In Which I Offer An Opinion So Contentious It May Rock the Very Fabric of Our Society

A picture of a single Brach's Mellocreme Pumpkin

And it is:

Brach’s Mellocreme Pumpkins are the best mass-produced, fall-themed candies of them all.


— JS

101 Comments on “In Which I Offer An Opinion So Contentious It May Rock the Very Fabric of Our Society”

  1. You monster
    (I don’t think you are actually a monster, per se, but having not tried said candy, I have nothing worthy to add, so I figured I would go for it)

  2. I honestly don’t know why so many people hate candy corn.
    After all, you can wear candy corn vampire fangs in your mouth!
    Can’t do that with those pumpkins, can you?

  3. Pish. They’re just fat candy corn with a green top. Same wax, same nasty chemical sugary taste. Just more of it.
    I don’t think of it as necessarily “fall-themed”, but for some reason I always consider Root Beer barrels to be the best Halloween candy there is.
    If pumpkin pie was a candy, there would be no argument, really.

  4. I thought maple sugar was a winter-spring thing, when the sap is starting to run? But I’m neither Canadian nor New Englander, and here in the US we don’t have a Strategic Maple Syrup Stockpile.

    Visually, those pumpkin candies definitely win. But do they contain real pumpkin, or at least pumpkin pie spice? Candy corn has real corn syrup in it, which makes it authentic! (It also has shellac.)

  5. Under the rule of Eater’s Choice (also known as the Why Do You Even Have An Opinion About How I Eat My Damn Cheesesteak, Anyway? Principle), I abstain from public consideration of this question.

    But as a general thing, I cannot condone of the use of marshmallow, black licorice, whatever that stuff people misname ‘chocolate’ that they make hollow bunnies out of is, or other non-food products in candy production.

  6. Sorry, have to agree with Brown Robin. If it ain’t chocolate, it doesn’t go down the hatch.

    That thing (you’re holding) looks like a major NOPE.


  7. No. Absolutely not.

    (And this thread is where I earn my “I Was Malletted by John Scalzi” t-shirt.)

  8. The pumpkins are a leading contender. They’re a whole lot like candy corn, except that the more favorable ratio of volume to surface area means they don’t dry out as much. (They may also be fresher because they’re a more seasonal item.) And the pumpkin shape makes them very seasonal.

    @Pstansel: Maple candy has a fall look because of the leaf shape it often comes in. But maple sugaring season is in the late winter and early spring. Partial disqualification.

    There are now Reese’s Peanut Butter Pumpkins, so I suppose they are now contenders as well. But they’re no different in flavor from the Christmas trees, the Easter eggs, or the regular cups. Mostly I buy the special ones just after their holidays when they are cheap. The same goes to things like York Peppermint Patties in orange and black wrappers, and bags of M&Ms that only contain orange and dark brown candies. (That’s why the snack table at our New Year’s party often features red and green M&Ms; they were bought right after Christmas.)

    Some places now make leaf-shaped chocolates. Lightweight commitment to the theme, but if only chocolate scratches your itch they’re a solid choice.

    Cider doughnuts are wonderful, but I don’t think they count as mass produced. Neither does pumpkin pie.

  9. Maple sugar candy. It’s one of the few exceptions I have to chocolae only. I would also like to offer a shout out to molded barley sugar.


    However, Marshmallow Peeps outside of Spring, and in any flavor/shape outside of the classic pink/yellow chicks/bunnies are an abomination.

  11. Agreed, mostly. The pumpkins, based on their surface area to volume ratio, don’t go stale as quickly as candy corn. But because they are bigger I often find that they *feel* sweeter to eat (because they’re equivalent to 2-3 candy corns, and I eat candy corn one at a time), which means I want to eat fewer of them.

    I will propose that any fall-colored candies in the candy-corn family are good (so regular and the ones with brown that maybe is supposed to be chocolate but yeah right), but the other holiday colored candy corns are not nice at all. Specifically Easter, but also Christmas candy corn is just … off.

    What is not good at all, whether you love or hate candy corn, is “all natural, organic” candy corn. I was gifted a sample once, ate one, spit it out and threw the whole bag away. I don’t know how you can get the flavor of sugar, corn syrup and a little honey that wrong, but it was past wrong. Probably from whatever weird vegetables they used to color it.

