Joyva Sesame Crunch

Joyva Sesame Crunch

Since we seem to be drowning in jelly beans this week, I thought it might be nice to consider a candy from Passover also.  When I set out to buy Passover candy, this wasn't what I had in mind. I asked a Jewish friend if there was a "jelly bean equivalent" for Passover, which made her laugh.  She said there wasn't.  I was hoping to find something similar to the candy on this web page, Payard's Peanut Butter & Jelly Matzoh Sandwich.  I thought maybe a visit to the nearest kosher deli might yield some fun results and hopefully a Peanut Butter and Jelly Matzoh Sandwich dipped in dark chocolate.....YES, PLEASE!!!

I had an excellent conversation with the owner and he explained that Passover isn't a big candy holiday. Macarons are very popular, but since they aren't a candy, I can't review them here.  He suggested we try these sesame crunch candies. He said this is a very popular selling candy, but it's not specific to Passover. The ingredients are sesame seeds, sugar, corn syrup and honey. You can see by the golden color below that this is a boiled sugar/corn syrup/honey candy. The easiest thing to compare this to would be peanut brittle.

The bar is hard like peanut brittle, it has a very nice solid crunch to it and the taste is very sweet and also very nutty...again, like peanut brittle.  But where peanut brittle is a field of hardened sugar with sparse nuts sprinkled in, the ratio here is very different, this is all sesame seeds, all the time. The sesame seeds get stuck in your back teeth, but I liked the combination. The "unsweetness" of the sesame seeds mixed very well with the "supersweetness" of the sugar mixture.  Joyva also makes an individually wrapped bite-sized version of this candy.  I think I would have preferred it, as biting off a piece of this with my side molars was serious work.

Joyva Sesame Crunch

My quest for Passover candy was fun.  It's one of the things I love about writing this blog...I get an idea and I get to follow it wherever it leads.  I also got to try a good candy I probably would not have tried otherwise.  It was great to meet a nice shop owner who was willing to talk to me about Passover.  I also got to ponder the idea of a MAJOR holiday without a candy tie-in.  In the US, all of the Christian holidays (plus most national holidays, minus the 4th of July) have MAJOR candy tie-ins...I wonder what it would be like to have a holiday that wasn't so commercialized...that's a a nice thing to ponder this week, while I drown in jelly beans.

Taste: 3/5 Liked It
Calorie Counter: 1 bar = 1 serving = 190 calories, 1g fat, 15g sugars
Price: $1.00 purchased at a local Jewish deli/grocery store
Joyva Web Site

NECCO Dazzled Tarts Sweethearts Candies

NECCO Dazzled Tarts Sweethearts Candies

Happy Valentine's Day! Oh..I think I'm a few days late. Must be the sugar coma I was in after eating this 16oz bag of Sweethearts in one sitting. I don't do a lot of candy history and I certainly do not know as much about candy as Cybele over at Candyblog, so if you want to read about Sweethearts changing colors and flavors, please go read her excellent NECCO Conversation Hearts (Sweethearts) 2010 review.

What I do know is that I'm drawn to sugar and corn syrup and that I like compressed sugar candy. I picked up this bag of the new, I mean the "Sparkliest, Tart-Sweetest Candy Ever!" at Wal-Mart in this gigantic 16oz bag for $2.00. What I forgot was that I also had an 8oz bag that NECCO kindly gave me at the 2010 Sweets and Snacks EXPO and my lovely wife had picked up the tiny 1 oz. boxes for my son to give to kids at school. That explains why I'm just now waking up from my sugar coma.

NECCO Dazzled Tarts Sweethearts Candies

You can sort of see how sparkly these new dazzled sweethearts are in the picture above. The darker colors had the best sparkle showing, the lighter colors, not so much.  A few facts for water cooler conversations: They update the sayings and pictures on sweethearts every year, while recycling some classics. There are 80 total "conversations" found on this candy. They create 10 to 14 MILLION pounds of this little conversation hearts per year. To do that, they produce this candy 11 months out of the year, all for Valentine's Day.

This is the tart package so the flavors include pink lemonade, wild berry grape, sour apple, extreme tangerine, watermelon and blue raspberry. I thought all of the flavors were good except the watermelon. I didn't care for the taste of that one at all. The sour apple and extreme tangerine were my favorite and I quickly ate most of those. stomach. So much sugar all at one time. What I like about Sweethearts is finding those chewy soft ones mixed into the bag. You know the ones I'm talking about. The ones where you bite into them and they just fall apart and melt in your mouth. So good. I thought these had a great flavor, I like the tart flavor more than I thought I would and I think I might like it slightly better than the regular flavored Sweethearts. I just ate a few more handfuls of these while writing this, so I'm going to go take a nap now.

