Friday, 16 February 2018

Best Reese's Products

If you know me personally, then there are two facts about me that are no secret. The first is that I'm a big fan of the Unpopular Opinion podcast network. The second is that a love Reese's Peanut Butter Cups (to the level where my lovely girlfriend spoiled me with a basket full of Reese products for Valentine's day). These two loves happened to cross-over around Halloween when an episode of Unpop's List! Cast! program went up polling on the worst Halloween treats of all time. Obviously Reese's were not on that list, but the hosts did posit their favourite Halloween treats as an aside and it was basically unanimously agreed that Reese's would take the crown if they put it to a vote. This, of course, got me thinking about just which Reese's product is the best of the best and I quickly realized that I could make a Top 10 just off the top of my head if I wanted to. But why stop there? Why not just list every Reese product I've tried in order from best to worst?

For this list, I'm going through the list of Reese's products on Wikipedia and including a couple other products which aren't on the list. Obviously I haven't been keeping a list of all the stuff I've tried through my life so I might have forgotten products if they're not on that list, but this will help jog the memory. I mean, hell, just slap a Reese's logo on your product and you've already piqued my interest, so I've got a ton of material to draw from.

Also, I'm going to exclude the original Peanut Butter Cups from this list. They're just classic, and more than stand on their own.

(Dis-)Honourable Mentions

Reese Mix - These things are a bloody insult, simply from an economic perspective. I'll try many Reese's products, but these are the only one that has tempted me multiple times, but I just can't get over how much they try to charge you for a small package of Minis, Pieces, peanuts and pretzel bites. The worst part is that for $20 you could buy up all the ingredients separately and make your own Mix cheaper than it would cost for an equivalent "official" packaging. Most Reese's products can justify themselves because you're never going to be able to replicate that perfect taste yourself, but Reese Mix is so unnecessary by junk food standards that I can't even bring myself to pay for one.

 World's Largest & Half-Pound Cup - These two products are just gimmicks. I mean, I'm already demonstrating how much I love Reese's products, but c'mon, that's too much chocolate. No one actually eats these things... right? I mean, not by themselves? These are meant for sharing? Like, maybe once on a dare, but never as a regular purchase...? I'm going to just leave it at that before I have an existential crisis.
MegaLoad Bars - These aren't technically Reese's products, but I feel like they're a curiosity that should be mentioned. I've encountered these things in a couple gas stations up here in Canada and while they look amazing, they've never been nearly as good as they look. They're decent and worth the occasional purchase as a curiosity, but could certainly be improved if they actually were using Reese's products instead of generic knock-offs.

Alright, with that out of the way, let's get into the countdown...

18) Puffs - Breakfast cereals are already towing a fine line to justify themselves as something other than sugary junk food, but Puffs just shit all over that line and head into something that's just disgusting. I mean, the tag line when I was a kid was that they're "Reese, for breakfast!" Fruit Loops and Lucky Charms at least pretended like they weren't sugar in a bowl, but Reese Puffs don't even put up a pretense about what this product is. I had these maybe once as a kid, and even then I was not taken in. Of all the things on this list, if I had to sacrifice one Reese product for the good of humanity, this is the one I'd cast into the fire.

17) Whipps - I swear that I tried one of these things when I was a kid, but I can't remember it at all, it didn't leave any sort of impression on me. I don't recall it being bad, but there's basically nothing else on this list that I wouldn't rather have instead (y'know, aside from Reese Puffs).


16) Reese Bar - I've had these things a few times, but I've never been particularly impressed. Maybe it's just me, but these things are just too big and push over the limit where you're getting "too much" sweetness. Plus they don't hold together very well, I always find that if you try to break pieces off of the bar it caves in on itself. They're certainly edible, but I never buy them as anything more than a curiosity.

