The Guilty Pleasure: Hostess' Summer of Twinkies flavored Twinkies Where to Get It: Walmart Price: $2.50 for a box of 10 What It Really Costs: Having irreversibly greasy fingers for the rest of the day
Like so many others, I felt a little twinge of panic when Hostess announced it was going away for good in 2012. At that time I genuinely wondered about whether life would be the same without the Twinkie. Would our kids grow up without knowing the beloved American snack? Of course the crisis was averted and in July 2013 the Twinkie returned to convenience store shelves -- it was really the only fitting ending for a snack that's known for its everlasting powers.
But this time around Hostess is doing things differently. They aren't about to let the Twinkie slide back out of America's culinary consciousness. They're going to be a hip, cool brand. They're going to be like Oreo, with an array of flavors for customers to choose from.
Enter, the Hostess Summer of Twinkies.
It's not the first time Hostess has offered fruit-flavored Twinkies. In fact, the original Twinkie featured banana creme and banana-flavored Twinkies have been available as recently as 2007.
The current iteration of flavored Twinkies includes four flavors, including strawberry, blue raspberry, banana, and chocolate. They're all being marketed under the "Summer of Twinkies" campaign with the slogan "Cue the fun!" Earlier in the year, blue raspberry and strawberry Twinkies were also available as a part of a promotion for the movie X-Men Days of Future Past.
We started our very scientific taste test by examining all four Twinkies in their plastic wrapping:
As you can see, three of the Twinkies look pretty normal -- but the blue raspberry Twinkie looks like it's leaking some sort of toxic blue substance. Up close you can even see a little bit of greasy moisture trapped inside the plastic, slightly tinted with Smurf-colored dye. It was utterly horrific and we ate it anyway.
Blue Raspberry Creme
Surprisingly, the blue raspberry-flavored Twinkie isn't nearly as repulsive to your tastebuds as it is to your eyes. The spongy cake gives way to bright blue creme that's far more aggressive in color than in taste. In fact, we could hardly taste the blue raspberry flavor at all. The first bite is where you'll probably taste the flavor the most and it tastes pretty much exactly like a blue raspberry Jolly Rancher. Not at all like an actual raspberry, but very distinct. By the second and third bites, however, that subtle flavor will be overwhelmed by the generic tastes of sugar and vanilla and more sugar.
Of the four flavors, chocolate probably makes the most sense. There's no combo more familiar than vanilla and chocolate. In the case of the chocolate Twinkie, "chocolate" doesn't seem to refer to any specific type of chocolate, just a general flavor we can most closely relate to powdered hot chocolate. It's not unpleasant, exactly. Just strange, particularly if you're attached to the original Twinkie flavor.
We weren't so afraid of the banana-flavored Twinkie -- that was, until we took our first bite. The banana flavor in these little snacks hits you like an 18-wheeler and tastes exactly like banana-flavored Laffy Taffy. It's super sweet and super strong and kind of gross. Imagine having the flavor equivalent of a half dozen pieces of banana Laffy Taffy wrapped up inside a layer of sweet vanilla cake and that's what eating this Twinkie is like. We could hardly manage more than one bite.
It could be that by the time we tried this flavor out taste buds were already coated in sugar and god knows what else, but we thought the strawberry Twinkie was pretty subtle. Each bite delivered a faint taste of strawberry shortcake, except with more grease and no fresh fruit taste. For those who don't like chocolate, we'd have to give this our vote for best flavor -- which, to be clear, isn't to say we'd ever want to eat it again.
In summary, are any of these four flavored Twinkies any better than the original? Probably not. But then again, we may be happy to have some sort of variety when the world ends and all we have left are Twinkies to eat.