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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Sugarfina: The Gummis

Sugarfina - Bento BoxesSugarfina is a new candy webstore with a unique set of offerings.

Based in Southern California, Sugarfina brings a chic aesthetic to all their candy with their minimalist packaging in robin’s egg blue and square formats. The candy is sold in “bulk” that is, it’s repackaged by them and sold in an array of different weights. They have created a superb curated list of candies. Some you’ll recognize, but their biggest selling point is an array of exquisite European candies that I’ve never seen sold anywhere else.

Candy is sold in little boxes of different weights or in mixed boxes (they call Bentos) that make excellent gifts. Their team truly understand that candy should appeal first to the eye and then to the rest of the senses.

Sugarfina Bento Box

I still get plenty of offers for free candy samples, but lately it has to be something pretty special to get me to bite. But when you see this list of candies, you’ll see what got me interested. Today I’m presenting the assortment of gummis (and one jelly candy). All of the gummis are from Germany and most feature natural colors.

Sugarfina - Bitty Berries

Bitty Berries is a mix of three different gummis. There’s a large raspberry looking gummi that has a rather raspberry flavor. Then there are three smaller berries, kind of like petite blueberries that are different colors and flavors. The light amber ones are like a white grape juice flavor, lightly tangy but with a black currant note to them. The pink version is and the purple is like a jammy raspberry.  Blueberry, Raspberry, Blackberry, Cranberry and Bilberry.

They’re just exquisitely beautiful. Even when I wasn’t interested in eating them, they were just too cute to look at.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Sugarfina - Champagne Bears

Champagne Bears come in two colors: a soft peachy pink and a lightly yellow clear. The clear is like a clean apple juice flavor with a light peppery note. The peachy one is, well, much the same. I couldn’t really tell them apart except that sometimes the pink one seemed to be a little more raspberry flavored. They’re firm and intense. They’re well formed and held their shape well, even though they were jammed into their little cube.

I liked them, but didn’t think that they were anything better than the new juicy Haribo. But I do like the colors and think that for a special occasion, they’d be a nice favor.

Rating: 8 out of 10

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Sugar Peach Sweethearts - I was pretty scared of these. They smelled strongly of peach, not in a bad way but in a strong way. They were so strong that I had to take them out of the bento box and sequester them by themselves so as not to contaminate the chocolate pieces they were co-mingling with. So I was afraid that they’d be overwhelmingly chemical tasting.

Quite the opposite is true. They’re little miracle pieces, on the tongue they actual feel for a moment like a real peach. The texture of the sugar sanding is velvety like the fuzz of the peach. The flavor is at once tangy and fruity and honey-sweet and floral and woodsy, like actual peaches. There’s no weird artificial coloring in there to give it a metallic aftertaste. They’re a bit more tart that I’d probably like if I were to eat them by the handful, but as a little refresher on a hot day when I have a dry mouth, these are unbeatable. 

Rating: 10 out of 10

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Queen of Hearts were billed on the website as three different flavors: pineapple, grapefruit and black currant. They’re also three different sizes of hearts. So it’s a lovely looking combination, although the largest heard gets folded over a bit inside the little cube.

Pink was indistinct, but reminded me enough of pineapple to make me think that’s what it was. Slightly floral with a tart bite and a crisp flavor to it. It was more like canned pineapple though not as syrupy.

Clear tastes like peach. I’m not sure what flavor it was supposed to be, I was hoping it was the promised grapefruit, but it was tangy and a little peppery. (I did notice that the peach mentioned earlier were very strong, I was wondering if the flavor migrated from the more delicate grapefruit.)

The dark one was definitely black currant. It was strong and had notes of wine and deep boiled cherry.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Sugarfina - Cuba Libre Gummi

Cuba Libre is simply amazing. It’s a cola gummi, so far so good, with a little softer bubble of rum within. It’s stunning. The cola flavor is spicy and tart, a mix of nutmeg, cinnamon and perhaps a little warm kick of ginger but nothing overt and then the acidic bite of lemon. The rum is sweet and a little on the caramel side. I’ve never seen these anywhere else, and I can’t believe they aren’t being imported and sold in the US by the cargo container as it is. If there’s a reason to order from Sugarfina, it’s the Cuba Libre gummi.

