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Friday, October 19, 2012

Candy Tease: October 2012

The big announcements for new candies came out earlier this year, but there are still some new products hitting shelves and on the horizon.

Hershey Kandy KakesName: Kandy Bar Kake:S’mores, Peanut Butter & Peppermint
Brand: Tastykake
Description: Tastykake Baking Co. is joining forces with The Hershey Co. to introduce Kandy Bar Kakes, a blend of cake and candy featuring Hershey’s most popular flavors. Kandy Bar Kake varieties include S’mores Kandy Bar Kake made with Hershey’s Cocoa, Peanut Butter Kandy Bar Kake made with Reese’s Peanut Butter and Peppermint Kandy Bar Kake made with York Peppermint Flavor.
Introduction Date: October 2012
Notes: I was just in Philadelphia and did pick up some Peanut Butter Kandy Kakes ... and I actually did meet with a rep from Hershey’s but I had no idea these were coming out. Unfortunately they are a regional, limited edition item and not available on the Tastykake.com webstore.   

Jelly Belly TabascoName: TABASCO Jelly Belly Jelly Beans
Brand: Jelly Belly Candy Company
Description: Hot sauce enthusiasts will immediately recognize the pungent taste of red peppers, Avery Island salt and distilled vinegar, coupled with a subtle sweetness – but not too sweet – undertone from the jelly bean itself.
Introduction Date: October 2012 in bulk - December 2012 in packages
Notes: According to John Pola, the VP of specialty sales for Jelly Belly,  “Hot is the new licorice.” I really don’t know what that means ... that hot is the new polarizing flavor that only some people will like? Hot candy actually is a pretty hot trend the past 5 years, and Tabasco already has a chocolate, so a jelly bean makes sense.

Milky Way BitesName: Milky Way Bites
Brand: Mars
Description: These unwrapped, pop ‘em-in-your-mouth, bite-sized cubes are a convenient and easier-to-eat format of consumers’ favorite candy bar brands.  MILKY WAY Bites are available in two convenient sizes: 2.83-ounce sharing size and 7.0-ounce and 8.0-ounce resealable stand-up pouches.
Introduction Date: May 2013
Notes: The promo info didn’t mention the actual size of these pieces and it’s unclear if they’re a molded item (like the Reese’s Minis are) or if they’re teensy little enrobed nuggets.

Snickers BitesName: Snickers Bites
Brand: Mars
Description: These unwrapped, pop ‘em-in-your-mouth, bite-sized cubes are a convenient and easier-to-eat format of consumers’ favorite candy bar brands. Bites are available in two convenient sizes: 2.83-ounce sharing size and 7.0-ounce and 8.0-ounce resealable stand-up pouches.
Introduction Date: May 2013
Notes: I’m actually eager to try these, as I often find a full Snickers bar a little too much, and as they description mentions, they’re easier to eat, especially in situations like snacking at movies or perhaps making a trail mix with nuts and pretzels.

Dove Mint SwirlName: Dove Mint & Dark Chocolate Swirl
Brand: Dove Chocolate (Mars)
Description: Dark chocolate lovers will adore the flavor sensations in the new Dove Brand Mint & Dark Chocolate Swirl. Combining Dove Brand rich, silky smooth dark chocolate with the sensation of cool, fresh mint, this new item delivers an irresistible flavor duo.
Introduction Date: May 2013
Notes: I really like the Dove Peppermint Bar, this sounds similar but without any crunchy bits and hopefully available year round.

Valrhona DulceyName: Dulcey
Brand: Valrhona
Description: Dulcey has a blond color and a smooth, enveloping texture. Its lightly sweetened biscuity flavor gives way to lush notes of shortbread with a hint of salt.
Introduction Date: September 2012 in UK, Early 2013 for North America
Notes: The bar contains 32% cacao content (cocoa butter) and is packaged for eating as well as ingredient use (sold in bulk as callets). It’s like a toasted white chocolate, less sweet - a caramel chocolate. An early review from Chocablog gives it high marks for quality, but not necessarily something for all chocolate lovers.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 1:14 pm     CandyNew Product AnnouncementHighlightFeatured NewsComments (7)

Monday, October 8, 2012

Hershey’s Chocolate World - CreateYour Own Chocolate Bar

Hershey's Chocolate WorldLast month I visited Chocolate World in Hershey, Pennsylvania, as I often do when I’m in the area. The themed space is open year around and adjacent to Hersheypark. It’s free to visit and is mostly a Hershey themed mall with a food court and a ride the includes the story of how Hershey’s makes their chocolate.

