Metal Shark Player

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Posts Tagged ‘candy

Candy Roundup

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I will be reviewing a few peculiar candies here: Zero, Skor, and Reese’s Crispy Crunchy

Zero

For a sweet so unpopular, this bar is surprisingly common. I picked it up at a Wawa. I’m a pretty big fan of white chocolate, so the description of “CARAMEL, PEANUT and ALMOND Nougat covered with WHITE FUDGE” got me pretty excited (though I am forced, again, to comment on the peculiarities of capitalization in candy descriptions. Why capitalize just the “N” in nougat?).I was disappointed.

This candy bar is a travesty. The coating looks and feels like plastic. Both the nougat filling and the white chocolate coating are sickening, sweet in an unnatural and repulsive way. The Zero is remarkable in that it is one of the few candies in my life that I have discarded without finishing simply because it was disgusting. I was only able to take one bite. For this reason I feel compelled to differentiate this candy from all others I have reviewed thus far.

Candy is, by definition, a treat. It is bought and consumed with the expectation that it will be distinctly delicious. When I review candies (or other treats), I hold them up to that standard. The Tastykake “Black and White” Pie failed to meet that standard and so I deemed it unsuccessful. I didn’t dislike eating it, in fact, I enjoyed it. However, I did not enjoy it enough for it to be considered a treat. It was just another thing I ate that day, nothing special. That is why it is a failure. Flix Mix took failure to another level by both tasting worse and costing more. Still, I wouldn’t classify eating Flix Mix as a negative experience. I would rank it pretty close to neutral, but if Flix Mix was free and contained zero calories, I would eat some.

Zero is a distinctly negative experience. I would not eat this if you paid me to do it and it burned calories. This is not just a failure by the standards of treats, but by the standards of any edible foodstuff. Eating the one bite that I did made my day worse. Under no circumstances should anyone buy, consume, or mention the Zero out loud.

*Interesting to note is that the Zero is made by Hershey, the same company that makes Cookies ‘n’ Cream, one of the greatest candy bars of our age and an incredible testament to the viability of white chocolate in production-grade candy.

SKOR

As with many of these candy bars, I didn’t know that Skor existed before I started looking for obscure candies. Skor is also a fine example of what I had hoped to find when I began this practice: A fine candy of a type and flavor previously unfamiliar.

It may look like a primarily chocolate experience but don’t be fooled! Skor describes itself as “Delicious Milk Chocolate/Crisp Butter Toffee”, but if I wrote the tagline it would be “Toffee: The Movie: The Ride”. The thin layer of chocolate does add a nice contrasting texture and serves as something of a lubricant (to use a word I really didn’t want to associate with candy). The star of the show, however, is the hard and potent toffee core. I feel it’s too substantial to be labeled as “Crisp” but I wouldn’t call it crunchy either. Snappy is the word that comes to mind. The flavor is buttery but also intensely sweet, with a certain warmness akin to caramel; it took me aback in my first bites and was what I looked forward to in my last. The acuteness of flavor allowed me to enjoy one regular-sized bar over multiple sittings.

Toffee is something I have tasted before but not often on its own. If you are as inexperienced with it as I, the Skor is, I think, a good way to further acquaint yourself with it.  Skor didn’t change my life, but it certainly earns its spot on the shelf. I’m sure I will have it again in the future.

Reese’s Crispy Crunchy

Reese’s are my spirit candy. They dominated my childhood and are known amongst my family as “my bag”. I love them. As a result, I have had favorable impressions of most Reese’s spinoffs. The small foil wrapped ones, the Mini’s that come in bags, Reese’s Bites, Reese’s Eggs, Christmas trees, Big Cups, Reese’s Pieces, and, of course, the immortal Nutrageous, I like them all. So when I saw the unfamiliar Reese’s Crispy Crunchy, I knew I had to try it and see how it compared to its ancestors.

The first thing I noticed after opening the wrapper was that it was melting. It wasn’t particularly hot in the store or the classroom I was eating it in shortly after purchase, but the bar was so structurally compromised that, in peeling back the wrapper, I accidentally peeled back a corner of the bar with it. I have since found evidence of other people experiencing the same melty problem. Why does this bar have  lower melting point than others?

Upon biting into the Crispy Crunchy, I immediately was struck by its similarity to a Butterfinger. Now the name makes sense. The second thing that I realized was that it wasn’t nearly as good as a Butterfinger. It’s flavors are dark and muddled, mixed together in a gooey mess. It also suffers from the common pitfall of low-quality peanut butter-based candy: greasiness.

Overall it was a very mediocre experience. The only things saving it from total failure are the barely distinguishable but always reliable flavor of Hershey’s chocolate and Reese’s peanut butter. It’s a disappointing addition to the growing stack of Butterfinger imitators that don’t make the grade.

