For a blog about candy, Valentine's Day is one of the biggest days of the year. So we could literally list out tons of great options for you to buy for your sweetheart this year, but that's not practical. So...since we're snobs and all, we're just giving you some of our true favorites and some of the best chocolates out there.
FOR THE TRADITIONALIST
If your sweetheart knows their chocolate, or at least has an evolved palette, Valentine's Day Chocolates from Lake Champlain are the way to go. We particularly like the 22 piece Grand Valentine Chocolate Heart - Chocolate Truffles, Caramel Hearts, Raspberry Creams, Maple Crunch, Evergreen Mint, Chocolate Hearts, and Dark Mint Crunch Squares...c'mon! This is a bargain at $38. THE DOUBLE WHAMMY
You can't go wrong with any of the gift ideas at Dan's Chocolates but we particularly like the Modern Heart 1 Lb. with Bouquet. It comes with a 1 Lb box of chocolates and a fresh flower bouquet shipped in the same box. The design on the box is also very cool. $64.98 at Dan's Chocolates.
IF YOU'RE FEELING NAUGHTY This is more funny than naughty, really. It is a lollipop that shows a naked cupid with his you-know-what exposed. Its actually quite a nice piece - handpainted with colored white chocolate. You can get it in white, milk, or dark chocolate for $3.95 from Naughty Chocolates.
FOR THE NOSTALGIC
We bought this variety pack awhile ago, and loved every single piece. Then, as fate would have it, we got to know one of the founders and we worked together on a candy book for the Pennsylvania Confectioner's Association. Big Tips Candy Collection contains: Mallo Cup(our favorite of course), Clark Bar, Idaho Spud, Peanut Chews, Goo Goo Cluster, Big Cherry, Twin Bing, U-NO, Sky Bar, Nut Goodie, Old Faithful, Salted Nut Roll, Bun Bar, Mountain Bar, and Rocky Road. The bonus, it comes in a snazzy gift box and a coloring book which tells the stories of these classic candies. The Big Tips Candy Collection is $24.95.
FOR THE WHITE CHOCOLATE LOVER
If you're going for white chocolate, go for the best white chocolate you can, in this case the 24 piece Godiva White Chocolate Gift Box.Its the perfect gift for anyone who loves white chocolate. It includes: Raspberry Star, Hazelnut Praliné Raindrop, White Ganache Bliss and Twilight Swirl, just to name a few. Plus its Kosher, fyi. $29 from Amazon
FOR THE ADVENTUROUS Pralus Pyramid - 10 Dark Chocolates from Around the World- This is a really nice gift if your sweetheart likes dark chocolates and is interested in learning about the nuances of the different terroir. This gift includes ten different single-origin chocolates in one enticing package. These delicacies are 75% cacao dark chocolate and won the Grand Prix d'Excellence International du Chocolate for both 1996 and 1997. $44.95 at Amazon.
IF YOUR SWEETHEART IS TRYING TO STAY HEALTHY
We strongly recommend Figamajigs, for Valentine's and beyond. Zero trans fats, low fat, high in fiber and anti-oxidants, all natural, and AWESOME flavor and texture. For a gift, the variety pack would be a nice way to go. It includes: 5 Figamajig Bars, 4 Figamajig Bars w/Almonds, 3 Orange and Yellow Chocolate Covered Drops, and 3 Dark Chocolate Covered Drops. It runs $22.35 at their website.
January has come and gone, which means Candy Snob is rocketing into one of our biggest months, Valentine's Day! Look for our Valentine's Day Gift Guide soon. In the meantime, here's what January 2008 had to offer.
Our mission, among other things, is obviously to increase the consumption of good, quality, candy into people's lives. That usually means candy bars, truffles, etc. But we came across this deal for chocolate truffle infused tea from Mighty Leaf. The more chocolate gets into people's lives the better in our opinion.
These teas are Individually crafted by hand, by artisans, by Mighty Leaf. And they come in all sorts of interesting flavors: Pear Caramel Truffle, Chocolate Orange Truffle, Mocha Pu-Erh Truffle, Chocolate Mint Truffle, Masala Chocolate Truffle, and Mayan Chocolate Truffle.
Even better, take this link and get 20% off these or any other Valentine's Day treats.
