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The U-No Bar

The U-No is basically the indie version of a 3 Musketeers bar.  In fact, I have always assumed that the name was a sly play on the theme - instead of three it's just one, or "uno."  Although I could just be over-thinking it, because the dash in the name indicates that it's probably meant to be pronounced "you know."  

As you might expect from the small producer's version of a big corporate product, the U-No is considerably better than its counterpart.  The chocolate filling is smooth, not gummy in the fashion of a 3 Musketeers.  You could not, as I did with the 3 Musketeers I sampled recently, pick off a chunk of the filling and roll it into a little rubbery ball between your fingers.  

The chocolate is more convincingly chocolatey, whereas the 3 Musketeers has that sort of bland waxy taste.  The overall effect is one of creaminess, like one of those little chocolate cream candies from a Whitman's sampler writ large.  In fact, the Annabelle website describes the U-No as having "a truffle-like center."  

Maybe this is as good a time as any to confess that I don't really have a good handle on the meaning of the word "truffle."  There's the truffle fungus, of course.  And truffle chocolates were originally said to resemble the fungus - small, round, dark, and crumbly-looking.  The problem is that "truffle" gets used as an all-purpose term for anything the manufacturer wants to come across as luxurious, decadent, or (more to the point) slightly more expensive than you would expect.

Of course, as long as we're comparing the U-No to the 3 Musketeers, it must be admitted that the U-No has 17 grams of fat, whereas the 3 Musketeers has only 6.  The added fat surely helps the dreamy texture of the U-No bar.  But it makes me think that the 3 Musketeers saves on fat by recycling art gum erasers into filling.  

There are little bits of texture sprinkled throughout the U-No bar.  In perusing the ingredients list I find roasted almonds listed.  These are just the tiniest flecks of almond, maybe half the size of the bits in a Toblerone bar.  They flash past as you nosh, leaving just enough of an impression to catch your attention.  Just a little something to keep you on your toes.

Of all the west coast-only candies, the U-No bar is one of the easiest to obtain.  I regularly see them at Safeway and other grocery stores, although they are often consigned to the less-popular corners of the candy end cap.  (Whenever looking for interesting candy, I always scope out the lower right and lower left hand corners.  That's where they hide the weird stuff!)  

U-No bars were created by the Cardinet Candy Company sometime around the Great Depression.  Cardinet was bought out by the Annabelle Candy Company in 1978, which continued their manufacture (as well as another Cardinet success, the Abba Zabba).  The Annabelle Candy Company, which describes itself as "one of the largest independently owned candy bar manufacturers in the United States," also makes Rocky Road, Big Hunk, and Look! Bars.  

Seek them out!  Buy more!  Indie candy foreva!