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Fun Stuff

Monday, December 12, 2005

Five Things about Candy Canes

The Detroit Free Press has a fun article about the candy most commonly associated with Christmas: Candy Canes.

It includes sources for sugar-free candy canes and other candy cane merchandise.

But here are the fun facts from Candy USA about the twisted sticks:

54% of kids ages 6 to 11 say they eat a candy cane by sucking on it.
24% bite or crunch.
19% lick.
2% don’t know how they eat candy canes.
1% said they eat them an “other” way.
31% of boys crunch their candy canes, but only 17% of girls do so.

 

POSTED BY Cybele AT 11:34 am     ReviewFun StuffNewsComments (0)

Saturday, December 10, 2005

A Spoonful of Sugar Helps the Spirts Go Down

Here’s another item to add to the list if you’re looking for something to bring the hostess this holiday or maybe just a stocking stuffer.

imagePeppermint Shot Glasses.

No, not shotglasses for Peppermint Schnapps, these are shot glasses that are made from peppermint sticks.

Sooo cute.

I saw them today at both Urban Outfitters (you can order online) and Cost Plus World Market (a dollar cheaper). As a side note, I’ve also seen plenty of chocolate liqueur cups which are great for serving dessert cognac. If you’re looking for a way to add candy to a mixed drink (besides a lemon drop to a lemon martini or cinnamon imperials to a sweet martini) you might want to check out the new Twizzler Strawz.

They’re made for Slurpees and are just regular Twizzlers that are bigger so you can use them like a straw and get added flavor (and eat them). For cocktails, just snip them in half for a martini glass or lowball.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 6:08 pm     ReviewFun StuffNewsShoppingComments (2)

Friday, December 9, 2005

Candy Mash Ups - Marshmallows & Chocolate

Last weekend I went to San Francisco for important candy and novel writing business (the best of both worlds). On our last day, Robin insisted that we visit Tartine (18th & Guerrero). She said they were reputed to have the best chocolate croissants. So before I scrambled off to my meeting and she went to explore the Ferry Terminal we went over there. We were determined enough to give them a try that we made three ever-widening circles around the place in search of a parking spot. We ended up two and a half blocks away and found the place to be mobbed when we entered. But it looked good from the back of the line. It looked even better when we got up to the bakery case which was filled with amazing heaps of cookies, tarts, pastries and cakes.

imageI bring this up because that’s where I saw the Rochers. Rochers are basically soft chewy meringues, usually with nuts in them. At Tartine they had them in two varieties: almond and cacao nibs. Gah! Heaven! I wish I’d taken some photos of them, but suffice to say they were little glossy dollops of delight. I bought a half a dozen. Now I wish I’d brought more.

So, the reason I bring this up is that it sparked me to try my own mashup this afternoon. I’ve got these Plush Puffs “leftover” and of course I’ve had this tube of Scharffen Berger chocolate covered cacao nibs on my desk. too. The vanilla marshmallow was just crying out for a little something. Cacao nibs. That’s what it wanted.

So, I tore the marshmallow in half, revealing it’s sticky interior and mashed it into the nibs. Yum. Repeat as necessary (it’s my mess o’ nibs, I can double dip!). Vanilla bean and cacao was a great combo. The bittersweetness of the chocolate and crunchiness of the nibs was a nice combo with the sweety chewiness of the marshmallows. I also tried it with the cinnamon one and though not quite as pure a combo because of the spice of the cinnamon, it was very tasty. Maybe I’ll try the peppimint next. (click photo for larger version)

POSTED BY Cybele AT 1:06 pm     Mash UpReviewFun StuffNewsComments (0)

Thursday, December 8, 2005

Guide to Gifts for Candy Lovers

Here it is, your guide for what to get those candy obsessed people on your gift list. Some of this is stuff I’ve bought before, some is stuff I’d like to get and of course some is just something I’ve read about and thought was cool. Feel free to leave comments to expand this list!