Rating: 10 out of 10

Sugarfina - Minty Polar Bears

Minty Polar Bears are downright weird and I’ll go ahead and warn you that they’re not mint. They’re like a bubble gum flavored mentholated chewy cough drop. The first note on the tongue is a little tartness then a huge whiff of what I can only describe as acetone (which I sometimes get confused with banana flavoring). Then there’s a menthol hit, a little more of a sort of mild lime flavor and the bitterness of that zest. It all ends with a slight queasy feeling.

I’ve had eucalyptus gummis before and liked them quite a bit, so I was hoping for something like that. I find them curious enough that I continue to sample them from time to time. But I never feel like I want to eat another one, just that I should.

Rating: 6 out of 10

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Heavenly Sours are little stars, comets and crescent moons in fruity flavors. They’re sour sanded and come in lovely naturally tinted colors. They’re not actually gummis, they’re jellies. They’re made in the US, not in Germany like most of the other gummis from Sugarfina. They’re tart and have nicely distinguished flavors. Orange is a zesty and tart orange. Lemon is wonderfully sour. Blue is raspberry and a little overdone. Red is cherry and is, well, cherry.

Rating: 7 out of 10

As a thank you gift or something for someone who has everything, this is a great option. It’s not cheap, so it’s not something I’m likely to treat myself to very often. They also have lots of themed boxes and kits, so it’s easy to pick for Coffee Lovers, Licorice Aficionados, or Caramel Fiends. The large bento boxes with 8 x 4 ounce boxes of treats are $50. By the pound, the candy is $17.50.

They do a good job of labeling for allergies as well, even if they won’t tell me who make those Cuba Libre gummis.They’re currently only available via the web, but there’s talk of a store in the future here on the west side of Los Angeles.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 3:24 pm     CandyReviewColaGummi CandySour6-Tempting7-Worth It8-Tasty10-SuperbGermanyUnited StatesHighlightShoppingComments (14)

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Eat with your Eyes: Mike and Ike

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Jelly beans are quite fun, but the nice thing about Mike and Ike is that they don’t roll around quite as much.

After shooting the latest bunch of boxes, I had a lot of leftovers to munch on. Here are four varieties: Mike and Ike Lemonade Blends, Strawberry Reunion, Lem and Mel and Cherri and Bubb.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 3:58 pm     CandyHighlightPhotographyComments (2)

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Candy Tease: Sweets & Snacks Expo - Part 2

More new product introductions were announced at Sweets & Snacks Expo in Chicago.It’s interesting to watch new versions of tried and true brands being created.

Mint Circus PeanutsName: Peppermint Spangler Peanuts
Brand: Spangler Candy
Description: Spangler Circus Peanuts have been a favorite for decades and now they come in a delicious peppermint flavor! Fat free, and free of the most common allergens, they’re perfect for a new generation and those who grew up loving them! Fat free and are free of the top common allergens.
Introduction Date: November 1, 2013
Notes: I have a soft spot for the sheer incongruity of Circus Peanuts, a candy shaped like a peanut, tinted like a Malibu Tan Barbie and flavored like fingernail polish remover (or perhaps it’s banana) so this new flavored version of the strange confectionery chimera also intrigues me. I hope I can find them this Christmas.,

Klondike CaramelName: Klondike Candy
Brand: Flix Candy
Description: This new treat is sure to melt in your mouth! It comes in two delicious flavors. Mint Chocolate Chip features a refreshing mint center filled with mint chocolate chips and is covered in dark chocolate flavored coating. Meanwhile, Klondike Caramel has a creamy caramel center covered in milk chocolate flavored coating.
Introduction Date: 6/1/2013
Notes: The fact that they’re using mockolate pretty much stops me dead in my tracks as far as desireablility goes. Sure, I’d love an ice cream themed candy, but I see no point in eating one filled with tropical oils or partially hydrogenated fats when there are so many others out there made with real and decadent ingredients.

