Friday, June 29, 2012

Gimbal's Gourmet Jelly Beans - video review

More delicious jelly beans? Yes! its time to look at Gimbal's Gourmet Jelly Beans.

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

Gimbal's Gourmet Jelly Beans review

After the Jelly Belly review a few weeks ago I've been jonesing for more of those tasty treats, and so today I've got what I'm anticipating is the next best thing. I'm looking at a true competitor to Jelly Belly, its Gimbal's Gourmet Jelly Bean


Ok, so lets be fair, "true competitor" is probably too strong a term for these beans. I will be VERY surprised if they are better than Jelly Bellys. That is because Jelly Belly is the king of gourmet jelly beans and literally everything else is just wannabes. So I may have some bias going in, however you know me... I want these to be good. So lets keep our fingers crossed.

Starting with the packing, this is a real conundrum. The bag design: colors, fonts, and graphic layout is awful. What are they thinking?! If it weren't for the fact that I'm actually trying to pay attention here I'd swear this is the generic drug store brand. Gimbals, you need to hire someone who knows how to layout an interesting package, because this is the definition of generic. It really makes me upset to see shuch shoddy work from a company purporting to be legitimate. ok breathe...

Looking at the back is a bit better. Check out all of those flavors!!! 41 in total here, honestly its probably a bit too many to practically enjoy in any discerning way, but I'm impressed that its such a cornucopia of flavors. And some of these flavors just jump out as pretty original:  orange n cream, strawberry cheesecake, french vanilla, ice cream cake, honey, key lime, java, tiramisu, and lemon meringue are all here, alongside the more classic fare. While I suspect many of these flavors are covered somewhere int he Jelly Belly pantheon, they certainly aren't standard in every package. Color me impressed Gimbals. 

AND even cooler, printed right on the back of the package are some recipes!Sure I believe Jelly Belly has these too, maybe even printed on some of their packaging, but I like that Gimbals has it too. I appreciate that 3 of the four recipes are fruit mixes, while the last is pure desert. I bet you can guess which one I'm going to make...

 Finally on the back of the bag is a little note from none other than Lance Gimbal which says "My family's promise for four generations has been to create truly exceptional candies, bursting with flavor in each and every bite. Your satisfaction is guaranteed, - or your money back. Its as simple as that." Well sir, I accept that challenge Mr Gimbal.

Lets get this open and have a look at the beans themselves. Opening the package is great. I seriously love opening candy packages and getting that first smell. Its one of the simple joys in life. Gimbals delivers with a great fruit and sugar smell. Looking at the beans they're about the size of a Jelly Belly and the colors pop. There may be a slightly disproportionate amount of grey, and off-white, but this isn't a bag a rainbows and sunshine skittles here. This is serious. And there are honestlya few oranges and yellows too

The beans generally look great, but a few have some shoddy speckling. Maybe I'm crazy to care about this but on some level it defintiely affects how I think of the candy overall. Check this out.

Here is some really good speckling.
Here is some really bad speckling.
Its pretty obvious when you point it out. Seriously who let the jelly  bean with the massive head wound into the party?! That does not look at all appetising...

That aside lets get into it. The beans themselves taste... honestly great. I am definitely impressed with the flavors here. I started with some of my favorites buttered popcorn, and I'll tell you I can't tell the difference between this and a jelly belly. The popcorn jumps out, and the butter  is smooth. I am definitely a fan.

Some of these flavors as I said as really original. The java is a great one to mention. Its a complex falvor that could easily get lost in the sugar but it doesn't here. It really tastes like a nice sweet coffee flavored jelly bean.Of course I imagine they're really using coffee (to some extent at least) but I'm happy to say that they pulled it off.

 What else, well tasting the fruit flavored beans isa bit of a letdown. I wonder if maybe Gimbals thing is focusing on the more complicated flavors, because crafting something like tiramisu is a real accomplishment, and maybe people don't pay as much attention to something like lemon. With that, I have to say while most of the fruit flavors are passable, there's nothing in them that wows me. Lemon could use more zest, and tangerine could use more punch. Maybe I'm too accustomed to super strong fruit flavor after all the years eating Skittles, but I still feel that I'd like to see more here.

And what about the recipes? Well my plan, as you may have guessed was to make the Sunday Sundae, however I only received a single ice cream cake bean in my bag. It seems like if you're going to promote a recipe on your bag you should definitely make sure the ingredients are contained within.

So instead I went with the Smoothie Blast. While I doubt I'll ever know what the Superfruit Fusion is (that's the blue one) I have to say this overall tasted pretty good. Since I'm so much more of a dessert guy I don't know that I'd go out of my way to make this again, but I think it did the trick and half the fun is in the making of these things so I appreciate that aspect.

