Friday, December 18, 2009

Get gingerbreading this holiday!


Check out these fun holiday gingerbread recipes I developed. They are featured on Parents Magazine. com! My gingerbarn is really worth the effort if you have the patience. If you are looking for a faster project, try my ginger wreath. You'll be surprised at how easy it is, and tasty too. It also makes an adorable centerpiece. Happy holidays! Beth


Friday, December 11, 2009

A New Candy Line

The Rooster Design Group is holding The Next Big-Small Brand Contest for an up-and-coming "Culinary Genius" and will brand a food concept with marketing and design.

Boy, do I have a food concept. As a semi-finalist, I go in to the ROOSTER office today to discuss my line of candy and share my story.

If I go onto the next round....

On January 12, 2010, a panel of esteemed judges - including the DEPUTY EDITOR of a national food magazine, the CULINARY MASTERMIND of the Brooklyn Flea, the proprietor of a successful local FOOD-START UP, a nationalFOOD CONSULTANT, a PR GURU, and a REGIONAL BUYER for a prestigious grocery chain – will select one lucky winner for FREE design and branding services from THE ROOSTER DESIGN GROUP to help launch the champ into food superstardom.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Beth Kimmerle at the NY Chocolate Show!


This year's NY Chocolate Show was a smash hit. Back at the Metropolitan Center, thousands stopped by to see my display of vintage and antique chocolate objects. I gave a few media tours and signed copies of my confectionery history books. All seats were full at my Spooky Treats demonstration in the large Viking Theater. Fine Cooking website and magazine is responsible for the this video footage. Watch and have fun!



Tuesday, November 3, 2009

School Of Confectionery

This image is from a March 2nd, 1946 New Yorker cover. Wouldn't you just love to go to this school?

I love looking in the window at the showpieces of artistic confection: birthday cakes, molded chocolate eggs with bunnies & decorated wedding cakes. The banners on the floor above advertise artistic cake ornaments, showpieces and trimmings.

Today, confectionery work is broken into two separate segments. Baking and pastry work is what used to be called flour confectionery and making candy was formally known as sugar confectionery or sugar work.

Regardless of which one you practice, enjoy the sweet life.



Sunday, October 25, 2009

Halloween Recipes

Many magazines and websites, including People and Cosmogirl, have featured my Halloween Recipes this year. My recipe for my Frankenpops has been printed using Candy Wafers but they are easy to make with white chocolate too. All that is required is a substitution of Green Candy Wafers for green tinted White Chocolate. Candy Wafers, candy colors and white chocolate can typically be purchased at gourmet, craft and cooking specialty stores. As with any of my recipes, please email with any questions you may have about ingredients or technique. Press the little email icon below and I will respond as quickly as possible.

With Halloween coming up quickly next weekend, next week is set to be an exciting one. I will be on Martha Stewart Radio on Friday morning, New York Nightly News With Chuck Scarborough on Tuesday night and I am scheduled to give a demonstration at the NY Chocolate Show Friday afternoon. A few last minute things should pop up but feel free to email and I will give you last minute updates. Here's my schedule:

10/27: Off to NBC studios to do the 7 pm Nightly News With Chuck Scarborough. I will share a few treats with Chuck and talk about chocolate. Anyone know his favorite candy?

10/30: Listen to Martha Stewart's “Morning Living at 7:30. Hosted by Kim Fernandez and Betsy Karetnick on your Sirius Satellite Radio. We'll talk about our favorite tempting topic, CANDY. This show is now a long standing Halloween tradition and I know their personal favorites...but honestly, do you think they'll be able to pass my CANDY TEST?

10/30: When you arrive at the NY Chocolate Show first, check out my CHOCOLATE HISTORY display and then stick around to taste my Spooky Chocolate Halloween Treats. My demo is at 5:30 with a book signing following.

Happy Halloween & Stay Sweet, Beth

Monday, October 19, 2009

Meet the Star Of Kandy Kitchen!

