May 31, 2008
Candy Snob's Monthly Roundup for May
Candy Deals & Offers
Random Candy Stuff
May 30, 2008
National Chocolate Caramel Day - Who Knew?
National Chocolate Caramel Day is observed on March 19. It's a day to celebrate everything great about chocolate and caramel. While it may not be a holiday that you'll have off from work, it can be just as much fun as any other holiday. Use this day as an excuse to get your family and friends together to enjoy your favorite treats and have a ball celebrating.
1. Celebrated March 19th
2. Not a federal holiday
3. Not a holiday sanctioned by the U.S. Congress
So what if its a made up holiday, we think its a fine idea.
May 29, 2008
Figamajigs Now Available in Target! Woo-Hoo!
It is official, Figamajigs are now being carried by Target. Congratulations to our friends over at Figamajigs, this is a huge score to be nationally distributed by such a big chain. But more importantly, this means we (and by we I mean I) can enjoy these healthy, chewy, delicious treats more than ever. The thought that I no longer have to order these online and more than likely have them partially melt in the Arizona heat makes me oh, so happy. That has really been the reason I'm not a complete Figamajig addict. I no longer have any excuses...my name is Candy Snob, and I am a Figamajigaholic.
Check out their website
May 28, 2008
Candy companies hoping "functional" health benefits help business
Candy companies are betting that the trend toward healthy foods will extend to their confections - Cadbury, Wrigley and Mars are all launching new gums and candies this summer designed to provide health benefits. The "functional" candy category has grown in 2006, up nearly 2% to $1.5 billion.
For Cadbury - a new gum line called Trident Xtra Care. Its made with recaldent, a form of calcium derived from milk that has been shown to strengthen tooth enamel by filling in crevices where cavities can form. FYI - recaldent is already being used in Trident White (also from Cadbury), but Xtra Care will 2x as much.
For Wrigley - a new line of its Eclipse gum and mints formulated with magnolia bark extract (MBE), a substance that is supposed to help bad breath.
For Mars - two new lines of vitamin-enriched Dove chocolates earlier this year - Dove Vitalize (with vitamin B and plant sterols) and Dove Beautiful (with vitamins C and E, biotin and zinc).
May 28, 2008
10% off sweetriot in Honor of Sex and the City Premier
sweetriot, one of our favorite dark chocolate/cacao companies, is extending a 10% discount off any order placed on sweetriot.com by Friday's premiere of the Sex in the City movie. Go to Hit shop.sweetriot.com and use the discount code SexInTheCity by Friday, May 30th to receive 10% off your order.
Mentos Gum Bursts in the U.S.
Mentos Gum - is Perfetti Van Melle USA's second attempt in five years to crack the U.S. gum market - and they're going to spend $41 million this year to do it (Wrigley & Adams typically spend about $35 million for a new product introduction). Perhaps they are still stinging after discontinuing their last attempt, Mentos NewCharge. The gum will come in Spearmint, Red Fruit and Peppermint flavors.
Look for the ads to show up on Grey's Anatomy, Desperate Housewives and "American Top 40" with Ryan Seacrest - showcasing the tagline "New Mentos gum. It's Mouthwatering."
Review: Hershey's Chocolate Truffle Kisses - "Don't bother"
In a word..."ehhh."
That's the best we can come up with for these very...well...forgettable chocolates.
I got these with the highest of hopes. I like Hershey's Kisses and I love truffles - these should be awesome. But when I unsheathed these chocolates from their foil wrapper, what I saw were what looked like small, brown baby bottle nipples. The tip of the Kiss is much thicker that the normal Hershey's Kiss - totally screws with an iconic brand shape (think Coke's hourglass bottle, Heinz Ketchup bottles, and the Hershey Kiss). Add to that a smell that is reminiscent of canned chocolate icing and you have a pretty unappealing situation.
