Monthly Archives: April 2007

Sugar Free People Pops

With a name like Golden Apples Candy Company, it has to be good—and good for you. Yes, if an apple a day keeps the doctor away, this all-natural, sugar-free candy company provides the goods to keep you healthy and your tastes buds happy. Based in Southport, Connecticut, the Golden Apples Candy Company is truly innovative, producing good-for-you candy that parents would not hesitate to buy for their young ones. People Pops (lollipops) and People Drops (hard candies) contain no artificial ingredients and are sweetened with all natural malitol syrup. Health-concerned consumers will appreciate that these candies have no artificial sweeteners like NutraSweet. They are also gluten- and dairy-free, for consumers with dietary restrictions. People Pops come in fun flavors, too. Lickin’ Lemon, Pink Grapefruit, Tangy Citrus Parfait, Hot ‘n Spicy Cinnamon, and Frosty Chocolate Mint are a few varieties.

Unlike the single-flavor bags of People Drops, People Pops come in assorted flavors with six suckers in a pack. My bag contained Give Me Grape, Pineapple, Banana, Orange Zip, Very Very Cherry, and Double Chocolate Fudge. Of course I opened the chocolate lollipop first. The flavor was mildly sweet, like hot chocolate made with too much water and not enough powdered drink mix. But I liked it. And the Orange Zip really did have that extra little zing. These lollipops are rectangular and almost too big for my mouth, but I easily managed. This is definitely the best-tasting sugar free candy I’ve ever had, and at only 28 calories per lollipop. I’m anxious now to try some of Golden Apple’s other products, like the 7 Calorie Candy, for dieters. And I’m equally intrigued by their Mother Nature’s Health Pops, with special formulas aimed to remedy conditions such as the common cold, nicotine withdrawal, seasonal allergies, stress, anxiety, and PMS. If a candy could cure those conditions, I have a feeling the world would be a much brighter place. But for now, People Pops will help keep candy consumers healthier and happier one sucker at a time.

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Baskin Robbins Pralines & Cream Hard Candy

Ice cream lovers may not be able to get their fix in any form other than a delicious, icy cold hand-dipped cone. But who can resist ice cream flavored candy? That’s precisely why Baskin Robbins came up with its Smooth & Creamy Hard Candies, available in flavors like Fruit Medley, Mint Chocolate Chip, Strawberry, Vanilla, and Pralines ‘n Cream. A few sugar-free varieties are also for sale at grocery stores and drug stores nationwide. And are they ever good.

The Pralines ‘ n Cream candies come in a 6-ounce bag with individually wrapped candies inside. The caramel-colored wrapper with the Baskin Robbins logo in royal blue and pink tempts the taste buds before you even unwrap a piece. Each hard candy is reminiscent of a flattened root beer barrel candy, with a 31 logo imprinted on the side. Since not everyone goes nuts for nut-inspired flavors, you may avoid these sweets altogether. In case you don’t know, the word praline refers to a dessert made from nuts and sugared syrup—this can refer to pecans, almonds or hazelnuts, depending on what region of the world you’re in. Sometimes these are covered in chocolate as well. But as far as Baskin Robbins is concerned, Pralines ‘n Cream means smooth, creamy, rich, unbelievable taste in a hard candy form that lasts and lasts. These taste a bit like Werther’s Original candies, but nuttier. A bit bigger, too, which means they last just a hair longer. Does it give the same sensation as licking a perfectly dipped ice cream cone on a hot summer day? No. But you can trick your appetite for now, and reward it later with real ice cream. Because they are all individually wrapped, this is a great hard candy to throw in your pocket or purse and save for later in the day. Great candy dish candy, too. The smooth & creamy label is not misleading in the least—these candies are a joy for the taste buds.

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Lifesavers Variety Bag

Move over, five-flavor rolls. Same to you, Pep-O-Mint. The new guys are in town. A Lifesavers variety bag (about 112 pieces per pound) boasts 13 fruit flavors of those little hard candies. All individually wrapped in clear plastic, the candies come in four of the five traditional flavors: cherry, pineapple, orange, and lemon (no lime in this bag). But tropically inspired tastes are also in this variety pack, including green apple, grape, watermelon, fruit punch, pina colada, tangerine, banana, mango melon, and raspberry. These doughnut-shaped candies are common fare in doctor’s office candy bowls, but are also great to keep stashed anywhere you like.

