- Kraft announced a new limited-edition CandyMac & Cheese for Valentine’s Day.
- People on Twitter were both delighted and horrified by the hot-pink meal.
- I tried it to see if it did taste like candy and found it more similar to watered-down maple syrup.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
When Kraft unveiled a new bubblegum-pink, candy-flavored mac and cheese for Valentine’s Day, cheesy-boxed-pasta lovers (myself included) weren’t really sure how to feel about it.
The Candy Kraft Mac & Cheesewas pitched as a tasty alternative to traditional gifts like bouquets and heart-shaped chocolates, but the product can’t be found in stores. The neon meal was only offered to 1,000 Kraft lovers who entered a contest by February 8 to win a special box.
“Candy Kraft Mac & Cheese is made with the same cheesy Kraft Mac & Cheese Americans know and love, but includes a candy flavour packet to turn the mac & cheese pink and add hints of sweet candy flavour,” wrote Kraft in apress release.
I knew I had to get my hands on the controversial product to see for myself what “hints of sweet candy flavour” actually meant. As the Candy Kraft Mac & Cheese isn’t available in stores, Kraft provided Insider with a box for review.
And while I had my doubts about the edibleness of Kraft’s candy-flavored macaroni and cheese â€” because who wouldn’t? â€” it was actually decent, and I could even detect hints of maple syrup.
Following Kraft’s announcement, the internet shared a collective shudder
People flooded Twitter with a host of first-gut reactions, many of which were mild horror.
“Every day we stray further and further from God’s light,” wrote Grammy-nominated rapper Chika.
every day we stray further and further from God's light https://t.co/BN9soOX3IV
— CHIKA ☁️ (@oranicuhh) January 29, 2021
One person wrote: “You could make me regular Kraft mac and cheese for Valentine’s dinner and I would be perfectly happy but if you make this we’re breaking up.”
Another person channeled their inner Ariana Grande, writing, “As one of the great voices of our generation has so eloquently said â€” thank you, next.”
You could make me regular Kraft mac and cheese for Valentine's dinner and I would be perfectly happy but if you make this we're breaking up. https://t.co/qhrRMK1fM9
— Maura Dooley (@Maura_Dool) January 28, 2021
As one of the great voices of our generation has so eloquently said – thank you, next: https://t.co/yK0bCjmznN
— Andrea Hall (@WriteitHall) January 27, 2021
“As a mac n’ cheese aficionado, this deeply offends me,” another user tweeted.
As a mac n' cheese aficionado, this deeply offends me. https://t.co/5fww52VHYk
— Яoss Əllaire (@RossAllaire) February 3, 2021
But others were intrigued by Kraft’s new product and hoped to snag a box, including Logan Guleff, who won the second season of “MasterChef Junior.”
— Logan Jr Chef (@LoganJrChef) January 28, 2021
“It’s been days and I cannot stop thinking about the candy Kraft Mac n cheese I want a box so bad omg,” one person wrote.
“Impatiently waiting for an email saying I won the pink candy kraft mac and cheese sweepstake,” another added.
It’s been days and I cannot stop thinking about the candy Kraft Mac n cheese I want a box so bad omg
— Quinn ⚖️ (@QuinnMyHoney) February 3, 2021
Impatiently waiting for an email saying I won the pink candy kraft mac and cheese sweepstake
— Linz Khalifa (@lindsay_haven) February 9, 2021
And some weighed in to offer jokes, with one person referencing an iconic “Mean Girls” quote by saying the pink mac and cheese can only be eaten on Wednesdays.
you can only eat it on Wednesdays ????????♀️
— Blue Summit Supplies (@bluesummitsupp) January 28, 2021
I didn’t know what to expect from candy mac and cheese
Like many people, I was sceptical over the Candy Kraft Mac & Cheese but also fascinated.
While Kraft’s latest mash-up didn’t have the same sugary appeal as, say, New York City’s Cronut, I was curious to discover what kind of candy the flavour was modelled after.
Would it be a surprising nod to fan-favourite treats like Starburst, known for its fruity taste, or maybe a dose of pure sugar like pixie sticks? The bright-pink colour made me think it might even be similar to bubblegum.
My only concern was Candy Kraft Mac & Cheese tasting anything like Haribo Gummy Bears, which in my opinion taste like medicine â€” or even worse, that it was chocolate-flavored.
The Candy Kraft Mac & Cheese packaging was adorable
The Candy Kraft Mac & Cheese arrived at my doorstep on February 8 nestled inside a special “Bowl Mate” heart-shaped container.
The container included an original Kraft Mac & Cheese box, the candy flavour packet, and a note from the company buried in pink confetti.
Fortunately, I perfected making Kraft Mac & Cheese as a child and didn’t have to spend too much time scrambling for instructions. The cooking method for the candy-flavored mac and cheese was identical to the method for making Kraft’s original version.
The recipe called for all the standard boxed mac and cheese ingredients:
- The boxed ingredients (noodles and a cheese sauce packet)
- Six cups of water to boil
- Four tablespoons of butter
- Â¼ cup of milk
Plus one new addition:
- The candy-flavour packet
The entire cooking process took, at most, 15 minutes.
The candy flavour powder was extremely pink
The candy packet turned out to be a powder as opposed to the syrup I expected. It instantly reminded me of nostalgic treats like Baby Bottle Pop and Wonka Fun Dip.
The powder’s pink colour was bright in the sunlight and a close match for Kraft’s official photos of the product.
Kraft would likely advise against tasting the powder by itself, but I wanted to know what the initial flavour was like before adding it in with the rest of the ingredients.
The powder was bitter, but to be fair, it definitely wasn’t made to be eaten on its own.
Adding the powder into the mac and cheese took me on a visual journey
My face was a continuous state of disbelief, excitement, and complete bewilderment as my initially orange dish transformed into a deep magenta colour.
The shade was much darker than I anticipated since the official photos showed more of a flamingo-pink hue.
But sure enough, as I continued to stir in the pink powder, my mac and cheese ended up an entirely different colour with almost no traces of the usual orange. It even smelled a bit sweeter than usual.
The first bite blew my mind
My brain basically short-circuited as it tried to make sense of the random bursts of sweetness amid the mac and cheese.
First and foremost, the Candy Kraft Mac & Cheese isn’t nearly as bad as many Twitter folks predicted. If anything, I was a bit disappointed â€” or maybe relieved? â€” that the candy flavoring wasn’t more potent.
It took me several bites to land on a familiar taste. After much deliberation, I decided it was closest in flavour to watered-down maple syrup.
I appreciated the familiar taste of butter and Kraft’s packet cheese, but when it comes to quirky, limited-edition foods, I wish there was a bit more of a punch.
Still, I finished my first bowl and went back for seconds without much thought, so it was certainly edible.
Candy Kraft Mac & Cheese was a fun curveball
Would I go so far as to put Candy Kraft Mac & Cheese at the top of my list? No way.
Did I have a great time making the meal and trying to decode its flavour profiles? Absolutely.