Together Yet Apart: Necco’s SkyBar

Chocolate goes with just about everything—nuts, caramel, ice cream, bacon—and yet most candy bars either restrict you to one or two complementary flavors, like chocolate and peanut butter, or mix a ton of flavors together, so that you get chocolate-caramel-pecan-marshmallow-wafer in every bite. But sometimes you want to sample discrete tastes in small bites. Enter Necco’s SkyBar.

Necco's SkyBar

Four flavors—caramel, vanilla, peanut, fudge—each in its own milk chocolate compartment. The chocolate itself is of standard American milk chocolate quality, good but not great. (The slight hazing on the chocolate in the picture comes from the refrigeration of the bar for a month or so; I buy these in bulk online.)

But you’re not buying a SkyBar to sample 60% pure cocoa varietals; it’s all about the four flavors, which are quite pronounced. The peanut is not peanut butter but rather strongly peanut flavored, while the vanilla packs an agressive punch. I’m not entirely taken with the caramel or fudge segments, but they work as components of the entire chocolate symphony.

See, the real trick with a SkyBar is to eat the segments in a particular order, to balance the flavors and build an overall taste. My preferred approach is caramel, fudge, peanut, vanilla. The two outside segments are caramel and fudge, and if you orient the bar incorrectly upon snapping the first segment off, you might have to alter your approach to, say, fudge, peanut, caramel, vanilla. Once you get the first segment, you can figure out the order of the rest from the wrapper.

Like much of Necco’s product line, SkyBars can be difficult to find outside their home New England/New York market, but if you happen to see one on a candy rack, grab it. It’s two hundred calories well spent. As you’re walking it off, you can think about the order in which you’re going to eat the next one.

(Update, August 2023: Necco has gone out of business, alas. An enterprising general store owner purchased the brand name at auction and is selling SkyBars to a grateful public. I cannot vouch for the verisimilitude yet, but I can only applaud the effort at keeping this iconic candy bar alive.)

Takk for Kvikk Lunsj!

Aside from the whole “bringing the world together and inspiring harmony and interconnectedness” thing and shopping, the Internet is great precisely because of articles like the Robyn Lee’s recent piece on the Norwegian version of the Kit Kat bar, the Kvikk Lunsj, at Serious Eats.

I mean, aside from focusing on one of the finest confections around—I ate Kvikk Lunsj bars weekly for five years when I lived in Norway—the author even provided side-by-side illustrations of the Kvikk Lunsj with the US and UK Kit Kats and a taste test:

Across the board, tasters thought Kvikk Lunsj had the creamiest, milkiest chocolate. Some also thought it was slightly salty compared to the other bars. Its wafer was noted for being super crisp and having a nutty flavor.

I have to agree with this assessment, having sampled all three manifestations of the chocolate covered wafers (though admittedly not at the same time). It’s not just a chocolate bomb but rather a more complex interplay of salt, sweet, crunch, and smoothness. It’s a considered candy bar, not a gullet-filler.

Candy bars, with their claims on our youth, should be worth remembering, and though it’s been a decade since my last Kvikk Lunsj, I still recall them fondly. Woe betide children who grow up with junk chocolate. I wonder if this Internet thing will let me order them. Hmm…