corner corner Candyfreak: A Journey Through the Chocolate Underbelly of America


Candyfreak: A Journey Through the Chocolate Underbelly of America
by Steve Almond | Cooking, Food & Wine
Registered by BigKat of Bremerton, Washington USA on 8/20/2005
Average 9 star rating by BookCrossing Members 

status (set by katiesmama): reserved

10 journalers for this copy...

Journal Entry 1 by BigKat from Bremerton, Washington USA on Saturday, August 20, 2005

9 out of 10

A brilliantly crafted blend of journalism, true confessions, nostalgia and soft core porn (candy erotica?) enrobed in rich dark chocolate. Steve Almond is seriously candy obsessed. In this delicious read he takes you into many of the last remaining independent candy companies and shares his obsession with you. Yummy, yummy, yummy.

Additional journal entries on this book can be found for other copies; see and

You may also be interested in the article I wrote about my Candy Freak bookrings 

Journal Entry 2 by BigKat from Bremerton, Washington USA on Tuesday, September 20, 2005

This book has not been rated.

Going out as Candy Freak Bookring One! Leaves today accompanied by five bags of Roca candy from Brown & Haley; a local favorite. At each stop five bags/bars/pieces of a local candy will be added and one of each previously added kind will be removed. When the book comes home with a great selection of local candies the book will be removed and the candies will continue until all are gone.

Candy Freak ring 1

rainbowbabe West Chester, PA
LaRue Medford, NY
*buffra small town, WV
wyldewomin E. Bridgewater, MA
gothamgal Seville, OH

Journal Entry 3 by rainbowbabe from West Chester, Pennsylvania USA on Wednesday, September 28, 2005

This book has not been rated.

As Napoleon Dynamite says - Sweet!!

I just got this book in the mail yesterday, and I'm halfway finished already! That's more than can be said for the bag of candy that came with it - long gone :-) Well, okay, not THAT long. My family and I sampled it and loved it, and then I generously brought the rest to work with me. I left it on the counter by our mailboxes, where we always leave the goodies we want to share, and when I came back after a 55 minute class, the candy had completely disappeared.(Fortunately, I had reserved one last piece for myself, tucked away in my briefcase.)

Thanks so much, BigKat! We LOVED the candy - maybe you figured that out?

And I am having so much fun with Almond's book. I'm ripping right through it - gobbling it up, you might say - in spite of the fact that I was reading another book that's quite fun (Freddy and Fredericka by Mark Halpren) AND even though I'm in the middle of an intense semeseter.

What can I say? I'm a bit of a candy freak myself (though in my book if it's not chocolate, or doesn't offer a hint of chocolate (the food of the gods; Montezuma was correct), it's not worth the calories or the tooth enamel :-)

Almond is an excellent writer; Candy Freak has some of the best prose - and the funniest - I've read in quite awhile. In fact, I'm Xeroxing a chapter to share with my students, because they are currently writing observation essays. "The Official Dark Horse Freak of Philadelphia" is a great example of an observation essay PLUS it takes place in Philly, where many of my students live, PLUS it's about candy. I'm even going to give each student a Peanut Chew to get them in the mood for reading Almond's essay.

See how you're sharing the love, BigKat? :-)

Thanks SO much for including me in this delightful book ring.

I'll be contributing my confections soon, and sending the book ring on its way...

Bon Appetit! 

Journal Entry 4 by rainbowbabe from West Chester, Pennsylvania USA on Sunday, October 16, 2005

This book has not been rated.

I've finished reading Candy Freak, and it was quite yummy! However, now I find that I MUST find and consume a Five Stars Bar; that chapter, in particular, made me realize the dangers of reading this book. Once I sample my first Five Stars Bar, I fear I will go into a chocoholic downward spiral. If you bookcrossers never hear from me again, it will be because I'm wandering around the East Coast in a sugar-daze, clutching a brown paper bag (filled with cheap chocoate), muttering something about that d*** Almond Candy Freak Fiend...

