The Archie McPhee Odd Candy Taste Test

 

This last Sunday, Eustace C. Scrubb posted about his foray into the strange world of Archie McPhee. He posted several rather odd flavors of candy cane that one can find at Archie McPhee. Now, I have long been a connoisseur of Archie McPhee’s fine offerings of useless crap and odd foods. I once gave my brother a yodeling pickle (wearing lederhosen, no less) from Archie McPhee.¹ It is a place where one will not find items in good taste. Occasionally, they do offer things that taste good, but kale-flavored candy canes may not be in that category.

Still, I am a man of adventure. I decided to take the challenge and try some of the offerings. Most of the flavors of candy canes also come as hard candies in tins. This offers several advantages, but the main one is that they are individually-wrapped, bite-sized pieces. Candy canes, even for a mouth the size of mine, do not tend to be bite-sized. I ordered five flavors of their candies.

As I opened my box, and lifted out the candy tins, the first troubling sign was seen, on the bottom of each tin, the ingredients were stuck on a label. On top of the label was a notice that the tin contained “About 12 Pieces.” I shall soon know whether that is warning, threat, or other sort of notification. Of course the ingredients were sugar, corn syrup, water, artificial flavors and colors, but the three dreaded words at the bottom of the tag were scarier than the artificial flavors and colors: “Made in China.” I’m sorry, America. I have let you down. It did not say this on the Website. If my health suffers from some strange and novel virus from the land of death, be kind to my widow. I have done this for you, Ricochet

And so, on to the flavor test.

Pizza

Many of my choices were dictated by what I can and cannot eat. Mostly. If I can eat something, like kale, I did not bother buying that particular flavor of candy. No, the main flavors of interest to me were those that due to celiac disease, I cannot experience in a safe and normal manner. For me to eat pizza, I am forced to make it myself, especially the crust. I can’t just go around the corner to Shield’s or another pizza joint and get my fill. Thus, pizza-flavored candy sounded like a fine idea.

Impressions: Lovely. The ingredient list included “Artificial Pizza Flavor.” I detect no hint of an artificial crust flavor or an artificial cheese flavor. It tastes like sweetened overcooked pepperoni, the sort of pepperoni that has dried out and become crusty and perhaps a bit blackened. Being mostly sugar and corn syrup, the candy is quite sweet. After a few minutes, the burnt pepperoni taste sort of grows on me. The candy is quite long lasting. I still have a small sliver going at the fourteen-minute mark.

And now for a swig of tea and on to the next taste test.

Fried Chicken

For similar reasons to the pizza, I ordered the Fried Chicken Candy. To properly fry chicken, one must have a breading, right? It seems like centuries since I have had fried chicken. I am not a normal chicken fan. The dinosaurs just don’t do a lot to move my happy mouth needle. But fried chicken? With plenty of breading and fat? That is an acceptable delivery method for dinosaur protein.

Impressions: Oh My Cod! This is horrible. As with the pepperoni flavor, it tastes overcooked. Is this how they like food to taste in China? If so, count me out. I could cook a dirty, old sneaker to taste better than this. I am now five minutes in and waiting for the flavor to mellow and grow on me as the burnt pepperoni did. Nothing so far. Still vile. If this lasts another nine minutes, I’ll be needing mouthwash instead of tea. This is the taste of disappointment. The flavor does attenuate, as one would expect from long-term exposure to any flavor. That first bite of pesto-covered tortelloni is always better than the bites to come. Your sensing apparatus becomes desensitized. After ten minutes, I mainly just taste an unpleasant sweetness.

Ginger

It is time for a break from the grand experiments. I am not brave enough to sample the next disappointment yet. Knowing such, I bought tins of a flavor I knew I would like.

After brushing my teeth, then thoroughly rinsing with mouthwash, bleach, and lye, I had most of that wretched chicken flavor out of my mouth.

Impressions: Ah, ginger. Very pleasant. Not too hot or biting. A pleasant interlude from the assault committed by the last, and probably by the next. I’ll just bounce this candy around my mouth while humming a pleasant tune.

Mac & Cheese

Macaroni and cheese is something else I might not have had in decades. This was to be my greatest hope. I really miss mac & cheese. But the label on the bottom only mentions “Artificial Cheese Flavor.” Nothing about artificial macaroni flavor.

Impressions: As I open the tin, a smell wafts out to assault my nostrils. Is that cheddar cheese? Limburger, perhaps? Perhaps it was a better cheese that has gone off and is now covered with inedible green mold as the rancid cheese melts into a goo that will be difficult to clean up from anything it touches? It is the smell of disappointment. Still, I pop it into my mouth and start the process of dissolving it. The flavor is not bad after the first minute. I suppose it is supposed to be a cheddar or “American” cheese. It is definitely not a cheese that should be combined with the sweetness of the candy. Still, it is not as trauma inducing as the fried chicken. It is even more palatable than the pizza. It is not as good as the ginger, but really, it isn’t terrible. It reminds me of something I have had in the past. With the sweetness, it would be better with an artificial ricotta flavor rather than whatever cheese they were attempting. I am wondering what it would be like to combine it with the burnt pepperoni of the supposedly pizza-flavored candy, but haven’t the heart to try it today.

