Monday, June 30, 2008

Candy Ramadan: Day 11

I found another great, unexpected place to get candy today- Fry's Electronics. They had all kinds of good treats in there! I would totally go live in Fry's and eat candy and play Guitar Hero on my Nintendo DS to my heart's content.

Today I had an Abba-Zaba. There are a lot of retro candies I am going to eat for Candy Ramadan not for the nostalgic value but because I've really never had them before. Most of them are pretty much before my time or were only available on the West Coast or New England or wherever until now. I've heard of Abba-Zabas before but I hadn't seen one until today.

Maybe it's because I don't have some wonderful childhood memories associated with this candy, but I thought it pretty much sucked ass. The first bite hurt two of my bottom teeth, and not in a cute this stuff is so chewy it almost pulled my fillings out! way, but in an Oh my Flying Spaghetti Monster, I might have to find a dentist who is open on Sunday because I think I just messed up my damn jaw.

After several minutes the pain subsided and I sucked on the candy until it was soft enough to actually chew, because I'll be damned if I let a piece of candy tell me what to do. It was pretty bland. The wrapper claims that it is peanut-butter filled taffy, but all the (very greasy) peanut butter was at the very ends of the bar, so the middle was a wasteland of tasteless white orthodontic nightmare. Abba-Zaba is not my only friend.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Candy Ramadan: Day 10

Today's candy was the Cadbury Curly Wurly. It's from the U.K. and I got it at World Market. It's pretty much just a curly caramel ribbon covered in chocolate. Delicious? Yes. But what bothered me was the fact that so much space was wasted inside the wrapper. I mean, half the damn thing was air! Why not make it a solid caramel ribbon? And it was really, really flat too, like Air Head candy. It barely weighed anything at all and if you breathed too hard around this candy bar you might have accidentally inhaled it up your nose. I ate this thing in about three seconds flat. What the hell kind kind of candy gets eaten that quickly? WHY MUST YOU MOCK MY NEED FOR CANDY, CADBURY?!?!?!

I had to buy some cupcakes to appease the Sugar Monster today. Sigh.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Candy Ramadan: Day 9

I tried some Chimes Ginger Chews today and they were off the damn chain. They were sweet at first (and very, very chewy) and then they got good and spicy. I'm not a big fan of spiciness, but these were awesome. I got these at World Market mainly because I thought the tin they came in was hella cool. I also dig the fact that they were all individually wrapped so it was easier to share them.

I was worried that these were going to be gum, because the 'chew' part was kinda vague. I'm not a big fan of gum. I used to chew it in middle school mainly because it pissed off teachers, then I got braces and wasn't allowed to chew it. By the time I got my braces off I had found other ways to piss off teachers, and gum is just... it's such a tease, you know? It's sugary and delicious at first, but then it gets all gross and hard and hurts your jaw and then you spit it out. It's like having candy blue balls. Plus chewing gum brings out a number of disgusting behaviors in people, like smacking on it with their mouths open or doing that crackly noise, and there is nothing more friggin' nasty than stepping in gum... unless it's putting your fingers in gum that's stuck underneath a table. Just thinking about that makes me want to barf. Next time you're out walking in a major city, check out the sidewalk and see how many dirty gum blobs there are. Is it really too much to ask for people to spit gum in a trash can? I think I might go move to that country where they cane people for chewing gum. They've got the right idea.

Reading group! This week's book is "Candy Everybody Wants" by Josh Kilmer-Purcell.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Candy Ramadan: Day 8

For today's treat we will go to Germany for the Niederegger Lubeck Marzipan Classic bar. This is marzipan covered in bittersweet chocolate., and let me tell you, it's pretty damn good. I've had marzipan before but I've never had it paired with bittersweet chocolate. The result is a bar that is full of subtle almond and chocolate flavors and isn't super-sweet. They have other flavors that I'm totally going to get next time I'm at World Market. Well, maybe I should find another place to get them, because I noticed after I started eating it that the bar's expiration bate was June 18, 2008. Is it possible that the red bean candy I ate was expired, too? Is it possible that red bean candy would be good if it was fresh? That can't be true...that's - that's impossible. Thinking along those lines can only lead to madness. Madness, I tell you!

For those of you who haven't had marzipan, it's basically a paste made from ground-up almonds and sugar. They love that shit over in Europe, they make sculptures that look like fruit and animals out of it and eat it for Christmas. When I was in Germany years ago they had marzipan candy all over the place but I didn't try any. I was too busy stuffing my face with sausages. That... sounded vaguely dirty. Anyway, marzipan isn't well-known here in the States, unless it's the Homestar Runner character. I'm not sure why, maybe because it isn't as tooth-meltingly sweet as other candies. Plus it has kind of an odd texture, a little gritty and oily at the same time. But paired with chocolate it's really, really good.

