Friday, August 13, 2010

Canadian Candy Bars

O, Canada indeed. There's many great things about Canada, even if many Americans are completely unfamiliar with our amiable neighbors to the north and Canada's geography. My dear dad, upon being told that the Better Half's parents lived 8 hours North of Toronto (Timmins, Ontario - home of Shania Twain), he asked - "Is that the arctic circle?" He was being a bit facetious, but... the Better Half is often asked innocent questions that seem to show how little some know about Canada ("do they grow apples in Canada?").

Besides being the land of nativity for my dear wife, Canada has brought us basketball (James Naismith was born in Canada), so any good Hoosier should be thankful for that. Even if you forgive Canada for the whole Celine Dion thing, there are lots of famous Canadians. This old episode from This American Life is an interesting pondering about being Canadian (stream it for free!), I especially like Ian Brown's definitions of how being Canadian and being American differs (act 2).

Anyhow, I enjoy some of the simple differences I find between mass marketed food in the US v. Canada. You can't hardly find a Taco Bell there (actually makes me sad) and they are way more into donuts than "we" are. I also find that it is interesting that different candy bars are marketed there.

From this picture, I wanted to talk about three - the Coffee Crisp, the Crunchie, and Mr. Big. However, the in-laws were visiting, and Mr. Big was consumed before I had a chance to try it.

The Crunchie is definitely a new experience texture-wise. It is a sponge toffee coated in milk chocolate. The sponge toffee, though, is in no way soft and spongy. It is very airy and light, and very crisp. So, with a bite, it is a lot of crunch, the type the might be too "loud" in your head as you eat it. The toffee is a rich flavor, but is not too powerful. The milk chocolate is a nice partner to the chocolate. I do like it quite a bit.

The Coffee Crisp is a bar that I am kind of amazed that is not more fully marketed in the US. Coffee is so popular, it is paired well with chocolate, and the wafer bar of the coffee crisp is a lot like a big Kit Kat. It doesn't have brand equity here, but... I think it is something that could easily be accepted. Friends we've introduced it to really like it.

I personally have an odd relationship to coffee. I like the smell of it. I like coffee-flavored things such as ice cream. I liked the very short-lived Coca Cola Blak, too (for a cool list of recent new products from Coca-Cola worldwide, check out this page). But, I don't like drinking it, especially black. If you take me to Starbucks, I can get a froofy drink that I don't mind (if you put enough sugar and whipped cream into it) but... I just don't like "real" coffee.

I do like the Coffee Crisp, though I don't pick it out very often. If you have a chance, give it a try.

Now, my favorite Canadian product other than the Better Half is still Bare Naked Ladies. You can go old school with "If I Had $1,000,000" or a bit later with my favorite song, "The Old Apartment", but while I care less and less about music (I'm getting old!), I still really enjoy their stuff.

No comments: