Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Sneaking Easter Candy into the Year-Round Scene

Big Chewy Nerds 
- Dollar Tree

I spotted these at Dollar Tree and thought they looked awfully familiar... I'm pretty sure they're just Nerds Jellybeans, rebranded, for year-round snacking. They have the same premise: chewy center, crisp candy shell, and they come in the same flavors/colors. 

Even if they are a re-packaging, I've never reviewed Nerds jelly beans, and for a dollar? Why not check them out?

Inside the movie theater box are four different flavors: Grape, Lemon, Strawberry and Orange. Now, when I think "Nerds," I definitely think of grape and strawberry, but the other two? Not so much. 

Has there ever been a straight-lemon Nerds flavor? I remember "cherry lemonade," but that's not the same thing. I also vaguely remember orange and blue boxes of Nerds, on the shelves at 7-Eleven as a kid, but I never bought them. You could argue that both lemon and orange are present in the Rainbow Nerds box, and have been for a long time, but no one buys a straight box of lemon or orange Nerds, so why would they play such a prominent role here? (Also, I swear Rainbow Nerds had more colors when I was a kid! I remember several shades of blue and green from back in the day that I can't find in modern boxes.)

Let's take a taste and see if lemon and orange are "Nerds-worthy."  

Grape (purple):
Even though they look bumpy, it felt surprisingly smooth on my tongue. Not perfectly smooth, like a Cadbury egg-shell, but smoother than I expected. The flavor seems to be concentrated in the shell/coating, and not the jelly-bean-like center. The shell here tastes like classic, purple, Nerds grape: fake, purple, tart and concord-y. As the shell disintegrates, you're left with a jelly-center that is pretty bland. The crispy sugary coating is where it's at, so this is more of a cruncher-flavor to get the best overall experience.

Lemon (yellow): Again, smooth, sugary, eggshell-like outer layer around a jellybean center, the lemon flavoring is all in the shell, and if you eat the shell solo, and let it linger on your tongue, these have the potential to be fairly tart, almost reaching sour territory. However, if you crunch it, this one starts out strong and lemon-y, with a mild finish. The flavoring reminds me of instant lemonade mix. Crunching it all at once mellows out the lemon flavoring, so for me, this is more of a savor-flavor. I was skeptical at first, but I really liked the inclusion of Lemon in this box. It gets my Nerds stamp of approval. 

Strawberry (pink): This is my favorite Nerds flavor, so I was really excited for this one and it did not disappoint. If you savor it, like the lemon, it starts out tasting like pink, Strawberry, Runts, and fades into a surprisingly sour tangy layer, before hitting the sweet jellybean center. When crunched up all at once, I think you get more of a Nerds-strawberry flavoring, but slightly less tang. So depending on your enjoyment of tangy and sour candies, this could be a cruncher or a savor. It works well either way. (I loved mixing this one with the lemon.)  

Orange (orange): I was never a fan of the orange Nerds in my rainbow box and this was no exception. I'm getting flashbacks to Flintstones orange vitamins, my least favorite color/flavor as a kid. Once you get past that, this tastes sweet, zesty, and only slightly tangy, almost like eating a spoonful of orange drink mix. It's definitely not for me. I would have preferred Watermelon instead of orange, but I realize the colors wouldn't look as nice together. (Maybe swap it out for cherry instead?) 

Like all candies, it boils down to flavor preferences. 

As a Grape/Strawberry/Cherry/Watermelon Nerds connoisseur (such a fancy word), I found that only the pink and purple flavors were truly worthy of the Nerds namesake. I'd like to see lemon stay, since it was really yummy and pairs nicely with other flavors, but I wish the orange could be swapped out for something else. 

That said, I don't think I would buy this mix again, as-is, but I don't regret giving these a try. The three flavors I did like were gobbled up really quickly, and I picked over the remaining orange for a few days until they were gone. If you'd looking for something new to try, that isn't really that "new," definitely give these a go! 

Fans of these would also like: Nerds Slurpee, Sweet-Tart Jelly Beans, or Sour Patch Jelly Beans

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