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October 2012

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Trick or Treat 2012

What are you giving out to Trick or Treaters this year?

Halloween 2012

The kids in my neighborhood seem to like Airheads, so this will be the third year I’m giving those out. As a change this year I’m also giving out Unreal Candy, since it’s sustainably sourced and has no artificial ingredients. I have their peanut nougat bars and the peanut butter cups. We’ll see how that goes over. Judging by the density of Priuses on my block, it should be well received. In all, I have over 80 pieces of candy for what I expect will be about 35 kids ... so maybe I need a little more.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 8:17 am     All NaturalCandyHighlightFun StuffComments (14)

Monday, October 29, 2012

Katharine Beecher Party Mints

Katharine Beecher Party MintsThese candies go by a lot of different names: Pillow Mint, Mint Puffs, Dinner Mint and in this version, Party Mints.

The Katharine Beecher Party Mints come in a theater style box. Of course that’s probably not the most likely place to find someone eating this type of candy.

The Katherine Beecher brand dates back to the 1940s. It was founded by a real woman named Katharine Beecher who made classic candies. The brand was acquired by Pennsylvania Dutch Candies in 1974 (now known as the Warrell Corp but it retains the brands of the individual units to this day).

Katharine Beecher Party Mints

The mints come in three colors: pink, yellow and green and one uncolored white version. They’re sealed inside a cellophane sleeve within the box to keep them fresh.

Katharine Beecher Party MintsThe soft and crumbly mints are about 1/2 of an inch in diameter. They’re a crimped mint, which is what gives them their pillow shape. They’re a pretty generous size, bigger than many that I see on the counters at hostess stations at restaurants.

This particular bag was very minty. The ingredients are very simple and boast real peppermint oil in addition to sugar, corn syrup, salt, oil of peppermint, artificial colors.

The texture is smooth and there’s a slight hint of salt on the outside, which is surprising and pleasant. They crumble easily when crunched or dissolve pretty well. I happen to like pillow mints, though I’m more fond of the butter mint style (which I’ll have to seek out now). The quality was very good, they’re consistent and a nice size. But in the end, they’re, well, just mints. A nice thing to have around, especially when you have guests over for a holiday meal or party.

(I was trying to find out who Katharine Beecher was, if she was anyone, and found out that perhaps she was a robot. Or at least a robot was named after her candy tin.)

Related Candies

  1. Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Honey Mints
  2. Brach’s Christmas Nougats
  3. Life Savers Pep-O-Mint & Wint-O-Green
  4. Smooth n Melty
  5. Trader Joe’s English Soft Peppermints
  6. VerMints


Name: Party Mints
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Warrell Corp
Place Purchased: Cost Plus World Market (Farmers Market)
Price: $.75
Size: 5.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 113
Categories: Candy, Warrell Corp, Compressed Dextrose, Kosher, Mints, 7-Worth It, United States, Cost Plus

POSTED BY Cybele AT 3:29 pm     CandyReviewWarrell CorpCompressed DextroseKosherMints7-Worth ItUnited StatesCost PlusComments (9)

Friday, October 26, 2012

Astro Pop (Original Flavor)

Astro Pops were introduced in 1963, a time of great excitement in the space race, by Nellson Candy Company in California. The design of the pop was a simple cone with three layered flavors to emulate the three stage space rocket of the time.

Astro Pop

The shape and production technique for the pops was rather unique, as they were molded right in the wrappers and sealed at the ends with a small layer of food-grade paraffin wax. Astro Pops were discontinued in 2004 and after several years of work to both secure the rights to the product and re-innovate the production, Leaf Brand Candy got them back on shelves recently.

The style of the candy itself is a little different, as most lollipops are made from a stamped hard candy that’s usually slightly aerated before molding. This can lead to bubbles and voids. (Gourmet lollipops such as Linda’s Lollies and the Jelly Belly Lollibeans are also super-dense hard candy.)

Astro Pop

It’s hard to eat an Astro Pop without creating a hazard. They’re already unbalanced, with a very short stick and a blunted point. Once you start licking it, the point becomes rather sharp. Add to that the stark ergonomics of consumption: it’s a hands-on pop. You can’t hold it in your mouth because it’s so bottom heavy and long (unless you clench it in your teeth, and that presents another problem because the candy style can become soft and cement your teeth together). You can’t put it down without having it stick to things because of the larger surface involved when it’s a rest (it’s not one point of contact like a sphere, instead it’s a plane/line of contact with the length of the pop).

