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Retro Candy Flashback: Bit-O-Honey

Categories: Candy,Candy Reviews,Classic and Retro Candy

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Bit-O-Honey Bag

In my day, I was an avid trick-or-treater. Straight through high school, pillowcases served as bags; loot was measured in pounds; and Snickers, Milky Ways, and Starbursts were blissfully consumed for months. Until that inevitable dark day, that is, when I would go to my closet after school, reach deep into my dwindling stash, and come up with a handful of Tootsie Rolls, Dum-Dums, and that curse of a confection, the bane of my Halloween-loving existence, Bit-O-Honeys. Bit-O-Honeys were the one candy that I disliked so much I would not eat them even in these desperate times and they were utterly un-tradeable. Who, my young mind wondered, likes these things? And what on earth are they?

Well Jerry Seinfeld, it turns out, is a big fan. They’re his fave. And if that’s not reason for further investigation now that I’m older and wiser and further removed from the anger, then I certainly don’t know what is. And so, finally, I sought some answers.

Bit-O-Honeys were first introduced in 1924 by Chicago’s Schutter-Johnson Company and were acquired, in 1984, by the Nestle Company who continues to produce them today. They are the sole survivor of the Bit-O family, which at one time also included Bit-O-Choc, Bit-O-Coconut, Bit-O-Licorice, and Bit-O-Peanut Butter. (Who knew?) This honey-flavored taffy embedded with almond bits (a candy twin of Necco’s Mary Jane) is not easy to find these days, but the shiny, almond-flecked, café-au-lait-colored treat comes in two forms: a full-size bar and bite-size pieces.

Bit-O-Honey BarFULL-SIZE BAR: I managed to track this down in that Mecca for obscure candy, The 99-Cent Store. It is considerately divided into six segments and wrapped in easy-to-remove wax paper (none of the sticky, frustrating mess that I seem to remember from childhood). It has a mild honey aroma and bends easily but breaks roughly in two, rather than stretching.

BITE-SIZE PIECES (the instigator of so much of my anguish): Pilfered from a mixed bag where they were – I thought, incongruously – cohabitating with SweeTarts Chews and Sprees, these noticeably retained the very sweet, fruity scent of their pre-packaged partners. They were softer, stretchier, and all-around more taffy-like than their full-size counterpart, leading me to suspect a difference in freshness as the culprit.

Both samples tasted almost identical: a benign honey flavor with very subtle and rare reminders of the almonds – no nutty crunch that, I think, would provide an excellent textural balance. Despite my bad memories, I have to admit, my reunion with Bit-O-Honey wasn’t wholly unpleasant; the degree of chewiness was very nice, it didn’t stick in my teeth or threaten my fillings, and it left a mild sweetness lingering in my mouth. And I’d call that a victory for Nestle.

But I’m just not all that fond of honey, I guess, because – while it didn’t offend or infuriate me like it once had – Bit-O-Honey didn’t excite me, either. If honey’s your thing, this treat’s for you; henceforth I, however, shall look to Jerry Seinfeld for comedy only – not candy. But thanks for the memories, Jer.

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7 Responses to “Retro Candy Flashback: Bit-O-Honey”

  1. 1
    Alicia says:

    These are one of my mom’s favorites. I love them when they’re fresh and soft.

  2. 2
    AntFan says:

    You mentioned Tootsie Rolls, are the “Lime Cola” Frootie Tootsie Rolls available in the USA? I have seen them for sale in 500 packs, but not in the mix packs (just regular “Lime”). Anyone found “Lime Cola” ones anywhere (not in a pack of 500+)?

  3. 3
    Tish says:

    Bit-o-honey is like my favorite candy. Even as a child I loved this stuff. My mom always bought it at the dollar store and I just received some from my older sister last week for my birthday.

  4. 4
    Marilyn says:

    The reason that the large bar seemed stale is… it WAS! Almost any candy you get at the 99-cent store is going to be stale! (That doesn’t stop me from buying or eating it, mind you – but it’s never going to be as fresh as what you get at the local grocery!)

  5. 5
    oakling says:

    i wonder if it was his love of honey candy that inspired that bee movie….

  6. 6
    Rabrab says:

    I never really like Bit-o-Honey either, but I at least had someone to trade them to — both my sister and my grandfather loved them.

  7. 7
    mike says:

    please bring back bit-o-peanut butter and let me know where to get them

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