All Natural Cotton CandyName: All Natural Cotton Candy
Brand: Fun Sweets
Description: Delicious Fun Sweets All Natural Cotton Candy is made with real honey, coconut palm nectar and orange blossom extract. This fat-free, gluten free product is also made in a nut free facility.
Introduction Date: 05/01/2013
Notes: It’s nice to see a new version of all natural cotton candy, which is a pretty simple confection. I’m not sure about the use of honey or coconut palm nectar instead of plain old sugar ... considering the fact that cotton candy is just spun sugar. But I’ll give it a try.

Name: Starburst® Minis
Brand: Wrigley’s
Description: Starburst® Minis, a new Starburst® chew that’s small and unwrapped!
Introduction Date: 06/01/2013
Notes: I’ve always considered Skittles small unwrapped Starburst (though a slightly different flavor set) so this is a baffling candy in concept. No images were provided by Wrigley’s and they’ve not responded to my requests or inquiries since they were bought by Mars.

Name: Starburst ® Candy Corn
Brand: Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company
Description: Candy corn shaped candies in the great fruit flavors of Starburst ® Original Chews
Introduction Date: 6/1/2013
Notes: I really wish I had photos for this, but I think we’ll probably have to wait for September when this rolls out (I think the June introduction is just when it’s available for order, not necessarily in stores).

Airheads bitesName: Airheads Fruit and Berry Bites and Airheads Xtremes Bites
Brand: Perfetti Van Melle USA Inc
Description: New Airheads Bites are chewy bite sized pieces of soft panned Airheads dough. They are unique because the flavor is stays fruity to the last bite. Same intense Airheads flavors but in easy-to-eat pieces. NEW Airheads Xtremes Bites combines intense Airheads flavor with the perfect blend of sweet & sour for sour lovers of all ages. Each convenient bite-size piece features a unique texture and eye-catching 5-colors.
Introduction Date: 04/15/2013
Notes: These sound really interesting. I enjoy Airheads, but rarely want to eat a full bar, so a panned version would be easy to nibble on and probably combine with other candies.

Related Candies

  1. Candy Tease: Sweets & Snacks Expo - Part 1
  2. Candy Tease: Bar None, Reed’s and Regal Crown Sours
  3. Candy Tease: April 2013
  4. Candy Tease: October 2012
  5. Candy Tease: August 2012
  6. Candy Tease: Sweets & Snacks Expo 2012 - Part 3

POSTED BY Cybele AT 12:27 pm     All Candy ExpoCandyNew Product AnnouncementHighlightNewsComments (1)

Monday, May 20, 2013

Candy Tease: Sweets & Snacks Expo - Part 1

Each year the National Confectioners Association hosts the Sweets & Snacks Expo at McCormick Place in Chicago. Confectioners from all over the world exhibit their sweetest wares and many introduce new products at the show. Here are a few previews of candies that you’ll be seeing in stores this year:

Sour PunchiesName: Sour Punch PUNCHIES
Brand: American Licorice Company
Description: The sour, chewy, bite-size candy packs the perfect punch of fruity-sweet and sour and each of the five delicious Punchies® flavors is stamped with a whimsical Punchi face!
Introduction Date: 06/01/2013
Notes: I have a package of these and have sampled exactly one so far, mostly because I didn’t know what they meant by a soft shell, it’s kind of like a jelly bean coating with a sour licorice center. I’ll have a review next week.

Lindt DiamondName: Lindt EXCELLENCE Diamonds
Brand: Lindt & Sprungli
Description: EXCELLENCE Diamonds individually wrapped chocolate pieces. EXCELLENCE 70%, Sea Salt, Intense Orange and Chili.
Introduction Date: 05/01/2013
Notes: I like smaller bites of chocolate. It could be that I have a short attention span or that I’d like to fill the landfills with wrappers, but an appropriately sized mini portion of chocolate actually feels more decadent sometimes than a full bar. So I’m happy to see that Lindt is working on creating some nice little bites with a bit more design to them. Their Excellence line is quite good, and because it’s Lindt, it’s pretty easy to find.

