Tag Archives: junk food

31 Days of Junk: Jelly Belly Candy Corn (#19)

Last October (2017), I made it a goal to drink 31 different beers—a new one each day—by the end of the month. Incredibly, I was successful in my attempt, which I dubbed #31FallBeers (look it up on any form of social media!) This year, I wanted to try something similar, but there were two important changes I needed to make. Firstly, I wanted to be able to expound more, so I decided against social media blurbs in favor of long-form posts on my site. Second: it needed to be much, much cheaper than drinking 31 different beers. The result? #31DaysOfJunk. Strap in and hold on tight, and please enjoy this month-long odyssey into the sugary, fatty belly of the autumnal beast.

I didn’t realize this, but one of Jelly Belly’s original confections was candy corn and other mellowcreme treats. In fact, they were the primary confections before Jelly Belly started making jelly beans. Crazy, right?

The company, started in 1869, was originally called “Gustav Goelitz”, named after the man who started the company. It wasn’t until 1960 that the company started making jelly beans, and it would be another 16 years before they came up with the name “Jelly Belly”.

With that bit of history out of the way, it made me wonder: considering its history, would that mean Jelly Belly makes the best candy corn? Better than Brach’s?

After eating a few of Jelly Belly’s take on the tri-colored fall treat, I can say definitively, without a doubt: I don’t know!

They’re much smaller than Brach’s, that’s for sure. And they seem more nicely made: glossier and more of an effort to make the candy look like actual corn. (Notice the ridging on each piece.) The texture and flavor are also a bit different. These are chewier and have a softer candy corn flavor, versus other brands I’ve eaten which overwhelm my mouth with cloying sweetness after just a few pieces.

Would I be able to tell them apart from other brands in a blind taste test? Probably not. They taste like candy corn; I guess that’s all that matters.

 

31 Days of Junk: Peanut Butter Kisses (#18)

Last October (2017), I made it a goal to drink 31 different beers—a new one each day—by the end of the month. Incredibly, I was successful in my attempt, which I dubbed #31FallBeers (look it up on any form of social media!) This year, I wanted to try something similar, but there were two important changes I needed to make. Firstly, I wanted to be able to expound more, so I decided against social media blurbs in favor of long-form posts on my site. Second: it needed to be much, much cheaper than drinking 31 different beers. The result? #31DaysOfJunk. Strap in and hold on tight, and please enjoy this month-long odyssey into the sugary, fatty belly of the autumnal beast.

Sadly, when the Necco candy company shuttered its doors earlier this year (don’t worry: it’s apparently coming back soon), one of the casualties—besides Necco Wafers and Valentine’s Day staples, Sweethearts—were “Mary Janes”. (No, not that, you stoney-baloney goofballs.) And with it went its classic old-timey bag art.

Thankfully, the instantly recognizable black and orange wax wrappers remain—and while the name has changed (to “peanut butter kisses”), the concept has not: chewy, peanut butter taffy with a bit of real peanut butter in the center. In other words: mother’s milk. (No, not the Red Hot Chili Peppers album, you stoney-baloney goofballs.)

Earlier this month I reviewed what I considered the be the quintessential fall candy: Hershey’s Miniatures. But really, nothing says HALLOWEEN! more than these little black and orange-wrapped goodies. They’re so simple and old-fashioned, but they’re timeless. They might not be the candy you want to see at the bottom of your bag or bucket on Halloween night—they’ll never be on the same level as finding a full Snickers or Butterfinger bar. But if you didn’t find one or two of these suckers in the pile you dumped on your floor, would it really feel like Halloween? I think not.

Thankfully, they’re a shareable candy—the kind your parents, or old uncle, or elderly neighbor would be happy to take off your hands. (Think of Halloween as like a cooler, edgier Christmas—the theme of giving and sharing remains, but you get to dress like a demon hellspawn while doing it.)

31 Days of Junk: Candy Corn-Flavored Pez (#15)

Last October (2017), I made it a goal to drink 31 different beers—a new one each day—by the end of the month. Incredibly, I was successful in my attempt, which I dubbed #31FallBeers (look it up on any form of social media!) This year, I wanted to try something similar, but there were two important changes I needed to make. Firstly, I wanted to be able to expound more, so I decided against social media blurbs in favor of long-form posts on my site. Second: it needed to be much, much cheaper than drinking 31 different beers. The result? #31DaysOfJunk. Strap in and hold on tight, and please enjoy this month-long odyssey into the sugary, fatty belly of the autumnal beast.

