Archive for the ‘Novelty’ Category

Now that candy buffets are as common as cakes and cupcakes at weddings, baby showers, birthday parties, etc., I thought I’d check in with a handful of event planners to get their tips on building the best candy buffets, pitfalls to avoid, and trends they’re noticing. I’ve got some gems:

Tracey Baxter, Aisle Do, Charlotte, N.C.

– Offer multiple containers of the same candy to control traffic and add symmetry to the buffet design. If guests can access the same candy at two locations on the buffet, they wait in line for half the time.”

– Use scoops proportional to candy sizes. To determine if guests will get the right amount with each utensil, ask yourself, “Will this scoop provide a handful of this candy?”

– Know when to stop. Variety is important but more than 15 different types of candy presents too many options for a buffet to still be functional. Extreme variety does work well, however, when using a single candy type in multiple flavors such as jelly beans, taffy, rock candy, or chocolate gems.

– If your event is not bent toward specific flavors, name your candies something related to the theme. For example, with a nautical theme, “gummy melon O’s” could become “Melon Life Preservers.”

– Use signs to let guests know what family member or friend picked the candies and/or flavors they are enjoying.

Kim Byers, The Celebration Shoppe, Columbus, Ohio

– I spend a lot of time with others in this industry and I see a lot of candy tables. Almost every single one now has saltwater taffy on it. I think it has a great deal to do with nostalgia and the ability to get it in so many colors.

– In the past five months we’ve created printable candy table/buffet tags. They’re selling like hotcakes.

  • Candy Dish Tags from The Celebration Shoppe

Heather Kuhn, Sweetest Candy Buffets, Carmel, Ind.

– We’re seeing an interest in using multiple flavors of gourmet jelly beans and including “recipes” for eating those jelly beans together.Recently, we have had people inquiring about including unique items on their buffets, such as flavored popcorn or cake bites/balls.

Terri Altergott, ?Something Borrowed, Something New Events, Uxbridge, Mass.

– Routinely, I’m asked to create a visually interesting candy buffet. In a few weeks, we’re adding lots of bling to a candy table. Envision crystals with light dancing off of them and submersible lighting at the bottom of each apothecary jar to illuminate the table.

Lia Moore, Full Circle Eventi, Clawson, Mich.

– While many containers come with lids, this often leads to broken glass and missing pieces. If you love the lids, present your display with the lids in place, but remove and store them away the moment your candy station is open.

– Consider a round table vs. a standard rectangular buffet to eliminate long lines and encourage guests to mingle around the serving station.

– Vase size is important! Use large, wide-mouth containers so guests can see what they’re getting and get at it easily. Variety in vase size and shape also keeps the eye engaged and the display interesting.

– Use thematic take-out pails or cello bags for guests to take candy home. Personalize the packaging with small stickers and ribbons.

Last tips:

– When ordering candy, be sure to place your order well in advance so that you have time to stage the buffet at home before the party and order more candy if necessary.

– Need inspiration? Check out these gorgeous candy buffets by NYC’s event planning guru, Amy Atlas.

Top photos by Amy Atlas

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in Candy, Candy Tips, Chocolate, Nostalgic/Retro, Novelty, Soft

19 Mar

And they Really Work*! 0

I want to meet this Gustaf and shake his sticky, licorice worn hands. A tasty and functional candy that doesn’t fill you up (unless abused) and never lets you down (if your expectations are reasonable)? Excuse me while I fan myself with this woven-straw hat for a spell.

Incidentally, you could make one of these out of rainbow lace.**

Dutch Confectionery, Gerrit J. Verburg Co., is known for its licorice products. While these fruit flavored laces aren’t licorice in a technical sense, they bear some similarity to the colorful, fruit flavored “licorice” vines and ropes that have long been popular in the U.S. Fans of Strawberry Twizzlers will find a lot to enjoy in Gustaf’s Rainbow Laces, as might any fan of fruit gummies in general.

