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Originally published Wednesday, December 31, 2008 at 3:55 PM

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Editorial

Washington state candy: a sweet battle over fruits and nuts

A state legislator wants to make Aplets and Cotlets the official state candy. But Washington is home to many tasty confections. Don't these guys have something more-important on their plate?

Seattle Times editorial

ADD another agonizing reappraisal to the list for lawmakers when they convene in Olympia: House Bill 1024.

Rep. Mike Armstrong, R-Wenatchee, has preemptively introduced legislation that will be predictably — but sweetly — divisive. The Eastside legislator wants to give Aplets and Cotlets, the fruit and walnut confection, the imprimatur of the state's official candy.

All over the Evergreen State, pieces of Almond Roca are tumbling into laps in shocked disbelief at the very idea of one delectable treat being officially elevated over another.

Both candies have ardent fans, but one can confidently presume that both are eaten by proud Washingtonians who have a sweet tooth that does not play favorites.

Armstrong sees the candy produced by Liberty Orchards in Cashmere as an homage to the state's fruit industry and a salute to the American dream by grateful Armenian immigrants, who were also a little homesick for a candy from their homeland. Aplets and Cotlets date to 1920.

Grizzled legislative veterans have seen all this before. An effort was mounted in 2001 to anoint Almond Roca the official state candy. The crunchy toffees are produced in Tacoma by Brown & Haley, which, we understand, makes them daily. The candy has its own storied history, back to 1923, and is also beloved by a worldwide market.

The A&C lobby — certainly Rep. Armstrong — would not be emboldened to seek state candy status if the Roca resolution had succeeded. Washington does not have an official candy, and that is for the best. Legislators have budget deficits to fight over, which is plenty.

Having an official vegetable, the Walla Walla Sweet onion, and fruit — yes, the apple — on the state résumé is not compelling.

Where would it stop? Imagine the fistfights over a state wine. Even the idea of a state cheese is more than we Camembert.

Washington is home to two tasty, internationally recognized candies. We are confident there are chocolates, fudges and other local favorites that could be competitive for honorific titles. Leave well enough alone, otherwise the 2009 Legislature will be a rocky road indeed.

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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