In 2009, I tried some candy that was new on the market and some that has been in existence for decades. Some of my taste tests were outstanding, some were terrible, most were average. Here's a list of what I tried, in alphabetical order: (if you want to skip this, scroll down to read the Best Of)
Adam’s Sour Cherry Gum
American Heritage Chocolate
Anette's Chocolates "Winter Cabernet" chocolate truffle bar
Atkinson’s Coconut Longboy
British candy bars: Smart Alecs, Aero, Double Decker Bounty, Milky Bar, Lion, Lee's Chocolate Mint and Galaxy Caramel
Cherry Lemonade LifeSavers
Chewy Lemonhead & Friends
Choceur White Chocolate Almond Clusters
Chocolate-covered candy corn
Cottage Delight Truffles
Dove Caramel Promises
Dove Peppermint Bark Promises
Economy Candy’s line of candy bars
Fruitips Fruit Pastilles
Funley’s Stix in the Mud
Giant gummi bear
Goetze’s Strawberri Cream Bullseyes
Good & Fruity
Guinness Chocolate Truffle Bar
Gummy Candy Corns
Haribou Alphabet Letters
Hughe’s Home Maid Chocolates
King Leo Puffs, Sticks and Patties
Lindt Excellence Touch of Sea Salt Chocolate
Lindt Raisin & Nuts
Lollyphile White Russian lollipops
Mike & Ike Italian Ice
Necco Orange Crème Thin Mints
Now and Later Soft
Organic Milk Chocolate with Macadamia Nuts and Hawaiian Pink Sea Salt
Pralines By Leon
Raspberry and Cherry 3 Musketeers
Russell Stover Coconut Cream Santa
Seattle Chocolates Cappuccino Crunch
Skittles Crazy Cores
Trader Joe’s Blueberry Blast
Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Pomegranate Seeds
Trader Joe’s PB & J bar
Tropical Chewy Lemonhead & Friends
Valor Dark Chocolate with Banana
Vanilla Whoppers Milk Shake
Various candies from China
Various Japanese candies, including banana Pocky
Various Mexican candies
Walgreen’s Candy Classics Australian Traditional Black Liquorice smothered in chocolate
Whitney’s Mint Trio
Yummy Earth Organic Gummies and Lollipops
But what did I really think?
2009's Most Memorable Candies
Biggest Letdown: While the thought of chocolate-covered candy corn was intriguing, the actual product was pretty disappointing. I had high hopes for Cranberry Raisinets, but in the end, they just didn't have enough oomph. But perhaps the biggest sense of sadness I felt, though, was when I finally got to try a Hershey's Thingamajig. Stale Cocoa Pebbles, anyone?
Most Beautiful: Kohler Truffles are almost too beautiful to eat. Almost.
Most Innovative: You've always wanted a white chocolate candy bar with pink peppercorns and banana chips? Search no more! With Chocri, you get to design your very own bar.
Most Surprising: I was all set to hate the Necco Orange Creme Thin Mints, but they were surprisingly good (and addictive). And for a dollar, a great bargain. But Necco, you're still on my #$% list.
Worst: Candy should not have the texture of chewy sawdust, nor should it have an indistinguishable fake chemical fruit flavor. Sorry, Goetze's Strawberri Cream Bullseyes, but you weren't worth the buck I paid.
And now, the moment you've all been waiting for:
The aforementioned Chocri is a fun concept and a great-tasting product. It is, however, a pricey indulgence.
Lindt won my affections with two new products: Lindt Raisin & Nuts and Lindt Excellence Touch of Sea Salt Chocolate.
Meiji Chocorooms sent me swooning. And not just me. Everyone I gave them to agreed that they were addicting little buggers. Crispy, creamy and cute. I thought for sure that I was going to name this my number one bar. But in the end, I have to bestow the honors upon:
QBel. With no artificial flavors or colors, no hydrogenated oils and no corn syrup, these piqued my interest from the start. But I certainly wasn't prepared for the extreme yumminess they provided. Creamy chocolate, crispy wafers, salty peanut butter ... every different type (there are six in all) is delicious. At around $1.59 a package, these are not as inexpensive as say, a Snickers, but they're way more satisfying.
(For what it's worth, Mr. Goodbar voted the Lindt Excellence Touch of Sea Salt as his favorite, and No-Nuts went for the Valor 70% with Bananas.)
A big thanks to all the candy companies who sent samples my way. And an even bigger thanks to you, dear Yumsters, for making 2009 a fun-filled candylicious year. Here's to 2010 and even more sweet surprises!