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Gift Guide

Friday, June 8, 2007

Chocotelegram and Chocolate Dispatch

Father’s Day is Sunday, June 17th so I thought I’d throw something out there for the chocolate lovin’ fathers of America.

I had the opportunity this week to try two different personalized chocolate message services. They’re both great, if a little expensive for shipping because of the heat in summer months. But the originality can’t be beat. It’s like an edible greeting card.

First up is Chocotelegram. Based in Toronto, Chocotelegram was actually founded in Europe. You can order from their pre-fab messages or have them typeset your message using their letter picker. You can even decorate the blank spaces with icons (stars, smileys, trees, hearts & clovers).

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The chocolate is made by Barry Calebaut. Each little square is about a third of an ounce, making a whole tray of 21 squares about 7 ounces. I only tried the milk and found it very creamy, if a little sweet, but super-smooth and satisfying. The package sent, as shown, is only $17 plus shipping. There are lots of options on their website, including an upgraded box and larger letter arrays. I really liked the molding on the letters, it was crisp, attractive and legible.

The second company that contacted me last week was ABChocolates that makes the Chocolate Dispatch. The Dispatch has a wonderful design flair, from the exterior packaging (wrapped in some corrugated paper with a seal) down to the sassy wooden box with the message printed right on the front in true telegram style. Even when the chocolate is gone, the message lives on.

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Under the sliding top the chocolates are held firmly in place with foam underneath and some waxed paper filler on top. Pull that off and you get a personalized chocolate message. Each letter weighs a little less than a third of an ounce giving the box of 32 a net weight of 9.5-10 ounces . The letters are a little more homespun feeling than Chocotelegram’s. They’re a combination of white chocolate letters on a dark or milk chocolate square. The white is, you know, white chocolate. The milk is nice, creamy and not too sweet with a strong milky component. The dark is good, if a little grainy sometimes (but only as a counterpoint to the silkier/stickier milk chocolate).

While Chocolate Dispatch only comes in two sizes, they offer a lot of customized options with different labels on the front (Birthday Dispatch, Get Well Dispatch, Valentine Dispatch, etc.) which would mean that you could send out several of these over the course of the year and the boxes would all be keepsakes.

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There’s a breakdown listed below. I liked both of the products a lot, though I don’t know that many people that I’d send something like this to. (Here’s a hint though, if you’re doing a wedding, see if you can do initials. “C & M” in little three character boxes, that’d be so cute!) Chocotelegram had the best tasting chocolate, but I really liked the box and whole top-to-bottom design aesthetic of Chocolate Dispatch. If you’re a mom helping your kid pick out their gift to dad, the letter-picking interface is a fun experience all on its own. (Chocotelegram has one too, but it’s just not quite as enjoyable.)

I give both services a solid 7 out of 10.

Service Chocotelegram Chocolate Dispatch
Price (as shown) $17.00 - 21 character ($36 with 30 characters in wooden box) $32.00 - 32 characters
Shipping $18.54 second day, $39.63 overnight (UPS) $18.00 second day (UPS)
Chocolate Barry Calebaut Chocolate Asher's
Pros Consistent looking letters, alternate characters (smileys, stars), standard messages, tasty chocolate, large variety of sizes & options, more lower-priced options Keepsake wooden message box, alternate characters, standard messages, Kosher, great Flash preview interface, really good packaging
Cons Packaging feels a little sterile (wooden box available), no nutrition info, no mixing milk & dark, nut status unknown Letters can be a little uneven, always white letters plus milk/dark chocolate, no mixing milk & dark, dark chocolate not that good, not nut free

POSTED BY Cybele AT 7:34 am     Comments (3)

Monday, December 11, 2006

Holiday Gift Guide 2006

Here’s the last of the Gift Guides for 2006! Have a look at last years, this is just a supplement to that ... there are lots of great ideas out there in addition to giving folks actual candy, so keep an eye out for these candy-themed gifts.

Candy Desk

imageChocolate Post-It Notes ($12.43) or Tower Note Pads - Wine Chocolate Friendship ($15.95)

Fred Flare is always guaranteed to have something cute. This year they’re featuring an innovating little desktop item called the Chocolate Bar Pen Holder ($14) ? it looks like a real chocolate bar!

After the holidays you might want to do more than send your notes, you might want to scent them too. Try these Scratch & Sniff cards for $8 a pair.