15) Blizzard - So I actually tend to order a Reese's Blizzard when I go to Diary Queen, but I definitely have my issues with them. For one thing, Dairy Queen Blizzards are just stupidly expensive in general, and just keep getting worse year after year. Furthermore, if I order anything more than a medium, I just feel gross afterwards. I mean, you're basically eating 3 or more packs of Peanut Butter cups, in addition to the ice cream itself. I have literally gotten sick from all the sweetness afterwards... not that that stops me from ordering them again, but the fact that these things literally can make me feel sick makes them harder to recommend.


14) Minis - They aren't quite as satisfying as a full-sized Peanut Butter Cup, or once which has been wrapped for that matter, but Reese Minis are a nice little treat. Plus the fact that they come in resealable bags is great, helps to make them last and not over-indulge in them. There are 2 varieties of Minis available too, regular and white chocolate. The variety is nice, but I tend to lean towards the white chocolate - for one thing, I think that they taste better, and Hershey's rarely sells white chocolate Reese products north of the border so I'll take whatever avenue I can get for that fix.


13) Pieces - These things are iconic, probably the second most popular candy Reese products after the original peanut butter cups, in part thanks to the textbook usage of product placement in E.T. While I enjoy Reese's Pieces, I have tended to find that they're inconsistent. Sometimes I'll buy a box and they just don't taste all that great. I'm not sure if it's inconsistent recipes or what, but when I was in high school I'd have this happen on a few different occasions, so it was like a flip of the coin on whether I was actually going to enjoy my box of Pieces or not and it soured me on them. Don't get me wrong, I'll still have Pieces on occasion, but I don't care for them nearly as much as some other people might.

12) Eggs, Hearts & Christmas Bells - I'm going to use this entry to cover a couple seasonal variants which don't really deserve to have their own separate entries, since they're basically just the same product in different packaging each time. The Christmas Bells, Valentines Hearts and Easter Eggs are essentially seasonal versions of Reese's Miniatures - small, individually wrapped peanut butter cups with a shape based on the season they're made for. They're great, and if you find some of these in your stocking or for your Easter egg hunt, you know that whoever bought the chocolates was slaying it this year. Always a welcome gift, although the one thing keeping them a bit lower is that, as seasonal releases, they price gouge you for them.

11) Peanut Butter Cups with Crunchy Peanut Butter - I'm not sure if I'm just not remembering these things very well, but the big "crunchy peanut butter" gimmick of this product never actually stood out to me - they basically just tasted like a normal Peanut Butter Cup to me, just maybe a bit less smooth. It's a small difference I guess, but not much to justify having a whole other variation on the market. I think Reese agreed because I haven't seen one of these things in years and imagine they were probably discontinued. It's too bad though, just remembering that these exist makes me hungry for one...


10) Miniatures - On first glance, these might just seem to be the same thing as the aforementioned Minis, but there are a couple notable differences which make them stand out. Miniatures are all individually wrapped and maybe about twice the size of an individual Mini, which might not seem like a huge difference, but for whatever reason, Miniatures just taste better to me. Plus, they come in regular and white chocolate versions, which just helps to vault them over the seasonal chocolates in my opinion.


9) Christmas Trees & Easter Eggs - At first glance, these just appear to be low-effort, cheap holiday cash-ins (hell, that "tree" is more reminiscent of a chocolate turd). However, these things over-deliver in a big way. Plus, unlike most seasonal chocolate, they actually tend to be priced reasonably. The fact that they come in regular and white chocolate varieties is just icing on the cake, I used to buy these things around Christmastime when I was in university. I would not be surprised if I was eating a Reese's Peanut Butter Tree while writing some of the earliest posts on this blog.


8) Swoops - I can remember back when these things came out and was saddened when I heard that they were discontinued. If you never got the chance to try one, imagine a Pringle made entirely of chocolate and with that Reese's peanut butter mixed in. Suffice to say, they were delicious and it was easy to forget just how much chocolate you were consuming as you scarfed them down.

