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May 2009

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Das Lollipops

Das Foods LollipopsDas Foods which is already known for their cute little caramel morsels has expanded into the gourmet lollipop market. (Did you know there was a gourmet lollipop market?)

Their initial offerings are petite pops that look suspiciously like ordinary lollipops you’d get at the doctor’s office after bravely taking an injection without crying or biting the nurse.

These, however, are made in decidedly grown up flavors and with all natural ingredients.

Naughty GingerNaughty Ginger - Ginger & Lemon

This amber pop looks rather blah, like an all natural candy usually does.

It doesn’t mess around though. It didn’t smell like much, kind of like lemon, but maybe like tea. The first sensation I got when putting it on my tongue was a zap of ginger. Spicy. The tangy lemon entered and brought its companion bitterness with it (I guess that’s the naughty part, bitterness is like a lack of gratitude but sometimes a reminder of what we have).

It was a cross between a cough drop and a ginger hard candy. The spicy feeling on my lips, tongue & throat lasted quite a while.

The ingredients are pretty impressive: sugar, rice syrup, citric acid, crystallized ginger pieces, citric acid, lemon oil, natural ginger extract

Fab-O-PomFab-O-Pom - Orange & Pomegranate

Unlike many pomegranate candies, this is just a light and natural pink, like a garden rose. It smells rather woodsy - like tea in a sandalwood or cedar box.

The flavor is tangy and bit like a mellow cherry or raspberry. But then the orange kicks in. Instead of the juicy flavor it’s all about the zest here. There are little bits of orange zest as well, they give it a less than smooth melt on the tongue but also vibrant pops of flavor.

Caramel Me HappyCaramel Me Happy -Salted Caramel

This dark brown pop was opaque. It smells a bit like a bowl of brown sugar - just lightly toasted.

The texture is just a smidge less smooth but the caramelized sugar flavors come out right away. It’s a little salty and not very sweet overall. The butter or cream components are missing ... so it’s more like a brulee topper for me than an actual hardened caramel. But that still kept me happy.

For an all natural hard candy, they are extremely expensive. Right now the variety pack is going for $3.99 for 4 ounces on the Das Foods website. (Each pop is about a half an ounce and there are 8 in the package. So they’re $16 a pound or 50 cents per pop.)

If you’re going through morning sickness or have motion sickness problems, the ginger pops are an excellent option. The caramel pops are a nice take on the hardened caramel, I appreciated that they weren’t too sweet. The orange & pomegranate didn’t thrill me, but I think I was detecting more bitter citrus oils than most folks probably would. I don’t mind it at first, but it does leave a weird taste in my mouth.

In addition to the flavors reviewed here there’s also one called Man Bait which is Bacon & Maple. (I gave it to Amy, who thought it was pretty tasty, much more on the maple & smoke side and not much else from the bacon ... for the record she’s one of those people who doesn’t like her syrup to get on her bacon.)

Expensive but certainly unique. If you’re going for really vibrant flavors and all natural ingredients, these may be a great option. They’re certainly a fun impulse item at a cafe or gift shop but I don’t think I’m crazy enough about them to buy a whole box.

Related Candies

  1. Hammond’s All Natural Lollipops
  2. Melville Candy Company Honey Spoons
  3. Jelly Belly: Lollibeans
  4. Yummy Earth Organic Pops
  5. College Farm Organic Naturepops
Name: Das Lollipops: Naughty Ginger, Fab-O-Pom & Caramel Me Happy
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Das Foods
Place Purchased: samples from Das Foods
Price: $3.99
Size: 4 ounces
Calories per ounce: unknown
Categories: Caramel, Lollipop, Ginger, United States, All Natural

POSTED BY Cybele AT 10:23 am     Comments (2)

Candy Trends: Packaging

Half the time the stuff being announced in as new products aren’t really new. They’re just repackaging. Not that I have anything against that. I love a clever and useful boxes and tins and of course an engaging and colorful wrappers.

Nostalgic Packaging Samples: Just Born, M&Ms and Hershey's

First thing that I noticed a few years ago is nostalgic packaging. The first one I heard about was a retro version of 3 Musketeers, Snickers & M&Ms sold at WalMart stores. Then I started seeing Hershey’s special packaging.