By the way, I am really and honestly doing Operation: Af-Candy-Stan so if you have any suggestions on where I can send a candy donation PLEASE tell me!! The Reese's Piece Corps needs your help!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Candy Ramadan: Day 7

I was really dreading today's candy, which has a bunch of Japanese characters on the front of the bag and a tiny sticker on the back that identifies the contents as "Ribon Soft Hokkaido" (the quotation marks are theirs, not mine). Well, really dreading is the nice way of saying that, after the horror of red bean candy from Monday, I'd rather be punched in the pussy than try more World Market candy from Asia. And no, I'm not going to stop bitching about the red bean candy. You weren't there, man. You'll never know the suffering I endured at the hands of the White Rabbit Candy Company.

However, the candy bag also makes this hilarious claim: At last! A not too sticky calcium enriched soft-candy that's both healthy and tasty! and there is a drawing of a moo cow that looks so gentle and beseeching, imploring me to change my mind and partake in the bounty of this calcium-enriched earthly delight. I think it must be one of those Kobe cows that gets to drink beer. Would a Beer Cow lie to me? I think not. Plus, you know, I have been having issues finding texturally pleasant soft candy that's both delicious and nutritious. At last! I feel as though a great weight has been lifted from my calcium-starved mind.

These things are actually pretty tasty. They're kind of like a really soft vanilla-flavored Tootsie Roll. Or like a candy version of the milk left in the cereal bowl after you eat Frosted Flakes. The nutritional information has a serving of these things (which is about 2 candies) as having a whopping 2% of your daily amount of calcium. I can feel my bones getting stronger as I type. The main ingredient in this is millet jelly, and I thought about Googling that to see what the hell that was, but then I decided that I'm probably better off not knowing.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Candy Ramadan: Day 6

Today's candy is Mamba Fruit Chews, which I haven't had (or seen) since I was about nine years old. They're basically the rectangular version of Starbursts, with four flavors: lemon, orange, strawberry and raspberry. Back in the day a package of Mambas came with five pieces of each flavor, but to my disappointment they now come with six pieces of three random flavors. I got orange, lemon and strawberry with the package I bought at Jo-Ann Fabrics (again with the Jo-Ann Fabrics!). And of course I wound up with orange, lemon and strawberry because my favorite flavor is... raspberry. Oh well. Apparently the raspberry Mambas are another Candy Sasquatch.

I read a review where someone called Mambas the least user-friendly candy ever because of the excessive packaging (each individual candy is wrapped, then each flavor is wrapped together in a little six-piece brick, then the bricks are wrapped together) but I like having the candy arranged fruit-abetically. Plus it makes it seem like you're getting three candies for the price of one.

What's great about candy (besides the sweet, sweet sugar) is that everyone has a great childhood memory linked to candy. Whenever I see a butterscotch hard candy I think of my best friend Laura's grandmother who kept them in a Folger's coffee jar in her bedroom. I think of Halloween when my brother and I would dump our sugar bounty on the floor and painstakingly arrange everything into categories: chocolate bars, miscellaneous chocolate, chewy fruity things, the Spree/Sweet Tarts/Smarties pile, gum, hard candy, the lame pile with the pennies and raisins, and the shitty candy pile. We'd then spend hours negotiating trades while our parents would help themselves to the candy we didn't want. Mambas make me think of the fourth grade when my teacher, Mr. Schuldiner, would throw us Mambas for correct answers. Nothing made my day like seeing a raspberry Mamba brick sailing towards my head. I bet they can't even give out candy in school anymore.

Feel free to share your candy memories and don't forget about the Reese's Piece Corps' Operation: Af-Candy-Stan and send me any ideas for troops or organizations who need candy donations.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Candy Ramadan: Day 5

With the horror of yesterday's candy selection still festering in my colon, I was eager for something from the Sack O' Candy that wouldn't make me want to rip out my tongue and stomp it in the dirt. So today I went for the bag of California Marich Candy Champagne Truffles from the awesome DeKalb Farmer's Market. They have a pretty cool candy selection there and almost all of it has to do with things covered and smothered in chocolate goodness. The best thing about their selection is it's all in cellophane bags which are priced according to weight, so if you want to try something out you can just grab the smallest bag, which is what I did with these truffles. They were only $3!

These little truffles were shaped more like an outsized Whopper, and they had a good, very slightly chewy chocolately center surrounded by a waxy protective coat that kinda tasted vaguely like the Farmer's Market smells. They were best when you sucked on them and they melted in your mouth. I couldn't taste the champagne part, but for $3 for a bag of them they were pretty righteous.