  12. Eh, as they say, de gustibus non disputandum est. You can have my share of those pumpkin thingies, and I’ll eat your share of any solid dark chocolate (the real stuff, not that Hershey’s abomination) in return.

  13. I’ve never had these, but:

    1. I read your statement as “candles” instead of “candies”.
    2. They certainly look like wax.
    3. I bet they taste like wax, too, just like candy corn.

  14. @Shirley Marquez:
    I thought the argument in favor of any of the seasonal shapes of Reese’s Peanut butter cups was that it has a different peanut butter to chocolate coating ratio.

    I’m sure someone, somewhere has done a detailed food-science study of this.

  15. The only stake I have in this discussion is that I’m a pastry chef. I work with every imaginable ingredient that has anything to do with sugar. After working with all that all night long, one of the few guilty pleasures I have are the candy pumpkin. And they only come around once a year.

  16. Your argument is so narrowly-crafted that I can’t disagree with it. Much better candy out there but other than maple candy in the shape of a leaf I can’t think of any other contender that’s “fall themed”. I’d go for any kind of dark chocolate myself over them, but I can’t think of a unique chocolate candy that’s not just a different form of something that’s year-round.

  17. Bah. Wax in a pumpkin shape is not candy. Nor is wax in a cone shape, like “candy corn.” Your failure to recognize this indisputable fact diminishes you in my eyes, Mr. Scalzi. I throw my support behind the chocolate aficionados.

  18. Correct opinion is correct. I bought a bag of those last Friday. I’d rather not admit how quickly they disappeared.

  19. In deference to “Loving Correction” I shall only say that adding salted peanuts to the mix is quite beneficial

  20. You are so wrong about this Scalzi that you are a black hole of wrong. The obvious answer answer is, of course, candy corn. Carry on.

  21. The orange wrapped reese’s pumpkin defeats your sad little sugar pumpkin. Stay in the basement.

  22. I learned moments ago that Brach’s makes a “caramel apple flavor” version of this same candy as part of their “fall line.” Has anyone here tried it?

  23. Do they really out rank Buckeyes? Surely you’ve lived in Ohio long enough to have had those in the fall.

  24. It’s sugar, cornstarch, and food dye all formed into an inviting shape. What could be better!

  25. They’ve got to be better than Brach’s Turkey Dinner flavored Candy Corn, a new actual thing, which I’ve tried and shared with friends and family and which are horrible.

  26. I have been reading this blog for fifteen years and this is the first time I have felt the need to comment:

    I completely and wholeheartedly agree. And JustaTech nailed why. That surface area to volume ratio just cant get any….. Sweeter!

    I accept responsibility for my pun.

  27. I don’t know about “best”, but I definitely go out of my way to get a bag of these every Fall.

  28. Well, you’re only saying what everyone is thinking. Who cares who gets “offended.”

    These special snowflake junkfood junkies ought to grow a thicker skin and think in terms of what is rather than how it should be!

    At any rate, where, oh where can I get my hands on these lovely sounding treats?

    Fall time, Halloween time in particular, is my favorite time of the year.

    Caramel apple this, pumpkin spice that. MMM MMM good.

  29. Fall themed candy used to be anything that landed in my Trick or Treat bag, or in later years, whatever came home with my kids. I always went for the chocolate first but candy corn was a close second. These days I love holiday and Fall M&M’s, as I firmly believe the varied the colors have different tastes. I’m especially fond of the pastel ones at Easter.

    Chocolate, all day, every day…

  30. If this opinion is so contentious that it comes to blows, I will have your back. Those things are delicious.

  31. They are because my Grandma McKinney always had them in the candy dish on the coffee table.
    Usually to replace the circus peanuts during the season.

  32. not sure… is that an OH thing? cannot recall seeing ’em in NY… not sure how I feel about it but looks odds

    on an unrelated note, there may be Spam(tm) shortages this fall… not sure how I feel about that either

  33. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups in any shape gets my vote. I don’t have any Scientific data but it seems that the Christmas Trees have a higher Chocolate to Peanut Butter ratio!

  34. These things land in my pile of disgusting orange food – candy corn, gold fish crackers, Halloween peeps, and cheese puffs (only because they take up residence in between my teeth).

  35. I hear the fabric of society tearing at the very thought of eating one of Brach Pumpkin…things. Only a person who would make burritos out of hot dogs and leftover kimchee would dare to make such an existentially dangerous statement….

    Now, if you were to say that about Dark Chocolate M&Ms…?

