Kooky

This Kooky candy bar was an impulse buy at the checkout line of my parents’ neighborhood grocery store, HEB. It’s a knockoff Twix that was shelved with a knockoff Snickers, 3Musketeers, and Milky Way, but I chose to buy the Kooky because it was on sale (3 for $1 instead of 2 for $1).

The Kooky called itself “biscuit and caramel covered with milk chocolate” with the tagline “That’s the way the Kooky crumbles” (groan). Like a Twix, there were two fingers per package.

The caramel with stiff and a little chewy. It tasted sweet with scorchy butter notes. I found it quite enjoyable, especially for a mass-market bar.

I also liked the biscuit layer. The cookie was dry and crumbling with some nice toasted notes that gave it some complexity.

Finally, the sweet milk chocolate coating was fairly standard. I had just the slightest tinge of a sour burn in my throat after I polished off one of the fingers, but I didn’t feel like it was too sweet since it was balanced out by the cookie.

I didn’t have a Twix to do a side-by-side comparison on this treat, but I think I actually would prefer the Kooky – I really enjoyed the darker flavor tinges that the toasted cookie and caramel brought. An OM.

Hello Panda – Strawberry and Double Choco

Hello Panda is Meiji‘s answer to Lotte’s Koala’s March: cream-filled cookies imprinted with cute animal cartoons. I got a couple of boxes to try in my free MunchPak samples, first in Strawberry and the following month in Double Choco.

The Hello Panda biscuits were either round or round with ears, like teddy bear heads. The Strawberry version was vanilla biscuits with strawberry cream, while Double Chocos were chocolate biscuits with “choco” cream.

Compared to the Koala’s March, the Hello Pandas had a more substantial crunch and a greater cookie to filling ratio. Strawberry’s biscuit was lightly sweet, while the center strawberry cream had the texture of a solid frosting and a floral sweetness to its artificial strawberry flavor.

The chocolate cookie of the Double Choco was darker in both appearance and flavor. It had a slight cocoa bittersweetness, like a mild Oreo cookie, and its chocolate filling was creamy with a slightly greasy feel.

I liked the Double Choco better than the Strawberry, which was too artificially floral for my taste. I did wish, however, that the Double Choco had more intensity of chocolate flavor and wasn’t quite so greasy. An O for both.

Jelly Belly Draft Beer

I think it’s safe to state that Jelly Belly is tops in their field of creatively flavorful jelly beans. Instead of resting on their laurels, they never stop innovating! Their newest product are Draft Beer flavored jelly beans.

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I was quite excited to be surprised with free samples to review. I was more excited that they came with an adorably tiny beer mug, which made for a fun photoshoot.

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The beans were striking right out of the package in two ways. One, they had Jelly Belly’s new jeweled look in a beautiful gold tone, and two, they had a strong, distinctive scent (regular Jelly Bellies don’t smell).

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These amber nuggets smelled boozy and yeasty, like beer does, but also sweet and floral, which made it smell more like beer that had gone a little funky. Or, I guess, like beer that hadn’t finished fermenting and turning its sugar into alcohol.

The Draft Beer beans tasted like a sweetened blonde beer. It started off sweet and honeyed, and then took on a little fermented yeastiness. There was no bitter bite to the end, which I appreciated since it is candy, after all.

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I’m a cocktail person, not a beer person (surprise, surprise, I have a sweet tooth), so I wouldn’t buy these for myself. They do, however, win points for novelty, and I can think they’d be a fun gift for beer aficionados. An O, just as a matter of personal preference.