So, um, Labor Day’s next week.
Summer’s always too short! You turn around and it’s gone! However did this happen? #lovesummer
As a chronic sweater and autumn’s #1 fan, I’ve never felt particularly aligned with the widespread sadness that comes the end of the 3-4 hottest months of the year. But, as I’ve gotten older and better understood the despair that comes along with hoofing it to work on a 3-degree day in March, I’ve grown to appreciate the various joys of summer.
Beer gardens. The smell of sunscreen. Shorts, tank tops, sundresses and seersucker. Iced coffee. One of my two annual dental checkups.
Frozen candy bars.
They really aren’t as satisfying during the rest of the year, are they? I have fond memories of gnawing on frozen Snickers bars with my dad while playing golf on family vacation, or of throwing melting, near-death Reese’s from the freezer and not waiting for them to thaw. That shit doesn’t fly in November.
To celebrate the last week of summer, I’m throwing [Ed. note: Holding? Declaring? Embarking upon?] Breaking Off A Piece’s newest theme week: Frozen Week.
To kick things off, I wanted to take a serious damn look at frozen candy bars. Earlier in the month, one of my favorite Twitter follows — Grantland’s Bill Barnwell — posed a great question.
Which candy gains the most by being frozen before eating?
— Bill Barnwell (@billbarnwell) August 6, 2015
I replied to him, but given my self-assigned authority on the subject, I felt pretty silly not having a more scienticically informed answer.
I asked Abby and Alex Bar to help me fix that.
We met for dinner at Honey Butter Fried Chicken, them bringing their smiles and me bringing a large, insulated bag with frozen and room-temperatured versions of the five most popular answers to Barnwell’s question.
After the meal [Ed. note: Splendid, always. If you’re in Chicago, pay them a visit.], I laid out my wares on our pic-a-nic table and took the picture you see at the top of this post. As a brisk wind picked up and we drew a small amount of attention (Alex/Abby: “She wants to give you money for your basketball team.), we decided to pack things up and head back to the #BSMT (my small, garden-level den of an apartment) for the actual taste-test, which would feature a bite of room-temp candy bar and then a bite of frozen, to determine:
1) Which candy bar improved the most in its frozen state?
2) Which candy bar tasted the best frozen?
Up first …
Charleston Chew Minis
[Ed. note: I fully intended to buy full-sized Charleston Chews, but the closest Walgreens, CVS and grocery stores didn’t carry it and I wasn’t going to drive to the next town. If that makes me a half-assed candy bar blogger than so be it.]
Abby: “These have the texture of deflated packing peanuts. Or deflated marshmallows.”
Alex: “There is … very little flavor.”
Me: I’d grown up enjoying Charleston Chews, but only when frozen (bias revealed and admitted). The minis are a more palatable eating experience, but at room temperature both the full- and mini-sized are … laborious to chew.
Alex: “Hmm … There’s a pop that’s pretty deliberate, then it sort of melts into a gummi.” “It crunches, then it sticks to your teeth.”
Abby: [Ed. note: Unintelligible notes holy wow my handwriting is bad. Sorry, Abby.] … “These melt; the others didn’t.”
Me: Damn, that crunch makes all the difference. They’re definitely a little blander than I remember, but the stark difference from frozen to room temperature is so welcome. They almost shatter upon first bite, then melt into a comfortable chewiness until only the last remnants stick to your teeth. I’m a fan.
Alex: Room temperature
Me: Frozen Continue reading