Monday, September 17, 2007
Mars made a surprising and pleasant announcement this morning, they have come out in support of the current standards of identity for chocolate. That means that no matter what the FDA decides, they will not dilute our sacred chocolate experience with cheap vegetable fats.
I’ll have more later, but I have to say the new venue is really great. It’s spacious and well organized and of course brand spankin’ new. I’m having some connectivity problems at the hotel, so I don’t know how well I’m going to be able to do updates. But I’ll be posting photos from the floor as often as I can.
Saturday, September 15, 2007
I’m busy packing and repacking today for my trip to Chicago to the All Candy Expo. Stop by all next week for daily coverage of what’s on the show floor, new products, things I spit out, and all the other insider info from the candy business.
The most exciting thing is that there are going to be many candy and food bloggers attending. I’ll try to have roundups of that coverage as the week goes on but you can check out Candy Addict, Chicagoist and Metroblogging Chicago.
In other global candy news, Bloomberg reports that the German chocolate market is saturated. So saturated that Germany is positively busting at the seams with great quality chocolate and will be forced to sell it to other countries. So expect to see more German chocolate in your local store.
The story also quotes that Germans consume an average of 19.8 pounds each. Americans average only 12 pounds. I can see why we look like a tempting target.
In other good news for dieters and diabetics, another report has confirmed that Aspartame (sold as
Nutrasweet) is safe for use. Personally, I don’t care for the stuff, it nauseates me and gives me a headache. I don’t think otherwise healthy children should be given artificial sweeteners, because I think natural is best as children learn their eating habits for life. But it’s good to know that if you do eat it (whether on purpose or by accident) that it’s safer than previously thought.
If my week in review isn’t enough for you, check out the Wandering Eater’s week in review ... be sure to scroll down to the awesome photos and descriptions of the Christopher Norman shop.
This week in review:
Monday: Candy Corn Kisses (4 out of 10)
Tuesday: Lake Champlain Organic Dark Bars (8 out of 10 & 9 out of 10)
Wednesday: Frey Supreme White, Lemon & Lime and Lemon & Pepper (6 out of 10)
Thursday: Walkers Nonsuch Toffee Original & Treacle (8 out of 10 & 9 out of 10)
Friday: M&Ms Razzberry - Limited Edition (4 out of 10)
Average for this week: 6.86 with 43% chocolate content.
Friday, September 14, 2007
I don’t usually do new product announcements, I like to have the candy in my hot little hands, photograph it, taste it, describe it and of course post as much info as possible ... you know, as part of my relentless public service.
But sometimes I really just wanna share my excitement about new products coming up.
Here are a few new products I know are going to be coming out soon:
Name: Twix Limited Edition Java Bar
Name: Pop Rocks Chocolate Bar
Name: PEEPS Peppermint flavored Stars
Name: Skittles Chocolate Mix
(All photos courtesy of the respective companies’ press kits.)
I did a guest post on Gridskipper.com of some Los Angeles chocolatiers. They have an awesome system of mapping everything. However, they gave me an itty bitty box to cram into it everything I thought was important about each one. If you’re looking for more, I’ve linked everything up here to my yummilicious reviews along with a grand listing you can print out if you want to do a little tour of Southern California chocolates.
Yes, yes, I know I still need to visit Compartes.
I’m a little late to this Limited Edition Milk Chocolate Razzberry M&Ms story, but mostly because I couldn’t find them anywhere in Los Angeles. I tried all my usual haunts (RiteAid, Walgreen’s, Von’s, CVS, Target & 7-11) and finally found them Wednesday night at the Dollar Tree in Harbor City on my way to San Pedro.
The bag felt a little light, and it is. It’s only 1.5 ounces instead of the usual 1.74 ounces for the Peanut variety or 1.69 ounces for the Milk Chocolate. (Of course the Pirate Pearls ones were similiarly scant.)
The bag is a pleasant hot pink and urges me to “Get Razzed” ... which as far as my understanding of the lingo that the kids use these days, that means, “Get Harassed.” Okely Dokely!
At first when I dumped these out to take their photo I thought I got a bad bag. The color looks completely off. Now if you just handed me a bowl of them, I might say, “Oh, what a lovely muted pink color!” But because of the brightness of the package, this feels like it clashes, which makes me feel like it’s unintended. But looking around at other photos on Flickr of the candies, it seems like they’re supposed to be this way.
The size and shape is also irregular. Some are the same size as typical Milk Chocolate M&Ms and others are as big as the now-discontinued Mega M&Ms. I rather like the regularity of M&Ms when spread out on my desk when eating them, but these just didn’t please me as much with their appearance.
The candies smell, like, well, someone spilled a bottle of raspberry after-bath spritz. I’ve spent a lot of time with fresh raspberries. When I was a kid, for several years when we lived in Ohio we had a raspberry patch in the back yard which was absurdly productive. While they weren’t wild berries, they certainly weren’t like the commercial ones sold in stores today. They were on the small side but bursting with flavor, a combination of sweet, tart and floral. By the time I was a teenager and we moved away, I was so spoiled by the real thing that I couldn’t stand raspberry flavored things or bring myself to spend $5 for a teensy little portion of watery-tasting fresh berries at the grocery store.
The Milk Chocolate is okay, for some reason it tastes sweeter than the regular Milk Chocolate M&Ms (remember, I’ve eaten a lot of those lately), it could be the larger size of most of them that gave a bigger hit of the ordinary chocolate center. The chocolate simply wasn’t creamy and I have to wonder if these were stored properly. Southern California experienced a wicked heat spell around Labor Day weekend and there were sporadic power outages all over which means that these could have bloomed in some way.
M&Ms stressed in their press releases about these that they’re the first fruit flavored M&Ms ever given full distribution. (I guess they were ignoring those super exclusive fruity ones they did last year.) I’m sad that they didn’t do orange, as I think that’d be a good place to start. It’s easy to get an authentic orange flavor with chocolate. But then again these aren’t raspberry M&Ms ... no, they’re razzberry M&Ms, here to mock real raspberries (and us) with their fakeness.
Meticulously photographed and documented reviews of candy from around the world. And the occasional other sweet adventures. Open your mouth, expand your mind.