We haven’t had many off-season reviews here on A Boy and His Beans, but I found this selection toward the end of the last season and immediately knew that I had to do one this year. Please enjoy this special edition review of Jelly Belly’s Holiday Favorites collection, which features staple flavors of American Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners.
As regular readers are well aware by this point, because Jelly Belly beans are so amazingly consistent in their size, shape, chewability, and texture, I will refer you to my reviews of Jelly Belly Snapple and Sours for details on those categories.
Size and shape
4 out of 5 beans
2 out of 5 beans
5 out of 5 beans
Taste and flavor
- Hot Chocolate
- Egg Nog
- Pumpkin Pie
- Candy Cane
- Cranberry Sauce
This is a fun collection of flavors to enjoy this time of year. I don’t necessarily think of hot chocolate as a holiday-specific beverage, but all of the rest are based on things that typically only make an appearance around Thanksgiving and Christmas, at least in the U.S.
[Side note: The packaging of these Jelly Belly collections is wonderful, because they guarantee the same number of beans of each flavor, and they’re already separated, making this reviewer’s life much easer.]
- The Hot Chocolate bean is definitely not just a retread of the classic Jelly Belly chocolate pudding flavor. It distinctly resembles classic hot chocolate mixes in all their powdered milk glory. It’s good in that respect, but on a pure enjoyment level, I don’t love it.
- Egg Nog is one of my very favorite Christmas beverages, and this jelly bean does an excellent job of capturing the essence of it. It is missing a bit of the spices that elevate a truly great egg nog, though.
- Pumpkin Pie has a bit of the opposite problem: it relies too much on the spices that commonly go into pumpkin pie, and the essence of pumpkin fruit is far too subtle.
- I’m not the world’s biggest fan of Candy Canes, but it’s pretty hard to screw up peppermint candy, and this bean does it just fine. It does have just the right amount of sweetness you find in a candy cane, as opposed to other straight peppermint confections (like Altoids).
- Cranberry Sauce could also be another rebadging of a standard cranberry flavor, but they do seem to added some je ne sais quoi that actually makes it taste more like real life cranberry sauce; I think it’s just another little hit of sugar to temper the tartness.
Overall, this is a good, but not great array of holiday flavors.
6 out of 10 beans
The one-of-each test
Perhaps the ultimate test of a bag of jelly beans is how enjoyable it is to take one of each flavor and eat them all at the same time.1
This is a pretty interesting combination of flavors to have all together. You might not think they would all work together, and you wouldn’t be entirely wrong to think that. The candy cane bean definitely dominates the other flavors, especially early on, but that recedes and the amalgamation of flavors becomes quite pleasant. It strangely takes on a bit of a bubble gum flavor, but not in a bad way. The brightness of the cranberry pokes through just a little bit to even out the sweeter flavors.
6 out of 10 beans
This is not quite as successful as some of the Jelly Belly themed collections, but it’s definitely a worthy set to put out to munch on during the holidays.
|Size and shape||4/5 beans|
|Taste and flavor||6/10 beans|
|One-of-each test||6/10 beans|
Happy holidays, and see you next season!
I reserve the right to excuse certain flavors from this test that would ruin it for all the other flavors. ↩