Vern Tessio was onto something when he said, “If I could only have one food for the rest of my life? That’s easy: Pez. Cherry-flavored Pez. No question about it.” I share his opinion on the brick-shaped candies. Pez would definitely be a desert island snack for me.

What’s not to love? They’re tiny, they’re tangy, they’re tasty. Indeed, they taste like the flavors they purport to be, and they’re totally fun to eat! A candy dispenser—a different candy dispenser—with each purchase of Pez? Are you kidding? That’s like the perfect candy scenario for a kid. A dream come true.

Plus, to me, it always felt like I was eating an actual toy, like a Lego, and that stroked those innate, forbidden feelings that children have deep down—of wanting to eat a toy, but not have it do any major damage to your internal organs. Such a satisfying feeling.

If I had my pick, I’d say I’m a lemon Pez kinda guy, which is interesting as lemon is usually my last choice for candies that come in various flavors (Warheads, Sour Patch Kids, Mike and Ike, Skittles, et. al.). It just goes to show you the power of Pez. But really, all flavors of Pez are great, and I would take any one of them, any time.

The Candy Corn Pez have a strong maple scent right out of the package. Butterscotch, maybe. Definitely buttery. Waffles and syrup? Candy corn is buttery, for sure, but it has almost a marshmallow smell out of the bag.

Flavor-wise, they do a decent job of replicating the taste of candy corn, while still maintaining that signature Pez “tang”. Mostly maple, but again, heavy butter flavor, too. If you close your eyes and imagine candy corn, they do the trick. They also taste like another candy I’ve eaten before, but I cannot figure out what it is for the life of me. It’s driving me nuts! It’s particularly noticeable when I toss more than a couple Pez in the ol’ maw at one time (which is every time).

When Halloween rolls around when I’m stuck on my desert island, I’ll break out the Candy Corn Pez, for sure.

31 Days of Junk: Boo Berry Fruit Roll-Ups (#13)

Last October (2017), I made it a goal to drink 31 different beers—a new one each day—by the end of the month. Incredibly, I was successful in my attempt, which I dubbed #31FallBeers (look it up on any form of social media!) This year, I wanted to try something similar, but there were two important changes I needed to make. Firstly, I wanted to be able to expound more, so I decided against social media blurbs in favor of long-form posts on my site. Second: it needed to be much, much cheaper than drinking 31 different beers. The result? #31DaysOfJunk. Strap in and hold on tight, and please enjoy this month-long odyssey into the sugary, fatty belly of the autumnal beast.

I have this theory that all Fruit Roll-Ups taste the same.

I think our ability to discern the flavors is mostly visual; we see that they’re called “strawberry”, so we believe they taste like strawberry. And like candy corn (another snack which I believe plays tricks with our tastebuds) Fruit Roll-Ups are a package deal: flavor, smell, texture. You can close your eyes and realize you’re eating a Fruit Roll-Up because of the plastic wrap you must unfurl it from, and that slick, stippled, chewy texture that the Roll-Ups are known for. But can you close your eyes and tell what flavor you’re eating?

This is a long way to say that these Boo Berry Fruit Roll-Ups (“Razzle Boo Blitz” flavored) just taste like, well, Fruit Roll-Ups. Kinda like how all Oreos—no matter the limited time flavor—just taste like Oreos.

Don’t get me wrong: they’re yummy and tangy and blue, and they make me feel like I’m 8-years-old again, in the school cafeteria, eating my PB&J (where the J has sorta bled through the bread a bit). But it feels like they dropped the ball with the Boo Berry crossover. For a cereal that is supposedly the first blueberry-flavored cereal, you think they might’ve pulled out all the stops for this Roll-Up. Instead, they’ve just delivered the generic “tangy blue” flavor that so many fruit snacks already have in their arsenal.

But then, I’m a 30-something debating the flavor profiles of a fruit snack marketed for children, so who’s really won and who’s lost here? If you need me, I’ll be drowning my sorrows in a carton of Juicy Juice apple juice. Can someone help me with the straw?