This ad is for a fantastic 1960s children's toy from a company called Transogram. They made toys and games like Frisky Frog and Trik-Track. This Kandy Kitchen toy has officially made it into my collection of vintage confectionery items. It comes with a plastic Mr. Kandy Man (the Star of the Kandy Kitchen)! My boxed set is almost complete. It's sadly missing the small packets of starch to actually make the marshmallows and gumdrops. However, it's still a real great addition my ever growing collection. Let's hear a round of applause and a welcome for Mr. Kandy Man!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Dessert Professional

Pick up a copy of Dessert Professional this month and you'll find great articles about pastries, ice cream, baking and chocolates. You will also find an article I wrote titled The Chocolatier's Workshop: A Inside Look at a Course Focusing on the Business of Chocolate by Beth Kimmerle. It is on page 96.

Here is the first part. Let me know if you would like to read on!

Lititz, Pennsylvania is a three-hour train ride from New York City. To get there by train you roll into the nearby Lancaster station after a brief stop in Philadelphia. Once you arrive in the quaint, historic town, you may wish to immediately start your Amish country tour, but first you will surely see Wilbur Chocolate. It’s not to be missed due to its location near to the town square and for its size, lovely aroma and many contributions to local lore.

Wilbur Chocolate was the reason I was in Lititz, Pennsylvania; it’s where I was attending The Chocolatier’s Workshop. I don’t consider myself a chocolatier per se. I consider myself a confectionery expert who is passionate and knowledgeable about chocolate. Over the years, I have taken many chocolate classes and even taught a few myself. I always love the chance to learn, and when the company that owns Peter’s and Wilbur Chocolate brands offered me a spot in their workshop, I signed up immediately.

There are lots of other chocolate classes available. In fact so many that for budding chocolate professionals it must be hard to decide. Ecole, Chocolate Academy and Chocolate Boot Camp are just some of the other classes available. Confectionery industry organizations like RCI, NCA, and PMCA all offer courses for newbie chocolatiers, but this particular class promised something different. The innovative angle to The Chocolatier’s Workshop is teaching the business of chocolate to up-and-coming chocolate makers.

Want to read more? Just email me or contact our fine friends at Dessert Professional. Adieu, Beth

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Chicago: A Sweet Kinda Town


I am scheduled to give a lecture at the Chicago History Museum now planned for Thursday, February 4 from 7:00 – 8:15 p.m. (45 minute lecture, 15-30 minutes for Q & A). It may be a little early to announce but do mark your calendars as it will likely sell-out.

Lecture Description: What is Chicago's connection to confections? A longtime center of candy creations, Chicago has been called America's sweetest spot. This lecture will explore the ingredients, the transportation, the machinery and the labor that has allowed our city to claim such a unique title. We'll take a look at the city's earliest candymakers and then hear the fascinating stories behind some of our beloved local confectionery companies: Fannie May, Tootsie Roll, Ferrara Pan, Wrigley, Brach's and Blommer Chocolate. Come prepared to sample treats while learning about Chicago's sweetest times.

Also, just in time for Valentine's day, on Sat. February 6th, come check out the real candyland in Chicago's own backyard. Author and historian Beth Kimmerle leads a confectionery adventure throughout the city, making sweet stops at Fannie May, Blommer Chocolate, the Wrigley Building and Vosges Chocolate while imparting historical facts about Chicago's most beloved candy companies. Be prepared to nibble on a few candies while exploring Chicago's sweetest spots.

Beth mmmmolds at a chocolate course in Pennsylvania

Several months back I had the opportunity to give a lecture on the history of confectionery molds as part of a 4-day chocolate program that is given by the PMCA annually. Over 30 students took the course in York, PA and I was honored to be a guest speaker once again. During my lecture I served fresh baked madeleines (in honor of molded confections) along with a chocolate martini I concocted using a fine rum I brought back from my last visit to Puerto Rico. Called Ron del Barrilito, this brown rum gets it's fine flavors from molasses and an aging process. My end-of-day lecture got a standing ovation which I believe was due primarily to that drink. The following day we made a visit to Wolfgang Candy to get some hands-on experience with chocolate. Here, I show the class my hollow figure molding technique using a vintage 2 piece baby or cupid mold. To aspiring chocolate makers: consider taking the PMCA course. It covers everything from tempering to sugar. You'll come out a pro. To those who want their chocolate made for them: go straight to Wolfgang! It was founded in 1921 and remains one of the oldest family-owned candy operations in the US.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

What a Sweet Time it Was!

