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Vol. 8, No. 24
June 15-21, 2000
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A Bug in Every Bite of
Calvert Marine Museum’s Amber Candy

By Lori Sikorski

“Mom,” moaned my son Joseph, “there’s a bug in my candy.”

“Just lick your cricket and be quiet,” I replied, driving through rush-hour traffic.

HOTLIX is no ordinary candy. That is not a piece of fruit inside. It has legs.

It was the insects that lured my children to this box of Amber Candy and Cricket-Lick-Its on a stick. Its light golden color seems to magnify the contents, letting you see the tiniest details — the hair on the bug’s legs or the fuzz on the larva. That’s right: an actual larva for your snacking pleasure.

Named after its rich color, this amber treat has more than just a cricket entombed. It also has a fern, and, oh yeah, that larva fellow.

Manufactured in California by a 10-year-old candy company called HOTLIX, these tasty tidbits are selling like, well, like candy. The Calvert Marine Museum in Solomons brought them into their gift shop to tie in with their fossils and prehistoric exhibits. Now they’re on their third shipment.

“The children seem to love their pre-historic theme and that there is a real bug inside, but it’s the adults that really delight in the novelty and do eat them,” says museum Gift Shop manager Maureen Boughman. “The captain of the Wm. B. Tennison enjoyed the candy, bug and all.”

Larry Peterson, owner and developer of HOTLIX tells us that museums across the country are selling these bug-rich delights at an amazing rate. The Smithsonian that gave him the idea to make Amber Candy.
“A few years back, the amber exhibit was a hot ticket at the Natural History Museum. We had some products already in their gift shop and it seemed like a new direction to try,” says Peterson.

I must constantly remind my son to wash his hands, but Joey’s first question upon inspecting his candy was “Is the bug clean?”

Did they find it under a rock or was raised it in a lab? Funny, he has never wondered where Tootsie Rolls come from. I pass his questions on to Peterson.

“We call it our worm ranch,” he replies. “The insects are all raised on a diet of fruit with the FDA approving everything.” He assures us, too, that no insects suffer during processing: “We put them in a state of hibernation before dipping them.”

The newest product, Butterfly Candy, will feature a flower and of course, butterfly inside. A bit tamer, I must admit, but nothing that I will keep in my candy dish. I did, however sneak a lick of the sucker.

At Bay Weekly, we broke the Amber goodie into pieces and dared one another to take a lick at it, so to speak. There were many offers to taste only the candy, but it took a real trooper to brave the bug.

Mark Burns put the candy-coated insect in his mouth, chewed, and chewed, made a disgusting face and chewed some more.

Photos were taken and cheers were raised as six adults rallied around Mark. (We were so glad that it was he and not us that got to do the honors.)

So how was it? “Chewy, but not too bad. The candy is sweeter than most,” Mark describes, “Probably to cover-up the taste of the bug.” He excused himself to rinse his mouth. Without getting too graphic, seems Mark had more than candy in his sweet tooth.

Upon seeing Mark survive, Sandra Martin helped herself to the piece with the fern. “Hmm,” she

proclaimed. “Sort of tastes like creme soda.”

With reviews this good, the Marine Museum may want to up those orders. Can’t wait for the next shipment? Visit HOTLIX on their web site, Or call their toll free number, 800/eatworm.

Editor’s note: Direct from the factory, a new shipment arrived at Bay Weekly. Unwrapped, the box revealed ant candy, with “real farm ants, the other red meat”; Amber Candy embedded with scorpion; chocolate-covered insects in dark and white chocolate; Cricket Lick-Its in apple, cinnamon, grape and orange flavors; and Worm Lick-Its in apple, tequila and watermelon; and Larvets in barbecue, cheddar and Mexican spice flavors.

Copyright 2000
Bay Weekly