Saturday, February 28, 2009

Hallelujah, indulgences and the good book

Well, first of all, shout Hallelujah! I finally figured out how to turn the flash off of my camera, so at least now my crappy photos won't have a big shiny spot in the middle.

Okay, so I saw this book called "Meat" at Jessica's Biscuit (a discount cookbook website) and it just looked so perfect for Ms. Chops that I had to get it. Then it turned out that I only had to spend three dollars more to get free shipping, so I allowed myself this little indulgence:

I'm not necessarily big on making chocolates and confections, but the fact that it was a field guide intrigued me. So this is the part where I give you my review, right?
Wrong. Because from the moment I took it out of the box, the Sugar Baby hasn't let it leave his side. Here I was, thinking he wanted to read "Goodnight Moon" and "Fun Dog, Sun Dog," when all along he just wanted a cookbook. Forget Legos. Forget Play-Doh. Those wickedly expensive Thomas trains? Nope. It's all about "the book." That's what he calls it. "The book," as if it's the only one in the whole world.
Believe me when I tell you, this thing has kept him entertained for hours on end. He goes through each page saying, "What's that?" and then he goes through the book again repeating all the names. The guide is organized by the calendar, so the first page is Star-Shaped Marshmallows for New Year's Eve. Then it's on to truffles and heart-shaped lollipops for Valentine's Day, Sweet Wine Chocolate Apricot Balls for Purim, Mint Jelly Leaves for the vernal equinox, and then these:
Kitty Crunchies for April Fool's Day. Yep, they sure do look like the deposits that Bud makes every day down in the basement. But, ho ho! As the book says, "These may look disgusting, but they taste great as they are a combination of cocoa crisped rice cereal, melted marshmallows and Grape-Nuts."
That's all fine and good, but how does one explain this to a 2 1/2 year old? "We don't eat cat poop!" is the best I could do. So here he thinks he has a book filled with delicious, yummy, candy treats-- and one random page of cat poop.
What can I say? The Sugar Baby gives this book a big thumb's up. So the next time you're looking for a gift for a 2 year old, you might want to consider it.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Necco, Necco Wafers, Necco Sweethearts, Richard Krause, Necco!

I can't turn down a challenge. I'm not one to try to break a world record or anything, but there are just some ideas that stick in my brain sometimes and I just have to accomplish them. Like when I stole accidentally borrowed a glass from Martha Stewart. Or the other night, when my partner in crime and I spent too much time lingering over drinks and had to sneak a pizza into the movie theater. (Yes, it was in the box.) So today I've been faced with two challenges:

1) One of my super-secret writer friends has thrown down this gauntlet: if I can spin a certain article three different ways, she'll send me some See's candy. Ho ho! This one is going to take some hard work.


2) I'm getting a little obsessed with the Necco heart. I have to have it. I'm not sure what lengths I'm willing to go for it, but the wheels are churning.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

An Update (Or, "Hey Richard Krause! Getta Load Of This!")

As you may recall, back in January I was thrilled when Necco unveiled this year's Conversation Hearts' sayings because one of them was "Yum Yum." In the press photo, a cute girl in a white apron is shown holding a giant cardboard "Yum Yum" heart. I suggested to the Necco people that it might be in their best interest really cool if they sent me this giant heart, considering, you know, this is Candy Yum Yum and, after all, I have given them some free press in the past.

Then, in another article, I saw this photo and caption, courtesy of the Associated Press:

CHARLES KRUPA/Associated Press
Richard Krause, the President and CEO at the New England Confectionery Company (Necco), poses with thousands of multi-colored "Sweethearts" candy at the company in Revere, Mass. Krause says Necco needs to expand its brand in the United States.

Fast forward to Valentine's Day when I posted this:

Several Yumsters were excited for me, thinking I had procured the above-mentioned giant Yum Yum heart. Let me now set the record straight: no one, I repeat, no one has sent me the mock Yum Yum Conversation Heart. The above picture was generated at

So let me take this opportunity to say:

Hello Mr. Krause!

