And a few months ago, we reviewed the Caribbean Fruit Floes, which nearly reached our highly elite "Pantheon" status. Very tasty. So, let's take a look at these Chile Mango Floes and see how they measure up:
First of all, let's make sure everyone knows exactly what's going on here... This is a popsicle-like dessert that is indeed sweet and fruity, and thanks to our zany friends to the south, it has chile on it. As in chile pepper...as in spicy. I lived in Southern California for about 7 years, and let me tell you, I was quite skeptical about sprinkling chile powder on fruit when I first became aware of the practice. Chile powder and corn on the cob made sense: salty and spicy. That works. But spicy and sweet? Mexicanos like to eat chile with their mangos, watermelons, pineapples, and even oranges. Hmmm... It took some convincing.
I was in Disney's California Adventure when I had my first taste of "mango con chile." I remember right where I was standing. Our friend Carlos bought a plate of it and began sharing it with the group. I loved it. First, you taste the mango, and then as you chew, there's this little burst of spice that kicks in later. It's like the clichéed party in one's mouth that everyone and his brother is invited to.
I later tried a vending machine pop with mango-flavored candy, covered in a thick layer of sawdust-like chile powder. It came from our local laundromat in Hollywood, but it was clearly imported from Mexico. Such candies were childhood favorites of Sonia. It was so-so. It got tastier as it went along. I had to suck about 3/4 of the chile powder off before the mango taste even came through, and by then my tongue was somewhat numb, and it made the experience only moderately enjoyable.
These fruit floes are similar. Except in this case, the chile powder cannot be licked off of the candy. It's thoroughly blended with the frozen mango juice. Remember how Sonia and I are always saying that the salsas aren't spicy enough or that they don't seem as spicy as the little chile pepper spice-o-meter would seem to indicate on the package? Not the case with this product! This is quite possibly the spiciest thing I've ever had from TJ's. I'm tempted to take the remaining popsicles, allow them to melt, and use them as a chip-dip instead. I think they overdid it a little in the spice department here. Sonia does, too, and she grew up on these goofy spice n' fruit combos that seem so alien to me.
On the plus side, one can still taste mango through the oddly cold searing pain. There are also a handful of real mango chunks scattered throughout each popsicle—and they're not chile-ified. Chewing them gives one's tongue a moment to recover.
All in all, they're just kinda weird. And that's coming from two people that like chile and mango. Not terrible, but certainly don't get them if you've never had chile and mango or think that that combination sounds a little funky...But if you're the biggest chile-mango fan ever, then by all means grab a box and tell us what you think...
Sonia gives them a 3. I give them a 3.5. Bottom line 6.5 out of 10.