If you’re like me, there was a period of time where you forgot about candy. Those days between being a little kid and becoming a stoney baloney. Like a childhood friend, the two of you drifted apart. Maybe it even seemed like you might not see each other again. But then marijuana came knocking on your door, and was like, “YO.”
We all know candy tastes a zillion times better with the help of dear old Mary Jane. There’s a lot going on in the wide world of candy, too — so let’s check in on that wide world, and honor those need to be honored.
We proudly present The Candy Awards.
The Best All-Around Candy Bar Award: Snickers
Maybe it’s obvious. Maybe it’s cliché. In the end, though, what competes? Mr. Goodbar? Hershey’s? Twix? Okay, maybe Twix is a solid competitor, but Twix is basically just a cookie and that’s cheating. Snickers is simplicity at its best; peanuts, caramel, and chocolate. The holy trinity. Baby Ruth did literally the exact same thing, and nobody cares about Baby Ruth. Except for Sloth from The Goonies
The Best Sour Candy Award: Sour Patch Kids
Sour Patch Kids are ranked thusly: Red, Orange, Yellow, Green. I will not rank Blue.
What a candy, Sour Patch Kids. I’ve personally never met a human being who doesn’t like ‘em. A red SPK is undeniably the Cadillac of sour gummies. Now add to that the fact that their spinoff candy, Sour Patch Watermelon, is another grand slam. The Sour Patch Kids are unstoppable.
The Best Fruity Candy Award: Original Starburst
Starburst is such a good candy that I bet you forgot it’s technically a taffy. A TAFFY. Nobody likes taffy. But you like Starburst. The amount of flavor that the sorcerers at The Wrigley Company have packed into each piece is absolutely unreal. Sure, they go a little wackadoo with all those tropical versions, but a classic original Starburst is cashmoney.
The Best Peanut Butter Award: Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
Let’s get one thing straight from the start: if you pronounce this word “Ree-see”, you are my nemesis. If you say “Ree-sees, pee-sees”, you are my double nemesis.
Now that that’s done, let’s talk Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. The stuff is certified fresh and would definitely have a 100% on Rotten Tomatoes if they reviewed candy. The only human beings I’ve ever known who don’t like RPBCs are fatally allergic to peanuts, and even then you could still probably convince them to take a bite. The chocolate-peanut butter combo is a tried-and-true winner, and nowhere is that more prevalent than in the Peanut Butter Cup. It’s Reese’s magnum opus.
The Big Red Award: Hot Tamales
Cinnamon is admittedly a divisive candy flavor, but if it’s your thing then you know Hot Tamales are an absolute titan of the cinnamon candy world. Just Born, the heavenly angels behind Mike & Ike’s and Zours, have used their hit semi-hard shell/chewy combo again — and lemme tell ya. It’s a winner.
The I’m a Little Fancy Boy Award: Choward’s Violet Candy
This one is a little bit obscure. These guys are little violet/lavender-flavored candies and they are weirdly good. But if you’re walking around eating Choward’s Violet Candy, I’ve got bad news. You’re a little fancy boy.
The Crispy Rice Award: Krackel
If you’re team Crunch, I understand. The two are not too different, but Crunch’s own hubris ultimately brings about its downfall. Since Krackel mostly exists in bite size form, it’s always perfectly intact. Crunch, on the other hand, comes in full size bars and always ends up being a messy little disaster. You pop open one of those suckers and you’re covered in little chocolate flakes. I’m not sure what’s happening to every Crunch bar between the factory and your mouth, but it’s bad news.
The Best Name Award: Abba Zabba
I’ve never had an Abba Zabba, and I’m not sure I ever will. Peanut butter surrounded by creepy white taffy really isn’t my thing. But damn, Abba Zabba is fun to say.
The Worst Name Award: Nik-L-Nips
The “candy” is horrid. The name is worse.
The Minty Fresh Award: Life Savers Wint O Green
I’d like to begin by stating that I had no idea these things were spelled “Wint O Green” until right now when I searched for “Wintergreen” and the internet pretty much just laughed at me.
There is an odd world where breath mints and candy intersect. There are few products, like Mentos, that lie somewhere between mint and candy. Life Savers Wint O Green is one of them. And they’re great.
The Outstanding Gummy in a Non-Sour Role Award: Haribo Gummy Bears
It is of DIRE importance that we clarify I’m not talking about the sugar-free gummy bears. You know about what happens with those things, right? That’s a discussion for another time.
Gummy bears are a classic, and Haribo is a classic. A single-serve packet is the perfect size, too. Unlike so many different types of candy that come with a stomach ache-inducing amount of product, Haribo is giving you just what you need. The people of Haribo are doing a fine job with their gummy bears. There’s a reason they’re still number one.
The Best Hard Candy Award: Jolly Ranchers
Not all Jolly Rancher flavors are total knockouts, but both red ones — cherry and watermelon — more than make up for the duds. The red Jollies manage to pack loads of juicy, fruity flavor into each piece without being gross or overly sweet. For those who crave a nice hard candy experience without wanting to delve into the world of grandma-style butterscotch, reach for some Jolly Ranchers.
The Stomach Ache Award: Jelly Beans
If you eat five jelly beans, you’re fine. If you eat six or more, you will have an eight-hour stomach ache. There is no middle ground.
The Best Lolli Award: Sour Apple Blow Pop
I would like to give honorable mention to Caramel Apple Pops, which are so much better than I expect every single time I eat one. In the end, though, only one sucker reigns supreme: Charms’ Sour Apple Blow Pop. Sure, the gum inside is hot garbage, but the process of getting there is so wonderful that who cares? What, are you not going to drink a delicious beer or wine because you’ll have a hangover tomorrow? Live for today, not tomorrow. That’s what Charms is telling us. Truly, the Sour Apple Blow Pop is a profound candy.
