gives me only a name of a road and hangs up. This particular road is long enough to connect to another town.

When I called back, he to be told that he was on a hill, then, by a bank (which bank and for that matter what kind of bank, the place where I have no money or an upward slope? ).  After circling the parking lot of a savings and loan he used in the seventies, I found him strolling out the front door, cup of coffee in hand. He had no problem posing for the photo as all Dempsey-Olsons are trained to do at birth.

My mother, being a Farino, came out when she heard the words "candy bar" and grabbed a handful for the "girls at the dentist's office." I didn't ask, but questioned the sedition of bringing two handfuls of candy bars into a dentist's office. Yet I knew that's what she was going to do, those candy bars right there. Love the expression on my dad's face.

As long as I was in the old neighborhood I thought of of Jackie and Bob.
Since I haven't given one of our best taste testers (in the blue slippers) much to do since last summer I decided to drop by her kitchen, which smelled of garlic, oregano, and the caliber of artichoke you'd crawl over your starving sister to eat with your bare hands. I got rid of another handful in the Clementi kitchen, but after I left I realized some pretty serious sweet tooths—teeth?—would be up for a birthday party, I should have left more. The party is for my Uncle Phil, whose real age no one seems to know. I'm going with 100. Ish. 

Off to Aunt Em's who called to say she had the perfect birthday card for Uncle Phil. Read it, it really is. And the inside says "To hell with the cake...Bring on the girls!" which, if you know Uncle Phil, and chances are you do, is spot on.

I finally returned to the computer which was doing something spastic when I got back, and am glad to say there's nothing left to tempt me but a lone Twix wrapper (which I'll lick in private later).

Taken with three different cameras, two of them emergency point and shoots.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Kitty Litter

This Poopin' black cat candy dispenser is a hateful thing that yowls, howls, and meowls at every bump or whenever I throw it across the room. It sat in the back of the car and my bag long enough for its mrrow mrroww mahhrrr mrrow mrroww mahhrrr to work its way into my skull like an ice pick.

Another Galerie product (which has come to mean colorful candy with fruity overtones), the cat looks utterly stoned. They're calling the SweeTarty Smarties type litter "Candy Balls." The balls are the size they had in every princess wand and dime store toy before choking hazard was common parlance, so beware. It's for ages 3 and up, but I don't like the size of those balls.

The kitty litter balls are lively lovely shades of Halloween green, violet, and orange. They're tasty and give way between your teeth without a fight, which is good because they aren't for savoring or sucking.

The pooping mechanism never worked, but it was fun to rip the thing's head off and put the candy in the litter box/Trick Or Treat bag. It does beg the question, "What's up with all the pooping candy dispensers?"

Despite could do with out this one, or any one of the endless line of evacuating plastic characters, although I'm considering some poopin' turkeys to spice up the table this Thanksgiving.

Friday, October 07, 2011

Spooky Little Ghoul Like You

Lifesavers Spooky Shapes Gummies are more box than candy. And this box has unnecessarily sharp corners which is fitting for Halloween but not great for someone whose neuroses spike around the holidays. The graphic looks good against a spooky booger green, but you have to pull out the silver pouch to get to the candy and there's no easy way to leave it in the box while snacking. I did like how the slanted end fastened tightly when at rest.

Getting to the Candy
The gummy shapes aren't easy to distinguish and I had to guess the flavors before tracking them down. A few were better than I remembered Gummies 5 Flavors being, and the rest are the reason I don't like them.

  • Cherry (my guess was Wild Cherry) - The cherry reminded me of the Wild Cherry hard candy roll, one of two Lifesavers I'd buy for myself. A close approximation to the hard candy.
  • Green Apple (my guess was Green Apple) - It's a pretty objectionable taste and doesn't do the shapes any favors. It reminded me of the days when green Jujyfruits got tossed at the bad parts of  a bad movie. I guess that would be most of the movie, but the point is, the masses didn't care for mint Jujyfruits and the bitter Green Apple is ripe for the tossing.
  • Watermelon  (my guess, Some  Kind of Citrus or Possibly Passion Fruit) - Any kind of watermelon candy is more hit and miss than usual, but it's also easier to make stand out. This gummy was pretty middle of the road, much like Lifesavers Gummies.
  • Strawberry (What, One of These Is Supposed to be Stawberry?) - Where, which one, huh?
  • Blackberry (I guessed Blueberry) - It could have been blueberry, blackberry, maybe boysenberry or mulberry, but an appetizing berry flavor that added variety and dash.
My favorite Lifesavers delivery system is the classic roll and unless they come up with a kickass sucker or a better candy cane, I don't see that changing. And as much as I appreciate the pineapple and orange from the updated (2003) 5 Flavor roll, I don't think you can beat Wild Cherry or Butter Rum. So I'm a traditionalist and despite knowing you need to make new products to make new money, don't see the sense in forcing a classic hard candy into a gummy.

