14 of the World's Best Non-American Candies
Europe and Asia: they're not just the '80s rock gods who brought us "The Final Countdown" and "Heat of the Moment." They're also two continents with some serious candy game, and never is that more relevant than during the month when Americans up their candy consumption... all in blind incomprehension of the other, possibly even better chocolates, bon-bons, and nougats from across the ocean.
With that in mind, we polled our international friends to find out which non-American candies people should be checking out this Halloween season, most of which you can order off Amazon. Except for Kinder Surprises, because those are illegal.
What the deal is: Cadbury is the undisputed reigning king of the British candy world, which is kinda awkward because they already have another monarch, but that doesn’t make their candy bars any less delicious. The standard-bearer of their brand is the Dairy Milk bar, which was originally launched in 1905, uses fresh milk “from the British Isles” (but which one?!), and is also available in aerated, white chocolate-filled, and several other varieties.
Elite Milk Chocolate Bar with Popping Candies
What the deal is: Elite’s chocolate bars are the result of a merging of Russian and German confection companies that have been around since the early 1900s, and their parent company owns Max Brenner (that chocolate place your Mom can’t stop visiting in every city you vacation in). However, their most interesting product has a slightly more modern pedigree: it’s a chocolate bar filled with what are essentially the Israeli version of Pop Rocks.
What the deal is: Smarties might be one of the worst Halloween candies of all time. But that judgment doesn’t quite hold up when you consider the fact that, in other countries around the world, Smarties are a completely different entity altogether. The Smarties that are so popular in the UK and other Commonwealth nations are actually more akin to large M&M's than the chalky, vaguely fruity wafers we’re all grudgingly acquainted with. They started in the 1880s as “Chocolate Beans”, because, well, they're British.
White Rabbit Creamy Candy
What the deal is: In addition to these Chinese candies being delicious, they’re also loaded with calcium, making them the Kix of East Asian confections in that Moms probably love them. White Rabbits are kinda like sweetened, condensed-milk Tootsie Rolls, with the one (large) difference being that, in addition to having a chewy center, they are engulfed by a thin layer of sticky rice paper that melts in your mouth.
What the deal is: Daim (pronounced "dime") is kinda like the Scandinavian version of a Heath bar, in that it's a super-crunchy, toffee-filled, chocolate-covered bar that'll most likely stick to your teeth for a week (or two weeks, in Arctic Circle time). The key differences are that Daim's toffee is almond-flavored, and the chocolate is European, meaning -- in the minds of some -- that it's just plain better than American chocolate.
What the deal is: Kinder Surprises -- aka Kinder Eggs -- are one of the most controversial candies in the world. Not because they’re divisive in theory -- pretty much everyone agrees that they taste great and contain awesome collectible prizes -- but because, according to the American government, they are a choking hazard and are therefore banned from import (the fine is $2,500). But c’mon! Who doesn’t love a good Überraschung?
What the deal is: This Japanese “chocolate” bar doesn’t actually contain any chocolate (that part must’ve gotten lost in translation). However, it is chock full of strawberry (around 70% strawberry pulp). In fact, there are actual bits of strawberry in every bite, and the bar is a deep maroon hue, which makes a whole lot more sense than the flavorful-but-mind-boggling concept that is “blue raspberry.”
What the deal is: If you’ve eaten non-Australian liquorice before, you know that: a) it tastes awful, and b) wow, it really tastes awful. However, that is not the case with Australian liquorice, which is delicious and comes in a multitude of sweet non-anise flavors, brands, shapes, and sizes, most of which are named after Australian critters that can probably kill you. But, again, Australian liquorice definitely won’t do that. Because it’s amazing.
What the deal is: These Finnish liquorice nuggets are some of the most potent candies on the market today, and not just because they are flavored with an ingredient commonly found in fireworks. Ok, so that’s definitely the primary reason, but these hard candies pack a punch otherwise, too -- they taste like a salty, tongue-numbing version of liquorice that, in Finland, is called “salmiak.” Tyrkisk Peber can also occasionally be found in cocktails, which are probably the most numbing drinks in the world.
What the deal is: Turkish delights aren’t so much a brand as a flat-out type of candy, but they’re so ubiquitous in that area of the Mediterranean (and have expanded far beyond) that they made this list anyway. They’re essentially just jellies made of starch and sugar, usually flavored with an interesting variety of non-traditional (read: not excessively sweet) flavors, such as pistachio, rosewater, or orange blossom water. No “x-treme grape” here.
What the deal is: Most ginger-flavored stuff in America is diluted to the point of non-spiciness -- not so with Chimes. They’re made using real, fresh ginger root harvested from Indonesia, and apparently will help you feel better if you’re suffering from any digestive issues. Their first three flavors were Original, Peppermint, and Peanut Butter, and since then they’ve introduced Orange and Mango. All are supposed to give you a legitimate “warming sensation” that you'd normally only get from watching Cinemax.
What the deal is: You might be familiar with Haribo gummies -- they’re the ones that originated the idea of a gummy bear. Well, this German company, founded by Hans Riegel in Bonn (do you get it now?!), makes some even crazier stuff in the nation in which it was founded, and you can find a full list right here. Wine Gums and Hot Sticks, anyone?
De la Rosa Pulparindo
What the deal is: Flavored with the sweet pulp of the tamarind plant (which you might've had before in the form of that dark sauce served with Indian food), Pulparindo has a bizarre layering of flavors: first it's salty, then it's sweet, and then it's hot. Violet Beauregarde would have a field day with this one, if she could roll all the way down to the border.
What the deal is: Full disclosure: I don’t know anyone who has had one of these, nor even heard of them before. But when I first read about them, I knew they had to be included on the list just based on the merits of their name. Krembananen are jelly- and banana cream-filled chocolate bars with a distinct banana-esque shape, which has remained unchanged since they were introduced in 1957. Don’t mess with what works, especially if it’s a cream-filled chocolate banana.
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