Friday, June 29, 2012

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 :)


  1. Gimbals gourmet jelly beans are much better than jelly bellies. No comparison. Taste, texture, color, and price...GGB's are superior to JB's.

    1. I have tried both and think they taste the same. That is why I get them when I feel poor. They are half the price and taste the same to me.

  2. I bought some for the first time today as I could not find the Jelly Bellies I was searching for. I have to say they're equal in my honest opinion. I don't care for some of the flavors like black licorice. But the jelly beans themselves taste amazing.

  3. Decent but really overall comes in second.

  4. I settled on buying a canister of Gimbles when I couldn't find Jelly Bellys. Flavor is good but overall the sugar takes over too much, much like large, standard jelly beans. They're ok. But, these don't even come close to Jelly Bellys level. Kind of like hydrox is to oreo.

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