For candy lovers (or just people with a lot of time on their hands), this interactive mosaic of candy is really something special. Its developed by krazydad.com, the photos of the candy are from cybele-la of the Candy Blog. Better yet, if you want to buy any of these, go to oldtimecandy.com and use coupon code 04597 for a 5% discount!
I suppose it ultimately comes down to how strong your candy jones is. If yours is particularly strong and you live in Japan, you can get your hands on this very odd confection - the Larvae Chocolate (Youchu Choco). Looks frighteningly like a beetle larvae, so kudos to the manufacturers for making an accurate mold.
Luckily, it doesn't taste like beetle larvae - its body is made from milk chocolate and corn flakes, the skin is white chocolate, the legs are made from tiny strips of dried squid (OK, that's gross), and the mouth is made from orange peel. Its made by the Komatsuya confectionery and bakery - and it appears they're having trouble keeping up with demand. They're only available in Japan right now, and they sell for about US $2.
While wandering down the candy aisle in the drug store, doing what a Candy Snob does which is getting a lay of the land from the mass market candy makers, I saw two Hershey's products which got me thinking. The first was the Cacao Reserve by Hershey's and the second was the Hershey's Special Dark bar. With these two bars in such close proximity, I got to wondering whether there was a difference between the two, or whether this was simply a marketing and packaging ploy. So I decided to find out.
Hershey's Special Dark - Its shaped exactly like a traditional Hershey bar - a rectangular bar that can be broken into many smaller rectangles.
The description on the Hershey's website is that its flavorful dark chocolate "that offers a mildly sweet taste that milk chocolate lovers are sure to cherish." This says to me that they're trying to be all things to all people - which in most cases means you're not satisfying either. This bar melts like milk chocolate, not dark. And it actually broke apart very easily, not from being brittle but from being too soft - and it wasn't warm. From a flavor standpoint, there was absolutely nothing special about it. In fact, it was nearly flavorless, and didn't linger at all. This is certainly not what you would want if you're looking for dark chocolate. And, of course, it has the slight taste of spoiled milk that is the signature of Hershey's chocolate. This bar cost $.59 for a 1.45 oz. bar.
Cacao Reserve by Hershey's- The square, 4-piece Cacao Reserve bar was also a little softer than normal dark chocolate, and melted nicely. But it shared lack of punch and lack of finish with the Special Dark. The only discernible difference I tasted is that it had only a hint of the spoiled milk taste, which is a plus. The Cacao Reserve sells for $.99 for 1.3 oz. Quite a bit more expensive for a little less chocolate.
There may be faint differences in these bars, but I don't think enough to buy the Cacao Reserve over the Special Dark. But truthfully, given the choice I wouldn't buy either if I wanted dark chocolate.
MA-based chocolate maker, Bloomsberry, has teamed up with TerraPass, a green energy broker, to offer these "Climate Change Chocolate" bars. The wrappers have printed on them 15 tips to reduce your carbon footprint on the world, and in addition have included in their sale price, enough carbon energy credits from TerraPass to offset your carbon footprint for one day.
I don't know much about this carbon offset thing, but does this mean that if we eat a few truckloads of these chocolates that we'll fix the global warming problem? Is this secretly what Al Gore has done to cause the doubling of his girth?
We've seen these bars prominently located near the checkout at our local Whole Foods...so be on the lookout for a Candy Snob review.
These aren't the only socially conscious confection out there. WIRED magazine cofounder Louis Rossetto and some partners have just launched TCHO dark chocolate, which takes the fair trade idea to a whole new level. We'll be covering TCHO in much more detail soon.
About a week ago, CandySnob alerted you to the limited edition, Green M&Ms that were launched for Valentine's Day. As we mentioned, we bought a bag and have checked them out.
No big surprise, but they taste exactly the same as other M&Ms, despite our hopes that there would be some unique flavor associated with the green candy coating. As a side note...about 20 years ago, I met a guy who could tell the color of an M&M by taste. I'm sure you just said, "Yeah, right!" because that's what I initially said. But I saw it, I ran the test myself, and this guy got every color correct. Crazy, huh?
But I digress...back to the Green M&Ms. They tasted great, as every other M&M, but they do not taste any different. But, for Valentine's Day we're all for these emerald little chocolate candies.
