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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Valentine’s Day Candy Spotting 2011

There appeared to be fewer new Valentine’s candy introductions in 2011, but many of the tried and true favorites are back on store shelves. Here’s a look at what I’ve been able to find:

Necco Sweethearts - Real Heart
The biggest news in Valentine’s Candy this year continues to be about Necco Sweethearts and Conversation Hearts.

In 2010 Necco introduced their new packaging, flavors and colors for the classic Sweethearts. (See the comparison of the two here.) This year the classic version was to return, though sold only at discount stores. The only confirmed sighting of the candy is at Family Dollar. Frustrated lovers of the classic version are turning to eBay and message boards to purchase the limited supplies.

3 Musketeers Cherry

Mars/Wrigley’s

Dove Promises are available in several different variety packages in both Valentine’s themes and the standard colors.
Dove Dark Chocolate Cherry Swirl Promises (also available in bar form) are brand new for 2011. They feature, as the name sames, a swirl of dark chocolate with a cherry flavored white chocolate.
3 Musketeers Cherry (original review) returns again as a seasonal edition. Available only in minis, the bright mylar packaging features little love sayings on them.
Life Savers Valentine’s Mix - individually wrapped pieces in the oh, so romantic flavors: Fruit Punch, Cherry & Pineapple

Heart Shaped Junior Mints

Tootsie

Heart Shaped Junior Mints (original review)
Valentines Tootsie Rolls
Cherry Tootsie Pops - just one flavor in a bag
Dark Chocolate Covered Raspberry Cremes (like Junior Mints but with a pink raspberry fondant center)
Valentine Dots (cherry and vanilla and passion fruit and vanilla Dots)

SweeTart Hearts

Nestle & Wonka

SweeTart Hearts (original review)
Gobstoppers Heart Breakers (very hard to find, usually in bulk online)
Nestle Butterfinger Heart (milk chocolate with chips of Butterfinger center mixed in)
Nestle Crunch Hearts

Hershey's Heart's Desire

Hershey’s

Reese’s Hearts (foil wrapped molded hearts filled with Reese’s peanut butter - original review)
Reese’s Valentine’s Hearts - like the Reese’s Egg only vaguely heart shaped
Cherry Cordial Kisses
Hugs & Kisses - a mix of regular chocolate Kisses, Almond Kisses and Hugs (swirl of white confection & milk chocolate)
3 Lb Solid Milk Chocolate Heart (it doesn’t say “I Love You” on it, just Hershey’s)
Marshmallow Hearts (review of Halloween version)

Trader Joe's Truffle Hearts

Trader Joe’s

Dark Chocolate Truffle Hearts (original review)
Gummy Tummy Hearts (like the Gummy Tummy Penguins but only in the Cherry flavor - review of those)
Rabitos Royale (original review) - chocolate covered brandied figs
Belgian Chocolate Mix Box (I haven’t purchased this particular assortment of Belgian chocolates, but nearly all of Trader Joe’s picks have been good ones)

Cinnamon Hearts

Brach’s

Cherry JuJu Hearts
Cinnamon Jelly Hearts  (original review)
Cherry Cordial Nougats
Peppermint Valentine’s Nougats (review of Christmas version)
Conversation Hearts (large & small)

Chocolate Mousse Marshmallow Bears

Just Born

PEEPS Chocolate Covered Raspberry Flavored Hearts - I have not actually seen these in any store.
PEEPS Chocolate Mousse Bears (original review)
PEEPS Pink Marshmallow Hearts and PEEPS I (heart) U
PEEPS Vanilla Creme Hearts
PEEPS Strawberry Creme Hearts

Jelly Belly Love Potion

Jelly Belly

Conversation Beans (original review)
Deluxe Valentine’s Mix - a combination of pink, red & white jelly beans and mellocreams and gummy hearts
Jelly Belly Valentine’s Jelly Bean Mix (original review) featuring Bubble Gum, Coconut, Cotton Candy, Strawberry Cheesecake and Very Cherry

Russell Stover Heart

Russell Stover

Heart Shaped Boxes (original review)
Truffle Heart (some egg reviews)
Marshmallow Heart (review of the rabbit versions)
Strawberry Cream Heart
Caramel Heart
Peanut Butter filled Heart
Coconut Cream Heart

Ferrara Chocolate Strawberry

Other Items of Interest

See’s has Cinnamon Hearts and Cinnamon Pops again. (original review)

Elmer’s Chocolate  boxes (original review) are back on store shelves

Lindt Lindor Truffles Limited Edition - Milk Chocolate with a Smooth White Filling

Ghiradelli Luxe Milk squares selection in Valentine’s packaging (original review)

Ferrara Milk Chocolate Strawberry Ball (original review) the twist here is that the segments have little love messages on them.