One of the new attractions at Chocolate World is Create Your Own Candy Bar. It’s a real, mini candy factory where you can customize a single, large candy bar from an array of options. It’s $14.95, so it’s not cheap, but it is an engaging way to spend 30 to 45 minutes, especially if you love to watch machines.

When buying the ticket, you’re asked for your first and last name plus your zip code. I didn’t realize that this was how the bar was customized as you go through the factory experience (though you’re only addressed by your first name and last initial, in case you’re visiting with your AA group). If I knew this, I could have given my name as CandyBlog as you’ll see later.

The tickets are for sale in the main lobby, patrons are given a ticket with a scheduled start time. Folks line up and are given hair nets and aprons, asked to remove all visible jewelry (rings and watches) and hopefully washed their hands. (You don’t actually come into contact with any of the equipment or ingredients.) I don’t know what the limit for a group is, but I would guess about 15-18 people.

Hershey's Create Your Own Candy Bar

The event starts with a quick video which shows you how each stage of the process will work. The basic steps are: choosing your formula, the production of the bar, the cooling of the bar, creating a custom wrapper and then the boxing of the bar.

Hershey's Create Your Own Candy Bar

The customizations are:
Choose your chocolate base: milk chocolate, dark chocolate, white chocolate
Choose up to three inclusions: butter toffee chips, raspberry bits, chocolate chips, almonds, pretzel pieces, butterscotch chips
Choose sprinkles or no sprinkles

You simply scan your ticket’s bar code at the screen and make your selections.

Through a set of swinging doors, the set up is a real mini factory line with a continuous conveyer through a series of stainless steel machines. It extends along a long exterior wall, so it’s well lit and you can view it from the outside (though a real candy factory wouldn’t allow so much sunlight directly on the process). You can follow along and witness every step of the manufacture. Everything is well within view just behind a plexiglass divider and well marked with what’s going on at each step. 

Hershey's Create Your Own Candy Bar

The process starts with a chocolate base. It’s like a little, short walled box of a bar. I chose dark chocolate and the suction arms picked one up and dropped it onto the conveyer to start. Along the conveyer are the six possible inclusions, when the bar arrived at an inclusion for your bar, the hopper or screw feeder opens up and drops in your items.

At each station, the items are marked and a little bit about the reasons for the type of dispensing is explained. Screw feeders work well for items that might be sticky, like toffee bits and gravity feeders are for dry items like nuts and pretzels.

Once my inclusions, pretzel bits, almonds and butter toffee bits, were inside the little chocolate box, the bar proceeded towards the enrober. All bars were coated in milk chocolate. No choice. My bar, though, was filled unevenly. The corners had nothing in them and the center had a too-high mound. I would have preferred that my bar go over some sort of vibrating bar that would level things before the enrober.

The enrober is a thick curtain of chocolate on an open mesh conveyer. The video above is short, but gives you an idea of the process. The chocolate that isn’t used gets filtered and recycled back into the system. (So do not eat these bars if you’re sensitive to gluten, tree nuts or peanuts, even if you didn’t pick those items.)

Hershey's Create Your Own Candy Bar

After enrobing, bars that get sprinkles will. I didn’t select those. Then the bars go into a cooling tunnel. The cooling process takes about 8 minutes, so it’s off to waste time in the design and marketing department.

Just off the “factory floor” is a room with more touch screens. Waving the little bar code on my ticket got a new series of options. First, I could design my wrapper. (Well, it’s actually a sleeve, it’s not well explained before you get in there that the chocolate bar comes in a box, which is then inside a tin which gets a customized sleeve.) The design options are not extraordinary. You can choose your background as either a solid or gradient of color or a pattern. Then there are the added items - Hershey Logos, Your Name and some icons (mostly Autumnal and Halloween). I made what struck me as a pretty ugly design and pressed print.

Hershey's Create Your Own Candy Bar

After that the screens give you marketing data about your candy bar. All sorts of different graphs that say how popular or common things are and what other people have done.

That process took me about three minutes, and I tried to rush through it since there were only five screens and plenty of people (including some kids which probably wanted more time on the design). Then it was back to watching the cooling tunnel ... which is a tunnel and only had a few little windows to check on the progress of the bars.

 

Once the bars came out of the cooling tunnel they were loaded into little slots and dumped into boxes. The boxes got a little laser printing on the end with everyone’s name, then went down to the wrapping stations. This was the only part of the process that was hands-on with any of the factory workers. They had already printed our labels and were waiting for the bars to come out. They popped the bars into a tin, closed the tin and put on the sleeve wrapper.

