I recently read Steve Almond's book, Candyfreak, which was a very exciting read for me. I mean, it's about candy! You see, Steve Almond, a self-proclaimed candyfreak, got a taste of candy factory euphoria and set out to visit as many candy factories as would let him in. Not many said yes (the kind of candy competition you see in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, with spies and trade secrets and such, is not fiction), but of those that did, one was the Annabelle candy factory, producers of my all-time favorite candy bar: the Big Hunk.
Annabelle also produces the Abba-Zaba, a candy bar I thought I'd sampled until I read Candyfreak and read its description: taffy, stuffed with peanut butter. I guess I'd simply seen a lot of Abba-Zabas in my day. They are usually merchandised next to the Big Hunk, after all. So today, while feeling completely bowled over by allergies (or maybe I'm getting sick, I don't know), I bit into one. I've got to tell you, it's pretty strange.
Who thought to put peanut butter inside taffy? I'm not saying it was bad. It was just something I would never have imagined. If it were nougat, like the Big Hunk, it would make a little more sense to me. But it does seem to be vanilla taffy, which is pretty close to the Big Hunk's chewy nougat. It took me a long time to eat, and the most interesting part was when the peanut butter oozed out from between the layers of taffy. Texturally strange, but satisfying. I think that's what I loved about it, and why I tend toward old-timey, off-beat candy. A Snickers is completely boring to me. The country's favorite candy bar isn't really on my radar. Maybe because I've had too many of them in my lifetime, I don't know. Maybe because they're too easy to eat and thus too quickly gone.