Taste: 4/5 Really Liked It
Calorie Counter: 40 pieces = 1 serving = 160 calories, 0g fat, 36g sugars
Price: $2.00 purchased at WalMart
NECCO Sweethearts Web Site

Review From The Road: Jolly Rancher Bold Fruit Smoothie

Jolly Rancher Bold Fruit Smoothie

While taking a road trip I like to find candy that is easy to eat in the car. For the most part, anything chocolate, anything sticky, or anything messy is off-limits.  A package of orange slices with all that sugar loose in the bottom would be VERY unwelcome!  Individually wrapped hard candy is one of those perfect road trip candies. Our family likes Jolly Ranchers and this flavor was new to us. There were five flavors in this bag: peach, orange, watermelon, strawberry and mixed berry.

I have to admit that I rarely drink a smoothie, so I wasn't exactly sure what these would taste like. We all started with the orange, since it is one of my wife's favorite flavors, and it was really good. The orange tasted like an orange push-up or an orange creamcicle. It was fantastic. We were really excited to dig in, so I grabbed a mixed berry next. I hated it. There was something about the flavor that did not appeal to me. Okay, liking one out of two isn't bad. I moved on to the peach, hey, not bad. It had a creamy peach flavor that reminded me of eating peaches and cream or fresh peaches and ice cream. I really liked this one. I didn't understand the watermelon smoothie flavor, is that even possible to make? Wouldn't watermelon turn to water if blended? This one was really good too. It had a nice watermelon Jolly Rancher flavor yet had a hint of cream or ice cream thrown in. The cream flavor wasn't as noticeable in this flavor. Last up was the strawberry and the flavor on this one was pretty good too. Not as great as orange or peach, but still really good.

Don't let the color of these scare you away. They are not the normal see through or semi-transparent Jolly Rancher looking candies. These are milky and opaque, but I think that's the point since they are "smoothie" Jolly Ranchers. I thought these were fantastic (minus the mixed berry) and they didn't last long in our car. We ate them so quickly we thew the bag away without getting any nutritional information from them. We also did not take a picture of the individual pieces! They really were that good. If I see this again somewhere, they are a MUST BUY for me.

Taste: 4/5 Really Liked It
Calorie Counter: threw bag away
Price: $1.99 purchased at I-80 Truck Stop
Jolly Rancher (owned by Hershey) Web Site

Review From The Road: Tic Tac Pink Grapefruit - Limited Edition

tic tac pink grapefruit - limited edition

What kind of candy do you buy for road trips? We almost always bring tic tacs with us. We normally buy the orange Tic Tacs but I found these pink grapefruit flavored Tic Tacs at a giant truck stop we stopped at and it's something that has been on my list of candy to buy for some time now. These are not as easy to find, they aren't even listed on the Tic Tac Web Site. If you do find these, buy them!

I like the tie in with breast cancer awareness, it is perfect for a pink grapefruit candy. The color on these is a great shade of pink which helped me find them easily among the other candy in the truck stop. There isn't a grapefruit smell coming from the container when you open these, but put one in your mouth and the grapefruit flavor is light and wonderful. These are made with real dried grapefruit juice and the flavor reflects that, it is natural tasting and authentic. There's nothing I hate more than fake citrus or fake anything flavors. I crunched a few of these in my teeth and the flavor is intense. It's a great flavor but you get a lot of it when you crunch these one after another. These also have a cooling feeling which isn't minty but it's a nice addition so these feel like a "mouth-freshener". They do make you smell like grapefruit, but that's a good smell to have on your breath!

The only complaint about this candy I have is....Where in the world can I buy it on a regular basis? I'm a huge fan of citrus fruit and I'd love to find these to buy more often, but this is the first I've seen of them. These make a great candy for our road trip...small in size, non-crushable container, not melty, and full of fantastic flavor.

Taste: 4/5 Really Liked It
Calorie Counter: 1 piece = 1 serving = 2 calories, 0g fat
Price: $.99 purchased at Love's Truck Stop
Tic Tac Web Site

Note: We are currently on the road traveling, pictures were taken with camera phone and we are reviewing candy as we find it.

