Easter jelly beans: Food Fight
There are so many types of jelly beans. You could literally make a March Madness-style bracket for all of them, and it would be a hot contest down to the last face-off. (Incidentally, the blog Jezebel recently published an NCAA-inspired cakes vs. pies bracket.) Here's how a mere four of them stack up, plain old Brach's (barf) not included:
Call us fundamentalists but Starburst jelly beans don't scream Easter. They do, however, taste wonderfully identical to real Starburst, save the addition of an obligatory jelly bean shell. The beans also come in two more flavors than original Starburst, adding grape and green apple to the traditional strawberry, cherry, lemon, and orange. Cost: $2.19 a bag, 30 cents cheaper than the others.
Wonka's Nerds beans, with their crunchy, warty, Nerds exterior and soft jelly interior, while screaming synthetic materials, reach near MSG heights in their addictiveness. You sort of can't tell what flavor any of them are, but it doesn't matter. Possible drawback: only five flavors. There totally used to be watermelon, blue raspberry. Cost: $2.49 a bag (on sale for $2.00 when I got them).
Easter churchgoers will unite over Easter-y colors of Wonka's Sweet Tarts jelly beans. Their perfect pastel hues will either make you draw nearer and fawn, like you would over a baby chick, or recoil in horror as you recall Easter Sweaters Past. They're even shaped kind of perfect, like little dyed Easter eggs. Like their namesake, they're sour, and don't have the weird jelly bean skin that make the regular ones sort of gross. Not bad. Cost: $2.49/bag (on sale for $2.00 when I got them)
Unlike the others, Brach's Hawaiian Punch jelly beans weirdly boast their "real fruit pectin" and their "100% Vitamin C per serving." Whatever. They're easily the prettiest of the lot, all speckled. Each of the six flavors have splotches of a darker or different color on them. They definitely taste like Hawaiian Punch, but that's not necessarily a good thing. They're sugary to the point of grittyness though, not unlike regular Brach's jelly beans. Cost: $2.49/bag.
The Winners: In order of preference, 1) Nerds!, 2) Sweet Tarts, 3) Starburst, and 4) Hawaiian Punch. Nerds' departure from the norm set them apart in a good way. Even though they are basically just one flavor, they are crackly and fun and possibly exfoliating. The Sweet Tarts jelly beans are good for a similar reason: With their sour flavor and soft exterior, they're a welcome little sideways step from the sugary over-the-topness of regular beans. The Starburst beans are kind of boring, and as for the Hawaiian Punch? Some things just do not translate into jelly beans. Let's leave it at that. P.S.: I feel sick.
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