Archive for the ‘Spangler Candy Co.’ Category

My ridiculously cool neighbor is watching my kids this summer and asked them to come up with a “Blue Sky List.” Huh?

A Blue Sky List, I found out, is all the things you’d like to do in a summer. Doesn’t that sound divine? And 10X better than a to-do or bucket list?

So, my daughter came up with …

1. nona’s house (Nona is my neighbor’s mom and has a pool. Love Nona.)
2. bowling
3. look at Bull Dogs (Fiberglass bull dogs painted by local artists for auction at end of summer.  They’re pretty cool.)
4. ice cream
5. ride bikes
6. play outside
7. make forts
8. tag
9. movies on rainy days
10. nelson lake (A favorite spot for hikes)
11. go out for lunch
12. put put golf
13. art
14. sleep overs
15. climb trees
16. bike ride

And my son came up with …

1. hockey
2. stick and puck (More hockey. Ouch on the pocketbook.)
3. baseball
4. golf
5. football
6. tag
7. play at pool
8. jump on the tramp (Next-door neighbors have a trampoline that’s been a bit hit)
9. have a good summer
10. eating contest
11. have sleepovers
12. play minute to win it
13. mini golf
14. ride bikes
15. hang out

What’s cool about these lists is that they’re pretty similar to what I would have come up with in the late 1970s when I was 10. (I didn’t know about “Minute to Win It” or have a neighbor with a pool or trampoline, so they’ve one-upped me there.)

All this list-making got me thinking Blue Sky. Here’s what I’ve got on my summer radar:

1. Go to our local outdoor French Market
2. Jump on a train to Chicago with my kids/husband for cultural events, and drag them all to Armitage Ave. boutiques.
3. Walk to our downtown ice cream shop and library, but not in that order
4. Eat Salt Water Taffy (the more chocolate pieces the better)
5. Make S’mores over a campfire, but try out different candy bars, like Ghirardelli, Cadbury, or Ritter Sport bars (maybe even take it a step further and try out different marshmallows, like StrawMallows or chocolate-bottomed Peeps)
6. Swiming, anywhere
7. Write about candy, on my front porch

I’m a simpleton, so if I achieve at least five of these items, I’m calling Summer 2011 bombdiggity.

What’s on your Blue Sky List?

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Taste

Aroma

Appearance

Price


Day one at the 2011 Sweets & Snacks EXPO, and the show floor reflected the state of the confectionery industry—still booming.

According to the National Confectioners Association, the confectionery industry posted a 3.6% gain in 2010, and in the 52 weeks ending April 17, 2011, the highest performing major confectionery segments based on unit sales were:

Single Chocolate Bars +8.5%
Seasonal Christmas Chocolate +7.2%
Snack Size Chocolate Bars +6.4%
Hard Candy Pkg/Rolls +4.4%
Chewy Candy +3.6%
Licorice +3.6%
Sugarless Gum +2.2%

Source: SymphonyIRI Group

All of these categories were well-represented on the show floor today. Here are a few that winked at me:

Candy Corn Jelly Beans and Mint Chocolate Dips
Jelly Belly, Booth 831

It was just a matter of time before Jelly Belly would take cues from its classic Candy Corn and create a Candy Corn-flavored jelly bean. Officially available in June, Jelly Belly’s Candy Corn jelly beans have a buttery taste with a hint of vanilla. The new beans will be available year round and come in 10-pound bulk cases and 9-ounce packages.

Also new from Jelly Belly are Mint Chocolate Dips. The Mint Chocolate Dips are a new flavor in Jelly Belly’s chocolate-dipped jelly bean collection. These beans are good, too! What I didn’t realize until today is that Jelly Belly chocolate-dipped beans don’t have the typical jelly bean sugar shell; the chocolate layer is the shell.  I also learned from Jelly Belly’s director of communications, Tomi Holt, that the Chocolate Dips are slightly less caloric than regular Jelly Belly jelly beans (3.7 vs. 4 calories per bean). While writing this post, I polished off two mini bags of Very Cherry Dips and don’t feel one bit guilty.

Hard Candy Shot Glasses
Melville Candy Company, Booth 2002
Gummy shot glasses created some good buzz last year. This year, it’s hard candy shot glasses.

The family-owned Melville Candy Company has created seasonal and everyday sets of hard candy shot glasses. I like the swirled variety above—perfect for when “Bridesmaids” and “Hangover 2” come out on DVD. Also new from Melville are lava lamp-shaped lollipops. I took a photo of these today, but since I am a rotten photographer, I’ll leave them up to your imagination. Based on buyer reaction in Melville’s booth, I will say that candy shot glasses and lava lamp pops have serious legs.

Chocolate Krispy Treats
Forbidden Sweets, Booth 2463

This booth was mobbed today. And, I know why. The company’s “Chocolate Krispy Treats” on a stick are creative, adorable, and come in zillions of designs, shapes, and colors. They taste good, too, and have a six-month shelf life.

One of the Forbidden Sweets‘ owners told me that the Peanuts Gallery collection (above, left), was created for and is carried by Hallmark stores. Take a look at the crisped food collection (above right) all on sticks. Love the mushroom and pickle.

Each treat is packed on a sturdy sucker stick in a clear cello bag and measures about 4 inches in diameter. The treats ship 8 per case.

