Archive for the ‘Gifts’ Category

Candy lovers are a passionate bunch. We’re big on learning about candy and the stories behind the brands. We love to talk about the sweet stuff, consume it, and share it. (Heck, if that weren’t true, Candy.com wouldn’t have 55,000+ Facebook Fans.)

So, periodically in this blog, I’m going to put a spotlight on a select candy manufacturer to give you the who behind some of your favorite brands as well as brands you might not know about … yet.

The first who in my “Meet the Candy Makers” series is the Kimmie Candy Company.

This candy maker fascinates me for a handful of reasons:

- It’s only 10 years old, which is young for the majorly mature candy industry.

- Kimmie Candy’s founder, Joe Dutra, is an international agronomist who grew up in a farming family in California. At one point in his own farming career, Joe farmed for a prince in Saudi Arabia.

- Kimmie Candy is one of a few US companies to manufacture overseas and then move all operations to US soil. Kimmie Candy products were manufactured in Korea until 2008 when Joe opened headquarters in Reno, Nevada.

- The company is named after a family friend who offhandedly said the company should be named after her. And so it was.

You may be wondering how this US candy company got its start in Korea. It was actually a bit of a fluke. One of Joe Dutra’s employees at the time told him about a container full of chocolate-covered sunflower kernels from Korea that was left at a San Francisco dock. Looking to diversify, Joe purchased the container.

That container led to more. Joe was sending U.S. sunflower seeds to Korea for candy coating, which were then shipped back to California for packaging.

Then, Sept. 11 hit, which was a major turning point for the candy company. “I became patriotic,” says Joe. “I was living in a community, but I wasn’t bringing anything back to it.”

After several business hiccups, including a lawsuit from Mars, Joe convinced his Korean panner (a confectioner who applies a candy shell to candy and nuts) to move to America and purchase equipment for US production in Reno, Nevada.

With all operations now in Reno, Joe says he’s expecting 30% to 40% growth by year end.

“We really are living the American Dream,” says Joe, who has welcomed his own two grown children into the Kimmie Candy Company. “It’s a pleasure to come to work everyday.”

The Goods
Kimmie Candy’s line of panned candy products includes three brands: Choco Rocks, Sunbursts, and Kettle Corn Nuggets, as well as  Jordan almonds. (Click on each image below for detailed product information.)

According to Mark Bedingfield, Kimmie Candy’s sales director, the Choco Rocks are currently the company’s best seller. Mark says the gold, silver, and bronze Choco Rocks Boulders and Choco Rocks Nuggets are getting quite a bit of attention from candy retailers and party planners.

It’s easy to see why. The large chunks of composite milk and dark chocolate coated in edible metallic glitters are pure eye candy in glass containers.

Gold Choco Boulders

Kimmie’s candy-coated sunflower kernels, Sunbursts, have also caught the eye of party planners, retailers, and bakers because they’re available in 18 solo colors plus an all-natural mix and several holiday mixes. The glossy Sunbursts’ little seed shape lends itself to cake and cupcake decorating and mixing with other panned candies like Kimmie’s Kettle Corn Nuggets and Jordan Almonds.

Sunbursts Natural Mix

The Kettle Corn Nuggets (roasted corn nuggets coated in milk chocolate with a colorful candy shell) is the newest product in Kimmie’s lineup, and, like all Kimmie products, is available in holiday colors and mixes.

Kettle Corn Nuggets Christmas Mix

Sunbursts Hanukkah Mix

Choco Rocks Black Coal

Red Jordan Almonds

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My grandmother, like most, had a candy dish sitting in her “front room” (a.k.a. the least lived-in room). I don’t recall ever wanting any of the candies she put in her candy dish. Maybe it’s because they were dusty and not M&M’s, but I can’t remember, exactly.

Even so, I still have a thing for the old-fashioned candy dish. I’d love to have one today in my “family room” (a.k.a. the room with the couch my kids use as a launching pad) filled with Peanut Butter M&M’s, Nerds, or Crazy Core Skittles.