Cavendish & Harvey - Wild Berry Drops

Cavendish & Harvey Wild Berry Drops

I've seen this iconic round gold tin in many stores over the years. I had never heard of this brand of candy, so I never bothered to purchase it. Well, times have changed.  Now that I'm doing these reviews in my spare time, I'm always on the lookout for new and exciting candy to try. I saw this canister at Gordman's, a large discount retailer we have here in town. I wasn't excited about the wild berry flavor but I bought them anyway to add to my candy review stash.

Cavendish and Harvey is a German company that has been making boiled sugar sweets since 1932. They have a very long list of flavors they make and you can find their hard candy in stamped shapes, discs and all kinds of assorted shapes. The round golden tin is a product signature for this company, but is not their only type of packaging used. Since I've purchased this tin, I've found several other flavors in various stores around town. They are very easy for me to spot, now that I know what I'm looking for. I love the photos of fruit that they put on the round golden tin lids. They are visually appealing and everything about this candy makes it feel upscale to me. However it also looks like something my Great Aunt Rose would keep at her house. It manages to look upscale and old lady-ish at the same time.

Cavendish & Harvey Wild Berry Drops

Another signature of this brand of candy is the light coating on each candy which looks like powdered sugar. The flavor of this tin was "berry flavored" and it was hard for me to distinguish between flavors. I could only see two colors inside, a dark and light red. You can definitely taste some raspberry and blueberry, but then it all blends together to give you berry-like flavor. The candy is good and has a very nice crunch and taste. I'm not overwhelmed with the flavors of this tin, I wish I could have found the cola or citrus fruit ones. This isn't a candy that is easy to carry with you, and you might put this in a candy dish, but only if you wanted a giant candy blob that you could chip pieces out of later. These are best eaten at home where you can get out the tin, chip out a candy or two to eat and then put it away. These are much tastier than a Jolly Rancher or Lifesaver and far classier. So if you are a hard candy fan, give them a try...or pick up a tin for your Great Aunt Rose.

Taste: 3/5 Liked It
Calorie Counter: 3 candies = 1 serving= 58 calories, 0g fat, 10.5g sugars
Price: $2.00 purchased at Gordman's
Cavendish & Harvey Web Site

Wonka Exceptionals Fruit Marvels

Wonka Exceptionals Fruit Marvels 2

Nestle has been working very hard to branch out the Wonka line of candy. The new Exceptionals line is an attempt to take Wonka into a premium candy category. I'm not entirely sure this will work with the Wonka brand though. I have reservations because I cannot decide who the target market is for these Fruit Marvels. I'm not sure a parent would spend $2.99 on a 5 oz box of candy and I'm not sure children would even see this candy to ask for it. In our stores these are positioned by the higher end chocolate and are almost eye level. These are not places children are looking for candy.  So, the target market must be adults...maybe adults like me who grew up loving Wonka and now have more mature tastes and pocketbooks.  However, I'm sure most of you only care about how they taste, so I'll move on to that.

Here is the Cliff's Notes version. These are a premium Giant Chewy Nerds/Nerds Bumpy Jelly Beans candy. That seems a little simplistic but it is my overall impression of this candy. Don't get me wrong, that's not a bad thing, I really like Giant Chewy Nerds and this is a much better version of that candy. The big improvement is found in the wonderful crunchy shell. The panned shell is thicker and crunchier than a Giant Chewy Nerd, yet nice and chewy (after you crunch through it) with a super fine dusting of sugar on the outside. I assume the sugar is to keep them from sticking together, but I could be wrong on that. The interior is the same wonderful soft jelly texture as the Giant Chewy Nerds that seems to melt in your mouth, but has a much much better flavor. My guess is that the 25% fruit juice added to this candy is what really makes the difference in taste.


These come in 3 different flavors:

Pomegranate - My guess is that most Americans will eat more pomegranate candy this year than actual pomegranates!!! This has a decent pomegranate flavor. I'm not overly impressed with actual pomegranate myself, but this is more flavorful than an actual pomegranate. I'm not a huge fan of this flavor, but it's good. It tastes surprising similar to the new Pomegranate Cosmo Jelly Belly that is out now.

White Grape - Very nice white grape flavor, tastes exactly like Welch's white grape juice.

Clementine Orange - This was our favorite of the group, but we are citrus fans. This is not an "orange" candy, this is exactly what it says, a tangerine/clementine flavored orange candy. I would definitely buy this flavor again and again and again.

