Sunday, July 9, 2006
Cadbury may face formal charges in reference to the Salmonella montevideo contamination of their chocolate. Either the FSA (Food Safety Authority) or one of the municipalities that cover the factory of Cadbury may charge them for knowingly distributing food products unfit for human consumption.
Even though they recalled the offending product, Cadbury has been criticized for unsafe practices, including distributing their chocolate crumb to other factories for use before testing showed the it was safe, possibly leading to contamination of other factory products.
In the mean time the factory in question is being closed and completely cleaned, which may take months.
Cadbury’s sales are off since the recall notice. Nearly four times as many Salmonella montevideo infections were confirmed in the period that the contaminated bars were on the market than in previous periods.
Saturday, July 8, 2006
Consumed - NY Times Magazine
Rob Walker sums up the current limited edition fad in the candy industry (with a pretty funny little illustration by Leif Parsons) with some great insights. Oh, and expert commentary from me and Brian at Candy Addict (oh, and Susan Fussell from the National Confectioners Association).
Dig in, it’s for a limited time only!
Friday, July 7, 2006
The Wall Street Journal recently published a story about how Nestle is experiencing a decline in sales for the revered KitKat bar. Part of this may be due to the dilution of the brand with all the limited edition flavors and shapes.
Sales for 2005 were down over 16% from 2004 while Cadbury and Masterfoods bars have been gaining marketshare. What plays in the UK may not hold true with other markets, however.
Personally, I enjoy the limited edition flavored bars, but I wish they were seasonal - you know, that there were a dependable schedule so that I could get them every year, even if the strawberry was only a summertime thing.
Along that note, watch the New York Times Magazine this weekend ... I have it on good authority that there will be an article about limited edition candy bars there, too.
Here’s the follow-up on the previous stories about health and safety of various chocolate products:
The Mars factory in Oak Brook, Il reopened on July 4th after passing another inspection.
Um, yeah, I wasn’t worried about the stoppage impacting the quality ... it was the mouse turds I was concerned with.
See story here.
The more recent news out of the UK over the Cadbury Salmonella montevideo contamination is more complex. More testing is being performed on recalled items as well as products that were not included in the initial recall and the Freddo bar has been deemed safe.
But other reports are mentioning that Cadbury may have sold some of the raw product to other manufacturers (not uncommon as there are very few actual chocolate factories in the world). Cadbury has agreed to a complete cleaning of their facility and production line ... which I find surprising that they haven’t already done that. What’s more, once the crumb is used in other manufacturing elsewhere, it could contaminate other production lines.
It seems the one lesson Cadbury has learned is that they need to improve their testing. They did update their recall list and took some of the Freddos (but not all) off but added the Dairy Milk Mint 250 g bar. See article here.
P Whattles? P-Nuttles! I make fun of it, but it’s really a pretty cool name for a candy.
Sometimes I forget about the blessed simplicity of some classic candies.
The uneven looking little morsels are simply panned peanuts coated with a crunchy toffee. Sweet with a solid salty hit, they’re dependably tasty. No worries if you come across a nut that’s lost its toffee coat, that means more crunchy shell at the bottom of the package.
These are great to put on ice cream or of course a good summertime sweet that won’t melt.
After my bad peanut experience yesterday, I was very happy with these. Not a bad nut in the bag, and considering how many that was, those are good odds. The only problem I have with them is that I have no idea where to buy them. I’m going to have to keep my eyes open for sightings in the wild, but at least I know I can get them online. I wouldn’t be surprised to find them at 99 Cent stores, as I’ve often found Cup-O-Gold there.
Thursday, July 6, 2006
It’s marshmallow day. Or maybe “Original Creme Center” day, since the Old Faithful doesn’t even say it has marshmallow in it. I bought this bar on the same day as the other limited edition Hershey items, so I figured I should review them at the same time. I got them at a store called Duck Soup, which focuses on retro items, like coffee mugs that look like paper cups and old pinball machines. But they also had a very nice selection of classic candy bars. What was even better was that they were only $.99 each ... that Idaho Spud I bought recently was $1.55!