Candymonium's own confectionary expert is fresh from the California State Fair in Sacramento and their exhibit "It's a Candy Nation." The exhibit is a huge hit, and continues until September 7th, so if you're in the area check it out!

Beth, who helped create the exhibit by lending her own confectionary treasures for the history section, was interviewed for the local morning news shows and conducted several demos during her weekend in Sacramento.

Here she is entertaining the crowd and making candy sushi.  

Try it at home, here’s the recipe:


Candy Sushi

Razzle dazzle your friends and family with this out of the ordinary sweet treat by using marshmallows, Hubba Bubba Sour Gummi Tape and stick gum to create incredible, edible “sushi” and “rolls.”  It’s easy: Big Red makes fine “tuna” and Juicy Fruit makes delicious “yellowtail;” simply add Life savers Gummies and a few orange sprinkles and your rolls are ready to rock.  Enjoy fish with a fantastic sweet flavor destined to delight all taste buds!

To make this tasty sushi delight you will need

  • Large Marshmallows
  • Hubba Bubba Gummi Tape
  • An assortment of colorful stick gum: Big Red (tuna), Juice Fruit (yellowtail) and 5 cobalt (wasabi).
  • Life Savers Gummies
  • Orange Sugar or Sprinkles
  • Craft knife

Instructions:

1)   Cut marshmallows in half and place sticky side up on a plate. Then, cut Gummi Tape in half lengthwise and wrap around marshmallow.

2)   Next mold the whole piece of stick gum into “fish” pieces. Fold each piece of gum in half, work it around in your hands like clay to create an oblong shape and turn the corners inward for soft edges. When you are done, place each molded piece of gum on top of the marshmallow half wrapped in Gummi Tape.

3)   For variety, trim the edges of red and orange Life Savers Gummies into small square pieces. Save the corners. Cut a small piece of a green Life Savers Gummi and place into the center hole of the red and orange pieces. Place these colorful masterpieces on top of marshmallows and use the leftover edges to decorate.

4)   Finally, sprinkle with orange sugar or sprinkles and get out your chopsticks. Kompai!

 

 

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Beth Sweetens The California State Fair!


Starting tomorrow our own confectionery expert and historian Beth Kimmerle will be at the California State Fair doing demonstrations, giving candy histories, andeven being interviewed for a live morning news show! You can see from the photo they're hard at work creating the candy mountain. Here's the press release....


Beth Kimmerle, confectionery author, historian and expert goes behind the scenes to help make this year’s California State Fair a very sweet time for the 900,000+ expected attendees.


New York, NY August 13, 2009 --The California State Fair will take place at the Cal Expo fairgrounds in Sacramento, California from August 21st through September 7th 2009. In addition to the usual award-winning exhibits “ It’s a Candy Nation” will showcase the history of candy, a section about pioneering candy makers, along with hands-on activities all to do with candy and chocolate. Confectionery expert Beth Kimmerle, a featured presenter during the opening weekend of fair, has worked hard to bring together some of America's most well- known candy brands and help tell their histories for this exciting event.


It’s a Candy Nation will feel like the board game “Candyland” come to life: this interactive exhibit features a 20 foot tall rock candy mountain, seasonal displays filled with Beth's treasured vintage candy collection, demonstrations of candy making and of course, samples of your favorite candies, including See's Candy, Wrigley Gum and Jelly Belly Beans.