Bacon

Surely the bacon will be fine. I mean, pork and sweetness just go together. Bacon and ham are often sugar-cured or honey-cured. How could they screw up bacon?

Impressions: Opening the tin, the first whiff is promising. I pop one in my mouth and…oh good Cod! What have they done? Like the pepperoni and chicken flavors, it tastes of burnt offerings to an evil communist god. Still, after a few minutes, it gets better. The burned taste is not as bad, and the bacony taste comes through a bit more, along with the sweetness. It’s not good, but it’s not nearly as bad as the chicken. I would rate it on the second tier from the bottom with the pizza-flavored candy.

Rankings

I would definitely recommend the ginger candy, if you like ginger, and at least last Sunday, it was on sale for half price, probably meaning it is going the way of the DoDo Bird-Flavored Candies they used to sell. The ginger candy is good.

Next would be the Mac & Cheese, which is really only cheese. I would not go out of my way to get it again, but it’s better than the meat ones.

Bacon and Pizza are on the next tier. They were fine experiments, but no thanks.

The fried chicken? Never again!


1. I didn’t really give it to my brother, I bought it for a White Elephant Exchange gift, figuring that I would easily win as giving the tackiest and most tasteless gift.² I seem to remember that someone else unwrapped it, and my brother traded to get it. He actually liked it. Well, understand that he is my brother.

2. No, I did not win. My step-sister had found an ashtray in an abandoned office. It had two poorly stuffed chipmunks who had apparently been abused by a mad taxidermist. It was awful. Years later, I still have nightmares, and I didn’t even wind up taking it home. After seeing that monstrosity, I firmly declared no more White Elephant Gift Exchanges for me.

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  1. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    @eustacecscrubb‘s thread: Strange Candy

     

    • #1
  2. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Although the pizza and the bacon flavors sound intriguing, fried chicken as a candy holds no allure intellectually.

    The jalapeno would have been the adventurous route. Go blech or go home. 

    • #2
  3. SkipSul Inactive
    SkipSul
    @skipsul

    What?  You didn’t try the Clam?  I would think that abomination would have to be better than actual clams.

    • #3
  4. SkipSul Inactive
    SkipSul
    @skipsul

    You do know, if you had tried the Kale, and combined it with the pizza, you would have approached spinach pizza.

    • #4
  5. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Percival (View Comment):
    The jalapeno would have been the adventurous route.

    I don’t think they had jalapeno, besides, I don’t like real jalapenos. Now, serranos would be good.

    • #5
  6. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    SkipSul (View Comment):

    You do know, if you had tried the Kale, and combined it with the pizza, you would have approached spinach pizza.

    Given how the pizza candy tastes, I fear it would have approached nausea more closely.

    • #6
  7. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    This all-text unboxing/reaction video is missing something. 

    • #7
  8. KirkianWanderer Coolidge
    KirkianWanderer
    @KirkianWanderer

    Percival (View Comment):

    Although the pizza and the bacon flavors sound intriguing, fried chicken as a candy holds no allure intellectually.

    The jalapeno would have been the adventurous route. Go blech or go home.

    It sounds interesting to me, but mostly because the only fried chicken I (very rarely) eat is Korean, and a lot of the genres of that come with spicy and/or sour sweet variations.

    • #8
  9. SkipSul Inactive
    SkipSul
    @skipsul

    TBA (View Comment):

    This all-text unboxing/reaction video is missing something.

    CoC violations.

    • #9
  10. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    SkipSul (View Comment):

    What? You didn’t try the Clam? I would think that abomination would have to be better than actual clams.

    I ain’t eating fish candy. It would probably trigger a severe episode of cognitive dissonance.

    • #10
  11. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    TBA (View Comment):

    This all-text unboxing/reaction video is missing something.

    Well, I also got a face mask. I’ll have my wife take a picture of me as soon as it’s washed and add it then.

    • #11
  12. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    KirkianWanderer (View Comment):
    It sounds interesting to me, but mostly because the only fried chicken I (very rarely) eat is Korean, and a lot of the genres of that come with spicy and/or sour sweet variations.

    Shall I ship the rest of the tin to you? 😈

    • #12
  13. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    SkipSul (View Comment):

    TBA (View Comment):

    This all-text unboxing/reaction video is missing something.

    CoC violations.

    I think putting my picture in could be that.

    • #13
  14. KirkianWanderer Coolidge
    KirkianWanderer
    @KirkianWanderer

    Arahant (View Comment):

    KirkianWanderer (View Comment):
    It sounds interesting to me, but mostly because the only fried chicken I (very rarely) eat is Korean, and a lot of the genres of that come with spicy and/or sour sweet variations.

    Shall I ship the rest of the tin to you? 😈

    No, I’m good without the cursed Chinese candy. Already in trouble for bringing home century eggs. 

