Sweetie Review: Refreshers Revisited

In June last year, I reviewed Refreshers. Having rediscovered them, they’ve made regular (if infrequent) appearances in my desk’s sweetie dish. They don’t last long.

But today, having not had them for a couple of weeks, I made a frightful discovery on the shelves of Mr McNobby’s shop: The little sugar temptresses have changed. The first clue is the packet. It’s no longer a paper roll around a foil wrap. It’s all paper, folded over at the ends. Boo Hiss. What’s worse – and this is the real shocker – the tube is narrower. Imperceptibly narrower, but narrower all the same. Yes, the little sweeties are slightly smaller. Massive Boo Hiss.

On closer inspection, this is because they’re now made by a company called ‘Candy Land’. Have the Americans bought out refreshers?

Will I stop buying them? Of course not, they taste exactly the same.

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Sweetie Review: Natural Confectionary Co. Spooky Treats

Just a quick note about Hallowe’en sweets: These are great. No added rubbish, lots of flavour in the shape of skulls, vampire teeth, pumpkins, gravestones and old hags.

Why not disappoint kids this hallowe’en by giving them these instead of chocolate bars and repackaged sugar?

Sweetie Review: Rowntree’s Fizzy Bottles

What do you get if you cross a fruit pastille with a cola bottle?

As I looked at the Rowntree’s Fizzy Bottles, 25% fruit juice and on special offer for £1 a pack, that was the thought that went through my mind. Even if they didn’t live up to expectations, they’d be enjoyable. Wouldn’t they?

Just barely, is the answer. The Natural Confectionary Company can use real fruit juice and still make sweeties that offer resistance to your teeth as you chop and chew them. Why can’t anyone else?

These sweeties from Rowntree’s tasted fine, had a hint of the promised fizziness, but were so insubstantial I thought perhaps the sweeties had died and I was, in fact, eating only the ghost of sweeties past.

In hindsight I missed a big clue, from Rowntree’s themselves. On the back of the packet was this sticker…

Rowntrees Fizzy Bottles 2

… Right there it gives directions for using the sticker to reseal the packet so you can “Save some for later!”

So firstly, these sweeties’ target market is not the discerning confectionary connoisseur like you and me, but people so stupid they need instructions on how to use a sticker to reseal a bag.
Secondly, even the manufacturer thinks the sweeties fail to be so delicious that you can’t resist scoffing the lot in one go.

Lesson learned.

Rowntrees Fizzy Bottles

 

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Sweetie Review: Haribo Tangfastics

I have a confession: I’m prone to eating entire packets of sweets in one go. I sit down to work and open the packet, then I’m surprised a little while later that there are only two or three left. I’ll play a game with myself, pretending that I’m going to save them for another time, or even for 15 or 20 minutes.

But they just get munched.

Tangfastics are different. You start at the beginning of the pack (a real one, not the badly photoshopped idealised pack in the picture) and the first sweet is just the best. You screw your face up and the sour fills your face.

The second sweet, you get less of the sour and more of the flavour. And that’s the way it stays until you realise you’ve made your mouth numb, and… oh dear, is that going to be an ulcer?

You (well, I) simply can’t eat an entire pack in one go. Which is great, because then you have some left over from the breakfast sitting to have with your cup of tea around mid-morning.

Okay, perhaps that’s too much of a confession.

Tangfastics

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Sweetie Review: Refreshers

I was going to buy some Fruit Pastilles and review them. But just above them on the next shelf in Mr McNobby’s Corner Shop was a packet of refreshers in their shiny pastel rainbow wrapper. What is it about growing up that means for no reason at all you stop buying these amazing delicious treats? I don’t remember the last time I had some. Love Hearts, yes (though not the ghastly ‘One Direction’ special edition!), Refreshers, no.

There’s nothing to a refresher. It’s sugar, effervescence, a tiny drop of colour and an equally tiny drop of flavour. But the sugar and effervescence makes that flavour spread over your whole mouth as you suck or chew the thing.

I’ve been used to getting my sugar a teaspoon at a time in maybe five or six cups of tea a day, but having tried these again for the first time in a couple of decades, I might convert fully to coffee and get my sugar intake from these.

