Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Jelly Belly in the aisle

I have always loved Jelly Bellies. When I was a kid I remember we would get them as presents (instead of a box of chocolates) for my dad whenever there was occasion. Not sure why we never got them for mom, just dad.... but I suppose that's beside the point. Jelly Belly jelly beans are awesome!

Sorry, but I have a point of grammar here, is it Jelly Bellys or Jelly Bellies? thoughts???

I was over at a different Walgreens than I usually go to and saw that they had a huge Jelly Belly display up in the theater candy aisle. This store is much bigger than my Walgreens and so naturally has room for such extravagances. I must say I was impressed with the variety of options from the Jelly Belly company.

I was particularly surprised to see how many products Jelly Belly makes that aren't beans. They've got gummy bears, and mints, licorice, and more.

While that's pretty interesting, of course I'm still mostly drawn to their beans. They're just so darn good! Check out some of the varieties they had below.

The fruit bowl variety has been sponsored by Sunkist... My picks for ones I'd like to try most here would be peach, raspberry, or lemon.


The Tropical Mix sounds pretty great. My top picks here are strawberry daiquiri, island punch, and pina colada.  


If I'm looking at everything on the Jelly Belly shelf, I think,I'm going for the Kids Mix. This mix has by far the most flavors I want to eat... so many good ones. Buttered popcorn, toasted marshmallow, chocolate pudding, strawberry jam, orange sherbert, tutti-fruitti... seriously this has to be the best mix. My only concern is that it may be too many flavors in one mix. You'd never be able to remember what was what and probably only get 2 or 3 of each kind.

 And here we finally have the classic Assorted mix. I have to say overall it looks like a legitimately good assortment, there are some standouts like cotton candy, caramel corn, chocolate pudding, strawberry cheesecake, and tutti-fruitti. But why are people still putting black licorice flavored anything in with regular flavored candy. Its insulting to the rest of the candy and makes everyone look bad. Black licorice should be off in a corner on its own. I thought we'd all learned that by now.

For an Assorted Mix its pretty solid, sizzling cinnamon, strawberry, tangerine, pineapple, and of course buttered popcorn. But it's sugar free... I just don't see myself ever getting this. Also, only 10 flavors here instead of the 30 found in the regular Assorted Mix.

So now we get into the branded mixes. And talk about your serious branding, this one does a great job. Pepsico struck a good deal here, because these jelly bellies are great. I'm pretty sure I've had all of these flavors before and I definitely remember liking them. I'm not a huge Dr Pepper guy, but I've always loved A&W root beer, and how can you complain about an Orange Crush. Question, why is there no Pepsi?

If you've never ad it before Cold Stone Creamery is a fantastic chain of ice cream parlors here in the States. They mix chocolate bars into your ice cream right there in front of you, so it really feels like you're getting something special. This mix of jelly bellies is pretty special too. The branding deal is only with Cold Stone here so you're not going to get a Heath bar double brownie blast, but you will get their in house mixes which are pretty freaking great in their own right. I've had this mix of jelly bellies before and highly recommend it.

For our final bag of branded jelly bellies we have the Sunkist (I mean Citris) Mix. These Sunkist flavored beans seem to have made their way into a lot of the various jelly belly mixes, and I suppose that's with good cause. They're really pretty solid flavors all around. Whether I'd know a sunkist orange vs a regular one is debatable, But I would know a Sunkist drink vs an Orange Crush so I wonder which flavor they're going for here. They're both owned by the Dr Pepper Snapple Group (ne Pepsico). Its also notable that Jelly Belly doesn't seem to have non-Sunkist branded versions of these flavors, so I'd say the big winner here is still and always Pepsico...

I'm not a big sour guy, but if I was I think I'd be down with this assortment. All of these fruits fit well in the sour category, and unlike say the Kids Mix, there are only a few different flavors in the pack. Enough to enjoy a variety, but not enough to forget what each of the flavors are. 

In an impressive feat the regular Sour and the Sugar Free Sour varieties actually contain the same flavors. Good job on the consistency.

These solo flavors must be doing something right to get a whole feature bag of their own!

Nice how the Pomegranate is so high in anti-oxidants. Its practically healthy! 


Besides buttered popcorn, cotton candy has to be one of the best flavors of Jelly Bellys.

These are definitely two distinct flavors for a specific subset of candy fans.

Could this be good? I like Orange, I like Chocolate... hmmm. I think some further investigation is required here.

Like I said, I've been a fan of Jelly Belly for a while and its nice to see them still so alive and well. The Jelly Belly factory where the give tours is actually nearby where I live. I'm in San Francisco and its up in Fairfield just between here and Sacramento. Maybe I'll get up there one of these days.I bet they've got some pretty cool stuff there...

If you're interested in more on Jelly Belly there was a documentary made about the company and it's founder called Candyman: The David Klein Story that I'd recommend you check out. The film itself is a bit rough, but the content is interesting, and David Klein is a fascinating guy. Anyone in the states at least who has Netflix streaming can check it out for free. Otherwise here's the trailer so you can get a taste of it.