The taste was VERY milky - which in the case of Hershey's chocolate is to say "sour milky." And there is no taste differential between the coating and the truffle filling. But at least that lack of distinction is consistent, there is virtually no difference in texture either. When you have a great truffle, there is a distinct difference between the harder coating that gives way to a softer, creamier filling. Not so in this case. The outside melts quickly, there is no break between the coating and filling, and the texture of both is nearly identical.
Overall, don't bother. If you want a really good, quality, mass-market truffle, try Lindt instead.
Photo courtesy of Candy Blog
May 27, 2008
Rompibollo Chocolate Puts the Calorie Count on Each Piece
Now you can eat chocolate knowing exactly how much calories it has, if you're into that sort of thing.
"Rompibollo" is a chocolate board which can be divided in pieces of different dimensions. On the relief of each piece is the calorie count...Holy Buzz Kill Batman. On the other hand, the cool thing about this idea is that with the different dimensions, you can choose how many or how few calories you take in.
More on Hershey's Bliss Experiential Parties
We blogged about the Hershey's Bliss parties a little bit ago. Here's another shot of the party pack one would get to run these house parties. According to PROMO, looks like they're working - more than 129,000 people have attended the parties, plus 22,000 digital photos and 15,000 blog entries.
Review: Twix Java
Candy Snob has been a long-time fan of the Twix bar - crunchy, a little chewy and of so delicious. So we had to pick up a Twix Java when we saw it at the checkout counter recently. The press release says it is a limited edition for March, which I only heard once I ate it - I didn't notice any staleness or lack of freshness though.
Twix Java does more than simply infuse the chocolate with coffee flavor, which would have been the easy thing to do. Instead they changed both the caramel and the cookie, and we'e glad they did because it makes for one delicious treat. Let's start with the caramel. Twix Java uses a much darker caramel that its traditional cousin. It is nearly as dark as the milk chocolate. And the cookie is now a chocolate cookie. So visually, this makes the inside of the Twix Java lack the distinct colors of the regular Twix bar, they are all nearly the same color. However, where it may not have the visual interest, it more than makes up in taste and flavor depth.
There is good bitterness in the coffee flavor, we found it to be quite "real" in taste - rather than just adding in coffee flavoring you sometimes get in other coffee-flavored chocolates and in coffee ice cream.
The chocolate cookie, however, is what makes this bar really stand out. It adds a level of depth that would have otherwise been lost had they used the normal vanilla cookie. Coupled with the coffee-infused caramel, its a multi-layered taste experience with nice balance and bite.
One thing Twix did not change with the Twix Java is the milk chocolate coating. This made for another interesting layer of flavor. Given the darker caramel and cookie, dark chocolate would have naturally been the natural pick to us, but we were both intrigued and pleased with what the milk chocolate brought to the table - which was a creaminess and sweetness that worked nicely with the other flavors.
Want to hear an audio press release of the Twix Java release?
May 24, 2008
Glee Gum Bubblegum Flavor - "A gum MacGyver could use..."
Honestly, I wasn't crazy about this flavor from Glee. I'm a purist at heart...so when I taste bubblegummy flavor (of which Glee's is very very tasty), I sort of want it to be attached to bubblegum, not chewing gum. I prefer my chewing gum to be minty or fruity. Personal thing...so I would simply sum it up by saying good flavor that I again wish lasted longer, and stickier than other Glee Gum I've sampled.
My wife, the fetching Mrs. Candy Snob, also shared in the gum chewing expedition today. Here's what she had to say:
In regards to how quickly the flavor dissipates, "Not as bad as Fruit Stripe, but not great."
Commenting on the stickiness of the gum, "This is a piece of gum that MacGyver could use."
"I like the little snap I get when I'm chewing this."
Glee Gum's website
Man tries to buy M&Ms with pot; Fake Hershey's "Pot" Candy
When you gotta have your M&Ms, you gotta have your M&Ms...from the Chicago Tribune:
A New Zealand man who offered to pay with marijuana when he did not have enough money for a snack was caught by a police officer who overheard his unusual proposal, a news report said Tuesday.
