Cookies and Cream Santa (Palmer)
When I used to go to the supermarket with my mom as a little kid, she sometimes let me pick a candy bar at checkout, and I would always nab the Hershey’s Cookies ’n’ Creme bar. The last time that happened I was about eight years old, so I was excited to revisit the flavor with this Palmer’s Cookies and Cream Santa, which was 59 cents at CVS. My fantasy of revisiting my favorite childhood treat was crushed by the reality of this horrible thing, which is predominantly cloying white chocolate with about four teensy, grain-of-sand-size bits of chocolate cookie in the whole damn thing. The white chocolate tastes like extremely oversweetened, hardened yogurt, which I hate. If I want chocolate, you better believe I’m going to be pissed if it tastes at all like health food. I threw this thing away before I even got to the Santa feet, and since it’s tiny, that means I was able to stand only about three bites. If someone puts this in your stocking, promptly regift it to a family member whom you don’t like very much, an eight-year-old with questionable taste in candy, or the guy reading over my shoulder in the library where I’m writing this who just breathily murmured, “CHOCOLATE, NOW I WANT CHOCOLATE.” —Amy Rose

Double Decker (Cadbury)
This chocolate bar is so sweet I couldn’t eat it all at once (first sign that I’m getting old), but it’s still full of magic. It’s made of layered cereal and nougat, covered in chocolate. It’s a chewy bar that goes down easier when it’s been warmed slightly—it tastes better after you’ve dunked it in your coffee. If you’re not a caffeine fiend like me you could dunk it in hot chocolate instead, but the result would be so sugary you’d risk falling into a sugar coma and having your little brother steal the rest of your Double Decker. Proceed with caution. —Anna

Hannukah gelt
Gelt is chocolate disguised as money, and who doesn’t like either of those things? Real gelt is an endangered species, sadly, and can only be found at synagogue gift shops, so you’d better hope you know a guy who can hook you up with the real, menorah-embossed wrappers. None of this Walgreens, American quarters shit. You need Hebrew lettering if you want the real deal. For the full experience, use gelt to play dreidel. —Tavi

Mazapan (De La Rosa)
Mazapan aka “Mexican Rose Candy” (because of the red rose on the wrapper) smells like peanut butter and tastes like 30% peanut and…70% sugar! Eating it makes me feel like Little Chrissy from Pecker. If I was on a Bachelorette-type show, I’d give away these guys instead of roses. “Hunk #13, will you accept this Mexican Rose Candy?” —Marie

Peanut M&M’s (Mars)
Every time I want candy I’m disappointed that it’s Peanut M&M’s I want and I still haven’t found anything even slightly cooler or less obvious. But you know what? Who cares! There’s exactly the right proportion of chocolate to peanut, the peanut makes it so the whole thing isn’t too sweet, and who in the world thought of that hard shell coating? Seriously. What’s it made of? OK, sugar, sure. There are two ways to eat Peanut M&M’s, of course. You can just chomp them down, get that mix of all the flavors at once. Or you can suck on them. This works better in the movies, I think. For one thing, it helps stretch the little movie box for way, way longer. But it also is more satisfying to taste first the sugary coating, then the chocolate, then the peanut. It’s a perfect three-course meal, each course so different from the one before it, but such a perfect follow-up. When you get to the peanut of course you have to begin chewing, and by then, all the sweetness is gone from your mouth, it’s all peanut in there—which is the perfect setup to pop the next one in and get the sweet thing going again from the beginning. —Ira Glass

Zotz (Ambrosoli)
It looks like a cough drop but it’s filled with a sour fizz. The grape one has that delicious Dimetapp taste we know and love. I recommend NOT taking it out and staring at it when it starts to fizz though. Kinda freaked me out. —Marie

Holiday NERDS Rope (Wonka)
Wonka NERDS are the shit. I like to suck on them until they lose their colored candy coating and are unmasked as the crystalline sugar rocks they really are—chewing them can sort of hurt, actually! They rank highly on my list of favorite candies, accompanied by Take 5 bars (the ruler of all candy) and gummy anything. Fortunately, a combination of two of my favorites exists in this beautiful world, thus creating a whole new category of candy to cherish and adore: the NERDS Rope! The holiday one tastes exactly like the regular version to me, which is to say, delicious. It’s long, spindly, and probably best eaten in private—there’s no graceful way to chomp on this thing. I think the manufacturers realize this, because the packaging is a little savage in its suggestions as to how to best enjoy (or destroy) it: “Bite it! Chew it! Twist it! Pull it!” is printed all along the wrapper, in recognition of the hard work you’ll have to put in to devour it. It’s totally worth the struggle, especially because the NERDS are festively made up of the two best candy flavor-colors, red and green, and then a really sour and tasty white as well. Truth be told, though, I would love this candy object even if it were colored puke-green and gray. If you like gummies and a touch of violence with your candy, I think you’ll agree. —Amy Rose

