Caramello vs Galaxy Caramel

Caramello used to be one of my favorite candy bars, I don’t remember when we parted ways but I’ve slowed down to probably one of these every 2 years.  I’m usually not a fan of caramel but I enjoy the soft, non-teeth suctioning texture of Caramello.  When I saw Galaxy Caramel, I just had to compare.  I don’t know much about Galaxy, just from what googled, it’s “European” and owned by Dove Chocolate.

It’s not demonstrated well in this photo but the caramel is pretty gooey.    Ethan says the characteristics of the caramel and chocolate compliment each other.  I agree the softness of the caramel blends well with the creaminess of smooth and creamy milk chocolate Cadbury is so well known for.

The sections are kind of half-cylinder instead of square.  The caramel is more dense and isn’t as gooey but it is still the “gentle” kind of caramel that leaves teeth alone.  Ethan felt the two flavors still go well together but seemed more separate somehow.  Also he thought the chocolate and caramel were not as smooth as Caramello.

Wrap up:
Ethan preferred Caramello but I almost couldn’t tell the difference other than the thickness of Galaxy’s caramel.  I’d say if you’re craving a chocolate/caramel bar, these two are similar enough in quality that I think anyone would be happy with either.  Of course I’m sure there are die-hard Cadbury or Galaxy fans that would find the other unacceptable but I really think these pretty interchangeable.

Caramello vs Galaxy Caramel?

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Good & Fruity vs Mike and Ike

I don’t know too much about these candies so I looked in Wikipedia and though this was interesting: “Prior to 1992, all Good & Fruity candies contained the same-flavored red gummy center, relying upon the hard candy shell to provide the different flavor according to color. Sometime around 1992, however, the formula was changed and the candies’ interiors became color & flavor-coordinated with the outer shell to give the candy a “fruitier” taste. The resulting candy texture is far closer to a small jelly bean than to the traditional Good & Plenty crisp outside, chewy inside texture.”
That does seem to ring a bell from what I remember these being like from my Trick-or-Treating days, which was the only time I’d have these.  Because of this formula change, they are very much like Mike and Ike’s Original Fruit flavor and worth comparing.

Good & Fruity:
These seemed very tart to me.  The texture was really sugary like a jellybean but dissolved better.  Ethan thought the outer coating was “chalky”, kind of like Sweetarts and thought they had a very fain licorice flavor.  I thought they had a faint dishwasher soap taste and wasn’t crazy about how they stuck to my teeth. But after a few of these I did end up thinking they weren’t too bad

Mike and Ike:
Ethan has a history with these being one of his favorite candies.  In fact, he did a blind taste test and could tell just by holding the Good and Fruitys that they were not Mike and Ikes.  He thought these have a juicer flavor and likes the density and chewiness.  I thought the flavor was smoother and more pleasant but the texture was too much for me.  It was like chewing glue and they did not dissolve well.  Maybe they’re not supposed to but they were too sticky for me

Wrap up:
I’m not a big chewy-sticky candy person but due to their dissolving factor, I go with Good and Fruity, even with the tart, sour flavor.  Compared to Mike and Ikes they are much easier to chew.  Ethan remains loyal to Mike and Ike because he likes the more realistic fruit flavor (due to containing fruit juice)and actually likes the chewy texture so much that he doesn’t mind them sticking to his teeth.

Good & Fruity or Mike and Ike?

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Glad there’s only one of: Reindeer Licks

So…I’m walking through the holiday candy section of Walgreen’s and I see this candy called “Reindeer Licks”.  This is a lollipop, shaped like a tongue and when you lick it, makes you look like you’re making out with a reindeer. Too stupid for adults, too inappropriate for kids, I’m not sure who they were gearing this towards, but the slogan is “The only pop that licks you back!”
No thanks, I don’t want a pop to lick me back.  Who does?  Well I guess there’s always someone but they’d buy something like this online.

Wrap up:
While the idea of this is enough to make it onto the “one of” list, after taking the pictures, Ethan got to know the reindeer better and said the pop actually tasted really good.  I asked to take a picture of him licking this but he declined because he didn’t know if the reindeer was a boy or a girl.  Still, I’m going to skip this as a stocking stuffer for my nephew to avoid any grief from my sister.

