REVIEW: White Reese’s Stuffed with Pieces

Reese s White Creme Peanut Butter Cups Stuffed with Reese s Pieces

What is the White Reese’s Stuffed with Pieces?

Exclusive to Dollar General stores, Reese’s newest product is a white crème cup filled with Reese’s Pieces bits and the brand’s signature peanut butter filling.

How is it?

With each new addition to its line of products, Reese’s takes more of a “choose your own adventure” approach to offering the perfect peanut butter cup to meet individual tastes. Navigating among coating types, sizes and shapes, and filling add-ins, Reese’s fans get to try out new combinations more often than new flavors, and as a result, strong personal preferences form and comparisons are inevitable.

Reese s White Creme Peanut Butter Cups Stuffed with Reese s Pieces Outside

Personally, I swear that Reese’s Trees and Eggs are superior to your average cup. Milk chocolate ranks first, followed by white crème and dark chocolate, respectively. In 2016, when Reese’s introduced Reese’s Stuffed with Pieces in the milk chocolate variety, the addition of crunchy candy shells didn’t wow me enough to make my list of favorites.

Setting aside my biases, I was drawn to White Reese’s Stuffed with Pieces for its novelty, exclusive status, and charming polka dot wrapper. The white crème delivers in both flavor and texture, as the sturdy shell easily melts into a creamy bite with a subtle white chocolate taste. The crème’s flavor allows the peanut butter filling to shine.

Reese s White Creme Peanut Butter Cups Stuffed with Reese s Pieces Inside

The Reese’s Pieces bits add an enjoyable element of texture, but still feel scarce in number. In my pack of two, each cup contained at least one whole candy piece, which doesn’t quite meet the expectation that the word “stuffed” implies, but was still an improvement over my experience with the barely-there candy shells in the milk chocolate variety.

When I encountered a whole candy, I could taste its peanut butter flavor even against the powerful peanut butter filling. While Reese’s Pieces are not enough to make the milk chocolate variety special for me, they are enough to make the white crème variety more interesting.

Is there anything else you need to know?

The product wrapper specifies white crème because it contains no cocoa butter and so technically cannot be classified as chocolate.

Conclusion:

Having already dabbled in both white crème and Reese’s Pieces, Reese’s is not exploring uncharted territory with White Reese’s Stuffed with Pieces, but all of the elements work together well in this peanut butter-and-texture-forward candy. If you are a Reese’s aficionado who likes having options, try out this variety and share where it falls in your peanut butter power ranking.

Purchased Price: 95 cents
Size: 1.4 oz. (2 cups)
Purchased at: Dollar General
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 200 calories, 12 grams of fat, 5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 125 milligrams of sodium, 22 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, 19 grams of sugar, and 4 grams of protein

REVIEW: Dr Pepper & Cream Soda

Dr Pepper  Cream Soda

What is Dr Pepper & Cream Soda?

Peanut butter and jelly. Ham and cheese. An entire pint of Ben & Jerry’s and the ensuing, all-encompassing feeling of shame. Some things naturally go together, and now two carbonated icons, Dr Pepper and cream soda, aim to count themselves among famous pairs.

How is it?

With its dark cola color, Dr Pepper & Cream Soda looks like regular Dr Pepper, but its scent carries a strong vanilla vibe.

The cream soda taste – a creamy vanilla that conjures memories of sundaes and floats – is immediately noticeable at first sip. With subsequent sips, Dr Pepper’s 23 flavors come back to the forefront, with the cream soda lingering in the background. The flavor combination is definitely a pleasant and harmonious one. I would guess at a 2:1 ratio of Dr Pepper to cream soda.

Dr Pepper  Cream Soda Closeup

As a result of the pairing, the “spicy bite” that the original Dr Pepper is known for becomes muted, but because of the way the flavors take turns in the foreground, it is always clear that this is a Dr Pepper product. Interestingly, more so than its other flavor combinations like Cherry Vanilla, Dr Pepper & Cream Soda manages to achieve a smooth “cream finish” feeling characteristic of cream soda.

