Having lived in Germany a bit during my teens and studying the language all through high school and college, I’ve always had a kinship to all things Deutsch. One thing in particular is Haribo’s Gummi Bären.
Haribo started with the “Dancing Bear” in 1922 by Hans Riegel of Bonn (where I lived) and has become a $716 million a year industry worldwide…having spawned long past bears to mice, rattle snakes, Die Schluempfe (or The Smurfs to you and me), etc. and was even made into a Disney animated cartoon in the early 90’s. It makes perfect sense to me as they are Frisch and Fruchtig!
However because I’d been spoiled by the original German recipe early on, I was always thoroughly disappointed with Haribo bags purchased here in the States. It didn’t take me long to figure out that their taste varied depending on the country in which they were manufactured. Even the bags that they sold in “Germany” at Disney’s Epcot were manufactured in Maryland. That would never do! Thus I became obsessed with acquiring German bags.
And I mean “obsessed.” I have asked people to bring them back from Germany for me many times. I know Haribo’s distribution centers around the world and will not accept any not made in Germany or Hungary. The last time our friends came back from Germany, they brought so many packages back in their suitcase that they were stopped by customs because they thought they was trying to sell them on the black market.
Since then, I discovered the only online candy shop that sells the imported Germany product: eurofoodmart.com. And after several trips and intense label reading, I could occasionally find the Hungarian manufactured bags at World Market.
WELL recently my life came to a screeching halt when I found out the worst thing a pre-menstrual, vegetarian girl could possible hear: Haribo uses beef and pork gelatin in their ingredient list. Sadly, several of my enablers knew full well that there were animal by-products involved and never told me because…as they said…. “Haribo macht Emily froh!” Sweet of them, but sneaky.
Surely, Haribo would take us vegetarians into consideration, I thought, so I did some research. They indeed offer some vegetarian candies, but they are not my beloved Gummi Bären. (For the record they are: Dunhills Kids Mixture, Freaky Fish, Giant Strawbs and Liquorice Twists.)
Since I have no choice, I have come to terms with my break up with Haribo Gummi Bären. But, being the positive person that I am (yeah, you can laugh), it just allows me to open a window to date yummier, more animal-friendly, teeth-rotting vehicles. Wanna be a matchmaker? I’m not a slut, but I will swallow.