Gimbal’s Honey Lovers and Cherry Lovers jelly bean heart mixes - not strictly Valentine’s day, but certainly appropriate (Cherry & Honey reviews)

Heather from Candy Addict also has a candy shopping roundup for 2011.

So what are you seeing on store shelves, or maybe not seeing this year? What are your tried & true favorites?

POSTED BY Cybele AT 1:17 pm     CandyValentinesHighlightShoppingComments (10)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Candy Blog at ISM in Cologne Day 3 Update

PezThere are some trends that I’ve noticed at the confectionery show. One of them is the lack of trends. There is very little trendiness, perhaps I noticed this because I’m from Los Angeles where we’re very trend conscious. But as far as I can tell, confectionery, at the moment, is all about doing what it does well. It’s not retreating, it’s not fighting back, it’s just putting itself out there: proud and sweet.

I feel like confectionery apologizes for itself a lot, at least in the United States At this show, there’s very little talk of 100 calorie treats or obesity crises. The only politic notes are conversations about Egypt and sometimes about Fair Trade and chocolate slavery issues.

Caffarel's really big gianduia
(That’s a really big loaf of Caffarel’s Gianduia)

Most of the confectioners and representatives I’m meeting are proud to talk about why their product is the best in its class, or at the very least, why they think it’s the best in their market.

I like that. It’s a simple sort of thing and sometimes gets lost in the shuffle. Maybe it’s because I’m approaching these folks as a writer who wants to hear their story, instead of a buyer who wants to make a good deal.

Valentino Chocolatier

If there’s disappointment from me about the show, it’s that there are a few very big confectionery companies that are not represented: Haribo, Ritter Sport, Mars/Wrigley, Nestle, Kraft and Lindt are the biggest ones. There are other large companies that also have huge booths (honestly, if my house and yard can fit in the space, I can’t call it a booth) with receptionist and appointment books who do not wish to talk to the likes of me. This is fine, I can continue my relationship with these brands like the rest of Candy Blog’s readers, as a buyer and consumer. To that end, since I’ve been in Europe I’ve visited dozens of stores, just so I could see what’s on shelves and buy what everyone else is buying. So don’t think that just because I went to Germany and the trade show didn’t have any Haribo that I didn’t pack up this extra suitcase with some stuff from the grocery store.

The last day of the show is about to begin, and I admit I’m more than a bit weary but also a bit energized because I still have some important meetings. (Really, I dread packing and leaving this lovely city.)

POSTED BY Cybele AT 11:22 pm     CandyISM CologneHighlightFeatured NewsComments (3)

Monday, January 31, 2011

Candy Blog at ISM in Cologne Day 2 Update

Day two consisted of much walking. I have a better sense of the layout of the show at this point and did pretty much walk through about 70% of the aisles on day 1, so day 2 was about diving deeper into those that caught my eye. For most of the day I was in the company of some other Americans who had some different goals. This was fun for me to watch, as they were experiencing some different products and confectionery styles for the first time. I was also smitten with quite a few things which I’ve picked up samples for.

Part of what I enjoyed was finding a brand that I was familiar with and seeing what else they make. In the United States, when something is imported and carried at a store I shop at, it’s usually been carefully curated for a reason. For example, I went to the booth of Amarelli, which makes “Liquirizia di Calabria”. You may have seen their tins before, they’re beautiful and charming (the same basic format as the Altoid tin).

