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Gum Review: Trident Passionberry Twist

Categories: Candy,Candy Reviews,Gum,Mint Candy,New Candy,Sugar-free Candy

Trident Passionberry Twist Gum

The purist in me always tended to shy away from fruit-flavored gums, preferring the breath-freshening qualities of mint and cinnamon. But with my previously-held flavorism so completely obliterated by Orbit Citrusmint and then Stride Mandarin, I have found myself in a much more open place regarding gum selection. And it is with this spirit that I agreed to sample and review Trident’s new Passionberry Twist (with Xylitol).

Passion fruit is not one of those flavors I’m all that familiar with: kids didn’t just whip passion fruits out of their lunch boxes when I was growing up (at least not at my grade school) and, if memory serves, it’s one of those heavily seeded, hard-skinned beasts in the produce section that doesn’t exactly seduce neophytes. I have, however, sampled it on a few occasions (in the rain forests of Brazil, or Costa Rica, or Vietnam – I can’t quite remember) and in none of those places have I vomited, so I figured it must have been benign enough. Plus, I love berries, so it seemed like a winning – if mysterious – combo worthy of nothing less than a minute-by-minute review.

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Candy Review: Tic Tac Chill Exotic Cherry

Categories: Candy,Candy Reviews,New Candy,Sugar-free Candy

Tic Tac Chill

If SweeTarts made a small, nondescript cherry version of its candies (in the shape of an engorged Tic Tac), they’d taste just like the Tic Tac Chill Exotic Cherry. Not bad. Not great. I like the tartness, but there’s not much “cherry” going on here. Surely nothing exotic.

The Tic Tac Chill series of sugarfree flavors (Exotic Cherry and Paradise Mint) come in a plastic box substantially larger than regular Tic Tacs – probably because the candies inside are about double the size of the standard ones. (Box note: in addition to the regular flip-top opening, the Tic Tac Chill containers have a front slide panel opening – where you see the name – that’s kind of cool and pretty straightforward to use, I thought. But Tic Tac seems to think it’s so complicated to operate that they’ve got video instructions online… go figure.)

Now, I haven’t tried the Paradise Mint, but there’s no mention of breath-freshening on the Exotic Cherry, so I consider these straight candy. Except that candy and sugarfree sound like Punch and Judy to me: they don’t tend to get along in my puppet theater.

But at least these Tic Tacs aren’t sweetened with aspartame; they have the much better-tasting xylitol. This sugar substitute also reduces dental plaque, supposedly, by attracting bad microorganisms to itself – then starving them to death because it’s not a real sugar they can use. Tell me about it.

But hey, if you want to trick your mouth and get a fairly weak cherry Sweetart-esque experience in a small package, Tic Tac Chill Exotic Cherry might be just the ticket. Don’t expect any high cherry drama, though.

The new Chill varieties of Tic Tac will be hitting shelves soon.

Gum Review: Epic Gum

Categories: Candy Reviews,Gum,Sugar-free Candy

Epic Gum

When I opened a package addressed to me at Candy Addict, I expected the usual assortment of sugary treats sent by most candy manufacturers. Instead, a bright blue box with the words “Cavity-Free Kit” shone up at me. I wondered if the delivery was my dentist’s idea of a joke. Don’t get me wrong – I don’t want rotten teeth, and have only had one cavity in my entire life (in a baby tooth!) – but as a lover of sugar, I was hoping for a box of sweet stuff.

Curiosity was definitely beginning to overtake disappointment, so I opened the box to find out exactly what a Cavity-Free Kit really is. Inside, I found boxes of gum and mints, a tube of toothpaste, and a bottle of mouthwash. Directions were included with the kit, and after poking through all the boxes to check out the gum and mint flavors, I read about Epic’s ideas for a healthy mouth. Apparently, the sweetener xylitol is key.

Problem number one that I have with Epic is that the directions for obtaining a healthy mouth include using Epic products six times per day. Yes, six. The manufacturer stresses that you can choose the combination of products to add up to six, but I don’t like requirements on my gum and candy. I do, however, love sugar-free gum, especially in pellet form, and was quite excited to give the four flavors a try.

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Candy Review: IceBreakers Orange Pacs

Categories: Candy,Candy Reviews,New Candy,Sugar-free Candy

IceBreakers Pacs

One of my lucky scores from Brian’s trip to the All Candy Expo was this odd little orange box from IceBreakers. I had no idea what to expect, but I knew it contained the sugar-free sweetener xylitol. After Brian’s bad reaction to xylitol, I’ve volunteered myself to try products containing it.

