A Little Less Conversation
January 29, 2019 11:29 AM   Subscribe

When the New England Confectionary Company (Necco) went out of business last July, production of its original, iconic SweetHearts (a.k.a. conversation hearts or candy hearts) candy ceased.

SweetHearts were the most popular Valentine’s Day confections; Necco produced eight billion of the chalky, pastel, engraved hearts a year, and sold them all in the six weeks leading up to the holiday.

The Spangler Candy Company secured the rights to resume production last September, but did not have the manufacturing lead time to supply the 2019 season (leaving elementary-school teachers and marriage-minded souls alike in the lurch).

While Kirk Vashaw, Spangler's chairman and CEO, had initially indicated the candies would be available in 2020, the current corporate press release appears as a pithy, candy-heart graphic: “MISS U 2 / WAIT 4 ME / BACK SOON.”
posted by Iris Gambol (120 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
 
Somewhat previously.
posted by Iris Gambol at 11:33 AM on January 29 [1 favorite]


Bite me.
posted by Melismata at 11:35 AM on January 29 [17 favorites]


Couldn't secure this year's earwig honey harvest, apparently.
posted by NoxAeternum at 11:41 AM on January 29 [20 favorites]


MetaFilter: HOW LONG SHALL I HAVE TO WAIT? PLEASE BE CONSIDERATE

Also, Sweethearts are fine and all, but I truly miss Necco Wafers.
posted by Rock Steady at 11:41 AM on January 29 [35 favorites]



Couldn't secure this year's earwig honey harvest, apparently.


Bonemeal supplies exhausted as well.
posted by logicpunk at 11:43 AM on January 29 [15 favorites]


How did one company manage to make all these strangely-flavoured items? That, I may add, many baby boomers of New England mourn bitterly?
posted by wellred at 11:45 AM on January 29 [4 favorites]


I'm far from a traditionalist. And it's hard to argue that Necco wafers or Sweethearts are actually any good. (Because they are not.)

But I definitely felt a tiny pang of sadness when I heard they were being discontinued. They were there when I was born, they've been there ever since, and they seemed destined to continue being there until the heat death of the universe.

Until, suddenly, they weren't. Not even "this is now one of those weird heritage candies that you'll only encounter in quaintly old-tymey candy stores". Just, "this candy has ceased to exist".

So! I feel a tiny cheer to learn that they're back from the grave. I'm totally gonna get a sack of these at the drugstore. Next February, apparently.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 11:47 AM on January 29 [8 favorites]


The best post-NECCO news so far is that Sky Bar is coming back.
posted by Funeral march of an old jawbone at 11:54 AM on January 29 [7 favorites]


Still waiting for the return of the Clark Bar.
posted by octothorpe at 11:59 AM on January 29 [7 favorites]


There is a knockoff that is so freaking good we've had to ask people not to bring them to the office. I don't know what they are (and it's best if I never find out), but they're bigger than the traditional ones and have dot-matrix style letters that are impossible to read on at least one-third of them. They are not Brach's. But they're amazing and addictive. The pink ones taste like real strawberry instead of Pepto.
posted by sageleaf at 12:02 PM on January 29 [3 favorites]


At least we still have Goldenberg's Peanut Chews
posted by SansPoint at 12:02 PM on January 29 [8 favorites]


...not that Sky Bars in their most recent incarnation weren't also pretty gross; made with that awful, waxy cheap chocolate, and the four different fillings all so supersaturated with sugar as to taste exactly the same.

It will be interesting to see what the new owner (a gourmet food store) does with the brand - and how they actually manufacture them. I remember watching some Food Network show that visited the NECCO factory and showed the Sky Bar making machine, which had been purpose-built in the 1920s or whenever, and was still maintained and used to make them.
posted by Funeral march of an old jawbone at 12:04 PM on January 29 [1 favorite]


Bite me.

You know, I've never thought of it before, but I would absolutely buy a bag of those chalky hearts if they had really rude and snarky comments on them.

Having a bowl of those available on Singles Awareness Day would easily swell my black and shriveled heart two or three sizes.
posted by los pantalones del muerte at 12:04 PM on January 29 [23 favorites]


I don't see them on Spangler site (the hilariously named Canada Mints are there though) but did someone pick up Squirrel Nut Zippers & Mary Janes?
posted by Ashwagandha at 12:04 PM on January 29


Pepto is a delicious flavor, second time in a week I've heard people refer to it disparagingly.
posted by GoblinHoney at 12:04 PM on January 29 [13 favorites]


I don't know for sure that Necco was losing money--but I am extremely skeptical of the real reasons they went out of business, seeing as how they were a victim of a private equity buyout in 2007, after which their history as a company seems to be more complicated than necessary, filled with strange "cost cutting" measures.
posted by Automocar at 12:06 PM on January 29 [27 favorites]


I'm far from a traditionalist. And it's hard to argue that Necco wafers or Sweethearts are actually any good. (Because they are not.)