Name: Smurf Candy
Brand: Haribo USA
Description: In preparation for the highly anticipated Smurfs 2 movie in July, Haribo has released its first licenced product in the U.S.: Haribo Smurfs gummies. Already popular in Germany and France, Haribo Smurfs are strawberry and raspberry-flavored gummi candies in the shape of popular Smurf characters, like Papa Smurf and Smurfette. The gummies are the classic Smurf blue, with different characters wearing red, white and yellow caps. The candies are also gluten and fat free.
Introduction Date: June 2013
Notes: I tried a version of these when I was in Germany and liked them, it’s a good, well rounded raspberry flavor.

Rocky Road SmoresName: Annabelle’s Rocky Road S’MORES
Brand: Annabelle Candy Co Inc
Description: - Handmade Milk Chocolate Coated Marshmallow with Real Graham Cracker and Cashews.
Introduction Date: 01/01/2013
Notes: It’s a natural sort of product extension to make a marshmallow and chocolate bar version with graham crackers. I’m looking forward to finding this, though I know that Annabelle Candies are hard to find when you get east of the Rockies. So not all areas may be able to get a hold of these. 

Cold Stone BarsName: Cold Stone Creamery Bars
Brand: The Cacao Group, Inc
Description: Five flavors will be available nationwide starting June 1 of this year. They are: Chocolate Devotion, Mmmmmint Chocolate Chip, Cookies & Creamery, Coffee Lovers Only and Cherry Almond Sundae. The chocolate is available in 1.8-oz. bars or 5.4-oz. stand-up bags.
Introduction Date: June 1, 2013
Notes: Cold Stone has done some hard candy and jelly bean varieties to date, so it’s only natural for them to get into chocolate bars. The flavor list sounds like they’re going to make bars in flavor combinations that aren’t usually seen like the Coffee Lovers and Cherry Almond Sundae, so that will set them apart from the already crowded bar field.

All images courtesy of their respective manufacturer

Related Candies

  1. Candy Tease: Bar None, Reed’s and Regal Crown Sours
  2. Candy Tease: April 2013
  3. Candy Tease: October 2012
  4. Candy Tease: August 2012
  5. Candy Tease: Sweets & Snacks Expo 2012 - Part 3

POSTED BY Cybele AT 12:35 pm     All Candy ExpoCandyNew Product AnnouncementHighlightFeatured NewsComments (3)

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Eat with your Eyes: Root Beer Barrels

Ferrara Pan Root Beer Barrels

Next week is the Sweets & Snacks Expo, where confectioners from all over the world descend upon Chicago to show their tastiest candies (and savories).

I’ll have lots to report on new products coming out even though I’m not able to attend this year. Until then, enjoy this selection of Root Beer Barrels.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 9:39 pm     CandyHighlightPhotographyComments (1)

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

10 Underrated Candies

I often try to champion exceptional candies, ones that don’t have million dollar advertising budgets or huge fandoms on social networks. But there are other candies out there that have been plugging away for decades just being dependable. They’re not the best they could be, but they certainly don’t get the attention they deserve.

So here they are, not the only 10 candies that are underrated, but just 10 that I happen to love and find myself eating more often, now that I’ve circled around and tried a few thousand other candies in the past eight years.

Atkinson Chick-o-Stick

Chick-O-Sticks (Atkinson’s)

Description: Orange crunchy layers of peanut butter crisp rolled in coconut.

What’s to like about it?

Crispy peanut butter layers. You get right to it, no busting your way through some crazy overly-sweet mockolate. It’s just about the peanuts, it’s completely crispy, a little salty and totally nutty. The best format are the individually wrapped minis shown, they make far less mess than the long bar format.

