This nostalgic little confection comes out of St. Louis Joseph, Missouri, where it's manufactured by the Chase Candy Company. While not a Denver candy staple, these guys do show up on our shelves now and again. If you've traveled through the Midwest, chances are you've seen these red-and-white packages peeking up at you from gas station and grocery store candy aisles. Whether you've actually ever picked one up is another question. "An American favorite since 1918" doesn't exactly scream, "I'm delicious!" We Candy Girls do have a soft spot for old-fashioned "favorites," though, so decided to give this old-timey treat a go.

Candy Girls: Cherry Mash

Like the Rocky Road claiming it's "currently ranked among the top 35-40 best selling chocolate bars on the West Coast," the Cherry Mash flaunts the dubious bragging right that it's "the best selling cherry candy bar in the country." 

Sure, right above...the...other..cherry...somethings...Oh! The Twin Bing. Yes. Apparently it outsells the Twin Bing. The Cherry Mash was the first big hit for Chase, and it managed to survive the Depression, unlike some of its other fake-sounding candies like Opera Stick, Lulu Bar, Candy Dogs and Mammy's Pride (whoa, there!).

The outer shell is only ever referred to on the packaging and on the company's website as a "chocolate coating," which is the candy equivalent of calling Kraft singles "cheese product." While there's chocolate involved in the treat, it's not actually real chocolate. Roasted peanuts are crushed and incorporated into the coating before it is poured over the gummy centers. The end result is a coating that has a nice crunch, but is ultimately a tad waxy and without much flavor.

The center is really what the cherry mash is all about. It is fluorescent pink and a textural hybrid of nougat and fondant. A video of it being made brings to mind a machine chewing bubblegum. While there are no actual whole cherries in the treat, the flavor is overpowering (almost medicinal) in its cherriness. It's like the essence of drugstore-brand chocolate-covered cherries. The crunchiness of the peanuts and chocolate coating add a counterbalance to the heavy center.

In spite of all the things that threaten to make this candy inedible, the Cherry Mash is oddly decent. We were charmed by the history and the earnest offering of chocolate and cherries. You may actually find yourself wondering, as we did, why there aren't more cherry candy bars on the market.

Would we finish it? Yes

Would we buy it again?
How could we turn down the Candy Cop?

3 out of 5

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