Overall I'm impressed with Gimbal's Gourmet Jelly Beans. They have a tough road, living in the shadow of Jelly Belly, and for the most part they cary themselves well. Aside from a few minor gripes, mostly about style and presentation I'm satisfied with these and would happily get them again.

Walking the Candy Aisle rates Gimbal's Gourmet Jelly Beans - 4 / 5

For more on Gimbal's please check out their very nice website at this link. Also it wasn't until just now that I realized that Gimbals is right in my backyard in South San Francisco. Props to them on making some good candy. Maybe I'll go visit them and get some more :)

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Girl Scout Crunch bars

Saw these in the aisle a day or two ago and had to share. Nestlé has teamed up with the Girl Scouts to make these little gems :)

If you don't know, the Girl Scouts annually sell cookies to raise funds for their group, These chocolate cookie mash-ups are based on the classic flavors: thin mints,  peanut butter creme (Tagalongs), and caramel and coconut (known in most parts of the country as Samoas). These limited edition flavors will be in stores now through the end of August and at least according to Nestle are causing quite the stir.

Seems like a good cause, I'll definitely try to pick one up and try it for the site. Thin Mints were always my favorites., but even with the Crunch bar here I think I'll still pass on the Samoa flavored one...

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Cadbury Caramello ice cream bar review

It's time for another quickie bonus review around here, and today I've got a great one for you. The Cadbury Caramello ice cream bar.

I guess if I thought about it I would suppose that Cadbury makes ice cream versions of some of its chocolate bars. I'm sure they must overseas at least, but I can't recall specifically ever seeing anything like this here in America before so I was pretty excited to see this Cadbury branded ice cream bar. Then on top of that to see the Blue Bunny ice cream logo... well it just immediately speaks to me with reassurance that I'm about to experience something wonderful.

I'm a fan of the packaging here, the box has nice art on it, and an enticing write up with "creamy Blue Bunny reduced fat vanilla ice cream swirled with caramel sauce all dipped in thick rich Cadbury milk chocolatey coating" YES that does sound good! Then in case you we're wondering about the Blue Bunny company along the side of the box you get a nice little write up about them and the ice cream capitol of the world. Definitely news to me... Then on the back of the box, underneath the spiel from Cadbury you can see that these ice cream bars come in four flavors: Caramello, Vanilla Chocolate, Double Chocolate, and Chocolate Almond. Given the choice I think I would still have gone for Caramello.

Once you get inside I like the actual bar wrapper too. It's Cadbury, and you'd better not forget it. It says that this is some premium chocolate and you will respect it. Lets get to the actual bar though.

Well not much to report on this, it looks good. It smells good. Pretty standard stuff here. I think the size is solid, not anything as big as say a Magnum but definitely respectable.

Biting into the bar you get the typical outer chocolate breakage in huge chunks... someone should really engineer around that. But the ice cream really is great. Very rich, very creamy and soft. I'm actually surprised that its low fat. You're definitely making up for that in the sugar here. Anyhow, on first bite I'm not getting too much caramel, but just one more bite in and I've hit the swirled jackpot! The caramel is great, soft and gooey, it melts and mixes wonderfully with the chocolate. It tastes like maybe if you took a Caramilk bar and blended it into some ice cream. Everything is high quality and I'm glad for it.

Frankly I don't eat enough ice cream bars to have a huge range in my judgement, but I really like this. The caramel mixes well and the chocolate is up to Cadbury's standard. Now that summer is officially here if you're looking for a solid choice on ice cream bars this is a great way to go.

Walking the Candy Aisle rates Cadbury Caramello ice cream bar - 4 / 5

This is (obviously) a Cadbury product, but I can't find a main page for it, so please visit and for some craziness with Cadbury ice cream check out: visit.

PS - SORRY, NO VIDEO ON THIS REVIEW - It was a kind of a spur of the moment thing so I just wasn't ready for filming

Friday, June 22, 2012

Zero - video review

Today we've got another great review for you. Its time to look at the totally unique Zero candy bar!

Thanks for checking out the video. If you want more please have a look through the written review, or all the reviews on the Review Page.

Zero review

Today we've got a pretty unique review for you, its time to look at Hershey's Zero candy bar!

