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All Candy Expo

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Wednesday All Candy Expo Link Wrappers

Dave Simmer’s excited about the new Star Trek Pez (and the chocolate candy tablets ... we’re going to have to disagree there).

imageChicago Sun Times has an excellent set of tasting notes (I have to disagree with a couple of items) including Crackheads, Crown Tequila Nuggets, the new M&Ms Premiums, Giant Chewy Wonka Nerds and more. Don’t miss the photo gallery and the separate story about customizable M&Ms that you can put your own face on! (photo by Keith Hale/Sun-Times)

Medill Reports adds a few comments on trends, and further info & a glimpse of the new M&Ms Premiums packaging.

Fellow candy writer Elizabeth LaBau who edits the candy section for About.com has some stellar coverage so far. Here’s her rundown from the first day but don’t miss her great photos, especially of Joseph Schmidt’s chocolate creations.


A big tip of the hat to Candy Addict and their notes from the floor:

  • Candy Expo Day 1 - Brian’s Notes - I’m so happy to hear we’re finally getting Spearmint Mentos and his thoughts on the M&Ms Premium line.
  • Candy Expo Day 1 - Caitlin’s Notes - I completely understand how overwhelming it is (and it’s not a first-timers thing, I think it’s always like that).
  • And finally, just for fun, relive Cameron Gray’s Tuesday with photos as they were posted from the floor.

    POSTED BY Cybele AT 8:00 am     All Candy ExpoCandyFeatured NewsComments (0)

    Candy Tease: All Candy Expo 2008 #4

    imageName: Altoids Cr?me de Menthe
    Brand: Wrigley’s (Mars)
    Description: New Altoids Cr?me de Menthe delivers the quick hit of strong flavor you expect, but with a “sweet kick.” This new flavor is available in both the Curiously Strong Mint and Chocolate Dipped Mint varieties. Altoids - The only mint that freshens your mouth and your mind.
    Release Date: 6/1/2008
    Notes: I’m not sure what the difference between peppermint, spearmint and creme de menthe is, but I’m strongly curious.

    Name: LifeSavers Gummies Tangy Fruits
    Brand: Wrigley’s (Mars)
    Description: Includes six great-tasting bold flavors and the perfect chewy texture that consumers love. The new Tangy Fruits roll pack include the following flavors: Tangerine, Watermelon, Lemon, Sour Apple, Tangy Cherry and Wild Berry Punch.
    Release Date: 6/1/2008
    Notes: I love tangerine. I will follow any LifeSavers tangerine product to the ends of the earth. Consider me a customer. (I’m wondering if these are like the sours, but without the tart sugar sand coating.)

    imageName: Loud Truck Energy Gummi
    Brand: Loud Truck Energy Gummi
    Description: Loud Truck Energy Fueled Gummies.Taste great. Contains Guarana Extract. Natural energy.Vitamins B12 and C. No crash Energy.
    Whether your playing sports, stayin up late for school,at work or just need that extra boost of energy. 1 oz bags. 12 bags per case.

    Release Date: 3/1/2008
    Notes: I think this is the best name ever for a candy. I don’t know why, but it’s so crazily evocative (and I don’t care much for loud trucks) that I’ll probably end up buying a package just because.

    imageName: WOWzers
    Brand: Maxim Manufacturing and Marketing
    Description: Sour Powder filled tube bubble gum
    Release Date: 5/1/2008
    Notes: It’s like a gum cigar, only with a hollow center with a strawberry Pixy Stix inside.

    Name: Gummi Butterflies
    Brand: Albanese Confectionery
    Description: Bold colors and delicious flavors. Flutter away with the newest version of the World’s Best Gummi!
    Release Date: 5/20/2008
    Notes: I’ve already seen these and I have to say, they’re so cute I wish they made them when I was a kid. They’re also coming out with Theater sized boxes of their 12 Flavored Bears and Super Sour Neon Gummi Worms. (It would be cool to find their stuff more easily, it’s usually reall well priced.)

