I have to say, I’ve been disappointed by this year’s Halloween-themed food offerings. Given, my expectations are pretty high – I expect pretty much every food packaging on grocery shelves to be covered in bats, ghosts, and witches, and the contents possibly coated in Ectoplasm.
I understand that this is unrealistic, and I applaud companies for at least trying, like the Candy Corn Oreos, even if the results are less than stellar. But if I see the words “pumpkin spice” one more time, I’m going to cause an incident in aisle three that may impede my ability to do my usual grocery shopping in the future, unless I can get away with blaming it on a poltergeist.
I also realize that making something “Halloween-flavored” has some pretty strict limitations. Eating ghost-flavored Doritos would probably pretty disappointing; I’ve never tasted a ghost, but I imagine they aren’t very flavorful. Maybe cold, at best. Likewise, I would hesitate to eat a Snickers bar that had spiders instead of peanuts in it.
…Actually, that would be kind of awesome, but I understand where they could run into some problems with that.
All this complaining leads up to one of the few new Halloween offerings I’ve seen this year: Limited Harvest Flavor Milky Way Caramels.
Okay, so there’s no ghouls or goblins on the packaging, and it’s technically not a Halloween offering, it’s a “Harvest Flavor”, which is an odd thing to call a flavor, but I’ll go with it. At least it has a cute little leaf logo.
Because I so desperately want this to have some semblance of Halloween to it, I like to think the candy on the bottom is actually vomiting out the words “Caramel Apple” in delicious caramel ooze. That’s good ooze vomit control, right there. Excellent cursive. Vomiting pumpkins the world over could take a lesson from this barfing piece of candy.
These candies are called “Minis”, and for obvious reasons. Milky Way Caramel Apples are only available in this size and in this package, which means they’re obviously made for trick-or-treaters. Piece of advice: if you’re going to give these out, give more than one per child. Kids are demanding, these days. Fun Size or egg on your house.
Getting to the candy itself: imagine you’re a youth, living in, say, Massachusetts. It’s October; the leaves are turning a myriad of beautiful colors, there’s a brisk chill in the air, but it’s not cold enough that your Ghostbusters jacket can’t keep you warm. You and your parents have made the drive out of the bustling metropolis and are at an orchard where, for a price, you now have a basket in-hand to perform your own manual labor.
You’re on the quest for the perfect apples. You need a little help to reach the taller ones, but in the end, you’ve picked the ripest, reddest, juiciest apples you could find.
Once you’re home, your mom painstakingly melts both cubes of caramel and chocolate chips on the stove while you dutifully shove popsicle sticks up the ass of the very best of the apples you’ve picked. You wait with anticipation until, finally, it’s time to dip. First the caramel, then the chocolate, and then it’s time to bite into that juicy, sugary, perfect apple. It’s harvest time, and life is good.
Now, forget all that.
Okay, that’s not exactly fair. Caramel Apple Minis have the typical Milky Way chocolate coating and caramel upper layer, but you can see that the lower nougat layer is lighter than typical Milky Ways. It’s actually rather close to the color of the inside of an apple.
It’s not just the color that’s different, however. Upon biting into one of these Minis, my mouth was instantly flooded with apple flavor. The chocolate and caramel flavors were immediately overwhelmed.
Exactly what constitutes “apple flavor”? Well, it’s a little hard to describe. It’d be easy to say that it tasted like a green apple Jolly Rancher, or a green apple Jelly Belly, or…well, any of the innumerable green apple-flavored candies that have snatched the title of “go-to green flavor” from lime in not-so-recent years. RIP, lime. I miss you.
But this candy was different. It wasn’t sour like other apple candies. It actually kind of tasted like…apples?
Don’t fall out of your chair in shock quite yet, though. It was more like a hint of real apple with a healthy chemical artificiality. I know it’s weak, but my first impression was, “This is…weird.” Not helpful, really, but there it is. It was unique in that it almost pulled off an actual apple taste, but that taste was ruined by the strength of the artificial taste. In fact, even though these candies were less than bite-sized, after eating only two, the chemicapple taste lingered well after I was done, and I’d had my fill.
I have to say, I was expecting disaster from Limited Harvest Flavor Milky Way Caramel Apple Minis. What I got was a surprising and unique apple flavor that wasn’t a total disaster, but far from a tasty autumn treat that mimics an actual caramel apple. The apple flavor was too chemically and artificial, and it overwhelmed the chocolate and caramel, leaving an unpleasant aftertaste that didn’t leave me wanting to come back for more.
As always, I give points and appreciation to Milky Way for trying to go beyond just throwing a bat on the wrapper or changing the shape of the candy to a pumpkin, but I can’t give a total thumbs up on these Limited Harvest Flavor Caramel Apple Minis. If I were a trick-or-treater, I’d be excited to see this new product in my pillow case (as long as there was more than one), but I’d wind up going back to my A-pile Fun Size Snickers and Twix pretty quickly.
Limited Harvest Flavor Milky Way Caramel Apple Minis
- Score: 2.5 out of 5 puking pumpkins
- Price: $2.79
- Size: 11.5 oz. bag
- Purchased at: Target
- Nutritional Quirks: Nothing remotely apple-related listed as an ingredient, so I guess the mysterious “artificial and natural flavors” are what make the apple magic happen. I’m leaning more towards the “artificial” part.