Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween Yumsters!

May your night be full of scary sweetness!
How much candy do you think "The World" will be able to cull in an evening? Our plan is to start out early and finish late.
In the meantime, on this Halloween morn, you can read my article about Father John and the full-sized candy bars here.
Be safe everyone, and be sure to send me a note with any unusual, exciting or strange candy that you get this year!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Candy in the News

My friend Kristina got engaged last week in Italy! Hooray! What does this have to do with candy? Well, she was in town visiting family this weekend, so I went over to check out the rock offer her my best wishes. After 500 vacation photos and a whole lotta wine, I had to visit the restroom. It was there that I found the most recent issue of "Highlights" magazine, which had a fun article called "Candy Secrets." I had enough presence of mind to take a picture of the magazine and the bar of Schogetten she brought me back, but failed to get a picture of the rock. Go figure. (Why I was reading Highlights is a whole 'nother question. It was either that or an American Girl catalog.)
In this month's Parents, there is a blurb on "Tricks with Leftover Treats." They show how to make a Skittles rainbow by dissolving the candies and then pouring the colored liquid in layers. It's just one of many fun experiments at Loralee Leavitt's website,
And then there's this great article in The New York Times about Dr. Samira Kawash, a.k.a. Candy Professor, intriguingly titled, "Is Candy Evil or Just Misunderstood?"
There will probably be more sweet articles over the next few days (perhaps one by your truly! Hint, hint ...) so keep an eye out. It's one of the few times of the year that candy doesn't get a bad rap.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Marathon Training for Halloween

It's the big countdown to Halloween! Just six more days until I stuff the Sugar Baby full of carbs so we can cover as much trick-or-treating territory as possible. Have I told you about his costume? He's going as "The World" and he's pretty much made it himself. We'll see how this all pans out. It will be hard to beat last year's Fly Agaric Mushroom.
In any case, I have a lot of stuff to clean off of my desktop in preparation for The Big Day, so here we go.
Last weekend, we took the Sugar Baby into New York City. I planned on it being a simple trip ... take him to Times Square, let him look at the buildings, have lunch and that's that. He, however, had different ideas. We stopped at the hellish Toys R Us that is three or four floors of pure overindulgent child madness. There's a Candy Land area and a Wonka area that, had it not been so crowded, might have interested the Sugar Baby. But, not unlike Dylan's Candy Bar, it was just too much of a scene. He couldn't be bothered with the vats of gummy bears and giant lollipops. We splurged on a ride on the giant Ferris wheel, and, although we got stuck riding in the Barbie car, it was actually well worth the $4. We were on that thing for a long time, and I got to listen to two spoiled brats lovely little girls extol the virtues of Wonka candy over all others.
We got out of that madness and then headed over to M&M World, which was just as insanely crowded and ridiculous. Two floors of M&M-themed everything, but where were the actual M&M's? Strangely enough, they were hidden on a third floor that you had to take a secret Narnia door to. The M&M's were divided by color, and were $12.95 a pound. (Or, you could just go to your local warehouse store and buy a 4-lb. bag for less than $20.)
After all that insanity, we finally acquiesced to the Sugar Baby's only real desire, and that was to see the Flat Iron Building. Go figure. Then, for some reason, all of the uptown trains weren't working, which meant we had to walk the 20 or so blocks back up to Grand Central Station. The Sugar Baby did great, and so I kind of look at it as training for Halloween. If he can walk 20+ blocks, he can handle a couple of neighborhoods and maybe even a party or two.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Guest Review from Liesl von Schokolat:: Extra Dessert Delights

Today's guest review is from Liesl von Schokolat, who has found a new gum that she likes.

I was in French the other day when the class was asked "Would any one like to try a piece of Strawberry Shortcake or Mint Choclate Chip Ice Cream gum?" I was like woah, woah, woah wait, there is an ice cream flavored gum? That is so cool!! So being the chocoholic that I am, I tried the Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Gum. I thought it was really good. It surprisingly tasted like ice cream. Later that weekend my mum, The Baroness, and I were walking through WalMart and I saw the gum. It is an Extra gum and get this, it is sugar free. Ironic isn't it? None the less, I bought a pack because it was so good, but now my purse smells like Mint Chocolate Chip.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Happy Wombat Day! Wine Gums for Everyone!

Damn! I forgot to look at the calendar again. Happy Wombat Day everyone! Hopefully you're all enjoying your Wombat cakes and Wine Gums. What? You're unfamiliar with Wombat Day? Check it out, here. And here. And can someone please remind me next year? Thanks.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Get Ready for Christmas Baking With Hershey's!

