Chocolate Fruit Basket

Up until these Sconza Fruit Basket candies, Raisinets were the extent of my chocolate covered dried fruit experience. I’m glad that I upgraded!

These chocolates are described as “Five delicious dried fruits – apricots, cherries, apples, blueberries, and cranberries – robed in sweet milk chocolate and colorful, flavorful white chocolate.” From my best guess, the orange ones were apricot, the blue ones were blueberry, the white ones were cranberry, and the red ones were apple. Erm… I don’t know where cherry fits in in that bunch, but I trust that it’s in there somewhere. Probably the white ones.

They’re gorgeous candies and would look great in a dish or a bowl for company. The sizes aren’t uniform, both among and within the different colors, but all the pieces are roughly spherical (good enough) and have a wonderful depth to their color and shine to their sheen.

The dried fruits were buried in the middle of two layers of chocolate – the inner milk and the outer dyed or plain white chocolate. The colored layer tasted fruity to me, but that may have been the flavor of the dried fruit pieces leeching into their chocolate coating. The different pieces didn’t taste that distinctive to me, as the sweetness of the chocolate was rather overpowering. All of them pretty much tasted just generally sweet and fruity, and only through careful dissection during tasting was I able to distinguish the different fruits.

Such extreme chocolatey-ness made these guys super sweet, and that the dried fruit pieces seemed to be sugared only added to the saccharinity. Still, the chocolate fruit basket pieces were surprisingly addictive, and I found myself needing to put the pouch away before I ate ’em all. They’re just too sweet to be slightly cloying, but not sweet enough to be thoroughly off-putting. I think these would make a great addition to trail mix. Salty nuts and cracker pieces would balance the Chocolate Fruit Basket nicely.

Remember to enter my 5 gum giveaway!

Tootsie Fruit Rolls

I’ve enjoyed Tootsie Fruit Roll midges (BUY!) for as long as I can remember. Now that Halloween is just around the corner, they’ll be popping up everywhere in candy grab bag mixes for Trick-or-Treaters.

Tootsie Fruit Rolls come in vanilla, lemon, lime, orange, and cherry. The citrus ones, predictably enough, are my favorite, though they’re all quite yummy for a casual candy snack. They all have a softer, chewier texture than the regular chocolate Tootsie Rolls and lack that characteristic Tootsie Roll grain to the chew. They’re similar to Starbursts, but they don’t start out hard like Starbursts do. I also think the Tootsie Fruit Rolls are stickier and thus have a greater tendency to get stuck in the nooks and crannies of my teeth


Vanilla (blue wrapper) – First of all, I’d like to point out the blatantly obvious: vanilla is not a fruit. I guess because these aren’t tasty enough to sell on their own, Tootsie Roll decided to sneak them into the fruit mix and just hoped that no one would notice or care enough to mount a serious protest. I remember eating one of these as a kid, hating it, and never daring to eat the vanilla ones again. I ate a vanilla Tootsie Roll for the first time in years for the sake of this review…

And I didn’t think it was that bad. The fruit ones are tastier, but this had a rather pleasantly creamy vanilla-nougaty taste. I doubt Tootsie has messed with the flavor formula, so my palate must have evolved since I was five. I’d sure hope that’s the case.

Cherry – pleasantly sweet and brightly flavored with the expected candy interpretation of what cherry tastes like.

Lemon – lightly sour and almost imperceptibly tingly on the tongue. The lemon taste is good and manages to avoid the overly strong cleaning product version of lemon flavoring that some lemon candies have.

Orange – lightly sour and faithfully orange-candy flavored.

Lime – a very strong lime taste that’s sharp and sweet rather than sour. My personal favorite of the bunch.

As you can see in the above photo, these guys did not weather the New Haven humidity very well, and they got extremely sticky and hard to peel off the wrapper. See New Haven? That’s why we have air conditioning in Texas – to keep our candy from melting.

Tootsie Fruit Rolls are a classic, and I hope that means that they’ll be around forever. I don’t know if I find these guys any better or worse than Starbursts, the most successful line of fruit chews, but they are at least easier to unwrap than their square counterparts.

I bought some Tootsie Roll Frooties in lime, smooth cherry, grape, and watermelon that I saw in Economy Candy. I’ve yet to try them, and I wonder how they compare.

Remember to enter my 5 gum giveaway! 

Introducing the ZOMG, Candy! rating system

My friend Karsten is a big food blog reader and suggested that I give my ZOMG, Candy! reviews something gimmicky, like a ratings system. This was shortly after I was inspired by the dark sponge to invent the ZOMG! rating for truly superb candies, so I’ve decided to take Karsten’s advice and expand that designation into a full rating system.

O – short for Oh. Tepid at best; surprisingly bad at worst. Candy that is unremarkable and not worth eating more of, or candy that is too terrible to try again.

OM – short for Oh My. Good enough to elicit a minor exclaimation. A treat that is worth revisiting.