Seriously, I had such a great time with this book. What a fun book ring! I'll be sending the box out soon, and I'm looking forward to sharing our regional delicacy, Peanut Chews, with all of you. I'd love to hear back from you all about how you like this candy bar! I won't be offended if it's not a favorite. In fact, although it's a candy bar that I grow up with, it was never really a favorite of MINE. Steve Almond's praise of this candy, however, made me appreciate it a bit more.

I'm also curious about whether or not people have heard of Peanut Chews. (Steve Almond hadn't, until he began researching his book.) I hope people will include that info in their journal notes for the book.

Thanks again, BigKat, for starting this ring :-) 

Journal Entry 5 by LaRue from Medford, New York USA on Monday, October 24, 2005

This book has not been rated.

This just arrived in the mail safely! I am so looking forward to reading this book! My first job after college was in the R&D department of a food ingredients importer - we brought in the (now reviled) palm kernel oil and sold it to companies like Boyer Bros., Mars, etc. Chocolate was EVERYWHERE in our office! The big project when I was there was the "barrier fat" in Peanutbutter Twix Bars (snap a Twix bar in half, see the thin line of chocolate between the cookie and the peanutbutter? That's barrier fat. It's not really chocolate because it doesn't contain cocoa butter. It's a chocolate-flavored PKO - a denser fat to keep the peanut oil migrating into the cookie and making it soggy). My boss went to the Pennsylvania Manufacturing Confectioners conference every year and brought me back enormous ziplock bags filled with chocolate candy. It's a good thing I had no car then and walked everywhere or I'd've weighed 400 lbs. So, yep, I've had Peanut Chews.

I'll journal again when I've finished reading (and eating)! 

Journal Entry 6 by LaRue from Medford, New York USA on Saturday, October 29, 2005

10 out of 10

Oh, Steve Almond is a man after my own heart! I loved this book so much I bought a copy to give my best friend for Christmas. She and I have had many long into the night conversations about the Lost And Gone Forever Candies Of Our Childhood (Black Cow? Slo-Poke? Pixi Stix? Giant SweeTarts? Bonomo Turkish Taffy?).

And I think I am the only person who remembers a candy bar called No Jelly. I think it must have been made by Peter Paul (before the Acquisition) because it came in a wrapper with two bars, like an Almond Joy. It was a peanutbutter rice-crisp center enrobed in milk chocolate. I remember it, because it had the best television commercial I've ever seen. You are in a nearly empty theatre circa 1934 and a couple onstage are just finishing their audition. The man is dressed in a brown suit and hat, the girl in a spangly purple dress. A disembodied voice from the audience says, "Fire the goil." Cut to a dressing room. The girl is sobbing. The man is on one knee comforting her. He says, "Don't cry, Jelly. I'll never forget you. I'll make sure nobody every forgets you! I'll make them name the candy bar after you!!!" Cut to the wrapper. tiny letters:(peanutbutter with) giant letters: NO JELLY.

Thanks to The Big Three, there isn't much candy made locally in New York anymore. But fear not! There still is a regional specialty - halvah, a candy made from sesame seeds and sugar. Steve mentions it briefly in the first part of the book, saying his Dad loved it, he does not. That's how halvah is. You either love it (My Mom would beg me to bring some to her in Pennsylvania) or hate it (my sister says it is sugared sand). Around here, you can go into any kosher deli or Waldbaum's supermarket and buy it by the pound, cut off a big slab. But lucky for you bookringers, the Joya Company makes it in Brooklyn and packages it in bars. The store didn't have five packages of the same flavor (they come plain, marble, and chocolate-covered) so I've gotten two chocolate covered and three marble. Fight amongst yourselves.

Sending this on to the next person on the list (in a new box). Enjoy! 

Journal Entry 7 by buffra from Columbus, Ohio USA on Monday, November 07, 2005

This book has not been rated.

Caught. Yum! 

Journal Entry 8 by wyldewomin from East Bridgewater, Massachusetts USA on Monday, January 09, 2006

This book has not been rated.

CANDY!!!! Yah HOOOO!!! Now the question is what to put in ... hmmmm. 

