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Monday, June 12, 2006

Snickers Xtreme

Mars hasn’t been nearly as invested in the limited edition game as Hershey’s but I think that when they do come out with an item, though it’s usually just a simple twist on an existing one, they’re pretty good.

Witness the Snickers Xtreme. It’s a Snickers bar without that pesky nougat. What’s odd about this bar is that Snickers has already released this product in miniature.

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I smashed my bar in my bag, so the picture isn’t that pretty. (I cut off the smashed part to give the bar the best chance at looking dead sexy. I tried biting the bar to show off the innards, but all you saw was caramel, not the plethora of nuts.)

The label heralds it as having 5 grams of protein, which is pretty good for a candy bar. Nearly all of that protein is from the peanuts with a trace amount, I supposed, from the milk in the chocolate and caramel.

First, let me tell you about my hopes for this bar. I’ve always been a big fan of the Goldenberg’s Peanut Chews because of the density of the nuts but also because the infusion of molasses gave the chew a real pop of flavor. I was hoping that the Snickers Xtreme bar would fill that niche, only with real chocolate.

What this bar does is reveal how uninspiring the caramel of the Snickers (and I’ll wager the Milky Way) actually is. I could taste the peanuts loud and clear and the milk chocolate made a nice appearance (albeit a sweet one), but the caramel only provided a backdrop of sweet chew, no caramelized sugar notes. (And an odd hint of cinnamon but that could be cross contamination with all the other candy I’ve picked up and stored this with ... Atomic Fire Balls were EVERYWHERE!)

My last quarrel I’m going to mention is the name of the bar. If Milky Way put out a caramel-less bar, you wouldn’t call it a Milky Way Xtreme ... you’d call it a 3 Musketeers. If you took out the nuts in a Snickers, well, you’d have a Milky Way ... see where I’m going here? Changing an item to a different version of the same basic foodstuff, such as dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate does qualify. But taking out a whole item does not allow you to keep them name. Period.

Actually, I liked the bar. Probably more than the regular Snickers bar, because it isn’t quite as sweet (because of the nuts) and if it’s possible, it’s more satisfying that way. It’s a calorie laden bar - 290 to be exact and at over 2 ounces, it’s no wonder it satisfies (that’s only 10 more calories than the regular Snickers bar and one more gram of protein). Now if they decided to make the Snickers Almond bar into an Xtreme, I am so there!

Here’s something I learned last week: The Snickers bar was named after one of the Mars family horses. You can read more about the Snickers history (which is pretty interesting) at the Snickers site.

Name: Snickers Xtreme
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Mars
Place Purchased: All Candy Expo sample
Price: approximately $.75
Size: 2.07 ounces
Calories per ounce: 145
Categories: Chocolate, Peanuts, caramel, United States, Mars, Limited Edition

POSTED BY Cybele AT 6:26 am     Comments (16)

Sunday, June 11, 2006

All Candy Inventory 2006

So yesterday was purely organizational. I spent quite a bit of time finessing my little baggies of different product samples and then I input them all into a spreadsheet.

Here are the results:

1. Adams Brooks: Coffee Rio (original roast)
2. Adams Brooks: P.Nuttles (Butter Toffee Peanuts)
3. Albert: Frunas (Tropical Citrus, Tamarind with Chile, Mango Chile)
4. American Licorice Company: Sour Punch Straws (Citrus Blast - full sized package)
5. American Licorice Company: Sour Punch Straws (unmarked - green, blue, red & lite red)
6. Anthon Berg: Marzipan (Strawberry in Champagne/Apricot in Brandy)
7. Anthon Berg: Liquor Bottles (Drambuie, Ricard (Pastis), Stoli Vanil, Cointreau, Stoli Orang, Malibu Caribbean White Rum with Coconut, Jack Daniels - only Jack Daniels will be sold in solo, the rest will be mixed boxes)
8. Anthon Berg: Coffees (Vanilla Frappe, Cappucino, Irish Cream Coffee, Espresso, Toffee Macchiato)
9. Arcor: Garfield’s Chocobites (chocolate and peanut (real chocolate) - made in Argentina)
10. Au’Some: Florida’s Naturals (Blueberry & Strawberry)
11. Au’Some: Fruit Juice Sour String (Orange)
12. Au’Some: Bubble Tape Message Maker
13. Bebeto: Sour Blast (Orange - Portakalli Uzuuun Seker)
14. Belly Washers: Water Pop with Sour Candy Top (green apple - artificial sweeteners)
15. Bimbo Snacks: Juicee Gummee
16. Botticelli: Choco-Omeg (Raspberry, Choco-Cal, Choco-Mind)
17. Brown & Haley: Honey Roasted Peanut Roca
18. Bubble Chocolate: Bubble Chocolate (Milk Chocolate, Coffee Milk Chocolate, 60% Dark Chocolate)
19. Cadbury Adams: Sour Patch Kids
20. Canditi: Zoom (Spearmint, Betelmint, Mint - “tiny gum”, sugar sweetened)
21. Canditi: Pan (hard candies)
22. Cap Candy: Foaming at the Mouth Chandy (Sour Sudsy Candy)
23. Cap Candy: Bug Factor Lollipop
24. Ce De Candy: Smarties Bubble Gum
25. Charms: Andes Peppermint Crunch
26. Chocovic: Jade (Milk Chocolate (40% cocoa) - from EFG Food Solutions)
27. Country Fresh Food & Confections: Jim Beam Chocolate Bourbon Fudge (tastes like bubble gum)
28. Dare: RealFruit Gummies (Fruit Medley, Tropical Fruits, Orchard Fruits - Canadian)
29. DeFranco’s: Espresso Secrets (terrible - like tar in the middle)
30. Dulces Ravi: Sandy Moy
31. Dulces Ravi: Chango Mango
32. Espeez: Gold Mine Nugget Bubble Gum
33. Family Sweets Candy Co.: Toxic Waste (Watermelon, Black Cherry, Apple)
34. Farley Sathers: Super Bubble Blast - Liquid Center
35. Farley Sathers: Now & Laters
36. Ferrara Pan: Cote d’Or Mignonnette (milk chocolate)
37. Ferrero: Tic Tac Bold! (Mint & Fruit)
38. Ford Gum: Rolly Pop Roller Candy (Grape - made in mexico)
39. Frankford Candy & Chocolate: Nick Candy Sour Buddies (Spongebob & Fairly OddParents Fruit Gummies - made in China)
40. Georgia’s Choice: Malted Milk Balls?
41. Ghirardelli: Intense Dark Bars (Twilight Delight 72% Cacao)
42. Ghirardelli: 60% Cacao Dark Chocolate with Caramel
43. Gimbal’s: Jelly Beans
44. Glee: Peppermint Rainforest Chicle
45. Golden BonBon: Nougat (Orange, Maple, Almond, Cranberry - Canadian)
46. Golden Boronia: Nougat Crunchy (Peppermint Crunchy, Original Crunchy & Cappuccino Crunchy)
47. Golden Boronia: Soft Nougat (Apricot, Original, Green Tea, Cappuccino)
48. Gudu: Gudu Pop
49. Hawaiian Host: Whole and Halves Chocolate Covered Macadamia Nuts (two different packages (milk & dark?))
50. Hershey’s: Ice Breakers Liquid Ice (Cool Mint, Cinnamon - neotame & sucralose)
51. Hershey’s: Peanut Butter Kisses (no longer a limited edition)
52. Hleks: Shoogy Boom (Lemon, Bubble Gum, Chocolate - made in Turkey)
53. Hleks: Crayola Dippin’ Lickin’ Poppin’ Candy (Blue Raspberry)
54. Impact Confections: Warheads Juniors (Black Cherry, Apple, Lemon, Watermelon, Blue Raspberry)