That's all for now. I'm really a fan of this candy and I'll be bringing you a review very soon.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Old Ads wrap and more

I thought I'd take a quick opportunity to do a quick little meta-blog today.

I've really enjoyed posting about some of the old ads for candy, chocolate, and snacks. I'm sure you guys can tell how much I love packaging, graphics,and advertising. Honestly you probably knew that beforehand, but now you've seen me revel in it a bit. For now I'm done looking at old ads, but I think I'll run another series on advertising later this year. Maybe look at some of my favorite tv commercials. Let me know what you think and if you have any ideas or suggestions for ads you think are worth a look.

For those of you that may have missed it here are links to the various Old Ads posts:

Old Ads intro
Old Ads bubble gum pt 1
Old Ads snacks
Old Ads bubble gum pt 2
Old Ads kool-aid
Old Ads M&Ms

As we wrap up Spring around here and move into summer I wanted to also give you a bit of a tease for whats to come. Summertime is a great time to get out and about, its also a great time for big summer movies, and a bit later this summer I'll be having a look at some of the best films about and featuring candy and chocolate I can find. Actually there aren't that many of them so I may just look at everything.

More details on that coming in a few weeks, but its time to start watching :)

Friday, May 25, 2012

M&M's Mint - video review

Once again we turn our eye towards M&M's with a review of M&M's Mint.

For more please check out the written review, or all of the reviews on the Reviews Page.

M&M's Mint review

Since I was already having a look at M&Ms earlier on this week I thought I might as well continue the trend and review one of M&Ms newest flavors for you today. Lets have a look at M&M's Mint.

This is definitely one I've been interested to give a shot. While I'm not usually a big dark chocolate fan, when you pair it with mint I've often found it really good. In this case we're getting a nice minty green package with everyone's favorite (sexy?) green M&M lady on the front to show off the wares. At least thematically the green all fits. There's not too much going on with the package though, its well in line with what you'd see on all of the M&Ms bags these days. In the picture I'm noticing that the candies are different shades of green... will they have actually bothered to give us different colors on the inside? lets find out.

Opening the bag there's a great whiff of chocolate and mint. M&Ms always seem to smell great, which is weird considering they have that candy shell containing the chocolate. I'm not complaining by any means, just noticing it.

YES the chocolate candies on the inside are of 3 varying shade of green. And they are BIG. Check out one of the Mint M&Ms alongside a regular sized M&M (that I happen to have around the house), that's some pretty good bang for your buck.

Biting into the chocolate candy I wasn't sure what I would find. But once you break through the thin candy shell its all solid dark chocolate. The chocolate is generously flavored with mint and honestly tastes great. Mint is refreshing, and cool, and blends well with chocolate. It makes me feel like the chocolate is lighter than it really is, maybe not healthy, but its satisfying in that it has some pep.

These are good. Really good. Peanut Butter is still probably my favorite variety but I'd gladly have these again. I hope they stick around. With so many kinds of M&M on the market these days I feel like something's got to give and I know it could be these, but I for one am definitely in favor on M&M's Mint. They've got everything that makes regular M&Ms fun, and a nice minty flair that sits well. I bet they'd go great with a  cup of coffee. Check these ones out if you get a chance.

Walking the Candy Aisle rates M&M's Mint - 4 / 5

M&M's is a product of Mars Incorporated, to learn more go to (for some reason there is an age gate on this site... whats that about?!)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Old Ads M&Ms

Today we continue looking at advertising from yesteryear. This one should be a bit shorter than the past few. I've got a fun look at two ads for M&M.

Wow, can you even remember back to when M&Ms only had two flavors? Back before they introduced their crazy tv personalities, and there could be lots of different colors hanging out? Green didn't equal female, and Orange didn't equal peanut butter... or is it crispy? Anyhow, it was a simpler time. These are the milk chocolates that "Melts in your mouth - Not in your hand." seriously, that was a great tagline, and they used it for years. They should bring that back.

As for the ad its great, M&Ms have always been sporty. Its a nice characteristic for chocolate, it seems somehow wholesome, and goes against the grain to promote healthiness, or at least an active life. As seen in the bubblegum post pt 2, people love baseball, so giving away baseball cards in 6 packs of M&Ms is a good idea. Very All-American.

This next ad is really fun too. I like the art style for both ads, but this one especially shows off the goofy characters. Its refreshing to see M&Ms as they used to be known. I guess in this ad they're about to catch the peanut M&M who just launched off the rings. Although it seems like a bit of a dangerous prospect especially considering only the top two M&Ms are even looking up. The guy in mid air seems totally at peace... maybe this is a standard M&M dismount technique. I know if it was me up there, I wouldn't for a minute put my hard candy shell in the hands of that knucklehead green guy in the middle of the stack. He seriously looks pretty dopey. Other than that though, its all good :)

Ah the fun of advertising. These ads were pulled from Silver Surfer #5, and Silver Surfer #2 respectively.