I had unlimited access to candy as a kid (for example, I always got more than 3 lbs. of candy for Christmas, including 3 different boxes of assorted chocolates, Life Saver books, Cadbury assortments, etc.), and I loved Necco wafers, and remember their tastes especially well.

Maybe because they were intense and often astringent? Nothing could wash the flavor of that licorice one out of my mouth.
posted by jamjam at 12:12 PM on January 29 [4 favorites]


Don't forget MST3K's take on the idea, "Bittersweet Hearts".

I'M TESTED
GET OUT
THAT HAIR
MY NEEDS
STILL MAD
IT'S BLUE

posted by Servo5678 at 12:12 PM on January 29 [10 favorites]


It's sad to see even the minor features of the landscape of one's childhood being quietly erased. But Necco wafers were nasty. If you handed out Necco wafers at Halloween, I egged your house.
posted by Sing Or Swim at 12:15 PM on January 29 [3 favorites]


How does anyone make slate roofs for gingerbread houses without necco wafers?
posted by Wretch729 at 12:15 PM on January 29 [15 favorites]


How did one company manage to make all these strangely-flavoured items?

I just rabbit-holed from Necco#Brands > Peach Blossoms > list of peanut dishes > Koba and now all I want in the world is to procure a taste of a Malagasy sweet that I did not even know existed ten minutes ago.
posted by gauche at 12:16 PM on January 29 [7 favorites]


How does anyone make slate roofs for gingerbread houses without necco wafers?

Thin Mints?
posted by emjaybee at 12:17 PM on January 29 [3 favorites]


Although they were ubiquitous this time of year growing up, I have no memory of ever even trying to eat a SweetHeart. Has anyone ever actually tried eating one? Really?
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:19 PM on January 29 [3 favorites]


I love Necco wafers and have been sorely missing them for months now. Somehow it didn't connect in my mind and I'd been looking forward to this month when I least I could get my fix with candy hearts. I guess I just couldn't imagine a Valentine's without their existence. So lately I've been especially, erm, heartbroken.
posted by traveler_ at 12:20 PM on January 29 [8 favorites]


Pepto is a delicious flavor, second time in a week I've heard people refer to it disparagingly

I always thought birch beer tasted like Pepto without the slime. I love birch beer.

And I loved the peptoesque conversation hearts/Necco wafers the best (although I have forbidden myself from eating either candy--along with my most beloved Everlasting Gobstoppers/Heart Breakers--because I'm afraid I'll crack my teeth and I can't afford significant dental work).
posted by dlugoczaj at 12:21 PM on January 29 [2 favorites]


I worked on a factory show about foods a few years ago, and sometimes we would get some of the products in the office. We did one on Necco Wafers and I was overjoyed, I loved those awful things. No one else in the office wanted them and we had giant bowls full of them, so I loaded up a HUGE manila packing envelope with them and took them home. It was nice for a while but 95% of that envelope sat in my kitchen cupboards for a good 4 years until I finally tossed them. Still, I wish I still had it now. Mmmmm awful sharp sugary foodstuffs....
posted by yellowbinder at 12:22 PM on January 29 [4 favorites]


Pepto is a delicious flavor, second time in a week I've heard people refer to it disparagingly.
Dammit. I was about to recommend Haviland Wintergreen Patties which are delicious and have the color and flavor of Pepto Bismol, but I just realized that Haviland was also a Necco brand and I'd be pretty surprised if anyone makes those again. Thankfully local indie candy shops make wintergreen patties too.
posted by Funeral march of an old jawbone at 12:23 PM on January 29 [4 favorites]


Bonemeal supplies exhausted as well.
They should contact the Inverarity estate, I hear they have a secret supplier.
posted by Nerd of the North at 12:24 PM on January 29 [2 favorites]


Fun fact: They're called "conversation hearts" in the article, but they were originally "conversation candies" and have been around since 1866, where they were popular for weddings, birthdays and other occasions according to this article.

Here's a painting of one of the Chase brothers, who invented the lozenge printing press, cranking away on some wafers in the late 1800s.
posted by jeremias at 12:24 PM on January 29 [3 favorites]


BE
GONE

posted by Greg_Ace at 12:25 PM on January 29 [10 favorites]


How did one company manage to make all these strangely-flavoured items? That, I may add, many baby boomers of New England mourn bitterly?

Hey now, some of us slightly younger New Englanders also mourn these strange, awful, wonderful candies.

Pour one out for Necco Wafers, Canada Mints, and Candy Dots ...
posted by tocts at 12:28 PM on January 29 [6 favorites]


Oh man, this reminds me of a talk show (I don’t remember which one) appearance by a woman (I don’t remember who) and the topic of conversation was Necco Wafers.

It was noted that the candy, due to its indestructible composition, was part of many Union soldiers’ camp supplies in the US Civil War. The woman, a fan of the Ken Burns documentary on the Civil War, began impersonating (and adapting) one of the iconic narrations of letters home from a soldier in the war.