P1080370The factory experience gives people the ability to walk through with their own bar, but also enough time to go back and really look at the equipment if they desire. I don’t know how large the groups can get, but it appears that Hershey’s keeps the manageable so that you have enough room to move around and see everything. Photography is permitted. Children are welcome though everyone has to have a ticket (except toddlers under 2) and everyone makes their own bar. They are ADA compliant, and I saw no reason that folks in wheelchairs wouldn’t be able to get the full experience. (Chocolate World as a whole seemed to be very accessible and actually well attended by folks of all abilities.)

It’s extremely clean, as you’d hope. It’s very well run and each person you meet on the Hershey’s staff is eager and seem knowledgeable. (Especially once you get in the factory room.)

I was at the front of the line and ended up being the first bar (I already scoped what I wanted and was ready at the bar selection process). For me it was about 35 minutes, but if you’re slower or at the back of the line, this might be 45 minutes or more. So allow ample time, as well as the fact that once you get there and they issue the ticket, your start time may be more than a half an hour away.

Hershey's Make Your Own Chocolate BarSo there’s my lackluster wrapper. Under the stiff printed sleeve, the chocolate bar is inside an embossed tin with the Hershey’s logo on it. It’s a nice tin, one that I can see myself keeping and using for storing small items.

The tin is 7.5” by 4.5” and 1.25” high with rounded corners. There’s a plastic tray inside that holds the boxed chocolate bar with the generic packaging.

Hershey's Make Your Own Chocolate Bar

The bar is pretty big. It’s 5 inches long and 2.75 inches wide and maybe 2/3 of an inch high. I don’t have an approximate weight on it, but it’s well over 6 ounces.

As I noted from the production line while watching it being made, the base is dark chocolate and though the chocolate tray had room, the inclusions didn’t make it into the corners. So it takes a while of biting to get to the interesting part of the bar.

Hershey's Make Your Own Chocolate Bar

I broke my bar open and just as I suspected, the contents spilled out. What’s more, I felt like I was missing the actual inclusiveness ... then enrobing didn’t actually cover my center. So I had my filling adjacent to chocolate, but not actually covered.

Hershey's Make Your Own Chocolate Bar

Aside from the physical mess, I didn’t like the taste. The fillings were dry and even though it was only a week later that I ate it, it was stale. The pretzel pieces weren’t crisp and were really small so had less crunch to them and were more of a grainy texture. The almonds were nice, small pieces but still fresh and crunchy. But what I was really disappointed about was the butter toffee bits. I was hoping for little Heath toffee chips. Instead I got some sort of artificial butter flavored thing that just stunk up the bar.

Though I chose a dark chocolate base, the majority of the chocolate in the bar is still the milk chocolate. It’s rich and sweet, but does have that Hershey’s tang to it. (Some don’t like it, but if you don’t ... why are you at Hershey’s Chocolate World?) The dark chocolate notes came in a bit, especially when I was eating the sides, but really didn’t nothing in the middle.

On the whole, I give myself 5 out of 10. I blame my inexperience and ingredients.

Hershey's Create Your Own Candy Bar

The problem with my fillings is that they’re dry. What I would suggest is either squirting a little chocolate in the base first and then putting the inclusions into it, or putting layers of chocolate into the center between the dispensing of the inclusions. Then do a little jiggling to get it all evened out and get the air out. This solves two problems.

The other thing I might suggest is that the “candy makers” get to try the inclusions first. There should be a little tasting table, maybe after you’ve bought your ticket before you get the “orientation” portion. That way we can really get a sense of what we’re putting in there instead of $15 experiments. The other thing I’d like to see is the ability to go through the process just accompanying someone who bought a ticket. I can see this being a huge expense for a family with many kids. It would be nice if the parents weren’t obligated to also get a ticket and bar.

Hershey's Simple PleasuresChocolate World is fun, and though it’s billed as free, there are some interesting attractions making this a good rainy-day destination for family, friends and couples who live nearby or are traveling through the area.

The stores there carry a huge array of branded merchandise and candy. The candy selection, though there’s a great quantity, isn’t really that diverse. For Hershey’s Dagoba and Scharffen Berger line they carry only three or four items. The prices are about what you’d pay at the drug store or grocery store when the items aren’t on sale, which is too bad. I heard more than one person lamenting that they could do better and not have to haul the stuff home if they just stop by Target or Costco. So I’d suggest focusing on the hats, tee shirts, playing cards, keychains and mugs.

What I would want from a “factory store” is a section where you can get special preview items, items out of season and of course super discounts on factory seconds. Something that I couldn’t get anywhere else. I’d also want better prices, after all, you’re buying direct so if there are no middle men, why are the prices so high? The only item I saw that rose to that level of specialness were green & red Hershey-ets.