Here's a new take on an old classic that's more fun with fewer calories.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Autumn Corn Nuggets

Corn Nuggets, yes I see it now. Cornholio jokes aside, Kimmie Candy Company's chocolaty Kettle Corn Nuggets are the unholy offspring of kettle corn and an M&M kind of coating. Then there's a Sugar Pops aftertaste to put an accent on the hearty corn snap.

There's a strong corn nut flavor running through each well proportioned piece. Their website has two more flavors, multicolored and—eek—Habanero. The Sweet & Hot Habanero are all red nuggets, more for the Flamin' Hot Cheetos crowd. The spicy cinnamon wasn't unbearably hot, but I thought it at odds with the sweet crunch and chocolate. I preferred the Autumn mix which let you taste the candy without the distracting heat.

First you taste the hard candy shell, the light chocolate, then an almost honeycomb crush followed by corn pieces which linger on the tongue. The candy is attractively colored and packaged in a rectangular tube which is easy to open and keeps the candy in one place, most likely your mouth.

There's a slight stale taste compensated by passable chocolate and sugary corn. Autumn Kettle Corn Nuggets are something different and fun to eat with a click-tight container you can work with one hand.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Butterfingers Pumpkin

Buying individual Halloween candy from the fancy shelves can be pricey, but don 't let Butterfingers pieces in milk chocolate Butterfingers Pumpkins tempt you.

There's more detail in the carved Jack-o'-lantern than usual and the curve of the pumpkin lends itself to being crammed with pieces of candy while resting flat on top of your beer bottle.

Unfortunately the pumpkin is more cheap too sweet chocolate than Butterfingers and ultimately fails because of it. There are a few small embedded chunks which only serve to make you want a Butterfingers candy bar.

You're better off with a 21 or 10 gram snack sized Butterfingers if you like the fun size. (The link to the official Butterfingers site gives you pop up windows over each Butterfingers product which I thought was cool.) The 34g Pumpkin left me with all of the guilt and none of the gratification.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Sugar Legs

I knew it was time to start reviewing, or at least eating, Halloween candy when I saw this giant spider guarding piles of Hershey's Kisses and Reese's Peanut Butter Cups at Copps.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Hot Tamales Cotton Candy

Hot Tamales Cinnamon Flavored Cotton Candy is a great idea that twirls one of my favorite childhood candies into spicy spun sugar. Despite an initial burst of something too strong, it's perfectly sweet and peppery.

The flavors perk up when the tufts melt in your mouth and turn into a melty crunch. I love how the familiar cinnamon sting follows the sugar residue.

The pink clouds of  spiced cinnamon are addictive with 37 sugars in half a bag if you're counting.  It's a pretty close Hot Tamales approximation and should please the red hot, red dollar, and atomic fire ball crowd.

Bonus: My almost twenty something cousin and Dish taste tester said "i wish I could like this multiple times" when I posted the photo on Facebook.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Chewable Liquid Taffy

If you like eating toothpaste or snuck baby aspirin as a kid, you probably still  won't like liquid Chewbies. The tube of orange glop may be a fun looking liquid sugar delivery system, but it puts the "desp" in desperate, the" err" in emerrgency candy.

Maybe it's a popular playground food, if you're pivy to this information please let me know. And speaking of privy...never mind. The only thing extreme about this Extreme Creations taffy  is that it would make an extremely sticky super adhesive.

It's more tacky than taffy, and hard to dispense without creating an insect frenzied mess. You wouldn't believe the state of the photo site, especially after I tried cleaning up with paper towels.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Milk Chocolate Coated Licorice Bites

That's right, chocolate coated black licorice. Before you say "blech" and switch channels, it's not what I expected and might not be what you think. Or maybe it is.

I grabbed these Walgreens Candy Classics in an adventurously munched out moment without knowing the esteemed Kookaburra makes a similar product.