Candy Games and Amusements

imageCandy Dominoes and Candy Matching (Memory) Game ($16)

Bring the arcade experience into your home and burn some calories by frustrating yourself with the Candy Grabber for $35 (not including candy).

Holiday Candy Kaleidescope ($13) and the Regular Version ($11.95)

Jelly Belly 24 piece jigsaw puzzle ($4.95) a great stocking stuffer that will be around long after the candy is gone.

Chocolate-Opoly - $24.95

For some more interactive game fun, try the Candy Volcano for $21.99

Stocking Stuffers & Entertaining

Candy Shot Glasses ($4.95 for 6) - I have no idea if they make a sticky mess or if it’d be totally cool to smash them when you’re done.

M&Ms solo teapot in three different colors. Good for tea, or maybe even hot chocolate! ($23) For some bizarre reason you cannot have this shipped to California, so if you live there, try the M&Ms calculators for $10

Themed Candies - Gummi Tools ($6.95), Gummi Motivational Bracelets - I really want to order those ($2.95 a dozen), Snowman Bubble Gum Coins ($2.99)

imageTootsie Roll Scarf ($24) - nothing says appreciation for retro candies like a scarf in the Tootsie Roll colors.

If that’s too casual for you, demonstrate your professionalism with a Sugar Daddy Business Card Holder for $29.00.

If you make the $40 minimum purchase, they’ll throw in a Tootsie Roll Car Air Freshener. There are loads of stocking stuffer ideas there at Tootsie.

Other

Hershey Baseballs - they’re real baseballs, not chocolate. At least they won’t melt on the field.

imageFor the gift that keeps on growing, how about a symbolic piece of the candy world. Try OneShare.com for single shares of stock for Wrigley, Tootsie, Hershey’s and more. You can order just the share or get it frame with a special engraving to personalize it. I’m not sure if it means that you get the annual report for the company or not.

Hershey: Milton S. Hershey’s Extraordinary Life of Wealth, Empire, and Utopian Dreams by Michael D’Antonio.

Jewelry & Adornment

imageIf you like the idea of a candy charm bracelet, there’s a whole series of items in the Pugster Fun Jewelry line that are pretty inexpensive.

imageLip Candy lip palette from Sephora Girls $14

Tootsie Candy up your iPod for $5.95.

Drinkable

imageLemonhead or Atomic Fireball mugs for only $6.95. There are plenty of other fun Lemonhead items there too (tees, shirts, and caps).

Candy University Mugs ($18.00)

Max Brenner’s Hug Mug made just for hot chocolate with a special shape to cup between your hands.

Apparel

imageReese’s ball cap - orange with brown trim. $15

Baby Chuck Taylor hi tops in peppermint stripes. $24.99

The strangest entry in the brand tie in merchandise has to be these cute Cow boots from Goetze’s Caramel Creams (makers of Bull’s Eyes and Cow Tales). At only $19.95 I’m kind of wishing it rained more where I live.

imageThey also have hats and an umbrella ... and if you live in an area where it’s hard to find Goetze’s, you can order right there for more than enough to stuff your stocking.

Jelly Belly Embroidered Tee $22.99 is one of the more inventive garments on their site. They also have some luscious looking hoodies, ringer tees and caps. But the thing you really need to click through and see are the pro-styled bib bicycle shorts.

Inventive Individuals on Caf? Press & Zazzle:

Gummi Bear Mob - yes, this gummi bear has a posse.
Got Candy ? jewels of candy ? you got ‘em?
Candy Elements - Carbon + Nitrogen + Dysprosium (who knew?)
Birth of the Candy Bar a meme long before the word meme was coined

POSTED BY Cybele AT 12:31 pm     CandyGift GuideChristmasShoppingComments (2)

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Time Released Gift Giving

Sometimes just giving someone a box of candy doesn’t feel special enough. You know, when you give someone a sweater, they wear it over and over again. The cool solution for the consumable nature of this type of gift is to spread it out over a long period of time. Lots of candy companies now offer Candy of the Month clubs, so that loved one gets reminded once a month that you know their passion.

Here’s a roundup of a few options:

imageEthel M - Chocolate Club ($99-$299) - 3, 6 & 12 month subscriptions for regular deliveries of chocolates.

