Is it possible to take the bacon craze too far? Nah.

The Chicago Tribune paid the National Candy Expo a visit and compiled a great list of the oddest, or most compelling new snacks. Trends point to sweet and savory combinations dominating the candy industry. There are Creole pralines with Tabasco sauce and dark coated strands of ginger. But the one singled out for attention? Bacon flavored sunflower seeds.

Sure, those seeds come in other flavors like zesty ranch and buffalo wing, but these mundane flavors pale in comparison to bacon. If sunflower seeds aren't unusual enough, there's always Mo's Bacon Bar. It's not new, but the combination of applewood smoked bacon, alder wood-smoked salt and milk chocolate from Vosges is pretty genius. Paired with a chocolate flying pig and bottle of stout and it's one company's version of all the best snack food trends combined.
Spiked treats were also prevalent at the Candy Expo, with chocolate wine sticks and cognac or champagne infused chocolate. While down the street at the National Restaurant Association's annual Restaurant Hotel and Motel Show, the trends continued with spiced or spiked sauces, kimchi quesadillas and plenty of pork, in spite of the H1N1 flu.

Great minds have been trying to analyze our collective fascination with bacon. Maybe it's sentimentality in a bad economy, maybe it's that the word bacon is funny when tacked onto pretty much anything. Or, maybe it's just that it tastes good. Someone was serving bacon wrapped donuts.

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