Oh my, we're quickly descending into holiday season, aren't we? Here's something cool that Hershey's is offering. From now until Nov. 15, you can visit to apply for a chance to host a Hershey's Cookie Exchange Party. If you're chosen, you'll get a big box of baking goodies, like Kisses, Hershey's Cocoa, Baking Chips, Toffee Bits and more. Even better, when you visit the site you can enter the Bake Share and Win promotion, where one lucky grand prize winner will get a kitchen makeover for themselves and a friend. Man, I'd love that. I think they'd first have to bring in an exorcist to rid my kitchen of its evil karma, though, and I'm not sure that's part of the package.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Um, I Hope the Cab Drivers Know About This

In candy news today, the following may be of interest to tourists in New York (because you know that no one catching a cab in Times Square is a New Yorker):

To support the launch of Trident Layers' Cool Mint + Melon Fresco flavor, the brand will run a one-day promotion in which people who grab taxis from a special stand in Manhattan's Times Square can pay for their rides with packs of Trident Layers. Read the full story here at MediaPost.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Ritter Sport Milk Chocolate with Strawberry Creme: Somebody Say 'Amen!'

I wear my heart on my sleeve when it comes to Ritter Sport. I love, love, love them, particularly the Corn Flake variety. So when I was asked if I'd be interested in sampling their newest flavor, Milk Chocolate with Strawberry Creme, I was like, hell yeah! Not only did they send the new flavor, but some classics, as well.
I was excited to see the Yogurt bar. I've tried the Strawberry Yogurt variety and loved it. This one was just as good. Tangy white yogurt contrasted with creamy milk chocolate. I actually put off trying the Strawberry Creme for a while because strawberry isn't one of my favorite flavors and the package said, "With strawberry pieces from select fruit." That didn't sound particularly appetizing. But man, this is one tasty bar. The chocolate, as usual, is creamy. The filling is tangy and the strawberry pieces are actually little crunchy bits that give the bar an added dimension. It's fantastic. Even better, Ritter is donating $100,000 to the Leslie Simon Breast Cancer and Cytodiagnosis Center.
In keeping consistent with my other Ritter reviews, I say run-- don't walk-- to get yourself one of these bars. And let me know what you think.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

New Lindt Excellence Flavors: Black Currant and Roasted Almond

When I heard that Lindt was releasing a new flavor in their Excellence line-- Black Currant-- I was ecstatic. Here is a flavor that we so rarely see in the U.S. I love black currants because they have such a unique flavor profile. Fruity and fragrant and so unlike any other berry or fruit. I did a little hardcore research Wikipedia surfing and found out that currant farming was banned in this country in the 1900s after it was discovered that they were a transmitter for white pine blister rust, and thus a threat to the logging industry. The times, they are a-changing, however, and now it's up to the state jurisdiction to say who can, and who can't, grow the Evil Berry of Paper Industry Doom. (The ban apparently has been lifted in Connecticut, which means I'm about to embark on a new career as the Molly Pitcher of currant farming).
In any case, since we so rarely see black currant-flavored anything around these parts, I was so excited to try the Excellence Black Currant. Upon opening the wrapper, I was immediately hit with that juicy, perfumey aroma of currant, followed by the bitter edge of the dark chocolate. And that's when I thought, "uh oh." Suddenly I panicked that currant would not be a good match for chocolate, unlike say, raspberry. The flavor is just too overpowering. I took a nibble. Then another. So here's what I think. The first taste is jarring. The second makes you really think about it. By the third, I was good with it, but in a limited way. This is not a chocolate bar for when you're craving chocolate with a capital "C." This is a sophisticated treat that is best eaten with great intention and a glass of wine. (The company suggests pairing it with Cabernet Sauvignon.) Proceed with caution, but definitely give it a shot.
The other new bar they've releases is Excellence Roasted Almond. It didn't seem like there was too much to get excited about there. In fact, I was very suspicious of the almonds because they're slivered and I'm very insistent that almonds be whole (or at the very least, half) in chocolate. Tiny chopped up almond pieces just don't do it for me. But I have to say, this bar surprised me in a very good way. The chocolate is very thin, so the almonds had to be slivered, but the ratio of nut to chocolate was very high, which made for a well-crafted, tasty bar. I would definitely buy this bar when I needed a serious dose of dark chocolate.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