The first new flavor I tried was mango melon. It has a bright yet creamy flavor, almost like the real fruit and the color of cantaloupe. A raspberry fan in any form, I also loved that one. And you can’t go wrong with the classics, like cherry and orange. In fact, in 2003, when Lifesavers opened up the five-flavor roll’s fate to a public vote, three of the mainstays were temporarily replaced by blackberry, raspberry and watermelon, though blackberry was quickly replaced by orange. Notice that blackberry, a failed attempt, didn’t even make it in the 13-flavor bag.

The great thing about this variety bag is that you have 13 different choices—even if you don’t like a flavor or two, someone else will eventually come along and eat them. It’s because Lifesavers are perfect for when you just want to pop something in and go. Perfect for the mom on the go, the kid on the school bus (when gum is not allowed), and the candy lover in you. They don’t melt, making them a great “summer candy.�? And that’s why Lifesavers have been around for nearly a century. Currently owned by the Wrigley company, these circular candies are instantly recognizable and classic in appeal. Luckily for us, the company is innovating for the future, by producing what people want—more options (enter Lifesaver Gummies and Fruit ‘Splosions), more flavors (including sours, sorbets, and mints), and many sizes. With so many options as well as interactive contests where consumers get to decide which candy flavors will be next on the radar, Lifesavers have evolved. And yet the somehow retain all the nostalgia from your childhood and mine. Brilliant.

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With all the flair of a Latin dance, a Mamba bar is an often-overlooked candy. You may have seen it in the grocery store aisle, and passed it up every time for a pack of Starburst fruit chews. Mamba is a product of Storck candy company, that makers of Riesen and Werther’s Original. Storck introduced the Mamba bar in Germany in 1953 to complement their product line and offer an affordable, fruity candy that is individually wrapped and meant to be shared.

I opened the fruit-covered wrapper to discover three separate wrapped packets: one each of orange, strawberry, and raspberry. Each of these packets has six fruit chews of the same flavor inside. To do the math, that’s 18 individually wrapped fruit chews in all—and loads of excess wrapping paper. Ladies, clean out your purses because you’ll need room for all these wrappers. I anxiously unwrapped the raspberry chew first, and popped it in to discover a slightly waxy taste that is missing that special fruity “oomph.�? It’s about the same size as a Starburst fruit chew, but rectangular rather than square. Honestly, I would never pick a Mamba over a Starburst based on this taste test. But I was pleasantly surprised to try the orange fruit chew. The consistency is a bit tougher than a Starburst, but wow—the flavor tastes like fresh orange juice, and there isn’t a hint of the waxy flavor I tasted in the raspberry. Strawberry wasn’t as refreshing. It tastes a bit fake, like the powder you would use to mix up a strawberry protein shake. But wait. Isn’t there also a lemon on the outer wrapper. Indeed there is, but I didn’t score a pack. With a Mamba bar, you get a selection of three flavors from raspberry, orange, strawberry, and lemon. If you want to be sure to get all four flavors, you’re better off buying an assorted bag.

Although Storck seems to market Mamba to kids, adults will also enjoy these fruit chews. They may not all be as tasty as the competitors fruit candies, but they are not a bad substitute.

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Brought to us by SweetWorks, Sixlets are the type of candy you loved as a kid and still get the urge to try every now and then. They were a product of Hershey’s until 2003, when the chocolate giant sold the product to SweetWorks, headquartered in St. Augustine, Florida. These tiny candy-coated chocolate balls are smaller than M&Ms with a bit less chocolate taste. The cocoa-carob recipe lends to a malted milk ball flavor. You’ll find these plastic-wrapped candy tubes in grocery store aisles, convenience stores, and dollar stores, but they are fairly difficult to find in some states. They come in autumn colors: red, yellow, green, orange, and brown. Different flavors are slightly distinguishable from the candy shells, but the orange one has the strongest flavor. The others taste mostly like sugar, with thicker candy shells than M&Ms. And though some candies claim to melt in your mouth (not in your hand), Sixlets definitely will melt in your hand.