Reese's Ice Cream BowlHershey’s Chocolate World
251 Park Boulevard
Hershey, PA 17033
(717) 534-4900

Free parking, free admission. Fees for most special activities. Wheelchair accessible. Their hours vary wildly, so call or check their website. Open every day (except Christmas).

More photos from PennLive of the Create Your Own Chocolate Bar.

Hershey’s Chocolate World gets a 7 out of 10 from me as an adult, I think kids would rank it higher.

My ticket for this experience was comped by Hershey’s. I have not done any of the other classes or movies at Chocolate World, only the free ride and shopped at the stores.

Related Candies

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  3. Hershey’s Mexican Made Miniatures
  4. Rising Cost of Candy - A Brief Study of Hershey Prices
  5. Daffin’s Candies Factory & World’s Largest Candy Store
  6. Factory Fresh Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
  7. Treat Trip: Scharffen Berger Factory
  8. Treat Trip: Jelly Belly Factory

POSTED BY Cybele AT 1:08 pm     Hershey'sChocolateCookieNutsToffee5-Pleasant7-Worth ItHighlightShoppingComments (8)

Friday, August 17, 2012

Candy Tease: August 2012

Here are some new confections that are coming in the future or may have already hit stores near you.

Milky Way VanillaName: Milky Way French Vanilla and Caramel Bar
Brand: Mars
Description: This bar combines caramel, French vanilla-flavored nougat and milk chocolate for a rich, smooth and creamy taste sensation consumers will love.
Introduction Date: February 2013
Notes: Limited Edition. I wonder if this nougat will be like the vanilla nougat they use in the Milky Way Dark. I’ll probably give it a try, but would love to see a Coffee Milky Way sometime in the future instead.

twix sugar cookieName: Twix Sugar Cookie Minis
Brand: Mars
Description: With the combination of Twix chocolate and caramel paired with the nostalgic goodness of sugar cookies, the new Twix Sugar Cookie Minis could easily become Santa’s new favorite snack.
Introduction Date: November 2012
Notes: I’m often baffled at Mars for introducing all these limited edition flavors when I hear from so many people that they miss the Cookies n’ Creme variety. Anyway, I don’t see much difference between a shortbread and sugar cookie when it comes to including caramel and chocolate. I’d much prefer a Gingerbread Twix or maybe a SnickerdoodleTwix.

Toblerone Crunchy AlmondName: Toblerone Crunchy Salted Almond
Brand: Toblerone (Kraft)
Description: Crunchy, salty and sweet elements combine in Toblerone Crunchy Salted Almond bars, which are new from Kraft Foods, Inc. Containing caramelized almond pieces, as well as honey and almond nougat, the 3.52-ounce bars ship four 20-ct displays per case.
Introduction Date: June 2012
Notes: This sounds like a great idea. Check out Rosa’s early review.

White BaciName: Perugina Baci White
Brand: Perugina (Nestle)
Description: The newest product in Perugina’s Baci line has a “kiss” of white chocolate. Just like traditional Baci, Baci White is filled with with gianduia — a whipped chocolate filling blended with finely chopped hazelnuts — crowned by a crunchy whole hazelnut and then enrobed in a vanilla scented layer of creamy white chocolate made with the finest quality cocoa butter and milk solids.
Introduction Date: September 2012
Notes: I actually tried these in January at the Fancy Food Show and found it all too sweet. I can see that maybe unwrapped these would be better for decorating in some instances. But if you’re a white chocolate and hazelnut fan, this might be the thing for you.

Warheads CoolersName: Warheads Sour Coolers
Brand: Impact Confections
Description: Warheads Sour Coolers, a pressed dextrose tablet with sour flavor and a key differentiator, offers a unique cooling effect to combat the summer’s heat. This convenient, small format roll pack contains 24 pieces in five assorted flavors: cherry, blue raspberry, watermelon, green apple and lemon.
Introduction Date: July 2012
Notes: I’m not sure how different they are from SweeTarts, except that they have that “cool” thing ... which may just be menthol. They contain sucralose, an artificial sweetener, so I won’t be reviewing them.

Smarties TaffyName: Smarties Taffy
Brand: Ford Gum (Licensed from Smarties)
Description: Taffy has now gotten a bit smarter. In the new Smarties taffy bars, there are Smarties candy bits in every bite. The 6 inch long bars are available in Strawberry and Blue-Raspberry flavors.
Introduction Date: unknown
Notes: This reminds me of the Tangy Taffy that used to have little crunchy bits in it. (And I think some Laffy Taffy bars still do.)