This long lump has a latexy, ultrasmooth creme (ala marshmallow) center cloaked in whole peanuts and milk chocolate.
The center was not at all what I expected. I expected something like a fondant or fudge, like the Bun. But instead it’s a rather strange viscous filling that doesn’t flow completely, but is super smooth. Not foamy enough for me to consider it marshmallow, but the ingredients include egg whites, so maybe it is.
In fact, I really loved the filling, with it’s slightly bouncy texture (yes, rather similar to the detested Idaho Spud) what I had particular trouble with was the peanuts in the cluster. There were bad peanuts. Once you have one bad peanut, it makes you skittish. And there were more than a few peanuts that were darker than normal and tasted like burnt plastic.
I don’t know if this was a bad bar, but it was bad enough that I was so fearful of another bad nut that I didn’t even want to finish it. So, I took the last third of the bar apart, just eating the marshmallow. Which I really liked on its own. However, that does not redeem this bar. I can’t not eat a major portion of it.
I’m sorry, I just can’t get past something called Old Faithful would have such bad quality control. It broke its promise of peanuts that I could eat. The milk chocolate was passable and it made me wonder why they didn’t use this coating for the Idaho Spud instead of the artery clogging mess o’ trans fats they had on there.
Note: there are no hydrogenated oils in this bar.
Though there’s little reason for me to be buying candy with the huge stockpile I have from the All Candy Expo, I couldn’t help but stop at the 7-11 on Friday on my way home from work. That’s when I spotted these two marshmallow limited edition items: Marshmallow Take 5 and Marshmallow Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.
In the Marshmallow Take 5, the marshmallow replaces the caramel that’s normally found in there. Hershey’s has been mucking around with the Take 5 in these limited editions for a while, but none of the newer versions have been very satisfying in my opinion and this one is no different.
The bar smells wonderfully sweet and peanutty, but upon biting into it, it becomes freakishly fake tasting with a strong vanillin component. The peanut butter holds its own and the salty pretzel gives a welcome crunchy component but it still can’t drown out the sickly sweet marshmallow.
The thing I noticed about both of these bars is that the marshmallow isn’t fluffy like I’m used to with the Campfire kind. It’s rather latexy but very smooth.
The Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup with Marshmallow was similar to the Take 5 in that it smelled and looked normal until you bit into it. Then there was a bit of flowing and slick marshmallow at the bottom of the cup, similar to the new Reese’s Caramel cup.
I found eating the first cup that I didn’t really like how overwhelming the marshmallow was to the texture of the crumbly peanut butter center. So for the second one I turned it over, so that the peanut butter layer hit my tongue first. Much better, but still, the sweetness of the marshmallow gave me a sore throat and didn’t really add anything to the experience.
I’m wondering, however, what a candy cup with caramel at the bottom and then flowing marshmallow (like a See’s Scotchmallow) might go over. Joanna at SugarSavvy.net also reviewed them yesterday.
In the mean time, I hope Hershey’s has gotten the impulse to add marshmallows to everything out of their system.
Wednesday, July 5, 2006
Chupa Chups, the snazzy lollipops from Spain with the logo designed by Salvador Dali have been purchased by Perfetti Van Melle (a Dutch/Italian company).
It’s not a suprising move, as Chupa Chups have suffered from slumping sales and already have had good business alliances with Perfetti Van Melle in the past.
My hope is that Chupa Chups will now enjoy wider distribution. They’re really good pops, with a wildly imaginative flavor set and a premium plastic stick that keeps you from getting that soft paper stick problem like I experience with Tootsie Pops.
The Perfetti Van Melle family of confectionery includes Mentos, Airheads and Fruitella. Chupa Chups are also known for their product line called Smint.
Meticulously photographed and documented reviews of candy from around the world. And the occasional other sweet adventures. Open your mouth, expand your mind.