Archive for the 'hard candy' Category

Flower’s Kiss Candy

October 10th, 2008 by Rosa

Another Asian treat sent as a free review sample by Asian Food Grocer. I was given free reign to pick what I wanted. In addition to pineapple Hi-Chew, I asked for Flower’s Kiss Candy because I was intrigued by the name. Would the Flower’s Kiss Candy taste like flowers? Thankfully, nope.

The Flower’s Kiss Candy turned out to be a sweet, fruity hard candy. Though it comes in a large assortment of prettily decorated wrappers, they’re all the same – a bumpy pink/red hard candy. It dissolved smoothly but also crunched up nicely and cleaved cleanly, a plus for me since I’m impatient and chomp on my hard candies.

Flavorwise, the Flower’s Kiss Candies reminded me of the Asian Juice candy I’ve previously reviewed. It’s lightly sweet and fruit-punchy, with an almost floral peach high note to its flavor. If it makes any sense, this particular candy’s peach flavor makes me think of fat pink Asian calligraphy peaches rather than the usual yellow/red peaches. An OM from me. I’m glad I asked for these from Asian Food Grocer; I’d seen it on the shelves of Asian grocery stores before but had never dared buy it in case it tasted like flowers. Yay for free samples!

Category: Asian (China, Japan, and Korea), hard candy, Kasugai, OM, review | 11 Comments »

Crunch Ball Crispy Candy

October 6th, 2008 by Rosa

My friends Nana and Justin have been living and teaching English in Korea for I think a year and a half now? I’ve been following their adventures in Asia through their blog, in which they’ve done a great job of chronicling the different cuisines they’ve had the opportunity to try.  They also ran a few features involving themselves drinking weird stuff. They were kind enough to send me a package of candy, and though there were no weird drinks, there was the weirdly named “Crunch Ball Crispy Candy.”

Methinks the name lost something in translation. The bag made the candy look like peanut flavored hard candy. The crunch part could refer to the hard candy, and the ball clearly refers to the shape… but what makes it crispy? I usually associate crispy with chips and fried things, not candy. Hmm…

It turns out that these candies are basically little balls of peanut brittle. Heavy on the brittle, light on the peanut, which is great for me, as I hate getting bits of peanuts stuck in my teeth (which is also why I’m not a big fan of nuts in candy in general). They cleave just like traditional brittle does, and like traditional brittle, it sort of gets packed in the molars. The peanut bits are pretty small, but they definitely bring their nuttiness to the ball. The prominence of the brittle makes these fairly sweet but not so sweet that I couldn’t eat more than one in a row.

Flavorwise and texturewise and conveniencewise, these guys are great, and they get an OMG from me. Thanks, Nana and Justin!

Category: Asian (China, Japan, and Korea), hard candy, nuts, OMG, review | 2 Comments »

Asian candies III

October 12th, 2007 by Rosa

Nestle Choco Milo

A tiny cube of chocolate cookie – the densest, crunchiest tiny cube of chocolate cookie I’ve ever had. It was super hard, and it only got away with being so nearly impossible to crunch because it was about 1 cm x 1 cm x 1 cm. Though tiny, the Choco Milo is delicious. Its chocolate flavor is reminiscent of that of hot cocoa, and it strikes a perfect bittersweet balance. OMG. Unfortunately, I grabbed this one out of a dish at a party of an acquaintance and have no idea where to find more.

Kasugai hard candy

Kusugai (BUY!) makes a lot of great Asian candies; their gummies are especially popular and deliciously faithful to their fruits’ taste. From my first quick glance at the wrapper of these Kasugai hard candies, I expected these to be a mix of individually wrapped candies of different flavors. A pineapple here, an apple there, a… bell pepper? Wait. There are vegetables on the wrapper too! My Chinese reading skills are nearly nonexistent, but I do recognize the second character as one that usually means “vegetable”.

These pleasantly light and sweet candies were all the same color – orange – and all the same difficult to pin down flavor. I definitely tasted pineapple; the bell pepper, not so much. I’d describe these as V8 Splash (BUY!) flavored candy. Again, they were pleasant enough, but not something I’d want to eat again and again. Just an O, but a positive one.

Mikakuto Tokuno Japanese Milk Candy

I didn’t know what these were called but managed to stumble across them on Amazon (BUY!). The cow and barn motif (which I find adorable, by the way) match up, so I think it’s safe to assume they’re the same candy.

