The Stranger's Candy Control Board received an email from the Hershey Company pitching their Halloween offerings, or “new treats this season that are sure to get candy lovers howling with joy.” Since I love candy, howling, and joy, I took Hershey’s up on their offer to send over some samples.
Apparently I didn’t look very closely at the candy “fact sheet” attached to the response email (does a .jpg image of each candy name in a bulleted list count as a fact sheet?), because when the giant box arrived, it was filled with bags of candy you are definitely familiar with. Like, so familiar I can’t imagine why they even need to advertise them. I was expecting exotic, Halloween-only candy flavors, but we were mostly invited to check out offerings that included miniature Hershey bars imprinted with gravestones (tastes exactly the same, package says “RICK AMORTIS” ha!), Reese’s peanut butter pumpkins (tastes exactly the same, unfortunately resembles something other than a pumpkin), miniature Rolos (I think we can all agree that Rolos are “fine,” and that this new snack size is “also fine”), Cadbury Screme Eggs (not a bad idea—tastes the same, now with green yolk—but is also not new), and tiny Twizzlers (tastes exactly the same, waxy delish).
But I’m nothing if not a responsible candy journalist, so let’s get to the bottom of the only truly “new” seasonal candy we received: the Jolly Rancher Caramel Apple Lollipop. I’ll tell you why it’s a bad idea. First, there is already a caramel apple sucker and it is a classic. A gas-station standard and 6th-grade staple, the Caramel Apple Pop made by Tootsie Roll Industries is simply tangy apple hard candy covered in super sticky caramel, on a stick.
The Jolly Rancher version does not use anything that would pass for real caramel and instead uses caramel-flavored Jolly Rancher candy (just think about that) mixed with apple-flavored Jolly Rancher candy and what tastes like a generous spritz of Aqua Net. The combination seems okay for three seconds until your tastebuds are brutally attacked with a high-pitched fertilizer/butter flavor that made my throat twitch. (This coming from a human who can take down an entire box of tropical Gushers for dinner.)
So what did we learn? We learned that Hershey’s owns Jolly Rancher, Twizzlers, Rolo, and is responsible for selling the Cadbury products found in the US. For extra credit, I also lost a half hour of my life to the “Celebrate with Hershey’s” website page, where one can find recipes for things like a pecan pie with Rolos in it, apple cider with Jolly Ranchers in it, and other fun ways to sneak more diabetes into your desserts.