SweetWorks produces various chocolates, hard candies, jawbreakers, and gums, including Chocolate Oranges, Niagara Chocolates, and kids’ candy like Nitwitz Banana Heads. Though the Sixlets package claims the candy is manufactured by Oak Leaf Confections (one of Sweetworks’ brands), it is not featured on Oak Leaf’s website. Perhaps the candy brand is in transition still as Sweetworks figures out which products it will market where.

Even if it is somewhat of a mystery where Sixlets come from, the package is endearing and features a friendly caterpillar with a body made of Sixlets candies and a smile that says “dig in.�? And with that kind of an invitation, how could I resist? These tiny chocolate beads do give off more of a malted taste than I prefer, but I love how tiny they are. You can really pop in several at a time and make the nearly 2-ounce package last and last. Whether you are trying Sixlets for the first time or are picking up a pack for nostalgia’s sake, these little candies are unique, offering something different from M&Ms. But one question remains: If they are “Sixlets,�? why only five colors?

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Wonka Bar

Have a hankering for a golden ticket? You may not find one under the wrapper, but you will discover a gold outer wrapper sealing in the chocolate and graham cracker goodness that is the Wonka Bar. Produced by Nestle, the Wonka Bar and other Wonka candies are pure fun for fans of the novel Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, or the 2005 Johnny Depp movie of the same name. (The 1971 Gene Wilder film was named differently: Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.) In all of the above stories, young Charlie Bucket finds hope and a golden ticket inside the wrapper of a Wonka Bar, which leads him on a once-in-a-lifetime adventure in Wonka’s candy factory. For any child or adult who knows the story, there’s a certain magic that comes with opening up a Wonka candy bar, or sucking on an Everlasting Gobstopper. They may imagine themselves on a boat ride through a chocolate river, or even utter those nonsensical words: “Oompah, loompah, doopity doo.�?

The Wonka Bar comes in two sizes, 1.3 or 2.6 ounces. The bar is pure milk chocolate with crunchy graham cracker pieces inside. Sectioned off like a Hershey bar, you can break it off and eat just a square at a time, which is great. I love this chocolate bar, and not just for the nostalgia factor. It’s smooth and chocolately without being boring. The crunchy graham cracker adds significant flavor without taking away from the chocolate.

You may not have realized, but many Nestle products have the Wonka name attached to them. Pixy Stix, Lik-M-Aid, Laffy Taffy, Nerds, Runts, Bottle Caps, Shockers, Tart ‘N Tinys, and Gobstoppers are all Wonka brand products, which only increases the fun factor of these already fun candies. And the Wonka Company, which opened in 1983, still runs golden ticket sweepstakes from time to time, giving away prizes like a trip to see the American Idol finale and results show. But whether or not you can afford just one Wonka Bar or a thousand, the chances of finding a golden ticket are slim. Lucky for you, the chocolate bar is incentive enough.

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After Eight Dark Chocolate Thin Mints

From the moment I saw the package that these mints arrived in, I was intrigued. The elegant black and green box is only a hint of the upscale candy that was waiting on the inside. The entire package – the box, the name, and the candy itself – is a perfect combination that makes you feel like the upper crust of society just by popping one of these after-dinner mints in your mouth. Once I opened the box, I was surprised to find that each mint was individually wrapped in a brown, waxy-like paper, too. I knew that the taste I was about to experience was going to be one that I would undoubtedly enjoy.

These mints reminded me of the ones that I would buy when I was with my parents at the restaurant. They were in a jar by the cash register and they cost like five cents. Although the After Eight Dark Chocolate Thin Mints have a much better taste, they still bring back a sense of nostalgia to those good ol’ days when I had not worries and I had to ask if I could buy a mint for a nickel.

The convenient box contains 25 individually wrapped after-dinner thin mints with a strong minty inside. Made by Nestle’s European Chocolate Company branch, these mints not only taste chocolate and minty, but they also help to freshen your breath and give your mouth that cool feeling. They also have a gooey quality to them that makes them fun to set on your tongue and wait until the chocolate melts, leaving only the mint taste. At one time, they were deemed England’s finest mints, but now they are available in over 60 countries, including the United States and Canada.

