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Thursday, April 26, 2007

Washington Post: It’s not Over

The article in the Washington Post appeared on their website a little while ago.

Chocolate Purists Cry Foul as FDA Fudges Standards
Proposal Whips Up a Food Fight
By Michael S. Rosenwald

Here are a few interesting passages:

Chocolate purists, of which there are apparently many, have undertaken a grassroots letter-writing campaign to the FDA to inform the agency that such a change to the standards is just not okay with them. More than 225 comments to the petition have been processed so far by the agency, and chocolate bloggers are pressing for more. In the annals of bureaucratic Washington battles, this is a sweet one.

When I talked to Michael Rosenwald about what happens to those comments we submitted on the website, he said that the 225 number was just what they’ve processed. On the FDA website, in their dockets section they have a Daily Listing which shows what they’ve processed lately. They post updates every weekday, however they don’t necessarily process the comments immediately. There’s a big gap between the processed comments since April 16th was the only one I found and then they posted a list on April 23rd. I don’t know how many more are in the queue ... hopefully enough.

Kirk Saville, a Hershey’s spokesman, said it was “premature to speculate on any changes before the process is complete.” He was more expansive in speaking to the Harrisburg Patriot-News, in the company’s back yard, saying “There are high-quality oils available which are equal to or better than cocoa butter in taste, nutrition, texture and function, and are preferred by consumers.”

I’m not an industry insider working at a mega huge company like Hershey’s, so I don’t know about this high quality oil that’s equal to or better than cocoa butter.

From the department of cooler heads comes Nick Malgieri, the director of the baking program at the Institute of Culinary Education in New York.

“I think a lot of people don’t realize that this would be optional,” Malgieri said. “No one is going to force a high-class chocolate maker to add vegetable fat to chocolate.” Asked if fine chocolate would just melt away, he said, “Absolutely not.”

This is so true. Just like there’s crappy real chocolate and really good chocolate right now. However, I think that gap will get wider.

If you have comments for the FDA, tell the directly!

POSTED BY Cybele AT 6:11 pm     CandyFDANewsComments (3)

Soda Can Fizzy Candy

imageSometimes I pick up crazy things at the Dollar Tree that I wouldn’t ordinarily buy. I’ve gotten a few emails about Jones Soda’s new line of fizzy pop flavored candies. I saw that they’re going for over $2 a tin for 50 candy bits but I couldn’t find out if they use sugar in them or artificial sweeteners so I decided to go on the prowl for the something else. (I was afraid they were going to be like those expensive and lackluster Bawls.)

I went to the Dollar Tree in search of Easter goodies and came away with this little sixpack. The little pop can looking packages hold 30-35 little carbonated candies in four flavors (two cans each): Grape Splash, Lemon-Lime Sprint, Orange Crash and Loca Cola.

The little candies are almost like the original Tart n Tiny candies (except these have a slight dome on either end of the bitty cylindral instead of being flat).

image

  • Orange Crash - a mellow orange that’s completely faithful to cheap orange soda. Tangy, a little fizzy and slightly medicinal tasting, I’m guessing because it has a distinct “mineral water” after-taste.

  • Lemon-Lime Sprint (2 of these) - the lime is quite the leader here, not as tart as the orange, but kind of like tonic water overall.

  • Grape Splash (2 of these) - oh, this is ABSOLUTELY grape soda condensed into a wee tablet! The fizz, the fake grape ... I can just feel the chilly purple anodized aluminum tumbler I used to drink Shasta Grape Pop out of at my grandmother’s as I write this.

  • Loca Cola - this is one of those candies that I long for, something to give me the cola experience since I don’t drink sodas. I love the taste of cola, this has the tangy and spicy notes down pretty well. Not quite as good as a Haribo Gummi Cola Bottle, but it’ll do.

  • As a novelty item, I think they’re fun. I wouldn’t buy these and shovel them down day after day, but they’re a fun little diversion ... a novelty candy. Because the package comes with six little cans, they might make a nice little theme element if you’re planning a party or gift basket or just a little pick-me-up to leave in a co-worker’s cubicle.

    Each can contains only 7 grams of candy that adds up to 25 calories. So they certainly have the portion control down.

    (For a little perspective, the cans are 2” high and 1” in diameter ... in case you were going to look for them at the store and were expecting something as big as the picture on your screen.)

    Name: Soda Can Fizzy Candy
      RATING:
    • 10 SUPERB
    • 9 YUMMY
    • 8 TASTY
    • 7 WORTH IT
    • 6 TEMPTING
    • 5 PLEASANT
    • 4 BENIGN
    • 3 UNAPPEALING
    • 2 APPALLING
    • 1 INEDIBLE
    Brand: Kidsmania (Candy Novelties)
    Place Purchased: Dollar Tree (Harbor City)
    Price: $1.00
    Size: 1.47 ounces
    Calories per ounce: 102
    Categories: Chalk (Compressed Dextrose), Carbonated, China

    POSTED BY Cybele AT 6:57 am     Comments (44)

    Wednesday, April 25, 2007

    FDA Extends Comment Period to June 25

    Don’t Mess With Our Chocolate announced that the public comment period has been extended to

    May 25, 2007

    June 25, 2007.

    I’m so happy to hear that the momentum that’s built up over the last few days will lead to more people will be able to properly read up and make their comments. This also provides all of us an opportunity to contemplate what else might be in that FDA Petition that we haven’t thoroughly considered, so you might want to review it again with that in mind.

    As for the Keep it Real Raffle? Well, the current one ends today, but I’ll run another one for the next month as well (different but equally scrumptious prize). So if you feel like keeping the conversations going out there and spreading the word even further, there will be another opportunity to win.

    Hopefully we’ll all win when we Keep it Real.

