Thursday, December 8, 2005

Guide to Gifts for Candy Lovers

Here it is, your guide for what to get those candy obsessed people on your gift list. Some of this is stuff I’ve bought before, some is stuff I’d like to get and of course some is just something I’ve read about and thought was cool. Feel free to leave comments to expand this list!

Games & Diversions
imageChocolate Chess Set ($159.50) - this is the cream of the crop. A chess set made of white and dark Belgian chocolate game pieces on a chocolate game board. If this seems too pricey, try making your own with these molds.

Or for those who want to get close to someone during the holidays, maybe some Chocolate Body Tattoos ($15.00) or Candy Bra/G-String ($9.99 - link not safe for work).

Do you have a Poker fan in your life? There are lots of poker themed candies out there now. The simplest is instead of chocolate coins, get them chocolate poker chips. They have a huge selection at Candy Warehouse of chocolate novelties including playing cards, racked chips, dice and other gambling themed items. Of course you can also find candy themed playing cards (I have some Hershey’s Kisses ones) but I don’t know how the Poker club would feel about that. Candy Corn shaped playing cards by the dozen, Candy Hearts playing cards ($4.95), or go for a whole Chocolate Casino Kit ($17.99). You can’t eat it, but it’s stilly pretty sweet: Chocolate Monopoly ($21.08) - called Chocolate-opoly.

Candy Crafts
Making your own candy can teach kids a lot about kitchen chemistry, it doesn’t hurt that they get to eat it when they’re done. Make your own Rock Candy Crystals ($9.95), Lollipop Shop Candy Lab ($8.32), Fruit Rolls ($8.32) or Red Jelly Candy Sweets ($8.32).

If you really want to get into candy making, Candy Crafts is a great place to start. They have kits you can use to make your own candy gifts or give to someone else.

Crazy Candy Art kits where you can make sand art with candy powder (or just guzzle the half gallon bottles of the stuff).

Books
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
Candy Freak by Steve Almond
Emperors of Chocolate by Joel Brenner

Videos/DVD
Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory - the first version with Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka, directed by Mel Stuart. (1971 - $12.99)
Charlie & the Chocolate Factory - this year’s version starring Johnny Depp, directed by Tim Burton. (2005 - $17.96)
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang - an inventor (and candy maker!) creates a flying car - starring Dick Van Dyke, directed by Ken Hughes. (1968 - $26.99)
Like Water for Chocolate - a feast for the senses, directed by Alfonso Arau (1998 - $6.99)

Paper Goods & Art
Fred Flare always has hip gifts, this year they have the 2006 Pez Retro Calendar ($12.99) and you may as well tuck it in this felt Gingerbread Gift Bag ($6.00) and write some notes on this Confection-ery Stationery ($8.95) that includes stickers and yummy envelopes.

imageDon’t forget how welcome a candy poster might be for your sweet-toothed recipient. Art.com has a huge selection of candy photography and classic advertising recreations. You can get them framed (starting at $50) or unframed ($6.99+). May I recommend the Andy Warhol version of the Lifesavers ad, “Do Not Lick This Page? (144.99 framed.)

We’ve all seen the bowls of Murano glass candy. Either you hate it or love it, but if you want to give it to someone, here’s a cool site that seems to have excellent prices and a pretty wide selection. Rebecca’s Unique Glass ($6.99-99.99). Don’t forget to pick up a jar or bowl for it!

Calendars
Chocolate Mini Calendar ($7.99), Chocolate Diary ($9.99), Chocolate Wall Calendar ($12.99) and finally the one that I think is irrestistble, the Sweets Pocket Planner ($5.99).

Keeping Candy in Your Life
For those who commute a lot and like to snack in the car, maybe one of these strange little cupholder organizers ($9.99) - be sure to fill it up with candy before wrapping it!

imageHere’s something that I’d be happy to get. It’s actually for spice storage, but I think it’d be super cute to buy this and fill each of the little tins with fun, tasty and colorful candy. Magnetic Spice Storage ($12.99). You can do the same thing with just about any spice rack/storage solution. Filled with pretty pastel Jordan Almonds, Skittles, M&Ms, Kisses (or the new Kissables) or anything your recipient would find tasty is a fantastic and pretty inexpensive gift that keeps on giving.

Purse/Clutch made from candy wrappers ($22-$235) - even if you don’t buy any, they’re just so cute!