Want to score points this Valentine's Day? Spill your guts to the one you love on an M&M! There are a ton of colors and various packaging for you to choose from. And, MyM&Ms is running a Free Bonus Bag Offer and a Free Shipping Offer. Go nutty. And if you want to send a bag of "We Love Candy Snob" M&Ms to us, you would forever be in our good graces.
Chocolate over popcorn...not a new idea, right? Wrong! Popcorn gourmands, Dale and Thomas, have taken the whole idea and added their signature twist with the Chocolate Popcorn Bar. They actually make the popcorn the filling of a piece of candy, rather than simply putting the chocolate on the outside of the popcorn. They take their famous caramel popcorn and cover it in imported Belgian dark chocolate - brilliant! The Chocolate Popcorn Bar is a hefty 1/4-pound bar made into nine individual bite-sized, crunch-a-rific pieces.
More on those poor Cadbury Creme Eggs, BrandRepublic reports that Cadbury is promoting the Creme Egg with a major digital marketing campaign - moving towards the big Easter selling season. The campain is based on the 'Here today, goo tomorrow' concept used in its latest ad campaign, and covered on CandySnob.
I could go on about my opinion of the actual site, from a marketing and web design standpoint, but that's not the purpose of this blog. Instead, I will say with conviction that it is a fun, jovial site - with things such as Creme Egg personality tests and the "Goo-ometer." Enjoy!
If you have a hankerin' for cotton candy, but there's no circus or carnival in town, check out this machine - it allows you to make cotton candy at home. Here's the interesting part...you don't make it from the traditional sugar syrup but from hard candies. Any hard candy will workYou can use any kind of candy you like. The machine is available at the Japan Trend Shop for $159.
Dove has jumped on to the dark chocolate bandwagon with both feet. We tried the miniature version of their Extra Dark Chocolate. It boasts 63% cacao (they also have a 71% bar) and is available in a 3.5-oz. bar and a 5.36-oz. pouch of miniatures.
First thought is that I like the size of it. If its a decent piece of chocolate, and you take your time eating it, a small piece is all you really need. Is it one of the best pieces of dark chocolate I've ever had, definitely not. But is it a considerable step above most grocery store chocolates? Absolutely. Enjoyable flavor, decent mouth-feel. If you're not looking to break the bank on the really good stuff, this is a nice option.
As an added bonus (sort of), each piece wrapped with a special "Promise" note inside. Nice sentiment, but if you're having a chocolate jones, I'm doubting you're paying attention to the wrapper.
Coincidentally, we just bought a bag of green M&Ms, so check back for our review and assessment soon!
M&M'S® CHOCOLATE CANDIES GO GREEN JUST IN TIME FOR VALENTINE'S DAY Limited Edition All-Green M&M'S® Chocolate Candies Put Consumers in the Mood for Love This Valentine's Day
HACKETTSTOWN, NJ · January 16, 2007 - PRNewswire — Mars Snackfood U.S. is proclaiming green the new color of love this Valentine's Day as the brand celebrates the myths, rumors and innuendo surrounding green M&M'S® Chocolate Candies. In support of this bold and fun declaration, retail establishments across the country will display limited edition all-green M&M'S® amidst a sea of traditional red and pink products. Consumers can find the all-green M&M'S® in packages from January 2008 through the Valentine's holiday.
Ms. Green in a Starring Role
The flirtatious, alluring, and confident Ms. Green M&M'S® brand character will appear on packages along with a disclaimer that states: Consumption of The Green Ones® may result in elevated romance levels. If you experience this effect, contact your significant other immediately.
"By proclaiming Green the new color of love, M&M'S® is spinning a traditional Valentine's Day treat into something fun and flirty," stated Michele Kessler, vice president, marketing, Mars Snackfood US. "Consumers will be delighted with our sweet and sassy Ms. Green as she encourages Americans to support green as the new color of love and we elevate the myth behind green M&M'S!"
Consumers Can Celebrate The Green Myth Online
By visiting www.mms.com, consumers and fans will be able to demonstrate their love for green and learn more about the lady behind the legend. The interactive site will offer consumers the opportunity to join the green M&M'S® community by sharing their own experiences with the candy, as well as seek advice from Ms. Green on how people can get their lovers' mojo motoring. Consumers can also send Ms. Green E-Valentine's to significant others and secret crushes and online "green smooches" from the lady herself.
What is it about The Green Ones®?
