Thursday, March 26, 2015

Candy Adriatico, March Box

I was the happy recipient of the March Candy Adriatico box - I'm sure you recall my delight with February's offering. As you can see, there was a real red theme throughout that box (I was told by the lovely owner of Candy Adriatico that this was indeed on purpose for the Valentine's season) and this month it's much more green! There was also some green paper inside acting as a buffer, too.

 Not only did it make me think of fresh spring weather (still waiting on that one in London!) but also St Patrick's Day. Being an American of Irish descent, I really tried to make it a special day on the 17th, but it's just not as big here. That made it even nicer when I opened this box up on March 17th - it was like an American style St Patrick's Day celebration in London by way of Slovenia. What a wild ride, huh?

Without further fluff, onto the sweets.

Gorenjka Jaffa Cake Bar - This was quite a bit sweeter than the classic McVitie's Jaffa Cake we get here in the UK, but still had a bit of zing from the jaffa. I think the chocolate isn't as bittersweet, but still dark, and the jaffa jam itself is quite lightly zesty. The cake was significantly softer than a McVitie's, and it was a far bit bigger. It would make a nice treat with tea, and the main difference is the softer cake. I kind of like the stale cake texture of Jaffa Cakes, but this bar feels a bit more high quality. There can be no arguing that this was a biscuit rather than cake!

Šumi Silk Hazelnut Hard Candies - These were a very unique experience for me! I've never had a hard candy that tasted exactly like this - most hard candies are fruity & tangy. This one is hazelnut flavored, quite subtly at that, with a delicate hazelnut cream in the middle.I didn't get a photo of these, but they sort of looked like root beer barrels with a cream-colored swirl. I really enjoyed them, it felt very indulgent while still just being a hard candy. It reminded me of a classier chocolate flavored Tootsie Pop, with a creamy center & a nutty, natural taste. I'd like to hear what other people think of these, as they're so unique!

Kinder Bueno Bites - What can I say about Kinder Buenos? They're one of my go-to chocolate bars when I'm just craving something sweet. The crispy thin wafer, the milky nutty center, the delicious chocolate covering - Kinder Buenos are a 10/10, and when you put them in little bite form they're still a 10/10. These are just like the individual segments of a traditional bar, and I think I ate all four of mine in quick succession. What can I say, they're one of my favorites. People with more self control than I can probably use these individually portioned bites to have "just a little bit" of chocolate.

Kraš Bonko - These are little taffy 'fruit caramels' that are individually wrapped. The flavors are all really refreshing, but my favorite is definitely the pineapple. These are a bit softer than Starburst, but otherwise fairly similar in terms of sweetness vs tang. When I looked them up online I saw they had lots of different flavor assortments, including a cola one which I bet is very nice. Another plus is it's a big bag - I think I can't manage to get through an entire bag of candy these days, but years ago these wouldn't have lasted long at all around me.

Animal Kingdom Chocolate - This is a popular bar with children, and I can see why. I think it came with a cute squirrel sticker, and on the wrapper is a sweet cartoon lion. The chocolate itself is very thin so not too much for a little appetite, and it tasted a lot like Hershey's chocolate, which surprised me given how much European chocolate usually doesn't taste like Hershey's! I loved it, but if you don't like American chocolate you may find this one not so appetizing. Mine melted a bit in transit, but it was the only casuality - and it was still tasty!

Ciocori Rice Chocolate - This one wasn't as nice as the Dorina rice chocolate that was included in the box last month. The rice wasn't very crispy, there wasn't that much of it, and it was just a bit sweet & plain. Not memorable for me, it was the only one in the box that left me a little cold. Then again, other people may really enjoy this one.

Bauli Croissant - I've had one of these before, and it's quite impressive how soft & fresh they stay even though they're shelf stable! This one is no different - soft & buttery, but not really flaky like a traditional croissant. Hey, you can't have it all! The vanilla custard innards are delicious, they even manage to get an eggy flavor in there. This one was really good - maybe my favorite in the pack, outside of the delicious Bueno Bites, of course.

Over all it was a really great surprise box! A nice variety of things - something for everyone. Candy Adriatico is a sweet company in many ways - I recommend a sign up.

