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September 2007

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

All Candy Expo - Tuesday Wrappers

DSC09980I appreciate everyone’s patience with me not being my normal organized self. It’s been tough without consistent internet access. Right now I’m typing this while sitting at the Chinatown branch of the Chicago Public Library. Thank you free wifi!

Today I spent far more time on the floor focusing on my list of things that I wanted to see than yesterday. And of course I’m keeping an eye out for all the items you requested. But it’s tough ... I’ve started making candy friends (folks who run these companies, sell candy and of course fellow writers) and I find myself torn between visiting with them and gabbing and going out and finding new things. I know, you all feel really sorry for me!

I had a great conversation today with a gentleman at the Tootsie booth (I went back in search of the name of the Junior Mints Deluxe product that I mentioned earlier). It was fantastic to talk about all their products, the company’s history, their positioning in the market and the new items that they’re coming out with. I’m especially interested in their new holiday offerings including a Candy Cane Tootsie Pop (they had these last year) and the Junior Mints for the holidays that include candy cane crunchies on them.

I had a fun time looking at some of the licensed items (which I don’t ordinarily pay attention to). Folks will be happy to hear that Hershey’s will bring back the Dark Chocolate Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup in a tie in with the new Batman movie (of course it will be a bat-shaped Reese’s!).

I found another line of completely branded Bratz candy cosmetics. I wasn’t much for Barbie as a girl (I was more of a Lego fan), but I can see the appeal of these products, which are basically edible lip glosses. (Hey, women basically eat their lip gloss anyway, why not have it be actually made from edible things?) I’ll have more on that when I get home and can photograph them.

I spent a little while at the Nestle booth and was so pleased to talk to them about their product lines, especially the Wonka items and the dearly departed Tart ‘n’ Tinys. The bad news is they’re also discontinuing the bulk Banana Runts (you’ll still be able to get them in the regular Runts mix). They have a new Berry Mix Chewy Spree product as well, which I’m eager to try and picked up some samples of.

I tried lots and lots of black licorice today and had a great time talking to Kenny’s Licorice, which does an amazing job in the standard twists (they make the Root Beer ones!), an Australian style and a new release of an Organic line that will include black and red.

I also got to taste RJ’s New Zealand Licorice, Tubi’s Tire Tread and Lucky Country. I’ll have a licorice day (or perhaps week!) soon.

In another version of Licorice, I tried the J. Morgan Confections Licorice Caramel. Holy moly ... it was creamy and spicy and smooth. So satisfying. They have a whole line of butter caramels (and even some fudge). They amply sampled me up, so I’ll have more to say about this Utah confectioner.

On the fortified side of things, Hall’s cough drops came out with some fun new all natural lozenges, as well as a Ginger lozenge (in the regular square packs) and some zinc fortified lozenges (they’re going to send me samples, hopefully before cold season starts).

In other fortification, I picked up something called Java Pops by McJak company which have 60 mg of caffeine in them and come in a variety of coffee inspired flavors. They’re the gourmet style pop, dense and heavy. It’ll take me a while to get through them (since I can’t eat them all at once!).

Tonight I also went to a reception to honor the new Lemonade Stand mix of Mike and Ike. The limited edition (or perhaps seasonal) item has a fundraising tie-in with Alex’s Lemonade Stand, a fundraising program to benefit Pediatric Cancer Research. It’s a really sweet promotion for a tangy product. I’ll have more on that later.

There are so many other things on my list I fear that I’m not going to get to them all tomorrow. I’ll do my best, I don’t want to let you down!

I’m not publishing all the All Candy Expo coverage on the front page of Candy Blog, so be sure to look at the little “featured news” block on the upper right to make sure you don’t miss any of my briefer postings.

Related Candies

  1. All Candy Expo - Monday Noon Update
  2. This Week in Candy - Chicago Bound
  3. Navigating a Candy Expo
  4. What is the All Candy Expo

POSTED BY Cybele AT 3:45 pm     All Candy ExpoCandyFeatured NewsComments (5)

All Candy Expo - Tuesday Noon Update

This morning I decided to really concentrate on my list of candies I wanted to seek out.

