Nestle FruTips – Chinese Assortment

On Monday, I reviewed the mango, grapefruit, and lychee FruTips that I bought in China. Today, I’ll review their regular flavor assortment.

The regular FruTips were the same size and texture as their specialized flavor counterparts, and they also contained lychee flavored jellies (white). You can refer to Monday’s review for my notes on texture and the lychee FruTips.

Yellow was lemon. It tasted tart and zesty with lots of bitey lemon zest flavors. Orange was orange and tasted of candied citrus. It, too, was quite zesty, but its flavor profile was more rotund and orangey.

Green was apple and tasted like apple juice. Pink was strawberry, which was floral and sweetly tasty.

Finally, purple was blackcurrant, which is not a flavor we usually get in the U.S. It had intense, seedy tannins with almost menthol-y undertones that gave it some bite.

Nearly six years ago, I wrote a review of Rowntree’s Fruit Pastilles that may be the same product as these, except this time around, I really liked them. I’m not sure if the Chinese ones were fresher or a different formulation, or what, but I think they’re worthy of an OM.

Nestle FruTips – Mango, Grapefruit, and Lychee

As previously mentioned, I’m way overdue for a review of Nestle FruTips from China. When I was in Shanghai this March, I bought of couple of fresh tubes to cover today and Friday. I’ll start with the Mango, Grapefruit, and Lychee tube.

The FruTips were thumbnail-sized flat disks that were covered in gritty sugar sand. The chew started off mostly soft with a bit of tension, then became softer and stickier as I chewed. The texture was smooth and felt like limpid jelly on my tongue.

Grapefruit was a white with a greenish tinge. It was tart with a slight pithiness that highlighted its bright citrusy grapefruit flavors.

Mango was a pale orange. It was round and floral with nice flash of tartness at the end, and it tasted of the tropical seediness of ripe mangos.

Finally, Lychee was white and tasted just like real lychees, though more like canned lychees than fresh ones. These were sweetly floral and addictively tasty.

I wish these were available in the U.S. They’re a great combination of flavors that we usually don’t get in American candies, and I enjoyed their intense fruit flavors and chewy texture. An OMG.

According to Wikipedia, these guys may be available in Canada. They may be the same thing as Rowntree’s Fruit Pastilles, which I had reviewed before in a different flavor arrangement but didn’t care for at the time.

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.


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.


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).


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.


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.

YumEarth Organics Fruit Snacks + Giveaway

Is there a different between gummis and fruit snacks? The former is definitely a candy and is usually viewed as an occasional treat for kids, whereas the latter is often found in school lunch boxes.

To me, they’re basically the same, though fruit snacks get a health washing. I think it’s because they can usually brag about being made with real fruit juice.

Case in point, YumEarth Organics’ (formerly Yummy Earth) fruit snacks. In addition to containing real fruit juice, they brag about being 100% natural, organic, and without artificial dyes.

I got some free samples to review, and permission to do a giveaway as well. More on that later…

The fruit snacks came in banana, cherry, peach, and strawberry. They were firm and dry on the outside, so that they almost had a shell, like what you get when candy gets dried out.

The fruit jelly immediately and cleanly yielded to my bite. The texture was firm with zero bounce, like a grainless fruit pate.

Banana (yellow) was mild and brightly sweet, almost tart in flavor. It had just a hint of banana flavor, enough so that I could tell it was the banana fruit snack (though the shape clued me in as well), but not so much that it was artificially off-putting.

This was the best banana-flavored candy or gummy that I’ve ever had. Usually I hate banana candies, but I loved this.

Cherry (pink circle) was also sweet, fruity, and lightly tart. It had a deep red fruit finish to the end and managed to avoid any cough syrup notes.

Peach (orangey circle) was sweet with a spot-on peach flavor. It was sweet and floral, and so close to the real thing that I could practically taste the peach fuzz.

Finally, strawberry (pink triangle) had the same fruity sweetness of the other gummis, plus a mild and floral strawberry undertone.

By avoiding the use of artificial ingredients, these fruit snacks from YumEarth managed to pack a ton of intense and delicious flavors into tiny packages. I give them an OM.

If you’d like to give these a try, YumEarth is letting me give away two bags of their back to school snack packs to one lucky reader. To enter, please leave a comment about your favorite lunchbox snack to pack for your kids or from when you were a kid.

I will randomly select one reader from the comments. Continental U.S. readers only, and contest closes a week from today, at 11:59 PM Eastern, Friday, August 30th, 2013. Good luck!

EDIT: This contest is now closed. Congrats to Caley on being my randomly selected winner!

Sour Punch Punchies

These Sour Punch Punchies were being heartily promoted at Sweets and Snacks, and I snagged a free sample to review for y’all. The wrapper called them “soft, chewy, and sour candy”, and they came in lemon, strawberry, tangerine, blue raspberry, and green apple.

