Sweet Nothings

The other day some comment by a passerby triggered some nostalgic memory long buried under layers of work, relationships, one bout of strep throat, and three seasons of Lost. That memory was that of the Summit candy bar.

Many of you may not remember the Summit bar. In all actuality, I don’t, either. I vaguely recall it being somewhat peanut-butterish in nature, wrapped in chocolate and perhaps chopped nuts, though to be perfectly honest it could just as easily be nougat, kitten fur, and cabernet-flavored licorice bits. But I do remember, rather vividly, that this was the candy bar that, as a child, I often craved, begged for, and demanded upon completion of significant childhood tasks, such as raking leaves or not letting the dog eat raw hamburger out of the kitchen crisper drawer.

I remember the wrapped being navy bluish with a graphical depiction of a sunrise on it, the “Summit” part of the name being more along the lines of a beautiful theoretic act of nature and not of the Reykjavik variety. Again, this could be the altered logical conclusion of my rose-colored hindsight, and the wrapped could just as easily been a surrealist collection of migrant workers and swastikas as far as I know. But like most things with my memory I tend to block out the stuff that I dislike and glorify those that I love, which would explain why peanut butter is so prominent in my memory and nougat not so much so.

So, like most things, the vague thought of something I haven’t eaten in probably twenty years or so forced me to dedicate about four minutes of my life determining how to procure a Summit candy bar, a quest of glory no doubt unrivalled since the race to discover cold fusion or a contented female. I assumed its existence was regional and, just like the Boo Berry cartel set up in the former Confederate states, a kindly gentleman of a tender nature would supply me with a humble package of wistfulness for a nominal fee.

About three minutes into my four-minute devotional however, I was let to an unsettling and painful realization—the Summit candy bar was no longer in production. A rather alarmingly comprehensive list of discontinued candy bars put my perspective in black and white—the Summit Bar was no longer in print, as it were. In addition, other fondly remembered confections are no longer in existence except through the remembered mirror of progressive age, such as the Bar None candy bar, a product that I believe is the only one that is less kosher than divine, and the oft-forgotten PBMax bar, a treat I’m pretty sure never quite lived up to its name of colon rupture due to the maximum amount of artificial peanut flavoring it delivered into my system. (I was also pleased to learn that the Powerhouse bar is gone forever, in what may be a misplaced sense of justice; I am 90% certain this was a bar covered with that Communist invention of white chocolate, but my memory isn’t clear enough to make it a certainty. Still, guilt by association isn’t entirely unjustified in many cases.)

The worst part of it, though, is that I was also introduced to some other candy bars that are no longer in production that I was unaware of, and do not even have the benefit of a unclearly recalled childhood memory to claim a bastardization of. There’s the mysteriously named Cherry Hump, something no doubt is best left remembered either as clear as a bell or not at all. There’s Lifesavers Tangerine and Clove flavor, a combination I have a feeling was cooked up after the marketing department tried a combination of Lifesavers Cannabis and PCP flavor. Apparently there at one point was a Reese’s Chunky Peanut Butter Cup line, a product I equate with cultural significance somewhere between the Ark of the Covenant and the finale of M*A*S*H. There’s the Denver Sandwich bar, a rather confusingly named item I can only assume is the world’s only candy bar with egg, ham, and cheese flavoring. The Jingles Candy bar was apparently the pioneer in a generally accepted candy marketing rule of never naming a candy bar after something that could either be the name of a clown or a monkey. And, of course, there is the Yoo-Hoo chocolate bar, which either was the single greatest candy bar ever, or the single worst candy bar ever. We will never know, now.

It’s kind of a discouraging statistic that 99% or so of all new candy bars are rejected by the marketplace, and even most of those that succeed are simply variations of candy already established. There’s only so many ways that peanut butter, chocolate, nuts, nougat, and caramel can be combined, solidified, chopped up, and then given an absurd name unrelated to their content or taste. Still, one hopes for improvement. Perhaps tomorrow there will be that revolutionary candy that I will eventually forget, fondly remember, and distort its attributes decades from now, much like I do with sitcoms and ex-girlfriends. If it works for them, I don’t see why it can’t for me.

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10 Responses to Sweet Nothings

  1. Andy says:

    I remember the Summit bar too. I couldn’t have been more than 5 or 6 years old when it came out. I remember it being peanut buttery and crunchy. My recollection of the wrapper is the same as yours, with the exception that I seem to remember it being yellow or orange, like Butterfinger, not navy blue. Still … I would love to see a picture of it. I think I only had one once but I never forgot it.

  2. Stephen says:

    Somewhere, someone has a Summit candy bar, and someday that person will sell it on eBay. Then we’ll know for certain.

  3. Sally says:

    The Summit was my favorite too. It was VERY wafery – more wafers than a KitKat even. I also recently tried to procure a case or so – and disappointingly found out they are no longer in production. I did, like you, stumble across another item out of production — Suncheros. The jingle, “Suncheros – suncheros light and crispy cuz they’re made by pequenos keebleros!” has been stuck in my head ever since.

  4. Michele says:

    Ah, yes, the Summit…… I believe it came out around the same time as the Twix and obviously, lost the race…. Do you have the list of other discontinued candy bars? I’ve been searching for a light cream colored bar that I think was called an 11 0’clock and I can find no record, except in my mind, of it ever having existed. It’s not easy loving candy.

  5. Kevin11 says:

    Funny, everyone I mention this to who remembers these bars says the same thing – that they were a favorite, much tastier than Twix. Seems that It couldn’t have been doing that badly, yet it went the way of the Dodo while Mounds and black licorice still plague our convenience store shelves. Wonder what it would take to petition the company to bring it back – er, does anyone remember the company that produced it? As a kid I was too wrapped up in wafery-chocolate goodness to care…

  6. dopepope says:

    I LOVED the summit bar when I Was a kid. I searched the couch for change to be able to buy one.
    The wrapper had a sunset on it and was orange for a while, but then they changed the recipe of the bars to something less peanutty and more waffery, and the wrapper then became silver and blue If I remember correctly. It was way less satisfying. I recall Twix coming out around the same time.

  7. Samuel L. says:

    I read your posts for a long time and should tell that your articles always prove to be of a high value and quality for readers.

  8. I appreciate and respect your point of view.

  9. my God, i thought you were going to chip in with some decisive insght at the end there, not leave it with ‘we leave it to you to decide’.

  10. Simeons Diet says:

    That is pretty insightful. It gave me some ideas and I’ll be posting them on my blog eventually. I’m bookmarking your site and I’ll be back. Thanks again!

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