Leave it to some ingenious Brits to solve this problem for themselves. The fine folks at Taffy Mail were kind enough to send me a box to review. Thanks so much - it made me nostalgic, and it really felt like a care package from home for me. For non-Americans, I'm sure it's an exciting box full of things that they may remember from childhood holidays - or even things that they've never tried, which the patriot in me knows they'll love.
They're based here in the UK & ship out delicious American sweets every month at just £14.99, shipped. If you want to get it for just £12.99 shipped - use my code 'CREAMYSTEAKS' for £2 off!
Best of all, they also include a soda - which if you've ever tried to buy soda from overseas you know the shipping is ridiculous. My box was full of awesome candy & chocolate, read on for blow-by-blow (or is that Blow Pop by Blow Pop?) reviews of what I got. Would you believe it, but there were some things in there that I had never tried myself!
Abba Zabba - I've had this bar before, and it's definitely an odd one. Absolutely fun to try, it's extremely sticky & chewy sweet taffy with a peanut butter center. I'm not the biggest fan personally, but it was nice to see something a bit more rare in the box. Once you've reached the peanut butter center, it's actually quite nice. It's working your way through that thick rope of taffy that may prove difficult. If you've got strong teeth you may find it a pleasant chew, but I've got li'l baby milk teeth so I can't handle it.
Nerds Rope - I loved Nerds Rope. As soon as it came out when I was a kid in 1997 I was all about it. It's a very smooth, relatively thin gummy rope that is coated in a variety of Nerds. They did different flavors, and this one is Valentine's themed. It was just as nice as I remember, the Nerds were tangy & of course incredibly sweet (did you know they're basically just sugar coated in sugar?) and the gummy is soft & 'red' tasting. You know how red licorice tastes, or unspecified red 'jam'? That's the Nerds Rope!
Kool-Aid Strawberry Lemonade - Ah, Kool-Aid! I don't think I've tried this flavor before, I was always a red or purple fan. It's quite tart, which makes it a bit more appealing to the adult palate. It's a lot like a Countrytime Lemonade actually - but some of that might have to do with the fact that I didn't add too much sugar. The strawberry flavor, hm - maybe if I added more sugar it would be more pronounced, but as of right now it just softens the lemon up a bit. In case you're wondering, you can make Kool-Aid directly into a glass, you just use a smaller portion of the packet & less sugar. It's a bit tougher to get the balance right, but the good news is you don't need to go out and buy a pitcher!
Dove Cookies 'n' Cream Bar - I've reviewed this one before! What are the odds. As I said in my previous review, I'm actually not crazy for American white chocolate bars - they are very sweet. I ate Hershey's Cookies & Cream bars a lot as a kid, and as soon as I start thinking about them now my throat starts to get a bit sore. I had a segment, and while it was smooth & the cookie chunks a bit more noticeable than before, I still gave the rest to my husband. He loved it - your results will vary depending on how white chocolate you ate as a kid, I guess!
Tootsie Pop Drops - Love Tootsie Pops, but hate sticks? This is just your style then! I'm ambivalent towards sticks, but what I do like about these is the size & ease with which you can eat. Also, it takes a lot less licks to get to the center of one of these, which is good because everyone knows the melty Tootsie center is the best. I bet that owl's head is spinning. These come in all the best flavors of Tootsie Pop, so orange, "blue", grape, cherry & even the dreaded chocolate flavor hard candy. Woe be to the teacher who passed that flavor out to me, hated it. All the fruity ones are just perfect though! If you've never had a Tootsie Pop, I feel bad for you, but they're fruity tart lollipops with a Tootsie Roll center. As you suck, the center because melty & gooey, and once you get to the center it's a lot like a flavored Tootsie...which are also awesome. Orange is my favorite these days, the combination of a tangy citrus hard candy & a malty, soft choco-ish center is quite nice & something I can imagine the land of Terry's Chocolate Oranges & Cadbury Eclairs loving. Even though these are quite small drops, I was able to get a good 10 minutes worth of candy pleasure out of one. That is... without biting. I'm no owl.