Operation Af-Candy-stan! Do you know a soldier serving in the Middle East or know an organization who will pass on donations to troops? Please let the Reese's Piece Corps know in the comments so we can make a rad candy donation!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Candy Ramadan: Day 4

World Market fails me for the second day in a row with White Rabbit Red Bean Creamy Candy from China. It's an unholy alliance of corn starch syrup, cane sugar, butter, milk and red bean powder. I was wondering if some lead paint was in here too, but I think if there was it would have been much more tasty.

I took the wrapper off of one of these things, ignoring the fact that the inside of the package smelled just like turpentine. When I pulled off the wax paper (which, I should mention, had a picture of a rabbit that looked like it was pooping beans) there was a kind of clear plastic wrapper covering the candy, which I couldn't get off. So I got mad and threw that one away and tried a new candy, hoping that one would be more cooperative. It wasn't, so I tried to bite into it to see if I couldn't get it off that way. It was so damn hard it almost shattered my molars. My co-worker took out his pocket knife and cut another one in half, seeing if we couldn't get the plastic wrapper off that way but that didn't work either (and it sent a hunk of Red Bean Candy shooting off the table, nearly blinding him). Finally I just stuck one in my mouth to see if I couldn't suck the damn wrapper off.

The clear plastic wrapper, it turns out, wasn't made of plastic but rice paper, which dissolves into slimy tentacle goo before you swallow it. The candy itself tasted just like refried beans. It was barely sweet and did I mention it tasted like refried beans? It was so filthy, but going along with the philosophy of Andrew Zimmern from "Bizarre Foods" (and the knowledge that I just spent like $3 on a bag of this crap), I decided to try it twice to make my final judgment about it. And... it was still redolent of refried beans. What made matters worse, the bean taste stayed with me even after I ate my emergency piece of chocolate I keep in my lunch bag. I finally had to buy a coffee to get rid of the bean flavor.

If this is what passes for candy in China I feel so sorry for them. Who the hell thought of using beans as a candy flavor anyway? That's just some twisted shit. But in a world that allows a company to manufacture Celery Soda, I guess anything is possible. I think I am going to start a charity to send Mallo Cups and Cow Tales and Twizzlers to Asia. For 25 cents a day you can make sure a child in China receives the proper candy he or she so desperately needs. I think I will call it the Reese's Piece Corps.

In my heart, I know I'm funny.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Candy Ramadan: Day 3

You know what's awesome? Shopping for candy. Usually buying candy is totally ancillary to your primary shopping goal; it's just an impulse buy at the check-out or when you walk by the post-holiday sale tables after Easter and Halloween. But to go to the store for the express purpose of purchasing a big basket of candy? It's a wonderful feeling, like being a kid in a... store... of some sort. A porn store. Yeah, like a kid in a porn store. Anyway, go try it sometime, seriously.

My candy expedition the last few days led me to one of my favorite places ever, World Market. They sell beer and Buddha statues there! And the candy selection is amazing, they have all kinds of German and Swiss chocolates and wacky Asian candy and English cookies, but they call them biscuits for some reason. I think it must be a metric thing.

Anyway, today's candy is not an import but a product of World Market, Dark Chocolate Blood Orange Cordials. I had a choice between these and the Caramel Apple Chews they had, and, coming off the Caramel Nirvana that is Cow Tales, I decided to go for the Cordials. Plus they sounded like those chocolate oranges that you whack on the table. Those things are so good.

The first one I ate was interesting. It was very sweet, but there wasn't much cordial filling, no chocolate taste and it almost felt like there was some kinda crunchy shell in the middle, almost like the inside of a Whopper. I bit another one in half to check out the infrastructure and, with cordial goo running down my chin, I found a red, waxy outside, a dark chocolate part, and white crusty stuff surrounding what was left of the liquid center. I think that the crusty stuff was just crystallized sugar from the cordial filling, which meant that the candy was probably old or something. Interestingly enough, though, the crusty bit gave it a pretty good texture in an otherwise meh candy. I ate about half of these before I threw them out. They were sweet, which was good, but I expected more from World Market. Plus I think in the back of my head I was wishing I'd gotten the Caramel Apple Chews instead. That's OK though, I bough a big sack o' candy from them so their reputation can be redeemed soon.

Bonus candy! A woman I work with gave me an itty-bitty Toblerone today. Hoorah! She's helping me keep the 'candy' in Candy Ramadan.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Candy Ramadan: Day 2

I started off the day right by having one of my favorite candies for breakfast: Cow Tales. Nothing like three Cow Tales and a giant cup of coffee to get you going at at the crack of noon!