Here are a few highlights so far:

  • Junior Mints has a new product called, jeeze, they don’t even have the name on the wrapper! It’s kind of like the Cella cherry cordial. A giant Junior Mint. The dark chocolate is decent and gives a nice dry but chocolatey counterpoint to the abundant soft flowing and abundant mint fondant.
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  • Hershey’s was displaying more of their Chinese line of chocolate that includes a Kiss filled with a thick and creamy strawberry fondant. It was pretty good, again, nothing I’d buy regularly, but I enjoyed the new edition.
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  • Welch’s has a new line (manufactured by Promotion in Motion) called Fruit ‘n Yogurt snacks. It’s almost too healthy to call candy. There’s a soft fruity center that’s made from fruit puree (and added sugar after using fruit juice for sweetener) and is covered with a creamy yogurt coating that has added calcium, vitamins and even probiotics. They come in Strawberry, Cherry, Raspberry, Blueberry and Peach. No artificial colors or flavors.
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  • Dove is also branching into the fortified chocolates with their Vitalize line that will be sold in morsels like the Promises. Milk and dark chocolate pieces are fortified with heart healthy antioxidants and vitamins. If the dark chocolate version is any indication, this silky smooth piece doesn’t feel like a compromise on taste. But I expect a premium price to be attached.
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  • I sat down with a few minutes with Ginny (I’ll link up to her in the future with her coverage) and tried the Twix Java bar. It’s definitely a strong coffee flavor and feels authentic. It has the chocolate cookie core and a coffee flavored caramel with milk chocolate on the outside. I think I’d prefer the dark chocolate, it just felt a little too sticky sweet ... just a little too much for me in the two stick pack. I think I’d like it in the mini size they do.

  • Related Candies

    1. All Candy Expo - Monday Wrappers
    2. All Candy Expo - Monday Noon Update
    3. This Week in Candy - Chicago Bound
    4. Navigating a Candy Expo
    5. What is the All Candy Expo

    POSTED BY Cybele AT 7:18 am     All Candy ExpoCandyFeatured NewsComments (1)

    All Candy Expo - Monday Wrappers

    Ah, day one of the All Candy Expo is done. I came back to my hotel room and dumped out my three mini-shopping bags (think small shoe boxes) onto the bed to rebuild my day. I spent most of the day on the show floor with Sera, from Candy Addict (so be sure to check out her thoughts!).

    The addition of snacks to the mix of candy products this year means that there’s a savory respite while walking around. Some nuts, lots of pretzels, chips, popcorn products and of course jerkies.

    DSC00035New products:

    Ferrara Pan has gone chewy ... it makes me think they’ve been reading Candy Blog or something. It’s always been my wish that there were chewy Lemonheads (kind of like super sour bursting jelly beans). Imagine my delight to find Chewy Lemonheads and Chewy Atomic Fireballs. The Fireballs are the small sized ones and like an incredibly intense cinnamon crossed with a soft jelly bean. (Update: here’s the review.)

    Reese’s Whipps ... I can go on and on about how I feel when marketing folks spell things oddly, but I won’t. The initial description made me think of a peanut butter 3 Musketeers, but there’s a bit more going for it here. The center is a nougat-style with a light peanut butter taste and a nice hit of salt. That is then covered in a thin layer of a crumbly peanut butter fudgy thing and then the whole thing is enrobed in mockolate. I’ll have a full review of that in a week or two.

    The fun new product that we saw was a Green Tea Hershey’s Kisses that they’re selling in China. Yeah, why they’re teasing the American candy wholesalers and retailers with a product that’s not available here, I don’t know. It’s a milk chocolate shell with a green cream center with a distinct matcha taste. I actually liked it quite a bit, but it isn’t something that I’d be particularly eager to consume in large quantities.

    The other product they were showing that’s coming out in the American market is a Hot Cocoa Hershey’s Kiss. How it’s different than the Chocolate Truffle was not something that the young woman at the Hershey’s booth was able to answer (as is often my struggle as a blogger visiting a major candy maker’s booth). I found it rather ordinary ... just a Hershey’s Kiss with a slightly saltier, creamier center.

