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November 2006

Monday, November 27, 2006

Russell Stover Coconut Wreath

imageI went looking for Christmas candy of all sorts last week during the holiday break. I seem to have the best luck at Walgreen’s since they have dependable sales and a clean store (I also went to Target, but everything came in super-jumbo bags). As I expected Russell Stover’s has their assortment of single-serving goodies that are similar to the Easter and Halloween ones. I did, however, find one that I’d not seen before, the Russell Stover Coconut Wreath

They were on sale for 50 cents, so I could hardly pass it up. I’m a sucker for coconut haystacks which is what I expected this to be.

I wasn’t disappointed either. The plop of coconut and milk chocolate was shiny and smelled of coconut. The coconut was crunchy and well-toasted, giving it a much more chewy texture than something like a Mounds bar. The coconut bits were rather small, like little flecks instead of being little curls like you’d find in a bag of coconut shreds in the baking aisle.

It wasn’t too sweet at all, just a nice mellow mix with an interesting texture.

If I was disappointed it was at the shape. I expected something that looked like a donut, instead it’s just a plop. What’s like a wreath about this? Or was mine malformed and had a filled center?

I have to say that I’m pleased that Candy Blog has prompted me to give the Russell Stover holiday lines a chance. Their quality is excellent (no PGPR in the chocolate) and when on sale they’re about the same price as any consumer candy bar and usually feature less common flavor combinations.

Other Russell Stover holiday candy reviews:

Pumpkins: Vanilla Marshmallow and Marshmallow & Caramel

Cream Eggs: Strawberry, Maple & Coconut

Name: Coconut Wreath
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 4 BENIGN
Brand: Russell Stover
Place Purchased: Walgreen's (Echo Park)
Price: $.50
Size: .875 ounces
Calories per ounce: 160
Categories: Chocolate, Coconut, United States, Russell Stover, Christmas

POSTED BY Cybele AT 7:05 am    

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Candy Blog on Morning Call

I told you about my appearance on CNBC’s Morning Call a few weeks ago. I finally got around to getting the video up. Here it is ...

(Direct link for those reading via a feed.)


POSTED BY Cybele AT 7:27 am     CandyTVFun StuffNews

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Spangler Candy Canes

People complain that Christmas comes earlier and earlier each year in the retail world. The decorations are out before Halloween in some stores. It’s kind of funny, I was watching the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving special and he was complaining about the same thing ... which leads me to believe that it’s been going on for a very long time. The funny part of that is that in some factories, it’s always Christmas.

imageCandy Canes are big business, especially for Spangler, which has two factories. Their primary facility is in Bryan, Ohio but they have another factory in Juarez, Mexico as well. The Bryan factory has been operating in three shifts since May just to keep up with demand, churning out 18 tractor trailer loads each day. (Their website says they make 25 million candy canes each year.)

Spangler makes more than just the plain old six inch shrink wrapped cane. They have a huge selection of different shapes and sizes, in more than the traditional red & white peppermint flavor. They make the candy canes for Jelly Belly, Disney and DumDum in all sorts of kooky flavors. I’m a bit of a traditionalist and got a hold of a pretty good cross section of their offerings.

Spangler always packages their canes well, so I rarely get a broken set. The flavor is a mild and pleasant peppermint. Not blastingly strong like an Altoid, more like a starlight mint, but less “foamy” feeling on the tongue.

Right now I’m pretty keen on the Candy Cane Wreaths. They’re a hoop of candy cane (but not joined at the top) around 4” across that have a gift tag already on them, in case you want to use them for decorating packages or gift bags. They’re easy to put on a Christmas tree, and I’m thinking about using them as napkin rings for the dinner table this year.


What’s especially cool about them is that all pieces are curved. I love the curve of a candy cane, how I can break off that piece and place it behind my front teeth and suck on it. Well, this is all curve!

I think if I my favorite size though is the tiny one. I know they aren’t wrapped quite as pretty (they’re in a cello pouch that doesn’t allow for hooking the cane on anything) but they’re easy to eat. I just snap it in half at the middle of the straight part of the cane and put the whole thing in my mouth. No muss, no fuss.


The last kind they make is the super-large pole.


I remember getting one of these when I was a little kid. I went with some neighbors to a parade where Santa rode in a red fire truck and gave these out. As a kid it was a huge amount of candy. A stupid, messy amount of candy. After a while it got very sticky and may have had cat hair on it or lint. So I would keep rinsing it off in the sink, and it would get clean, of course, but smaller and smaller. I seriously doubt I finished it.