    (images courtesy of the manufacturers’ press kits)

    Related Candies

    1. Brach’s Gummi+Plus & Tropical Gummis
    2. Lifesavers Gummies Sour
    3. Mentos Plus Citrus Mix
    4. Chocolate Dipped Altoids
    5. Lifesaver Gummies

    POSTED BY Cybele AT 3:58 am     All Candy ExpoCandyNew Product AnnouncementFeatured NewsComments (2)

    Tuesday, May 20, 2008

    Candy Tease: All Candy Expo 2008 #3

    imageName: Ice Cream Parlor Mix
    Brand: Jelly Belly
    Description: Ice Cream Parlor Mix 3.1 oz and 6.5 oz bags - Featuring Cold Stone Creamery’s top signature creations: Chocolate Devotion, Our Strawberry Blonde, Birthday Cake Remix, Mint Mint Chocolate Chocolate Chip and Apple Pie a la Cold Stone.
    Release: 3/1/2008
    Notes: Jelly Belly was promoting these at the Fancy Food Show, but I didn’t get a sample of them (but I did get a $5 Cold Stone gift card!). Finally I have a bag and will have some notes on those soon. I haven’t tried them all, but I have very little faith in this mix, mostly because I wouldn’t want to combine my apple pie with my mint chocolate chip & strawberry.

    Name: Holiday Sugar Babies
    Brand: Charms
    Description: Same great tasting Sugar Babies presented in red, white & green.
    Release: 1/1/2008
    Notes: While I wasn’t blown away by the Caramel Apple Sugar Babies, if these are just a candy shell over the Sugar Babies caramel, I might like them. Look for them later this year.

    imageName: Brach’s Theater Boxes
    Brand: Brach’s (Farley’s & Sathers)
    Description: The rich, decadent taste of Brach’s(r) chocolate make their debut in theater boxes. Double Dipped and California Raisins, are joined by new Toffee Crunch, Mint Pearls, and Chocolate Covered Milk-Maid(r) Caramels for today’s grab and go lifestyles.
    Release: 5/20/2008
    Notes: I might go to the movies more often if I could get some sort of chocolate covered almond toffee crunch at the concession stand.

    Name: Sunkist Fruit and Sour Fruit Gummies
    Brand: Healthy Food Brands
    Description: They are a great-tasting, “better-for-you” fruit gummy candy that has 35% less sugar than the average leading gummy brands and contain 100% RDA of Vitamin C with only 70 calories per serving.
    Release: 04/15/08
    Notes: These are not to be confused with the current Sunkist Fruit Gems made by Jelly Belly (which are essentially vegan). They have less sugar not just because they’re made with fruit juice, but they’re also made with sorbitol (not as the sole sweetener though).

    (images courtesy of the respective manufacturers)

    Related Candies

    1. Brach’s Gummi+Plus & Tropical Gummis
    2. Jelly Belly - All Natural
    3. Sunkist Fruit Gems
    4. Jelly Belly Soda Pop Shoppe
    5. Chocolate Covered Sugar Babies

    POSTED BY Cybele AT 3:33 pm     All Candy ExpoCandyNew Product AnnouncementFeatured NewsComments (1)

    Candy Tease: All Candy Expo 2008 #2

    Name: Firecracker ChocoPod & Firecracker Chocolate Bar
    Brand: Chuao
    Description: Firecracker is the newest unusual, unexpected and delicious flavor from Chuao Chocolatier. Firecracker is a perfect balance of Chipotle Chile, Salt and Popping Candy in Venezuelan dark chocolate for an arousing experience.
    Release: 5/15/2008
    Notes: The idea of pop rocks in chocolate isn’t exactly new, but I would certainly like to try a good version of it. (I also have a Christopher Elbow one on hand.) Chuao is also expanding their ChocoPods to include their most popular bar flavors such as Chinita Nibs.