31 Days of Junk: Spooky Junior Mints (#12)

Last October (2017), I made it a goal to drink 31 different beers—a new one each day—by the end of the month. Incredibly, I was successful in my attempt, which I dubbed #31FallBeers (look it up on any form of social media!) This year, I wanted to try something similar, but there were two important changes I needed to make. Firstly, I wanted to be able to expound more, so I decided against social media blurbs in favor of long-form posts on my site. Second: it needed to be much, much cheaper than drinking 31 different beers. The result? #31DaysOfJunk. Strap in and hold on tight, and please enjoy this month-long odyssey into the sugary, fatty belly of the autumnal beast.

It’s taken me years to warm up to the alien combination of mint and chocolate. Mint and chocolate? Who came up with that, man? That’s like saying “lemon and chocolate”. It’s a forbidden dance. Such different flavor combinations were never meant to mingle. Chocolate is meant to be paired with other sweet flavors. (Okay, and occasionally ‘sea salt’, you snobs.) Sure, mint and lemon come in sweet variations in the candy world, but neither are, by their nature, sweet.

I think I first flirted with the odd couple when I tried mint chocolate chip ice cream for the first time. The mint was more of a muted background flavor; an afterthought. A brief cooling sensation that cleared the way for the main attraction: the chocolate flakes. Plus, I’m always down to eat green ice cream, no matter what the flavor it.

But I never got into York Peppermint Patties, though my dad swore by them. I did appreciate that they were enrobed in dark chocolate—that’s always a good thing. But let’s be honest: because of its gooey filling, it’s basically like eating chocolate-covered toothpaste.

This is the same reason I can’t get down with Junior Mints. The soft, paste-like center makes me think I’m eating Colgate, man! How can you not think you’re eating toothpaste when it’s the exact same flavor and consistency? Yuck.

However, these Spooky Junior Mints get major bonus points for switching up the color of the filling. Not only do we get orange, but we also get black! How cool is that! Sometimes that’s all you gotta do: switch up the color. The orange filling is noticeably oozier than the black filling. In fact, the black filling is downright solid. Maybe it’s just the batch I got. But if both fillings were equally as runny, it could make for a fun game of biting into one and blindly trying to guess which color you got.

Charming, yes. But you haven’t yet completely swayed me, “mint and chocolate”. Yuck.

31 Days of Junk: Pumpkin Patch Orange Pop Rocks (#11)

Last October (2017), I made it a goal to drink 31 different beers—a new one each day—by the end of the month. Incredibly, I was successful in my attempt, which I dubbed #31FallBeers (look it up on any form of social media!) This year, I wanted to try something similar, but there were two important changes I needed to make. Firstly, I wanted to be able to expound more, so I decided against social media blurbs in favor of long-form posts on my site. Second: it needed to be much, much cheaper than drinking 31 different beers. The result? #31DaysOfJunk. Strap in and hold on tight, and please enjoy this month-long odyssey into the sugary, fatty belly of the autumnal beast.

I was on my third glass of wine (2014 Syrah, Gainey Vineyard, Santa Ynez Valley) when I remembered I hadn’t eaten my #31DaysOfJunk candy for the day. Suddenly, I was struck with a bit of a dilemma: what candy would pair well with a wine that features flavors like dark fruit, chocolate, and black pepper?

I would have gone with some Hershey’s Miniatures—they probably would’ve been pretty perfect, in fact—but I’ll be danged if I didn’t already review them earlier in the week. My other options included sour things, marshmallowy things, and a few candy corn/mellowcreme style treats—none of which really called out to me and my purple tongue.

I eventually decided on Pumpkin Patch Orange Pop Rocks. For whatever reason, I felt the zip and effervescence of the ‘rocks would pair nicely with the juicy, big flavor of this delicious goddamn wine I’m currently in the middle of drinking.

And pair well I think they did. Look, you can never really go wrong with Pop Rocks. Their packaging is great (gotta love bright colors on a black background) and the product itself is pure magic: it feels like you’re eating carbonated moon dust or something.

The flavor here isn’t anything out of the ordinary—straight-up orange. And the thing about Pop Rocks is the flavor is never overpowering. It’s present, but the main draw is the popping action. That’s what you come from, that’s what takes center stage. So the subtle flavoring made it a good choice to pair with this wine. Have I mentioned how delicious it is? Seriously, if you ever find yourself in Santa Barbara County along the 1, I highly recommend stopping by one of their many wineries. So many great wines out there!