55. Indy: Obleas San Pablo Milk Candy Wafers
56. Indy: Palanqueta San Pablo (peanut brittle)
57. Indy: Dulces Vero Cupido (Strawberry-Cherry Heart Shaped Lolly)
58. Indy: Antorcha (Cherry flavored lollypop covered with spicy and sour candy)
59. Indy: Cerillos
60. Indy: Gloria’s Aztecas
61. Jelly Belly: Soda Pop Shoppe (assorted soda flavors - brand tie-in with Crush)
62. Jelly Belly: Smoothie Blend (Cherry Passion Fruit, Mandarin Orange Mango, Mixed Berry, Pineapple Pear & Strawberry Banana)
63. Jelly Belly: Sport Beans (Fruit Punch)
64. Joyva: Jell Ring (Raspberry)
65. Judson-Atkinson Candies: Assorted Sours (Cherry, Green Apple, Tangerine, Grape, Lemon)
66. Just Born: Peeps Cocoa (Bunnies)
67. Just Born: Mike and Ike Tangy Twister
68. Just Born: Mike and Ike Original Fruits
69. Kimmie Candy Company: Sunbursts (candy coated, cocoa sunflower seeds)
70. Kimmie Candy Company: ChocoRocks (candy coated chocolate compound)
71. Kimmie Candy Company: Baby Dino Eggs (candy coated choco peanuts)
72. Kimmie Candy Company: Gold Nuggets - Candy Coated ChocoRocks (candy coated chocolate compound in a little muslin bag)
73. KoKo’s Confectionery: Candy Logs
74. Lindt: Lindor Truffles (Extra Dark & two unknowns)
75. Marengo: Tropical (hard candy) (Lulo, Pine (pineapple), Mango)
76. Mars: Snickers Xtreme (limited edition)
77. Melville Candy: Red Dolphin Pop (barley sugar)
78. Necco: Mint Julep
79. Oak Leaf: Sixlets
80. Palmer Candy Co.: Twin Bing
81. Perfetti Van Melle: Airheads Xtremes Sweetly Sour Rolls (Strawberry)
82. Pirouline: Chocolate Dipped Pirouline (Hazelnut, Double Chocolate)
83. Pop Rocks: Pop Rocks on a Roll (Strawberry)
84. Pop Rocks: Soda Pop Rocks (Cherry Cola - in a collector’s lunch tin)
85. Pop Rocks: Pop Rocks Color Explosion (Blue Strawberry)
86. Pop Rocks: Chocolate Pop Rocks
87. Promotion in Motion: Welch’s Fruit Snacks (Fruit Punch & Mixed Fruit - vitamin C & E)
88. Promotion in Motion: Sour Jacks (Mixed, Sour Apple & Watermelon)
89. Promotion in Motion: Fisher Milk Chocolate Covered Peanuts
90. Promotion in Motion: Sun-Maid Milk Chocolate Raisins
91. Promotion in Motion: Toggi (L’Orange Chocolate Wafers, Chocolate)
92. Propelix: Pika Yamba (Pulpa Picante - chili flavored liquid candy)
93. Pucker Powder: Twisted Tarts (machine made flavor tarts)
94. Rito Mints: Ghost Talk (fruit flavors - Canadian)
95. Ritter Sport: Dark Chocolate with Whole Hazelnuts
96. Ritter Sport: Feinherb ala Mousse au Chocolat
97. Ritter Sport: Fine Extra Dark Chocolate 71% Cocoa
98. Sconza: Organic Toffee Cashews & Peanuts
99. Sonric’s: Rockaleta (Shoks - chili flavored mango gum)
100. Sonric’s: Rockaleta Dark (Tamarind lolly)
101. Sonric’s: Gudu Pop (Multisabor, con Chile)
102. Sunflower Food & Spice Company: Sunny Seed Drops ((not real chocolate + vanillin but says all natural))
103. Swiss Delice: Chocobloc Lait (Milk chocolate with almond-honey nougat - like Toblerone - don’t know where this came from)
104. Too Tarts: Dream Chews (fruit & honey)
105. Tootsie Rolle: Mini Chews (meh)
106. Topps: Bazooka
107. Trefin: Hard Candies
108. Unican: Dreamers (Banana, Strawberry, Chocolate - high calcium content)
109. Value Quest Foods: Gazillions (pineapple)
110. Value Quest Foods: Natural Sweets (fruit gummies)
111. Werther’s: Chocolates (Hazelnuts & Almonds)
112. Werther’s: Merci (Coffee & Cream, Dark Cream - chocolate sticks)
113. Yummy Earth: Organic Lollipops (Pomegranate, Watermelon, lemon, orange, berry)

