Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Candy Blog 8th Anniversary

Mitchell's Candies - DaphneToday (or maybe last week) marks the 8th anniversary of the founding of Candy Blog.

I haven’t tallied up all the figures, but I estimate that at least 3,000 products have been featured and at least 1,700 full reviews. I’ve posted nearly 8,000 candy photos (not to mention candy shopping photos and pictures from trade shows and factory tours).

I work by myself. I take my own photos and write my own reviews. So you can imagine, I’ve eaten a lot over the years, but what’s more staggering is how much I haven’t eaten. Only about 25% of what I buy or receive ends up on the blog. Most of the candy I buy, though some is directly from the candy companies and I do pick up samples at trade shows. I have a company that does my blog maintenance, and my husband helps out as my publisher to take inquiries from advertisers (I have one, so it’s not a lot of inquiries).

Milky Way Caramel Bar

When I started the blog, there wasn’t much like it on the internet. I figured if people could review music or movies or hotels, I could review candy in the same way. The only websites out there at the time were Candy Critic (which is Canadian and had taken a hiatus at that time) and Writers and Artists Snacking at Work, which also didn’t update often.

I wanted to fill a hole, be the database of candy that I wanted to read. I wanted someone to open up the candy package and show me what’s inside. When I started this blog, I didn’t embrace new things easily. I liked the tried and true favorites I’d always had and rarely felt the need to go outside of that list.

Heilemann Pfefferminz Truffel

So, the early reviews were of candies that I’d never tried before, new products or existing products, it didn’t matter. After a while, I realized I needed to cover the things that everyone already knew, because we kept referring to them and needed that static reference point of a post.

Brach's Sundae Neapolitan CoconutIt turned out that other folks like to read about candy as well. I haven’t tracked my readership from the beginning, but I’ve had at least 20 million page loads since I did start tracking in 2006. Thanks for visiting! While there were few sites that talked exclusively about candy back in 2005, I was joined by quite a few others. Candy Addict (no longer updating) came along, as a group blog, covering a wider range of consumer items and local candy favorites. Sugar Savvy (also now defunct) covered a large swath of the confectionery world (including a review of every single piece of See’s candy). Individuals have come and gone as well, currently we have Rosa at ZOMG! Candy, The Candy Gurus, and hopefully we’ll see Sera at The Candy Enthusiast back soon. The big media companies are into it as well, you can find candy reviews on Serious Eats and Huffington Post and even the morning shows run segments around the candy holidays. (Check out the blog roll for more sweetness from around the world.)

I’m often asked what my favorite candy is or what the worst thing I ever ate was. I, frankly, don’t remember all the awful things I’ve eaten. I don’t actually have a favorite candy, and the candies that I do love aren’t necessarily the best. Lately I’ve been eating Good & Plenty, Goetze’s Caramel Creams and Trader Joe’s Powerberries in addition to the candies in rotation for review.


What I do appreciate most is that Candy Blog has introduced me to new, wonderful things. Like this Ongotoh (Juntsuyu) pictured above. It’s just a boiled sugar candy, but it’s so delicate and delicious.

Chocolate Sea Salt Cashews from Marich

Candy has also changed as I’ve been writing about it. It could be that I’m better at finding the good stuff, but I think consumers have also gravitated towards newer concepts like fair trade, bean to bar, organic or all natural and world fusion flavors. (Pictured above, Marich Chocolate Sea Salt Cashews.)

Robitaille's Dark Chocolate Turtle

The experience of photographing, researching and reviewing has prompted me to be more mindful about what I eat. That doesn’t mean necessarily that it’s all healthy, but I tend to notice what I’m eating and enjoy it more. I try not to eat foods that either aren’t nutritious or won’t bring me pleasure. (Some might say that’s made me a picky eater.)

Legoland Chocolate from Chuao

It’s not all serious though, I have enjoyed novelties that have come along and some fascinating new products. The chocolate LEGO blocks above were from Legoland, and are made by Chuao out of actually good chocolate (El Rey).

Blue Razz Wazoo

One of the oddest things I reviewed were the Topp’s Wazoo bars. Above is the Blue Razz version, which was launched with a huge ad blitz on children’s programming. There were production difficulties which meant that people couldn’t find them in stores. As part of the blog readers have been witness to marketing mis-steps by major candy companies, like Necco changing the ancient Necco Wafers to all natural and eliminating the lime disk only to revert to the classic artificial version within a year due to customer demand. Similar things have happened with Mars changing the 3 Musketeers and we’ll see what happens with Wrigley’s swapping the Lime Skittle for Green Apple.

