I have a problem: I love fruit candies. Ever since I was a kid, I've had a thing for them, I think for several reasons: 1) They're the most artificial food possible. There is literally nothing real about them. They look like plastic, they feel more or less like plastic, they're perfectly consistent -- no variation at all, which is a real issue for me in food -- and they look nothing like fruit, taste nothing like fruit, and yet claim to be fruit-flavored. 2) They come in variety packs. You get a bag of chocolates, they are very likely to be a bunch of the same exact chocolate. That sucks. I want like four flavors at least. 3) I briefly served as the leader of a religion based on the worship of Starbursts. That's... maybe another post. Here are my thoughts on some fruit candies:
Sour Punch Straws
Oh man. Listen. These things. They are delicious and sour. You have to make sure to get them soft -- genuinely squeeze them in the store to check if they're stale -- but if you're lucky these are just transcendent. The strawberry is probably going to be your favorite unless you're genuinely into sour candy, which I am. In which case, go green apple: I literally ate like a case of these in three weeks the summer before I met Tracy. (I was ludicrously depressed and they were cheap that way at Sam's. But let's be honest, I'd do the same thing now if I thought she would let me.)
Pure garbage. I hate these things. They're stiff, they're too chewy, and the flavor is about two rungs above cough syrup. Bleck. Pull and Peel Twizzlers were better, at least when you could get them in other flavors -- I was fond of the mixed berry -- but they killed that shit and now it's just cherry Pull and Peel, too. Which, again, sucks viciously. ... Okay so I just Googled these and it turns out I'm thinking of strawberry Twizzlers. This is one of those surprisingly common situations where being totally wrong only makes me more right: Jesus Christ, that is a terrible strawberry candy.
Okay, much, much better: these are soft (again, squeeze them to be sure), they have a wide variety of flavors (strawberry, orange, lemonade, watermelon, blue raspberry, grape -- watermelon, orange, and grape are by far the best), and the flavors have a sort of low-key subtlety I really appreciate. They're not too sweet, not too anything -- just pleasant. Well-crafted. Like an early Michael Chabon story. I'm eating these now. They're a real standby.
Twizzlers with the Stuff Inside
I don't remember what these are called but they're pretty exciting. You only get two flavors -- cherry and lemon, which you would think wouldn't work out that well because as we've established cherry is not Twizzlers' strength and lemon is always the weakest flavor (which bank is lobbying them to put it in everything?) but think cherry lemonade. These are a slightly more waxy style of Twizzler, but still soft (CHECK THAT THEY ARE SOFT) and, surprise!, filled with a delicious tart gummy filling. These candies are, when I'm drunk, usually the best thing that happens to my mouth.
These are the "intense" fruit chew. They're all sort of sour, there are a bunch of delicious flavors, it's hard to describe exactly how they differ from Starbursts except that they're a completely different thing. They can be especially good if you let them warm up a little and get kind of gooey in the car. I remember Tracy and I bought a bag of these and ate a bunch of them together in the Butler parking lot once when I was in a bad way. Sick? Sad? I don't remember.
Beer Bread Gummies
This is in non-fruit, imaginary gummy that I invented. It's like a tiny piece of toast, except instead it's a gummy, but it tastes like bread. And it's filled with sweetened wheat beer that busts out like a gusher when you bite it, and it's delicious.