New Candies at Sweets and Snacks 2011: Bodily Functions
Today, some fresh candies that made an impression at the Sweets and Snacks Expo. I notice an inadvertent theme. Is the digestive tract* a new direction in candy concepts?
Farts: I was so put off by the name of this candy that I almost passed it by. This photo is all the Farts I brought home to sample, less three that I ate just before I wrote this, when I discovered that they actually taste really good! Clearly, when they decided to call them Farts, I was not the target consumer. But if your kids bring some home, try them. Flavors are (soothingly) predictable: green apple, purple grape, pink bubblegum. They are small nuggets, sour in a gentle way, grainy, softer than Nerds with a nice crunch that will not harm your dentist’s handiwork. If you eat more than one flavor at a time, the flavors cancel out and they just taste like chemicals. But they do not smell like farts at all.
Overload: While much of the latest in sweets and snacks is about being more healthy, more natural, more virtuous, or at least seeming that way, there are always the contrarians. I met a couple of guys from Long Island who seem very confident that there will always be a market for American much-ness. And I suspect they may be on to something. (Sigh. The genie is already out of that bottle, sorry Michelle.) Overload is based on the premise that if you like one candy at a time, you’ll love three. So these folks have piled a chocolate sandwich cookie on top of a peanut butter cup and sprinkled it with mini-M&M’s. There are variations on this theme involving chocolate chip cookies, Butterfinger chips, etc. This is the candy you’d get if you went to Cold Stone Creamery and left out the ice cream. I did not bother flipping the package over to look at the nutrition information. I doubt anyone who buys this item will do it either.
Jelly Belly Dips: Jelly Belly has always taken a creative approach to the jelly bean: unlike traditional beans, the folks at JB see an inside wrapped in an outside, and imagine flavors that way. But Dips takes the principle to a new level. They stripped the grainy coating off the “belly” part and instead dipped it in dark chocolate. In addition to creating an entirely novel candy for the U.S. market, this evidently shaves a fraction of a calorie off each bean, so you can worry a little less when you notice you ate the whole package, which you will because they are soft and chocolatey and yummy. The fruit assortment (coconut, orange, strawberry, cherry, strawberry) works very well with the dark chocolate. There is also a mint variety (packaged separately). If you mix in a few regular beans in the same flavors, you have a very pretty and tasty candy bowl. These have been a big hit already, and I heard murmurs that even more flavors might be in the works.
There is nothing like Dips made for the U.S. market (maybe chocolate coated gummi bears are close, but I find those strange and not so good). However, similar candies have been long popular in Japan. You can find various brands of chocolate or white chocolate coated gummis in Japanese groceries on this side of the Pacific too (see a review of Meiji Gummy Choco on candyblog.net, for example). I don’t know whether Jelly Belly was inspired by this Japanese confection, or just that good ideas tend to appear, but it is nice that we now have a domestic version.
Morinaga Hi Chew Peach Flavor: And while we are on the subject of Japanese confections, let us pause to savor the delicious spongy gumminess that is Morinaga Hi Chew. Hi Chew boasts its intense, juicy fruit flavors, so a new flavor is exciting news. Morinaga even hired a publicist to send out press releases in advance of the peach debut at the show, and candy bloggers for the past couple of weeks have been all a-twitter to grab their samples and chew away.
I arrive at one end the Morinaga booth, where they have a long row of samples for about 15 flavors. I am directed to the peach at the other table. I stride over, saying “Where is this famous peach flavor I have heard so much about?” The rep behind the counter stares at me, eyes wide. “How did you know about the peach flavor?” It is so new that they don’t even have properly wrapped samples yet, they are just pulling the wax-paper squares out of the retail packages. I give him my best wise-and-mischievous look. “Because it’s my business to know these sorts of thing,” I reply and laugh. He looks intensely puzzled and worried. Then relief: “Oh, he told you,” gesturing down to the other end of the booth where I started. I shake my head and intone, “No. I just know.” Poor guy. Now, imagining himself confronted with either a mind reader or a corporate spy, he is becoming quite flustered. I rescue him with the truth: “Your publicist sent me a press release! Everybody is talking about the new peach flavor!” Well, everybody except the Morinaga representatives at the trade show, I guess.
Hot Lix: When you are offered the chance to eat something really strange, who will you be: Terry Timid or Bertha Bold? This time, it was a bowl of chocolate coated beetle larvae. I decided to put on my Bertha Bold hat; why shouldn’t I be that fearless person who jumps in and says yes! So yes, I did sample the chocolate worm, the chocolate cricket, and even the cheddar worm on the savory side. I did, so now I can say I’ve done it. That means I don’t have to do it again.
Tasting notes: The chocolate covered worm/larva is the easiest to begin with. The shape is not obviously insectoid, so your mind is not rebelling right away. And in the mouth, it begins well: smooth chocolate, nice melty mouthfeel, a bit of crunch from the dried larva. So far not bad. Swallow. Hmm. Wait, what’s that? The chocolate is gone, and now I’m just left with the aftertaste of worm! Not good. Cricket goes a bit better, although the spiky cricket shape is a little less appealing.
Is fraternity pranking that big of a market? In related insect candy news, I also picked up a sample scorpion lollipop thinking my kid would go for the weird factor. She just said “eew.” She would rather eat a fart.
Next post: Nostalgia: new candies for old-timers.
*Did you get it? Un-scramble the candies to Dip, Lick, Chew, Overload, and then Fart. Fizzies, Alka Seltzer-style fizzing tablets, will be reviewed in the next post, as a potential remedy.