You'll see why in a moment

The laces come in a mass tangled enough to discourage Mark Summers, so I don’t recommend trying to separate the flavors. The best way to go about eating this stuff is to dive in head first, knees bent, talons drawn, screaming. Tear away until your threshers are laden with harvest, pause to catch your breath, then proceed according to your taste. While each of the four flavors can be enjoyed individually, I feel that– like the Three Sisters– they are best enjoyed simultaneously. Strawberry and Apple are Sweet and tangy, while Blue Raspberry and Tutti-Frutti are milder and more complex. Together, the relative strengths and weakness sort of blend together and flatten out into a surprisingly satisfying combination of all four.

Plus, you can tie your shoes with the stuff***!

*Where Work = May or May not Work

** Be advised, such a hat may melt in the sun.

***The stuff may not prove adequate for use as shoe-lace.

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in Candy, Novelty, Reviews

17 Mar

Unicorn Pops 0

Huzzah!

What cures poisoning, is worth many times its weigh in gold, attracts impressionable youths, makes a kickin’ decal and tastes delicious? Unicorn horns!

Awesome

Whether or not you believe the stories, you can’t be denying facts, so let me lay them out for you.

Killer

Unicorn Pops are revolving, evolving, spiraling towers of assorted fruity flavored hard candy strips. As you slurp away at the sweet, mild and natural tasting exterior, you’ll notice the flavors change and morph. The pop I sampled started off tasting like pure barley sugar, changed to blueberry from there, tarried briefly at lime, stopped short at raspberry, waffled merrily into strawberry and thenceforth dissolved into a delicious gustatory cacophony of all the above.

Surely, it was a lot of sugar, yet I left the pop feeling good, slightly magical even. Overall, a confectionery experience of rare proportions.

OMG Unicorns!

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in Candy, Novelty, Reviews

16 Mar

Albanese Separates the Men from the Guys 0

Set ‘em up and knock ‘em back—that’s how you deal with Army Men. I wish the same could be said of Albanese’s Army Guys.

Guys, dudes, bros—you know who I’m talking about. Your brother could very well be a guy and that guy down the hall that listens to G. Love & Special Sauce? It’s conceivable that he too is a guy. You might even be a guy. While many guys prefer hanging out, chilling, maxing, kicking back, tuneskies, the phrase “beer me,” and plastic thong sandals to MREs and the constant threat of annihilation, several have adapted successfully to life in the Armed Services. Due to a perceived dominance of and ubiquity within the paradigm, market-driven approaches to the portrayal of military institutions in film, television and popular music tend to represent men  as the sole participants in warfare, thus (advertently and inadvertently) advancing  a  by-men for-men socio-historical narrative as narrow in scope as it is epistemologically irresponsible. While I applaud Albanese (USA “World’s Best”) for attempting to redress these unfortunate circumstances by naming its Gummi  jarheads “Army Guys,” I’m disappointed in the product from the standpoint of a confectionery appraiser.

Some stock guy, just trying to enjoy himself.

My eagerness to mete justice by recognizing the contribution of army guys to the course of history was blanched from the moment I opened the bag. As I bent to smell the guys, I was disappointed that instead of stale cereal and patchouli or whatever, the distinct aroma of gluey porch treatment hit my nostrils like some kind of tough man. Guys don’t smell like a classroom of kindergarteners scribbling away with permanent markers– men do! The iniquities didn’t stop there. Biting into the guys (who were supposed to taste like green apple), my mouth was offended by both their flavor and texture. We all know that guys can be a little sloppy when it comes to personal appearance and hygiene, but these guys were ridiculous. These guys tasted like uncooked egg-whites that had been sprayed with that bitter apple pet deterrent stuff that some guys use on their dogs and were approximately the consistency of old gak some guy has had lying around under his couch since 1994. Perhaps this sounds harsh. As a guy, I’m capable of exaggeration, but guys, trust me.

We appreciate the effort guys, but seriously, you’re giving guys a bad rap.

Hey, guy, here’s the link.

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in Candy, Candy Tips, Novelty, Reviews