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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Countdown to Christmas #15: Candy

The candy most associate with Christmas is, of course, the candy cane, but I'm not a big fan. They make my hands sticky and get rather difficult to eat as one approaches the curve.


The one type of candy I always looked forward to appearing in my stocking every Christmas was gummy bears. But I'm something of a gummy bear snob. Back when I was a kid, my preferred gummy bears came from Fanny Farmer, a mall-based candy retailer that I assume was national but maybe was more of a Midwest thing. Anyways, their gummy bears were taller, thinner, and a little less chewy than most other kinds of gummy bears (like what you'd find at a movie theater). I loved those little buggers, and to this day, I associate gummy bears with Christmas morning in particular and my childhood in general.

Flash forward to a few years ago: Fanny Farmer is out of business, and I can't find a reasonable facsimile of their gummy bears anywhere. Eventually, I discovered (thanks to a conversation with a nice German woman at the Germany pavilion of Epcot Center) that there are two different kinds of gummy bears: the far superior Bavarian gummy bears that Fanny Farmer made, and the vastly inferior chubby, gooey American gummy bears found everywhere else.


Luckily, I also learned that of all the different manufacturers of gummy bears out there today, one of them (Haribo) makes Bavarian style gummy bears. Even better, nowadays you can find Haribo gummy bears at just about every gas station and grocery store around.


So that's the (overly long) story of my favorite (tangential) Christmas candy; what are some of your favorite Christmas candies?

14 comments:

  1. I had no idea there were two separate breeds of gummy bears. We always buy the Habrio kind, too. I think gummy bears and Dots and their ilk are a predominately male preference. My dad and husband can each demolish a 2 pound bag in 15 minutes.
    I always associate chocolate covered cherries with Christmas. They have to be the kind with the cream though, not the Mystery Syrup.
    I went to Epcot as a kid and I was like "Lame". Now I would kill to go! "I'm a World Traveler!" I would say to other visitors, followed by a meaningful glance.

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  2. first, Joan, you crack me up
    Second, i love Epcott and am intrigued how you started a conversation about gummy bears there
    I like candy canes, but really only the traditional ones (not crazy green or orange or whatever color ones). Also, i like candy cane ice cream and bark
    i really like the xmas tree shaped reeses peanut butter cup things (not unline the egg shaped ones for easter)
    Joan's also right about the cherries, though i dispise them (especially due to a dog barfing incident 20 years ago)

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  3. When eating a candy cane, wouldn't it be easier to start the eating at the curve?

    Oh, and gummy bears have nothing on Swedish fish. Mmmmmmm...and they don't have gelatin. Which begs the question, why do the other gummy stuff need gelatin?

    @Anne - I enjoy anything that combines peanut butter and chocolate regardless what shape it is in.

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  4. There are two seasonal candies that I look forward to each Christmas. First is the homemade peanut brittle that my father-in-law (and one brother-in-law) makes. It’s perfect in every way, and not even their homemade fudge can entice me away from it. The other is hard candies with a soft center, particularly Brach’s raspberry hard candies. I stock up on bags of those every December! Mmm... I want some RIGHT NOW!!

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  5. @Joan: I had no idea there were two separate breeds of gummy bears.

    Neither did I until I was educated by the kindly German Frau.

    "I'm a World Traveler!" I would say to other visitors, followed by a meaningful glance.

    Damn right! It's all the important countries of the world in one spot. Less travel, less expense, less learning other languages. It's the rest of the world as done by America!

    @Anne: i love Epcott and am intrigued how you started a conversation about gummy bears there

    I don't recall exactly. We started talking because, like everyone else, my parents were all "you know German, talk to her in German" so we started talking and then after I dropped my stilted German and we switched to English, I saw the Haribo gummy bears they were selling and I think that got us into the whole gummy bear discussion.

    @Dr. Bitz: When eating a candy cane, wouldn't it be easier to start the eating at the curve?

    You'll have to show me what you mean. If it's what I'm thinking of you'd end up with candy cane hanging out on the side of your face.