Saturday, March 21, 2015


Shackfuyu is the latest opening from the Bone Daddies/Flesh & Bun family of restaurants. Allegedly only open for the next year, but with any hope that's not going to be the case. For you see, this place is far too delicious to only be around for one measly year.

It's sort of a small plates place, so go with a large group if you want to try a bunch of stuff. There were a few 'mains' on the menu, including beef with kimchi butter tare, a whole seabass with coriander miso, and presumably the hot stone rice could serve as a main as well. My suggestion if dining for two (like we did) is to split two 'small plates', one main, one dessert. I mean, depending on which small plates you get - we went with two of the heartiest and it made for a very filling lunch.

Beef Picanha with Kimchi Butter Tare - I've never had this cut before, apparently it's from the rump and quite popular in Brazil. It had a nice beefy taste with a bit of resistance, but the tender fat is left on. The sauce is amazing - hot & slightly sour like kimchi. I'm ashamed, or maybe not so ashamed because here I am writing about it, to say that I took my spoon to the sauce after the meat was gone. I absolutely loved it - hot, spicy, a little bit sour & high quality beef. It's got every right to be the highlight of the menu.

Fried Potatoes and Japanese Curry Sauce - Excellent curry sauce, better quality than your curry roux blocks that are now fairly easily found in the UK. Thick but not unctuous, hotter than standard Japanese curries (probably, funny given the history of curry in Japan, made that way to appeal more to English palates) with crispy diced potatoes.

The indulgent freak & me wondered about topping them with cheese - but they totally didn't need it, I'm just a freak for cheesy potatoes like all red-blooded humans. I can absolutely see this being served in Japan too. Either at one of the 'family restaurants' that are popular there (like Jonathan's or Denny's) or at Cocoichibanya. Curry sauce & potatoes is universal - and if it's not, it damn well should be.

Mentaiko Mac 'n' Cheese - Every time I see mentaiko, I think 'mental', as in "That's mental!" - an exclamation you may use as you eat this. See that big plop in the middle is mentaiko: AKA fish roe, AKA fish eggs. I've had it before but never in a proper form, just as a pasta sauce or a Cheeto (reviewed here) - so I wasn't sure what I'd think of it as a straight up plop. I'm not the biggest fan of very fishy things, but I'm pleased to report that it's not strong at all. It's very mild - not that it tasted like lobster mac & cheese, but it had a similar level of "fishiness", which isn't that much. The cheese wasn't very strong at all, which is probably for the best in order for the subtle taste of mentaiko to shine. I really enjoyed this one.

Kinako French Toast with Green Tea Softserve - The green tea soft serve is lovely - strong and not overly sweetened, it's a very refined dessert and would've made for a lovely light finish served all by itself. They don't stop there, however - the kinako french toast alongside is a big ol' thick slice of sweetness. We all know the best sort of french toast has three distinct textures: crispy edges, sturdy top 'n' bottoms, and a nearly gooey middle. Right, we all know that.

This one has it in perfect balance. The kinako flavor is subtle, and while I really enjoy toasted soy powder, I can see the need to keep it light. Kinako can tend to have the slightest savory edge, like peanuts or sesame in a dessert. I think it's presence here keeps the french toast from being overly sweet.

No cocktails this time around! They do have some great ones though, and I think it's cute that they're served in a little bottle for you to pour at your own discretion. Not sure if that means they've been aged, which would be quite cool, or if it's just a fun way to serve them. Either way, I've got my eyes on the sake cherry gimlet for my next trip. Really looking forward to returning, especially as they'll be changing the menu periodically!

Thursday, March 19, 2015


I was pleased to be contacted by Pastinos and asked to write a review about their snacks. I've seen them before, I believe in Selfridges and a small Italian cafe in my old town. Here is a list of all the places stocking Pastinos at the moment. They have four flavors:

Lemon & Black Pepper, Chianti & Olive, Arrabbiata and Tomato & Sweet Basil.

These are made with real pasta, and I have no clue what they do to render them into crunchy but not tooth-shattering crisp style snacks. It's very cool, though! I also really appreciate the unique flavors that remain true to the pasta roots of the snack.

