Post #688 Jelly Bellies Aplenty!

January 15, 2020 at 2:18 PM | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

When I was a kid, a lot of things confused me.  One day, my parents told me to look on my bed.  There was a pile of toys.  I knew they weren’t mine, so I went back to the living room and they asked if I’d seen them.  I nodded, still slightly puzzled.  They finally explained those were birthday presents for me.  I’d never heard of a birthday or a birthday present.  So, confusion.  Another time, they hyped the excitement about Easter.  We did the whole coloring the eggs and building our own basket (empty, of course.)  On the allotted day, the baskets were full of candy and a gift or two for each of us.  We went outside and found our eggs, then had a feast of candy.  I learned what a jelly bean was and became a big fan.  I ate all my jelly beans first and wished I had more.  I traded my brother all my eggs for all his jelly beans.  After that, the only time I ever saw jelly beans was at Easter.

One time, when I was still very young, I was rooting through the fridge and found bags of candy.  Through my excitement I realized that all the candy I was seeing was the same as what we’d got in our Easter baskets.  Ding!  Light went off, and Easter Bunny went mything, along with Santa and the Tooth Fairy.  So sad.  But I started looking for jelly beans all the time after that.

Jelly beans got started either 100 years ago, or 150 years ago.  No one is quite sure.  And, I suppose no one really cares.  Jelly beans are multi colored sugary gems eaten by little kids till their teeth rot.  The quality of a jelly bean can be easily determined by the amount of flavor in said bean.  If it tastes like sugar, and only sugar, and it grainy, it’s a low quality candy.  Trust me.  These are the ones that can be bought for a nickel for 25.

However, if you’re willing to spend a little more money, jelly beans become flavorful confections that are as much fun to eat as they are to look at.  And the star, the absolute pinnacle of the jelly bean pyramid is the Jelly Belly.  In my opinion.

Jelly Bellies were created by the Gustav Goelitz Candy Co.  Gustav came to America in the 1860s and started making candies from mellow cream.  You may not have heard that term before, but I guarantee you know what it is.  Mellow cream, or mellowcream, is a candy made from corn syrup, sugar, food coloring, and honey.  The most well known products made from mellow cream are candy corn and candy pumpkins.  It wasn’t until the 1910s that the company started making the jells, things like gummi bears and jelly beans.  However, they made it a point to make the high quality candies.

Most jelly beans come in fruit flavors, or just generic sweet.  Jelly Bellies come in 100s of flavors.  If you’re a Harry Potter fan, a good analogy would Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Bean.  My favorite way to eat Jelly Bellies is one at a time so I can guess the correct flavor.  Some of my fellow travelers would eat several at a time to get the flavor mix to create a different flavor.  I know people who do that with Skittles, too.  One time, Partner/Spouse and I were driving somewhere right after we started dating, and he was driving.  I was munching on Jelly Bellies and telling him the flavors.

“That one’s root beer.  I like root beer.  Mmm, sour apple.  Oh!  Cinnamon, hot.  Hmm, can’t tell what that one is, but it tastes good.”  It drove him crazy.  He tried eating them too, but didn’t like them as much as I did.  He was good at guessing the flavors, though.  He hated the licorice and started getting a lot of those, so he stopped eating them.

Jelly Bellies got a huge boost in publicity back in the 80s when President Reagan took office.  One of the “must haves” in the White House was Jelly Bellies.  It turned out that years earlier, Reagan wanted to quite smoking a pipe.  He took up eating Jelly Bellies to help him kick the habit.  They kept bowls of them around the White House so he could grab a handful whenever he wanted them.  It was said that he also gave small gift packs of them to official visitors.

So guess what I got for Christmas?

Yup, he knows what I like.  I read through the different flavors and got a chuckle.  There were the standards for Jelly Bellies, things like sour apple, cotton candy, milk, cinnamon, blueberry.  But then I saw popcorn.  And it tasted like buttered popcorn.  The mango tasted like mango, too.  I got to wondering just how many flavors they’ve laid claim to and did a Bing search.  They have (take a deep breath):  coffee, cappuccino, blueberry, cinnamon, A&W Cream Soda and Root Beer, Pomegranate, chocolate pudding, caramel, caramel corn, lime, raspberry, orange, orange sherbet, cherry, banana, margarita, island punch, and a lot of others.  They also do specialty flavors that only run for a limited time.  I’ve seen tabasco, wasabi, pancakes and maple syrup, champagne, chardonnay, merlot, and others including Krispy Kreme.  You can buy them in bulk or in various combinations.  You can buy single flavors, or flavor combos.  Some flavor combos are fruit only, or tropical only and like that.  There’s even a Harry Potter specialty.

But the fun doesn’t stop with just the jelly bean.  People have used them in desserts.  Some restaurants use them to top sundaes.  Some bakers are using them in cakes and cookies.  I haven’t seen a Jelly Belly pie yet, but I’m sure it’s on the way.

So, does anyone have a favorite Jelly Belly flavor?  I don’t have a favorite, but I have a few a don’t like.  Anything coffee flavored.  Feel free to share the post.

As Always,

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