Lincoln has gone SugarSweet crazy with the opening of a new American-based confectionery store, so we decided to sample some of the biggest stateside snacks for ourselves and give you the verdict.
SugarSweet USA opened inside Lincoln’s Waterside Shopping Centre on Thursday, July 21, and has been a huge hit ever since – serving stateside candy, snacks and drinks right here in the UK.
It stocks a series of major American food and drink favourites, such as Gatorade, Jolly Rancher, Baby Ruth and Tootsie Rolls – all brands you have likely heard in pop culture references but may never have tried for yourself.
Common curiosity got the better of us, so we went to buy a range of products from SugarSweet USA to see what the fuss is all about with American snack-based cuisine.
We purchased a bottle of Bacon Soda, a can of Root Beer, Jolly Rancher sour sweets, Herschey’s Kisses, Cracker Jack popcorn, Nutter Butter cookies, a Tootsie Roll, a Baby Ruth, a Laffy Taffy sour apple sweet bar, Mike and Ike Root Beer candies, and a Garlic Joe giant pickle (no, seriously, it’s a massive pickle in a bag). This is what we thought:
Lester Fixins Bacon Soda and A&W Root Beer – 1/5
I’ll level with you all, I was very scared going into this. The mere naming of Bacon Soda was enough to strike fear into my tastebuds, which on reflection I probably should have listened to.
I’m not sure what made me think a fizzy drink with bacon strips on the logo would make for a tasty beverage, but this certainly is not good. It tastes like charred bacon seasoned with tarmac and soda water.
As for Root Beer, a national institution in America, it was largely the same level of disappointment. It isn’t necessarily awful, but it sure isn’t great either. I couldn’t even tell you what it tasted like – I’ll settle with relating it to a sugarcoated battery.
Cracker Jack original popcorn – 3/5
This caramel-coated popcorn does what it says on the tin, it’s tasty and enjoyable, but the molasses and peanut flavours are quite overbearing.
While they do taste nice, when compared to the United Kingdom brand Butterkist, there is truly no contest to be had – it’s a victory for Queen and country here.
Jolly Rancher sour gummies – 4/5
Much more like what I was expecting. America are famed for their sweet tooth and general excellence in unhealthy food categories, and it is with confectionery brands like Jolly Rancher that they have been able to earn this title.
Described as sour, they are not overbearing, and in fact a very tasty sweet with light sugar on the outside and a soft jelly on the inside. I would consider it to be a highlight of the taste test.
Herschey’s Kisses – 2/5
As a brand, Herschey’s are among the giants of the US food industry, but the Herschey’s Kisses milk chocolate bites are not a glowing reference to this.
Never before have I tasted a chocolate that changes its flavour as often as this. One second it is nice, then the initial after taste is a bit like cheese, then it goes back to sweet, then again to something unexplainable.
Mike and Ike Root Beer Float candies – 2/5
When you empty these jelly bean-type sweets out, they look like those prank sweets you give someone that should taste like strawberry but are actually frog vomit flavour.
While the taste is not quite on the level of frog vomit, the root beer flavoured chew sweets have a mouthwash vibe about them, which is rather ironic given the amount of sugar in each pack.
Garlic Joe Zesty Pickle – 0/5
I’m not exaggerating, this is the worst thing I have ever tasted in my life. The warning signs are there in the bag, with this yellow toxic looking liquid surrounding the pickle, helping to enhance the flavour of devastation and bad decisions.
You could not pay me enough money to attempt eating one of these again, it is an experience that will unfortunately stay with me forever. Perhaps it is the closest I will ever come to taking part in a bush tucker trial on I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!
Laffy Taffy Candy: Sour Apple flavour – 3/5
Nothing special, but based on the surprises thrown up throughout this challenge, there is a welcome familiarity about it.
The long, chewy sweet doesn’t blow you away as a taste sensation, but it is a subtly nice confectionery that is cheap and easy to eat on the go. Plus, there’s a joke on every wrapper, what’s not to love?
Tootsie Roll – 3/5
The century-old candy bar has similarities to both caramel and taffy without being either confection, and while it was tasty, it does feel a little confused.
It’s chewy with mix and match flavours that you struggle to work out at times. However, it is definitely one of the better things we tried on the day.
TGI Fridays Jalapeño Poppers – 4/5
Lincoln High Street has a Fridays restaurant, but you can’t get these Jalapeño Poppers from there, which is a shame really considering how tasty they are.
The corn snacks are a bit like spicy wotsits with a much less overpowering cheese taste. Prior warning though, they pack quite a punch in the spice department.
Baby Ruth – 3/5
Anyone who has watched the 1985 cult classic film The Goonies will be well aware of what a Baby Ruth can do for you, just ask Sloth, but for some reason we didn’t really have that feeling.
It was nice, there’s no denying that, the peanut mix with caramel and chocolate-flavoured nougat makes for an interesting flavour, but there are plenty of nut-based chocolates in the UK which compare equally to it.
Nutter Butter – 3/5
An immensely popular sandwich cookie brand, Nutter Butter claims to be the best selling US food product of its kind. In fact, it is estimated that more than a billion are eaten every year.
We enjoyed them, they were inoffensive and easy to digest, like most biscuits in all honesty, it’s simple to understand why so many are consumed.