REVIEW: Extra Dessert Delights Lemon Square Gum

Written by | February 19, 2013

Topics: 7 Rating, Extra, Gum

Extra Dessert Delights Lemon Square Gum,jpg

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.

Extra Dessert Delights Lemon Square Gum Closeup,jpg

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.)

Other Extra Dessert Delights Lemon Square Gum reviews:
TV and Gum Are Awesome
Snack Love
The Mind of a Big Cat

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.

Permalink | 8 Comments

REVIEW: Stride iD Spearmint Gum

Written by | October 8, 2012

Topics: 6 Rating, Gum, Stride

Stride iD Spearmint

Superego. Ego. Id.

According to the haunting wisps of memory remaining from that Psych. 101 class, a punk named Sigmund Freud proposed that these were the three basic levels of consciousness. The ego and superego were said to be little filters for our subconscious, making logical boundaries around impulses and memories, which is dandy if you want to live a safe, secure life, but, really, where’s the fun in logic?

That’s where the id comes in. The id is like the Elmo that walks around Times Square: it doesn’t make much sense, but it doesn’t have to. That’s why we love it. Theoretically, it exists solely on the drive of spontaneity, impulse, and creativity, and, now Stride’s encouraging us to dance about with that kooky subconscious through “iD,” a gum aimed to encourage folks to embrace their identity. Curious of how this might be achieved through a piece of gum, I sought it out.

First off, this packaging harkens recognition. The container itself is ever-so-slightly thinner than regular Stride gum, which gives it that “We just upgraded your iPod” feel. Despite this trim-n-slim package, you still get the same whopping 14 pieces of gum you would in regular Stride.

Stride iD Spearmint Dancers

And just look at that post-unwrapped cover. It makes me wanna embrace my identity. If a two-dimensional man with a fuzzy hat on his head can embrace his creativity, why shouldn’t I? It made me laugh, and, in a world filled with bats and taxes and canned green beans, more laughter is not only called for, but much needed. Supposedly, each package is equipped with a different little work of art, all depicting equally peculiar, quirky scenarios, so laugh on, gum-chewers.

And, just when you think they’ve thrown in every bit of packaging confetti possible, they throw in a pair of magnets.

Yes, folks, magnets.

Stride on Refrigerator!

This means you could stick your pack of gum to your refrigerator (and I know you’ve always wanted to do that…). But what these magnets do best is keep your little 14 sticks nice and snug as a bug in a rug, snapping the package shut so your gum stays buckled in for the long haul. It baffles me in both its simplicity and its brilliance. I call forth a Nobel Prize nomination for the individual responsible for this.

Stride iD Spearmint Closeup

Upon opening a piece, it seems even the gum embraces its own identity as each piece is equipped with a swirly little design to flash about in its big debut.

Having been predisposed to all of this packaging brilliance, my hopes stood on the Mount Kilimanjaro of peaks with anticipatory delight for the chewing to come, so I unwrapped my minty rectangle and gave it a try and…well…

Meh.

It started off with a spearmint fling, and then traversed into a peculiar fruity realm that didn’t suit well for my taste buds. No doubt, the flavor lasted for a long time, but the tropical aftertaste didn’t sit well with me. I tried everything to like it.

Chewing it walking.

Chewing it upside-down.

Chewing it before I brushed my teeth.

Chewing it after I brushed my teeth.

I even chewed it while doing deep-breathing yoga exercises in which I visualized myself enjoying the gum, but, alas, I couldn’t get past that peculiar aftertaste.

Then, I read the ingredient list and there it was:

Partially Hydrogenated Coconut Oil.

(Cue the tuba: Bwa, bwa, bwaaaa)

They say the sound of a crumbling heart is soft and slow, and I swear I heard my own shoved into the mortar and pestle as I read that line. While I don’t see it being particularly necessary, I didn’t mind the, “partially hydrogenated,” part too much. No doubt some of my sturdy lifetime favorites involve it (Pop Tarts, Oreos, Pillsbury biscuits, etc.), but I must confess I’m not aboard the coconut-flavored train. I suspect this may be the very culprit foiling my taste buds.