Tic Tac FruitName: Tic Tac Fruit Adventure
Brand: Tic Tac (Ferrero)
Description: Wild Cherry, Orange, Passion Fruit and Green Apple
Introduction Date: Summer 2012
Notes: I know some folks are huge fans of the orange Tic Tacs, and their fruit flavors in general are rather different from other “mint” styles. So it’s fun to see a mix like this. I haven’t seen this one in stores, but did spot the Strawberry Fields one a few weeks ago. The ingredients also list real fruit juice (in addition to artificial stuff including colors).

Astro PopsName: Astro Pops
Brand: Leaf Brands
Description: Leaf Brands is relaunching Astro Pops, a product Spangler Candy discontinued in 2004 and they’re making the treat exactly the way people remember it. Known for its long-lasting quality, the candy will be available in its three original flavors of passion fruit, cherry and pineapple.
Introduction Date: May 2012
Notes: There have been a couple of attempts at relaunching this product, but this one is for real, they’re actually available in stores now (though internet seems to have them, I haven’t seen them in brick & mortar retailers). It’s been such a long time since I’ve had one. The retail price is a bit steep at $2.50 each for 1.5 ounces, but of course time traveling through candy is far cheaper than actual time travel.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 1:46 pm     CandyNew Product AnnouncementHighlightFeatured NewsComments (9)

Thursday, August 2, 2012

This Week in Candy Blog History: August Week 1

I’m still on a lighter schedule here at Candy Blog central. But here are a few posts that you may have missed over the years in previous Augusts.

Easter Dots

2011

Russell Stover Marshmallow & CaramelI’m always in search of classic candies that can be easily located when I get a craving. One of those candies is the classic marshmallow and caramel combo found in the See’s Scotchmallow.

Unfortunately the Russell Stover version just doesn’t measure up, but that shouldn’t stop you from giving them a try, especially if you’ve been looking for a milk chocolate version or a non-holiday fix on their novelty items.

Name: Marshmallow & Caramel in Fine Milk Chocolate
Brand: Russell Stover
Place Purchased: RiteAid (Echo Park)
Price: $1.99
Size: 2.95 ounces
Calories per ounce: 115
Type: Chocolate/Caramel/Marshmallow
Rating: 7 out of 10

Read the full and original review of Russell Stover Marshmallow Caramel.

2010

Switzer's Chewy Licorice BitesSwitzer’s Licorice popped back up after years of being off the market when it was bought out by Hershey’s (who has quite a few licorice brands already).

It didn’t quite live up to my hopes, though I don’t recall being a huge fan of the flavor profile if I had it as a kid.

Name: Chewy Licorice Bits
Brand: Switzer Candy Company
Place Purchased: Giant Eagle (Liberty, OH)
Price: $2.29
Size: 10 ounces
Calories per ounce: 88
Type: Licorice
Rating: 7 out of 10

Read the full and original review of Switzer’s Licorice.

2009

Haribo Cola BottlesHaribo in particular loves to make their candies in fanciful shapes that evoke their flavor. The Cola Bottles are one of those, and an excellent example of cola candy. It seems like Germany and Japan have embraced the American creation within their confectionery in a way that we just can’t seem to muster here in the States.

Name: Happy Cola Gummi Candy
Brand: Haribo
Place Purchased: Cost Plus World Market (Farmers Market)
Price: $1.59
Size: 5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 90
Type: Gummi
Rating: 6 out of 10

Read the full and original review of Haribo Happy Cola Gummis.

2008

Old and new KissablesThe Kissables debacle was a strange time in Hershey’s history. The little candy coated kisses were a huge launch for the company and came as Hershey’s was also trying to dilute the accepted ingredient definition for chocolate itself in the United States. Even though the definition for chocolate remained pure, Hershey’s still altered the formula for Kissables to include vegetable oils, so it was no longer chocolate. At the same time Hershey’s also launched a Pure Chocolate promotional campaign, confusing the matter even further.

The issue and change brought national attention to Hershey’s and shortly after this Kissables disappeared from shelves (though I do see them at the discounters from time to time).

Name: Kissables (2008 formula)
Brand: Hershey’s
Place Purchased: 99 Cent Only Store (Wilshire Blvd.)
Price: $.39
Size: 1.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 133
Type: Mockolate
Rating: 5 out of 10

Read the full and original review of the Old & New Hershey’s Kissables.

2007

imageThe Ferrero Rocher line got a new variety in 2007 with the Rondnoir, a dark chocolate version of the crunchy hazelnut paste chocolate. It was also an opportunity for me to review everything Ferrero had on American shelves at the time.

