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25 Unusual Flavors of Familiar Candies

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Chocolate and peanut butter or chocolate and saké? Fortunately, in the ever-evolving candy world, you don’t have to choose. For every tried and true flavor of one of your favorite candies, there’s probably a more adventurous version lurking out there somewhere in the world. Here are 25 of our favorites.

1. CANDY CORN DIPPED MARSHMALLOW PEEPS

Mike Mozart, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

Candy corn may be one of the world’s most divisive candies. Each year, as Halloween rolls around, candy lovers often find themselves having to pick a side on the Great Candy Corn Debate: delicious or disgusting? Regardless of your stance on the matter, that doesn’t stop candy makers from trotting out candy corn-flavored versions of their most popular treats. This includes the sugar-loving folks at Peeps, who infuse their already-sweet marshmallow chicks with candy corn flavor, then dip them in white chocolate to up the ante.

2. SEA SALT CHOCOLATE CANDY CORN 

theimpulsivebuy, Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0

Not to be outdone, the candy corn folks have had their own bit of fun playing with both the colors and flavors of the traditionally yellow, orange, and white-tipped treat. One seasonal flavor that seems to be a hit (no matter which side of that aforementioned debate you land on): Sea Salt Chocolate Candy Corn—which, when you think about it, just makes a lot more sense.

3. REESE'S PEANUT BUTTER AND BANANA CREME CUPS

Vincent Diamante, Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0

As one of the world’s most popular candies, Hershey seemed to have stumbled onto flavor-pairing gold when it put chocolate and peanut butter together into one delicious cup. But that doesn’t mean the brand hasn’t messed around with perfection from time to time. In 2007, they paid tribute to Elvis Presley by releasing a limited-edition Peanut Butter and Banana Creme variety, timed to the 30th anniversary of The King’s death.

4. HONEY ROASTED PEANUT BUTTER CUPS

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In April 2017, The Hershey Company announced that some of their most beloved candy bars would receive new, limited-edition flavors modeled after a few of the culinary specialties of different corners of the country. For Georgia, they gave the Peanut Butter Cup a honey-roasted makeover that offered hints of floral, amber, and molasses. (It’s not too late to find some floating around for sale on the internet, including eBay.)

5. BBQ PAYDAY

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As part of that same Hershey promotion, the company debuted a Payday bar that was full of BBQ-seasoned peanuts, in honor of the Lone Star State.

6. GHOST DOTS

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Yet another discontinued treat that is clamoring for a comeback: Ghost Dots, which were really just a regular old box of Dots candy, but with every flavor the same translucent, greenish color, which made it hard to distinguish which flavor you were actually chewing.

7. CHLOROPHYLL PEZ

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PEZ may be celebrating its 90th birthday this year, but this classic candy company isn't living in the past. They are (and always have been) on the cutting edge of new flavors, introducing dozens of new treats over the years. But even if you’re a rabid collector of their candies and dispensers, you might not know that in the 1960s they introduced a chlorophyll version of the dispensable candy, for anyone craving a plant-flavored experience.

8. PRETZEL M&MS

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Milk chocolate M&MS are so 30 years ago. Beginning in the 1980s, M&Ms began experimenting with different flavors and textures for its treats, some of which—including Dulce de Leche—were quickly discontinued. But in 2010, they introduced a serious product for sweet-and-salty palates: Pretzel M&Ms, a round little pretzel ball covered in that iconic candy coating.

9. GREEN TEA HERSHEY KISSES

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Anyone who has ever spent time in Asia probably noticed some truly unique flavors of your favorite chocolate candies—including Green Tea Hershey Kisses. According to Hershey’s Chocolate World, a 13,000 square-foot haven of sweetness on the Las Vegas Strip, “In this Kiss, milk chocolate surrounds a rich green tea–flavored center for an uncommon and mild Hershey’s experience.”

10. NEW YORK CHEESECAKE KISSES

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You don’t have to hop on a plane to enjoy a one-of-a-kind Kiss. As a tribute to the Big Apple, The Hershey Company once concocted this milk chocolate treat with just a hint of rich cheesecake in the center.

11. BUTTERED POPCORN MIKE AND IKES

theimpulsivebuy, Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0

Much like Buttered Popcorn Jelly Belly beans, Buttered Popcorn Mike and Ikes are pretty much a love ’em or hate ’em proposition. For those who are intrigued by the idea of a chewy piece of buttery candy, we’ve got good news: After more than a decade of extinction, the brand resurrected the buttery candy in 2016.

