Forbidden Fruit-y Candy

Maynards Wine Gums have gaily coloured packaging that calls out to children and adults alike. B&B chose this candy due to the enigmatic word, “wine” — would the “gums” taste like the varieties of wine pictured on the package? Burgundy, sherry and port? Would such flavours be appealing in candy form?
As you can see in the second illustration (click on the image to zoom), the candies come in medley of shapes and colours. The shapes suggest distinct wine-like flavours, as mentioned above. The colours suggest the usual collection of gummy flavours — lemon, berry, orange and the like. The plot thickens.

Unfortunately, the appearance of Maynards Wine maynardgums.pngGums suggests far more complexity than the gums actually deliver. The flavours correspond to the colours, regardless of the shape and label. The typical colours are fairly tasty, but nothing special.

There is even the usual, very dark colour; you know, the unappealing gummy that nearly everyone avoids. It corresponds the only vaguely wine-like flavour. Rather than licorice, the dark coloured candies suggest a strong red wine that half-evaporated from sitting open on the kitchen counter.

So the name “Wine Gums” is mostly hype. Why “Wine”? I can’t say that the idea of wine flavoured candy was enticing so much as fascinating. Is this a cynical ploy to enthrall children by offering an adult transgression in kid-friendly form? When I see the little names of wine varietals, clearly chosen for their cultural cachet, I can only think of the candy cigarettes that I “smoked” at seven years old.

And then my mind asks the inevitable question: Is Maynards acting in the service of Big Grape? The inclusion of both “port” and “burgundy” suggests a cabal so wide that it stretches from the stuffiest French vineyards to the scrappy merchants of Portuguese fortified wine.

Back to the candies themselves. I’d rate the consistency and mouth-feel of the candies as a 3 on a 5-scale of gumminess. (For calibration: Haribo Gummy Bears are a 2 and Cadbury Swedish Fish are a 3.) The Maynards Wine Pastilles differ only in their coating of sugar crystals, which add little to the appeal of the confection.

In sum: Maynards Wine Gums are passable candy, but they simply cannot overcome the high expectations (and sinister lure) of their name and physical appearance.

2 Comments to “Forbidden Fruit-y Candy”

  1. Dave said...
    25 March 2008

    I think you’ve found the next case for the Bakker Bugle Detective Agency. Once you figure out what’s going on in your square, you can take down Maynards and Big Grape.

    Regarding your square, have the people of Eventus scared you silent or bought you off? Your readers demand to know what’s going on!

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