As part of my new recipes starting in the New Year, I’ll have some fun tips for what to do with leftover candy canes.

More reading: Toledo Blade article with excellent photos from the factory + Spangler’s Candy Cane Tour on their website.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 9:52 am     CandyReviewChristmasSpangler CandyHard Candy & LollipopsMints8-TastyUnited States

Friday, November 24, 2006

Thanks for the Past Year

One year ago and one week Candy Blog was born. Not exactly an anniversary, as I started the blog in April of ‘05, but that’s when it had its coming out party.

Candy Blog got her present look and software one year ago yesterday. It’s like going from black and white television to color ... or for your younger folks who don’t remember that transition - from broadcast television to cable.

Even in the past year Candy Blog has continued to grow. The original 38 categories that divided up the posts now number 149. (And I’ve logged about 450 posts!) I’ve added plenty of countries, most of the brands and and started my city-specific destination guides. In that time I’ve also switched web hosts and cameras. Traffic has grown from a few hundred a day to the present level of over 5,000 a day. I’ve gone from posting a few times a week to a new review every weekday. I added some advertising to help out with the costs of the webhost, my camera and equipment and the candy. Oh, the candy.

Looking to the future, I took a poll a while back to see how folks want to see things grow here. Some of the selections would take technology and time and probably money to make them happen, and others simply time and effort. But the largest group opted for the thing that I can actually do all on my own: Recipes. Simple candy recipes that anyone can do, with step by step instructions and likely lots of photos. I expect to begin those in January and probably just once a month until I get up to speed in the kitchen.

I’m am deeply thankful for all my readers, not just because you visit and I see a little tick on my counter, but that you come back again, subscribe to the feed, link to me, send me emails and leave comments and share your experiences with candy and sweets. I know it’s a simple subject, but our passions are universal and I like to think that this little obsession unites us.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 7:28 am     CandyFun StuffNews

Thursday, November 23, 2006

KitKat Pumpkin

Things to be thankful for: I apparently rebound from weariness rather quickly! After my declaration that I will not try any other limited edition KitKat bars, I’ve been sucked back in. And by a Pumpkin version no less.

imageIn honor of American Thanksgiving, I had to review them. So I met Santos, of The Scent of Green Bananas at the Farmers Market yesterday for some lunch and a huge and generous mess ‘o candy (like trick or treating for grown ups! - more on that in the coming week). I rushed home afterwards to photograph them so I could give them a try.

First thing to know about these is that they are Japanese. Second thing to know is that they are pumpkin flavored, not pumpkin pie or pumkpin pie spice or pumpkin custard. They’re pumpkin flavored. Ever eat a pumpkin?


They’re milk chocolate covering the normal bland wafers with a pumpkin creme inside. Lest you think that they’re subtle, they smell quite distinctly of pumpkin. In fact, when I opened the bag (not even any of the packets, just the bag that they were in) it smelled like baby food.

It takes a little getting used to, but the pumpkin KitKat has a nice toasted, caramelized flavor. It’s not as sweet as the usual grainy sugar cream, so it offsets the cheap and greasy chocolate quite well. I can’t quite put my finger on it, except to say that the flavor is Pumpkin (or perhaps simply squash). The package is all in Japanese.

There is a long and strange aftertaste to this candy, a pumpkin aftertaste and not something I’ve ever experienced in my life before. I kept walking around the house thinking of baby food. Baby food. Look at the package - there’s a family of pumpkins on there. Daddy pumpkin, Momma pumpkin and of course little baby pumpkin with his two front teeth just growing in. (Does he eat this pumpkin puree KitKat?) I keep thinking ... Babies with faces caked with strained squash. Smelling of squash, a smidge of fabric softener and of course that baby smell.

They are, in fact, strangely addictive. I don’t know how, because any gourd and chocolate has never sounded like a good combo to me, but here I am, eating another. I hesitate to give them a high score, but the fact that I continue to eat them means the have to get at least a 7 out of 10.

(Here are Santos’ thoughts on the latest KitKats.)

Final thought: thank you all for reading and commenting in the past year.

Name: KitKat Pumpkin
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 4 BENIGN
Brand: Nestle
Place Purchased: gift from Santos (thanks!)
Price: unknown
Size: unknown
Calories per ounce: unknown
Categories: Chocolate, Cookie, Japan, Nestle, KitKat, Limited Edition

POSTED BY Cybele AT 6:58 am    

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Meticulously photographed and documented reviews of candy from around the world. And the occasional other sweet adventures. Open your mouth, expand your mind.





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