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Candy Girls: 5th Avenue

5th Avenue candy bars have been around since 1936, but we've yet to pull one off the shelf and indulge. The reason why is unclear, though we guess it has something to do with not having any idea what this candy is all about, from its providence to its flavor combinations.  We had to read the label to even find out what sort of filling to expect ("crunchy peanut butter").  It turns out the 5th Avenue is a gorgeous relative of the Butterfinger family, something we definitely should have known.  Especially with our documented affection for peanut butter in flaky form. Though a Hershey's property since 1987, you'll never guess who the original producers were...

Ludens!  Yes, the cough drop folks.  The candy was developed by the company's founder and it, along with mentholated cough drops, was widely distributed for military use during World War II.  When Hershey's acquired Ludens, they dropped the signature chocolate-coated almonds that used to adorn the top of the bar; a few years ago they switched from a pure milk chocolate to a fake chocolate coating.

Still, even with the "chocolatey coating," the 5th Avenue bar is something special. The crispy inside seems to be made with infinite layers of delicate shards, interlaced with thin layers of crunchy peanut butter.  While Butterfinger's main draw is the kick of salt that mixes with the dense sweetness, here the flavors are much more subtle and grounded.  The ingredient list contains molasses and we think that's responsible for the rich darkness that rounds out the toffee-like flakes.  It is too bad such a complex candy is housed under inferior chocolate; a real milk chocolate would really make this sing.

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Rating: 4 out of 5

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