Friday, June 7, 2013

Garoto Orange and Guarana Candy

I grew up in a what would have once been called a "two-horse town". That is, a place so small that it only had two horses. That's a bit of an exaggeration though. I think my town was small enough to get by with one horse, provided that it was a little less broken down and ancient than the people it was expected to convey.

The thing about living in such a small place is that you have very limited options. There were two stores, literally. There as a "general store" which had a gas station in front (2 pumps, no waiting) and a garage to the right as well as a "supermarket" which had more food at more reasonable prices. People only went to the general store for food when the other store was closed or they were too lazy to go to a "real" store. Other than these places, there was a bank, a post office, and a couple of broken down private businesses including a funeral home. There was not much to explore and you knew every single available option.

Now that I live in the suburbs and have access to bigger shopping spaces, I'm finding that my options are very wide as long as I'm willing to get in a car and take a few minutes to do some research on the internet to find what is out there in that big, bad, wide world. My husband's family had been going to San Jose for decades to buy Spanish sausages at a Portuguese market and I'd poked around it a few times when they went for chorizo. The selection of cured meat is vast, but grocery options are tiny. However, I discovered that there is a second Portuguese market not too far from there which carries more groceries and a far broader array of imported snacks.

Despite the vast selection, I was pretty timid with my first choice. In fact, after picking up a $7 loaf of cinnamon sweet bread (which was fantastic), I grabbed today's review fodder at the register for a quarter as we were on our way out. It was an afterthought and the price, a quarter (25 yen), reflected that. I didn't really even pay attention to what I was buying except I knew that "naranja" means orange and I'll take anything orange.

It turned out that this is essentially Portuguese Pez. They are slightly bigger, but they have the same combination of shiny exterior and chalky exterior. I don't know if they have dispensers in Brazil, which is the location of the company that makes this, Garoto. The company seems to make chocolate for the most part and I could not find any reference to this candy on their web site. Actually, I couldn't find much of anything to do with their products on the site. It's mostly dedicated to various types of PR related to world cup soccer. The truth was that I learned more about the company via Wikipedia than from their own site. For instance, Nestle bought them in 2012, but they operate independently.

The truth is that, aside from the addition of guarana, this is very standard kid's candy. It's sweet, has a nice crumbly, crunchy texture and a strong orange component which comes on a bit overbearing at first then mellows out. The guarana comes across as an almost minty and rather strange aftertaste. It's supposed to taste like apples or berries, but it just seemed odd in this.

I can't complain about a tiny package of candy bought for a quarter on the spur of the moment. I can say that I was uninspired and won't buy it again. That said, their chocolates look interesting and, one day, when I make it back to that shop, I'll try something a little more adventurous by Garoto.


Hirayuki said...

Ooh, see if the Portuguese market has guarana soda! It's a nice way to taste the flavor by itself, and I'd love to read your opinion of it. You can even get sugar-free versions if you're lucky.

Orchid64 said...

I did see a can of diet guarana soda! I didn't buy it though since I'd already reviewed one from Japan awhile back and, frankly, was not terribly impressed.