Perhaps my favorite flavor of them all was the Lemon & Black Pepper, which was tangy whilst remaining savory, with a strong hit of black pepper. It's a classic combination in life, but not so much so in snacking form, so if you like lemon & pepper with meat, chances are you'll like it on crispy pasta snacks as well. What's really nice about this one too is that you can sort of taste the 'pasta' behind the flavoring, which makes it seem even heartier of a snack.

I also really enjoyed the Tomato & Sweet Basil, which was a very accurate name. This one had all the familiar comforts of red sauce kind of Italian food, your marinara, your tomato sauces of all shapes & varieties. I enjoyed it - I shared this one out with a couple of co-workers who also liked the flavor, so it seems like an easy pleaser.

The Arrabbiata flavor was a lot like the above Tomato & Sweet Basil, but with an added chili backdrop. They come in as a close second favorite, but the Lemon & Black Pepper just pips it - in part because it was such a unique taste.

The Chianti & Olive was interesting, tasted a lot more like an olive than I was expected which was good news for me as an olive fan. The chianti, well, can't say I've ever actually drank it (also never had fava beans, funny enough) but I think perhaps it made them a bit sweeter? If these had been just olive flavored I probably would've really enjoyed it, but the combination of something slightly sweet with olive just didn't do it for me as much as the others. I will definitely give it this - it was a very different flavor!

Over all, I really enjoyed these snacks and I think there is lots of room to grow in terms of flavors while staying true to the pasta roots - flavors like macaroni & cheese, saffron cream, and maybe best of sauce? Sounds good to me! These are a great change from regular crisps, and definitely feel more filling with more exotic flavors.

(Pastinos provided me with these snacks for a fair and square review)

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Oats and Nutella Cookie from Starbucks UK

Starbucks UK has, as I mentioned in an earlier blog, recently seemed to push for a stronger lunch time & snack time presence. Like I said before, it's hard to imagine going into a Starbucks & not ordering a hot drink of some sort, but I generally don't have coffee in the afternoon and hot chocolate at lunch seems to indulgent for an average weekday, which is usually when I go to Starbucks.

Regardless, it's pretty easy to manage a cookie for breakfast and get a coffee. It was with that thinking that I grabbed the new Nutella Cookie from Starbucks as my breakfast this Monday. You'll notice a different quality to the images today (and even more so, a different background) as I was at work instead of at home.

It was about palm sized and quite heavy - with hazelnut choco-filling, we can presume.

It's described as being 'lightly spiced' and I was surprised to taste that it was indeed relatively spiced. It reminded me of the flavor profile of an American molasses cookie, with a deep sweetness & a touch of cinnamon sugar spice.

It was also similar to a molasses cookie in that it was chewy & hearty - the oats definitely boosted this one up to be quite filling. It's funny, even though it cannot even border being healthy, the hearty texture and gently spiced flavor made it feel a bit more wholesome & therefore okay for breakfast than a regular cookie.

The layer of Nutella inside was substantial, and took up a lot of the diameter of the cookie if not tons of vertical height. Probably for the best not to just have a couple inch high blob of Nutella in the middle...who am I kidding, that would've been more than welcome. As it was, it was quite well balanced and again, made me feel like what I was eating wasn't entirely unhealthy. It was at the level of perceived health of say, a banana nut bread with Nutella spread on top.

I did receive this product for free from Starbucks in exchange for a fair & square review.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Special Feature - Food I'd Like to Eat: Starbucks Worldwide Edition

This year I'm not planning any big trips or vacations anywhere - so I've convinced my world travelling tummy to turn to the internet to explore the things we'll be missing out on. Sorry, tummy - we're saving that ££. In the mean time, let's see what's up at Starbucks across the world!

Oh, Starbucks Japan. Is there ever a season goes by where I don't wish I could just teleport into one of your jazzy, dark woodgrain cafes in Tokyo? No. If you've never browsed through the Starbucks Japan website, I recommend it - you'll see that they list dozens & dozens of interesting pastries, savouries, Frappuccinos & coffees. Things like maple biscuits, banana cream pies, and an awesome looking sausage & cheddar bagel. Apparently offered as part of the general menu, but I'm specifically looking for seasonal bits. Starbucks Japan doesn't let me down - after all, it's Spring!

