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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

2012 Fancy Food Show Notes - Day 2

I’m afraid I find day two of the Winter Fancy Food Show the roughest. I’m usually still tired from day one. (In this case we got up at 5:30 on Sunday to drive from Santa Barbara to San Francisco, dumped my stuff at the hotel and then walked over to the Moscone Center and walked around for five hours to get a good perspective. Then dinner after at a nice place and a write up of that day.) Day two is usually about digging in with longer meetings with exhibitors and taking a chance on the unknown.

So today will be more about photos than tasting notes.

Marzipan Apples
French Marzipan Apples - photo (c) by Manny Treeson

Al La Mere de Famille from Paris had some wonderful confections. They had callisons (marzipan leaves) and these lovely little apples dusted with sparkling sugar. I also tasted a dark chocolate bonbon with praline filling.

Sweet's Slices
Sweet’s Slices - photo (c) by Manny Treeson

Sweet’s Candy of Utah has been around for over 100 years, making taffy and classic jelly candies. They have a new line of jelly slices, sour worms and bears that are all pectin based, so they’re great for vegans and made with no artificial colors or flavors. That purple-ish one in the photo ... pink grapefruit. They’re after my heart.

Hammond's Bars
Hammond’s Bars - photo (c) by Manny Treeson

Hammond’s is best known for their classically pulled and twisted lollipops and candy canes. They’ve always made an assortment of chocolates, but now they’re going big with 10 new chocolate bars. Things like S’mores, a milk chocolate with popping raspberry candies, a PB&J and this dark chocolate with chipotle.

Coco Polo
Coco Polo - photo (c) by Manny Treeson

Stevia is getting big. There are a few chocolate bars that are now sweetened with Stevia. I picked up some samples from Coco Polo to see how Stevia and Erythritol do instead of cane sugar.

Wild Boar
Wild Boar - photo (c) by Manny Treeson

Truffle Pig, who makes decadent truffle bars has a new line of single origin bars called Wild Boar

More photos to browse here. I’ll have a few more notes tomorrow before I head back to Los Angeles to isolate myself with my samples and take some product shots.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 8:43 am     CandyFancy Food ShowHighlightFeatured NewsComments (3)

Monday, January 16, 2012

2012 Fancy Food Show Notes - Day 1

After skipping the Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco last year, I’m back again and it feels so much like home since this is my fifth year attending. Though the show is dedicated to gourmet products in all categories, they have over 250 confectionery exhibitors, making it one of the biggest candy shows in the country. (The biggest, naturally, is the Sweets & Snacks expo in Chicago in May.)

I’ll just be posting some tasting notes and observations over the next few days while I’m here.

New Tree Spread
New Tree Orange Chocolate Spread - photo (c) by Manny Treeson

I’ve tried plenty of New Tree‘s bars over the years. They use Belgian chocolate and create bars with both great taste and texture and usually some functional benefit. Their new chocolate spread is the first that doesn’t contain additional oils. Instead they just blend it with lots of milk and though the package was in French and wee tiny print, it looks like sugar as one of the first ingredients as well. It’s very smooth and not the slightest big grainy. There were three flavors, but I liked the orange dark chocolate best.

Gin Gins Ginger Gumdrops
Gin Gins Ginger Gumdrops - photo (c) by Manny Treeson

I love ginger candy and always swing by the Ginger People stand to see what’s new. In previous years it’s been about drinks and cookies, but they have a completely new candy this year: Ginger Gumdrops. Far spicier than something flavored with ginger, these are made with lots of the fresh stuff and are quite intense without being sweet.

JJs Cocomels
JJs Cocomels - photo (c) by Manny Treeson

I’ve had a few vegan caramels over the years and they kind of violate the essential definition of caramel in the first place, so it’s hard for me to appreciate them. JJ Raedemaker has created something that gets so close and is such a good product in its own right, I’m definitely going to find these again. His JJ’s Cocomels are made with coconut milk instead of butter and cream. They’re fully emulsified and smooth but with strong caramelized sugar notes. Right now they just come in classic and fleur de sel plus a dark chocolate covered version. Looks like a great option for both vegans and those sensitive to dairy.

Sanders Bars
Sanders Bars - photo (c) by Manny Treeson

Sanders Candy in Michigan has been around since 1875 and are known for their ice cream toppings. They’ve been expanding quite a bit so that now their comfort style of chocolates and candies are found in stores around the country. They had some new products and a new packaging design. Their new bars include combinations like milk chocolate and potato chips. I’m looking forward to trying them.

POP Candy
POP Candy Varieties - photo (c) by Manny Treeson

It’s funny to go to San Francisco to see a local brand. POP Candy makes nutty butter crunch toffees, when they’re based in Santa Monica. But with many small companies, it’s hard to find them in local stores. They sell at farmers markets and artisan shows right now. They have a great take on toffee barks with some sweet and savory flavor mixes and all of my favorite nuts.

My husband is doing all the photography, so if you want to see even more shots of what’s tasty or pretty, check out this photoset.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 8:11 am     CandyFancy Food ShowNew Product AnnouncementHighlightFeatured NewsComments (2)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Eat with your Eyes: Weihnachtskofekt

Niederegger Marzipan Weihnachtskofekt

I missed reviewing this array of Niederegger Marzipan Weihnachtskofekt, special marzipan disks with seasonal flavors: Ingwer, Dattel-Honig & Arabisch-Mocca before Christmas. Suffice to say that they were fresh, nutty and delicious.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 1:07 pm     CandyChristmasNiedereggerHighlightPhotographyComments (0)

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Eat with your Eyes: Skittles

I picked up these Skittles in Germany. They might not have the wide variety of flavors we have in the States (though they can get the imports), European Skittles come in boxes.