I know I’m not alone in this dish nostalgia. Former lawyer and Harvard grad, Maggie Wickes moved West and launched her Colorado-based Bluebird Candy Dish Co. this time last year out of concern for the extinction of the vintage candy dish. All of the dishes in Maggie’s collection are new and many of the vintage-inspired candy dish options incorporate classic glassware patterns.

My two favorites at Bluebird:

I also found some pretty terrific candy dishes at Etsy.com—all of which could double as heartfelt holiday gifts filled with vibrant holiday candies. (Click on each photo below for product info.)


Here’s an additional gem from 1StopRetroShop.com


Do you have fond memories of your grandmother’s candy dish?

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Last weekend, my niece and nephew popped in for a sleepover with my kids (A.K.A. cousin camp).  As luck would have it, Greg at Candy.com stocked me with all the necessary supplies to make chocolatey Halloween suckers with the kids, ranging in age from 6 to 10.

So, away we went on Saturday night with our science project. We unleashed our sucker sticks, microwaved each pound of orange, white, and milk chocolate discs, and carefully poured our just-barely-melted chocolates into Jack-O-Lantern and Skull chocolate molds.

The kids loved “painting” the eyes, nose, and mouth on the Jack-O-Lanterns and Skulls with chocolate after the pops cooled (we put them in the freezer). We found that small craft paint brushes worked best.

Another tip? Insert Icing Eyeballs into the molds before pouring in the melted chocolate. I didn’t try this trick, but Greg at Candy.com says it works like a charm.

The kids did everything but microwave the chocolate and had at least two hours of fun creating and eating their treats on a stick. The final products might not be Martha Stewart worthy, but not bad for the young chocolatiers.

I am going to experiment with more molds from Candy.com to see what else we can cook up at the Gillerlain household over the holidays. My son is planning on making chocolate suckers for an upcoming fundraiser in lieu of a standard baked goods sale. My thought is to package the suckers in clear mini cello bags and finish them off with a twist-tie bow. Why not give it a whirl?

If you’re in need of an all-ages and edible DIY project, check out Candy.com’s crazy huge selection of inexpensive chocolate molds and hard candy molds. You’ll find molds in the shape of lipstick tubes, teapots, states, business cards, police badges, pineapples, zodiacs, owls, you name it. (Note: You can use Candy.com’s hard candy molds with chocolate, but you can’t use the chocolate molds to create hard candies.)

Lastly, and most importantly, if you’ve experimented with chocolate and chocolate molds, share your creations and tips. Add your comments after this post or on Facebook.

Thanks!

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I’ve got Halloween costumes on the brain. I’ve been reading press releases and blogs predicting the most popular costumes to hit the streets this Oct. 31. Not surprisingly, Lady Gaga, Iron Man, Toy Story, Alice In Wonderland, and Jersey Shore characters seem to be topping most of the lists.

Those are all fine costume themes, but not necessarily all that clever (although there is a lot you could do with Lady Gaga and the “Situation.” Hmmm, I see a couple’s costume in the making.)

So, for this week’s contest, tell us: What’s the most creative costume you’ve ever worn, witnessed, made for your child, grandchild, pet, etc.?

We’re not looking for most elaborate costume, either. Just clever. A few years ago, I saw a guy who taped Barbie dolls to his chest and said he was a “chick magnet.” Clever and economical. Win-win.

The Candy.com team will vote to come up with the winner who will receive this super cute Trick or Treat Halloween Candy Bouquet:

(Shameless plug: If you haven’t seen Candy.com’s gynormous selection of candy bouquets, it’s well worth the click. The Party in a Pumpkin Care Package bouquet is great for college students. And, now through Sunday 10/10, Halloween treats at Candy.com are 10% off. Use code “Halloween10″ at checkout.)

The winner of the Trick or Treat Halloween Candy Bouquet will be revealed later this week.

To get your creative juices flowing, here’s a handful of creative costumes I found last night while I inadvertently burnt the family frozen pizza. Aaaack!

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in Candy, Contests, Gifts, Halloween