Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Stride Shift: It's Fruity! No Wait, It's Minty!

You know that scene in "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" where Violet Beauregarde snags a piece of the three-course dinner bubblegum that's still in testing mode? She starts chewing and tastes tomato soup, roast beef and then finally blueberry pie, before she, herself, turns into a giant blueberry.
You have to wonder how long real gum companies have been working on creating a taste-changing gum. Well, now Cadbury has apparently achieved that with their new Stride Shift, "the first-ever flavor changing gum." The two flavors are Berry-to-Mint and Citrus-to-Mint. I definitely had my doubts about this. I figured it was like so many other fruit-mint products that combine the two different flavor profiles, usually resulting in something awful.
Well, I have to admit, they did succeed with this challenge. The gum starts off with a berry (or citrusy) taste and then evolves into mint. I'm sure this was much more exciting to the focused taste testers than it is to the general public, who don't pay quite as much attention to what they're chewing. The fruity flavor seemed to be strong during the first ten or so chews, and then the mint started to kick in. I suspect some of this flavor technology has to do with the little gritty bits in the gum (not unlike the scrubby stuff in apricot facial cleansers). Over time the texture gets softer and the flavor turns into a sweet, not-too-strong mint. It's pretty good stuff. I'll be curious to see where they take this technology. You know what I think would be cool? A triple-mint gum: peppermint, spearmint and wintergreen. Now that would impress me.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Candy Yum Yum + Regretsy - Michael Jackson = Tootsie Pop Owl

There are times when I think, okay, I'm pretty creative. I've got it going on. And then there are times when I think, wow, now that's why I'm not famous. Like whenever I read Regretsy. With her rapier wit and razor-sharp sense of what makes something craptastic, April Winchell is one of my bloggy heroes. Her site, in which she showcases handmade items of questionable quality, was the kick-start for her newly-released book, seen here. (Don't click to look inside because nothing will happen. Go to Amazon for that bit of magic.)At a recent book signing, one of her fans was wearing a T-shirt with the Tootsie Pop owl on it. She writes, "I thought it was intentional, but he didn’t even know: my father was the voice of the owl in this commercial. And it was the day before Father’s Day, and just a few days from the 5th anniversary of my dad’s death. So it was a little weird."Weird, yes, but also fascinating. I had to know more. April kindly agreed to an exclusive interview with Candy Yum Yum about this amazing bit of candy history.

CYY: In a recent Regretsy post, you revealed that your father was the voice of the owl in the iconic Tootsie Pop commercial from the 1960’s. Does that mean you’re rich?

AW: Sadly no. My father didn't leave his money to his children.

CYY: That’s a really cool piece of family trivia and I’d brag about it to everyone. Do you take advantage of the opportunity or do you save that gem until you’re deep into a relationship?

AW: I don't talk about my dad too much. It's not that I'm not proud of his accomplishments, because I really am. But I never wanted to feel like I was trading on his name, or getting undeserved favors from people because of their affection for him. I just got used to being discreet about it. When I got older and made a name for myself, I relaxed about that, and it became interesting personal trivia about me, as opposed to something I threw around to open doors for myself.

CYY: Was it your father’s idea to pronounce the “two” like “a- two-whoo”? Cuz that’s really cool.

AW: Well that's hard to say. I've done cartoon voice over work for over 30 years, and it tends to be a fluid, collaborative thing. I can't really remember where ideas come from; good directors bring interesting things out of you.

That being said, the voice he used for the owl was very similar to voice he used for a puppet on his TV show. The puppet was named Snitchy, and it was a very proper, almost British sounding snail. He had been doing Snitchy for so long that the "a-two-whoo" probably just came out of his mouth naturally.

CYY: Did you get a lifetime supply of Tootsie Pops? If not, have you ever considered contacting the company and asking for some kickbacks?

We did not get a lifetime supply of Tootsie Pops, but then, they probably had no idea how long the spot would run. It turned into an incredibly iconic, classic piece of advertising. He recorded that in the 60's, and people still love it.

My dad actually had a very long association with the Tootsie Roll people. Before I was born, he had a prime time variety show that was sponsored by Tootsie Roll. They invited him to tour the factory, and my mother still talks about it. This was over 50 years ago, and standards were very different then. She said people were smoking while they rolled out the candy! She didn't let us eat Tootsie Rolls for years.

CYY: I used to own a kick-ass Mini Cooper. It was blue with white racing stripes and I had a Tootsie Pop Owl on my antenna. Then I had a kid and there went the car. Would it be really lame to put the owl on my Hyundai Sonata?

AW: On the contrary. I think putting the Tootsie Roll Owl on a Hyundai would elevate it considerably.

CYY: If you could invent a Tootsie Pop flavor, what would it be?

AW: Gin. With an olive in the middle.

