Jock Eats: Maria Sharapova's Sugarpova
January, 22, 2013
By Chris Gigley | ESPN The Magazine
Charles Eshelman/FilmMagicThe tennis star's candy has a cool name and neat packaging -- but does it taste good?Maria Sharapova is nearly as good at pitching products as she has been at winning rallies at this week’s Australian Open. That’s why TAG Heuer, Nike and Sony pay the No. 2-ranked tennis star the big bucks.
That’s also why Sharapova launched her own line of gummy candy last August. She told Bloomberg News she wanted to invest in something she could grow. Which is fine, as long as the candy tastes good.
When Sugarpova debuted shortly before the 2012 U.S. Open, the candy seemed more Kournikova than Sharapova -- all style, no substance. Each of the 12 varieties is packaged in stylish white pouches and has a cute, but non-descriptive name. Which is confusing, especially with “Sporty.” It’s not gummy candy. It’s straight-up gum.
Then, in an Aug. 21 interview with Jimmy Fallon, came this relevation:
“The name [Sugarpova] came about, and I thought it was brilliant and funny,” she said. “And I’ve always had a sweet tooth. I love candy.”
So the cutesy brand name was really the impetus for the business venture, and not a candy jones? That wasn’t really a confidence-builder, but to be fair we had to give each Sugarpova flavor a try for ourselves.
Mike Windle/Getty ImagesTwelve kinds of Sugarpova to choose from.
Taste test: All your standard gummies, but in different shapes, ranging from handbags to worms to classic bears. The signature candy for the line, however, is the lips-shaped “Flirty.” It’s more like an unwanted advance. They’re all only vaguely fruity.
Flavor: Smitten Sour/Flirty Sour/Spooky Sour/Silly Sour
Taste test: Same deal as above. They all essentially taste the same, but come in different shapes and colors. And the sourness isn’t particularly pucker-worthy for any of them.
Flavor: Sassy Sour
Taste test: A breakout performer among the sour set. Each fruit-shaped piece tastes a lot like the real thing. The banana and peach are particularly tasty.
Taste test: The aforementioned non-gummy candy, Sporty is in fact lemon-lime-flavored chewing gum. The lemon-lime runs out in a minute of chomping, but the gum stays sweet for a while longer. But we call Sporty a winner for the tennis-ball-shaped gumballs.
Taste test: Sharapova’s favorite is a double winner. The first point is for the tart strawberry flavor from the striped gummy coat; the second, for the vanilla flavor emanating from the creamy center. It’s one of those candies you keep eating until, suddenly, the bag is empty.
Score: Game, Sugarpova.