If there’s anything that Hollywood has taught me, it’s that Christmas time can bring unexpected challenges. Trains running through the backyard. Cats blowing up the Christmas tree. Having a misguided green crook swipe my roast beast. Really, anything can happen.
So I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised when I ran across the bright orange carton of holiday Flipz. Having not seen, let alone bought, a carton of Flipz since the days of Eureeka’s Castle reruns, I thought the chocolate-covered pretzels had gone extinct, and yet there they were in this 9-ounce carton at the end of aisle 7, that pudgy, slightly creepy snowman waving to me from the front of the carton as if to say, “Hark! Awaken young Margaret from your confectionary ignorance! There are pretzels to eat!”
Indeed. There are pretzels to eat.
The pretzels come out of the box with definitive appeal. Wonky and charmingly imperfect, they look like the droopy face of Jacob Marley or The Ghost Christmas of Past, which is not only an aesthetically intriguing design, but also serves as a friendly reminder that one day you, too, will die. Ah, yes, nothing like a healthy dose of mortality to pair with your chocolate confection. Nietzsche would be proud. Let’s see if these little bites of philosophy can hold their own in the taste category.
I have never hidden my love for sweet and salty and do not intend to do so now. Right away, the salty crunch from the pretzels is impressive, the tiny twists not daring to bend or sog under the deluge of Gingerbread coating.
That coating is soft and melty, slightly more stable than the peculiar goo surrounding Oreo Fudge Crèmes. Such a coating can be a bit waxy, but it’s the flavor that really sets the Flipz apart. This version of gingerbread-flavored confection is sweet, slightly Cinnamon-Toast-Crunch-like, with just a ruffle of tang not unlike that of a yogurt-covered raisin. It’s extraordinarily sweet, toeing the line of white fudge, but just when the dextrose deluge threatens to take over the scene, the salt speckles from the pretzels work things out.
Would I have enjoyed a bit more of a gingerbread-molasses bite? Maybe, but I just can’t be bored with these in hand. The creamy coating makes for a spectacular trail mix and the pretzels go great with ice cream. They’re exceptionally crunchy, making them perfect for snacking near those trouble risers who need waking on Christmas morning. Watch as the echo from the pretzel snaps them awake.
While the separate elements of “pretzel” and “gingerbread fudge” sound humdrum, Flipz combined the two together in an innovative confection that defies boredom. The pretzels are dense, salty, and crunchy, and the gingerbread flavor stands fairly strong: sweet and just woodsy enough, these may bring back holiday memories of that time your parents got you a pony—even if your parents never got you a pony. Such are the powers of gingerbread. They create memories that don’t even exist.
But make no mistake: this isn’t magic or Hollywood parlor tricks. They’re just pretzels covered in a gingerbread-flavored coating, and that’s good enough for me.
(Nutrition Facts – 1 oz – 140 calories, 50 calories from fat, 6 grams of fat, 4.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 150 milligrams of sodium, 0 milligrams of potassium, 20 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 11 grams of sugars, and 2 grams of protein.)
Item: Flipz Gingerbread Flavor Covered Pretzels
Purchased Price: $3.99
Size: 9 oz.
Purchased at: Food Emporium
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Snappy pretzels. Creamy, sweet coating. Sweet, spicy, and salty balance. Memories of Blockbuster and Eureeka’s Castle. Telepathic communication with a two-dimensional snowman.
Cons: Fudge can get waxy. Uses “Gingerbread flavored coating” rather than gingerbread fudge. Hint of molasses may be too subtle for some. Creepy snowman on the front. Cats blowing up the Christmas tree. The trauma of never getting a pony.