Journal Entry 9 by wyldewomin from East Bridgewater, Massachusetts USA on Saturday, March 18, 2006

9 out of 10

Finally got Candy Freak on the road again. Include three of my favourite - necco wafers (always fun to play with), sky bars (for when you can't just pick one flavour) and Lion Bars (which I fell in love with in England and amazingly can get locally .. go figure). 

Journal Entry 10 by gothamgal on Tuesday, March 28, 2006

This book has not been rated.

rec'd 3/28. tbr
I plan on putting in some coconut haystacks that are made right down the road from where I live (and work), as well as some candies from Harry London's. 

Journal Entry 11 by gothamgal on Monday, May 29, 2006

8 out of 10

Tracking number: 0306 0320 0005 1494 5936

This was a great book to read and a great idea. Thank you for letting me be a part of this ring. 

Journal Entry 12 by BigKat from Bremerton, Washington USA on Tuesday, May 30, 2006

This book has not been rated.

Wow! Two of my candy freak rings check in today. The kids were jumping up and down with impatience waiting to see what cool candies they'd get to sample now. The six year old is now tracking the books on a map to see where we've sampled candies from (see Mom even manages to make candy educational!) We're using different color tabs for each book. Very very yummy stuff in the mail today, including a fabulous treat of five star bars! My husband has bought me these for birthdays, valentine's etc. and I can attest that they are moan out loud good. These might be a little less wonderful than the ones fresh from the factory but they're still mighty good. Since the candies are starting to get a bit battered I'll be boxing up everyone's share and sending them direct. This has been a learning experience. Three books have been out and come back, only one with candy that was pretty well intact when it arrived. The other two taught me that shipping candy clear around a ring isn't the best way to work. My new technique of having the candy sent directly to each participant seems to result in less damage. Thanks all for your participation in this very fun ring. I've been having a ball. I almost have enough participants to send out two new rings so you can look forward to many more journal entries.

Book is on its way as book and candy ring #5! Participants are:
Aberpeter Minot, North Dakota
Bluehawaii218 Washington, DC
Katiesmama CapeCoral, Florida
editorgirl New Haven, Connecticut

Journal Entry 13 by Aberpeter from Kirkland, Washington USA on Tuesday, June 13, 2006

This book has not been rated.

The book arrived in the mail today. Thank you BigKat for the yummy candy :) Of course, I had to try some candy before I journaled the book (priorities first).

I have a book that I should be finishing up this week and then I will be starting this one. 

Journal Entry 14 by Aberpeter from Kirkland, Washington USA on Thursday, June 22, 2006

10 out of 10

What a delicious book. I gobbled it up in two days. I used to think I was somewhat of a candy freak, but I after reading this book, I can say that I am not even in the same league as Steve Almond.

Last year when I was in Salt Lake City for a conference, I was given a Big Hunk. I had never heard of the candy before, but I ate it just the same and found it tasty. After reading Candy Freak, I have a greater appreciation for the candy bar I had never heard of.

I will be sending Lewis & Clark Bars from Mandan, North Dakota (visit Lindy Sue's homepage). Just a little history - the bars were named Lewis & Clark bars after the famous explorers who spent much time in North Dakota. When the Clark Bar company found out about these local candy bars, they sued the company for using their name. ND Senator Byron Dorgan went to bat for this little local company and in the end, the company did not have to change the name of their candy bars. 

Journal Entry 15 by bluehawaii218 from Washington, District of Columbia USA on Tuesday, July 04, 2006

This book has not been rated.

I'm so excited to have received this book in the mail today! I was sad to be coming back from a long weekend of vacation but was delighted to find this book in my mail AND the Lewis and Clark bars. I can't wait to try all of the above. Looking forward to getting started... 

Journal Entry 16 by bluehawaii218 from Washington, District of Columbia USA on Wednesday, July 19, 2006

This book has not been rated.

I'm almost at the end of the book and just wanted to check in to say I LOVE IT! I found it a little hard to get into at first, but once I got started, I've fallen in love with the book... More soon. 