Something along the lines of:
“My dearest Martha...I trust this letter finds you in good health. The winter months here at the front are growing colder and more dreary, and our spirits are not uplifted by the realization that our supplies of Necco Wafers is running perilously low...”
Someone on the show then suggested, tongue-in-cheek, how Necco Wafers, by keeping Union soldiers’ spirits up, was the real reason the North won the war. To which the woman, affecting an indignant Southern soldier’s accent, muttered “That dayum Yankee candeh.”

Personally, I always felt that the appreciation by many of Necco Wafers, Sweethearts and Candy Corn was the best evidence possible for the fact that many other people just aren’t like me.
posted by darkstar at 12:29 PM on January 29 [12 favorites]


Also oh shit, Sky Bar was part of that too, huh? Man. Word is the small chocolate place that bought the rights may start making them again, I sure hope so.
posted by tocts at 12:30 PM on January 29




Here in the UK we have Swizzels love-hearts
posted by Lanark at 12:37 PM on January 29 [4 favorites]


"Well that's Necco Wafers!
The candy that nobody likes."


except for yellowbinder, apparently.
posted by SansPoint at 12:37 PM on January 29 [2 favorites]


Since 2010, the Necco Sweethearts flavors were different than what we grew up with (and included a noxious blue one). The classic Sweethearts shared some, but not all flavors with Necco wafers:
Color: Classic Sweetheart | Necco Wafer | New Sweetheart
Pink: Cherry-ish | Wintergreen | Strawberry
Purple: Grape-ish | Clove | Grape
Yellow: Banana | Lemon | Lemon
Orange: Orange | Orange | Orange
Green: Lime | Lime | Apple
White: Wintergreen | Cinnamon | n/a
Blue: n/a | n/a | Blue Raspberry
Brown: n/a | Chocolate
Black: n/a | Licorice

I'm not saying that's the reason they went under, but I know *I* wasn't buying any Sweethearts anymore, and I love those damned things.
posted by ApathyGirl at 12:52 PM on January 29 [6 favorites]


I quite liked the weird-ass flavor assortment of Necco wafers. I mean, clove -- not exactly a common candy flavor these days.
posted by tavella at 12:57 PM on January 29 [11 favorites]


Why do candy companies think we can no longer handle lime?
posted by wellred at 12:58 PM on January 29 [17 favorites]


You’d think the switch from classic blackboards to whiteboards would improve the raw material costs by reducing demand, but maybe the key chalk refiners just shut down instead.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 12:59 PM on January 29 [15 favorites]


Why do candy companies think we can no longer handle lime?

This question haunts me. Green apple candy flavor is revolting, but for some reason candy companies keep replacing lime with it. I can only assume it is derived from the chemical runoff of another industrial process that makes it too cheap to say no to, because holy shit it ruins every candy they do it with.
posted by tocts at 1:08 PM on January 29 [27 favorites]


Came to lament the loss of Necco Wafer-slate gingerbread roofs: check.

I always wanted a tube of clove-only wafers. Though I know it would have ended like the Easter I ate a whole bag of black jellybeans. I appreciate flavors best taken in moderation.
posted by kittensyay at 1:09 PM on January 29 [7 favorites]


Also I am going on record as saying that the little mini tubes of Necco Wafers we used to get on halloween were the best.
posted by tocts at 1:11 PM on January 29 [3 favorites]


I love lime candy and Neccos and banana and just So Sad that all my weird candy is being binned. Please please stop making green apple for the love of god
posted by stoneweaver at 1:11 PM on January 29 [9 favorites]


On the topic of NECCO wafers and MeFi, I'm taking the opportunity to link this AskMe, in which RevRob330 (and various archivists, candy historians, etc.) go to heroic lengths to debunk the story that Byrd took 2.5 tons of Necco wafers to the South Pole.
posted by zamboni at 1:11 PM on January 29 [2 favorites]


I love love love NECCO Wafers. I hoarded bunch of them when I found out they were shutting down to tide me over until Spangler restarts production, which was no easy feat as they are next to impossible to find in Canada.

Now two of my absolute favourite candies, Circus Peanuts and NECCO Wafers, will be made by the same company!

Why yes, people like me are the reason those candies have been around for over a century (NECCO Wafers since 1847, Circus Peanuts since 18xx).
posted by fimbulvetr at 1:14 PM on January 29 [4 favorites]


I like the hearts and I like the Necco wafers even more. I came to hear everyone bragging about how much they hate them.

I always wanted a tube of clove-only wafers.
I had a source for tubes of chocolate only wafers, but it closed down years ago. Sigh
posted by soelo at 1:14 PM on January 29 [2 favorites]


So now when you eat them and they taste stale you'll know it's because they actually are.
posted by phunniemee at 1:14 PM on January 29 [5 favorites]


Why do candy companies think we can no longer handle lime?

