Sunday, June 25, 2006
If you live in Los Angeles (or you’ll be here this Friday), there’s a big party for readers (and contributors) to Blogging.la - part of the Metroblogging network that I’ve been writing with for a few years.
The Farmers Market
I’m extending an invitation to all Candy Blog’s local readers, too!
Look for the group near La Loteria (here’s a map). There’ll be free drinks (beer & lemonade) courtesy of blogging.la and of course I’ll bring some candy with me!
I’ve been following the news that Cadbury UK has recalled one million candy bars following the discovery that they were contaminated with salmonella.
While salmonella is present in many of the foods we eat, they’re usually things like chicken or eggs that, when properly cooked, will often present little risk to healthy people. Chocolate, as a foodstuff that is consumed as is, may be a good vector for spreading the intestinal ailment. While Cadbury maintains that the contamination levels of the chocolate are too low on average, that’s an average and there are some chocolate pieces that are more contaminated than others and it’s impossible to know.
The UK press has been looking into the matter and what’s more startling is the story behind the contamination ... that it went on for four months ... including the Easter candy seasons, so you can be sure that thousands and thousands of chocolate sweets were consumed by little children who are higher risk for salmonella than healthy adults.
The part that has irritated me the most is how the chocolate was contaminated and the amount of time it went on. Apparently the salmonella found its way into the “milk crumb” through a leaking pipe above the production line at the Marlbrook plant, near Leominster. (The factory produces 97,000 tons of milk chocolate crumb every year from milk, sugar and cocoa liquor.) The pipe contained waste water from the system that was used to wash down the equipment. The leak was discovered in January, but Cadbury didn’t fix it right away, or even send anything to a lab until February. (link to article) It’s unclear how long the leak went on, but it’s clear that Cadbury didn’t report the contamination quickly and took their sweet time in issuing the recall for candy that is most likely already consumed (after all, some of it was Easter candy).
For reference, the products recalled are 250g Dairy Milk Turkish, Dairy Milk Caramel and Dairy Milk Mint bars, eight chunk Dairy Milk bars, 1kg Dairy Milk bars, 10p Freddo bars, and 105g Dairy Milk Buttons Easter Eggs. If you’ve bought any of these imported bars, either return them or simply throw them away. Rest assured that the American-produced Cadbury bars are not contaminated as they are produced by Hershey.
Friday, June 23, 2006
It was announced yesterday that Masterfoods plans to cut two lines at its Oak Park, IL factory. The affected lines mean the loss of 16% of the workforce (70 jobs) and they will no longer make the following:
Easter Egg Snickers
It’s possible that the novelty shapes of Snickers will be made elsewhere, the articles were vague on that, but Mars has mentioned discontinuing the Pop’ables line before (as Hershey’s has also mentioned discontinuing their similar Bites line).
I’ve never had Warheads before. I’ve just carried on with my life without the blisteringly sour candies that they offer. You can capture customers for that sort of thing when they’re young, but you don’t just find women in their thirties picking up the super-sour habit, do you? Well, maybe if they have a blog and are looking for new experiences.
I’m skipping over all the other Warheads products because this one was free and I liked the package. It’s a friendly little flattened plastic tube with a flip top. You can hear the little candy spheres rattling around in there. The flavor set is wide - black cherry, apple, lemon, watermelon and blue raspberry. The little gauge on the back of the package says that the sour power contained within is EXTREME and there’s an additional warning:
I’d say that’s probably good advice. It took me two separate tastings to write up this review and after the second one my tongue was a little numbed.
The candies themselves are very pretty. Bright colors with a slight powdered look to the surface, I was guessing that they were coated with some sort of super sourness. They don’t smell like much, just a kind of vague fruit punch when they’re all together, but after reading the warnings, my mouth was watering.
Blue Raspberry - the first impulse on the tongue is a floral raspberry that quickly becomes as blisteringly sour bite that last only as long as that scant coating on the outside. Then it’s just a nice, small sourball. The blue raspberry is actually a nice hard candy after that with a lot of flavor. They’re easy to chew up so you can get on to the next one.
