Thursday, November 29, 2007

We Want Answers, Jelly Belly!

Little Gretl von Schokolat received a gift from Memaw at Thanksgiving: a bucket full of Jelly Bellys! Or so we all thought.

When the bucket was opened, we were all shocked to see a teeny-tiny, eensy-weensy package of Jelly Bellys in the bottom. I mean, we're talking small! On the tag, it said 3.25 ounces, so it was a little less than a quarter pound. From my experience working at the chocolate shop in college, I can tell you that a quarter pound ain't much. But to the lay person, that sounds like it would be a decent amount (as evidenced by the fact that people would always come into the store and want a quarter pound, "some of every flavor," which just wasn't possible unless you scooped out one bean per flavor. We finally started telling customers that there was a five-flavor limit on quarter-pounds). Needless to say, it was quite a disappointment.
I understand that packaging costs money, and the little bucket was very cute, but come on, seriously. This was just plain evil. So what've you got to say for yourselves, Jelly Belly people, huh?! Do you like making a little girl cry? (Well, all right, she didn't cry, but the Baron did.)
Thankfully there was another gift to cheer the mini von Schokolats up-- lip glosses in candy flavors: Nestle Crunch, Butterfinger and Baby Ruth. Apparently Buddy the Sausage Dog liked them, too, because he tried to eat the package.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Chew on This!

Here's an excellent article from the New York Times on the gum tasters at Cadbury. It brought back such lovely memories of my time as one of their beverage tasters. What a great job that was. The training was so much fun, learning to tell the difference between candy strawberry, fresh strawberry, strawberry Jell-O, cooked strawberry, strawberry jam ... my palate will never be the same! I don't think I'd like to be a gum tester, though. Too much chewing. I'd imagine your jaw would hurt after a full day's work.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

If I Rated Candy, These Would Get Five Golden Circus Peanuts (Yes, That's a Good Thing!)

The beautiful thing about having a blog is that I can write anything I darn well please. If I hate something, I can say it without having to worry that an advertiser is going to pull their full-page four-color ad. Likewise, if I love something you can believe I'm telling the truth, because there's no one I need to suck up to. So believe me when I say: Emily's Chocolates are sooooo yummy and I can't stop eating them.

I returned home from Thanksgiving at the von Schokolats to find a big box on my porch filled with samples from Emily's cookie and candy lines. The packaging is very pretty (and very festive with little bows on top) and I figured this would be decent stuff. But I never expected that I'd go completely bonkers over it.

The dark chocolate covered cranberries and almonds were completely addictive. I say "were" because they're gone now. Between Mr. Goodbar and me, we polished off the box rather quickly. The cranberries were juicy and tart; the almonds big and crunchy. "Hey, this is good stuff!" said Mr. Goodbar, so you know it has to be good.

Then, purely for sampling purposes, I tried the dark chocolate peanut butter cream sandwich cookies. OMG! Talk about YUM! Crunchy cookies, nice nutty peanut butter cream and good quality dark chocolate. What more is there to say?

There was a box of dark chocolate mint cookies, but I foolishly gave them to "No-Nuts," my niece who was going back to college. I hope she's enjoying them, because I know I certainly would have.

You can check out all of Emily's products at their website, and it looks like you can get them at places like Target and CVS. At around $5 or less, they're a fantastic grab bag gift. I plan on buying lots of these boxes to give to friends at Christmas (so if you get a box, just act surprised!)

My Proteges

Apparently I've trained the little von Schokolats well. Here we have Liesl von Schokolat modeling her lovely new shirt that says "Chocolate" (oooh, how I covet that shirt!). Next we have Gretl von Schokolat displaying her creation: a soccer ball that she painted. It says "I (Heart) Candy" and "Visit" Excellent work!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Thanksgiving '07: Chocolate Booze

I had just barely walked through the door after being in the car for six hours when the Baron said, "We got you something that combines your two favorite things in life!"

