Each day this week, we'll post a new candy battle featuring more Halloween favourites. Day one: an old-school cage match.
You'd better book that November dentist appointment now since the sweetest day of the year is a week away. Whether you trick-or-treat or get an extra case of M&M's (you know, just in case more kids show up), Halloween gives you a free pass to get nostalgic and down mini-sized sweets until the sugar coma hits. But which packaged treat is the best? What should you leave at the bottom of the pillow case? The Globe assembled a cracker-jack expert panel – reporter Dakshana Bascaramurty, Web editor Cliff Lee and nine-year-old candy aficionado Alvaro Geiger – for a gruelling five-day battle of the bonbons. The rating is based on packaging, appearance, aroma, texture, flavour and aftertaste.
Vital stats: Skinny cocoa-flavoured taffy log wrapped in charmingly retro brown and white wax paper. If you're 12 or under, there are fecal jokes aplenty to be made.
Claim to fame: Invented by candy maker Leo Hirshfield in 1896 and named after his daughter, Clara, whose nickname was "Tootsie."
Taste: Once you get past the plasticy exterior, the Tootsie Roll is pleasantly extra-chewy. It could send your tongue into confusion because it's an unusual hybrid of the two opposing candy camps: chocolate and gummy (like if Starburst offered a cocoa flavour). Thanks to its texture, it pulls it off.
Expert opinion: "I kind of like it when candy gets stuck in your teeth … it's almost like you get 'seconds' later when you're fishing out the bits." - D.B.
MOLASSES HALLOWEEN KISS
Vital stats: Molasses taffy in a timeless Halloween-themed wax-paper wrapper.
Claim to fame: The best last-minute guarantee for the penny-pinching, "I forgot it was Halloween" homeowner. A 600-gram bag costs a mere $4.99 (and you know you'll find it on sale).
Taste: It carries a nauseatingly strong punch of molasses flavour (if you do not chase it with something, it will linger on your tongue and dance in your nostrils for hours). Sadly, its texture does not make up for its objectionable flavour: What begins as a rock-hard confection that cannot be penetrated by the teeth later warms in the mouth to a noxious, gooey consistency.
Expert opinion: "Why do people still buy this? I wish I could take 1/30th of a bite only." - C.L.