Editor's note: Every weekday in October, the Serious Eats editors and staff will chat about a candy they loved as kids (or love today). Artificial colors encouraged, no organic chocolate allowed.
The first question that comes up when discussing Swedish Fish is: Large or small? For me, small. Followed by: Assorted or reds? The answer: Reds.
Variety is great, but there's something so satisfying about having all the ones you would have picked out already wrangled together in one package. The I-can't-quite-put-my-finger-on-it flavor of the red fish (I've heard rumors that it's lingonberry) is so elusively delicious. Why bother with the more predictable greens, yellows, and oranges?
In the gummy candy class, Swedish Fish are some of the quickest to dissolve. Large fish can become a little unmanageable when they get to the chewy phase, leaving behind lots of tooth cling-ons, but small ones make a smooth transformation from slightly rigid to a soft and pliable satisfyingly gummy chew without too much jaw work.
To experience the best traits of the low-temp melting gummy, you have to use some friction to catch and work the fish between the roof of the mouth and tongue, smoothing the rigged detail of the embossed candy to a flat, stretchy, and sticky diminished version of itself.
Has anyone tried the Salmiak flavored black Swedish Fish?