What could it be I wondered? A book about chocolate? A sleeping pill made of candy? A candy Mini Cooper? For some reason, wine just wasn't on my mind, so the Baron finally had to tell me: "Wine and chocolate!" And then at that point the Baroness said, "WHY DID YOU TELL HER?! Did I not just say to you a half hour ago that it was a surprise?"

I actually thought it would be wine-filled chocolates, but no, it turned out to be Berry Chocolate raspberry-blueberry wine with natural chocolate flavor! Talk about a surprise! The Baron and I slipped away from the crowds to enjoy a glass. I expected it to be a syrupy sweet dessert wine, but it was actually on the drier side, I think because of the blueberry. It would go really well with a slice of flourless chocolate cake. Mmmmm!

Not Really a Post, Just Saying Hi

I'm back from my visit with the von Schokolats, and as imagined, there's lots to report. But alas, I don't have much time right now, so keep checking back. I'll tell you all about the chocolate wine, the secret chocolate ceremony and the Jelly Belly travesty.
I'll also tell you how I came home to a big box o' candy that I'm completely gaga over.
But for now, the house is a mess and I have 2,000 words to write in my novel.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Random Candy Memory: Before She Was the Baroness, She Was the Best Friend

We're in 6th grade or so. It's the Baroness' birthday (long before she was the Baroness or the sister-in-law and was simply my best friend). Her mother (Memaw) was working at Waldbaums, and as a birthday gift, she got the Baroness a case of Carefree bubblegum. A case! I thought that was the coolest thing ever. Enough gum to last a loooong time. I was so jealous. Fast-forward a few months to my birthday, and guess what I got? Yes, my very own case of Carefree bubble gum.
So this weekend, I opened up the von Schokolats' pantry and what did I see? A case of Orbit gum. Some things never change.
I hope everyone's having a lovely Thanksgiving. I'm full to the gills with turkey and stuffing and several slices of Grammy's awesome banana bread.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

I'm off to go up north to spend the holiday with the von Schokolats, which no doubt means I'll have something to report when I get back. Have a lovely, safe and delicious Thanksgiving. May your cornucopia be fruitful with candy and chocolate.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Let's All Chip In and Hire Shan the Man!

Okay, seriously, the Japanese have to be the coolest people on earth. Not only did they give us sushi and Hello Kitty, but now I just found out about Amezaiku, or "sweet candy craft." You can hire this dude ("Shan the Candy Man) for your next party and he'll make any animal or object you want out of boiled candy. Considering I couldn't even make a decent rock candy, this is WAAAAY impressive!

And You Thought Diamonds Were a Girl's Best Friend?

Today's gift idea comes to you from a website called Glitter Lime and it's a very exciting candy product-- jewelry made from REAL candy! They have Conversation Heart rings, candy corn pins, all sorts of stuff! Apparently they're coated in some sort of super space age high tech glossy stuff so they won't disintegrate, but they do recommend keeping your jewelry away from water. Also, there was a warning that the color on the Peeps may fade over time. I love these!

On the Wings of a Dove (Okay, lame, I know... just couldn't think of anything creative)

Someone needs to take these milk chocolate Dove pieces away from me. Traditionally I prefer dark chocolate, but holy moly, Dove makes an addictive milk chocolate. So good! The folks at Dove have been busy with new things. Their latest is called "My Dove" and it's a cute idea. Inside the wrapper of each piece of Dove chocolate is a little saying, usually about something sweet or love or something. But now you can put your own message in there. A very cute idea for weddings or parties ("Xavier & Ximena, Sept. 15, 2010) or even businessy stuff. ("Nice job! Here's your bonus!") You can pick milk or dark, and you get your choice of wrapper color, so you can even match it to your theme. The problem, however, is the price. You have two options: 50 for $79.99 or 75 for $109.99. That makes them more than a dollar a piece, and you'd certainly want to give out more than one piece per person. I think that's a little steep for most average Joes. But if you have a nice budget, I say go for it.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Is Nothing Sacred?