This year Just Born is into the act with nostalgic boxes for their most popular products: Mike and Ike, Hot Tamales and Goldenberg Peanut Chews.

Goldenberg's Peanut ChewsKinda fun.

Is the candy different? Did they go back to the original recipe or something? No, pretty much the same.

But I have to say, the Goldenberg’s Peanut Chews (review) taste a lot better than Chew-Ets. Maybe it’s that these were extra fresh ... or that it’s the first King-Size package I’ve had since I moved to California. (Though they were a sample from All Candy Expo folks,  all the other above items pictured were from my personal stash.)

M&Ms Premiums single serveFor the most part the other items I’ve seen lately are resizing of the regular packages.

First, Mars is going to be making their M&Ms Premiums (review) available in single-serve boxes. Pretty hot looking. I like the flip top, I like that the box was jam packed with the little triple chocolate premiums.

I don’t have much info otherwise though ... I’m hoping they won’t be much more than the price of King Size M&Ms. (They are 1.2 ounces, not as much as a regular bag.)

Hershey's Bliss Rich & Creamy Dark Chocolate BarHershey’s is also creating a bar format of their new Bliss line (review).

I got this sample of the new Hershey’s Bliss Rich & Creamy Dark Chocolate Bar, it’s about the equivalent of five little Bliss bites.

Look familiar? Yeah, not that different from the format of the Dove chocolate line. Kind of sad how much they look alike.

imageEven though it feels like stuff is getting smaller and more expensive, I did find one bright spot in the news (in addition to the awesome new products, of course).

Instead of the classic tray the LifeSaver Gummis (review) now come in a 2 ounce single serve pack (“With 33% More Gummies”). I saw these at them on shelves at the 7-11 already.

The thing that I learned that was so surprising is that LifeSavers Gummis are the number one selling gummi in the United States. Not Haribo (who have been doing it far longer) or even previous domestic brands like Trolli or Black Forest. Nope, LifeSavers.

imageThe final news nugget is the renaming of Crackheads to Jitterbeans (well, that’s not entirely true, you can get them with either name). I reviewed them last year and Candy Addict’s Brian even appeared on TV to talk about the branding of the product (advocating a name change ... and this is a pretty good choice).

The package is kind of intimidating. The same size as a regular Lemonheads box ... but this one advertises that it has as much caffeine as 6 cups of coffee. I haven’t counted up the beans, but I’m pretty sure that four would be my limit and never to be eaten after noon if I wanted to sleep.

New Dove Bars - with three little bars insideI’ve pointed out the new Mars packaging of their Dove large tablets in three pre-portioned & wrapped bars (review) which was followed by their organic wing Seeds of Change (review) doing the same.

There are probably lots of other associations we’re all going to be making when we see the stuff on the shelves. (Especially when the old & new styles are sitting side by side.)

What have you noticed so far?

Related Candies

  1. Trader Joe’s Lumpy Bumpy Bar
  2. Hershey’s Website Inaccuracies
  3. All Gummies Gourmet Fruity Fish (Swedish Fish knock-off)
  4. All Candy Expo 2008 - Final Link Wrappers
  5. Short & Sweet All Candy Expo Bites

POSTED BY Cybele AT 9:30 am     All Candy ExpoCandyFeatured NewsNewsComments (3)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Candy Tease: All Candy Expo 2009 # 1

Today is the start of All Candy Expo, the national exhibition of candy & snacks sponsored by the National Confectioners Association. Over three days over 450 exhibitors will sample their wares on the show floor while tens of thousands of candy store owners, chain store buyers, wholesalers & distributors will will walk the aisles. It’s an awesome and intimidating place to be, it makes me a bit giddy and also overwhelmed (there’s so much!). Once again my dayjob prevents me from attending so I’ll sit here and remotely broadcast items of interest.

Here are some new product announcements:

imageName: Wee Glee
Brand: Gleey Gum (Verve, Inc.)
Description: In a brightly packaged box full of miniature pieces of mixed flavors of chewing gum, Wee Glee provides a fun-filled chewing experience sure to brighten the moods and tickle the taste buds of children and adults alike. Like the rest of the Glee line, Wee Glee is all-natural, vegetarian, additive-free, lactose-free, dairy-free, wheat-free, gluten-free, casein-free, egg-free, yeast-free, and nut-free with no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives.
Notes: I tried this at ExpoWest a few months ago. The little pieces are a bit thicker than Chiklets. I find their gum sticks to my fillings, but the flavor is much clearer than a lot of other gums (but dissipates quickly).

Sour Patch ChillerzName: Sour Patch Chillerz
Brand: Cadbury-Adams
Description: Leaving you with a long-lasting shock that’s Sour then Sweet (r), Sour Patch Chillerz(tm) is a soft and chewy Sour Patch candy creation that leaves a surge of cool at the end! Sour Patch Chillerz(tm) come in a movie-theater size bag with an assortment of delicious flavors including Berry Punch Chiller(tm), Frozen Lemonade(tm), Strawberry Shiver(tm) and Frosty Grape(tm). Each bite-size candy screams with out-of-this-world tartness.
Notes: There have been a few candies lately that have mixed this “cool feeling” of menthol and fruity flavors. Sometimes it works ... sometimes it doesn’t. I have a package and have to admit, they do look pretty cute.

Name: Black Forest Juicy Oozers
Brand: Ferrara Pan
Description: Get chomping on Cherry Gummy Sharks, the shark-a-licious wild cherry chews burst in your mouth with juicy centers and 10 percent DV Vitamin C. Or pucker up and try Sour Gummy Fun Fish, a pack of squishy, gushy sour flavored gummies that come in a variety of four different sea creature shapes and four fantastic juicy center flavors: Twisted Triple Berry, Screamin’ Strawberry Kiwi, Tangy Tangerine and Wacky Watermelon.
Description: Yes, if you make a gummi product in 2009 you must make a variation with a gooey center if you don’t already. It’s a law. Look it up.

imageName: Goetze Gourmet Caramel Creams Licorice
Brand: Goetze’s
Description: These marry the rich flavor of black licorice with our classic rich and creamy center. Naturally flavored with Real Licorice Extract, each serving of this wholesome confection is also fortified with 30% RDA of calcium and 11% RDA of fiber. These 9oz stand up bags are available in 12ct cases with a Suggested Retail Price of $2.99 per bag.
Notes: I was reading somewhere that Goetze used to make Licorice Caramel Creams, so I’m very excited at their return. I’m not sure what this whole “gourmet” part is, but I’m on board no matter what.

imageName: Sour Punch Bits
Brand: American Licorice
Description: Packing a wallop, chewy Sour Punch Bits(r) is the perfect pairing of mouth-watering strawberry and watermelon fruit flavors rolled up into one bite-size soft candy chew. Scrumptious in Strawberry-Watermelon, the sweet-yet-sour Sour Punch Bits(r) will surprise your mouth!
Notes: I love little morsels as an option for candies that are usually in ropes or bars. The curious part about these is that they’re actually paired in each piece. I’m not sure I want them together in every bite, but I’ll give them a try (I have a box).

Name: Caramel Apple Pops
Brand: Tootsie
Description: If you’re a sucker for lollipops, try an Apple Orchard Caramel Apple Pop(tm), the delicious apple candy pop with smooth caramel coating. Enjoy the ripe apple flavor and creamy caramel taste with every lick, now available in Golden Delicious and green apple caramel apple flavors.
Notes: For several years now Tootsie has brought out the Caramel Apple Pop as a seasonal item (maybe it’s available all year round). Now they have a few new variations. I have some samples and will try to post about them late this summer.

imageName: Werther’s Original Creamy Caramel Filled
Brand:
Description: Featuring a smooth caramel shell, with a creamy caramel filling! Now available in peg and laydown packs. 
Notes: These remind me a bit of Pearson’s Caramel Parfait Nips. But I don’t know if the caramel is hard or soft. It’ll be interesting to try.

imageName: Ghirardelli Luxe Milk Chocolate
Brand: Ghirardelli Chocolate
Description: New Ghirardelli LUXE MILK chocolate bars and bags deliver the ultimate milk chocolate experience with rich and creamy Ghirardelli milk chocolate using simply delicious, all natural ingredients. As with all of our premium chocolate products, we hand select the world’s finest cocoa beans to create our proprietary bean blend and roast them to perfection. Then we slow-blend in the purest ingredients such as real cocoa butter and natural vanilla, to achieve our distinctively intense chocolate. Special packaging for Valentine’s Day.
Notes: The Luxe Milk line has been out since the beginning of the year. I was quite enamored of the crisped rice bar. I’ve tried the other varieties and found Ghirardelli’s milk chocolate flavor quite odd. More on that soon.