The Hard as a Diamond Award: Now and Later
You ever try to eat one of these things? You’ll shatter your dang teeth on the first bite.
The Worst Candy in the Galaxy Award: Twizzlers
In the beginning of Back to the Future Part II, Doc Brown grabs a bunch of trash out of the dumpster at Marty’s house and uses it to fuel the DeLorean with a new addition to the car called Mr. Fusion. He indiscriminately grabs anything from that dumpster that he can see, like banana peels, soggy egg cartons, and even an old can of beer. He holds the liquid from the can in with his finger as he walks it over to Mr. Fusion, and then pours the old beer in and throws the entire can down after it, along with the rest of his garbage. Mr. Fusion is a stinky, dirty, disgusting mess.
That’s what Twizzlers taste like.
The ‘Why Don’t We Have this in the USA’ Award: Japanese Kit Kats
This country is stuck in the damn dark ages when it comes to Kit Kats. While they have for sure gone overboard with some of their flavors (Caramel Macchiato McFlurry, Wine, “Sports Drink”), many of them sound terrific. Green tea? Yes please. Wasabi? I bet horseradish and chocolate flavors are actually very nice together. Step it up, America.
The Saboteur Award: The Bananas from Runts
In fairness, Runts were never that great to begin with, but the bananas were next-level terrible. They seemed somehow even harder than the rest of the already-petrified candies, and the taste was unlike anything I’d ever experienced. The other Runts — green apple, strawberry, orange, and grape — were more or less equal, but those bananas were like something out of a ghost story.
The ‘How Are You Still In Business?’ Award: Circus Peanuts
Circus Peanuts were created in the 1800s. I assume this is also the date of the last time somebody bought Circus Peanuts.
The Stuck In Your Teeth for all Eternity Award: Butterfingers
Butterfingers are delicious, but at what cost? I had a Butterfingers in 2002 and I’m pretty sure it’s still stuck in my teeth.
The Outstanding Sour in a Non-Gummy Role Award: Warheads
A time-tested classic. Wonderfully sour. Tasty fruity finish. Eating an entire packet will burn a hole in your tongue for days.
The ‘Nobody Has Ever Actually Eaten This’ Award: Payday
From Wikipedia: “Payday is a candy bar consisting of salted peanuts rolled in caramel surrounding a firm nougat-like center.”
In other words, they took all the parts of a candy bar that complement chocolate and stuck them together in some sort of Frankenstein-style monstrosity. There is a reason nobody has ever actually eaten a Payday. I don’t plan on it any time soon.
The Most Baffling Candy Award: PEZ
PEZ really is wild, if you think about it. The shapes (little bars of soap) and flavors (some of them being Menthol, Yogurt, and “Fruit”) of the candies themselves are strange, but nothing is stranger than the fact that in order to properly eat PEZ, you need to rip open the neck of a beloved character and tear the candy out that way. I really don’t get it.
The Toxic Waste Award: Good & Plenty
Good & Plenty almost seems like a trick. All the other stuff of that shape and size — Mike & Ike’s, Hot Tamales, Zours — are terrific. Good & Plenty lures you in with a false sense of comfort, and before you know what’s happening to you, you’re stuck with the nightmarish flavors of licorice. To this day, I’ve never met a person who likes Good & Plenty. I’m sure this post will bring ‘em out of the woodwork.
The ChocoMint Award: York Peppermint Patty
This was probably my toughest decision. Andes Mints were an obvious favorite, but when it comes down to it, temperature is the key. Both Andes and York are delicious frozen. A frozen Andes is better than a frozen (or even room temperature) York.
However, room temperature Andes simply will not do. York is delicious at both temperatures, and because of that versatility, it deserves the trophy.
The ‘What Even Are You?’ Award: Milk Duds
What the hell are Milk Duds? Don’t Google them. Try to think. Can you even describe a Milk Dud? Are they caramel? Are they milk? Is there something in the center? Are they perfectly round or are they poofy and disjointed? Are they black, or dark brown, or light brown? The only thing that makes sense to me about this candy is the word “dud”.
The Most Disappointing Halloween Candy Award: Wax Lips
It was always such a bummer when you took a look at your haul and found some Wax Lips staring up at you. Honestly, if you told me they weren’t really a candy and actually were just pieces of wax shaped like lips I would believe you.
The Everybody Makes Fun of Me For Liking This One Award: 3 Musketeers
Yeah, yeah, LAUGH IT UP. I’ve been hearing it my whole life. But guess what? It’s 2018 and Candy Shaming isn’t cool anymore. Nougat lovers unite! You no longer have to live your lives in shame! Take pride! There are dozens of us!
The Yeah I Reckon I’ll Eat This Award: Milky Way
Milky Ways are good and fine, but nobody ever really craves a Milky Way. It’s mostly the thing you eat when all of the other things you want are unavailable. Either 7-Eleven is out of Snickers, or somebody already ate all the Krackel from your bowl of bite size candies. Milky Way will do in a pinch, but that’s as much as you can give it.
The Easiest to Sharpen Into a Pike and Defeat Your Inferiors Award: Candy Canes
You know when you’re casually enjoying a candy cane and then you look down and all of a sudden you’re holding a samurai-grade katana? Classic.
The Dark Horse Award: Reese’s Sticks
I have a hunch that Reese’s Sticks aren’t getting the fanfare they deserve, because nobody really talks about them, but I’ll tell you right now: they’re great. Reese had the genius idea to basically turn his peanut butter cups into Kit Kats, and the result is wondrous. If you’ve been too timid to reach for Reese’s Sticks, now is your time. Reach for ‘em.