Wisconsin Candy Trip, the Final Chapter

July 2, 2010 at 12:30 pm Leave a comment

All week I’ve been writing about my vacation candy adventures up in the northwoods of Rhinelander, Wisconsin. Today’s theme is “colors never seen in nature.” I found candies I never knew of up there in Rhinelander, and if they weren’t exploding on your tongue, they were exploding in your eyeballs.

Exhibit number one: Snaps. Now I’d never heard of Snaps, but evidently they are a popular and familiar nostalgia candy in certain quarters. The American Licorice Company has been making them since the 1930s. When my mother-in-law saw the bag, she got all excited.  Here’s what it looks like:

Since I didn’t know what Snaps were, I had no idea what to expect from “classic chewy candy,” except chewyness. This is what is in the bag:

Are they chewy? Well, yes, in the way that flexible tubing you use in your aquarium is chewy. The real question is, are they candy?

It turns out that my bag was one year past its expiration, so I will take that as an explanation for the shoe-leather quality and frightening color, not only of the outside but of the inside as well. Once I got the candy coating off, what I found was a sort of flat tan piece with the texture of a pool floatie and the taste of sweet licorice. Not what I was expecting from a candy-coated licorice chew.

Then I noticed this seeming imitation snap in the grocery store:

These were actually quite good. The colors, while equally lurid, are in my opinion much more lovely shades than the strange Snap greens and oranges. The package is a little vague on where they come from, but they were more what I expected. Your basic candy coated black licorice, with the candy coating a little softer than on a Good n Plenty. But not, strangely, hollow. Which, if it means soft and yummy candy, must be a good thing.

The final stop on our Wisconsin Candy Trip is with this odd bar:

It’s Wazoo: “chewy fruity candy sprinkled with crunchies.” It looks weirder than it tastes. We are not, after all, accustomed to purple candy bars. But the flavors are a nice balance of sweet and fruity sour, and the crunchies are, well, crunchie. As for what to expect from the “chewy fruity candy,” think stale 3 Musketeers nougat mixed with a bit of sour gummi bear.

According to Candy Blog, this candy bar was introduced in 2009 with great fanfare, and then the factory that makes them went under. So I suspect, given the age of my Snaps, that this bar was from the original run. I’m not sure if they began making them again, but there seems to be an active secondary market in the stuff.

Interestingly, the crunchies, those little balls sprinkled on top that fell all over my floor when I opened the package, are made in Thailand. Candy crunchies sourced all the way to Thailand, wrap your mind around that one. But then, that’s the twenty-first century in candy: fruity, crunchy, and global.

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Candy: A Century of Panic and Pleasure

Welcome to Candy Professor

Candy in American Culture What is it about candy? Here you'll find the forgotten, the strange, the curious, the surprising. Our candy story, one post at a time.

(C) Samira Kawash

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