Wade Churchward, 28, went to a service station on March 22 in the capital, Wellington, where he picked up two packets of M&M's candy and some potato chips, the Dominion Post newspaper reported.
But when he reached the cashier, he realized he didn't have enough money and instead offered a container with 0.042 ounces of marijuana and a pipe for smoking it, the report said.
Churchward failed to notice a patrol car outside and a police officer standing behind him in line -- who promptly arrested him.
Which brings us to an older story I stumbled upon in looking into the story above from ABC News - fake Hershey's candy with a definitive marijuana theme.
No surprise, Hershey is suing the California marijuana dealer who did this, for ripping off the company's name and using it to sell marijuana-laced knockoffs. Our favorite? Tough call, but we're going with Keef-Kat.
May 22, 2008
Mars to Allow People to Print their Faces on M&Ms
At this week's National Confectioners Association All Candy Expo, Mars announced that it will be taking their personalization of M&Ms program to the next level with "M&M Faces." Now you can write personal messages on M&Ms, but with M&M Faces you'll be able to upload a photo and put it on a batch of M&Ms. The program is set to launch next month.
"The consumers aren't recreating the brand, they enhance it," said Cass. "The brand essence is fun, and they simply redefine that," says Jim Cass, Mars Direct's VP. Kudos for understanding how consumers interact with THEIR brand guys.
Chatham Fine Chocolates
As I was perusing an issue of an Arizona lifestyle magazine recently in a waiting room, I came across a local candy maker that I can't wait to check out in person - Chatham Fine Chocolates.
Chatham's features artisan chocolatiers and sports a broad variety of truly interesting treats, including: truffles infused with cognac and rose petals, and molded butterflies. The piece is an interview with founder Chatham Kitz, where they discuss the ins and outs of gourmet, artisan chocolates and how his career has upped the ante for Valentine's gifts for his wife (chocolate doesn't cut it anymore).
Check out the Chatham's Fine Chocolates website
May 21, 2008
Certificate From the Glee Gum Guy
We made some posts (here and here) regarding Glee Gum and what do you know, their mascot sent us a certificate of appreciation! It was our pleasure Glee Guy.
May 20, 2008
Chocolate Bar Calculator - So You Know How Many Candy Calories You're Eating
In case your candy-based calorie counts are higher than you can count in your head (like mine), we now have The Chocolate Calculator (donned the Choculator by Chip Chick). It is a calculator, cleverly disguised as a Hershey's-esque chocolate bar. It measures 2.5″ w x 4″ and costs $8.
From Chip Chick
May 19, 2008
Hershey's Bliss Joins The Experiential Party
Hershey's is making sure they're leveraging word-of-mouth marketing by making themed house parties the centerpiece for its kickoff of its new Hershey's Bliss chocolate line.
The "Taste of Bliss" parties mesh naturally with the brand's message and female target audience, says Hershey Director of Product Publicity Jody Cook. Rather than being touted as an end-of-day reward or escape, Bliss is positioned as a part of "celebrating and appreciating the everyday joys of life"--and for many women, time with family and friends is high up on the list of those joys, Cook points out.
In addition to samples of the three Bliss varieties, hosts received goodie bags for attendees. Those interested in having a party where attendees created their own "Blissful Memories Scrapbooks" could access downloads of scrapbooking supplies. Other hosts chose to use a "Bliss or That" trivia game theme.
The 10,000 Bliss parties held over the weekend of April 25, just as the chocolates were hitting store shelves, drew more than 129,000 attendees and resulted in postings of over 22,000 digital photos and 15,000 blog entries.
From Marketing Daily
May 16, 2008
Review: Rabitos Royale - Fig Bonbons
Truffle stuffed figs...the very thought give me hear palpitations (the good kind). Which is why we were so excited to try out the Rabitos Royale Fig Bonbons from Valeros.