They’re vegan and gluten free.

Hesitations?

Well, there’s coconut on the outside. I’m not sure why, but it’s there and it’s always been there. There’s not a lot and it really doesn’t contribute much to the flavor but does give a little chew to the texture. What would make me even happier is if they got rid of the artificial colors in it, which I could swear give them a slight bitter aftertaste that I don’t get from the equally lovely Atkinson’s Peanut Bars.

What makes it underrated?

The packaging is lackluster and they can be hard to find, especially in the Northeast.

Goldenberg's Peanut Chews

Goldenberg’s Peanut Chews (Just Born)

Description: a molasses chew studded with peanuts covered in dark mockolate.

What’s to like about it?

Molasses and peanuts. That’s it. It’s dark and mysterious, only slightly sweet, sometimes a little bitter. It’s chewy and crunchy and with a lot of nuts, it’s very satisfying and filling. They come in cute little bars, so you can just eat one or two and save the rest for later or share. They’re vegan!

Hesitations?

The mockolate coating is disappointing. It’s usually a bit toasty flavored but waxy so it lacks a creamy smooth quality that might really tip this over into being an incredible candy.

What makes it underrated?

The name and packaging marks it as an old-time, regional candy bar. Just Born, who bought out Goldenberg’s, renamed the candy, then brought back the classic name & design, further confusing people. The molasses component is a hard sell in artificial times.

Ferrara Pan Root Beer Barrels

Root Beer Barrels (Various Brands)

What’s to like about it?

It tastes like root beer! I tastes more like root beer than most of the cheap and weak sodas on store shelves and it’s more portable. It’s a hard to find flavor that really shines in hard candy form.

Hesitations?

Some brands are better than others. Voids in the candy can be sharp and make small cuts or abrasions on the tongue or palate.

What makes it underrated?

It’s hard candy and hard candy is for old ladies.

Honees

Honees Honey Drops (DiNatura)

Description: little honey flavored hard candies filled with honey.

What’s to like about it?

They’re dead simple and satisfying, the honey center coats the throat and does actually soothe without medication.

Hesitations?

They can be expensive and can be messy, as many packages get sticky because of the delicate filling in the pieces.

What makes it underrated?

They’re stuck in the cough drop aisle, not with the rest of the candy. Sure, they’re soothing, but they’re also comforting, and who doesn’t want to be comforted regularly?

Compartes Candied Orange Peel Dipped in Chcoolate

Chocolate Covered Orange Zest (your local chocolate shop)

Description: candied orange peel is dipped in dark chocolate

What’s to like about it?

It’s extremely simple with a good combination of textures and flavors. There’s the bitterness of the orange oils and dark chocolate, the chewy texture of the peel and the creamy melt of the chocolate.

Hesitations?

They’re a small treat, and the satisfaction is usually due to good quality peels done well (not to soft and sticky, not leathery tough) and appropriate amounts of chocolate. They’re often expensive, which is odd because it’s basically chocolate covered garbage, but they do require a bit of manual labor to make.

What makes it underrated?

Probably the fact that some places sell bad versions or put awful chocolate on them. They’re also not for everyone, citrus is just not everyone’s thing.

Hot Tamales

Hot Tamales (Just Born)

Description: rod shaped hot cinnamon jelly beans.

What’s to like about it?

They’re cinammony, soft and chewy. They’re not too hot, so you can eat a lot of them, unlike some other super sizzling cinnamon candies.

Hesitations?

The red food coloring is a bit overwhelming and sometimes I get a package that tastes like cherry.

What makes it underrated?

They’re just jelly beans. There’s only one flavor in the box.

Butter Mints

Buttermints (Richardson)

Description: buttery mint puffs

What’s to like about it?

They’re like sweet, minty air. They’re soft and melt in your mouth. They’re lightly flavored like peppermint, the opposite of the blast of flavor from an Altoid.

Hesitations?

They’re hard to find and can get stale quickly or take on flavors from other foods around them. If they’re sitting out in a bowl, they’re going to be disappointing.

