In earlier times, it was said that one could release souls from Purgatory by baking and eating "soul cakes" — one saved soul per cake. The ritual may have given rise to modern day trick-or-treating, which has grown into an estimated $2.4 billion business this year. On this day that celebrates the dead, I offer you the best and worst candy for a fantasy night of saving souls.
Candy corn is trending this year and my pick for the worst candy is White Chocolate Candy Corn M&M's. Please note, you must enter your birthdate to access the M&M's site, like an alcohol website. But they don't even list the candy corn version on the site, as if they've disavowed it. I actually don't mind a candy corn kernel or two at this time of the year, but this turns a chocolatey M&M into a sickly sweet, soul-less M&M zombie.
Jelly Belly BeanBoozled jelly beans are a party game in my home. One container holds the good flavors, while another holds the look-alike bad flavors. Is that Caramel Corn or Moldy Cheese? Peach or Barf? Buttered Popcorn or Rotten Egg? Though some would say both are bad in that last pair.
For some of the best candy, M&M's redeem themselves with Coconut. Green, brown, and white shells somehow encase a fresh coconut flesh flavor. I don't share this candy.
The German chocolate company Ritter Sport has a cult following in this country. The best flavor in my opinion: Knusperflakes (Cornflakes). I don't share this candy either. Did you ever pour chocolate milk into your cornflakes as a kid? These bars capture that illicit childhood flavor. Someday I will visit Waldenbuch, home of Ritter Sport near Stuttgart, Germany.
I only share Dark Roca, the newest addition to the Almond Roca line, with my mother, though she prefers the classic best — buttery, crunchy and now enrobed in dark chocolate.
I limited my best candy to those found in this country, otherwise I'd include the Edamame KitKit, a specialty of the Sendai, Japan region, which I tasted on my visit earlier this year. Zunda mochi — sweet, mashed edamame with mochi — inspired this flavor. The candy itself is surprisingly nuanced, capturing the essence of the original ingredients — and without a doubt in my mind on this Halloween, saving souls with every bar.