Strange and Exotic Candies from Around The World

It all started with the heart-shaped glass bowl.

My friend Lisa’s getting married at the end of the month and, earlier this year, when she registered at Crate and Barrel they gave her that heart-shaped glass bowl you see above. On my birthday, in February, she re-gifted it to me. “Adam, I want you to have this,” she said, handing me the box. I unwrapped it eagerly and then stared at it. “What am I supposed to do with this?” I snapped, ungratefully.

“I dunno, fill it with candy!”

At first, I found the regiftiness of her gift hurtful; though I soon forgave her because she bought me dinner at Prune, one of my favorite restaurants in the world.

When I first plopped the heart-shaped glass bowl on the coffee table, Craig gave me a funny look.

“What’s that?” he asked.

“It’s a present from Lisa.”


“Quiet,” I said, “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.”

It wasn’t until a trip to Chinatown, however, that an idea dawned on me. “What if I buy strange and exotic candies, candies that I don’t know anything about and put them in the heart-shaped glass bowl?

And that’s what I did. I started with these ginger candies that I thought looked strange and exotic (no photo available) but which Craig knew quite well.

“Oooh,” he said, “I love these. I’m glad you bought them.”

They’re chewy ginger candies from Chinatown; maybe you’ve had them too? I didn’t like them because they stuck to my teeth too much. But our guests gobbled them up.

The next time I went to Chinatown, I bought these:


Here they are closer up; I think they’re called white rabbit candies:


I was certain, when I bought these, that no one I knew had had anything quite like it before. But, once again, I was proven wrong. Craig knew them quite well; “You’re supposed to eat the paper,” he said.

He meant the paper that you find stuck to the candy itself. It’s difficult to peel off, so eating the paper is the easier way to go. It sort of tastes like a white Tootsie Roll, though, once again, I didn’t love it because it stuck to my teeth.

The heart-shaped glass bowl then took a brief detour to Italy when, after a trip to the Chelsea Market, I brought back these Italian hard candies from the Italian goods store there:


I really liked the design of the wrappers (see the hatted lady on the one at the bottom), though the flavors were pretty conventional. I realized that my candy bowl choices were mostly aesthetic choices: how will this candy fit into our living room? Will it complement the heart-shaped glass bowl? Will it match the rug?

Which accounts for the final candy in my post today; the candy I bought yesterday on a morning trip to Chinatown. Look at those iridescent wrappers!


Did I mention that the really fun thing about buying candy based on aesthetics in a language that you don’t understand is that you have no idea what it’s going to taste like when you get home?

So imagine my delight when I discovered that the iridescent candies were gummy fruit candies coated in sugar:


Even though this stuck to my teeth, I really enjoyed it.

In conclusion: at first, I rejected the heart-shaped glass bowl but now it fills me with joy and yummy, chewy, sugar-covered fruit candy. So thanks, Lisa, for seeing into the future and knowing how important this heart-shaped glass bowl would become to our hearth and home. And to anyone who comes over for dinner, don’t miss the heart-shaped glass bowl on your way out! A strange and exotic treat awaits you.

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