Yes! The Sakura season always brings about a Starbucks cherry blossom item or two. This year there is a lovely looking cake, and a variation on the usual sakura flavors in the drinks - this time, there is also hints of caramel & chocolate. I think it looks great, but I can't help but wonder how well-balanced it could be with so many different flavors competing for attention. I think caramel & cherry blossom could go really well together, but the chocolate is a bit strong so I wonder how it works. Can't make it to Starbucks Japan? Well...can you make it to a convenience store in Japan, somehow?

Congratulations if so, because that means you can try out this refrigerated insta-latte with sakura & added strawberry flavor! Thing is, I think this one sounds best of them all, haha. I hope to someday be in Japan during the Spring so I can not only try these special sakura menus, but also see the absolutely beautiful cherry blossoms that bloom then. The problem is, it's also the most expensive time to travel to Japan. Whoops!

Starbucks Singapore is no slouch in the Asia-Pac region, as evidenced by the amount of limited edition offerings they've put on at the beginning of 2015. This awesome raspberry truffle mocha is shared between them, Malaysia, and Hong Kong.

Takes me back to that Christmas where the UK got dark chocolate cherry mocha as a limited edition - that was so lovely, it's a shame they never have brought it back. Well, if you miss fruity & chocolatey coffees all you have to do is visit Singapore! May I also throw a big ol' bone to what must be the delicious Honey Vanilla Macchiato. I love honey lattes from Tully's in Japan, so this is probably much the same!

Starbucks China gets in on the seasonal act with a few different celebratory Chinese New Year drinks. A spicy mocha, a chestnut macchiato, and the one I'd like to highlight: the Peach Blossom Tea Latte!

That sounds right up my street, sweet & milky with whipped cream on top. I like the difference between the whipped cream imagery between this one & the raspberry truffle mocha - the tea latte looks delicate (a gentle plop, if you will) & lightly whipped, whereas the raspberry mocha has a proud, firm whipped cream topping. Get this - you can also get the Peach Blossom Tea Latte in Starbucks Canada.

Starbucks USA isn't really going wild this season, but that's to be expected - I don't think I ever remember an exciting spring release in Starbucks America. It might've been when the fruity blended Tazos came out or something, but who cares about those?

The latest drinks are Tiramisu lattes & Frappuccinos, and a Caramel Flan latte & Frappuccinos. Now I gotta bit of a beef with the Caramel Flan one because that, to me, just sounds like caramel. I'd love to know if there is any legitimately different taste, so I'd try it. The Tirimisu one, however, sounds quite nice with a mascarpone flavor...dunno if that would actually have a strong taste, either. Also, they pale in comparison to the overloaded Japanese versions of those same flavors from last year, which had actual hunks of those desserts in the drink. Now that would be worth a try.

This sandwich, however, sounds awesome: Bacon, Gouda, and Parmesan Frittata in Starbucks USA.

As much as I like a lot of the food at Starbucks (here in the UK, I love the Cheese & Marmite toastie) it really seems to me that it's just not that kinda place you can go & just order food. I'm sure that no one would kick you out, but I can't deal with the judgement of a barista if I actually just want to order lunch.

That being said, they're really promoting a new menu of interesting looking lunches and a couple of awesome new baked goods - and they're launching the 'Starbucks Evenings' menu in the UK (first location is Stansted Airport) so maybe Starbucks is positioning itself to be seen as more of a dining option in addition to just coffees? I'm down with that!

The things I'm most looking forward to trying at Starbucks UK are the Nutella Cookie & the 3 Cheese Toastie.

You can expect a review of at least one of these (and it will definitely be that Nutella Cookie...) very shortly! The Nutella Cookie is a lightly spiced cookie filled with Nutella. What's not to like? The 3 Cheese Toastie is mascarpone, red leicester, and cheddar. Truffle-infused mascarpone, no less. That would be one indulgent lunch, haha - *cracks knuckles* and I'm just the woman to eat it.

Writing this round up of Starbucks across the world made me very hungry & sleepy. 

Sunday, February 22, 2015

2015 Paul A Young Valentine's Chocolates

I know it's late, but I hope everyone had a great Valentine's Day! I know it's not one of the most well-loved holidays in the world, ironically enough, but I've always enjoyed it as just a day to celebrate love in general, not necessarily romantic love. Love between family, friends, and the love human beings have for sugar & fat. That's why chocolate is so popular on the day, right?

