Monthly Archives: March 2007

Zagnut Bar

So, Hershey’s has a little secret. Why have you been holding out on us, oh corporate chocolate giant? The secret is Zagnut, a candy bar known for it’s red wrapper, pinball-game font proudly displaying the name. It’s a crunchy, peanut buttery center rolled in toasted coconut—with no chocolate. If you can imagine the crispy layers of a Butterfinger bar with a coconut coating instead of the chocolate shell, that’s very much what Zagnut tastes like. A candy bar with no chocolate—that’s different all right. But the taste is really actually unique and good. I can’t say that I missed the chocolate component all that much, because this bar had the right stuff. It was sweet but refreshing… a wholesome yet tropical taste experience that I’d have over and over again.

Since not everyone goes running out for a candy bar without chocolate, it’s said that most Zagnut bars are sold online rather than in stores. Hershey’s meet the needs of their niche market quite well, especially during summer months when chocolate sales go down. Though I don’t think I’d be tempted to order mass quantities online, I can certainly understand needing to feed an addiction for that one special candy that makes any rainy day shine, or the one sentimental sweet from childhood that takes you back. As a nostalgia candy, the Zagnut bar is worth keeping around. But first-timers are always welcome.

And just to unleash another little secret: the birth of this candy bar isn’t all thanks to Hershey’s. As early as 1930, you could find this delicious treat on sale courtesy of the D.L. Clark company, which has sold its business in the past decade to other candy companies. The Zagnut bar was saved (phew!) and acquired by the Hershey’s brand pretty recently, in 1996. It’s a good thing, because now the many Zagnut fans can pass this candy bar on to their future generations and keep spreading the good news that has for so long been a secret to many.

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Sour Bloops

Fans of tart chewy candies like chewy Sweetarts will rave about these. Lance, that’s right—the cracker company—keeps these little sweet and sour gems tucked in their repertoire. And what a bag of tricks it is, about the size of an bag of M&Ms. I opened up my first package of Sour Bloops to discover nickel-sized candies staring me in the face, in colors of peach (peach lemonade), red (wild cherry), and lime green (green apple). Red seemed the most promising, so I popped it in first. It tastes a bit like those chewable wax lips that used to be popular, or those little wax bottles of soda pop. The taste gets better as you go along. Peach was next. I kind of get the pink lemonade flavor from this, and a bit more sour taste than the red. Green is the only one left to go, but I’m already a little mystified by these candies. I don’t see the major draw, as the overall consistency seems a little, well, waxy. Green apple is actually quite nice, and the flavor is very much like a green Jolly Rancher. This one didn’t seem sour either. I wouldn’t go running out and about trying to find these things—one of each flavor is pretty much enough for me. Maybe that’s why Lance is famous for other products more than its candies.

Lance has been making fabulous snacks since the days of World War I, and started up in 1913. Among the company’s first products were peanut butter sandwich crackers and a peanut brittle bar. In the ‘50s, they marketed single-serve cracker packs to restaurants—brilliant! Captain’s Wafers and Thunder potato chips are also among their best-selling products. I’d give Sour Bloops another try if they were in someone else’s candy dish, but again, I won’t go out of my way to eat these again. As far as the wrapper states, Sour Bloops certainly aren’t “intense? chewy fruit candies. Maybe the “blooper? was making them in the first place.

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Nestle Grand Turtles White Fudge

What have we here? The Nestle Grand white Fudge Turtle, a Nestle Signatures treat. I opened up the package to see what looked like a white-chocolate covered Oreo cookie, so I figured we were off to a good start. (That type of Oreo may be one of my favorite things about the Christmas season, so much that I’ve started dipping them myself.) One bite into the turtle, and I was overwhelmed by the flavor of white chocolate. White chocolate is a good taste most of the time, but the thickness of the “white fudge? as they call it, was overwhelming the rest of the flavors of this candy. And it was really a bit too sweet, if you ask me.

The white chocolate layer surrounds another level of milk chocolate containing caramel, pecans, and cashews all tucked into this 2-inch disc. Because so much chocolate covers the turtle, you can’t see its traditional little legs, made of nuts. Which shouldn’t really matter all that much to chocolate fans. Of this turtle, I’d have to say I’m not that much of a fan. I mean, Nestle does okay on this one, though less white fudge would have made for a better premium candy. I think there was just too much confusion among the many competing tastes or flavors, shooting it’s overall score down a few notches.

