Category Archives: WTF Is This?

Mangoes and Dark Chocolate: Oh Hey Der, New Friend

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I’ll be honest: I find mangoes mysterious and unpredictable.

I suppose a great deal of that comes from the fact that I just never really ran into them when I was growing up — a picky eater, apples were a tough sell, so mangoes were probably far out of the question. Also, Wisconsin.

As a grownup, I’ve had them a couple of times, but I’ve never really known about whether I’m eating them right. Am I supposed to use a knife? I can’t tell when they’re ripe? They have a pleasant enough taste, sometimes? Not so pleasant, though, that they have warranted further investigation.

And thus, here we are, describing fruit on a candy bar blog like a character played by James Spader on a network drama.

As a result, when Holtsford Bar — one of our regulars at Timmy’s, who, when not loving sugar cookies, rooting for the Panthers or believing in Knobby, has been one of BOaP’s stronger supporters — brought in a Ghirardelli Mango Sunset bar, I was as dubious as I was puzzled what to expect. I knew he wouldn’t be bringing, like, poison, but … mango and chocolate? Counselor Shore, you’re a loose cannon!

As is often the case, though, I’m a dope. The candy bar was damn good.

Sometimes, when you eat flavored chocolate, you can tell that it’s just chocolate and they threw some artificial flavoring in there; you’re hanging out with a friend but he/she also brought his/her shitty friend along. The experience is enough like hanging out with just your friend, but it’s less fun because you can’t stop noticing that shitty friend. Sometimes, the shitty friend is so shitty that it ruins hanging out with your friend altogether.

The Mango Sunset [Ed. note: I want to have a comment about the name, but I just can’t muster anything up.] is nothing like that, though. It’s more like hanging out with a friend who brought his/her new friend along and the new friend is delightful to the point that you’re really happy they came but you’re at the point where you don’t really have the capacity to make any more friends so you just appreciate and enjoy the new friend’s company and extend an open invitation to hang out that you don’t ever really plan on following up on.

Which is to say: The dark chocolate and the mango work together harmoniously and are a genuinely fun combination. The mango flavor is strong, but not fake-tasting, and has a fantastic complement in the bitterness of the dark chocolate. Whether chewed or allowed to melt on the tongue, the tropical-ness of the mango dances across the palate and elicits an almost whimsical response.

It’s not a candy bar I’d want to eat all the time — you definitely have to be in the mood for a Mango Sunset. But you know that your friend’s friend is almost definitely not going to hit you up for a happy hour, so you just kind of appreciate that it’s there and look forward to the next time you run into it.

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BREAKING NEWS: Pretentious candy bar bros get their pretentious comeuppance

I don’t like to say that I hate people, because, at its heart, the word “hate” is awful in just about any context. I do, however, have a Fk That Dude list.

The Mast Brothers? Fk those dudes. On the list.

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Trick Season, Treat Season: On Halloween, sisters and candy corn

IMG_5203It is remarkable to me that a food as milquetoast as candy corn is polarizing as the Pumpkin Spice Latte.

Candy corn is garbage trash food! Candy corn is delicious and hating on candy corn is the new candy corn! Why is it that people hate candy corn? Let me explain!

No fewer than five different people asked me this week on my thoughts on candy corn, all with the same kind of “this is not really what this question is about” guise as when a Tinder date asks about the last book you read. My two thoughts:

  1. Candy corn is something that I will put into my mouth, chew and eat and that is as much as I really have to say about candy corn. [Ed. note: Though I will note that Indian Native American Indigenous chocolate candy corn is worse and mellowcreme pumpkins are superior.]
  2. If not for candy corn, I would not know what an actual corn kernel looked like, so I will always be grateful for the lesson.

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Trick Season, Treat Season: Breaking off some new pieces

IMG_5202Kit Kat has a penchant for weird flavor combinations. Typically, that’s been reserved for more international fare, but I ran into some Halloween-style combos.

