Hey gang! It’s Andy Larson, back again for another one of these great multi day debates that we are holding around the GotS offices, on some randomly selected easy relatable pop culture conversation nugget. Last month it was sitcoms in honor of the beginning of the new TV season. This month, originally Stew wanted to tackle the horror movie genre, but both Chad and I put the kibosh on that. So if it’s not tricks that we are debating on this Halloween season, it must be treats!
Yes sir! Today is the second day of the official GotS list debate on what are the best candy types in the world, which will culminate with our Twitter fans being able to vote on whose list was the sweetest this weekend!
This is definitely worth taking a pause out of my current binge watching of Season 2 of the “Simpsons”esque fantasy related cartoon “Disenchanted” on Netflix. And for those of you that are fans of the show like myself, I’m sure Elfo would approve of this list choice given candy is all that elves seem to eat in that show…well other than chugging whiskey.
Anyways, it turns out that this topic for a blog was actually very popular around my household as both my wife, Nicole, and my two young kids started shouting out their favorite candy types the moment I started telling them about my list. So it seems this is a hot button issue that everyone from 6 to 60 has an opinion on so here’s hoping that will translate into solid numbers and comments for this month’s experiment.
Now I will say that in coming up with this list I did talk a long time about the “rules” with co host, Rob Stewart. He wanted to through potato chips, Hostess Ho Hos, various kinds of pie, pretty much everything in the junk food kitchen sink. But no sir, that’s not what I consider “candy”. So this is honestly a list of what people traditionally think of when they hear the word. It’s sugary sweet, it’s sometimes dipped in chocolate, heck it can even be in bar form, but in all situations it’s universally known as a type of “candy” in the true form of word.
So let’s go ahead and sink some rotten teeth into this one, folks, and crank that diabetes up to 11! Here comes my Top 10 favorite candy types!
10.) The Twix Bar
First created in 1967 in the United Kingdom before finally making it over to America in the year of my birth 1979, this chocolate covered cookie biscuit, narrowly beat out several other terrific candy bars that were competing for a spot on what you will see is a pretty “fruit flavor” heavy list. Crowd pleasers like the Snickers, Milky Way, and even plain old Hershey’s Bar all could have taken the 10th place on my list if not for the secret of the Twix Bar’s success in my mind: The fact that it was packaged as two candy bars, not one.
It’s the same reason that I prefer the 2 Cheeseburger meal at McDonalds over the Double Cheeseburger, even though you are pretty much getting the same amount of burger. It’s the illusion of getting more. And for a hungry brain, that’s a pretty damn powerful illusion.
Sure, you might be getting the same amount of candy bar in a Twix as you would in a Snickers, and in fact the Snickers might be more substantial on the whole, but again that illusion that you are getting “twice” as much candy because it’s two bars is extremely potent. In fact, I often found myself “saving” the second Twix bar for later, just because it was such a delight that I even had the option of doing that.
Plus the Twix is the official mascot of candy altruism. It’s the only candy bar made specifically to share with someone else. Thus it promotes sociability and friendship, which can help often take the edge off of the awkward situation that occurs when you are eating a candy bar in front of someone that doesn’t have one. Pure Genius!
Taste the Rainbow! Wow, what an aggressive marketing department this candy has!
I feel like it’s only rivaled by the M&M in terms of number of commercials I’ve seen for something sure to kill you faster long term by devouring massive quantities of it. It’s not surprising though, given that these fruit candies are also made by Mars, Inc. who also makes it’s more well know chocolate covered cousins, the M&M.
This is another candy that originated in the UK and was also imported to America in 1979 just like the Twix Bar. It’s like they knew I was going to be born that year, and wanted to fill the country with tons of candy I would grow to love. Although some might question why such a well known candy is so far down on my list.
Well, the simple answer is the fact that they changed one of my favorite flavors in 2013 when the green Skittle went from the delicious lime to the tart nasty green apple. Yes, I know they tried to put the lime Skittles back in rotation with alternative packaging like “Long lost Lime”, but it was too little too late. They broke my heart and my taste buds when they removed Lime, and I still haven’t forgiven the Skittle for that!
8.) Mike & Ikes
One of the few candies on this list not made by either the Mars company or Hershey, Mike and Ikes are still a proud product of my home state of Pennsylvania. Created by The Just Born Candy Company out of Bethlehem PA way back in 1940, these delightful fruit flavored oblongs are probably one of favorite candies to have on hand when I go to the movies. Bigger and chewier than a Skittle, they make for a much more satisfying nosh when the action starts ramping into overdrive in the latest MCU related thrill fest.
The only reason these aren’t higher on the list is because they don’t include a “grape” or “blue raspberry” flavor, which is a real shame. Plus, they also have a bastard cousin in the Hot Tamale which fooled me so many times as a kid. I thought I was reaching for a wonderful cherry tasting treat only to get a mouthful of burning cinnamon tasting Ipecac!
Cinnamon…worst candy flavor ever.
