Flavor: I have to admit right off the bat that I’m not the biggest fan of strawberry shortcake. If you put it in front of me, like any other sugary treat, of course I’ll devour it, but I’d never choose it out of a lineup. All prejudices aside, though, I’d say this gum is just all right. It’s got all the elements you’d expect out of a strawberry shortcake gum– it’s sweet and creamy and tastes of the familiar artificial strawberry flavor. I think I would have loved this gum when I was ten or eleven; it’s got that really phony, terrible sweetness that reminds me very much of my smelly Strawberry Shortcake doll. I remember most adults gagging at the smell of her, though, a reaction that I finally now understand, thanks to Extra.
Texture: As a gum, it’s a quality chew– thick, not too soft, not too firm, keeps consistency for a long time. But I think that the reason I feel this gum falls short for “strawberry shortcake” is because so much of strawberry shortcake is about the texture– the soft flesh of the strawberries, the spongy bread, the smoothness of the cream. That’s what I most enjoy about it, anyway, and I feel like it loses half its appeal here. Again, I would not have given texture a second thought back in the day, if a free pack of this stuff had come with my awesome smelly dolly.
Presentation: I wonder if it might suit Extra better to market these three “Dessert Delights” independently from one another. I mean, it’s true, they do have lots in common– they’re all desserts, they all have that unique creaminess to them, and they’re all in one way or another delightful. But I think that, unlike Extra Dessert Delights Mint Chocolate Chip, and even Key Lime Pie to an extent, I wouldn’t categorize this particular gum as a “sinful indulgence,” per se. It’s a kid’s gum, simple and sickeningly sweet. Smack a cartoon character on there and Extra will be selling these by the handful. As for the way it’s packaged now, though, I doubt it would have caught my eye as a kid, when lined up on the shelf beside such masterpieces as Hubba Bubba Max Sweet and Sassy Cherry or straight up Big League Chew.
Overall: I feel like I can’t give this an objective rating, since it tastes like it’s intended primarily for kids. But then, I feel like the packaging is not marketing to kids, so I shouldn’t have to censor my adult opinions. So in honor of my old friend Miss Shortcake, in all of her stinky glory, I’ll err on the favorable side of the gumball scale this time around.
Rating: oooo (four gumballs)