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Jelly Candy

Monday, January 20, 2014

Jelly Belly Draft Beer Beans

Jelly Belly Draft Jelly BeansOn Friday I got my first press embargo ever on Candy Blog. I got a box from Jelly Belly that said, “Don’t open until January 18th.” I opened it, but dutifully kept the contents of the package to myself until Saturday.

Jelly Belly has a new jelly bean flavor, which debuts at the Fancy Food Show in San Francisco this week: Jelly Belly Draft Beer Flavor Jelly Beans. Jelly Belly uses beverages for flavor inspirations all the time. They have their Soda Pop Shoppe line of carbonated drink flavors and went branded with the Snapple flavors. As far as alcohol goes, Jelly Belly came out with their Cocktail Classics a few years ago, based on fruity flavored alcoholic drinks, but this is a first for this type of jelly bean. (What’s next, wines?)

The beans are very pretty, they’re little honey colored pieces with a pearlescent gold sheen. I guess that’s supposed to be like the head on a beer but feels a little deluxe for a beer jelly bean.

When candy makers at Jelly Belly Candy Company set out to create the world’s first beer flavored jelly bean, the question wasn’t how; it was what. Ale or Lager? Stout? Lambic? Pilsner? In the end, the company opted to pay homage to its German ancestry with a Hefeweizen-inspired ale flavor, and Draft Beer Jelly Belly® jelly beans took shape.

Jelly Belly Draft

They smell like roses and sake. It’s a floral scent with a hint of yeasty fermentation. The yeasty note continues with the bean itself, it’s not overt and doesn’t burn like some alcoholic flavors do. It’s just mild with a note of bread, honey and roses. I got no hop bitterness at all, which was what I was expecting with a beer bean.

If you hadn’t told me these were beer beans, I might not have guessed. The yeasty flavors are pleasant, the mild sweetness and fermented notes are a welcome change from the fruits and spices of regular beans.

Jelly Belly also sent some little packets of beans to combine with the beer for different flavors: Red Apple, Tabasco, Peach and Lemon Lime. I found that two beers to a single flavor bean was a good ratio to emulate flavor enhanced beer. The Red Apple tasted like a hard cider. Lemon Lime and Beer did not taste like Corona, perhaps too much lime. Peach actually went pretty well, but was far too floral for my tastes. Tabasco was definitely tempered by the beer, but I didn’t know what that was going for. It just burned. (I later read that I was supposed to combine that with the lemon lime and the beer for a Michellada.)

Overall, it’s a successful jelly bean. I can’t say that it will convert over any beer lovers.

The candy contains no alcohol. They’re made with natural and artificial flavors and artificial colors. They also use beeswax and confectioners glaze.

Related Candies

  1. Meiji Dark Rum Chocolate Sticks
  2. Jelly Belly Tabasco
  3. David’s Signature Beans Jelly Bean Sampler
  4. Fazer Vodka Filled Chocolates
  5. Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans by Jelly Belly
  6. Jelly Belly Honey Beans
  7. Bouquet of Fruits Vinyeard - Wine Filled Chocolates

Name: Draft Beer Flavor Jelly Beans
Brand: Jelly Belly
Place Purchased: samples from Jelly Belly
Price: $8.00 per pound retail
Size: .5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 101
Categories: Candy, Jelly Belly, Jelly Candy, Kosher, 7-Worth It, United States

POSTED BY Cybele AT 11:29 am     CandyReviewJelly BellyJelly CandyKosher7-Worth ItUnited StatesComments (5)

Friday, December 27, 2013

Malaco Pastellfiskar (Swedish Fish)

Swedish Fish from SwedenA favorite candy in the United States are the Swedish Fish. Today they’re made by Cadbury Adams in Canada. Though they come in multiple flavors, the favorite is the red lingonberry flavored fish with the word Swedish embossed on the side.

The original, however, is still made in Sweden by the Malaco company under the name of Malaco Pastellfiskar. (Malaco is now owned by the Cloetta company, which also makes Fazer chocolates.) They’re actually quite different from the North American variety.

They do come in four flavors: lemon, orange, pear and berry. They are also a winegum-style of jelly candy, not a gummi. The Swedish version has a different texture and recipe. This assortment was sent to me by Swede Sweets, but I’ve also seen them for sale at Sugarfina and Sockerbit.

Glucose-fructose syrup, sugar, cornstarch, water, acid (E330 - citric acid), vegetable oil, acidity regulator (E52 - sodium hydroxide), flavorings, glazing agents (E901 - beeswax), colors (E141 - natural green, E160a - carotene, E160e - apocarotenal).