Name: Raffaello & Rondnoir
Brand: >Ferrero
Place Purchased: RiteAid (Vermonica)
Price: $.69
Size: 1 ounce
Calories per ounce: 180 & 160
Type: Chocolate/Cookie/Nuts/Coconut
Rating: 6 out of 10 & 8 out of 10

Read the full and original review of Ferrero Raffaello & Rondnoir.

2006

Reed's ... so sad, the last of the Reed'sIt’s rare to be able to document a discontinued candy, as it’s happening. Especially when it’s a brand that I loved so dearly and continued to buy whenever I could right up until they disappeared. Reed’s were unlike any other hard candy rolls on the market, and it’s sad that the new owner, Mars, hasn’t found a way to bring them back in limited production like Cadbury Adams does with the classic Clove and Black Jack gums.

Name: Reed’s Cinnamon, Butterscotch & Root Beer
Brand: Reed’s (Amurol/Wrigley)
Place Purchased: Powell’s (Windsor, CA)
Price: $.89
Size: .90 ounces
Calories per ounce: unknown
Type: Hard Candy
Rating: 10 out of 10

Read the farewell post for Reed’s Candy Rolls.

2005

Hershey's Twosomes Whoppers BarUsually a candy company trying to cross promote their candies will end up making a weird abomination, but in this case, Hershey’s made something that was actually better than the source products. They made a malted milk candy bar with crisped rice in it. It was wonderful. I bought expired ones and ate them long after the limited edition faded away.

Name: Twosomes - Whoppers
Brand: Hershey’s
Place Purchased: 7-11
Price: $.85
Size: 1.4 oz
Calories per ounce: 150
Type: Malt/Milk Chocolate
Rating: 10 out of 10

Read the full and original review of the Hershey’s Whoppers Twosomes Bar.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 4:58 pm     CandyCANDY BLOGHighlightFeatured NewsComments (1)

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

This Week in Candy Blog History: June Week 4

Unreal 5 Chocolate Caramel Nougat Bar

For this week’s installment of archival reviews, there’s definitely a summer theme going on. Less chocolate, more fruity chewy things.

2011
Trolli Gummi Bear-RingsGummi bears can be big and they can be small. And with the Trolli (sold under the name e.fruitt in the United States) they can be jewelry.

Name: Gummi Bear Rings
Brand: Trolli/e.frutti
Place Purchased: samples from Trolli GmbH
Price: $1.75 retail
Size: 7.05 ounces
Calories per ounce: 96
Type: Gummi/Novelty
Rating: 7 out of 10

Read the original review of Trolli Gummi Bear Rings.

2010
All Natural 3-Dees (Bear)The trend towards all natural ingredients and specifically getting rid of artificial colors in candy has been going on for a while, but these gummis are definitely some of the prettiest I’ve seen, natural or otherwise.

Name: 3-Dees Natural Fruit Snacks
Brand: Au’some
Place Purchased: sample from Au’some
Price: unknown
Size: 4.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 89
Type: Gummi
Rating: 7 out of 10

Read the original review of 3-Dees Natural Fruit Snacks.

2009
Wonka PuckeroomsWonka came out with a new line of gummis a few years ago using natural colorings. In the case of these Puckerooms, shaped like little mushrooms, they had to redesign them because the shapes were too suggestive. So enjoy the photos of their full, original size.

Name: Puckerooms
Brand: Wonka (Nestle)
Place Purchased: samples from All Candy Expo
Price: unknown
Size: 6.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 92
Type: Gummi/Sour
Rating: 7 out of 10

Read the original review of Wonka Puckerooms Gummies.

2008
Classic Now & LaterEvery once in a while a classic product gets an alternate version that addresses some of their customers misgivings. In the case of Necco Sweethearts (the conversation hearts), Necco just replaced the 100+ year old version with a new version (new texture, new flavors, new colors) but got such backlash they promised a return of the classic, which never actually materialized. In the case of Now and Laters, it appears that Farley’s and Sathers are now making the classic version in a softer style, much to the dismay of longtime fans of the product.

Name: Now and Later & Soft Now and Later
Brand: Farley’s and Sathers
Place Purchased: Rite Aid & samples from CandyWarehouse.com
Price: $.89 & $18 per tub
Size: 2.75 ounces & 57 ounces
Calories per ounce: 87
Type: Chew
Rating: 6 out of 10

Read the original review of Now & Later and Soft Now & Later.

2007
Dark Chocolate PretzelI heard that Disneyland has revamped their candy store on Main Street, USA called Candy Palace. They still have, as far as I can tell, the candies I picked up there, but are making more candy on site in an open kitchen area where you can watch.