Nestle, a Switzerland-based chocolatier, first came to us in 1866. For over a century, they’ve been serving up the goods, but the company today does so much more. Bottled water (Mmm, chocolate water might be nice), milk, coffee, seasonings and pet food make up its diverse product lines. But remarkably, the company got its start in baby foods. The Nestle Grand White Fudge Turtle isn’t for kids—that’s for sure. They would be prone to a sugar rush that could last for days on end. Keep this far from your children, or they are liable to suffer a tummy ache from the sickly sweetness.

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Hershey’s Cajeta Elegancita

How did Hershey’s, a brand founded in southern Pennsylvania, move south? It was simple, really. By forming a partnership with Latin singer/actress Thalia Sodi in 2004, the Hershey’s brand is strategically positioned to appeal to a Hispanic marketplace. The Cajeta Elegancita candy bar is just one product in the Hershey’s product line that Thalia herself promotes: La Dulceria Thalia (also known as Thalia’s Candy Store). In addition to sponsoring her U.S. tour, Hershey’s will participate in other promotions to pimp these candy bars to a Spanish-speaking audience. Some problems arose, however, when the candy bar with the flavor of “cajeta��? (a caramelized milk used in many desserts) was advertised in print magazines. In some Latin countries, like Argentina, the word cajeta is slang for female anatomy. Oops! A big mistake, but forgivable for many, who aren’t familiar with the term’s offensiveness in their native dialect.

Scandal aside, Hershey’s Cajeta Elegancita bar will be judged by its taste and taste alone. And I’m the self-appointed judge. I opened the wrapper to discover a sweet, coconut smell. I’m expecting a wafer candy bar with light chocolate coating, and I actually get two twin bars, like in a Twix package. The Cajeta Elegancita is kind of dry—the top of the wafer is not covered at all, merely drizzled with chocolate. It is supposed to have dulce leche (sweetened milk)—that’s the “Cajeta��? part. I suppose it does have a milky flavor, but it comes in more of a powdery taste than a liquid silk. The bar itself is okay, but nothing to write home about. It does remind me of some of the cookies I bought on trips to South America, so the authenticity is there. Anyway, it’s Hershey’s, so I don’t think they’ll have a problem making a few bucks. I’d personally be willing to try anything with the Hershey’s name attached to it, even more from La Dulceria Thalia.

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Reese’s Big Cup with Mixed Nuts

Take the classic Reese’s cup. Make it twice as thick as a normal cup. Add peanuts. Add almonds. Add cashews. Add pecans and peanuts. With mixed nuts added to the already creamy, peanut buttery center, this is a formula for greatness. The new Big Cup with Mixed Nuts is Reese’s limited edition treat, to go one step further than the Big Cup with nuts (all peanuts). You won’t get as much Reese’s goodness as you would by eating two normal-size cups, but you will enjoy a hearty candy snack that’s only for serious candy aficionados. From the minute I opened the wrapper, I was assaulted by a strong whiff of peanut butter. I liked this candy, though it should be eaten with caution. Once you try this special edition, you will want to get another one. My only complaint was that it tasted a little greasy, like those Little Debbie brownies with nuts. (If you press the nuts between your fingers, you will get a little pool of grease, and I would have to imagine this would be the same.) Oh, and you shouldn’t come within ten feet of this if you have a nut allergy. Even the smell of all these nuts is enough to tackle you to the ground, if you’re not crazy about them.

I’m a huge Reese’s fan. In fact, I buy this Hershey’s-owned brand of candy often—second only in candy devotion to my beloved Snickers bar. The original was created in 1928 by dairyman H.B. Reese. With the wide number of variations on the standard cup (miniatures, cups made of white chocolate, with or without nuts, with or without caramel, Reese’s pieces), there’s something for everyone. And, as the decades-ago ad campaign stated, “There’s no wrong way to eat a Reese’s.��? I’ll take you on your word there, and eat it in the car, in bed, at work, in the morning, in the evening…. And mom, I promise I won’t turn into one.

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Crayola Dippin Lickin Poppin Candy (strawberry)

Forget Pop Rocks. America’s favorite Crayon engineer is getting in on the action. What sets apart Crayola’s new Dipping’ Lickin’ Popping’ candy from Pop Rocks? Not a whole lot. Let’s compare. Both candies come in loose powder form, several fruit flavors and are wrapped in pockets or pouches. Both make a fun, crackling sound when they touch your tongue, staining your mouth with color.