Swedish Fish from Sweden

The fish are thick and fresh, soft but a little stiffer chew than the Cadbury Adams version. The texture is more like Dots. They’re a smooth chew with a vibrant flavor profile but they do stick in the teeth.

Yellow is Lemon has a wonderful note of the lemon rind along with a sort of marmalade or honey syrup note to the lemon juice flavors.

Orange is Orange and quite zesty. It’s tangy and juicy but mostly it’s truly like a fresh peeled orange.

Green may be Pear or Green Apple, though I thought it tasted a lot like pineapple, but green wouldn’t make much sense for that. It’s tangy and floral and sweet, it was actually my favorite of the assortment. (Which is weird because I’m not much of a fan of pear or apple flavored things.)

Red is the famous Swedish Berry or Lingonberry. It’s great to taste this without the distraction of the artificial colors in the North American version. This is a little more tart, a little more fragrant. The berry flavor is the same though, that strange blueberry meets pomegranate meets black currant that is the profile of Lingonberry. It’s great and has a well deserved reputation.

The only thing I don’t like about these is the fact that they stick so much to my teeth. The little nuggets just get stuck in between all of my molars. I found eating some crunchy crackers between helped and then some hot tea. (I suppose actually brushing my teeth would help as well.) They’re worth seeking out, especially if you’ve been looking for a version without artificial colors.

Related Candies

  1. Marabou Noblesse Crisps: Original, Dark & Orange
  2. Sugarfina: The Gummis
  3. Swedish Fish Jelly Beans
  4. Sockerbit Swedish Candy Selections
  5. All Gummies Gourmet Fruity Fish (Swedish Fish knock-off)
  6. Swedish Aqua Life
  7. Salted Licorices: Djungelvral and Dubbel Zout

Name: Pastellfiskar (Swedish Fish)
Brand: Cloetta
Place Purchased: samples from Swede Sweets
Price: $6.00 retail
Size: 8 ounces
Calories per ounce: 113
Categories: All Natural, Candy, Cloetta, Jelly Candy, 7-Worth It, Sweden

POSTED BY Cybele AT 11:26 am     All NaturalCandyReviewCloettaJelly Candy7-Worth ItSwedenComments (2)

Monday, December 16, 2013

Sugarfina Beverly Hills & Trio of Goodies

P1110361A few weeks ago I went to the preview opening of the brick & mortar store for Sugarfina. (More photos here on la.eater.) The evening included tastings of a half a dozen of their favorite candies and of course I got to meet one of the co-owners, Rosie, whom I’ve been corresponding with via email for about a year.

Sugarfina opened earlier this year as a webstore, selling a carefully curated selection of candies from around the world. Many of the gummis are made with all natural flavors & colors and come in extraordinary flavor combinations and shapes. The chocolates are a mix of whimsy and sophistication, with an array of malted milk balls, caramels and cordials.


Sugarfina displays morsels, everything in the shop is morselized, easy for hand-to-mouth sampling and when you’re not eating it, it’s fun to look at. While browsing the store, if you didn’t know it was candy, everything could easily be mistaken for beads or buttons. 

Sugarfina Trio

Guest were treated to a $10 gift certificate, which I put to good use right away. I even had a shopping list before I got there so I wouldn’t be distracted. I chose to create my own bento box. It’s a sleeve with three slots. It’s exceptionally well designed. The robin’s egg blue and white design is carried through the store and packaging. The inside of the box has blue scalloped concentric circles on white, as does the tissue in the bag it was placed in. The box itself is $4, which isn’t bad when you consider it doesn’t need wrapping and is durable & reusable. The cubes that fit in there were either $7 or $8.

The other change from my previous Sugarfina sampling is that the boxes for the candy have changed. They were a polyester soft plastic, which were not really that secure (hard to keep closed once you took the clear plastic stickers off). The new boxes are acrylic and after you take the labels off, they’re also reusable. They’re airtight, so any leftover candy keeps far longer.


One of the things that got me to actually go over to Beverly Hills after work was the fact that one of the new products is an Italian fruit gumdrop mix called Citrus and Berry Fruttini. They’re little pâte de fruit, coated in crunchy sugar.

The berry is a Wild Blueberry. They’re mild and sweet with a dark raspberry jam flavor and then that hint of black tea that I often taste in blueberries.

