"What?" my girlfriend
said, flabbergasted. "Explain that again?"
"Okay. Let me see if I can break this down." I took a deep breath. "Okay,
you know Hugs?"
"So, imagine Hugs."
"Now imagine that they replaced the brown part with red stuff. So instead
of chocolate and... white stuff...."
"Instead of chocolate and something disgusting that may be white chocolate
but could just be 'white,' now it's... red something and white something.
And, I think, it's mint-flavored."
"The red part, or the white part?"
"Probably the whole thing. And inside of that, there are crunchy pieces of
"Like, hard peppermint candy bits. Mixed up in it."
"Let's not get into WHY. 'Why' is just going to take us to the crazy
place. Maybe... there was an accident of some kind. So, they took the
white part of the candy, colored some of it red, swirled it together,
flavored it with mint, mixed in some other crushed candy, and... which is
also mint... and then they called it STRIPES."
That's how the conversation went when I tried to convince my friend of
what I had seen at the grocery store. Hershey's Stripes. They've since
renamed it... well.
Someone clearly realized that "Stripes" was a ridiculous name for a piece
of candy. First of all, it tells you nothing. Secondly, it just reminds me
of Fruit Stripes gum, which is... not going in my mouth anyway and
certainly not going in disguised as a Kiss. No way, nohow.
But they stuck to their guns as far as keeping the name confusing was
concerned. The labels more or less call them something like "Hershey's
Candy Cane Kisses," which is a reasonably inspired name, although it does
seem to imply the presence of actual chocolate. Which is just cruel. Candy
Warehouse, however, boldly says, "This holiday, be sure to bring home
Hershey's Kisses Brand Candy Cane Mint Candies with Stripes and Candy
It also claims that the candy involves "a peppermint-flavored chocolate
with red stripes." They have to know that they're riding straight for
trouble with that one. Even if they can claim that the white stuff is
white chocolate, how many millions of people insist that white chocolate
is not chocolate, it's just cocoa butter? Rub it on your skin, maybe. It
could make you minty and smooth. Hey - I bet those candy bits are really
exfoliating! I think I could be on to something here. Maybe if I bought a
bag, melted the candy down, and repackaged it as one
of those massage bar things....
According to Slashfood,
though, it's not bits of candy cane. It's tiny red nonpareils with "no
discernible flavor of their own." That's... gross.
So wait. They already have mint chocolate Kisses. And then they wanted to
make one that looked like a candy cane, and they had to toss out the
actual chocolate aspect of the whole thing. That's... fine. I wouldn't do
it, but it's fine. I like mint by itself. But when they could have crushed
up something that actually tasted like mint, and instead they just tossed
in some hardened sugar, they lost me. What is the point of just making it
I want to see this as an ode to the candy cane. A tribute, if you will.
Hershey's makes a semisoft candy, and this was the way that they felt they
could best use that medium to... um... re-envision the traditional
peppermint holiday sweet. It's like if someone was known for painting in
poop, and they rendered the Mona Lisa in poop. Who am I to complain that
their Mona Lisa smells funny? There's a history behind it! Hershey's has a
history of using things
that aren't food to, uh, in the pursuit of their weird artistic
visions. Who am I to complain that they painted the candy cane (or,
one reviewer suggested, the peppermint bark) in poop?