Universal Yums: April 2023 Review
Posted on May 11, 2023 Posted by Athena Scalzi 24 Comments
Yes, it is in fact May, but I only just now got around to eating the April Universal Yums Box, so here is a late April review!
This month was Belgium, and here’s all the goodies:
Right off the bat, this looked like a very promising spread. There’s tons of chocolate, which is to be expected since it’s Belgium, but still plenty of variety.
Obviously, I needed help to rank these snacks, and my dad was happy to oblige. He picked which one we would try first, and so we started with these Andalousian Sauce Potato Chips:
Our immediate thought upon eating these chips was that they tasted like animal style French fries from In-N-Out. Since we both happen to love getting everything animal style from In-N-Out, this was not a problem for us, and we agreed that whilst they were not life-changing, we could certainly eat an entire bag. We both deemed them an 8/10.
Switching to something sweeter, I chose this Cranberry Rye Cake:
Now, I totally messed up here and didn’t get a picture of it out of its plastic, so you cannot see all the cranberries that were in the rye cake. Take my word for it, they were there. This bread was sweet, dense, chewy, and full of tart cranberries. It was very unique, nothing like what Americans have, and we totally ate it all. My dad gave it an 8/10, and I gave it a 9/10. I would love a recipe for this because I would totally make an entire loaf.
Back to savory, we’ve got these Cheddar Nibbles:
I really liked the shape and size of these crackers, I thought they were kind of unique, but they ended up tasting rather mid. They weren’t very strongly flavored, and honestly just tasted like a Goldfish cracker or some other standard oven baked cheese cracker. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t anything special. My dad gave it a 6.5/10, while I opted for a 6/10. I would rather have Extra Toasty Cheez-Its.
Finally, we decided to try some chocolate, starting with this Raspberry Dark Chocolate Bar:
I love the combination of dark chocolate and raspberry, or really any chocolate and raspberry, so I was stoked for this bar. Unfortunately, the raspberry flavor was pretty subtle, and the chocolate was on the waxy side. It didn’t taste bad, but I definitely had my hopes too high and was let down a smidge. It got a 6.5/10 from my dad, and a 7/10 from me.
Onto another baked cracker, we have these Ham and Gouda Biscuits:
Don’t get me wrong, I love ham and gouda, I think it’s a great combo! But these were so icky. These tasted like hot dog water, and were without a doubt the worst thing in the box by a landslide. I dared not eat more than one. My dad was generous and gave them a 3/10, while I was harsher and went with a 2.5/10.
Sixthly, we tried the Violet Gummies:
I loved that these were in the shape of flowers, and that they had a sugar coating to contrast the gummy texture. What I did not love, however, was the taste. While my dad thought they were pretty good, I thought they tasted like a medicine I used to take as a kid, and I was not about it. I have to give credit where credit is due and acknowledge that the texture on these gummy candies was pretty good. While my dad gave it a 7/10, I could only give it a 3/10.
Back to more chocolate, we tried these Creme Brulee Bonbons:
The title alone made me excited to try these, as creme brulee is my favorite dessert ever, so putting that inside a chocolate sounded pretty great. As you can see, two of the chocolates came a little deformed, and we ended up eating those ones instead of the undamaged ones. These bonbons were so rich, definitely a one and done type of deal. They didn’t really taste like creme brulee in my opinion (I am a creme brulee connoisseur), and they were strangely gritty. Not the best but not bad either. My dad went with a 7/10 on these, and I gave them a 7.5/10.
The only non-candy food left was the Speculoos Cookies:
If you recall last month’s box, it also had Speculoos cookies in it, and I gave them a 10/10 last time. I am happy to report that these Speculoos cookies were just as good! I love Speculoos cookies so much. They’re super crunchy and have the best spiced flavor ever, I can’t get enough of them. How funny they came in back-to-back boxes! My dad also likes these kinds of cookies, so he gave them a 9/10, while obviously I had to bestow upon them a 10/10.
Onto the last of the chocolates, we had these Buttercream Truffles:
The box for these was pretty big, but inside there was just this monstrosity:
Obviously, my dad and I had a good laugh over this turd-like log of melted chocolates. It was so horrific, but here’s what it looked like when I separated one from the rest:
Not as pretty as they look on the box, that’s for sure. As for taste, they really didn’t have any sort of flavor, they mostly just tasted overly sweet and were very unmemorable. We both decided that all laughs aside, these were a 5/10.
Last, but certainly not least, these Melon Candies:
There were two types of melon candies, cantaloupe and honeydew. I tried the cantaloupe one first and oh my goodness, it tasted exactly like cantaloupe. Like if it weren’t for the texture I would literally feel like I was eating the fruit itself. They were sweet and just a little tart. Unlike most hard candies, they were super inoffensive, like they weren’t overwhelming at all. The honeydew one ended up tasting like Lowercase honeydew. Very subtle and nice. My dad gave them a 7.5/10, and I gave them an 8.5/10. I proceeded to eat like three back to back.
So, there you have it, another box down! Admittedly a little late, but yummy nonetheless! What did you think of this selection? Too much chocolate, or not enough chocolate? Do you like honeydew? Would you dare to eat the turd-esque chocolate log?! Let me know in the comments, and have a great day!
Funny, on the basis of looks alone, I picked the Spekuloos Cookies.