imageName: Waffaretto
Brand: Landrin, USA
Description: Landrin Waferatto Perfections are a collection of gourmet confections available in five exciting flavors; all capturing the fine blend of a crisp wafer shell, smooth filling and crunchy nut, creating an unforgettable triple taste sensation. Landrin - Experience the delicate taste of Landrin Classic Waferatto, a combination of white chocolate and shredded coconut with a whole California almond and silky cream center surrounded by a crisp wafer. Or discover Landrin Waferatto Gold with its exquisite chocolaty hazelnut filling, embraced in delicate cream, wafer and the finest crushed hazelnuts.
Notes: These folks won’t leave me alone and seem to have captured all my email addresses from various trade shows I’ve attended. Basically they’re like Ferrero Rocher. I’ve picked up samples before several times but have yet to actually eat one. Soon, soon I’ll try them.

All photos courtesy of the manufacturers unless otherwise watermarked

Related Candies

  1. Candy Tease: April 2009
  2. Candy Tease: Spring 2009
  3. Candy Tease: February 2009
  4. Candy Tease: Autumn 2008
  5. Candy Tease: All Candy Expo 2008 #5
  6. Candy Tease: All Candy Expo 2008 #4

POSTED BY Cybele AT 8:11 am     All Candy ExpoCandyNew Product AnnouncementFeatured NewsNewsComments (6)

Limited Edition Strawberried Peanut Butter M&Ms

For the past few years M&Ms has linked up with blockbuster movies to make Limited Edition M&Ms. Shrek (Mega M&Ms), Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull (Mint Crisp M&Ms), Pirates of the Caribbean (White Chocolate M&Ms) and Star Wars (Dark Chocolate M&Ms). This summer is no different with the release of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.

M&Ms Strawberried Peanut Butter

To tie into the movie about aliens that are two kinds of robots in one (more than meets the eye) Mars is introducing Limited Edition Strawberried Peanut Butter M&Ms.

Not only are the candies inside of the “you’ve never tasted this before” variety, they’ve also made seven different versions of the wrapper. Pictured above is The Twins - Pack 7 of 7.

M&Ms Strawberried Peanut Butter

What is a strawberried peanut butter M&M?

They’re pretty much the same as the regular Peanut Butter M&Ms: a peanut butter center covered in milk chocolate and a hard candy shell ... except here the milk chocolate is strawberry flavored.

I admit at first I squintched up my nose at the idea. Then I thought about PB&J (which is ideal with concord grape and white bread on one side, but also fabulous with sunflower wheat bread and raspberry jam) and it kind of made sense.

The colors are red, brown and yellow.

There were no clever motifs on the printing, just the regular M imprint. Except the yellow ones had some red splatter on them (I’m guessing that’s red transformer motor oil).

The strawberry flavor is just that, a flavoring applied on top of the inherent flavors in the peanut butter and the chocolate. The chocolate flavor is pretty much overwhelmed by the floral and sweet berry essences. The peanut butter grounds it pretty well, it’s mostly smooth, rather soft and has a good salty pop towards the end.

They’re not my favorite M&Ms ever, but I had no problem eating the whole bag. They feel about as relevant to the movie as last year’s mint crisp was to Indiana Jones.

I’ll leave you with a photo of the Bumblebee Transformer. Because I had it (hey, I work in Hollywood, I see a lotta stuff):

DSC02405

Related Candies

  1. Mint Chocolate M&Ms
  2. M&Ms Razzberry - Limited Edition
  3. Head to Head: M&Ms vs Koppers Milkies
  4. 3 Musketeers Mini Mix
  5. M&M and Reese’s Pieces Peanut Butter Eggs
  6. Sandy Candy
Name: Limited Edition Strawberried Peanut Butter M&Ms
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Mars
Place Purchased: 7-11 (Vermonica)
Price: $1.09
Size: 1.4 ounces
Calories per ounce: 164
Categories: Chocolate, Peanuts, United States, Mars, Kosher, M&Ms, Limited Edition

POSTED BY Cybele AT 6:32 am     Comments (54)

Monday, May 18, 2009

Twilight Sweethearts: Forbidden Fruits

Twilight SweetheartsWith the wild popularity of the Twilight series of books by Stephanie Meyer, it was only a matter of time before the first book was made into a movie. And of course its success means a licensing agreement was reached for some candy.