Candy Bar Holders
($15.00) or another Candy Bar Holder ($10.00) from MOMA or in Sterling Silver ($159.96).

Dispensers and Holders (actually designed for that purpose)
imageGumballs.com has to have the largest selection I’ve ever seen of gumball machines. These are the real thing too, not some cheapie plastic thing you found at BigLots (though that can be fun, too). There are plenty of other machines out there, including those sold by Jelly Belly (because you don’t want just one bean! - $44.99) and M&Ms ($10-$35).

Don’t forget the fun with the Candy Poopers. Especially if someone’s a fan of animals and candy (how could you not like both). There’s even a Penguin Pooper now, so go ahead and bundle it with the March of the Penguins DVD. (My original review here.)

Ornaments & Decoration
It’s not Christmas without candy all over the house from Gingerbread house to candy canes. Here are some ornaments I saw online at Bronner’s. Chocolate Dipped Strawberries, M&Ms, Hershey’s Chocolate Garland and a glass Chocolate Bar ornament.

Whole Body Indulgences
Chocolate Lovers Spa Therapy ($65) - features bath salt, body milk, body scrub, bubble bath, body butter and body wash, sisal back strap, exfoliating hand mitt, exfoliating sponge, body massager and poof all in a reusable faux-suede hat box.

Face Candy
imageThere’s a huge selection out there too for candy-themed lip balms which make excellent stock stuffers or something to tie on a grand big package or perhaps tuck inside a larger gift. Here are some glitter lip gloss pots that are shaped like wrapped hard candies (set of 5 for $8.00). SeeFred has a huge selection that includes mixed drinks too. ($2.29 each.) If you’re into TV shopping, QVC also has a large selection of bundles: Jelly Belly lip balm set ($15.78) or a full candy makeup kit 9$15.75) and this little cutie looks like a box of chocolate truffles ($19.82).

Candy for the Feet
Candy Socks - they don’t have a huge selection, but I have to say it’s ultra cute. And of course anything that’s white and red striped can be called candy cane, but here are some Candy Cane Tights ($9.00).

Candy as Protection
How about a cute umbrella shaped like a Hershey’s Kiss ($14.95 for adults or two child-sized ones for $19.95). That’d be pretty welcome around Christmas in my neck of the woods as it’s rainy season for us then.

imageOf course you can take candy to the pool or shore with beach towels that look like candy packages: Candy Bar Beach Towels (14.99) - they come in Tootsie Pop, Dots, Charms Blo Pop and Sugar Daddy. You can also order directly from Bazooka for the Bazooka Bath Towel ($17.99 + 25 comics)

If you want more from your beach towel, how about one that doubles as a game board. Catch this one fast, it’s already on clearance at Bed Bath & Beyond: CandyLand Beach Towel Game! ($7.99 clearance).

Sweet Dreams
You can dress up your couch or bed with these:
imageWonka Plush Pillows ($14.99 each) or Candy Pillows ($14.99) shaped like Kisses, Hershey Bars, Crunch Bars, Razzles or Tootsie Rolls. (Fun to Collect also has a whole Wonka store for fans of the movie or books.)

Edible Gifts (something for everyone)
Fun themed Painter’s Chocolate Toolkit ($29.00 - unfortunately no guarantee of delivery for holidays) for the handy person in your life. Or maybe a candy bouquet (or maybe this one) with classic favorites arranged artfully.

imageSushi lovers might enjoy any of these Koo-ki Sushi ($12-$65). If you were looking for these gummi sushi, that I reviewed before, unfortunately it looks like they’re discontinued. But maybe someone on your giftlist is a Manga/Anime fan? Jbox has a great candy kit ($25.00) that includes a variety of KitKats, Pocky and fruity snacks like Lotte blueberry gum.

Crate & Barrel - Food/Candy (prices are a bit steep but the tins & packaging are pretty cool)

I’ve actually gotten this Chocolate Lover’s Crate from Zabar’s before. Yum! If that’s too pricey maybe just check out their tins of candy.

imageIf you didn’t blink with the prices at Zabar’s, well head down to SoHo to Dean & Deluca. Spectacular packaging, great website and I’ve ordered from them before and have to say that the stuff does get there in one piece. The best looking thing they had there was the Joseph Schmidt Chocolate Bowl ($34.00). No, it’s not a bowl for chocolate, it’s a bowl made from chocolate. Shazaam! I can’t link directly to the products there but check out the regular gifts like Chocolate Tower Tiers ($75-$125), Caramel Dominos ($45.00), Chocolate Ornaments ($20), and Pig & Piglets (it’s like a Trojan pig, you crack open the pig and pigs come out! - $34.00). Fear not they have an Under $25 Section. (You can also order the chocolate bowl directly from Joseph Schmidt.)