The 90's sour fad brought a scourge of green apple upon candy lovers the world over. It is terrible, yet it persists. Lime flavored mass-market candy is almost extinct - Sour Patch Kids are the last holdout, I think.
posted by ApathyGirl at 1:15 PM on January 29 [1 favorite]


I saw people majorly hoarding the chocolate-only tubes.

I guess that is for people who like chocolate, but don't like chocolate?
posted by wellred at 1:15 PM on January 29 [2 favorites]


The 90's sour fad brought a scourge of green apple upon candy lovers the world over.

Which makes no sense to me, because aren't limes sour?

(I admit to liking both lime and green apple candy, although I regret that one seems to come at the expense of the other.)
posted by dlugoczaj at 1:18 PM on January 29 [2 favorites]


I love Necco Wafers, conversation hearts (and SweetTart hearts are no good), circus peanuts, and now I see I'd best go to CVS (the only supplier around here) and buy up all their old bags of Canada mints.

Fucking venture capitalists. They ruin everything.
posted by corvikate at 1:21 PM on January 29 [3 favorites]


Omg, thank you for that list ApathyGirl!! I knew that the yellow and pink ones had changed taste, but it had been such a long time since i had them as a kid (90s) and when I had one recently in 2012 or so. I used to love the yellow ones and they just didn't scratch the itch, but i didn't know why.
posted by FirstMateKate at 1:22 PM on January 29 [2 favorites]


The purple Necco wafers were clove? Imagine that ASCII-table flipping art, with my mind as the table. That's one childhood mystery solved. I've probably had five Sky Bars in my life, and never truly loved Necco wafers, but it does make me a bit sad that some things that seemed old and improbably hanging on to me even as kid finally disappeared. I hope they do return.
posted by mollweide at 1:24 PM on January 29


U R
MY
[+]

posted by loquacious at 1:24 PM on January 29 [24 favorites]


The 90's sour fad brought a scourge of green apple upon candy lovers the world over.

I was just wondering this morning while squeezing frosting onto my toaster strudel if spending my formative childhood years in the early-mid 90s has doomed me forever by making shitty, too-sweet processed snack products my comfort foods.

I am very pleased to say that I fucking hate sour apple and think it can die in a fire. I'll keep my Dunkaroos, thank you.
posted by phunniemee at 1:26 PM on January 29 [5 favorites]


I blame electronic toll collection for the demise of NECCO.
posted by JoeZydeco at 1:27 PM on January 29 [2 favorites]


Now two of my absolute favourite candies, Circus Peanuts and NECCO Wafers

[wash] Man walks down the street statin' opinions like that, he isn't afraid of anything. [/wash]
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 1:27 PM on January 29 [17 favorites]


I like Necco wafers. I'd buy the clove flavor by the roll if I could find them, but I also especially like the chocolate, licorice, and grape flavors. I like their candy hearts. I've had some of the knock-off hearts, and I find them to be unpleasantly strong and just too—I dunno—common, pedestrian.
posted by phrits at 1:27 PM on January 29 [3 favorites]


I hope they do return.

I hope they return and aren't changed too badly.

I am to this day very sad about the fate of the beloved Ho Ho, which is awful in its current incarnation. The original Ho Hos had a chocolate shell that was brittle and came apart clean from the interior cake in pieces and was delicious. The re-launched Ho Hos have a soft chocolate coating that clings to the cake, and is terrible. Near as I can tell they modified the soft chocolate coating for Ding Dongs and then put the same thing on both because it's cheaper than having two differently tempered chocolate recipes even though they're totally different products.

Fuckin' capitalism ruining my childhood.
posted by tocts at 1:29 PM on January 29 [4 favorites]


Weird candy is great. I also like Thrills Gum "It still tastes like soap!" and Big Turk.
posted by fimbulvetr at 1:31 PM on January 29 [3 favorites]


Pepto is a delicious flavor, second time in a week I've heard people refer to it disparagingly.

Ok, I've never tasted Pepto before, but this reminds me of one time when I was reminiscing lovingly about the taste of that pink liquid amoxicillin I got as a kid and my friend was like EWWWWWW WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU. Minty, chalky, vaguely fruity, some other undefined flavor, it was great! Miss u, amoxicillin.
posted by lollymccatburglar at 1:31 PM on January 29 [12 favorites]


All that to say, I'd eat amoxicillin-flavored candy if some enterprising company wants to have that idea for free.
posted by lollymccatburglar at 1:32 PM on January 29 [6 favorites]


And I have actually eaten many, many sweethearts and they're uniformly horrible.

I had restricted access to sugar and candy as a child and it didn't work and led to shenanigans like me sneaking out of the house late at night to buy a box of sugar and eat it with a spoon. And eating Sweethearts and/or whatever candy I could get my hands on. I even ate those gross chalky dinner mints by the sticky fistful whenever I was at a grandparent's house or anywhere I found them.
posted by loquacious at 1:33 PM on January 29 [1 favorite]


My sweet tooth disappeared sometime in my 30s and nowadays I rarely eat candy (that's not a brag -- it's just the way I'm wired). This is the first I've heard of the demise of NECCO and those beloved wafers. They were absolutely my very favorite candy. I'm heartbroken.