Games & Diversions
imageChocolate Chess Set ($159.50) - this is the cream of the crop. A chess set made of white and dark Belgian chocolate game pieces on a chocolate game board. If this seems too pricey, try making your own with these molds.

Or for those who want to get close to someone during the holidays, maybe some Chocolate Body Tattoos ($15.00) or Candy Bra/G-String ($9.99 - link not safe for work).

Do you have a Poker fan in your life? There are lots of poker themed candies out there now. The simplest is instead of chocolate coins, get them chocolate poker chips. They have a huge selection at Candy Warehouse of chocolate novelties including playing cards, racked chips, dice and other gambling themed items. Of course you can also find candy themed playing cards (I have some Hershey’s Kisses ones) but I don’t know how the Poker club would feel about that. Candy Corn shaped playing cards by the dozen, Candy Hearts playing cards ($4.95), or go for a whole Chocolate Casino Kit ($17.99). You can’t eat it, but it’s stilly pretty sweet: Chocolate Monopoly ($21.08) - called Chocolate-opoly.

Candy Crafts
Making your own candy can teach kids a lot about kitchen chemistry, it doesn’t hurt that they get to eat it when they’re done. Make your own Rock Candy Crystals ($9.95), Lollipop Shop Candy Lab ($8.32), Fruit Rolls ($8.32) or Red Jelly Candy Sweets ($8.32).

If you really want to get into candy making, Candy Crafts is a great place to start. They have kits you can use to make your own candy gifts or give to someone else.

Crazy Candy Art kits where you can make sand art with candy powder (or just guzzle the half gallon bottles of the stuff).

Books
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
Candy Freak by Steve Almond
Emperors of Chocolate by Joel Brenner

Videos/DVD
Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory - the first version with Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka, directed by Mel Stuart. (1971 - $12.99)
Charlie & the Chocolate Factory - this year’s version starring Johnny Depp, directed by Tim Burton. (2005 - $17.96)
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang - an inventor (and candy maker!) creates a flying car - starring Dick Van Dyke, directed by Ken Hughes. (1968 - $26.99)
Like Water for Chocolate - a feast for the senses, directed by Alfonso Arau (1998 - $6.99)

Paper Goods & Art
Fred Flare always has hip gifts, this year they have the 2006 Pez Retro Calendar ($12.99) and you may as well tuck it in this felt Gingerbread Gift Bag ($6.00) and write some notes on this Confection-ery Stationery ($8.95) that includes stickers and yummy envelopes.

imageDon’t forget how welcome a candy poster might be for your sweet-toothed recipient. Art.com has a huge selection of candy photography and classic advertising recreations. You can get them framed (starting at $50) or unframed ($6.99+). May I recommend the Andy Warhol version of the Lifesavers ad, “Do Not Lick This Page? (144.99 framed.)

We’ve all seen the bowls of Murano glass candy. Either you hate it or love it, but if you want to give it to someone, here’s a cool site that seems to have excellent prices and a pretty wide selection. Rebecca’s Unique Glass ($6.99-99.99). Don’t forget to pick up a jar or bowl for it!

Calendars
Chocolate Mini Calendar ($7.99), Chocolate Diary ($9.99), Chocolate Wall Calendar ($12.99) and finally the one that I think is irrestistble, the Sweets Pocket Planner ($5.99).

Keeping Candy in Your Life
For those who commute a lot and like to snack in the car, maybe one of these strange little cupholder organizers ($9.99) - be sure to fill it up with candy before wrapping it!

imageHere’s something that I’d be happy to get. It’s actually for spice storage, but I think it’d be super cute to buy this and fill each of the little tins with fun, tasty and colorful candy. Magnetic Spice Storage ($12.99). You can do the same thing with just about any spice rack/storage solution. Filled with pretty pastel Jordan Almonds, Skittles, M&Ms, Kisses (or the new Kissables) or anything your recipient would find tasty is a fantastic and pretty inexpensive gift that keeps on giving.

Purse/Clutch made from candy wrappers ($22-$235) - even if you don’t buy any, they’re just so cute!

