Each holiday season, we gather candy from the most popular producers in our area and nationwide and sit down to a full-on candy tasting (feasting) to pick out the best candy for every craving. Halloween, with its candy corn, chocolate and other dental fear-inducing treats, always provides one of the best candy tastings of the year.
This year, the array of candy sent our way for tasting was better than ever. We received hand-painted pumpkin truffles, "unjunked" candy bars and everything in between. That's right, unjunked candy bars. But were they any good? Read on to find out!
Best Spooky Chocolate Sculpture - Li-LacNo matter how many times I see them, small chocolate sculptures continue to amaze me. This Halloween season, plenty of chocolate brands are advertising their own themed chocolate art, with the best including Godiva's Milk and White Chocolate Mummy ($10) and Lake Champlain's Dark Chocolate Spooky Cat ($11). This year, our favorites are those done by Li-Lac in New York City. Three dimensional chocolate witches and jack o'lanterns are adorable treats or gifts come Halloween, and these are made with smooth, creamy milk and dark chocolate to boot.
Li-Lac Halloween chocolates range in price from $1.85 for Pumpkin and Ghost Pops to $25 for a larger chocolate Witch. Our favorites of the bunch are the smaller witches ($8.50) and the clever Mummy in a Coffin ($6.50).
There are many a Halloween-appropriate candy come October, especially when the shelves start filling up with all those snack- and fun-sized versions of the regular candies we love. But what about when you want something special, with a slightly more sophisticated nature? Perhaps, to give as a gift to a friend or significant other. These are times when truffles are the best possible option, and thanks to companies like Godiva, Norman Love and Lake Champlain, there are plenty of autumn and Halloween inspired truffles on the market.
Best Halloween-Inspired Truffles - Lake Champlain
There are some real stand-outs from Godiva, we loved the Pumpkin Cheesecake Truffle, most specifically, and Norman Love's beautiful little truffle gems are always a hit. This go around, Lake Champlain's fall flavors won as our favorites. Of the "Revel" line ($36/box), our three favorites were Vermont Creme Fraiche, for its lightly cheesecake taste, Chipotle Cinnamon, which really kicked you in the mouth with its chipotle heat, and the Whistle Pig Straight Rye Whiskey, which we couldn't help but love with its strong but not cloying whiskey taste.
We know, we know, the pumpkin-shaped Reese's ($1) is not that much of an update, but sometimes you just have to stick to the classics. This candy update section proved just that.
Best Updated Version of a Halloween Classic - Reese's Pumpkin
While Caramel Apple Milky Ways ($3.49) were edible once past the initial overwhelming apple cinnamon oatmeal flavor, the candies that stuck closer to their more trusted versions were favored. And, with the slightly different shape, much like that of the Reese's Eggs come Easter season, the chocolate-to-peanut butter ratio in a Reese's Pumpkin does change, so it's not exactly the same beast as what we're chomping on year round.
One thing we do not recommend: Candy Corn M&M's ($3). Only two of the many in the Snooth Media office were able to stomach these. Their cloying sweetness was more of a match between Skittle and white chocolate than anything else, but if you're one of the few who find that appealing, this might be right up your alley. A warning though, they taste almost nothing like candy corn (maybe that is a recommendation, for some).
Most Unique Entry - Unreal CandyCalling themselves the "unjunked" candy bar, Unreal provides candy treats similar to the ones we know and love, but with higher protein and lower sugar. Surprisingly, they don't taste half bad. Of the four, including takes on Snickers, Milky Way, Reese's Cup and Peanut M&M's, we most preferred the Unreal 5, or "unjunked" Milky Way, and the Unreal 8, or "unjunked" Snickers. Both were pleasant and incredibly reminiscent of the regular bar, without much difference other than the textures being a little more dense. Our least favorite of the bunch was the Unreal77, a peanut butter cup. To us, this tasted most like a protein bar. To the unassuming tongue, though, these are perfectly plausible stand-ins for our favorite candies.
Unreal candies are $1.29/bar or $4.99/bag.
Of course our candy tasting covered all of the regular trick-or-treating treats we've learned to love over the years, including Mr. Goodbar, Kit Kat, Snickers and more. Most of us know how these taste, but we all have our personal favorites.
Are you a peanut butter cup lover? Or do you prefer the toothsome chew of a Milk Dud? Or what about the love 'em or hate 'em Whoppers? Let us know your favorite Halloween candy and what you plan to present to trick-or-treaters this year in the comments below!