One thing that ApathyGirl's list of flavors made me remember is how delightfully unexpected the flavor/color pairings were. White = cinnamon? Purple = clove? What madness! What genius!
posted by treepour at 1:34 PM on January 29 [6 favorites]


Necco wafers were always "flavor roulette" for me, as clove is a monstrous flavor. And circus peanuts - bright orange, but banana flavored? Ugh - they taste like the ass end of a thing with two assess. do not want
posted by ersatzkat at 1:40 PM on January 29 [7 favorites]


There are giant bags of conversation hearts at local grocery stores, Target, what have you, right now.

They are all Brach's, and they are all horrible. They've managed to make sugar tablets that have so little flavor, they don't even taste like sugar. They're made from reprocessed drywall with a dash of talcum powder from the taste of them.

The SweetTart hearts don't really have a reason to exist. They're just SweetTarts made in a different shape with printed letters on them.

The Necco-produced hearts had actual flavors in them. Those are the ones you'd get in little pink boxes when you were a kid. And, the ones you'd get at the grocery store as an impulse purchase, if it was January or February, up until this year.

I'm fairly convinced that a lot of the hate on conversation hearts comes from people who only ever had the terrible Brach's hearts, and that the Necco hearts suffer from guilt by association.
posted by gimonca at 1:46 PM on January 29 [9 favorites]


Sweethearts Tarts were where it was at. Googling brings up something called "Sweethearts Dazzled Tarts" which is NOT it. Probably for the best I can't get them since if I ever did try them again there's no way they'd be as good as I remember them being.
posted by sunset in snow country at 1:46 PM on January 29 [1 favorite]


SKY BAR IS COMING BACK??? YAY!!!
posted by greermahoney at 1:50 PM on January 29


Man, all these Necco wafer haters. You all realize that this was the beginning of automated candy as we know it? Without the brave, inventive and capitalistic spirit of Oliver R. Chase, you'd be resigned to shoveling sugar in your maw behind the garage like poor loquacious up there.

Ever since then, we've had glorious sugar in every formulation possible and this hasn't been a problem at all.
posted by jeremias at 1:53 PM on January 29 [9 favorites]


Maybe I only ever had the Brach's conversation hearts, but I had assumed, from the taste, that all existing candy hearts were made in the early 60s in a grim Soviet factory somewhere and we've just been whittling down the stockpile ever since.
posted by nonasuch at 1:56 PM on January 29 [9 favorites]


LOVE 2000 HOGS YEA
posted by blnkfrnk at 2:02 PM on January 29 [6 favorites]


tag yourself I'm Fang
posted by sciatrix at 2:07 PM on January 29


Did you ever just read something and get this wonderful taste in your mouth?
That just happened to me, except it tastes like Necco wafers.
Off to wash my mouth out with Diet Mountain Dew
posted by MtDewd at 2:23 PM on January 29


LOVE 2000 HOGS YEA

That's an FPP on its own. "Sweet Pear," "You Are It," and (yes) "Stank Love" all seem like 100% legit conversation heart messages to me.

I'm Team Bear
posted by sunset in snow country at 2:23 PM on January 29 [3 favorites]


The 90's sour fad brought a scourge of green apple upon candy lovers the world over.


Lime faced a bit of a backlash from the 70s, when it was represented in ev-a-ree-thing kids were consuming.

Lime Jello, check. Lime Kool-Ade, check. Lemon-lime sodas, check and check. Lime Otter Pops, lime Dum Dums, lime fruit jellies, etc.

The lime flavors were somehow never the tastiest flavor of each candy or drink offering, so I suspect it was seldom chosen as a first choice. Cherry and strawberry and grape and orange and lemon and watermelon all had much more distinctive flavor profiles, while line just seemed a little like a green lemon.

Green apple began to emerge in the late 70s as “the other sour green flavor”, most notably in those Jolly Ranchers. It finally seemed to usurp lime, perhaps because it was distinct enough a flavor to carry its own weight in a product line.

Some of the lime flavors were even quite nasty, too, IIRC. I still give a packet of lime Kool-Ade mix the side-eye whenever I see it, though I haven’t drunk any for forty years.
posted by darkstar at 2:24 PM on January 29


"Gross chalky dinner mints, by the fistfull." They don't call you Loquacious fer nuttin'!

No more.chocolate Neccos? Whaa, my love for.them is a tribute to the other even more terrible, cheap movie candy.
posted by Oyéah at 2:30 PM on January 29 [1 favorite]


SKY BAR IS COMING BACK??? YAY!!

Yup, Metafilter's Own™ adamg's Boston blog has the details here.
posted by Melismata at 2:35 PM on January 29


Couldn't secure this year's earwig honey harvest, apparently.