My Sweet George: Chocolate Caramels

Like I said a few days ago, I have candy stashed into every corner of my house right now. It needs to get out of sight for a while, until I get back into my pre-birthday rye bread-for-every-meal-and-elliptical machine routine.
But first, I had to try one of the samples I received from My Sweet George Divine Candies. I was sent a bag of assorted candies--Cherry Pecan, Macadamia Nut, Coconut Almond, Lemon Butter, Peanut Butter, and Sea Salt Dark Chocolate caramels. Each piece is handmade and individually wrapped. The presentation is cute and homey. You can definitely tell these aren't machine-made.
Now, as you know, caramel isn't my favorite, but over the past few years, I've developed a taste for it, so I went into this with an open mind. I was particularly excited that it was chocolate caramel, something you don't see very often. I just tried the peanut butter. It was a layer of chewy chocolate caramel atop a layer of salty, crumbly natural peanut butter. It was, I dare say, really, really good. A great combination of sweet/salty/chewy. It was extremely satisfying, and I could've totally been happy with one piece, but I was so intrigued by the lemon butter.
This piece reminded me more of taffy. It had a slick oilyness to it and smelled of fresh lemons. The chew was soft, like taffy, but my teeth are beginning to protest. Apparently I'm pushing my 40-year-old chompers to the limit tonight. As for the taste-- normally I don't like lemon and chocolate together. I love lemon on its own, but I find that it often doesn't pair well with chocolate. In this case, it was surprisingly good. The zestiness was a nice contrast to the dark chocolate, giving it an almost savory appeal.
Here's what I like about these candies: 1) They're homemade. 2) They're satisfying and, according to the website, one non-nut piece is about 70 calories (or two Weight Watchers points). 3) They're different.
A pound of caramels (about 26-28 pieces) is $25. The website is a bit wonky; there isn't an order form directly on the website and the information about the actual candy is buried beneath info on their T-shirts and tote bags. And I'm unclear as to whether or not they actually have a store front.
But so far, so good. The two flavors I've tried are excellent. I'll be trying the others later this week-- after I get over to the gym.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Kit Kat Cake!

The very fabulous June pulled me aside at my birthday party and said, "You might want to open your gift now." She presented me with a perfect box tied with a ribbon. It was kind of freakishly perfect, like it was part of Let's Make a Deal or like I was on a soap opera. I untied the ribbon and she helped me carefully lift the top to reveal:
A candy cake! Look at this beautiful thing. It's surrounded by Kit Kats and topped with Reese's Pieces. I mean, really, does it get any better than this? think she does this for a living or something, but no, it was just a little project she took up. Personally, I think she needs to hang out a shingle that says, "Junie's Kandy Kakes."

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Sweet 16 (Plus Another 24)

My birthday cake. That's serious fudge frosting and inside-- cannoli filling. Oh yes.

At this moment, I have more candy and chocolate in the house than is legally permissible. I'm not quite sure how this happened, but every nook, cranny, drawer and secret hiding spot is stuffed to the gills. I've got lots of reviews coming up, so stay tuned. In the meantime, a few more pictures of my birthday bash. The candy buffet included chocolate-covered Oreos, chocolate-dipped pretzels, Red Hots, Pixy Stix, Swedish Fish, Crows, Ghirardelli Luxe Milk Squares, Runts and gumballs. It did not, however, include the 10 pounds of Hershey Kisses I bought and forgot to give to the decorating committee. Doink!

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

It's the Time of Year for TPing

My PIC was TP'ed-- that is, Tootsie Popped. Check it out in my article here.

Candy. Candy. More Candy. Did I Say Candy?

This weekend was my birthday. The big one. I tried to take it in stride and I think I did pretty well. Of course, I had lots of chocolate to help me through it. And an Oompa Loompa in the driveway.
On Saturday, I had a big birthday bash with all my friends from grammar school, middle school, high school, and my one college friend. It was a blast, and of course, there was a candy buffet. So where's the picture? Well, not on my camera. I'm waiting for pictures from the Baroness who, thankfully, was documenting it all. In the meantime, check out Part I of the cute gifts I received. Above, a selection of fun candy from Alexandra. Below, a tray and coaster that say, "There's nothing better than a good friend except a good friend with chocolate." (Missing from photo: mug with same sentiment); an adorable fabric reusable bag with a cupcake theme; a box of candies that were popular in the 1980's; some hand-crafted fun things including a ring and necklace, which I believe are made out of Starburst wrappers; and a package of lip balms in different candy flavors, which the Sugar Baby has had his eye on for days now.
As soon as I get more pictures, I'll fill you in on all the wonderful things from my party, including the candy buffet, the favors and the cakes!