There is one thing that military brats know more about than average humans. I am not talking about foreign cultures and customs, what it’s like to know no one’s name on the first day of school, and how to blend in anywhere—though we do know more about those than we would often like. No, I am talking candy. Military brats are the world’s leading experts on sweet confections from around the globe. Want to make an ex-expat your friend for life? Present him or her with one of those famously contrabanded Kinder Eggs, if you can figure out how to get it into the country. Trust me, it will work like a charm.
After years of living in urban high rises, I moved into a little house three years ago. For the first time, I had trick or treaters knocking on my door on Halloween. I decided I needed to impart some of my brat wisdom onto the younger generation, and each year since I have bought one of my childhood favorites. For years after my family returned to the States from Europe, these candies were nearly impossible to find. But things are different now, and you can buy them all on Amazon or at a store near you. Except, that is, for Kinder Eggs.
My totally subjective top ten list is:
1. Cadbury Flake I am starting with the best, my all time favorite candy bar since age 10. Light, flakey chocolate that makes a mess when you eat it and it is absolutely worth it. The 99 is the half-size bar, manufactured for sticking into a cone of soft-serve ice cream and beloved by everyone who has ever been a child in England. Sigh. It is also the perfect size for the goblins who knock at your door on Halloween.
2. Ritter Sport These German delights are oh so creamy and oh so perfectly square. Buy the mini-bars, then before Halloween remove all the joghurt ones and save those for yourself.
3. Haribo Gummy Bears These are the only good gummy bear I have ever tasted. They are mainstream now in the U.S., and that is a wonderful thing.
4. Cadbury Caramello Can you tell which countries I lived in yet? The gooey Caramello is a close second to the Flake in my book.
5. Nerds Us 1980s middle schoolers ate hundreds of these boxes. It is time to impart our nerdy wisdom onto the younger generations.
6. Pixy Stix I adored these when I was a kid, but despise them now. So they are a win-win purchase if you don’t want to risk eating half the Halloween candy yourself this year (again.)
7. Kinder Chocolate Bars I know that there is a faux Kinder egg being sold in the U.S. now, but even though it has the toy, I just don’t think the mushy chocolate inside it is as good. I prefer these little bars, which are a better buy and delicious.
8. Carambar Stepping over to France, Carambars always reminded me a little of Sugar Babies, but better.
9. Japanese Kit Kat If you haven’t tried the many flavors of Kit Kats available in Japan, it is time to order this variety package. Strawberry Cheesecake, anyone?
10. eFrutti Mini Burger Gummy We adored these teeny tiny burgers when we were growing up in Germany. They are like play foods that you can actually eat. The kids will love them.
So step away from the Snickers and check these out. Your visiting witches and ghosts will thank you. Happy Halloween!