The first of which, pictured above, featured an orange-tinged, white chocolate outer casing with a chocolate filling in between the wafers. Which is another way of saying that it featured an orange-tinged, white chocolate outer casing with it doesn’t matter in between the wafers, because the white chocolateyness of it all overpowered the candy bar.

If you’re a white chocolate fan, man, this bar is for you. Otherwise, give this one to the trick or treaters. They will be excited about the orange and won’t remember it was you.

IMG_5194Now this triple chocolate Kit Kat, on the other hand, tastes … pretty much like a Kit Kat. Highly recommended!

The only demerits this one gets is for simple counting: They swapped out regular-flavored wafers for chocolate wafers and somehow got to three entire chocolates.

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WTF is This? Milky Way Marshmallow

IMG_4581Ran into this one at the Walgreens the other day; the “limited edition” caught my eye.

It could be best described as the outcome of a torrid love affair between a Milky Way and a Peep.

From what I could tell, the Milky Way Marshmallow features the same caramel:nougat ratio as a regular Milky way, only the nougat is vanilla/marshmallow-flavored instead of faint-chocolate-flavored. The effect: a stronger contrast between nougat and chocolate shell, with the layer of caramel carrying more of the brunt of the taste burden — when the nougat and shell are similarly flavored (the Milky Way), it’s primarily a chocolate bar with a caramel accent, whereas when there are two contrasting flavors (Milky Way Marshmallow), the caramel becomes the dominant flavor while the chocolate and marshmallow become the two accents.

I like the standard Milky Way more.

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Wonka gives up, tells it like it is

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I’ve eaten a lot of gummi bears in my day, most of them disguised as fruit snacks.

I’ve eaten sharks [Ed. note: The best of them all and please don’t try to convince me otherwise.], wormsheroes of time, lazy cartoon cats (and their friends), mystery-solving teams and their accompanying psychedelic vans, flotation devicesjuiceboxes, boy bands, video game characters, fruit thieves, gushing volcanoes and Legos.

At the end of the day, they’re all corn syrup and gelatin that’s been poured into a mold to resemble something to stimulate someone to make a purchase. And those molds are usually pretty random.

In related news, the other day at the Walgreens, I ran into a new Wonka bar.

Guess what Wonka decided to call it. [Ed. note: You already know what they called it. Entertain me.]

Randoms.

Part of me wants to make fun of them for how stupid a name that is. The other part wants to give them kudos for being transparent.

But that first part is definitely winning out. Especially after I read this transcript from their gummi originations meeting.

“Guys, guys, guys … All we’ve been doing for the past 3 hours is arguing over what random shit will sell the most. We’re not going to come to a consensus. Let’s narrow down a list of finalists, go back to our families and vote tomorrow.”

“That’s it, sir.”

“What’s it?”

“Random shit.”

“Excuse me?”

“Random shit. Literally. As random as it gets. It’s what the public wants. Let’s give it to them.”

“Go on.”

“A bag of gummis that’s made up of just random shit. No connection among any of it: There can be a bike, and a crown, and a Nokia phone, and a couch, and umm … what the fk, how about a seahorse?”

“Brilliant.”

“That’s our candy bar.”

“What do we call it?”

“Umm …”

“…”

“Randoms, sir. We call them Randoms.”

“MEETING ADJOURNED.”

If this takes off, I look forward to M&M-Mars coming out with Stuff, and Wonka having to issue a cease and desist to Hershey’s for Things.

Tasting notes

They tasted like Gummi Savers. Give me Shark Bites any day.

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A salve for your Girl Scout Cookie withdrawal

IMG_4269Girl Scout Cookies are a thing that everybody forgets about loving until the day they go on sale again. [Ed. note: Think I’m kidding? Tell me what day they go on sale. You can’t, can you? It’s the most ambiguous time of year.] After that? Look out. Frenzy time.