Each of the 16 pieces is sealed in gold foil. Inside is a small fig that's been infused with dark chocolate truffle, and then covered in dark chocolate. When you break open one of the wrappers, you actually catch a waft of the strong dark chocolate and also the brandy. Again, simple ingredients making the best candy - dried fig, liquid cream, glucose syrup, brandy liquor, chocolate.
We tried to take a picture of the cross-section of one of these candies, but opted to show you the illustration on the back of the box instead. The photo didn't do these beautiful candies justice, and chocolate and fig butchered by yours truly doesn't make for a great close-up photo.
A little background, these candies originate from Southwestern Spain, where the makers pick local, young figs and fill them with a dark chocolate brandy mousse. These candies have also won acclaim at the Chocolate festival in Williamsburg VA.
What struck me the most with these candies is the contrasts. Contrasts in flavor and contrasts in texture - all packed into one little bite. The smooth dark chocolate, quickly giving way to the chewy, grainy (from the seeds) texture of the fig. But by the time you've taken note of that, you're hit by the pure decadence of the brandy-infused truffle mousse. We found the brandy to be a little strong. Not overwhelming, but strongly present in the candy.
These bonbons pack a wallop, give them a try if you're looking for something off the beaten path. Available at La Tienda
May 15, 2008
Review: Glee Gum - Tangerine
Today we dive into our stash of Glee Gum, starting with the Tangerine flavor.
The box is brightly colored orange (tangerine I suppose), nicely designed, and sports a retro-looking cartoon guy who doesn't seem to have a torso.
What's cool about Glee in general? Among other things, they're organic and vegetarian. And they use rainforest chickle for their gum base. If you check out the ingredients, you'll notice a short list of flavors. And if you know much about Candy Snob, you know we believe the less ingredient, ultimately the better candy.
The gum pieces themselves are little squares, a little bigger than a Chicklet, and these are also orange in color. When you bite into a piece, the first thing you notice is the crunch of the shell, which appears to be thicker than most gum or this sort. From there, you get a bite across the sides of your tongue - when the real citrus flavor hits. And immediately following, a very brief coolness which is very, well, cool. The tangerine flavor is both genuine and natural tasting, but also distinct from its orange cousins. Often, its hard to tell the difference between orange and tangerine flavor. Not so with Glee.
In fairness, the one negative I would point out is that the flavor doesn't last very long at all - I popped 3 in my mouth at once, and the flavor was pretty much wiped out in 1-2 minutes. The upside to this, of course, is that you get to chew some more Glee Gum!
Check out Glee Gum.
May 14, 2008
Lucky Country Packaging - Whole Foods vs. Costco
We covered Lucky Country's Black Licorice several days ago. But as we've tried to make clear, we're on a licorice kick...so when the fetching Mrs. Candy Snob and I were strolling through Costco, we felt compelled to pick up a big honkin' bag of Lucky Country black licorice. To be perfectly honest, I thought these were a different version than the Whole Foods bag we had bought, but they were not.
Same solid licorice, strong anise flavor, nice and soft. But note the packaging. It isn't new news that Costco (and Sam's Club) ask their vendors to package their products especially for them (large quantities, stackable, etc.). But what struck me more was that the Whole Foods version was so different. If you look at the Lucky Country strawberry licorice we also recently looked at, the "mass-marketing," plastic packaging with brighter colors, etc. seem to be the norm. In other words, instead of Lucky Country retro-fitting their Whole Foods (i.e. "natural") packaging to sell into Costco, could it be the other way around? Could Whole Foods be dictating the look and materials of their packaging to fit into their "all natural" motif?
Want more natural news? Check out Really Natural.
May 13, 2008
Candy Snob Helps Feed Your Candy Obsession with News, Reviews and More
Candy Snob is the place to go to indulge your sweet tooth. Whether you're crazy for gourmet chocolate or a sucker for hard candies, we've got all the news, reviews, and information you can cram down your gullet.
That's right, we're official!
Read the whole press release here.