12. CHERRY COLA MIKE AND IKES

theimpulsivebuy, Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0

Joining their old-timey friends, Cherry Cola Mike and Ikes also made their way back to store shelves last year, after first being introduced as a limited-time flavor in 2003.

13. THANKSGIVING GUMBALLS

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The holiday season is just around the corner, which means delicious turkey dinners, mashed potatoes, and pumpkin pie for all. But if you’re trying to watch your caloric intake, it might be worth seeing if you can find a tin of Thanksgiving Gumballs—and yes, they’re exactly what they sound like. Dubbing itself “a three-course meal in every tin,” the gumballs came in three flavors: turkey, cranberry, and pumpkin pie.

14. CHOCOLATE SKITTLES

Joel Kramer, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

Skittles haven't gone too far outside of the box—or the bag, as it were—since making their fruity debut in 1974. The brand has dabbled in subtle variations here and there; in 1989 alone, Tropical, Wild Berry, and Tart-N-Tangy Skittles all hit the market. But the company strayed too far from its consumer base in 2007, when it unleashed Chocolate Skittles on the world. The feedback was not pretty.

15. KEY LIME PIE TWIZZLERS

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If you think the world of licorice amounts to just two choices—black or red—think again. Earlier this year, Hershey debuted a whole new twist on its beloved Twizzlers with a Key Lime Pie flavored variety, as well as an Orange Cream Pop.

16. FRESH COLA MENTOS

Quinn Dombrowski, Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0

Besides being known for their cheesy 1990s commercials, Mentos candies are equally famous for what happens when you drop a few into a bottle of Diet Coke. (Spoiler alert: It explodes, as MythBusters once confirmed.) Now you can replicate that experiment in your belly—without the geyser, hopefully—with these Fresh Cola Mentos.

17. SWEDISH FISH JELLY BEANS

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It’s not so much the flavor that’s unusual with these sweet candies—it’s the delivery method. Everyone knows that Swedish Fish are those addictive fish-shaped gummy candies. To experience that same flavor, but in a slightly crunchier jelly bean form, just feels, well, un-Swedish Fish-like.

18. JAVA TWIX

Craige Moore, Flickr // CC BY-ND 2.0

First introduced in 2007, Java Twix was released as a limited-edition candy—and it didn’t stick around for long. Though why, we can’t figure out. With its delicious mix of coffee and caramel, topped on a chocolate wafer, then covered in milk chocolate, the candy bar quickly gained a huge following. Its disappearance from shelves left a void in the sweet tooth of many angry candy and caffeine addicts—including, fittingly, the Candy Addict blog.

19. SAKÉ KIT KATS

Tjeerd Wiersma, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

When it comes to variety, Kit Kat is the candy to beat. Its popularity around the world means that it comes in dozens of flavors, not all of them readily available to American shoppers. In Asia, in particular, Kit Kats have been known to take on all sorts of amazing flavors—including saké. Introduced in 2016, Saké Kit Kats are white chocolate candy bars layered with saké powder.

20. BAKED SWEET POTATO KIT KATS

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The packaging for these recommends that you bake them for the real effect.

21. SWEET PURPLE POTATO KIT KATS

Nope, we’re not done with Kit Kats yet! These sweet, bright lavender snacks, which are available in Japan, are filled with purple sweet potato flavor and might just be too pretty to eat.

22. WASABI KIT KATS

Fabricio Zuardi, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

Ok, one more Kit Kat—and yes, that says “wasabi.” According to reviews of the light green candy, they’re not actually spicy, but they do manage to retain some subtle notes of wasabi (which is probably for the best).

23. PICKLE CANDY CANES

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If you're sick of all those peppermint candy canes, you might be tempted to try one that tastes like a pickle. Maybe?

24. BACON CANDY CANES

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Not into peppermint or pickles? Then maybe a bacon candy cane is the way to celebrate this holiday season. Believe it or not, Amazon has a whole slew of questionable candy cane flavors to choose from: wasabi, gravy, and coffee are a few others.

25. CANDY STRING CHEESE

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Yes, we said this list was about strange flavors of your favorite candies. But what if one of your favorite foods was infused with candy flavor for no good reason? That’s just what a Wisconsin-based company called Cow Candy did earlier this year, when it created a line of fruit-flavored Monterey Jack cheese sticks, designed to be a sweet alternative to sugary treats.