One cautious bite into a juicy piece of chocolate revealed soft Aussie black licorice smothered in thick milk chocolate. The smell of the bag was deceiving, wafting solely of cocoa, and the smooth  chocolate made a happy match for the bite of black licorice. The two distinct tastes complimented each other in texture and flavor. There's a soft crunch to the milk chocolate and the anise flavor lingers on your tongue.

 Walgreen's Candy Classic Milk Choc Coated Licorice Bites, are more than bite-sized and more than the concoction of a munchies craving gone wrong. Intense and mild, sharp and smooth, soft black licorice and milk chocolate coating were an unexpected nosh.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Mike and Ike Fruit Twists

Mike and Ikes are one of those brands that scream "don't mess with a good thing" yet last I checked there were nine flavors. The really good thing in my sugar coated book is the imitable grape Jolly Joes so I don't really care what they do with strawberry or green apple.

Neither filled twists are in the same league as the Original Fruits or the mouth watering grape Joes, but they do what we've all been thinking or trying to do on our own, combine sour powder and sweet licorice. I enjoyed the crunch of the sugar filling. Although these try to mimic the classic Mike and Ike taste, the twists are more tart while maintaining the sweetness of the crunchy jelly capsule.

The Strawberry Filled Twists have an almost overwhelming smell and are so slick and slippery I couldn't clamp down when I tried to nosh and type. This could be an any berry flavor although they seemed oddly thicker and more rectangular than the other two. Is it just me? Probably.

Green Apple and Watermelon are paired together in a King Size 3.3 oz bag with the Green Apple having a weird, oily after taste and the Watermelon twist having the same with the most artificial taste of the three. Because green apple Jolly Ranchers set the standard for this flavor, the green apple Twists were comparatively sub par.

You can't suck the filling out or hold on to it too well, so munch down on a solid idea with a shaky aftertaste.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Dots Peach Sour Slices

At some point I started putting Dots in my movie popcorn instead of Jujyfruits. I was no longer a child but had no intention of putting away childish things. Along with my cousin, I'd chuck green Jujyfruits at the screen when the movie got as bad as the gag inducing mint flavor. Yes, back then they were mint. Horrid little things. I mean the green Jujyfruits, not us, but either way.
The rest of the box was great, one of my favorite candies to this day, but at some point during the movie frenzied 70s and 80s we decided to broaden our movie candy horizons and try Dots. Not an ugly mint drop in the box.
According to the Tootsie website, Dots flavors hadn't changed from 1945 to 2003 when Tropical Dots were introduced. I remember having fun with Dots Elements in 2008, although I only found three of the flavors and have yet to taste Earth. Tasting Earth, that would make a great name for a band. I'm pretty sure I saw them at Shopko recently, will take a look.
Everyone loved the Yogurt Dots we tried at a La Crosse game that same year and both brands took a lovely photo.
This will be my first taste of actual candy in almost three weeks, so be gentle.
The first bite of Dots Sour Peach Slices was sour indeed, and immediately followed by an infusion of peach that reminded me of fruit pie. The sour sugar coating stayed on my lips and made me want more.
The second bite wasn't as good as the first, with a little artificial flavor coming through and the last taste on your tongue and lips a bit too sour. Since I'm only allowing myself the one Dot, my impression might be different if I ate more, but I suspect the Sour Slices are too sour and only become more so the deeper you dig.
 Nice try, good fruit flavor choice, but I'd like to see a nice juicy peach Dot without the sour coating. They also come in Watermelon and Grapefruit, but I don't know why either would taste better.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

At The Lake Mills Farmers Market

There's nothing quite like a Farmers' Market to make you want to fill your plate with fresh vegetables.

Kettle corn is a vegetable, right?
I wanted to go for a bike ride and was feeling feisty enough to deal with the miserable geese who chase and snap at bikers on the Glacial Drumlin Trail (though not up for the rash of bike muggings around town).
After navigating around trucks and pipe—both the bike trail in Lake Mills and the South Stacks at Memorial Library are under construction along with pretty much the entire city of Madison—I happened upon the Lake Mills Farmer's Market in one of the most charming parks in the state.

This place is gorgeous and small town without that creepy Stephen King overtone. Although I'm not so sure about the guy on the bike (follow the white hand and finger). He inspired me to start a folder of background dirty looks.
And as much as these homemade cookies and God help me free samples tempted, I did not cave. Maybe it was the guy on the bike judging me. I do know the little girl's mom was making mmm yummy sounds.