    Name: Sea Salt Almonds, Sea Salt Cashews & Fruit and Nut Mix
    Brand: Mama Mellace’s Naturals Line (Mellace Family Brands)
    Description: Mama Mellace is all about simple, homemade goodness and natural ingredients. That is why we oven-roast our almonds & cashews for a natural crunch without added oils, no butter and nothing to detract from Mama’s classic treat. Sprinkled with a hint of sea salt and mixed with real fruits, our Naturals line includes wholesome snacks created out of Mama’s desire to make an uncomplicated snack, simply better.
    Release Date: 5/1/2008
    Notes: I have a sample of the cashews to try, they look really good. I don’t know about the retail price for them but I expect it to be prohibitive for everyday uncomplicated snacking.

    Name: Milk Chocolate with Peanut Butter Filling
    Brand: Ghirardelli
    Description: Satisfy your inner child and your inner gourmet with our new Peanut Butter Squares(TM) chocolate and bar. Our tempting new recipe is the perfect combination of intense creamy milk chocolate and gourmet peanut butter with crunchy peanuts roasted to perfection. Ghirardelli - Moments of Timless Pleasure.
    Release Date: 3/1/2008
    Notes: The market for milk chocolate and peanut butter is pretty crowded, so I’m having trouble figuring out what will be so great about this that I’d chose it over other items. I have one to try ... so we’ll find out.

    Related Candies

    1. Candy Tease: All Candy Expo 2008 #1
    2. Ghirardelli Intense Dark
    3. Candy Tease: Edition Five
    4. Candy Tease: Edition Four
    5. Chuao ChocoPod Collection
    6. Chuao ChocoPods

    POSTED BY Cybele AT 4:03 am     All Candy ExpoCandyNew Product AnnouncementFeatured NewsComments (1)

    Monday, May 19, 2008

    All Candy Expo in a Box

    All Candy Expo Sample BoxIt all starts tomorrow, bright and early on Tuesday morning in Chicago.

    As I mentioned before, the National Confectioners Association, which runs the All Candy Expo, sent me a box of goodies so I wouldn’t feel left out by not attending.

    The package says that it’s 20 lbs (last year I brought home 60 lbs ... but I think I ended up giving away about 20). It’s a fabulous assortment.

    While there are a few things that I’d never pick up for myself, things like jerky, chips, and many packages of gum, those quickly found homes. But there were also plenty of samples, full sized things, that I might not have been able to score by myself on the floor. Some other items I’ve already found in stores and reviewed here (Wonka Giant Chewy Nerds, Starburst Gummi Bursts, Figamajigs, Craves, and a few others).

    Here’s a small sampling of the items I’ll be able to talk about this week:

  • Toxic Waste
  • WOWzerz Sour Powder Bubble Gum
  • Parker Products Raspberry & Cream Bar
  • Pure Fun Peppermint Canes
  • Indulge Gourmet Ribbles
  • Crackheads
  • Assembly of All Candy Expo - by Michael J. Hartman

  • Chocolate Covered Pretzel Crisps
  • Mama Mellace’s Chocolate Covered Roasted Cashews
  • Albanese Confectionery Chocolate Covered Biscotti
  • Glee Gum Bubble Gum Flavor
  • Nintendo Wii KLIK-on Candy Dispenser
  • Marshmallow Farms
  • Bratz Candy Jewelry
  • Hannah Montana Glamour Guitar & Picture Ring Lollipops
  • Albanese Confectionery Gummi Butterflies
  • Hissee Fit Snake Lollipop (I actually already had some of these)
  • Chocolate PEZ
  • Sunrise Sour Slices
  • US Honey Bee Hard Candy
  • Primrose Fabulous Fall Caramel Swirls
  • Darrell Lea Soft Eating Licorice
  • ChocoPods Firecracker
  • Ghirardelli Milk & Peanut Butter Bar
  • Bloomsberry & Co Climate Change Bar & Beauty Bar
  • Roca 60% Cacao Buttercrunch Thins
  • Kohler Original Recipe Chocolate Cherry Almond Bar
  • Cote d’Or Experiences Cocoa Nibs 70% Cacao
  • Cote d’Or Experiences Milk Creamy - Smooth
  • Sunkist Better for You! Fruit Gummies
  • Aura Clip’n'Go Mints (I actually got samples last year that I still haven’t written about)
  • Jelly Belly Ice Cream Parlor Mix (Cold Stone Creamery)
  • Baskin-Robbins Soft Candy - Mint Chocolate Chip
  • Tortuga Rum Fudge (Coconut)
  • Assembly of All Candy Expo - by Michael J. Hartman