Pixy Stix - Oh man, I ate a lot of Pixy Stix growing up. They might explain why I did so little actual growing up after awhile. This is "blue" flavor, an American flavor that is in some ways blueberry, in some ways raspberry, and in a lot of ways neon citric acid. It was my favorite flavor as a kid because well, it was almost always the strongest flavor in the bunch, was kinda sour, and usually had razzbadattude. Just like how I remember it, except now as an adult I'm very conscious of the fact that it's a straw full of sugar, and instead of giving me the energy I need to play dogs for hours & hours it just makes me feel ashamed. Like I said, a Pixy Stix is basically a stick of sugar & is as you might expect, quite sweet. It's not purely sweet though, it does have a hint of tartness & tang. SweetTarts are actually Pixy Stix that have been compressed into discs, so if you know & love that flavor, you'll get it pure & uncut in Pixy form. It was really nice to try this again, and it was actually a lot nicer as an adult than I thought it would be! I guess we never stop loving slightly sour sugar.
Jolly Rancher Stix, Green Apple - We all know green apple is the best flavor of Jolly Rancher, but how does it fair in stick form? I'll be honest - I'm not sure I understand how we're supposed to eat this product. It's no fault of Taffy Mail's of course, but I suppose you're meant to just have half of a hard candy sticking out of your mouth while you gum endlessly at the other end until you get it to biting consistency? Jolly Ranchers in their normal form are bite-sized hard candy logs that you just put in your mouth, in their entirety, and suck on. This thing is way too big for that, and the only other things I can think of just look so weird & feel uncomfortable. The taste was just as nice, a tart green apple that is sweet & fresh tasting, but I just can't get over how exactly I'm meant to eat it. I'd recommend sticking to the classic Jolly Ranchers shape, but it's an interesting experiment - I bet kid's would find a way to eat it in a more clever way than I did.
Butterfinger Bites - I was into the Butterfinger BBs back in the old days, and while these are quite a bit bigger it's the same principle. I think the fine folks down at Butterfinger Co. realize that their candy is almost impossible to just eat as a big hunk of chewy peanut-flavored confection, so they come up with simpler ways of getting that salty, peanutty crunch without having to actually eat an entire bar of it. See Butterfinger Cups, BBs, Snackerz, and Bites. The bites are about thumb sized and mostly Butterfinger inside, with just a medium sized coating of chocolate, The flaky & crispy innards are as they always are, and the flavor (in case you've never had a Butterfinger period) is more peanutty than peanut buttery. It tastes a bit like sweetened - but not roasted or salted - peanuts. It's a unique flavor, and that's why Butterfinger Cups can sit happily beside Reese's. The smaller bite size version is definitely preferable to the large bars, but be warned that you'll still get some stuck in your teeth.
M&Ms Minis - Have you had M&Ms? Yes? Have you ever had them teeny tiny & adorable? Maybe not? Well here's your chance. I like these better than traditional M&Ms because the shell is a bit thinner, so it's more like you're just eating little dots of chocolate. I'm not crazy for the hard sugar shell on Smarties or Mini Eggs, and the M&Ms Minis swing in the opposite direction by making it thinner & less crunchy. I also think they're just adorable. I remember when these came out I got them a lot at the movies, and they blend quite nicely with popcorn. I've compared them above to a regular M&M I happened to have around.
Day's Root Beer - Tasty root beer! You've got to try it, and this is a nice & mild one. It's not too spicy & not too minty, it's like a non-fruity Dr Pepper. It's so hard to describe the flavor of root beer...this is a really lovely one though!
Whew! What a haul, huh? I absolutely loved getting this box - for me it was nostalgic & tasty. There was also so much inside, I shared half of everything (well...more or less) with my husband and we both had candy for days.
If you want to sign up at Taffy Mail, please be sure to use my code CREAMYSTEAKS to get £2 off your order!