Sugar-Free Glee
Verve, inc., Booth 1456

It’s happened. Verve, inc., the makers of Glee Gum, ventured into sugar-free and now have two products in the category: Lemon Lime and Refresh Mint gum.

Both products are sweetened with 100% xylitol, a sugar alcohol extracted from birch tree bark.

Sugar-Free Glee, like the rest of the Glee Gum line, is all-natural and made without artificial coloring, flavoring, sweeteners or preservatives.

The chewy texture comes from chicle, a tree sap harvested sustainably to help conserve the rainforest. Sugar-Free Glee is also gluten-free, soy-free, corn-free, and GMO-free. Packaged in recycled cardboard rather than blister packs, each box contains 15 pieces of gum.

Chocolate Squares for Zzzz’s
Slumberland Snacks, Booth 1876
The Upstate Dream Institute in Ithaca, NY, came to the Sweets & Snacks EXPO with “Slumberland Snacks Chocolatey Sleep Squares: The bedtime delight that helps you sleep through the night.”

I kid you not. (Full disclosure, I have yet to try these nighty-night squares for fear of nodding off in the middle of the trade show floor, but they are intriguing. Additional disclosure: Sleep Squares actually launched at the 2010 Natural Products Expo East Show in Boston, but they’re new to me, so I’m plopping them in this post.)

According to Slumberland Snack’s Web site, the sleep mechanisms in these squares are “Traditional herbs: Blue Vervain, Passionflower Extract, L-Theanine, Hops Extract Brain Fuels: L-5-HTP, Choline L-Bitartate, and Melatonin.”

If I have the guts to try these tomorrow—day 2 of the show—I’ll let you know how I fare. ?The product is currently available in two sizes: a 7 count (one week’s supply) and a 30 count (one month’s supply), and comes in three flavors: Original, Raspberry, and Orange.

Zanies Marshmallow Candy
Spangler Candy Company, Booth 1937

This Christmas, the Spangler Candy Company is introducing its newest marshmallow product, Zanies Wacky Marshmallow Candy. The packaging is vibrant and fun, and I think kids will dig it. Mine did when I showed them the image.

Zanies feature four Christmas-shaped marshmallow characters; Oliver Orange – an ornament, Gretchen Grape – a Christmas star, Sarah Strawberry – a stocking, and Adam Apple – a Christmas tree. Ideal for stockings and secret Santa gifts, kids can collect all four character ornament cut-outs featured on the back of each display carton.

Each 2.5-ounce pack contains 10 Zanies marshmallows.

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Have you ever wondered why it is that when you buy a box or bag of candy containing an assortment of flavors/colors (i.e., Skittles, Dum Dum Pops, gummy bears, salt water taffy, etc.), the ratio of your least favorite flavor/color to favorite seems like 10:1?

For example, when I smuggle in a box of Dots at the movie theater, I feel like I’m eating 10 lime Dots for every cherry.

Dots CandySince it was a slow Saturday afternoon at the Gillerlain corral, I decided to test Murphy’s Law.

I picked up two of each of the following candies: Jujyfruits by Farley’s & Sathers Candy Company (7.8-ounce box); Starburst by Mars Snackfood US (4-ounce box); and Chewy Spree by Wonka (1.7-ounce bag).

I dumped out the candy and started sorting by flavor/color. After much computation (I’m still not using my college calculus), here are my key findings:

Starburst Fruit Chews

- None of the boxes/bags of candies had a uniform number of flavors/colors. (In the photo above, the Starburst box on the left contained seven strawberry pink pieces, the other had two. One bag of Chewy Spree held four cherry red pieces, the other had seven.)

- When comparing like candies, no two boxes/bags had an equal number of pieces. (One box of Jujyfruits contained 80 pieces, the other had 75 pieces.)

- It is possible to strike gold. One of my boxes of Jujyfruits harvested 30 cherry red pieces and only 11 lime greens.

Based on my mind-numbing experiment, it appears to be luck of the draw as to which specific flavors/colors you’re going to get in any one container of candy. And, if weight has everything to do with the number of candy pieces per box or bag, some pieces must be smaller than others.

Bottom line: If you’re smuggling candy into a dark theater, bring a tiny flashlight to navigate around unfavorable flavors and colors. Better yet, smuggle in two boxes for better odds … or bring on the Goobers.

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It was Valentine’s candy craft day at my house this morning, which led to a sampling of Milk Duds, BB Bats, Bit-O-Honey, Reese’s Pieces, Good & Plenty, and Goobers all before 10 a.m. Sure beats a bowl of Cheerios.

My kids and I started with a brainstorming session and came up with a handful of candy-related sweet sayings, including …

- I’m about to tell you a Whopper. I love you!
- I am such a Goober when I’m around you.
- You’re one Hot Tamale in my book.
- Valentine, let’s Take 5 in New York [Peppermint Patty] City!
- Luv U to [Reese's] Pieces.
- I always have a Good & Plenty time with you.
- Kiss my Whatchamacallit! (All credit goes to neighbor Jenny for this one)

From there, we cut out red hearts from poster board and applied our “sweet nothings” and candy to paper. Snap!

Here are three that my kids made with a teeny-tiny bit of motherly input (see heart #3) …

If you're not into playing "hard to get," this is the Valentine for you.

This box of Milk Duds is empty because we had no self control while candy crafting.

"My kids" made this on behalf of my husband. Wink.

Hope our humble hearts inspire you to create homemade candy greetings for your own sweeties!

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