Archive for the ‘Kosher’ Category

Hanukkah Candy Menorah


The Celebration of Lights is almost here! To help celebrate Hanukkah on Sat., Dec. 8 through Sun., Dec. 16, food stylist Esther Ottensoser of Esther O Designs has created a clever candy menorah out of candy pearls and orange slices. It’s quite a conversation piece!

Esther is a genius at taking simple everyday products and transforming them into an extraordinary presentation. Her candied menorah is a perfect example. Here’s the how-to on this stunning, yet simple celebratory centerpiece  …

_ _ _ _ _

Here’s what you’ll need

Candy pearls – three colors
Orange slice candies
• Nine shot glasses
• Toothpicks
• Kitchen shears
• Glass tea light holder
• Narrow tray (optional)

Hanukkah Candy Menorah Ingredients


Here’s the how-to in 6 simple steps …

1. Turn one tea light holder upside down and place in the center of the tray.

2. Place one of the glasses on the tea light holder for the “Shamash” (the middle candle).

3. Place four glasses on either side of the Shamash.

4. Fill each glass with three even layers of candy.

5. Using your kitchen shears, cut “flames” from the orange candy slices.

Fruit Slicing

6. Place each orange slice flame on a toothpick and place inside the candies.

Enjoy the holidays making this with your loved ones!


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The Marich Confectionery Company is the kind of candy company you want to buy from, work for, or—in my case—write about.

It’s a family-owned manufacturing business that was started in 1983 by the late Dutch candy maker Marinus van Dam. He was 57 at the time of launch. His two sons, Brad and Troy, now run the California-based company, but that was not by design (more in a minute).

Marinus’ candy career started in his early teens in Rotterdam, Netherlands, shortly after his father died in a German work camp during WWII. To support his family, he got a job at the DeHeer chocolate factory (now owned by The Baronie Group) scraping chocolate and other confections off the floor.

Over time, Marinus proved himself and was chosen to attend a candy technology school. Brad says his dad was a sponge and learned how to make every type of candy under the sun, including Marich Confectionery Company’s hallmark panned candies (candy with a coating or candy shell).

“My dad knew candy from a creative standpoint and by its molecular structure,” says Brad. “People in the industry would frequently call on him to troubleshoot process, technique, and formula issues.”

Marinus took his honed skills to the United States and went to work for a series of candy manufacturers, including Anthony-Thomas Chocolates, Herman Goelitz Candy Co. (now the Jelly Belly Candy Company), and Harmony Foods before opening his own operation in the early 1980s.

Family Matters
To keep his young confectionery company afloat, Marinus asked his son Brad, who, at the time, was 20, living on his own, and pursuing an engineering degree, if he would please come home and help with the business.

“My dad said, ‘I can’t afford to pay you, but you can live at home,’” says Brad who chuckles when he tells what it was like to move back to the nest. “My dad is old-school Dutch, so working for him was like going to the college of hard knocks.”

Brad and his younger brother Troy both rose to the occasion and started out making boxes, mopping floors, cleaning the bathroom, and other necessary evils. “For the first two years, we didn’t get paid,” says Brad.

When one of the candy makers left Marich for health reasons, Brad stepped up again. “I made more scrap than candy and got an earful.”

Flash-Forward to 2011
Brad and Troy are both master candy makers and are doing exactly what their dad was skillfully able to do with chocolate and sugar: read and respond to it.

“Chocolate and sugar have a mind of their own,” says Brad with a big laugh. He also mentions how the panning process brings its own unique set of challenges to the art of candy making.

“For what seems to be a simple process, you’d be amazed at the number of things that can go wrong. I equate it to bowling. You’ll get good at it, but you’re never going to bowl a 300 game every time,” he explains. “You can do everything the same way you did it the last time, and it won’t work. They key is staying ahead of the process so you have time to read and react to the product.”

Heart and Soul
Just like their father, Brad and Troy use Guittard Chocolate for their chocolate products and are very proud of that 27-year relationship.

As I’m talking to Brad about this longstanding partnership, he tells me a great story about Guittard’s now-retired sales director, Hank Spini.

“No matter where in the world Hank was on October 24, he would find my dad to have lunch with him. It was my dad’s birthday,” he explains. “This went on for decades. They were good friends.”

