In the list of feel-good Christmas foods, candy canes sit damn well near the top. They’re great for snacking, they’re perfect for sharing, and they can even be hung from a Christmas tree — or your uncle’s ear — without any string or added hooks.
I’ve always considered non-peppermint candy canes to be a form of secular Christmas blasphemy, and yet I can see the allure. A friend and colleague who isn’t big on peppermint candy canes was nevertheless curious to try this year’s fancy-schmancy cappuccino flavour from Allan, the king of quality candy canes in Canada.
So, peppermint prejudice aside, what do I think of these newfangled cane flavours? I sampled a few of Allan’s offerings, and proudly present the results below:
Cappuccino: More like caramel corn and coffee grounds with a bit of mocha. I like it, but really? Cappuccino? Any flavour scientist who thinks this tastes like a cappuccino should find a better neighbourhood café.
Butterscotch: Quite good. Eggnog and butterscotch pudding. It’s a standard candy flavour, and Allan pulls it off easily. If you crunch it, there’s a faint note of black liquorice.
French Vanilla: There might be some vanilla in there, but what I’m getting is coconut cream. Maybe vanilla cake?
Gingerbread: Tastes like … gingerbread! Some cinnamon candy in there, too. Less cloying than the butterscotch or vanilla canes.
Peach Slices: Fuzzy Peaches candy without the sourness to balance out the sweetness. It is to real peaches what Grape Crush is to a bottle of merlot, but it’s not unpleasant.
Peppermint: The candy cane gold standard, and still the best. Sweet and pepperminty, with no fancy bells and whistles. Dissolves at just the right rate. I could gobble up a whole box in an afternoon, which is something I couldn’t do with the other flavours.
RATINGS AND DETAILS
Cost: Around $2 per box of 12 peppermint candy canes, and between $3 and $4 for a box of 9 fancy candy canes. For a box of 60 mini fancy candy canes, expect to pay around $3.50. (Full disclosure: The candy canes were supplied to me for free as part of a press pack.)
Value for cash money: Considering you’d pay around $1.25 for a single chocolate bar, $2 for a dozen peppermint candy canes is a right good deal.
Availability: Grocery stores, pharmacies, etc.
Nutrition?: A regular 14 gram Allan candy cane is 60 calories. The mini candy canes are labelled as 70 calories per four pieces, so about 17.5 calories per mini candy cane. As long as you don’t go crazy, that’s pretty reasonable.
Seasonal reminder: Never walk or run with candy canes in your mouth. You don’t want to spear the top of your mouth, do you?
The verdict: Some of the variant flavours are pretty good, especially if mint ain’t your thing. But for my holiday candy money, I’ll still pick a pack of peppermint every time.
Leg vs. hook?: Just a hunch, but I’d guess that most people start eating their candy canes from the straight leg and work their way up to the hook, not the other way around. But then again, some otherwise sane, rational people dispense their toilet paper in the underhand fashion (Oooo! Provocateur!). So, what’s your directional candy-cane eating preference? Hook first, or leg first? NEAROF! wants to know! Leave a comment, eh?