Archive for the ‘Nostalgic/Retro’ 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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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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If you watched National Lampoon’s Animal House with a keen eye, you may recall the film’s Dean Wormer reading a list of pranks committed by members of the Delta House fraternity. One of those pranks was dumping a truckload of Fizzies® into a swimming pool during a swim meet. (That is pretty clever.)

I vaguely recall getting a packet of Fizzies in my grammar school days and tapping a candy tablet on my tongue before dropping it into a glass of water to get the little fizzle blast. My kids have never tried this trick—or Fizzies—so I’m feeling a bit neglectful.

Luckily, the Fizzies brand is still going strong in 2011. In fact, it’s back with all new packaging that includes the original Fizzies logo from 1957, and a starring role in one of Food Network’s “Unwrapped” episodes (see video below). As a nudge to try (or re-try) Fizzies, all flavors are 10% off at Candy.com during the month of April.

Chris Briggs, the national accounts manager at Amerilab Technologies, Inc., the manufacturer of Fizzies, gave me some inside scoop on the company’s only confectionery brand. (Amerilab is a leading effervescent contract manufacturer.)

Chris says Root Beer is the top-selling Fizzies flavor and it’s also one of the original flavors. The flavor lineup today includes Root Beer, Cherry, Orange, Lemonade, and Blue Razz. All five varieties are sugar-free, enriched with Vitamin C, and come 12 tablets to a pack.

In the mid-1970s, while I was busy watching “Bewitched” and “ZOOM,” Fizzies was owned by the Warner-Lambert Pharmaceutical Company, and was sold unsweetened with the instructions calling for the addition of “one tablespoon of sugar and ice.”

Nowadays, Fizzies is sweetened with sucralose (a.k.a. Splenda), and each tablet creates a 5-calorie drink. Chris suggests plopping Fizzies into carbonated beverages like Coke and 7UP to create your own version of Cherry Coke, Mountain Dew, or Orange Crush. Even better, he says, adult consumers can pop a Lemonade Fizzies into club soda on the rocks with a splash of Vodka, and finish it off with a twist of lime. Hello summer!

Chris also lobs out the idea of crushing Fizzies tablets and sprinkling the powder on ice cream or cupcakes. “If done correctly, you can get a bit of a zing. An unexpected flavor,” he explains. “The challenge is that moisture instantly begins the effervescing process.”

So, the trick for using Fizzies as a topping is to sprinkle it on fast and serve even faster. What kid wouldn’t love a good fizz with ice cream, cake … or Cheerios?

New Fizzies Tablets for Hot Beverages
This summer, the Fizzies brand will be expanding with two new hot products: Fizzies Hot Apple Cider and Hot Cocoa. Both will be debuting at the Sweets & Snacks Expo in Chicago.

Hot Apple Cider and Hot Cocoa are seasonal and limited editions to the Fizzies brand. These effervescent tablets (8 tablets to a pack) are designed to dissolve quickly in warmed milk (Hot Cocoa) and hot water (Hot Apple Cider). “The warmer the liquid, the faster the effervescent tablets dissolve,” says Chris.

To avoid messy powder packets in my own home, I’ll be giving these a whirl.

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Price


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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