Extra Dessert Delights – Root Beer Float

Flavor: The gum has a definite root beeriness to it, for sure.  There’s a slight bit of creaminess as well, but not as much as I’d expect if I were comparing it to an actual root beer float.  Granted it’s been a long time since I’ve had one, but if I recall correctly, the best part of a root beer float, to me, is those little crystals that form when the two entwine together.  Don’t confuse that for a “texture,” however… it’s definitely a taste I’m referring to.  It’s a delightfully carbonated sweet slushy cream that refreshes on a hot day as well as satisfies a sweet tooth.  This gum, which super-duper sugary sweet to the point where you marvel at how aspartame can taste so much like actual sugar, doesn’t have any of that refreshing quality at all.  I’d forgive them on it, but the Mint Chocolate Chip variety of the same gum illustrates my point very well.

Texture: This is my kinda texture.  For those that like a firmer, meatier chew, this gum is perfect.  It’s not sticky, it holds its shape very well, and it makes some fantastic pops and cracks.  If you’re a champion bubble blower, look elsewhere – this gum lacks that kind of elasticity.

Presentation: Nothing new here from Extra. They’ve found a groove with the Dessert Delights line, and they’re sticking to the simplicity of color-coordinated waves and an enticing photo of the delight.  It works.

Overall: Another fine showing from Extra here.  While some of the Dessert Delight flavors aren’t exactly my cup of tea, they are all fantastic representations of desserts.  While I can’t say that chewing a piece of this will quench a craving if I’m actually hankering for a bona fide Root Beer Float, it will soothe a raging sweet tooth and save a few hundred calories.

Rating: oooo (four gumballs)

International Showcase: Wrigley’s Extra Gum, China Edition

Flavor: Sometimes it’s good to have a reputation.  When people know you have a gum blog, they feel compelled to bring you gum they come across in their travels in far-off lands.  Such was the case with this landmine of gum brought to us from my boyfriend’s colleague who happened to be travelling in China recently. As I don’t speak Chinese,  I’m assuming based on the pictures what the flavors of each are supposed to be, and based on that, here’s a breakdown of the flavors and my initial impressions of each:
Lemon: Extra, you’ve been holding back on us here in America!  This is a truly delightful flavor– a well executed lemon flavor, finally– this is something we’re sorely lacking in our country.  I’ve yet to come across a successful lemon flavored gum– in fact, I have hardly even seen any lemon flavored gum, let alone a good one.  This flavor utilizes a mild “mint” undertone to emulate the cooling sensation of a glass of lemonade on a hot summer day.  It’s sweet, lemony, and refreshing.   Blueberry:  I haven’t come across many blueberry gums in my travels, either.  The blueberry is less impressive than the lemon, much more nutra-sweet than pure blueberry flavor.  It’s pretty good, though, and better than most nondescript berry flavors available in the US.  Tropical? (kiwi, pineapple, orange, papaya): This one here is kind of weird.  It actually tastes more like bubblegum than any of the fruits pictured on the label.  It’s a good bubblegum, don’t get me wrong.  But it’s definitely just bubblegum to me.  Spearmint:  Yum!  I’m not sure if it’s the same Extra spearmint we have in America, but it sure is cool and refreshing.  Slightly sweet (just slightly), and a solid mint burst.  Less of your typical “spearmint” flavoring, though, and more just good, starlight-mint-esque flavor. 
Texture: All of these gums offer a nice texture to go along with the flavor.  They’re just firm enough, meaty, and have a nice, even texture throughout the chew.  The only one that’s a little weird is the green pack, as it gets sort of foamy in your mouth, but it’s not a deal breaker. 
Presentation: Brand awareness at it’s best! You don’t need to know Chinese to know that these are Extra gums.  Simple, sleek, and to the point, the packaging breaks through language barriers.  On the back of the packaging and on the individual wrappers, it does say “Extra” in English, but I don’t know ifthat it’s even necessary.  My intuition tells me I could see a pack of Extra gum in any language and understand what I’m getting.  Well done, Wrigley’s, well done. 
Overall: Although I would like to travel the world and collect gum from nations far and wide, I so appreciate when people think of me and bring a little bit of their trip home to share.  And I even more appreciate that I can spread the word to all of you.  So, if your travels find you in China, and you’re hankering for a solid pack of gum, keep an eye out for that familiar Extra packaging, and you pretty much can’t go wrong with whatever variety you find.  
Rating: ooooo (five gumballs ) 

