The coolest candy you've (probably) never heard of

USA Weekend, October 22-24, 2004
Contributing: Laura Daily, Gary Stern

You’d be hard pressed to find Steve Almond’s favorite sweets in grocery checkout lines, prime real estate for impulse buying candy lovers. Big national manufacturers pay thousands to secure space, leaving smaller, regional candy makers to rely on specialty stores and websites such as the internet’s largest candy store, www.candyfavorites.com.

Almond, the author of this year’s homage to the sweet tooth, CandyFreak: a Journey through the Chocolate Underbelly of American (Algonquin Books $21.95), shares his favorites with us:

BIG HUNK:
Annabelle Candy, Hayward, California: A slab of honey sweetened nougat shot through with peanuts.

CHICK-O-STICK:
Atkinson Candy Co., Lufkin, Texas: A wand of crunchy peanut candy dusted with toasted coconut.

Goo Goo Clusters, from Standard Candy, are just one of the many retro items offered.GOO GOO CLUSTER:
Standard Candy, Nashville: Chocolate with marshmallows, peanuts and caramel

IDAHO SPUD:
Idaho Candy, Boise: A half-potato-shaped marshmallow in chocolate.

VALOMILK:
Russell Sifers, Merriam, Kansas: A chocolate cup filled with marshmallow.