Archive for the ‘Sixlets’ Category

Starbucks cups are dressed in red, Target’s Christmas aisles are up and twinkling, and peppermint candy canes are selling like hotcakes at Candy.com. This can only mean one thing. It’s game on for holiday party season.

That said, I did a little holiday party planning homework for you by contacting two prominent party planning/candy buffet experts to find out which candies they’ll be using on their clients’ holiday dessert tables and what trends they’re noticing as the holidays draw near. Here’s the skinny …

“Out with traditional red and green, and in with unique pairs like red and aqua, red and pink, and silver and white!” That’s the holiday hue forecast from Courtney Dial, founder and editor of Pizzazzerie, co-founder of The Bakery Spot, and author of the new book Push-up Pops, which is now available for pre-order.

Courtney’s forecast closely matches Pantone’s Color of the Year 2011 – Turquoise 15-5519, and Color of the Year 2010 – Honeysuckle Pink 18-2120.

To get Courtney’s modern and chic color palettes to really pop on a dessert table, try using SweetWorks’ new Celebration Collection of single-color candies, which includes Sixlets, Gumballs, and Candy Pearls in matte and shimmer options as well as foiled chocolate hearts and balls. (Click on any of the SweetWorks candies below to learn more.)

According to Courtney,  “Retro Holiday” is also hot. To set the stage for a nostalgic vibe, she suggests candies like Mallo Cups, old-fashioned candy sticks, and thin ribbon candy, and using wax lips as a sweet prop in a photo booth station. “Of course everything on a stick is as popular as ever,” she adds, “so use a bit of royal icing ‘glue’ to attach the wax lips to a lollipop stick.”

Courtney’s also a big fan of gingerbread decorating parties. “Whether it’s a princess pink gingerbread house theme or a traditional one, kids and adults alike absolutely go crazy over decorating sweet houses for the holidays,” she says.

Last year, Courtney hosted a Holiday Pink Tea Party where the guests created pink and white gingerbread houses. “It was a huge hit,” she says. Looking at her blog post and photos, yes it was.

Photos courtesy of Pizzazzerie

When asked what specific candy Courtney and her team favor during the holidays, Courtney offers up the peppermint stick. “They’re the cutest treat to serve alongside a hot chocolate bar or dip in chocolate for an extra-sweet favor,” she explains.

Courtney suggests building a peppermint candy station at holiday parties and letting kids dip their peppermints in milk and white chocolate and add a variety of colored sprinkles. Cute!

Marie Dannettelle, the founder of California-based Sweets Indeed, a company that specializes in high-end custom candy and dessert stations, says she consistently gets rave reviews when she includes caramels, peppermint bark, and homemade toffee on a holiday dessert table. Another of Marie’s perennial favorites? Gumdrops.

“To me, it’s not the holidays unless there’s a bowl of spice drops (gumdrops) around,” she explains. “In past years, we’ve even used them to make wreaths, trees, topiaries, necklaces, and more! One of these days I’ll create a dessert station centered around them.”

Candy.com now has mini and jumbo gumdrops to create the coolest Gingerbread House on the cul-de-sac. (For more product info, click on the gumdrops image above.)

For the 2011 holiday season, Marie also says she’s going to mix it up and stay away from traditional red and green. “I think pastels will make a big show in Christmas decor this year, especially in the desserts and candy section,” she says.

To achieve the softer holiday schematic for her clients, Marie is looking to Hammond’s Candy for its hand-pulled candy canes, candy ribbons, pillows, and straw candies offered in non-traditional, yet highly festive colors like bubble gum pink, berry blue, and sour apple green.

Marie and her team are also relying on their own handmade holiday Candy Kabobs to punch up holiday parties. (Candy Kabobs are available for purchase at SweetsIndeed.com.) The candy combinations and themes are crazy creative, vibrant, and fun. Here are a few teasers …

Photos courtesy of Sweets Indeed and The Pixel Studio

Many thanks to Courtney and Marie for their holiday party tips, trends, and go-to candies!

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Rumor has it that Buffalo, NY-based SweetWorks, Inc. is the world’s largest gumball manufacturer.