Extra Winterfresh

Flavor: This is a cool, refreshing chew, but doesn’t proclaim to overwhelm you with any extreme elements.  It won’t clear your sinuses, and if you’re looking for something to kill particularly heinous garlic bread breath, you’re better off with a Dentyne Artic Chill pellet.  However, if you are looking for a nice mouth refresh in the middle of the day, this’ll do it.
Texture: The firmness of it is nice, it’s not too soft and not too hard, somewhere in the middle, leaning towards more firm.  What I don’t like about it is that it’s really sticky.  It sticks to my lips when I try to blow a little bubble, and it sticks to my teeth when I crack it.  
Packaging: Marvel at its beauty.  Gaze upon its splendor.  I happened upon this Plen-T-Pak on the shelves of my local Family Dollar.  I was taken aback, since it’s been a long time since I’ve seen a Plen-T-Pak available.  I have to assume this gum is many years old (2008 maybe?) but it tastes okay, there’s no expiration date on it, and the pack is almost gone and I haven’t gotten sick and died, so I assume it’s okay.  I thought that maybe I had discovered one of the last vestiges of a discontinued flavor, but a Google search revealed that Extra Winterfresh is, indeed, still a thing. 
Overall: I was really surprised to see that Winterfresh is still readily available, because we’ve never reviewed it and I thought we pretty much ran through all the Extras.  If I didn’t come across this in Family Dollar, Winterfresh would most likely have remained unreviewed until the end of time.  While it’s nothing to write home about, it’s good to know that it’s a decent option if your old standby isn’t available on your checkout line.
Rating: ooo (three gumballs)

Extra Smooth Mint

Flavor: The name says it all. It’s a Smooth (dare I say “smoove?”) Mint. It’s heavier on peppermint than spearmint, but it’s a nice mellow coolness that’ll freshen your breath without taking your breath away like, say, Extra Polar Ice or a Dentyne pellet would do. The flavor lasts a really long time, too. It’s not groundbreaking, but it’s definitely nice to have another mint option that won’t overwhelm the sinuses.

Texture: Starts off way too soft and a bit gritty, it takes a while for this one to really firm up into a chewable wad. But once it does, it’s got a fantastic texture. Of course you can’t blow any sort of respectable bubble, but if you’re an experienced popper or cracker, you’ll be able to annoy your officemate with a symphony of snaps.

Presentation: Nothing to write home about here. As we’ve said of Extra’s packaging before, they let the gum do the legwork and shine for itself. They’re certainly not wasting dollars in their graphic design department.

Overall: You know how some smells or tastes stick with you for life? As a Gum Girl, there are some gum flavors that will always take me back. A stick of Carefree Original Bubble will send me straight to the passenger seat of my mom’s car. I know that Katie is in Boston at a Dispatch concert when she chews Trident Tropical Twist. And I don’t ever think I’ll be able to chew Winterfresh again, because it tastes like a badly-masked smoker’s kiss to me.

Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of traveling for work to Sonoma, California to visit several wineries. It was the business trip of a lifetime. One of the most amazing wineries I went to was St. Francis Winery & Vineyards, in beautiful Santa Rosa. It was truly an awe-inspiring place. The facilities were pristine, the grounds were breathtaking, and the wine was a treat to the taste buds. After a special tour and dinner, our host, President & CEO Chris Silva brought our group into the vineyard where we toasted to good wine and good company. It was a moment that I won’t soon forget.

I can always “return” to St. Francis at dinnertime by uncorking a bottle of Red Splash, but during work hours that’s not really a possibility. Fortunately for me, just as we were leaving the winery, I popped a piece of Extra Smooth Mint for the car ride through the mountains from Sonoma into Napa. I put my head back and watched the full moon rise out the window, reflecting on St. Francis Winery and the amazing time I just had.

Now, whenever I chew this gum, my mind is transported back to the tranquil grounds of St. Francis, and the feeling of serenity I had while on my trip.

I don’t expect you to feel that same feeling when chewing this gum, of course, but aside from the texture at the outset, it’s a pretty great gum in an unexpected package.

Rating: oooo (four gumballs)

Extra Dessert Delights Apple Pie

Flavor: Picture a warm slice of apple pie. The first bite is a mouthful of tart, juicy apple, spiked with cinnamon. The crust is creamy and sweet, and the flavors blend together in harmonious bliss. There’s just something about apple pie that’s comforting, calming. A kind of warm cinnamon happiness. You guys? This gum tastes like apple pie. Like, for serious apple pie. I don’t know how they replicated that familiar flavor with chemicals, artificial sweetener and gum base, but that flavor chemist deserves a serious raise. It’s delicious.