These are super sweet and after eating 6 of them my pancreas asked me to stop. I drank a few glasses of water and continued on. I like the route Nestle is taking Wonka and I like this candy. The packaging is amazing and it gives this candy a very premium feel. The outside of the box is beautiful, the fonts and colors are great. I like how it has holes in it so you can see the crazy inside box. Even the UPC code gets Wonka-fied. There is a LOT of packaging for this candy, but I assume that it gives them a premium feel, similar to wedding invitations you put into 2 different envelopes each with its own design.  Tomorrow I'll review the Wonka Exceptionals Fruit Jellies.  I like them even more than the Fruit Marvels!!

You can find other reviews of this candy here, here and here.

Taste: 4/5 Really Liked It
Calorie Counter: 10 pieces = 1 serving= 140 calories, 0g fat
Price: $2.99 purchased at Wal-Mart
Wonka Web Site

King Leo Peppermint Stick Candy & Hand Dipped Chocolate Peppermint Stick Candy

King Leo Stick Candy

For this review, take what I said about the King Leo Soft Lemon Sticks, subtract the lemon and make the sticks peppermint. It's the same soft stick of compressed sugar that melts in your mouth, but in a peppermint flavor. This is the King Leo brand signature candy. According to their web page, they've been making this candy for over 100 years. I have to admit, the only soft peppermint candy I've had is Bob's Sweet Stripes Mints. Those are good mints, but in my opinion these are great mints.

I love these soft candy mint sticks. I also really like the round 24oz tin these arrived in (see above). Classic colors, classic styling, fantastic size. There are a ton of these sticks inside this tin, they are shipped in wax paper and are standing up, making them easy to grab and eat. I like how all of them are odd sizes and there are some misshapen ones in there. The colors aren't all uniform, in fact one thing I love about these is that they aren't perfect. Does anyone else get tired of perfectly shaped candy like I do? The misshapen sticks also make these look like they were homeade, which I love. I can't recommend this candy enough.

King Leo Stick Candy

Now, for this review, take everything I said above, and add chocolate on top of it. These are hand dipped in a pretty good tasting chocolate with a spot left on the end for you to hold on to. There are 12 in a box, and they are packaged separately in nice plastic trays to keep them from sticking and melting together (see picture below).  The chocolate and mint combination go really well together. I couldn't figure out if I should let these melt, or bite pieces off and crunch on them. Either way they taste really good. I do prefer the plain soft peppermint sticks to the chocolate covered ones. I think the chocolate ones would be a great to set out for the Holidays.  In fact, my wife plans to purchase a few boxes of these to take to Christmas parties this year...she thinks they'll be a hit.

King Leo Hand Dipped Peppermint Sticks

King Leo Hand Dipped Peppermint Sticks

King Leo Peppermint Stick
Taste: 5/5 Loved It
Calorie Counter: 1 stick = 1 serving= 45 calories, 0g fat
Sample Provided by the Company
Quality Candy Web Site

King Leo Hand Dipped Chocolate Peppermint Stick
Taste: 4/5 Really Liked It
Calorie Counter: 2 stick = 1 serving= 120 calories, 3g fat
Sample Provided by the Company
Quality Candy Web Site

Celebration Time Lollipops - Bubble Gum, Birthday Cake, and Root Beer Float by This Charming Candy

Celebration Time Lollipops - Bubble Gum, Birthday Cake, and Root Beer Float
Originally uploaded by

I've been following charmingcandy on Twitter for a while now. All of the lollipop flavors they've linked from their Etsy store sound and look so very good. After seeing the Celebration Time Lollipop collection, I couldn't resist any longer, and I ordered them immediately.

If you haven't ordered from Etsy before, it's a great place to find unique, one of a kind items made by thousands of people across the United States. We often use Etsy to find a great gift for someone we know. The lollipops from This Charming Candy are a perfect fit for Etsy. Hand-made, unique, amazing quality lollipops made in small batches.

The Celebration Time group includes 3 fantastic flavors with 2 of each flavor in a package:

Root Beer Float: Smells like root beer as you take it out of the package, looks like a root beer float. It is a brown lollipop sprinkled with powdered sugar to look like a root beer float. If you are thinking this would taste like a Root Beer Barrel or root beer Dum Dum, you would be completely wrong. There is an amazing vanilla flavor in this lollipop that complements the root beer very, very well and gives it a true float flavor. It really makes you think of vanilla ice cream floating in a glass of root beer. This was my 2nd favorite of the group.