Lake Champlain Chocolates - check out their amazing online store. I really enjoyed their 5 Star Bar and their medallions but I’m sure everything is great. Check out their sale items too, there’s some great deals in there.

Chocosphere for online ordering of most of the top brands of chocolate - a good place to go if you want to combine different chocolate brands in one candy gift.

imageWilbur Chocolate - of course I’ve talked about my favorite chocolate before. What’s cool is that it’s not that expensive, even for their top of the line pacakges. My favorite is the Bud filled Milk Bottle ($16.09) but they also have the following Super Assortment in a box ($49.99), Tier of Treats ($63.79) and the more cost efficient selections like the Crock ‘o Buds ($26.99) and the Cocoa Mug ($10.99). You can’t order online, you have to either fax or call it in (800)2WILBUR. (My reviews here.)

Boule - a tiny candy shop in Los Angeles that makes this fantabulous Fruit Pate and some pretty innovative taste combinations for their truffles. Here’s my review.

Candy All Year Round
imageJelly Belly - Jelly Belly of the Month Club

Candy of the Month Club from Candy Warehouse - three levels: Bazooka Joe, Gruffi Gummi Bear and The Thurston Howell Chocolate Package.

Seventy Percent has a chocolate tasting club where they send you a different 70%+ chocolate every month. Chocolate Connoisseur’s Club includes three bars (or more) plus tasting notes for each of the featured items. Based in the UK, they have access to chocolates that I’ve never heard of. Prices start at 13.95 pounds per month plus a 3.95 pound surcharge for non UK addresses. Without making a huge committment you can also pick up one of their “Chocolate Hampers” which feature incredible selections.

For Stockings / Gelt
Best Chocolate Coins - I’m partial to Madelaine’s Chocolate at the moment. The chocolate is excellent and the details on the foil is pretty spectacular. When you get them you don’t know if you should eat them or take pictures of them. Chocolate Pennies & Assorted Coins. If you have a coin collector on your list they might enjoy these: 50 State Chocolate Quarters. Not into chocolate? How about Bubble Gum Coins

For more stocking stuffers check out Cost Plus World Market or some similar store in your area. Ours carries not only a huge selection of international foods and candies but also gift kits, baskets for making your own and tins of retro candy, nostalgia items and of course cute stuff. Their prices are far and away more affordable than someplace like Williams Sonoma or Crate & Barrel but probably the same stuff.

Other Gift Guides
The NY Times Food & Wine Gift Guide
MSNBC’s Geek Foodie Gift Guide
New York Magazine’s Consuming Passions Gift Guide
UKTV’s Make it Yourself Gift Guide
Food Network’s Shopping Site Holiday Gift Guide
The Food Section’s Guide to Gift Guides! (Okay, it’s from last year, but it’s still pretty good.)
Daily News Foodie Gifts

imageUPDATE: Here are a few things I left out!

Plush Puffs (reviewed here) is featuring a great new gift basket that allows you to pick your assortment of three packages of their gourmet marshmallows. $27.99 (but there are gifts for all price ranges).

Yum Boxes ($48 for a set of 8) - I’m not sure if this is a gift idea or an idea for your next party. They’re cool little invitations for parties that include candies and handy mailing boxes. They’re pricey but maybe something you can custom make at home.

Regular reader Desertwind suggests Allentown’s own Josh Early Candies which looks kinda like a Pennsylvania version of See’s with their black and white logo and focus on nuts, chews & toffees.

Last, I completely forgot Scharffen Berger! I went to their factory last week and was enchanted with their stuff in the gift store. How can you resist their chocolate shirts with the messages: (semi) sweet, (bitter) sweet and (extra) bitter ($14.50). Sassy! Oh, and they have chocolate too. Can I recommend their panned chocolates ...ooh, I already did!

POSTED BY Cybele AT 3:22 pm Tracker Pixel for Entry     Gift GuideFun StuffNewsShopping

Comments
  1. Those Joseph Schmidt bowls are gorgeous and perfect for my sister-in-law who’s a ceramicist.

