Universal Yums: November 2022 Review
Posted on November 19, 2022 Posted by Athena Scalzi 19 Comments
Hello, everyone, and welcome to another Universal Yums review! Every month upon receiving the snack box, I open it and ask my dad to guess what country it is. This month, he actually got it first try! It’s Italy!
I was pretty impressed, so I let him assist me in my review.
As you can see, there’s nine regular snacks, and then two candies from the Yum Bag, so eleven things to try total!
We decided to start with the biggest package, the Garlic and Parsley Bruschetta Bites:
For some reason, the bag was covered in oil that was clearly from the inside of the package. It seemed like it had somehow seeped through the package, even though the material seemed plenty thick. It was strange. Anyways, when we opened it up, I was surprised to see the parsley explosion that was the inside of the bag.
After reaching in and grabbing some mini garlic breads, I definitely had some oil and parsley covering my fingers. Not the most pleasant but here’s the snack:
Okay, so, if you like garlic and you like croutons, you will like these, because they’re basically giant croutons. They’re crunchy, pungent, garlicky, and there’s tons of them in the bag. It felt like there should be a salad included with these, because they really are just big croutons. My dad and I agreed that they could use some dip or something, like they should be a vehicle for something else. They were fine by themselves, though, but definitely room for improvement, so I gave them a 7.5/10 and my dad gave them a 7/10.
Switching to something sweeter, we tried these Cranberry and Sesame Cookies:
The flavor of these were immediately apparent to us as raspberry-esque rather than cranberry-esque, and the sesame was barely detectable. So, these really just tasted like vaguely raspberry cookies. They weren’t overly sweet, they were pretty subtle, more like a slightly sweet biscuit. They were crunchy and small, and reminded me of something you’d be given on an airplane. I gave these a 7.5/10, and my dad went for a 7/10.
I was super curious about these Pizza Flavored Corn Rings, so we gave them a shot:
If you like stale cheesy puffs that taste like super salty marinara sauce, you’ll love these. Honestly, I’m not sure if I can fault them for being slightly stale, as they do have to travel pretty far to get to me. Regardless, they were addicting despite not being that good, and earned a 7/10 from both of us.
Going back to sweet, we tried this Chocolate Tiramisu Cream Cake:
I was excited to try this snack because I love tiramisu. It is one of my favorite desserts. I didn’t have super high expectations for this snack, as it is just a snack cake, but this little cake was totally lacking in all things tiramisu. It had no coffee flavor, no amaretto flavor, so it was pretty disappointing. It was pleasantly soft, though. It got a 6/10 from both of us.
Next was these Paprika Potato Chips:
Upon opening the bag, I smelled the chips, and to my surprise, smelled nothing at all. My dad also said they smelled like literally nothing. Off to a strange start, but moving on, these honestly just tasted like a not very good BBQ chip. Apparently that’s because one of the flavors in BBQ chips is paprika, so this was like that but worse. These chips were definitely disappointing, so they got a 4/10 from me and a 5/10 from my dad.
Sixthly, we had these Amarettini Almond Cookies:
My dad and I had a feeling that these would be the best item in the box, and we were totally right. These tasted pretty strongly like almond extract, or like an almond biscotti, and were super duper crunchy. They seemed to have some sort of crystalline sugar layer that made them extra crunchy and sweet, and were so small and addicting. These were highly rated with a 9.5/10 from me and a 10/10 from my dad. I would gladly eat like a hundred of these.
All that was left after the cookies was candy, so we started with this Hazelnut Milk Chocolate Bar:
If you couldn’t tell from the name containing both hazelnut and chocolate, this was basically a Nutella bar. It was soft and melty, and the hazelnuts added a nice crunchy contrast. The chocolate itself was pretty plain tasting, just a mild chocolate bar all around. 7.5/10 from both of us.
Next was this bag of Italian Fruit Jellies:
This big bag of candy actually had four different flavors of fruit jellies, so of course I gotta tell you about each one. First, we tried the gooseberry one.
