Sour News

Everyone thinks the Candy World is all cotton candy clouds and sugary sunshine, but they don’t know about the dark underbelly of these cold candy streets. They don’t know about the hard candy doing hard time, or the gummy bear gumshoes tryin’ to keep the neighborhood safe for all the Fun Size little ones on the Sour Side of town! OK…maybe we made that up. Maybe it really is cotton candy clouds and sugary sunshine for the most part. But just because the candy industry is sweeter than most doesn’t mean it’s self-powered by smiles. There’s a lot of work going on, tradeshows being put together, partnerships being formed and general changes being made. And here in “Sour News” we’ll be keeping you updated on all those things!

Which Candy Could You Happily Eat Forever?

Hershey's Milk Chocolate Bar

Image courtesy of Hersheys.com

 

I came across an article today on USA Today titled If I could eat only one candy the rest of my life… Reading on I found it was a question the author had asked of her readers, and they answered with some treats that even yours truly has never heard of! In the mix were some classics, including Skittles, Peanut M&M’s and Cadbury Crème Eggs, but there were also Brach’s Fiesta Eggs, Bleeps, Burton Jammie Dodgers, and more. I’ll definitely be writing down all those that are new to me so I can seek them out sometime!

Naturally, this article got me thinking about some of my own favorites, and left me hoping that I would never have to choose just one. Honestly, I can’t imagine and don’t want to imagine! That said, putting together a list of favorites sounded rather fun, so I did do that. This is by no means a complete list, but many of the candies I buy time and again (and again!) are below. Please share some of your own in the comments –  I’d love to see which candies mean the most to all of you!

A Few Of My Favorite Sweets

5th Avenue Candy Bars
Gummy Peach Rings
Miniature Reese’s Cups
Regular Hershey’s Bars
Original Fruit Skittles
Gummy Strawberry Creams
Grape Tootsie Frooties
Twix
Hot Tamales

Happy Pills – Sometimes the Best Medicine of All Doesn’t Require a Prescription!

Image courtesy of HappyPills.es

I’m a candy fan, you’re a candy fan, a lot of people you know are probably candy fans. Candy might not be the most nutritious food on the planet, but it doesn’t pretend to be, either. Candy is fun food at its finest – unapologetically indulgent, sweet, and often, colorful and cool. But can candy also be medicine? While it’s not too likely to be what the doctor ordered, I think it can! Sort of…

Measure Your Mood, Decide Your Dose

At the end of a long, trying day, a lot of people reach for a beer or glass of wine. Some take it out on the treadmill at the gym, while others dig into a cake or pie. We all have our own ways of making ourselves feel better when times get tough, and mine is not surprisingly eating candy.

Of course, if your mood is more than just a bit cranky because you had a rough day and you feel you may be suffering from depression, by all means you should talk about it with your doctor. But if it’s an occasional occurrence and it was something (or several things) that set you off, that’s a different story. That’s the kind of story where Happy Pills might be the best medicine!

I first read about Happy Pills on the blog panda bytes. The author was enviably roaming the streets of Barcelona when they happened upon a candy shop by the name of Happy Pills. Once inside they were encountered with some of the most clever candy container designs I’ve ever seen! As the ‘Instructions for use’ demonstrate, these bottles are to be popped open when the little annoyances of life have us just about ready to scream at the moon. Apparently there is even a ‘prescription’ aimed at helping men to wash the dishes!

I clicked through to the Happy Pills website, and was instantly in love with everything. I don’t speak Spanish so am unsure what many of the label options mean, but it appears that for some items you can opt for your favorite candy mix and affix a ‘prescription’ of your choosing. Such a wonderful gift idea, and just plain fun like candy should be!

Jelly Belly Rolls Out a Good Kind of Beer Belly!

Image courtesy of JellyBelly.com

Typically, when you think of the words ‘beer belly’ you imagine someone with an extra round stomach that was ‘grown’ primarily from consuming too many cold ones. But there’s another kind of beer belly out there now, and it’s much more exciting! Adding to their already amazing lineup of Jelly Belly flavors, the brains behind the best beans in the business have brewed up something fans of the frothy stuff are sure to love. Raise your mugs to Jelly Belly Draft Beer Flavor Jelly Beans, which I first read about here!

An iridescent finish makes these beans surprisingly – dare I say – pretty! But the point of the iridescence wasn’t one of beauty, rather to give the same effect as a bubbly brew. Watching the video on the Jelly Belly website, I learned that the first drink-inspired flavor to come from Jelly Belly was Pina Colada, in the 1980s. Many marvelous flavors followed, including a favorite of many, Mai Tai.

