Haribo Pico-Balla

I got really excited when I saw this bag of Haribo Pico-Balla at the dollar store. They looked like my beloved European licorice pencils that have yet to catch on in the U.S. Could it be that they were hiding in the dollar store of the mall all along?

They certainly looked the part – colored fruit licorice wrapped around fondant fillings. The fillings were even extra fancy, with two colors!

Alas, while they were similar to my licorice pencils, they weren’t quite right.

For starters, the texture of the Pico-Balla was a bit too stiff and plasticy. Licorice pencils should have some bite to them, but these guys involved too much gnawing.

As for the flavors, they were weird and just didn’t mesh for me. Turquoise stuck out because its fondant filling was yellow and purple, while the other three had blue and orange.

The turquoise fruit licorice portion tasted like fruit punch, while the sweet fondant had a light anise and minty finish. It was simultaneously sweet and creamy and herbal.

The yellow coating tasted sweet with a light citrus tinge. Green tasted like the yellow, sans the citrus tinge, and maybe had a light apple finish, but maybe I was imagining it? And red just tasted like generic artificial red candy.

The orange and blue fondant fillings tasted of sherbet. I couldn’t pick out a particular flavor; they were just sweet and creamy and fruity.

I’m not sure why, but to me, the fruit licorice texture and flavors were just completely incompatible with the sherbet-y fondant fillings.

In the end, I found the Pico-Balla flavors and textures to be off-putting. They’re not awful, but they are rather blech, so a .

Haribo Fruity Pasta

Haribo Fruity Pasta claims that it’s “extra sour” on the bag, but it’s not. It also claims that it’s “gummi candy”, but it’s not quite what I would consider to be gummi. And for good measure, they didn’t really look like pasta either.

There’s plenty of sour sugar in the bag, on the gummis, and in the gummis’ nooks and crannies, but it was more sweet than sour. As for the gummi part – the texture was neither soft nor squishy. Instead, it was like chewing on stiff plastic, and the little bits that resulted were sticky, dissolved slowly, and got stuck in the nooks and crannies of my teeth.

To me, the “gummis” didn’t look much like pasta. The plate on the bag already looked weird with its super short strands. The actual pieces looked even weirder, like tiny, truncated lasagna noodles.

Red was strawberry – a little floral and a little plasticky, like Twizzlers but fruitier. Yellow was pear, with a mild fruit flavor and a slightly pear-y bite.

Green was apple, but it didn’t taste like green granny smiths. Instead, it really nailed the flavor of a golden delicious apple, especially on the finish.

In summary, I found these to be neither sour nor gummi nor pasta, but they were fruity, and the weird texture was strangely compelling in an off-putting way. I wouldn’t buy them again, but I did slowly work my way through the whole bag over the course of a few months An O.

Haribo Sour S’ghetti

I’ve often seen bags of Haribo Sour S’ghetti in stores but usually opted for more familiar gummis. I finally took the Sour S’ghetti plunge when they showed up at Aldi for around $1 a bag, a deal that was too good to pass up.

The s’ghetti are ~2 inch gummi noodles covered in granulated sugar. They have a super stiff chew that really gets stuck in your teeth. The noodles come in three flavors: apple, strawberry, and blueberry.

Apple is green, yet tastes more mellow and floral than granny smiths do. It also lacks the sour tang of granny smiths.

The red strawberry is a slightly medicinal red fruit flavor. Because of that, I originally pegged it as cherry, but the bag has pictures of strawberries on it, so strawberry it must be.

Finally, the blue blueberry just tastes of sweetness and fruitiness. There’s a strong finish I can’t quite place – either fruit punch or blue Gatorade?

There’s nothing extraordinary about these gummis. I didn’t mind the stiff texture, though some may be annoyed. The messiness of the granuated sugar coating (it got everywhere) was a bit annoying, but I was more miffed that it was sweet rather than sour. These weren’t nearly sour enough for my taste. In fact, I didn’t find them sour at all!

I give them an O. I probably wouldn’t buy them again, even if they were on sale.

Haribo TropiFrutti

I bought these Haribo TropiFrutti somewhere in Spain. I saw them in lots of shops in Europe, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen them in the U.S.

The texture of these really sets them apart. They have this weird shell that’s hard to the touch and sort of tough to chew. It reminds me of the crust that forms on chewy candy that’s been left out to dry up. The gummi inside is soft, and when they TropiFrutti are eaten, they textures mix together.

They come in six colors and a variety of shapes – fruit shapes plus toucans and palm trees. We’ll start at the top of the photo and work our way down.

Banana is yellow. I don’t particularly like banana flavored candy. The distillation of fresh banana flavor into artificiality just doesn’t appeal to me. This one tasted of sweetness, plus the scent of bananas. It did not appeal to me.

The dark red toucan also came in the shape of a bunch of grapes, so I thought it was grape. But when I tasted it, it carried a raspberry-like seedy bite. I’d guess that it was raspberry, but there’s a picture of a passionfruit on the wrapper, so maybe it’s passionfruit?

