“That Got Me To Thinkin’…?” “Candy Kong” Chapter 79
By Bruce Williams
I recently ran a poll online to elicit people’s favorite chocolate Halloween candies—specifying that no tarts or sours be included, nor any high-brow chocolatiers need apply (See’s/Fran’s et al)—and the results are in! 53 friends and family replied, many passionately, and I awarded their picks on a 3-2-1 basis, creating a point system of sorts to keep track. Two people (my wife, Kerry Leeper) cited five, so I just went with their top three, and a few named only one. Ted Dick just definitively dropped “Milk Duds” under his name and would elaborate no further, even with prompting. In many cases, I had to combine similar items—for instance Mounds and Almond Joy, with coconut being the most controversial of ingredients spawning both ardor and disdain from various camps, and Hershey’s Bars and Kisses since the base is relatively the same. I hovered over Milky Way and Three Musketeers (doesn’t one just add caramel?), but chose to keep those as separate entities. Also—all the different myriad kinds of M&M’s, Reese’s and Twix were combined under one header. Let’s get to those highly scientific tallies (margin of error between 2% & 99%):
Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups 42
Kit Kat 23
Mounds/Almond Joy 19
Hershey’s bar/Kisses 16
Baby Ruth 13
Heath bar 12
Cadbury (any form) 10
Milky Way 9
3 Musketeers 6
Milk Duds 5
York Peppermint Pattie 4
Mentioned, but with less than 4 points (a minimum requirement based on needing to be listed at least twice) were: Dove, Ghirardelli, Oh Henry (discontinued), Mountain Bar, 100 Grand, Payday, Whatchamacallit and Rolos (Heidi Hansen), and all of Tim Tobin’s obscure entries (Gobino, Uno, Lindt)—I don’t know where the hell he’s been trick-or-treating.
At one point, a side-bar ensued about alternative s’mores ingredients, and my previously unintroduced friends traveled down a campfire rabbit hole all the way to cinnamon graham crackers. My friend Mike Buzzelle provided such an elegant argument for his three picks that I’ve chosen to include it here in its entirety, as it best represents the fervor with which respondents often approached this simple inquiry:
“When you really get down to it, and in keeping with the guardrails you’ve imposed, we’re really talking about the merits of the confectioner’s ability to mix ingredients. I mean let’s be honest, none of them are winning awards for the flavor profiles of the chocolate alone. Amirite?
For my money, you’re just not getting any better than a Reese’s SMALL peanut butter cup. The big ones don’t balance the chocolate to peanut butter ratio, leaving the consumer with a dry peanut butter-heavy finish and wishing for a swig of soda.
Next up? Almond Joy. This little beauty blends pretty tasty chocolate with a crunchy (whole, I might add) almond. Add in the flavor of the tropics with shredded coconut and you’re goddamn right you’ve got my vote. Imagine the looks on their faces when they finally landed on that combo-luscious chocolate combined with a crunchy and a soft with those flavor attributes. Jesus.
Call me lazy, my last pick doesn’t exactly scream connoisseur. Snickers. There, I said it. The damn things just have a great mix of chocolate, nougat, caramel and dry roasted peanuts all in exquisitely doled-out proportions.
I’ve been able to curate this collection of favorites by sneakily pirating these careful picks from Von’s treat jar over the last several years.”
There was also this plaintive defense accompanied with distinct instructions on how to imbibe the simple Mounds by my friend Brian Permann:
“Allow me to introduce the King of Kandy…The Mounds Bar. If you want a superior chocolate ‘n coconut experience, skip the dumb almond and puny milk chocolate of the Almond Joy. Go for the dark, serve at a chilled 39 degrees and enjoy each bar in two equal bites.”
Thanks to everybody who participated and essentially wrote the column for me this week. The wider audience is encouraged to add their two cents (and three picks), and I may follow up with an update at some point if the crowned Candy Kong Champion Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup gets knocked off of its lofty perch, though that seems highly unlikely after its dominance in this smaller sample. For me, nothing beats Peanut Butter M&M’s—all the fun of the Reese’s, but with a Candy shell added to protect the fingers from smudging and to provide an added, eggshell texture—no mess. Wunderbar!
**Editor’s Note, It is not often we do this but with such outrageous claims in this column we issue the following statement….”We’re disappointed that the anti-coconut faction did not get equal representation over those traitors to taste that support that god awful ingredient. But just as Susan Lucci had to endure years of being ignored, the anti-coconut will not go quietly my friends. This will NOT be the last word on that vile nut. To describe it as the “King of Kandy” is like selling the Mona Lisa at a Yard Sale. Outrageous!”