the candy harvest has come in!
ok, not the biggest take, but this is just the stuff i brought into share at work! there are a -lot- more peanut chews at home, and a variety of flavored dark chocolates i’m keeping for me and my love-interest to snack on while we watch horror movies and cuddle. (it’s fall!). i’m lucky i decided on veganism before i went shopping because i could have gone totally broke on candy.
inspired by Steve Almond’s Candyfreak, i found myself looking for Necco Wafers at Economy Candy, the only place i was certain i could find them. Almond notes in his book that Neccos, first manufactured in 1847, “were a staple of the Union soldiers who fought in the Civil War.” being ridiculous, i got excited about this because -i’ve- eaten and enjoyed neccos myself, and i felt a historical connection. i was also interested that the candy has a ‘clove’ flavor, an unusual (and occasionally maligned) flavor for candy, but something i actually like.
unfortunately, i discovered necco wafers have gelatin, which means that even vegetarian me wouldn’t have eaten them. So i turned my sites on other old-timey or unusual candies. And the peanut chews which are probably the most widely available vegan candy.
Original Turkish Delight:
this was a surprise, because every recipe for turkish delight i’ve ever seen involved gelatin, and i’ve never seen such a thing in a store before. i have in fact only had it once before, and my memory of it is completely free of what-it-tasted-like and totally full of how-awkward-i-was. they had turkish delight with nuts and stuff in it, but i thought i’d go for the plain. that’s just how i operate.
cubes of coagulated sugar and cornstarch, covered in powdered sugar. and yes, it was Delicious! it actually tastes -exactly- like marshmallows. -exactly-.
peanut chews are good times. the peanut to chocolate ratio skews extremely towards the peanut. and they are, so far as vegan chocolate bars go, pretty widely available.
Black Jack Gum:
i only bought this for the nostalgia factor. i didn’t even eat any. licorice-flavored black gum. but remember Twin Peaks? remember when you didn’t know what was going to happen and you were looking for clues and some hint and/or another led your mom to believe the secret was in Black Jack gum so she bought a bunch and you ate it and were all, ‘ew, mom.’ so there’s the nostalgia factor.
Joyva Raspberry Joys:
these are fruit jells enrobed in chocolate. a lot of people hate them. you also see them as ‘jelly rings’ in some of the stores around greenpoint (if not everywhere). i’m a fan myself and locavore bonus – they’re made in brooklyn. yay!
i got these for a specific spicy cinnamon candy lover here at the bkk. basically cinnamon mike and ikes.
Spicy Apple Ginger Chews
most mysteriously, the Spicy Apple version of Ginger Chews was actually a bit less spicy than the usual plain version. Ginger Chews, if you’ve never had them, are a pleasantly warm spicy gingery candy that sticks to your teeth like crazy. But you can’t stop eating them anyway. the company that makes them is called Ginger People, and the packaging features, what else, anthropomorphic ginger roots, occasionally partaking in a little canabalistic Ginger Chew eating.
they fizz! it takes a minute or so, but once the outer hard candy is compromised, a fizzy fun time starts. they are a bit sour, but not Warheads or anything. i found them a little disconcerting the first time, but my disconcertment has now turned to love.
Sen-Sen is really the reason i wrote this post. more of a (n unintentional) gag toy than a food really, Sen-Sen is “perfume for your mouth”. almost literally. this bizarre ‘candy’ was created in the 1890’s as a breath freshener, with licorice as the main ingredient. mint was apparently not considered, but the product really took off anyway.
i found the effect of eating what looks tiny black paint chips is not at all unlike spraying inedible perfume directly into your mouth. i can understand, i suppose, a world in which the idea of ‘perfume for your mouth’ would mean something that made you feel like you had perfume in your mouth. and a world where this made you think your breath was ‘fresh’. i mean, this is a world where, according to Wikipedia, cleaning your teeth involved tooth powders made “with chalk, pulverized brick, or salt as ingredients”. pulverized brick does not sound refreshing. but what i don’t totally get is this product continuing to exist over 100 years later, and being sold as a candy! but that said, one person i had try Sen-Sen, intending it to upset him, totally liked it. but he also likes lavendar flavored candy, so is clearly a weirdo.
so there you go. my candy rundown. have a Happy Halloween!