Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Melville Candy has always made fantastically attractive lollipops. They have an extensive line of Honey Spoons and an amazing array of Barley Sugar Pops (which I will review after I finish eating one of each).
They were highlighting their line of Harvest Candy at the Fancy Food Show back in January.
The array includes large lollipops shaped like vegetables and fruits.
As you can see above when you compare that list to my photo, I didn’t pick up all the flavors.
Apple - is a large and deep red pop. It’s shaped like an apple and about 2.5” in diameter and slightly domed. The shrink wrap has a little stem and green leaf, but after opening it up, it’s just a plain red lollipop. I was expecting the normal “candy company green apple flavor” that has no relationship with the real world. Instead it tastes like sweet, solid apple juice. I didn’t get any “citrus” per se, but the smooth texture of the candy and the light fruity flavor was appealing.
Orange - is about the same size as the apple but has two little leaves at the top and a bumpy texture on the molding. The flavor is mostly sweet with a touch of orange zest. It’s not at all tangy, which sets it apart from most orange lollies on the market (like Orange Tootsie Pops).
Corn - it’s a tall and narrow pop, about 5 inches long. The shrink wrap on it has the little husks and peeling the wrapper form the top is rather like shucking corn. The molding of the pop is textured just like rows of corn niblets.
I didn’t know what to expect for the flavor. They described it as buttered popcorn. I’ve always found “butter flavor” especially in things like popcorn snacks and Jelly Belly to be rather repulsive (and one of the chemicals used to create this, diacetyl, is actually causing dire health complications for workers exposed to it).
Happily the flavor here is more like the toffee-like coating on kettle corn. The butter flavor is very mild and the toasted sugar flavors are more prominent with just a hint of creamed corn to really sell the corn-ness of it.
Carrot - it’s about the same size as the corn, but obviously tapered at the top as a carrot is. I was hoping for a wonderful spice pop, with notes of ginger and maybe raisins. Instead it was kind of a sweet generic yellow cake taste. Not bad, but just not quite as cool and innovative as I’d hoped. However, the shape & texture was amazing - smooth & easy to eat.
The sticks are large and beefy and the pops are substantial (1.75 ounces each). They last a long time and the smooth texture makes them a pleasure - not a mouth-wrecker.
It’s also nice the the pops are shrink wrapped instead of in little baggies, for use as favors or on display, this makes the especially appealing. They retail for about $2 to $3 each (depending on whether you buy them in full boxes or individually). As a molded hard candy these do have a tendency to droop when exposed to high temperatures or simply when they get old, so if you get some, eat them soon.
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
One of my favorite booths to visit at any food show is Melville Candy Company. Not only is their candy pretty, the guys that run the company are always really enthusiastic and seem to really love the products they make. (Which is what we all expect from folks who work in candy, but you’d be surprised at some attitudes I’ve run across.)
There’s always someone at the aisle handing out Honey Spoons (so I always have a stash at home). The spoon line at Melville’s is expanding. They have their honey varieties, and the flavored spoons and now they’re making actual tea spoons.
This spoon is a mix of tea and sugar and, I think, honey.
It can be eaten as is or mulled in some hot water to create a beverage! Instead of being an “instant tea” though, there are actual tea leaves in there.
Even though it looks a little weird, I found this to be a really tasty combination. Like a cup of sweet tea. The dark brewed flavors & tannins were there along with the light malty taste of honey.
The second variety I picked up was the Jasmine Green Tea Spoon. This opaque spoon is dark green with a strong freshly mowed lawn scent.
Though I prefer eating my candy, I decided to see what it would be like to make this into a beverage, as it’s actually designed to do. So I made up a cup of hot water and popped in the Jasmine Green Tea Spoon.
(Well, actually, I tasted the spoon first. It was sweet, terribly bitter and very grassy tasting, just like matcha powder.)
I let it melt for a while and then pulled out the spoon. It’d gotten stuck to the bottom of the cup and made a long, soft string of hard candy. It was fun to bend around and then stir into the hot water. It turned the water green pretty quickly, too.
I left it alone for five minutes and then stirred well again to get the pictured version here.
It smells quite grassy, a lot like henna or wet hay.
I found the beverage was far too sweet for me, but I’m also not a fan of sweetening my tea or chai lattes.
As a lollipop though it was a quite a refreshing change from the normal lemon & cherry variety.
They’re not featured on the Melville website just yet. But there are some other fun items that I saw at the show but haven’t tried yet that I thought I’d mention:
Melville’s has really been thinking outside the box lately. Though their honey spoons collections are expensive, they are unique and come in a huge variety of honey types & with added flavorings.
Their other new products include tea spoons made with real cinnamon sticks, for extra flavor.
The most innovative (and perhaps silliest) is their line of Cereal Flavoring Spoons. They come in Apple Cinnamon and Cinnamon & Sugar. I’m guessing if you’re not eating already-sweetened cereal, this is no worse than spoonfuls of sugar or honey. (I do like a heaping pile of lumps of brown sugar in my hot cereal.) Eating from a spoon made of sugar would mean sweetness & flavor in every bite, especially with a real cinnamon stick for a handle.
They’re still a bit expensive, but small batch candy often is. They’re not the kind of treat I’d buy often, but definitely a fun thing for guests or when you travel.
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
Ah, foggy fall days have returned to Los Angeles. The chill in the air leads me to tea. While I’m a huge fan of honey, I prefer to either eat it straight or with something like plain toast or dip saltines in it. I rarely put it in my tea, but here’s a product that’s both a sweetener for your drinks and a lollipop.
Melville specializes in making lollipops in the classic tradition of the molded barley sugar pops. But they also have a line of Honey Spoons, clever little lollies shaped like a spoonful of honey on a pretty wooden stick.
They make two different varieties of Honey Spoons: Clover and Tupelo. Clover is light and fresh tasting. The spoons themselves are smooth and look like a little piece of light amber glass. The texture is smooth and slick on the tongue, no voids here. The candy is ever so slightly soft and can be bent slowly when it’s warm and thin.
The flavor is light and sweet, a little dollop of honey in mostly a sweet sugar base.
The difference between the Tupelo (which is prized because it doesn’t crystallize like some other honeys) and Clover isn’t really that discernible. They’re both extremely pleasant.
Just as an experiment I put one in a fresh cup of Earl Grey Tea (hot), and after about thirty seconds the spoon had melted enough that it fused to the bottom of my cup. A little wiggling and then stirring with it and I probably reduced its mass by half. I tasted the tea, which at that point was plenty sweet for me (again, not a sweet tea fan) ... so one pop will do just fine for most people. The one drink I can see this being especially good in would be a spiced chai.
I was really looking forward to the Lavender Honey Spoon. Earlier this year I ordered some Spanish lavender honey from Artisan Sweets and I love the stuff. It’s murky and musky with a dark oily feel on the tongue that reminds me of Rosemary.
The Lavender Honey Spoons, on the other hand, aren’t quite as deep and complex. Yes, there’s a light floral note there, but no real lavender note. Still, they’re pretty.
They’re expensive for just lollipops ($1.50 each), but really good honey hard candies are hard to find. They don’t quite rival the Juntsuyu I love so much from Japan, but they’d make a lovely hostess gift over the holidays with some fine tea or stocking stuffers. Sometimes I just like pretty candy (okay, I always like pretty candy if it’s tasty). I might pick one up as an impulse item at a coffee house, but I doubt I’d buy a whole package.
Meticulously photographed and documented reviews of candy from around the world. And the occasional other sweet adventures. Open your mouth, expand your mind.