Candy Bar Holders
($15.00) or another Candy Bar Holder ($10.00) from MOMA or in Sterling Silver ($159.96).

Dispensers and Holders (actually designed for that purpose)
imageGumballs.com has to have the largest selection I’ve ever seen of gumball machines. These are the real thing too, not some cheapie plastic thing you found at BigLots (though that can be fun, too). There are plenty of other machines out there, including those sold by Jelly Belly (because you don’t want just one bean! - $44.99) and M&Ms ($10-$35).

Don’t forget the fun with the Candy Poopers. Especially if someone’s a fan of animals and candy (how could you not like both). There’s even a Penguin Pooper now, so go ahead and bundle it with the March of the Penguins DVD. (My original review here.)

Ornaments & Decoration
It’s not Christmas without candy all over the house from Gingerbread house to candy canes. Here are some ornaments I saw online at Bronner’s. Chocolate Dipped Strawberries, M&Ms, Hershey’s Chocolate Garland and a glass Chocolate Bar ornament.

Whole Body Indulgences
Chocolate Lovers Spa Therapy ($65) - features bath salt, body milk, body scrub, bubble bath, body butter and body wash, sisal back strap, exfoliating hand mitt, exfoliating sponge, body massager and poof all in a reusable faux-suede hat box.

Face Candy
imageThere’s a huge selection out there too for candy-themed lip balms which make excellent stock stuffers or something to tie on a grand big package or perhaps tuck inside a larger gift. Here are some glitter lip gloss pots that are shaped like wrapped hard candies (set of 5 for $8.00). SeeFred has a huge selection that includes mixed drinks too. ($2.29 each.) If you’re into TV shopping, QVC also has a large selection of bundles: Jelly Belly lip balm set ($15.78) or a full candy makeup kit 9$15.75) and this little cutie looks like a box of chocolate truffles ($19.82).

Candy for the Feet
Candy Socks - they don’t have a huge selection, but I have to say it’s ultra cute. And of course anything that’s white and red striped can be called candy cane, but here are some Candy Cane Tights ($9.00).

Candy as Protection
How about a cute umbrella shaped like a Hershey’s Kiss ($14.95 for adults or two child-sized ones for $19.95). That’d be pretty welcome around Christmas in my neck of the woods as it’s rainy season for us then.

imageOf course you can take candy to the pool or shore with beach towels that look like candy packages: Candy Bar Beach Towels (14.99) - they come in Tootsie Pop, Dots, Charms Blo Pop and Sugar Daddy. You can also order directly from Bazooka for the Bazooka Bath Towel ($17.99 + 25 comics)

If you want more from your beach towel, how about one that doubles as a game board. Catch this one fast, it’s already on clearance at Bed Bath & Beyond: CandyLand Beach Towel Game! ($7.99 clearance).

Sweet Dreams
You can dress up your couch or bed with these:
imageWonka Plush Pillows ($14.99 each) or Candy Pillows ($14.99) shaped like Kisses, Hershey Bars, Crunch Bars, Razzles or Tootsie Rolls. (Fun to Collect also has a whole Wonka store for fans of the movie or books.)

Edible Gifts (something for everyone)
Fun themed Painter’s Chocolate Toolkit ($29.00 - unfortunately no guarantee of delivery for holidays) for the handy person in your life. Or maybe a candy bouquet (or maybe this one) with classic favorites arranged artfully.

imageSushi lovers might enjoy any of these Koo-ki Sushi ($12-$65). If you were looking for these gummi sushi, that I reviewed before, unfortunately it looks like they’re discontinued. But maybe someone on your giftlist is a Manga/Anime fan? Jbox has a great candy kit ($25.00) that includes a variety of KitKats, Pocky and fruity snacks like Lotte blueberry gum.