P1020167

They had some lovely tins, many products which we can’t get in the States. I’ve usually purchased their tiny nibs of licorice coated in a white candy shell with a light mint flavor to them. What interested me though were their other, more exotic, flavor combinations, such as orange and licorice and even violet and licorice. I got a sample of their vanilla rocks, which are large chunks of licorice coated in a vanilla shell that of course look like white pebbles (in the lower right of the photo).

You can follow along as I post some of my photos on Flickr.

Also, after the show I realized that there are some important German brands that are either not exhibiting at the show or not willing to talk to the blogging press, so I hopped on the U-bahn and hit the local stores (Aldi, Rewe & Penny Markt) to pick up some local Haribo, Katjes, Mars and Ritter Sport candies.

P1010562

POSTED BY Cybele AT 11:12 pm     CandyISM CologneHighlightFeatured NewsComments (1)

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Candy Blog at ISM in Cologne Day 1 Update

After day one of ISM, the international Sweets and Biscuit Fair in Cologne I have no handy, condensed update.

image

I am officially overwhelmed, and if you know me and my ability to take in candy, you’ll understand how huge this thing is.

That building up there is filled with candy. There are 10 halls and 6 of them are taken with candy displays. I went through about two halls on the first day and it took me at least 90 minutes to just get my bearings. I don’t speak German, though I understand it pretty well for the basics and at least can read some of it. But I’m never prepared for the overwhelming crush of a big show like this.

I’m on the look out for trends, but it’s hard to spot because it is such an international fair and the companies and products are so specific. If there’s one trend I can spot it’s that every country makes it’s own version of the same thing. You like Chupa Chups? There are 20 other regional versions of them around the world made by other companies. Same goes for Mentos and of course things like Caramel Wafer Bars.

I’ll leave you with a photo, as I prepare for my second day:

P1020108

POSTED BY Cybele AT 10:47 pm     CandyISM CologneHighlightFeatured NewsComments (7)

Friday, January 28, 2011

Eat with your Eyes: Puccini Bomboni in Amsterdam

P1010420

It took me three tries to get into this little shop in Amsterdam called Puccini Bomboni. The first time I went to visit was Thursday and I arrived at 10 AM ... to find out that they’re open later in the evening at that location, so they also open later. So later that evening I decided to visit a different location that was closer to my hotel, only to find out that they don’t stay open late on Thursdays. Well, this time I read the hours on the door very carefully and returned on Friday morning at 9 AM and it was well worth the effort. (And I’d say that the several miles I walked just to get it was probably a good idea.)

I’ll have more about the chocolates later, but let me say that they are huge, delicious and I’m so disappointed I don’t have a shop like this near me.

Visit their website.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 10:57 am     CandyHighlightPhotographyComments (1)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Eat with your Eyes: Peninsula Chocolatier

The Peninsula Chocolatier

This is a little milk chocolate truffle from The Peninsula Chocolatier. My husband brought back a lovely box of fine chocolates from Hong Kong for me.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 7:12 am     CandyHighlightPhotographyComments (1)

Monday, January 24, 2011

Candy Blog goes to Europe: ISM Cologne

imageISM Cologne is the world’s largest confectionery trade fair. For over forty years it’s featured the best in European candy and biscuits (cookies). About 1,500 companies from 70 different countries around the world come to display their wares to buyers, wholesalers and brokers.

I’ll be attending this year, with a full press pass to cover the show. The show lasts four days, starting Sunday, January 30th to Wednesday, February 2nd at the 4th largest convention hall in Europe, Kolnmesse. The exhibits cover more than one million square feet. (I’m bringing good walking shoes.)

More on the 2011 trade fair from Professional Candy Buyer magazine.

image

I’m really excited to go to Germany, which has such a rich and varied tradition of candy. They have such a wide array of confectionery traditions, from their invention of the Gummi Bear, traditional devotion to dairy milk chocolate and marzipan and globally known brands such as Ritter Sport, Haribo and Kinder (part of Ferrero).

My journey will begin in Amsterdam, where I plan to spend three days checking out the local licorice and chocolate scene. Then I head to Cologne via ICE (high speed train) on Friday. I’m hoping to spend a day before the show starts visiting local German stores to see how and where candy is sold to get a sense of how confections fit into daily life in comparison to North America. Cologne is also home to the Chocolate Museum, so I plan to get a world-class education on chocolate.