I love this kid's expression though. I'll have to ask about the egg crate of what looks like farm fresh eggs. You know, it's really hard to take photos in the kind of sunlight we had yesterday, but no complaints, a frabjous day!
Right, Tara? Tara the Wheaten Terrier sparked a little bit of debate on the Dish Curtain Facebook page.
Number of Eyes: More than one, less than three.

The Lake Mills Farmers' Market goes from May through October every Wednesday from 2 pm to Dusk, although I know Dorothy (left) has been there first thing furnishing pastry to those with an early morning sweet tooth.

Commons Park
200 Water Street
Lake Mills, WI

From their Facebook Page:

To become a vendor stop by on market day and visit the Main Street Tent next to the picnic shelter. Here you can meet the manager and pick up an application. Same day set up is allowed if there is space! Only $5 per day or $75 for the season. You can also see the rules and application online at

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Going 'round In Circles All The Time or No Sugar For You!

The last candy I ate before I started overreading was a Grape Juicy Twist. Overreading is like overeating, but done online and potentially more dangerous.
I've been reading about Vertigo because "I'm so dizzy, my head is spinning" and there may be connections to almost everything good to eat or drink and the intrusive condition.
Until I get that coveted ENT appointment (guess I'll have to sit and spin until August), the Dish will be reducing it's sugar intake. Ironic, ain't it.

Meanwhile, I've turned to fruit. It's a healthier source of sugar in which I immediately overindulged.
When I looked at the nutritionist with sad velvet painting puppy dog eyes I talked about a candy blog I can't seem to quit, and she said, "Okay, don't worry about fruit for now."
No one has ever said that to me before.
I'm not quite ready to revise the name of the blog, but here are some possibilities:

* The Wisconsin Fruit Dish
* The Wisconsin Randy Dish—Feeling Amorous In The Dairy State From Eating All That Fruit
* The Wisconsin Sandy Fish (I have photos for that)
* The Wisconsin Candy Wish
* The Madison Blues (already taken, but that doesn't seem to stop people)
* No More Sugar Makes Jeanna Something Something

I'll work on it.
Expect more novelty candy, random fruit smoothies, lower sugar snacks, and photos using all but the one bit of candy I'll eat with a hearty let's see what happens attitude.
Let's see what happens.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Grape Juicy Twists

I had a green licorice Jones as a kid and was thrilled to see flavored licorices popping up years ago. But back when All Day Suckers dared you to finish them in less than 24 hours, green licorice was mint. Today they're Green Apple with flavors like Rootbeer and Cinnamon spicing up a zany selection.

But where's the mint? Not at Shopko.

Shopko, which is slowly making a run for post worthy candy, had a few Juicy Twists flavors— if you want to see them all look on the Kenny's Candy website.

I've had the Green Apple and that kind of fruity tartness along with the softer chew wasn't for me. Green Apple is one of those flavors that can easily go awry, but even the most artificial grape something can be passable.

I found the Grape Twists passable, but dull. They smell more tempting than they taste, and a bite or two of the Twists not sacrificed for a photo shoot didn't make me long for more.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Nutty Package Disappoints

It was nice to hear from the makers of the Twin Bing, one of the first nostalgic candies I talked to Deb of Debbie's Sweets 'n Treats about while she still had the store in Oak Creek. (You can order from their booming online business.)
A candy enthusiast can get excited when talking about a nostalgic favorite like the Twin Bing, so it was disappointing to sample the Palmer's Candies sent via what looked like an organ donor box. The photos were more fun to take than the candy to eat.
I'll start with the good news: The large Styrofoam box was stuffed with air pillows and did well through all the early spring hots and colds, chills and spills.
The Kiddie Chow was okay, pretty much the Puppy Chow I make each Christmas, so much easier than the elaborate cut outs the boys used to want—truly a Christmas miracle when they started asking for Puppy Chow instead of Christmas cookies.

Palmer's chow tasted like a Kit Kat and could pass for a crowd pleasing snack, nice and crunchy with the right amount of peanut butter in the center. Keep in mind I'm not one for peanut butter candy except for peanut brittle and the ridges and very top of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, and this was a peanut butter themed sampler.

The Peanut Butter Crispy Yums weren't. Maybe it's because I've been dealing with a stubborn bout of veritgo (sugar makes things worse), that I'm comparing the value of Sugars to taste—there is not 19g worth of yum to every 40g of Crispy Yum.
I can't recommend the chocolate and would be surprised if anyone else could. The peanut butter was extra sweet in the Crispy Yum which was too rich and sweet all around.