7.) Swedish Fish
Last year, my doctor told me that I should cut down my consumption of red meat. “Eat more fish”, he said, “It’s good for you”. Little did he know that I’ve been eating fish for years! In fact I’ve been eating fish probably since I was old enough to go into a store point over the counter and say “I’d like some of that, please”.
Of course, I’m talking about Swedish Fish, not the kind that’s supposedly good for you despite it being loaded with mercury. Yes, these wonderful little bite sized candies in the shape of some sort of trout I believe, have been a favorite of mine every since my Mom and Grandma would take me into a candy shop in the Altoona Mall named Gardner’s and let me pick out tons of these little buggers from the penny candy bins.
And boy howdy did I used to fill up on them! Red, Purple, Blue, Green, I would cast my net wide and pull from the seas this bounty of nature’s best confections to ever be graced with gills and scales.
The only reason this doesn’t make it higher on the list is because nowadays all you can really get anymore are the red swedish fish. And although that’s great and I’ve eaten tons of them thanks to those large boxes you can get at Wal-mart, you really can’t appreciate this candy without all its other colorful cousins which are hard to find any more. Especially the purple ones. Oh, my kingdom for a purple Swedish Fish!
6.) Peppermint Candy
When I was coming up with this list, my co host, Rob Stewart, joked that because I like old movies and comic books, I’m gonna end up putting “old ass” candy on my list too. Candy like Werter’s Originals or the old fashioned generic Rock Candy they sold in bulk at drug stores back a thousand years ago when they had drug stores. You know, old folks candy. Great Depression type stuff.
Well, he is right in the fact that I am going to include one candy on my list that has been around since the beginning: the lowly much forgotten and often maligned Peppermint candy.
Although more people ingest these beauties around the Christmas season in their more well known “cane” form, I prefer the old reliable circular disk version myself as they are more transportable and not dependent on having a jolly old Fat man around in order to enjoy. Yep, between this candy and the previous number 7 on my list, these were probably the first candy types I specifically remember eating, as my Grandma had a big bowl of these peppermint sweets on one of her end tables in her living room. Oh such good memories!
Plus I’ll say this. As a guy that has struggled his entire life with bad breath, whether it was because of the gurgling stomach acid or lack of flossing, these candies have been social lifesavers, especially since I often eat tons of them in a row given that like lollipops, I’ve never been patient enough to suck on these things. I often just crunch them down quick before popping another one in. As a result, at least for a few moments, I’ve got that minty fresh taste which the ladies love.
Much more satisfying than a stick of gum that you eventually just spit out ever was, but at the same time I feel just as socially acceptable to pop in your mouth even during a office meeting. That’s never a bad thing!
5.) Starburst Fruit Chews
Some people might give me crap for not including any sort of Taffy like candy on my list. And for those people, I just gotta say, if you are gonna start trying to shove that Salt Water stuff down my throat, I’m out of here!
You know what’s bad about Salt Water Taffy?!? Everything! How beach front stores can continue to peddle that garbage is beyond me, but again sometimes beach tourists are dumb enough to eat anything. I mean have you ever been to a “Dirty Dick’s”?!?
Anyways, to appease the taffy idiots, I’ve decided to include Starbursts on this list instead, as a “Fruit Chew” is about as close to the taffy consistency that I’m willing to get.
I will say though, I do love Starbursts. The flavors are so wonderful that it’s hard sometimes to nail down which one I like the most. Sometimes it’s Cherry, other times Lemon. It’s barely ever Orange, so I guess that’s one knock against it.
However, there is a really huge reason why this candy isn’t higher on list despite it definitely could be given the delicious flavors. It’s the packaging.
The fact that the candy is individually wrapped and you have to take the extra 15 seconds to unwrap each and every piece, that’s somewhat of a deal breaker for me. It’s not a candy that lends itself to mass eating like some of the rest higher on this list. In fact, if you do eat a ton of these in a row, all you feel like is a pig that can’t pick up its own trash as the surrounding area is just littered with all those Starburst wrappers. Not a good look for anyone!
4.) Reese Peanut Butter Cups
In any good contest, you have to have selections that appeal more to the audience than perhaps yourself. Same thing for say Fantasy Football. If you want to win, sometimes you gotta pick the “best” even if that might not be exactly what you might think deep down. I mean who is going to pass on Ezekiel Elliot at running back even though you might hate the Dallas Cowboys. You want to win, damn it!
I feel like that’s why the Reese Peanut Butter Cup is on my list. I mean don’t get me wrong. Anytime you put chocolate and peanut butter together it’s a match made in heaven! It’s like the Power Man and Iron Fist of deliciousness, and I’m never going to knock it.
But I’d be lying if I didn’t say in my heart of hearts, that I prefer my Choco/Butter fix in other forms first. A giant carvable Easter Egg of the stuff for example. That’s a treat I look forward to every year!
But yeah, I’m playing to all you folks out there, and that’s why it’s so high on this list. Everyone loves a Reese Peanut Butter cup, so it’s expected to be in the top spots. To not put it up here would be a crime against humanity and surely lose me any Twitter vote. They are just so universally beloved!