The orange wedge tasted mildly orange with a bitter bite. It was weird and soapy/grassy rather than zesty. Yuck.

The white pineapple tasted just like pineapple, with an authentic core-y bite.

The pink strawberry carries a mild berry flavor. I don’t associate strawberries with tropical-ness, but at least it’s not weird tasting.

Last but not least, the palm tree. I think it was kiwi? It had mild grassy notes and a sweet flavor that I identified as kiwi (though maybe only because there was a kiwi on the bag).

All in all, I’m a little conflicted about what rating to assign this. On the one hand, I didn’t enjoy most of the flavors and disliked the texture. On the other hand, I managed to eat most of the bag, though just a few at a time per sitting over the course of a couple of months.

In the end, they get a . I decided it was telling that I couldn’t manage to stomach eating more than a few at a time.

Haribo Maoam Stripes

As promised, here’s a timely review of Haribo Maoam Stripes. If you missed it, they’re currently under scrutiny having inappropriate wrappers.

I first came across the Maoam Stripes last summer in Cambridge, England, and I was fortunately enough to get a second dose from my residential college’s associate master. She got them via a Swedish friend and was kind enough to think of me and share.

Maoam Stripes are a soft, chewy taffy. They come in five flavors: orange, lemon, cherry, strawberry, and raspberry. The Maoam from England were thin, rectangular sticks, while the Swedish Maoam were blockier rectangles.

All the Maoam were a creamy, pale off-white. They may have vaguely been tinged the color of their fruit flavors, but it’s also highly likely that that was purely the power of suggestion.

They have a smooth chew that’s round and clean, with a pleasantly glossy mouthfeel.

Orange was sweet, with just a bit of citrus flavor. It was bright and fruity without being tart.

Lemon was similar to orange, but it tasted a bit brighter and just a bit more tart. It also carried a slightly bitter zesty note that made the fruit flavor feel more genuine (though its strident sweetness definitely made it clear that it was candy).

Cherry had a deep, dark cherry flavor. It carried a tinge of bitter cherry tannins, in a good way. Again, this helped make it feel more true to the fruit that it was emulating.

Strawberry was bright and florally sweet. I usually find strawberry candy uninspiring, but this was actually enjoyable – if still not quite inspiring.

Finally, raspberry. I was afraid of this one, as I dislike most raspberry candies (and don’t really like fresh raspberries all that much, though they’re great in berry sangria). I needn’t have worried. The raspberry Maoam was surprisingly pleasant. There was no seedy bitter bite to it, so I didn’t really identify it as raspberry flavored. Instead, it occupied a portion of the flavor spectrum between cherry and strawberry.

I really enjoyed the Maoam taffy. The texture is great, the flavors are bright and cheerful, and they’re incredibly addictive. They’re like the European version of Starburst, only oodles better. An OMG.

Haribo Maoam Sour Candies

In light of recent news that’s been pushing a lot of traffic to my site, I thought I’d throw up some pictures of “Haribo Maoam Sour Candies” – really Maoam Stripes, a yummy, brightly flavored taffy treat I picked up last summer in England – to show people what they’re really looking for.

I don’t think the green guy’s doing anything illicit in these wrappers, though I’ll admit that the controversial ones are much more… questionable.

I have a set of the same candies with but with different, tamer wrappers (given to me by my associate master) that I’ve been meaning to get out a review for. Will hop to it to take advantage of this news flash.

Haribo Fruit Salad

I was carded when I bought this bag of Haribo Fruit Salad. Why was I carded for gummi candy? Because I bought it in the specialty foods section of a liquor store, and apparently you have to be 21 to buy anything in the store, even if it’s just harmless Haribo.

Before we begin, I must apologize for the lack of photos. My friend Cassie and I indulged in these right after I bought them, so the bag got too beat up to be shot. I managed to save enough for a review and at least one photo!

They come in five flavors of gummi. All are soft, with just enough bite to feel it against the teeth but no bounce, and all are covered in granulated sugar.

From the top left, going clockwise:

The white wedge is grapefruit. There’s a zesty citrus bite to it that’s distinctively grapefruit. It adds a little bitter to the sweet that I found quite intriguing.

The red cherry tasted flat. It starts off sweet, then goes into a deep red cherry flavor with just a hint of medicinal tinge.

The orange wedge had a genuine tangerine flavor. Zesty and sweet and just slightly sour. It was great!

I think the yellow circle was lemon. It was sweet and tart, with a bit of floral acidity. The finish was sugary. All in all, it was pretty mild and sweet, which is why I only think it was lemon.

Finally, the green button was lime. It had a zesty grassiness that had a weird bite. I found it off-putting and blech.

I’ve seen these in the bulk bins at Wegmans, and I’d pick out the grapefruit and orange. They get OMs. The lmeon and cherry get Os, and the lime gets a .

