Today, Fat Pants Friday ventures to Michigan, a state that knows from fat pants eating. In addition to being home to the Jiffy factory and a town that traffics almost solely in fudge and roast chicken, it’s also the birthplace of Zingerman’s, the deli New Yorkers often refer to as “the Zabar’s of the Midwest” (to which Midwesterners politely reply that Zabar’s is the “Zingerman’s of the East Coast”). Though it’s known primarily for its monolithic sandwiches, mind-boggling variety of olive oils and vinegars, and excellent breads, the deli has also staked out territory in the confectionary world with its Zzang! bars, created for the purpose of making “candy the original way, like it was 100 years ago.” Which means using good ingredients, traditional cooking techniques, and, of course, making everything by hand. The first result of the deli’s labors hit the market in 2002, and is pictured above.
The original Zzang! is a combination of butter-roasted peanuts, caramel, and peanut butter-honey nougat. These components are neatly stacked in sedimentary layers and encased by dark chocolate, and are utterly delicious. The butter-roasted peanuts are the real stars of the show, providing a savory counterpoint to the sweet ingredients. The sweet-salty balance is what makes the bar so compelling; that and the dark chocolate keep it from being as cloying as most candy bars. Despite the fact it contains honey, brown sugar, corn syrup, and granulated sugar, it’s not tooth-rottingly sweet, at least when it’s not eaten all in one sitting.
But that, of course, is where the Fat Pants part of the equation comes in. Eat this thing all at once, and well-balanced artisanal ingredients or not, you are in for a major Fat Pants episode. Although its size — 2.5 ounces — will prevent you from breaking out the sweatpants, the Zzang!’s sugar content may put you in a glucose coma. But then, it’s Friday, so why even bother trying to stay awake?
Despite the fact that they’re made in Michigan, Zzang! bars are available here at Greene Grape Provisions. Or they usually are: they’re out of stock right now, but the store promises they’ll return in the near future. In the meantime, you can always order one from the Zingerman’s website. At $6 each, the prices aren’t particularly old-fashioned, but the quality of what you’ll get in return certainly is.