Since the dawn of stuff, people have been looking for a way to get their dessert fix on for a mere five calories. While early attempts by our ancestors to eat grass and cut pieces of cake just really, really small yielded lackluster results, the efforts of Wrigley and their Extra Dessert Delights gum have recently revolutionized the way we experience dessert.
No longer forced to choose between extreme portion control or insane feats of metabolic fitness to combat the effects of grandma’s apple pie or a container of mint chocolate chip ice cream, we can now chow down on our favorite sweets for the caloric equivalent of an ounce of chopped radishes.
This summer, Wrigley expanded their temping Extra Dessert Delights line of sugar-free gums with a root beer float-flavored variety.
I was an early convert to Extra’s Dessert Delights and have now tried all the flavors, including the now-defunct Rainbow Sherbet flavor (still mourning that one, for what it’s worth). So there was no question I’d be buying the new Root Beer Float gum, eschewing the ever-present threat of becoming a human whoopee cushion, all thanks to those lovely sugar alcohols, which, if I’m not being clear enough, will give you more gas than Saudi Arabia.
I like my Root Beer crisp, rough around the edges, and on the high side of the carbonation spectrum (think Barq’s) and won’t waste time on that smooth A&W crap that might as well be cream soda. No, I’m a Barq’s man, dammit, and when it comes to proper root beer float construction, I won’t settle for no boxed Walmart Frozen Dessert nonsense to pair with my soda. Nope, its good old fashioned, full fat vanilla bean hard ice cream for me, and anything less is a travesty that should be banished from these here United States.
The root beer flavor of Extra’s gum doesn’t have that hard and slightly bitter bite, and it sure doesn’t have the kind of carbonation that will help me win a burping contest with my nine-year-old cousins. It does, however, have a proper balance of vanilla and spice, with a prerequisite sweetness to please anyone not horribly averse to the long litany of artificial sweeteners used in its construction.
Sadly, Extra Dessert Delights Root Beer Float is another gum that suffers from the time-space continuum of the gum paradox, which, if you’re unfamiliar, confirms the very fact that the better tasting the gum, the less time the flavor lasts. I got a good minute of strong root beer float flavor from my sticks, but after that, it’s the law of diminishing returns. Unlike a real root beer float, you can’t even burp up the taste hours later.
And this, my friends, leads to the greatest travesty of all. Remember those hard-learned lessons regarding sugar alcohol consumption? In my efforts to keep a constant and bottomless root beer float going (and at a mere 10 sticks, only 50 calories) the laws of nature eventually caught up to me. I need not say more.
Extra’s new Dessert Delight’s Root Beer Float Gum tastes like a root beer float, but it doesn’t impress me. For it to impress me, Extra would have to pull a page from Willy Wonka and either A) Make the gum change from apple pie to strawberry shortcake to key lime pie to root beer float without making me turn into a gigantic blueberry or B) Come up with a way to make the flavor last more than a minute.
Given how far we’ve come as a culture in gum flavor development, it amazes me this hasn’t happened yet. Finally, let’s be real, Extra. When it comes to your sugar alcohol warning, tell it like it is. Attempting to recreate a never-ending root beer float may not leave you burping, but it will leave you feeling like the human equivalent to a whoopee cushion in the hands of an overzealous 10-year-old.
(Nutrition Facts – 1 stick – 5 calories, 0 grams of fat, 0 milligrams of sodium, 2 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of sugar, 2 grams of sugar alcohol, and 0 grams of protein.)
Item: Extra Dessert Delights Root Beer Float Gum
Size: 3 pack/15 sticks
Purchased at: Giant
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: Tastes like a root beer float. Smells like a root beer float. Good balance of vanilla and sassafras flavor. Smooth. Only 5 calories a stick. An All-American summer.
Cons: Gum paradox strikes again. Excessive consumption of sugar alcohols. No bite. No smooth, creamy richness component. Mug not included. Sugar alcohols.