The New York Times Magazine this weekend has an interview with former Disney chief Michael Eisner. Guess what? He paid $385 million to acquire Topps, the company that makes baseball cards and yes, Bazooka gum. This is what he had to say:

"Topps is a brand that's in the brain-waves of about 70 years of the American male. I can take that affinity and turn it into a sports-media company. Topps has many assets, and Bazooka has Bazooka Joe, and I could have fun making a Bazooka Joe movie."

Why is Bazooka Joe always wearing an eye patch in the mini comic strip that comes wrapped around the gum? This is what we are going to find out in the movie.

Wasn't he a bit of a delinquent? He wasn't faithful to his girlfriend, Zena, if I recall. He was not a delinquent. If he wasn't faithful to his girlfriend, by the way, he wasn't 25 years old and married with three kids. It's O.K. She'll survive. It's good for her.

I think you need to update him and make him more of a feminist. Well, maybe he will be. We haven't written it yet.

Well, this is what I have to say: Hands off the Bazooka, Mickey Mouse. It's a classic and doesn't need to be sullied by your corporate money-grubbing hands.

Where Did My Life Go?

Holy moly, this NaNoWriMo is overtaking my life. I haven't had a moment to breathe, let alone write about candy. I have a whole pile of candy stuff to write about! One thing that's been sitting on my desk for a while now has been the tasting notes from the Michel Cluizel Single Origin Chocolates that we sampled with Sue MKAFFGGF and her hubby. I have all sorts of comments written down like, "Acidic is secondary" and "This would be considered a dry chocolate." But then it occurred to me that you probably don't care about the minutae; what you really want to know is, Is it worth paying big money for fancy chocolate? And my answer is, well, I want to say yes and no, but frankly, in all honesty, no. Here's the thing. The fancy chocolate is very complex, no doubt about it. It's like drinking a nice glass of wine-- lots of flavors, texture, mouth feel. You can detect red currant and citrus, but do you really want that from your chocolate? Or would you rather have a big ol' chunk of super delish mid-level chocolate? I know my what my preference would be.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Elves Make Cookies; Fairies Make Bread

Okay, now I'm becoming obsessed with Fairy Bread. I just love the idea of it. I can imagine a bunch of little kids dressed up like fairies and elves, eating their Fairy Bread and drinking hot cocoa. Like a tea party, but with fairies. (Remember you heard it here first, folks, when it appears in next month's Martha Stewart Living. Hmmm.... maybe I should be pitching this as an idea. Okay, gotta run.)

Confectionery 101

I love eGullet, but I rarely go there because I just don't have the time to read it. But I poked around a bit today and found this wonderful tutorial by Kerry Beal on how to make confections: caramel, nougat, fudge and lollipops. Talk about food porn! Yum! Take a look at the homemade Snickers. I love how she describes nougat: "Essentially marshmallow with boiled syrup." So now, when people ask you, "What IS nougat, anyway?" you can tell them!

Did You Know?

You can now access Candy Yum Yum! with this address: So if you work at a mean old place that won't let you visit sites with blogspot in the address, now you can fool 'em with this!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Today's Gift Idea

I just love Etsy, the website where people can sell their handmade arts and crafts. And I especially love the idea of buying Christmas gifts there. Let's stick it to the man this year and buy all our gifts from artisans! Whaddya say?

