Candy is Dandy, But Goldbären Is Something Even Better

Behold the simple Haribo Goldbären ; a miniature maven of pure fruity delight. Not for him, the cloying sweetness of common chocolate, nor the sticky seduction of caramel, rather he stands alone, unique in his artfully addictive combination of tart tangy citrus infusing a tiny nugget of painfully chewy glycerin.

I can still remember when as just a wee girl of ten, when my dear father took me to my first performance by an orchestra, “Peter and the Wolf” I believe it was, in the golden majesty of Detroit’s Fisher Theatre. Roaming the corridors before the show, my small damp hand held gently in his, we stopped to peruse a whimsical selection of wonders in within the window of a specialty candy shop. I can still see the miniature white chocolate mice with their spun sugar whiskers and pink frosted noses peeking out of dark chocolate gift boxes and golden rice paper wrappings.It was so very hard to restrain my voice and slow my steps, when Daddy said that we could perhaps have a “little something” to celebrate my incitation into the world of classical music.

The chocolatier fulfilled the promise of his magical window display by filling his sparkling glass shelves with mythical animals, tiny Bavarian doll houses and sparking colored jewels, as made of exquisite Belgian chocolate. Perhaps it was the seemingly uncountable options, or the sudden heaviness of sugar laden air, but suddenly I longed for nothing more than a purity of taste that was the antithesis of that creamed gluttony of chocolate. I can only imagine the shocked expressions on both the proprietor and my father’s face, when my tiny fore finger pointed not to one of fantastical chocolaty delights, but instead toward a small golden cellophane bag of Haribo Goldbären. My father bought two.

In that creamy morass of chocolate, how did I seek out and recognize the simple Goldbären as the real treasure? Call it kismet.

I only know that minutes later, as we stood waiting in the lobby for seating to commence, I breathlessly watched as my father raised each gilt bag to his mouth and nipped the edge to open it. The sour fruited perfume, so unique to the genuine Haribo Goldbären kept through my tiny nose and seduced my brain into what has become a lifelong love affair. One by one, I held each tiny bear up toward the bright lights overhead and watched them turned into slivers of molten colored glass.

Goldbärens must be eaten one by one; each tantalizing flavor allowed to burst upon the tongue, a celebration of orange, strawberry, lemon and ,most decadent of all, pineapple. These are not the cheap now common “Gummy Bears” that children speedily consumed in movie theaters and party stores. The true Haribo Goldbären is firm, almost hard, deceiving in its minute dimensions. It must be chewed, and chewed, and chewed, forcing one to savor the full symphony of flavor embedded in every molecule of it’s being. A three and a half ounce package of perhaps twenty or thirty bears will last even the most eager consumer for thirty minutes or more.

Like all fine things, the authentic Haribo Goldbären is prized even within its home country of Germany, and they are nearly impossible to find in North America. Yet I can assure you that they are a worthy quest. And should you be successful in your hunt, we who also love the Goldbären, ask only this: Be not greedy, though your journey may have been long, take only a few and savor them as they are meant to be savored. But, please leave a package or two behind for the next intrepid hunter….for it will, more than likely, be me.

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