Every so often I’ll come across a product in a smaller grocery store or market that genuinely looks (and smells) like it hasn’t been moved since the Nixon administration. I kind of expect this to happen at these stores and proceed with caution. But the big box stores? It’s creepy to see something that looks as though they’ve unearthed it from their store archival collection in the basement. Such was the case at my local Target today.
A little research yielded very few results in the way of reviews outside of my good friend JFG trying the Pina Colada mallows in September. And yet the bag honestly looked and felt like it had been printed in the mid-2000’s. I couldn’t even get the price tag off without risking damage to the package. Either someone cheaped out or got creative with recycling. And there’s a typo on the bag! I ate American-made food with a typo! I feel like I’m going to lose brain cells or suddenly gain the ability to do complex math from that or something. Yikes.
Creepy packaging aside, I came into this with a little bit of a bias- I’m just not that into marshmallows. Sure, I’ll take them if nothing else is around, but when push comes to shove they’re the edible equivalent of a sloppy, drunk hook-up with an ex or old friend over Thanksgiving break. It’s there, and that’s about it. The package designs are adorable- little fuzzy marshmallow viewing windows, drawings of marshmallows and festive beverages and slices of cake all over the place, and some helpful suggestions along the lines of informing the consumer of a whipping aid, always a plus in my book, suggestions of piling marshmallows on cake and such, I don’t know, they don’t pay me to read, and the ever-popular disclaimer that these are alcohol-free. Party hard tonight, Mr. Roboto.
The pina colada marshmallows tasted good and were adequately sunny, with a good balance between sweet and salty. There was a strange aftertaste to them, a predominantly saline one, tasting something like corn starch and baking soda, a little salty and bitter, but not off-putting given the sugary coconut and candy. Strangely chemical and even worse when they were toasted. They mainly tasted like toasted coconut with a little floral, piney fruit kick at the end of each bite. It was difficult to eat too many of them before feeling a little sick from all the sweetness, but I think they were unique and tasty enough that they’d make for a funky throwback ambrosia salad or roasted fruit s’more for a snack.
German chocolate marshmallows? Good idea. Making them look like death’s hairballs? Bad idea. Good thing these were sized to pop right in the mouth- you do not want to bite these open. Who in the world thought that puce-grey-midsize sedan was a good color for a candy?! And they taste and smell blatantly, almost offensively synthetic like a scratch and sniff sticker or some sort of trendy Japanese perfume for teens, like cardboard Tootsie Rolls. The coconut is a little less aggressive here, but no less flaky and dry on the palate. Both made delicious s’mores, but really, that color is just heinous. Still, I wouldn’t kick them out of bed, or my Rice Krispie treats.