Public Displays of Confection sent me an assortment of samples of their artisanal, handmade hard candies. They use old school techniques on machines that are over a century old; you can check out a video here.
The Thanksgiving Mix contains a seasonally appropriate mix of flavors: pumpkin pie, peach cobler, cranberry sauce, apple cider, and sweet potato casserole. They’re image candies, made from folding and pulling candy into a long tube and slicing it into pieces to reveal the center picture.
The centers of the candies left little air tubules as they melted, like starlight peppermints do. The outer shells melted smoothly and felt like perfectly smooth plastic under my tongue.
The pumpkin pie was the easiest to pick out, as it had a pretty pumpkin in the center. It really captured the savory aroma of cooked pumpkin with a pumpkin pie’s notes of nutmeg.
Peach cobbler had a bright orange shell and a layered square of peachy-striped colors. It was sweet and lightly fruity with a hint of cinnamon. The overtones were bright, and the candy tasted positively juicy.
Cranberry sauce had a pinkish red center with the image of a trio of red cranberries and something blue and white (any guesses on what it’s supposed to be?). It captured the tannic essence of cranberry juice, with the perfect touch of tartness to take the edge off the candy’s sweetness.
Apple cider had a little red apple in the center and a green and red shell. It tasted sweet and brightly full of apple juice flavor. I found it lightly tart with maybe just a hint of cinnamon to the finish. I appreciated that this tasted of genuine apple rather than the candied version that Jolly Rancher has codified.
Finally, sweet potato casserole had an orange and blue shell with a little stamp of a yam in the center. It had the spot on taste of sweet potato with a butterscotchy finish. While there was no denying what it was emulating, I found the savory and sweet combination in a hard candy to be strange.
I was impressed by how spot-on the flavors were. The sweet ones – peach cobbler, cranberry sauce, and apple cider – get OMs. The savory ones – pumpkin pie and sweet potato casserole – were a bit strange to consume as hard candies, so they get Os.