Confectionery expert Beth Kimmerle has connected with many candy companies through her years in the industry, and this exhibit has given her the chance to get many of them together. Kimmerle will also be a presenter herself, with demos of her signature recipes including "Crafting With Candy" a unique idea for utilizing not only the candies but also the packaging to create sweet things. Candy Sushi, Chocolate Truffles and Candy Cars are but a few of the entertaining Kimmerle demonstrations. Beth will be available for book signings and questions following each demo and will even be available to lead V.I.P. tours of the exhibit.


The Fair will be open to the public August 21st-September 7th, 2009. Monday-Thursday from 12 p.m. -10 p.m., and Friday-Sunday and Labor Day from 10 am through 10 p.m.. General admission is $10 per ticket, however there are many money saving options. Visit the California State Fair website at bigfun.com for more information.


Monday, July 20, 2009

Dare to Clare!

Clare Crespo's books have been fun inspiration for us candy freaks here at CANDYMONIUM for a while. Now the "crazy cupcake lady" has created a new kids' cooking show called YUMMYFUN! She's written many a recipe using beloved candy. Here's her fantastic recipe for CHOCOLATE MICE!


CHOCOLATE MICE by Clare Crespo, author of The Secret Life of Food
Be Very Quiet And You May Hear The Scurrying Of Tiny Chocolate Mice As They Build Their Nest. Let's Hope A Chocolate Cat Doesn't Find Them! Try Making A Whole Mouse Family With Babies. These Would Be Fun To Have At An Event Where You Also Serve Cheese.

Yield: about 10 mice

  • 4 (1-ounce) squares semi-sweet chocolate
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup finely crushed chocolate wafer cookies
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • Small candies of your choice for eyes and noses
  • Black whip licorice for tails
Method:
In a double boiler (or microwave on low power), melt the semisweet chocolate, stirring thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate until cold and firm, about 20 minutes.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the chilled chocolate with the sour cream.

Add the chocolate wafer cookie crumbs and mix well.

By teaspoons, roll the dough into a slight oval shape. Form one end into a slight point for the nose.

Place the cocoa and powdered sugar into separate small bowls. For dark mice, roll the ovals in cocoa powder. For white mice, roll the ovals in powdered sugar.

On each mouse, press in candies for the eyes and nose and almond slices for the ears. Attach a licorice whip for a tail.

Refrigerate for at least 2 hours until firm.


Clare Crespo, The Secret Life of Food. Photographs by Eric Staudenmaier. A Melcher Media Book, Hyperion Books for Children, New York, 2002.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Candy Goes To Outer Space: Beth's Marshmallow Robot

Last week a magazine expressed interest in my candy crafting. They want to feature a variation on something I have created. While thinking about all the possibilities, I came upon this guy I made a while back.

While many of my recipes are orbiting, I realized that this one was lost in space. For those of you interested in attempting, please email for the specific recipe. He's fairly easy to make and the results, as you can see, are OUT OF THIS WORLD! Enjoy the sweet summer, Beth

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Fancy Food Show Finds - Part 2

Butter Baked Goods: Fresh Marshmallows

If you have ever tasted a freshly made marshmallow, you will agree with me that the stuff you buy at your local mega-mart is nothing in comparison.  A real home-style marshmallow is light as air, melty in your mouth, springy to the touch and oh so gooey in your hot cocoa.  Such is the case with the wonderful confections from the Butter Baked Goods company out of Vancouver, BC.  And who says a marshmallow has to be white and plain.  Butter makes 12 distinct marshmallow flavors from the usual (vanilla, strawberry, peppermint), to the more obscure (matcha tea, egg nog, and pumpkin).  Hard to imagine what beverage you would float a matcha marshmallow in, but the idea intrigues me.  Also good to note in this allergy fanatic world we live in now is that Butter is a peanut-free facility, which can be very hard to come by.   Visit their website at www.butterbakedgoods.com for info on their marshmallows and other yummy baked goods. Image courtesy flikr.com


