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By Blair Henley | Sunday, August 24, 2014

Maria Sharapova Sugarpova US Open

Maria Sharapova's pop-up candy shop in New York City succeeds in heralding the tennis mogul's arrival in advance of the US Open. 

(Photo Credit: Self Magazine)

When I was a kid, my parents had one Halloween-related rule: Eat all the candy you want tonight, but tomorrow those cavity-causing sugar devils get tossed in the trash. This was an understandable concept in theory. My parents wanted to promote healthy eating habits, but they didn’t want to rob me of Halloween fun. Sounds like a decent compromise unless, of course, you’re talking to a child who popped out of the womb with an insatiable appetite for sweets.
On one fateful Halloween night, I returned home with my spoils and proceeded to shovel candy into my mouth until my parents noticed me periodically leaving the room, making a beeline for the kitchen in my homemade Snow White costume. One of them followed only to see me spitting out the treats that I physically could not swallow anymore. My five-year-old sensibilities told me I was simply taking full advantage of my sugar parameters. I may have been full to the point of sickness but, gosh darn it, I was going to taste all the nectar of the Halloween gods.
I tell you this to better explain why this totally unnecessary review of Maria Sharapova’s line of Sugarpova candies was a thoroughly enjoyable exercise for me. Many years after my parents’ Halloween rule effectively backfired, my affection for confections remains.
After the success of her pop-up shop at Wimbledon, Sharapova opened another short-term storefront last week in Manhattan, located just across from the New York Public Library. The venue itself is underwhelming (she is simply sharing a café space connected to the swanky Andaz Hotel), but the window art succeeds in proudly promoting the Pova brand. Whatever the Sugarpova marketing plan, it must be working. Just two years after its inception, the candy company has a presence in 30 countries worldwide
Below you will find my assessment of the full line of Sugarpova offerings in the #PovaPopUp, ranked in order of “somebody remove these from my presence before I gain 10 pounds” to “not my favorite, but I would still eat a whole bag.”
You’ll be happy to know that a percentage of profits from every $6 bag of candy is donated to the Maria Sharapova Foundation, which assists different causes around the globe. This should make you feel better about paying a premium price for high-class sugar.
Candy: Spooky Sour
Tagline: Watch out, I bite
I thoroughly enjoyed Spooky Sour. The multicolored spider gummies were intensely fruity with just the right amount of sour sprinkled on top. Just try to ignore the fact that most of the edible arachnids feature six or seven legs instead of eight.
Candy: Flirty and Flirty Sour
Tagline: Lips like sugar
Earlier this year, Sharapova’s boyfriend Grigor Dimitrov admitted that Flirty Sour is his favorite Sugarpova flavor. I am not surprised. While not the most macho choice, these gummies shaped like lips, hearts and multicolored stars were the sourest candies of the bunch. (And, clearly, I enjoy sour candy.) The non-sour version was great, too, if you prefer a sweeter taste.
Candy: Quirky Sour
Tagline: Just let loose
Quirky Sour surprised me. I wasn’t a huge fan of the non-sour Quirky candy (see below), so I assumed I would feel the same about the sour version. Wrong! These tubular treats feature a multicolored outer layer surrounding a white sugary core. They tasted very much like a chewier version of the Sour Punch Straws I occasionally enjoyed as a child.
Candy: Smitten Sour
Tagline: Sugar, spice and mostly nice
These are a more colorful version of those chewy “belts” sold in just about every candy store. Sour and fruity, these were a sentimental favorite.
Candy: Chic
Tagline: Some style for your smile.
Made in the shape of heels, purses and sunglasses, these candies were very “Sharapova.”  This berry-flavored assortment was just the right amount of chewy.  
Candy: Cheeky
Tagline: Cute but Fierce
Who doesn’t like a good gummy bear? These little guys pack Jolly Rancher-esque flavors like watermelon and blue raspberry, which were a nice change from your typical gummy bear offerings. I also enjoyed the fact that they are slightly softer and easier to chew than some other brands.  
Candy: Silly and Silly Sour
Tagline: Twist, wiggle and rock
Silly is your typical gummy worm with more exciting berry and citrus flavors. I will say that their shape reminded me more of a gummy planarian than a gummy worm, but that’s neither here nor there. Both the sour and regular versions were tasty.
Candy: Splashy
Tagline: Dive right in
These gummy turtles, sharks, whales and fish may have the least original name in the Sugarpova candy stable, but they sure taste good. Some pieces, like the turtles and sharks, have a softer white underbelly, which seemed to make them slightly sweeter than the others.
Candy: Quirky
Tagline: Just let loose
This was the most unusual of Sharapova’s candy, an un-sour version of the Quirky Sour mentioned above. A fruity rainbow colored outer layer surrounds a soft white sugary center, creating an interesting taste and consistency. It’s fruity and super sweet, but not my favorite.  
Candy: Sassy Sour
Tagline: Sweet smile, fresh attitude
I was really looking forward to Sassy Sour. As noted above, I’m partial to sour variations, and these were actually shaped and flavored like real fruit! As it turns out, these watermelons, strawberries, apples, peaches and bananas (note: no candy should ever be banana flavored) weren’t particularly sour. It also turns out I prefer candy that does not attempt to taste like health food. 
Candy: Sporty
Tagline: The taste of victory
I don’t consider gumballs to be a true candy, so Sporty was dealing from weakness from the start. Though I did enjoy the lemonade flavor (the inside of the gumball features a tangy lemon sugar core), it lasted a mere two minutes of continuous chewing before I could have used a refresher. The multicolored gumballs do get bonus points for their tennis ball design – the rippled texture of the balls’ “fuzz” and ingrained seams make for a very true-to-life construction.
Note: I sadly could not get my hands on the newest Sugarpova flavor, Speedy. You’ll just have to use your imagination. 


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