    I’m gonna check out Wilbur Chocolate for myself!

    Cybele, have you ever been to Josh Early Candy in Allentown?

    My Ma’s from A’town and a visit to Josh Early was a most-anticipated part of every summer vacation (that and the Allentown State Fair—where I saw The Supremes in 1967—and rides on the hoist at my grandparents’ memorial carving business…)

    http://www.joshearlycandies.com/

    Comment by desertwind on 12/08/05 at 4:34 pm #
  2. cybele - wow, you’ve outdone yourself here! Cool listings… The joseph Schmidt chocolate bowls look really fun… i would think about getting that for people as gifts.  I must agree on Cost Plus for picking up stocking stuffers… there is a lot of cool stuff there, candy and otherwise.

    Comment by Bryan on 12/08/05 at 5:53 pm #
  3. Cybele's avatar

    Thanks for the tip desertwind - I haven’t been to Allentown since I got out of high school, but it looks like a trip may be in order next time I’m in the area. Or at least an order from their website.

    Thanks for the kudos Bryan ... I had a lot of fun making up the guide. Of course I’ve put off all my shopping for the rest of the folks on my list. Oddly enough they’re not all candy lovers.

    Comment by Cybele on 12/08/05 at 6:28 pm #
  4. Great guide!!! I will buy a lot of this stuff for the greatest chocolate lover I know. That would be me. wink
    Thanks!
    Happy Holidays!

    Comment by Flavia on 12/09/05 at 6:40 pm #
  5. ha, i was going to comment on the gorgeous Schmidt bowls, but i see a couple people beat me to it. i’m already done with my holiday shopping, but if i weren’t, i’d buy one of those! and the bubble gum coins would be perfect for my nephew who collects coins but hates chocolate (a trait that makes me wonder how he’s related to the rest of our family).

    wonderful list!!

    Comment by sallie on 12/14/05 at 6:26 pm #
  6. Do you have the chocolate candy shaped round balls and filled with whiskey. When shopping at Trader Joe’s a year ago In San Diego I bought some and they were good, check the store in Jan. 06 and the store was out. Candy was in a green box.

    Please advise.

    M Kane

    Comment by Kane on 1/19/06 at 2:58 pm #
  7. Hi guys. Really neat. Nana will get a kick out of it when I show her.

    Comment by Phill on 1/24/06 at 5:23 pm #
  8. I am impressed with this page…setup really nice. Doesn’t take forever to load pics, like mine… Very impressive.. [edited by admin to remove promotional links]

    Comment by Sam. K on 2/01/06 at 9:03 am #
  9. Just checking to see if any relation are out here
    [edited to remove promotional link]

    Comment by Drop on 2/02/06 at 11:00 am #
  10. I found a great online candy bouquet company at http://www.candyblast.com.  They do all sorts of cool birthday and get well candy gift baskets.  I sent one to my sister and she loved it.

    Comment by Yvette Marsh on 3/31/06 at 6:05 am #
  11. Cybele's avatar

    Thanks for the suggestion Yvette - I went to the site and it’s just not working, maybe they’re having some tech difficulties.

    Comment by Cybele on 3/31/06 at 8:17 am #
  12. great article! good work Candy Lovers:)

    Comment by Alex on 4/14/06 at 6:45 am #
  13. If you guys are Butterfinger fans, you gotta check this out? I signed up for this panel last week and got some really cool free stuff in the mail, including some butterfinger crisp candy bars! And I get to give my opinions on their advertising and new products and stuff. Check it out: http://bam.butterfinger.com/

    Comment by Butterfinger Lover on 8/16/06 at 6:18 am #
  14. Thanks for the tip desertwind - I haven?t been to Allentown since I got out of high school, but it looks like a trip may be in order next time I?m in the area. Or at least an order from their website.

    Comment by Review maker on 12/02/06 at 5:48 am #
  15. Here’s something a bit different for candy bouquets.  Instead of the candy bars, these are all hard candy bouquets.

    Comment by Lollipop Fan on 8/03/07 at 8:41 am #
  16. Wow! This blog is FULL of great candy making links, I think I’ve been here for an hour! Excellent. Thank you

    Comment by An Occasional Chocolate on 1/09/09 at 3:27 pm #

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