Divine Creazioni: Chocolate Ravioli

At the Fancy Food Show our goal was to find the newest, hottest confections…. but it’s hard to pass up a trip through the Italy section.  Who knew we could come upon chocolate ravioli, and a very mysterious ravioli she is.  Not only were the handouts in Italian, but the English version of Surgital’s website is mute on their new product.  In addition, we weren’t even able to taste it at the show! What I can gather from the photos and crudely (on my end) translated text from the Italian version of the site is that the ravioli itself it chocolate with a ricotta and orange rind filling.  Sounds delightful! Unfortunately for you and me both, Surgital is a wholesale operation, and with the covert chocolate ravioli only a limited edition item, we US of Aer’s might have to wait a while to taste it, if we get a nibble at all. And for the life of me I can’t figure out what it has to do with DNA.  Thoughts? Image courtesy surgital.it

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Fancy Food Show Finds - Part 1


Every year anyone who’s anyone in the specialty food trade either has a booth at, or attends one of the National Association of the Specialty Food Trade (NASFT) Fancy Food Shows.  This past week was the Summer Fancy Food Show held at the Jacob Javits center in New York, and Beth and I were eager to attend.  Over three days the two of us, as well as some 25,000 other people walked the aisles and tasted goodies from 2,000 exhibitors representing 81 countries.  It gave us the opportunity to hob nob with current clients, catch up with our confectionary brethren and search out what hot and new in the confectionary world.  Below is a list of what I found to be new and exciting this year.


Glee Gum: Now there’s even more reason to be gleeful about. Glee Gum the all-natural gum using sustainably harvested chicle now offers DIY chocolate, candy and gum making kits.  Great for kid’s parties, school events or even a great rainy day project, these kits have everything you need to create your very own confections.  These kits are the real deal: the chocolate making kit includes not only cocoa powder, cocoa powder and sugar, but also the necessary starter crystals and thermometers to make sure your chocolate tempers correctly.  Fun for kid’s of any age (I’m 25 and 3/4 and would LOVE to have one of these kits…. hint hint Dan) and at only $13 each not too expensive either, Glee Gum’s “Make Your Own” kits are a no-brainer.  Order the kits on Glee Gum’s website: www.gleegum.com Image courtesy www.gleegum.com  


Peeled Snacks: GORP gets a makeover…. You know “Good Old-Fashioned Raisins and Peanuts” that high-energy snack that hikers, marathoners, and long car-riders alike go crazy over.  Well now you can have your GORP and eat it too!  Peeled Snacks offers single serving pouches of fruits, fruits and nuts, and fruits, nuts and chocolate.  What’s so different about Peeled Snacks?  They don’t use trans fats, hydrogenated oils, artificial flavors or colors, or added sugar in any of their mixes.  Also different is their packaging.  Their fruit and nut mixes have the fruits and nuts in separate pouches meant to be combined at the very last second.  Why, you ask?  Nuts should be crunchy and dried fruits should be moist.  Peeled Snacks contends that packaging them together for long periods of time dulls the crunch of the nuts and dries out the fruits. If you say so…all I know is that they’re all natural, cute as can be, and delicious to boot!  For a list of vendors, or to purchase, visit their website at www.peeledsnacks.com. Image courtesy www.peeledpix.com


The Tea Room: I usually enjoy my tea the same way as Captain Picard: “Tea…Earl Grey…Hot.”  However, The Tea Room offers a delightful alternative with their line of eight tea-infused chocolate bars, organic too boot.  I had the pleasure of tasting their 58% Dark Chocolate Bar infused with Green Earl Grey Tea at the Fancy Food Show Last week and I was spellbound.  The flavors of the dark chocolate complimented the slight bitterness of the green tea and the bergamot sweetened the deal even more. Having done my college thesis on South Africa’s Rooibos tea I was also eager to try their “Red Raspberry Rooibos” concoction, but alas their booth was filled with interested tasters I had to make due with my one fabulous bite. At $3.35 for a scant 2 oz bar it’s definitely a luxury item, but well worth it on the rare occasion you feel the need to mix your chocolate with your tea.  Purchase The Tea Room tea-infused chocolates at their website, www.tea-room.stores.yahoo.net. Image courtesy www.tea-room.stores.yahoo.net.  