People buy boxes and boxes; they freeze them, they share them, they talk about them and they write about them. When the supplies dwindle, there’s a little bit of lament, then we go back to jammin’ on Oreos, E.L. Fudges and Girl Scout Cookie facsimiles, until the next season comes around again. Rinse, repeat.

I typically avoid them.

*ducks*

I know enough about my levels of self-control to know what will happen when I bring them into the house: a sleeve becomes a serving size.

A single bar, though? Not a bad way to get your fix, be it on account of withdrawal or abstinence. Nestle offers Girl Scout Cookie-themed Crunch Bars typically in the May-August months, though they’re less like Crunch Bars and closer to a Reese Stick or a Kit Kat in their wafer-based nature.

They have three offerings based on three cookies. My thoughts:

Peanut Butter Creme (based on Tagalongs or Peanut Butter Patties, depending on your regional nomenclature) (pictured above)

This bar tastes like if there were a romantic comedy where a Little Debbie Nutty Bar stars as a clumsy-but-lovable man boy who accidentally conceives a child with the uptight Reese’s Sticks after a boozy post-kickball happy hour — even though they couldn’t be more different — then end up falling in love and raising the child candy bar, only if that bar was played by the same kid who played Anakin Skywalker in Episode I: The Phantom Menace and only did a serviceable job, so you really were left wishing that you had just reached for one of his parents.

A Reese’s Sticks or a Nutty Bar would both have been better, but I have to say that if that pod racing part is on, I watch it every time.

IMG_4318Caramel & Coconut (Samoas or Caramel DeLites)

Caramel DeLites were always my favorite growing up, and I think that the Caramel & Coconut is my favorite of the Girl Scout Cookie Crunches.

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WTF Are These? Starburst Minis, Hershey’s Caramels

IMG_4012True fact: It was seeing Starburst Minis at a CVS that got me to realize how out-of-touch I was in the realm of candy bars and talk about it with Alex Bar, a conversation from which came the genesis of Breaking Off A Piece.

For something of such historical significance, I sure do wish I liked them more.

Tasting Notes

– They are of a slightly different consistency than a typical Starburst. A little less chewy, a little more taffy-y. I suspect this has something to do with trying to prevent them from sticking together … but it’s off-putting.
– As one coworker described, “It tastes like medicine. And that’s why I like it.”
– The standard four Starburst flavors are included, but each one tastes … only mostly like the real thing. Starburst Minis are like Dr. Thunder.

IMG_4013– Nothing fancy about Hershey’s Caramels [Ed. note: Aside from the cursive script on the wrapper]; it’s straight caramel and chocolate.
– Similar to what you’d find in a box of chocolates [Ed. note: If you were to select a caramel one, of course.]; the caramel is solid and chewy, but not so much that you have to strain to bite only a portion.
– Thumbs-up here. I don’t think I’d go out of my way to buy one, but it’s a nice little treat.

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Dilemma Solved

“Buzz off all your hair? Don’t be an airhead (bites).”

Welp. That happened. Thanks for the input, everybody!

Tasting Notes

– These are very much like a giant version of a Skittle, just with less charisma.

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WTF is This? Skittles Orchards

IMG_3745Ya damn right I held this post for St. Patrick’s Day because the bag was green.

Skittles’ newest offering is Orchards, which is supposedly comprised of fruit flavors grown in orchards, even though just about everybody says orange grove and nobody knows what a peach farm is called.

[Ed. note: Thank you, M&M-Mars, for the search phrase “What determines the nomenclature of a fruit garden?”]

My theory? Orchards is the severance package they offered Lime when it got demoted from the main bag in favor of the upstart Green Apple.

Poor Lime.

Tasting Notes

– Lime: Same ol’ good-ass lime. Continue reading

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WTF Is This? Milky Way French Vanilla and Caramel

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– The perfect candy bar for people who want their chocolate to also taste like coffee creamer.
– A little sweet for my taste, which is saying a lot.

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