    Andes Mints are coming out with new Dessert Indulgence candies. They come in Lemon Meringue, Raspberry Cream and Key Lime. They’re a white confection base, which I know is probably terrible for me, but I have a special fondness for it.

    Ghirardelli had an afternoon dessert event at their booth that Sera and I caught the end of. They were featuring three little brownie/cupcake bites based on their new line of filled chocolate bars. I loved the brownie bites, but only tried one of their bars so far. It was a Dark Chocolate with Raspberry Filling. The caramelly filling tasted completely authentic to raspberry. The tangy and sweet bite set off the chocolate very well. The other bars in the line are Milk Chocolate with Caramel Filling, Dark Chocolate with White Mint Filling, Dark Chocolate with Caramel Filling.

    I spent a few minutes at the Chuao booth as well, even though I’ve already tried their ChocoPods, I hadn’t tried all of their bars. The Chinita Nibs is my favorite, the nibs are crunchy and rich and have a hint of caramel to them and the dark chocolate is spiced with nutmeg. The Earl Grey bar is a milk chocolate base and is wonderfully floral and rich, a little sticky and sweet. The new standout are the Caracas bar, which blend El Rey chocolate from Venezuela with perfectly roasted Hazelnuts and Pistachios. It comes in milk chocolate (41%) and dark chocolate (60%).

    Flix Candy was showing some new gummy products called Gummy Bands. Four little gummi bracelets in four flavors, four colors and four sayings. They look my juicier than the version I got from the Oriental Trading Company earlier this year, though the sayings are a little, I dunno, out of step with what I’d expect: Trouble, Team, Wazz Up and Crazy.

    One of the standout European chocolate imports is a German premium brand called Rauch Plantagen Schocolade. All single origin, they have a few different styles of packaging, from standard bars to long sticks to little chunks that are packaged in a “treasure chest.” I know it sounds goofy, but I’ll try to get more info and some photos later. I tried two pieces (Tobago and Trinitario) and this was extra smooth but super dark and distinctive chocolate.

    I also spent a bit of time at the Annabelle‘s booth as Sera is a huge fan of theirs. I’ve always been keen on the idea of them, but much of their product line hasn’t quite clicked with me (granted, my experience is limited). The good thing was that I was keeping an open mind and had high hopes for the new high end Rocky Road-type marshmallow bars: Rocky Road Supreme Dark Chocolate Mocha and Rocky Road Supreme Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter. The mocha one was my favorite and featured a lightly coffee flavored marshmallow that wasn’t particularly sweet, drenched in dark chocolate with chopped cashews. As is often the case with coffee flavored candies, it was more of a woodsy, maple or pecan flavor than that dark roasted flavor, but it was wholly pleasant and certainly something I want to give another try. The peanut butter version that was so rich and filling, I can’t believe that anyone could eat a single bar by themselves (and they probably shouldn’t with it clocking in at about 400 calories and 3 ounces and what is at least two portions). Think of them as King Sized bars that you can share ... a more affordable upscale marshmallow indulgence. Smart.

    After the show I toted my samples for the day back to the hotel, a little less than a mile walk from the convention center to the hotel for the dump ... that moment where I just spread it out on the bed and pick through the items and inspect the wrappers and, well, write this up. The above is only a small sampling of thoughts ... my bed was covered with over 100 different items at the end of the day, so expect a full inventory in next week and then the reviews!

    Continuing coverage on the Expo here.

    Related Candies

    1. All Candy Expo - Monday Noon Update
    2. This Week in Candy - Chicago Bound
    3. Navigating a Candy Expo
    4. What is the All Candy Expo

    POSTED BY Cybele AT 3:16 am     All Candy ExpoCandyFeatured NewsComments (6)

    Monday, September 17, 2007

    All Candy Expo - Monday Noon Update

    DSC09988Here are a few nibbles to get you through the day based on the three hours or so that I’ve been here so far.

    Mars made a surprising and pleasant announcement this morning, they have come out in support of the current standards of identity for chocolate. That means that no matter what the FDA decides, they will not dilute our sacred chocolate experience with cheap vegetable fats.

