Jolly Rancher Fruit Chews

These Jolly Rancher Fruit Chews were free samples, courtesy of the folks at Candy Central.

I’m super familiar with their hard candies and lollipops, and I’ve even had their fruit chew-filled lollipops, but this was the first time that I’ve had just the fruit chews.

They came in four flavors: cherry, watermelon, green apple, and blue raspberry. All were individually wrapped in colored paper. Not all of them unwrapped cleanly – sometimes bits of paper clung to the candies.

They were soft and extremely chewy, almost taffy-like. And they were extremely prone to sticking in the nooks and crannies of my teeth as they neared the end of their chew.

Cherry was red. It initially tasted of plasticky and papery overtones before yielding to a bright, fruity sweetness. It didn’t make me think cherry, and the plastic overtones were really off-putting.

Watermelon was pink. It tasted quite true to watermelon flavored Jolly Rancher hard candies. It was bright and sour, with a tinge of almost-citrus.

Green apple was a neon lime-green. It too, tasted just like its hard candy counterpart. There was a faint petrol hint to the flavor, but it mostly tasted of a nice candied green apple favor with a tinge of sourness.

Finally, blue raspberry was a bright, not-found-in-nature blue. For no conceivable reason other than that candymakers decided that candy raspberries should be blue.

It had a strong seedy olfactory bite that I hate in the hard candy version of raspberry Jolly Ranches. There was a solid, nearly bitter bite to the finish that rendered me unable to finish the chew.

I enjoyed the green apple and watermelon but didn’t care for cherry or blue raspberry. I much prefer Starburst, which have a stiffer chew and better flavors. A for the blue raspberry and cherry. O for the other two.

Sour Patch Kids

Today’s review of Sour Patch Kids comes courtesy of Candy Central, who sent me a free 46 oz box of the little buggers to review. For those not good with customary system conversions, that’s nearly 3 pounds!

The box is pretty descriptive, calling them both “sour then sweet” and “soft and chewy”. The candies inside were all individually wrapped and came in four colors: red, orange, yellow, and green.

The kids (which were shaped more like asymmetrical bow-ties than humans) were all covered in a granulated sour sugar. They had a soft, immediate give when bitten into, and while they were a tad chewy, they mostly (but not completely) avoided getting stuck in my teeth.

Red was raspberry. I am notoriously bad with artificially flavored red candies, as they all just taste like red to me.

I thought it tasted like cherry with a slight medicinal tinge and an almost plasticky bite to the finish. I thought it was the least sour of the bunch.

Orange started with a bright initial sting of sour sugar. It had a lovely concentrated orange flavor with loads of citrus zest that then petered out into a sugary sweetness.

Yellow had that same sour kick to start. There was a light lemon-y zest to the flavor but it was mostly a mellow sweetness.

Green is supposed to be lime, but to me, it tasted like candied green apple as soon as it hit my tongue. There was an unfortunate plasticky tinge to the finish that I think was supposed to be the lime flavor. Aside from the aftertaste, the flavor mixed well with the sourness.

While they aren’t my favorite gummi/jelly candy, they’re decently addictive and good for candy snacking and sharing in the office candy bowl. An O.

Many thanks to Cybele for serving as flavor decoding reference.

Aunt Sally’s Creamy Pralines – Triple Chocolate

As promised in Wednesday’s review, here’s a third Aunt Sally’s Creamy Praline, this one triple chocolate flavored. Like the others, this came from New Orleans courtesy of my generous roommate.

I’m not sure how a praline can be triple chocolate. The sugar portion is clearly chocolate, but I have no idea what the other two chocolate things could be.

Maybe there are three kinds of chocolate in here? At any rate, it smells amazingly strongly of a deeply rich cocoa.

The sugar portion had a soft snap and was lightly chewy with a noticeable grain. Its chocolate flavor was reminiscent of Tootsie Rolls in that sweet, candied way, but the praline’s chocolate had much more depth to its flavor.

The pecans are soft and fresh and deliciously nutty. They really make this praline soar. So much chocolate depth and delicious nuttiness! I couldn’t stop eating it.

I adored this praline and kept reaching for more bites. The texture and flavor were spot on. I’m so glad that my roommate brought it into my life! An OMG.

Aunt Sally’s Creamy Pralines – Bananas Foster

Monday’s review was of a Swiss praliné. Today, we’ve got a different kind of praline: Aunt Sally’s Creamy Praline, Bananas Foster edition.

Like the last Aunt Sally’s praline that I reviewed, this one (and a third that will be reviewed on Friday) came courtesy of my roommate.

I enjoy real bananas just fine (though I don’t especially love them), but artificially flavored banana things scare me because they’re usually done rather poorly. Banana Runts? Terrifying!

The Bananas Foster praline smelled strongly of real, genuine bananas. A promising sign!

The praline had a soft, chewy texture that slowly cracked rather than snapped. The pecans were soft (as far as nuts go) and brought their pleasantly mild nuttiness to the praline.