During the course of my celebration on the 14th we stopped by Paul A Young for some last minute truffles 'n' treats. I've covered Paul A Young a few times on the blog previously:
Golden Champagne Easter Egg, 2014
Valentine's Day Selection Box, 2014
Valentine's Day Shortbread, 2013
Christmas Gingerbread Shortbread, 2012/2013

As you can see my Paul A Young visits do often correspond with the major holidays. Every year he does something special for them, so I'm often tempted right on in. This year the Valentine's theme was romantic cities around the visited through chocolate. We tried a few of the cities & had a couple of new filled chocolates just for good measure. Odds are good these will still be available in the shops awhile longer!

Dublin (first row, far left - bottom row, far right)  - Confessions: I've never tried Guinness, but that is what's in this truffle + some soda bread crunching about. It tasted like a slightly malty dark chocolate, and I did really enjoy it! I asked my husband if that is about what Guinness tastes like, and he said "yeah." So, must be accurate then!

London (first row, far right - bottom row, far left) - Gin & lime with tonic water, super accurate! There is a bit of mouth-watering fizz to the lime & tonic water, and the gin hits you with a very smooth, fresh alcohol taste. Not like a lot of other alcoholic truffles, the next one included, that have a bit of strength & vapor to them. This was a lot more refined, and could be very appealing to people who aren't even that into drink-infused chocolate.

Paris (top row center - bottom row center) - Absinthe, lump sugar. Nice alcoholic kick to it, I'm not an expert on absinthe (if I was, what a strange blog this would be...) but it certainly seemed to have some boozy vapors tucked away inside the smooth, dark ganache. Big fan of this one, anybody into alcoholic truffles would love it.

Seville (middle row far right) - This one was good, your classic orange & chocolate combination with a bit of flaked almonds for crunch & nutty depth. Not a whole lot to say about it to be honest, but the marmalade was well balanced for tang & sweetness.

Peppermint & Coffee (second row, far left) - This one was lovely. Strong, sweet peppermint with a hint of a coffee bean style flavor. Not so strong like brewed coffee, more like - well, a chocolate covered coffee bean. It was a lot like having a nice mint fondant chocolate with a sip of a strong espresso to follow. It was interesting to try this as the filling was much stiffer/more fondant than I usually see in Paul A Young.

New York (dead center) - Cream cheese, biscuit, dark chocolate. This one was awesome. Definitely the most traditional of all the flavors, as it is a cheese cake in domed chocolate form...I mean, what could go wrong? What I liked best was the density & sourness, it really captured NYC style cheesecake in a way that many British places kinda don't see. Often topped with sour cream, NYC cheesecake is a dense & not too sweet, more fatty affair. This got it right - and the little bits of graham-y biscuit drove the point home. I'd happily scarf these down just like the salted caramels - it's the same sort of perfect balance. A new line of cheesecake chocolates would be a great idea, case Mr. A. Young happens to read. ;) Blueberry compote on top? Just sayin'.

Bonus mini-review! I also shared the Pink Praline brownie, and it was as dense & fudgey as ever, with a subtle almond sugar crunch on top. As nice as ever, and nearly just a perfect plain brownie.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Taffy Mail for February (American Candy Subscription Box in the UK!)

I've just recently started looking into subscription boxes, and I was a bit disappointed to see that my countrymen in the USA had yet to open up the shores of our sugary sea to the United Kingdom. In a word, there were no North American candy subscription boxes that shipped to the UK. Disappointing for a wayward American who likes to keep up to date with the limited edition Oreos back home...(Red Velvet, come to me!)

Taffy Mail Review Subscription Box American Candy

Leave it to some ingenious Brits to solve this problem for themselves. The fine folks at Taffy Mail were kind enough to send me a box to review. Thanks so much - it made me nostalgic, and it really felt like a care package from home for me. For non-Americans, I'm sure it's an exciting box full of things that they may remember from childhood holidays - or even things that they've never tried, which the patriot in me knows they'll love.

They're based here in the UK & ship out delicious American sweets every month at just £14.99, shipped. If you want to get it for just £12.99 shipped - use my code 'CREAMYSTEAKS' for £2 off!

