Supermarket Sweets

Taste-test, Aisle 1.

Astro Pops Return from Space!

[Photograph: oldtimecandy.com]

Did you happen to notice that the Astro Pop hasn't been sold for eight years? Yeah, we didn't either. But if you did, there's good news: a new company bought the rights to the candy and now they're back on shelves (currently at Dylan's Candy Bar and other specialty candy shops, and they're coming soon to Target, Walmart, and the like).

The really cool thing about Astro Pops is that these rocket-shaped lollies were actually created by rocket scientists in 1963. The scientists also made special wrappers which could withstand high heat, allowing the hot candy to be poured directly into the wrapper. The heyday of the Astro Pop was many years ago, though I did eat Astro Pops as a kid, when I loved any oversized and crazy-colored lollipop that was destined to be thrown out before its time. (It would take far too long to eat all at once, and would get linty while it waited for round two.)

So I was excited to try this reissued Astro Pop. Would I have the stamina to eat the entire thing? Would it taste like childhood? The answers are yes and yes, but I must say I do not feel very well, and childhood doesn't taste great.

The candy mold/wrapper that made Astro Pops so groundbreaking is quite difficult to remove from the candy—I actually had to use a knife. The texture of the pop is slicker and smoother than most lollipops, which is sort of nice, but this, combined with the conical shape, makes it pretty much impossible to eat hands-free. Seriously, every time I tried to type something, the Astro Pop would fly out of my mouth and onto my shirt, and once even made it as far as my computer screen (talk about a rocket!). The paper stick was also somewhat short, which made it hard to hold onto.

The pop is made up of three flavor sections: pineapple, passion fruit, and cherry. The pineapple section immediately reminded me of being a kid, thinking I was about to get a taste of can't-miss-lemon, and then being affronted with the strange, almost coconut-y taste of artificial pineapple. The passion fruit (green) level was more or less tasteless, and the cherry was a bit cough-droppy for my tastes. At the very bottom of the pop was some wax, which, to be perfectly honest, I tried to eat.

In spite of not really liking the Astro Pop at all, I did eat the whole thing, which involved several hours and also chewing (cheating). And while it was fun to hold a silly looking lollipop again, I think I'll leave these rockets in space.

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