Due to popular demand and the fact that we love trying weird foods and candies, The A.V. Club will now regularly feature "Taste Tests." Feel free to suggest disgusting and/or delicious new edibles for future installments.
Tootsie Roll Mini Chews
Who could have predicted that a simple variant on a common candy could provoke a series of existential crises? Presumably, Tootsie Roll Industries weren't out to challenge anyone's worldview when they came up with the idea of shrinking their product down to caplet size and covering it in cheap chocolate. But here in the A.V. Club taste-test labs, Tootsie Roll Mini Chews provoked an unprecedented wave of bafflement and wonder. Apparently, just about everyone in the office, regardless of age, gender, or personal snacking creed, believed on some level that Tootsie Rolls were already supposed to be chocolate-flavored candies, even though they in no way taste like chocolate. But they're chocolate-colored, right? And they kind of taste like chewy carob, so surely they're meant as another weak, unsatisfying chocolate substitute for the desperate dieter trying to cut down on sweets?
So when The A.V. Club sat down to the latest taste-testable confection, the initial response was, surprisingly often, "Wait, so what is a Tootsie Roll? What's it actually supposed to taste like?" This was generally followed by a probing analysis of the back of the Mini Chews box, presumably in a vain quest for the words "chocolate-flavored chewy candy," or something similar. Possibly "bad-approximation-of-milk-chocolate candy that will get embedded permanently between your teeth." Imagine the four kids in Stand By Me sitting around their campfire, musing in awestruck wonder, "That's really weird. What IS Goofy?" That's exactly what happened in the office, but without the campfire.
Note to future philosophical kids: Apparently, coating Goofy in chocolate will not in any way help solve your conundrum.
At any rate, the overall office feeling about Tootsie Roll Mini Chews seemed to be that either they were redundant, like a malted milk ball coated in more malted milk, or that they represented some sort of admission of defeat on the chocolate-flavor front. That aside, actual taste reactions, unsurprisingly, mostly varied based on whether a given individual taster actually liked Tootsie Rolls to begin with.
Taste: What do they taste like? Imagine Tootsie Rolls, coated in an ultra-glossy (which is to say, waxlike) thin layer of chocolate. That's about it. The chocolate is of the extra-sugary, slightly granular, insta-melt variety; the Tootsie Rolls taste exactly like Tootsie Rolls, which is to say, something halfway between caramel and molasses. A more pertinent question would be "What do they look like?" As one taste-tester noted, they look like Tylenol dipped in chocolate. Or alternately, like rat turds.
• "They remind me of Raisinettes, but without the illusion of healthiness."
• "I don't mind Tootsie Rolls, but the addition of chocolate makes them worse."
• "Mmmm. Mmmmmmm. I think I like that. Tastier than a normal Tootsie Roll. I can't stop eating them."
• "I prefer these to normal Tootsie Rolls, but then, I'm not a Tootsie Roll fan."
• "Tasty but pointless."
• "I don't think there's a hole in the market that was waiting for this."
• "It's not unnecessary-tasting, it's just not charming. Tootsie Rolls are kind of old-fashioned, but they at least stand on their own. With these, eh. The chocolate is really weak."
• "Remember fudge-covered Oreos? It's like that, but with cheap chocolate instead of fudge, and a horrible Tootsie Roll instead of an Oreo."
• "Why are they so small? It's not very satisfying."
• "Ugh, really bad aftertaste."
• "I like Tootsie Rolls, and I like these. It adds a little something extra. As if they didn't have enough calories already."
• "Eh. No better or worse than a normal Tootsie Roll."
Where to get them: Drug stores, convenience stores, grocery stores… basically, wherever Tootsie Rolls are sold. Whatever they're supposed to be.