Best of all, they also include a soda - which if you've ever tried to buy soda from overseas you know the shipping is ridiculous. My box was full of awesome candy & chocolate, read on for blow-by-blow (or is that Blow Pop by Blow Pop?) reviews of what I got. Would you believe it, but there were some things in there that I had never tried myself!

Airheads Grape - Never had an Airhead in my life...I was never big on chewing, now or as a kid, I'm more of a chomper. Turns out all these years I've been really missing out. Airheads are a very soft taffy that doesn't linger about on your teeth, it's sticky but only just. Unlike, for instance, Laffy Taffy which I have solid recollections of having to dig out of my teeth by the end of a chunk - or any caramel ever. The grape flavor was strong, sweet, & tart. Reminded me of Crush Grape soda! Miss that stuff.

Abba Zabba - I've had this bar before, and it's definitely an odd one. Absolutely fun to try, it's extremely sticky & chewy sweet taffy with a peanut butter center. I'm not the biggest fan personally, but it was nice to see something a bit more rare in the box. Once you've reached the peanut butter center, it's actually quite nice. It's working your way through that thick rope of taffy that may prove difficult. If you've got strong teeth you may find it a pleasant chew, but I've got li'l baby milk teeth so I can't handle it.

Nerds Rope - I loved Nerds Rope. As soon as it came out when I was a kid in 1997 I was all about it. It's a very smooth, relatively thin gummy rope that is coated in a variety of Nerds. They did different flavors, and this one is Valentine's themed. It was just as nice as I remember, the Nerds were tangy & of course incredibly sweet (did you know they're basically just sugar coated in sugar?) and the gummy is soft & 'red' tasting. You know how red licorice tastes, or unspecified red 'jam'? That's the Nerds Rope!

Whatchamacallit - Now this is one I doubt many British people have tried, considering a lot of Americans probably never give this one a go in their lifetimes! It's one of the older Hershey's bars that lacks advertising & colorful limited editions, along the lines of the 5th Avenue & the ever mysterious Mr Goodbar. This one has caramel & 'peanut flavor crisps'. I've got to imagine there are some holdout Whatchamacallit superfans from the 70s that still bulk buy these, and I'm glad they exist because it's a fine bar of chocolate. The caramel is runny & not too sticky or stiff, the peanut crisps are like softer, less sticky Butterfinger pieces. If you're a fan of Butterfingers, especially if you like the flavor but find the texture too sticky, I think you'd go nuts for the Whatchamacallit. It is quite nice!

Kool-Aid Strawberry Lemonade - Ah, Kool-Aid! I don't think I've tried this flavor before, I was always a red or purple fan. It's quite tart, which makes it a bit more appealing to the adult palate. It's a lot like a Countrytime Lemonade actually - but some of that might have to do with the fact that I didn't add too much sugar. The strawberry flavor, hm - maybe if I added more sugar it would be more pronounced, but as of right now it just softens the lemon up a bit. In case you're wondering, you can make Kool-Aid directly into a glass, you just use a smaller portion of the packet & less sugar. It's a bit tougher to get the balance right, but the good news is you don't need to go out and buy a pitcher!

Dove Cookies 'n' Cream Bar - I've reviewed this one before! What are the odds. As I said in my previous review, I'm actually not crazy for American white chocolate bars - they are very sweet. I ate Hershey's Cookies & Cream bars a lot as a kid, and as soon as I start thinking about them now my throat starts to get a bit sore. I had a segment, and while it was smooth & the cookie chunks a bit more noticeable than before, I still gave the rest to my husband. He loved it - your results will vary depending on how white chocolate you ate as a kid, I guess!

Tootsie Pop Drops - Love Tootsie Pops, but hate sticks? This is just your style then! I'm ambivalent towards sticks, but what I do like about these is the size & ease with which you can eat. Also, it takes a lot less licks to get to the center of one of these, which is good because everyone knows the melty Tootsie center is the best. I bet that owl's head is spinning. These come in all the best flavors of Tootsie Pop, so orange, "blue", grape, cherry & even the dreaded chocolate flavor hard candy. Woe be to the teacher who passed that flavor out to me, hated it. All the fruity ones are just perfect though! If you've never had a Tootsie Pop, I feel bad for you, but they're fruity tart lollipops with a Tootsie Roll center. As you suck, the center because melty & gooey, and once you get to the center it's a lot like a flavored Tootsie...which are also awesome. Orange is my favorite these days, the combination of a tangy citrus hard candy & a malty, soft choco-ish center is quite nice & something I can imagine the land of Terry's Chocolate Oranges & Cadbury Eclairs loving. Even though these are quite small drops, I was able to get a good 10 minutes worth of candy pleasure out of one. That is... without biting. I'm no owl.

