My mother has always been very good at Easter. Easter in our home was always like a mini Christmas with stuffed toys, colorful eggs, and baskets full of candy. (She wasn't big on candy the rest of the year, but on Easter she busted out the good stuff.)
Easter candy is and always has been my favorite. I even like it more than candy of the Christmas or Halloween variety. The arrival of Reese's Eggs, Cadburry Caramel Eggs, and hollow chocolate bunnies is something I look forward to every year.
I love Easter candy, but my sister Meredith is obsessed.
Maybe it's because we didn't usually have a lot of sugar in the house, or maybe it was simply because Easter candy is super delicious, but each year my little sister would sneak away with her basket and stuff her face with egg-shaped chocolate until she felt ill.
We tried to prevent it. We would take "Dith Watches," but she was small and quick and cunning. Her little fingers must have been very adept at peeling foil off of tiny chocolate bars, because all it took was a few minutes. Someone would say "Wait. Where did Dith go?" and we'd find her, surrounded by pastel wrappings with chocolate smeared across her adorably bespectacled face.
So when Unreal Candy reached out to me about the "struggle" of being "tempted by that dark purple bag of pastel-colored mini eggs," I couldn't help but think of little Dith, for whom the struggle of Easter candy was very real. Unreal Candy, the "unjunked food company" is on a mission to "reinvent America’s favorite candies with 100% real, non-GMO ingredients, with less sugar and no corn, soy, or gluten." They even have a video with Matt Damon in it, and I've always thought Matt Damon seemed like a really nice guy.
I don't particularly care about gluten or GMO's in my candy. (But if you are trying to avoid gluten, corn, or soy, this is a great option. Soy in particular seems to be in everything, and it would be tragic to miss out on peanut butter cups due to an allergy.) You know me, all I really care about is whether it tastes good. (Though, thinking about it, less sugar may have reduced Meredith's Easter-related pain.)
We'll get to tasting in a minute, but first there is one little thing I need to address.
What black magic is this?
Seriously, there is no such thing as a "chemical free" food. There's no such thing as a "chemical free" anything. Water is a chemical. Candy most certainly contains chemicals and is fairly complicated from a chemical standpoint — just check out this article by the American Chemical Society. Chocolate contains theobromine, an organic chemical that is structurally similar to caffeine and toxic to dogs, and all candy contains sucrose, the disaccharide molecule commonly referred to as "sugar."
Unreal could have put "No Synthetic Chemicals" or "No Unnecessary Chemicals" (I guess) or something like that and that would have been fine, but it's simply not true that their candy contains "No Chemicals." It may not seem like "that big of a deal" to some, but this kind of incorrect labeling perpetuates chemophobia and fuels people like The Food Babe (the Skeletor to my He-Man).
Fortunately, the above is the only complaint I have with Unreal, because their "unjunked" candy is delicious. Let's start with the classic.
Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
This is a solid, classic peanut butter cup. The chocolate is sweet and creamy with a good amount of snap, and the peanut butter filling has a great roasted peanut flavor with just the right amount of salt. The filling is less sweet than a traditional peanut butter cup, and it also has a different mouthfeel — almost like butter that has been creamed with sugar. Each cup contains less sugar, fat, and sodium than the leading peanut butter cup but Unreal's version is somehow richer and more satisfying.
What I'm saying is, these don't "taste healthy." These aren't the carob cups of the early 90's. They're just really tasty, high-quality peanut butter cups. My husband — a self-proclaimed peanut butter cup connoisseur — announced after tasting them that he could "eat a hundred of these."
Milk Chocolate Crispy Quinoa Cups
I have always been fundamentally — almost violently — opposed to quinoa in my candy, but these may have changed my mind. The crunchy bits were smaller than the puffed rice you'd find in a Krackel, but the texture was pretty much the same. Well played Unreal. You win this round.
Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
The filling in these cups is the same as that in their milk chocolate cousin, but the dark chocolate is what makes this cup memorable. Like some of those fancy, single-source chocolate bars I once bought in San Francisco, this chocolate had subtle fruity notes and a silky, melty texture. They were a bit richer than the milk chocolate cups and one was enough to satisfy my peanut butter cup craving.
Dark Chocolate Almond Butter Cups
I would not share these with my husband. He can go buy his own.
It's that same dark chocolate I know and love with a slightly sweet, super creamy almond butter filling. These aren't as rich as the peanut butter cups, so you could eat more of them without getting sick, if that's important to you. (It's important to me.)
Dark Chocolate Coconut Peanut Butter Cups
Stop everything. This is like Thai food in a peanut butter cup. I know that sounds weird, but the creamy coconut paired with the roasted peanut-y goodness is really conjuring up some strong Panang curry memories and I am very much here for it. I'm glad they went with the dark chocolate with this one; the sweeter milk chocolate would have clashed a bit.
Candy Coated Milk Chocolates
You know how some people claim they can detect M&M colors on taste alone? It would be much easier with these. Because the candy coatings are made with beets, carrots, and cabbage, each one has a distinct, detectable flavor.
They reminded me of British Smarties (very different from American Smarties), which are similarly flavored. The earthier flavors took a tad bit getting used to, but were by no means upsetting to my mouth. The peanut ones were my favorite; I could probably eat a pound of them.
Besides that whole "No Chemicals" business, I wouldn't change a thing about any of these. Though I got this round of candy for free, I will be buying Unreal Candies for myself, especially the almond butter and coconut cups. Perhaps I'll buy a whole Easter basket worth and send them to my sister. She does love an Easter basket.