In fact, unlike the Twix, they are so good that even though there are two in package, you aren’t sharing that second one with anybody. Nope, not even your own children. They can get there own.
3.) Whatchamacallit Bar
The King of Candy Bars.
If God found a vending machine, this is where he would spend his dollar.
And what I love about the Whatchamacallit is that it’s the hipster candy bar. One perfect for fellas like me with their french press coffee and beard oils. It’s so secretive and bougie that if you bring up the fact that you like them in polite conversations, most people won’t even know what you are talking about nor have they ever really had one.
And damn it…I love that about this candy bar. It’s like my “thing”. I’ve been eating them for years, and yet most people would rather toil away with 3 Musketeers bars or disgusting Butterfingers. You see, the reason why they are so great boils down to the fact that they are bigger, tastier versions of a snack food that everyone already loves: The Nutty Buddy Bar.
Yep, that’s all a Whatchamacallit is. It’s a Nutty Buddy Bar 2.0. They take the basic design of the Nutty Buddy stick, stack them on top of each other while at the same time compressing so that it becomes more concentrated, and then they add a layer of gooey caramel. I mean, who doesn’t love that?!?
Godless Communists? Probably. But they would probably rather eat turnips anyways…
2.) Sour Patch Kids
If there’s one thing for sure that GotS co host, Rob Stewart, and I can agree on, it’s that Sour Patch Kids are one of these very best candies on the face of the planet. Perfectly sized, dusted in that perfect mix of both sweet and sour tasting sprinkles, they are a marvel to behold.
Although I mentioned earlier my preference to take Mike and Ikes when I go to see movies, really, those candies take a back seat when it comes to Sour Patch Kids which are my traditional “go to”. In fact, there are some movies I’ll forgo the popcorn all together and just fill my pie hole with these little suckers for the full two hours. I usually have to bring two boxes though given that the first one is devoured even before the opening previews finish.
Although I could gush all over these candies and how much I love them, I’ll instead provide two interesting facts that you might not have know.
First, in France, they are called “Very Bad Kids” which makes it sound like they are planning on toliet papering your house later this evening rather than being a delicious sour treat.
Second, until the mid 80s these candies were called “Mars Men” maybe because they looked like they were tiny aliens from outer space.
However, the name was eventually changed to capitalize on the overwhelming popularity of the Cabbage Patch Kid doll. Personally, I think that’s a stupid reason to change them from Mars Men and I would have preferred that name today I think, but whatever. So long as they don’t start calling them “Unicorn Poop Kids” given that’s a popular toy trend with the tykes nowadays…
1.) Gummy Bears
And finally we get to number 1. And I’m sure for some of you this is probably a surprise. How did the lowly geltin based Gummy bear make it all the way to the top of the list? And more importantly, is the Haribo gummies that you like or some other kind?
Well, although I will admit that Haribo invented the modern day gummy bear back in 1922, I have always preferred the flavors made by Albanese right there in Merrillville, Indiana. Maybe it’s because my Dad was from Chicago so I’ve got some Midwestern influence. I mean it is the reason I’m also a huge fan of Fannie Mae Candy as well.
But yes, everything is pretty much perfect when it comes to the gummy bear. Sweet, simple, colorful. It’s a main reason why eventually Big Vitamin hijacked the delivery method to get kids to take their vitamins (adults too for that matter).
Plus, one of my favorite fictional characters, The Doctor from Doctor Who, ate these things. Well…actually he ate Jelly Babies, but it’s similar enough that when I used to cosplay I would carry gummy bears in my pocket.
However, some of you might scoff at this being number one. And I believe that’s because you haven’t been introduced to the correct way to eat a gummy bear. You see the proper way to eat a gummy bear is the same way you should drink vodka, slightly chilled.
No, don’t put them in the freezer unless you want to use them as flavored ice cubes in your malt liquor. No, you keep them properly stored in your refrigerator, so they remain in a semi rigid, refreshingly cool state. Like tiny shots of Kool Aid or something. They never melt, or congeal into a big gummy lump and they stay tastier longer.
In fact, my entire family has bought into my Gummy Bears in the Fridge idea, and for all of us, there’s no better sweet treat than a quick handful of cold gummys on a hot summer day. Sincerely, try it yourself, and if you don’t think that it completely elevates the lowly gummy bear to something truly delightful, I’ll eat my straw cowboy hat.
In closing, yes friends, the gummy bear is the best of all of the candy types out there. So remarkable that they even made a fantastic cartoon series about them in the mid 80s that kick started the whole Disney Afternoon movement that gave us kids a treasure trove for quality cartoon memories. DuckTales, Chip n’ Dale, Darkwing Duck, Tale Spin for you weird people that enjoyed that goofy show.
I could say they also made a super annoying pop song about the Gummy Bear that my kids sing constantly to get under my skin, but no, we will just remember fondly the only song I care about inspired by these wonderful bear shaped treats…
Ah…yes…the legend of Gummi Glenn…what a remarkable candy!