The look of terror in my eyes is half the idea of Oreo cookies filled with Swedish Fish “flavor creme,” half the outrageous pressure put on me to eat them from the moment they became a real thing. I have done your bidding. Please release my family. The good ones, at least.
I’ve spent the past several days being bombarded by tweets, emails and Facebook messages regarding the bizarre marriage of the world’s most iconic cookie and the world’s most iconic non-fish-based edible fish. During a pre-Gamescom meeting this past Friday regarding a big fall game release, one of the game’s producers asked me about Swedish Fish Oreos.
Knowing I would be haunted and possibly hunted until I put them in my mouth, I made it my mission to find The Kroger Company exclusive cookies. After searching four different stores with no luck, I made it my wife’s mission. She took that mission far too seriously, and soon I had three bags of these things sitting in my office.
Based on a traditional Norwegian holiday candy, Swedish Fish have been an American standard since the late 1950s. While folks today might consider them a gummi candy, they’re actually a variety of wine gum, starch-based as opposed to the gelatin-based gummi. Though they come in a variety of flavors, red is the most prominent.
I say red, because the actual fruit flavor the red Swedish Fish is supposed to be has never really been revealed. It’s not quite any specific berry, though many suspect the lingonberry plays a role. There’s no other candy that tastes quite like it, just like there’s no other chocolate cookie that tastes quite like the Oreo wafer.
Two distinct, beloved flavors that don’t go together well at all.
Nabisco’s food scientists have done an outstanding job of capturing the scent and flavor of the red Swedish Fish in creme form. As seen in the video, opening a package of Swedish Fish Oreos unleashes an overwhelming rush of red candy scent. The crimson paste sandwiched between the chocolate Oreo wafers here (and kudos for going full chocolate instead of wimping out with vanilla Oreo cookies) is Swedish Fish in creme form.
It’s a fine snacknological achievement, but not necessarily a good one. Creme is not an ideal conveyance for the Swedish Fish flavor. It’s a taste designed specifically for the starchy, chewy form factor, which lingers briefly in the mouth before carrying on. In creme form it sticks around far longer than the flavor was made to stay. Some people like to suck on Swedish Fish, prolonging their exposure to the taste, and that’s fine. They’re still in complete control of when it comes and goes. In creme form the only control method is a vigorous mouth rinsing.
The real problem here is the combination of that Swedish Fish paste and the chocolate Oreo cookie. They simply do not go well together. The dark biscuit adds an unpleasant edge to the candy flavor, cancelling out any pleasantness the creme may have afforded. The overall effect is that of a particularly cloying Swedish Fish, possibly pre-chewed, that was dropped in rich, dark dirt before entering your mouth.
There have been many times that a strange new Oreo flavor combination has been announced that I’ve wondered, “How’s that going to work?”, only to be pleasantly surprised by the results. I was hoping that would be the case here. So was my wife, apparently, having purchased three more packages of Swedish Fish Oreos than anyone needs to own.
Snacktaku is Kotaku’s take on the wild and wonderful world of eating (and drinking) things, but not eating meals. Eating meals is for those with too much time on their hands.