Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Best of the Best

I try to go to the Fancy Food Show every year in New York. It's a humungo trade show where specialty food companies show off their latest and greatest products. This year, since I was about to give birth, I didn't make it, but I do get the trade association's magazine. Here are some of this year's winners, although I haven't tried any of them.
Finalist in the Outstanding New Product category: Chocolove Chocolatour Tanzania Vintage 2005 chocolate bar.
Finalists in Outstanding Best Seller 2005: Chocolove Toffee and Almonds in Milk Chocolate; Vosges Haut-Chocolat Barcelona Candy Bar.
Outstanding Confection: Miguel & Valentino Rabitos Royale Bombon de Higo (Fig Bonbons)
Finalists in Outstanding Confection: Bequet Gourmet Celtic Sea Salt Caramels; Dufflet Small Indulgences Crunchy Caramel Coated Pistachios Enrobed in Pure Milk Chocolate; Fusion Gourmet, Inc. Bail's Best Coffee Candies- coffee flavor.

Those pistachios sound really good. I've tried a few different sea salt caramels, but I haven't really been wowed by them. Surprising, since I usually enjoy the salty/sweet combination.

Monday, September 25, 2006


Let me say from the start that I don't normally dig fudge. Usually it's too sweet or too grainy for my tastes, although I did go through a period where I ate a lot of penuche (brown sugar fudge) during my stint at Munson's Chocolates. Anyhow, I was contacted by Tim at Flippin' Fudge and he asked if I'd like to try some of his products. Well, hell, who am I to say no to candy? I will admit that I was a bit leery, given the typical fudge experience, but I can happily report that Flippin' Fudge is flippin' fantastic!
First off, the goodies come packaged in a fun box filled with multicolored confetti-type paper. Each square of fudge is wrapped in purple foil. Very cute. The fudge itself is super-smooth and sweet without being overwhelming. It occurred to me that they would be great for dessert paired with wines. Here's my impressions of the different flavors along with some wine suggestions.
Dark Secret: basic, yummy dark chocolate fudge. Would be great with a spicy red like Zinfandel or Syrah.
Citrus Shot: this was dark chocolate fudge with a hint of orange-- one of my very favorite flavor combinations. Would be fantastic with a glass of Essencia orange muscat.
Island Retreat: Chocolate and coconut. Very tropical. Maybe a nice glass of dark rum?
Berry Nuts: Essence of raspberry. Nice with Port or maybe champagne.
Toffee Crunch: Perhaps the sweetest of all the flavors. It was good, but not my favorite. (We'll get to that one later.)
Wake-up Call: Lovely espresso-flavored fudge. A nice mid-morning sweet!
Fuzzy Bubble: This was peach-champagne fudge. I'm not a lover of peach anything, except actual peaches, although I will say that this wasn't as cloying as peach "flavored" things usually are. If you like peaches, you'll like this fudge.
And my ultimate favorite--
Skippy's Surprise: peanut butter and chocolate. Oh praise Gannesh! This was the ultimate in PB & chocolate deliciousness. Smooth, creamy peanut butter mixed with heavenly dark chocolate fudge. It really doesn't get any better than this.

In the press release that came with the package, I learned that Flippin' Fudge is made by the husband and wife team of Tim and Liz Young who decided to turn their passion for chocolate into a business. ( You've gotta love that. And they came up with the name of their company after watching Napoleon Dynamite. (Will they create a Delicious Bass flavor?) I totally recommend their fudge to anyone who's looking for a fun gift. Their prices are very reasonable and the product is excellent. In fact, why not send a box of fudge to someone you love just for the heck of it?! What a wonderful surprise that would be. Okay, I'm off now to hide the last piece of Skippy's Surprise.

The Land of the Free, Home of the Coffee Crisp

Oh happy day! I just found out that Coffee Crisp, that wonderful Canadian candy bar, is available in the U.S. Apparently there was a petition going around to bring the crispety creation to America and the kind folks at Nestle responded. It's not available in Connecticut, but I vow to secure one in the next month or so. Here's the link:

Saturday, September 23, 2006

How do you eat a Kit Kat?

Here's one of my earliest candy memories. I was at the grocery store with my mother and there was a little girl in front of me at the checkout. Her mother had given her a Kit Kat, so she unwrapped it and proceeded to chomp right into it. I remember being horrified. You don't bite into the whole candy bar! You break off each finger one at a time! Is there anyone out there who doesn't break off each piece before eating it?
I have a very specific ritual for Kit Kats. Break off a finger and, using my bottom teeth, I take all the chocolate off the sides. Then I separate the top layer from the rest and eat it, then shove the rest of the piece in my mouth. Continue this way with the other three fingers. My favorite part is the sugary stuff in the middle.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Circus Peanuts

Who here likes Circus Peanuts? Anyone? You've just gotta love a candy that's shaped like a peanut but tastes like a banana. I think the only person in the world who eats these things is my mother.
But I guess someone must buy them, because they keep making them!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Here's another fun taste-testing trick to try with your friends. Put a drop or two of amaretto or almond flavoring in a glass. Have your friends give it a whiff and ask them what the scent is. Some people will say almond, but others will say cherry. It's an olfactory illusion! I think of this because we just got back from New Hampshire and one of my favorite things to do on vacation is to search out fun and interesting candy. Unfortunately, this trip was a bust. We stopped at the Bavarian Chocolate Haus (yes, that's really the name) and I bought their specialty-- a lump of nuts, coconut and other stuff drenched in dark chocolate. Unfortunately it had an overwhelming amaretto/cherry taste that completely ruined it for me. So I didn't find any great chocolate treasures in the White Mountains, but I tried.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Cranky McCandy

Being a Libra, it's not often that I form a strong opinion. But here's one: enough already with the limited edition candy bars. At first I found them exciting. Orange Kit Kat, Reese's Pieces with peanuts, Toasted Coconut Mounds-- what's not to love? Well, everything really. Because what's happened is that the manufacturers have taken a yummy, tried-and-true candy bar and tried to jazz it up with a new ingredient that just doesn't work. I suppose the thinking is that it's an established brand and a new flavor will get people to try them, but the fact is that in most cases, it just doesn't work. We love Reese's because the peanut butter is so dry and crumbly, just like we love Reese's Pieces because the peanut butter is so smooth and creamy. Kit Kats are great because they have the perfect balance of chocolate and crispy wafer. We don't need new variations. Instead, I'd love to see more new original candy bars. Okay, enough grumping. Back to loving chocolate.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Would it be totally wrong to say that a teeny tiny part of the reason why I had a baby is so I could go trick-or-treating? Well, there, I said it. Henri's costume is ordered and I'm ready for my favorite holiday.
The stores are starting to put out the Halloween stuff, although I have to say, it's been disappointing the past few years. As a kid, part of the excitement of Halloween was getting home and dumping out your pillowcase full of goodies and going through it all to see what you scored. Back then, the variety was immense. There were all the different types of bars: Snickers, Milky Way, Three Musketeers, Pay Day, Reese's, Charleston Chews. There were little rolls of Life Savers, tiny boxes of Chicklets, waxy rolls of Necco Wafers. And then the true gems: the full-size candy bars, the little paper bags with pumpkins on them stuffed with assorted candies, popcorn balls, McDonald's gift certificates for a small fry, and--from my grandma-- one of those giant Hershey bars. Now it seems the selection is so limited. Reese's or Snickers. Every year I try to find something at least slightly unusual to give out. What will it be this year? Oh wait... I almost forgot. I won't be home. I'll be out trick or treating!