Valerie Confections Valentine's Collection

So that brings us to the present. I don’t have plans for the blog beyond continuing what I’ve been doing, except maybe a little design or layout refresh. You’ve probably noticed I don’t keep up the pace I used to. There was a time there when I posted eight times a week. Now it’s about three reviews a week, sadly, I am running out of candy to review, unless I get hyper-local or cover more foreign candy. I can’t imagine now having the blog, not amassing candy and not taking picture of it all the time. It’s become such a part of me, I don’t know if I would know what to do with my time.

There may be a book in the future, or perhaps several.

Please celebrate with me, raise a Pixie Stix to toast to eight sweet years on the internet. I wouldn’t be doing this if you didn’t come and read regularly, so for you I am grateful. It’s good to know we’re not alone in our love of candy.

If you need more of a candy fix, I do update my twitter very often and have started a tumblr page which is mostly fun candy photos I’ve taken.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 5:07 pm Tracker Pixel for Entry     Behind the ScenesCandyHighlightFun StuffPhotography

  1. Congratulations from a long-time reader!

    Comment by Dave on 4/17/13 at 6:05 pm #
  2. Happy Anniversary, Candy Blog!

    Comment by Marvo on 4/17/13 at 6:07 pm #
  3. Happy anniversary!  I’ve read every single entry on this blog, and I’m thrilled to know you’re going to keep going.  Thanks for the reviews, the pictures, and being you!

    Comment by Jammies on 4/17/13 at 6:24 pm #
  4. I’ve been reading your blog for ages and I’m not sure if I’ve ever commented before. Thank you for doing what you do. You’re the reference I always check when I’m debating spending money on candy I’m not sure about. (And more than once I’ve been compelled to buy candy rightnowthisminute after reading one of your posts.) I look forward to many more years reading about your experiences with the sweet stuff. smile

    Comment by Maria on 4/17/13 at 7:44 pm #
  5. I’ve been a loyal lurker for the past two years, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading your thoughtful reviews. They’ve helped me become more mindful and thoughtful about the candy I consume—except for my Shocktarts addiction, of course. (Or Shockers. Whatever. They’re Shocktarts in my heart.)

    Comment by The Literary Omnivore on 4/17/13 at 8:21 pm #
  6. Congratulations! Here’s to many more years and much more candy, may the good candy outweigh the bad!

    Comment by anabels on 4/17/13 at 11:15 pm #
  7. Fantastic post! Happy Anniversary & many congratulations on reaching 8 years!

    Comment by Grocery Gems on 4/18/13 at 1:26 am #
  8. congratulations! keep up the good work, look forward to seeing & hearing about the candy world.

    Comment by kat on 4/18/13 at 4:17 am #
  9. Congratulations on 8 years of candy reviews! I started reading about 2 years ago and I always look forward to a new review. I’ve sought out certain unusual candies because of your reviews (and rarely have I been disappointed when I do). Plus, I just love the pictures that you take. You show some of this candy for the art that it is (specifically thinking of that beautiful picture of the Ongotoh). Here’s hoping for another 8 years of great candy reviews and pictures.

    Comment by Miranda on 4/18/13 at 5:16 am #
  10. Here’s to 8 more years. I love your reviews and I’m so happy to be introduced to so many new candies. Congratulations!

    Comment by Bonney on 4/18/13 at 5:31 am #
  11. Here to 8 more years! Love ur reviews very good.

    What was the most horrible tasting candy that you ever encounted here?

    Comment by Alek on 4/18/13 at 6:44 am #
  12. Happy Anniversary!
    /Greetings from Sweden!

    Comment by Me on 4/18/13 at 7:29 am #
  13. I rarely comment, but I wanted to say that I am so glad this post did not end with an “It’s been fun, but I’m finished” announcement!! I was getting worried!!

    I love this blog - I’m a candy nut but, as it turns out, not a very educated one. I have learned an enormous amount from you. I refer people to your website all the time and use your recommendations to buy gifts for other candy-loving friends. Your pictures are gorgeous, your reviews are thorough and thoughtful, and it is obvious that you put a lot of work into this website to make it useful, fun, and educational. (My favorite thing: the Brand/Type/Rating lists to the left. So great.)

    Thank you for doing what you do!

    Comment by Rachel on 4/18/13 at 7:40 am #
  14. Congrats! Been reading for 8 years!

    Comment by Katie on 4/18/13 at 8:07 am #
  15. Congrats on eight years—that is truly an accomplishment! I love your reviews and sometimes interesting descriptions of the candy, and have bought (or not) many things to try based on them. Here’s to eight more!