You certainly look like a cheerful fellow, the type of person one would expect to be president of a candy company. I hope you're enjoying your new-ish position at Necco. (I'm sure it's more fun than the stuffy and rumored-to-be-in-league-with-the-devil Procter & Gamble.)
In any case, I understand that you're seeking to "expand the (Necco) brand in the
United States." Allow me to give you some pointers:

  • Capitalize on the fact that you're the oldest candy company in the United States. We're all feeling very patriotic these days and Mr. Obama is imploring us to Buy American! Get the word out that Necco Wafers are made in the U.S. with grade A edible ingredients, unlike candy from say, China, which is new and improved with melamine.
  • Get hip to the times. See, you're on the cusp of retro/old-fashioned. Everyone remembers Necco wafers from their youth, but do they buy them today? Pump up the retro factor. We all want to feel young again. (Although you're on the right track with your soon-to-be-released Twilight/vampire-themed hearts. Good thinking!)
  • Start an urban legend. Everyone knows that green M&Ms are supposed to
    make you feel more amorous. What do black Necco wafers do? Increase your I.Q.? (Get this rumor going on college campuses and suddenly Necco wafers will take the place of Adderall and Ritalin.)
  • Offer limited editions. You know your Sky Bars? They're really cool (again, the retro factor), but how can I put this gently? They're gross. Maybe you can reformulate them to taste better and have a "mystery" filling. Go beyond the
    caramel, peanut, fudge and whatever that white one is. Think cool, think 2009.
    Pomegranate? Caramelized banana? Colombian coffee bean?

Well, there's just a few ideas, Mr. Krause. Free of charge. On the house. Unless, of course, you have a giant heart you'd be willing to part with. I'm just sayin'.

Most sincerely yours,

Madame Yum Yum

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Free Candy! 3 Musketeers! Hooray!

Calling all Yumsters! The sweet folks at 3 Musketeers have put together two yum-filled baskets of whippedy love for two lucky readers. Here's all you have to do: in the comments section, post your favorite 3 Musketeers "recipe." Feel free to be creative! Make sure you leave your e-mail address so I can contact you, and as always, U.S. residents only, please. I'll pick the two lucky Yumsters at the end of February. Good luck!

Monday, February 23, 2009

I'm here, sort of

Hello Dear Yumsters. I know I haven't been posting as much as usual, but I vow to get back to my regular schedule very soon. Right now is one of those bizarre times when I have so much candy in the house, I don't even know where to begin. So anticipate some exciting stuff coming up over the next few days. In the meantime, here's a picture of some candy that my friend's husband brought back from one of his endless trips to Germany. I've tried the Mint Truffel already and it's good. Can't wait to bust open that box of merci. Lots of good stuff coming up ... including more give aways!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Wafer Madness!

It's been one of those days. You know, one of those days where you wish you could've just stayed in bed and read a book. Or, perhaps more accurately, it was the type of day where you wished you had a superpower, like the ability to shoot lightning bolts from your eyes when people really pissed you off.
But it's the end of the day, and all is quiet and nice, and best of all, I have these: These are Qbel candy bars and they've been making the candy blog circuit. When I saw that Cybele gave one of the Crispy Wafer Bars a 10 out of 10, I was very anxious to try them.
Here's the deal with these: they're all natural (no artificial colors or flavors, no hydrogenated oils, no corn syrup) and they'll be sold at Whole Foods. When I was originally thinking about what I was going to write about these, I was going to get on my soapbox about the necessity of looking at ingredients and paying attention to what we're really eating and say "Kudos to Qbel for making a delicious all-natural product!"
But no one wants to hear my preaching. Especially me. It's been too long of a day for all that. Yes, these are all natural, but that's not the point. The point is: these are damn good candy bars. They come in two shapes: wafer rolls and wafer bars, and they come in dark chocolate, milk chocolate, peanut butter and crispy rice. I could slice and dice and dissect them all for you, but instead, I'm going to tell you to just go out and try them. You won't be disappointed. They are yum, yum, yummy!*
The folks over at Qbel were generous with their samples, and I'd do a giveaway, but I'm feeling really lazy and don't want to go to the post office again this week I'm afraid they'd get crushed in the mail. So if you're nearby, just come to the House of Yum for a sample. Otherwise, show your support for this small family company and give their wafery goodness a try.
(*I will say, however, that the dark chocolate wafer rolls just might rival Dark Kit Kats as my favorite candy bars!)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

"Pretty Sneaky, Sis!"

What you are looking at is a wee set of Connect Four games (or, in this case, Connect Three) that use Smarties as playing pieces.

So cool.

It's school vacation week, which means I get to visit with all my teacher friends that I never get to see any other time. So today the Sugar Baby and I headed up to God's country to see my friend Eric* and his two little cutie-pie daughters. There on the table was one of these little games (without the pieces) and I said, "Oh how cute! Are these for dolls?" and this led to a discussion of how they were from goodie bags and you can't escape the goodie bag trend lest you be labeled the most evil parents on earth. Then he commented how these were useless because there weren't any pieces. That is, until I noticed the roll of Smarties sitting next to it. Ah ha! Suddenly these little games went from cute to totally fabulous. If the girls hadn't been right there, I might've taken one for my collection.

(*Check out his soon-to-be famous blog on family games:

Pay Attention Dog Lovers!

