Sunday, December 28, 2008

Eclipse of the Moon (Pie)

Move over, Moon Pie. There's a new kid on the block, he's from Korea, and his name is Choco-Pie.

I first saw the Choco-Pie about two years ago at one of our local Super H Marts, an Asian superstore featuring everything from bok choy to cosmetics. While browsing in a back aisle one afternoon, I came across this interesting looking package of something resembling Moon Pies. I bought a box, took them home, and was surprised to find that they were delicious. I say "surprised" because I have not seen a serious Moon Pie contender in over thirty years.

Other than their country of origin, there are a few differences between Choco-Pies and Moon Pies. Choco-Pies come individually wrapped in foil, not cellophane, packages to keep them fresh. Their texture is somewhat softer than a Moon Pie, and there is not to my knowledge the double-decker option provided by Moon Pies. I have not seen Choco-Pies in any flavor other than chocolate (of course), unlike Moon Pies, which offer banana and vanilla flavors in addition to the original chocolate variety. Nevertheless, the Choco-Pie coating is rich and dark, and an entire box of twelve pies sells for just under four dollars. I have yet to find them anywhere else in Atlanta but at Super H Mart.

Being somewhat curious about all this, I did some web research and found that Orion Confectionery, the company which makes Choco-Pies, actually supplies them to Korean soldiers once they have completed their first week of basic training. The market for the pies is growing steadily -- in fact, over twelve billion of them have been sold worldwide, and let's face it, twelve billion of anything is a lot.

I think this is another one of those cases where globalization is here to stay. But in this instance, I believe that there will always be a place for Moon Pies...after all, they are a Southern tradition. Life without Moon Pies (even if you don't eat them) would be something like the South without just wouldn't be proper in the least.

So, if you're a Moon Pie nut like me, go ahead and try a Choco-Pie. Just don't tell Aunt Bessie about it.