Reindeer Licks: Good idea?

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Cheese Balls: Planters vs Utz

When I did my cheese curls post I mentioned how I wish we could have tested cheese balls but Planter’s discontinued their canister snacks products (that are not nuts).  Those were Ethan’s childhood favorite he wanted to test those.
I don’t know when Planter’s cheese balls were discontinued but there is a petition to bring them back.  There seems to be something magical about the Blockbuster Video stores in Portland, OR because that’s where a reader in Portland, OR says they are the only place that sells them. I searched the Blockbuster’s around here to no avail.  Anyway, from the kindness of her heart she sent me 2 (two) cannisters of these rare treats and it made a very awesome early Christmas present for Ethan ?   Not only is she a fantastic person, but she makes very cool jewelry and the least I can do to repay this kindness is ask you to check out her site:

At last!  Ethan was pretty excited to eat these yet cautious because sometimes things don’t taste as good as you remember them (as has been the case with a few items we’ve evaluated so far).  As soon as Ethan popped on of these in his mouth he nodded his head and said it tasted just how he remembered.  I don’t have a past connection with these but was impressed by the tangy cheese flavor and excellent “meltability”.  There is also a pleasant buttery taste to these.  Ethan’s said they just taste “right” and that was pretty much all that needed to be said considering he’s such loyal fan.

These are considerably larger than Planter’s and also somewhat “rougher”.  They do not have good meltability but do have decent cheese flavor although it goes away fast, which I guess gives the corn flavor a chance to shine.  Ethan though these tasted pretty good too but recalled a time in the past where he ate too many and felt kind of sick.  Although I guess you might feel sick if you eat too much of anything. 

Wrap up:
Ethan still prefers his blast from the past, Planters, but did acknowledge that Utz was a good runner up.  They make a pretty good cheese ball, but I feel the meltability of Planters is what keeps it ahead.  Either would be acceptable for a cheese ball craving but Planters still gets the A+.

Cheese Balls: Planters or Utz?

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Cupcakes: Hostess vs Little Debbie

Hostess cupcakes and all Hostess products were banned from our house because as I’ve mentioned before, my dad thought he was some sort of half-rabbi and didn’t allow brands that weren’t kosher to be consumed.  This didn’t make a lot of sense because we didn’t go “all the way” and have separate sets of dishes and get our meat from kosher butchers and so on.  Anyway, one of the few times we were allowed such treats, other than the non-kosher wonderlands of eating at friends’ houses, were birthday parties at Roller Rink in Ashland, MA.
Besides having an awesome time skating in circles and trying not to be the cause of a pile-up on the rink floor, when it was “birthday time” the DJ would announce your birthday and tell you and your friends to go in the party room where there were plates with pizza and a Hostess cupcake.  My sister and I seriously were excited to be allowed to eat what “normal” kids ate all the time.
I found a picture at one of the Roller Rink parties where I was excited enough to hold up my cupcake in pride, as if I were thinking “See this?  I’m going to eat a forbidden cupcake!”
So that’s my history with Hostess Cupcakes.  I want to say Little Debbie didn’t have a cupcake at the time because my sister and I were so familiar with her products that we would have got those, but I could be wrong.

By the way, the last time I ate one of these was probably in the above photo but I expected total awesomeness.  Instead, Ethan and I both found these to be a little dry in the cake area and had a very mild chocolate flavor.  In fact they really didn’t taste like anything.  The frosting seemed a kind of waxy and bland and the cream middle had just a hint of vanilla.  Ethan noted there was also a chemical after taste.

Little Debbie:
I really like the mimic of the icing loops on the top of the cupcake.  It’s enough to associate with Hostess but then the hextagonal form of the cupcake says “I’m my own thing!”.  And they were in the way that they actually tasted like chocolate and the cake was moist.  We agreed the cream inside was more enjoyable, as it wasn’t as gritty as Hostess.  Also the outer coating wasn’t as waxy and tasteless too.