So, all those physical things aside ... it is a fascinating confection, especially for someone like me who is a fan of Barley Sugar Candy. The flavor layers are Pineapple (top yellow), Passion Fruit (middle green) and Cherry (base red). The candy is dense and smooth with a slow dissolve. The flavor is mellow and all sweetness. Pineapple is floral, a little like strawberry with a hint of pina colada. The passion fruit layer was a little hard to distinguish, partly because it’s sandwiched between the more distinct flavor layers. It’s a little pine-like and kind of like a fruit punch. The cherry base is a little like a cough drop in that it’s syrupy and even though it’s an intense red, I didn’t have any metallic bitter aftertaste from the coloring.

The candy lasts for a long time, the density of the boiled sugar means that it’s not crunchable (like Jolly Ranchers) so you have to dissolve the whole thing, lick by lick. There’s no way, until the pop is shorter, to tuck it into your cheek and rot your teeth either.

Here’s a classic commercial from the Astro Pop heyday when they made a bunch of different flavor varieties.

What I found most amusing about this history is that the Nellson Candy Company sold the rights to the pop to Spangler Candy in 1987. A scant 9 years early Spangler made a name for itself by creating the SafeTPop, the little lollipop with the looped string for a handle instead of a stiff stick.

Overall, a fun candy but not necessarily an everyday confection nor for everyone. The version I tried is 1.5 ounces, larger than the one ounce size that may be more ubiquitous and perhaps easier to eat. It’s definitely expensive, I paid 2.99 for my little pop, something I wouldn’t plan on doing again.

Related Candies

  1. Bubble Gum Cigarettes
  2. Squirrel Nut Zippers
  3. See’s Lollypops
  4. Hammond’s All Natural Lollipops
  5. Starburst Retro
  6. Jelly Belly: Lollibeans
  7. Regennas Clear Toys
  8. Pop Rocks Dips


Name: Astro Pop
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Leaf
Place Purchased: Sweet! Hollywood
Price: $2.99
Size: 1.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 100
Categories: Candy, Hard Candy & Lollipops, 7-Worth It, United States

POSTED BY Cybele AT 1:04 pm     CandyReviewLeaf Brand CandyHard Candy & Lollipops7-Worth ItUnited StatesComments (3)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Halloween Candy Spotting 2012

Halloween is the first Holiday in Candy Season. The variety of candy is not quite as remarkable as Easter or Christmas, because most candy is just smaller sizes of single serve products for easy distribution for Halloween trick or treaters. It’s interesting to see what the new and returning products are each year. 

The big trend seems to be seasonal flavor combinations. The notable ones are Candy Corn (now in jelly bean, gum drop, chocolate covered & novelty flavors) and Caramel Apple (lollipops, Milky Way bars, Werther’s hard candies, Sugar Babies).

I haven’t seen much that’s new this year, but I did visit most of the stores in my area to see what’s on the shelves, here’s my hitlist of the highlights:

Brach's Assorted Halloween Mellowcremes

HERSHEY’S
Hershey’s decided to use more neutral fall leaves theming on their packages this year instead of Halloween specific graphics. So don’t expect to find them on the sale shelves after Halloween, as they expect merchants to simply move them on to themed displays for Thanksgiving.

  • Pumpkin Spice Kisses (review)
  • KIT KAT Orange Wafer Bars
  • Reese’s Pumpkins - now in a new orange package instead of purple (review)
  • Cadbury Screme Egg Candy is a green yolk flowing fondant egg.
  • M&Ms White Chocolate Candy Corn

    MARS
    Milky Way Caramel Apple Minis (review)
    Snickers Pumpkin (review)
    Candy Corn White Chocolate M&Ms (review)

    Peanut Butter Kisses

    NECCO

  • Mary Jane Peanut Butter Kisses (review)
  • Clark Wicked Mix (review)
  • Mellocreme Zombies (I still haven’t found these)
  • Candy Corn

    FARLEY’S & SATHERS (BRACH’S)

