Metal Shark Player

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Review: Chunky

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What the fuck is a Chunky? It’s candy.  It’s a an endangered species and it’s not long for this world. I’m going to explain why.

Recently, I realized that there were many widely available candies that, for one reason or another, I have never tried. At the convenience store today, I took one step towards rectifying that problem. I purchased a Chunky. I have, to the best of my knowledge, never had one before.

There are a few reasons why the Chunky might be passed over by a consumer:

  1. The Packaging. It’s boring. No mascot, no images, the description is very small and hard to see, and the use of only one real color (white and chrome are fake, they don’t exist) makes it immediately less eye-catching.
  2. Chunky Awareness. Who knows what a Chunky is? When was the last time you saw a Chunky commercial? How many lovable movie aliens have eaten one? It’s not even carried by many stores.
  3. The Size. It’s not a bar, it’s a square.It has more depth than a bar, but it takes up less space on the shelf. It’s not small enough to package in a bag or a box, not big enough to compete with the bars. There’s a reason billboards are rectangular.

So here is some Chunky Awareness. Produced by Nestlé, the package describes it as “Milk chocolate with peanuts and raisins”. The ingredients list confirms this claim, adding only “TBHQ (to preserve freshness)”. I tried, but I couldn’t taste the TBHQ. As mentioned before, the Chunky is a square. It is subdivided into four truncated square pyramids (three-dimensional trapezoids) connected by a thinner, but still substantial, chocolate base. This subdivision is a feature found on many candies, presumably to facilitate breaking the candy apart for sharing or saving. I almost never use this feature for either of these purposes. I wonder how this design came to be so prevalent. Did ornery customers demand segmented chocolates? Did manufacturers try to market it to consumers as a serious advantage over other chocolates?

My first quadrant was extremely disappointing. I thought it was dark chocolate at first because I didn’t taste any sweetness, just some cocoa flavor. The peanuts tasted like nothing and the raisins were just getting in the way. When a food sticks to your teeth, it has to taste extra good to make up for that annoyance or it’s simply not worth it. These raisins didn’t seem to be worth it. Sunmaid raisins (the gold standard by which all other raisins are judged) not only stick in your teeth, but you have to dig them out of a tiny cardboard box with your fingers. It’s a messy and annoying process, but they are fucking delicious so you don’t care. The raisins in a Chunky are not on that level.

So why is this candy still around? Who buys enough of these to keep them in production? Why didn’t I buy that Nutrageous instead? These are the questions I asked myself after eating that first quadrant. I stewed on it for so long that I decided I would write a review of this candy to let everyone know that they were not missing anything. Somewhere, someone would benefit from my misfortune. Then I took another bite. And another.

I was totally fucking wrong. The Chunky is not a worthless mistake, it’s an overlooked gem. The chocolate is the heart of its success. It is much less sweet than that of most candies today, and that’s what makes it unique. It’s an incredible medium between dark chocolate and the hyper-sweet, creamy milk chocolate that dominates the market. As a result, the flavor is much deeper than you might expect. It maintains a balanced sweetness, but nothing as bright as what Hershey or Mars products might have led you to expect from milk chocolate. The flavor has more body to it. The peanuts and raisins are very mild, serving as accents and contrasts to the chocolate, which is undoubtedly the focus of the Chunky. You taste and feel the peanuts and raisins only so that your brain can first forget the chocolate and then a moment later, experience it anew. For this purpose, the raisins don’t necessarily need to be as good as Sunmaid. They are part of a much larger operation and they perform their function perfectly. The Chunky is a carefully balanced equation and absolutely worth eating.

Unfortunately, the Chunky will probably never be understood and accepted for what it is. It is a candy out of time, losing its place in the current market. In a fast-paced world filled with much sweeter and more exotic competitors, the Chunky can’t keep up. What people won’t take the time to realize is that it was never trying to. Our modern expectations of packaged, processed candy don’t have room for the Chunky. It might fit better with what we expect from homemade or specialty candies and treats, but, due to the nature of its production, it falls short of most of those offerings. It’s not loud enough to compete with Hershey bars, not refined enough to compete with the gourmet market.

If you are looking for something a little more interesting than a Reese’s or Snickers, see if you can find a Chunky. Eat it slowly and think about me.


Written by metalsharkplayer

December 11, 2011 at 7:38 pm

Posted in Reviews

Tagged with , , ,

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