Friday, October 23, 2009

Battle of the dishes: Chocolate Pumpkins

Posted By on Fri, Oct 23, 2009 at 11:15 AM

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We're in week three of the battle for Halloween candy supremacy and this week we decided to get local. Russell Stover offers six different varieties of chocolate-covered candy pumpkins (not including the sugar free option) and I decided to sit down and try them all.

Now since most people would stop at one or possibly two candy pumpkins -- they're typically sold at two for $1 -- I decided to operate on the buddy system, bringing in a second taster to help avoid marshmallow and chocolate fatigue. Each pumpkin would be weighed on its own merits with a Shatto millk palate cleanser between rounds. Let's begin. 

Marshmallow Pumpkin. This is the classic -- it had the waxy chocolate and marshmallow smell of Easter candy. The chocolate and marshmallow were both still soft and the flavor was that of a very sweet marshmallow.

Who's It For:
Marshmallow lovers; people you don't know very well. 

Caramel & Marshmallow Pumpkin. First you taste the marshmallow and then the caramel, which then deliciously melts into the marshmallow. The sweetness will make you pucker slightly; it overwhelms your senses. This has the good consistency of a melt-y sundae and the flavor of a Sky Bar.  

Who's it For: True candy lovers; people who pick too many toppings at a sundae bar.

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Dark Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Pumpkin. The color is noticeably darker and the taste is a single note. If you've ever had a Milky Way Midnight, this is in the same ballpark. Unlike the previous chocolate pumpkins, this didn't have the same teeth-gratingly sweet finish.   

Who's it For: Upscale hot cocoa lovers; people who would never eat a candy pumpkin.   

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Orange Marshmallow Pumpkin. The fourth pumpkin is where this challenge started to feel like a mistake and maybe that's because of the overwhelming odor of orange that wafted up from the open bag. It was essentially Terry's Chocolate Orange -- the foil-wrapped chocolates that you crack on a table to break into individual slices.  

The filling was softer than the previous marshmallow offerings and it was definitively more orange than marshmallow. The worst component was far and away the aftertaste -- which was cloying and endless.

Who's It For: Circus Peanuts lovers; people you hope get no enjoyment out of their candy.

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Strawberry Cream Pumpkin. The first notable difference among the two cream pumpkins is the shape -- it's closer to a turtle, leading to speculation as to whether cream fillings can hold the ridges of the traditional pumpkins. Whereas the orange marshmallow was overpowering, the strawberry was nicely mild.

The consistency was different as well, closer to nougat but slightly softer. The overall flavor was more sweet or sugary than strawberry.

Who's It For: Meringue lovers; people obsessed with the color pink.

Coconut Cream Pumpkin. This is essentially a circular Mounds bar. Its density -- it was noticeably thicker than the strawberry cream and required a bit of chewing -- means that it is also a game ender. Yet despite the strong coconut flavor, it was the closest to a traditional candy bar, meaning I wanted more than one bite.   

Who's It For: Pina Colada lovers; people who refuse to yield to logic in arguments.   

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