Apple - no flavor to start with here, just that so-tart that it’s almost salty. The apple flavor starts in shortly after that with a good rounded flavor that leans to the chemical side.
Watermelon - there’s a nice woodsy watermelon flavor on the top of this one and it goes really well with the tart coating, just like some people like salt on their watermelon. The watermelon candy underneath is really refreshing and more authentic tasting than I expected.
Black Cherry - the intense sourness on this one completely overshadowed the underlying flavor for quite a while. The black cherry wasn’t as intense as I thought it would be - not even as strong as a cherry Lifesaver. Not that I’m complaining as I don’t care much for cherry, but the others seemed to have more flavor to them.
Lemon - gotta be my favorite (I think I like all yellow candies). The sour goes so well with the lemon, which is a full-bodied version with a little bit of oily zest flavor combined with the sourness.
I don’t know if I’d buy these again, but I like the size and proportion of these little pieces. They’re about the size of a Lemonhead, and what’s nice is the flavor variety in one package (even though I’m not fond of all the flavors, they’re all passably good, even the cherry). The recloseable top makes it easy to share and easy to save them for later after your tongue has healed. They’re not as blisteringly sour as the Super Lemon from Japan, which in my estimation makes them more edible.
Thursday, June 22, 2006
So, I’m walking around the All Candy Expo, minding my own sweet business, and I walk past the Just Born booth (which is pretty close to the entrance) and there are some free samples for eating right there on both sides of the aisle. One side has the new Hot Tamales Fire and the other has the Mike and Ike Tangy Twisters. The first couple of days I made sure that I grabbed a couple of Hotter Tamales when I walked by because I love them so. But at some point I found myself on the other side and I picked up a Tangy Twister ... not being terribly fond of Mike and Ike, but you know, it’s free and it’s my job and all.
Well, zowie if that wasn’t good. Turns out it was a pineapple one and it was zazzy.
So I picked up two packages to bring home for a full review.
All of the colors, except for the raspberry red ones look like highlighters.
The Tangy Twister flavor set goes like this:
Dark Red/Raspberry - nicely floral with a good sour kick before it turns sweet and bland.
Yellow/Pineapple - shazaam, I want to buy a whole bag of these. The flavor is tart and sweet and very much like pineapple with some nice floral notes and a smidge of and herbal bitterness.
Red/Cherry - what can I say, it’s cherry? It’s got a nice tart bite and a full rounded flavor of woodsy notes.
Orange/Citrus Punch - I’m a big citrus fan, but this one just doesn’t float my boat. It’s too much punch and not enough orange or lemon or whatever it’s supposed to be. It reminds me of those “juice drinks” that I had at other kids’ houses when I was a child.
Green/Apple - intense green apple flavor and very tart at first, a little on the chemical side.
The Mike and Ikes live up to their name. They are tangy. Unfortunately the flavor set doesn’t wow me. I loved the pineapple and the raspberry runs a close second but the rest of them are just ones I’ll eat, not ones that I’d pick out of a mix to consume. I usually like to have over 40% of a mixed flavor set to be ones that I’m ga-ga for. However, if you’re the kind of person who loves green apple, punch flavors and of course cherry in addition to the fantastic pineapple, this might be a good fruity mix for you. They certainly get higher marks from me than a standard mix of Jelly Belly candies. With Jelly Belly I can’t just buy a mix, I have to do my own from the bulk bins because I find so many flavors unappealing a box of the mix is pretty much worthless to me.
The back of the package exhorts “Bursting with Fruit Juice Flavor!” and sure enough on the ingredient label the fourth ingredient is Pear Juice from Concentrate. What is it with pears and tangy fruit candy?
Meticulously photographed and documented reviews of candy from around the world. And the occasional other sweet adventures. Open your mouth, expand your mind.