CYY: Is there anything else you'd like to say to all the candy lovers of the world?

AW: Only that it's the greatest thing on earth.Thanks April! If you're ever in town, I'll bring you a pair of Lederhosen made from Tootsie Pop wrappers.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Candy Fun Fun!

Mrs. Connection and I have gone out together, sans children, exactly three times in the 2 or 3 years we've known each other. Two of those times have been Costco trips. I know, I know... pathetic, right? (Although I will say that they were the two most fun Costco trips a person could have.) In any case, during one of these ventures, we stopped at Barnes & Noble and Mrs. Connection found this for the Sugar Baby: Yum Yum Crafty Fun!
I mean, seriously, how perfect is that for the kid that makes candy trees out of construction paper and cuts out photos of cupcakes from magazines? This week I brought it out so we could have some yum yum crafty fun. I will say, the kit is assembled very nicely. Each project comes in its own bag, so you don't have to go rifling through all the paper and stickers trying to figure out what goes where. The execution of the projects, however, wasn't quite as polished as the picture on the box.
Yeah, that thing on the right-- it's supposed to be a swirly lollipop. And the triangle on the left is a piece of three-layer cake.
My house is now littered with stray bits of tissue paper and stickers. But as a gift for a 4-year-old candy-obsessed boy (or a 39-year-old candy-obsessed mom), it was very fun. Not as fun as a trip to Costco the Saturday before Christmas, but still pretty amusing.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Eye Candy

A while ago I wrote about some licorice that Bazooka Betsy brought me back from Amsterdam. She went to a shop called Mariska Schaefer's Candy Store. Check out this great photographic portrait of Mariska in her store by Martin Alberts. Don't you just wish you could go there?

Wonka Giveaway Winner!

Congrats to Ashley who was picked to receive an assortment of Wonka candies. And thanks to all of you who entered. Check back again soon; I'll be having lots more giveaways and good candy fun!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Candy & Books

And speaking of Willy Wonka, check out this school that won the Scholastic Book Fair award. Their theme was "Willy Wonka and the Book Factory." As a fundraiser, they sold candy bars to students and there were 5 that contained golden tickets, which could be redeemed for prizes. Their principal agreed to participate in the Augustus Gloop Doughnut Eating Contest and the kids dressed as Oompa Loompas. Congrats to Sammy McClure Middle School in Dallas, Georgia!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Guest Review: Vomit, Chalk and Chewy String

I sent the Wee von Schokolats a package of various candies from the assortment that I received from the NCA Sweets & Snacks Expo. This is stuff that I normally wouldn't eat, so I thought I'd let the experts do the talking on this one. Without further ado, a very honest review from Liesl von Schokolat:

The candy that we got was very interesting to say the least. The X-treme Sour candy tasted like vomit if you ignored the taste and chewed a bit longer it then tastes like cherry. The inside of the X-treme Sour is jelly and it is SOUR!!!
The Chocolate Necco Wafers were terrible-- they tasted like chalk. The only people who would like them is the people who are addicted to chalk. There is a very slight aftertaste of chocolate, but only I, Liesl, the chocohalic tasted it. LOL.
The Rips Whips were really good and fun to play with. Gretl made a bracelet with the candy and then ate it. She said that the candies did not taste good all together. The Baroness tried it and decided that they weren't worth the calories and spit it out. She said it tasted like chewy string with a cherry flavor. The Sour spray was very, very, very sour!!! It tasted like green apple and it made the Baron's tongue really dry. Warning: DO NOT SPRAY IN EYES.The Fini tennis balls were gums that were very sour at first, but didn't have a taste. It had a really stale texture with a weak sweet lemon flavor. It was like chewing on a slightly softer Gobstopper and it hurt our jaws to chew. The gum was very cute though.
Last but not least, the candy that I have recently eaten was a Triple Chocolate Twix bar. It was so good. It was like fudge on top of a yummy cookie. I loved it. The other Von Schoklats did not like it though, "too chocolatey" they said. Oh well they don't know what they are missing. :)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Wonka Giveaway!!

One of my fellow taste testers told me that her daughter's junior high class was having a Willy Wonka theme for their dance. How cool is that? The parents decorated the gym with giant lollipops and candies and all sorts of other cool stuff. My eighth grade dance theme was "Almost Paradise" (from Footloose) and we had palm trees and big flowers. Booooorrrring.Here is the lovely Miss Jacqueline hanging out at the candy store. I love how they cut out pictures of candy jars and put them on the wall.
While we're on the subject of Wonka, I have a giveaway to announce! The kind Oompa Loompas over at Wonka have given me an assortment of their new bars and fruit jellies to give to a lucky Yumster.So here's what you have to do to enter: leave me a message saying what kind of decorations you'd have if you were hosting a candy-themed party. I'll pick a winner at random on June 21. Be sure to tell me how I can contact you. Continental U.S. residents only, please.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

My Two Great Loves: Chocolate and Wine

I was out one day and came home to No-Nuts who said, "Someone was here. I don't know who she was but she left this."
"This" was a bottle of wine. But not just any wine. Chocolate wine! And "she" was Frau Marzipan. Apparently she saw this and thought of me, because, let's be honest here:

Madame Yum Yum=wine + chocolate.

