Ah, the ’90s … a time of tie dye shirts, Brandon or Dylan (Dylan, obvi), and NSYNC.
For me, as I now barely cling onto my 30s, it was also peak junk food time — those days before my metabolism decided to go into early retirement.
But there’s still something so satisfying about ’90s snacks, filled with loads of sugar and yellow dye number five. They bring back memories of sitting in converted basements — with fellow flannel-clad friends, obsessing over boys with as much passion as that handful of Combos we were devouring.
These snacks can be improved upon only with the addition of something I could not legally drink in the ’90s — wine. So here you go — your definitive ’90s food and wine pairings.
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Gushers and Prosecco
Prosecco … oh, how I love you. You’re the sweet, but not too sweet, fizzy deliciousness that is synonymous with celebration. It’s much like Gushers back in the day. (’90s sleepovers, anyone?)
Insider Tip: Let the prosecco bubbles sit on your tongue for a bit, then, while still bubbling, put a strawberry Gusher in your mouth. The little burst of juice in the middle is the perfect complement — and it makes your next sip of wine taste like it’s been laced with strawberry syrup. Unfortunately, the bubbles aren’t quite powerful enough to get that stuck-on fruit stuff off of your teeth. But may as well keep trying. Another idea? Try some prosecco with homemade Gushers — made with real fruit.
Pepperoni Pizza Lunchables and Syrah
As a mom who has made approximately 964 PB&Js over the past year, I have to say — I deeply, deeply appreciate the sentiment behind Lunchables. And when paired with a smooth, juicy Syrah for the adults, I appreciate the sentiment even more. The pepperoni brings out the spicy aftertaste in the wine, making the whole pairing both easy and bold — much better than with Capri Sun!
Spaghetti-Os and Chianti
May I introduce you to your new Friday night dinner. The Spaghetti-Os are sugary and just slightly metallic from their years in the can. While the chianti is known for being dry and earthy. The Os dry it out even more, but mellow out the earthiness — leaving it just the slightest bit sweet. The only way to improve upon this combo is to splurge and get the Spaghetti-Os with those little mini meatballs, or try a healthy homemade version.
Dunkaroos and Port
How sad is it that I still know the jingle: Dunkaroos, Dunkaroos, you don’t just eat, you Dunkaroos!? (Though in retrospect, what?) While I don’t recommend dunking the conveniently-packaged vanilla cookies into the rainbow frosting and the port, the two do complement each other well. Because of the Dunkaroos’ sweetness, they have the effect of actually dialing back the sweetness of the port. This allows some of the more complex flavors of the wine to come forward, like whiskey and smoke. It also dials back some of that alcohol flavor, leaving just a delightful warm tingle in your throat. And okay yes, a sugar rush.
Bugles and Sauvignon Blanc
You. Guys. Bugles! How have I forgotten about these airy bites of finger-puppet deliciousness? So salty. So crispy. It’s like a pillow of chip. After a bugle (or 70, let’s be honest), the bright sauvignon blanc reveals an even tangier finish. Plus, it’s just so refreshing after consuming seven times your recommended sodium allotment for the day.
Handi-Snacks and Chardonnay
Handi-Snacks aren’t sophisticated, you say. You can’t make them into a refined appetizer, you say. I have one word for you: chardonnay. One sip and you’ll find yourself saying things like “the mouthfeel!” and “the blend of savory and sweet!” The buttery, toasty flavors of the chardonnay and Ritz match perfectly. Meanwhile, the salty, oozy cheese keeps the combo from being too buttery. This is a combination so elegant you’d almost forget you applied the cheese with a stick.
Fruit by the Foot and Zinfandel
Deep and lusty — much like my love for fruit snacks — the juicy zinfandel is a great match for a yard of soft, fruity magic. With the berry undertones of the zin, and the hit-you-in-your-face berry tones of the fruit snacks, you might think it would be just too much berry. You would be wrong. Instead, the berry of the Fruit by the Foot gets a bit dampened by the wine, while measurably sweetening it. It does all this without giving that bitter aftertaste you might expect. Perfect for a light dessert.