From the Twin Bing to the Idaho Spud, the Valomilk to the Abba-Zabba, Almond uncovers a small legion of singular handcrafted candy bars made by unsung heroes, working in old-fashioned factories for tiny profits to produce something that they love. Fascinated by the emotional power of their confectionery delights, the primal and persuasive experience of the world in our mouths, Almond describes our candy cravings in sensuous and titillating detail.
Though the road is laden with free samples, he discovers that the world of candy making is not the sweet world of childhood reveries but one beleaguered by stiff competition, closely guarded secrets, and increasingly limited markets. But no matter. As he also finds, every candy maker, even when poised on the edge of failure, is happy, indulgent, and childlike. For finally, even the darkest market forces, even the clout of the Big Three candy companies that threaten to wipe out all others, cannot lessen our desire to lose ourselves in chocolate.
Candyfreak is the bittersweet story of how Steve Almond grew up on candy--and how, for better and worse, candy has grown up, too. Almond gives us a hilarious, sugar-high tour of those old-fashioned candy companies.