Hey I bought a bunch of krówki and I’m gonna eat them all under the guise of a review! Krówki are Polish caramel fudge, they’re real good if you have absolutely no ceiling on sugar intensity, which I don’t, and they come in standard and then a whole lot of other flavors, including usually cream, vanilla, or chocolate, and I’m skipping past those and going straight for the good stuff.
First, a couple baselines, which are very scientifically selected as plain-flavored krówki that are also not brands I bought any flavored options from!
1. Roshen – A Ukrainian candy company famous for having their president become president of Ukraine after the Maidan protests; I wanted to hate it on political grounds; it was actually really soft and had that good gooey center, a delightful start.
2. Żywiecka – Best wrapper design, retro and cute. Taste is cloying and a bit more plasticky, did not finish as I have a lot of caramel to get through
And now we’re going into flavors, brand consistency be damned:
3. Plum – Definitely got that prune taste going on, very impressive, but the gooey center of this one is very chewy and stretchy once you break past a pleasant crispy fudge exterior. I am not sure if it’s fair to knock points off from that, as it does make it more like biting into a dried prune. The slight sourness from the fruity element pairs well with the sugar overload. Points for creativity.
4. Coconut – Has a similarly chewy tougher center as the above, with bits of dried coconut. It has an easier time of things than plum as the coconut is a more natural pairing to caramel, and I also love coconut a whole lot so this was really coconut’s game to lose here. The coconut is on equal footing with the caramel in terms of flavor intensity, which is what I want out of these, so this one’s a real winner for me.
5. Cinnamon – This one automatically is suspect because part of the wrapper was fused to the candy. Has a faint cinnamon scent. This one doesn’t have a creaminess to it but is hard crunch all the way through, but it crumbles gently between your teeth in a delightful way. The cinnamon comes out strong and I get a reminiscence of French toast, with the caramel and cinnamon coming together in a maple-y way. As with coconut, cinnamon is an easy flavor to create and pair with caramel. Would have liked a little more texture contrast, as the solidly crunchy ones can be grainy, but I don’t not like it.
6. Cranberry – Another fruit flavor from the same brand as the plum one. This one actually has a less gummy texture for the chewy center. It has the same bits of fruit situation going on, as any fruit flavor really should. The cranberry doesn’t come out as distinctly as the plum–not distinct at all, really–thought the texture is more pleasant. A tough call, as one is easier to eat, but one is more satisfying as a flavored krówka. Gotta give it to the plum and rank this one lower.
7. Salted Caramel – OK, that’s a weak flavor choice, it’s already caramel, I know. But damn if I don’t enjoy a salted caramel. And this does not fail to bring the salt. Also, a charming label design. Texturally, this is the most perfect one yet, with no graininess, smooth but not teeth-sticking gooey middle, and a seamless transition from harder exterior to softer center. Not the most creative flavor, but gotta hand Cukiernia Alicja the win at this point. As the angry cow on the wrapper says, “Muuuuuuuusisz je zjeść.” (“You moooooo-st eat them.”)
8. Nut – Same brand as the salted caramel but no scowling cow, just a squirrel with a nut… wait a minute. Are they themed by flavor? Is the salted caramel… a salty cow??? Genius. Anyway, the texture is still good but juuuust a step below salted caramel, as it’s a touch grainier. I guess it evokes nuts more in that sense. The nut flavor is definitely there (hazelnut; the word used for nut here can also specifically be hazelnut, and it’s definitely got something going for it if it’s distinct enough that I can pin it down) but I wanted more. It’s not bad but my expectations were admittedly high.
9. Chocolate Chili – This one is distinct due to the chocolate coating, and I was hoping the inside would be chocolate flavored as well. Also that the chili would give it a strong spicy kick. This wasn’t at all what I expected–it’s not the right texture whatsoever; it’s solidly a chocolate fudge, with a chocolate center. It’s the toughest one of these by far, and the hardest to eat. All would be lost except the chili does come through strongly, basically the only part of this that met my expectations. It’s just kind of exhausting to eat, and also inherently disappointing when it’s such a deviation from the fundamental krówka form.
10. Sesame – Back to Cukiernia Alicja. No sesame-themed wrapper, so scratch that theory from earlier. Texture is the good Alicja texture I have come to expect, and the sesame flavor–which is one I really wanted to happen, as it’s a taste I love–came out in full force. I taste sesame seeds; they’re integrated really well. The sesame taste adds the perfect complexity to tone down the sugar punch. Superb.
11. Apple Cinnamon – Gniewko Kluczewo is apparently my fruit-flavored krówki go-to. This one is on par with plum; it’s creative and distinct, and definitely has a fruit element that cuts through the creamy sugar. Still rather on the chewy teeth-sticking end though.
12. Poppyseed – This is different than regular poppyseed, by the way–in Eastern Europe, this means a concentrated poppyseed paste, which is so, so much better. I can eat it on its own, it’s so much more satisfying than some scattered dry seeds. Anyway, this one has a lovely folksy poppy illustration on the wrapper (one of my favorite flowers, also), distinct poppyseeds and has that poppyseed paste flavor I was craving, but doesn’t hit the same high level of texture I wanted from an Alicja creation; a touch tougher than I hoped.
13. Strawberry-Yogurt Muesli – This was definitely the one that I was the most curious about. For it to score high, it truly needed to have each of these three flavor components. And …it did! With some muesli pieces added in for a nice edge to the texture. The texture is also the best that Gniewko had to offer, at least out of my selection. Outstanding, a great finish. Maybe I’m just overwhelmed with sugar but I want to give something a perfect 10, damn it, so here it is!
Alright that’s all, I’m deeply satisfied and this was a good way to spend my night undoubtedly. 👌👌