 

A Very Merry Unbirthday

On May 27th,  Beth and I were honored to be invited to Dylan's Candy
 Bar in New York City to help celebrate her Unbirthday (think Alice in Wonderland).  Thus all the funny hats. It was a great time, and we're looking forward to the airing of the party on the Food Network's Dinner:Impossible (maybe my interview about candy corn macaroni and cheese will make the air!).   Left: a fun couple decked out in candy outfits mugs for the camera. Center: The unbirthday girl herself Dylan Lauren. Right: Me signing a release form for the Food Network.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

What's Hot What's Not: The Mundane and the Fabulous at the All Candy Expo


In:Licorice Friends
Out: Licorice Foes 
  • For most, licorice evokes childhood memories of wading through their Halloween cache and separating out the hard, chewy candy coated Good & Plenty for Mom and Dad. Long time enemy of children coast-to-coast, licorice has entered the 21st century with hip flavor combinations, a shift from hard chewy sticks to creamy centers, and by the way it’s healthy too!  Check out Goetze’s Caramel Cream Licorice: marrying classic licorice taste with their signature creamy centers, they also provide 30% of your daily calcium needs and 11% of your daily fiber.      

In:Wax ‘Staches
Out: Wax Lips
  • Remember biting down onto a big set of giant red wax lips and feeling like the coolest kid in town?  Now you can feel that way, but be the adult, masculine man (or woman) you are.  Or perhaps you need a quick disguise that you can chew on as a snack later? Enter wax mustaches.  Black wax in a delightful grape flavor and classic handlebar ‘stache style affords you a quick and delicious disguise.  Check out Wack-O-Wax, available in individually wrapped ‘staches for everyday use.    


In: Inhaled Candy
Out: Spray Candy
  • Spray candy was pretty cool…for five seconds…if you like an outrageously sour liquid sprayed into the back of your mouth, although it always reminded me of antiseptic spray. Gag!  Inhaled candy (think smoking a cigarette that looks like an asthma inhaler) allows your natural breathing rhythm to gently mist chocolate over your palette, for zero calories…yes you heard me correctly.  The result: you get your chocolate fix quickly, have room in your calorie budget for a brownie later, and look sophisticated while you do it!  Check out Le Whif: with original chocolate, raspberry chocolate, mango chocolate, and mint chocolate “whiff” flavors.     


In: Peanut-filia
Out: Peanut-phobia
  • After battling panic-stricken parents of children with peanut allergies and the recent peanut salmonella outbreak/recall the peanut industry needed a break: insert two of the most powerhouse chocolate brands around: Dove and Reese’s.  Both have recently unveiled brand new peanut butter products.  For Dove, they have finally branched in to the realm of peanut butter with Dove Peanut Butter.  It is a rich blend of peanut butter with Dove’s unbelievably smooth milk chocolate, with the signature inspirational quote on the inside of the wrapper. Perhaps capitalizing on the still hot, but not quite recent craze of dark chocolate, Reese’s unveils dark chocolate peanut butter cups.  Don’t worry, the recipe for the peanut butter portion remains the same, but purportedly the dark chocolate coating is very pleasant if you’re into a darker chocolate.  All in all, these powerhouse chocolate brands are doing their best to turn people back onto peanuts. 

In: Chocolate parties
Out: Chocolate pairings
  • For a while people were experimenting with how to portray chocolate as the upscale, elegant confection that it can be, often sharing the spotlight with beer and wine.  Hosting special chocolate/beer and chocolate/wine pairing parties for your friends has now taken the next step and been replaced with an up-to-date pyramid scheme-esque marketing strategies. Here’s the catch: you have to be invited to a Dove Chocolate Discoveries tasting party, similar to a Tupperware party or a visit from the Avon Lady these get-togethers are ways for “associates” to make a little extra spending money and move up the pyramid to the next level, and so on and so on.  For only $149 you receive everything you need to host 4-6 tasting parties.  Products include chocolate mousse, smoothie and martini mix packets, chocolate pretzels, chocolate dipped strawberries, and much more.  And you don’t have to do the work either.  You set up the event date, and the guest list and a Dove Chocolate Discoveries chocolatier comes to your house and does all the hard work, and you get all the credit.  Similar to Avon and Tupperware, the more you sell at the tasting parties, the more you make, so “what you put into your business is what you’ll get out” exclaims Party Host Tammy Krichmar. Products sold at parties are then shipped to the host’s home to be distributed… a good way for a host to encourage repeat business.  I’m not sure that Dove is the new Tupperware, but how can you go wrong with a chocolate party??    

