I am a sour person. Not in personality, I hope, but anything with a tart explosion is bound to find it’s way into my mouth, particularly if offered next to a boring piece of chocolate cake/brownies/cookies, etc. Obviously I love cupcakes, a love which can be found sprinkled throughout the pages of this very blog, but seriously, who doesn’t love cupcakes. I’m just saying-sour has my heart. Lemon bars, lemon heads, lemon curd…basically anything lemony. And when it comes to candies in particular, Sour Patch Kids are my one true love. True story-I had my friend meet me at the airport when I came back from South Korea for one single week during my summer break, Sour Patch Kids in hand. Other true story-Lindsey brought me a big ol’ bag of Sour Patch Kids when we met up in Paris in June, and my mom sent a massive bag of the treats in my Christmas box this year. This love is real (and I know good people, don’t I?).
So imagine my pleasure when I found out that my very favorite treat in the whole world was coming to England! And that I’d be able to buy them in the UK and not just stock up when in the States/ask for them to be sent to me!
And so I bought a bag of “Maynard’s Sour Patch Kids” at the local co-op. And there was disappointment.
This was not the same flavor! This tasted like actual fruit was in it! And it was like…more sour! But, you know me, I persevered and I ate the whole bag. And then maybe bought another bag the next month (I like candy but I can’t eat that much of it).
After Christmas I figured out that I had both an American bag and an English bag of Sour Patch Kids in my cupboard. So I decided to check out the ingredients and figure out what the differences were in the two sweets. And surprise surprise-turns out the American one is made of mostly chemicals. See here.
Corn syrup, corn starch, and lots of colors with numbers. I’m not judging, I’ll still eat them, but then take a look at the English version…
Well lookie there! Actual concentrated juice extracts. Also, gelatin and tons of sugar, but still. Real things! No Corn syrup/starch!
And when I actually thought to compare the flavor and textures of the two, I was a little surprised. I think….gulp…I may actually prefer the English ones now. For one, the different flavors taste like different fruits and vegetables and not just slight variations of something unrecognizable. Two, they are crazy sour (even more than their American compatriots, and not just in the way that they tear your taste buds off, like the American ones do). And three, they are more easily chewed-no weird stuff stuck in your teeth while you try to tear the little guys apart.
I think this in an interesting example of how some foods that may exist and be produced in both countries change from one to the next. In the States there is a far more extensive use of corn-based products and by-products and that carries over into virtually every kind of food choice, from meat to (as we see here) sweets. And that’s kinda weird. There are a lot more laws that regulate food quality in the UK, and I have to say that I’m pretty okay with it. There’s no “freedom of choice” when virtually every food product you could buy has been influenced from the get go buy large-scale industrial farm companies and their counterparts.
All this to say-this is my favorite candy, and I wanted to share this new knowledge with you guys! Sour Patch Kids, I love you forever, no matter where you come from ……within reason. And if anyone wants to send me a bag of the American ones, don’t worry-I’m still up for it. Mmmmmm mmmmmmmm red 40!