The sugary portion of the praline tasted like real bananas, only much sweeter. Altogether, the Bananas Foster praline tasted like a nice, sweeter-than-usual banana nut bread.

Banana bread and bananas aren’t my personal favorites, so I’m only giving this an O. But I’m sure many would enjoy this (the friends that I shared it with did!).

Goldkenn – Swiss Gold Praliné

This gold bar of a praliné was in my free Sweets and Snacks Expo goodie bag, courtesy of the NCA. It’s hard to tell what its proper name is from the external packaging – the embossed Goldkenn logo is rather blurry.

The single bar was actually comprised of two smaller bars. The smaller bars were individually wrapped in shiny gold paper, which was adorned with the Goldkenn name and tiny Swiss flags.

The mini bars were thick and soft milk chocolate rectangles. A few thinly sliced almonds were scattered horizontally throughout the bar, making them a visually interesting addition.

The almond slivers brought a pronounced nuttiness to the chocolate. The chocolate itself had a faint fruitiness to its flavor, but it mostly just tasted of extreme sugar.

Alas, there were no dairy or caramel notes. It just tasted way too sweet and unpleasantly cloying.

While this treat was visually stunning, I didn’t find its flavor to be much to crow about. It gets a for being too overly sweet, putting it solidly in the “meh” and “merits no praise” category.

Hedonist Goat Cheese Truffles

I LOVE goat cheese. Especially warmed and drizzled with honey. Mmmm…

And, as y’all may have guessed, I LOVE chocolate. So I was super excited when I popped into Hedonist Artisan Chocolates one day in June to see that they had a Goat Cheese Truffle Collection, featuring goat cheese from a local goat dairy.

I bought a few and ate them on the spot. Now, a few months later, I got a free sample box of Goat Cheese truffles to properly photograph and review, thanks to the gals at Hedonist.

First up is Fig and Honey. It was easy to ID because it was topped by a seed-studded chunk of golden brown fig.

The truffle had a dark chocolate couverture with a textured ganache full of figgy seeds and pulp. The berry-tinged sweetness of fig flavor was clearly present.

Despite the strong fig flavors, I found that the mellow sweetness of honey dominated this truffle’s flavors. The chocolate flavor comes through in the finish, along with a hint of floralness from the honey.

Strawberry Balsamic was easy to identify by a tiny topper of dried strawberry. It had a dark chocolate shell around a deliciously in-your-face ganache.

This truffle’s filling was supremely bright, fruity, and tart. It was cheerfully fragrant with the concentrated flavor of picked-at-the-peak-of-ripeness strawberries.

I could tell that the balsamic contributed to the truffle’s super concentrated flavors and especially to the bright tartness. But had balsamic not been in the truffle’s name, I would never have guessed that there’s vinegar in there.

It brought just the right touch of tartness while avoiding the addition of any acidity, bitterness, or unpleasant sharpness. It was a really well-formulated treat.

Thyme, Pepper, and Pistachio was the only rolled truffle of the bunch, and the only purely savory one too. It was rolled in crushed bits of pistachio, which provided added nuttiness and crunch.

The truffle initially tasted of nutty pistachio with a lightly spicy peppery undertone. Then a big kick of thyme came through and walloped my taste buds with a savory herbalness.

I liked the initial peppery nuttiness, but the emergence of the thyme was strange for me. It was too strongly herbal for my taste.

Ancho Chile and Cinnamon was the most nondescript looking one, though it was still gorgeous, with a beautifully tempered smooth and glossy top.

There was a slight grit to the texture of the ganache, I think from the bits of cinnamon. That texturally noticeable cinnamon also brought a touch of astringency to the finish, but it was slight enough that it wasn’t off-putting.

The truffle initially tasted of beautifully fragrant and fresh cinnamon with a lightly fruity undertone. There was just a touch of heat that was barely noticeable at the finish.

While the chocolate, cinnamon, and chile were harmoniously balanced, I actually wished that the heat in this was less subtle. I love chile in my chocolate!

Finally, Black Currant was distinguished by a little topper of what I presumed was a dried black currant. It tasted brightly fruity – like the Strawberry Balsamic – but with a raisin finish.

This was the only one of the set in which I could detect the presence of goat cheese. Its influence was light and brought a noticeable tang with an almost pungent savoriness.

The Black Currant was my favorite because of how it managed to blend fruity and tangy and savory. It and the Strawberry Balsamic get ZOMG!s, Fig and Honey and Ancho Chile and Cinnamon get OMGs, and the Thyme, Pepper, and Pistachio gets an O.

I think my favorite part of the collection (aside from the Black Currant truffle) was that they didn’t just let the goat cheese do all the work. It would’ve been easy to just mix goat cheese and chocolate and say, “Look how novel this combination is!”

Instead, they put together a thoughtful and tasty collection that’s much more than just a novel ingredient. Hooray for Hedonist’s effort and care!