Irish 'Potatoes' from See's Candies and Oh Ryan's


When Serious Eaters gathered around to examine the See's Candies catalog last week, one thing popped out: a St. Patrick's Day Potato.

A potato? As in, the dirt is actually cocoa powder and cinnamon, and the white inside part is nougat chewiness, basically white chocolate fudge, with "English" walnuts, says the ingredients list. (Do not tell the Irish.) A few pine nuts on top for that realistic "eyes of the potato" look.

We got our hands on some (thanks, Mom!). They're really just brown lumps, unassuming brown lumps--and probably the most caloric unassuming brown lumps pretending to be potatoes you'll find. Twenty grams of fat for a 2.5 ounce lump.

But the West Coast confectionery See's shouldn't get all the credit for the spud trompe l'oeil. Just outside Philadelphia in Linwood, Pennsylvania, Oh Ryan's ships about 80,000 pounds of these spud-candies per year, mostly within the state. It's a Philly-area tradition that spans back 100 years, also made from scratch. They start with a special sugar made for candy-makers, then make vanilla buttercream and add coconut flavoring and macaroon coconut for flavor and texture.

File this under another Americanism that Irish people in Ireland probably have no clue about.

See's Candies Irish potatoes are $17 for six individually wrapped potatoes (2.5 ounces each). Visit a location or order online. Oh Ryan's potatoes are $4.25 per seven-ounce box (plus $6 for shipping up to six boxes). Oh Ryan's will be making UPS shipments until 5 p.m. today. Call 610-494-7123.