Years ago, Sonia and I were invited to a game night of sorts at another couple's apartment. The main event of the evening was a competition involving the construction of graham cracker houses, the most creative of which would win a prize. There were four other teams, with our gracious hosts serving as the judges. There were dozens of elements at our disposal: graham crackers, marshmallows, frosting, gumdrops, cookies—pretty much any snack you can think of was present. Most other teams tried to go big—they were aiming to construct the tallest candy towers that gravity would allow. We went a different route.
Our house was a mere two graham cracker widths high. Not impressive at all on the macro scale...but to a family of gummy bears, it was an elegant mansion with all the comforts of a modern home. There was a big puffy couch comprised of full-size marshmallows across from a flat screen HDTV made from a miniature chocolate bar. The yard was full of vanilla icing snow and a few snowmen made of mini marshmallows stacked on one another. The bear children playing in the yard had warm hats made of M&M's bitten in half. There was even a bathroom. Mini marshmallows made a fine porcelain toilet and a nearby bathroom sink. A thin layer of frosting made a mirror. A green gummy bear faced the mirror—I bit off a thin slice of another green gummy bear's face and stuck it on the mirror so it appeared the bear was actually looking at his own reflection. There were even a couple chocolate shavings in the marshmallow toilet to represent...um, bear movements. We made lamps, trees, and shrubbery out of gumdrops and bed sheets out of mini chocolate bar wrappers. Ultimately, we won the competition and went home that night with a $20 Target gift card and a sense of accomplishment and teamwork. Our judges applauded, "You thought of everything!"
Well, almost everything.
Our happy gummy bear family lacked a pool. Until now. Obviously, we don't still have our graham cracker house. In fact, I think the children present consumed the entire thing before we even left our friends' apartment that night. But this gimmicky new item from TJ's would have been the perfect addition to the bear family's backyard.
So...obviously, this is a fun item for the young and the young-at-heart, but how does it taste? It's an odd mix-up of gummy bears and milk and white chocolate. Sonia remarked that the milk chocolate overshadowed the white chocolate, while I was actually surprised I could taste white chocolate at all. The bears add sweet, fruity, citrusy elements to the flavor. It works, at least marginally. I mean, chocolate covered fruit is a thing. Chocolate orange is a thing, right? This isn't a completely foreign concept. I'm honestly surprised how much I do like the flavor here.
Sonia wanted more gummy bears, even though she admitted their texture was a little too firm and chewy in the mix. The chocolate's nice and smooth, and it inevitably melts in your mouth much faster than the gummy bears. I was happy with the chocolate to gummy bear ratio, but I must say breaking the bar apart was frustrating. The bears wanted to hold certain pieces of chocolate together, and as you'd pull the piece off, the bear would stretch a bit and then snap in the manner of a rubber band, sending a crumb or two of chocolate flying off into space...or onto your khaki pants.
It's $1.99 for the bar. I'd rather pay half that for a silly, fun impulse buy like this, but there's an undeniable childlike joy that accompanies opening a package of candy that has illustrations of bears with pool toys on it. If it weren't packaged and presented so cleverly, it would be easier to pan this product for its only partial success in the flavor and texture departments. As it stands, we're looking at about three and a quarter stars each.
Do note: this product isn't even vegetarian by virtue of pork gelatin in the gummies. I thought that green bear on the packaging looked a little like one of the pigs from Angry Birds...
Bottom line: 6.5 out of 10.