The yellow is Italian Lemon made from femminello lemons. I’ve never had a fresh femminello lemon before, but I’ve had limoncello, which is a sweet lemon liqueur that uses the peels. These are quite zesty and reminded me of Meyer lemons. It’s tart, it has a great balance between the sweetness and the oily flavors of the lemon oils.

The orange is Blood Orange. This one was definitely orange, but lacking the zesty notes that the lemon had. If I were to pick these up again, I’d go with the all Lemon selection, which they sell separately. There’s also a Wild Strawberry which I didn’t get to try.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Sugarfina Greek Kumquats

I am quite fond of candies citrus zest, but the Aphrodite Kumquat goes far above and beyond that humble confection.

At the heart (sorry it’s not better depicted) there is a whole kumquat. It’s about the size of a small olive and completely candied. Unlike regular orange peels, the rind of a kumquat is pretty thin but when you eat the whole thing, you’re also getting the pulp inside. So there’s a juicy, tangy orange syrup at the center, along with the very strong clementine-like peel around it. Then it’s covered in a thin layer of chocolate. That chocolate is infused with the orangey oils and then the whole thing is encased in a beautifully treated apricot-colored sugar shell.

One is more than enough. They’re quite intense, the strength of the citrus oils are enough to leave my tongue burning for several hours. Sure, there are only eight of them in the box, but how could anyone eat more than two in a day?

Rating: 8 out of 10


The Chocolate Sparkles are also Greek and another special find. They’re like the smooth and flat little rocks you might pick up on the beach: except they’re an exceptionally unnatural shimmery blue.

The candy shell is thick, like a Jordan almond so there’s a lot of crunch. The dark chocolate center is smooth and creamy with an excellent silky melt and deep cocoa flavors. Unlike many dark chocolate lentils, these truly are made with dark chocolate that has no additional milk or dairy fat in it. (Though there may be traces of milk, wheat or nuts as they’re processed on shared equipment.)

Rating: 8 out of 10


These also came in yellow and pink, also with the shimmery finish. I don’t see them on the website, but they were definitely for sale in the store.

Sugarfina - Bento BoxesThe prices are, well, Beverly Hills. However, unlike someplace like Dylan’s Candy Bar, where you portion out your generic candy into generic bags for $12.99 a pound, many of those products can be purchased at the drug store for a fraction of the price. Sugarfina’s per pound price point is more, about $25.00 per pound, but about 40% of Sugarfina’s candy can’t be purchased anywhere else in the United States and is far better quality than the drug store fare at most pick a mix candy stores. $25.00 per pound isn’t out of range for the chocolate items, but it is steep for sugar candy, even if it’s all natural.

Even though they don’t scoop by the pound, if you stop in the store, they do have little 1 ounce packets you can buy of many of the items to sample or just have a little treat. In true SoCal fashion they also offer a candy concierge.

It’s hard to rationalize it as an everyday candy shop (like I seem to treat See’s now that they’re walking distance from me), but the decadent packaging and precious treatment of the candy elevates it all to a different level. It’s not snacking, it’s sampling. It’s for grown ups.

9495 S Santa Monica Blvd
(Little Santa Monica Blvd between Rodeo Dr. & Beverly Dr.)
Beverly Hills, CA 90210

Related Candies

  1. Sugarfina: The Chocolates
  2. Sugarfina: The Gummis
  3. New York City Candy Spree
  4. Limited Edition Ritter Sport Winter Kreation + Factory Store
  5. Choward’s Spearmint & Lemon
  6. Friday’s San Francisco Candy Adventure
  7. Daffin’s Candies Factory & World’s Largest Candy Store
  8. Dylan’s Candy Bar and Candy Bars

POSTED BY Cybele AT 5:10 pm     CandyLos AngelesReviewChocolateJelly Candy8-TastyItalyShoppingComments (1)

Friday, November 8, 2013

Candy Crush Jelly Fish

Candy Crush CandiesCandy Crush is a line of candy based on a game based on candy. Got that?

The candies are licensed by King.com and made by Healthy Food Brands, which also makes the Angry Birds gummi candies (snacks) and licenses the Sunkist brand as well.

The initial offerings for the Candy Crush line are: Candy Crush Sour Fruit Gummies, Fruit Mix Gummies, Jelly Fish and Color Bombs.

Earlier this week I reviewed the Gummies and Color Bombs, today I have the Candy Crush Jelly Fish.

