Archive for July, 2010

It’s official. The folks at Wonka announced today that two of 10 golden tickets placed in Wonka Exceptionals chocolate bars have been found.

The two winners—Eva E. of San Francisco and Jason C. of Southaven, Miss.—will be jetting off on a trip around the world with three guests. Luckies.

According to Wonka, Eva found her golden ticket in a Wonka Exceptionals Chocolate Waterfall Bar purchased at a Target store in Colma, Calif. Jason found his in a Wonka Exceptionals Domed Dark Chocolate Bar at a Walmart in his hometown.

Wonder what the odds are of me finding a golden ticket if I pick up a Wonka Exceptionals Scrumdiddlyumptious Bar in Chicago?

In other news, the makers of M&M’s, Mars Chocolate North America, announced today that Sean “Diddy” Combs is throwing a party for Ms. Green, who was crowned America’s favorite M&M’s character. (An announcement about America’s love affair with the “I melt for no one” Ms. Green is going to be made this evening on Entertainment Tonight.)

Apparently, Ms. Green captured 23% of 3.4 million votes cast by fans at www.mms.com. She beat out Red, Yellow, Orange, and Blue. (I am a Mr. Yellow fan. How about you?)

The party with Diddy, which will be held in NYC in September, is part of Mars’ “Party Like Diddy Sweepstakes.”

The odds of scoring an invite to this soiree are probably slimmer than winning a golden ticket.

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in Brands/Companies, Candy, Chocolate

If you want to know what cool, new candy will be hitting your store shelves next, a good indicator is the top 10 candies scanned by major retail buyers at the National Confectioners Association’s Sweets & Snacks Expo.

The annual expo is the grande dame of North American candy shows and a big launching pad for manufacturers.

Take a peek at what’s in (or about to be in) store …

10. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups Minis by The Hershey Company
9. Jelly Pop by Decoria Company, Ltd.
8. Jumbo Push Pop by Bazooka Candy Brands
7. Pop Rocks Chocolate by Pop Rocks Inc.
6. Dark Chocolate Acai Blueberry and Goji by Brookside Food Ltd.
5. Snow White Gift set from Pez Candy, Inc.
4. Disney licensed items by Imaginings 3, Inc.
3. M&M’s Pretzel by MARS Chocolate North America
2. ICEE Fizzing Lollipops by Koko’s Confectionery & Novelty
1. Cocktail Classics jelly beans by Jelly Belly Candy Company

If you’ve tried any of these newbies, spill your thoughts, please.

Photo by Jose Ole

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If you poke around the Smoking Gun’s website, you’ll find published backstage contract riders (event specifications such as stage design, lighting systems, and catering needs) for rock stars and celebrities.

These road requests reveal interesting insights into A-list candy addictions …

There are some off-the-wall requests, too, like the Back Street Boys’ 24 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches or Michael Bublé’s order for the local team’s hockey puck in his dressing room. (Bublé is part owner of the Vancouver Giants, so that may explain the puck collection.)

So, with all this insight, I got to thinking: If I were a touring rock star (dream on girrrrl), what one candy item would I put on a contract rider? That’s a pretty easy one for me. I’d go with Good & Plenty. It doesn’t melt, and if you’re jonesing for black licorice (which I do), it will do the trick.

Which one candy would you pick for you and your entourage?

Photo by Ian Ransley

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in Candy

Now that candy buffets are as common as cakes and cupcakes at weddings, baby showers, birthday parties, etc., I thought I’d check in with a handful of event planners to get their tips on building the best candy buffets, pitfalls to avoid, and trends they’re noticing. I’ve got some gems:

Tracey Baxter, Aisle Do, Charlotte, N.C.

- Offer multiple containers of the same candy to control traffic and add symmetry to the buffet design. If guests can access the same candy at two locations on the buffet, they wait in line for half the time.”

- Use scoops proportional to candy sizes. To determine if guests will get the right amount with each utensil, ask yourself, “Will this scoop provide a handful of this candy?”

- Know when to stop. Variety is important but more than 15 different types of candy presents too many options for a buffet to still be functional. Extreme variety does work well, however, when using a single candy type in multiple flavors such as jelly beans, taffy, rock candy, or chocolate gems.

- If your event is not bent toward specific flavors, name your candies something related to the theme. For example, with a nautical theme, “gummy melon O’s” could become “Melon Life Preservers.”

- Use signs to let guests know what family member or friend picked the candies and/or flavors they are enjoying.

Kim Byers, The Celebration Shoppe, Columbus, Ohio

- I spend a lot of time with others in this industry and I see a lot of candy tables. Almost every single one now has saltwater taffy on it. I think it has a great deal to do with nostalgia and the ability to get it in so many colors.

- In the past five months we’ve created printable candy table/buffet tags. They’re selling like hotcakes.

  • Candy Dish Tags from The Celebration Shoppe

Heather Kuhn, Sweetest Candy Buffets, Carmel, Ind.

- We’re seeing an interest in using multiple flavors of gourmet jelly beans and including “recipes” for eating those jelly beans together.Recently, we have had people inquiring about including unique items on their buffets, such as flavored popcorn or cake bites/balls.

Terri Altergott, ?Something Borrowed, Something New Events, Uxbridge, Mass.

- Routinely, I’m asked to create a visually interesting candy buffet. In a few weeks, we’re adding lots of bling to a candy table. Envision crystals with light dancing off of them and submersible lighting at the bottom of each apothecary jar to illuminate the table.

Lia Moore, Full Circle Eventi, Clawson, Mich.

- While many containers come with lids, this often leads to broken glass and missing pieces. If you love the lids, present your display with the lids in place, but remove and store them away the moment your candy station is open.

- Consider a round table vs. a standard rectangular buffet to eliminate long lines and encourage guests to mingle around the serving station.

- Vase size is important! Use large, wide-mouth containers so guests can see what they’re getting and get at it easily. Variety in vase size and shape also keeps the eye engaged and the display interesting.

- Use thematic take-out pails or cello bags for guests to take candy home. Personalize the packaging with small stickers and ribbons.

Last tips:

- When ordering candy, be sure to place your order well in advance so that you have time to stage the buffet at home before the party and order more candy if necessary.

- Need inspiration? Check out these gorgeous candy buffets by NYC’s event planning guru, Amy Atlas.

Top photos by Amy Atlas

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in Candy, Candy Tips, Chocolate, Nostalgic/Retro, Novelty, Soft