While I didn’t particularly dig the taste tunes played by this Stride, I appreciate what’s going on with the gum as a whole. It’s got a soft chew, lasts for a good 10-15 minutes, and has the coolest packaging this side of Jupiter.

Plus, at the end of the day, my taste buds are driven by my impulses, which are part of my id. In this, I felt this gum accomplished what it set out to do: celebrate the creative elements of the id, and that, to me, calls forth an above-average rating for the new gum.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 piece – less than 5 calories, 0 grams of fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 0 milligrams of sodium, 1 gram of carbohydrates, 1 gram of sugar alcohol, and less than 0 grams of protein.)

Other Stride iD Spearmint Gum reviews:
Gum Connoisseur

Item: Stride iD Spearmint Gum
Purchased Price: $1.29
Size: 14 pieces
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Long chewing time. Strong flavor. Swirly designs. Magnets. Laughter. Mount Kilimanjaro. Elmo in Times Square. Tubas.
Cons: Not the best if you don’t like coconut. Partially hydrogenated oil. Haunting memories of Psych. 101. Canned green beans.

Permalink | 5 Comments

NEWS: Wrigley’s Hubba Bubba Set To Release Dr Pepper and Orange Crush Gums

Written by | September 19, 2012

Topics: Gum, Wrigley

Dr. Pepper

In the 1980s, there was a Dr Pepper-flavored gum with a liquid center produced by a Wrigley subsidiary called Amurol, which also produced A&W Root Beer, RC Cola, and 7Up bubble gum. Oh, Amurol also produced Mr. T Gold Chain chewing gum. These soda-flavored gums were also discontinued in the 1980s.

However, Dr Pepper fans will soon get to experience The Dr in chewable form when Wrigley releases Hubba Bubba Dr Pepper gum later this year. Oh, but that’s not all soda-flavored gum chewing fans. There will also be an Orange Crush-flavored Hubba Bubba as well.

Each pack will contain five pieces, but we’re not sure if it will have a gushing liquid center like the original Dr Pepper gum.

Permalink | 3 Comments

REVIEW: Shaun White’s Mintacular Stride Gum

Written by | August 9, 2012

Topics: 6 Rating, Gum, Stride

Stride Shaun White Mintacular

Public Service Announcement: a fever is creeping among us.

Its symptoms include staying up far to late with a box of Peanut Butter Crunch, biting at the bit to watch the landing of a back tuck into a needle kick with a full turn, and a spontaneous desire to trade one’s career path for one in a highly competitive world of a sport one has never tried (badminton, bobsledding, competitive handball…the list goes on). Sometimes, these idealistic visions result in actually pursuing said sport for a concentrated period of time. Reports say that attempts by those infected with the fever have resulted in strangers breaking into cartwheels on the sidewalk and poorly executed forehands on multiple tennis courts around the globe.

Yes, Olympic fever is among us and it races through the pulse of six continents (poor Antarctica…) every two-and-a-half years, mercilessly infecting the homes of millions and accounting for 73 percent of all trampoline-related accidents.

If you find yourself experiencing symptoms of Olympic fever, please know there is a cure. It involves a ratio of 87 percent hope, 12 percent time, and 1 percent mint.

Thus, it is with great relief that I find Stride bringing a new minty flavor (sponsored by an Olympian, no less) in our nation’s time of great need.

Stride Shaun White Mintacular Closeup

Mint can do spectacular things. I used to bring a pack of mints in to every standardized test to chew on during breaks between the math and literature sections. It unquestionably provided me with the endurance to fill in all those tiny bubbles and, thus, I credit mint for allowing me to pursue a solid 1/3 of my academic career. Supposedly, there are over 6,700 different species of mint, and Stride is hot on the trail in mint innovation, hoping to bring out the latest and greatest in its new Shaun-White-sponsored “Mintacular” flavor they’re pulling out in a few months.