Like the other candies, the boxes are big but they contain very little. They’re 7” x 4.25” - which is bigger than the more typical theater box that you’d see from Mike and Ike, Hot Tamales or Starburst, which are about 6” x 3.25” and holds 4-6 ounces. The Candy Crush line gives you between 3 ounces and 3.5 ounces in each box. I can’t fault the graphic design though. They’re bold and easy to tell apart but also easy to spot from a distance. The happy mermaid character on the front and depiction of the candy is great. At first I didn’t like package artwork but they grew on me this week.

Candy Crush Jelly Fish

Here’s the weird thing that you might notice right away. The flavor set listed on the box for the Jelly Fish is exactly the same as the Gummies: Blue Raspberry, Lemon, Lime, Cherry, Orange, Grape. I thought this was a great selling point, because Swedish Fish only come in four flavors. So this would be a similar candy with a different flavor variety. However, it’s pretty clear that the colors are Orange, Yellow, Green and Red. I thought maybe I didn’t get a full variety, but checking the Dylan’s Candy Bar website (which says it’s selling them exclusively in the first few weeks of the roll-out), I saw that they had the exact same description but still only showed the four colors.

Candy Crush Jelly Fish

The fish are soft with a matte finish to them. They didn’t stick together, but tended to tear and break when bent instead of just, well, bending. My assortment was in perfect ratios - four of each.

Red is Swedish Fish (Lingonberry) - lovely, sweet, floral and jammy. They’re soft and chewy and maybe stick a bit to my teeth.

Green is Lime - this is a dying flavor, so it’s rather strange to get it in a box (especially one that says that it’s going to be green apple). Tangy, zesty. Done.

Yellow is Lemon - a well rounded lemon flavor, a little on the zesty side without much of a tangy note.

Orange is Orange - this was good. Zesty, sweet with a hint of juicy tartness.

Even though the candies were purchased four days after their announced release, came in a sealed pouch inside a sealed box, they seemed a bit stale. Three of my fish were broken. Yes, jelly fish that were broken. They weren’t different from Swedish Fish. I love Swedish Fish, but there’s really no reason for me to buy these instead of Swedish Fish.

They’re expensive. Only 16 fish in the box. This is a sugar candy, not made with organic ingredients or all natural flavorings, yet it’s more than $22 per pound. It’s not even a unique set of flavors like it promised on the front of the box ... there’s no grape! (Which is missed by many in the Assorted Swedish Fish world.) The Mixed Fruit Gummies and Sour Gummies were at least in themed shapes that matched the game. These Jelly Fish had nothing about them that indicated they were anything other than a repacked existing product. Swedish Fish have either Swedish or Malaaco on them. Albanese Gummi Bears have a little A on their bellies. These have nothing that says anything other than generic. (Okay, I do recognize that in the game they don’t actually have a name on them either. But Jelly Bellies and M&Ms have little brands on them as well.)

For the entire Candy Crush line I can only say I’m disappointed. There’s really nothing here that’s new or innovative and since they’re more expensive than many other candies of similar quality, I can only surmise that the premium goes to the licensing fee.

Related Candies

  1. Candy Crush Color Bombs
  2. Candy Crush: Mixed Fruit and Sour Gummies
  3. Swedish Fish Eggs
  4. All Gummies Gourmet Fruity Fish (Swedish Fish knock-off)
  5. Gummy Fishies
  6. Swedish Aqua Life

Name: Candy Crush Jelly Fish
Brand: Healthy Food Brands
Place Purchased: Dylan's Candy Bar (Farmers Market)
Price: $4.00
Size: 3 ounces
Calories per ounce: 99
Categories: Candy, Healthy Food Brands, Jelly Candy, 5-Pleasant, Canada

POSTED BY Cybele AT 9:45 am     CandyReviewHealthy Food BrandsJelly Candy5-PleasantCanadaComments (4)

Monday, June 17, 2013

Mike and Ike Strawberry Reunion

Mike and Ike Strawberry ReunionI’m on a bit of a kick with Just Born products, not just because they sent me a package of Peeps last month, but because they’ve got a lot going on with their other product lines. (Once I start, I feel like I have to explore all the versions of a product.)

Mike and Ike have been around for some 70+ years. They’re pretty much jelly beans, sold in boxes in a limited assortment of 2 to five flavors.

The newest Limited Edition version is Mike and Ike Strawberry Reunion. Recently Just Born did a big advertising push for Mike and Ike, including a whole narrative about the characters of Mike and Ike breaking up ... and (spoiler!) getting back together. This version has a strawberry theme, including: Strawberry, Strawberry Banana Smoothie, Strawberry Watermelon, Strawberry Tangerine and Strawberry Pineapple.

