Monday, November 30, 2009

Pop Rocks: Candy Cane Flavor

Who doesn't love Pop Rocks? OK, maybe not that dumb kid who ate like 12 packs and washed them down with 2 liters of soda and then exploded like a human hand grenade, maybe not him, but any self respecting candy lover probably has a bubbly place on their tongue for Pop Rocks. (What! Snopes says that never happened?? Say it ain't so! It's too good a story!)

Pop Rocks, should you not know, are small pieces of sugary goodness that, due to the magic of better living through chemistry, sizzle on your tongue from the mixture of spit in your mouth and carbon dioxide in the candy. They come in an array of allegedly kid-friendly flavors, and while they will not in fact cause you to explode into meat confetti, they will give your tongue a good zap or two. I personally think the greatest moment in the history of Pop Rocks was when they were added to the fantastic (but now gone) Ben & Jerry's ice cream flavor, KaBerry KaBoom. (Ice cream and Pop Rocks is just a great combo, and in that case the Pop Rocks were sealed in a white fudge which kept them from popping before they got to your mouth.)

So, here I am with Candy Cane flavored Pop Rocks. How's that working for me? Ermmmm...

Looking at the Candy Cane Pop Rocks, they did indeed look like broken up bits of candy cane. This was promising. But upon giving the freshly opened packet a good sniff, I began to get the sinking feeling that something had gone horribly wrong...oh no, could it be...?

Dang it, I done got Rick rolled!

You see folks, apparently I'd assumed too much when I picked up a packet of CANDY CANE flavored Pop Rocks and thought that they would, I dunno, taste reasonably close to CANDY CANES. And in my little corner of the universe, candy canes are by definition peppermint flavored -- and I am not alone in this opinion. The all-knowing Wikipedia entry also describes candy canes as being traditionally peppermint (or cinnamon, to be fair). Even the website All About Candy Canes backs that up. So what's the problem with the Pop Rocks version? What's the Rick roll here?

The Rick roll is this: Somehow, Candy Cane flavor in the Pop Rocks universe is not peppermint, or even cinnamon -- but CHERRY! Yes, you read that right. You expect mint and you get cherry, fer cryin' out loud. And a really bad cherry at that. Take the cheapest, sourest, most vile artificial cherry flavor ever...well, that is still probably better than this.

Wait...why did I just describe this as the candy equivalent of a Rick roll? I take that back. Rick Astley, after all, is bland plain vanilla, white bread, predictably middle-of-the-road. You may not be a fan, but you know he's safe for Grandma. But this stuff is somehow darker, more sinister. It might cause nightmares in small children and wimpy adults. It conjures up visions of eerie alternative worlds, superficially similar to our own, but not as brightly lit. In other words, it's more of a Nomi roll:

Now, I was willing to believe that maybe somehow I just got a bag that had the wrong flavor put into it. But a little Googling turned up other reviews, including this one from Candy Addict back in 2006, which proved that no, it was not in fact an error. The Candy Cane flavor really is (a frightening, mutated, artificial) cherry.

Yeah, the popping sensation is just as great as I remember. But when you are expecting peppermint and you get something even slightly worse than generic cherry cough drop flavor instead, you have to ask yourself is it worth it? For me the answer is NO.

Really, Pop Rocks? Really?!

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