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Candy Review: See’s Awesome Nut & Chew Bar

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Awesome Nut & Chew

I am a native So Cal boy. As such, See’s Candy was a staple of my youth, along with In-N-Out and Thrifty’s Ice Cream. And it’s true what they say: You never know how much you care about something until it’s gone! Well, after moving to Austin, I now know.

I recently got into graduate school and needed to fly to Los Angeles to tie up some loose ends. Yes, picking up my diploma (finally) and seeing the family were all very important things on my to-do list, but there was one that was above all the rest.

I remembered the Awesome Nut & Chew Bar from Steve Almond’s latest additions to his Candyfreak candy list. He was in love. How could I not plan a trip to California just to try one?

The elegantly packaged bar is dressed in a red wrapper with a simple yet beautiful picture of a bee, careful lettering, and a cross-section of the bar. When you unwrap the candy and look at the bar, it is no less appealing. It is three inches long, a half-inch in height, and immaculately shaped.

The packaging explains that this is a “Chewy nougat with honey and almonds covered in dark chocolate.” It seems rather basic for a candy that everyone has been lauding, not to mention overkill since a good nougat is already cooked with honey. This could easily be too sweet.

But in a way only few candy companies can succeed, See’s does not disappoint. I take my first bite, which reveals that this is quite possibly the best candy I have ever eaten in terms of how it chews.

The coating isn’t thick, but is consistent enough for a firm munch that juxtaposes nicely with the cloud-like nougat and crunchy almonds. Never have I detected so many varying textures in a piece of candy, without having to resort to the words “mushy,” “stale,” and “weird.”

But there is more to this candy than just how it chews. The nougat is the main flavor component of the bar, and I would buy this nougat on its own if they sold it separately. Hands down, this is the best nougat around: It’s moist, fresh, filled with fruity notes, and carries a fluffy and airy quality on the palate. Sublime, just sublime.

You might be tempted to focus on the nougat alone, but there are other amazing components at work. For starters, the honey, which I was originally apprehensive about, complements the flavors by enhancing the already intricate flavor profile in the bar. You won’t find honey used so well in any other candy.

And as for the almonds? Impressive too! They are whole, and in each bite you nibble at some. What I found remarkable was that unlike most other candy that utilizes whole almonds, these don’t dislodge themselves from their candy matrix with the force of the bite. Each bite severs the candy like a knife, imitating the clean picture on the wrapper.

If that weren’t enough, there’s chocolate too! Like all of See’s chocolate, this coating is delicious. See’s understands that a good piece of dark chocolate is not overwhelming, containing the perfect balance of spice, bitterness, and sweetness. The chocolate is fragrant and not waxy, despite surviving Southern California and Texas heat.

I really can’t find anything negative to write about this candy. It’s hard to understand why it’s so good until you try one yourself. I can extol the virtues of it all day, and still it would not sufficiently explain why all these components blend so harmoniously.

This bar has the presence of a full orchestra playing Beethoven’s 9th Symphony in your mouth – refined, collected, and impressive in its stark subtly and grace of individual sections that when combined formulate something profound and touching – and if that doesn’t make sense to you, then just trust me: It’s really yummy.

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