The Chocolate Peanuts had the same unpleasant taste. They didn't hold up well when placed in a plastic sandwich bag and exposed to who knows what in the back of my car for who knows how long, and maybe that's a good thing. This is a generic tasting chocolate lacking any kind of complexity.
My taste testers didn't have much to say except "To be honest, it wasn't the best. The chocolate tasted more like wax than chocolate." Jackie added, "The puppy chow was ok."
The peanuts were crunchy and I didn't get a bad nut, so there you go, ending on a positive note.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Flipflops & Ice Cream Cones: Galerie Lollipops

Succumbing to a novelty lollipop makes you wonder about their history and who really invented them. A Brit may have coined the name, but we'll look to 1908 Racine for the invention of a lollipop machine. Score another one for Wisconsin.
It's hard not to think of what should have been the Seinfeld series finale—called The Betrayal, it took you backward through the story as you watched Kramer's lollipop get bigger—when thinking giant sucker. Every kid's dream, one of the easiest candies to draw, and the coolest Oz accessory besides the witch's broom.
These two Galerie lollipops screamed "summer" and although made in China and all that may infer, were fruity, tasty, fun, and more than I could handle. Watch out for sharp edges.
The orange sherbet flip flop was fun to slurp, but the hard sugar flower was initially rough on the tongue and sharper than it looks. But that didn't last too long and eventually the sucker cracked nicely, making it easy to consume despite final sharp corners. About one third flip flop was enough for me in one sitting.

I was impressed by how distinctive the cone and ice cream flavors were in the pink cone pop. The ice cream tasted and even smelled like bubble gum. The cone seemed like an artificial though not unpleasant butterscotch with a hint of peppermint. The two flavors went together nicely and the more you worked the lollipop, the more peppermint flavor came from behind the bubble gum. This sucker also cracked nicely and more quickly at the top of the cone. I thought the bubble gum after taste was a final smile.
They're a good size, just thick enough, and conducive to waving about by the sturdy plastic stick.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Summer Lovin': The Marshmallow Cone

With Babcock only a few traffic snarls away, it's always time for ice cream. And when the weather goes from snowing to 84 in a week, a marshmallow cone is a nice compromise.
I understand the nostalgic appeal of the mallow cone. If you were a frugal penny candy buyer as a child, mini cones were a colorful high ticket item that only made their way into your paper bag if you were splurging.
This is a much larger and ponderous version of the retro mini marshmallow cone that I found at Shopko.
There were a few other tempting summer themed treats along side the striped patio glasses and orange beach towels at Shopko, but the marshmallow ice cream cone is only 170 calories and contains no fat. So why not.
But then again would you care about nutrition facts if you're willing to chow down on an ounce plus of garnished marshmallow.
The marshmallow ice cream is thick and rubbery and not as much fun as the classic mini marshmallow cone. It does come with a real wafer cone which has its own wrapper, and there's a cool sugar swirl and fake jimmies on the fake ice cream.
The Galerie Marshmallow Cone is neither Peep nor classic mini, but I suspect many will be given to kids who are going to toss them after a few bites anyway.
Not quite emergency candy, better to look at than to eat, this marshmallow cone is still amusing and a sure sign that summer will jump over spring like it usually does and bring all sorts of weird and wonderful sugar along with it.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Easter Bunny Leftover

A chocolate bunny is often the center piece of an Easter table or basket. But despite being center stage it can keep watch over aging Peeps if it's the kind with nasty, dyed, hard frosting and insanely sweet waxy chocolate product.
Not the case with the Madeline milk chocolate bunny I found at Shopko, which has been giving Tarjet a run for it's money in the candy aisles.
The 4 oz. chocolate wrapped in "Italian Foil" (I don't know what that is, I only found sites about fencing) smells milder than the too sweet commercial chocolate and from the first bite you can tell it's different. Smooth with a bite, pleasant aftertaste.

This bunny wafted a promising blend of chocolate my way even as I untangled it from its gold foil. There was a well balanced sweetness which offered good texture in a solid bite. It was easy to break apart, pleasant to chomp into, and had the slightly sharp overtone I crave in milk chocolate.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Wrap It Up

I love these Russell Stover 2 oz. assorted chocolate four packs. You can throw the festively wrapped  boxes in any give Easter basket with no fuss and very little muss.
Calling these "Fine Assorted Chocolates" is the perfect description. The Kansas City, Mo chocolates are exactly that, fine.

These aren't Candina's chocolates, nor should they be unless you're making a very expensive gourmet basket, but the assorted chocolates are a step up from much of the more fun than refined mainstream mold chocolates.

