Earlier this week my esteemed colleague Alistair Birrell wrote an article detailing the many candies invented in Massachusetts, going so far as to say that “When it comes to candy, Hershey, PA has nothing on Boston.”
While I’m sure the people of Chocolatetown, USA take attacks on their candy references very seriously – it’s a town whose downtown Hershey Kiss Floor Lamps at the intersection of Chocolate and Cocoa Avenue, after all – the idea that Boston even belongs in the conversation with Hershey is laughable. Boston’s only argument for the superiority of candy is the age of its confection, which is like the inventor of the hardtack claiming to be the unparalleled leader in military rations. In fact, of the Massachusetts candies listed in the article, the Junior Mints are the only ones I wouldn’t immediately throw in the trash if I had a box while making a treat. To prove it, I decided to rank the candies from best to worst – or perhaps more accurately, from fairly good to completely inedible.
As I mentioned in the intro, the Cambridge Junior Mints are the only candy on this list anyone has eaten in this century. The Junior Mints testify to the simplicity of candies: Chocolate + Mint = Delicious. That being said, the Junior Mints aren’t without their flaws, namely their annoying habit of hoarding at the bottom of the box, so you have to push your whole hand to catch the 12 mints juggernaut. The mess is worth it, of course, but covering your entire hand in sticky residue to secure the mint-chocolate-carton mash could easily be avoided with a packaging update.
A chewy caramel candy mixed with peanuts, squirrel nut caramels deliver a new, unpleasant texture and taste with every bite. Make sure to try the squirrel nut zippers, which are basically vanilla squirrel nut toffees, because what candy couldn’t use a little vanilla to spice things up? (Don’t answer that.)
Peanut butter and molasses candy, Mary Jane, like anything that contains molasses, was made to the taste of people born before 1900. Taffy lovers with sophisticated palates are sure to note the heavy notes of the waxed paper, with a pungent finish that will make chewers say “Yes, this was made in a factory”. It’s also gluten-free, which I’m sure was a major concern.
The only positive aspect of the US school sweets ban is that our kids are no longer subjected to 9 miniature sachets of these things every February 14th. With delicious flavors like sugar (green) and sugar (yellow), Sweethearts is a great way to show that special someone in your life that you only have 37 cents to spend on Valentine’s Day.
Terrible Old-Time Candy Inc.’s flagship treat, Necco wafers are basically just darlings, but three times the size. Supposedly come in seven different flavors, none of which are chalk. I prefer to eat stale Tums. I prefer to eat a roll of communion wafers. I’d rather be beaten with a sock full of Necco Wafers.