Here's a funky wallet made out of a Skittles wrapper. Perfect for the candy lover in your life. It's from Duct on You.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Weekend Catch-Up

I went to Trader Joe's this weekend and was overwhelmed by the array of tasty craziness they have for the holidays this year. Lots of peppermint and dark chocolate, truffles and barks. Fabulous.
I went to Borders to try and find this so-called Babysitters' Club series, but all they had were graphic novels. Does anyone know if they still make the books?
June and I went to Chocopologie for lunch yesterday. We were supposed to go to the Chocolate Show in New York (as I mentioned) but too many things conspired against it. So instead we had lunch and really yummy hot chocolate. June got homemade marshmallows with hers and they were yummy delicious-- not as soft as either of us expected. They had a good body to them.
What else? I could swear there was something else to report. It'll come to me as soon as I log off. Oh no, wait! There it is!
June and I stopped by the Taste of Holland store since we were in the area and I was so excited to see that they had these boxes of sprinkles and chocolate shavings for bread. My Australian friend Deb was telling me that little kids love to have "fairy bread"-- white bread with butter and sprinkles. It was hard to imagine until I saw the picture on the box. Very cute!

My Life in Fiction

A Candy Yum Yum reader left this comment on my Let Them Eat Cake! entry and I just had to share. I was never a reader of the Babysitters Club series-- it came around too late for me-- but now I have to check this out! So cool!

So I don't know if you're familiar, but this was a whole side-plot in one (or possibly more) of the Babysitters' Club books. Claudia (the artistic, Asian babysitter) wants to be an artist, and she also happens to love candy. Her parents discourage both! She starts painting pictures of candy and random sweets (Devil Dogs, maybe?). Anyway, she has to hide the candy and the pictures from her parents. She ends up having a "gallery showing" in one of the girls' garages for some fundraiser they are having (?) and her parents SEE the pictures! Uh-oh, totally busted! But, it ends up, like, totally rad! Because her parents are proud of her! And like, amazed at what a radical artist she is! But they still don't want her eating so many sweets. Anyway, your candy paintings reminded me SO much of that. I didn't even remember my brain had stored this information in there. I can remember the books omniscient narrator describing her paintings in serious food-porn detail...things were glistening up in there. Love the paintings! They're lovely, keep up the good work!

Art on Candy!

Check this out: an artist who does drawings on Necco wafers. This begs the question, however: how would you frame them?

Friday, November 09, 2007

Gift Guide '07

If I was more organized, I'd put all the candy gift ideas into one entry and call it a day. But I'm not that organized, as we determined in a previous entry, so I'm going to give you some great gift ideas all throughout the month.
First we have the Fill -N- Spill Candy Jar. Very cute soft toys perfect for the toddler on your list! Unfortunately I don't know if this is made in China or not, so Caveat Emptor. It's available lots of places, including Barnes & Noble.
Next, we have this adorable little lollipop tree. How cute is that? I totally want one. I can see using it like an advent calendar-- you get one pop a day til Christmas. This is from the Gardener's catalog.

Just a Bunch of Stuff

First of all, I was supposed to go to the New York Chocolate Show this weekend, but frankly I'm too overwhelmed with work/novel/child, so I don't think I'll make it. Sad, but sometimes we have to make sacrifices.

Second, I've been informed that National Cookie Week starts on Nov. 18. Woohoo!

Lastly, I heard a commercial on the radio for the UK Gourmet a few towns over from me. Apparently they have Sticky Toffee Cheese! Sounds sooo interesting. I plan on taking a field trip with Sue, MKAFFGGF, some time after Thanksgiving. While there, I'll be certain to stock up on the British Dark Kit Kats.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Mr. Lolly's Website

Just an update: there's now a website for the absinthe lollipops, . Go there if you dare!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

This Is Why I Loved Working With Alexandra

We all have different talents and strengths. Me, I tend to be more on the creative side, which is a nice way of saying I'm completely unorganized and ever-so-slightly messy. I so admire people who can keep their desks neat and their cars free from miscellaneous papers, coffee cups and binkees. One of those such people is Alexandra. We worked together at the newspaper. Her writing was always neat, her files always perfectly organized. So I had to laugh when she sent me this all-encompassing picture of her son's Halloween stash. I mean, seriously, is that a thing of beauty or what?! Although frankly I'm a bit disappointed that they're not in alphabetical order.

Real Life Halloween Horrors!

