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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Zingerman's Zzang Bars and the Gospel of Candy Freshness

Posted By on Tue, Aug 10, 2010 at 10:04 AM

click to enlarge Zzang premium candy bars, available at Bi-Rite, Whole Foods, Canyon Market, and Cheese Plus. - ALEX HOCHMAN
  • Alex Hochman
  • Zzang premium candy bars, available at Bi-Rite, Whole Foods, Canyon Market, and Cheese Plus.
"Freshness. It's all about the freshness."

Charlie Frank, managing partner of Zingerman's Candy Company in Ann Arbor, Mich., is differentiating his Zzang bars from your run-of-the-mill candy. "Most candy bars sit on store shelves for months before they're eaten. We ship ours only in small batches and we don't go through a distributor."

One bite into a Zzang Original, a salty-sweet mix of honey nougat, lightly salted caramel, and huge, butter-roasted Virginia peanuts, all dunked in 65 percent Ecuadorian chocolate, and we understand.

click to enlarge Charlie Frank, at Zingerman's candy kitchen in Ann Arbor, Mich. - ALEX HOCHMAN
  • Alex Hochman
  • Charlie Frank, at Zingerman's candy kitchen in Ann Arbor, Mich.
The nuts have a hefty crunch, the caramel drips down our chin a little bit, and the chocolate is rich and a little melty. It's the difference between a Frog Hollow peach from the farmers' market and grade school lunch canned peaches.

Our other favorite, the Cashew Cow, takes crunch to a whole new level with alternating layers of cashew brittle and straight cashews. Again, it's all about the freshness, as the brittle easily shatters with each bite. The newest Zzang bar, the Wowza, is a raspberry triple threat with raspberry ganache, raspberry nougat and raspberry candies. It's extremely sweet but, as Frank joyfully reminds us, "It's supposed to be sweet. It's candy."

Zzang candy bars are available at Bi-Rite Market, Cheese Plus, Canyon Market, and Whole Foods. Price: $3.99.

Read more from Alex Hochman at Urban Stomach. Follow us on Twitter at @sfoodie

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Alex Hochman

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