  • Brach’s Milk Maid Caramel Candy Corn (review)
  • Brach’s Autumn Mix (review)
  • Brach’s Halloween Mix (flavored mellocreams in holiday shapes) (review)
  • Brach’s Indian Corn
  • Brach’s Mellocreme Pumpkins
  • Bat Dots

    TOOTSIE

  • Blood Orange Dots (Bats) (review)
  • Ghost Dots (Clear)  (review)
  • Candy Corn Dots (Vanilla)  (review)
  • Orchard Mix Caramel Apple Pops (review)
  • Vanilla Tootsie Rolls
  • Caramel Apple Sugar Babies
  • (review) Now available in snack packs for Trick or Treat

    JUST BORN

  • Peeps Chocolate Pumpkins (review)
  • Peeps Ghosts & Pumpkins (I like the ghosts because they’re the only Peeps that aren’t artificially colored.)
  • Mike and Ike Mummy Mix
  • Nestle Butterfinger Pumpkin

    NESTLE & WONKA

  • Butterfinger Pumpkins
  • Spooky Nerds
  • Whitman's Candy Corn Marshmallow
    (They don’t actually make the Whitman’s Marshmallow Candy Corn any longer, but I like the photo too much to not use it this year.)

    RUSSELL STOVER

  • Russell Stover Peanut Butter Candy Pumpkins
  • Russell Stover Coconut Dream Pumpkin
  • Russell Stover Chocolate Marshmallow Pumpkin
  • Russell Stover Dark Chocolate covered Marshmallow Pumpkin (review)
  • Russell Stover Strawberry Cream Pumpkin
  • Russell Stover Marshmallow Pumpkin (milk chocolate) (review)
  • Jelly Belly Candy Corn Jelly Bean

    JELLY BELLY

  • Jelly Belly Deluxe Halloween Mix (review)
  • Jelly Belly Candy Corn Jelly Beans (review)
  • Jelly Belly Giant Candy Corn
  • Jelly Belly Sour Gummi Pumpkins
  • Jelly Belly Fall Festival Mix

  • NOT RETURNING:

  • Hershey’s Candy Corn Kisses (review)
  • Hershey’s Caramel Apple Kisses (review)
  • Mary Jane Wicked Mix (review)
  • Brach’s Gummy Candy Corn (review)
  • So what have you seen that’s new or what’s missing that you’ve been looking forward to?

    POSTED BY Cybele AT 1:04 pm     CandyHalloweenHighlightShoppingComments (8)

    Monday, October 22, 2012

    Chuao Honeycomb & Potato Chip Chocolate Bars

    Chuao Honeycomb 60% CacaoI’m quite fond of Chuao Chocolatier’s bars, which are made in Southern California. The packaging is spare but eye-catching and distinct. I’ve come to know the brand well enough to be able to spot a new bar on the shelf easily because of the color-coding. One that I’d been looking forward to finding is the Chuao Honeycomb 60% Cacao. The bar is a Dark Chocolate Bar with Caramelize Honey.

    I was excited about this bar because Chuao used to make a fantastic item for local Whole Foods markets. It was a thick bar with large chunks of sponge candy (here they’re calling it honeycomb). I haven’t seen it in the market for several years, so I was hoping this bar would be a more widely available version.

    The back of the package has a more enticing bit of marketing copy: The Honeycomb bar is a sweet bouquet of silky dark chocolate and crunchy, caramelized honey. Its pleasing layers of tropical flavors and contrasting textures seduce chocolate lovers like bees to a flower.

    Chuao Honeycomb 60% CacaoChuao uses non-GMO ingredients, including the soy lecithin and the corn syrup for the honeycomb. chuao also sourced their chocolate through a project called Aguasanta Growth Initiative in Venezuela.

    The bar has a wonderful decorative design for its mold. They’re changing their packaging yet again, so keep an eye out for the newer designs. Here’s a peek at the ChocoPod version. (Here’s what they looked like back in 2006 when I first tried them.) While it’s fun to look at, it is a little more problematic for portioning. The bar doesn’t break evenly around the “pod” pieces and of course it’s harder to tell how much of the bar you have eaten. (Besides all of it. That’s easy no matter the shape.)

    There were a few little voids at the bottom where the mold didn’t fill properly and the same on the bottom of the bar where there were bubbles.

