Minneapolis 2023 – Big Bag o’ Candy

Earlier this year, I went on a little trip to Minneapolis, Minnesota with my family. You can read all about how poorly I ate during said trip here. As something of a follow-up to that post, now I’m going to write about all the candy I bought while I was there!

So, there’s this store called It’s Sugar in the Mall of America. I don’t really know much about it, aside from the fact that it’s a big ol’ candy store. I actually first encountered this establishment when I was in New Jersey last year. In the American Dream mall, It’s Sugar is a three-story-tall paradise with an Oreo-themed café on its top floor. MOA’s version isn’t quite as big, but it’s still basically the promised land for people like me who suffer from an insatiable sweet tooth.

The biggest appeal of this store are the bins upon bins of bulk candy available to mix and match at one’s discretion. Both of my trips to It’s Sugar ended with me buying a bag of assorted gummy candies that was roughly the size of my head. I won’t say exactly how much they cost, but it’s somewhere in the ballpark of fifty American dollars. So, yeah. Look, I’ve never once claimed to be good at money. These bags of candy lasted me weeks though, so the cost was justified enough for me.

Now that you have context, I am going to describe every different type of gummy candy that I selected for my big bag of candy. Because that’s interesting. Right?

First up: marshmallow strawberries. These are the most unique candies that ended up in my bag on account of they’re the only ones that aren’t just regular old gummies. That said, they’re probably also the most generic items in the bag. Marshmallow strawberries have been pretty well ubiquitous in my life, or at least they were up until my maternal grandmother passed away. Seems like she always had some on hand, so eating them always makes me think of her. There are a lot of candies like that, actually.

These particular marshmallow strawberries are a little bit different from the ones I’m used to – while they’re as pillowy soft as one would expect, they do have a little more inherent gumminess to them than usual. Just a little more sticky, I think is the best way to put it. The flavour is right on point, if not more focused than the average marshmallow strawberry. They’re very delicious, is what I’m saying.

Next up, a fleet of gummy bears. Being the most iconic gummy candy, of course I’m no stranger to gummy bears. Actually, I was quite obsessed with them for the first few months of 2023, I would always have a bag of Haribo Goldbears on hand to sate the munchies that would come on after indulging in a different kind of gummy. These are not Haribo bears, however, but that’s not a universally good or bad thing.

The large, red bears are cinnamon-flavoured, and they have exactly the same flavour and consistency as hot lips. Which is to say that they’re very tasty, have something of a kick, and get all stuck in your teeth. The smaller bears are much less sticky, which I appreciate, and the pictured flavours are strawberry, grape, and pineapple. It’s Sugar had a much wider variety to choose from, but I opted to stick with the ones that appealed to me the most and diversify my bag with more types of candy than flavours of bears. They’re all quite good, but I think my favourite ended up being grape. They’re pretty much exactly how I remember grape juice boxes tasting.

Probably the most unique in the bag, but my least favourite, are the gummy sneakers. Not that they’re bad or anything, but they just didn’t have the “kick” that I was hoping for. Get it? ‘Cause they’re shoes? Eh, ehh?

Alright, dad jokes aside, despite their varies colours, I was wholly expecting for the gummy sneakers to all have the same flavour. What a fool I was! Maybe if they had come from a bag of no-name grocery store candy, but It’s Sugar has a much higher standard. That said, their flavours were… indiscriminate at best. While each colour tasted different from the last, they weren’t strong flavours, and I wasn’t really able to place what any of them were supposed to be. It wouldn’t be unreasonable to guess grape, blueberry, and cherry based on the colours, but if I’d been blindfolded when eating them I would have been completely bamboozled.

When I got my big bag of candy from the American Dream mall, the standout candy was without a doubt the gummy mangoes. So of course I made a point to load up on them when I visited It’s Sugar in the Mall of America. What you don’t get from the picture here is that they’re spicy mangoes! The gummy exterior is delightfully mango-flavoured, and then in the center there’s a spicy goo that is surprisingly hot. Not like “hilarious prank” hot or anything, but they’d definitely place on the Scoville scale. I wish I could find these locally, because they’re honestly one of my favourite candies of all time.

Behind them we see gummy chili peppers, which I must have totally missed in American Dream, because this is the first time I’d ever seen such a thing. They’re very similar to the gummy mangoes, only lesser in every way. The actual flavour is much more generic gummy, and I wasn’t getting any sort of pepper flavour out of them. Probably for the best, because when I think peppers, I think bitter, and that’s not what I want in a candy. The goo in the middle was also significantly less spicy than that of the mangoes, which I feel is a bit backward. I wouldn’t bother buying them again on their taste merits, but they’re just so darn pleasant to look at!

Everyone knows peach rings. They’re insanely popular with literally every person in the world. But did you know that peach rings have a whole host of differently-flavoured cousins? I sorta did, but not specifically about any of the ones pictured above. I feel like I’ve had grape rings and cherry rings at some point in my life, but I couldn’t for the life of me tell you when or where.

So, the other three above are apple, strawberry, and blueberry flavoured. All four are fantastic, and while I feel like it’s almost a crime to not give peach the top spot, I’ve got to admit that it was the apple rings that did the most for me. The underdogs! Who would have guessed? It’s also worth noting that these rings are of a much better consistency than pretty much any other peach rings I’ve had in my life. They aren’t too tough and they don’t get stuck in your teeth. Truly, the ideal gummy.

It’s a massive gummy frog. If you slapped someone with this bad boy, they might actually fall over. Other than that, I really don’t have much else to say about it. It tastes exactly like how you’d expect a gummy frog to taste: non-specifically fruity, with that nice, foamy underbelly. It’s just way bigger than the one’s you’d get at 7-11 back when you were eight years old.

Last, but certainly not least, is the behemoth gummy banana. If someone were to suggest that all gummy bananas were built the same, I would charter a flight to the nearest It’s Sugar just so that I could purchase one of these to prove them wrong.

Somehow, this gummy banana’s flavour has been increased relative to its size. I don’t know what kind of arcane science or dark magics were used to imbue such flavour into a single gummy, but I’m certainly not going to question it. These giant gummy banans are the most decadent gummy candies that have ever been in my mouth. They were so good that it pains me to look at this picture and write about them, because I just don’t know when or even if I’ll ever get to enjoy another one.

And that’s that! Candy! I wrote about it! Wish I could just be eating it instead…

If you thought that this entry in the Minneapoils 2023 was low-effort, just wait until I publish the next one! See you there!

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