That's all I've got planned for this look back at old ads. thanks for joining me, I hope you stick around the Candy Aisle and check out some of the reviews.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Walking the Canadian Candy Aisle

A few weeks ago I took a little vacation back up to the Great White North and visited some family. A great time was had by all, but I didn't get away without checking into the local Shoppers Drug Mart and seeing what candy there was to see. Seeing as today is the Victoria Day holiday in Canada I thought now would be a good time to share what I saw.

I've been a Canadian transplant living in the States for about 8 years now and my memory isn't always as reliable as it should be so I was interested to look with a more discerning eye specifically to see what candy and chocolates are to be found walking the Canadian candy aisle. Sure there are a few items that cross over from the States up to Canada but I was surprised to see really how few there were, particularly when a lot of them are from the same companies.

Let's start though by having a look at the big British player in Canada that you don't often find Stateside: Cadbury.

These of course are the standard Cadbury classics, Milk chocolate, and Milk Chocolate with Fruit & Nut. Most Americans will be familiar with these only probably not in this small bar size.

 Caramilk has always been a favorite of mine. The name says it all, milk chocolate and caramel. The combination is great, the caramel is really gooey, but the design is smart and lets you eat it in squares and stay clean. As for the Caramilk Secrets and Thick. These are new iterations of the bar to me, and I'd be interested to try them.

Crunchie is one that a lot of people will have tried. Its such a unique candy bar that its definitely made the rounds. If you're not familiar, its a golden honey flavored sponge toffee covered in milk chocolate. Really one of a kind.

For the life of me I can't remember what a Mr Big actually tastes like, but I know there was a very brief period where I counted it as one of my favorites. I think it's a combination of wafer and peanuts AND rice crispies that makes it original. Its also apparently the biggest candy bar produced by Cadbury. Great bang for the buck.

I've already talked about my love for Wunderbar on the blog before. If you have a chance this is definitely not one to miss.

In my mind Crispy Crunch is up there alongside Coffee Crisp and Crunchie as one of the best and most popular Canadian chocolate bars. It's got a snap and flaky-ness similar to Butterfinger, but is more about the textured experience rather than butterfingers melty goo.

These small sized Clusters are new to me as well, but the entire trend of making bite sized chocolate pieces has only gotten big in the past few years so I suppose my missing out on them isn't too surprising. I'm not exactly sure what the simply titled Clusters is exactly, since as far as I know there isn't a full sized chocolate bar associated with it. I'll have to check it out when I get a chance.

The other big player in the (mass produced) Canadian chocolate market is Nestlé. Oddly though, other than a few crossovers like KitKat and Crunch, they have a wildly different group of products available in Canada than they do in the States. Lets have a look.

Does this exist in the States??? Looks delicious!

The "real" Smarties Kind of like original M&Ms. Their tag line back in the day was "when you eat your smarties, do you eat the red ones last?" Good stuff :)

 Kit Kat is everywhere. Feel free to check out my review.

Never one of my favorites I can see why some people like Aero bars. The chocolate is light and its definitely the most airy chocolate bar I've ever had. I've had the original and mint, but never seen the dark chocolate version before.

Coffee Crisp is a true classic.If you like coffee and chocolate, you'll love this bar.

More bites. This time for Coffee Crisp and KitKat, yum!

Another nougat, peanut and caramel bar. A commenter recently posted on the WTCA Youtube channel that this bar is akin to Baby Ruth, and I'd kind of agree. Apparently this one is available in limited quantities in the States.

There are of course a few outliers and some that I didn't get to like the ever popular Mars Bar, and for coconut fans Bounty. I've never had a Mars Caramel before...

 Hershey does have a presence in Canada, its just overshadowed by Cadbury and Nestle. I thought this Cookies 'n' Mint bar sounded good, and I don't believe its anything I've seen here in California.

 Yes Kinder is big in Canada too. But they're much more prevalent than they seem to be down south.

While I'm not particularly familiar with Kerr's. Scoth Mints in general are really popular in Canada. They're kind of the same size and shape as a Mentos, but full on mint, with a bit more of a chalky flavor. They're really good and I'd recommend you try some.

 The only other group of candy that I had to mention here is one you'll see not just walking down Canadian candy aisles, but also in movie theaters, and corner stores. Maynards is the brand behind the popular Wine Gums. But they've also got a lot of other 'theater' style candies.

I'm mostly used to getting thee in the rolls instead of this kind of big bag, but even though I've had these a lot of times and always want to like them, I never seem to...

 Love the Swedish Berries, the only thing that tops them is Swedish fish ;) I'm not a huge watermelon fan, but these sour ones are very good.

 Never had the Cherry Blasters and I don't really intend to. BUT I love Fuzzy Peaches.


I'm about to say something controversial but I stand by it. Gummy bears are simply not as good as gummy worms. 

I'm sure there's more if you look in other stores, but that  was all I saw that stood out while walking the Canadian candy aisle. Let me know what you like in other countries. And I have a feeling we'll be seeing more Canadian candy and chocolates here on WTCA in the coming months.