May 11, 2008
Review: Lucky Country Aussie Style Gourmet Licorice - Strawberry
It is official - we're on a licorice kick. After we reviewed Lucky Country's Black Licorice, we wanted to try the brand's strawberry option.
The strawberry licorice comes again in the ~1 inch piece with deep grooves that run the length of the piece. It is much softer than its black licorice counterpart. I think this typically has to do with the flavoring - black licorice to me is less sugary than strawberry - which I believe makes black more firm. The strawberry is a little less dense, again something I attribute to strawberry vs. black licorice in general.
The flavor's good, but not great. I don't know if "gourmet" is appropriate to be honest. I would liken the flavor to Red Vines. Not nearly as sugary, and a much deeper flavor, but it lives in that general vicinity of strawberry flavor. But it doesn't have nearly the depth of flavor we've seen in other "gourmet" licorices.
Overall thought? Solid strawberry licorice, but not for licorice connoisseurs.
One note, this licorice doesn't appear to be the all natural version that the black licorice was, but if that's not a huge deal to you, this is well worth trying.
Check out Lucky Country Licorice
May 10, 2008
My Glee Gum Has Arrived
Thank you to the Glee Gum folks for sending me their all-natural chewing gum to review and check out. Look for the reviews soon!
May 9, 2008
Incredible Shrinking Cadbury Creme Eggs
If you hadn't already realized, as we hadn't, Cadbury Creme Eggs appear to have been shrinking. Click here to read more on Consumerist. Or click here to see BJ Novak from The Office talk about it on Conan O'Brien.
Thanks CandyAddict for the heads up on this licorice and the pic. A very fun idea to appeal to both the black licorice lovers and also the tech/geek community.
May 8, 2008
Gummi Bears vs. M&Ms - Which Holds More Energy?
Just a little chemistry fun putting gummi bears and M&Ms with Potassium Chlorate, to see which one held the most energy.
Energy Of Candy Gummi Bears Vs. M&M's Experiment - video powered by Metacafe
Review: Lucky Country Gourmet Soft Licorice (Black Licorice)
We're slowly (or not so slowly) becoming addicted to "Aussie style" licorice. Why? Simply because its flavorful, typically in nice, bite sized pieces, and most of all because its soft.
We recently checked out Lucky Country's black licorice flavored offering. According to the packaging, they came across this particular recipe by accident, when a hard licorice batch went awry and turned soft. Here's to happy accidents! It is also all natural to boot - which we always appreciate.
These pieces are about one inch long, which make for convenient (and plentiful) eating.
They aren't as soft as other Aussie licorice we've had - which isn't a bad thing, but the softer the better in our book. The insides are a bit dry as well.
The flavor is strong for sure, big and bold anise taste abounds. Its not for the faint of heart, but also not for the hard core licorice traditionalists either. The flavor stays with you for awhile, I actually feel like my tongue is coated with something, which is slightly offputting.
Overall, I'd put it in the mid-top tier of the licorice I've had. If I HAD to give it a rating, I'd give it a 6 or 7.
May 7, 2008
The Fetching Mrs. Candy Snob
If you've ever wondered what the Candy Snob looks like...
German Milk Chocolate Ice Cubes Melt in Your Mouth - NEWS FLASH!
We're not sure why these "melt in your mouth" any more than any other chocolate...but we thought it was a fun idea anyway...
German Chocolate Ice Cubes at Vermont Country Store
May 6, 2008
A Bittersweet Deal for Wrigley
Selling the family business wasn't William Wrigley Jr.'s plan, but the Mars offer was too good to refuse
That's what Business Week reported this week. Here are some key nuggets from the article:
Photo Illustration by Sean McCabe (Jerry Lai/AP Photo, Bloomberg, PA/Empics, PhotoLibrary)
- Wrigley had little choice but to sell. The industry is just too competitive, and the Mars/Wrigley combo would give them 14.5% market share and a distribution network in 180 countries. Cadbury, the bane of Wrigley's existence, would now be #2 with only a 10% share.
