Description. From the same no-nonsense candy corp. that brought us the Salted Nut Roll comes the Bun Bar — a creamy patty (maple, vanilla, or caramel) topped with roasted peanuts and dipped in chocolate. Like its tubular brand sibling, the Bun Bar 1) bears a faintly PG-13 name; 2) inducts sugar into the bloodstream at the same rate one might expect from an intravenous injection; and 3) bears an uncomfortable resemblance to a turd.
Packaging/Branding. Between the blocky fonts and the brown stripes on a beige background, the packaging hearkens back to a high-school football player’s bedroom in the late 1980s, or to a hideous shirt Steve Sanders might have worn.
Description. A burnt-orange tube, dusted with pollen intended to evoke coconut, the Chick-O-Stick has nothing to do with chicken, although the color is reminiscent of buffalo-wing sauce.
The cross-sectioned Stick, a shiny moon-rock-y affair that resembles a ’70s-sci-fi set-design element, has nothing to do with anything found in nature — except possibly feces (the manner in which the peanut flecks are disported…enough said, we trust).
Packaging/Branding. The font and package shapes recall mid-century diner culture. Meanwhile, the company logo’s star and the product name’s label share the same nuclear-meltdown orange as the Stick, and the transparent cellophane makes no attempt to hide or even lessen the visual impact of the homely snack within — a zen attitude our testers almost admire.
Description. Remarkably similar in appearance to “real” cotton candy, Fluffy Stuff is real cotton candy for all intents and purposes. How the Charms Corp. maintains its webby integrity in a package is something of a mystery — the brief list of ingredients doesn’t contain any surprises (sugar, flavors both natural and artificial, various artificial colors, “turmeric coloring”), but the proportions remain unknown, as do the properties of the flavors mentioned.
The Heat-Miser-ish cowlick of gossamer sugar at the top is missing, due to the constraints of containment and shipping, but the overall presentation is the same as that found at street fairs and bar mitzvahs: trap lint collected from a dryer at the circus.
Description. Many years ago, during a field study in Chicago, Drs. Ariano, Bunting, and Savel stared in horrified wonderment at an entire display rack of gummi pizza. The ensuing discussion led to an elaborate experiment involving the mails and Canadian chocolate, and ended in an unfortunate banana-candy incident at U.S. Customs, but suffice it to say that gummi pizza has cast a long shadow over the B.A.R.F.
If we may pay the E. Frutti iteration one compliment — and we may, but…only the one — we can say that its rendering of two-day-old subpar pizza’s layer of congealed grease and decompensated toppings is uncanny. And revolting.
Description. The Chocletto is, in theory, the waking embodiment of every candy-loving child’s wildest dream: a hybrid of the Starburst shape, the Kraft caramel’s smooth chewiness, and chocolate.
The poo-hued reality falls short of “revolting,” but then, it just falls short, period.
Packaging/Branding. The Old Time Candy Company sends an eight-pack of Choclettos in a plastic dime-store sleeve; each candy is folded into a white waxed wrapper with “Choclettos™” printed in purple on the side.
Description. The proportion of chocolate in each individual Neapolitan Sundae candy is apparently a direct response to the Simpsons episode in which Homer finds that Bart has stripped numerous cartons of Neapolitan ice cream of the chocolate segment. An understandable decision, but an unfortunate one as well; that segment’s shade of brown is reminiscent of feces, and showcases the candy’s tendency to perspire. The tester expected a handful of barnyard flies to begin circling the unwrapped candy.
Packaging/Branding. If said flies failed to materialize, we may blame the extremely persistent plastic wrapping, as well as the candy’s propensity to melt into the wrapper’s folds. Prying a Neapolitan blob loose from its crinkly lair is a sticky affair, and traces left on the hands will act like superglue.
Description. Of the myriad fake fruit flavors available in today’s miraculous world of food science, fake cherry is not universally considered the most revolting. That dubious distinction belongs to fake banana. But for every diehard fan of the chocolate-covered cherry, three others would rather eat chopped glass than consort with such a nauseating treat.
Those people — and Dr. Bunting is most decidedly one of them — would storm the barricades of the Brach’s corporation to beg for a second chance in a one-pound bag, however, should the choice come down to the chocolate-covered cherry or the Twin Bing. The chocolate-covered cherry has a simplicity to it, at least, and a decent foundational concept, and while applying enzyme paste to a fruit in order that it may begin to digest itself on the shelf is repellent, it is a garden of soothing sensations compared with the needlessly complex, disgustingly shaped, frighteningly hued, confusingly conceived, and unreservedly foul Twin Bing.
Description. Off-puttingly blunt though it seems, the Pearson’s Salted Nut Roll’s name is somewhat misleading; it is not a roll in the cinnamon-roll sense, but rather a tube of crème nougat rolled in salted peanuts.
The tube is 5-6 inches long; it is salty; it is filled with a white substance; and there is nut involvement. We trust that its selection for testing requires no further explanation.
Packaging/Branding. The presence of a yellow crown containing the words “king size” on the wrapper forced our data-collection technician to turn the Roll face-down at the Walgreen’s checkout, lest she be subject to the sort of “girl, please” reaction that greets boastful requests for Magnum condoms.
The front of the wrapper is otherwise nondescript. The back, meanwhile, is a nauseating horror movie in nutrition-panel format; a single Nut Roll contains 22g of fat, for 34% of the recommended daily allowance, as well as 18% of the carb allowance and 12% of the sodium.