The Zero bar is pretty astounding right off the bat. I mean the wrapper makes it look like a crossbreed between a York Peppermint Pattie, and a tube of toothpaste, but what grabbed me most was the text. "Caramel, Peanut, and Almond nougat covered in White Fudge" ?!?!?!!? whoa! that's crazy talk. Is this a candy bar or some kind of exotic delicacy. I mean by all rights it shouldn't sound so peculiar, all of those ingredients are common enough, but to see them listed in a candy bar is... just totally unheard of. Seriously, there is not a single mention of chocolate here! I am more than a little excited to get into this bar.

As for the wrapper, its a bit silly, but hey it works, it's different, if a bit antiseptic. At least it plays into the "cool-ness" of a white bar. Makes me think of alpine skiing or something similarly cold.

So yes, unfortunately my particular bar got a bit crushed. I'm sure its not supposed to be all cracked and leaking caramel. That's just one of the hazards of eating a lot of candy bars... sometimes there are casualties. But looking on the bright side, I'm not going to hold it against the bar, and I'm even more fascinated to eat this thing now. Look at how much caramel is inside it!

Hopefully my bites wont be dry and drained of all the caramel...

Ok, so biting into the bar is... a very different experience. I guess my mouth is just so trained on milk chocolate bars after doing so many review that I'm not used to anything different, but even knowing what this bar is all about going in, I'm still caught off guard. The Zero bar's white fudge coating of course behaves totally differently than a chocolate coating would. Its got a bit more heft, a bit more chalkiness, and it break differently than chocolate. It'd definitely fudgy as well. A good blast of that is the first sensation when biting into the bar, followed by a complex mixture of a unique nougat texture as well. Seriously everything about this bar is just different. The nougat is totally strange as well. Its got the consistency of... homeground smooth peanut butter. Its a bit grainy. Where I was expecting chunks of peanut and almond, I'm met with whats closer to mixed nut paste, only with the stickiness you'd only find in a caramel infused nougat. This is very weird. Not bad, not great, just totally different.

I like this bar, its got real guts for trying something totally off the wall. I don't think its great, but maybe that's just my taste. Everything about it is unique, and that goes a long ways in my book. I don't think I'd seek a Zero bar out, but its definitely something I'm glad I tried.

Walking the Candy Aisle rates Zero - 4 / 5

The Zero candy bar is a product of The Hershey Company, please find out more right here.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Jelly Belly Snapple

Here's a quick update to the Jelly Belly post I put up recently. There's a new flavor in the aisle this week, and its based on one of my favorite drinks, Snapple!

Kiwi Strawberry and Mango Madness are quite possibly my two favorite flavors of Snapple so it seems like they chose wisely here. I wonder if they managed to keep the fun facts in there somewhere. It'd be cool if they printed a fun fact on the inside wrapper or something. Probably not, but I know I'd appreciate it.

What other drink lines would you like to see in a Jelly Belly? My vote would be for Orangina, and at Christmas time I'd love to try an egg nog flavor.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


Well it works for sandwhiches, so why not chocolate bars?

What do you think? A great idea? or the greatest idea?

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Snackable M&Ms

 Every week or two I see something new in the candy aisle and I'd like to start bringing more smaller posts to you showcasing some of these products. I might not have much to say, but I think its neat to see them at least. I'm still aiming for one feature story and one review a week, although this week may be shy a feature. BUT that said, I've got one or two quick hits that I can definitely send out to the Candy Aisle reader-verse.

Like these for example, M&Ms snack mix bags. in Milk and Dark Chocolate varieties. This is a great idea for M&Ms. We all already know they go greatin snack mix, so capitolizing on it in a pre-packaged bag just makes good sense. Why they went for the pretzel style party mix as opposed to straight up Trail Mix with M&Ms I'm not sure, but I'd bet trail mix is on the way soon, especially if this snack-style party mix works.

"Salty &Sweet". Seems like you just can't go wrong there :)

UPDATE - Just saw that these also come in a Peanut variety!

Friday, June 15, 2012

3 Musketeers - video review

Sorry for the delay in getting this up, but please enjoy this review for 3 Musketeers!

For more please check out the written review, or all of the review on the Review Page. TTYL :)

3 Musketeers review

Its time for another review and this week we're looking at the classic 3 Musketeers!

Well after doing my due diligence of spending 3 minutes scanning Wikipedia I've come to learn that 3 Musketeers is really a true American classic candy bar. Starting in 1932 it was once partitioned into 3 sections each flavored differently covering chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla. Now though of course the 3 Musketeers is just chocolate, but man what a chocolate it is. This bar will once again show my bias, because I already know that I love this chocolate bar. This is one of those candy bars from when I was a kid that I always loved, and I expect to again here.