Legend has it The Green Ones® are an aphrodisiac; rumors of their special powers have been circulating since the '70s. In fact a certain perm-bearing early '80s rock star had it in his contract for three pounds of Green M&M'S® Chocolate Candies backstage for, uh, "inspiration." The Green Ones® have even made it into outer space. Green M&M'S® Chocolate Candies have been requested on 31 space shuttle flights.
The Lore of Green
The color green has a strong place in history, long associated with love and fertility. Green is also associated with energy, youth, growth, hope and new life. In the 15th century, green was the preferred color for wedding attire and the Celtic symbol of fertility was The Green Man. Today, green is considered an emotional stabilizer and pituitary stimulant.
Dunkin' Donuts Goes to Mars in 2008 Blasting Off the New Year with a Candy Bar Inspired Menu Featuring Milky Way Brand Hot Chocolate and M&M's Brand Donuts
CANTON, Mass., Jan. 14 /PRNewswire/ -- Dunkin' Donuts, the world's largest coffee and baked goods chain, is launching the new year on a chocolate note with the introduction of three new chocolate menu items to satisfy everyone's sweet tooth: a Milky Way(R) Hot Chocolate, an M&M's(R) Donut, and Dunkin's own Triple Chocolate Muffin.
Dunkin' Donuts has partnered with Mars, Inc. in creating two of these new treats featuring Mars' signature confections, Milky Way and M&M'S Chocolate Candies. Milky Way Hot Chocolate is a rich, smooth, hot beverage that blends chocolate, caramel and vanilla nougat flavors, just like the classic candy bar. Milky Way Hot Chocolate complements Dunkin' Donuts' line of freshly brewed hot beverages and is available in participating Dunkin' Donuts restaurants nationwide. This exciting new permanent beverage offering joins Dunkin' Donuts' classic Hot Chocolate and White Hot Chocolate-hot beverage selections that warm Dunkin' Donuts busy, on-the-go customers through the winter months. All Hot Chocolate beverages are topped off with a dollop of whipped cream.
The M&M's Donut, covered in chocolate or vanilla icing and sprinkled with colorful mini M&M's, is a fun, creative addition to Dunkin' Donuts' extensive donut line. The M&M's Donut is available at participating Dunkin' Donuts restaurants nationwide through March.
Dunkin' Donuts rounds out its New Year's product introductions with its Triple Chocolate Muffin. Featured in participating restaurants through March, this decadent bakery creation is made with a blend of rich cocoa, packed with two kinds of chocolate chips and topped with powdered sugar.
"Dunkin' Donuts is delighted to offer an exciting Mars Chocolate brand infused menu to allow our customers to indulge their love of chocolate with delicious new food and beverage choices," said Robert Rodriguez, Dunkin' Donuts brand president.
Dunkin' Donuts is committed to expanding its number of existing U.S. stores-moving into new markets while expanding in its current cities. Within the past year, the company has launched plans or entered into agreements for significant expansion in Las Vegas, Indianapolis, Phoenix, Dallas, Austin and Houston, among other locations. Dunkin' Donuts' first Las Vegas store set an opening week sales record, making Las Vegas the site of the most successful new store opening in Dunkin' Donuts' 57-year history.
If you want to learn more about Dunkin Donuts, click here. If there is no DD near you, click here.
No big revelations with M&M's 100 Calorie Packs. They are the exact same as regular M&M's, except they control your portion to a 100 calorie serving. These are, of course, great in theory. If you eat 5 bags (like me, for instance), it does you no good.
If you have to have a chocolate fix and don't want to crush your calorie count, go with CocoaVia productsfrom Mars. Only 80 calories and dark chocolate, so it has all the health benefits of that going for it. Most importantly in this situation, they are more satisfying. Another better choice for counting calories would be the Figamajig, which we covered on January 7.
A very funny post from a guy with a lot of down time who holds a WWE-worthy Survivor Series with his M&Ms - duels between individual M&Ms. He takes two M&Ms between his thumb and forefinger and applies pressure until one of them cracks. The M&M still standing intact goes to round two. This is a brilliant way to (1) make your M&Ms last longer and (2) waste time. Bravo!