Alexandra called this morning to ask me what she should do with all of her son's Halloween candy. (Perhaps the dumbest question I've heard in a long time!) I asked her to tell me what sorts of goodies he had acquired during his long night of trick-or-treating and she began to list them off: a full-sized Hershey bar, a full-sized Starburst, M&Ms, Nestle's Crunch, and so on. "But the weirdest thing is the Easter bunny," she said. HOLD THE PHONE! Easter bunny? Yes, folks, someone ditched their crapola pink-foiled Easter candy in an innocent child's trick or treat bag! And here's the photographic evidence! I love that the bunny has an almost sinister smile.

And here's another gem: I was talking to someone yesterday who said his germ-phobic daughter returned home from trick-or-treating completely horrified by a woman who came to the door with a big bowl of loose candy corn. She dipped her germy talons into the bowl and gave each kid a fistful of gnarly candy corn. Now why even bother? At that point, you should just turn off the light and eat the candy corn yourself. Gross!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Christmas is Coming!

Ah, yes, it's already November, which means you should be getting a head-start on your holiday plans/shopping/anxiety. The day before Halloween the grocery store was loading the candy aisle with red and green treats. I saw a couple of things that looked interesting: Junior Mints with Peppermint Crunch, Mint Truffle Hershey Kisses and Gummi Lifesavers in holiday shapes. Alexandra sent me an e-mail saying that she's seen Jujyfruits in holiday shapes! Ooooh, keep me away from those!
I really have to purge my house of all this miscellaneous Halloween candy. (I never thought I'd say that!)
Anyhow, I'm putting together a Holiday Gift Giving Guide with all sorts of candy themed things, so if you have anything you'd like to include, send me a note!

Sunday, November 04, 2007

How They Do Halloween Up North

The Von Schokolats were out in full force this Halloween. Look closely-- those are three FULL SIZE bags of peanut M&Ms! Also some fun stuff like Cheetos, Oreos, pretzels and some weird Spiderman thing.

Liesel Von Schokolat was a very scary goth vampire. Gretel Von Schokolat went as a gymnast. Hmmm. That goes against my costume policy. I'll have to talk to her about that.

On the Good Ship Green Fairy Pop

So what exactly do you do when you get an e-mail from a complete stranger saying, "Hey! I make absinthe lollipops! Would you like to try one?" Well, if you're me you say "Sure!" Then when it comes in the mail you think, hmmm, should I really eat this? What if it's laced with drugs? But you really want to try it because it seems so interesting. But then you can just imagine the newspaper article the next day: "Woman Dies From Poisonous Pop," and all the people reading it saying, "What kind of idiot would eat something that came in the mail from someone they didn't know?" And then you'd feel really stupid, even though you were looking on from the great beyond.

So I did what any dedicated candy blogger would do: I made my friends try it.

First, a little bit of history. Absinthe is a potent liquor that was made famous by French artists and poets. They called it the "Green Fairy" because of its color. It's made from wormwood, which, according to the lore, has hallucenogenic properties; this, however, has been disputed. Absinthe has been banned for quite a while in many countries, including the U.S. Apparently now the laws are loosening up and you can buy it in some places. It's also legal to trade or barter for it, which is where Jason, our Mr. Lolly gets his ingredients.

I asked him about the chemical properties of the pops-- do they still pack a punch? Yes and no. Alcohol burns off at 300 degrees (and anyone who's made candy knows that you have to get it hotter than lava to make it work), but the thujone, the chemical in wormwood, remains extant. Will you get drunk or hallucinate from the pops? No, says Mr. Lolly. But some people claim it makes them very chatterboxy.

So the lollipop arrived and it was quite lovely. A very pale, translucent green. I broke it up into bits and we all had a piece. I thought it tasted just like Nyquil. Mr. Goodbar said, "No it doesn't taste like Nyquil! It tastes like licorice!" I wasn't sure how to respond to that. Nyquil is licorice-flavored, is it not? He and Nick both liked it a lot. I can't say if they got any extra chattery since they were both yapping away debating global warming. (Nick doesn't believe it exists; Mr. Goodbar is ready to live off the grid. Vin called the conversation to a halt by making the great observation that it doesn't matter if it exists or not; we should all be kind to the earth.)