Bubble Gum: This one was my absolute favorite. Imagine liquifying a package of bubblegum flavored Bubble Yum and putting it into a lollipop, that's exactly what this one tastes like. It is nothing short of amazing in my opinion. I think I liked this one the best because bubble gum isn't a flavor you normally get in a hard candy like this. In fact, it's not a flavor you'd find outside of gum or a unique Jelly Belly jelly bean. I highly recommend this one and enjoyed every minute of it.

Birthday Cake: I wasn't very sure about this flavor, but that's only because I'm not a big fan of cake or cake batter tasting candy. This lollipop has a very distinct yellow cake flavor, and while it wasn't my favorite, it was pretty darn good. The sprinkles inside were a very nice touch that shows how This Charming Candy does a little extra to make their product unique.

There are several reasons I liked this candy. I enjoy helping a small candy company that makes a unique and extremely tasty product. I like the very different flavors offered for sale and the amazing pictures offered on their site. My lollipops arrived very well packaged with a very nice personal note that I was the first sale, for them, in my state. That was such a fantastic touch you don't get when you buy from a large candy company. The extra long sticks on this candy are ingenious. I've always thought the normal short sticks on lollipops weren't quite right. I also love the amazing texture and denseness of this candy. The lollipop itself feels thick and solid, there's almost no way you could bite into one of these, and I'm not sure you would want to. These are meant to be savored, and as The Charming Candy tagline says, "everyone deserves a 10 minute treat". My wife wondered if, as an adult, do you really want to be seen sucking on a lollipop? My answer, "Who cares? These things taste AWESOME!". Honestly, I love candy that makes me feel like a kid. Candy is meant to be fun and tasty. You really should try these, especially if you are a kid at heart.

There are two new ways to order from their Etsy store. They now offer one of their amazing lollipop collections (6 lollipops) per month for 6 months and the ability to buy their items as a gift, with hidden payment and a personalized note. This would make a great gift for any candy fan.

Celebration Time Lollipops - This Charming Candy

Taste: 4/5 Really Liked It
Calorie Counter: no calories listed, I'd guess ~50 calories each
Price: $9.00 with $3.00 First Class U.S. Mail Shipping from This Charming Candy on Etsy
This Charming Candy Website and their Flickr photostream with some fantastic photographs of their product.

England's Best Pear Drops & Sour Apples

Imagine my surprise...I'm looking over the clearance candy at CVS Pharmacy and I see this bag of "England's Best Hard Candy" sitting among the other unsold candy misfits. Clearly this must be a mistake I say to myself, if this is England's BEST candy, how can it be here with the candy misfits?!?! I grabbed the bag from the shelf and eagerly took it home to sample the best hard candy from that friendly country across the pond.

Okay you say, is this really England's Best candy? Well, the last article I read said that the Mars bar, or as we know it in the states a "Snickers with Almonds", is the bestselling candy in the U.K. So what I can tell you is that this probably isn't England's Best candy, the name is likely a marketing gimmick. (My personal opinion is that the Cadbury Wispa is England's best, no, the world's best candy :-P ) However, this candy is in fact made in England, but is distributed by CVS Pharmacy Inc. in the U.S. I couldn't resist buying this candy because of the name. I love products with names like "England's Best". It is very clever marketing to Americans who seem to loves things that come from far away.

All joking aside, this really wasn't as horrible a candy as I thought it might be. Pear and Sour Apple are two of my favorite flavors, so it's hard to impress me when I've had a ton of pear and sour apple flavored candy in my lifetime. The red and green colored candy was sour apple and the red and yellow colored candy was the pear flavor. The sour apple was fruity with a nice flavor and was only slightly sour. What I liked best about this candy is that it wasn't very sweet at all. Sometimes with hard candy, I feel like I need to drink an entire glass of water to help rinse the sugary sweetness out of my mouth, not so with this candy. The pear flavor was also nice and fruity with a light pear taste that was somewhat flowery and sweet. This wasn't a ripe juicy pear flavor like a Jelly Belly, it had a nice hint of pear flavor to it though.

This candy had an excellent crunch to it, which is true of most candy made of sugar that has been boiled to 300F. I ended up putting England's Best candy in the candy jar passed down to our family from a Great Grandmother. The colors look amazing sitting in the white milk glass candy dish. This is not a bad candy to eat, but I'd rather set it out for decoration and for others to enjoy. This isn't a weekly candy staple, but I'm always ready to try something new, especially with such an interesting company name on the label.

Taste: 3/5 Liked It
Calorie Counter: 7oz bag, 2 pieces = 1 serving = 50 calories, 0g fat
Price: $.75 at CVS Pharmacy (on clearance)
England's Best Pear Drops & Sour Apples