Crate & Barrel - Food/Candy (prices are a bit steep but the tins & packaging are pretty cool)

I’ve actually gotten this Chocolate Lover’s Crate from Zabar’s before. Yum! If that’s too pricey maybe just check out their tins of candy.

imageIf you didn’t blink with the prices at Zabar’s, well head down to SoHo to Dean & Deluca. Spectacular packaging, great website and I’ve ordered from them before and have to say that the stuff does get there in one piece. The best looking thing they had there was the Joseph Schmidt Chocolate Bowl ($34.00). No, it’s not a bowl for chocolate, it’s a bowl made from chocolate. Shazaam! I can’t link directly to the products there but check out the regular gifts like Chocolate Tower Tiers ($75-$125), Caramel Dominos ($45.00), Chocolate Ornaments ($20), and Pig & Piglets (it’s like a Trojan pig, you crack open the pig and pigs come out! - $34.00). Fear not they have an Under $25 Section. (You can also order the chocolate bowl directly from Joseph Schmidt.)

Lake Champlain Chocolates - check out their amazing online store. I really enjoyed their 5 Star Bar and their medallions but I’m sure everything is great. Check out their sale items too, there’s some great deals in there.

Chocosphere for online ordering of most of the top brands of chocolate - a good place to go if you want to combine different chocolate brands in one candy gift.

imageWilbur Chocolate - of course I’ve talked about my favorite chocolate before. What’s cool is that it’s not that expensive, even for their top of the line pacakges. My favorite is the Bud filled Milk Bottle ($16.09) but they also have the following Super Assortment in a box ($49.99), Tier of Treats ($63.79) and the more cost efficient selections like the Crock ‘o Buds ($26.99) and the Cocoa Mug ($10.99). You can’t order online, you have to either fax or call it in (800)2WILBUR. (My reviews here.)

Boule - a tiny candy shop in Los Angeles that makes this fantabulous Fruit Pate and some pretty innovative taste combinations for their truffles. Here’s my review.

Candy All Year Round
imageJelly Belly - Jelly Belly of the Month Club

Candy of the Month Club from Candy Warehouse - three levels: Bazooka Joe, Gruffi Gummi Bear and The Thurston Howell Chocolate Package.

Seventy Percent has a chocolate tasting club where they send you a different 70%+ chocolate every month. Chocolate Connoisseur’s Club includes three bars (or more) plus tasting notes for each of the featured items. Based in the UK, they have access to chocolates that I’ve never heard of. Prices start at 13.95 pounds per month plus a 3.95 pound surcharge for non UK addresses. Without making a huge committment you can also pick up one of their “Chocolate Hampers” which feature incredible selections.

For Stockings / Gelt
Best Chocolate Coins - I’m partial to Madelaine’s Chocolate at the moment. The chocolate is excellent and the details on the foil is pretty spectacular. When you get them you don’t know if you should eat them or take pictures of them. Chocolate Pennies & Assorted Coins. If you have a coin collector on your list they might enjoy these: 50 State Chocolate Quarters. Not into chocolate? How about Bubble Gum Coins

For more stocking stuffers check out Cost Plus World Market or some similar store in your area. Ours carries not only a huge selection of international foods and candies but also gift kits, baskets for making your own and tins of retro candy, nostalgia items and of course cute stuff. Their prices are far and away more affordable than someplace like Williams Sonoma or Crate & Barrel but probably the same stuff.

Other Gift Guides
The NY Times Food & Wine Gift Guide
MSNBC’s Geek Foodie Gift Guide
New York Magazine’s Consuming Passions Gift Guide
UKTV’s Make it Yourself Gift Guide
Food Network’s Shopping Site Holiday Gift Guide
The Food Section’s Guide to Gift Guides! (Okay, it’s from last year, but it’s still pretty good.)
Daily News Foodie Gifts

imageUPDATE: Here are a few things I left out!

Plush Puffs (reviewed here) is featuring a great new gift basket that allows you to pick your assortment of three packages of their gourmet marshmallows. $27.99 (but there are gifts for all price ranges).

Yum Boxes ($48 for a set of 8) - I’m not sure if this is a gift idea or an idea for your next party. They’re cool little invitations for parties that include candies and handy mailing boxes. They’re pricey but maybe something you can custom make at home.