Name: Disneyland Chocolates
Brand: Disneyland
Place Purchased: Candy Palace (Disneyland)
Price: $.94 - $9.95
Size: varies
Calories per ounce: unknown
Type: Chocolate/Nuts/Cookie/Caramel/Marshmallow
Rating: 8 out of 10, 7 out of 10 & 5 out of 10

Read the original review of Disneyland’s Candy Palace Chocolates.

2006
Ritter ChocolateBack when I first started Candy Blog, it was pretty hard to find anything other than the standard three or four Ritter Sport varieties. So getting their very dark bars was pretty special. Now they’re so well known and loved in the US, I can get them at Target, where they carry at least eight different kinds.

Name: Feinherb, Dark Chocolate with Whole Hazelnuts & Fine Extra Dark Chocolate
Brand: Ritter Sport
Place Purchased: All Candy Expo samples
Price: ~$2.50 each
Size: 3.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: unknown
Type: Chocolate/Nuts
Rating: 9 out of 10

Read the original review of Ritter Sport Dark Bars.

2005
Christopher's Big CherryNot the best photo I’ve ever taken, and not the best candy I’ve ever eaten either. But I have to say that it’s also a testament to unique flavor combinations. I never would have guessed cherry fondant, peanuts and chocolate would be a hit. But here it is, 50 plus years later and they’re still making Christopher’s Big Cherry.

Name: Big Cherry
Brand: Christopher’s (Ben Meyerson Candy Co.)
Place Purchased: Los Angeles Farmers Market
Price: unknown
Size: 1.75 oz
Calories per ounce:
Type: Chocolate/Fruit
Rating: 5 out of 10

Read the original review of Christopher’s Big Cherry.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 2:44 pm     CandyHighlightFeatured NewsComments (0)

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Treat Trip: Bevan’s Own Make Candy - Peanut Butter Sticks & Molasses Chips

Bevan's Own Make Candy - Media, PennsylvaniaWhile in Pennsylvania at the end of April, I visited family and they, of course, steered me towards some local candy.

After my niece’s lacrosse game but before my nephew’s baseball game we headed over to Bevan’s Own Make Candy in Media, Pennsylvania, not far from Philadelphia. It’s a cute little shop where nearly everything they sell is made right there in the store. The Bevan’s shop has been there for over 50 years, churning out local favorites and holiday treats. I was interested in the items that they were particularly well known for.

The store looks barely touched by the years. The interior is a simple set of shelves, a quaint window display and a large glass candy case. The gal behind the counter was happy to answer questions and even ended up checking in back for a dark chocolate mix for me.

Bevan's Chocolates: Molasses Chips & Peanut Butter Sticks

We picked up three boxes of candy, one to eat with the family and two which I shared and then took the rest home with me. We picked out Milk Chocolate Covered Pretzels (which were gone within 24 hours), Peanut Butter Sticks and Molasses Chips. Each box was between $6.00 and $6.50 and I think had about a half a pound in it.

Bevan's Peanut Butter Sticks

I love the idea of a Butterfinger, but have been disappointed over the years with the quality of the Nestle product. But stores like Bevan’s almost always have a house made version, Peanut Butter Sticks and they’re far superior. This version is a straw-style peanut butter crunch that’s then covered in a large helping of milk chocolate.

Bevan's Peanut Butter Sticks

The peanut butter crisp is flaky and melts in the mouth quickly. The peanut butter flavors are strong and it’s not too sweet with just the right, light touch of salt. The milk chocolate is smooth, a little too sweet for me, but the right ratio for this version of the candy. It was hard to keep at least half a box for photographing when I got home.

Bevan's Molasses Chips

The other item I love getting, especially from Pennsylvania candy makers, is Molasses Chips. Like the Peanut Butter Sticks, it’s a candy that takes a bit of work and skill to make, even though the recipe is quite simple. The center is just a boiled sugar and molasses mixture that’s pulled and folded to create the unique layered texture. Then it’s cut up and covered in dark chocolate. The bitterness of the mild dark chocolate goes well with the dark, toffee sweetness of the molasses. Crispy, melt in your mouth, definitely a keeper.

If you’re in the area and crave a little home-cooked flavor, it’s a good shop to experience. Around the corner on Edgemont Street is the actual candy kitchen, you can look in through the window and see their equipment and candy making tables.

Bevan’s Own Make Candy
143 E. Baltimore Avenue
Media, PA
Phone 610-566-0581
website

Read more about Bevan’s at the local Media, PA website, Fig Media.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 2:50 pm     CandyChocolateHard Candy & LollipopsPeanutsUnited StatesHighlightShoppingComments (0)

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

This Week in Candy Blog History: June Week 2

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Here’s another set of links to tasty (and maybe not so tasty) items in the archives from this week in history. Overall, it looks like my trend in June is to visit classics, with a few twists.

