The Skeptical Diner: The Lunds Caramel Apple

THE PREMISE: If Lunds has the stones to charge $2.50 (or “2 for $5.00” as they so cunningly put it) for a caramel apple, it had better be pretty damned good. Particularly since they’re positioned at the cash registers, where impulse purchases happen. That’s flirting with ethical mayhem.

THE DATA: Not only is the Lunds caramel apple good, it may be the best caramel apple I’ve ever had. Three reasons:

The caramel is quite soft. This means it doesn’t come off in a sheet, it doesn’t stick to itself, it sticks to your teeth far less than you’d expect, and you get a nice bit of caramel with every bite.

The caramel has a great flavor. Unlike the insipid Milk Maid caramels or the dark, vaguely burned tasting caramel apple wrap sheets, this stuff has an almost bright and sweet but not sugary flavor.

The apple is actually really great. Most caramel apples use mealy, sub-par varities (Red Delicious, perhaps?) Whatever’s in the center of a Lunds apple is juicy, sweet, and fresh as a cold snap. I enthusiastically gnawed it to the core. Thumbs up.

9 Comments so far

  1. camisha (unregistered) on September 11th, 2007 @ 4:24 pm

    what is the point of this story ?

  2. James Norton (unregistered) on September 11th, 2007 @ 5:26 pm

    Excellent question, Internet person!

    You could extract a number of useful pieces of information from this post.

    I’d start with this one: Lunds caramel apples are very delicious, and a good use of your hard-earned cash this autumn if you enjoy eating delicious things. That’s consumer news, or “news you can use” as we say in the business.

    I think another point of this story is that more expensive caramel pays for itself in terms of how it tastes. You might say: “It’s merely caramelized sugar!” But the pleasure well-produced caramel covering imparts warrants the additional expenditure.

    Another point of the story is that while it’s tempting to skimp on the apple you are covering with caramel — it is, after all, just the medium for delivering the delicious caramel goodness — there are taste rewards to be reaped by taking care to select a variety of fruit that stands up on its own.

    More generally, I’d like to think there’s an overarching, implicit point here: eating well, particularly in season, can lead a person to experience a quantifiable bit of genuine happiness. And in an existence that is short and brutish at worst and precarious at best, we must seize hold of these small moments — by whatever morally and ethically defensible means necessary — whenever we can.

    Thank you — very, very much — for asking! The world needs more people like you — people with hungry, questing minds.

  3. Greg (unregistered) on September 11th, 2007 @ 5:36 pm

    I quite like this twist on the typical skeptical diner restaurant reviews. Perhaps next you could do a Super America hot dog, cup of Super 8 Motel in-room coffee or Denny Hecker vehicle showroom bag of popcorn. :) Really.

  4. Ed Kohler (unregistered) on September 11th, 2007 @ 5:47 pm

    This reminds me of the work The Skeptical Diner did a couple months back on organic avocados at the Midtown Market. I picked up a few of those on my bike ride across town on the way home from work and must say that Mr. Norton nailed it on that review.

    Not I’m tempted to hit my local Lund’s, but feel that the underlying apples may be a bit short of peak at this juncture.

  5. Erica M (unregistered) on September 11th, 2007 @ 6:04 pm

    Denny Hecker vehicle showroom bag of popcorn. — I still hate Denny Hecker.

    My request is for the donut selection at the Mermaid car wash in Golden Valley. At the end of the day.

    Personally, I think Jim could write an entertaining and informational story on even the most dubious of topics.

    Plus, Lunds is local. It fits the bill.

  6. Aliecat (unregistered) on September 11th, 2007 @ 6:33 pm

    I’d be interested on James’ take on the breakfast sandwiches at Holiday. I, for one, find them delicious and wonderfully artery clogging…

  7. Erica M (unregistered) on September 11th, 2007 @ 7:06 pm

    I’m not James, but I’d say McGriddles are FAR superior.

    It’s all relative, I suppose.

  8. James Norton (unregistered) on September 11th, 2007 @ 8:39 pm

    I’m not adverse to Holiday breakfast sandwiches. I’ll keep my eyes peeled.

  9. Erica M (unregistered) on September 15th, 2007 @ 10:57 pm

    I totally bought a caramel apple at Lunds today. It was tasty. And the apple was really good.

    They’re on sale at the moment for $2.

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