The Fabulous June sent me an e-mail about the dangers of using cocoa mulch in your garden. Some companies make mulch out of cocoa bean shells (which I'm sure imparts a wonderful chocolatey aroma to your yard), but of course chocolate is toxic to dogs, even in mulch form. I checked this out on Snopes and found information from the ASPCA. So just be careful. Save the chocolate for yourself.

O Candy Tree, O Candy Tree

In addition to all the other cool candy ornaments I've amassed over the years, Alexandra gave me these two cool ones: a bucket of lollipops and candy canes, and a Candy Land arrow pointing to the "Lollipop Woods." (There's a double entredre there for those who know me.)
In any case, I've decided to scout out a nice, sturdy indoor tree to decorate with all my lovely ornaments. Stay posted! I'll be sure to post an over-exposed, fuzzy photo!

Monday, February 16, 2009


Ding! Ding! Ding! We have an answer to our reader's question on the red licorice from the '70s. Here, direct from the Red Vines licorice site, is the explanation:

Introduced in the 1960s, Family Mix assorted candies is a collection of our most popular bites consisting of red and black candies. Replacing the original product mix of Whips, Red-Ets and Lic-Ris-Ets (ALC's first line of licorice candy), each bag now contains Original Red TwistsT, Black Licorice TwistsT, Red Vine Whips, Super Ropes® and Licorice Ropes® candies.

Many, many thanks to Philly for answering this mystery!

Hands Off My Candy!

I figured that the last thing the Sugar Baby needed for Valentine's Day was chocolate, so I found this totally cute "Hide and Peek" Valentine's chocolate set. It's a heart filled with plastic chocolates that you open up to reveal their different colors. It's one of these things that's supposed to teach colors, matching, fine motor skills, counting, etc.
In reality, I think it's taught him that chocolates are "beautiful" and it's not fun to share.
(Bear with me as I get the camera situation sorted out. So far, Kodak, I am not impressed.)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day!

May all your sweetest wishes come true today!
Madame Yum Yum

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Is Mercury In Retrograde?

This is what the past couple of weeks have been like for me:

My car gets all possessed and decides that "brake" really means "go." I have a bumper-to-bumper meeting with another car (fortunately no damage) but the guy at the shop says, "Sorry, this isn't under warranty."

I'm busy obsessing over Facebook working on my laptop when I get up to prepare for the Super Bowl. I trip over my powercord and my computer crashes on the wood floor. The lady at the computer repair place listens to it and says, "Yeah, um, that's not really fixable."

Today I bring my 1 year and 2 month old camera into the shop because the toggle button isn't working. The dude looks at it, sprays it with some air and says, "We can send it in for repair, but you're probably better off just buying a new camera."

What is going on? I swear, it's something in the stars.

So I don't have a picture for you today, but I do have an update on some of the other flavors of the Kohler chocolates. The coconut was lovely and delicate, but I almost wanted some texture there. The Asian spice (which I admittedly didn't think I was going to like from the get-go) was a bit too ... culinary for me. But the passion fruit was very interesting. At first I wasn't sure about it because it had a strong citrus zing, but I think I really liked it.

Stay tuned for some more great giveaways. I'll have some fun stuff for my favorite readers.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Name That Candy!

Hey Yumsters,
Can you help a fellow candy-lover? He's sent in this query:

I remember buying boxes of red licorice candy from machines, back in the 70's. The name was "Redettes" or something. Can you help me with the correct name. I don't think they were strawberry flavored, but more like cherry.


Monday, February 09, 2009

Now That's What I'm Talking About!

Take a look at these beauties. These are Kohler Chocolates' Garden Ganache.
They were just featured in the February issue of "O, The Oprah Magazine," which means I could tell you these taste like sawdust and skunk tails and it wouldn't matter one fig, because if Oprah says it's good, well then, by golly, it's good. (Just take a look at our new president.) But for some reason, the kind folks at Kohler sent me some to try. Apparently Oprah's opinion was well-received, but, you know-- they needed the real story from me.
Let me just say, oh yeah. This is some good shizz.
Now, as you know, I'm not usually impressed by truffles. They seem to me to be the candy version of Madonna: all glitz and glimmer, overly-done, and just too much. So I wasn't sure what to expect out of these (although technically they're ganache, which is equal parts chocolate and cream, whereas a truffle has double the chocolate). But let me assure you, dear Yumsters, that these are divine. The shell has a beautiful snap to it. The inside is smooth and creamy and the flavors are subtle and balanced. So far I've tried the raspberry, chai tea, and creme fraiche. All delicious. (I've been gracious enough to split them with Mr. Goodbar who, each night has said, "That's good chocolate.")
The other flavors I still have to try are: coconut, Asian spice, macadamia, passion fruit, Earl Grey, pear and hazelnut coffee.
Their catalog is full of gorgeous photos of their products-- toffee bark, bars, terrapins (their version of turtles), pretzel rods. What can I say? You should check out their website for your valentine. Or better yet, yourself.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

You Got Your Chocolate In My Eggplant

This just in from the Ice Cube Queen: a recipe for chocolate eggplant. Now there's an odd combination. And given the reviews, not a very successful one.

