Stephen Fries: Love affair with Oreo cookies, and a pie

Many visitors to New York City, especially foodies, eat their way through Chelsea Market, the food mecca and home of the Food Network. What most don’t realize, the building once housed Nabisco, where Oreo, the world’s most popular cookie was first baked in 1912. The sandwich cookie is enjoyed in over 100 countries around the globe, with nearly $2.9 billion in global annual revenues. Imagine, a cookie has a Facebook following of more than 43 million.

Did you know….

Fifty percent of all Oreo eaters pull apart their cookie before eating them; with women twisting them open more often than men.

Twist, lick, dunk is the way not only children, but adults, too, enjoy an Oreo.

Oreo actually is younger than the similar Sunshine Biscuit Co.’s (later acquired by Keebler and then Kellogg) Hydrox cookie introduced four years earlier, in 1908.

A lemon creme filled Oreo was introduced in 1920 as an alternative to the white-creme filled version.

The first Oreo was sold in Hoboken, N.J. The packaging of the cookie was a bulk tin and was sold by weight.

Over its long life, the Oreo has been made in many flavors, shapes and sizes. Because of its worldwide distribution, the company has produced cookies with flavors to meet diverse tastes. Here is just a sampling (Keep in mind many of the varieties are available in specific countries, offered seasonally or for a limited time only):

Green Tea Ice Cream flavor creme (China); blueberry ice cream flavor creme (Indonesia); Oreo Duo two complementary half-and-half flavors, Dulce De Leche and Banana creme (Argentina); coconut delight (Indonesia); football shaped; minis; Cool Mint Creme Oreo; a Double Stuf Oreo with a slight minty creme filling; Candy Cane Oreo, first released for the holidays in 2012, later returning as Peppermint Oreo in the years following; Watermelon Oreo cookies were a limited edition release for the summer of 2013 consisting of two golden Oreo cookies with watermelon-flavored filling; sugar-free; reduced fat; Oreo Heads or Tails have vanilla creme filling with a chocolate Oreo wafer on one side and a Golden Oreo wafer on the other.

So where do these ideas come from? Here’s one way. Recently, the first-ever #MyOreoCreation contest was held. Hundreds of thousands of flavor ideas were sent to Oreo from fans. The company reviewed the submissions and developed prototypes from many of the entries. Select fans were surprised when they received custom samples of their idea, such as coffee-and-doughnut-flavored Oreo cookies and avocado-flavored Oreos. Once the contest was closed, the company narrowed down the vast list using criteria that included taste appeal, creativity and originality, and conducted rigorous taste tests before selecting three finalists.

And the three finalists whose ideas are now limited-time Oreo cookies available in stores are ... Robert D. of Westfield, Mass. (kettle corn-flavored Oreo cookies), Eden F. of Winnetka, Calif. (cherry cola-flavored Oreo cookies), and David M. of Bellmawr, N.J. (Piña Colada-flavored Oreo Thins cookies).

Now you get to vote for which one should be the winning flavor, but be sure to cast your votes before June 30 at Here’s your chance to win too: Fans who participate will be entered for a chance to win one of thousands of sweet prizes. The winning flavor will be announced on or around July 7, and will unlock $500,000 for the creator of the winning flavor.

After you cast your vote and while you wait to see who the winner is, try these recipes from “Oreo Sweet Treats,” published to celebrate the iconic cookie’s 100th birthday.

Combine cookie crumbs and butter; press onto bottom and upside of a 9-inch pie plate sprayed with cooking spray. Refrigerate until ready to use. Mix ice cream and 1 ½ cups of pie filling; spoon into crust. Freeze 4 hours or until firm. Drizzle chocolate syrup over pie. Serve topped with remaining cherry pie filling.

*substitute a chocolate syrup that hardens to form a “shell” when drizzled over the pie.

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Combine bread cubes and cookies in a large bowl. Whisk remaining ingredients until well blended. Add to bread mixture; toss to evenly coat. Pour over into 1 ½ quart casserole sprayed with cooking spray. Bake 45-50 minutes until center is set. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Worth Tasting Culinary Walking Tour: 10:45 a.m. June 9, four-hour culinary walking tour of downtown New Haven. 8-9 stops at some of New Haven’s favorites. You won’t be hungry after this tour. Reservations required, tickets at, 203-415-3519, 203-777-8550, $64.

Shoreline Clam Bake, June 9, 1-4 p.m., Black Hall Grille, 100 Shore Road, Old Lyme. 860-434-1414 Live action oyster and clam shucking station.

Oregon Pinot Noir Winemakers with a French Connection, June 19, 6:30 p.m., Park Central, 1640 Whitney Ave., Hamden, 203-469-4218, $85. In this unique tasting, enjoy a collection of Pinot Noir from Oregon from as many of the French-connected wineries as possible. Taste them blind- why? Because thrown in is a ringer: a red Burgundy to see if it stands out. It will be hard to detect, but that's the fun of this tasting. Enjoy a 3 course menu with a choice of entrée. Tickets

International Wine and Craft Beer Tasting: Compassionate Care Awards Gala, June 21, 6 p.m., Woodwinds, 29 Schoolground Road, Branford, 203-782-4330, $75, Features a delicious variety of wine and beer from many vendors, buffet dinner, silent auction, and DJ.