That’s It.

Be on the lookout for an article discussing female aesthetics in the next week. Or month. Or maybe year. I don’t know how big it will get. Or how lazy I am.

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Written by metalsharkplayer

February 7, 2012 at 5:03 pm

Mini-Review: 5th Avenue

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It’s a shitty Butterfinger.

Written by metalsharkplayer

January 2, 2012 at 11:37 pm

Review: Chunky

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Image

What the fuck is a Chunky? It’s candy.  It’s a an endangered species and it’s not long for this world. I’m going to explain why.

Recently, I realized that there were many widely available candies that, for one reason or another, I have never tried. At the convenience store today, I took one step towards rectifying that problem. I purchased a Chunky. I have, to the best of my knowledge, never had one before.

There are a few reasons why the Chunky might be passed over by a consumer:

  1. The Packaging. It’s boring. No mascot, no images, the description is very small and hard to see, and the use of only one real color (white and chrome are fake, they don’t exist) makes it immediately less eye-catching.
  2. Chunky Awareness. Who knows what a Chunky is? When was the last time you saw a Chunky commercial? How many lovable movie aliens have eaten one? It’s not even carried by many stores.
  3. The Size. It’s not a bar, it’s a square.It has more depth than a bar, but it takes up less space on the shelf. It’s not small enough to package in a bag or a box, not big enough to compete with the bars. There’s a reason billboards are rectangular.

So here is some Chunky Awareness. Produced by Nestlé, the package describes it as “Milk chocolate with peanuts and raisins”. The ingredients list confirms this claim, adding only “TBHQ (to preserve freshness)”. I tried, but I couldn’t taste the TBHQ. As mentioned before, the Chunky is a square. It is subdivided into four truncated square pyramids (three-dimensional trapezoids) connected by a thinner, but still substantial, chocolate base. This subdivision is a feature found on many candies, presumably to facilitate breaking the candy apart for sharing or saving. I almost never use this feature for either of these purposes. I wonder how this design came to be so prevalent. Did ornery customers demand segmented chocolates? Did manufacturers try to market it to consumers as a serious advantage over other chocolates?

My first quadrant was extremely disappointing. I thought it was dark chocolate at first because I didn’t taste any sweetness, just some cocoa flavor. The peanuts tasted like nothing and the raisins were just getting in the way. When a food sticks to your teeth, it has to taste extra good to make up for that annoyance or it’s simply not worth it. These raisins didn’t seem to be worth it. Sunmaid raisins (the gold standard by which all other raisins are judged) not only stick in your teeth, but you have to dig them out of a tiny cardboard box with your fingers. It’s a messy and annoying process, but they are fucking delicious so you don’t care. The raisins in a Chunky are not on that level.

So why is this candy still around? Who buys enough of these to keep them in production? Why didn’t I buy that Nutrageous instead? These are the questions I asked myself after eating that first quadrant. I stewed on it for so long that I decided I would write a review of this candy to let everyone know that they were not missing anything. Somewhere, someone would benefit from my misfortune. Then I took another bite. And another.

I was totally fucking wrong. The Chunky is not a worthless mistake, it’s an overlooked gem. The chocolate is the heart of its success. It is much less sweet than that of most candies today, and that’s what makes it unique. It’s an incredible medium between dark chocolate and the hyper-sweet, creamy milk chocolate that dominates the market. As a result, the flavor is much deeper than you might expect. It maintains a balanced sweetness, but nothing as bright as what Hershey or Mars products might have led you to expect from milk chocolate. The flavor has more body to it. The peanuts and raisins are very mild, serving as accents and contrasts to the chocolate, which is undoubtedly the focus of the Chunky. You taste and feel the peanuts and raisins only so that your brain can first forget the chocolate and then a moment later, experience it anew. For this purpose, the raisins don’t necessarily need to be as good as Sunmaid. They are part of a much larger operation and they perform their function perfectly. The Chunky is a carefully balanced equation and absolutely worth eating.

Unfortunately, the Chunky will probably never be understood and accepted for what it is. It is a candy out of time, losing its place in the current market. In a fast-paced world filled with much sweeter and more exotic competitors, the Chunky can’t keep up. What people won’t take the time to realize is that it was never trying to. Our modern expectations of packaged, processed candy don’t have room for the Chunky. It might fit better with what we expect from homemade or specialty candies and treats, but, due to the nature of its production, it falls short of most of those offerings. It’s not loud enough to compete with Hershey bars, not refined enough to compete with the gourmet market.

If you are looking for something a little more interesting than a Reese’s or Snickers, see if you can find a Chunky. Eat it slowly and think about me.

Written by metalsharkplayer

December 11, 2011 at 7:38 pm

Posted in Reviews

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