N Candy AA: Round of 64, Flight 1
March 22, 2010

We're back, baby! Yep, in the grand tradition of cheese and ice cream, Bunting and I are back to pit your favorite foods against one another. I mean, why watch basketball when you can express yourself candidly? (Shut up, it makes sense in my head.)

This weekend, we OD'd on candy in order to bring you a thoroughly well-researched candy bracket. You and our respective dentists can thank us later. (By the way? Having Charleston Chew and coffee for breakfast is the best way to get the Chew out of your teeth. Something to think about.)

Confused? Hungry? Searching for answers? Look no further. Bracket is here, voting is now. Here are the first eight match-ups, courtesy Sarah D. Bunting.

1 Butterfinger vs. 16 Duplo. …"Butterfinger." (Hee.) (Ew.) (And now seems like a good time to introduce the shortcut combo of "hee" and "ew" that Keckler and I like to use: "hew.") Butterfinger is, by most objective measures, reasonably disgusting. The innards look like shale, that orangey color does not exist in nature, and of the average bite of Butterfinger, only about 34 percent makes it down the hatch -- the rest gets stuck in your teeth, and I mean stuck. Duplo is much more upscale; it's got hazelnut, and none of it is Day-Glo. But it's not a movie snack, it doesn't come in handy BB form, and presented with a range of candies at the deli counter, Duplo is seldom the impulse buy. Butterfinger, easily. (…Hew.)

8 Goldenberg's Peanut Chews vs. 9 Clark Bar. I really like Clark Bars; they're chewy, but not too much so, and have a great chocolate-to-filling ratio. I can't pick it to win here, though, for three reasons. First, it's true that a lot of candy bars could have played the role of doody in that famous scene in Caddyshack, but I think a Clark Bar is the likeliest culprit. I mean, look at it. (Sorry, dude.) Second, it's one of those candies you only seem to see at Halloween; I always got a handful of them in my candy sack (hew), I always enjoyed them, but I always forgot about them for 360-odd days until the next Halloween. Third, Goldenberg's is one of my favorite candies. You'll see me get behind a lot of old-lady-style sugar as the brackets unfold, but this one's probably my favorite except for kosher fruit slices. I singlehandedly cleared every vending machine on campus of those magnificently stale bastards during my sophomore year in college, and I regret nothing. Okay, washing them down with Crystal Pepsi was a mistake, but that isn't GPC's fault. What's actually going to win? Not sure, but I'll call a narrow victory for the chews. (Hew.)

5 Cadbury Crème Eggs vs. 12 Ferrero Rocher. This is a tough call. Sometimes, what makes a candy beloved -- or beloathed -- isn't taste, it's texture, and the filling of a CCE grosses a lot of people out. I don't mind it, although I dislike eating Eggs because you basically have to put the whole thing in your mouth at once, or end up with, well, Egg on your face. That said, the texture of a Ferrero Rocher isn't much better if that's the kind of thing that oogs you. Cadbury Crème Eggs have the edge here, benefiting from association with a holiday; a classic ad campaign (remember the clucking bunny? so cute); and the loyal love of those who don't have texture issues. I prefer FRs for taste and ease of eating, but I think CCEs win handily here.

4 Hershey's Almond vs. 13 Fast Break. Now and then, I get a craving for a Hershey's Almond. A regular Hershey bar, never, but something about the combination of cheapish, bitterish chocolate and the almonds just hits the spot. Reese's Fast Break -- which apparently is called a Hershey Sidekick in Canada? Our northern neighbors can let us know -- is good enough, i.e. if it's free and just sitting around the office kitchen, I'll eat it. But it's more about Reese's trying to move their brand into the nougat-filling arena than about filling an empty niche in the candy market; it's fine, but we've seen it done before, and better. Some people really get their snob on about Hershey's, but it'll still win this round.

6 Baby Ruth vs. 11 Cadbury Fruit & Nut. Baby Ruth has a lot in common with Clark -- I never ate it except at Halloween time, and it looks like poo. But it's a good candy bar, and it should win this match-up. I will say this in defense of Fruit & Nut, however: I didn't realize it had raisins in it until I'd eaten half a bar. That is an impressive piece of chocolate; usually I'm like the princess and the pea when it comes to raisins. Of course, now that I know it has raisins, I can't un-know it, but for fifteen minutes, it had me.

3 Goobers vs. 14 After Eights. I like After Eights -- it's a Thin Mint, without the cookie part -- but there's no way they defeat the chocolate-covered peanut, despite the unfortunate branding. ("Goobers" is the "Moons Over My Hammy" of candy; it's not gross-sounding like Nut Goodies -- hew -- but ordering a box of Goobers at the concession counter is not fun. "I'd like a medium Diet Coke, and a box of…argh. [point point] You know. Those.")

7 Almond Joy vs. 10 5th Avenue. Looking at it now, I don't know why we ranked AJ so high. I like them fine, but if I'm in the mood for a coconut candy, usually I do not feel like a nut, and choose Mounds (hew) instead. On the other hand, 5th Avenue is pretty good, but doesn't Butterfinger cover that waterfront pretty well? I imagine it depends on how many people despise coconut, and anecdotal evidence suggests that it's a lot. No idea how this one goes.

2 fudge vs. 15 Chunky. Let's get the "homemade fudge" jokes out of our systems…okay, seriously. We didn't know what to do about fudge; we couldn't list every variety, my favorite kind isn't chocolate, will jokes about fudge with nuts (hew) end up taking over the entire write-up, and so on and so forth. We ended up cramming all fudge types into one entry, rationalizing that the best-known kind is chocolate, and I think it wins here, both because maple-fudge lovers (hew) like myself will vote for it and because Chunky is kind of bad. It has a raisin flavor, which fuck that, but even the flavors not designed to make me hate them…the bar is physically too hard to eat. It's a bulky shape, and the chocolate tends to be dry. Also, something about the name irritates me. I don't know what else they could have called it, but the word "chunk" does not have happy connotations. "Bricky"? "Slabalicious"? Just…not "Chunky." Fudge wins, and should.

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