Obviously it’s going to take me a while to get through these, and not all will warrant full reviews. Most are products I’ve never had before (or at least flavors).

These are in alphabetical order by company, I don’t really have a plan yet. As I was putting the list together, I was noticing trends of things, like real-fruit-juice gummis and new delivery devices for candy. If you have something that you’re curious about and want me to move to the top of the list, speak up.

As for my plan, I’m going to do as much chocolate now, since the weather is getting warmer and I fear the loss of much of it because of the heat in SoCal (I don’t have air conditioning).

POSTED BY Cybele AT 7:32 am     All Candy ExpoNewsComments (18)

Friday, June 9, 2006

Where to Start?

I just spent about an hour sorting through the candy samples I picked up at the Expo.

What was especially frustrating is figuring out what some of it is. It’s not in the final packaging, so some doesn’t have labeling or names or even a brand.

I took a bunch of little ziploc baggies and did the best I could to group everything back together.

image

Some things got smashed in transit, especially chocolate things, which bums me out. My Lindt tuffles are a little dented and so was my new milk chocolate Chocovic bar. I also bent one of my Ghirardelli caramel filled dark chocolate squares, I can’t imagine that’s going to make a nice photo.

Some things I apparently picked up over and over again, as I found that I had about ten of these little Cote d’Or Mignonnette Belgian chocolate bars and I still have no idea where I got them.

As I was sifting through everything I realized that I’m not going to do a single post about everything I picked up (that would take me until the next Expo!). I might group them into rating numbers, so I’ll post one day with the superb items and maybe another day with unappetizing things.

Many of the items aren’t new introductions, just products they’re pushing, which is cool. I tried not to pick up stuff I’d had before but there was a small box of “eat this anytime” stuff that I can at least give away to folks who stop by instead of letting them look at my candy and not get any.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 2:39 pm     All Candy ExpoNewsComments (6)

Back Home and Reconnected

Sorry for the radio silence yesterday. I thought I would be able to connect to the wi-fi network at the Chicago Airport and update here on every little thing, but it was not to be.

So, the promised coverage will just trickle out through the weekend and I’ll get back to the candy reviews on Monday.

The last day of the show was very productive for me. I had a hit-list of the booths that I wanted to make sure that I check out, but I still missed two on my list as I got distracted over at Just Born (the Peeps people!) and sat down and gabbed with the team there as they were wrapping up the show.

I did hit the following:

ChocoRocks by Kimmie - little chocolatey morsels shaped like rocks. Sadly they’re not real chocolate, but cute as can be.
Choco-Omeg - fortified chocolates by Botticelli in several varieties with Omega3 fatty acids, calcium and minerals.
Dare RealFruit Gummis - they’ve been in Canada for years, now they’re releasing them in the States.
Lucky Country Licorice - some tasty Australian licorice that you might see a little more often now.
Pucker Powder - make your own sour tablets or tubes of pucker powder. I’ll have lots more on this later.
Ritter Sport - new dark chocolate offerings from the square chocolate bar people from Germany.
Jim Beam Fudge - not quite what I was hoping for, but they also had a jalapeno fudge that was pretty sassy.

I also checked back with my buddies at Bubble Chocolate. I’ve been following along on their journey since January when I first saw their product announcement on JunkFoodBlog.com and I’ll keep up with them as they make their way into stores.

The show floor closed at noon (well, technically at noon) and I had to check out of my hotel anyway. So I said goodbye to the super-helpful team in charge of the press room and grabbed a shuttle back to my neighborhood.

The most surprising thing was that my luggage was not over the weight limits when I checked in. My big bag was 48.5 pounds ... just under the 50 lb limit! I did pack a small carry on bag on the way out that I used on the way back to put candy in to make sure that my load was fully balanced.