What makes it underrated?

They’re marketed as an after dinner mint, not a treat in their own right.

Old Dominion Butter Toffee Peanuts

Toffee Peanuts (Various brands - shown is Old Dominion also Adams-Brooks Candies)

Description: crunchy caramelized sugar covering peanuts

What’s to like about it?

They’re often found at truck stops and in vending machines. They’re a great combination of satisfying peanut protein and sweet, buttery toffee. Though they’re similar to French Burnt Peanuts, they’re not as tough to crunch and often have a more authentic peanut and browned butter flavor to them.

Hesitations?

They can be sticky and sometimes if the bag has been shaken up too much, all the toffee comes off the nuts. (But then it’s just perfect as a topping for ice cream.)

What makes it underrated?

As you may have already noticed a theme here, underrated candies are usually in small pieces, not bar form. It’s easy to dismiss a toffee coated peanut because there are other, more trendy candies out there. But they’ve been making these for hundreds of years for a reason.

Spearmint Leaves

Spearmint Leaves (Generic)

Description: spearmint flavored jellies shaped like a mint leaf.

What’s to like about it?

There are so few spearmint candies in the United States these days, and these endure for a reason. They’re sweet but with a really powerful spearmint note to them that balances it out. The sugar crust balances the sticky jelly of the center. They’re usually vegan as there’s no gelatin used in gumdrops.

Hesitations?

They can get stale quickly, or worse, get sticky and damp. They’re not easy to combine with other candies in a trail mix. I feel like an old lady when I pick them out in the store.

Sugar Babies

Sugar Babies (Tootsie)

Description: caramel bits covered in a grainy sugar shell.

What’s to like about it?

If you’ve ever thought, “why don’t they make caramel jelly beans”, this is the answer. Why make a flavored item when you can give the same treatment to the real thing.

Hesitations?

When the get stale, they’re pretty hard. They don’t do well in trail mix with things like dried fruit because the moisture will make them even grainier or sticky.

What makes it underrated?

I think folks stop eating them when they grow up, and never go back.

So that’s my list. What do you think is undervalued or poorly marketed?

Related Candies

  1. Candy Tease: Bar None, Reed’s and Regal Crown Sours
  2. Flix Candy Flix Mix
  3. Candy Tease: Sweets & Snacks Expo 2011 Part 1
  4. Candy Tease: Nostalgia in 2011
  5. The 110 Essential Candies for Candivores

POSTED BY Cybele AT 12:20 pm     CandyBrittleCaramelChewsChocolateCinnamonJelly CandyMintsMockolatePeanutsToffeeHighlightFun StuffComments (14)

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Candy Blog 8th Anniversary

Mitchell's Candies - DaphneToday (or maybe last week) marks the 8th anniversary of the founding of Candy Blog.

I haven’t tallied up all the figures, but I estimate that at least 3,000 products have been featured and at least 1,700 full reviews. I’ve posted nearly 8,000 candy photos (not to mention candy shopping photos and pictures from trade shows and factory tours).

I work by myself. I take my own photos and write my own reviews. So you can imagine, I’ve eaten a lot over the years, but what’s more staggering is how much I haven’t eaten. Only about 25% of what I buy or receive ends up on the blog. Most of the candy I buy, though some is directly from the candy companies and I do pick up samples at trade shows. I have a company that does my blog maintenance, and my husband helps out as my publisher to take inquiries from advertisers (I have one, so it’s not a lot of inquiries).

Milky Way Caramel Bar

When I started the blog, there wasn’t much like it on the internet. I figured if people could review music or movies or hotels, I could review candy in the same way. The only websites out there at the time were Candy Critic (which is Canadian and had taken a hiatus at that time) and Writers and Artists Snacking at Work, which also didn’t update often.

I wanted to fill a hole, be the database of candy that I wanted to read. I wanted someone to open up the candy package and show me what’s inside. When I started this blog, I didn’t embrace new things easily. I liked the tried and true favorites I’d always had and rarely felt the need to go outside of that list.