For you poor, unfortunate souls out there who have never had a luscious Cow Tale pass through your lips (and your lower intestine), it's a long rope of caramel filled with sumptuous white cream filling, kinda like the filling of an Oreo. It's just sugar wrapped in sugar and therefore a radical empire to all which is radical.

Yes, I know a lot of you are thinking they are the same thing as Caramel Creams, and while the concept is the same (and they're made by the same company), I think the caramel is much softer with Cow Tales and also the Tales are dusted lightly with a white powdery substance which helps them not stick to the candy wrapper. The wrapper claims that it's some sort of corn starch or flour or some such shit but I'm pretty sure there's gotta be heroin mixed in there because I crave these suckers like a mofo.

I think part of what makes these things so good is their limited availability in this area, and then half the time when you do find them they're all stale and gross. The mark of an excellent candy emporium is directly equivalent to the freshness of their Cow Tales. (I found these ones at Jo-Ann Fabrics. I need to go to Jo-Ann Fabrics more often, it is an untapped candy reservoir.) Whenever I see Cow Tales at a store I give them a little squeeze to see if they are soft and pliant. There is nothing more disappointing than biting into a hard Cow Tale. It's like eating a caramel candle. A caramel candle basted in my own bitter tears.

Cow Tales come in a few more flavors, but I've only tried one other one, the Caramel Apple one. God, that was so good. But I only ever found them at some truck stop in Florida a few years ago and since then I've spent an embarrassing amount of time searching for them. It's like Candy Sasquatch. And I know I can probably just order a metric fuck-ton online, but... it's just not the same, man.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Candy Ramadan: Day 1

So I started off this most tasty of holy holidays with a candy I'd never tried before, a Mallo Cup. Mallo Cups are like peanut butter cups but instead of a gritty, oily center these had marshmallow fluff and chunks of dessicated coconut. At first I was wary of any candy that had fruit in it, because I didn't want to fill up on empty vitamins, but the coconut was practically at the end of the ingredients list and it was completely drenched in sugar and corn syrup, so I figured it was good. Plus I like the word 'dessicated'.

I bought these at Jo-Ann Fabrics today while I was looking for some mosaic tiles to glue all over my fireplace (security deposit be damned). I got out to the car and bit into one immediately, wanting to eat it before it got all hot and gooey. The first bite was so face-meltingly sweet that my teeth ached until I bought a Diet Coke and rinsed my mouth out.

Needless to say, it was AWESOME. There aren't that many candies that are so purely devoted to the unencumbered delivery of sugar in all of its wonderful forms. They always want to put some kind of organic dark chocolate or protein-rich nuts or fruit flavors in there and fuck up the sugar. But not Mallo Cups! It was super-sweet chocolate covering fluffy sugar goo and sugar-soaked coconut flakes. This was a really awesome way to start off Candy Ramadan.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Countdown to 30: Candy Ramadan

It is now less than two months until my 30th birthday, and I'm bummed as hell. I don't want to be 30. I don't want any more people to tell me that 30 isn't that bad. I swear to Flying Spaghetti Monster that I noticed a wrinkle today on the side of my mouth. To make it worse it was only on the left side of my mouth so not only am I quickly on my way to looking like the Crypt Keeper I am doing so asymmetrically. Super.

So, as the sun sets on my 20s, it occurs to me that my time to do incredibly stupid things with no social repercussions is soon coming to an end. With that in mind, I plan on spending the last 57 days doing whatever fun and immature things I want. To kick it all off, I decided I'm going to observe Candy Ramadan.

I got the idea of Candy Ramadan from a Candy Addict article about the pitiful dearth of mid-year candy-related holidays. It's like actual Ramadan, only, you know, the total opposite. I originally wanted to eat nothing but candy from sunup to sundown, but all-night vomiting and eventually getting rickets is just not what Candy Ramadan is all about. So here are the rules I came up with for Candy Ramadan:

1. Candy must be eaten every day for thirty days.

2. A different kind of candy must be eaten each day.

3. If candy is consumed with another food item (such as cake, ice cream, etc.) the candy must constitute at least 50% of the dish to be counted as the daily candy.

4. Breath mints, gums, or any other item approved by the American Dental Association are not candy. Also, anything that is "nature's candy" is not actual candy but fruit in disguise (your parents lied to you).

5. Keep track of which candy is eaten every day and post it here.

Really, does anything say immaturity better telling the Food Pyramid to go fuck itself? Tomorrow the fun begins!

By the way... don't do a Google image search of the word 'candy' at work. Trust me.