In: Partnered mint
Out: Solo mint 
  • Gum makers have been utilizing the breath-freshening almost effervescent quality of mint for decades.  In mint alone there are several varieties: spearmint and peppermint to name only a few.  But with the popularity of the mojito cocktail (sugar and mint mottled together, then mixed with rum, lime juice and soda) the world realized the power of mixing mint with other flavors.  Enter Orbit, the “clean mouth” gum and it’s myriad mint-partnered flavors of gum.  Personal favorites include mint mojito, maui melon mint, strawberry mint, and raspberry mint.  So well known in Orbit’s obsession with creating new gum flavors, there are joke lists of rejected Orbit flavors circulating the Internet.  Personally I don’t think “Kentucky Fried Mint” or “Peppermint Paxil Twist” sound that bad.  So maybe they’ve taken it a little far, but Orbit’s new line of mint-partnered flavors are not to be missed.

In: Barbados Cherry
Out: POM/AÇAI craze
  • Remember when POM and Açai were the cool new super food because of their super high antioxidant content?  Watch out…the Barbados cherry is coming to town!  Also known as acerola, the Barbados cherry has burst on to the scene, and with its incredibly high amounts of antioxidants and vitamin C it’s definitely the new kid on the block. Reported to have 3000% more vitamin C than orange juice, and it’s off the charts in its antioxidant content.  Antioxidants are measured in mmol/g (millimoles per gramme) and compared with 6.9 mmol/g for açai and 18-20 mmol/g for pomegranate; acerola has an astounding 53.2 mmol/g!  Food manufactures have used acerola for decades, but its new identity in the confectionary world is the main star in jellybeans.  Jelly Belly pairs it with other antioxidant super fruits in their brand new Superfruit Mix, including the Barbados cherry, Açai Berry, Cranberry, Blueberry and Pomegranate.  All are made with natural flavors, real juices and colors derived from natural sources.  Look for the Jelly Belly Superfruit Mix on store shelves this summer.     
In: New wave cherry candies
Out: Old-fashioned cherry cordials
  • Gone are the days of your Grandma’s cherry cordials, with maraschino cherries swimming in syrup.  Not that there’s anything wrong with a cordial now and then, but cherries have been given a makeover in Gimbal’s Cherry Lovers, a vitamin C packed fruit chew, made with real cherry juice.  In various colors and heart-shaped, each pack has 9 different luscious cherry identities including cherry cola, cherry daiquiri, wild cherry, bing cherry, cherry cheesecake, chocolate cherry, cherry vanilla, black cherry, and the wild and crazy kiwi cherry chew. In other words a cherry for everyone!  Great as a treat or beautiful in a candy dish for Valentine’s Day, Gimbal’s Cherry Loves is a definite improvement over the leaky syrupy cherry candy of the past.    

Monday, May 11, 2009

Notes From The PMCA Production Conference

Every year hundreds of confectionery technologists, manufacturers and ingredient suppliers gather in Pennsylvania for an industry conference that’s been a must-do for confectionery types for over sixty years. Fantastic talks and demos are the main feature of the three-day affair but on the second half of the first day, an exhibition hall is filled with the latest and greatest ingredients and flavors for your ice cream, truffles or hard candy. Here’s a list of my highlights from the 2009 presentations and exhibits:

Make your candy green with Ciranda’s organic ingredients. They offer non-GMO and organic tapioca and agave syrups for use as sweetener substitutes. Along with other products you’ll find organic cocoa butters for your couveture and carnauba wax to polish your jellybeans. Jim Mitchell who works on innovations for the company discussed the business and future of organic ingredients. He even shared recipes and organic formulations.