Considering the fact that the story (I’m doing spoilers here) is about vampires and love, candy hearts are a natural choice.

Necco’s Sweetheart conversation hearts were released as a limited edition: Sweethearts Forbidden Fruits. Instead of just getting a box branded with a few characters on it and maybe some new sayings, these little hearts are also in different flavors themed for forbidden fruits plus have some sort of sparkling Dracula dust (pearlescent pigment) on them.

Twilight Sweethearts

The candy seems to have been timed with the DVD release, not with the film in the theaters. Still, I never did find them in stores (perhaps I should have been looking in video stores, but I have a Netflix subscription ... which makes me think there should be a Netflix for candy).

The candy hearts don’t look terribly different from the regular Valentine’s version. Except the colors are different. The pearly coating (that looks like it’s glitter on the box) is pretty darn mild, I mistook it for chalky powder.

The flavors are:

  • Orange Obsession (creamy orange) - the orange version here is not the same as the orange Sweethearts, it has a bit of a tangy snap to it, making it more like a creamsicle than an orange sweet.
  • Tempting Apple (muted red) - there were very few of these in the bag. I like these idea of apple as a temptation element, but the actual execution of an apple flavored chalk candy is a little odd. It tastes a bit like apple juice.
  • Secret Strawberry (hot pink) - it’s a nice, sweet strawberry flavor. Unfortunately it has a horrible secret for me ... a nasty bitter aftertaste (I have a similar problem with the pink Sweethearts and Necco wafers).
  • Passion Fruit (lavender) - this is a pretty good approximation of passion fruit flavor for a piece of chalky candy. Floral, sweet, soft and with a light tangy bite.
  • The sayings on the hearts vary in their legibility. They seem to be lighter but clearer on the pearly ones but bold & smudgy on the uncoated.

    Sayings that I was able to tease out were: Soul Mate, Bite Me, Secret, I (heart) EC, Live 4 Ever, Dazzle, With You, Lamb, Bad Guy, You R My Life, Always, I Trust You, I Love You, Forks.

    Oddly enough, as noted above in the photo, some were blank. I didn’t know if this was intentional, like some sort of heart that only vampires could read. Or maybe there’s a version of the Twlight books that are choose your own adventure and I’m in charge of this heart’s message.

    As far as a limited edition offering, they’re a rather bland revision of conversation hearts, but they’re rather ordinary to begin with. The execution of the lettering and the “dazzle dust” were weak. But I liked the box design (though I’ve only seen this one in person) and think that it’d be a fun item to have while watching the movie with friends. (As long as you had some snacks on hand that were actually good to eat.)

    Like all Necco conversation hearts, these have gelatin in them, so are unsuitable for vegetarians/vegans/those who keep Kosher or otherwise eschew pork. (I have no idea how the Twilight vampires feel about pigs.)

    Other reviews: Eyes of Amber, Candy Critic and Candy Yum Yum.

    Related Candies

    1. Dots Elements: Earth, Air, Fire & Water
    2. Reese’s Chocolate Peanut Butter Bats (Dark Knight)
    3. Gobstopper Heart Breakers
    4. Snickers Shrek
    5. SweeTart Hearts
    Name: Twilight Sweethearts: Forbidden Fruits
      RATING:
    • 10 SUPERB
    • 9 YUMMY
    • 8 TASTY
    • 7 WORTH IT
    • 6 TEMPTING
    • 5 PLEASANT
    • 4 BENIGN
    • 3 UNAPPEALING
    • 2 APPALLING
    • 1 INEDIBLE
    Brand: Necco
    Place Purchased: sample from All Candy Expo
    Price: unknown
    Size: 5 ounce
    Calories per ounce: 110
    Categories: Chalk, United States, Necco, Limited Edition

    POSTED BY Cybele AT 7:57 am     Comments (26)

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    • Brach’s Caramel Macchiato Candy Corn

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