Candy cane craze: students express opinions on flavors



Candy canes bunched together.

Emerson Heath and Kate St. Julian

Everyone loves a Christmas candy cane, but their history is far more interesting than one might think.

Candy canes are one of the most popular Christmas treats: almost two billion are sold annually. Dating back to 1670, candy canes were initially created as sugar sticks. The “candy cane legend” says a German choirmaster invented the candy and bent the sticks into shepherd’s crooks in honor of the holiday season. Sometimes, the choirmaster would give these candy canes to the fidgety boys at Christmas services because the candy would shift their focus and stop them from being disruptive. Since then, they have become a popular tradition to give out during church services and decorate Christmas trees during the holiday season. 

The candy canes known today are famous for their red and white stripes, but initially, they were plain white. They continued to be this way for over 200 years. There are many theories as to why the red stripe was added: some say that the red stripe was added as marketing because the bright color attracted customers, but others say that the red stripe was added to represent the blood of Christ while the white represents the purity of Christ. 

The candy cane is now a traditional symbol of the Christmas holiday. Today, candy canes are available in different shapes, colors, and flavors, but the red and white peppermint candy remains the classic favorite. They’ve become so popular that Dec. 26 became National Candy Cane Day in the United States. Candy canes are the number one candy enjoyed during the holidays, and 90% of candy canes are sold in the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

The Mango Chili candy cane was either loved or hated. Advertised as sweet and spicy, the candy cane brought a tingling sensation to your tongue. Red, orange, and yellow, it both looked and tasted like fire. After the initial burn, the aftertaste left a sweet taste on the palette. This candy cane left very different ratings.

The Hot Dog candy cane tasted just as bad as it sounds. At first glance, this candy cane looked yummy with its light pink and white swirl. But don’t read a book by its cover. The taste of meat and bread shone through as students tentatively tasted and, shortly after, spat out this “candy.” This candy left such a horrible taste that some testers even had to wash their mouths out. This candy cane left the worst ratings of all.

The Classic candy cane left the most positive results. The candy cane is a bright red and white swirl, and with the classic peppermint flavoring, this candy cane not only tastes delicious but allows you to reminisce on holiday memories. 

The Sweet Tart candy cane produced mixed results. The sweet treat is blue punch, green apple, and cherry flavored. The colorful candy canes were, at first, not very flavorful, but the strong fruity flavors began to appear after a while. The candy canes balance a sweet and tangy taste when eaten, just like the normal Sweet Tart candy.

The Nerd candy cane overall got good reviews. These candy canes have a tart alternative to the ideal candy cane. With 3 different flavors, the candy canes balance the sweet and tart flavors of Totally Tropical Punch, What-A-Melon, and Gotta-Have Grape. 

The Funfetti candy cane didn’t create good and tasteful results. The candy cane is flavored like a birthday cake. Colorful rainbow sprinkles adorn each candy cane and resemble a true funfetti birthday cake. Birthday cake is a unique flavor for a candy cane but isn’t preferred as most taste testers spit it out fairly quickly.

Flavor Ratings Average
Funfetti 3 2 3 1 2 2 0 1 3 4 2 2
Regular 5 5 5 5 5 4 5 3 5 3 4 4.5
Hot Dog 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Mango Chili 4 1 5 2 4 5 4 3 3 3 2 3
Nerds 4 4 3 4 4 2 4 4 2 4 2 3.5
Sweet Tart 5 4 3 4 3 3 3 4 3 4 3 3.5