Although I wouldn’t necessarily describe myself as a purist, I tend to prefer the original Dr Pepper to any of its flavored incarnations. However, I was really impressed at how well Dr Pepper & Cream Soda recreates the subtle flavor of cream soda without letting it get lost among the bolder flavors of Dr Pepper. I would drink this one again.

Is there anything else you need to know?

Due to its varying colors and flavors (including everything from raspberry to cotton candy), cream soda can mean different things to different regions. To me, Dr Pepper & Cream Soda’s flavor profile most closely resembles A&W Cream Soda, which makes sense considering the same company owns them.

Conclusion:

Dr Pepper & Cream Soda expertly recreates and balances a sweet, creamy vanilla flavor with its original formula. It made me wonder what other delicious, unexpected soda combinations are waiting to be discovered.

Purchased Price: $4.49
Size: 6 pack of 20-ounce bottles
Purchased at: Giant Eagle
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (per 20 oz.) 210 calories, 0 grams of fat, 80 milligrams of sodium, 56 grams of carbohydrates, 55 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Fanta Piña Colada

Fanta Pina Colada

What is Fanta Piña Colada?

Fanta adds a new flavor to its extensive collection of fruit sodas: a combination of pineapple and coconut inspired by the tropical cocktail.

I found this one at Country Fair, a regional convenience store and gas station chain native to northwestern Pennsylvania. According to some guy on Yelp, Country Fair is known for its kind employees and suspect pickled eggs.

How is it?

Before we begin, let’s all make a pact not to mention that famous song in which a certain tropical cocktail is mentioned alongside surprising circumstances of inclement weather. That tune has been running through my head on a continuous loop for the past 24 hours, and I would appreciate your cooperation as I regain full control of my brain.

Now back to our regularly-scheduled review.

Fanta Pina Colada Outdoors

Among its rainbow of products, Fanta Piña Colada is an opaque white color and smells of faintly of coconut. The first taste is a mellow pineapple flavor that is all sweetness with very few notes of acid. The artificial flavor reminds me of the pineapple Lifesaver from the original Five Flavors pack, but is much more subdued.

The coconut taste subtly smooths out the pineapple, but does not stand out immediately, revealing itself more in the aftertaste. Although the coconut “dilutes” the pineapple taste and prevents this very sugary drink from being too cloying, pineapple is still the star of each sip.

This Fanta flavor mimics that of a real piña colada (minus the rum), but the drink was not as refreshing as it could have been. Compared to other sodas, it felt more lightly carbonated, falling flat only a few minutes after being poured into a glass. To achieve the taste of a piña colada, Fanta had to go easy on the acid, but the flavor combined with weak carbonation prevented the soda from fully quenching my thirst.

Is there anything else you need to know?

Fanta Piña Colada contains no juice, no caffeine, and (clearly) no alcohol. Feel free to add your own!

Conclusion:

Coconut is pineapple’s supporting player in Fanta Piña Colada, a smooth, sweet drink that lacks a sharp element needed to be truly refreshing. If you like piña coladas (sigh…) better than bubbles, give this one a try.

Purchased Price: $1.16
Purchased at: Country Fair
Size: 20 oz. bottle

Rating: 5 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 bottle) 230 calories, 0 grams of fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 65 milligrams of sodium, 61 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 61 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Zapp’s Evil Eye Potato Chips

Zapp s Evil Eye Potato Chips

What are Zapp’s Evil Eye Potato Chips?

The Louisiana-based company invoked New Orleans voodoo practitioner Marie Laveau to inspire the newest flavor of its famous kettle style potato chips: a subtly hot, Cajun-spiced flavor.

How are they?

I was excited to try Zapp’s Evil Eye Potato Chips for a couple of reasons:

First, the brand’s parent company, Utz of Hanover, is based in my home state of Pennsylvania, and we Pennsylvanians take our potato chips very seriously. (I have vivid memories of a first-grade field trip to Troyer Farms, where our class observed potato chip production under the watchful eye of the brand’s charming farmer mascot.)

Second, I can’t resist the novelty of snacks inspired by spooky lore.