Extra points for the poop!!!
One of the downsides of being in the US is that I no longer have access to the 5kg bars of Belgian chocolate… (A chocolatier at a convention hotel used to sell his raw materials if you asked nicely)
I laughed out loud at “…tasted like hot dog water.”
A well-chosen phrase.
This recipe looks similar to the one in the picture in your review:
Omg the three of us (me, husband, daughter) loved the ham and gouda things and HATED those chips. So fun to compare notes!
Oh and being Dutch I loved the ontbeitkoek (cranberry bread) but the fam didn’t get it. Philistines.
Hi Athena – thank you for sharing your tasting boxes with us.
Inquiring minds want to know: do you happen to know how Yum picks their foods? I ask because Bret’s chips are…..made in Brittany (western France). They’re actually quite proud of the fact (or at least their marketing is), and sauce andalouse is a flavor I’ve had in France, so I am wondering how they came to show up in a Belgian snack box?
(they have a ton of funky flavors, btw – check out https://www.chipsandcrisps.com/brets.html)
That seems like a pretty pathetic chocolate selection for a Belgium box. I got better chocolate than that in the Brussels airport.
Our supermarkets here in Auckland are full of Hamlet chocolates every Christmas season – but they are not good.
Hot dog water totally cracked me up! (I haven’t had a US hot dog in, well, forever, but I can SMELL that smell…)
So on the topic of Speculoos: yes, they are wonderful, but did you know that you can get Lotus Biscoff (Speculoos) spread? In a jar like Nutella spread or pb. Delish!
Maybe you could have melted the chocolate turd and used it for ice cream sauce? It reminded me of Bob and Ray’s old “Chocolate Wobblies” sketch, which you absolutely should check out: http://graeme.50webs.com/sketches/wobblies.htm
Most interesting to me was the cranberry cake, as cranberries and European baking are not two concepts that I normally put together.
Anything that tastes like a medicine you had as a child is going to be revolting.
A medicine I was subjected to a course of when I was 5 was designed to appeal to kids by tasting like bananas. Didn’t work. I’d liked them before, but the mere thought of a banana has revolted me ever since.
Of course the Andalousian Sauce Potato Chips were too peppery for me. Okay at first and then the burn grew. I sent them home with my sister.
My Buttercream Truffles also arrived in a clump, but we managed not to think of them as turd-like, so thanks for that.
Also, my Ham & Gouda and the Cheddar Biscuits both arrived crumbled. So our boxes must be receiving some harsh handling.
I thought the Ham & Gouda mostly tasted like salt. Is that what hot dog water tastes like?
Heh, a few specialty food stores near me carry Bret’s – they have at least a couple dozen flavours and I’ve always been impressed. And the Andalusian sauce isn’t even the best I’ve had – a couple of my favourites of the others have been chorizo, camembert, and goat cheese and chili.
Violet is one of those special flavors that only certain people really enjoy. I remember trying creme de violet, a violet liqueur and finding it overly sweet. Some years later, we had English rose candies & violet candies, both types chocolate coated. The first dozen or so were really good. Then we saturated and never finished them.
When we lived in New England, we’d make cranberry bread. Cranberries are real tart bombs. They’re like rhubarb that way. You can’t just eat them like raspberries or strawberries. That rye variant sounds good.
Given Belgian chocolate’s reputation, I’m surprised you didn’t enjoy the chocolates more. Could the subscription be for mass market products, but the good chocolates aren’t the one’s packaged for supermarkets and convenience stores?
“lowercase Honeydew” is a good description.
So weird – I know all those things separately, but none of the brands (I’m from Belgium, living in the Netherlands).
A few recipe options (Google translate may be needed) : https://rutgerbakt.nl/koek-recepten/kruidkoek-met-cranberrys-en-sinaasappel/
(disclaimer: I’ve not tried any of these recipes personally, but I have made peperkoek in the past and it usually comes out well)
Not a big cantaloupe fan and I hate honeydew, so both of those would go to my wife, who likes them both. The chocolates looked and sounded better than the actuality, judging by your review, which is a shame. I don’t eat spice cake or anything like it, so since you said the cookies were “spice” you can have mine.
If you like Speculoos I have to assume that you’ve tried some of these, yes?
That said, they are kind of a Michigan thing, not sure if the stores in Ohio carry them.
Yes, hubby and I’d try the melted mess of truffles. I think I’d like the violet and melon candies. I’m a truffle fan as well as a buttercream fiend, so I’m going for that as well as the crème brûlée chocolates. The cranberry rye cake sounds great! Cranberry anything will get me to try it. In fact, earlier today I had cranberry apple oatmeal. Dark chocolate is a favorite of mine, though a dietician told me I can’t have it because chocolate (the caffeine in it) is a cardiac irritant. Boo! Hiss! I’d have a little of the dark chocolate raspberry.
Thanks for your reviews! They inspired me to get a Sakuraco subscription of my own, not to mention writing my own reviews. I’m loving the boxes I get. The last one I got was full of sakura. Yum!
Here’s an English recipe for ontbijtkoek. I expect you could easily add cranberries to the mixture.
Ontbijtkoek is usually spread with butter before eating. Without it can be bit dry.
I have to ask. Animal style french fries? What the heck is that? Other than that, always love your reviews.