Heilemann Pfefferminz Truffel

So, the early reviews were of candies that I’d never tried before, new products or existing products, it didn’t matter. After a while, I realized I needed to cover the things that everyone already knew, because we kept referring to them and needed that static reference point of a post.

Brach's Sundae Neapolitan CoconutIt turned out that other folks like to read about candy as well. I haven’t tracked my readership from the beginning, but I’ve had at least 20 million page loads since I did start tracking in 2006. Thanks for visiting! While there were few sites that talked exclusively about candy back in 2005, I was joined by quite a few others. Candy Addict (no longer updating) came along, as a group blog, covering a wider range of consumer items and local candy favorites. Sugar Savvy (also now defunct) covered a large swath of the confectionery world (including a review of every single piece of See’s candy). Individuals have come and gone as well, currently we have Rosa at ZOMG! Candy, The Candy Gurus, and hopefully we’ll see Sera at The Candy Enthusiast back soon. The big media companies are into it as well, you can find candy reviews on Serious Eats and Huffington Post and even the morning shows run segments around the candy holidays. (Check out the blog roll for more sweetness from around the world.)

I’m often asked what my favorite candy is or what the worst thing I ever ate was. I, frankly, don’t remember all the awful things I’ve eaten. I don’t actually have a favorite candy, and the candies that I do love aren’t necessarily the best. Lately I’ve been eating Good & Plenty, Goetze’s Caramel Creams and Trader Joe’s Powerberries in addition to the candies in rotation for review.

Ogontoh

What I do appreciate most is that Candy Blog has introduced me to new, wonderful things. Like this Ongotoh (Juntsuyu) pictured above. It’s just a boiled sugar candy, but it’s so delicate and delicious.

Chocolate Sea Salt Cashews from Marich

Candy has also changed as I’ve been writing about it. It could be that I’m better at finding the good stuff, but I think consumers have also gravitated towards newer concepts like fair trade, bean to bar, organic or all natural and world fusion flavors. (Pictured above, Marich Chocolate Sea Salt Cashews.)

Robitaille's Dark Chocolate Turtle

The experience of photographing, researching and reviewing has prompted me to be more mindful about what I eat. That doesn’t mean necessarily that it’s all healthy, but I tend to notice what I’m eating and enjoy it more. I try not to eat foods that either aren’t nutritious or won’t bring me pleasure. (Some might say that’s made me a picky eater.)

Legoland Chocolate from Chuao

It’s not all serious though, I have enjoyed novelties that have come along and some fascinating new products. The chocolate LEGO blocks above were from Legoland, and are made by Chuao out of actually good chocolate (El Rey).

Blue Razz Wazoo

One of the oddest things I reviewed were the Topp’s Wazoo bars. Above is the Blue Razz version, which was launched with a huge ad blitz on children’s programming. There were production difficulties which meant that people couldn’t find them in stores. As part of the blog readers have been witness to marketing mis-steps by major candy companies, like Necco changing the ancient Necco Wafers to all natural and eliminating the lime disk only to revert to the classic artificial version within a year due to customer demand. Similar things have happened with Mars changing the 3 Musketeers and we’ll see what happens with Wrigley’s swapping the Lime Skittle for Green Apple.

Valerie Confections Valentine's Collection

So that brings us to the present. I don’t have plans for the blog beyond continuing what I’ve been doing, except maybe a little design or layout refresh. You’ve probably noticed I don’t keep up the pace I used to. There was a time there when I posted eight times a week. Now it’s about three reviews a week, sadly, I am running out of candy to review, unless I get hyper-local or cover more foreign candy. I can’t imagine now having the blog, not amassing candy and not taking picture of it all the time. It’s become such a part of me, I don’t know if I would know what to do with my time.

There may be a book in the future, or perhaps several.