I know, you’re a grown up and you haven’t had these since you were in your mid-teens. Go today, buy some, and remember.

Always remember the good things.

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Sweetie Review: Kinder Pingui

Kinder. Synonymous with eggs containing small choking hazards.

The Kinder Pingui contains no choking hazard. And there seems to be something missing.

First bite, and first impression: It’s a fake choc-ice. A rectangle of chocolate with cool fondant inside. Straight from the fridge this is pretty good, but as I took my second bite I realised what wasn’t there.

A biscuit core.

I know. You’re thinking what freakish man is this that thinks there should be a biscuit core to a choc-ice? Well not me, but my second bite has revealed the truth. This isn’t a fake choc-ice. It’s a fake Wagon Wheel. Just one that isn’t so big you’ve got to grin to get it in. And they’ve saved all that space by taking out the biscuit core.

I’d like to say: If you like Wagon Wheels, get one of these. But if you like Wagon Wheels, get a Wagon Wheel. If you like choc-ices (and who doesn’t?), get a choc-ice. Unless you don’t have a convenient freezer. Then this is just right. Get one.

sweetie review.002

 

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Sweetie Review: Haribo Wine Gums

The combination of two favourites, Wine Gums and Haribo. These ought to be outstanding.

Instead they fall between the two, rather than taking the best of each. Too soft and jelly-esque to be wine *gums*, too hard and large to be Haribo-like.

I guess even Haribo can’t be good at every sweet. 5/10

As a friend of mine said recently: if I was responsible for those execrable Haribo ads, I’d shoot myself in the face.

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Sweetie Review: Natural Confectionary Co. Spooky Treats.

Just a quick note about Hallowe’en sweets: These are great. No added rubbish, lots of flavour in the shape of skulls, vampire teeth, pumpkins, gravestones and old hags.

Why not disappoint kids this hallowe’en by giving them these instead of chocolate bars and repackaged sugar?

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Sweetie Review: Rowntree’s Randoms

4/10. The lowest you can score as a sweetie without poisoning me.

It’s always tough launching a new type of sweetie onto the market. You’d think a company as large as Rowntree would decide which sweetie to launch and put their marketing money heavily behind it. Instead they went down the ‘Revels’ route and launched all the sweeties they could think of, packaged together with a name the CEO had seen on “FaceSpace or MyBook, or something like that.”

The trouble with that is while some of the sweeties are going to be great, some are going to make you sick in your mouth, and frankly the good ones aren’t worth the bad.

Rowntree’s Randoms have been around for two years now. I feel sure that had the company not put so much money into the advertising, the sweets themselves would have died a quiet death and we’d all be happier. The only part of the Rowntree’s Randoms experience that is worse than the advertising are the sweets themselves. It’s on a very low base alongside Haribo’s advertising. Why can’t agencies come up with decent sweetie creative? I hope they all smash their shameful faces under the toilet seat three times a day.

After I’ve dispatched the bag of Rowntree’s Fruit Pastilles (bought the bags together on a 2 for £2) I’ll go back to reliable Haribo.

Sweetie Review: Walkers Salt and Vinegar Crisps

Since I was a boy, Walkers salt and vinegar flavour have been my favourite crisps. Now I am, alas, no longer a boy and worse still, no longer able to shove all manner of goodies into my face safe in the knowledge I would gain not a single ounce. I have to be discerning about my snack foods. I can’t waste my, erm, waist on unsatisfying sweeties.

The key is don’t eat them often but make them good when I do. a proper treat.
So it’s even more of an imposition when, quite apart from not being as flavoursome as my inner child reminds me they were, the crisps simply aren’t crispy. It’s a failure on their most basic level. I’m going to have to go for a run to get rid of the impact of a packet of uncrispy crisps that I didn’t enjoy.

Sadface.

However, there is light at the end of the green packet lined tunnel: A Deep Ridged light. These fantastic new additions burst with flavour so strong you can barely finish a whole packet. That’s a win/win as far as I can tell.

Although it does mean that after you roll down the packet to save what’s left, they are, like their flat cousins, invariably uncrispy when you come back to them.

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