One of my favorite things about Jelly Belly beans is the myriad recipes you can find to create a symphony of flavor on your tongue. For example, pairing the now discontinued Peanut Butter bean with a Grape Jelly bean to simulate everyone’s favorite sandwich. While we’re sure there are plenty Draft Beer Jelly Belly recipes to come, we don’t have to start from scratch. Jelly Belly has provided several recipes to consider, including Beer Sangria (2 Draft Beer beans and 1 Peach bean), Apple Cider Shandy (2 Draft Beer beans and 1 Red Apple bean), and Michelada (2 Draft Beer beans, 1 Lemon Lime bean, and 1 Tabasco® bean).

Of note from JellyBelly.com: “All Jelly Belly jelly beans are OU Kosher, gluten free, peanut free, dairy free, fat free and vegetarian friendly.” It’s also worth mentioning that Draft Beer beans are alcohol-free, though most parents probably wouldn’t want their kiddos noshing on them regardless!

What are your thoughts on Jelly Belly Draft Beer jelly beans, or Jelly Belly beans in general? My personal favorites are Watermelon and Strawberry Daiquiri – what are yours?

Subscription Boxes Just Got Even Sweeter!

Image courtesy of RamblingsOfASuburbanMom.com

Are you subscribed to any of the oh-so-many subscription boxes that are currently available? Personally, I am subscribed to 3: Birchbox, ipsy, and Graze (Birchbox and ipsy are $10 monthly, Graze is $6 every other week, for reference). I want to be subscribed to many, many more, but alas, I could easily spend all my money on subscription boxes, and there are other things I have to buy and pay for! You know, like heat and my mortgage. Not nearly as exciting, but necessary.

If you aren’t familiar with subscriptions, here’s a quick rundown on how they usually work: For a set price each month (or even weekly, in some cases), you are sent an assortment of items in line with the type of subscription at hand. Birchbox and ipsy are makeup subscriptions, so each month I am sent a package with 4 or 5 makeup samples (some full size!) that they think I will enjoy, based on my input from a quiz I completed when signing up. I have received a few duds here and there, but for just $10 each per month, I have discovered some great new makeup I might not have otherwise known about, and enjoyed the excitement of knowing I’d get a fun package in the mail every month. When you reach a certain age, it seems like it’s all bills, so getting lipgloss instead is A-OK!

Graze is a snack box, and I’ve actually just signed up. I haven’t received my first box yet, but I’m excited. Makeup and snacks are two of my favorite things. But, we all know what my most favorite thing is, right? (Puppies excluded, as they’re the best thing ever.) My favorite thing is likely the same as your favorite thing, and that thing is CANDY!

So where am I going with all this? Trust me – the lead-up was not without reason. I just now discovered something amazing and had to share it with all of you instantly. Ladies and gentlemen, there is a candy subscription box. Yes – you can get surprise candy in the mail every month. BEST. BOX. EVER!

I read about this subscription box, Candy Pack , at Ramblings of a Suburban Mom. She is currently hosting a giveaway, so I hope you’ll all go check out her review and enter! Want to sign up immediately whether you win or not? Hey – I can’t blame you. You can find out more about Candy Pack at CandyPack.com, but here are the main takeaways…

Choose Your Package: There are currently packages available in 4 sizes – 1 lb., 3 lb., 5 lb., and 8 lb. These packages start at $24.95 and go up to $199.60 per month. While I would love that King Size package, when I do make room in my budget to sign up, I’m going to have to get by on a Small! (Hey, 1 lb. of candy is still a good lot of candy.)

Is This Candy I’ve Already Tried: Probably not! Candy Pack sends unique candies from other countries, offering an opportunity to treat your taste buds to something they might not otherwise experience.

When Will I Get My Candy: While I haven’t seen a subscription box yet that makes any specific guarantees, Candy Pack does state that they most often ship out the first week of the month.

Good Luck in the giveaway noted above, and let me know in the comments what you think about Candy Pack. I’m certainly sweet on the idea!

Candy That’s Actually Good for Your Teeth? It’s in the Works!

As a lifelong candy devotee, I’ve heard it all, including, “I’ll bet your dentist is going to like that candy even more than you do!” Truth be told, I’m no stranger to cavities. And truth be told again, I’m sure at least some of them were caused by candy consumption. But as I got older and heeded my mother’s dental advice more closely, those cavities became fewer and further between. Turned out she was right about proper brushing, flossing and rinsing!

Of course, good oral care benefits you in more ways than cavity prevention, though that is an important one. That said, there is hope on the horizon for us sweets-loving ladies and gents who don’t always remember to brush after snacking, which I came across in the article Science! New candy fights cavities.

