“Sugarpova? Doesn’t that sound kind of like … who is it … Sharapova? Maria? That tennis player? There’s no way that could be …” (Picks up package of gummies on the drugstore shelf, reads the back.) “Well, what the hell. Isn’t that … strange.”
I was initially confused by the whole idea of a candy co-created by a high-performance athlete. Isn’t it odd, I thought, that someone like tennis superstar Maria Sharapova would put her name on a line of candies when someone in her position earns her living with a finely tuned body capable of amazing athletic feats. Someone like that can’t possibly eat much junk food.
But then I thought harder. How many athletes have endorsed fizzy sugar water and “sport”-branded beverages, or have paid their mortgages with beer sponsorship cheques cashed by their sports team? So it’s not like all athletes are pitchmen for healthy foods. More interesting still is Sugarpova’s social angle. Some of the proceeds (the amount is not clearly defined on the package) go to a charity that supports scholarships for young people from the Chernobyl-affected areas of Belarus.
Also: They’re made in Spain, if you can believe it.
The Pitch: First, the candy: “Don’t be fooled by our sweet smile. These fruit-flavored lips, hearts, and stars are sour, so pucker up. We want to give you a kiss.” Second, the cause: “How sweet of you to buy my candy! A portion of every purchase is given to the Maria Sharapova Foundation for helping children across the world achieve their dreams.”
The Look: Re-sealable plastic pouch that’s stark white with a clear window and bright, modern colours. The candies look like typical sugar/sour gummies, but they’re cuter and larger than I’m used to.
The Taste: Cut open the top and blam! A wonderful fruity aroma reaches out and pulls you into the bag. The flavours are also fantastic. The lemon (yellow star) is intense and lightly creamy, the orange (red-orange star) is zesty and juicy, the strawberry (red star) is good and fresh tasting, if a little hard to identify at first, the apple (green star) is artificial granny smith but good, the hearts are supposed to be something like raspberry and blackcurrant (I think), and the red lips have a lovely strawberries-and-cream character. (Wimbledon, anyone?) The sweet to sour ratio is bang on, and the texture is perfect, with lots of chew. Because the candies are so huge, each one feels like a significant, satisfying treat.
RATINGS AND DETAILS
Cost: $3.99 for a 5 oz / 142 gram bag, on sale at London Drugs in Calgary.
Value for cash money: At that price, good. At the $9.95 Amazon.com demands? Not good.
Availability: First time I saw them was at London Drugs. I assume they’re not widely available.
Nutrition?: Per about 5 pieces (35 grams): 120 calories, 0 grams of fat, 15 mg of sodium, 0 grams of fibre, 2 grams of protein.
The verdict: Really, really good gummies. Find them, eat them, love them.