Each Punchie had a fun little face printed on it. They were like spherical jelly beans with an extra thick sugar shell. That grainy shell cracked easily, revealing a chewy jelly center.

Lemon (yellow) was bright and tart with a zesty overtone reminiscent of Lemonheads. It finished with a sour lemon flavor.

Strawberry (red) was extremely floral and surprisingly tasty (I usually don’t like strawberry candies). Unfortunately, it finished with a heavy plasticky note.

Tangerine (orange) had a tartness that intensified as I chewed it, and it developed a great tanginess as well. There was just a hint of plasticky finish, but it was minimal.

Blue raspberry (blue) was about what you’d expect from blue raspberry, a flavor not found in nature. It was extremely sweet and fruity without any seediness, and again, that plasticky finish.

Finally, green apple brought a decent hit of tartness to start and a strongly sweet fake apple flavor. The plasticky notes were pretty apparent here as well, as they are in the green apple Sour Punch Straws.

I found these to be a fun sugar rush, despite the sometimes plasticky notes.  I definitely prefer them to Sour Punch Straws, and they pack more flavor than most Jelly Beans. I’m torn between an O and an OM – I’m feeling generous, so OM.

Cybele also covered them on her blog, and gave them 7/10.

Brookside Dark Chocolate – Acai with Blueberry & Pomegranate

These Brookside Dark Chocolate candies were free samples that I picked up at Sweets and Snacks. I got mini bags of their Dark Chocolate Acai with Blueberry, Dark Chocolate Pomegranate, and Dark Chocolate Goji with Raspberry, which I’ve previously reviewed.

All of these were little discs of flat jelly candies coated in dark chocolate. Some of those jelly discs were placed back to back to make full spheres, while others were left as little half spheres.

Dark Chocolate Acai with Blueberry may be the same product as Trader Joe’s Powerberries, which I’ve also previously reviewed. If they are the same, I was wrong about the Powerberries being abnormally-shaped Brookside candies, as the Brookside candies were similarly variable in size.

The dark chocolate coating was slightly grainy with a mild sweetness. Their centers had a mellow blueberry flavor that was jammy, like blueberry preserves.

While the fruitiness was nicely light and sweet, it wasn’t bright enough to cut through the sweetness of the chocolate. This was my least favorite of the three Brookside products, so an O.

Dark Chocolate Pomegranate’s center tasted more of cranberry juice than pomegranate. Like the Goji with Raspberry, its bright fruity sweetness really nicely cut through the chocolate, making it a harmonious flavor pairing.

I think the Goji with Raspberry are my favorite Brookside flavor, but the Pomegranate ones come in a close second. They’re just a tad more tannic. An OM.

Buddy Fruits Fruit Bites

Buddy Fruits was one of my saviors at Sweets and Snacks. After entire days of gorging on candy samples, their fruit pouches of blended fruit (basically apple+other fruits sauce in portable format) were a health preserver in a sea of sugar and salt.

In addition to free samples of their blended fruit pouches, which I ate while I at the Expo, I also got free samples of their Fruit Bites – little pouches of fruit gummis that were all natural, preservative free, and made only from fruit.

All of my Fruit Bites came in resealable, single-flavor 1 oz pouches. The Bites were soft with an instant give and no bounciness, similar to fruit pate but without the grain.

They reminded me of fruit leather, only in moist, gummified form. The colors were similar to those of fruit leather as well, deep purple-blacks and orange-browns that were clearly natural rather than due to artificial colors.

It meant that they didn’t make for super glam photos. I was nearly done with the photoshoot when I realized that the Bites were molded to look like their mascot’s face.

Pomegranate & Acai’s pouch contained 7 slices of apples and a pomegranate (I’m doubtful that’s a whole pomegranate, but it would be silly to say that it contained 48 arils or something). It tasted intensely of bright, sweet apple, and finished with a tannic edge of pomegranate juice, though if you told me it was cranberry, I would’ve believed you.

Raspberry’s pouch had 16 raspberries and 7 apple slices. The apple flavor here was less noticeable here – the seedy flavor of fresh raspberries dominated, which I enjoyed.

Banana had 10 slices of banana and 7 apples. It smelled strongly of overripe banana and tasted liked it smelled before yielding to the sweet intensity of the apples.

This was my least favorite. Though the banana flavor was genuine, it was almost too much so. I don’t like overripe bananas, and the Banana Bites just made me think of that half-mushed banana you dig out of the bottom of your backpack because you forgot you shoved it in there last week.

Apple’s pouch claimed 10 slices of apple. It packed a concentrated punch of apple cider sweetness into each little Bite.

Finally, orange (8 orange slices and 7 apple slices) was my favorite. It started off tasting just like a glass of orange juice before yielding to the bitter edge of zest and orange oil. I’m not sure how much little kids would like it, but I appreciated its complex capture of a real orange’s flavor nuances.