Please celebrate with me, raise a Pixie Stix to toast to eight sweet years on the internet. I wouldn’t be doing this if you didn’t come and read regularly, so for you I am grateful. It’s good to know we’re not alone in our love of candy.

If you need more of a candy fix, I do update my twitter very often and have started a tumblr page which is mostly fun candy photos I’ve taken.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 5:07 pm     Behind the ScenesCandyHighlightFun StuffPhotographyComments (49)

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Candy Tease: Bar None, Reed’s and Regal Crown Sours

Lately in the world of candy, the most exciting news has not been new candies but the reintroduction of discontinued candies. I’m talking about things like Astro Pops and Bonomo’s Turkish Taffy. So it’s not surprising to see a few more favorites coming back. Here are three that we might see later this year:

Regal Crown Revival
Name: Regal Crown Sours
Brand: Iconic Candy Brands (Vista Marketing)
Description: Regal Crown is a 9-Piece hard candy roll with individually wrapped pieces which comes in 4 flavors: Sour Cherry, Sour Lemon, Sour Orange and Sour Grape.
Introduction Date: 8/1/2013
Notes: Regal Crown Sours were lovely little candies, thicker than a Life Saver and with no hole. They came in single flavor rolls and each piece was individually wrapped in white waxed paper. I recall purchasing Sour Lemon almost exclusively and even though I was a huge candy fiend, I would always turn down any offer of a Sour Cherry since I didn’t like that flavor.

Reed's Revival

Name: Reed’s Hard Candies
Brand: Iconic Candy Brands (Vista Marketing)
Description: Reed’s is a 7-Piece hard candy roll with individually wrapped pieces which comes in 4 flavors: Butter Scotch, Root Beer, Cinnamon and Caramel
Introduction Date: 8/1/2013
Notes: Reed’s have not been gone for very long, I still have a few rolls left (not that I would eat them). Cinnamon and Root Beer were always my favorite. They were kettle boiled sweets with virtually no bubbles or voids in them. Like the Regal Crown sours, these are also individually wrapped, though in clear cellophane.

Bar None Revival

Name: BarNone
Brand: Iconic Candy Brands (Vista Marketing)
Description: BarNone is Back! It is a Chocolate wafer, enrobed in milk chocolate, cascaded with chopped peanuts and finally enrobed in milk chocolate.
Introduction Date: 8/1/2013
Notes: This is one of those lamented candy bars that was ruined before it was discontinued. Hershey’s brought it on the market with great fanfare, and then without any explanation, they changed the wide plank of a candy bar into two sticks and added caramel while taking away the crushed peanuts. Though that was still a candy bar with merit, it wasn’t nearly as spectacular or decadent as the original. My understand is that the original bar had some flaws in the design that made it hard to produce and even harder to get into stores in a sellable condition. The bars were too wide and the filling too soft and slippery; the chocolate coating wasn’t thick enough to give it the structural integrity it needed for its height. Hopefully the new version surmounts those issues while keeping the flavor and texture profile intact. More about the original Hershey’s Bar None here.

Here’s the review of the new Bar None.

What are you waiting to see revived?

Related Candies

  1. Astro Pop (Original Flavor)
  2. Bonomo’s Turkish Taffy - Chocolate, Vanilla & Strawberry
  3. Goodbye Tart n Tiny
  4. I Miss: Bar None
  5. Goodbye Reed’s
  6. Pink Grapefruit Mentos
  7. I Miss: Marathon
  8. Wonka’s Oompas

POSTED BY Cybele AT 2:18 pm     CandyNew Product AnnouncementHighlightFeatured NewsComments (24)

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Meticulously photographed and documented reviews of candy from around the world. And the occasional other sweet adventures. Open your mouth, expand your mind.

 

 

 

 

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COUNTDOWN

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-27 days

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ON DECK

These candies will be reviewed shortly:

• Theo Chocolate Nutcracker Brittle

• Orgran Molasses Licorice

• Rogue Chocolatier

• Godiva Chef Inspirations

• Hachez Braune Blatter (Chocolate Leaves)

 

 

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