Everyone hates candy corn. Except the people who don't hate candy corn -- people that group number one thinks are insane. But you know what's even insaner? The idea that the three constituent colors of candy corn might taste different.
Hey, Yellow #6 and Red #3 can't have the exact same aromatics and mouthfeel, right? We were gonna find out, dammit. So we cut up some corn, blindfolded some eating pros -- Tasting Table executive editor Karen Palmer, Bon Appetit multimedia editor Matt Duckor, Metro section editor Meredith Engel, and our own NY editor Andrew Zimmer -- and got to work. These are their stories.
This was our battle station. We cut up the candy corn into its segments as precisely as we could despite whatever they're made out of ("confectioner's glaze"??). Then we were ready.
Meredith Engel, section editor at Metro
General statement on candy corn stance: “It's something I only really eat once a year, but I’ve never been one to shy away from it.”
Yellow (bottom section): “It tastes like the wax you wrap a Babybel cheese in. It has a slightly sweet taste, but it doesn’t really identify with any kind of food, or any other kind of candy. Kinda tastes a little chalky. I think it’s the bottom piece, because of the size and how flavorless it is. Why would they put the flavorless part as the biggest piece, right?"
Orange (middle section): “This is the love-it-or-hate-it candy corn piece. This is the one that elicits the strong reaction that people have to candy corn, I think. This is the part that has the quintessential taste. It tastes like candy corn. This seems like the yellow middle piece.”
White (top section): “That tastes like the top part. I think it’s white. It tastes a little like a campfire marshmallow that’s been toasted.”
Did anything taste like corn?: “No! No. Yeah, no.”
Matt Duckor, multimedia editor at Bon Appetit
General statement on candy corn stance: "Is there anything but a wildly disgusting candy corn tasting? Also, does each section taste different? NO."
Yellow (bottom section): "These are large pieces. Is it uniform color on the candy corns? I should’ve researched this more. Definitely chewy; this is the base, the widest point of the candy corn. I’m trying to remember the color breakdown. It tastes white, clean, a bit chewy and soft. Tastes like processed sugar. I’m gonna overanalyze this. Oh f***."
Orange (middle section): "This is the middle portion. Yellow? It’s the shaft of the candy corn. It’s got a little bit of a granular quality of and a soft chewiness. That’s the ideal. I think if candy corns were like this uniformly, I would be more on board. But it’s not about texture -- it’s about taste."
White (top section): "Distinct candy corn flavor. I do hate candy corn, but this takes me back. I hate Halloween, I hate candy corn. I’m going to go orange here. Processed granular sugar that’s been sitting out for a while. Get this away from me."
Did anything taste like corn?: "IT DOES NOT TASTE LIKE CORN."
Karen Palmer, executive editor at Tasting Table
General statement on candy corn stance: "Personally, I am a huge fan of candy corn. It signifies the start of Fall, the start of the holiday season, and it means it’s almost time to figure out a really funny Halloween costume. Also I can't believe you guys told me I'd be taste-testing emu. Where's the damn emu?"
Yellow (bottom section): "Light, effervescent -- definitely yellow, I think. Yeah, it’s definitely got a slightly creamy consistency. It tastes like a really sugary corn kernel."
Orange (middle section): "It tastes more like straight-up sugar. Maybe a note of caramel? I’m gonna say it’s, like, a burnt orange color."
White (top section): "I figured it all out. This really doesn’t taste like anything. It just sort of disintegrates on your palate. I’m gonna guess that that’s the white part."
Did anything taste like corn?: "No. Candy."
Andrew Zimmer, NY editor at Thrillist
General statement on candy corn stance: "They’re awesome. I love candy corn. I like to eat them in stages; I like to separate them. But I’m suspicious of their colors tasting differently."
Yellow (bottom section): "Oh, it doesn’t taste like corn. But it tastes like candy corn. It’s got a smooth, rounded bottom. I think this is the flavor that I enjoy most in candy corns. Real sugar. It’s f***in' candy corn flavor. Yellow?"
Orange (middle section): "To me, it sort of tastes like a less intense version of the previous one. Less sweet, less aftertaste, but the same general flavor of candy corn. Orange. Actually, I think I got used to it. After three bites I’m back to thinking that they all taste the same."
White (top section): "I feel like this one definitely tastes different. It has, like, a chalkier consistency and it has less of that candy corn essence and more pure sugar. Tastes like doughnut glaze. I think this one is white."
Did anything taste like corn?: “No."
The Verdict Well, three of our four tasters seemed to find at least some differences in the taste of the sections. Which implies that either the three sections do indeed have distinct flavors, or they were just freaking out and literally saying anything they could to get that blindfold off.
Also, none of them thought it tasted like corn, which was just a ridiculous question we asked in order to be ridiculous. So that doesn't really prove anything at all. Perhaps the biggest takeaway is that if Matt Duckor runs into candy corn in a dark alley, only Matt Duckor is coming out of that dark alley. And not because he ate the candy corn.