Maoam Happy Chews

Maoam is a German candy brand that’s been owned by Haribo since the late 1980s. They’re sold under the Maoam name, but the packaging is quite Haribo-esque, and the Haribo name and website are on the back.

I first came across Maoam in England in the form of taffy, and they were also in a selection of Swedish “Saturday candies” that my college’s associate master gave me. This bag of Maoam Happy Chews was purchased in France, but I also saw them in Spain, further (highly unscientific) evidence that Haribo is king of non-chocolate candy in Europe.

Each Happy Chew is about the size of my first thumb joint. They’re shiny and colorful, and I like how the color is kind of sparse in places, so that the white under layer peeks through.

Happy Chews are kind of like giant, cylindrical Skittles. They’re covered with a hard sugar shell, and inside is a sweet, grainy, flavored chew. Like Skittles, the candies take a while to completely dissolve.

They come in six flavors. Orange is orange, which tastes like sweet orange juice with just a tinge of tartness. Yellow is lemon. It starts off dryly tart, then mellows out into sweet and natural lemony flavor.

I’m pretty sure green is apple, except it doesn’t really taste like apples. It is reminiscent of apple-flavored bon-bons, in that it’s so sweetly, generically fruity that it burns the back of my throat, but there’s nothing about it that recalls actual apples.

Pink is raspberry. I usually dislike raspberry flavored stuff, as I hate the seedy flavors, but this candy manages to make those characteristically seedy raspberry notes pleasant and plummy, making it not at all upsetting to my olfactory system.

Red (not pictured) is cherry. It packs quite a cherry bite and has an evolving flavor profile. It starts off sweet, then goes to tart, and finally the deep almost-but-not-quite medicinal cherry flavors come through.

Last, but certainly not least (as it was my favorite) is brown, which is cola flavored. It’s wonderfully complex and captures all the nuance of real soda. It starts of generically sweet, then melds into a bright and fruity cola flavor with just a twinge of bitterness and a lemony finish. It’s like Haribo cola gummies to the umpteenth power.

Overall, these guys are pretty good but only in moderation. While their sweetness isn’t cloying, they are throat-burningly sweet after a while. After eating six in a row for tasting, I felt oversugared. While I wouldn’t turn them down if a friend offered me one from his or her bag, I wouldn’t buy them again. An O.

Haribo Super Mini Frites

Europe had more varieties of Haribo than we get here in the states. There was a flier for a Haribo Factory in the tourism office of Avignon, but alas, you needed a car to get there, and we had none. Still, I managed to purchase/eat a variety of Haribo treats from grocery and convenience stores, including these Haribo Super Mini Frites.

My bag of Mini Frites was a mini bag with around a dozen or so frite gummies (French for fries). They’re sugar-coated rectangular fry shaped gummies with a sproingy chew that cleaves rather than sticks.  Each fry is about the size of the first two joints of my pinky nail, so they can be dispatched in one bite or two.

There are four flavors of frites: green is lime, orange is orange, yellow is lemon, and red is strawberry. Lime is zesty, orange is bright and citrusy, lemon is a rounder citrus flavor, with a light lemony finish, and strawberry is mellow in its fruitiness. They tasted like Sour Patch Kids, but brighter and more fun to chew (thanks to the sproinginess). If these were offered in the U.S., I’d go for them over Sour Patch Kids any day. An OMG.

Haribo Starmix

Haribo is all over the U.K. in a big way. I brought back a couple of big bags of Haribo mini bags to give out to friends as little “I thought of you while abroad!” gifts. In addition to standard Haribo gummis (twin cherries, happy cola, etc.), Haribo also comes in a variety of mixes. I saw Tangfantastics, Spooky Mix, Football Mix, and Starmix, just to name a few. I’ve chosen to review Starmix mostly because it was the first bag I bought and the only bag I ate slowly enough to take tasting notes.

Quite frankly, I have no idea why this is called Starmix. It contains foam and gummi hearts, foam and gummi fried eggs, gummi cola bottles, gummi bears, and gummi rings (the jewelry type, not the planetary type). Nothing in that bunch seems especially astral to me. Oh well. It’s still tasty.

The hearts are a strawberry gummi with a white foam backing. The yolk of the fried eggs are a yellow gummi that tastes faintly of lemon, with the same white foam of the strawberry serving as the albumen. If you’ve never had gummi foam before, it’s a strange textural sensation. Really, the only way I can describe is by saying it’s foamy.

The cola bottles are (duh) cola flavored, with a tinge of “brown” soda flavor accented with citrus. The gummi bears come in orange, yellow (lemon), and green (apple), and the ring colors include red (cherry), white (pineapple), orange (I swear, it’s tangier in ring form than in bear form), and lemon.

In hindsight, maybe the star in Starmix refers to favorites/best-sellers rather than to astronomy. A solidly standard, if not especially exciting, mix of Haribo gummis that get an OM. I liked the Tangfantastics better, mostly because those are covered in sour sugar.