Pegasus News made a post today regarding the latest in the painfully long line of candy brand extensions - Hershey's layered cookies. As a candy lover and marketing professional, I am sick of the line extensions. I think they are ultimately very lazy marketing on the part of the CPG companies, and will ultimately erode their brands, which will leave them in a real pickle. There are three kinds of these cookies: Hershey's layered cookie = white cream; Reese's layered cookie = peanut butter; Heath layered cookie = toffee. These excepts from the article say it best:
While edible, these are, in the end, just second-rate Oreos. Except that they're very small; the actual cookie square isn't much bigger than a Triscuit.
They're almost identical to a cookie line that Hershey's introduced in 2005, except that those were coated in chocolate. These are not.
Yesterday, Nestlé Rowntree unwrapped its "Win £20" promotion. Its one of those new fangled "text to win" promotions that enable consumers to win £20 cash by texting unique codes placed inside wrappers. The promo starts in mid-January, and there will be 100,000 opportunities to win. Participating brands include KitKat and Aero and Rowntree’s.
One of CandySnob's favorite holidays, Valentine's Day, is fast approaching. Look for our CandySnob Valentine's Gift Guide very soon. But in the meantime, check out this cool offer from M&M's. I got these for my lovely wife for Mother's Day last year and they're a really nice, personal gift. So this year, instead of the same old flowers or dinner out, show your Valentine you really care. Give personalized M&M'S, and they'll send a free bonus bag. The reality is that personalized M&Ms are relatively expensive (think how long it takes people to paint the words on each little piece!)...so a bonus bag is a good deal.
This past December 11, Sophia Banay wrote a good article in Portfolio helping to lay out the basics of high end chocolate, and how you can take part in the trend.
Some of the important nuggets of advice for any aspiring chocolate aficionado.
The Basics About Chocolate - Chocolate's three main forms—dark (less sugar and milk), milk (much lower level of cacao), and white (mostly cocoa butter, no cocoa solids).
The Big Number for Chocolate Snobs - The percentage of cacao in the bar - typically shown on the wrapper. 70% is the current level level of choice for the trend-setters.
The Big Kahuna of Beans - There are 3 kinds of commercial cacao beans - Criollo, Forastero, and Trinitario. Criollo is the big dog, because they make a light, aromatic, nutty, caramel-colored chocolate. They sell for up to $15,000 a metric ton!
Buy Nonfumigated, not Organic - "Organic" chocolate is a gimmick, it may not have been sprayed by pesticides, but they have been sprayed with methyl bromide to remove insects and dirt.
The Singles Scene - Single-bean chocolate bars are all the rage. The trend started when small farms, especially those in Brazil, the Dominican Republic, and parts of Venezuela, started producing exclusive-derivation bean shipments, meaning the beans all come from a small grove of identical trees within a certain area.
It'll Keep - Chocolate can be stored for well over a year, provided the spot is cool and dry and the temperature is constant.
When to Eat It - Eat your chocolate, especially the good stuf, at room temperature: too cold and it’s waxy; too hot and it melts.
To say we love these fig candy bars is an understatement. Besides tasting absolutely great, they are low fat, high in anti-oxidents, high in fiber, and have no gluten, trans fat or high fructose corn syrup. Plus they're all natural.
They end up being only 2 points on Weight Watchers (whatever that means), but I love them because they allow me to indulge my candy bar habit with a ton less fat and calories. And I really do mean indulge...they are rich, flavorful, and have an excellent bite. This is a class A candy bar.
Which is why I'm thrilled to let you know about an offer Mel (founder of Figamajigs) emailed out today. For every box of Figamajigs you order by January 11th, you will receive one free product sample.
BTW, they also now have a Variety Pack of 15 Figamajig products, including: Original Figamajig Bars, Original Figamajig Bars w/ Almonds, Dark Chocolate Covered Fig Candy, and Orange & Yellow Chocolate Covered Fig Candy.
Pop Bars from Dale & Thomas Popcorn takes milk chocolate and use it to cover their specially formulated popping candy (can you say Pop Rocks?). Urban legends of Mikey (the Life Cereal kid) choking aside...these sound like a really good time.
The antitrust division of the US Department of Justice is looking into pricing by Hershey’s, Mars, Nestle, and some others who they think may be involved in price fixing to hedge against the high cost of milk. The Canadian authorities were on the case first about a month ago. As if the the big candy makers don't already have the deck stacked...