I think I’ve yet to meet an Asian milk candy (BUY!) I didn’t like. To me, they’re all pretty much the same. They’ve all been a milky, creamy vanilla, but such a delicious vanilla, with that extra bit of vanilla essence oomph that elevates it to the next level. That oomph is difficult to describe. It’s like the difference between generic vanilla ice cream and the best homemade vanilla ice cream (oh Blue Bell, why haven’t you made it to New England yet?) you’ve ever had. Which makes this way better than a vanilla Tootsie Roll. In this particular brand of milk candy, the vanilla flavor is more that of vanilla extract than vanilla bean, but it still works! An OM.

Category: Asian (China, Japan, and Korea), chocolate, hard candy, Kasugai, news, O, OM, OMG | 4 Comments »

Zotz

October 8th, 2007 by Rosa

I’ve been wanting to try Zotz (BUY!) ever since I read about them on Candy Addict. As is the case with most retro candies, they’re rarely as good as their reviews claim they are. Nostalgia is a powerful force for inducing bias. But, while Zotz are no candy revelation, they were still pretty good and definitely worth their pretty cheap price. I bought a bunch when I was at Economy Candy, where they were 12 for $0.75 (they come in strings of 4, and I think those were 3 for $0.75), if I remember correctly.

Economy Candy had them in cherry, watermelon, and green apple. Some pictures on Amazon seem to suggest a lemon flavor that may be floating around somewhere, but I think if lemon existed, Economy Candy would’ve had them.

The watermelon was sweet and fruity – different from the usual Jolly Rancher hard candy-style of watermelon flavor, but good.

The cherry Zotz was darker than the watermelon, both in color and in taste. Interestingly enough, as you can see from the picture, it was more pink than red. Like the watermelon, the cherry was different from the usual Jolly Rancher hard candy-style flavor. Unlike the watermelon, it wasn’t exactly pleasantly different. I can’t put my finger on why; no cough drop cherry taste issues or anything like that. I’m not a huge fan of red candies, so that may have been part of it.

The apple was a smooth and creamy green apple taste that was a dead ringer for the Jones Soda Candy that I tried a while back. The apple Zotz was better than the Jones Soda Candy due to its creaminess and its awesome fizz factor.

Zotz are all very smooth in taste and texture and contain an ample amount of fizz. The fizz is supposed to be sour, but I found it not so much sour as “burns your throat”. But in a good way, believe it or not. Unlike the Jones Soda Candy, the Zotz fizz is really in your face (or on your tongue, I guess) and leaves you foaming in the mouth. It’s a pretty awesome mouthfeel experience. I loved giving these to my friends, not telling them what Zotz are, and watching their surprised but pleased reactions to the fizz.

The candy itself doesn’t taste extraordinarily good, but the fizz component elevates Zotz to an OM.

Category: hard candy, OM, review | No Comments »

Asian candies II

September 24th, 2007 by Rosa

As promised, more Asian candies!

Juice hard candy

I don’t what these guys are actually called – the wrapper just says Juice and has some pictures of fruit on it – but I love them. I realize that’s not very helpful if you want to try to find them yourself, and I apologize. All I remember is that they came in a red bag that was square and rather flat, and I bought it at Asia Market in Austin.

The flavor is difficult to describe; I’d call it a light, citrusy fruit punch that’s the perfect amount of sweet. The texture is perfect, as it’s crunchable and cleaves cleanly if you choose to chomp on it, but it melts beautifully in your mouth if you choose to savor it. Though I’m usually a hard candy chomper, I always try to force myself to savor these because they’re so good, and I usually succeed. An OMG on the ZOMG! scale.

Coco Coll

This coconut milk candy has the look and mouthfeel of a Werther’s Original (BUY!), and it melts and cleaves in the same way. While I have negative to ambivalent feelings towards coconut itself, I love coconut milk, and I love this candy. It’s lightly sweet and milky, with just the hint of coconut essence. Another OMG, if only because it’s managed to undo a lifetime of Mounds induced coconut-candy prejudice. And isn’t the wrapper gorgeous?

Li Hing Sour Patch Kids (BUY!)

These are courtesy of Catherine, my chocolate-hating (!) suitemate from Hawaii, who brought them from, you guessed it, Hawaii. I adore Sour Patch Kids (BUY!), so I was excited to see how the Hawaiian version would stack up.