The one thing that kept happening though, is when I’d chit chat with folks and they’d ask me what my favorite candy from the show is, I’d have nothing to say. Half of the stuff I saw, I haven’t even tasted yet! I was trying to pace myself and keep from eating too much, I ate barely at all. My first full meal of the week was lunch on Thursday after I checked out of the hotel I wandered over to Panera (I know, so many good restaurants in Chicago and I went to a chain) and had a bowl of soup and a half a sandwich.

The scariest part was last night when I waited and waited at baggage claim and my bag didn’t come off. Turns out it made it onto an earlier flight (I was on standby in an effort to get home earlier) and was waiting in the storage/claim room. Phew! There’s no way I could replace all that candy!

I’m pretty much exhausted (got up at 7 AM yesterday, Chicago time and didn’t get to bed until 2 AM Los Angeles time). It’s gonna take me a couple of days to recover from that!

POSTED BY Cybele AT 7:09 am     All Candy ExpoNewsComments (6)

Wednesday, June 7, 2006

House of Chocolate Blues

Tonight’s party was a huge bash at the House of Blues. For extra fun I decided to take the bus to the party. It was only about a mile away and it seemed silly to hail a cab but a little far to walk through unknown territory. So I just asked a fellow at the bus stop if he knew how far this bus that said “Broadway” that was approaching went up Dearborn. As long as it didn’t turn before the river, we were golden! Two bucks is way better than the six or so it would have cost for a cab.

At the door I surrendered my ticket and was rewarded with a big smiley faced stamp on the back of my hand.

It was co-hosted by a host of companies and organizations and I’d tell you who they all were, except that they took away my ticket at the door. I do know that Hershey was one of the primaries along with Cadbury Adams & Sunkist, some trade magazines, but many of the big sugar candy manufacturers also had “boxes” up on the opera level of the club where the clients, brokers and companies could hobnob.

I got there just in time to snag some quasi-edible jambalaya. It was an open bar but I opted for a cranerry juice until I met up with some folks. There wasn’t a band on the stage, so people were hanging out on the lower level. (The house of blues is stacked rather high, with a lower level with a bar and lots of tables, an upper level where the stage is and then a series of balconies and boxes on the opera level.) There were young women handing out IceBreakers gum and handfuls of mints. If it were anything other than a candy convention, I’d think they were trying to tell me something about my breath.

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Just as a the new band came on stage (a Stones cover band) my buds from CandyWarehouse.com showed up (they got me the ticket). We scouted for some food, which was long gone and ran into a broker (Darryl? it was hard to hear) who fixed us up with some opera level passes where Chris and Dave were able to score not one, but two leftover dinner rolls that hadn’t been cleared from the buffet.

After they quelled their rumbly tumblies, we headed over to one of the private boxes. This one was hosted by Atkinson, who make the super cool Chick-O-Stick. It was basically right over the stage - which was kind of cool to watch, except for my lack of fondness for Rolling Stones cover bands. It was kind of funny because the lead singer, the Mick, was doing all the moves and reminded me of the Simpsons episode where Homer goes to Rock & Roll camp and Mick Jagger tries to teach the guys how to strut and do the school marm finger wag.

The party wasn’t too crowded, so there was room to move around. Unfortunately it was very loud and I think I had a couple of conversations. I’m not sure. I was introduced to some folks, possibly brokers, possibly candy manufacturers. If there’s anyplace that needs name badges, it’s a loud club.

I did have a great talk with Chris in the lobby about all the things he’d seen out on the floor and all the things I’d seen out on the floor. Of course what’s cool to me as a consumer and what’s cool to him as an internet candy store are two different things ... well, not always.

As a parting gift, of course, I got a little bag of candy to take back to the hotel. I walked back to the hotel (having looked at the neighborhood pretty well on the bus and found it acceptable for late evening walking.) I’m actually pretty eager to eat the nut mix on the plane tomorrow.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 7:14 pm     All Candy ExpoNewsComments (1)

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