Journal Entry 17 by bluehawaii218 from Washington, District of Columbia USA on Thursday, August 03, 2006

9 out of 10

Thank you so much for sharing this book! I loved it - the beginning was a little bit slow for me, but once I got into the 2nd chapter I was hooked. I enjoyed discovering all these new candybars that I never heard of - and more so, I loved learning about Valomilks! My friend Rachel (interestingly, who also introduced me to bookcrossing) introduced me to Valomilks this past spring. She is from Kansas and raved about Valomilks as her favorite candy. I had never heard of them before, having grown up on the East Coast, and at Easter, she gave me a pack to try. The sugary goodness of it was perfectly depicted in the book - actually, Steve Almond's depiction wanted me to try them again and again...

I also really enjoyed learning about all the people behind the candies. To see their excitement and passion behind the candies made me want to enter the business!

In any case, I loved the book. Thank you again for sharing it.

I've sent the book off today and will send off my local candy soon. I'm sending these caramels that I grew up on but had no idea that they were made half an hour away from my house! I learned this as I was searching the internet for ideas on candy made in my local area. These were made in Baltimore, MD... and actually, as I was taking a train from Baltimore to Philadelphia, the train passed right by the candy factory! I was excited to see it, especially because I was just then reading Candyfreak and just happened to look out the window. I saw it as a sign then that I should be sending this particular candy out. I didn't send it out today because of the high heat - I didn't want them to melt into a gooey mess in everyone's packages but will send it in the next week once the heat dies down a little bit. 

Journal Entry 18 by bluehawaii218 at controlled release to fellow BookCrosser in -- Mail or by hand - rings, RABCK, meetings, District of Columbia USA on Thursday, August 03, 2006

This book has not been rated.

Released 11 yrs ago (8/3/2006 UTC) at controlled release to fellow BookCrosser in -- Mail or by hand - rings, RABCK, meetings, District of Columbia USA



I've sent the book to Katiesmama in Cape Coral, Florida... I hope you enjoy it! Candy coming soon :) 

Journal Entry 19 by katiesmama from Cape Coral, Florida USA on Saturday, August 05, 2006

This book has not been rated.

Candy Freak is here! Can't wait to get started on this book. I polished off the Almond Roca (thanks, BigKat!!) in about 3 days. By myself. Loved it! The Lewis & Clark bars I'm afraid didn't travel too well, (darn that Florida heat!!!) but the labels were beautiful. I kept them on the counter to admire them for a few days. And they gave a wonderful smell, too:) Now my problem is what to include from here. That will ship and get to everyone with a hope of being still recognizable and edible. I'll have to give this a little thought, but everything will be on the way within a couple of weeks. Thanks, BigKat for organizing this ring. 

Journal Entry 20 by katiesmama from Cape Coral, Florida USA on Friday, August 11, 2006

8 out of 10

Just finished the book, loved it!! The stories of the candy makers and candy were great. You could almost smell the chocolate. Now the bigger dilemma for me is what to send. More importantly, when to send. Would you all forgive me if I wait a month or so?? Whatever I send in this Florida heat is going to be destroyed long before it leaves the state. The book is on its way tomorrow (8/12) to Editorgirl. I've copied down everyone's name and address and by the end of Sept. maybe the candy will have a chance of making it. I really hope this is okay. I've so enjoyed being in this ring. Thanks, BigKat for organizing this. 

Journal Entry 21 by editorgrrl from New Haven, Connecticut USA on Wednesday, August 23, 2006

This book has not been rated.

Have to finish a ray, In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash, before I can start this one. Hopefully I'll find some inspiration inside re: what candy to send you all. PEZ candy is manufactured here in Connecticut (the dispensers are made in Austria, Hungary, Czech Republic, China, and Slovenia), but you can get that anywhere. 

Journal Entry 22 by katiesmama from Cape Coral, Florida USA on Sunday, October 01, 2006

This book has not been rated.

Hi to BigKat, BlueHawaii218, Aberpeter and Editorgirl..........I haven't forgotten you all. I think (hope!!!) the blasted heat down here in Fla has let up enough that its safe to mail you a little treat. The candy is made in Orlando (closest I could find to where I live)but its very appropriate to my area too (you'll see what I mean when it gets there;) hopefully in one distinct piece still and not a chocolate blob (lol). Anyway, thanks again BigKat for this very fun bookring and thoroughly enjoyable book. KM 

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