Regular reader Desertwind suggests Allentown’s own Josh Early Candies which looks kinda like a Pennsylvania version of See’s with their black and white logo and focus on nuts, chews & toffees.

Last, I completely forgot Scharffen Berger! I went to their factory last week and was enchanted with their stuff in the gift store. How can you resist their chocolate shirts with the messages: (semi) sweet, (bitter) sweet and (extra) bitter ($14.50). Sassy! Oh, and they have chocolate too. Can I recommend their panned chocolates ...ooh, I already did!

POSTED BY Cybele AT 3:22 pm     Gift GuideFun StuffNewsShoppingComments (16)

Monday, December 5, 2005

The Fizzmaker

This story is making the rounds on the internets.

I’m fond of “what if” questions. This one goes, “What if you put a roll of Mentos into a 2 litre bottle of soda?”

The answer is, well, a mess.

I’m not about to try it myself, I’m going to believe the video on the webpage as authentic (and of course the chemistry makes perfect sense).

Put a roll of Mentos into a carbonated drink and you do get a foamy, sticky eruption.

I’m wondering if it would work just as well with seltzer?

Link to Steve Spangler Science Experiment: Mentos Fountain.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 5:46 pm     ReviewFun StuffNewsComments (1)

Gift Ideas - Sweet Savvy

imageYes, finally a board game based on snack food. And why not? There are board games based on strategy, knowledge of other specific topics like sports or music or all trivia ... it’s about time someone leveraged snacks into a game for grownups (let’s face it, you can’t play CandyLand all your life).

Here’s a game called Eat It!

EAT IT! is a fun game to play with friends and family. The questions are diverse, encompassing today’s Snacks & Sweets as well as the ones that you grew up with. On your way to becoming the EAT IT! Superstar, we are sure that you will relive childhood memories and even munch on a few of your favorite Snacks & Sweets!

It’s going on my Christmas wish list and I’ll be putting together a full list of gift ideas for candyphiles later this week. See article here ... found via Slashfood.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 9:48 am     ReviewFun StuffNewsShoppingComments (0)

Friday, November 11, 2005

Gifts for Candy Lovers

My mother gave me an excellent gift about a year ago. First, she knows my love of anodized aluminum (I should have a blog about that too!) and of course she knows of my love of organizing things:

I’m sure when she bought it she thought it was for eyeglasses or sunglasses. But it’s obvious to me that it’s intended for safely carrying your candy:

Yes, this durable metal case not only protects your precious candy bar (or two) from getting crushed at the bottom of your purse, backpack or messenger bag, it also provides welcome insulation against temperature variations.

You can also keep smaller wrapped candies in there, like a bunch of Kisses, Tootsie Rolls or hard candies. It’d even be good for lollies and Sugar Daddies.

Most glasses cases are great for this purpose and would be a welcome gift (filled of course) for any candy lover. Pencil cases also work equally well for this purpose.

Here are a few ideas:
Engraved Silver - $25.00
Sport Glasses Case - $7.99
Small Steel Case - $7.70 (flip top for ease of loading)

POSTED BY Cybele AT 3:54 pm     ReviewFun StuffShoppingComments (2)

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Soft Core Candy

Chelsea, the producer for Radio Open Source emailed me today with this link. Someone has remixed the Passion Thursday: Candy episode as some sort of soft core highlights of the interview.

Don’t worry, it’s worksafe:

A Universal Passion - Candy Remix from Love and Radio

POSTED BY Cybele AT 9:03 am     Fun StuffNewsRadio InterviewsComments (1)

Page 37 of 38 pages ‹ First  < 35 36 37 38 > 

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

Sweets & Snacks Expo Starts

-98 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:

• Eat with your Eyes: Nougat

• Chocolate Covered Banana Gummi Bears

• 10 Candies that Shouldn’t Be So Disappointing

• Orgran Molasses Licorice

• Rogue Chocolatier

 

 

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