Wrap up:
Little D does it again but only because Hostess was lacking so much flavor.  Neither of these were what I remembered craving so much as a kid and since Ethan wasn’t impressed either, I wonder if there has been a change in recipe for Hostess.   Little Debbie seems to have a better formula but still her Swiss Rolls are something I feel are perfected and not so much with her cupcakes.

Cupcakes: Hostess or Lil' Deb?

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Planters Peanut Bar vs Pay Day

What do you do when you want some peanuts but it’s just not convenient to open a jar?  Of course you grab a candy bar that’s made of peanuts stuck together with some goop. Okay maybe that wasn’t the idea behind these bars, but they certainly would be handy for peanut lovers to eat while swinging on a trapeze or reeling in a Great White or some other task that allows limited use of you hands. I like peanuts just lightly roasted and salted, but never enjoyed them in food. I was thinking maybe these would be good since peanuts are the headliner and just a little sugar (or “binder”) would compliment the star of the show and I’d find a new way to enjoy peanuts.

Planters Peanut Bar:
This is a very stiff, hard and brittle bar.  Biting into this was not enjoyable at all.  It felt like I was biting into a candy bar made of teeth, which was pretty gross.  The glaze/peanut binder did not provide any flavor and it seemed like the peanuts themselves didn’t taste like anything either.   Ethan said he’d rather just eat some peanuts from a jar.

Pay Day:
The binder in Pay Day is more like a soft caramel. In that way the texture was much different but I’m not sure I’d say it was more appealing.  The taste wasn’t much better.  We found this to be very salty and between the “flavor” of the binder and the overly generous amount of salt, neither of us could finish it.

Wrap up:
No and no.  Planter’s “teeth bar” is totally bland and gross, and Pay Day is a soft, tasteless putty with the mis-matched texture/taste of peanuts. Even splitting these bars, we couldn’t finish them.  Obviously people must like them (and nothing against these people) or they wouldn’t be on the candy shelves, but I guess these just aren’t our thing, at all.

Planters or Pay Day?

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Easy Cheese vs Cheez-it

I’m pretty sure (though could be wrong) that Easy Cheese was the only cheese in a can before Cheez-It tried it’s hand at the can.
Both products are dispersed in the same way, are labeled as “Pasteurized Cheese Snack” and also claim to be made with real cheese. All three of the characteristics are usually a turn-off to most people.
This evaluation was conducted with Ethan and our friends Sarah and Mark and then I brought the cans into work to get my co-workers’ feedback.

Easy Cheese:
Some of the first comments on this were that it didn’t smell that great. The texture is smooth and creamy. Comments on the taste overall was that it was very mild, and some said tasted more like American than cheddar but some people liked that and thought it went well with crackers.

This had a darker color and had a cheddary smell. The texture was the same but it was unanimous that the flavor was a lot stronger. It was described as concentrated, overpowering, sharp, macaroni and cheese-like.

Wrap up:
Depends on who you ask but the strong flavor of this proved to be too much for most people but the research assistant at work and I both liked this. In fact we found that it went particularly well with pretzels.
I’d like to give Cheez-It points for having a tangy sharp cheddar taste but for those looking for a mild, but pleasant cheese flavor would prefer Easy Cheese.

Easy Cheese or Cheez-It?

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Mounds vs Bounty

Mounds, so good, slightly exotic and one of the few “Peter Paul” (now owned by Hersheymonster) candy bars.  It’s such a great combination of ingredients I’m surprised it hasn’t been copied more.  I like Almond Joy but I’m a dark chocolate girl and Mounds has always been one of my favorites.  Bounty is a Mars (not yet bought by Hershey) product and like Mounds, also comes as a two-piece candy bar.  I’ve seen Bounty before but Ethan wasn’t familiar with it.  I’ll say it’s because he grew up in New Hampshire and the Bounty truck didn’t bother delivering to the woods.

These have a nice soft bite to them.  The chocolate provides a firm shell around a soft, moist coconut mixture that is just sweet enough without going overboard.    The chocolate flavor is smooth and rich which is the right amount to not overpower the taste of the coconut.