Ooops, my bad!

Some anonymous Yumster tipped me off to the fact that I said there'd be 3 winners in the M&Ms contest, not 2. For your loyalty and eagle-eyes, Anonymous, I'd love for you to be the third winner, but how do I know how to contact you??

Friday, February 06, 2009

Green M&M winners!

Sorry, folks, I forgot to post the winners of the green M&Ms giveaway. They are (by random number generating): Jacqueline and Michelle! Hooray! Thanks everyone for entering.

Candy Yum Yum's Stance on the Peanut Butter Crisis

I feel the need to say something about this whole peanut butter/salmonella situation. All I can say is, this too shall pass. (But the conspiracy theorist in me wonders if the Chinese government had a hand in this to take our attention away from the melamine debacle.)
In any case, just don't eat any peanut butter for a while. Then, when all is good again, we'll have a giant peanut butter and chocolate party!

UPDATE: Carl has a much more informed opinion than I do. You might want to check out his comment for a more balanced approach. Thanks Carl!

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Don't Play With Your Food! (Or on second thought...)

I've talked about Alexandra many times on here but I've never come up with the right name for her. You see, they just come to me. There's no planning, no looking in the Thesaurus, certainly no asking people what they want their name to be. It just comes in a flash of inspiration. So no name for Alex. That is, until the other night. She handed me the most delightful bag of goodies ... all interesting, cool stuff for Candy Yum Yum. It dawned on me: she's Alexandra Super Shopper! Literally, as I'm typing this, I'm realizing that the abbreviation for her new name doesn't *quite* work. (That's one thing you learn when you have a baby: make sure the initials don't spell something horrible.) Looks like it's back to the drawing board. Anyhow...

First up, she gave me a package of teeny-tiny mini board games filled with candy! They are too cute. Now, I expected that I'd open the boxes and find generic round compressed sugar candies, but no! I was pleasantly surprised. The Monopoly had dog and car candies. Sorry had the game pieces. Operation had hearts and bones. Clue had candlesticks and other weapons and Life had... I can't remember. But so cute. I'd love to do something crafty with the boxes afterward. They're about the size of matchboxes. And ideas?
Then, as if that weren't enough, she gave me this way cool Chocolate Edition of Trivial Pursuit. I haven't played it yet (I'm waiting for the von Schokolats), but I'll be sure to give a full report when I do. Apparently the cards are actually chocolate. I'm not holding out hope that they'll taste great, but at least it's made from Ferrara Pan (creators of the Fireball and Lemonheads) and not Parker Brothers. (And it's on sale now at their website for $6.99!)

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Oh, the Humanity!

It's a sad, sad tale, dear Yumsters. I tripped over my powercord and my laptop went crashing to the ground, bringing it to an untimely death. And just as I had loaded tons of candy pictures onto it, too.
I have so much to report: candy from Germany! All sorts of candy-themed goodies from Alexandra! An incredible chocolate dessert that the Sugar Baby got all over the neighbors' beautiful new couch! But I can't download my pictures on this computer. So stay tuned. I'll work it out.

In the meantime, I feel the need to write a letter.

Dear Cadbury People (U.S. only),
You're not fooling me. Or anyone else for that matter. Did you really think we'd not notice the grainy, craptastic chocolate you're using now? Did you expect me to scarf down my formerly-favorite Fruit and Nut bar without thinking, "Hey, this tastes like crap!"?
Shame on you.
Yours truly, Madame Yum Yum

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Share the Love-- Free M&Ms!

Remember in junior high-- you'd be eating a bag of M&Ms and some derfwad would come along and say, "You just ate a green one. You must be horny! Huh, huh!" Where on earth did that legend come from? In any case, the smarty pantses over at M&Ms have embraced the urban myth and are releasing all-green M&Ms for Valentine's Day. And guess what Yumsters? I have some to give away! So here's what you do: post a comment saying who you'd love to share your green M&Ms with. I'll pick three winners at random on February 5. (U.S. residents only, please!)
(And just to be fair, I'll let you know who I'd pick: I'd have a green M&M party with Spike, Angel, Richard Gere, Jim from The Office and Michael from Arrested Development. Or is that a little too weird?)
And in the meantime, you can enter a contest to win a trip to Paris at (I have nothing to do with that contest; don't write me looking for a trip to France 'cuz I don't have one to give.)