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Cool and wacky candy from Japan

Candy Review: Yogen Früz Smoothies

Categories: Candy,Candy Reviews,Foreign (non-US) Candy,Hard Candy,New Candy

Yogen Fruz Smoothies

When it comes to candy packaging, I am a shallow, shallow person – particularly around mint-type candies. If it comes in an awesome tin, I am all over it, to the point where I have a pretty impressive collection of mint tins accumulating in my desk drawer at work. I am never in my entire life going to have enough tiny widgets and gewgaws to fill all those tins – and yet, again and again I find myself buying candy of questionable quality because it came in awesome and potentially reusable packaging.

Like the other day, when I was skimming the shelves at London Drugs looking for discounted Easter candy… and something else caught my eye: a rack of Yogen Früz Smoothies tins. The clean, modern design of the tin, its colors just evoking the blue and pink of the Yogen Früz logo… its use of the ü, which doubles as a happy face, as a design element… its paltry price of $1.79. Half-price chocolate bunnies aside, I knew I had to have one… quite possibly in every flavor they came in. I managed to settle for just Strawberry Banana.

Once I got home, the doubts started to set in. I enjoy a good frozen yogurt, but yogurt-flavored hard candy? It’s not like there isn’t decent yogurt-flavored candy in the world, but in my experience, all of it is soft. This product appears to be YF’s attempt to join Baskin Robbins and Cold Stone Creamery in the frozen-treats-with-spin-off-candies department. (Can I call them YF? Those umlauts are a bear to insert.) But while those other candies mimic the decadence of a full-fat ice cream cone, YF is going for the same market as its healthy, yet indulgent frozen treats with fruit and yogurt flavors, and even a healthy-sounding title of “Smoothies.”

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Japanese Candy Review: Neri Ame

Categories: Candy,Candy For Kids,Candy Reviews,Foreign (non-US) Candy,Soft Candy,Weird Candy

Neri Ame

I’m a sucker for traditional Japanese food and art. But when it comes to traditional Japanese entertainments, my reaction is often “I guess this is what happens when people don’t have TV.”

Neri-Ame is clearly a combination of food and amusement. And who doesn’t like to play with their food? So despite my skepticism about what the traditional Japanese apparently found entertaining (Kabuki theater, I am looking at you) I had to know what this was about.

Neri-Ame is a little vial of colored stuff packed with a small pair of wooden chopsticks, and according to our friends at J-list, the deal is that you pour the syrup on the chopsticks and “knead in order to create a fluffy-like texture before you consume.” Your first question is no doubt, how do you get a syrup to stay on a chopstick? This turns out to be not too hard, as this stuff is about as thick as it can get and still be sort of a liquid.

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Candy Review: Tropical LifeSavers

Categories: Candy,Candy Reviews,Hard Candy

Tropical LifeSavers

I think I have been craving tropical-flavored sweets all this week simply because graduate school applications are starting to be due; whenever I am stressed, I usually return to the sorts of candy that bring me back to a state of tranquility. And if you can’t go to Hawaii to relax, you can at least enjoy its flavors.

Tropical LifeSavers have been a staple of my tropical obsession since I was in elementary school. I never cared much for the other flavors of Lifesavers, but these were different. They sported an assortment of flavors that were nuanced for the candy world at age six because for the most part they avoided the clichéd strawberry, cherry, etc….

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Candy Review: Willy Wonka Creepy Treats

Categories: Candy,Candy For Kids,Candy Reviews,Gross Candy,Holiday Candy

Willy Wonka Creepy Treats

Image from Anthemic Tangle

Ok, yeah, I know: Halloween was so yesterday and we’re looking forward to Thanksgiving already. But I just grabbed my last bag of Halloween-themed sale candy. I couldn’t resist: it’s a big bag of Willy Wonka goodness AND it was on sale. Plus, there’s extra Halloween-themed silliness involved. What’s a Candy Addict to do but dive right in?

Willy Wonka Laffy Taffy Ear Wax

Image from Anthemic Tangle

First up, Willy Wonka Laffy Taffy Ear Wax. Maybe all the Harry Potter ear-wax-flavored jelly bean references are to blame, but for some reason I had to try these first. Fortunately, these do not look or taste like ear wax. This cheery yellow Laffy Taffy tastes like banana. Granted, it’s that fake, candy banana taste, but it’s mellow enough that I enjoyed it. These were surprisingly sweet, but in a good way. And, as I chewed, I got that nice, underlying taffy flavor. The texture was good, too – nice and chewy, but it didn’t stick to my teeth. Between the fun, gross out factor and the taffy goodness, I’d have these again.

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Candy Review: Necco Smoothies

Categories: Candy,Candy Reviews,Classic and Retro Candy,Hard Candy

Necco Smoothies

Yes, it’s a classic American institution. But you have to admit: the New England Confectionery Company, better known to you and I as the folks behind Necco wafers, produces some of the driest, dustiest candy on the planet. Necco Wafers are the candy left at the bottom of your Halloween trick-or-treat bag after all the good stuff is gone. On Valentine’s Day, there’s one guaranteed way to make sure your sweetheart gets the wrong message: Give her a box of chalky, stale Conversation Hearts. LUV U? I don’t think so!

So, with low expectations I cracked open a package of Necco’s Smoothies. They’ve been around for a few years, but I can’t say that I’ve noticed them before now. Similar in size and shape to regular Necco Wafers, the Smoothies are supposed to remind one of smoothie drinks, those ever-popular concoctions of health clubs and veggie bars. I find this claim on the Necco company’s part to be the overstatement of the century. Let’s just say, if Smoothies are reminiscent of anything, it’s heartburn medication, in sorta fruity flavors.

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