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10 Things You Might Not Know About Steve Martin
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NBC Television/Courtesy of Getty Images

Is there anything Steve Martin can't do? In addition to being one of the world's most beloved comedians and actors, he's also a writer, a musician, a magician, and an art enthusiast. And he's about to put a number of these talents on display with Steve Martin and Martin Short: An Evening You Will Forget for the Rest of Your Life, a new comedy special that just arrived on Netflix. To commemorate the occasion, here are 10 things you might not have known about Steve Martin.

1. HE WAS A CHEERLEADER.

As a yellleader (as he refers to it in a yearbook signature) at his high school in Garden Grove, California, Martin tried to make up his own cheers, but “Die, you gravy-sucking pigs,” he later told Newsweek, did not go over so well.

2. HIS FIRST JOB WAS AT DISNEYLAND.

Martin’s first-ever job was at Disneyland, which was located just two miles away from his house. He started out selling guidebooks, keeping $.02 for every book he sold. He graduated to the Magic Shop on Main Street, where he got his first taste of the gags that would later make his career. He also learned the rope tricks you see in ¡Three Amigos! from a rope wrangler over in Frontierland.

3. HE OWES HIS WRITING JOB WITH THE SMOTHERS BROTHERS TO AN EX-GIRLFRIEND.

Thanks to a girlfriend who got a job dancing on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, Martin landed a gig writing for the show. He had absolutely no experience as a writer at the time. He shared an office with Bob Einstein—better known to some as Super Dave Osborne or Marty Funkhauser—and won an Emmy for writing in 1969.

4. HE WAS A CONTESTANT ON THE DATING GAME.

While he was writing for the Smothers Brothers, but before he was famous in his own right, Martin was on an episode of The Dating Game. (Spoiler alert: He wins. But did you have any doubt?)

5. MANY PEOPLE THOUGHT HE WAS A SERIES REGULAR ON SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE.

Martin hosted and did guest spots on Saturday Night Live so often in the 1970s and '80s that many people thought he was a series regular. He wasn't. 

6. HIS FATHER WROTE A REVIEW OF HIS FIRST SNL APPEARANCE.

After his first appearance on SNL, Martin’s father, the president of the Newport Beach Association of Realtors, wrote a review of his son’s performance in the company newsletter. “His performance did nothing to further his career,” the elder Martin wrote. He also once told a newspaper, “I think Saturday Night Live is the most horrible thing on television.”

7. HE POPULARIZED THE AIR QUOTE.

If you find yourself making air quotes with your fingers more than you’d really like, you have Martin to thank. He popularized the gesture during his guest spots on SNL and stand-up performances.

8. HE QUIT STAND-UP COMEDY IN THE EARLY 1980S.

Martin gave up stand-up comedy in 1981. “I still had a few obligations left but I knew that I could not continue,” he told NPR in 2009. “But I guess I could have continued if I had nothing to go to, but I did have something to go to, which was movies. And you know, the act had become so known that in order to go back, I would have had to create an entirely new show, and I wasn't up to it, especially when the opportunity for movies and writing movies came around.”

9. HE'S A MAJOR ART COLLECTOR.

As an avid art collector, Martin owns works by Pablo Picasso, Roy Lichtenstein, David Hockney, and Edward Hopper. He sold a Hopper for $26.9 million in 2006. Unfortunately, being rich and famous doesn’t mean Martin is immune to scams: In 2004, he spent about $850,000 on a piece believed to be by German-Dutch modernist painter Heinrich Campendonk. When Martin tried to sell the piece, “Landschaft mit Pferden” (or "Landscape With Horses") 15 months later, he was informed that it was a forgery. Though the painting still sold, it was at a huge loss.

10. HE'S AN ACCOMPLISHED BLUEGRASS PERFORMER.

Many people already know this, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention that he’s an extremely accomplished bluegrass performer. With the help of high school friend John McEuen, who later became a member of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Martin taught himself to play the banjo when he was 17. He's been picking away ever since. If you see him on stage these days, he’s likely strumming a banjo with his band, the Steep Canyon Rangers. As seen above, they make delightful videos.

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10 Things You Might Not Know About Wine
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by Tilar J. Mazzeo

Between the vine and the liquor store, plenty of secrets are submerged in your favorite bottle of vino. Here, the author of Back Lane Wineries of Sonoma spills some of the best.

