Archive for the ‘Chocolate’ Category

Now that the 2011 Sweets & Snacks EXPO has come in for a landing, and I’ve had a chance to sift through my notes scribbles, candy samples, and manufacturer marketing materials, I have a few more confectionery wunderkinds that need to be shared.

Anne Taintor and Knock Knock Chocolate Bars
The PRAIM Group

Paul Pruett, founder of the PRAIM Group, is known for producing clever chocolate bar products (Bloomsberry USA, Bubble Chocolate, and Bosco).  His latest venture is the creation and distribution of 3.5-ounce all-natural milk and dark chocolate bars for the individual brands Anne Taintor, Inc. and Knock Knock.

I’ve been a fan of Anne Taintor’s vintage/irreverent accessories for a number of years and I came to know Knock Knock stationery and accessories a few months ago while holiday shopping. I fell in love with Knock Knock’s “WTF” self-inking stamp and post-it notes.

Here’s a peek at both brands’ designs, now appearing on chocolate bar wrappers (you might recognize the artwork):

My favorite chocolate bar in the lineup is the “99 Ways to Survive the Holidays.” I may gift a few of these to myself this holiday season and follow suggestion No. 69, “Up the dosage.”

According to Amy Goldsmith, a spokesperson for the PRAIM Group, the bars are shipping to retail stores as of today, so look for them on Candy.com shortly.

Dippin’ Ice Cream Candy and Flix Mix
Imaginings 3, Inc. (Flix Candy brand)

When I stepped into the Imaginings 3/Flix Candy booth and saw signage for the company’s new Dippin’ Ice Cream Candy, I was skeptical. My kids have tapped my wallet multiple times for the expensive Dippin’ Dots ice cream pellets at baseball games, so seeing the brand in a candy format didn’t make me jump for joy. Plus, if I was going to pick an ice cream brand to morph into a candy, I’d lean toward Ben & Jerry’s.

Even so, I plunged ahead with a sample of the Cookies ‘n Cream Dippin’ Ice Cream candy (it’s also available in Banana Split). The product, which is made in the USA and available in a 2.6-ounce theater box and 1.6-ounce pouch, is a blend of tiny cookie bits and equally tiny cream bits—think Oreo cookie and its creamy white middle cut into teeny-tiny round dots. The Banana Split variety is blend of chocolate, banana, strawberry, and vanilla cream bits.

Bottom line, the Cookies ‘n Cream Dippin’ Ice Cream candy was quite a bit better than I expected. The cookie bits had a surprisingly good crunch and the creamy bits weren’t sticky or too stiff. I would sneak them into the movies.

Also sneak-in worthy is Flix Candy’s Flix Mix, a combination of crisp rice cereal coated with real milk chocolate and peanut butter, then dusted with powdered sugar. Flix Mix tastes remarkably like the no-bake Chex Muddy Buddies (also known as “Puppy Chow”) that infiltrates most offices and cookbooks during the holidays. If you are a sweet cereal mixer, you won’t be disappointed.

Flix Mix is available in a 2.2-ounce theater box and 4.5-ounce peg bag.

Shimmer Gumballs
SweetWorks (Oak Leaf Brand)

SweetWorks‘ new Shimmer Gumballs were one of the prettiest candies at last week’s Sweets & Snacks EXPO.

Julie Davidson, the company’s eastern regional sales manager, created a beautiful candy buffet table in the middle of the SweetWorks booth that showed off the pearly round gems (see pics below).

I could see these shimmering gumballs strung into garland or necklaces for parties … or displayed in apothecary jars at Tiffany’s. They are that glam.



SweetWorks’  Shimmer Gumballs are available in bulk in lime green (my favorite!), bright pink, lavender, powder blue, yellow, orange, and white. Starting in July, the gumballs will also be available in 8-ounce bags as part of SweetWorks’ new Celebration line.

The single-color Shimmer Gumball colors match SweetWorks’ line of single-color Pearl Sixlets. (See “Sixlets” jar in photo above.) Custom colors are available upon request.

Dorval Premium Collection Chocolate Sticks
Dorval Trading Co., Ltd.

Dorval Trading Co. now has its own line of all-natural chocolate sticks, which replaces the importing company’s Rademaker chocolate sticks from Holland. The new Dorval Premium Collection Chocolate Sticks are made with real chocolate and are packaged in 2.64-ounce boxes fit for gifting.

Of the four varieties in this line (Dark Chocolate, Milk Chocolate, Mint Dark Chocolate, and Caramel Milk Chocolate), the Caramel Milk Chocolate sticks are the most interesting. They  aren’t filled with caramel, but rather the flavor is infused in the chocolate.

