Posts Tagged ‘Chocolate’

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 Candy.com and Marich.com 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

DeliciousStumbleUponFacebookTwitter
Read more

Right on the heels of my last post about 2010 candy product launches, a new candy bar has come to market: Bosco Milk Chocolate Bars. And, yes, it’s the same “Bosco” as Bosco brand Chocolate Syrup.

If you’re not familiar with Bosco Chocolate Syrup, it’s a brand that’s been around since 1928. Dick Van Dyke and Virginia Graham hawked Bosco back in the ’50s:

In 1960, Bosco Chocolate Syrup made a cameo in Alfred Hitchcock’s thriller, Psycho. The syrup was used as “blood” in Janet Leigh’s unforgettable shower scene.

Bosco Syrup also appeared on Laverne & Shirley (Bosco chocolate milk was Squiggy’s favorite drink) and Seinfeld. In the Nov. 1995 “The Secret Code” episode of Seinfeld, George Costanza reveals that his ATM PIN is “Bosco.”

Scott Sanders, vice president of the family-owned Bosco Products, Inc., says his dad, Steve, was contacted by Shrek 2 personnel to get permission to use the “I love Bosco” jingle. It made the 2004 film’s soundtrack.

And now, in the new year, big and small screens have a new prop star: the 3.5-ounce Bosco Milk Chocolate Bar.

___________________________________________________________________
Free Bosco Products Giveaway!
Bosco Milk Chocolate Bars are available exclusively on Candy.com through January! Pre-orders are available now; first shipment begins Mon.,  Jan. 10.

Try a bar and tell the Candy.com community what you think. EVERYONE who comments on ANY Bosco product (fond Bosco memories, anyone?) will be entered to win a Bosco T-shirt and a Bosco Variety Pack. So … spill your thoughts!
___________________________________________________________________

According to Paul Pruett, CEO of the Praim Group and manager of Bosco’s chocolate brand, the new all-natural milk chocolate bars are formulated to taste like Bosco Chocolate Syrup.

Unlike the syrup, however, the milk chocolate bars aren’t vitamin-fortified. Scott says fortifying the bars was a consideration, but that it presented technical complications and didn’t quite match the needs of the broader target market the bars are expected to attract.

Bosco Chocolate Syrup was originally created by a Camden, NJ-based physician to help with digestion. The extra thick syrup was later marketed as a “milk amplifier” and included iron and Vitamin D. Today, the product (which Scott describes as “fudge-like”) is positioned as an all-natural ice cream topper and milk syrup, and is fortified with B Vitamins.

At brick-and-mortar retail outlets, Scott and Paul both say the ultimate goal is for Bosco Syrup and Bosco Milk Chocolate Bars to be merchandised together, but they acknowledge the fact that the buyer for those two categories isn’t always the same person. It’s a big hurdle, but Paul says, “We’re bullish on that partnership.”

DeliciousStumbleUponFacebookTwitter
Read more

Taste

Aroma

Appearance

Price


Candy products come and go. Some you don’t miss, others you miss terribly.

I miss the braided caramel and chocolate Marathon bars and Bub’s Daddy Bubble Gum (especially the apple flavor).

I don’t miss the Peter Paul Caravelle bar.

I wish Tootsie Roll Industries would offer a box of just red Dots. I also wish a manufacturer would come out with a really good drug store version of an English toffee bar with a thick layer of milk chocolate. Heath doesn’t do it for me. (My kids wish for edible Japanese erasers, but I have a feeling those are already invented.)

Looking back on 2010, several brands/line extensions were “invented,” including Jelly Belly Honey Beans, M&M’s Pretzel, American Licorice Co.’s Natural Vines, and Gimbal’s Honey Lovers.

Also in 2010, a handful of vintage brands made surprise comebacks like Bonomo Turkish Taffy, McCraw’s Flat Taffy, and Astro Pops.

Heading into 2011, are there any candies you’d like to see invented, reformulated (e.g., I wish Nestle Crunch Bars could be made with quality chocolate), or coaxed out of retirement?

Anything’s possible, so post your ideas below or on Facebook. You never know who’s reading.

DeliciousStumbleUponFacebookTwitter
Read more

There has been quite a bit of talk on Twitter and the food blogs this week over the classic combination of peppermint and chocolate.

Slashfood came out with a slide show of The Best Peppermint Treats. (Spoiler alert: Ghirardelli Peppermint Bark Squares, Dove Peppermint Bark Promises, and Hershey’s Candy Cane Kisses made the cut.)

Cybele May of CandyBlog.net just gave Russell Stover’s Peppermint Bark Snowman a favorable review.

Today on MarthaStewart.com, editor Amy Conway, posts a super-simple Candy Cane Ice Cream Sandwich made with crushed candy canes and chocolate wafers.

This all makes me wonder …

What’s your favorite Peppermint-Chocolate Treat?

Is it …

- Ghirardelli Peppermint Bark Squares

- Dove Peppermint Promises

- Hershey’s Candy Cane Kisses

- York Peppermint Patties

- Andes Mints (did you know Andes Mints are now available as baking chips? I just spied them at Target!)

- Junior Mints (must see heart-shaped Junior Mints!)

- Williams-Sonoma’s Peppermint Bark

- Trader Joe’s Candy Cane Joe-Joe’s

… or something else?

Name your peppermint-chocolate poison after this post or on Facebook. Mine? Dove’s Peppermint Bark Promises. One bite, tons of choco-pepperminty bark.

DeliciousStumbleUponFacebookTwitter
Read more