  • Peeps Chocolate Mousse (Bears & Bunnies)
  • Madelaine Milk Chocolate Lolly Pops
  • Chocolate Peanut Crumblz!
  • Funley’s Stix in the Mud
  • The bold ones are those that I’m planning reviews of (but ya never know). There are dozens of other items that were in the box, of course, but not things that are likely to be included on Candy Blog.

    The photos shown here are from a reader, Michael J. Hartman, who is working behind the scenes. These were taken on Saturday as everything was being loaded into the McCormick center for the show. Some of the very elaborate booths require cranes to assemble and of course days.

    You can check in here as I upload my photos on Flickr.

    Related Candies

    1. Candy Tease: All Candy Expo 2008 #1
    2. Candy Giveaway! The Ultimate Candy Box
    3. All Candy Expo - Tuesday Noon Update
    4. All Candy Expo - Monday Noon Update
    5. House of Chocolate Blues

    POSTED BY Cybele AT 5:40 pm     All Candy ExpoCandyFeatured NewsComments (3)

    Candy Tease: All Candy Expo 2008 #1

    imageName: Emergency Chocolate
    Brand: Bloomsberry & Co.
    Description: 1 oz all natural premium chocolate bars. Milk 34% cocoa. Dark 55% cocoa. Perfect impulse personal consumption items!
    Release Date: 4/1/2008
    Notes: Bloomsberry is all about the cute packaging, and this item is no exception. Instead of their usual 3 ounce bar, this one is, as the copy says, only one ounce, so a nice little indulgence and probably a bit easier on the pocketbook.

    Name: M&Ms Premiums
    Brand: Mars
    Description: Will come in five flavors, Triple Chocolate, Chocolate Almond (how is this different from the current Almond M&Ms?), Mint, Mocha, Raspberry Almond.
    Release Date: June 2008
    Notes: I’m not sure how different these are from some of the current limited edition offerings. According to Adweek they’ll be priced at more than $3 for a 6 ounce bag but my guess is that they’ll come in at about $6 like the recent Cherry Cordial ones.

    imageName: Baskin-Robbins Soft Candy
    Brand: Best Sweets, Inc.
    Description: The newest addition to the Baskin-Robbins Soft Candy line allows you take the fun and great taste of Mint Chocolate Chip and Very Berry Strawberry Baskin-Robbins ice cream with you - no matter where the day takes you! Made with real cream and the texture of these time-honored ice cream flavors, this new format is sure to be a hit.
    Release Date: 5/5/2008
    Notes: I have a sample of these to try in the Mint Chocolate Chip, which I must admit was one of my favorite flavors to get when I’d go to Baskin-Robbins as a kid.

    (images courtesy of the manufacturers’ press kits)

    Related Candies

    1. Candy Tease: Edition Five
    2. Candy Tease: Edition Four
    3. Candy Teases: Edition Three
    4. Candy Teases: Edition Two
    5. Candy Teases - New Products

    POSTED BY Cybele AT 4:06 am     All Candy ExpoCandyNew Product AnnouncementFeatured NewsComments (5)

    Sunday, May 18, 2008

    All Candy Expo 2008

    imageFirst, I’m not going to the All Candy Expo in Chicago this year. The dates (May 20-22) are simply unworkable for me this time around. I’m not terribly upset about it, the last show was just in September and I still have a few items left from that to review! Next year’s show will revert to the original June dates, and I’ll be back in ‘09.

