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Don’t Get Your Hops Up

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Don’t Get Your Hops Up

Hi Friends!

I can hardly believe it but I am running low on my haul from Istanbul. I will have to finally check out that candy shop in Chinatown I have been eyeing! Hopefully I can get some interesting stuff.

Today we return to the familiar war zone-the battle of the gummy pairing. Before we start however I wanted to give a special shout-out to a fan I met during a twitter chat. I won’t mention your name but it was fun chatting with you!

If you are interested in following me on twitter, my handle is @BraveBrasington. I mostly talk about public health stuff.

The Wine: Abadia de la Oliva, Tempranillo 2012



The Candy: Haribo Frogs & Haribo Rainbow Frogs


The Dream:

I chose tempranillo because, while it has an undeniable fruitiness, it also has other rich flavors that balance out the sweetness. In past pairings, I found fruity red wines went well with gummies so I wanted to keep to that trend while challenging it slightly.



The Reality:

The tempranillo is quite lovely actually and smells of licorice and blackberries. The wine goes down smooth with a slight acidity and dryness.


The small frogs are the superior pairing since they are fruity. The wine is not thrown and the fruity frogs draw out the wine’s sweetness.

The big frogs are a BIG disappointment. Their flavor is not that distinct and the wine’s flavor is altered. It’s not terrible, but not great.

Overall? The fruity gummies go well with the fruity wines. However, I don’t know what to do with the non-fruity gummies.  I think we will try the cola bottles or something sour for the next gummies. I’m always up for a challenge!


Hello All!

As you read this, I am in Houston or on my way to Houston. Unless my plane crashed, then I am dead. And that’s kind of dark. On the bright side, my last act will be a blog post I planned ahead of time and that is worth…dying for? I don’t know where I am going with this. Let’s just get started shall we?

The Wine: Apothic, Red Blend 2012


The Candy: Goetze’s Licorice Cream


The Dream: 

Apothic is a red blend without any large distinctions to it. I wanted something fairly dependable to go against the licorice and a red wine blend was it. I didn’t know how strong this licorice would be since it has a creamy center. The creamy center added another unknown. I know it sounds like a cop out, and I guess it kind of is, but licorice is a difficult bear. And I want to explore blends a bit more anyway!

IMG_0325The Reality:

The blend is quite ripe with the tartness of raspberries. I even sense a tang of lemon rind. It does not have an overwhelming flavor. I would recommend it as a table wine.

The licorice and cream are actually smooth with the wine. It takes the bite out. Unfortunately, the wine and licorice taste lingers poorly in the mouth. Very, very unpleasant. Overall, though I like the blends, it’s the extra characteristics of different varietals that give a pairings the punch. I may hesitate before pairing with them again.

Love, with Instructions

Hi All! Whether you are drinking with your love or you are drinking with your single buddies (don’t drink alone y’all) I have a pairing just for you. Sorry this post is a little late in the day but I already have a new pairing for my next post.

This pairing is literally a no-brainer. Sad to say love is not always this way, but hey, one can dream.

Shout out to my friend Seana who got me these chocolates. Feel free friends to give me candy WHENEVER you want.

The Wine: F. Stephen Millier, Angel’s Reserve, Zinfandel, 2012

Zinfandel, 2012

Zinfandel, 2012

The Candy:


Pairing Chocolates

The Dream:

I won’t even pretend you guys. The chocolate said Zinfandel on it. Sooo.

The Reality:

The wine is a bit bitter but with the ripeness of a plum. It’s not a remarkable Zin but still good. The chocolate itself is quite bitter and dry. There’s a slight kick at the end but I don’t think that’s intentional.



I wasn’t sure how this was going to go considering the chocolate was so dry and chalky. But the chocolate actually enhances the flavor of the wine. The chocolate goodness combines with the wine to smooth out some of the bitter notes. The chocolate also melts a bit and it is very enjoyable.

So there you have it–unfortunately love can’t always be easy, but pairing can be!