As evidence by my stash of Costco-sized packs of Stride Spearmint 2.0, I believe that Stride can make a solid piece of gum, but what of this latest sorbitol-and-glycerin-infused innovation?

Stride Shaun White Mintacular Closerup

It’s a pleasant little white rectangle the color of the snow just before you race down the double black diamond at 84 miles per hour.

Now, to the chew test: prefaced with the name, “Mintacular,” I braced myself for a plunge of the sinuses, one of those overwhelming 10-second shocks of peppermint-infused pain that some gums hurtle upon the unsuspecting consumers only to rip the flavor away after 3 chews. I am grateful to announce that a) Mintacular lasts longer than three chews and b) doesn’t pull a merciless chimney sweep on the sinuses. (Thank you, Stride, for sparing my nostrils.)

Quite to my surprise, Mintacular’s mint is quite subtle, holding a similar taste to those little soft dinner mints that grandma would leave out on the counter after dinner. There’s even a bit of a bright (verging on fruity…is that a hint of watermelon?) spark that blends with the mint. If “Level of Mintiness” were on the same scale they use to measure snowboarding slopes, I would say this is an intermediate blue square (or red if one is using the European slope scales). The fruitiness can somewhat mask the mint qualities, which is a bit of a bummer for the mint-lover in my heart.

However, I’m thinking if I were skiing down a mountain, defying physics in sub-zero temperatures, perhaps this more subtle mint might be a good choice as I wouldn’t need a “cold burst of minty freshness” if I’m already clomping around in -2 degrees Fahrenheit weather. For my regular gum-chewing habits, it’s a bit too gentle on mint flavor, but I appreciate it for its unobtrusive nature. It’s quite akin to the experience of looking out on untouched snow as it falls from the sky at 6:00 a.m.

And it lasts a long time without tasting like a car tire. In the spirit of the gum’s Olympic sponsor, I chewed as I watched my Olympic coverage. The taste of this little bugger lasted through a full two gymnastic routines, a commercial break, at least two legs of the running trials, and a personal celebration dance. And fear not, avid chewer, for even after the flavor dwindles away like a cowboy into the sunset, you may chew on as this little noble piece of gum stays soft for a fair amount of time.

I have a fairly high standard of mint and Mintacular proved itself to be a pleasant contender, and, while it may not replace the ol’ reliable Spearmint, if Mintacular sticks around, I’m sure I’ll be chewing it as I witness Shaun White flip something amazing in the halfpipe.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 piece – less than 5 calories, 0 grams of fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 0 milligrams of sodium, 1 gram of carbohydrates, 1 gram of sugar alcohol, and less than 0 grams of protein.)

Item: Shaun White’s Mintacular Stride Gum
Purchased Price: $1.00
Size: 1 pack/14 sticks
Purchased at: A new products show
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Long chewing time. Doesn’t get rubbery. Sugar-free. Grandma’s bowl of after-dinner mints. Watching the Olympic Games. Looking out on untouched snow. Imagining yourself as an Olympic snowboarder with the wind whooshing in your face as you dart-and-weave through pines while trying not to crash into Sasquatch.
Cons: Melon flavor muddles the mint a bit too much. Antarctica has never competed in the Olympic Games. Trying to snowboard in -2 degrees Fahrenheit weather. Standardized tests.

Permalink | 6 Comments

REVIEW: Extra Dessert Delights Root Beer Float Gum

Written by | June 5, 2012

Topics: 5 Rating, Gum, Wrigley

Extra Dessert Delights Root Beer Float

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.

Extra Dessert Delights Root Beer Float Closeup

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.)

Other Extra Dessert Delights Root Beer Float Gum reviews:
Mmm…Deliciousness
The Mind of a Big Cat

Item: Extra Dessert Delights Root Beer Float Gum
Price: $2.00
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.

Permalink | 10 Comments