If you want to read more about the marketing, AdWeek had a nice summation of it.

Mike and Ike Strawberry Reunion

Strawberry Watermelon is a light pink color with darker spots and completely believable in its flavor. It’s a floral and tart and ends with the watermelon flavor notes without tasting like chemicals.

Strawberry was red rather ordinary, but still a good piece.

Strawberry Banana Smoothie is yellow. It’s tangy at first with an artificial note of banana and none of the creamy component that makes strawberry banana smoothies so great. As an artificial creation though, it’s nice candy.

Strawberry Tangerine is orange and fantastic. Tangy and citrusy and floral all at once. It has a zesty finish to it, instead of being purely sweet.

Strawberry Pineapple is speckled and more peachy. There weren’t as many of these in my box, which is too bad because they were also wonderful. Tart and zippy with more pineapple than strawberry.

Overall, a nice mix, each of them were distinct but could also be combined ... the only one that didn’t like to play with others was watermelon.

Mike and Ike - Lem and Mel and Cherri and Bubb

Just Born also recently started releasing their candies in classic packaging. To go along with that, they brought back a few of their old flavor varieties. I found the Mike and Ike Lem and Mel and the Mike and Ike Cherri and Bubb at the Dollar Tree.

These are full variety mixes though, each box only contains a pair of flavors ... and odd pairs at that. The packaging has a fifties feel, a little more muted and simplified, but a quick check online shows that the Lem and Mel variety was introduced in 1991 and the Cherri and Bubb was out in 1989 ... back when we had another obsession with nostalgia.

Mike and Ike - Lem and Mel

The Mike and Ike - Lem and Mel is yellow and green, featuring Lemon and Watermelon flavored jelly bean rods. The lemon is already found in the classic Mike and Ike fruits box and a pink version of the watermelon is in the RedRageous package.

Lemon is not as sparkly as the Lemonade Blends. It’s sweet and zesty, but not tangy. Watermelon is sweet as well, with only a tart hint and then a sort of cotton candy finish.

Mike and Ike - Cherri and Bubb

Cherri and Bubb is Cherry and Bubble Gum. I bought this variety because of the Bubble Gum Peeps and though maybe I’d review them together, but ended up separating the products this way instead.

The cherry is an odd sort of flavor. It’s very bold, it starts out with a strong wild cherry flavor that reminds me of Sucrets throat drops. Then it gets very sweet and has a little bit of a raspberry note. They’re not for me.

Bubble gum is pink. They seemed a little bit stiffer, not quite as soft and jelly-like as the cherry. This make them seem more bubble gum-like as well. It’s a good bubble gum flavor, a bit on the sweet strawberry side with only the lightest note of wintergreen. It’s fresh and veers off into juicyfruit. There’s no weird aftertaste from the artificial colors, which was my problem with the Peeps.

About 9 years ago I remember a Root Beer Float version of Mike and Ike, I’d like to see those come back ... or maybe a whole soda pop flavor mix.

They’re a really good value, for a buck a box which holds 5 ounces. It’s the kind of price that I don’t feel bad if I throw out the flavors I don’t like. I’d opt for the Strawberry Reunion or the Lemonade Blends out of all the Mike and Ike varieties.

Related Candies

  1. Bubble Gum Flavored Peeps
  2. Jelly Belly Snapple Jelly Beans
  3. Sour Patch Kids Berries
  4. Mike and Ike Fruit Flavored Bubblegum
  5. Mike and Ike Italian Ice
  6. Strawberry Yoghurt Mentos
  7. Mike and Ike Alex’s Lemonade Stand
  8. Mike and Ike Tangy Twister

Name: Mike and Ike Strawberry Reunion
Brand: Just Born
Place Purchased: Dollar Tree (Echo Park)
Price: $1.00
Size: 5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 99
Categories: Candy, Just Born, Jelly Candy, Kosher, 7-Worth It, United States, Dollar Tree

POSTED BY Cybele AT 3:32 pm     CandyReviewJust BornJelly CandyKosher7-Worth ItUnited StatesDollar TreeComments (3)

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

10 Underrated Candies

I often try to champion exceptional candies, ones that don’t have million dollar advertising budgets or huge fandoms on social networks. But there are other candies out there that have been plugging away for decades just being dependable. They’re not the best they could be, but they certainly don’t get the attention they deserve.

So here they are, not the only 10 candies that are underrated, but just 10 that I happen to love and find myself eating more often, now that I’ve circled around and tried a few thousand other candies in the past eight years.