    Oh, and gummy bears have nothing on Swedish fish. Mmmmmmm...and they don't have gelatin. Which begs the question, why do the other gummy stuff need gelatin?

    I do love me some Swedish fish, and am similarly confused by the need for gelatin. It's not like when I eat gummy bears I'm like "mmm...taste that gelatin!". You'd think they could work around it.

    I enjoy anything that combines peanut butter and chocolate regardless what shape it is in.

    The marriage of chocolate and peanut is truly one of our civilizations greatest achievements.

    @Marebabe: First is the homemade peanut brittle

    I have an illogical aversion to peanut brittle, as I was eating some just before a tooth starting aching to the point where I got a root canal. The former had nothing to do with the later, but now I associate peanut brittle with that tooth pain.

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  6. oh man, swedish fish!
    Btw, there's a new candy store at the MOA and they sell gummy bears by the color and i'm 98% sure they were haribo gummies.

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  7. @Falen: Btw, there's a new candy store at the MOA and they sell gummy bears by the color and i'm 98% sure they were haribo gummies.

    Holy hell, I knew about the candy store but didn't go in it. That would be amazing! All red and white gummy bears: Merry Christmas indeed!

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  8. My method for dealing with the awkward shape of candy canes is to bust them up. A few loving taps with a knife handle will usually do the trick. (Put the candy cane into a plastic bag first, so you don't have candy shards flying all over the room.) Then you have a pile of bite-size, yummy bits to suck on!

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  9. mmmm, I loves me some chocolate covered cherries. *drool*

    I do not really like any other kind of candy. I'm more of a baked goods girl.

    Did you know there's now giant REESES peanut butter cups for sale?! Sam bought a package after nearly drooling all over the Target floor. Though he said it's really salty.

    I've never been a big candy cane fan. I'd rather just eat a mint...or a donut.

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  10. @Hannah: I've never been a big candy cane fan. I'd rather just eat a mint...or a donut.

    Ha! Ditto.

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  11. i don't understand how someone (*cough* hannah *cough*) doesn't like candy.
    She may be a robut

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  12. I don't like gummy bears. Sorry!

    My own favorite Christmas candy — aside from the pizzelles that Grandma Lamken used to make, if they count — are the little chocolate Santas that my mom used to bring home from one of those freestanding candy counters in the middle of the shopping mall that have now been replaced by ear-piercing pagodas, massage chairs, and tchotchke carts. They were maybe a couple of inches tall, not made of exceptional chocolate, but the fun was in the foil — each Santa, and sometimes elves or snowmen too, had their pants, jackets, and hats randomly colored in red, green, and gold, so there were many different variations on a color scheme (you can factorial it yourself). Not only was it cool to see a Santa in more than just red and white — Mom explained it, when we very young, as different suits he wore on days other than Christmas — but we would always remove the foil very carefully, eat the chocolate, and then fold the foil back into shape, amassing little wrinkled, steamrollered Santas in a bowl.

    You're making me spill all my Christmas-post anecdotes early, y'know.

    VW: modad — 1. Extra fathers 2. (comics fans only) Modok's dad.

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  13. I've been wanting to go back to EPCOT for years — decades, even. On my first trip, 1986 I think, it was new and Australia was still under construction.

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  14. @Blam: I don't like gummy bears. Sorry!

    Don't worry, I won't hold it against you. ;)

    Mom explained it, when we very young, as different suits he wore on days other than Christmas

    I love it. I vaguely recall those chocolate Santas and the fact that their foil "clothes" were more highly detailed than what's around these days, another example (Old Man Alert) of things being better back in the day. ;)

    You're making me spill all my Christmas-post anecdotes early, y'know.

    Ha! Well, I certainly appreciate it.

    I've been wanting to go back to EPCOT for years — decades, even. On my first trip, 1986 I think, it was new and Australia was still under construction.

    It's pretty awesome. Mrs. Teebore and I went to Disneyworld for out honeymoon and I was bummed that Spaceship Earth was getting refurbished when we were there and was shut down.

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