Since each mint only has one gram of fat, you can savor a few of these at the end of each dinner. With the elegant box, these are also a great gift idea for Christmas or any other occasion. You just can’t go wrong when you give me candy as a gift.

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Willy Wonka Press Release

Willy Wonka is announcing his greatest, most wacky and creative promotion yet. It’s kicking off with WONK’D Out furniture created by Ashley Tisdale, Corbin Bleu, Monique Coleman, Devon Werkheiser, Rob Pinkston, Christopher Massey, Kyle Massey, Tony Hawk, and Andrew Macdonald, being auctioned off for charity on eBay.

Click on the link below for full written details and to watch a music video created and produced by the Oompa Loompas to give kids ideas on how to get involved.

Frank Ford Eggs – Real Milk Chocolate

One of my favorite things about the Frank Ford Eggs is that they are a no-frills candy. With all of the many combinations to choose from nowadays, it’s hard to just find something that is plain milk chocolate without almonds, caramel, or any other addition to the creamy goodness that is just plain milk chocolate. The Frank Ford Eggs satisfied my desire for this. These candies are just simple milk chocolate balls (or eggs, rather, since it is almost Easter and they are more oblong than balls) and they just melt in your mouth like chocolate is supposed to do. The milk chocolate used in these candies is much better than plain chocolate, too. Rather than leaving a bitter taste in your mouth the way that plain chocolate does, milk chocolate is creamier and has a richer and smoother texture that you will undoubtedly enjoy. Dark chocolate is simply too strong of a taste and white chocolate often does not taste like chocolate at all. Milk chocolate is the perfect medium for chocolate.

Since I’ve never heard of the Frank Ford candy company before, I was a little hesitant about what to expect. I ate one at first, but then I put the other three in my mouth at the same time. This was a great way to experience a mouthful of delicious milk chocolate that you can savor for quite a few minutes. If you buy a package of Frank Ford chocolate Easter eggs, I would suggest enjoying them several at a time. It’s fun. Or, if you would rather make them last longer (which is totally understandable once you see how good they are), you can enjoy them one by one. Either way, you will want to stock up.

The Frank Ford Eggs come in festive foil wrapping around Easter. The pastel colors – blue, pink, green, and yellow – attract your eyes and immediately make you think thoughts of spring. The wrapping for these chocolates is also plain. Other than the colored foil, there really is no other decoration added to the packaging. They also make a great addition to the candy dish on your coffee table because it will be a colorful display that will make your guests want to have a piece right away.

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Easter M&Ms

Just in time for Easter, the Mars Candy Company released their fun novelty version of their M&Ms. Contained in a fun pastel green plastic Easter egg, these M&Ms have the same great taste that the classic candy has had for decades, but the colors on the inside are festive pastels that make you get excited about the approaching spring season. On one side of each individual candy, there is the trademark “M�? that we’ve all come to know and love. On the other side of each candy, however, is a little tiny drawing that is in some way related to spring, such as a small little flower or grass. The pastel colors of purple, green, yellow, blue, and pink are a nice change from the normal colors that the company makes available throughout rest of the year. They should just have the pastel colors be the normal colors because they have an added since of fun.

The serving size for this item is two ounces. In each egg, there is approximately 50 M&Ms, which equals about two handfuls. If you have a spouse, you’re going to want to share these, but otherwise just pop as many in your mouth as you can and let them “melt in your mouth – not in your hand.�? These fun little pieces of milk chocolate with a candy coating is one of my favorites. What I like to do is get a handful and then hold them until the candy coating is softened before popping the entire handful in my mouth. Sometimes the candy coating is a little hard which ruins my enjoyment of the candy, which is why I like to soften them up a bit.

The Mars Candy Company also offers Easter varieties of other products, including Easter peanut M&Ms. These are basically the same concept, but with the classic peanut on the inside of each candy. These are fun at Easter time because they are egg-shaped candies, too. The Mars Candy Company has produced a great product in their M&Ms and they continue to satisfy many sweet tooths across the world.

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