Atkinson Chick-o-Stick

Chick-O-Sticks (Atkinson’s)

Description: Orange crunchy layers of peanut butter crisp rolled in coconut.

What’s to like about it?

Crispy peanut butter layers. You get right to it, no busting your way through some crazy overly-sweet mockolate. It’s just about the peanuts, it’s completely crispy, a little salty and totally nutty. The best format are the individually wrapped minis shown, they make far less mess than the long bar format.

They’re vegan and gluten free.


Well, there’s coconut on the outside. I’m not sure why, but it’s there and it’s always been there. There’s not a lot and it really doesn’t contribute much to the flavor but does give a little chew to the texture. What would make me even happier is if they got rid of the artificial colors in it, which I could swear give them a slight bitter aftertaste that I don’t get from the equally lovely Atkinson’s Peanut Bars.

What makes it underrated?

The packaging is lackluster and they can be hard to find, especially in the Northeast.

Goldenberg's Peanut Chews

Goldenberg’s Peanut Chews (Just Born)

Description: a molasses chew studded with peanuts covered in dark mockolate.

What’s to like about it?

Molasses and peanuts. That’s it. It’s dark and mysterious, only slightly sweet, sometimes a little bitter. It’s chewy and crunchy and with a lot of nuts, it’s very satisfying and filling. They come in cute little bars, so you can just eat one or two and save the rest for later or share. They’re vegan!


The mockolate coating is disappointing. It’s usually a bit toasty flavored but waxy so it lacks a creamy smooth quality that might really tip this over into being an incredible candy.

What makes it underrated?

The name and packaging marks it as an old-time, regional candy bar. Just Born, who bought out Goldenberg’s, renamed the candy, then brought back the classic name & design, further confusing people. The molasses component is a hard sell in artificial times.

Ferrara Pan Root Beer Barrels

Root Beer Barrels (Various Brands)

What’s to like about it?

It tastes like root beer! I tastes more like root beer than most of the cheap and weak sodas on store shelves and it’s more portable. It’s a hard to find flavor that really shines in hard candy form.


Some brands are better than others. Voids in the candy can be sharp and make small cuts or abrasions on the tongue or palate.

What makes it underrated?

It’s hard candy and hard candy is for old ladies.


Honees Honey Drops (DiNatura)

Description: little honey flavored hard candies filled with honey.

What’s to like about it?

They’re dead simple and satisfying, the honey center coats the throat and does actually soothe without medication.


They can be expensive and can be messy, as many packages get sticky because of the delicate filling in the pieces.

What makes it underrated?

They’re stuck in the cough drop aisle, not with the rest of the candy. Sure, they’re soothing, but they’re also comforting, and who doesn’t want to be comforted regularly?

Compartes Candied Orange Peel Dipped in Chcoolate

Chocolate Covered Orange Zest (your local chocolate shop)

Description: candied orange peel is dipped in dark chocolate

What’s to like about it?

It’s extremely simple with a good combination of textures and flavors. There’s the bitterness of the orange oils and dark chocolate, the chewy texture of the peel and the creamy melt of the chocolate.


They’re a small treat, and the satisfaction is usually due to good quality peels done well (not to soft and sticky, not leathery tough) and appropriate amounts of chocolate. They’re often expensive, which is odd because it’s basically chocolate covered garbage, but they do require a bit of manual labor to make.

What makes it underrated?

Probably the fact that some places sell bad versions or put awful chocolate on them. They’re also not for everyone, citrus is just not everyone’s thing.

Hot Tamales

Hot Tamales (Just Born)

Description: rod shaped hot cinnamon jelly beans.

What’s to like about it?

They’re cinammony, soft and chewy. They’re not too hot, so you can eat a lot of them, unlike some other super sizzling cinnamon candies.


The red food coloring is a bit overwhelming and sometimes I get a package that tastes like cherry.

What makes it underrated?

They’re just jelly beans. There’s only one flavor in the box.

Butter Mints

Buttermints (Richardson)

Description: buttery mint puffs

What’s to like about it?

They’re like sweet, minty air. They’re soft and melt in your mouth. They’re lightly flavored like peppermint, the opposite of the blast of flavor from an Altoid.


They’re hard to find and can get stale quickly or take on flavors from other foods around them. If they’re sitting out in a bowl, they’re going to be disappointing.

What makes it underrated?

They’re marketed as an after dinner mint, not a treat in their own right.