    Through the wonderful assistance of the folks at the National Confectioners Association though, I will be able to bring copious amounts of coverage including reviews that week! (Instead of readers waiting until I return home - so maybe things will be even better from a reader’s perspective.) But if you also want some first-hand coverage, Candy Addict will be on the floor and I’ll do my best to point to other coverage as the week goes by.

    Changes this year at the convention include some new policies. Children are no longer allowed at the show at all and the Candy Time Room, which was that fabled space where you could fill a single bag with whatever you wanted from dozens of bins of candy ... that’s gone. (I scored a couple dozen snack sized Ritter Sport bars last year, they were so good.)

    The show used to be on a Monday-Wednesday schedule, this year they’re going Tuesday-Thursday. The exhibitors are already on the floor at the McCormick center this weekend, setting up their booths. Some are quite elaborate, while other smaller companies opt for the old table & curtain display. The smallest booths are 10 feet square. The largest ones occupied by “Big Candy” like Hershey’s, Mars, Jelly Belly, Wrigley, Ferrara Pan & Nestle are more than 50 feet square, which is bigger than most candy stores (and my house). As an attendee, all I ever care about is the ability to view their product line, sample items, perhaps take a sample home and of course talk to someone. The larger booths not only feature the candy but show off how global they may be (Hershey’s was sampling some of their Asian versions last year) as well as the advertising campaigns & marketing tie-ins. While I may not care about some NASCAR merchandising deal, there are plenty of stores that will. 

    The show is continuing to diversify to include more snacks (popcorn, chips, jerky, etc.) and gourmet confections. One of the cornerstone events will be the sessions under banner name “Taste of Gourmet” featuring Frederic Loraschi (Michel Cluizel) and Michael Antonorsi (Chuao). This year also shows the continuation of the “Gourmet Marketplace” are of the show floor where companies like Stephany’s Chocolates, Fannie May, Wolfgang, Bloomsberry & Co and other upscale (but not quite artisan) makers will be grouped together. I’ll have some reviews of their items to at least tip my hat towards the gourmet corner this year.

    The show has a wide number of attendees. Most are buyers for large companies like Wal-Mart, Trader Joe’s, Rite Aid, grocery chains and other general merchandisers. Others are candy brokers & wholesalers, who are the middlemen for the smaller candy retailers. Most candy stores can’t afford the minimum purchases from the large factories, so they come to the show to see what’s new & how they’ll be marketed in the coming year, then they place their orders through the wholesale companies. Other people on the floor are publicists who work with different confectionery companies, writers from the industry or from consumer oriented publications (like bloggers) and finally, other candy companies.

    I plan to give candy teases all week long as well, just announcements of new products that have caught my interest, keep an eye on the little sidebar to the left where it says “All Candy Expo” coverage. (Or sign up for my RSS feed and you won’t miss a thing.)

    Related Candies

    1. The Traveling with Candy Balancing Act
    2. Candy Blog is Munchcast!
    3. Navigating a Candy Expo
    4. Partying with the Sugar Crowd
    5. What is the All Candy Expo

    POSTED BY Cybele AT 12:39 pm     All Candy ExpoCandyFeatured NewsComments (1)

    Saturday, September 29, 2007

    The Traveling with Candy Balancing Act

    Each day a the All Candy Expo I balanced my sense of discretion with each candy booth’s generosity.

    I think the candy companies won.

    Each attendee was given a small bag to put their samples in on the floor. The same bag was used each day and it was about the size of a shoe box for some nice women’s dress shoes. Basically, not too big.

    Many booths had “eat it here” samples, little cups or sections of their products for sampling. I generally didn’t eat much while on the floor of the show, so I didn’t go for those often. (I couldn’t bring them home, they didn’t have the ingredients and nutrition info on them.)

    imageI was pretty picky about what I picked up, but often when I’d get into conversations with the candy purveyors, they’d offer me full sized samples. A 6 ounce bag of some new gummi spiders, a stack of six 3.5 ounce chocolate bars, a 5 ounce bag of delicious dark chocolate coated toffee almonds or a half a dozen full-sized Ritter Sport bars. It adds up. So somewhere around the middle of the morning my bag would be full and probably weigh about five pounds. I had a benefit over most attendees, somewhere to stash the contents of my bag. I’d go to the press room and empty it out and leave it with my other stuff (my jacket, etc.) and go back out onto the floor.