There's a toasty coconut milk chocolate, a rich chocolate cream dark chocolate, the mandatory milk chocolate caramel, and what tastes like maple cream in dark chocolate. All are a welcome break from some of the more pedestrian Easter fare.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Junior Mints Pastels Pale

Taking a break from jelly beans, I tried several Limited Edition Junior Mints Pastels. Limited Edition, like it's a box of Star Wars collectibles.
They don't live up to their Christmas cousin, Junior Mints Peppermint Crunch, but are saved by the traditional gooey mint filling. There is plenty of that, being a Junior Mint, but the thick mint ooze stuffed inside each bite isn't enough to recommend this version.
These were another out of a bag of beaten up and forgotten Easter candy in better shape than they should be. Sure, a few of the round bites stuck to the inside of the box and some smacked of cardboard, but they were surprisingly edible.
Like Sweetarts Jelly Beans, they were quickly addictive without being a top shelf seasonal candy choice.
The downfall to the Pastels was the smooth shell. It had an artificial white chocolate taste which was like eating cake decorations or stale Smooth & Melty Mints. They did melt in your mouth, but I didn't want them to. In all fairness the stale taste was most likely due to my general mistreatment of Easter sugar.
The familiar chilly filling made them disappear from the aging box, but still no sticky thumbs up. The unappealing smooth shell had pretty robin's egg blue and chick yellow colors, perfect for the season, but ultimately tanked the candy.
I'd seek out their Peppermint Crunch or stick to the original.

Friday, April 08, 2011

Sweetarts Jelly Beans

Sweetarts Jelly Beans taste enough like Sweetarts to earn the name. The candy shell is easily separated from the spongy middle by a light crunch. The candy coating flakes off nicely on the tongue and this Easter jelly bean entry doesn't disappoint.

The cherry Sweetarts Jelly Bean is a tart pink spark, and the orange hints of citrus. There's as Easter purple which is a recognizable sour grape, green tastes like a green apple gum ball, and yellow is a bright lemon pinch. I found the Blue Punch (blue) an indistinguishable mishmash.
Let there be no mistake, this candy is addictive and seems to get better the more you eat it. They beg to be sampled one at a time, not because the flavors are strong or to be savored, but because the tart is just right and eating them that way tastes better.
I didn't find any of the happy spring colors on my hands or clothes, and Sweetarts Jelly Beans, like much of the Easter candy I had stashed in my car long before Easter, held up remarkably well in cold and warmish weather.
They'd be great in little baggies or see through eggs because the hues are attractive and seasonal.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Dip Me In Chocolate And Call It Easter

I started out my candy quest for this post fighting the tangle of roadwork on the way to a place in West Allis intriguingly called Half Nuts. Unfortunately I tossed out Google Maps for directions from the source which led me in the circle of closed ramps which is Milwaukee. Makes you wish Miller Park were even further west, say Lake Mills.
So I'm reviewing these, Jelly Belly's Jelly Bean Chocolate Dips, the bean you want waiting for you and they end of Lent if you've given up candy. Or, if you're going to break your promise to God, the jelly bean you want to do it with. Break your promise I mean. Never mind.
The bags are incredibly easy to open, the chocolate is better than mosts. The bean itself is powerful, and the candy shell is replaced by creamy, rich chocolate with a kick.
There's a big difference going from flavor to flavor that's almost jolting. I found the cherry the most delicious and hard to put down, thinking it might be better mixed in the bag with just the gel, no chocolate.

Overall they scream Almond Joy or Mounds bars, both of which I love. This would be a nice summer party candy or snack. There's less of a difference going from coconut to orange, but from cherry to coconut, wow, it's as if you're eating on a
Very Cherry
They're flavored with black currant and does best what Jelly Belly does so well–it tastes the way you want a  cherry to taste.
This flavor was so inspiring I started to look for factory tours in Pleasant Prairie after eating a handful.
Very Cherry reminded me of Pate de Fruits and was the jelly bean with which I first found the chocolate coating to be overwhelming.
How do they get all that chocolate on one tiny bean?
Orange Dips tastes like smooth chocolate wrapped around a chewy orange rind—and maybe by next year Jelly Belly will have Christmas beans and this could be a flagship flavor.

In the case of Very Cherry, the Jelly Bean Chocolate Dips could do without the dip. However, if you're a slave to the bean, you might have found your next favorite Easter candy or at least your new favorite jelly bean.