Old Dominion Butter Toffee Peanuts

Toffee Peanuts (Various brands - shown is Old Dominion also Adams-Brooks Candies)

Description: crunchy caramelized sugar covering peanuts

What’s to like about it?

They’re often found at truck stops and in vending machines. They’re a great combination of satisfying peanut protein and sweet, buttery toffee. Though they’re similar to French Burnt Peanuts, they’re not as tough to crunch and often have a more authentic peanut and browned butter flavor to them.


They can be sticky and sometimes if the bag has been shaken up too much, all the toffee comes off the nuts. (But then it’s just perfect as a topping for ice cream.)

What makes it underrated?

As you may have already noticed a theme here, underrated candies are usually in small pieces, not bar form. It’s easy to dismiss a toffee coated peanut because there are other, more trendy candies out there. But they’ve been making these for hundreds of years for a reason.

Spearmint Leaves

Spearmint Leaves (Generic)

Description: spearmint flavored jellies shaped like a mint leaf.

What’s to like about it?

There are so few spearmint candies in the United States these days, and these endure for a reason. They’re sweet but with a really powerful spearmint note to them that balances it out. The sugar crust balances the sticky jelly of the center. They’re usually vegan as there’s no gelatin used in gumdrops.


They can get stale quickly, or worse, get sticky and damp. They’re not easy to combine with other candies in a trail mix. I feel like an old lady when I pick them out in the store.

Sugar Babies

Sugar Babies (Tootsie)

Description: caramel bits covered in a grainy sugar shell.

What’s to like about it?

If you’ve ever thought, “why don’t they make caramel jelly beans”, this is the answer. Why make a flavored item when you can give the same treatment to the real thing.


When the get stale, they’re pretty hard. They don’t do well in trail mix with things like dried fruit because the moisture will make them even grainier or sticky.

What makes it underrated?

I think folks stop eating them when they grow up, and never go back.

So that’s my list. What do you think is undervalued or poorly marketed?

Related Candies

  1. Candy Tease: Bar None, Reed’s and Regal Crown Sours
  2. Flix Candy Flix Mix
  3. Candy Tease: Sweets & Snacks Expo 2011 Part 1
  4. Candy Tease: Nostalgia in 2011
  5. The 110 Essential Candies for Candivores

POSTED BY Cybele AT 12:20 pm     CandyBrittleCaramelChewsChocolateCinnamonJelly CandyMintsMockolatePeanutsToffeeHighlightFun StuffComments (14)

Friday, February 22, 2013

Trader Joe’s PB&J Milk Chocolate Bar

Trader Joe's PB&J Milk Chocolate BarTrader Joe’s rarely takes a breather in their new product introductions. If I don’t go in for a few weeks, I might miss its appearance on the New at Trader Joe’s shelves only to stumble on it in the regular rotation. This was the case with the new Trader Joe’s PB&J Milk Chocolate Bar . The bar is found at the check out stands, in my case, mixed in with the Speculoos Bars.

The bar is simply a milk chocolate bar with creamy peanut butter and tart raspberry jelly.

The bar is about 5 inches long and 1.25 inches wide. It’s a nicely sized portion, at 1.75 ounces though the calorie count is a bit high since it’s so fatty - 230 calories for the bar or if you’d like to compare it to others I’ve reviewed, it’s 160 calories per ounce.


There’s no statement about the origin or sourcing of the chocolate, but some of the ingredients are organic like the palm oil in the peanut butter filling and some of the sugar.

Trader Joe's PB&J Milk Chocolate Bar

The bar looks very simple. There are six segments, each filled with a base of peanut butter and topped with a syrupy raspberry jelly.

The milk chocolate is quite dark and has a smoky flavor to it. It’s smooth and has an excellent silky melt and strong flavor of its own, however, the overriding scent of the bar is peanut butter. Once I bit into a segment, though, the raspberry flavors were far more evident. The whole thing really was like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

The peanut butter is smooth, it has a dark roasted flavor with a hint of bitterness to it. There’s also a fair bit of salt, 60 mg for the whole bar, considering how much actual peanut butter is in there, I feel like it’s a lot but not over-salted.The jelly itself is a little runny. The best effect for the bar is to bite the segments, to get the smell of the berries, but that just makes the goo run. The raspberry is smooth, not at all grainy, it’s sweet but has a tartness to it. There are no seeds, but the flavor of the seeds, that woodsy green note is there.

For a buck, it’s a great bar. It’s different from anything else you can get in this price range and the ingredients are top of the line. The profile is less sweet than most other candy bars, which is refreshing.