I was super impressed at how intense each Bite was. I felt satisfied eating just a few at a time because they packed so much flavor. Apple and orange were my favorites and get OMs and  Raspberry and Pomegranate & Acai get Os.

Banana gets an O as well – I didn’t like it, but I respect what it was going for, and I think people who really like bananas probably would like the Banana Bite as well.

Snapple Jelly Belly

Jelly Belly was promoting their new line of Snapple-flavored jelly beans at Sweets and Snacks. I picked up several free little sample bags while there and later got a larger free bag in the mail from the folks at Jelly Belly.

The five flavors are fruit punch, kiwi strawberry, mango madness, cranberry raspberry, and pink lemonade. While my bag had all five flavors mixed together, they also come in little bottle-shaped single-flavor containers.

Fruit Punch was dark purple. It started with notes of plum, then became slightly tart before mellowing out. I was pleasantly surprised at how it had a distinctively non-Hawaiian Punch flavor.

Kiwi Strawberry was a mottled pink. It started with the spot-on flavor of strawberry, then took on grassier notes of kiwi. This is one of my go-to Snapple flavors, so I know it well. The jelly bean version was more nuanced than the drink!

Mango Madness was orange. It started with a seedy-mango flavor that then took on some slight tartness. It then become sugary sweet and finished with a plasticky note that I wasn’t a fan of.

Cranberry Raspberry was a dark maroon/red. It tasted like lightly sweetened cranberry juice and had a slight raspberry seediness to the finish. That seedy factor ain’t my thing, but it was a nice representation of what you’d expect cranberry raspberry to be.

Finally, pink lemonade was a translucent pink with no mottles. It had a nice mild lemon flavor to start with a bit of tartness and just a hint of zest around the edge before finishing with a cane sugar sweetness.

These were a nice assortment of flavors with the high quality that you’d expect from Jelly Belly. Nothing too exotic or unexpected, but a solid spin-off/brand partnership. An O.

Cybele reviewed these back in April, if you want a second opinion.


Sunkist Fruit Gems

Jelly Belly recently sent me several free samples of their new products, including a bag of Sunkist Fruit Gems. Wait a second, you may be thinking – what’s new about Sunkist Fruit Gems? Rosa, you took a picture of some back in 2007!

Turns out Fruit Gems are new again. Since Jelly Belly bought the Sunkist line, they revamped it to make it with all natural ingredients. Consequently, their colors are now far more muted without artificial help.

The all natural Fruit Gems come in orange, lemon, grapefruit, raspberry, and blueberry. My bag of 9 was missing the raspberry flavor. Any mathematicians out there want to report on the probability of that happening?

The Fruit Gems retained their original texture – a soft fruit-pate with a granulated sugar shell. It yielded instantly to my bite, and its exposed surfaces were perfectly smooth, with a glossy feel on my tongue.

Orange was mildly sweet with a mellow candied orange flavor that lacked any zesty bite or citrus sourness. Compared to the Sunkist Orange Slices, which I also got as free samples, it was rather muted in flavor.

Lemon had a bright citrus zestiness and a postively tangy lemon flavor. There was a slight bitterness to the finish that I really enjoyed, as it made the flavor feel more genuine.

Grapefruit was pink and tasted just like grapefruit with its characteristic pithiness. Here, too, the finish had an enjoyable bitterness to it.

Finally, the maroon gem was blueberry. Its flavor was more like blueberry jam or that blueberry-ish stuff that they’ll put on your pancakes at IHOP: blueberry-esque rather than like the fresh fruit. It had a deep red fruit flavor and some noticeable tannins.

I enjoyed the lemon and grapefruit flavored ones. Blueberry was decent, and orange was nice but could have been punchier. Overall, I think they still get an OM, though I should note these also come individually wrapped in bulk bins, so you can pick and choose your favorite flavors.

If you want a second opinion, you can read Cybele’s take on them on her site.

Moritas Sour Gummies

This week I’ll be reviewing some candies that I picked up at a local Hispanic grocery store. First up are Ricolino’s Moritas Sour Gummies, which the bag describes as “pectin gummies with artificial blackberry and strawberry flavors [sic] sugar dots.”

At first glance, they looked like standard raspberry/blackberry gummi candies, though these were strawberry rather than raspberry. In fact, I found them to be better than other versions that I’ve had!

The sugar dots on the outside were what made these stand out. They were little balls of compressed sugar that crumbled into a burst of bright fruity, slightly sour flavor into my mouth. They carried all the flavor punch.

The soft jelly center had the instant give of fruit pate and a perfectly smooth texture. There was no chewy sproing that the gummi descriptor led me to expect.

The dark black/purple ones reminded me of currant flavors but without any tannic bite. The red ones had a lighter, more floral note and was like a sour strawberry.

These were nicely flavorful and tart. I’d buy them again if I needed a sweet pick-me-up. An OM.