    At the end of the day I’d be hoofing it back to the hotel with 15 or so pounds of candy along with a sampling of press kits which are also heavy in their own right.

    So with a little math you can tell where this is going. At the end of the show I had at least 45 pounds of candy, probably closer to 55 pounds (if you include the press kits, which as I said in my defense, are heavy).

    I planned well, or at least I thought. I brought one large suitcase to Chicago. I packed my 8 days worth of clothes (I was heading to visit family in the Midwest when I was done) and another smaller, collapsible suitcase in the bottom. I had my laptop messenger bag and a purse. Once back at the hotel I tried to pack all my stuff. It all technically fit, but I was concerned that the large bag was going to be over the weight limit. If figured if I could carry the large suitcase down the three flights of stairs to the lobby, it couldn’t be that heavy. Certainly not over 50 pounds.

    I got to the airport dragging things behind me (may I thank the fellow who invented the wheel at this moment?) I found that I was correct ... my luggage weight 101.5 pounds. However, the large bag was 61 pounds and the little one was over 39. (The good news, apparently, is that I can carry 61 pounds down three flights of stairs!)

    Luckily the nice agent at American Airlines said I could take a moment and transfer some things around instead of charging me for being overweight (that’d be $50). She even helped me by pointing out the items she thought were heaviest. I stuffed some of the heavier things into my carry on and in the end each of my bags was balanced at 47 pounds each. (Yes, I was now toting an additional seven pounds in my carry ons.) I thanked the ticket agent for her patience and help and gave her a full-sized Hershey’s Cacao Reserve nibby bar. This was when she told me that she only worked part time for American Airlines. Her day job was as a dental hygienist. She said she would have given me a toothbrush if she had one on her!

    At my brother’s (where the guest room is sadly on the third floor, but happily he carries my bags up for me) I took all my candy out and organized it and repacked it, using a bathroom scale to make sure that each bag was 45 pounds. I left plenty of chocolate and candy there, too. I gave my mother three full sized dark bars plus a box of Russell Stover Private Reserve chocolates that I just wasn’t going to get to review anytime soon (but I’ll go buy at some point). I left only a few things at my brothers ... sadly I didn’t find his new perfect candy bar for him at the Expo. He was a Snickers Cruncher fan. I’ll have to keep working on it.

    It took about three days after I got home for the sore shoulders to go away (carry forty pounds on them regularly takes a while to get over). It’s been 10 days since the Expo ended and I can now say that my feet don’t hurt any longer. Maybe next year I won’t walk that mile to and from the convention center and just splurge on a cab.

    In case you’re wondering, this is what 50 pounds of candy looks like, all dumped out on my dining room table (which is 50 inches around, by the way).

    In case you’re wondering the result of this trip on my weight ... I’ve lost four pounds. Don’t worry, I have a notion of where to find them.

    Related Candies

    1. Candy Blog is Munchcast!
    2. All Candy Expo - Wednesday Noon Update
    3. Navigating a Candy Expo
    4. All Candy Inventory 2006

    POSTED BY Cybele AT 12:38 pm     All Candy ExpoBehind the ScenesCandyFeatured NewsFun StuffComments (8)

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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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    Candy Season Ends

    -11 days

    Read previous coverage



    Which seasonal candy selection do you prefer?

    Choose one or more:

    •   Halloween
    •   Christmas
    •   Valentine's Day
    •   Easter




    These candies will be reviewed shortly:

    • Candy Tease: Sweets & Snacks Part 1

    • Hachez Braune Blatter (Chocolate Leaves)

    • Rogue Chocolatier

    • Dandelion Chocolate

    • Candy Encyclopedia: The Difference Between Gummi and Jelly