Keep Calm & Pair On

Keep Calm & Pair On

I’m sorry for the title you guys but I am featuring a British candy and, well, it had to happen. Plus the Olympics were in London last time and they are happening now…but I don’t have Russian candy. But I did feature a homophobic candy in my last post so maybe that counts..?

The candy we paired was described to me as smelling like Grandmas or tasting like how Grandma’s perfume would taste…which is creepy. What’s creepier is that I knew exactly how to pair this and I did so swimmingly.

The Candy: Parma Violets, A BRITISH CLASSIC (maybe?)

The Wine: Sarao Brut Cava


The Dream:

The pairing was TOO easy you guys. The name plus the grandma reference gave me the perfect vision of this candy in my mind. Obviously it would be violet as well as extremely floral. I knew it had to be a very dry Cava. I hopped on my W Club membership and plopped a Cava into my cart. Yeah I buy my wine online. It’s not a big deal. I am very lazy.

The Reality:

The candies indeed taste like grandma’s perfume and have a chalky texture. They are not quite as chalky as conversation hearts however (which I will NOT be pairing by the way). By themselves, they are not anything remarkable. They could be a nice palate cleanser and they are not unpleasant.



The wine is sweet and, of course, fizzy. I was a bit concerned by the sweetness. I did not want it to knock the flavor out of sync. But when I tasted the wine while chewing the parma violet the combination fizzed delightfully together. It made the candy slightly sweeter but not achingly so. Overall, I think it improved the candy because who doesn’t like a little fizz?

Overall, a success! My next post will be less of a risk but a bit more romantic just in time for a Valentine’s Night in.

P.S. Also, an exciting announcement! I got into grad school for a MPH–that’s right, public health! This is SUCH a healthy blog after all.


Feeling Jelly?

Hello again from the snow-dome that is Washington, DC right now. I have a special post today featuring a special candy I recently had to give up.

I have fewer memories I am more found of than the days my dad brought home a box of Jelly Bellys. The Type-A that rages from me daily loved how each flavor was sorted in a little box. When the jellybeans rolled out of their proper place I always had to resort them. Well, I fear my box buying days are over. It was recently revealed the Jelly Belly company is run by raging transphobes/homophobes. Unfortunately, several months early I had bought Jelly Bellys. So, we are having one last hurrah.

Special thanks to Nicole for helping me out on this special project during her visit.

Wine: Indaba, Chenin Blanc, 2012



Candy: Jelly Belly, Hello Kitty & Regular Mix

IMG_0236The Dream:

I wanted a light wine that had a slight fruit flavor to compliment the Jelly Bellys. Obviously, I could not break down each flavor so I focused on Hello Kitty. The tart flavors of erm, pink and red (jk, bubblegum, cotton candy, apple, etc) would balance out the light, fruity chenin blanc. I also have never had Chenin Blanc before so this was a good excuse.



The Reality:

The wine is not very sweet with a slight pear flavor along with the tartness of a Granny Smith apple skin. It’s quite unique–I hope to pick it up in the future.

Hello Kitty: The flavors do not throw the wine. I won’t break down all the flavors because they really act like a group. The tart-sweet flavor of the HK Jelly Beans works well with the Chenin Blanc.

Regular Mix: The wine is seriously thrown by the regular mix. There are way, way too many flavors. I think if you are going to pair Jelly Bellys in the future, go with the themed flavor packs. I think the Hello Kitty ones are a great place to start…if you still want to support Jelly Belly that is.


Happy New Year

Howdy! I hope you are having an awesome January 1st. I have been neglectful but my first act of 2014 will be a blog post by next week!


Merry Merry!!

Hey y’all. As you can plainly see, I do not have an update! Life got in te way. But may I wish you a merry merry Christmas! See you in the new year.



Pinot Noir & Later

Hey all! I hope you had a happy holiday and didn’t suffer at the hands of your families. We are looking down the barrel of awful weather but perhaps you already experienced it. Remember to stay safe and keep off the road, especially if you try the treat below. I hope to include some Christmas candy soon, but honestly I have so much candy in my house right now to pair that I may not. I mean, Xmas candy is pretty much the same…chocolate, mint, etc. Been there, done that.

