“ Brand: Fravigar / Type: Jelly „
I often have cravings for jelly sweets and love buying bags of sweets and mixing them in a jar to make my own pick 'n' mix (yes I'm just a big kid at heart). Lately I've been having trouble finding jelly beans to go in my mix. I used to like Lidl's own brand but they've stopped doing them and the supermarkets don't often seem to stock jelly beans of any description. So when I saw a large 325g bag of jelly beans made by Victoria in Poundland I thought I'd give them a try.
The beans come in a colourful bag, mainly red and yellow in colour with little cartoon beans parachuting and driving a car (not sure why?) A bubble on the front tells us that they are free from artificial colours and flavourings, and another statement says 'they're fruity!' - so far so good. The back of the packet has an ingredient list, nutrition info, and allergy advice. It also tells us that "Victoria have been making quality confectionary in England since 1924", so a well established company then, I had high hope for these beans...
What's In Them?
Each 30g serving (about 12 beans by my calculations) contains:
Allergy Info: Not suitable for nut/peanut allergy sufferers
Look and Taste
In the unlikely event that anyone doesn't know what a jelly bean is, they are small bean shaped fruit flavoured jelly sweets, soft on the inside with a glazed sugar coating.
On opening, the bag was quite full and the first thing that struck me about the jelly beans inside was how big they were; each bean is almost 2cm long. Next were the colours, there are six colours/flavours all of which are quite pale and wishy-washy in appearance, and dull without the usual shine you get on a jelly bean, but I suppose that's because there are no artificial colours in them. That's okay I can live with that. I counted 128 beans in my bag, not very evenly divided between the colours; 35 yellow, 26 white, 25 black, 19 green, 12 pink and just 11 orange.
Okay onto the taste test. From the colours I've listed you probably have a good idea what the flavours are, yep that's what I thought too. Boy was I in for a surprise...
Black - tasted sort of sweetly flowery, vaguely perfumed - no idea what flavour it should have been.
Yellow - did have a hint of lemon, but reminded me of lemon washing up liquid - over powering sweetness
Orange - reminded me of those horrible violet sweets that were around when I was young, again sort of perfumed. Definitely not orange flavoured.
Pink - virtually the same as the orange but incredibly it managed to be even sweeter.
White - now this is definitely pear flavour. I know this because it tastes exactly like the artificial chemical taste of pear-drop sweets. Amazingly this is the best one in my opinion.
Green - the worst of the lot. I guess it's supposed to be lime, but I'm sure I detected essence of toilet cleaner and toxic waste in there!
The coating on the beans was very very sweet, almost a gritty sugar, and the jelly inside was far too soft. The aftertaste is a lingering flowery sweetness. Nasty.
Well as you may have gathered, I really didn't like these jelly beans. As far as I'm concerned they are virtually inedible with no redeeming features at all. Looking back I should have known that a 325g bag for £1 was not going to be a high quality product, I think I was hoping to be pleasantly surprised. No such luck. Also the fact that no actual flavours are mentioned on the packet maybe should have made me suspicious. Doh!
I know that the American jelly bean company 'Jelly Belly' make the best beans with an amazing selection of realistic flavours, but apart from the food hall in London's Selfridges I've never seen them for sale anywhere. So my hunt for a decent jelly bean on the high street continues, I certainly won't be buying Victoria beans again.