For about the last five years now, my mother-in-law has been getting me a package of Lindt Lindor Truffles, and it has become one of my most eagerly anticipated gifts. Since its become an annual indulgence, I've had the opportunity to sample just about every type of their truffles - Milk Chocolate, White Chocolate, Mint, you name it.
This year became my favorite flavor of all, because I received the Extra Dark Chocolate Truffles. These bad boys have 60% Cocoa, and like all of their truffles, the outer chocolate enrobes a super smooth, super rich filling. And since they're dark chocolate, they are decadent without being overly sweet.
As 2007 draws to a close, ConfectioneryNews.com takes a look at some of the trends that dominated the chocolate industry this year.
Trend #1: Healthy confectionery and functional ingredients
Lots of manufacturers have added functional "healthy" ingredients, our favorite being from Mars, CocoaVia Chocolate Snack Bars- CocoaVia contains heart healthy Vitamins B6, B12, Folic Acid, Antioxidants C and E, and is an excellent source of Calcium.
Trend #2: Luxury and premium chocolates
But let's not let this healthy thing get out of hand...there's plenty of super-rich, super-yummy chocolate out there as well this year. One of our favorites is a classic, Godiva Chocolates.
Its blasphemy, really. Chocolate is meant to have cocoa butter in it. If you don't want to gain weight, don't eat as much. If global economic and political issues are causing prices to rise, we as consumers will have to suck it up and pay more. But we SHOULD NOT allow a main ingredient to chocolate to be replaced.
From "Chocolate Wars" in Conde' Nast Portfolio:
"There is a regulatory dustup over whether the traditional standards for making chocolate in the United States ought to be changed. It revolves around the question of whether a simple and elegant ingredient known as cocoa butter, which gives chocolate its creamy smoothness and texture, can be replaced, at least in part, by cheaper ingredients.
The disagreement involves the Food and Drug Administration, the federal arbiter of food standards, and has pitted mass candy manufacturers such as Hershey and Nestlé against smaller, higher-end chocolate makers such as 139-year-old Guittard Chocolateand See’s Candies...
Here’s the issue: For as long as chocolate has been made, it’s been smoothed out with the elixir called cocoa butter, an emulsified form of cacao that gives the finished product its silky texture. In the United States, the F.D.A. mandates that a product can’t legally be labeled as chocolate unless cocoa butter is part of the formula. But because of a drought and political violence in Ivory Coast, a major source for cacao beans, the price of cocoa butter has skyrocketed. This has prompted some of the major chocolate makers, Hershey among them, to lobby the F.D.A. by way of a trade-group petition for a change that would let them substitute such cheaper ingredients as vegetable oil and dried milk for cocoa butter and still call their products chocolate..."
Warren Buffet (owner of See's) said it best, "“If you’ve got recipes that people like, you don’t change them.”
This is just more bullying by the big candy makers. We loveHershey's,Nestle,M&M/Marsand Cadbury...but they already dominate the grocery and convenience stores. They should not further squeeze the already tight margins of the higher end chocolate makers.
Pimp your teeth with this off-the-hook Grillz Candy! Most people can't afford a diamond-encrusted platinum grill. I know I can't. Fortunately, most people can afford this tasty candy one. Simply place the lollipop-like end into your mouth and suck away (works like a pacifier). The flavor of the Grillz you receive will be a surprise, as they come in Sour Apple, Peach, Watermelon and Strawberry.
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Noël's affinity for sweets--and mild obsession with dark chocolate--originated at that bastion of childhood memories, the penny candy counter at the corner store. A short stint in the Girl Scout's sparked her interest in the culinary arts, which ultimately led to a career at Williams-Sonoma when, post college, she realized she could not pay the bills with a creative writing degree alone. As her palate matured and her love of tasting--everything from olive oil to coffee to chocolate--grew, Noël shifted her career from food to wine. Now her tasting duties are strictly amateur and decidedly more personal as most of her time is spent managing Bob and their two year old daughter.
Bob comes from a long line of sweet-tooths and candy lovers. His grandfather, William Boyer, founded Boyer Candy, and his Uncle Bob helped Bill grow the business. Together, they brought the world such delights as Mallo Cups, Smoothies and Peanut Butter Cups. The candy company is long since out of the family, but he has a big soft spot for Boyer candies and all nostalgic confections. More of a milk chocolate lover than his wife, Noel, Bob owns his own marketing company now and is hoping he doesn't gain 1,000 pounds writing this blog.