    UPDATE 4/27/2007: The comment form has been restored on the FDA site featuring a new expiration date of June 25th. I’ve revised this post to reflect the newest information.

    POSTED BY Cybele AT 10:20 am     CandyFDANewsComments (0)

    Sugar Babies

    Sugar BabiesI’ve been feeling nostalgic lately, or perhaps just pining for the classics. So I went back to one of my favorite fair-weather candies, Sugar Babies.

    They come in a friendly yellow package with no frills. Just a the name blazoned across it and the simple description “Delicious Candy Coated Milk Caramels.” Think of them as jelly beans with a heart of caramel. (Mmmm, caramel hearts.)

    Sugar Babies were originally made in 1937 by the James O. Welch Company. Not only was he the producer of the whole Sugar Family (Sugar Daddy and Sugar Mama and later Sugar Step-Mama) but also Junior Mints and Milk Duds as well as a long-gone line of fudge bars. Welch sold it to Nabisco in 1963. The Welch family of products changed hands a few more times, going from Nabisco to Warner-Lambert then to Tootsie in 1993, who makes them to this day.

    image

    The little morsels are rather soft. The chew is a little grainy at first because of the sugar shell, then becomes smooth with some nice buttery tones and burnt sugar flavors. Then it gets grainy again at the very end before dissolving into a sweet mess.

    They’re such simple little candies and complement a wide variety of snacks. I always enjoyed eating them with some salted popcorn or Fritos (I haven’t had Fritos in probably ten years). They go great with ice cream (they get rock hard, then soften up), pretzels, M&Ms or Reese’s Pieces. And they’re cute! Look how cute they are ... have I ever mentioned that my dog is the same color as Sugar Babies?


    Sometimes they’re a little stale, but a quick warm up in the palm of your hand or inside of a hot car revives them. I tend to shun chocolate products during the hot summer months, but then I begin to crave creaminess - Sugar Babies kind of straddle that line with the rich caramel taste but added durability of the sugar shell.

    For your enjoyment and education, here is the older Sugar Babies wrapper that I grew up with. The Tootsie site also features a recipe for a Molasses Spice cookie that uses Sugar Babies. You may also still be able to find the limited edition Chocolate Covered Sugar Babies.

    Related Candies

    1. Holiday Edition Sugar Babies
    Name: Sugar Babies
      RATING:
    • 10 SUPERB
    • 9 YUMMY
    • 8 TASTY
    • 7 WORTH IT
    • 6 TEMPTING
    • 5 PLEASANT
    • 4 BENIGN
    • 3 UNAPPEALING
    • 2 APPALLING
    • 1 INEDIBLE
    Brand: Tootsie
    Place Purchased: vending machine
    Price: $.85
    Size: 1.7 ounces
    Calories per ounce: 112
    Categories: Caramel, United States, Tootsie

    POSTED BY Cybele AT 9:48 am     Comments (11)

    Gandour Bars from Malaysia

    I love the names on all of these candy bars! Santos of Scent of Green Bananas gave them to me a while back. They reminded me a bit of my uneven bunch of Peruvian candies.

    image

    Tourist
    A crisp wafer plank with two domed compartments with a chocolatey paste inside.

    The brand Gandour heralds they have the ingredients for happiness. Those ingredients include shea butter. Okee dokee.

    The chocolate filling is rather firm, a little salty and pretty creamy. It’s not very chocolatey, more on the fudgy side. The crisp wafers are fun, though a little dry. The whole thing reminded me of the Happy Hippo, though there’s no hazelnut in this creme paste filling.

    6 out of 10 (Halal)

    Safari

    This one is sporting a sassy jungle green wraper and woodsy font. Inside is a stack of wafers and creme then some caramel and crunchies with a mockolate coating.

    It’s a big old jumble not jungle inside the package. The lumpy crispies and mockolate don’t quite get a good grip on the caramel and wafer center. It just doesn’t work for me. There’s too much mockolate and not enough caramel.

    4 out of 10 (Halal)

    XL’Z

    M&M knock-offs made with mockolate. These were kind of a hybrid in size between Smarties and M&Ms. They’re bigger than M&Ms but thicker than Smarties. The colors were vivid. Though the package showed red, blue,  yellow, green and orange, I only had orange, red and green in my bag (which held 17 morsels). The mockolate was less milky than the other products and passably good. It actually tasted better than Garfield’s Chocobites. Kind of smoky and rounded, though not quite the smooth mouthfeel of cocoa butter chocolate. For a treat for little kids, I guess these would be just fine, but I could probably only bring myself to decorate a cake with them.

    4 out of 10 (Halal)

    Tofi Luk

    This is one that I had no clue about judging from the name. But the description and image on the wrapper seemed pretty agreeable. A biscuit bar with caramel and a chocolate flavored coating. So it’s like a Twix! The bar was just a little flatter and a little shorter than a Twix, but it’s kind of fun that they sell these smaller portions. It looked pretty good, with the same rippled appearance on the coating.

    The inside was a lot different from a Twix. Instead of being a very dry shortbread, this one was a little salty and reminded me of a dense Ritz Cracker plank. The caramel was not chewy or gooey here, just a sweeter texture between the cookie and mockolate (and not always there either). The whole thing had a rather strong “butter flavor” to it.

    5 out of 10 (Halal)

    POSTED BY Cybele AT 6:02 am     CandyReviewCaramelCookieMockolate4-Benign5-Pleasant6-TemptingMalaysiaComments (8)

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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

    -54 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:

    • Lindt Chocolate Cookie

    • Hachez Braune Blatter (Chocolate Leaves)

    • Dandelion Chocolate

    • Trader Joe’s Holiday Roundup 2014

     

     

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