Ahh, where to begin with the Idaho Spud? The first time I had an Idaho Spud a few years ago, I totally loved it. I remember it tasting like semi-melted chocolate ice cream. Flash forward to June 2009, I have my second Idaho Spud and...it's kind of grody. Is my mind playing tricks on me? Have my taste buds changed? I know its not the recipe that has changed. The Spud has been produced by the Idaho Candy Company under the Owyhee brand name since 1918.
Surprisingly, the Idaho Spud does not contain potato. Its name is an homage to the potato producing state where the candy is produced and the lumpy, bumpy shape it shares with the vegetable. The Idaho Spud is a lump of marshmallow covered in chocolate and coated with coconut. I have no issues with the chocolate coating or the coconut. Both of those variables are pleasant and quite tasty. In fact, I ended up peeling off the chocolate coating which has a great cocoa flavor, and just eating that. The Spud gets weird at its core. The marshmallow is strange. It is stoney gray in color and smells like maple even though "maple" is not a listed ingredient. The texture is not like any marshmallow I have experienced before. It's very dense, wet, and sticky. The closet thing I can compare it to is the inside of a Nerf football, or one of those squishy stress balls. I was afraid to swallow it.
In his book, Candyfreak, Steve Almond recounts his visit to the Idaho Candy Company, which includes a firsthand look at the creation of the Idaho Spud. He learns that where most marshmallows are made with gelatin, the Spud marshmallow is made with a seaweed derivative called agar agar. This gives it "resilience" according to company president Dave Wagers. I'm not sure resilience is what I'm looking for in my candy, but hey it's been around since 1918, who am I to argue with that?
The Idaho Spud gets props for its cute, retro wrapper. I have a soft spot in my heart for independent candy companies, especially the ones with a history. I love seeing black and white photos of ladies in hair nets wrapping candy bars. Therefore, I am determined to find an Idaho Candy Company product that I love. Unfortunately, the Spud wasn't it, but I'll write about it when I do!
Idaho Candy Company
Great article on the continuing popularity of the Idaho Spud from the Deseret News, 2006