Mariah Kerwin, SweetWorks’ brand manager, confirms that the rumor is indeed true, but qualifies that SweetWorks is the world’s largest “quality” gumball manufacturer and pumps out an enormous number of gumballs for its own Oak Leaf and Bubble King brands as well as other companies on contract.

Gumballs aren’t the only specialty at SweetWorks, though. SweetWorks began in 1956 as Niagara Chocolates. Niagara manufactured everyday and seasonal molded chocolate products and still does today under the SweetsWorks umbrella. In total, there are six major brands that fall under this golf-sized umbrella, including Niagara Chocolate, Oak Leaf, Sixlets, Bubble King, Ovation, and Florida Tropic. A seventh brand, Radz, is also about to take cover (more on Radz below).

Over the last 10 years, SweetWorks has been growing at a brisk pace. The company’s nostalgic Sixlets—a brand purchased from The Hershey Company in 2003—started out as a penny candy, but has become a “must-have” item on candy buffets now that the tiny candy-coated chocolate balls are available in a rainbow of single colors and pearlized finishes. Sixlets are consistently a top seller at Candy.com.

More growth is on the way, too. At next week’s Sweets & Snacks EXPO, SweetWorks will be launching two new product lines and a new flavor in its Ovation truffle sticks line. All three product lines have distinctly different target markets:

Kid-friendly: SweetWorks’ new Radz line of 250+ collectible toy dispensers come in a variety of  everyday and seasonal characters. Each Radz figure has interchangeable parts and dispenses colorful candy from its tongue, hence the tagline, “Fun For Your Tongue.™” Additionally, Radz has a social media component and Web-based interactivity for kids at RadzWorld.com (think Webkinz meets Candy Land). If you are attending the 2011 Sweets & Snacks EXPO, head to SweetWorks booth #1709 and get a Radz password to demo the product online. The first series of Radz to appear in the marketplace will be a limited edition Christmas Reindeer and Polar Bear. Both toy and candy are blister-packed to create a 3.04-ounce set.

Party-friendly: For party planners, SweetWorks’ new “Celebration” line is designed to make candy buffets, themed events, party favors, and cookie/cupcake/cake decorating pretty darn simple … and color-coordinated. “Celebration” includes 8-ounce retail-ready bags of gumballs, 14-ounce retail-ready bags of Sixlets, and 4.5-ounce jars of Sixlets and Pearls—all in bright, shiny single colors. A few shakes of a jar would make an ice cream cone even better.

Gift-friendly: SweetWorks’ line of high-end Ovation truffle sticks in Mint, Irish Cream, and Orange flavors, is getting a caffeinated sibling, Cappuccino. The dark chocolate Ovation Cappuccino sticks are all-natural and made with real coffee beans. Packaging for all Ovation products is beautiful, but not over-the-top frilly, so you will score points with both male and female foodie friends if you gift them. Each 4.4-ounce box of Cappuccino Ovation includes 40 sticks.

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Next week, Tues., May 24 – Thurs., May 26, is the 2011 Sweets & Snacks EXPO in Chicago! It’s America’s largest candy show, and Candy.com will be blogging and Twittering about new candies, trends, candy business news, and anything else worth sharing—live from the candy carpet all three days. Tune in!

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Wedding season is in full bloom—and magnified by the April 29 Royal Wedding.

Word on the bridal beat is that the “it” color for weddings is regal purple. According to TheKnot.com’s recently released 2010 wedding survey, purple was selected by 1 out of 5 brides (21%) for their wedding—up 50% since 2008. Losing popularity with brides is brown, which apparently plummeted 16% last year.

Colored Sixlets are one of Candy.com's most popular wedding candies.

Since purple (especially lavender) is such a hot wedding color and 14% of brides in the TheKnot.com’s survey said they had a candy buffet at their 2010 wedding, I put together a “Purplicious” board at Pinterest.com and filled it with a range of purple candies (see my attempt at a reproduction below).

Perhaps the young royal couple will see the Pinterest board and be inspired to treat their wedding guests to a candy buffet outfitted with All-Natural Lavender Honey Tea Spoons. Purple honey spoons could be the perfect accompaniment to the rumored royal fruitcake. :)

(Click on photos below for product details and to see Candy.com’s entire purple candy collection.)

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