Tastes Like Home


Sometimes the best snacks in the world are the ones you can find exclusively in your hometown. Here, we've plotted the best snacks to crave across America. Get a taste of the Sweet editors' favorite regional treats.

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Molly Elizalde, associate editor, @mollyelizalde

Favorite Snack: It's-It ice cream sandwiches

Where It's From: San Francisco (and sold only west of the Rockies!)

Why It's Your Favorite: Every Friday was ice cream day in my school's cafeteria—this meant It's-Its all around. Not your ordinary ice cream sandwich, an It's-It joins two hearty oatmeal cookies with a scoop of ice cream (mint or vanilla are my two favorites), dipped in dark chocolate. It's probably one of the messier treats to eat before going back to class, but that made the experience all the more joyful.

Chantal Strasburger, assistant editor, @chantagold

Favorite Snack: Chick-o-Sticks

Where It's From: Texas

Why It's Your Favorite: Think of a Butterfinger without the chocolate coating, and you've got yourself a Chick-o-Stick! Made from toasted coconuts, crunchy peanut butter, and pure cane sugar, the flaky, 8-inch rods date back to an East Texas recipe from the 1950s. Originally named Chicken Bones (gross, I know), they're incredibly delicious and remind me of the holidays back home in Austin when my mother would sneak these into my father's stocking as his annual allowance of candy.

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Chanel Parks, assistant editor, @chanelinezp

Favorite Snack: Utz Crab Chips

Where It's From: Created in Pennsylvania, eaten by millions in Maryland and Virginia

Why It's Your Favorite: If you live in the DMV area (D.C., Maryland, Virginia) and have never tasted Old Bay seasoning, I'm pretty sure you can't call yourself a native. The flavor comes from the delightful Chesapeake Bay crab meat and its zesty, salty goodness. Utz was smart enough to sprinkle this onto potato chips, and the result is amazing. I'll always remember my favorite uncle who was known for carrying around a bag of crab chips in one hand and a Mountain Dew in the other.

Catherine Fuentes, managing editor, @cat_fuentes

Favorite Snack: Cheerwine float

Where It's From: North Carolina

Why It's Your Favorite: The only way to improve Cheerwine—North Carolina's beloved cherry flavored soda—is to serve it over ice cream. Leave it to Cook-Out, a local chain of drive-through restaurants famous for their "fancy" milkshakes, to do just that. Whenever I'm back in North Carolina and my sweet tooth kicks in, I beeline to the nearest location to indulge in my favorite dessert south of the Mason-Dixon.

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Mallory Rice, deputy editor, @mallory-rice

Favorite Snack: Mikesell's potato chips

Where It's From: Dayton, Ohio

Why It's Your Favorite: Growing up in Florida, I always loved Saturdays. Our house was filled with energy: my dad would be outside doing yard work, while my mom scurried around taking care of all the other things that kept our home running. Me? I held court in the living room, where I would put on my favorite album of the moment (usually something involving Whitney Houston) and perform my best renditions as family members rushed by. The busy afternoon always included lunch in the living room, usually composed of cold-cut sandwiches, tall glasses of icy water, and a handful of Mikesell's potato chips. My mom and dad had to specially order Mikesell's from their hometown in Ohio, and on Saturdays, they functioned as a delightful, salty reward for a productive first half of the day. I like that they probably reminded my parents of a simpler time in their lives, way before things like homeownership and a weird kid who couldn't get enough of the Bodyguard soundtrack came about.

Rebecca Deczynski, editorial assistant, @rebeccadecz

Favorite Snack: Saltwater taffy

Where It's From: Atlantic City, New Jersey

Why It's Your Favorite: As I child, I was fully convinced that saltwater taffy was made with saltwater (from the Atlantic Ocean, specifically), and that was what made it special. I now know that the secret to this Jersey Shore delicacy is almost 100 percent sugar—but that knowledge doesn't make the chewy taffy goodness any less delicious. In classic flavors like chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, and banana, taffy can appeal to virtually everyone. But I prefer to go for more adventurous ones like mango, root beer, and creamsicle.

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Martin Sanchez, writer, @thet_t

Favorite Snack: Aplets & Cotlets

Where It's From: Washington

Why It's Your Favorite: I have to come clean: I don't have any nostalgic childhood memories of Aplets & Cotlets (Washington's version of a Turkish Delight)—I'm not even from Washington, but one of my best friends who grew up in Spokane turned me on to them when she brought me a box after one of her visits home. The treat was created by two Armenian immigrants who bought an apple farm in the small town of Cashmere. Eventually they created the confections with their surplus of apples, and so the Aplets (made from the apples) and Cotlets (made from apricots)—both jellied with walnuts and covered in powdered sugar—were born.

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