In flavors like strawberry and blue raspberry, Crayola’s sweet treats will definitely please the 12 and under set—even older kids. But most parents won’t enjoy the high maintenance candy that Crayola provides. (That’s completely aside from the widespread rumors that eating these types of candies while drinking soda can cause one’s stomach to explode. This has never been proven, though pop culture icons like Homer Simpson and Green Day have speculated that it might be true over the years.)

Each packet of the Crayola candy comes with a crayon-shaped lollipop that can be used for licking and dipping (hence the very appropriate name) into the candy powder, for even more messy, candy, fun. Pop Rocks also makes a product like this, however, called Pop Rocks Dips. These have a gum lollipop inside the package, to dip and lick up the candy powder. While Crayola’s packaging is fresh and new, I don’t think this candy will become as sought after as the classic, retro treat of Pop Rocks, which have been around since the mid ‘70s. But maybe this will be the popping candy for the next generation? In the world of carbonated candy, anything is possible. (Note: the age restriction here says this Crayola candy is for kids 5 and older.) Whichever popping candy you prefer, it’s hard to deny that pairing a huge corporate name with a candy product is a good money-maker for the company. In addition to being known widely for their crayons, markers and other art products, Crayola (a.k.a. Binney & Smith) produces cooking kits, cake decorating supplies, home decor (including bedding and bathroom standards!), music and even computer software, all available at online at

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Crown Jewels Mint Chocolate Truffles

The Crown Jewels brand has been perfecting the truffle since 1992, and the company assembles chocolate-covered mint, cherry, orange, raspberry, creamy caramel candies and more out of its Salt Lake City, Utah manufacturer. With eight pieces in a box and each one individually wrapped, Crown Jewels Mint Chocolate Truffles are, as the box says, delicious. Each rectangular truffle is about half the size of your normal “fun size? candy bar. But unlike your run-of-the-mill candy bar, this chocolate really has a sophisticated, gourmet taste. I bit into my first Crown Jewels truffle loving the milk chocolate outside but adoring the creamy, cool taste of melt-away mint chocolate cream inside. I’d compare it to the types of candy you get in a heart-shaped box on Valentine’s Day. You want to eat them all at once, but you hate the thought of finishing the box so much that you always save some for later. And eating the last filled candy is the most painful, because then it’s all over.

I think it’s appropriate to eat this candy in several bites to get the most out of it, but you can down the whole thing in one bite if you’d rather. Whatever you do, just try these. They are, as the brand states, crown jewels, and a cut above the competition. The only thing I disagree with is the company’s on-the-box claim that the chocolates are “individually wrapped in beautiful foil.? Whether or not that’s important, I’d have to say that there is nothing beautiful about the foil wrapping on these truffles. In fact, the mint green wrappers are quite plain, without any design or even a brand name on the packaging. (Some of Crown Jewels products do have the name—it just depends on what type of box you buy.) Pretty nondescript, but these make great basket fillers or stocking stuffers. It’s a good thing we all learned not to judge a book by its cover or a candy by its outer shell. You don’t want to miss out on this sensational sweet treat in the chocolate truffle industry.

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Lifesavers Gummies Fruit Splosions

Whoa. I mean…WHOA. These are excellent. I don’t care who you are, or what you do. You are not too old to open a bag of the new Lifesavers Fruit Splosions (if you Google “explosions,? you’re gonna come up dry) but if you try gummy candies then let them carry you away to a juicier place. I tried the sour cherry variety and discovered that these are heavenly. You can also grab a variety pack with orange, blackberry, strawberry and watermelon. Each six ounce bag has about four servings, but I’m not sure if mine lasted that long. The flavor is tangy without being too sour, and really tastes like fruit juice is fused inside. No, these aren’t going to quench your thirst, but they will please the palette just the same. If you’ve tried and dismissed other Lifesavers  gummies, don’t write off the Fruit Splosions. They are really ten times better just for the sour flavor and juicy insides. And the package says they’re made with real fruit juice: perfection in a round, gummy chew.

The Lifesavers brand, originally a hard candy available in peppermint and later produced in five-flavor rolls, was a member of the Kraft foods family before Wrigley bought the brand in 2004. But inventor Clarence Crane knew that he needed to make a candy to help out his chocolate business, which saw significantly lower sales in the summer months. Lifesavers did well, offering a more refreshing candy to the masses—one that wouldn’t melt in the heat. They were named after—you guessed it—life preservers. This was shortly after the Titanic disaster, after all. And life preservers were all the rage. Given the connection, I think it’s all too appropriate that Lifesavers liquefy their product. It’s simply a fabulous pairing and so much better than any fruit snacks that promise to “gush? with fruit juice. Try these and you’ll soon blow up with flavor like little Violet Beauregarde from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. You’ll want another bag, and another, and another….