Fry’s Turkish Delight (Cadbury)
Let’s acknowledge this up front: Turkish delight (called lokum in its original language) tastes like perfume. This makes sense, since the candied gel is usually flavored with rose water. Though the taste can be a bit unusual to those trying it for the first time, it does have a tendency to stick with you. Its strong fragrance makes me feel like I’m in a Grey Gardens-type setting every time I eat it. —Anna

Nik-L-Nip (Tootsie Roll Industries)
When I was a kid, my favorite part of Christmas was unloading my stocking, because I’d always get comics and NIK-L-NIP! Something about these wax soda-bottle-shaped candies was awesome, even though you only got a drop of juice. Biting into the wax just now gave me a flashback to having braces, so THAT was weird. Maybe I liked how they look more than how they taste? —Marie

Fizzy Cola (Haribo)
Obviously I like candy that looks like soda. I quickly popped one of these bottle-shaped gummies in my mouth, and spit it out even faster. It tasted like Lysol! I couldn’t deal. If you like sour fake-lemon taste, this one’s for you. —Marie

Chocolate Pop Rocks (Zeta Especial)
The only thing that could make Pop Rocks more exciting is drawing out the anticipation of their show-stopping effects. This candy doesn’t stop popping until the chocolate surrounding it slowly melts away; it’s like a countdown to awesome happening in your mouth. Wanting to challenge myself, I decided to test the old myth about pop rocks and soda being a lethal combination. Vanilla Coke seemed to be the natural thing to mix with chocolate pop rocks; luckily, my stomach didn’t explode, though it did leave me all sexy and bloated. (If you want to see a real candy explosion, put a Mentos into a bottle of Pepsi, but be careful to do it outside; it will be messy.) —Anna

Pop Rocks Foam-Blastic (Zeta Especial)
This came in the form of a red powder, with a package that advised me to “shake well and pour into mouth”—and I always do what candy wrappers tell me to, without question. Once in my mouth these turned into a bright blue foam, like what would happen if Willy Wonka tried to make a latte. Scare your friends into thinking you have Technicolor rabies. —Anna

Assorted Bonbons (Garoto)
This Brazilian brand makes some of the richest chocolate I’ve ever tried. Their bonbons have nutty, creamy centers, surrounded by a thin wafer and covered in chocolate. The hazelnut one is my personal favorite. —Anna

Gummy Tummy Penguins (Trader Joe’s)
You have to wonder why the good people at TJ’s are so eager for us candy lovers to know that these gummies are made from vegetable parts. If I wanted a vegetable I would go to a garden or a forest or a greengrocer, not to a bag of candy. The candy itself tastes suspiciously like something trying very hard to convince you that it is good for you even though you still know it is made from old bones. Like an ex-boyfriend. Furthermore, don’t tell me I am going to tear into a bag of tasty penguins only to find what appear to be a bunch of blisters with too much personality.
Bunny Gummy Tummies and Friends (Trader Joe’s)
This looks like if you sneezed and it came out of your body you’d be in serious trouble. —Kevin Townley

Pink Lemonade Airheads (Perfetti Van Melle)
If you grew up in North America, you’ve probably already tried Airheads, a chewy, gritty, not-quite-taffy-but-not-far-from-it candy. The Pink Lemonade flavor is surprisingly strong in taste; of course it doesn’t come close to the actual beverage, but it’s a less messy version that you can eat on the bus. —Anna

Botan Rice Candy (JFC International)
This magic little box of Japanese candy brought me a lot of happiness growing up. First of all, the box displays the cutest artwork and announces a special surprise inside! What? Candy AND a surprise? YOU SPOIL ME, BRC! Back in the olden days the prezzie was a tiny toy, then a tattoo, and now they are stickers. The candy itself is cubes of orange-lemon flavored jelly…wrapped in an EDIBLE RICE WRAPPER! So much sorcery! This is why Japan is the best. —Marie