The small town of St. Stephen in Southern New Brunswick is chocolate obsessed. It has a Chocolate Museum, runs an annual Chocolate Festival and has been the home of Ganong Chocolates, Canada’s oldest candy company, since 1873.
Ganong might not be the best known name outside Canada, but they can make a pretty credible case for inventing the chocolate bar back in the late 1800s, and were also the first company to sell heart-shaped boxes of chocolates for Valentine’s Day in North America. These days, Ganong’s focus might be boxed chocolates, but they are thankfully still selling what must be their signature product – Chicken Bones.
For the uninitiated, Chicken Bones are pink cinnamon candies filled with dark, bittersweet chocolate and they are really quite unique and very addictive. The name comes from their long, thin shape which is reminiscent of their namesakes, especially because of that darker core.
They have a healthy kick of cinnamon too. They aren’t quite up there with those little Cinnamon Hearts that appear every Valentine’s Day, but there’s enough of it to leave a satisfying post-eating tingle in your mouth afterwards. The sweetness of the candy is nicely balanced out by the bitterness of the chocolate, which has a grainier texture than most people might be used to but it works really well in this context.
They stand up to a variety of eating styles too. They can quite happily be crunched into a nice simultaneous mixture of chocolate and cinnamon, or sucked more slowly so that the chocolate is gradually released from its spicy shell. Either way, you’ll end up with a bright pink tongue as your badge of honour and isn’t that the important thing?
They are available all year round, but tend to be easier to find at Christmas when they appear in the gift boxes shown in the photos. In addition to the bag of Chicken Bones, Ganong also include a couple of pieces of their milk chocolate which is kind of forgettable after the feature presentation. I usually pick up the smaller bags instead because otherwise I’ll keep eating until they are all gone…