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Palmer Mini Peanut Butter Cups

If candy lived in Hollywood, Palmer’s mini peanut butter cups would be the next great, undiscovered talent. Palmer really steals the limelight by making peanut butter cups without those cumbersome paper wrappers. Really, you don’t miss unwrapping these things—they are just fine without. But making them tinier than Reese’s miniature peanut butter cups was an even better idea. Here’s why: You get loads and loads of chocolate in perfect ratio to the peanut butter, and you can eat them by the handful. I can’t say that the flavor is equal to that of Reese’s, but the taste is good. Smooth, creamy and rich, these are a real chocolate treat. Dozens and dozens of tiny chocolate-covered peanut butter cups come tumbling out of this 5-ounce box, the size of boxed candy you’d buy at a movie theater. And with this product, Palmer delivers plenty of choco-peanut-licious flavor to share with friends or family.

And maybe that’s because Palmer is a family-run candy business that opened in 1878 as a fresh-fruit wholesaler. The founder’s great-great-grandson currently runs the op—that’s five generations of wholesome familial love and history poured into their products. The Palmer company branched out to manufacture chocolates, penny candies and gumdrops in the early 1900s. Palmer put the fruit sales to rest by 1970 and switched to candy production full time. Known widely in the Midwest for their Twin Bing candy bar (a cherry nougat center wrapped in chocolate and crushed nuts), Palmer also focuses on seasonal candies and bulk candy sales to grocery stores and specialty shops. But back to the mini p.b. cups. These candies are absolutely worth a try. If you don’t like them as much as other brands, you will at least like them enough to finish the box. But if you don’t eat it all in one sitting, take note: the chocolate will go stale and start to taste funny if you leave the box open (there’s no good way to seal it). That’s just one more reason to share it with some friends.

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Hershey Kisses Cherry Cordial

Only Hershey can attempt something like remaking the classic cordial—and pull it off with a bang!  I first say and tried these chocolates last year around the holiday season, and absolutely loved them.  Let me tell you why…

Hershey has tried many variations to their original Kisses, such as Kisses with almonds, Caramel Kisses, Hugs, Dark Kisses, the recent Hershey Kissables, and the Limited Edition filled with Cherry Cordial Crème.  Hershey Kisses have been around for a century already!  But this limited edition item is one of my favorites.  Now, don’t expect a big, juicy cherry in the middle of this one like other cordials (it’s way too small!)  This cordial is filled with the cherry filling that comes with the usual cherry, only with a slight variation.  Though it may be lacking the cherry, I must tell you that this filling has a much thicker consistency, and is creamier than probably any other brand of cordials.  This turns into a big plus if you don’t particularly appreciate the runniness and stickiness of other, bigger cordials.

My favorite attribute of the Hershey Kisses Cherry Cordials is that they are bite-sized and ready for people like me who are always on the go.  Other cordials come in a much larger size and are not individually-wrapped.  Hershey’s Cordials are individually wrapped like all of their other kisses, so they are easy for grab-and-go kind of people.  Not to mention their handy white ribbon that pokes out of the top and is a signature of Kisses also makes it easy to unwrap the colorful foil.  The second and probably my favorite characteristic of these cherry Kisses is that they’re small enough to fit in your mouth without having the cherry liquid dripping everywhere!  Bigger cordials are certainly a mouthful, but Kisses Cordials are a more pleasant bite size.  Their size also makes them less overwhelming, so you can eat them more often without getting sick of them.

Do you know why Hershey Kisses are called kisses?  Well, no one knows for sure, but some claim that the name came about from the sound and motion that the machines make while they dip down to drop an exact amount of chocolate onto a moving belt.  People claim that it actually looks like the machine is kissing the belt before it drops a delectable surprise on it.  Another fun fact?  Hershey Kisses were originally hand-wrapped!  Imagine hand-wrapping millions of tiny chocolate Kisses today…  Ouch.

Thus, Hershey’s latest creation of Cordial Kisses is a very satisfying and bite-sized (not to mention convenient) version of the classic Cordial.  They were originally made as a holiday limited edition.  This year they were available around Valentine’s Day.  However, for now they are still considered a limited edition item, so get ‘em while they’re hot!  This favorite may not be around for long.  (Visit for more information and fun facts!)

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