OMG – short for Oh My God/Goodness. Good enough to invoke a deity/virtuousness. Candy that is worth revisiting, many times over.

ZOMG! – short for Z-Oh My God! As explained on, ZOMG is the more enthusiastic form of OMG that arises when one is so excited that one accidentally hits the Z key along with the Shift key. Reserved for the best of the best, candy that is good enough to eat every day but too good to ruin the specialness of by actually eating every day.

By next Monday, I will have gone back and rated all previously reviewed candies. I can’t do it now because I write my posts in advance, and y’all would get confused if those ratings suddenly popped up with no explanation.

I welcome any comments about this rating system that you may have. Too confusing? Too silly? Too unnecessary?

Free 5 gum!

EDIT: This contest is now closed.

I got this pretty sweet package in the mail from BzzAgent for their new 5 gum promotion.

It’s enough gum to keep me chewing for a while, so I thought I’d share it with the rest of the world. I’ve opened the Flare (cinnamon) already, but I’ll give away the Cobalt (peppermint), Rain (spearmint), and the Buy 1 Get 1 Free coupons. Just leave a comment with your email address (Only I will be able to see it, and I promise not to send you spam) by Saturday, September 22. If several people enter, I’ll do a drawing. If not that many people enter, then everyone wins! Unless you live outside of the U.S., in which case I can’t afford to mail you gum. Leslie is an exception to this rule, because she is awesome.

I’ll try to have a review of this gum up next week. Right now, I’m chewing a piece of Flare (I feel like such an idiot, calling my gum Flare flavored), and it’s pretty good. I’ve been chewing for a while, and the flavor is still going strong.

Dark Sponge

Yesterday, I wrote about the Violet Crumble. No raves, but a generally positive review. I should note that I actually tasted the Violet Crumble about a month ago and that yesterday’s review was based on the notes that I took when I tasted it. I didn’t taste the Dark Sponge until a week ago, so the Dark Sponge was not able to taint my review of the Crumble. That being said:

The Dark Sponge is sooo good, I give it a hearty ZOMG! In fact, I have created the ZOMG! tag for delicious candies in honor of the Dark Sponge and have posthumously (or whatever the blog publication equivalent is) awarded the ZOMG! designation to the Fran’s salted caramels and the Apollo strawberry chocolate thingies.

Fix everything that wasn’t quite right about the Violet Crumble, and you would have the Dark Sponge, a piece of real honeycomb covered in dark chocolate. Unlike the almost-too-sweet Violet Crumble, the Dark Sponge is perfectly balanced. The real honeycomb personifies the slightly burnt sugar taste that the Violet Crumble attempted to emulate, only the Dark Sponge isn’t as painfully sweet, both inside and out. The Dark Sponge’s texture is far superior too. The honeycomb is crisp and nutty, with a great snap, and is reminiscent of toffee in delicately thin layers. And really, does a candy cross-section get more beautiful than that of the Dark Sponge?

When I revisit Economy Candy (and believe me, I will revisit Economy Candy), I will definitely buy more of these half-dollar-sized guys. I thought I had one more left, but when I went to eat it today, it turned out to be a piece of chocolate-covered ginger instead. Oh, the candy disappointment of that moment (though the ginger was still pretty good)!

Violet Crumble

The Violet Crumble is a chocolate bar from Australia. This was in the bunch of candy that Cassie gave me, and I finished it pretty quickly. I also saw it on sale at Economy Candy, where a woman had about a dozen in her basket. I commented on how tasty it was, and she and her male companion both enthusiastically agreed with me.

The Violet Crumble bills itself as crisp golden honeycomb covered in milk chocolate. “It’s the way it shatters that matters,” says the wrapper. These are apparently very popular in Australia, which is probably why it’s possible to find them in the U.S.

The milk chocolate that covers the Violet Crumble is sweet without inducing a gag reflex. The inside is a dense looking crisp that’s actually light and airy, which, true to saying, shatters (cleaves) in a way that’s pretty neat. The texture reminded me of the inside of a malted milk ball, but it dissolves much slower than malt, and when you chew it, it doesn’t completely shatter and disintegrate. Instead, it almost feels like a little will get stuck in your molars. In fact, I learned if you chew a big enough chunk, a little bit of actually does, though it melts away quickly.

The flavor of the “honeycomb” is super super sweet, with a tinge of burnt sugar taste. I usually dislike candy bars that are as sweet as the Violet Crumble, but I found that I could enjoy it a few bites at a time. It’s so unique that it’s worth a try.

If you do choose to save some of your opened Violet Crumble for later, I recommend sticking it in an airtight container or something. My piece picked up a little moisture, which altered the perfect crisp dryness of the crumble, though it was still tasty. The Wikipedia article on the Violet Crumble goes into great detail about how the packaging keeps the bars dry.

I found a similar candy called the Dark Sponge at Economy Candy that’s much, much better than the Violet Crumble. You shall see why in tomorrow’s post.