    Chuao Honeycomb 60% Cacao

    The bar is deep and toasty. The chocolate has a coffee note to it but is complemented by the burnt sugar flavors of the sponge candy. It’s a clean toffee note, with no hint of butter, just the scorched honeycomb. There are some hints of minerals and an earthiness to it. The honeycomb provides a little texture, though it has a bit of a crunch, it also dissolves quickly, like shards of cotton candy.

    I was hoping for a bit more differentiation between the chocolate and the honeycomb, at least as far as the textures.

    Chuao Potato Chips in Chocolate 41% CacaoIt’s funny that I had to go all the way to Pennsylvania to find a bar that’s made right here in California (and that I’ve been looking for in local stores). But it makes sense that Pennsylvania would be the target market, they’re the folks that make such fantastic pretzels and have innovated so much in the sweet and salty combination. I think I found the Chuao Potato Chips in Chocolate 41% Cacao bar at Wegman’s, and it was even on sale.

    The package says that it’s an Ultra Premium Milk Chocolate Bar with Kettle Cooked Potato Chips.

    The bar is made from all natural ingredients, the potato chips are made with sunflower/corn and/or canola oil and this wrapper does not say anything about GMO ingredients.

    Chuao Potato Chips in Chocolate 41% Cacao

    This is an odd bar. I can’t quite put my finger on it. Part of it may be the inclusions. As you can see from the photo, the bits of the potato chips are quite small, I’d call them potato slivers or shards. So the texture doesn’t allow for a full bite of potato chip, but more of the flavor without the crunch. The chocolate smells milky and has a wonderful, silky melt. The chips are at once light and dense. They have a strong crunch, even for their small size. They’re salty and earthy, with a rooty, potato skin flavor to the that’s common to the kettle cooked variety of chips.

    In both bars I wanted more of the inclusions ... but it’s hard to fault these bars when the chocolate is so good as well. Chuao never disappoints me with their chocolate. I think my favorite bars are still the Chinita Nibs and their Coffee and Anise bars, which are both rather hard for me to find as well.

    Related Candies

    1. Trader Joe’s Milk Chocolate Covered Potato Chips
    2. Eat with your Eyes: Anise & Coffee
    3. Chuao Panko
    4. Chuao Chocolate Blocks from LEGOLAND
    5. Parkside Candy Sponge Candy
    6. Chuao ChocoPods
    7. Chuao Chocolatier


    Name: Honeycomb 60% Cacao
      RATING:
    • SUPERB
    • YUMMY
    • TASTY
    • WORTH IT
    • TEMPTING
    • PLEASANT
    • BENIGN
    • UNAPPEALING
    • APPALLING
    • INEDIBLE
    Brand: Chuao Chocolatier
    Place Purchased: Ralph's (Glendale)
    Price: $3.99
    Size: 2.8 ounces
    Calories per ounce: 136
    Categories: All Natural, Candy, Chuao Chocolatier, Chocolate, Ethically Sourced, 7-Worth It, United States, Ralph's


    Name: Potato Chips in Milk Chocolate
      RATING:
    • SUPERB
    • YUMMY
    • TASTY
    • WORTH IT
    • TEMPTING
    • PLEASANT
    • BENIGN
    • UNAPPEALING
    • APPALLING
    • INEDIBLE
    Brand: Chuao Chocolatier
    Place Purchased: Wegman's (Mechanicsburg, PA)
    Price: $3.99
    Size: 2.8 ounces
    Calories per ounce: 150
    Categories: All Natural, Candy, Chuao Chocolatier, Chocolate, Ethically Sourced, 7-Worth It, United States

    POSTED BY Cybele AT 2:00 pm     All NaturalCandyReviewChuao ChocolatierChocolateEthically Sourced7-Worth ItUnited StatesRalph'sComments (1)

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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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    COUNTDOWN.

    Halloween Candy Season Ends

    -54 days

    Read previous coverage

     

     

    Which seasonal candy selection do you prefer?

    Choose one or more:

    •   Halloween
    •   Christmas
    •   Valentine's Day
    •   Easter

     

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    ON DECK

    These candies will be reviewed shortly:

    • Lindt Chocolate Cookie

    • Hachez Braune Blatter (Chocolate Leaves)

    • Dandelion Chocolate

    • Trader Joe’s Holiday Roundup 2014

     

     

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