Wonka Exceptionals’ Fruit Marvels: Do they Live Up to the Legend?

The fine people at Wonka sent us a bunch of sweets, half chocolate and half non-chocolate- I'm putting away the dark cocoa mistress and burying my gob into some fruity chewy type treats. Do they live up to the Wonka legacy?

Reviewed by Matty


March 18, 2010

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It feels like ages since I reviewed something that wasn’t chocolate. Some readers might wonder what in god’s name got into me writing about so much dark chocolate and cacAO percentages. Well – to put it bluntly – there’s a heckuva lotta chocolate being sold, and a ton of people want to know which bars to buy. Probably more than …and wow it pains me to say this …but probably more people want to read about chocolate than sour gummies.


this world is so cruel.

But – as luck would have it – the fine people at Wonka sent us a bunch of sweets, half chocolate and half non-chocolate, so it only makes sense that I gather myself, put away the dark cocoa mistress for now, and bury my gob into some fruity chewy type treats.

It can’t be an easy job at Wonka. I’ve always liked the whatchamacallits and gobstoppers myself,  mainstays of my childhood, but I’ve never heard anyone mention Wonka candy in the same “I love X …” sentence like an M&Ms or Reese’s or even Snickers.

Wonka also has to deal with the legacy. How can they make candy that lives up to the tastes we all concocted in our imaginations watching Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory movie? They can’t. So no matter what the Wonka folks do with their new line, “Wonka Exceptionals“, they are starting behind the 8-ball. Not easy. I feel for them.

Before I jump in to the review – you should know that this Wonka Exceptionals line includes these “Fruit Marvels” (the chewy fruit candy), other fruit gels (might not get to those…), as well as chocolate bars, like the Scrumdiddlyumptious Chocolate Bar (which I will review, just not now). This confused me a little. Rather, feels very marketing-y to me.I assume this new line-up of candy is intended to class up the joint a little so they can charge more money. And if they are charging more…well then the expectation bar is significantly raised.

So let’s do the math: we got a candy company named after a storied candy maker (who created sweets we all dreamed about), making treats as part of a Special line of candies that are basically named “Really Awesome Candy.” Hm. Sounds like trouble…

My illogic aside – the bottom line is I like these Fruit Marvel things. The look and feel is exactly like the Sour Spanks I reviewed earlier this year, only they aren’t sour, but they don’t purport to be, which is good. Plus they have a tartness to them that I think 25 years ago could have put them in the (actually non existent but still marketed as) sour category.

They have a hard shell; you can bite through it but it’s thick enough that I think they want me to suck on them first. The outer shell doesn’t have a ton of taste, though. Just general sweet and fruity.

I’m trying white grape, clementine orange and pomegranate. All of them packaged separately. Why? Is that what makes them high-end? Don’t love that.

Out of the gate, the white grape is good. It tastes like Welch’s white grape juice. Yum. I’m a sucker for grape. Even the fake stuff and this tastes less than fake. The strange thing is that after eating about 5 of them, they get general tasting. No matter what flavor I’m eating, they suddenly all taste the same. And the pomegranate…does it actually taste like pomegranate? I really can’t tell. I’ve said before and I’ll say it again, pomegranate is a ruse. I bet you ten bucks if I gave you a pomegranate candy — even the best one ever made — and you didn’t know what it was, and I said “what flavor is that,” you’d answer: “fruit.” Sadly, the clementine starts out tasting like orange triaminic which is bleh, but gets better as you dig into the middle of the candy.

The middle of these candies is where you get all the real flavor. Really juicy – which I like. It actually feels like there is moisture in there, but as you can see, there isn’t. These would be SO good if they were sour. A sour lemon of these? Please. Rock Out. Still the White Grape, as an example, has some good tartness and fun to eat. You could easily suck for awhile and then get to the middle a long time after. (That’s what she said! zing.) Meaning – these could last if you weren’t me. They’ll never last for me cuz I’m a biter. As C-gurette next to me said,  “you might think these were jawbreakers when you start to eat them, then they get chewy and juicy.” Well put, mama.

Bottom line – these are good, even if the flavors are a bit up and down. And if they ever get a real sour version of these, I’ll be on the hunt like an Oompa Loompa let out of the factory for a 2-day shore leave seeking out another half pint orange mama to sing and dance with.

Zolli Candy


  1. Jonny

    Sure, why not? go for it!

  2. Dayane

    hey, so i read ur thing and i really lik it. im doing a project for school on wonka candy and what poeple think about it would u mind if i used you as oart of my project. i think ur opion is the best i found yet!
    thnks dayane

  3. Pam

    I bought the pomegranite ones at the checkout counter last fall by mistake (I thought it was gum) and I am a sucker for anything pomegranite. I didn’t even realize it wasn’t gum until I bit into it. But, then I fell in love. For starters, I love the not-too-sweet, not-too-tart taste. I love the little metal canister that is small enough to fit in my purse. I love that even though they are quite small, only one or two is enough to satisfy my sweet tooth. Which means that even though they are mostly made of sugar, I’m not eating all that much sugar compared to other candy. And, I love that I can tell myself, since they are made with 25% fruit and all natural ingredients, they are healthy (whether they really are or not). But what I don’t love is that I haven’t been able to find them since that one time. I think I bought them at Wal-Mart but they are there no longer, or in any other store I can find. Which brought me to doing an Internet search today and finding this website.

  4. Matty

    Well Claire, that’s wonderful. You sure do ‘read’ excited. Wonkaville loves you.

  5. Claire

    I just googled these because I got them last minute at the Walmart Checkout (pomegranate) and am completely smitten! I LOVE LOVE LOVE the whole texture thing… I’m a biter, have not even tried sucking them, the biting experience is so sublime… and after about 3 I felt satisfied! (that never happens) so I don’t know about the taste getting “general”…. then I ate about 3 more a while later. I GIVE THESE A 10 OUT OF 10. Oh and I like sour candy and I did think they were sour enough. I GOOGLED CUZ I WANT TO BUY THEM FOR EVERYONE FOR CHRISTMAS!!!

  6. Matty

    Oh – and there’s no food coloring in them 🙂

  7. trish

    you did not mention that there is NO FOOD COLORING in them!! That’s a huge biggie for someone like me who is highly alergic to red 40…it’s awesome to have something red!

  8. Tristan

    Scott hooked me up with the pomegranate and it was tasty. I found myself getting impatient to get to the center because the outer shell was just mildly sweet. Definitely some sour on the outside would elevate this candy. I wasn’t a fan of the shell getting cracked and mixing with soft center. I much rather enjoyed the candy in phases, letting the outer shell dissolve and release the gooey goodness inside. Thanks Scott!

  9. greebs

    So, these are hard candy shells that after you suck on them for awhile get chewy? GREEBS loves this. But the flavor is paramount, and I agree that some serious sour in there would move these into Awesomeville.

    Oh, Awesomeville…what a cool place you are.


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