Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Polly Noonan Contributes Aero Machine to the Candy Museum

New to the confectionery collection is this penny slot, pinball (palachinka?), chocolate vending machine. A specially placed ball would win you a Aero Bar. Now owned by Nestle, the Aero was launched in October 1935, as 'the new chocolate' by a chocolate company called Rowntree. It cost few shillings, pennies or as advertised on the wrapper, 2d. The symbol for the £ penny was "d", from the French denier.

Initially, the candy bar was tested in the North of England but distribution expanded throughout the UK the following year. A huge hit, the 'new chocolate' bar, with it's aerated or bubble center, was soon introduced to U.S. markets.

By 1936, the Aero was sold internationally and it took New York by sweet surprise. It was filled with air -- not puffed rice-- as it went head-to-head with the popular, Nestle Crunch bar. With it's beautiful graphics, this wooden vending machine is likely from the early Aero launch era.

The machine came to us at a great moment. We are gathering some collection pieces as the It's A CANDY NATION exhibit heads to Canada. I just bought this 1960 Rowntree's Aero ad!

Today the Aero is harder to find in New York but available at Britty places like Tea & Sympathy. Nestle's Aero is now primarily sold in the UK and Canada. Thanks, Polly!

June 16th Postscript: Thanks for your inquiries (and enquiries) but the vintage machine is not for sale!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Lauren's Candy Show Reviews

Choward’s Guava

Choward’s, known for their Violet candy and also sells Lemon, Spearmint and Peppermint flavored tablets, has come out with a new product – Guava Tropical Candy. Choward’s Guava does taste tropical, but the flavor is not distinctly guava. It’s nice and tangy, and tastes like a combination of tropical fruits with a pleasant texture that isn’t overly chalky. A fresh, fruity aftertaste lingers in your mouth after you’ve had one. If this new flavor is not for you, a Choward's package can always double as a drawer freshener.

Coconut M&M's

Coconut has become very popular in the last few years; we use coconut oil, cream and milk when cooking, and drink coconut water. Infusing the flavor in an American icon such as the M&M is a great idea. Coconut M&M’s are slightly larger than traditional M&Ms. They don’t have any actual coconut pieces within, but the flavor is right on. When you bit into one, you'll recognize the texture and the way it melts in your mouth - it’s identical to the original milk chocolate version. If you like coconut, but you’re not a fan of chewing on coconut fragments like you’d find in a Mounds or Almond Joy, these are for you. They are limited edition, so pick some up before they run out!

Honey Lovers

Honey Lovers come in16 flavors including pomegranate honey, black cherry honey, and honey dipped strawberry. Each one has a distinct yet subtle honey flavor. These heart shaped honey Lovers are a great twist on the traditional jelly bean. Gimbal's donates 5% of the proceeds from delicious Honey Lovers to the University of California Davis honey bee research.

Milka Toffee Crunch

Milka Toffee crunch is creamy milk chocolate with very small toffee inclusions. If you’re in the market for a Heath Bar, this is probably not your pick as it is really lacking in the toffee department. Milka does comes in a convenient re-sealable package which I think is handy.

Surf Sweets

I love gummy bears, and these Surf Sweets are great as they are made with organic fruit juice and sweeteners. They do not contain corn syrup or gluten. They taste just as good, if not better than the gummy bears I grew up eating that do contain corn syrup. They have a nice fruity flavor and the soft-springy consistency one would expect from a gummy candy. Surf Sweets also makes gummy worms, gummy swirls, sour gummy candy and jelly beans.

Sweetriot Cocoa Nibs

If you are a fan of dark chocolate, you’ll love these satisfying and delicate little nibs. They are 100% cocoa nibs, which come from the center of the cocoa bean, covered in 65% dark chocolate. The nibs come packaged in a small tin and are dairy, and gluten free. Sweetriot also sells raw cacao beans and chocolate bars.

Toblerone (Limited Edition)

We’re all familiar with the distinct shape and packaging of a Toblerone. Now there is a limited edition snow capped version of candy made to resemble the mountains from the Swiss Alps. Being a dark chocolate lover, this Toblerone is too sweet for me, but if you LOVE white chocolate, with which it is capped, you may really enjoy it.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Indians on food advertising plus maple candy & sugar

Depictions of Native Americans otherwise known as "Indians" have been used to sell food products for many years. I grew up with the beautiful Land 'O Lakes Butter's squatting squaw and the Calumet Baking Powder chief in our pantry. A native woman was also used in early corn product advertisements for Mazola Corn Oil.

And, of course, images of Indians have been used on candy and chocolate. Cracker Jack gave away plastic and metal cowboy and Indian collectable prizes throughout the years. And Lowney's Chocolate issued a 1910-era set of Indian postcards. I have some great cocoa containers from a chocolate company called IONA. And above you'll see a chief in head dress selling baking chocolate manufactured by Manhattan Cocoa
& Chocolate Mills.

When researching candy history I have come across many maple syrup stories and recipes. It is American Indians who discovered that gently cooking maple sap produces a sweet syrup and cooking a little longer makes portable candy treats and a storable sugar. Indians traded their maple sugar with early settlers and eventually taught them the secrets of the maple sugaring process.