Some US candy brands are readily available in the UK, others are only available in shops that specialise in importing them. Candy Corn - practically a confectionery mascot for the Spooky Season in the USA - is unfamiliar here. I finally got to try some, and a few other Halloween sweets from across the pond.
I bought my candy from October 31st, a year-round Halloween online shop based in the UK. It imports a lot of its stock from the USA. I have made several orders from there as their wide range includes hard-to-find decor items, homewares and a brilliant selection of spooky accessories.
Some familiar brands of sweets come in extra, odd-seeming flavour combos especially around Halloween. I wasn't tempted by the Zombie flavoured Skittles. I don't really want to play Russian Roulette when I'm enjoying a bag of sweets; randomly you'd get one which tasted intentionally disgusting. I was more interested in the things I'd never had: traditional Candy Corn and variations on Candy Corn. I bought a selection of sweets, shown below. I got:
I'm not sure why, but I was expecting Candy Corn to have a hard sugar shell. I was surprised to find they have a firm fondant texture which is soft to bite through. They are very sugary-sweet and maybe a bit vanilla-flavoured but, to be honest, I couldn't really place what the 'artificial flavor' mentioned in the ingredients was supposed to be. They have the same taste throughout; the three different colours are for decoration only, to make them resemble corn kernels. The two-coloured Caramel variety are very similar, except for the subtly different flavour.
The intense sweetness of Candy Corn is a bit much. For comparison with a UK sweet, in terms of texture and sweetness - although not flavour - it seems most like the fondant pieces in Dolly Mixture. A quick internet search suggests Candy Corn is a 'marmite' treat in the US, despite being around since the 1880s, and it's possibly more popular for its aesthetics at Halloween than for eating. The lollypops I bought are faithful to the original Candy Corn flavour, but harder and a touch less sugary. They are tri-coloured, but those colours are marbled and mixed on the lollies, not rigidly striped.
White chocolate is normally very sweet, and the Hershey's bar I bought is no exception. I'm not sure I could taste the tiny Candy Corn pieces embedded throughout, but the overall flavour reminded me of the white chocolate mice you can buy in old fashioned sweet shops. I liked it.
The last sweets I tried were the Peeps Marshmallow Monsters; white marshmallow shapes covered in green sugar. These were very nice, and looked great but tasted as you'd expect: marshmallow and sugar, like the sugared marshmallow layer you'd find inside a Pink n' White Wafer.
Overall, I am glad I tried all these these US candy items, but they matched my previous experiences with American imports, e.g. Reece's Peanut Butter Cups. They're just too sweet for me, and I couldn't eat many pieces in one go. I'm especially happy to have sated my curiosity about what Candy Corn is really like. If you're based in the UK and you'd like to do the same, take a look at the October 31st website (linked below). At the time of writing they are selling last year's candy at a reduced rate, but may well restock for this Halloween.