2011

Last summer I got to try a new line of lower calorie treats. In reality what Nestle created were just small treats for the same price as a larger portion treat for the same price. Good job. (Still, they would be truly delicious with actual chocolate.)

Nestle Skinny Cow Heavenly CrispName: Skinny Cow Heavenly Crisp
Brand: Nestle
Place Purchased: Gelson’s (Silver Lake) & Sample from Nestle
Price: $4.29 for package of 6 or .99 each
Size: .77 ounces
Calories per ounce: 143
Type: Mockolate/Cookie/Peanuts
Rating: 6 out of 10

Read the full review of Nestle’s Skinny Cow Heavenly Crisp from the archives.

2010

Some candies are just too pretty to eat. Some of Haribos fit right in there. Since my trips to Germany, I’m actually pretty happy with the selections that we do get in the United States. Most of it is good and fits the flavor profiles Americans prefer.

Haribo RaspberriesName: Raspberries Gummi Candy
Brand: Haribo
Place Purchased: Target (Irvine, CA)
Price: $1.49
Size: 8 ounces
Calories per ounce: 102
Type: Gummi
Rating: 6 out of 10

Read the review of Haribo Raspberries from the archives.

2009

Some classic candies just can’t be improved upon. These don’t need to be covered in chocolate, they don’t need to be made by hand. (Though a little less artificial coloring wouldn’t hurt.)

Walgreen's Spearmint LeavesName: Spearmint Leaves
Brand: Walgreen Co.
Place Purchased: Walgreen’s (Echo Park)
Price: $.99
Size: 9.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 104
Type: Jelly/Mint
Rating: 8 out of 10

Read the review of Spearmint Leaves from the archives.

2008

This is one of those candies I hadn’t tried before starting the blog. Since posting this I’ve actually bought a couple of full boxes of Coconut Longboys and enjoy them quite a bit, especially in the summer since they’re creamy but have no chocolate and stand up well to the heat.

Coconut LongboysName: Long Boys: Coconut & Chocolate
Brand: Atkinson’s Candy
Place Purchased: samples from All Candy Expo
Price: unknown
Size: unknown
Calories per ounce: unknown
Type: Chew/Coconut
Rating: 7 out of 10

Read the Coconut Longboys review from the archives.

2007

When I wrote this review I fully intended to try other versions of Circus Peanuts and compare them, perhaps do a full photo array. But I can’t bring myself to buy them again, let alone open the package and possibly eat them.

DSC01525rName: Circus Peanuts
Brand: Melster
Place Purchased: Dollar Tree
Price: $1.00
Size: 11 ounces
Calories per ounce: 110
Type: Marshmallow
Rating: 3 out of 10

Read the Circus Peanuts review from the archives.

2006

This is one of the best Limited Edition Snickers that came along, I believe it’s been re-issued twice. It seems odd that they made the 3X Snickers (chocolate caramel, chocolate nougat and chocolate coating) a regular item but not this one.

Snickers XtremeName: Snickers Xtreme
Brand: Mars
Place Purchased: All Candy Expo Sample
Price: approximately $.75
Size: 2.07 ounces
Calories per ounce: 145
Type: Chocolate/Peanuts/Caramel
Rating: 7 out of 10

Read the review of Snickers Xtreme from the archives.

2005

AeroName: Aero
Brand: Nestle Rowntree (UK)
Place Purchased: Cost Plus
Price: $1.29
Size: 1.62 oz
Calories per ounce: 142
Type: Chocolate (Milk)
Rating: 6 out of 10

Read the review of Nestle Aero from the archives.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 3:25 pm     CandyHighlightFeatured NewsComments (1)

Friday, June 8, 2012

Eat with your Eyes: Good and Plenty

Good and Plenty

There’s pretty long list of candy that does well in the summer’s heat. Panned candies, those with a sugar shell, do particularly well. So for those who want a little licorice treat, I still like Good & Plenty. It’s not chocolate, but it has plenty of hearty and deep flavors because of the molasses base. One of my other favorite all-weather candies is Chick-o-Sticks.

What’s your favorite summertime candy?

POSTED BY Cybele AT 10:38 am     CandyHighlightPhotographyComments (2)

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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.

Halloween Candy Season Ends

-50 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:

• Hachez Braune Blatter (Chocolate Leaves)

• Dandelion Chocolate

• Trader Joe’s Holiday Roundup 2014

 

 

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