Normally, I’m not into flavor infusions when it comes to chocolate—give me the straight dope—but the caramel flavoring in these solid sticks isn’t overpowering or cloying. The chocolate is good quality, and reminds me of Guittard’s smooth milk chocolate. Perhaps it is.

The Dorval Premium Collection Chocolate Sticks are scheduled to ship July/August 2011.

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A wee bit tired tonight, but I wanted to share three under-the-radar products I found on the Sweets & Snacks Show floor today. Here goes:

Beef Jerky Milk Chocolate Bars
Wild Ophelia, Booth 600

I saw a rustic booth today with beautifully packaged chocolates, and it stopped me in my tracks. Turns out it’s Katrina Markoff’s (Vosges Haut-Chocolat) new venture, Wild Ophelia.

Katrina was at the booth and said she got the space at the 11th hour to present her new line of  Southern-style chocolate bars, which are smaller than traditional Vosges bars (1 oz. vs. 3 oz.), and more moderately priced. Katrina casually mentioned that she was thrilled about getting her first truck stop order at the show.

The Wild Ophelia line includes five bars, Beef Jerky, Southern Hibiscus Peach, Hickory Smoked Almond, New Orleans Chili, and Sweet Cherry Pecan. Sarah Solomon, co-owner of the new and swank Sweet Spot candy shop in Glen Ellen, Va., (love her!) and I compared notes this afternoon, and we both agreed that the Wild Ophelia Beef Jerky milk chocolate bar has a chance at giving the wildly popular Vosges Mo’s Bacon bar a run for its money.

Whistle Pops
Webb Candy, Booth 976
I saw the prototype for Webb Candy’s Whistle Pops about a year and a half ago at the ECRM event in Dallas, and they’re now officially available. The completely edible candy whistle looks like a thick Lifesaver, but tastes more like a SweeTart … heavy on the sweet. It’s not the same Whistle Pop from the olden days, but it gets the job done.

Whistle Pops come blister packed with some eye-catching graphics.

Dubble Bubble Big Bar
Concord Confections, Booth 2000

As soon as I laid eyes on Concord Confection’s new Dubble Bubble Big Bar, I thought of Bub’s Daddy Bubble gum from the olden days.

Concord’s 3.5-ounce Dubble Bubble Big Bar is about 10 inches long and scored to create single pull-off pieces.

Its shape and packaging is quite a bit more advanced than the tubular Bub’s Daddy bubble gum, but I have a hunch this bubbly newcomer will create the same amount of old-fashioned fun.

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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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If you’ve been missing chewy Black Cow caramel candy, I’ve got good news. It’s back—and it’s chewier than ever.

Black Cow Caramel Candy

After a 25-year hiatus, Black Cow—the sister candy to Slo Poke—has officially relaunched in two new formats: 1.5-ounce bars and bite-sized chews. The chocolaty-caramel treat has also undergone a reformulation.

“Originally, Black Cow was a Slo Poke caramel dipped into a compound chocolate,” says Rich Warrell, director of sales and marketing for Classic Caramel, a division of The Warrell Corporation and current manufacturer of Black Cow and Slo Poke brands. “Our version is a firmer, full-flavored caramel with real chocolate in the piece itself—like a much richer Tootsie Roll, which is also a type of a chocolate caramel.”

Slo Poke Bar

Just like Black Cow, Slo Poke will now only be available in bar and bite-sized formats, which is a bit of a bummer if you’re a sucker fan. Rich Warrell did confirm, however, that the recipe for Slo Poke is the same. No sucker stick, same taste, no problem on my end.

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Contest Winner!

Michele Levinski is the winner of the “Guess which classic candy is coming out of retirement?” contest. Michele was the first person to guess Black Cow. (She actually guessed “Chocolate Cow,” but close enough.) As the official winner, Michele will receive a case of Black Cow caramel candy. Congrats Michele and thanks to all who participated. We had more than 275 guesses!
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The history of Slo Poke and Black Cow reads like the resume of a serial job hopper. Both brands have changed manufacturers multiple times before finally landing in Classic Caramel’s facility in Camp Hill, PA.

M.J. Holloway & Co., Beatrice Foods, Leaf Brands, Pittsburgh Food and Beverage Company, and Gilliam Candy all played a part in keeping these two brands alive and well in America. (At one point M.J. Holloway had extended its line to Banana, Orange, Pink, and Purple Cows.)

Black Cow TubThroughout all of the company hopping, a few things have remained the same. Both candies are still wrapped in brown and mustard-yellow packaging and both kept their same nostalgic logos with the rounded sans-serif fonts.

Come to think of it, a Slo Poke and a Black Cow should still last though an entire “Rocky” movie, too.

Black Cow bars and bites are available exclusively at Candy.com. Pre-book now for March 15 ship date!


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