Pixy Stix - Oh man, I ate a lot of Pixy Stix growing up. They might explain why I did so little actual growing up after awhile. This is "blue" flavor, an American flavor that is in some ways blueberry, in some ways raspberry, and in a lot of ways neon citric acid. It was my favorite flavor as a kid because well, it was almost always the strongest flavor in the bunch, was kinda sour, and usually had razzbadattude. Just like how I remember it, except now as an adult I'm very conscious of the fact that it's a straw full of sugar, and instead of giving me the energy I need to play dogs for hours & hours it just makes me feel ashamed. Like I said, a Pixy Stix is basically a stick of sugar & is as you might expect, quite sweet. It's not purely sweet though, it does have a hint of tartness & tang. SweetTarts are actually Pixy Stix that have been compressed into discs, so if you know & love that flavor, you'll get it pure & uncut in Pixy form. It was really nice to try this again, and it was actually a lot nicer as an adult than I thought it would be! I guess we never stop loving slightly sour sugar.

Jolly Rancher Stix, Green Apple - We all know green apple is the best flavor of Jolly Rancher, but how does it fair in stick form? I'll be honest - I'm not sure I understand how we're supposed to eat this product. It's no fault of Taffy Mail's of course, but I suppose you're meant to just have half of a hard candy sticking out of your mouth while you gum endlessly at the other end until you get it to biting consistency? Jolly Ranchers in their normal form are bite-sized hard candy logs that you just put in your mouth, in their entirety, and suck on. This thing is way too big for that, and the only other things I can think of just look so weird & feel uncomfortable. The taste was just as nice, a tart green apple that is sweet & fresh tasting, but I just can't get over how exactly I'm meant to eat it. I'd recommend sticking to the classic Jolly Ranchers shape, but it's an interesting experiment - I bet kid's would find a way to eat it in a more clever way than I did.

Butterfinger Bites - I was into the Butterfinger BBs back in the old days, and while these are quite a bit bigger it's the same principle. I think the fine folks down at Butterfinger Co. realize that their candy is almost impossible to just eat as a big hunk of chewy peanut-flavored confection, so they come up with simpler ways of getting that salty, peanutty crunch without having to actually eat an entire bar of it. See Butterfinger Cups, BBs, Snackerz, and Bites. The bites are about thumb sized and mostly Butterfinger inside, with just a medium sized coating of chocolate, The flaky & crispy innards are as they always are, and the flavor (in case you've never had a Butterfinger period) is more peanutty than peanut buttery. It tastes a bit like sweetened - but not roasted or salted - peanuts. It's a unique flavor, and that's why Butterfinger Cups can sit happily beside Reese's. The smaller bite size version is definitely preferable to the large bars, but be warned that you'll still get some stuck in your teeth.

M&Ms Minis - Have you had M&Ms? Yes? Have you ever had them teeny tiny & adorable? Maybe not? Well here's your chance. I like these better than traditional M&Ms because the shell is a bit thinner, so it's more like you're just eating little dots of chocolate. I'm not crazy for the hard sugar shell on Smarties or Mini Eggs, and the M&Ms Minis swing in the opposite direction by making it thinner & less crunchy. I also think they're just adorable. I remember when these came out I got them a lot at the movies, and they blend quite nicely with popcorn. I've compared them above to a regular M&M I happened to have around.

Day's Root Beer - Tasty root beer! You've got to try it, and this is a nice & mild one. It's not too spicy & not too minty, it's like a non-fruity Dr Pepper. It's so hard to describe the flavor of root beer...this is a really lovely one though!

Whew! What a haul, huh? I absolutely loved getting this box - for me it was nostalgic & tasty. There was also so much inside, I shared half of everything (well...more or less) with my husband and we both had candy for days.

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