    • #14
  15. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Percival (View Comment):

    SkipSul (View Comment):

    What? You didn’t try the Clam? I would think that abomination would have to be better than actual clams.

    I ain’t eating fish candy. It would probably trigger a severe episode of cognitive dissonance.

    Yeah, the clam idea didn’t really appeal to me. If I tried any of the other flavors, it would be pickle, but I think I have reached my limit (for now).

    • #15
  16. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    KirkianWanderer (View Comment):
    Already in trouble for bringing home century eggs. 

    What are century eggs and with whom are you in trouble?

    • #16
  17. KirkianWanderer Coolidge
    KirkianWanderer
    @KirkianWanderer

    Arahant (View Comment):

    KirkianWanderer (View Comment):
    Already in trouble for bringing home century eggs.

    What are century eggs and with whom are you in trouble?

    This, and my mom. 

    • #17
  18. Matt Balzer, Imperialist Claw Member
    Matt Balzer, Imperialist Claw
    @MattBalzer

    Arahant: But the label on the bottom only mentions “Artificial Cheese Flavor.” Nothing about artificial macaroni flavor.

    Things I don’t say often: Arahant provides a valuable service here.

    Things I do say often: if your cheese is not the primary component of your mac and cheese you’re doin’ it wrong. 

    • #18
  19. Eustace C. Scrubb Member
    Eustace C. Scrubb
    @EustaceCScrubb

    Since you’ve deemed it the worst, I would live to see the Fried Chicken flavor used on Chopped.

    • #19
  20. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    KirkianWanderer (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):

    KirkianWanderer (View Comment):
    Already in trouble for bringing home century eggs.

    What are century eggs and with whom are you in trouble?

    This, and my mom.

    Ah, reminds me of this:

    • #20
  21. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Matt Balzer, Imperialist Claw (View Comment):
    Things I do say often: if your cheese is not the primary component of your mac and cheese you’re doin’ it wrong. 

    Granted. Still, this is only artificial flavor and probably should be avoided.

    • #21
  22. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Eustace C. Scrubb (View Comment):

    Since you’ve deemed it the worst, I would live to see the Fried Chicken flavor used on Chopped.

    I have eleven left. Where do I send them?

    • #22
  23. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):

    SkipSul (View Comment):

    What? You didn’t try the Clam? I would think that abomination would have to be better than actual clams.

    I ain’t eating fish candy. It would probably trigger a severe episode of cognitive dissonance.

    Yeah, the clam idea didn’t really appeal to me. If I tried any of the other flavors, it would be pickle, but I think I have reached my limit (for now).

    Well, you still have to be debriefed and undergo a battery of medical tests before you take this kind of risk again. 

    @Arahant: Yeoman Warder of Ricochet. 

    • #23
  24. Matt Balzer, Imperialist Claw Member
    Matt Balzer, Imperialist Claw
    @MattBalzer

    SkipSul (View Comment):

    What? You didn’t try the Clam? I would think that abomination would have to be better than actual clams.


    I only eat clams in chowdah. I can’t imagine candy would work for that.

    • #24
  25. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    KirkianWanderer (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):

    KirkianWanderer (View Comment):
    Already in trouble for bringing home century eggs.

    What are century eggs and with whom are you in trouble?

    This, and my mom.

    Mmm. Hydrogen sulfide and ammonia. Perfect start to the day.

    • #25
  26. KirkianWanderer Coolidge
    KirkianWanderer
    @KirkianWanderer

    Percival (View Comment):

    KirkianWanderer (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):

    KirkianWanderer (View Comment):
    Already in trouble for bringing home century eggs.

    What are century eggs and with whom are you in trouble?

    This, and my mom.

    Mmm. Hydrogen sulfide and ammonia. Perfect start to the day.

    It definitely smells of the ammonia too (though I don’t mind). I love it on congee or with sticky rice and vegetables and in lotus paste moon cakes, but the smell and appearance (as with kimchi, which lives in a segregated part of the fridge wrapped in a plastic bag even though it’s in a glass jar) make her apoplectic. The line for stuff I’m allowed to bring home was drawn at congealed pork’s blood, which I really wanted. 

    • #26
  27. Bob W Member
    Bob W
    @BobW

    The Jelly Belly company has a Harry Potter line of jelly beans that include such tasty treats as; Booger, Dirt, Grass, Earthworm and Earwax. Plus  a line of Disgusting Flavors that include Snot, Dirty Gym Socks, Morning Breath, Tobacco Juice, and that all time fave Urine Sample.   For the adventurous gourmet there are many, many more, enjoy.

    @Stad may enjoy the Draft Beer and Bacon Beans.

     

    • #27
  28. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Bob W (View Comment):
    For the adventurous gourmet there are many, many more, enjoy.

    Very well aware. My buddy Sherm sold those.

    • #28
  29. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    What is the worst experiment you have ever tried in the name of science?

    • #29
  30. SkipSul Inactive
    SkipSul
    @skipsul

    Arahant (View Comment):

    What is the worst experiment you have ever tried in the name of science?

    By “worst” do you mean “most awesome”?

    • #30
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