Texture: A little on the tougher side when it comes to chew, but definitely well within chewability limits and nowhere near tough enough to tarnish enjoyment of the gum.

Presentation : Similar graphics as the rest of the Dessert Delights line, with autumn-y colors: burgundy, brown, orange and cream. A nice slice of apple pie graces the pack. Nothing flashy, nothing crazy… Extra lets the gum itself do all the work, as it should be.

Overall: This gum is BANGIN’. Now, this gum is not made to be an every day chewer. It’s not going to freshen your breath – if anything, you’ll need to pop a piece of your mint of choice afterwards to kill the cinnamon from this one. This gum is marketed as an “indulgence” to satisfy your sweet tooth in times of dire craving. And I gotta say, this really does. Go pick up some of this one – now.

Rating: ooooo (five gumballs)

Extra Dessert Delights Orange Crème Pop

Flavor : Summer is upon us (finally), and what says summer more than Orange Crème Pops? As a Jersey shore native, that orange cream flavor strikes a particularly nostalgic chord in me, harkening back to long summer days and dripping Kohr’s Custard cones and orange sodas. I was really excited when I heard the Dessert Delights line had extended its expertise to one of the most delicious of desserts, but I have to say I’m a little let down here. Mint Chocolate Chip was such a pleasant surprise, a long-lasting, actually satisfying low-calorie treat, that I really expected Orange Crème Pop to knock my socks off. At first I was like, “Whoa!” But then I was all, “Meh.” It starts out really strong, a tangy burst on the tip of your tongue and then a flood of creamy flavor, like that first bite into your ice pop before it starts to melt in the heat, but it instantly faded into a nutra-sweet-esque, dull orange flavor that actually grossed me out after a while. Not impressed.

Texture : The texture falls a little short, especially for Extra. It gets pretty tough very quickly, and the pieces seem smaller than other Extra varieties. Again, not impressed.

Presentation : The package is consistent with the other Dessert Delights, pretty simply showcasing the dessert it claims it represents. Not too much to report here, although I’m not sure I would associate actual orange slices with that delicious crème pop, it’s an entity unto itself.

Overall : It’s ok. I guess if you just want the flavor of the pop without the actual pop, go ahead and buy it, it’s worth a try. But personally, I’m going to get my butt down to the boardwalk and get me some swirly orange and cream custard in a waffle cone, with rainbow sprinkles. Mmmm…

Rating: ooo (three gumballs )

Extra Sour Cry Baby Bubble Gum

Flavor : A colleague brought me a handful of individually wrapped gumballs from his stash at home to review (thanks, Matt!), and I was surprised to discover that there’s an audience out there for this gum other than ten year old kids competing with these and Warheads on the playground. When I commented on this peculiarity, he said matter-of-factly, “When I do something, I go all the way.” And boy, does he ever. I chose the red as the first to review, and the first ten seconds of chewing were super intense, mildly cherry flavored, but mostly super sour sugary yowee zowee, oh man, holy cow– and then it was over, just like that, the electric sensation vanishing away, becoming your ordinary blob of Dubble Bubble. Next up was the orange. Much more sour, but also much more delicious, tasting a lot more like an actual orange than the red tasted like cherry. Upon chewing the yellow gumball, I began to sweat. Much like the cherry, the yellow gumball lacks an individual flavor, but is just as shocking. In the interest of my health, I’m going to try the other two flavors at a later date and report back in a comment. I think I just felt a cavity form. Maybe two.

Texture : Oh, it’s awful, so awfully, awfully, terribly good. All the flavor is in the powder, and you can feel its chalky goodness between your teeth for the first ten seconds. Then, much like the flavor, the texture calms into the texture of, you guessed it, Dubble Bubble. Upon my third gumball, though, the chalky goodness became a beast unto itself– soon my teeth started squeaking while I was chewing, and I’m not talking your average rubber-gum squeak, it was a weird fingernails-on-chalkboard kind of squeak. Once the gum was out of my mouth for good, it felt like my teeth were completely stripped of enamel and the inside of my cheeks had a layer of tissue shorn from them. Ah, childhood.

Presentation : It’s your standard jug-o-sugar packaging, clear plastic outside and neon goodness on the inside. I was unaware until now that Dubble Bubble is actually printed on the label of this gum, which explains the similarities in the base. What I think I like most about the packaging, though, is that this is Extra Sour Cry Baby Bubble Gum. As if someone chewed the original and said something like, “I said I wanted to go all the way. Take it up a notch.”