7) Big Cups - Unlike some of the Reese's products I mentioned earlier, while Big Cups certainly tow the fine line between decadence and overindulgence, I feel like they strike the perfect balance. I definitely feel like I'm pushing some limits with a Big Cup, but I never feel like they're too much or like I'm going to be sick or disgusted with myself for having one.


6) Sticks - It shocks me just how good these damn things are. If you thought peanut butter and chocolate were a match made in heaven, Reese Sticks prove that 3 sticks of wafer definitely make a case for a hot threesome. Just... these things are brilliant. They sell smaller versions in the same sorts of bags as Minis too, and they are so addictive. If you've never tried these, then seriously, freaking do it.


5) Crunchers - These might be the most surprising entry on this list for me. I saw a package of these at a gas station and, similarly to Reese Mix, the price seemed rather steep but I figured I'd try them out. The price is definitely a bit high, but bloody hell are they worth the cost. They're kind of like little, delicious bite-sized clusters and just writing about them is making me want to eat the package of them that I have in a bag nearby. (Post-script: Yeah, within 5 minutes I had that package opened and was scarfing them down greedily.)


4) Breyers Reese Ice Cream - Breyers' Reese ice cream has some big legs up on the Reese Blizzard which propel it so far up the list. For one thing, a container of Breyers ice cream can be purchased for about the price of a Blizzard, particularly when they go on sale for around $4. Secondly, the ice cream is flavoured to actually complement the peanut butter cups in there, which makes it taste better than a Blizzard in general. Thirdly, you control the portioning, so you shouldn't ever feel sick when eating this. Whenever I see this product on sale at the grocery store, I love to pick it up because I know that I'll get to enjoying it on a hot day.

3) Pieces Eggs - It's getting close to Easter season now, and the most exciting part of that is that the Easter chocolates are going on sale. For most people, that means Cadbury Mini Eggs, but for me that means Pieces Eggs. While Pieces themselves don't set my world on fire, Pieces Eggs are a whole other animal. To put it simply, Pieces Eggs are quite a bit bigger than a regular Pieces, so they're far more satisfying to me. The only real issue is that, like all Easter Egg chocolates, they charge you through the nose for them. Said said, I just paid nearly $20 for a big bag of Pieces Eggs... that pains me, but it's (just barely) worth it and that bag will probably last me for months.


2) Big Cups with Reese's Pieces - Who is the diabolical candy-making genius who thought up this decadent combination? This is just such a brilliant mixture that I have to applaud it, even if it might be enough to break that delicate balance that Big Cups strike and put them on the side of over-indulgence. They're as good as they look, but I definitely feel some shame afterwards for how decadent they are. That said, if Big Cups with Reese's Pieces are too much for you, they're coming out with a Miniatures version very shortly, which could actually be the perfect way to consume these without feeling icky afterwards.


1) White Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups - Dear God, white chocolate Peanut Butter Cups are absolutely amazing. There's only 2 of these in a package, compared to 3 in a regular package of Peanut Butter Cups. When I was in my early teens, they sold these in Canada, but now they're bloody impossible to find here. Recently, at Ottawa Geek Market, there was some enterprising international candy-seller selling these things for $5 EACH, and I love these so much that I begrudgingly bought 3 of them. Hell, I've considered dropping $60 or more of a whole box of them on Ebay, because they are just that good. The white chocolate Minis aren't nearly the same, and while the white chocolate Trees and Miniatures get close, they're still hard to get ahold of and nothing quite matches just how good a white chocolate Peanut Butter Cup is. It wasn't even a contest for me to place this entry, it was basically just a question of how I was going to fill out the remaining slots beneath this.

And there you go, my list of the best Reese's products. I like doing irreverent lists like this on occasion just to break up the usual content on the blog. I don't want to just pigeonhole myself into writing exclusively about pop culture or social politics, so it's nice to get a break like this... especially at a time when my whole warning about witch hunting is starting to publicly blow up in #MeToo's face and we might have reached the tipping point where the public truly turns on the movement. Whoops.

No comments:

Post a Comment