1. DIGITAL EYES ARE EVERYWHERE IN VINEYARDS.

Certain premium estates in Bordeaux and Napa are beginning to look a little more like an army base—or an Amazon.com warehouse. They’re using drones, optical scanners, and heat-sensing satellites to keep a digital eye on things. Some airborne drones collect data that helps winemakers decide on the optimal time to harvest and evaluate where they can use less fertilizer. Others rove through the vineyard rows, where they may soon be able to take over pruning. Of course, these are major investments. At $68,000 a pop, the Scancopter 450 is about twice as costly as a 1941 Inglenook Cabernet Sauvignon!

2. THERE ARE ALSO LOTS OF COW SKULLS.

They’re not everywhere, but biodynamic farming techniques are on the rise among vintners who don’t want to rely on chemicals, and this is one trick they’ve been known to use to combat plant diseases and improve soil PH. It’s called Preparation No. 505, and it involves taking a cow’s skull (or a sheep’s or a goat’s), stuffing it with finely ground oak chips, and burying it in a wet spot for a season or two before adding it to the vineyard compost.

3. FEROCIOUS FOLIAGE IS A VINTNER’S FRIEND.

The mustard flowers blooming between vineyard rows aren’t just for romance. Glucosinolates in plants like radishes and mustard give them their spicy bite, and through the wonders of organic chemistry, those glucosinolates also double as powerful pesticides. Winemakers use them to combat nematodes—tiny worms that can destroy grape crops.

4. WHAT A CANARY IS TO A COAL MINE, ROSES ARE TO A VINEYARD.

Vintners plant roses among their vines because they get sick before anything else in the field. If there’s mildew in the air, it will infect the roses first and give a winemaker a heads-up that it’s time to spray.

5. VINTNERS EXPLOIT THE FOOD CHAIN.

A trio of wines
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Small birds like blackbirds and starlings can clear out 20 percent of a crop in no time. But you know what eats little birds? Big birds. Falconry programs are on the rise in vineyards from California to New Zealand. Researchers have found that raptors eat a bird or two a day (along with a proportion of field mice and other critters) and cost only about as much to maintain as your average house cat.

6. THE BIG PROBLEMS IN TASTING ROOMS ARE VERY SMALL.

Winemakers are constantly seeking ways to manage the swarms of Drosophila melanogaster that routinely gather around the dump buckets in their swanky showrooms. You know these pests as fruit flies, and some vintners in California are exploring ways to use carnivorous plants to tackle the problem without pesticides. Butterworts, sundews, and pitcher plants all have sweet-sounding names, but the bugeating predators make for terrific fruit fly assassins, and you’ll see them decorating tasting rooms across wine country.

7. WINE NEEDS CLEANING.

Winemaking produces hard-to-remove sediments. Filters can catch most of the debris, but winemakers must add “fining agents” to remove any suspended solids that sneak by. Until it was banned in the 1990s, many European vintners used powdered ox blood to clean their wines. Today, they use diatomaceous earth (the fossilized remains of hard-shelled algae), Isinglass (a collagen made from fish swim bladders), and sometimes bentonite (volcanic clay). Irish moss and egg whites are also fine wine cleaners.

8. ATOMS HAVE ALL THE ANSWERS.

About 5 percent of the premium wine sold for cellaring doesn’t contain what the label promises. So how do top-shelf buyers avoid plunking down serious cash on a bottle of something bunk? Most elite wine brokerages, auction houses, and collectors use atomic dating to detect fraud. By measuring trace radioactive carbon in the wine, most bottles can be dated to within a year or two of the vintage.

9. FINE WINES GET MRIs.

Even with atomic dating, there are certain perils involved in buying a $20,000 bottle of wine. Leaving a case in the hot trunk of your car is enough to ruin it, so imagine what can happen over a couple of decades if a wine isn’t kept in the proper conditions. Back in 2002, a chemistry professor at University of California at Davis patented a technique that uses MRI technology to diagnose the condition of vintage wines. Not planning any $20,000 wine purchases? This is still good news for the consumer. This technique may soon be used at airport security, meaning you’ll be able to carry on your booze.

10. THERE’S A TRICK TO AGING YOUR WINE.

If you end up with a bottle of plonk, Chinese scientists have developed a handy solution. Zapping a young wine with electricity makes it taste like something you’ve cellar aged. Scientists aren’t quite sure how it happens yet, but it seems that running your wine for precisely three minutes through an electric field changes the esters, proteins, and aldehydes and can “age” a wine instantly.

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