  36. Isn’t “best” and “mass-produced” kind of oxymoronic? It’s certainly a very low bar to cross.
    Now without the mass-produced I’d have few suggestions, and that abomination certainly wouldn’t make the list ;-)

  37. And the worst has to be those revolting orange circus peanuts (not to make this political or anything like that).

  38. The color of your sky must be fuchsia…’cause it sure a fuck ain’t blue!
    (I’ve been waiting YEARS to use that line here and not get malleted)

    The only thing worse is candy corn.

    Resse’s all the way!

  39. One could quibble about how authentically fall-themed they are, but now that Cadbury has released a fall-colored set of mini eggs, those are the king. Because like all colors of mini egg, they have better chocolate than they need to and they absolutely nail the ratio of chocky to candy-coating.

  40. You can’t post something that will “rock the fabric of society” and also have the mallet out….technically you can…it’s your blog…but still :) Disagree; they are as nasty as candy corn. Candy corn is good for 1 MAYBE 2 pieces….after that, i feel like i want to puke…..these taste the same but they are bigger…..I do remember a chocolate version of those…I vaguely recall liking those.

  41. I am OUTRAGED and HORRIFIED. Rock the Very Fabric!?!? What heinous metaphor mixery is this? You have rent the very foundations of my trust in your proclamations of Bold Positions on Important Topics.

  42. Might as well get one of those Yankee Candles and chew on it. At least get some interesting flavors with your wax.

  43. Athena’s post from yesterday seems especially relevant here. Question for the class: Is it ethical to buy and/or read Scalzi books when he publicly espouses such dreadful opinions as this?

    Also, I am firmly a member of the chocolate contingent.

  44. Is there a proper way to eat them? All in one bite? Just the top bit and then nibble around the bottom edge? Green top by itself? Split down the middle from top to bottom?

  45. Plain granulated sugar by the spoon tastes better. And it has texture as well, unlike bulbous or toothy. For those who crave the sweetness high.

  46. Well you are just wrong then aren’t you.

    (Also, if you can find the right mixed bag, there’s banana and maple flavor mellowcremes that are much better.)

  47. I am lowering you five names on my influencers list for this! (to be honest, I am not a big fan of Pumpkin flavored anything).

  48. I feel deprived. I am British and on this side of the pond we don’t have fall (or as we would say autumn) themed candy…

  49. You don’t want my opinion. I am one of the maybe 5 people worldwide who likes marshmallow peanuts, and I think that disqualifies me for this conversation.

  50. I love mellocreme pumpkin season! I do find them to be superior to candy corn, although candy corn is a close second. But only the Yellow/Orange/White candy corn, none of those weird variations.

  51. You sir, are a Philistine! You should be ashamed. You are not worthy of the Halloween tradition. Go directly to your room, do not pass Go, do not collect a pumpkin full of candy (well, you’re so old now… maybe you shouldn’t light the jack’o lanterns and pass out candy to the good witches, ghouls and goblins…). You should know better by know, if it doesn’t have chocolate, it’s not proper candy.

  52. In the days before diabetes I loved those things; so no controversy here. I also just read a recommendation to use peeps to make s’mores and that too sounds like it would be tasty goodness. But no-sugar versions are currently trendy so I can’t offer an actual xp based view.

  53. As long as no “Thanksgiving Dinner” version exists of it, I will defer to your expertise. As for me, I’ll stick to Japanese sour lemon candies as my drug du jour…

  54. Because my grandmother only had maple sugar candies after Halloween, I associate them more closely with Thanksgiving and Christmas and adore them then.

    Mellocreme Pumpkins are my pre-Halloween fall candy of choice. After Halloween, they’re too old and hard for my particular preferences.

  55. I have a serious weakness for candy corn or anything like it, so completely understood. I now have a border to help me stay away from it, but when I was living in the U.S., I spent too much money on whole bags of it and regularly ate so much my throat would hurt. The waxiness is definitely part of the appeal for me.

  56. Wrong, wrong, wrong! All of you guys are totally wrong! The only fall seasonal treat worth eating are the whole, salted, boiled in the shell peanuts you can only buy in the fall, from old guys boiling them in 55 gallon drums by the side of little twisty roads in the southern mountains. And the best dilemma in the fall is the one where you have to decide if you’re going to sit by the side of the road to eat them, or if you’re going to eat them as you drive and get every single square inch of your car sticky from salt water.

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