Jelly Belly - Bean of the Month Club ($68.99-$249) - Choose 3, 6 or 12 months of Jelly Belly candies delivered 2.2 lbs at a time. Includes dispenser and shipping charges.

Licorice International - Candy of the Month Club ($178) - three different packages for candy lovers, black and red licorice lovers and black licorice purists.

Lake Champlain - ($115-$395) Chocolate of the Month - choose 3, 6 or 9 months of fine, all natural, Kosher chocolate selections.

Dale and Thomas - ($86-$455) Popcorn of the Month - choose from a large variety of clubs that range from 3 months to 12, could be a variety of savory and sweet popcorns as well as other sweet treats.

imageSeventyPercent - Chocolate Connoisseur’s Club (varies) - based in the UK but ships worldwide. Focuses on high end chocolate bars from all over the world, plus discussions in their forums about the monthly selections.

Recchiuti - Club Recchiuti ($125-$425) - 3, 6, 9 & 12 month memberships with a wide range of products delivered throughout the year.

Flippin’ Fudge - Fudge of the Month Club ($348) - a different flavor of premium fudge every month. 

imageCandy Warehouse - Candy of the Month Club ($99-$139) - various versions, one featuring nostalgic favorites, one for gummi fans and another for chocoholics.

Have you ever been gifted a candy of the month club? Any tips or recommendations?

POSTED BY Cybele AT 7:19 am     CandyGift GuideChristmasShoppingComments (2)

Saturday, December 9, 2006

2006 Chocolate Gift Guide

I was poking around a couple of weeks ago at my Holiday Gift Guide from 2005 and was (if I may say so) pleased that it’s still a pretty good guide. So instead of just doing the same thing over again, I thought I’d kind of do a summary of where I’ve been this year but also use it as an opportunity to help you Go Regional!

There are a couple of ways to look at this. You can give folks something from their own area, which is a great gift because it means that they can go back there, or you can give them something from your area, as a way of personalizing the item. Or you can give them something from a place they’re planning on visiting, kind of like a proactive welcome wagon.

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(you can make fun of my map and the way I divided up and named the regions ... I have no idea what I was thinking)

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West Coast (California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho & Nevada)

Recchiuti (San Francisco) - fine chocolates from Michael Recchiuti located in the Ferry Terminal in San Francisco. Lots of herbal combination infusions, uncommon ingredients and savory inclusions. Known also for their sauces. (order online) Expensive

Charles Chocolates (Emeryville) - no company-run store, so you can only order online or find them at other chocolate shops. Many items such as the triple coated nuts and the high-end bars would make excellent stocking stuffers. (order online) Expensive

Cocoa Bon (Los Gatos) - a perfect supplier of stocking stuffers, their cute little chocolate tins are filled with more than chocolate wafers, they also have spiced caramels, toffees and chocolate covered coffee beans. Check out their cocktail-inspired jelly beans, too. (order online) Moderate

Boule - interesting truffles, tasty caramels and nougats but if fruit is your thing, give the pate de fruit a try. (order online) Expensive

Chuao Chocolatier (Encinitas) - Venezuelan inspired chocolatier with tasty truffle combos and some truly strange ones as well. Tasty chocolate bars (I liked the nib one) in other stores. (order online) Expensive

Plush Puffs (Sherman Oaks) - fun flavors of tasty marshmallows. (order online) Moderate

Sees - known of tasty caramels, nuts and chews. Their truffles and other candies are good quality. (order online) Inexpensive

Shaymee’s Aussie Toffee (Pleasanton, CA) - high quality ingredients from this nutted toffee company. (buy online) Inexpensive

Valerie Confections (Los Angeles) - superb seasonal nougat and excellent toffee in elegant presentational boxes. (order online) Expensive

Fran’s (Seattle) - probably one of the best known of the sea salt caramel makers, they have a pretty good selection of other truffles and chocolate dipped fruits. (order online) Moderate

Seattle Chocolates - good quality chocolates with some cool combinations, they also make Chick Chocolates. (order online) Moderate

Big Island Candies - why should Hawaiians have all the fun at the beach? Macadamia and Coffee items are to be expected, but don’t forget the traditional truffles and dipped shortbreads. (order online) Moderate

Chocolate Shops to Explore in Person

CocoaBella (San Francisco) - great chocolate shop, especially if you want to combine chocolates from a variety of chocolatiers: Amadei, Christopher Elbow, Charles Chocolates, Knipschildt Chocolatier, Marquise de Sevigne, Michel Cluizel & Pralineur Van Coillie. You can build a custom, mixed maker box or order one of their World’s Best Chocolates boxes. (order online) Expensive