Hilliard’s Chocolate System displayed their various tempering machines of all sizes next to all the essential utensils for chocolate producers and candy makers from scrapers to thermometers. You can find dippers, coaters, melters and molds in their line-up too. “What’s new?” I asked a Hilliard’s salesperson. “What’s old is new.” a seasoned passerby slyly smiled. Explaining that when it comes to making chocolate, what comes around goes around and he pointed to a marble slab across the hall, conveniently situated in his own booth.

For sparkle lovers, Candurin showed off hand-made macaroons by Cécile Cannone from Macaron Café in New York City. Cécile’s puffy, perfect macaroons were soaked with bold colors and then highlighted with Candurin pearl pigments that can make food from lollipops to truffles come alive. The pigment is derived from naturally formed mica; it’s totally edible and absolutely magical. Perhaps it is time to put some twinkle in your Twinkie.

Madison, Wisconsin based chocolatier, Gail Ambrosius, attended the PMCA conference for her first time and was awed by Gary Guittard’s first rate presentation about the origins of Criollo, Forastero, and Trinitario cacao pods. Guittard Chocolate made origin chocolates produced with beans that were processed under varying conditions for a tasting. “Don’t eat the chocolate made with moldy beans”, Gary cautioned before nibbling on various samples along with an audience of over 400 people. After, just-cut cocoa pods were on display and all had the unique opportunity to experience raw beans pulled out of ripe pods without traveling to an origin growing country to do so.

Just when you think you know all about clingy plastic sold in rolls, there’s more to discover. Thanks to advances in technology, film manufacturers now offer products that provide better barriers to improve the shelf life of your food products. Anisong Pathammavong from Printpack discussed innovations and products in his presentation. They are offering renewable packaging, using sustainable and compostable components. This is a topic top of mind for those who cringe when encasing their lovingly produced pastries or pies in a typical Styrofoam clamshell casket.

Virginia Dare extracts was founded in 1923 and is now a massive flavoring house which supplies coffee, candy and cereal companies with thousands of food flavors from berry for your biscuits to sherry for your sauce. They may be best known for their vanillas but did you know you could buy exotic flavors like arequipe (Colombian caramel) or mamey (a sweet, pumpkin-like fruit with the texture of an avocado) in a bottle?

Sampling Oringer Caramel sure got me sticky but I was pleased to discover that they offer a wide range of cooked sugar suitable for stringing on your pie, covering your apple or layering in your pastry. They’ll help caramelize any confectionery creation: nutrition bar, ice cream and drinks too.

Vice President of Regulatory and Scientific Affairs for the National Confectioners Association, Alison Reich Bodor, discussed the unfortunate salmonella issues that have recently affected the confectionery business. Over the past few months, 100 candy and chocolate companies issued recalls. All were related to one malicious peanut supplier which had detected salmonella twelve times in their peanut factory before being shut down by the FDA and finally declaring bankruptcy. Nine deaths were traced to the tainted peanuts. Alison discussed the food safety focus of the new Washington administration and sadly stated that the because of the outbreak, “The point of entry for small food companies has just become much higher.”

 Frederic Loraschi, of Chocolat Frederic Loraschi talked about being an "Artisan Chocolatier". The classically trained confectioner creates his chocolates in his studio in Hummelstown, PA and provides his handcrafted creations to corporations, hotels and restaurants. Defining his artisan chocolates he said, “Each one I put my heart and soul into and no one can copy because each has my signature and personal imprint built in.” After tasting his flavor-filled chocolates just before leaving the convention, I concurred, this gentleman knows artisan indeed.

 Beth Kimmerle is the author of four books documenting the history of America's confectionery industry including the Pennsylvania Manufacturing Confectioners Association’s history book, Sweet Times: 100 Years of Making Confections Better.