As the candy hearts poured into the fiery quasar, a wondrous thing happened, why not. They vaporised into a mystical love radiation that spread across the universe, destroying many, many planets, including two gangster planets and a cowboy world. But one planet was at exactly the right distance to see the romantic rays, but not be destroyed by them: Earth. So all over the world, couples stood together in joy. And me, Zoidberg! And no one could have been happier unless it would have also been Valentine's Day. What? It was? Hooray!
posted by kersplunk at 2:36 PM on January 29 [5 favorites]


Budweiser tapped the Strategic Faux Lime Reserves for Bud Light Lime.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 2:36 PM on January 29 [4 favorites]


So I have an Australian friend here in Japan, and not long before my last trip to the US in December, the conversation turned to the awful candies that, so far as anyone can tell, nobody actually likes, but which are ubiquitous all the same. Imagine my disappointment, then, to find out after I arrived in the US that NECCO Wafers had been discontinued earlier in the year. What’s more, I was unable to find a SINGLE STORE that sold those little dots of sugar stuck onto paper. What has happened to America?

At least I was able to bring back circus peanuts, and they remain reliably terrible, like defective bubble gum.
posted by DoctorFedora at 2:37 PM on January 29 [2 favorites]


BACK?
MEH
posted by Splunge at 2:46 PM on January 29 [2 favorites]


I'm a slightly cranky New Englander who went through a - brace yourself - teenaged phase of being contrary. For some reason that included enjoying antique candies. Werthers, circus peanuts, Chowards, Mary Jane's, and pretty much all the Necco. So a waxed-paper-wrapped salute to you, weird old candies.
posted by cobaltnine at 2:53 PM on January 29 [2 favorites]


I am, at this very moment, eating Necco wafers I purchased at my local CVS on my way into work this morning. Before this thread was even posted.

Imagine my disappointment, then, to find out after I arrived in the US that NECCO Wafers had been discontinued earlier in the year. What’s more, I was unable to find a SINGLE STORE that sold those little dots of sugar stuck onto paper.

I'll send you Necco wafers and candy buttons if you send me Japanese dark KitKats. Serious offer. I have access to a shipping department, and an understanding boss.
posted by ApathyGirl at 2:54 PM on January 29 [5 favorites]


Hey now, let’s not drag Werther's into this...


*reaches for a toffee caramel*
posted by darkstar at 3:05 PM on January 29


My clove-loving brethren! I bring you tales from across the Atlantic Ocean of clove drops, a hard candy that will not only provide you with hours of delicious clove flavour, but also cause your mouth to repeatedly go numb!

Excellent for dentist appointments! Why, you haven't been sucking on pure sugar at all!

(Also, if you get them in a plastic container, it still smells of cloves for months afterwards, and then you can put Hot Tamales in there, and they taste a bit clove-y and then you're mixing the cloves and cinnamon together and...blisssssssss....)
posted by Katemonkey at 3:05 PM on January 29 [4 favorites]


This site still has Necco conversation hearts for sale. At least, they don’t say it’s “out of stock” yet, like they do for NECCO Wafers.
posted by darkstar at 3:18 PM on January 29


I bring you tales from across the Atlantic

Onligatory link.

This thread has convinced me I need to check if they stock Necco wafers at my local (Canadian) imported candy store. I'm intrigued by the idea of the clove and licorice ones.

On an unrelated note you can get Payday bars in Canada now! They're called 4:25, and yes that's a dumb joke about the cannabis.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 3:25 PM on January 29 [1 favorite]


OUTTA
STOCK
posted by Greg_Ace at 3:48 PM on January 29 [2 favorites]


Neccro Wafers
posted by Small Dollar at 4:04 PM on January 29 [5 favorites]



LOVE 2000 HOGS YEA
posted by blnkfrnk at 2:02 PM on January 29 [1 favorite +] [!]


tag yourself I'm Fang
posted by sciatrix at 2:07 PM on January 29 [+] [!]


I'm gonna be

CHERT FACE

I've been accused of being.... sedimentary
posted by some loser at 4:25 PM on January 29 [2 favorites]


“Our planet has been through so much this past year: Wars! Droughts! Impeachments! But we’ve never lost our sense of what’s truly important...”
posted by darkstar at 4:28 PM on January 29 [1 favorite]


darkstar: You are recalling the singer Neko Case appearing on the NPR quiz show Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me. It was truly, the best. NPR. thing. ever.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 5:23 PM on January 29 [5 favorites]


Oh man, this reminds me of a talk show (I don’t remember which one) appearance by a woman (I don’t remember who) and the topic of conversation was Necco Wafers.

It was Neko Case on Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me. and it was very funny.

(Oh FINE, 1f2frfbf. Post the answer while I'm taking 20 minutes to do something else, why don't you?)
posted by donpardo at 5:43 PM on January 29 [5 favorites]


Here, I'll favorite your comment as a consolation prize for beating you to the punch. We good?
posted by 1f2frfbf at 5:59 PM on January 29 [4 favorites]


BLESS YOU!!! A favorite to ye both!


