I live in Canada, where itâ€™s a fact of life that many aspects of our culture are borrowed from our neighbors to the South â€“ our TV shows, our chain restaurants, our food brands. And for the most part, weâ€™re cool with that. The only problem is, we donâ€™t get all of those things â€“ just whatever sells well enough in the United States to be worth importing. (Vanilla Coke, Wild Cherry Pepsi, I miss you guys! Come back!)
So, when I got into this whole Internet candy thing a year or two ago, I was surprised to learn that many of my childhood candy staples like Coffee Crisp and Aero are not sold in the United States and, whatâ€™s more, they have legions of rabid American fans exchanging the addresses of obscure import grocery stores that carry the elusive candies â€“ candies that are available at any gas station here in Canada. Iâ€™m too polite to say â€œTurnabout is fair playâ€ â€“ I am Canadian, after all â€“ so instead, Iâ€™ll get right to todayâ€™s candy: the Cadbury Crunchie bar.
The Crunchie bar is technically of British origin, but itâ€™s widely available here in Canada. (In the States, not so much.) Behind its extremely generic name, the Crunchie is actually pretty unique. Itâ€™s based on a traditional candy called sponge toffee, honeycomb, or cinder toffee, which is made by adding baking soda to molten sugar, causing the sugar to expand in a froth of bubbles. Once cooled, the foam becomes a light, airy, crunchy treat. It can be eaten plain or, as is the case with the Crunchie, coated in chocolate.
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As you may or may not know, Smarties in Canada and Europe are totally different than the candy we call Smarties here in the U.S. Ours are pressed-sugar discs (which are called Rockets in other countries) while the Canadian/European Smarties are candy-coated chocolate similar to M&Ms but made by Nestle. I wrote about this before and have been looking forward to trying the chocolate Smarties. I finally got my hands on some thanks to the good folks at Nestle who heard my plea and hooked me up.
The European/Canadian Smarties have a slightly larger circumference than M&Ms and are slightly flatter and the colors are much brighter and seem more fun than M&Ms. They come in red, yellow, orange, green, mauve, pink, brown and blue and, according to the Smarties website, the orange has orange flavoring in the chocolate center though I didn’t notice it myself. (Weird – orange Sixlets are like that too). Their shells also seem a little thicker than M&Ms though I don’t have a micrometer to verify this.
So, how do they taste? Great! They remind me of Cadbury Mini Eggs (which I LOVE). The chocolate has that Cadbury taste to it and the slightly thicker shell just works for me. So, I now have a new favorite candy-coated chocolate candy. Here are my rankings:
Yes, the European/Canadian Smarties are that good and now sit at the top of my list of favorite candy-coated chocolate, bite-sized candies.
According to the Smarties (Canadian, not U.S.) package, “Canadians eat enough Smarties each year to circle the Earth 350 times.” That got a 6th grade math teacher in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada thinking and she had her class do some math.
Then they took the size of a single Smartie and worked out how many it would take to form a 40,000-kilometre necklace around the planet. To make the company’s claim true, each Smartie would have to be bigger. “Three and a half metres,” (about 11.5 feet) says student Kaylie Rankin. “It’s about the size of our chalkboard. I don’t know if I’d be able to eat it.”
After writing three letters to Nestle, the company has agreed to change the packaging next year.
tags: candy smarties chocolate math canada teacher students