I’m starting to believe Extra Gum has ambitions to expand their Dessert Delights collection to include every single dessert ever made. This, of course, would result in thousands of different gum flavors, resulting in Extra having to open Walmart-sized stores filled with nothing but sugarfree gum sticks. I can’t decide if that would be awesome or a sign of impending dystopia.
If such a Gumopolis existed, I believe their new Lemon Square flavor would be found in the “Bake Sale” aisle, because lemon squares just seem like one of those items that show up between the homemade brownies and cupcakes at bake sales, with all the moms standing behind the table pretending like they’re not secretly competing to see who will buy the most of whose sugary treats.
I feel like the only other place you’ll commonly find lemon bars are at potlucks, possibly sitting next to a suspiciously empty dish of lutefisk. Lutefisk does not fit in with my vision of a Dessert Delights megastore, however. Not unless you consider lutefisk a dessert, in which case, I am terrified of you.
Please don’t take these remarks as disparaging to the lemon square; if you’ve never had one before, it’s kind of like a lemon meringue pie minus the meringue – flaky crust with a slightly tart lemon custard and usually a good sprinkling of confectioner’s sugar on top. I love the sour tartness of lemons and the consistency of custard, so lemon squares are right up my alley.
On their website, Extra describes their gum as “Refreshingly sweet and tart to the tongue, Lemon Square is the go-anywhere twist on the delicious dessert classic.”
While this gets the point across nicely, I thought I’d spice things up and make my own marketing pitch for it:
“Have you been craving a lemony dessert, but aren’t allowed within 500 feet of a school and thus can’t attend a bake sale? Is that blinking box strapped to your ankle preventing you from going to your local bakery? If so, you’re in luck with Extra Dessert Delights Lemon Square Gum! Our gum captures the taste of this classic homemade treat without you having to endure the glares of the entire PTA.”
I think it gets the point across rather nicely. Give me a call, Wrigley; I’ll work for spec.
So, how does this gum stand up to its real-life counterpart?
Well, gum ain’t ice cream, so it’s kinda hard to throw in some crust-flavored swirls or lemon custard like Ben & Jerry’s would. That said, I thought Extra did a pretty bang-up job on their Lemon Squares. As promised, the gum smells and tastes both sweet and tart, but strikes a nice balance between the two. The sweetness doesn’t drown out the lemon flavor, and the tartness doesn’t leave your cheeks puckered. Like a well-made lemon square, the citrus flavor shines without being overwhelming.
Unfortunately, Lemon Square Extra falls victim to a common gum phenomenon – it had great flavor at first, but that faded quickly, leaving me with a gum that tasted like aspartame and the faintest hint of lemon. Quietly ignoring the fact that I have too much time on my hands, I popped a stick in my mouth and set the stopwatch on my phone – it took exactly 2 minutes and 38 seconds for this gum to turn from “yum” to “blah”.
Extra Dessert Delights Lemon Square Gum could have gone wrong several ways – too tart, too sugary-tasting, too similar to chewing lemon zest – but it struck a nice balance between sweet and citrus. I’m not a big fan of fruit-flavored gum, but this one struck all the right notes and pleased my palate. Until 2:38, when it went from pleasantly-flavored to a bad aftertaste. I would have preferred if it had just faded into tasting like nothing, but thus is the curse of sugarfree gum. You enjoy it, that enjoyment turns into boredom, and you spit it out. Or stick it under something. Or swallow it, where it will then stay in your stomach for seven years. Hey, I’m not going to judge your gum-disposal preferences.
(Nutrition Facts – 1 stick – 5 calories, 0 grams of fat, 0 milligrams of sodium, 2 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of sugar and 0 grams of protein.)
Item: Extra Dessert Delights Lemon Square Gum
Purchased Price: 99 cents
Size: 15 sticks/pack
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Nice balance of sweet and tart. Gumopolis. Mild yet refreshing lemon flavor. Gum lasting seven years in your stomach is a myth.
Cons: Good flavor only lasts two minutes and 38 seconds. Obscure King of the Hill lutefisk references. Aspartame aftertaste. People who stick their ABC gum under things.