A Journey Through the Chocolate Underbelly of America

Book - 2005
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A self-proclaimed candy fanatic and life-long chocoholic trace the history of some of the much-loved candies from his youth, describing the business practices and creative candy-making techniques of some of the small companies. A self-professed candy freak, Steve Almond set out in search of a much-loved candy from his childhood and found himself on a tour of the small candy companies that are persevering in a marketplace where big corporations dominate. From the Twin Bing to the Idaho Spud, the Valomilk to the Abba-Zaba, and discontinued bars such as the Caravelle, Marathon, and Choco-Lite, Almond uncovers a trove of singular candy bars made by unsung heroes working in old-fashioned factories to produce something they love. And in true candy freak fashion, Almond lusciously describes the rich tastes that he has loved since childhood and continues to crave today. Steve Almond has written a comic but ultimately bittersweet story of how he grew up on candy, and how, for better and worse, the candy industry has grown up, too. Candy freak is the delicious story of one man's lifelong obsession with candy and his quest to discover its origins in America. Almond embarks on a hilarious, sugar-high tour through America's last remaining independent candy companies.
Publisher: Orlando, Fla. : Harcourt, 2005
Edition: 1st Harvest ed
ISBN: 9780156032933
Branch Call Number: 338.47664 A452c 2005
Characteristics: xxii, 256 p. ; 21 cm


From Library Staff

List - Michele's list
multcolib_tamaf Jun 26, 2014

I laughed so hard reading this book. (I agree completely with the author's feelings on coconut.) Super interesting story of the small guys in the candy biz and where they've (mostly) all gone, gobbled up by the big guys. I wanted to search out some of the old school candy bars, and did find some,... Read More »

Who doesn't love candy? This wonderful book explores it all from Necco wafers (an acquired taste) to Valomilk. Losta great regional confection history . A yummy read.

Do you now, or have you ever loved candy? The kind you could get at the corner store in your neighborhood, back in the day? You will love this book. Sometimes hysterically funny, sometimes wry and more personal, I consider his feelings on coconut some of the funniest sentences ever written, and I... Read More »

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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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