Skittles Fruits (Germany)

Also, the purple Skittles are blackcurrant flavored, not grape. See my previous review of UK Skittles.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 11:56 am     CandyHighlightPhotographyComments (1)

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

Hachez Frohes Fest

Frohe Weihnachten
Feliz Navidad
Vrolijk kerstfeest
Joyeux Noël

Merry Christmas!

Did you get something sweet as a gift this year?

POSTED BY Cybele AT 9:08 am     CandyChristmasHighlightPhotographyComments (7)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Eat with Your Eyes: Brandy Beans

Trader Joe's Brandy Beans

I reviewed the manufacturer branded version of these a few years ago. Doulton Liqueur Chocolates (Cointreau & Teacher’s). Basically, they’re a good deal for three dollars. The quality of the candy is decent enough for Trader Joe’s but the packaging isn’t anything approaching exquisite. Caution: you can get a little buzz from them.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 9:42 am     CandyHighlightPhotographyComments (0)

Friday, December 2, 2011

Trader Joe’s 2011 Holiday Candy

Did you notice the theme this week was all Trader Joe’s candy for the holidays? Here’s a roundup of what’s at Trader Joe’s this season.

New for 2011

:

Trader Joe's Classic Holiday Candy MixTrader Joe’s Classic Holiday Candy Mix - classic hard candy straws & pillows made with all natural ingredients. $1.99 (read review - 7 out of 10)

Trader Joe’s Eggnog Almonds - $3.99 (read review - 9 out of 10)

Trader Joe’s Minty Melts - it’s peppermint bark for people who don’t like the crushed candy canes in it - $4.99 (read review - 7 out of 10)

Trader Joe’s Mosaic of Chocolates - squares of different kinds of bar - $3.99

Trader Joe’s English Toffee with Nuts (Tall Can) $7.99 (previously in a box like this? It’d call it a step above Almond Roca)

Trader Joe’s Chocolate Liqueur Cherries - the name says it all - $4.99

Trader Joe’s Candy Cane Coal - dark chocolate covered candy cane bits - $1.99

Trader Joe’s Merry Mingle - caramel with pecans and cranberries dipped in dark chocolate -$7.99 (read review - 8 out of 10)

Trader Joe's Fleur de Sel Caramels

Returning for 2011

Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Minty MallowsTrader Joe’s Peppermint Bark $9.99 a tin - an great bargain for a very well made product.

Trader Joe’s Peanut Brittle - $2.99 - I haven’t tried this yet, mostly because Los Angeles tends to be very humid in the winter and brittles just don’t do well when they get sticky.

Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Minty Mallows $2.99 (2010 review - they’re quite moist and dense 7 out of 10)

DSC04140rTrader Joe’s Chocolate Palette (a beautiful stack of single origin bars - they’re only okay, but a beautiful introduction to the idea of single origin at an excellent price) $9.99

Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate After Dinner Mint Thins $2.99 (made in England)

Trader Joe’s Brandy Beans - these have been coming back on and off for years, they tend to sell out really early - $2.99

Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Caramels $4.99 (2007 review - more of a flowing caramel than the chewy style of the Fleur de Sel - 6 out of 10)

Trader Joe’s Cocoa Truffles - inexcusable fat bombs - (Imported from France) $2.99 (see my review - I gave them a 3 out of 10, though I think the ingredients have changed a little bit, they’re still quite thin tasting yet stupidly fatty)

Rabitos RoyaleTrader Joe’s 9 Rabitos Royale $6.99 (2010 review - quite decadent and elegant but doesn’t use all real chocolate - 7 out of 10)

Trader Joe’s Assorted Chocolates - I have no idea about these, the boxed items from Trader Joe’s are hit or miss with me, at this price I might stick to See’s - $9.99

Trader Joe’s Fleur de Sel Caramels (wood box) $6.99 (2006 review, still the same packaging. Classic, nicely done but a little pricey for boiled sugar. 7 out of 10)

Trader Joe’s Old Fashioned Sweet Sticks - barber pole candy sticks in classic and new-agey flavors - $2.99

Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate OrangeTrader Joe’s Milk Chocolate & Dark Chocolate Oranges $2.49 (Reviewed in 2009 as Florida Tropic Oranges. Good quality & price plus always charming package and dark is vegan 7 out of 10 & 8 out of 10)

Trader Joe’s Chocolate Rings with Sprinkle - they’re just little disks of dark chocolate with sprinkles, like giant SnoCaps - $1.99

Also returning are the chocolate covered Peppermint JoJos and a variety box of other chocolate covered flavors. Though I reviewed the JoeJoe’s before, I can’t really call them candy.

What have you picked up that you liked this year? What do you miss from years gone by? I miss the Trader Giotto’s Soft Almond Nougat and the Dark Chocolate Covered Gingersnaps.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 11:56 am     CandyNew Product AnnouncementTrader Joe'sHighlightShoppingComments (6)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Eat with your Eyes: Merry Mingle

Trader Joe's Merry Mingle

Just a little preview of a new Trader Joe’s holiday candy. I picked up a few of their new item last week and will do a review of all the returning items as well before Thanksgiving.

Merry Mingle is like a dark chocolate pecan turtle with a few dried cranberries thrown in.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 10:09 am     CandyHighlightPhotographyComments (7)

Page 11 of 20 pages ‹ First  < 9 10 11 12 13 >  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

39 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:

• Raaka Bourbon Cask Aged 82% Chocolate

• Suss Pecan Maple Caramels

• Candy Encyclopedia: The Difference Between Gummi and Jelly

• Candy Rant: If your Licorice isn’t black, it isn’t Licorice

• Candy Rant: Stimulants are not Energy

 

 

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