We just can't seem to satisfy our craving for gummies here at mogmog. In the midst of a taste testing journey through 25 popular and strange gummy candies, today marks part three of our adventure. We're deep into the process at this point, and few surprises remain... or so we thought. Indeed, the peculiar, curious world of these gelatinous sweets is filled with marvelous feats of artificial flavor concoctions and 21st century technological achievements. Who would have imagined a gummy could be molded into the exact shape, texture and flavor as a real grape? How does the Calpis gummy we tried last week manage to retain the softness of a marshmallow while simultaneously providing the resilience of a baseball? It's amazing. Our minds are filled with wonder as our stomachs grumble with hunger – it's tasting time!
Today's menu is: Chupa Chups, Fettucine grape, Cororo grape, Poifull, and Koume (small plum).
1. Chupa Chups
The packaging and candy design are the first things to catch our eye. Colorful and wacky, each gummy is made to resemble a Chupa Chups lollipop. Such cleverly created gummies should surely impress. Indeed, on first taste, the slightly sour outer layer and the sweet fruity core compliment each other. It's only after a few seconds that an odd, medicinal flavor emerges. This is the kiss of death for any artificial flavoring. A pavlovian response to the past horrors of drinking cough medicine is in full effect for one of our taste testers too.
Overall, not a terrible rating for Chupa Chups. Perhaps the medicine flavor isn't too overwhelming after all.
¥2. Fettucine grape
The most addicting of our gummies so far, it's the delicate balance of sweet and sour that makes this gummy a star. These two tastes work together in a repeating cyclical process; the taste receptors send two mixed signals to the brain: one says "This gummy is sour! Eat something sweet." And the other says "This gummy is too sweet! Eat something sour!"And so the eater is left powerless, and gorging continues until the last granule of sugar.
Our taste testers seem to agree.
3. Cororo grape
Our amazement at the technical innovation required to produce this little gummy can't be understated. Imagine the textural composition of a very ripe grape. The outside skin grows increasingly flabby, but is still robust enough to hold the goopy, juicy gel within. Somehow, this candy's manufacturer, UHA Mikakuto, managed to reproduce a near perfect copy of such a grape. The shape, texture and taste are enough to even fool the more senile members of one's family when the actual fruit goes out of season. In all seriousness though, recreating a gummy replica of an actual grape forces us to question the initial intent. Fruit, which is generally valued as a nutritious alternative to candy, has now been replaced by a fruit-mimicking-candy as a not particularly healthy alternative to the actual fruit it mimics. These are the philosophical and ethical debates one considers upon eating such a gummy.
Overall, not a bad score! Guess our taste testers didn't get as analytical as we did.
Wait. Are these even gummies? They look like jelly beans. They are flavored like jelly beans. Are they not jelly beans? It's all a matter of who you ask. To the average westerner, these may indeed be jelly beans. But for people in Japan, where jelly beans may not appear as frequently as their gummy counterparts, these little morsels are considered a part of the gummy family. And actually, upon biting down on them, we can understand the classification. It's only the outermost layer that resembles a jelly bean. Once that outer wall is breached, the consistency reveals itself to be identical to a typical gummy. They are great! Not too sweet, which means it's all too easy to finish the pack in a moment of uncontrolled gluttony. Proceed with caution.
A solid four stars for these confused jelly bean gummies.
Ko means small. Ume means plum. Koume means small plum. These are small gummies that taste like plums, hence their namesake. Keep in mind that the Japanese plum is eaten sour, not at all like the purple overripe balls of sweaty pulp eaten in the west. This gummy captures the essence of the Japanese plum perfectly: subtle, small, sweet and sour. To top it off, the outer sugar coating adds a pleasant sheen while providing an extra boost of flavor.
We finished those way too fast. Examining the surveys completed by our taste testers, Fettucine takes the lead with all five stars, followed up by Poifull and Cororo. Chupa Chups seems to be a mixed bag, and Koume is smack dab in the middle.
Now to wait for our next tasting session. Until next time!
All photos by Bakemono Ltd.