I haven't tried it yet... I've been waiting for the right time. But I can tell you, that time is soon. Things have just been totally cuckoo bird around here. I'm so behind on not only this blog, but my work, my house cleaning, etc. My library books are due, I need to mail out tons of birthday cards, and I've committed to going to the gym at least three times a week. Not to mention the fact that I have a giant bag full of candy to try and a super-duper giveaway for you all. I promise, tomorrow is a new day!

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Interview with ... Me!

Check it out, Yumsters: I'm famous! Jen from My Morning Chocolate interviewed me. Now all of my deep, dark secrets have been revealed. Look for my tell-all book coming soon!

Monday, June 07, 2010

My New Favorite Mug

A Mother's Day gift from Memaw. Such a truism!

Sunday, June 06, 2010

New York: The Dessert Edition

When the cousins were here, we took a trip into New York City to freak the Ice Cube Queen out walk around and see the sights. After getting pulled over for driving the wrong way down a one-way street ("Are those cars coming towards us?!"), we went to Max Brenner's for some fortification. The problem with that place is, you go in wanting lunch-- a sandwich or a salad-- but then it all goes to hell once you see the dessert menu. We were clever about it though; we split three lunches in order to save room for these:Chocolate cake with a mini chocolate shake and vanilla ice cream; Chocolate and toffee fondue with bananas tempura and strawberries; and a chocolate pizza with bananas, peanut butter and marshmallows. And we ate every last bite. And the piece de resistance? A picture of No-Nuts in front of the Nut Box. What a wonderful day!

Friday, June 04, 2010

Candy Art from the Sugar Baby: Provocative, Yet Sentimental

"See's Catalog, Number 4"
Paper, glue and magazine clippings
The Sugar Baby, 2010

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Goetze's Double Chocolate Caramel Creams

Last night I went to dip into my bag of new products from the National Confectioners Association Sweets & Snacks Expo. I seemed to recall that there was a Simply Caramel Milky Way in there. Funny, when I started poking around, I noticed that a lot of things had already been sampled. Apparently No-Nuts was up to her usual midnight sleep-eating.
However, one of the things we did try together were Goetze's Double Chocolate Caramel Creams. Now I've said before that I've never been a fan of Bulls-Eyes and I'm beginning to suspect that I stand alone on this one. The Ice Cube Queen was fondly recalling how she used to poke out the white center with her finger and eat that first, then eat the caramel outside.
I was eager to try these, hoping that I'd finally find a Bulls-Eye that I liked. They look appetizing enough, all brown and chocolatey. Unfortunately, that's where the fun ended for me. I took one bite and realized again why I just don't dig these-- it's the texture. It reminds me of Play-Doh.
These are part of the new Gourmet Caramel Cream line. The other type is licorice with a white center. I would've loved to have tried these, but alas, they weren't in my sample bag. At the Goetze website, they make a point of saying that the first ingredient in their products is wheat flour, not sugar. I'm guessing that's what gives them their doughy texture.
No-Nuts liked these, although she said the original are still the best.
As for me, I'm going back to rifle through the bag and see what she left. Everything with nuts, no doubt.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

The Mystical Powers of Grape Vines

A couple of months ago I had received a lot of samples of Grape Vines. I mean, a lot. So I asked the moms at the Sugar Baby's school if anyone wanted some. One mom said she definitely did, although "she shouldn't." I thought she was just saying that because, well, that's the sort of stupid thing that we women always say instead of "Heck yeah, I want some!"
A few days later, out of the corner of one ear, I heard her mention something about painting a nursery. "You aren't ... pregnant, are you?" I asked, hesitantly, because, you know, that's another stupid thing we women do. We walk on eggshells, whereas a guy would just say, "Hey, you expecting another one?"
She stretched her arms out. "I'm due next month!" she said.
Seriously, I was flabbergasted. I had no idea. You could barely tell she was pregnant.
She has since had the baby and everyone is doing well. She sent me this note and it cracked me up.
Apparently she was chowing down on Grape Vines when she went into labor, so they had to wait to give her a C-section. I don't think there's any candy worth extending labor over, but apparently it all worked out in the end. Perhaps this is the start of a new baby myth. If you want to go into labor, forget eating spicy food or salad. Get yourself a package of Grape Vines and just wait for those labor pains to start.