Sahagun (Portland)- no shipping here, just fresh and tasty candies straight from the kitchen to your mouth. Expensive

Mel & Rose Wine & Spirits (Los Angeles) - feature a wide selection of consumer chocolates and candies from around the world that are great as stocking stuffers, but also an excellent variety of couture and high end bars and boxes from MarieBelle, Michel Cluizel, Vosges, Valerie Confections as well as, you know, wine & spirits. (Their website) Inexpensive-Expensive

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Mountain & Prairie Region (Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota & North Dakota)

Best Regards (Olathe, KS)- small town gift baskets with big homemade items like the Craves barks, comfort sweets (chocolate dipped Oreos) and tasty cookies. (order online) Moderate

Enstrom’s Toffee (Grand Junction, CO) - amazing planks of that caramelized sugar and butter mixture known as toffee. (order online) Moderate

Hammond’s Candy (Denver, CO) - beautiful hard candies made by hand. (order online) Inexpensive

Xocoatl (Taos) - truffles, nuts and the specialty of the house, spiced chocolate. (order online) Expensive

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Midwest & Ohio River Valley (Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky & West Virigina)

Christopher Elbow (Kansas City, MO) - artisanal chocolates made with fresh ingredients (order online) Expensive

Ethel’s (Chicago) - fine chocolates from Mars ... who knew? (order online) Expensive

Harry London Chocolates (Canton, OH) - Buckeyes (peanut butter chocolates) melty mints, and Cookie Joys. (phone orders only) Moderate

Vosges (Chicago) - spices and teas in fine chocolate. (order online) Expensive

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Northeast (Pennsylvania, New York, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont & Maine)

Knipschildt (Norwalk, CT) - fresh nuts, herbs and spices in rich high quality chocolate. (order online) Expensive

Jacques Torres (NYC) - cute molded chocolate, inventive panned items (cornflakes, fruits & nuts), great hot chocolate mixes and of course truffles. (order online) Moderate-Expensive

Lake Champlain (Burlington, VT) - a rather large company now, good quality all natural ingredients. Traditional and high end assortments. (order online) Moderate

MarieBelle (New York) - chocolates cute as a button and swell hot chocolate mixes. (order online)

Sweet Riot (NYC) - chocolate cover cacao nibs in cute ever-changing artistic tins. (order online) Expensive

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Southern Eastern Seaboard (Tennesee, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina & Georgia)

Charleston Candy Kitchen & Savannah Candy (Savannah, GA) - crumbly tender pecan pralines, oh the pecans. They’re in everything. (order online) Moderate

Flippin’ Fudge (Canton, GA) - tasty gourmet fudge in cute individually wrapped pieces and fun flavors (I liked the peanut butter). (order online) Moderate
(after I divided up the country I realized that I had only one entry for this region ... I guess it’s something to work on in the new year)

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Gulf Coast & Texas (Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Kansas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma & Texas)

Laemmes Pralines (Austin) - the chewy pecan praline like no other. (order online) Moderate

Laura’s Candies (New Orleans) - open again after Hurricane Katrina, known for their wide selection of traditional and chewy pecan pralines, modest prices and heritage in the French Quarter. (order online) Moderate

Norman Love - stunningly presented chocolates in inventive and comfort food styles. (order online) Expensive

Susie’s South Forty Confections (Midland, TX) - chewy pralines, extraordinarily dense almond toffee and other gift items. (order online) Moderate

Nothing there to your liking? I’ll have more ideas for candy lovin’ gift givin’ over the next few days!

UPDATE (12/10/06): Looks like I’ve been Farked. Welcome new visitors. Just to clarify if you’re not a regular Candy Blog reader, my recommendations above are for places I have actually TRIED and LIKED. Yes, there are gaps and I appreciate everyone’s suggestions for the new year ... it all sounds very tasty!

POSTED BY Cybele AT 12:08 pm     CandyGift GuideChristmasFun StuffShopping

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)

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

-70 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

• Orgran Molasses Licorice

• Rogue Chocolatier

• Hachez Braune Blatter (Chocolate Leaves)

• Trader Joe’s Holiday Roundup 2014

 

 

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