The last time I had gooseberry was several years ago in a gooseberry pie, so I don’t have a ton of reference for how gooseberries taste, but this candy tasted so good! The outside was covered in sugar, which was like a great textural contrast to the gelatinous, chewy candy.
After the gooseberry, we tried the raspberry and strawberry, and I only got a photo of one of them but I’m not sure which because they look the same.
The raspberry and strawberry were pretty good, I especially liked how non-artificial the strawberry tasted. And here was the blueberry!
The blueberry was my personal least favorite, it had sort of a strange flavor. Overall, the candies were really good. The gooseberry was an 8/10, the strawberry and raspberry were a 7/10, and the blueberry was a 6/10. I wish I had a whole bag of the gooseberry ones.
Back to chocolate, we tried this Salted Caramel Milk Chocolate Bar:
This chocolate bar was unlike any I’ve ever had before. It didn’t even taste like a chocolate bar. It was like a strange diet chocolate, or like a “healthy” type of chocolate where the brand’s slogan is “satisfy your cravings” but it will never satisfy your craving, it’ll just be a sad excuse of what you really want. Anyways, yeah, pretty nasty. I gave it a 4/10, and my dad gave it a 3/10.
Finally, the Yum Bag candies!
First was the strawberry Italian Fruit Chew, which I forgot to get a picture of unwrapped. I also forgot to get a picture of the peach one at all. We tried both, and they were both bad. They were weirdly chalky, and the strawberry one tasted like how lotion smells, while the peach one was like a nasty version of peach rings. I was disappointed by how bad they were, as I feel like they had a lot of potential. I gave them a 3/10, and my dad went with a 4/10.
Last but not least, the Milk Chocolate Popcorn Bites:
Sorry for the blurry picture, I literally did not realize it was blurry until I just added it to this post, so my bad on that one, but hopefully you can still see the small pieces of popcorn in the cream! This candy was really interesting, as the popcorn pieces added some great crunchy contrast to the sweet creamy filling. I would’ve never thought that popcorn cream was even a thing, or that it would be good, but it is pretty tasty! I like the uniqueness of it. My dad gave this a 5/10 but I thought it was deserving of a 7/10.
Overall, my dad and I really liked the variety within the Italy box, there was so many different flavors, textures, and types of snacks. This was a really enjoyable box!
What looks the best to you? Do you like gooseberries? Have you ever been to Italy? Let me know in the comments, and have a great day!
Pizza flavored corn rings… I could see that they’d be addictive without actually tasting that great. If I had to get stuck with just one of those snacks I’d pick that one.
However, what gets 10/10 from me is the font on the Amarettini Almond Cookies package used for “Crisp Almond Cookies” and also “Colourings or Preservatives”. I like the look of that font very much. Anybody recognize it?
An interesting review of Italian snacks. I’m a little surprised that so many of them seem… disappointing. Going by that penultimate paragraph, I think you could have a career in diplomacy. ;-)
Gooseberries are fabulous, so I think I’d be right there with you nomming on gooseberry jellies. I love them in jam, too, which isn’t as available as I’d like.
Since the garlic and parsley bruschetta bites are cracker-sized, they could be a decent vehicle for an herbed cheese spread. Boursin works, or you can make your own spread using light cream cheese or neufchatel and an herb blend of your choice. I like using herbes de provence, myself.
And… now I’m feeling peckish. I should probably wait till after lunch to do my grocery shopping. :-)
Lif Strand — the Matcherator tool at FontSquirrel.com suggests that the font you’re interested in is called “James Fajardo Regular.” It’s a free font available here:
Caution, Gooseberry Story ™.
In high school I worked in a grocery store’s produce department. The manager was funny in a very dead-pan sort of way. One day we were working the aisle together and a little old lady toddled in with a paper bag. Walked up to the manager and asked “Are you in the market for fresh gooseberrys?”. He looked at her and said “Lady, there is no market for gooseberrys”.