  • Word on the floor is that the FDA got over 35,000 responses, most in support of keeping our chocolate real (very few addressing the other aspects of the food standards). The rumor (and I haven’t gotten confirmation on this) is that the FDA is now rejecting the chocolate portion of the standards change.
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  • Mars is introducing some other new items, including some Crispy Mint M&Ms as a tie in to the new Indiana Jones movie, though those won’t be out for a while. They also have some Wildly Cherry M&Ms, which are rather like the Razzberry ones. I kinda liked them, they’re you know, cherry and chocolate. Snickers is also introducing the Snickers Nut’n Butter Crunch. I’ve got no clue what that is, but you can expect it in stores in November.
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  • I stopped by the Storck (they have several product lines including Chocolate Riesen, Merci and Werther’s Originals) booth and saw the new Sour Mambas. Awesome ... not too sour, just juicy and flavorful. I’ve only tried the lemon, but I’m really intrigued. 
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  • I stopped by the Hleks booth, they’re a Turkish confectionery company that makes carbonated candy (which I preferred to Pop Rocks). They have some new products including something called Chocolate Poppers, the size of M&Ms they’re milk chocolate with popping candy in it. There are several version, I’m excited to try them all. 
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  • Terra Nostra Organic has some awesome new pocket chocolate bars, they’re only 1.5 ounces, so they’re a good single portion instead of the 3.5 ounce tablets. One is called Pomegranate Truffle that has a dark, sweet and tangy caramelly center inside 60% dark chocolate. All organic and Kosher, plus no milk products in it!
  • I’ll have more later, but I have to say the new venue is really great. It’s spacious and well organized and of course brand spankin’ new. I’m having some connectivity problems at the hotel, so I don’t know how well I’m going to be able to do updates. But I’ll be posting photos from the floor as often as I can.

    POSTED BY Cybele AT 7:33 am     All Candy ExpoCandyFDAFeatured NewsComments (3)

    Saturday, September 15, 2007

    This Week in Candy - Chicago Bound

    I’m busy packing and repacking today for my trip to Chicago to the All Candy Expo. Stop by all next week for daily coverage of what’s on the show floor, new products, things I spit out, and all the other insider info from the candy business.

    The most exciting thing is that there are going to be many candy and food bloggers attending. I’ll try to have roundups of that coverage as the week goes on but you can check out Candy Addict, Chicagoist and Metroblogging Chicago.

    In other global candy news, Bloomberg reports that the German chocolate market is saturated. So saturated that Germany is positively busting at the seams with great quality chocolate and will be forced to sell it to other countries. So expect to see more German chocolate in your local store.

    The story also quotes that Germans consume an average of 19.8 pounds each. Americans average only 12 pounds. I can see why we look like a tempting target.

    In other good news for dieters and diabetics, another report has confirmed that Aspartame (sold as

    Splenda

    Nutrasweet) is safe for use. Personally, I don’t care for the stuff, it nauseates me and gives me a headache. I don’t think otherwise healthy children should be given artificial sweeteners, because I think natural is best as children learn their eating habits for life. But it’s good to know that if you do eat it (whether on purpose or by accident) that it’s safer than previously thought.

    If my week in review isn’t enough for you, check out the Wandering Eater’s week in review ... be sure to scroll down to the awesome photos and descriptions of the Christopher Norman shop.

    This week in review:

    Monday: Candy Corn Kisses (4 out of 10)

    Tuesday: Lake Champlain Organic Dark Bars (8 out of 10 & 9 out of 10)

    Wednesday: Frey Supreme White, Lemon & Lime and Lemon & Pepper (6 out of 10)

    Thursday: Walkers Nonsuch Toffee Original & Treacle (8 out of 10 & 9 out of 10)

    Friday: M&Ms Razzberry - Limited Edition (4 out of 10)

    Average for this week: 6.86 with 43% chocolate content.

    Related Candies

    1. This Week in Candy - Naturally!
    2. This Week in Candy - Too Hot
    3. This Week in Candy - The Vacation
    4. This Week in Candy - A Giant Craving
    5. This Week in Candy - Elvis is in the Cupcake!

    POSTED BY Cybele AT 2:33 pm     CandyFeatured NewsFun StuffNewsComments (3)

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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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