    Comment by Rene S on 4/18/13 at 8:09 am #
  16. Woo! Your blog makes me really happy. Thanks for all the hard work and dedication. EIGHT. MORE. YEARS!

    Comment by Rick on 4/18/13 at 8:17 am #
  17. Viva la Candy Blog!

    Comment by kay on 4/18/13 at 8:41 am #
  18. I adore your blog.  I read it everyday.  Your review of locum a year or so ago fueled my search to find a maker in the US.  I came up with Nory’s in southern California and even visited him when I went out to see my friend last year.  He was so surprised to see me!  He gave my friend and me a tour of his small plant and lots of free Turkish paste, although I did buy quite a lot, too.  And he gave me a couple of his old-style, empty boxes with quaint pictures of sand dunes and camels on them.  I use the empty boxes now to keep jewelry in.  The whole experience was so much fun and it all started with your blog!

    Comment by Donna on 4/18/13 at 9:26 am #
  19. Congrats!
    There is a lot of candy still out there—I’ve hunted through your tags to see if you’ve reviewed some of my FAVORITES and many you haven’t!!

    Try to get your hands on Hagensborg. You won’t be sorry. smile They also have a Wild Boar line that is single origin, AWESOME chocolate like Italian Salted Truffle and a curry cashew.

    I’d be interested in what you’d have to say about Spokandy or Michelle’s Truffles. As you can probably tell, these are mainly located in or around Washington state, so getting these might be tricky.

    Good luck and I’ll keep reading!

    Comment by Moi on 4/18/13 at 11:05 am #
  20. I so appreciate this blog. I save time not trying stuff I wouldn’t like, and pursuing things I would. Your photos and descriptions are super-helpful. Also, I seem to live close by, so I can go to your sources, e.g. the 76 station mini-store on Glendale Ave. Weirdly extensive.

    Comment by Susan In L.A. on 4/18/13 at 11:12 am #
  21. Happy Anniversary!  Thanks for everything that you do!  Here’s to 8 more years!

    Comment by Jennifer on 4/18/13 at 12:30 pm #
  22. Happy anniversary!  Your blog is an absolute favorite of mine; no other site gives the same sort of smart, insightful critique of candy!  Cheers for the past 8 and hope the next 8 are just as entertaining.

    Comment by Ruffy on 4/18/13 at 2:04 pm #
  23. I just found this blog, don’t go away! ^-^;

    Comment by Crissa on 4/18/13 at 3:14 pm #
  24. Congrats Cybele. You were the inspiration by ChocolateMission and I remember you giving me some invaluable advice when I first started out.

    All the best - keep doing what you are doing!


    Comment by Jim on 4/18/13 at 3:19 pm #
  25. I just wanted to say thank you, thank you, thank you for this blog. I read it all the time - and have been for a good three to four years now. I never comment, if I’m remembering correctly this might be the first time I’ve ever posted something but I’m such a huge fan and nothing gives me more enjoyment than reading your blog while munching on some candy. And I barely eat it, too.

    Comment by JW on 4/18/13 at 5:19 pm #
  26. Happy Anniversary Candy Blog. As a chocolate research scientist for a large company, I’ve really enjoyed reading your blog over the years. You are extremely knowledgeable which makes it very credible to me. Keep up the great work Cybele.

    Comment by Greg on 4/18/13 at 5:54 pm #
  27. ...i’m so glad my quest for the holy licorice grail led me down the rabbit trail to your site eight years ago. living vicariously through you on your tasting journeys has been a delight! 

    Comment by shirl on 4/18/13 at 7:12 pm #
  28. Happy 8th! Your reviews are the most thorough. I always appreciate the great details you provide.

    Keep eating & writing for at least 8 more!

    Comment by Matty on 4/19/13 at 9:00 am #
  29. Congrats from New Mexico on 8 fantastic years.  How sweet it is!

    Comment by David on 4/19/13 at 11:25 am #
  30. Thank-you for your wonderful blog! My sweet tooth thanks-you!!

    Comment by artemis on 4/19/13 at 11:39 am #
  31. Congrats Cybele! I can’t think of a sweeter blog! I wish you continued success. smile

    (And thank you so much for the mention! <3)

    Comment by Sera on 4/19/13 at 1:30 pm #
  32. Congrats. Long time reader, love what you do. I hope you continue for some time to come! Cheers!

    Comment by Josh on 4/19/13 at 3:16 pm #
  33. I love your blog.  It’s perfection.  Also, you have a candy room which makes you better than anybody else.