They are better than ground cherries I guess.
I don’t know if you have an Aldi grocery store near you, but they’re worth looking for! I visited one for the first time when I was in Phoenix a week ago, and amongst the many things I bought was a bar of German hazelnut dark chocolate. The chocolate was nice and smooth, but the interesting thing was the hazelnuts were soft! Very interesting texture surprise.
Anyway, if you get the chance, check them out. And bring a quarter. That’s what you need to unlock the shopping cart. You’ll get it back when you return it and lock it up again outside.
Personally I just scanned the treat box update. I find the baking adventures more interesting. And I stopped by to throw this down here, as something you might want to try. If something in your heart lights up at the thought of “sour cream green onion biscuits,” they will deliver on the promise.
I’m allergic to almost everything (or at least a lot of different foods and common ingredients), so I love getting to experience treats vicariously like this!
As an FYI from a slightly longer term YUM subscriber…when they start to repeat countries there are many repeat snacks. These last two boxes especially.
In last month’s box we had some great repeats (spicy mango gummies!) and some awful repeats (fried egg potato chips? – talk about a skanky aftertaste).
I like gooseberries. When I was growing up, we had gooseberry bushes and it was always fun looking for the elusive ripe (they turn from green to burgundy) gooseberries.
Now I’m looking at information on how to plant my own at home.
Wife and I took a disorganized tour to Tuscany with a couple of old friends some years ago, and had a great time. Our historic tour of Firenza was botched, we were booked for a different tour while we were not in Italy. But we wandered and toured the fabulous ancient city on our own and had a good time.
We were in Italy for a week, with an SUV and a Google tablet to navigate, and had a great time. The first part of the week was south of Firenza in rural vineyard country, and we had visits to vineyards and visited an ancient ridge-top walled city with Etruscan ruins. Great museums even in small country towns.
The food was great from dinner at the former vineyard turned into hotel to a tiny bar in the ridge-top city, to a fancy restaurant in Firenza. No terrible food allowed in Italy. No bad wine either, we suspect they ship all the bad wine out of the country. Highly recommended!
Well, Mister Scalzi should be expected to guess this one.
Thank you! It’s always interesting to travel the world and see what treats are in other countries. I enjoy the vicarious trip! I would love to try the gooseberry candy.
Hey, SOS. Please think twice about using the phrase, “a little old lady toddled in….” It would be OK to describe a cartoon, but as a description of a real human in a real event, it’s a bit offensive (says the short 67yo with motor disabilities).
First. Lol Wayne, I always have an ‘Aldi quarter’ in my car.
I remember my dad telling me that his favorite fruit was gooseberries. I’ve maybe had some jelly, but now I have to find them!
Italy is amazing, even towing around an 9yo and a 4yo. We spent most of our time in Perugia where they make the candy. Quick trips to Assisi and Rome. Agreed there is no bad food or wine in Italy! My kids thought it was the best that our pizza came with a fried egg on top. They still talk about it. They treasure! children there. They walked out of every shop with some free treat. It’s definitely worth going!!
I’m pretty sure the caramel chocolate bar is long past its best by date. The picture shows a chocolate cookie layer and a caramel layer. Your photo shows a crumbly mass that looks like dried earwax.
You give some of those a much higher rating than I would on the basis of the same reaction as you write.
I just love these and all the rest of your posts! Your writing is delightful and your bravery in tasting weird things is admirable!
…and something only your dad could inspire us into reading
“The Emerald Burrito of Oz” by John Skipp;
Publisher: Babbage Press, Year: 2012
“…The protagonist finds himself in a strange land where electric guitars grow on trees…”
Thanks for introducing me to Universal Yums! My teenage son is very hard to buy gifts for, but he is an adventurous eater, and has been enjoying the UY boxes we gave him for his birthday. (He also shares — I LOVED the South Korean spicy chicken flavored snacks!)