Biting into these, it was clear that the coconut was drier.  The flavor of the coconut was okay but the dry texture didn’t seem to smush with the chocolate so well.  The chocolate looked better than Mounds but did not have as much flavor.  To be fair, I will say after it was in my mouth for a bit some flavor came through but it wasn’t as pronounced as Mounds.

Wrap up:
Mounds takes this match.  Ethan and I liked the moist texture of the inside and I really thought the quality of chocolate was better.  Bounty wasn’t terrible but the coconut was dry enough to cost it some points (if I used a point system) and for the fact that the chocolate only surrendered it flavor if you kept it in your mouth for a bit and worked it.  Not a bad substitute for Mounds but I can see why they’re not as common.

Mounds or Bounty?

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Tab vs Diet Pepsi

Oh Tab, I love you so much!  Will you marry me?  Wait, are you a guy or or a girl?  Oh I don’t care, all I know is that I want you in my life forever!  As much as I love Tab, I always felt Diet Pepsi may be a good runner up and thought I should do an evaluation sometime with DP and that sometime was tonight.
I decided to conduct this taste test with my eyes closed to see if my devotion to Tab was just habit and all in my head or the real deal.

Diet Pepsi:
With my eyes closed and turned away from the drinks, I asked Ethan to hand me one of the glasses and pick up the other one so I wouldn’t know which one he gave me.  I had to get the stupid grin from anticipation off my face and finally took a sip. As soon as I did I said “Oh my God this is Pepsi” and grinned again.  I didn’t look, but I’m guessing Ethan rolled his eyes in enthusiasm for my passing the Tab loyalty test.
There is something slightly soapy to me about most diet drinks, I’m guessing it’s the aspartame and this came though in Diet Pepsi, although I do like it for what it is, it’s no Tab.  Ethan thought it was tasteless and the bubbles were too small.

All I could say was that it’s just so very, VERY good and ditto everything from my last Tab post.  Even Ethan who says he doesn’t like Tab, agrees it has more flavor.  The bubbles are like applause in my mouth with a sweet, yet full bodied flavor that is uniquely Tab.  Somehow it masks the aspartame better than other diet drinks.

Wrap up:
Tab does it again, and I know it will always have a place in my heart, and my fridge, forever.  Ethan is not a Diet Cola person so he won’t be drinking either of these again, until Tab has a new competitor to beat into the ground ?  Although if I ever find myself in the south or wherever they sell Diet Rite that isn’t 2 years old, I’d be interested in trying that again since people really seem to like that.

Tab or Diet Pepsi?

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Turkey Jerky: Jack vs Joe

Finding a Thanksgiving related snack wasn’t easy.  I saw Jack Links Turkey Jerky at Target but had trouble finding a competitor.  Ethan was such a good sport and drove us around to 4 mini-marts, a gas station and a drug store before finding some at Trader Joe’s.  I did find some other interesting brands of beef jerky but that will be for a beef jerky re-match.

Jack Links:
I liked the light color of this and we both thought it smelled good; smokey and meaty.  Chewing it was another thing.  There were a few pieces that were softer but most were hard and plasticy.  Ethan didn’t mind as much and liked it’s “zesty” taste.  Like with Jack’s Beef Jerky, the texture was enough to make me not like this.

Trader Joe’s:
This was darker and didn’t have as strong of a smell as Jack’s but the texture was much better.  We both felt the chew on this was way more enjoyable.  I liked the subtle flavor and the simple ingredients list and that the turkey has no added hormones, nitrates or preservatives.  I felt that the simplicity of the product and ingredients really came though as a more pure tasting product.  That being said, Ethan said they tasted “old”.

Wrap up:
I guess Trader Joe’s wins because I would choose it over Jack Links any time.  The tough plasticy texture of Jack’s is just to much and the flavor was too peppery for me.  Ethan said it would depend on his mood if he had to choose between these two. He liked the flavor of Jack’s better but preferred the softness of Joe’s.
I would have been interested in trying a third party to see if Trader Joe’s is unique with their texture.  If I find another Turkey I’ll post an update.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Jack or Joe?

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