But enough about me - let's talk about chocolate!!
Thanks to Russell Duncan for reminding me about Mast General Store and their selection of nostalgic candy! When I was in Asheville, I stopped in. The place was crowded, with almost everyone jammed in the candy section. Maybe people did coke in the 80s, but they are mainlining sugar in 2009. Rock on, I say!! Desperate times call for desperate measures.
Mast has one of those set-ups where you pick up a big basket and walk around all these barrels of candy and put what you want in the basket. Well - you know what happens - you get a couple of these and a few of those and pretty soon, you have an ungodly amount of candy. Nature abhors a vacuum and you fill that basket right on up.
To check out, they weigh it (some of the specialty items are priced individually) and you walk out having had a blast and paying way too much for a very customized and bizarre assortment of candy.
Here are some of the things I got:
Let's have a heart-to-to heart about these. See the hot Cinnamon Bear? That's a Sweet's Cinnamon Bear without the chocolate. MUCH better. Still a little too cinnamony for me. But very chewy and good. As hard as it is to believe, not everything is enhanced by adding chocolate.
I absolutely LOVE, LOVE, LOVE those brown striped peanut butter bars! I could eat them until I exploded. They are made by Atkinson's, another old American Candy Company. Around since 1932 and located in Lufkin, Texas: http://www.atkinsoncandy.com/about/
They also make Chick-O-Stick which has always creeped me out because of the chick reference. I mean what the hell is that? The web site should say where the name came from. It's peanut butter, but why chick? I don't like the name and want no chicks to have touched any candy bar I eat and no chick parts to be in any candy bar I eat.
They also make the Long Boys you can see below the Peanut Butter Bar. These are crappy versions of the Tootsie Roll. Very crappy versions. Coconut tastes nothing like coconut, maybe like a weird caramel. It has a gross coconut texture at the end of chewing it. Not sure what it tastes like, but it's really not of this earth. Don't get these.
Yuck - don't get the Slo Poke either. Bleech!!! Billed as "delicious caramel" it is pretty yucky. It is not delicious and is only vaguely caramel like. It's like a horrible Kraft caramel. And after some of the absolutely earth stopping caramels we've reviewed here, you should not waste your time with this.
Under the Slo Poke is the Squirrel Nut Zipper - the best thing about these is the name. Way cool. There is a great swing band called the Squirrel Nut Zippers. The candy is made by Necco and I can't see how Necco can sell all these really bad candies and still be solvent. When all the people who buy them for the sake of nostalgia die, Necco is going down. Note to Necco - invest in R & D before it's too late!!!
I tried one Squirrel Nut Zipper, considered spitting it out, and threw the rest away. Walnetto's are much better. And you know how I feel about them.
The last two candies here deserve a close-up:
These are by Goetze's. They have a cool website:
The website says:
A favorite of many generations, Goetze’s treats have always been made the same old-fashioned way with a low fat, low sodium, no cholesterol recipe. You’ll enjoy the same great taste that’s been loved for years. Made with wheat flour, milk and real cream, Caramel Creams® have a clean simple taste that doesn’t give you that sour stomach that many really sugary sweets give you.
AAIIEE!!! These are HORRIBLE!!!! I never was a big fan of the caramel creams - I'd get them at Halloween and never liked them. But when I saw strawberry and chocolate versions at Mast, I thought, "Cool - I can't wait to try these!" Maybe it is the wheat flour, but these have a weird mouth feel and a vile after taste. I've never gotten a "sour stomach" from sugary sweets but these......these are evil. They must be designed to give children a lifelong fear of candy. Goetze's backwards is Sezteog, surely the name of a lesser demon. And the chocolate ones are called Bull's Eyes to go with another of their candies, Cow Tales. Bovine parts. EVIL, EVIL, EVIL!
Maybe there is a reason these candies are no longer popular. Maybe it is because they are awful. We have such amazing candy makers working today, these relics can no longer compete. I love capitalism.
We're not done yet! Well, I'm done - after a coconut Long Boy, a Slo Poke and that god-awful devil's wheat flour strawberry cream, I'm feeling a little ill. We'll talk more about the past tomorrow. If I live that long.