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Candy Review: Pucker Pieces Gourmet Candy Tarts

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Pucker Pieces

The compressed dextrose candy has long been a staple item of childhood candy diets. Never heard of it? You probably know it better as SweeTarts, Runts, and dozens more – that hard, yet powdery, melt-in-your mouth candy with the tangy flavor and slight cooling effect.

With Pucker Pieces Gourmet Candy Tarts, Creative Concepts Inc. (best known for its Pucker Powder powdered candy dispensers) seems to be trying to do for the compressed dextrose candy what Jelly Belly did for the jelly bean: use unique flavors and creative marketing to “gourmet-ify” it, transforming it into something that will appeal to adults as well as kids. Like Jelly Bellies, Pucker Pieces are displayed in bulk dispensers, allowing for the creation of custom flavor mixes.

If you know how compressed dextrose candies are made, it seems like a total no-brainer for a company that specializes in a powdered dextrose candy like Pucker Powder to move to hard tabs: just like the name implies, a powder made from dextrose (a type of sugar) and other ingredients is pressed into molds at super-high pressure, forming it into hard, yet still powdery, candy treats. (Pills are made the same way.) It seems like it would be a very simple matter to press straight-up Pucker Powder (or something very similar) into a more portable, less messy version of Creative Concepts’ flagship product.

The sample I got at the All Candy Expo consists of a film canister-sized plastic container of what appears to be their Party Mix, containing both single-colored and “tie-dyed” multicolored pieces. They have a yummy fruity smell, like a box of Runts, only more complex with all the additional flavors in there.

They don’t come in as many flavors as Jelly Belly, but I can definitely see them branching out more if these prove to be popular. The container had a good sample of most of their twelve flavors (fourteen, if you count the two double-flavored pieces, Strawberry Banana and Strawberry Grape). My sample container was missing Sour White Apple (perhaps related to the blue raspberry) and Sour Pink Lemonade (which I would have been interested in comparing with the regular Sour Lemonade). But for the purposes of this review, twelve flavors is plenty. Let’s begin, shall we?

Sour Lemonade (yellow): All the tarts have a relatively soft texture – they’re less hard and crumble more easily than SweeTarts. This one’s a very sour lemon, heavy on the citric acid. The word “sour” gets thrown around so easily these days, but yeah, these are pretty sour.

Sour Green Apple (green): That familiar green apple flavor, mellowed with a cooling hint of what tastes like banana Runts (my favorite!). These taste sour on the outside, but they’re definitely not as sour as the lemonade.

Sweet Root Beer (brown): Mmm, mm – this reminds me of the root beer-flavored Bottle Caps candy, which was the best one. I actually liked the root beer Bottle Cap even better than real root beer, so eating this flavor made me happy.

Sour Peach (orange): Somehow I’m not getting any peach out of this, just generic sour with a vague fruity aftertaste.

Sour Fruit Punch (blue): I think blue fruit punch must be the new blue raspberry – what blue fruits do you associate with fruit punch? These are that generic “punch” flavor that doesn’t taste like any fruits in particular. Good thing I enjoy generic punch – I actually wish more things came in that flavor.

Sweet Strawberry (pinkish-purple): These were so close in color to Sour Wild Cherry that I had to really squint at the pictures on the website and hope my monitor wasn’t set to a wonky color setting. This tastes like strawberry Runts, only less tangy – like the apple, it has that mellow, sweet cooling effect.

Sour Wild Cherry (pinkish-red): Like cherry Runts (I think I’m sensing a pattern here), only with a mellower, fruitier flavor, almost like the Fruit Punch.

Sour Grape (purple): As advertised, it’s grape. And sour. It reminds me of the grape powder from Fun Dip.

Sour Watermelon (darker pinkish-purple): Again, like watermelon Runts, only sourer. This is a very sour sour flavor, like the lemon, with a kick in the tastebuds from the citric acid.

Sweet Banana (pale yellow): After tasting the other sweet flavors, I was expecting these to taste like my favorite Runts flavor of all, banana. And guess what? They totally did.

Strawberry Banana (Sweet Strawberry and Sweet Banana swirl): A very mellow combo of their respective flavors. I think this one’s my favorite so far.

Strawberry Grape (Sweet Strawberry and Sour Grape swirl): The sweet-sour combo was interesting – it made a nice bridge between their sweet and sour pieces. It would be interesting to try a few more flavors like that (or you could just eat two different flavored pieces together – y’know, whatever).

Overall, I liked some of the flavors a lot, and the others I was a bit “meh” about. I usually really enjoy sour things, but in this case I liked the mellow, cooling sweet flavors best.

Though I wouldn’t necessarily choose to purchase all of these flavors separately, that’s the beauty of this “pick and mix” style of candy. I’m hoping the dispensers pop up in my area eventually, as a big bag of Root Beer, Fruit Punch and Strawberry Banana would make me a very happy camper indeed.

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4 Responses to “Candy Review: Pucker Pieces Gourmet Candy Tarts”

  1. 1
    Robert B. says:

    NICE! I have to find one of these dispensers so I can try them all! I hope they are in Oregon!

  2. 2
    ButterflyKyss says:

    I really hope these show up around here. A giant bag of banana and root beer ones sounds like heaven. Two of my childhood favorite candies are banana runts and root beer bottlecaps- and my only complaint with either of them (aside from having to rummage through the other flavors to get to the good ones :P) is I always wished they were a little softer. Wish fulfilled!

  3. 3
    Rowan says:

    cool I’ve got to find some of these:-)

  4. 4
    Cyndy hamilton says:

    I need to order some of these. Can I do that though you or do I have to find a store?
    My email address is.

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