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June 15th, 2007

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05:25 pm - Of snail mail and sherbet lemons
I received a package from the fabulous rakina today. Since I had mentioned in a previous post that I'd love to try jelly babies, having grown up watching the Fourth Doctor munching them on TV, she kindly sent me a bag of them, along with some sherbet lemons, so I could taste the difference between them and American lemon drops.

It seems, however, that either the Daleks or the Death Eaters got word of this package being sent and it got waylaid, arriving on my doorstep today much the worse for wear. It had apparently been sent on the 30th of April and it took this long for it to chew through the restraints at the Post Office where it was being held hostage and escape to my home, where it had been bound before the postal mishap that delayed it for weeks occurred. Despite the many tears and rips it suffered, it still managed to deliver its precious cargo of jelly babies and lemon-y sweets intact to my eager tastebuds, although it's possible that Davros and/or Lord Voldemort managed to snag a few of the sherbet lemons through some of the holes in the outer packaging, perhaps as a ransom for its freedom.

The candies inside were scrumptious and it was interesting to note the differences between these European sweets and what is available in American stores for those with a sweet-tooth.

The first thing I noticed was that the candies weren't as sweet as those here. The next thing I noticed for the jelly babies was the texture, since they were much softer and easier to chew than the nearest equivalent sweet, gummi bears. Since I looked at the ingredients on the bag, I'm guessing that had to do with the fact that bovine gelatin was used, not the seaweed-based kind that is typically seen on ingredient panels here. I think that this was the first time I've ever seen gelatin from a cow used as an ingredient. For me it was a non-issue, but I can think of a lot of Hindu and Jewish people as well as vegetarians who would have problems with it in their food, which is why I'm guessing that issues like that are one of the reasons American manufacturers typically use vegetable-based gelatins in their products.

One of the other things I noticed in the ingredients was the use of glucose syrup as a sweetener, not the maltose, dextrose and high fructose corn syrups that are the norm here. I'm presuming that may also be a factor in why the candies didn't seem to be as sweet as those made here, as well as the possibility that US companies add more sweeteners to their products to satisfy the American palate.

I soon learned that burnstr2 and I have similar tastes -- we both like the black ones best. They are blackcurrant flavour, one that is very uncommon here in the US, but quite delicious. Unfortunately for me, there was only one of those in the bag, which I thought rather odd since there were plenty of every other flavour, so I savoured it all the more for its being unique.

As for the sherbet lemons, one of the things I noted in addition to their being less sweet than their American counterparts was the fact that they were also less tart than most of the lemon drops I've had here in the States. I know there are plenty of candies on sale here that are loaded with citric acid to increase their sour power, since I happen to like to buy those kinds myself. It seems that Britons may have less of a liking for that than we do, since a lemon drop (or sherbet lemon) is the perfect candy to have be both sweet and quite sour.

It was very nice of rakina to have gone to the bother of sending these sweets, so I'd like to thank her for that and for making this taste-test possible.

~~ huggles rakina ~~
Current Mood: cheerfulcheerful
Current Music: "Doctor Who Theme (Album Version)"

(6 seeds eaten | Eat a pomegranate)


[User Picture]
Date:June 25th, 2007 04:03 am (UTC)
Glad you liked the black ones they are yummy!!!! Next you should try cough candy =)
[User Picture]
Date:June 25th, 2008 02:34 pm (UTC)
Actually, there's something quite similar which I discovered and was horrified by.
I'm over in Australia, and here we have access to Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, those little chocolate-coated peanut butter things which are apparently an American brand. I happened to try one, and found that it was so sweet that the peanut butter had solid sugar in it, and the chocolate was even a little oversweet. Now, recently an American friend of mine was here, bought himself one because he was missing his sweets, and complained that it wasn't as sweet as he was used to. It seems that America is big on making everything taste really strong.
Which I suppose explains barbecue chips.

Oh, and also, I love pomegranates, but they're so hard to get here. Have you tried dragonfruit?
[User Picture]
Date:June 25th, 2008 07:32 pm (UTC)
American candies (of which Reese's are indeed one, and a personal favorite of mine) are usually poisonously sweet, especially in comparison to the sweets from Europe. (Can't speak for Aussie candy, since I've never had it, nor Kiwi.) And snack foods usually have too much salt in them as well. I guess Americans as a whole like to be a bit over-the-top in everything, no? ;)

(I personally go for the lower salt and sugar versions when I can find them, or for European candies and snacks, when I happen upon them.)

Pomegranates are very trendy here and you can't turn around without bumping into some product or another that contains them. Didn't used to be that way, though -- 5-10 years ago they were VERY hard to find! (Not that I'm complaining about their availability now, being a minor addict of them . . . )

And yes I have had dragonfruit, when I was in Vietnam -- I adored them, but haven't been able to find them by me, not even in the Asian markets here, unfortunately. :(

[User Picture]
Date:June 26th, 2008 04:08 am (UTC)
Well, if it was something that would keep at all I'd be more than willing to send it over, but dragonfruit tends to, when it's overripe, uh, explode with not much pressure.
Australia doesn't really have that many sweets of its own, apparently preferring to import them from every other country out there. And when it comes to snacks, it's mostly only weird meat-based things to chew on.
Though we did start up the Natural Confectionery Co., though that got bought out as does everything else Australia makes, because we are hilariously shallow.

I suppose there are honey-eucalyptus sweets as well. Have you ever tried them? They're a little weird.
[User Picture]
Date:June 26th, 2008 05:59 am (UTC)
I'm not sure if I have or not -- I have a very vague recollection of having seen them in some stores in Manhattan, as a type of cough drop, but I'm not sure if I ever actually bought them. My preferred sweet is licorice, which I consume an inordinate quantity of.

~~ points to icon ~~

[User Picture]
Date:June 27th, 2008 12:45 pm (UTC)
Ah, guilty of that vice too. I even found these German honey-drop licorice things, which are coated in a very thin layer of beeswax and are a salted and honeyed licorice. And then there's some of the other licorices, and then I was introduced to star anise, and eventually ended up trying a sambucca black shot with molasses around the edge of the shot glass. Ah, fun times.

Hmn. I seem to be incapable of stopping my rambling. I'll shut up now.

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