Description. It is our belief at the B.A.R.F. that pudding should not: 1) come from Hunt’s, a company best known for condiments; 2) contain the kind of “real milk” that remains shelf stable well into the following calendar year; or 3) have the sort of blue-greige hue customarily associated with bread mold. Hunt’s Snack Pack Blueberry Muffin pudding is and does all of these things, and adds to those insults the injury of a gloppy, gritty, bad-papier-mâché consistency.
Description. A comparatively faithful rendition of Sanrio’s most ubiquitous character, the Hello Kitty Marshmallow Pop does hit a couple of uncanny-valley snags. Its in-packaging presentation implies that it is composed entirely of Christmas-cookie sprinkles, but this isn’t the cause of the unsettlement; rather, it’s the rodent-y placement of Kitty’s button nose, which never quite succeeds in three dimensions — and the nipple-y placement of Kitty’s shirt buttons.
Speaking of buttons, their texture may startle some consumers; they, and Kitty’s other “features” (her bow, whiskers, et al.), resemble button candy in both diamond hardness and dearth of flavor. Setting them aside for future messages to be written on glass is advised.
Description. Departs from the standard white or pink Sno Ball only in color; consumers fearing that the green/St. Pat’s Sno Ball might, like the Shamrock Shake, feature an unwelcome shot of mint may proceed without fear. …Excuse us: “without more fear.” The addition of a mint-flavored component would indeed push the Ball into pre-colonoscopy-milkshake territory, but the Sno Ball is already inevitably a variation on the weirdly light, but also chewily elderly, shell of marshmallow surrounding a stale asteroid of devil’s food cake, which itself contains a pasty crème filling — dusted with ciliae of faux-conut.
Description. A cynical and unpleasant mash-up of rum-raisin ice cream, holiday rum balls, and malted-milk balls, Schweddy Balls is touted on the Ben & Jerry’s website as “an ode to a classic ‘Saturday Night Live’ sketch comedy” [sic]. In the sense that the rummy aftertaste, much like the average SNL segment, lingers on too long, this is entirely accurate. The adjective “classic,” however, is not, except in the sense that gagging and dumping most of a pint of ice cream into the trash is a “classic” response to a repellent dessert.
Half the day’s sat-fat allowance is expended on a half-cup serving of the Balls. Not worth it, my friends.
Description. From the same no-nonsense candy corp. that brought us the Salted Nut Roll comes the Bun Bar — a creamy patty (maple, vanilla, or caramel) topped with roasted peanuts and dipped in chocolate. Like its tubular brand sibling, the Bun Bar 1) bears a faintly PG-13 name; 2) inducts sugar into the bloodstream at the same rate one might expect from an intravenous injection; and 3) bears an uncomfortable resemblance to a turd.
Packaging/Branding. Between the blocky fonts and the brown stripes on a beige background, the packaging hearkens back to a high-school football player’s bedroom in the late 1980s, or to a hideous shirt Steve Sanders might have worn.
Description. Remarkably similar in appearance to “real” cotton candy, Fluffy Stuff is real cotton candy for all intents and purposes. How the Charms Corp. maintains its webby integrity in a package is something of a mystery — the brief list of ingredients doesn’t contain any surprises (sugar, flavors both natural and artificial, various artificial colors, “turmeric coloring”), but the proportions remain unknown, as do the properties of the flavors mentioned.
The Heat-Miser-ish cowlick of gossamer sugar at the top is missing, due to the constraints of containment and shipping, but the overall presentation is the same as that found at street fairs and bar mitzvahs: trap lint collected from a dryer at the circus.
Description. The Happy Melts Organic Yogurt Snack has the best intentions. Like the carob chip, the bran muffin, and the Tuscan yogurt bar before it, Nurture Inc.’s strawberry-yogurt chip aims for a less fatty and chemical, more healthful and gentle idea of snacking. And like the aforementioned wholesome nibbles, the Happy Melts Organic Yogurt Snack tastes like an elderly Birkenstock.
The bilious flavor is made all the more offensive by the sweet-seeming presentation: a tiny — one might even deem it “adorable” — meringue-esque disc of palest pink.