The Prettiest Candy: Albanese World’s Best Mini Gummi Butterflies

Image of Albanese Gummi ButterfliesHaving recently discovered that my favorite gummi bears were possibly made with child labor, I went looking for a substitute recently and picked up a bag of Albanese Mini Gummi Butterflies.

Candy is often not pretty, particularly when chocolate is involved, but these candies, shaped like butterflies, look like little stained glass jewels. The flavors are blue raspberry, cherry, grape, green apple, orange, and strawberry, with the usual scheme of color vaguely indicating flavor.

Gummi texture can vary widely and these are on the softer and less chewy side of the spectrum, although with a pleasing solidity. Taste is fresh, sweet, and juicy, with no chemical aftertaste. The company website reveals that Albanese Confectionary, based in Indiana, actually makes a wide range of gummis ranging from sharks to jet fighters, including individual flavors like mango, pink grapefruit, peach, strawberry-banana, and orange cream as well as seasonal gummis for Christmas, Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, Halloween, Memorial Day, and the 4th of July.

One serving of butterflies, according to the package, is about 10 pieces, and the butterflies are apparently 9 calories each. They are fat and gluten free, and are marked low sodium (10 mg per serving). They are not vegan (contain gelatin) and have been processed on equipment that also processes a variety of nuts, along with wheat, soy, and eggs.

Picture of butterfly shaped gummi candyOne burning questioning continues to be unextinguished: are these candies more PC than my beloved Haribo bears? I’m not sure. The company website says ingredients are “sourced exclusively from American & European growers,” adding a truculent and somewhat off-putting “sorry China” immediately afterward. Since Wikipedia tells me carnauba wax, which is listed as an ingredient, is grown only in northeastern Brazil, I have some questions about that and dropped the company a line asking about that item, but to date they have not replied.

Value-wise, these cost me $3.19 for nine ounces of gummi goodness here in Seattle at my local Bartell’s, which I officially pronounce a decent value and comparable to Haribo. I’ll probably go back to try some of the other Albanese candies since there looked to be a half dozen or so varieties on their shelves. These are the prettiest, though.

About Cat Rambo

Cat Rambo lives, writes, and teaches atop a hill in the Pacific Northwest. Her 200+ fiction publications include stories in Asimov’s, Clarkesworld Magazine, and The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, and the first two books of the Tabat Quartet, Beasts of Tabat and Hearts of Tabat. She is an Endeavour, Nebula, and World Fantasy Award nominee. Among her nonfiction works are a travel guide to Baltimore, a cookbook, highly opinionated essays, and the book Creating an Online Presence for Writers. She once won a hula contest judged by Neil Gaiman. For more about her, as well as links to her fiction, see here.