There are no preservatives or artificial colors/flavors. It contains milk, soy and peanuts and may contain traces of wheat, eggs and/or tree nuts. It’s Kosher and made in Canada.

Related Candies

  1. Annabelle’s Abba-Zaba Strawberry Peanut Butter
  2. Baron Milk Chocolate PB&Js
  3. Trader Joe’s Les Chocolats Belgique (Belgian Bars): Caramel, Chocolate Buttercream & Speculoos
  4. Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
  5. Madelaine Duets
  6. Trader Joe’s Classic Chocolate Bars
  7. Trader Joe’s PB & J Bar

Name: PB&J Milk Chocolate Bar
Brand: Trader Joe’s
Place Purchased: Trader Joe's (Silver Lake0
Price: $.99
Size: 1.75 ounces
Calories per ounce: 160
Categories: All Natural, Candy, Trader Joe's, Chocolate, Jelly Candy, Kosher, Peanuts, 8-Tasty, Canada

POSTED BY Cybele AT 12:41 pm     All NaturalCandyReviewTrader Joe'sChocolateJelly CandyKosherPeanuts8-TastyCanadaComments (6)

Friday, December 14, 2012

Jelly Belly Tabasco

Jelly Belly TabascoIf you’re tired of all the other red flavors of candy that are especially prevalent at Christmas like cherry, cinnamon and peppermint, perhaps you’ll enjoy Jelly Belly’s newest: Tabasco Jelly Beans.

The new flavor is an officially sanctioned Tabasco product, so it’s not just your ordinary spicy pepper jelly bean. The ingredients list Tabasco Brand Pepper Paste in the 2% or less part of the listing, which makes sense since it’s pretty concentrated stuff in its liquid form, a paste must be extra potent.

Jelly Belly Tabasco

The do smell a bit like Tabasco, which has a bell pepper and tomato paste sort of scent. They are quite strong and spicy, not just in the sugary shell but clear through to the core. The peppery flavor is a good blend of the cayenne-style heat along with a hatch chili sort of green, earthy flavor with a little hint of a vinegar tang towards the end.

On the whole, very convincing. It does cause a bit of heat in my mouth ... a lasting one for me, so much so that I had to eat some crackers after the build up over about 10 of them. I’m a lightweight when it comes to chili heat though I’m fine with horseradish/wasabi and curry spices being cranked up, so some may find these tame. The only issue is really, are you the sort of person who would enjoy these? They’re not for me, they’re just not “candy” enough to eat one after another and not “snack” enough to be added to some other sort of mix. I don’t expect them to stay around very long, though they are well done for the goals they must have had. (In the sample package Jelly Belly sent me, they included some Citrus Mix ... I’ve finished that bag, but could barely get through five of the Tabasco.)

They’re currently sold as an individual flavor, not in the standard mixes, so no need to be cautious around Jelly Belly varieties. They’re made in a peanut free facility and are gluten free as well. Jelly Belly uses beeswax and confectioners glaze, so these are not a vegetarian product.

Related Candies

  1. David’s Signature Beans Jelly Bean Sampler
  2. McIlhenny Co Tabasco Brand Spicy Chocolate
  3. Jelly Belly Candy Corn Jelly Beans
  4. Hot Chocolate Mochi Krunch
  5. Hot Tamales Spice Jelly Beans
  6. Cowgirl Chocolates Buckin’ Hot Habanero Caramels
  7. Jolly Rancher Fruitas Enchiladas
  8. Jelly Belly Soda Pop Shoppe

Name: Tabasco Jelly Belly
Brand: Jelly Belly
Place Purchased: Samples from Jelly Belly
Price: $2.25 retail
Size: 3.1 ounces
Calories per ounce: 99
Categories: Candy, Jelly Belly, Jelly Candy, 7-Worth It, United States

POSTED BY Cybele AT 11:40 am     CandyReviewJelly BellyJelly CandyKosher7-Worth ItUnited StatesComments (6)

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Meticulously photographed and documented reviews of candy from around the world. And the occasional other sweet adventures. Open your mouth, expand your mind.





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Which seasonal candy selection do you prefer?

Choose one or more:

  •   Halloween
  •   Christmas
  •   Valentine's Day
  •   Easter




These candies will be reviewed shortly:

• The Recent History of Brach’s Fiesta Malted Milk Eggs

• SweetWorks Celebration Candies - Bears

• Hachez Braune Blatter (Chocolate Leaves)

• Rogue Chocolatier

• Dandelion Chocolate