Anyhow, if you'd like to try one of these pops for yourself, or perhaps give them as a gift, check out the website at At $4.50 each, they're an indulgence, but hey, you're worth it.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Fun Fact!

Dum Dums make most excellent cat toys.

Friday, November 02, 2007

The Results Are In!

Father John has sent in this update on Halloween '07:

I am VERY happy to tell you that the grand total of trick-or-treaters was 155 kids, 9 adults, and 1 poodle! (Last year, 109 kids, 7 adults, and no poodles at all...)


And Last, But Not Least ...

Henri's first official trick-or-treating experience. He's usually in bed by 6:00, so we got him all good and wound up so he'd stay awake just a little longer. This was our first Halloween in the new house, and I'm very happy to report that the neighborhood is loaded with kids-- real kids, not the sullen teenagers wearing baseball jerseys that we used to get at the old house. We went around to about ten houses and met some of the neighbors; everyone was so nice. And as you can see, they have great taste in candy. There were Reese's, 3 Musketeers, Almond Joys, Butterfingers, Nestle Crunch, Kit Kats, Runts, Saf-T-Pops and even Teddy Grahams. Hooray! And now, as I write this, Henri has been walking around and around the house for the past half hour with Smarties in one fist, a Tootsie Roll in the other. That's my boy!

And Now, The Moment You've All Been Waiting For...

Yes, we went to visit the church and let me just say, Father John ROCKED Halloween. We stopped by the rectory to say hello and he was at the ready with a basket brimming with full-sized, top-tier candy bars. The place was all decked out for Halloween-- apparently he has a party every year, which totally puts me to shame.
Then, because he now knows of my secret passion for candy, Fr. John gave me a bar from his secret stash, something I'd never had before: a Bewley's Irish Coffee Truffle bar, imported from Ireland. Oh. My. Goodgravy. Talk about YUM. This thing was rich and chocolatey, with an extra-special boozey kick at the end. I told you he rocked Halloween! I'm anxiously awaiting next week's bulletin to see how many trick-or-treaters he got.

Over the River and Through the Woods...

Next it was onto Grandma and Pop Pop's house where he got a special caramel-and-marshmallow pumpkin (one of Mom's favorites-- hooray!) and a big stuffed teddy bear. He, of course, was more interested in the key in the file cabinet. Here's what Grandma gave out to her trick-or-treaters, all four of them.

The First Halloween Haul

Here's what my little slave monkey hauled in

on his first Halloween go-around. Let's see, there were Twizzlers, Bottle Caps, Mike and Ikes, lollipops of various kinds, Laffy Taffy, Sweetarts, Kit Kats, Hershey bars, and the two big coups: Goldfish and a candy necklace.

Then there were the non-edible goods: a waterbottle, stickers, a notepad, three pencils, a glow stick (not really a great idea considering all this made in China crap of late), and of course, the very popular American flag.

Child Labor

Whew! Who knew Halloween could be so exhausting? I'm happy to report that this year we had a tremendously successful holiday. (I'm going to do this report in bits and pieces because I seem to have a problem uploading more than one picture at a time.)

We started out in the afternoon by going downtown to the Trick or Treat on Safety Street with Henri's two friends Alex and Will. I was skeptical about the quality of candy they'd be giving out, since the streets get flooded with a gajillion kids. I thought for sure it'd be a total Dum Dums and Tootsie Roll fest. But kudos to the store owners who gave out all sorts of yummy fun stuff, from Butterfingers and Dots to Nerds and Fun Dip. Henri was shell-shocked by all the people; he kind of hung back in his stroller and observed. He did, however, really dig the American flag he got from the VFW guys.