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Starburst - Sweet Heat (review)


I like candy as much as the next guy (maybe more) and, though I'm not one of those weird candy connoisseurs, I've had my fill of the stuff. There are, of course, many types of candy and while I my personal taste tends to favor the high end chocolatiers like See's and Gearharts I'm not so snooty that I pass by the candy isle at 7-Eleven without grabbing some of the mass produced glop marketed by corporate America. For the purposes of this review I will focus on a type of candy known as Chews of which there are three worth talking about ranked in order of deliciousness in my book.
  1. Maoam (Germany)
  2. HiCHEW (Japan)
  3. Starburst (USA)
I know that candy crazies throw Skittles and Mentos and lots of other chewable candy into this category, but I'm a purist and only consider solid, brick shaped, flavorful gum-like chew food as worthy. The fascists and imperial xenophobes win this category hands down while America huffs and puffs over the finish line a distant third place. I know not what petrochemical mixed with gum and sugar the Mars Corporation uses to create the Starburst fruit chew but, like the nation it represents on the world candy stage, it ain't subtle and refined. As anyone who's eaten this product can tell you the red, pink, yellow and orange cubes are odorless, tart and abrasive to the tongue. The only one that even remotely tastes good is the strawberry pink (which can be delicious) but that is only in proximity to the other flavors - orange, lemon, cherry in order of desirability - which are damn near inedible. Still, it's what we've got here at home because Maoam is impossible to find stateside and HiCHEW is hard to find unless you're lucky enough to live near a NYC bodega.

So when I walked up to the convenience store counter the other day and spied a NEW Starburst flavor "Sweet Heat" I abstained from buying the lotto ticket and grabbed the black package of sugar bricks displayed right in front of me. Why not? I like to try new things and these sweet heat Starbursts might be good, right? Maybe they're as addictive as SWEETARTS Jelly Beans and that is a serious sugar high. So I get home and open the package only to discover the usual color combo pattern starting with Red Cherry then Pink Strawberry then Yellow Lemon and finally Orange Orange and proceed to put Red Cherry Sweet Heat in my mouth. "Hmmm", thought I, " I could just dunk my normal cherry Starburst in a teaspoon of cayenne pepper to enjoy this sensation." Hey man, it was surprisingly hot and left a brutal aftertaste swirling around the back of my throat. I immediately ate the Pink Strawberry cube to get the burning cherry off my lips and it did provide some relief but it was also pretty hot. Perhaps Yellow Lemon with hot pepper juice would taste... well, what would that taste like? I can only imagine that the candy company was trying to replicate the flavor experienced when a Mexican drug lord urinates in your mouth after finishing his dinner - absolutely sickening.

If this is what NEW means then take me back - way back - to an era before anyone could even conceive of creating these candies. Do they have no taste testers at these massive corporations? Can Mars Inc. (Revenue‎: ‎US$35 billion) not afford to hire any normal people to sample these products before they are released onto the general public? I know the candy company is not run like Willie Wonka's shop but for the love of God make your product somewhat consumable. I have yet to expunge this sweet hotness - I'm not certain that I ever will - but if and when I do it will be a glorious moment indeed.



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