Saturday, November 07, 2009

Necco needs a Dot Bar

We're spoiled in Boston because we still have our own regional candy factory. Everyone knows that Necco stands for New England Confectionary Company. You can go to any convenience store and pick up a roll of Necco Wafers, well aware that they were made a few miles north in Revere.

Between 1764 and 1965, chocolate was milled closer to home, inside city limits, at a location that is the crown jewel of stops on the Mattapan High-Speed Line, almost criminally named Milton rather than Lower Mills. Why doesn't Dorchester have it's own candy? The neighborhood certainly has its own flavor. Maybe Necco can send some confectioners to Dorchester to concoct a local equivalent of their popular Sky Bar.

The Sky Bar is a candy box in a single wrapper, a candy bar consisting of four separate compartments, each containing a different filling. A Dot Bar, constructed in the same manner with each compartment representing a different Dorchester neighborhood, would likewise contain a differently flavored, sastifying, lip-smacking, finger-licking filling.

The Sky Bar's four flavors are: fudge, caramel, peanut and vanilla. These don't correspond to anything or have any symbolic values. They happened to be the most popular candy flavors when the bar was introduced in 1938.

Some people complain that all the compartments of the Sky Bar taste similar. I admit, I probably wouldn't be able to tell one end from another in a blind taste test. In 2009, the Dot Bar should be made up of strong and discernably tangy flavors more in keeping with modern sensibilities that prefer shock over subtlety. This recipe would also mirror Dorchester's nature. Of course, Fudge should still be one of the Dot Bar's compartments in honor of the Walter Baker Factory in Lower Mills. This would serve as a historic and thematic tie for the Dot Bar to it Necco-produced predecessor as well as Dorchester's long cacao pedigree.

That leaves three compartments to fill. I suggest the following, in keeping with the idea for strong flavor and the unexpected shocks Dorchester delivers. Next to Fudge I would include Barbecue, like the kind found at the Pit Stop in Morton Street Village. That's one taste that dominates the air in that corner of the Dorchester. Brown sugar and tomato may seem odd in a chocolate bar but, as has been proven before, sometimes two great tastes go great together.

I would fill the third chamber with malted milk like the kind found in Easter candy. The malt is reminiscent of the Guiness found in any Dorchester tap room, though suitable for children and, after all, Easter is one of the most Catholic of holidays. There isn't a large Orthodox population in the Dot, otherwise maybe mint flavor to accompany lamb might be better. That's an issue for the makers of the Roz Bar to decide.

What for the fourth chamber on this proposed Dot Bar? It would have to be something Vietnamese. You can't really expect a pho concentrate in a chocolate bar can you? Something along the lines of the tamarind/ginger sweets I find in the local Vietnamese markets would work just fine. A little off the typical New England taste meter, fruity and exotic and savory enough. A little chewy too rather than just sweet goo. Something to mull over as you taste it and grow to like it.

What an assortment. The Dot Bar would be more than a candy box in a bar, it should be a whole neighborhood available for consumption for less than a dollar fifty. If any Necco executives are reading this, please send me a royalty check once you've worked out the manufacturing process. I know at least one part of Boston where this will be a best seller.

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