The box itself is a little larger than a pill box, and bright orange. It was only after I had ripped off the top that I saw the small writing saying “slide open.” Oops. Oh well, easier access for me.

Inside I found a bunch of little orange packets. To be honest, I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to do. From the feel of them, they were probably edible, but I wasn’t positive – the packaging could be a little clearer on that point. Going with my gut feeling, I popped one in my mouth. Just as I expected, the pouch dissolved and released the sweet powder from the inside. Later, as I was trying to get the top back on, I turned the box just so and caught the writing on the bottom in such a way that I was able to read “Place on tongue and let dissolve.” Once again, I feel stupid.

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Review: Sparx (sweetened with Xylitol)

Categories: Candy,Candy Reviews,New Candy,Sugar-free Candy

Sparx Berry
Berry Sparx (click to enlarge)

Sparx is a new candy from a company called Xlear (pronounced “Clear” – don’t ask me how/why). What is interesting about it is that it is sweetened with Xylitol. When I first saw this, I figured it was some made-up ingredient like “Scope with T25″ or “Certs with Retsyn”, but in reading about it, Xylitol has been around since the 1950′s, and has been used in products in Europe (and especially Finland) for year, though I had never heard of it before this review.

So, a quick lesson in Xylitol before we get into the review…..”Pure Xylitol is a white crystalline substance that looks and tastes like sugar. It is a naturally occurring 5-carbon sugar alcohol found in many fruits and vegetables and produced in small amounts by the human body. For commercial use, it is manufactured from xylan hemicellulose sources such as Birch trees, cane bagasse and corn cobs/stalks. It is the sweetest of the polyols with the same sweetness as sugar (sucrose) but with 40% fewer calories and none of the negative tooth decay or insulin release effects of sugar.” For lots more information on Xylitol, visit the Xlear webpage on Xylitol.

So, to sum it up, Sparx candy is sweetened with a sweetener that’s actually not bad for you. So, what are they? Sparx are fruit-flavored, bite size candies about the size of a Tart N Tiny (remember those?) and the center is similar to a SweetTart in consistency/texture. They come in three different 30g flavor tubes: Citrus, Berry, and Fruit. The flavors for each are as follows:

  • Citrus: lemon, lime, orange, and tangerine
  • Berry: blueberry, blackberry, raspberry, and strawberry
  • Fruit: apple, banana, grape, and peach

This review only covers Citrus and Berry flavors. One of the interesting things about Xylitol is that it is supposed to produce a “cooling sensation” on the tongue and I could definitely feel this – it’s kind of weird. I think it would be a good feeling in a mint. As for the Sparx, the candy was as sweet tasting as any other candy, and the flavors were pretty tasty. The orange (or was it tangerine) reminded me of an orange Tic-Tac. The berry flavors were nice and strong too and very recognizable.

Overall they were pretty good, but something about them wasn’t quite right and I’m not sure what. I’m guessing it must be the Xylitol, since I don’t think I have ever had it before. They actually made me feel a little light-headed and nauseous. I tried them two different times and got the same efect both times. Maybe Xylitol doesn’t agree with my metabolism?

I did see this warning in one of Xylitol flyers:

Xylitol requires a brief period of tolerance adjustment. It may have a laxative effect when used in large quantities.

That doesn’t give me a warm fuzzy feeling. The first time I tried them I ate quite a few – maybe….30? of them (they’re small) and felt sick, but I figured it was just coincidence. This last time I tried eight – one of each flavor from the two tubes and I started feeling sick again about 15 minutes later. Ugh. Because of this, I can’t recommend them to anyone. This weekend, I’ll get both of my sisters to try them and I’ll give you an update on what they thought and if it made them feel nauseous too. Maybe it’s just me.

UPDATE: I did a little bit of searching and found this article at that says this about Xylitol: ” Side Effects: May cause gastrointestinal upset (nausea, flatulence, diarrhea) in some individuals, depending upon the amount consumed. These side effects usually diminish with continued use.” So, Xylitol must have a profound effect on me (nausea). Your results may vary. (Maybe I won’t give any to my sisters).

UPDATE2:I talked with one of the PR people from Xlear today and he said “I have been working with xylitol for two years, and your report of nausea is the first.” So, it could be that my case is quite rare. More on this once I get some Sparx to my sisters.

Sparx are available online or you can use their Store Locator to find a retailer near you. They are carried mostly in health and vitamin shops. The price is $1.49 per tube.

Xlear website
Sparx webpage
Xylitol at
Xylitol at

candy, sparx, xylitol, sweetener, berry, citrus, dental