Posting may be a little lighter here for the next ten days or so, but after I get home with my lovely samples and photos, I’ll have lots to share.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 6:55 am     Behind the ScenesCandyISM CologneHighlightFeatured NewsComments (13)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

New Candy Now in Stores (January 2011)

I get advance tastes of new candies, but I often post about them months before they hit the stores. Here’s a little review of reviews of new candies:

Snickers Squared

Snickers Peanut Butter Squared from Mars is a new introduction to the Snickers family of candy bars. It’s not a limited edition and is available in single serve size and fun size bags.

The regular package is two squares of candy. It features nougat, peanut butter and caramel covered in chocolate. It’s a bit less of a textural marvel than the standard Snickers. Folks who like a softer chew may prefer it, but it left me wanting a real Snickers bar.

I saw these first at the checkout at Target.

See full review for Snickers Peanut Butter Squared. (7 out of 10)

Hershey's Milk Chocolate DropsHershey's Cookies 'n' Creme Drops

The new Hershey’s Drops come in two varieties: Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Drops and Hershey’s Cookies ‘n’ Creme Drops. They’re large chocolate beans with no candy shell, easy to pop in your mouth or share. The milk chocolate variety isn’t different enough from a typical Hershey’s Kiss for me, even if there’s less unwrapping. But the Cookies ‘n’ Creme is interesting because there are so few candies that use the white confection like this. (Though there is a Kiss version, too.)

I saw these first at Von’s (photo) in stand up bags.

See full review of Hershey’s Drops (7 out of 10)

Reese's Peanut Butter Cups Minis

Like the Hershey’s Drops, the new Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups Minis are here to making snacking easier. They little cups are easy to pop into your mouth and don’t require layers of wrapping like the foil-wrapped, fluted-cupped miniatures. They’re going to be great for baking.

See full review of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Minis (7 out of 10)

imageI teased these last summer and I’m doing it again. New PEEPS Chocolate Covered Raspberry Flavored Marshmallow Hearts in single-serve packages. This year, PEEPS Brand Marshmallow Candies are melting hearts with their new PEEPS Chocolate Covered Raspberry Flavored Marshmallow Hearts. Delicious milk or dark chocolate cover raspberry flavored PEEPS to create a scrumptious chocolate and marshmallow experience.

I tried the Peeps Peppermint Trees for Christmas and found them to be poorly made. I bought six of them and all were oozing, cracked and sticky inside. (Even the ones that weren’t cracked still had deflated centers.) I’m hoping the quality control for the Raspberry version will be better, because I think it’s a great idea.

I don’t think they need the colored marshmallow centers though, it just adds more ingredients that do nothing for the flavor (in fact, I’m prepared that the pink will taste bitter to me).

Twix Coconut

Finally, another tease. Mars is introducing a new Limited Edition Twix Coconut this spring. Look for it to hit shelves in April 2011.

Like the Coconut M&Ms, these have no coconut in them. Instead it’s a traditional Twix with a cookie base, caramel stripe and chocolate coating plus a light touch of coconut flavor.

Related Candies

  1. Peeps Dark Chocolate Covered Mint Marshmallow
  2. Eat with your Eyes: Twix Coconut
  3. Snickers Peanut Butter Squared
  4. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups Minis
  5. Hershey’s Drops: Milk Chocolate & Cookies n Creme
  6. Chocolate Covered Peeps
  7. M&Ms Premiums

POSTED BY Cybele AT 12:33 pm     CandyNew Product AnnouncementSnickers7-Worth ItHighlightFeatured NewsComments (2)

Page 16 of 20 pages ‹ First  < 14 15 16 17 18 >  Last ›

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.

Candy Season Ends

67 days

Read previous coverage

 

 

Which seasonal candy selection do you prefer?

Choose one or more:

  •   Halloween
  •   Christmas
  •   Valentine's Day
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ON DECK

These candies will be reviewed shortly:

• Dandelion Chocolate

• Seely’s Mint Patties and Ivory Melts

• Honey Acres Patties

• Yum Junkie Pufflettes

• Candy Encyclopedia: The Difference Between Gummi and Jelly

 

 

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