With Halloween around the bend, we’ve got candy on the brain. And while the National Confectioners Association has released its list of the top ten candy destinations in the country (Hershey, Pennsylvania, predictably tops the list), we opted instead to get in touch with Steve Almond, author of Candyfreak: A Journey Through the Chocolate Underbelly of America. Almond (yes, that’s really his name) has traveled the country in search of old fashioned, mom-and-pop candy factories. His book is a gooey paean to a time when you could waltz into the drugstore and buy, for mere pennies, delicacies like the Twin Bing, Idaho Spud, Valomilk and Abba-Zaba. We recently caught up with Almond, on tour for his latest book, to ask him a burning question: What’s the farthest you’ve ever traveled for a candybar?
“I traveled all around America trying to find lots of different freaky candy bars. But the farthest I ever traveled was, I think, to Israel. When I was there in college, I became obsessed with this amazing dark-chocolate covered wafer bar, which I used to buy by the pound in the open market in Jerusalem. Seriously, I’d go through, like, two pounds of these things a week. The guy who sold them got to know me, which always feels kind of pathetic and wonderful at the same time. Anyway, I spent the next few years angling to get back to Israel—not in an effort to reconnect with my spiritual heritage, or even to understand the painful politics of that country—but because I was jonesing for that bar (the name of which I don’t even know). I did get myself back to Jerusalem a couple of years later, but the stand that sold these bars were gone. Serves me just about right.”
We did some investigating and found the dark bar pictured above—a Pesek Zman Black bar—posted in the Israel section at a cool candy blog. Alas, it isn’t the fabled candy, says Almond: “The bar I’m thinking of didn’t even have a wrapper—it was sold by the pound.”
Photo: Cybele May, www.typetive.com/candyblog
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