Stride Forever Fruit Gum

I personally rather like the ad campaign that Stride (BUY!) has been running. The commercials I’ve seen revolve around the company and those that sell it going out of business because the flavor lasts so long that people don’t need to buy new packs.

The packaging is like that of Dentyne’s soft gum, which makes sense because they’re made by the same company. It’s clever. You can finish the bottom flap’s worth of gum, tear it off, and still reseal the rest of your pack in the top half’s notch.

The Forever Fruit flavor smells delicious – sweet and citrus-y and quite appetizing. If only it tasted as good as it smells! It’s rather generically fruity, and that generic flavor isn’t bad; it’s just nothing to crow about. After a bit, the fruity flavor degrades into a faint artificial sweetness that lasts for a long time. I chewed my way through the movie Superbad, and the flavor made it pretty much the whole way through the movie. That long-lasting flavor, however, isn’t exactly one that’s enjoyable for an extended period of time.

I’d like to try the other flavors of Stride that maybe won’t taste so much of aspartame. It also comes in sweet peppermint, winterblue (which I assume is wintergreen), and spearmint, but alas, no cinnamon yet. For my fruit flavored soft gum needs, I’ll stick to Orbit (I particularly like their raspberry mint).

Tropical Razzles

“First it’s candy…Then it’s gum!” is the Razzles (BUY!) tagline. And indeed, it starts out as candy and ends up as gum. Unfortunately, it is not a very tasty incarnation of either food group.

The Tropical Razzles flavors, according to the wrapper, are pineapple, strawberry-banana, tropical punch, tangerine, and kiwi-lime. All that matters is that they all taste and feel like a Flintstones vitamin. They’re grainy with that weird undertaste that reminds me a little of the taste of blood. Mmm. Blood.

The flavors don’t last very long in the candy form, and the gum form just tastes oddly generically sweet. The texture of the gum is also too stiff to be a pleasant chew.

The Razzle transition from candy to gum is bizarre. It breaks apart, then resolidifies itself. Kinda cool. If only it were also palatable. A .

Economy Candy – ZOMG!

food-blog-pictures-184.jpgMy visit to New York was incredibly fun (and rather expensive). Lunch at Cafe Boulud was lovely and tasty, even if the portions were a bit small. I had the corn soup, the scallops, and this blueberry cake-y thing (I forget the exact name) for dessert. Mmmm!

food-blog-pictures-188.jpgEconomy Candy was candy heaven. The cheapest bulk candy I’ve ever seen, and a wide assortment of foreign and nostalgia candies that I’ve never seen (except in other candy blogs). The foreign bars were a bit pricey at $1.50 each, but the nostaliga stuff was a pretty good deal at $0.75 each or 3 for $2. I spent about $40 on a heavy bag full of candy, and I wish I’d spent more – especially on halvah.

Oh halvah, why didn’t I buy more of you? I’d never tasted you before, so I opted to just buy one small, all too soon consumed square. You were so delicious, with your sweet and nutty sesame paste goodness. And you were so cheap – a huge slice was only $2.50! But I didn’t buy you by the huge slice because I feared you’d taste yicky. Lone piece of halvah, when I ate you just down the street from the Economy Candy store and discovered how delicious you were, I should have marched right back in almondhalvah-sm.jpgand bought as much of you as I could carry. I didn’t even get a picture of you because I ate you so quickly. At least Cybele from Candy Blog did, and she’s been kind enough to let me use her photo to show you what halvah is. She loved it too, and she wasn’t too embarrassed to go back and buy more halvah like I was. And that is (one of many reasons) why she’s a better candy blogger than I am.

My Economy Candy stash should keep me in reviews until Halloween at the very least. Hooray! On a sadder note, the summer is now over. I’m back at school, classes started last Wednesday, and my extracurriculars are gearing up, which leaves me with far less time for sharing my love for candy. I think I’m okay for now since exams are still weeks away, but don’t be surprised if I end up cutting my updates from every weekday to just MWF. I’d hate to make that concession, but if my grades drop because I’m blogging about candy instead of studying, my parents may actually kill me.

food-blog-pictures-190.jpgTo end this post on a happy note, remember that Halloween is just around the corner! I’m too old for trick-or-treating, but I’ve already got a giant bag full of candy!

More buggy candy

I work in the entomology division of my university’s natural history museum, so when I came across these cute bug-themed candies, I just had to buy them for my boss.


These Bug City Candy Tarts (BUY) are compressed sugar candies that taste like SweeTarts without the tart and with a heavier aftertaste of sugar. The cartoony bug shapes of the candy are quite cute. The reusable bug jar is a nifty marketing tagline, but my boss informed me that any jar can be used to keep bugs in. Even jars without airholes should let enough air in to keep most bugs alive for several weeks.


My boss hasn’t unwrapped these Gooey Yummy Gummy Bugs yet, so I don’t know how they taste. Frankly, they’re a little too realistic looking, and I think the combination of the gummi texture with the grub shape may be more than I can handle.