Overall : If you’re looking to just, you know, chew some gum after a meal, or freshen your breath, or satisfy that sweet tooth, read on and find some other gum in our blog to sample. But if you’re looking to take it to the next level, pop five of these suckers in your mouth without taking a drink of water. I dare you. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go brush the remainder of my teeth. Twice.

Rating : ooooo (five gumballs )

Extra Dessert Delights Strawberry Shortcake

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 )

Extra Dessert Delights Key Lime Pie

Flavor: Interesting. I’m not a huge key lime pie person, but the first few chomps of this gum really make me crave it. The flavor is totally spot-on here. You can almost taste each element- graham cracker crust, whipped cream, and tangy lime filling- separately. The flavor doesn’t fade too quickly, either. It does mellow a bit with a prolonged chew, but it never loses the Key-Limeness.
Texture: Big fat fail, Extra. It starts out so good, you wonder how it could possibly be sugarfree. The creaminess of the texture matches the creaminess of the flavor at first, but the longer you chew, the harder it gets. I actually find myself avoiding the side of my mouth with the dental crown, for fear that I’ll knock it loose with this gum. It’s one of those gums that if you spread it over your tongue, it almost feels like a latex balloon.
Presentation: Standard Extra packaging. I really like the font of the “Key Lime Pie” header for some reason. And like Katie said in her review of the Mint Chocolate Chip Dessert Delights, Extra should totally have taken advantage of the spot-on flavor of this line and called out its “Sinful Indulgence.”

Overall: When I first heard about this gum line, I was ridiculously excited to taste the advance samples that Katie got from a friend. So far I’ve tasted this and the Mint Chip, and I’m really not impressed with either of them (despite my sister’s enthusiasm.) I don’t know why, exactly– they’re certainly tasty enough — but they’re just “meh.” to me.

Rating: ooo (three gumballs)

Extra Dessert Delights Mint Chocolate Chip

Flavor : I scream, you scream, we all scream for… GUM! People, this is not a test. I repeat. This is NOT a test. Or a dream, or a fantasy… it’s happened. A gum that really, truly tastes not only like chocolate, but like chocolate mint ICE CREAM. As with all faux chocolate mints or gum, I was skeptical when I heard about the new line of Extra Dessert Delights. I tried desperately not to get my hopes up when our secret shopper informed me we had some pre-release Dessert Delight gum to review. It had me at the first bite. It’s creamy. It’s sweet. It’s cold. It’s minty. It’s chocolatey. Folks. It’s chocolate mint chip ice cream… GUM. I’m wiping back tears, here. My dream has finally come true. And… and… you can chew it for as long as you want, and it won’t run out of flavor, and and… I mean, Willy Wonka would do a tumblesault. And then he’d get back up again, and he’d do another.

Texture : As with the flavor, the texture is consistent and lasts for as long as I’ve dared to chew. It’s that notoriously well-structured Extra texture. I’m so happy it was Extra that pulled this rabbit out of the hat.

Presentation : Does it even need a flashy package? Extra knew that no, it really didn’t. The package is simple, it’s sea foam green, it’s got brown and white squiggles, but it’s really just about the whopping bowl of ice cream front and center. Once word spreads, these packs will be flying off the shelves, creative packaging or no. The words “Sugarfree Gum” are particularly prominant here, and I think that’s going to be important for marketing once the commercials start popping up. If I were Extra, I would totally go with the “guilt free indulgence” crap that people are eating up these days.

Overall : I apologize for getting sentimental, but this is really big for me, and for so many people out there. It’s revolutionary– all that garbage that “they” have been trying to feed us for years about how chewing gum can “satisfty your sweet tooth,” substitute that Hersey’s bar, swap out your 1000 calories for >5… it’s all been a joke until now. This gum doesn’t make me want chocolate like those expensive chocolate-smelling candles, nor does it leave my teeth grimy with sugar like that actual (delicious) bowl of ice cream. It’s actually like chewing a bowl of refreshing, delicious, creamy (did I mention it’s just so creamy?) chocolate chip mint ice cream. Oh man, here come the waterworks again. In the words of Willy himself, “Take a look and you’ll see into your imagination.” Even if someone doesn’t roll me out of here like Violet Beauregard in the next ten minutes, I’ll never be the same again.

Rating : ooooo (five gumballs ) …but only because I couldn’t give it six.