Zapp s Evil Eye Potato Chips Uneven

Zapp’s Evil Eye chips are heavily–although unevenly–powdered with red seasoning. The aggressive color, similar to a “Flamin’ Hot” anything, is misleading, though, as the first taste yielded a sweet, tangy tomato flavor that brought to mind one word: ketchup. As I ate, the flavor grew rounder, with notes of vinegar, onion and garlic, and a paprika-dominant Cajun spice mixture. Hints of cayenne and black pepper contribute some heat, which slowly builds and ranges from subtle to mild, but noticeable.

As the spice level fluctuates, the tomato flavor is squarely in the foreground until everything fades in the aftertaste to a vague onion flavor. After the initial ketchup taste becomes more complex, the flavor profile is like what would happen if you combined a barbeque chip with a Salsa Ranchera Tostito.

Meanwhile, the texture is everything you would want from a kettle style chip: thick, hearty, and crunchy without an oily feeling or aftertaste. Zapp’s products are cooked in 100% pure peanut oil, which apparently contributes to the characteristic crunch.

Zapp s Evil Eye Potato Chips Closeup

I needed to taste at least five chips before I decided that, yes, I like Zapp’s Evil Eye Potato Chips. I needed several more bites to figure out why, ultimately deciding that I owe my enjoyment to the fact that these chips taste different from any other salty snack I’ve eaten. The tomato-forward flavor will not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it definitely makes for an interesting, easy-to-eat bite.

Is there anything else you need to know?

Although its website offers smaller-sized packages, I could only find a 9-ounce “party size” bag in-store. Zapp’s must anticipate that its customers will enjoy Evil Eye chips at Super Bowl or Mardi Gras parties. But if you are like me and do not celebrate either, beware not of the evil eye, but the danger of reaching into the depths of the enormous bag and gradually coating your sleeves with red dust.

Conclusion:

Zapp’s Evil Eye Potato Chips deliver a perfect texture and unique seasoning blend that skews heavy on tomato and light on Cajun spice. I enjoyed the flavor profile immensely, but if you are looking for intense heat, the evil eye is not on your side.

Purchased Price: $3.00
Size: 9 oz. bag
Purchased at: Giant Eagle
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (per 1 oz/about 20 chips) 150 calories, 8 grams of fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 160 milligrams of sodium, 16 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 1 gram of sugar, and 2 grams of protein

REVIEW: Canada Dry Bold Ginger Ale

Canada Dry Bold Ginger Ale Can

What is Canada Dry Bold Ginger Ale?

Canada Dry Bold teases a more intense ginger flavor in this variety of its sweet, dry ginger soda.

How is it?

Greetings from the land of illness and misery, otherwise known as Julie’s place of employment. Luckily, my immune system of steel has prevented me from falling prey to a cocktail of insidious germs, but my poor colleagues can’t say the same. On a lunchtime run to pick up Kleenex and hand sanitizer, I stumbled upon Canada Dry Bold Ginger Ale, a new product from, in my opinion, the best commercial ginger ale brand out there. Although I associate the beverage primarily as a panacea for everything from colds to hangovers, I always enjoy a fizzy ginger drink…but is bolder better?

Canada Dry Bold Ginger Ale Fizzy

Upon first pour, Canada Dry Bold has a richer, gold color and more fizz compared to the original variety, along with a sharper scent that brought a tickle to my nose. The first sip tasted very similar to Canada Dry or any other standard ginger ale: sweet and refreshing, with a hint of ginger, although missing a hint of its characteristic crispness. With another sip, the ginger taste became more noticeably more pronounced. But at this point, “bold” seemed like a strong word — more like “enhanced” or “elevated.”

Canada Dry Bold Ginger Ale Color

After a few moments, the drink built up to spicy sensation, a peppery warmth without flavor, that lingered in the throat for several minutes. The feeling was definitely pleasant, and because of my tendency to rely on the brand for comfort in times of sickness, I appreciated the “burn” as an extra kick in a still-soothing, palatable drink.

Because that kick hesitates, the drink may disappoint enthusiasts looking for a fresher, more robust flavor in the vein of ginger beer.