I was seriously considering posting an AskMe to hopefully track that down. How cool are you all!?
posted by darkstar at 5:59 PM on January 29 [2 favorites]


...I truly miss Necco Wafers

They're still around, e.g., I just saw them at the local dollar store. I imagine they will be available for years after the company stops producing them—I seriously doubt they have an expiration or "best if consumed by" date.

And I say that as a Necco wafer fan. Purple (clove) is the absolute best.
posted by she's not there at 6:04 PM on January 29


Hey, cool! Fellow MeFite Apoch just emailed me a link to the previous post on MeFi, back when the “Neko Case on Necco Wafers” interview first aired on Wait, Wait back in 2009.

Thanks, Apoch!
posted by darkstar at 6:19 PM on January 29 [1 favorite]


The store had no Necco wafers, but they did have Clark bars (like a Crispy Crunch mixed with those wax paper wrapped Halloween toffees)

There is a knockoff that is so freaking good

Candy store guy told me he was selling me Necco hearts, but I think I bought these instead. Dot-matrix words, and white=wintergreen, green=lime, yellow=banana, pink=strawberry, purple=grape, orange=like a really weak minty orange
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 6:42 PM on January 29


If that "if you don't accept me at my [thing] you don't deserve me at my [thing]" meme was still a thing I'd totally have been doing it for Necco wafers and conversation hearts. Because I like Necco wafers and have been defending them to many for years.

Florida's "Lofty Pursuits" candy shop stepped up to make their own replacement conversation candy, but they are apparently already sold out after only twelve hours.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:37 PM on January 29



The 90's sour fad brought a scourge of green apple upon candy lovers the world over. It is terrible, yet it persists. Lime flavored mass-market candy is almost extinct - Sour Patch Kids are the last holdout, I think.

If you are near a Dollar Tree, you can get the bags of fruit flavored Tootsie Rolls (cherry, lemon, lime, orange and vanilla). The bags have a clear window, so you can pick up the ones with the most lime pieces.

I think the green Swedish Fish might also be lime.

If you are looking for Clark bars, try a party supply store; I purchased a few full-size bars last week at an SF Bay Area Diddam's for $1.79 each (expiration date 11/2019).
posted by JDC8 at 7:48 PM on January 29


I actually live a couple blocks from the original Clark Candy Bar factory. It's been converted into offices for a right-wing newspaper but they preserved the old sign.

Bonus: A Clark Bar Trolley.
posted by octothorpe at 7:58 PM on January 29


You know, the darned things tasted like chalk, but I always enjoyed the crazy heart sentiments, in a way.
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:20 PM on January 29 [2 favorites]


This continues to cramp my ability to stock up properly for Hedwig and the Angry Inch parties.

I mean, Blackstrap Molasses and Pop Rocks are still things, but I am feeling a little gummi baren, ya?
posted by rokusan at 9:39 PM on January 29 [1 favorite]


los pantalones del muerte: "You know, I've never thought of it before, but I would absolutely buy a bag of those chalky hearts if they had really rude and snarky comments on them."

The new owners should release blank hearts that could be customized with laser cutters.
posted by Mitheral at 9:55 PM on January 29 [1 favorite]


Is this how these candies taste?

""Serves me right," Slothrop, wondering just what he means by this, sipping herb tea to remove the taste of the mayonnaise candy---oops but that's a mistake, right, here's his mouth filling once again with horrible alkaloid desolation, all the way back to the soft palate where it digs in. Darlene, pure Nightingale compassion, is handing him a hard red candy, molded like a stylized raspberry... mm, which oddly enough even tastes like a raspberry, though it can't begin to take away that bitterness. Impatiently, he bites into it, and in the act knows, fucking idiot, he's been had once more, there comes pouring out onto his tongue the most godawful crystalline concentration of Jeez it must be pure nitric acid, "Oh mercy that's really sour," hardly able to get the words out he's so puckered up, exactly the sort of thing Hop Harrigan used to pull to get Tank Tinker to quit playing his ocarina, a shabby trick then and twice as reprehensible coming from an old lady who's supposed to be one of our Allies, shit he can't even see it's up his nose and whatever it is won't dissolve, just goes on torturing his shriveling tongue and crunches like ground glass among his molars. Mrs. Quoad is meantime busy savoring, bite by dainty bite, a cherry-quinine petit four. She beams at the young people across the candy bowl. Slothrop, forgetting, reaches again for his tea. There is no graceful way out of this now. Darlene has brought a couple-three more candy jars down off of the shelf, and now he goes plunging, like a journey to the center of some small, hostile planet, into an enormous bonbon chomp through the mantle of chocolate to a strongly eucalyptus-flavored fondant, finally into a core of some very tough grape gum arabic. He fingernails a piece of this out from between his teeth and stares at it for a while. It is purple in color."
posted by Pyrogenesis at 11:31 PM on January 29 [4 favorites]


I personally never liked any of their products. However, Sky Bar taught me an important lesson, that not all chocolate is tasty and that it is possible to make chocolate worse than a Hershey bar. (Something Dylan's Candy Bar seems to have mastered, I don't know how.) I had a teacher in high school who loved those things. I'm glad for him that they're going to be made again and if they actually have a recognizable flavor outside of "sweet, brown wax" I might try one again.