- The Mars offer represented a 28% premium over Wrigley's price
- Things might have been different if Hershey's had accepted Wrigley's offer to sell back in 2002.
- Under William Wrigley Jr.'s watch, sales climbed to more than $5 billion from $2 billion in 1999--driven by snapping up competitors, stoking product development, and expanding globally.
- At the press conference, Wrigley said, "It's a challenge because you always think of the generation before you," he said. "But you have to separate yourself from that to make the right decisions."
New Mint Flavors of Figamajigs
We love Figamajigs, LOVE THEM! Can't wait to try the new mint flavors we've just learned about. They've also changed their website (www.figamajigs.com) to move of an online store, which looks to be a much nicer site. They're calling it the Figamajigs Market. Nice.
Bacon flavored mints
We've been seeing bacon make its way into gourmet chocolates, but this is our first sighting of our favorite breakfast meat entering the breath mint arena. While I'm not sure these would taste very good, all the neighborhood dogs will love you.
From Perpetual Kid
May 5, 2008
Mento's Website Give New Meaning to "Onscreen Kissing"
A new Mentos site allows you to choose a "hottie" of your choosing, give them a Mentos and then have a virtual kiss. Weird.
Review: Modjeskas from Cracker Barrel
If you haven't been to a Cracker Barrel, more specifically if you haven't perused the candy section of the Cracker Barrel store, you're missing out on a treasure-trove of retro candy and confections.
We're going to be covering several of the treats we've recently picked up there, starting today with a candy that's actually looks to be made by Cracker Barrel, or some regional candy-maker - the hard to pronounce Modjeska. It is a candy that originated in Kentucky, and has several variations. The one we're discussing today is a caramel-covered marshmallow.
The candy was wrapped in plain wax paper, giving it a very homemade feel, which added to our anticipation. They happened to be selling these at the checkout, not the normal candy section. When unwrapped it, what we saw looked like a large caramel - which made us very happy of course.
When we bit into it, the first thing you notice is the texture - which was a little tough. The issue is that the marshmallow is very dense, not light and fluffy. So it ends up being very chewy. In fact, you can see from the picture that the marshmallow was tight enough that it started pulling away from the caramel. This isn't a terrible thing, but if it had a lighter texture, it would make the piece much more enjoyable.
From a flavor standpoint, the caramel is terrific. Creamy, rich and delicious. The marshmallow, however, gets lost in the shuffle. I love the idea of marshmallow paired with caramel, but this particular combo wasn't evenly balanced. By the time you're past the rich caramel, you're on to the chewiness of the marshmallow filling, so its contribution to the overall flavor is lost.
Overall - your ~$.50 is better spent on the other treats in the Cracker Barrel store.
If you're interested in learning more about this unique candy, its history, and a recipe click here.
May 1, 2008
Free Sweetriot Sweatshirt for Mother's Day
If you order a $100 gift certificate from Sweet Riot by May 6th (Mother's Day is May 11th by the way), and you type RiotMommyat checkout, Sweet Riot will throw in a free t-shirt.
M&Ms #1 & #4 in Ranking of April's Favorite TV Ads
M&Ms ads (and the candy of course) have been pretty interesting for awhile. And apparently we're not alone in this assessment. IAG Research just put out its monthly Top 10 Most-Liked, Most-Recalled New TV Spots - and two M&Ms ads made the list, and one of those topped it.
Ad Age notes, "There are lots of reasons to like M&M's -- for instance, they melt in your mouth, not in your hands -- but if you were a squirrel in the park, you might have other reasons to be jonesing for an M&M."
The #1 ad: Pink peanut M&M is attacked by squirrels while trying to read a magazine on a park bench. View here
The #4 ad: Blue M&M in a laundromat loses her contact lens; a woman finds it easily due to large size; M&M loses her other contact.
Candy Snob's Monthly Roundup for April
Candy Deals & Offers
Random Candy Stuff
Taffy & Chews