But let's back up a second, look at this great packaging. Brilliant silver, with red and white. Its making a statement and I'm liking it, maybe not as muted or dour as the classic Dumas book would allude to... but who'd want to eat a chocolate bar that was really themed after the middle ages. Talk about depressing. No instead this channels the themes of heroism and action that the Musketeers evoke. I really like the imagery here, and think the bar goes a long way to making it work for it. On the side of the wrapper we can see that this is a "Whipped Up, Fluffy Chocolate-on-Chocolate Taste". Now if that doesn't sound kind of dirty, yet also delicious I don't know what does. Also of note the "45% less fat than average of the leading chocolate brands" quote. Ok, I guess that might make the sale for some people... For me, I understand that this is a chocolate bar and I'm not being fooled into thinking its healthy for me.

Onto the bar itself though, and I really love the design here. Sure the bar is simple, but its coated well. It's a thick milk chocolate, but not hard, just sturdy. And I really like the swirly drip chocolate marks on the top, maybe a bit reminiscent of la Milky Way, but to me this is just classic.

As for biting into the chocolate, well let me tell you, this is truly a great experience. The insides have a real lightness to them, this really feels like whipped chocolate, but with a pull almost of a toffee. It doesn't have the chew or any kind of stickiness that toffee does, it just has a nice pull. Like the way you wish marshmallows pulled only it doesn't have the annoying gummy after-texture of your average marshmallow. This is light, chocolatey goodness. I think its actually made from whipped eggs and sugar and then flavored with chocolate, so that may help. Looking at the cross section you can really see that this chocolate bar even has tiny bubbles in the fluff, its just that airy.

For my tastes this is a great chocolate bar, it smells great, looks great, and tastes great.

Walking the Candy Aisle rates 3 Musketeers - 5 / 5
3 Musketeers is a product of the Mars Inc, to learn more please visit

Final Question - why aren't there other chocolate bars based on classic literary figures or references. Where's my Tarzan of the Apes banana bar, or my John Carter Martian Munchies? Someone should at the very least make some gummy worms called Cthulhu Crawlers... I mean these things just write themselves.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Candy incognito! - pt 2

Last week I talked about candy disguised as other food, but what about the candy made to look like living creatures? Why are there so many candy animals?! I know I get some serious satisfaction biting the head off a gummi bear but its amazing to see the variety out there. And no, I'm not talking about the real candied animals here...

If you go out in the woods today be sure to go in disguise. Jelly Belly makes bears now!

Who would win in a fight? the Bears of the Black Forest, or the Big Bold Bears? My money's on the Trolli bears. They're 4x larger and loaded with flavor!

Of course Haribo comes through again with their original Gold-bears. And despite their mascots stupid bow-tie these are gummi bears you can count on.

 We all know about Gummy worms, but snakes? I like Trolli's play on Nightcrawler with Brite crawler, that clever. I've said it before and I'll say it again, gummy worms are better than gummy bears.

But that's not all, for some reason the less than cute animals make it into candy form a lot. Why don't we see gummy kittens and puppies? I can't say, but here are a few other entries from the animal kingdom...

 Haribo comes out swinging with both frogs AND mini rainbow frogs. I'm certainly glad to live in "the happy world of Haribo".

I'm a big fan of Swedish fish. Usually I'll just go for the red ones, but I suppose I can roll with this assorted multi colored pack. Thankfully they're all assured to be Swedish...

How can you forget about Turtles? the only actual chocolate making it into these incognito posts, Turtles are pretty tasty. But given a choice I'll always reach for a Ferrero Rocher over these.

And efrutti again wins the weirdest entry award. Sour Octopus gummi candy. How can you not want to try that!

Now we get to the entries that some might say cross the line.

These Lip Pops are just the examples I could find right now in my candy aisle. I think we're all also familiar with the ... what are they called... Hot Lips, Cinnamon Lips... you know the ones you get in bulk candy sections. Eating candy human body parts is actually nothing new. I know I saw bags of arms and legs last Halloween in the store. Not to mention the deluge of eyeball chocolates. Does anyone else think this is a bit morbid?

If not that, then how about this? Of course you we're expecting it. Sour Patch Kids!

This is a bit odd right. I mean they're made to look like cute little kids. And there is just so much pleasure to be taken in biting them in half... Are we tapping into some perverse cannibalistic desire? Or is this no different than say, eating an M&M or chicken nugget after its been sold to you by the item itself. Somehow this just strikes me as odd. Delicious, but odd.

Ok, that's all for now, but please let me know if you come across any odd candy incognito. You never know what will turn up when you walk down the candy aisle :)