Gummy Bears & M&Ms
Gummy Bears & M&Ms
Caramel doughnut cone with salted caramel syringe, The Doughnut Bar, Brisbane Australia
Kasugai – Strawberry Gummy Candy
These are are another fruit (no pun intended) of my local supermarket’s frankly bizarre stocking choices. I took a photo with no intention of buying them (£1.20 for 45g of sweets is bloody steep), but a few comments extolling their virtues on Facebook forced my hand.
A return trip was taken. A purchase was made. Another weird product was discovered – these 73% lizardfish stick things
Anyway, to the sweeties.
I tore the bag open, and was instantly hit by a strong, sweet whiff. This despite the small packet inexplicably having one of those reseal clip things at the top (is anyone going to fail to finish a 45g bag of sweets?).
I poured the contents out to see what I was dealing with – they were a touch bigger than I expected, and therefore there really isn’t many to a packet, mine had 9. They are VERY squishy. Much more than, say, Haribo Starmix dummies, which to my mind are the gold standard of gummy sweet texture. They are even more squishy than the red and black berry-jelly things you get at cinema pick n mix stalls.
The flavour – strangely far less intense than the smell, which carried a faintly chemical nose to it as well. The very soft nature of the sweets was actually not all that bad, but has left a strangely tingly feeling in my teeth, like they’ve been cheated of a few chews and are having a moan. I hope that makes some sort of sense.
Do they taste of strawberries? Actually, yeah, kind of. I’ve had freeze-dried strawberries before, on an ice-cream at a very posh restaurant, and this really is quite close to that flavour. Not actual strawberries, but it’s something. Like the echo of strawberries after a scientist beat them up in the back room behind his lab, they just want it all to end. Maybe that’s why they’re so soft?
Anyway, I digress. Are these nice? Yes, reasonably. Would I buy them again? Hell no. £1.20 for 9 ok sweets? Good god. The midget gems at Tesco are 25p for 200g, I prefer the texture, plus you get a variety of flavours. And Haribo of all shapes and sizes are generally about a quid a bag in most places these days.
All in all, curiosity sated, but these don’t deliver the high octane sugar rush they’d need to justify that sort of price.
Kit Kat Chunky – Cookie Dough
I’d spotted these a few weeks ago, and instantly fancied checking them out. I’ve not had a Kit Kat in years, maybe decades, but the cookie dough factor really piqued my interest.
So tonight, on a late trip to Tesco to sate a light snack craving, I grabbed one at the checkout and brought it back to Casa Santero (where the magic happens, as they’d say on Cribs).
Bite 1. What is this bullshit? The cookie “dough” is solid. Not dough. More solid than a properly cooked cookie, which as everyone knows, should only break after passing a 90 degree bend. It’s brittle, firm, a little granular, and claiming it to be cookie dough in the way the public understands the term is a bloody lie.
My flat mate seemed strangely unmoved by my effing and jeffing, so on I ploughed. Maybe it was a mistake on that bit? Nope, all the same. Kind of like set icing that’s been left for a while and is a bit too dry. The chocolate itself is the kind of nasty cheap milk chocolate that I struggle with unless there’s something genuinely interesting within (like Boost Bites, for instance). This was sickly and unsatisfying.
The core concept of Kit Kats remains sound – the wafer really adds a lovely crunch to the bite. I’ve never been sold on the “chunky” concept, the traditional flat multi-fingered bar is a classic that takes some beating. I’m sure there must be a dark chocolate version out there I’d love.
Bit these cookie dough imposter? This should hang its head in shame and jog on.
Brookside Dark Chocolate Coated Soft Fruit Flavoured Centres
My local Tesco is weird. It’s quite new, and I suspect the manager hasn’t lived or worked in this area before. The aisles are laid out in a bafflingly un-Tesco-like configuration. There is an outrageously large Japanese food section, that I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone stood at, in prime supermarket aisle real estate. A few weeks ago they reshuffled everything in a way that actually somehow made even less sense.
But in this reshuffle I spotted these. Naturally, not anywhere near the confectionary section, but by the biscuits.
I was immediately interested, then clocked the price – £3.40 per bag (195g contents). As a man raised in the North of England who spends a considerable amount of time around Yorkshire and Yorkshiremen due to my support of Sheffield Wednesday, this was enough to put me off instantly. Haribo cost a quid a bag or thereabouts, I like them, easy peasy. If I need chocolate, I like those mini-Boost things, again, quid a pack – Jurassic Park!
But on every visit I’d find myself in front of these, surrounded by a confusingly laid-out selection of sweet and savoury biscuits and inexplicably placed Eastern European pickled root vegetables, winking at me from the top shelf like Jo Guest in the mid-to-late 90s.
So a few weeks ago, nursing a mild hangover and with the rare promise of a night in with me, myself and I for company I took the plunge, spent dat paper, and bought dem sweets. I signed up for Netflix, started on the savoury snacks and pizza, and tuned into Stranger Things in preparation for the chocolatey denouement.
One evening, 7 episodes, and several thousand calories later, I’m delighted to report – these sweets are absolutely banging.
The chocolate is apparently 41% chocolate solids – not as much as I’d like in a bar, but certainly a lot darker than normal for this sort of sweet. They are kind of like a firm, fruity jelly sweet crossed with a milk chocolate raisin, after having sex with a bar of Green & Black’s.
Against my expectations, I found I preferred the slightly sweeter pomegranate ones. In truth though, the two complement each other nicely. I have no idea what acai is, and I suppose I should google that.
After posting on Facebook, it became apparent that these are a Canadian/American standard, which makes sense as Tesco has in recent years made a point of having an American section, full of Twinkies, Lucky Charms, and so on. The price presumably reflects the import cost and scarcity in the UK.
Since starting writing this piece, Tesco have slashed the price to £2.50 a bag in an offer (and so I naturally bought 6 bags, and keep having unfortunate incidents after midnight that undermine my efforts in the gym), although it’s not clear whether that’s a temporary measure to shift remaining stock that isn’t selling, or an attempt to drum up a fanbase, or what.
But I am basically addicted to these now. Highly recommended.