Thursday, January 9, 2020

Today on: Things That Promise to Taste Like Other Things

Krispy Kreme Doughnut Jelly Belly Beans - Five Below
As a kid, my grandparents always had jelly beans in their house, but they were either Brach's fruit or spiced flavors, and I was perfectly fine with that, until we discovered Jelly Belly. Flavors like strawberry jam and chocolate pudding blew Brach's out of the water. There was no going back. I remember my mom would buy the large variety boxes of jelly beans with "recipes" printed on the lid and we'd have fun mixing and matching flavors to create new experiences, which was a completely new concept. It was like something out of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. 
Now-a-days, I appreciate Jelly Belly's contributions to the candy world, but their products just don't "wow" me like they used to. Maybe all their competition catching up to them with the wacky flavor and mixing trend is drowning out their achievements, maybe their products just aren't as good as they used to be, or maybe my adult taste-buds are just harder to impress. All legitimate factors, but I just don't feel excitement for this brand anymore.
When I think of Jelly Belly, the products that come to mind are Buttered Popcorn beans, Bertie Bott's, Beanboozled, and an over-saturated line of Disney themed jelly bean bags with repeat flavors, usually covered in a shiny new iridescent shell. (Kind of like these!) All of those products are...not great. Well the Bertie Bott's and Beanboozled are purposefully bad, which is fun, but those products don't leave a good taste in your mouth. (Literally.) Maybe all those gross beans over the years is what killed my love for Jelly Belly, a subconscious Pavlovian-response?
Well it must have worn off, because I bought these. Mainly because they were pretty and well packaged. So, are they a novelty? Or are the actually good? 
I opened the box and took a quick sniff, and I was immediately reminded of the scent of vintage Strawberry Shortcake Dolls. I absolutely loved them growing up, and their sweet vanilla'd fruity aroma would waft out of my toy chest (a large plastic storage tub) on warm days. That being said, it was a fun nostalgia-trip, but the scent wasn't what I would consider appetizing. 
This does not bode well...
Inside we have 5 different flavors, each with a gorgeous iridescent sheen 
Cinnamon Apple Filled (iridescent off white with tan specks) -  warm, artificial, and oddly buttery. It's like a mild version of the Buttered Popcorn bean mixed with canned apple pie filling. It's only slightly playdough-y, but surprisingly edible.  
Strawberry Iced (pearly pink) -  Prettiest of the bunch, but it tastes incredibly fake. Again, we have that warm fake buttery aroma, which must be their attempt at recreating the flavor of a doughnut, because it is inescapable. Once you get past that base flavor, there is a bit of pink NesQuik peeking through for the strawberry icing. I thought this combination was pretty disgusting, this one was easily the grossest of the bunch. 
Original Glazed (iridescent tan) -  This is a Jelly Belly version of Sugar Babies! I expected a disgusting buttery mess, but this has all the flavor of Sugar Babies while mildly threatening my dental work. Does it taste like a Krispy Kreme glazed doughnut? Not at all, but it does taste like a sweet brown sugar-y caramel-y Sugar Baby, and I love it. Best in the bunch!
Glazed Blueberry Cake (iridescent tan with white and blue specs) -  Another pleasant surprise. This tastes like a jelly bean blueberry muffin. Warm, buttery, sweet and a little fruity. It also reminds me of Blueberry Morning breakfast cereal, but with a TON of added sugar, and the buttery aspect actually compliments the rest of the flavoring. 
Chocolate Iced with Sprinkles (chocolate brown with specs) - It has that generic chocolate icing flavor you'd find on a Krispy Kreme or Dunkin doughnut, it reminds me a little bit of chocolate pudding, a bean I loved as a kid, but this has more cake-notes to it. It's almost like a chocolate grocery store cake doughnut, which is shockingly accurate and enjoyable. 
I am shocked that I liked some of these flavors as much as I did. The Chocolate Iced, Glazed Blueberry Cake, and Original Glazed were all very enjoyable, even if some of these didn't quite deliver the exact flavor they promised, but 3/5 isn't great. Still, it's not half bad either. This is far from a perfect mix, but it's more fun than you'd expect. I don't think I'll be re-buying this complete set anytime soon, but it's nice to know Jelly Belly's still got it.   
Fans of these would also like: Grilled Krispy Kreme Doughnut Chips, Buttered Popcorn Oreos; or Strawberry Cupcake Jello
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1 comment:

  1. I used to love Jelly Belly when I was younger, but I got tired of them too - they just seemed boring. I think I lost interested in the straightforward sugaryness of them.