I never was much of a candy eater. Oh, I’d chomp down a Mars bar once in a while or snack on seasonal goodies like candy corns at Halloween, candy canes at Christmas or those squishy yellow bunnies on Easter. But recently, I’ve found that I’ve become addicted to sweets.
But not just one, I pick them up and drop them like a teenage girl goes through boyfriends. I went through an Altoids phase (whoever came up with that name—reminds me of adenoids), next came caramels, then I jumped to peppermint Life Savers, and after that, I glommed onto Life Savers Gummies, red, green, yellow, orange in flavors like cherry, watermelon, strawberry, green apple and blackberry. My Gummie period lasted a good two years. I wouldn’t mix them but eat all red ones or all green ones and in even numbers, say, two, four or six at a time. Why? You’d have to ask my mother.
But about six months ago, I happened to taste a Butterfinger. Gummies quickly went bye, bye and I became hooked on what the package copy says is: the “crispety, crunchety, peanut-buttery taste.” Personally, I think that copywriter went a bit overboard with crispety and crunchety (to me, it sounds too much like crochety) but package copy is usually written by cub copywriters at the bottom of the ad agency’s totem pole so how are they to know? They’re just trying to make a mark for themselves and their bosses were probably too busy with other stuff to sniff out crispety and crunchety.
But then I went on the Butterfinger website and discovered that the entire tribe of Butterfinger writers was infected. Crispety and crunchety is all over the place and they even go so far as to state on one page: “Bolder than bold cravings can’t be contained so go on and indulge yourself in the one of a kind taste of an American classic that can never be replaced.” Woof! Now that’s some wicked writing! One of their slogans was: “Nobody better lay a finger on my Butterfinger.” These guys take their product seriously.
But to me, it’s just a tasty candy bar that comes in all shapes and sizes. You can get bars in a couple sizes, little cups like Reese’s and Butterfinger Bites, which are my current favorite. I consume them in pairs, letting the chocolate coating melt to uncover all the, well, you know, the crispety, crunchety, peanut-buttery taste. On a good day, I’ll go through six–which is only 150 calories.
How long will my Butterfinger phase last? I have no idea, but a challenger lurking at the back of the pack is salted caramel. I’m currently into salted caramel Lactaid ice cream and the right kind of salted caramel candy came along, I might drop Butterfingers like a hot potato.
Whoever thought of putting salt in caramel? Turns out that a French chef named Henri Le Roux attended candy school in Switzerland and later returned to France in the 1960s to open a store in Brittany. In Brittany, salted butter is big so it didn’t take long for Le Roux to come up with the idea of salting caramel. Salty and sweet are two major flavor profiles so it didn’t take long for the concept to take off.
In 2008 salted caramel took off in the U.S. with Haagen-Daaz introducing salted caramel ice cream and Starbucks with salted caramel hot chocolate. And when the south-of-the-border flavor, dulce de leche, made its way north, it helped popularize its salted caramel cousin,. Now there’s salted caramel popcorn, salted caramel cookies, salted caramel cupcakes, salted caramel yogurt, salted caramel martinis, even salted caramel-scented candles and just announced, salted caramel Pepsi. You name it, they’ll salt it.
In the meantime, I’m sticking with Butterfingers. That’s until some enterprising candy expert comes up with a salted caramel surprise. Who knows? Could be salted caramel marshmallows or salted caramel straws—maybe the folks at Nestle will invent salted caramel mixed with peanut butter and coated with chocolate? They could call it Saltyfingers—the crispety, crunchety, peanut-buttery, one of a kind salted caramel taste that can never be replaced.
I just might go for it.