Growing up I ate A LOT of fruit polos. Many people have told me that they are OK, but that LifeSavers were the original and superior version. As both are essentially just boiled sweets in a packet then neither is especially original, but as both have a hole they must be linked somehow. i don't see this as a USA vs England thing (that football match has already been and gone) but an exercise in understanding each others cultural flavour differences.
On spotting these in CyberCandy on a return trip to pick up more ManaPotions (see http://www.bit.ly/HPreview ) I had to buy them. It's a no loose situation for me - I've either been right all along that Fruit Polos are superior, or I've discovered something that's better than one of my favourite childhood sweets.
Sitting in front of my computer during the World Cup matches on Saturday I've slowly made my way through the 5 flavours. I've been helped along by watching http://www.mariomarathon.com where they are spending 3 days solid playing Mario games as a group for gamer's charity Child's Play. If you are reading this on the Sunday or Monday then they are probably still at it as they were behind schedule during Super Mario World that is playing now so go visit & watch/donate.
First to appear in the packet was Green. This is watermelon which isn't your typical UK sweet flavour but I've had a few nice sweets by the lovely people at Wonka's of a similar flavour so knew what to expect. It's quite smooth and the very opposite of the lovely sharp Lime of the UK fruit polos. As far as flavours go I'd have to call this one a tie with them being too different to compare. Both are highlights of their respective packets though.
Red threw me. Red in English food means Strawberries, it's an intrinsically British thing and I'm sure even the England players red shirts have a feint whiff of the fruit about them before they play. This red is cherry, disappointing to my tongue and brain. At least on the first taste - the second one I found after a few more flavours and when I was expecting it was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. It didn't have the sweet hit of the strawberry, but the taste wasn't synthetic and was a pleasure.
Next up was purple, blackcurrant or blackberry in the UK version (depending on who you ask) and easily the best of the packet, with the red berry a close 2nd. In the USA this tasted odd, and I originally wrote down Grape as the flavour as I know that this is something America likes. According to the packet and the picture I'd taken this was Raspberry! On my second attempt I could tell that this was indeed the case, with the woody flavour of the raspberries coming through, but in an odd way it wasn't that nice, or that similar a taste. Raspberries are easily my favourite of the small soft fruit, and superior to strawberries in every way despite what my sister might think, but there is just something odd about this one that I didn't like. Edible, but not something to hope for when opening the packet.
Up next in the UK is the yellow sweet, which was either lemon or pineapple depending on when you bought it. The lemon was too acidic and not enjoyable, and the pineapple just tasted odd in the context of the other fruit. Lifesavers have gone for Pineapple which caused me a small amount of trepidation, but like the watermelon it was a smooth pleasant experience. The sweet however looks almost white, which is a little odd, but this is the first sweet I'd happily swap into the UK polo packet for the existing flavour.
Finally was orange, another of my favourites in the UK pack (all except the yellow ones are my favourites depending on my mood) but the orange Lifesaver was far more like the UK Lemon and too acidic to be enjoyable. I like sour sweets, but this had none of the sharp flavour of the lime and all of the burning dullness of the lemon after-taste. Fruit polo orange all the way for me.
In summary my ideal pack would be UK fruit polo (Blackcurrant, Strawberry, lime, orange) Lifesavers (Watermelon, Pineapple). That'd be 6 flavours instead of the usual 5 but I feel that I could cope with the chance of only getting one of certain flavours in the mix.