A Journey Through the Chocolate Underbelly of America

Book - 2004
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Perhaps you remember the whipped splendor of the Choco-Lite, or the luscious Caravelle bar, or maybe the sublime and perfectly balanced Hershey's Cookies 'n Mint. The Marathon, an inimitable rope of caramel covered in chocolate. Oompahs. Bit-O-Choc. The Kit Kat Dark.

Steve Almond certainly does. In fact, he was so obsessed by the inexplicable disappearance of these bars--where'd they go?--that he embarked on a nationwide journey to uncover the truth about the candy business. There, he found an industry ruled by huge conglomerates, where the little guys, the last remaining link to the glorious boom years of the candy bar in America, struggle to survive.

Visiting the candy factories that produce the Twin Bing, the Idaho Spud, the Goo Goo Cluster, the Valomilk, and a dozen other quirky bars, Almond finds that the world of candy is no longer a sweet haven. Today's precious few regional candy makers mount daily battles against corporate greed, paranoia, and that good old American compulsion: crushing the little guy.

Part candy porn, part candy polemic, part social history, part confession, Candyfreak explores the role candy plays in our lives as both source of pleasure and escape from pain. By turns ecstatic, comic, and bittersweet, Candyfreak is the story of how Steve Almond grew up on candy--and how, for better and worse, candy has grown up, too.
Publisher: Chapel Hill, N.C. : Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, c2004.
ISBN: 9781565124219
Characteristics: 266 p. ;,18 cm.


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Feb 04, 2016

Best History of Candy Ever.

WVMLStaffPicks Jan 22, 2015

A man with a keen interest in the candy bars of days gone by goes across America looking for the small factories producing chocolate bars known only in their local area. Part social history, part hip kookiness, this book is a warning to seize your chance to enjoy Idaho Spuds in Boise and GooGoo Clusters in Nashville before Wal-Mart’s domination of the marketplace finishes off these independent manufacturers.

Jun 02, 2012

This is a funny book about a guy visiting several chocolate bar factories which make retro candies from his childhood, such as the Idaho Spud, Valomilk, Twin Bing, etc.

I wish the book would have focused more on the bars and less on the guy's personal ramblings, but it did make me curious to try the bars because they are not sold here.

I tried the Idaho Spud and some others when I saw them in Las Vegas... and they weren't super good or anything.

Aug 22, 2011

It didn't suit my taste.

Aug 05, 2011

sioux city history

Aug 03, 2010

This book is a wondefully funny read which will bring back memories of long lost candies and introduce you to new treats. It will keep you laughing out loud. Great for vacations or any other time you need a light read.

Aug 20, 2009

If you like candy, or maybe love candy, then take a bite, lick, or whiff of Candyfreak. It is the story of one confectionary-obsessed individual (the author Steve Almond, with his ideal candy-ready last name) and his journey to discover what happened to the candies that made his childhood so sweet--the Choco-Lite, the Caravelle Bar, Hersey?s Cookies n? Mint, the Valomilk, and the Kit Kat Dark. To discover the fates of these and other forgotten goodies, Almond investigates and tours confection companies. Almond is a self-described candy freak and his book is a rousing declaration of his obsessive sweet tooth, a richly detailed history of the candy bars and other sweets in the United States, and an exploration of the rarely-seen world of candy manufacturing. Almond meets candy makers, experiences their sweet products, and provides the reader with his honest opinion. The descriptions of the candies are so rich that you may very well do more than just taste the goodness?you might just literally devour this book.

Eat-while-you-read: Valomilk Bars, the messiest candy ever invented.

Nov 03, 2006

I recommend this book. Quick read, witty, off-the-cuff style, plus some good information about the candy business and why small businesses struggle against the big guys. Plus, for a 40-something reader, it's a nostalgia trip. I remember fondly a number of the candy bars that Almond also remembers--I have found myself thinking back to my days staring at the local Ben Franklin candy counter, weighing my options. . . .

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