Archive for the ‘Tootsie Roll Industries, Inc.’ Category

Have you ever known someone for a while, and later discovered one of their secret talents? Like, learning that a coworker sews amazing mens’ suits at night, or finding out that your retired neighbor happens to be a pool shark and travels to Vegas to compete. I love when this kind of stuff unfolds.

Last week at the Sweets & Snacks EXPO in Chicago, I came across a “Candy Never Goes Out of Style” exhibit. It was a display of couture dresses, jewelry, high-heeled pumps, and a Louis XVI chair all made out of candy wrappers and individual pieces of candy.

Exhibit A:


Turns out the dresses and accessories were created by Terese McDonald, owner of Candyality candy shops in Chicago, along with several of her staff members, siblings, and sister-in-law. The Louis XVI “sweet seat” was made by Beth Kimmerle, candy historian and author. Both Terese and Beth are friends of Candy.com, and neither came clean with their hidden talents until last week.

Terese says the “Skittles Riddles” dress (above) took her employee, Ashley Reinsmith, about 15 hours to make. (Skittles Riddles got lots of buzz at the Sweets & Snacks EXPO, winning the NCA’s Most Innovative New Product Award in the non-chocolate category.)

The matching Skittles Riddles high heels scream “Katy Perry!” …


Exhibit B:

According to Terese, the Jelly Belly Wedding Dress took the most amount of time to design and bring to life … about 50 hours. (That may have topped the time it took Sarah Burton of Alexander McQueen to create Kate Middleton’s wedding dress!) The bodice and boning accents were made with Vanilla Jelly Belly jelly beans.

Terese says two of her team members worked diligently on the Jelly Belly dress in the middle of her new Water Tower Chicago store location, while customers watched the progress.


Exhibit C:

The vibrant Wm. Wrigley Jr. 5 Gum Dress was made by Terese’s sister-in-law. Terese comes from a family of seven children and says all of her siblings and her sister-in-law have creative and artistic backgrounds. The talent pool runs deep! Terese says she and two of her sisters caught the fashion design bug two years ago when they collaborated on their first candy wrapper dress.

“We constantly study all of the current fashion trends and fashionable people, and make an inspiration board to get us going. Each dress is different as it expresses the vision of the artist,” says Terese.


Exhibit D:

Inspiration by J.Lo? This M&M’s Dress features a boho chic hat and rows and rows of wrappers cut like petals.


Exhibit E:


The summery tangerine dress made with Goetze’s Classic Vanilla Cow Tale wrappers took Terese and her crew about 36 hours to craft. The neckline features unwrapped Goetze’s Caramel Creams. (Yum!)

When asked about what happens with all the candy that gets unwrapped, Terese says, “Most companies donate the wrappers for our dresses, but from time to time, we do end up with vats of unwrapped candy. We recycle that candy because we do so many art projects in our stores. We don’t like to throw anything away.”


Exhibit F:

Beth Kimmerle’s antique Louis XVI chair was covered in retro candies like Tootsie Rolls, red licorice wheels, candy dots, Necco Wafers, and Pez. It was, by far, the sweetest seat in the house.

To learn more about the dresses and accessories that debuted on the Sweets & Snacks Expo runway, as well as Candyality’s upcoming candy fashion events, click here.

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About an hour ago, I called Tootsie Roll Industries to get the straight dope on the cute little Indian guy that occasionally appears on Tootsie Roll wrappers.

According to the Tootsie Roll spokesperson, “Chief Shooting Star” wasn’t originally intended to signify good luck. Back in 1931 when Tootsie Roll Pops launched, the chief represented “children at play” and still does today.

No matter. My daughter and her friends collect all of their Chief Shooting Star wrappers and stash them in their jewelry boxes for good luck. The kind woman I spoke with at Tootsie Roll Industries says her own daughter crumples these special wrappers and makes a wish. I like that.

I re-crumpled the wrapper I photographed above and wished for a bouquet of cherry- and chocolate-flavored Tootsie Roll Pops for Valentine’s Day.

I hope my family is reading.

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Described as “the true blue Willy Wonka,” “eccentric,” an “oddball,” and a “savant,” David Klein, I recently found out, is all of these things, and more.

David Klein is the inventor of Jelly Belly jelly beans, and he’s got quite a story. Last week, I talked with David about his new documentary, Candyman: The David Klein Story, produced by his son and daughter-in-law. I’d been hoping to see this film, which chronicles David’s Jelly Belly journey, so I felt like I won a first prize when he offered to send me a copy.

So far, I’ve watched this feature-length film twice. It’s quirky and a little addicting. Ellia Kassoff, the owner of Astro Pops, LLC, says he’s watched it four times.

I am drawn to this film because David is a walking candy Wikipedia. If I were writing a historical piece on the industry, he’d be the first guy I’d call. Ask David a question about a candy brand and he’ll tell you when it was invented, the company that manufactured it, when the brand changed hands, and the people behind it all.

I am also drawn to this film because of David’s character. He is wacky (he writes all of his notes on paper plates) and would probably drive you nuts if he were your dad, but he’s got a heart of gold and an entrepreneurial spirit that trumps The Donald’s.

I’m no film critic, so I won’t go into details about the film (see the Candy Professor’s review), but I will share a few good takeaways I got from my call with the Candyman:

- From the beginning, David sold jelly beans as individual flavors. “If I only sold an assorted box, I’d only have one spot in the store. By forcing retailers to buy single flavors, I got much more shelf space.”

- David got the idea for intensely and realistically flavored jelly beans while watching “Happy Days.” He got the idea for the brand name, “Jelly Belly” while watching “Sanford and Son.”

- David’s all-time favorite candy is not jelly beans. It’s actually Junior Mints (and Queen Anne’s Caramellos, but they are extinct).

- David wishes the manufacturer of Junior Mints (Tootsie Roll Industries), would come out with a Junior Mint peppermint patty.

- David is working on a new line of jelly beans that he says will “revolutionize the jelly bean business.” If all goes to plan, the new beans will roll out before Easter 2011.

- The outlandish rhinestone cowboy outfit that David wore on “The Mike Douglas Show” set him back $4,760.

Candyman: The David Klein Story is now playing on The Documentary Channel, which is primarily available through satellite television services DISH Network (Channel 197) and DIRECTV (Channel 267).

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There has been quite a bit of talk on Twitter and the food blogs this week over the classic combination of peppermint and chocolate.

Slashfood came out with a slide show of The Best Peppermint Treats. (Spoiler alert: Ghirardelli Peppermint Bark Squares, Dove Peppermint Bark Promises, and Hershey’s Candy Cane Kisses made the cut.)

Cybele May of CandyBlog.net just gave Russell Stover’s Peppermint Bark Snowman a favorable review.

Today on MarthaStewart.com, editor Amy Conway, posts a super-simple Candy Cane Ice Cream Sandwich made with crushed candy canes and chocolate wafers.

This all makes me wonder …

What’s your favorite Peppermint-Chocolate Treat?

Is it …

- Ghirardelli Peppermint Bark Squares

- Dove Peppermint Promises

- Hershey’s Candy Cane Kisses

- York Peppermint Patties

- Andes Mints (did you know Andes Mints are now available as baking chips? I just spied them at Target!)

- Junior Mints (must see heart-shaped Junior Mints!)

- Williams-Sonoma’s Peppermint Bark

- Trader Joe’s Candy Cane Joe-Joe’s

… or something else?

Name your peppermint-chocolate poison after this post or on Facebook. Mine? Dove’s Peppermint Bark Promises. One bite, tons of choco-pepperminty bark.

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