Hank eventually became Brad’s mentor and taught him how to buy cocoa and work with customers. Hank’s son Mark Spini followed in his own father’s footsteps and is a cornerstone at Guittard today.

How cool is that?

The Goods
The Marich Confectionery Company’s chocolate and non-chocolate products (almost too pretty to eat) are available at and as well as specialty retailers. Here is a tiny teaser to get you to check out the entire collection, which includes all-natural, organic, and sugar-free options. (Click on each image below for detailed product information.)

Best Seller! Pastel Chocolate Cherries

Valentine Jordan Almonds

Holland Mints

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17 Feb

Cherry Bites 0

While not technically licorice, chewy, red, fruit flavored candy ropes such as Twizzlers and Red Vines are certainly more popular than the genuine article in the U.S. Most of these reds approximate a strawberry flavor, but HERSHEY’S Twizzlers have also been available in a bite-size cherry variation since 1990.

When this was cool

Let me preface the forthcoming statements with an assurance that I’m not against fruit snacks. In the fourth grade, for example, “gushers” were worth more than their weight in gold and even the mere suggestion of ones future willingness to facilitate their entrance into the classroom often liberated the potential trafficker from social mores whose neglect would have been considered inadmissible under normal circumstances, such as using the computer during a peer’s allotment, cutting in line WHENEVER he wanted, and not having to participate in read-aloud time. To be sure, I’ve eaten my fair share of glutinous fruit polymer and ken a good gummi when I spy one. I’ve tangoed with Twizzler during many a movie and recall the pairings with fondness.

Nearly this good.

It’s as a friend and neighbor that I implore this product to explain why, in an age of space-travel, quadruple-protein processing ribosomes and 170 mpg vehicles, it tastes like Robitussin. I understand that natural flavors may be more expensive to mass-produce but there must be a better alternative to the blend they’re using now. An open question: medicinal / spiritual incentives aside, does anyone actually enjoy the flavor of Robitussin? Don’t be shy, if you’re out there I want to hear from you and a team of scientists wants to study your brain.

What is it you like about this stuff?

I like the idea of bite-size red icorice snacks. These cherry bites look cool (almost like a little bow, or pile of logs), are stimulating on the tongue due to their smooth, ridged consistency, and are really very juicy, springy and chewy (especially so when fresh). All of these are excellent attributes according my sensibilities, but the taste is just too factory-fire-burn-and-cauldron-bubble for me to consider seeking them out again.

“But you don’t have to take my word for it!”

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Overall Impression:

in Candy, Candy Tips, Kosher, Reviews

15 Feb

Everything to Everybody 0

Confection, percussion instrument, energy blast, aphrodisiac, co-signer of the Treaty of Gaudalupe Hidalgo. These little purple (and white) pills have been making people feel “plenty good” for over a century, so why not you?

First: The bad news. Good & Plenty contain wheat flour, making them a no-no for those with wheat allergies or Celiac’s disease (gluten intolerance). Vegans also need not apply since, like many healthy, ruddy-countenanced candies, the pink ones (plentys) are colored with K-Carmine dye, whose red pigment is derived from female Cochineal Beetles.

A lovely specimen

There, now that’s out of the way, on to the good stuff (come on, beetles are neat!)

And they know how to have a good time

Rich in space-age sugars such as Dextrose, Good & Plentys provide the kind of instant energy boost so popular amongst such social elites as athletes and cartoon characters.

These fellows are both, and in the public domain!

Commonly packaged in sturdy, chipboard theater-boxes, the tough-exteriored Good & Plentys rattle appealingly when shaken, as evidenced by the case of “Choo Choo Charlie,” who used Good & Plenty to successfully play at being a railroad engineer for over 20 years.

Last seen here, bravely pushing his engine into the heart of suction-arrow territory

Sweet, salty and sophisticated, the licorice / anise heavy taste and scent of Good & Plenty polled at the top of a recent survey conducted to determine the smells most desirable to women.

Tied with the ever-amorous eu de cucumber

Manufactured consistently since their inception in 1893, Good & Plenty’s haven’t been around so long by accident. Fat-free, kosher certified, and reasonably priced (especially for a licorice confection) it’s easy to see why Good & Plenty have stayed that way!

Check out our Selection!

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Overall Impression:

in Candy, Kosher, Nostalgic/Retro