The gang here at Candygurus are a mixed, motley crew. One of the Gurus is a CEO, while another plays professional baseball. A third Guru has three Michelin stars for one of his many restaurants, and a fourth just recently discovered a cure for cancer. And one was an actual member of Motley Crue.
OK, actually none of that is true, but we do have our differences. For instance, I’m not actually an official Candy Guru, though the word is that if I apprentice for a few years and indulge in a few “hazing” rituals (that may or may not involve water fowl, spray paint and a shockingly large number of marbles), I just might get an official badge.
And while the Gurus is primarily a land of sour and tangy confections, I chime in here from time to time on issues of chocolate. Specifically, the wonder that is Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. I’ve long argued that there’s no better candy than this, but it took Jerry Seinfeld to make me realize it really might be the answer to so many of our countries problems.
Yes, Seinfeld. Remember that episode called “The Dinner Party” where Jerry and Elaine go to buy a Babka? I admit, I didn’t really know what Babka was at the time, but I remember the scene more for Jerry’s ode to the black and white cookie.
JERRY: Oh look Elaine, the black and white cookie. I love the black and white. Two races of flavor living side by side [mumble?] It’s a wonderful thing isn’t it?
ELAINE: You know I often wonder what you’ll be like when you’re senile.
JERRY: Mmm… The thing about eating the Black and White cookie, Elaine, is you want to get some black and some white in each bite. Nothing mixes better than vanilla and chocolate. And yet, somehow racial harmony eludes us. If people would only look to the cookie all our problems would be solved.
ELAINE: Your views on race relations are fascinating. You really should do an op-ed piece for the Times.
JERRY: Look to the cookie Elaine. Look to the cookie.
(By the way, that episode first aired in 1994, which is almost 16 years ago. Feel old?)
Recently, I became aware that Reese’s had released Reese’s Dark Chocolate Cups, as well as a White Chocolate version. It’s not quite a black and white cookie (which, by the way, turn out to sort of suck most of the time), but it’s what I can do. So, in the spirit of racial harmony, I set out to see what I could find.
First up was the “White Reese’s” as they’re called. I’ll admit I wasn’t optimistic here – I really don’t much like white chocolate. For one thing, it’s not chocolate, and it tends to be sweet in a slightly sickening way. But I tried to have an open mind.
Since we care about packaging here, it’s worth pointing out that the fact that the package was prominently white threw me. It doesn’t look enough like a Reese’s. What’s more, when I opened it up, the cup itself was much flatter and skinnier than an original Peanut Butter cup. The wife and I each sampled one apiece, and had the same immediate reaction – it’s not good. The sweetness of the white chocolate is both completely overpowering while also being bland. That’s actually sort of impressive, but it isn’t very tasty. The peanut butter also doesn’t seem like it’s the same – one of the best parts of an original cup is the saltiness of the peanut butter. It’s not here – or if it is, it’s completely covered up by the white chocolate.
So, then it was off to Reese’s Dark. I had the opposite expectations here – I love dark chocolate. In fact, the original cup is probably one of the few instances of milk chocolate I actually choose over other dark chocolate options.
Things started out well, too. The packaging looks much more similar to the original product, and the cups themselves looked regular sized, unlike their white counterparts.
And the first bite seemed promising too, until … it just wasn’t special. I know that’s not all that descriptive, and I’d concede that the cup might have fallen short of my high expectations, except that my wife felt exactly the same. And just like the white counterpart, one of the biggest failures here was that the peanut butter just tasted flatter. And the chocolate itself was, of course, not especially high quality. Add that together and you get a particularly uninspired confection.
Perhaps the lesson of Seinfeld’s black and white cookie rant is that when you put white and dark together, you get … the original, sort of bi-racial Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. Look to the cookie, folks. (And don’t waste your time with these other impostors.)