On our most recent episode of Candyology 101, Cybele and I noticed that a lot of candy companies were releasing peppermint themed sweets this year, which is a bit of a throwback to a wintery classic, but there were also a bunch of new Hot Cocoa themed products. For me, hot cocoa flavored sweets are in the same realm as the Red Velvet Cake ones. It's a novelty. I mean, what is hot cocoa? It's chocolate, melted into milk, with marshmallows. How can you recreate that into a snack without it just tasting like normal milk chocolate?
The packaging is a lovely matte blue color with silver snowflakes and metallic magenta accents. I really like the color choices, and out of the Angie's holiday flavors, this was my favorite color scheme. It's seasonal, without being obnoxious, and for a novelty product, this looks fairly classy. All except for one thing. I'm sorry Angie's, I just can't take you seriously when you have "Holidrizzle" written on your package. It sounds like something your uncle or aunt would say on Facebook to sound "hip."
Since this was being marketed as a "hot cocoa marshmallow" themed popcorn, I expected to see some marshmallow in here somewhere. Maybe a white chocolate-based drizzle? Or little marshmallow bits, kind of like Lucky Charms, or the ones you find in instant hot cocoa packets, but it's nothing like that at all. We have a classic, glazed-looking, kettle-style popcorn with a chocolate drizzle. It looks nice, but I was expecting so much more.
Before I eat anything I review, I always try smelling it, kind of like a wine-enthusiast. I want the full body and the blah-blah-blah-whatever-snooty-wine-people-say. I thought this was going to smell sweet, chocolate-y, and appealing...but it smells like a chocolate novelty chapstick from Claire's. This doesn't smell like delicious cocoa at all! It's artificial, kind of waxy, and it makes me think of candles or lotion that are trying to mimic real food, but ultimately fail. We're not off to a great start here. My expectations were already pretty low to begin with (just like in real life!
depressing), but now they've pretty much been replaced by dread.
I ignored my other senses and popped a few kernels into my mouth anyway...and dear god. How could this have gone so wrong?! There has to be something wrong with this bag. I mean, at first I can taste normal kettle corn, which is good, but boring. Then a bit of artificial melt-and-pour-style chocolate starts to come in and melts away into waxy artificial vanilla-ness, which isn't completely awful, but every once and a while I get a piece that tastes rancid. Almost as if it's expired or covered in mold or something. It has that gross, dirt-like-taste that all foods get when they go bad, but from what I can tell those gross pieces look just like all the others. Originally I thought it was a one time phenomenon, but I kept running into more as I ate. Angie's, what did you do?
Something had to be wrong with this stuff, so I looked up a few of my fellow foodies who had also reviewed this product, and even though neither one seem to have the issue with the rancid-tasting pieces that I did, the general foodie-consensus is that it's not worth picking up. I may have had a bad batch, or bag, or whatever, but I think you're all better off skipping this snack this year.
(I'm normally against wasting food, so I eat everything I review, but even I have to admit, this is likely going in the trash. I don't even think my neighborhood squirrels and pigeons will eat this stuff, and if they did, I worry it might kill them.)