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.    

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