I have a few favorite brands of candies that you’re all likely sick of me spouting on about time and again : Haribo, Katjes, Trolli (European only!), and Jolly Rancher. For years and years and YEARS, the Ranch® seemed content to make only their individually wrapped hard candies and their flat “sticks”, which were the same thing, but in long thin bar form.
Back in the heyday, there not only were the flavors that they offer today, but gems like fire, raspberry, fruit punch, and the holiest of holies, pink lemonade, were available. Not to mention lemon. But these flavors are all but extinct now, and that makes me sad. Not Schindler’s sad, but more like…when there’s only one more episode of “Walking Dead” in the season left sad.
Regardless, the Ranch decided to change. In the last decade, they’ve put out a stream of random candies, some good like the doubles I reviewed recently, and some… not so good. What I’m gonna talk about today doesn’t fall into either of those camps.
Enter the “Crunch ‘n Chew”. Concept is simple: a traditional Jolly Rancher hard candy on the outside, with a chewy center. The Ranch make something (that I thought would be) similar in their lollipops with a chewy center. And those are breathtaking (review to come soon). These however,…just are not the same at all.
We get four flavors, perhaps the four most iconic and (sadly) boring of the Jolly Rancher family: cherry, watermelon, green apple, and blue (doesn’t exist in nature) raspberry. What you’re looking at above actually has representatives from each flavor. Note to the Ranch: Don’t make cherry and watermelon one shade of red different from each other. Watermelon should be green, or pink, but…there’s nothing red about them.
You’ll notice that unlike traditional Rancher bites, these are wrapped with non see-through covers. I’m guessing it’s become cheaper, otherwise there’s no reason to do that in my opinion.
The thing to take away about these is…that they’re ok. Pretty good, just not great. They somehow miss the mark, and I’m having trouble figuring out why. The tastes are unmistakeably Jolly Rancher, but…I don’t know, there’s just something different and unsatisfying about them. Maybe it’s that there’s not enough hard shell around the chewy center, but I don’t think so, because it’s actually thicker than i expected. it can’t be that there’s too much shell, because..it’s all about the flavor of the hard candy.
Maybe it’s that the actual chew inside is…meh. Kind of anti-climactic. Thinking about it now, that must be it: compared to the vibrant Ranch flavor of the hard candy, the chew inside, while tasty, just seems a little muted. But..again, these aren’t bad, I enjoy a few every now and then. However, they’re certainly not top of the class for the Ranch. Try them out yourself and let me know what you think.