Monday, July 24, 2017

Coconut Almond Flavor of Hawaii Kisses - CVS

Coconut Almond Flavor of Hawaii Kisses - CVS 
I know that a decent chunk of the foodie community was hype about these "Flavor of..." items, but I'm not entirely sure why.
This new location-based series includes: California Strawberry Kit-Kats, Honey Roasted Reeses Cups, Texas BBQ PayDay bars, New York Cherry Cheesecake Cookies & Creme bars, and last, but not least, these Hawaiian themed Coconut Almond Kisses.
With the exception of the BBQ PayDay Bar (which I sadly couldn't find), this new series feels unimaginative. After all, Japan has had strawberry flavored Kit-Kats for years and honey roasted Reeses were out in 2003. Hershey Kisses previously released a coconut creme filled Kiss in 2007, and again in 2014, but those were milk chocolate based with a coconut center, so admittedly this is a new product, but it's not a new flavor for the brand,  and so far I've never had a cheese cake flavored candy that I could I'm left with maybe 3/5 that are truly new, and only 2/5 that I find worth checking out.
In spite of my Scrooge-like views on this line, my love of coconut flavored sweets won out and I decided to try these Kisses anyway. Just because I think they're unimaginative, doesn't mean they won't taste good!
Looking at the bag, the logo is HUGE and fairly obnoxious, but the simple colors and location-based illustrations help to ground it. To the left we have an exploding volcano spewing smoke, coconuts, and coconut-sized almonds, along with a very unconcerned woman in a hula skirt dancing beside some beach chairs. It's a playful, stylized, image, but it's not as charming as I would have liked. 
Inside, each candy is wrapped in gold foil with light blue coconut illustrations scattered about and the iconic paper tail with the words, "ALMOND" in all caps warning us about what will be inside. 
Once opened, and unwrapped, these little candies immediately punched me in the face with childhood nostalgia. Memories of being a kid slathered in sunscreen and caked-on sand, skillfully eating frozen coconut fruit bars in Wildwood, NJ flooded my mind. (You had to eat it skillfully to avoid seagull attacks.)
That being said, the scent is very sunscreen-like, which I don't mind, but it's not for everyone. It allows me to dream of the Jersey shore while I'm trapped at my work desk, and even though it's artificial and not 100% food-like, the aroma's a welcome distraction. 
Due to almonds being oval-shaped, the nutty inclusion is hard to center, so parts that are closer to the surface peek through the candy base making the white candy kisses look imperfect, or bruised when they're unwrapped. Not a super appealing look, but that's why they have little foil wrappers. (Plus, there's no real way to avoid it.)
As soon as I popped one of the kisses into my mouth I realized that these taste exactly like the filling of a Almond Joy bar. You have sweet vanilla and coconut flavors, very fudge-like, mixed with the rich nuttiness of a crispy crunchy almond. All that's missing is the shredded coconut texture and the chocolate, but you know what? I do miss them. 
I find myself wishing for an actual Almond Joy bar, or those chocolate coconut-filled Kisses that were out a little while ago. These are just too one-note for me to enjoy them as a stand-alone snack or candy. I want some contrast! Bitter dark chocolate notes would help break up the intense fudge-like sweetness of the flavored white chocolate base.
These are pretty yummy, and would make an amazing inclusion in chocolate cookies or brownies, but as a stand alone snack, these seem incomplete. I'll be buying another bag, because I think these would be amazing in a batch of brownies, but when it comes to snacking on Hershey's Kisses, I prefer the coconut creme-filled Kisses to these ones.
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