    Comment by Joseph on 4/19/13 at 3:19 pm #
  34. Good lord, that Wazoo bar looks like something you’d find at Lush.  Probably just as “edible”, too!

    Anyway, I blame YOU for my pants getting tighter over the years because this blog always sets off a fierce craving!  Congratulations on your anniversary, and many more!

    Comment by sairentohiru on 4/19/13 at 3:31 pm #
  35. Great post - Happy Anniversary! I love your blog and it’s always my go to spot when I hear that there is a new or limited edition candy coming out. Keep up the great reviews!

    Comment by Hollie on 4/20/13 at 6:28 pm #
  36. I’ve been following your blog since forever, and I can honestly say that it’s one of the best out there. Keep up the good work, Cybele!

    Comment by Tasha on 4/21/13 at 6:41 am #
  37. Happy Anniversary! I’ve been following since 2008- love your reviews! Keep up the good ‘work’! smile
    Many Thanks

    Comment by Denise on 4/21/13 at 9:30 am #
  38. Happy Anniversary! Your blog is a true guilty pleasure for me to read and I appreciate all the hard work you put into it. As other posters have said, your site is truly the best.

    Comment by Kate on 4/21/13 at 4:29 pm #
  39. Candy Blog rules! Everyone I work with thought I was crazy when I kept talking about Candy Blog, but now they’re all readers. Keep up the tasty work.

    Comment by Anita in Michigan on 4/22/13 at 5:44 am #
  40. Congratulations on hitting this milestone! You were my inspiration for starting my blog, and I always tell people that your blog is the best candy blog out there. Thanks for the great work, and thanks for the shout-out!

    Comment by Rosa on 4/23/13 at 10:56 am #
  41. Thank you so much and Happy Birthday! I don’t remember when I found you and I rarely comment, but I enjoy this so much. Great job! xo

    Comment by Michelle on 4/23/13 at 6:37 pm #
  42. Thanks for years of entertainment!

    Comment by Dennis on 4/24/13 at 6:55 am #
  43. I love eating with my eyes on this site. Please never stop. I often find the detail you put into describing candy on the level of a oenophile and wine… cryptic but strangely relatable.

    Comment by Ben on 4/24/13 at 11:07 pm #
  44. great blog- keep up the good work! best candy blog out there!

    Comment by mikeUK on 4/26/13 at 4:42 am #
  45. Congratulations,
    A Good Read, with tooth decay; guaranteed!

    Comment by Jacob Freedman on 4/27/13 at 10:13 am #
  46. Yay for 8 tasty years!  Thanks so much for the great reviews and lovely photos. I’ve been reading since ‘07 or ‘08 but I don’t think I’ve ever commented, so I’d like to take the chance now.  I really appreciate the effort and the amount of research that goes into so many of your reviews! And I’ve definitely tried a few new candies because of the blog. :D

    Comment by Julia on 4/28/13 at 5:10 pm #
  47. Congrats Cybele! Here’s to a sweet future!

    Comment by Patti on 4/29/13 at 10:15 am #
  48. Cybele, I found this blog only a couple of months ago. So far, I’ve read about half of the entries, starting with the first post. Thank you for devoting your time and effort into this entertaining, informative candy archive. Here’s to eight more years!

    Comment by Anna on 5/01/13 at 6:23 pm #
  49. Happy belated anniversary! And thank you for the reference. Writers & Artists Snacking At Work launched in late 1997 as a tool for me to learn basic HTML using typed snack reviews five of us did while working for the Ed McMahon/Dick Clark direct mail sweepstakes company. (Now defunct, just like Ed and Dick.) As the first snack review site, we got a lot of attention… unfortunately, it culminated just as I got a job at a promising internet start-up (which I just left earlier this year) that allowed for no time for pet projects. And so at its height (1999/2000), I had to abandon all updates. I jumped back on the site just prior to Candy Blog’s launch with about 30 new reviews in 2004, then again got pulled away. And so it now sits, looking much like it did in 1999, a relic, the HamsterDance of snack review sites. (And it appears WASAW’s site images are broken. Sigh.)

    Anyway, I’m always so super impressed with Candy Blog, the love and attention that goes into every post. And the volume of content.

    I plan on attending the convention next year (2014) in Chicago and perhaps we can sit and share a Mallo Cup. All the best, and here’s to another 8 great years.

    - Patrick Holland (aka Paddy O’Poppycock aka Mr Snacktastic)

    Comment by Paddy O'Poppycock on 5/22/13 at 10:04 pm #
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