Pucker Up

Sour Snack Roundup

I like sour candies. Sour is a flavor I really can't get enough of (even if my teeth aren't always happy about it). I frankly prefer fruit flavors over chocolate, and sour candy has that extra bite, that edge I crave. It's like with spicy food, the more powerful the better. I want to feel the burn from the candy, to get that powerful bite right on my tongue. If I can't feel the sour does it even really qualify as sour candy at all? Tart is just not good enough.

Of course, that leaves me chasing the next sour flavor. I've long since burned myself out on base sour flavors. Even Warheads, which are generally considered a solid sour buzz, can barely touch my tongue. I need more, and better, and thus I find myself looking for weird and fun sour candies I can grab when they're around...

Sour Punch Rainbow Straws

These are my current "baseline" when it comes to sour candy. I wouldn't consider them particularly sour, more along the lines of tart at my level, but in comparison to Sweet Tarts (which just taste sweet to me) these at least give me a little tingle. Sour Punch has a variety of flavors out there, in various consistencies, but for my money I prefer their classic tray of Sour Straws. They have the right chew, the right softness, the right flavor. They're just about perfect for a base, "I need a little sour," buzz.

As far as flavors are concerned, the easiest to find (at least around me) are the Rainbow packs. These include strawberry, blue raspberry, lemon, and apple straws. I like all those flavors, although I think the lemon is the weakest of the set. Blue raspberry, for me, is the absolute best flavor in this pack, and I'll grab the trays of just those color / flavor when I can find them. Although I will say, when I see the Easter versions around, I will grab them. They swap out strawberry and apple for grape and fruit punch and I actually feel like the mix of flavors is even better.

Note, if you can find them there is, apparently, a Pickle Roulette version of the sou straws, and that pack contains all green flavors: apple, watermelon, lemon-lime, and, yes, pickle. I haven't found any of these lurking around (they're special edition packs) but I have to feel like pickle is in there as a dare. I'm interested in sampling them all the same just to say I got to try a sour dill straw. That sounds awful and like something I need. Once.

The only note that I have is that you want make sure the straws in these packs are soft. The candies are best when they're fresh and if they sit on the shelf for too long before purchase they can get kind of hard and rubbery. I haven't fond that to be the case as often recently, so maybe the company has fixed the mix on the straws, or people just buy them more frequently now so they can't go "stale". But whatever the case, check before you buy (unless you like a hard licorice chew, which, in that case, have at).

Zweet Insanely Sour Belts

When something calls itself "insanely sweet", I tend to scoff. Warheads have been offering "extreme sour" candies for a while (more sour than their original mix) and even those feel mild to me. You have to be really sour to make me stand up and take notice and just saying "insanely sour" on the package would necessarily make me care. I bought this tray of sour belts, though, for an experiment and so I could write about them here and mock them for saying they were "sour" when they really weren't.

Except, they really were. The base candy is about what you expect from a chewy belt. It has a similar consistency to sour straws, a kind of Fruit by the Foot chew, just without any kind of passing attempt at pretending there's real fruit in the chew. But then Zweet absolutely covers their belts in sour powder. but, chunky crystals coat every belt, edge to edge, lending that insanely sour bite they promise on the label. It's a sour that makes you feel it, that sticks to your mouth and lingers long past when the belt has been chewed and gone down the throat. It's legitimately sour.

I purchased the strawberry flavor for this experiment because I tend to find rainbow belts are just kind of... there, when it comes to flavor. They have "all the flavors" on them which ends up amounting to a kind of vaguely fruit "punch" flavor. That's not as good, in my opinion, as any one flavor, and thankfully strawberry was right on the money here. It has a sweet, fruity burst that tastes really good, and managed to come through even with all that sour powder on there. It's an amazingly solid mix of flavor and I absolutely will get another tray of these some time in the future.

As an amusing note, these belts come with tiny plastic tongs inside so you can pick and eat them without getting the powder on your fingers. I think that's a good call (and I've been using the tongs through this whole tray). The last thing I'd want is to get a bit of sour powder on my fingers and then touch my eye. Considering how sour these are, that would really fucking burn. No thank you.

Snack Pack Sour Patch Gel Cups

This last treat was something I grabbed as a lark. I was going through the canned fruit part of the grocery store (so I could grab some fruit cups to take to work) and I saw the jello and pudding section right nearby. And right there, on the shelf, was a set of Sour Patch Gel Cups from Snack Pack. I will note that Snack Pack has a pretty good shelf-stable pudding. It's not as good as the real thing, freshly made, but it's pretty solid for something you can grab for a lunch bag. And seeing a gel cup in a hideous flavor like Blue Raspberry, I knew I had to try it. I love to find weird shit to eat.

The gel within is bog standard consistency for Snack Pack. It's a soft gel, a little softer than homemade Jello, but still quite edible. What makes this special is, of course, the Sour Patch flavor within and, yes, Snack Pack did nail it. I'm sure the company grabbed the flavor syrup from the Sour Patch candies to make this blue raspberry gel, but it does nail the same exact blue favor from the Sour Patch Kids. It's spot on, so if you were looking for that familiar blue then you've got it, right here, as a gel cup.

Now, I wouldn't call these sour at all, but they were tangy. Tart even. For a snack meant for kids' lunch boxes, these are actually pretty tart, sour enough that I don't know that every kind would like them. It's just bold enough that I wonder how many kids are going to go for them. I enjoyed them well enough but I have my doubts others will be quite as interested. They're tart, but legitimately tart. Real tartness, not just something they're pretending at.

I will note there is also a "Redberry" flavor, which sounds amazingly generic but also like something you'd find in a pack of Sour Patch Kids. I haven't seen any of these floating around, but I did spy them Online. At some point I do hope to try them just to confirm they are as artificially Sour Patch in flavor as the blue version. I'm sure they are, though, so if red is more your jam (over blue) and you want to try these out, maybe give them a taste. They're odd, but decent enough. At the very least they give you exactly what they promise on the label.