If you are my age, it is very likely you indulged in the candy I am featuring today. Additionally, you may have forgotten about it so here I come with a real blast from the past!

The Wine: Cava Pinot Noir, 2009

IMG_2535The Candy: Now & Later



The Dream:

A pinot noir cava! How exciting! I immediately picked this wine for the pairing because of how unique it sounded. Also, being a cava, it has a nice lightness and the pinot noir offers a fuller flavor. Now & Laters are extremely sweet and chewy, so I did not want anything too sugary. The cava pinot noir offered the ideal balance.

The Reality: 

The pinot noir is bubbly and the bitterness is a bit off putting initially. I think of the wine you sip at church and that distracts me. After a few sips, the flavor flattens out into a pleasant sweetness. It is difficult to get any flavor notes or distinct flavors. And you definitely can’t blow through a glass of this–it’s a lot to take in.



Let’s break this down by Now & Later flavor:


At first this pairing isn’t that impressive, but when the bubbles interact with the candy it adds a little sweetness to the pinot. The effect is not at all unpleasant, though I am not necessarily eager to keep eating.


Though this is tasty enough, it doesn’t add anything to the wine that is remarkable or worth noting.


I enjoyed this pairing a lot. The tartness of the watermelon adds a kick that lightens the sometimes bitter pinot flavor.


Not good. The combination creates an unwanted liquor flavor. Blech.

Well, there you have it! A classic candy from my kidhood which brought back found memories of gooey candy bits stuck in teeth. Hopefully, I will have another post up before the holidays!

See you later! (see what I did there?)

10 Cheap Moscatos

Melodramatic Monday Post

Hello and happy post-Halloween

Yes, I didn’t make a Halloween post which is a bit terrible. Or is it? Because I seem to see quite a few wannabes around Halloween touting supposed candy-pairing knowledge. I guess I felt a bit disgruntled and frankly, I didn’t want to look so unoriginal. I do this year ’round so hmph. Anyway, thanks for being my loyal followers.

Annnnd you might just question that loyalty with this pair! Blech. Blech. Blech. So who wants to get negative? Getting negative is one of my best traits, so lets hop to it!

The (Gross) Wine: Abadia de la Oliva, Granach 2012

Sailor Moon Bad Choice

Sailor Moon Bad Choice

The (Quite Tasty Actually) Candy: Trolli Apple O’s


The Misguided Dream:

I picked the wine first. I only have gummy candy to choose from at the moment (besides some chocolate I’m saving for a later post), so I chose the red because that is my new obsession. Ever since my red-wine gummy breakthrough, I go for the red.

Out of all my choices, I got the Apple O’s because I imagined their sweet-tartness balancing out the granacha. In my experience, a granacha is not too fruity or sweet, so I did not think the candy would throw the flavors.

The Cruel Reality:

I did not like this wine. The tannins overpower the taste buds and only the most bitter flavor notes survive (for example, an unripe blackberry…not tasty). It was like biting into something not quite ripe, like an apple that was picked too soon. My lips puckered and not in a good way. Dear manufacturers of this wine: pump the breaks on the tannins. Pump. The. Breaks.

Lovin' the pics this round though

Lovin’ the pics this round though

If we want to be technical, this pairing was good. But we are being negative! The candy mellowed out the tannins and made the wine much smoother to drink. But the candy needs to be in your mouth to help. If you swallow the candy then boom, tannins. Too many tannins. And ultimately, I don’t want to help the wines I pair….I want to enhance an already great wine! This isn’t a buddy I am helping out with math homework. I don’t owe this wine any favors! Anyway…this is getting too personal.

The Take Away:

I am going to put a little more thought into these pairs. I have this wine subscription, but I am relying too much on the wines I get through that. Instead of the exploration and the puzzle, I just grab a wine from my subscription and one of my many candies I keep around and meh….that’s not as fun! This blog and I need to go back to the early years and relearn what we loved about each other.

This got too personal again.