Visually, the Li Hing version is already at a disadvantage. While regular Sour Patch Kids are bright, glittery, and covered in sugar, these guys are darker and kind of slimy. They’re also not shaped like regular Sour Patch Kids, but I prefer the Li Hing as they make me think of long-haired girls in hula skirts.

The texture is also not that of a real Sour Patch Kid. It’s much too firm, like Dots, and got horribly stuck in my teeth. The Li Hing Hula Girls also aren’t bright and fruity like real Sour Patch Kids, and as far as I can tell, they’re not sour. So basically these candies neither look nor feel nor taste like Sour Patch Kids, which makes me think that the Aloha Gourmet company may be treading on copyright issues, but they seem to be a rather small company, and I certainly don’t want to get them in trouble.

The Li Hing part of the candy is the rather unattractive brown coating (you can kind of see it in first the picture). The taste reminded me of the salty-sweet Asian plum candies my parents love so much, and lo and behold, Wikipedia says that li hing mui is a salty, dried plum (while I speak Mandarin, the name didn’t register because it’s in Cantonese). I don’t mind the li hing taste because I ate it as a kid, but I agree that it’s an acquired taste that not everyone would enjoy.

I think these Li Hing Sour Patch Hula Girls suffer because of the underlying gummi rather than the Li Hing flavor. A quick search shows that other companies seem to make versions using actual Sour Patch Kids, which would probably taste much better and be more texturally pleasing. I like the Li Hing flavor enough to want to try the other kinds of Li Hing coated gummis that I never knew existed. I give these an O for the execution, but I think a version with real Sour Patch Kids or other gummis would warrant an OM. The only logical next step would be to go to Hawaii and taste for myself – for the sake of this blog, of course.

Category: Asian (China, Japan, and Korea), coconut, gummi/gummy, hard candy, O, OMG, review | No Comments »

Bold Fruit Smoothie flavored Jolly Ranchers

August 13th, 2007 by Rosa

food-blog-pictures-018.jpgI like Jolly Ranchers (BUY) because I’m neurotic and impatient – I crunch up my hard candies instead of waiting for them to dissolve, so they don’t last very long. Fortunately, Jolly Ranchers don’t crunch very well, so I’m forced to savor them. And Bold Fruit Smoothie flavored Jolly Ranchers are, for the most part, worth savoring.

I picked these up at my local mall’s Dollar Tree. Unfortunately, it looks like Hershey’s is no longer making them, as their Jolly Rancher website no longer lists them as a flavor. Apparently they were introduced way back in 2004, but no clear word on if they’re still being made. At any rate, the code on my bag tells me that they’re good until August 2008, so no worries there (Cybele at Candy Blog has the key to deciphering Hershey’s codes).

To me, the name Bold Fruit Smoothies seems a bit oxymoronic. I associate smoothies with muted fruit flavors because of the yogurt dilution effect, but these candies are actually boldly flavorful, and yummy to boot.

The Bold Fruit Smoothie flavors are peach smoothie, orange smoothie, strawberry smoothie, watermelon smoothie, and mixed berry smoothie. They taste initially of Original Flavored peach, orange, strawberry, watermelon, and raspberry Jolly Ranchers, respectively, followed by a mellow vanilla yogurt or cream flavor. The flavors are surprisingly strong and persist until the entire candy is dissolved.

The orange smoothie flavor is my favorite, as the “smoothie factor” is especially prominent. It tastes like an orange creamsicle in hard candy form. The “smoothie factor” was also quite apparent in the strawberry smoothie but was fairly muted in the peach, watermelon, and mixed berry smoothie flavors. I hate raspberry Jolly Ranchers, and I hated the mixed berry smoothie as well. It’s that olfactory raspberry kick that I can’t stand. Try eating a raspberry Jolly Rancher and pinch your nose, and you’ll notice the taste difference immediately. Incidentally, that’s also a fun trick to try while eating Jelly Belly beans.

I wish I’d thought to buy a bag of original Jolly Ranchers for comparative purposes. I think the texture of the Smoothies are creamier than regular Jolly Ranchers, and they certainly look creamier, but I’m not sure if it’s just my imagination. At any rate, if you can find a bag, I’d recommend them picking them up, if only for the novelty factor.

Category: hard candy, Hershey's, Jolly Rancher, OM, review | 2 Comments »