Is there anything else you need to know?

You don’t NEED to know this, but I found it interesting: Both the original and bold varieties contain less than 2% ginger extract, which is apparently not enough to merit the claim that Canada Dry is “made with real ginger” and boasts related health benefits. After a 2019 false advertisement lawsuit, the brand opted to relinquish that statement, instead describing their drinks as having “real ginger taste.” Don’t let that knowledge ruin the placebo effect the next time you reach for a Canada Dry to soothe your queasy stomach.

Conclusion:

Canada Dry Bold is more like Canada Dry Moderate, but its enhanced ginger taste and resulting warm spice sensation will still refresh and soothe whatever might ail you.

Purchased Price: $5.79
Size: 12 pack of 12-ounce cans (2-liter size also available at some locations)
Purchased at: Giant Eagle
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (per 12 oz. can) 140 calories, 0 grams of fat, 50 milligrams of sodium, 36 grams of carbohydrates, 36 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Limited Edition Galactic Fruit Gushers with a Mystery Flavor

Limited Edition Galactic Fruit Gushers Mystery Flavor

What are Limited Edition Galactic Fruit Gushers with a Mystery Flavor?

General Mills is re-releasing a limited edition lunchbox favorite: Galactic Gushers, featuring Asteroid Apple, Berry Star Clusters, and a Mystery Flavor (“Unidentified Flavored Object”). The product is available exclusively at Walmart.

How are they?

First, if you have never eaten a Gusher, a) do you eat vicariously through junk food bloggers? and b) they are kind of their own species. Not quite gummy candy, not quite fruit leather, Gushers are dense and chewy with a burst of fruit-flavored liquid in the center.

Galactic Gushers, to reinforce the outer space theme, are the Jupiter of Gushers in that they are large in mass and volume. This box – well-decorated with glittery letters and a rich purple celestial background – contains 20 pouches, each of which holds about 8-10 Gushers.

Limited Edition Galactic Fruit Gushers Mystery Flavor Colors

The flavors are distinguished by color: bright green (Asteroid Apple), sapphire blue (Berry Star Cluster), and dark purple (Mystery Flavor), a color combination that could be recycled if Jewel Tone Gushers or Cool Side of the Color Wheel Gushers ever hit shelves. Details like a swirl motif and edible glitter to resemble planets and stars would have been a fun addition to boost the galaxy imagery.

The Asteroid Apple’s hint of tartness tastes like a typical artificial green apple flavor, and the Berry Star Cluster mimics the concentrated sweetness and flavor of blueberry jam.

Limited Edition Galactic Fruit Gushers Mystery Flavor Innards

The Mystery Flavor was harder to pinpoint, because the taste of each purple Gusher seemed to vary slightly. Perhaps primed by its purple shade, I first guessed grape, then recognized a sweet note that reminded me of boysenberry.

For help, I turned to the Galactic Gushers promotional site, which lists the following as potential flavors:

  • Big-Bang Blue Raspberry
  • Meteorite Mandarin-Melon
  • Satellite Strawberry-Kiwi
  • Light-Year Lemon-Lime

One more taste detected acidity in the Gusher goo that seemed to point to Big-Bang Blue Raspberry as the Mystery Flavor.

Is there anything else you need to know?

Limited Edition Galactic Fruit Gushers Mystery Flavor Back

You can guess the mystery flavor at GalacticGushers.com daily through April 30th for a chance to win prizes like gift cards and Gushers swag.

As of this writing, “Big-Bang Blue Raspberry” is in the lead with only 48% of the vote. I wonder if Gushers purposefully designed the Mystery Flavor pieces to taste inconsistent, or if the minor flavor differences I detected among them were just my imagination.

*X-Files theme plays*

Conclusion:

After the novelty of the Mystery Flavor wears off, you are left with three perfectly acceptable Gushers flavors and perhaps a reinvigorated urge to storm Area 51.

Purchased Price: $5.88
Size: 16 oz. box (20 – 0.5 oz. pouches)
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 pouch) 80 calories, 1 gram of fat, 0.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 45 milligrams of sodium, 18 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 10 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein.