Best (and weirdest) new candy we found at the Sweets & Snacks Expo

Russell Stover Pistachio Bark was among the best barks at the show, and was also one of the best or weirdest things we tried at the Sweets & Snacks Expo on May 25, 2016 at McCormick Place in Chicago. (Joseph Hernandez/Chicago Tribune/TNS)

Combined ShapeCaption
Russell Stover Pistachio Bark was among the best barks at the show, and was also one of the best or weirdest things we tried at the Sweets & Snacks Expo on May 25, 2016 at McCormick Place in Chicago. (Joseph Hernandez/Chicago Tribune/TNS)

CHICAGO — No, I am not jacked up on sugar, but I am on adrenaline after my race through the Sweets & Snacks Expo, the annual trade show at Chicago’s McCormick Place.

Some of these treats are on shelves now; others will be coming soon. Want a peek into what might show up in your Halloween bag? Here are our top 10 show tastings, chosen mostly because they were the most delicious — plus one that was too wacky to pass up.

1. REESE'S PIECES PEANUT BUTTER CUP

The “it” candy and winner of the 2016 Most Innovative New Product Awards Best in Show is not yet in stores, so the king-size cups we received were wrapped in sample white packaging. These are simply Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups stuffed with Reese’s Pieces candies. The internet legend behind these was that an idea was leaked, took fire on Twitter, and the mash-up cup became reality. Whether that’s true or not, these taste great, with the crispy candy shells lending texture.

2. TWIX WHITE

These limited-edition bars, featuring white chocolate around the classic cookie and caramel, were previously available in the UK and a few other countries. They’re buttery, smooth and not too sweet.

3. SNICKERS CRISPER

On shelves since last fall, these put on a twist on the traditional Snickers by adding crisp rice to the caramel-and-peanut filling, all robed in milk chocolate. The results is a familiar satisfaction with a bonus crunch. It’s packaged as two squares so it’s easy to split, on trend with portion-size and calorie-count concerns.

4. SUGARPOVA CHOCOLATE

Tennis star Maria Sharapova and her representatives seemed relieved when I only wanted to talk about her new chocolate, because I know nothing about sports. Sharapova signed lip logo tennis balls while they served 50 percent cocoa dark chocolate with toasted coconut. Baron Chocolatier of Poland makes the bars, which are silky and balanced.

5. RUSSELL STOVER PISTACHIO BARK

Barks and thins were all over the show, with thinner chocolate allowing brands to play with higher quality ingredients. This bark was some of the best — smooth, dark chocolate with crunchy pistachio pieces, a terrific use of an underused nut in the candy world.

6. DOVE STRAWBERRY & COCOA ALMOND

Nuts and fruits together, specifically with chocolate, are another trend. Oddly these are strawberry flavored cranberries in Dove dark chocolate but they work, with crunchy cocoa dusted almonds that you will want to pick out all for yourself.

7. JELLY BELLY ORGANIC JELLY BEANS

Winner in the gourmet/premium category, and also non-GMO, gluten free, and made with vegetarian ingredients. Comes in 10 flavors, as clean and clear as the originals: berry, coconut, lemon, blueberry, strawberry, orange, peach, red apple, pear and cherry. Sadly they ran out of samples of the newest Beanboozled flavors, Dead Fish and Spoiled Milk.

8. KRAVE BARS

Meat, dried fruit and quinoa bars launching August 2016 from the company that brought you chef-driven jerky. We tasted handmade samples of the Chipotle Cherry Beef, Cranberry Thyme Turkey, Mango Jalapeno Pork, and Wild Blueberry BBQ Beef, all distinctive flavors, great texture, and no nitrites or lactic acid.

9. HOTLIX REAL SOUR EARTHWOORMZ

From the company that brought you insect suckers, these are sour, stringy, subtly, disturbingly meaty and made with indoor, farm raised real worms. We did not like the flavor at all but the candy worms are so weird that we can’t wait to share them with our friends.

10. RITTER SPORT MILK CHOCOLATE WITH CORN TORTILLA CHIPS

In the savory chocolate trend, with crunchy corn and pieces of tortilla chips. Ritter Sport consistently makes one of the best bars of chocolate, and these are no exception.