As to the wafers, given how lousy the ginger bread was that I was given to make houses with, covering it with the wafers didn't make a difference. You do not use thin mints because the thin mints box will be mysteriously empty with only a few shingles in place.

As a legacy, as an American institution, as a victim of corporate predation, I'm sorry they're gone. As a consumer of valentine's candies, it couldn't have happened sooner.
posted by Hactar at 12:25 AM on January 30


I didn't realize Necco made candy hearts or Squirrel Nut Zippers ((one of the) Best. Bands. Ever.)! I just thought they made those disgusting wafers. Now I'm sad.
posted by bendy at 1:47 AM on January 30


I just thought they made those disgusting wafers. Now I'm sad.

If you can't handle me at my Necco wafers, you don't deserve me at my Squirrel Nut Zippers....
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:31 AM on January 30 [3 favorites]


It sold its famous candy lines including Sweethearts the Clark bar piecemeal to other candy makers. The Sky Bar went unclaimed.

I just find this unbearably sad. Even though you're right and the chocolate tasted like brown wax, I still bought one at least once a year because first-grader me thought it was amazing to have four candy bars in one wrapper.

The loss of Necco wafers though...the flavors and chalkiness might be similar to the hearts, the thin-ness is what made them distinct. The way you could place one in your cheek and snap it in half with your tongue against your teeth...
posted by TWinbrook8 at 4:35 AM on January 30 [1 favorite]


Hey, everyone who's saying "they should totally have candy hearts with obscene messages on 'em, amirite" – those have been around as long as I have (which is getting up there). Here's the first one I found from Googling "obscene candy hearts". (I've also seen versions that are more snarky than X-rated.)
posted by escape from the potato planet at 5:03 AM on January 30


So, I rarely eat candy anymore, but after hearing me rant about the purple wafers because of this thread, my wife found a small pack of Necco wafers in my son's candy stash and tossed them to me last night. They were delightful, and the purple ones are indeed clove. I can't believe I didn't realize that before.
posted by mollweide at 5:57 AM on January 30 [2 favorites]


Check out the video EmpressCallipygos posted from Lofty Pursuits - amazing story about the history of the conversation heart:

1. Conversation cookies were a popular party activity where two plates of cookies would be produced, one with questions and one with answers.
2. NECCO stamped these conversation questions and answers on their wafers, for fun, because they had space
3. When they made conversation hearts, they greatly reduced the number of words because of size constraints

The video includes a historic candy roller with the following messages:

YES LOVE
WITH ALL MY HEART
DO YOU LOVE KISSING
DO YOU THINK OF ME
FORGET ME NOT
DO YOU LOVE ME
YES IN THE DARK
HOPE AND SMILE
I LOVE YOU DEARLY
DO YOU LOVE MUSIC
DO YOU LOVE HUNTING
DO BE MINE
YES IN THE BUSHES
TO BE SURE
OF COURSE I WILL
KEEP YOUR PROMISE
COME TO MY ARMS
posted by rebent at 6:58 AM on January 30 [2 favorites]


DO YOU LOVE ME
...
YES IN THE BUSHES


They really knew how to party, huh!
posted by tocts at 7:22 AM on January 30


> Miss u, amoxicillin.

Despite being labeled "for veterinary use only," the amoxicillin liquid in our fridge is seemingly flavored to suit the palates of primates rather than felines. It smells exactly the way I remember it from childhood. lollymccatburglar, Sam-the-cat says he's 100% down with you catburgling his share, if you don't mind.
posted by Westringia F. at 7:41 AM on January 30 [2 favorites]


I used to work by their Cambridge plant before it got sold off to become Novartis offices/labs. The smell was glorious, really. It would rotate from day to day or even week to week, presumably depending on whichever production run of candy they were undertaking. I particularly recall one distinctive smell which made the whole neighborhood smell like root beer barrels.
posted by the painkiller at 8:45 AM on January 30 [4 favorites]


they should totally have candy hearts with obscene messages on 'em, amirite

With a nail file and a red sharpie, you can put any message you want on them.
posted by gimonca at 9:40 AM on January 30


I hastily misread the first line of painkiller's comment, and when I got to the end of the paragraph, I was a little confused, wondering when Novartis got into making candy, or alternately, which Novartis drugs were root beer flavored!

Second read-through FTW!
posted by darkstar at 9:41 AM on January 30 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: shoveling sugar in your maw behind the garage since ...
posted by milnews.ca at 12:57 PM on January 30 [2 favorites]


We don't need to use Sharpies, because there are edible markers!
posted by soelo at 1:08 PM on January 30


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