Researchers in Berlin have been hard at work producing a mint that contains Lactobacillus paracasei, a “probiotic found in dairy products such as yogurt and kefir.” This probiotic has been found to “prevent the growth of Streptococcus mutans, a bacteria that sticks to the lining of teeth and produces acids that dissolve enamel.” 75% of the fortunate volunteers of the experiment that centered around eating mints containing the probiotic over a 2-day period “had lower levels of Streptococci mutans in their saliva than they had the previous day.” In other words – yay!

Research is new, the test was short and limited to just 60 people, and there is still a lot of experimentation to be done before it will be clear how big or small this news really is. But as someone who has firsthand felt the benefits of incorporating more probiotics into my diet, I am quite excited and optimistic! As most of us are aware, there are good bacteria and bad bacteria, and adding this good bacteria to the candy we love could help us cut down on the bad bacteria eating sweets can breed, without the need for harsh rinses. If they need new volunteers for the next round, I hope they call me!

It’s What’s On the Inside That Counts

Image courtesy of scandybars.tumblr.com

I haven’t yet taken the tumblr plunge myself, but I have been finding that more and more of the interesting images I come across online lead me back to someone’s tumblr. Most of these are tumblrs I would happily follow were I to have my own, so I really should get on that! But in the meantime, I’m just appreciating this photo-heavy platform as an outsider looking eagerly in. As for my most recent, exciting tumblr discovery? That would have to be scandybars.tumblr.com. Seriously – you have to check it out!

With the tagline “Like a Blog in a Candy Store”, there was really no question that I was about to love whatever it was Scandybars was doing. I just didn’t realize how much I would love it until I was many, many pages deep. I think it’s safe to assume that most if not all of you are avid candy fans like me – people with an affinity for the sweet stuff that goes beyond a simple appreciation. And while I do appreciate beautiful candy displays and candy stores, or candy elegantly presented in any of myriad ways, Scandybars is different than anything I can recall. It’s somehow personal and modern, giving us a peek inside each of the delectable treats they feature, laid vulnerable and almost 3-dimensional against a stark white background.

Each treat is oh-so-perfectly captured to really give life to the sweets. This photographer not only has an amazing camera (Or scanner as the name would imply? Not sure exactly how they‘re doing it!), but also a very sharp knife! While I find myself browsing purely for how intriguing the photos/scans are, Scandybars would also make a good resource for someone who wanted a peek inside a candy before they bought it. I hope you love Scandybars as much as I do – they’ll be my first follow if I ever get on tumblr!

Where Do You Stand on Candy Corn?

I’ll start by saying that I love candy corn. If there was a t-shirt that proclaimed such, I might buy it. If it were a key chain or tote bag, it would definitely be mine. But even as a big fan of the tri-colored sweet stuff, I can admit that there comes a point every season where I pop a piece in my mouth and realize I don’t want it. I’m done, the bag gets closed, and I need at least a week off the corn. It’s usually at least 30 or so pieces into a candy corn eating session, but the feeling doesn’t really sneak up on me – it just hits. Piece 29 or 30 or 31 is just as delicious as the ones before it, and then, boom! I’m done. Over it. Take it away. I call it the Candy Corn Wall, and when I hit it, I hit it hard. And apparently, I’m not alone.

I came across an article today on Huffpost Taste – Explaining The Logic Behind Candy Corn Hatred. Recognizing that “candy corn is one of the most polarizing foods of all time”, they set out to find the specific reasons that candy corn’s enemies gave for hating these tiny triangles of yumminess. And they put together a Top 10 list that I, as a candy corn aficionado, can in large part understand. Well, some of them, anyway! Here’s the Top 10 reasons cited by Huffington Post and how I personally feel about them…

1.) They’re basically waxy sugar. – Nope! They’re much more than that! Not that there’s anything wrong with waxy sugar in my book.
2.) They get old quickly. – I’m on the fence about this. I wouldn’t say it happens quickly for me, but as I mentioned above, I do hit that wall eventually.
3.) We’re bred to hate it from a young age. – While I do remember some adults disliking it, and recall a song or two talking about its grossness, overall I come from a long line of candy corn fans.
4.) They can even ruin birthday parties. – I can’t judge this one. I don’t recall it ever being served at a birthday party.
5.) They’re the rejects of Trick-or-Treaters everywhere. – I’m OK with this one, but not because I don’t like candy corn. When I was a kid my mom had us toss out whatever candy wasn’t individually wrapped in case it was germy.
6.) They’re demonic. – 99% sure they aren’t. I’ve been eating it for years, and I show no signs of possession. I mean, I can spin my head completely around, but that’s just because I’m well-hydrated.
7.) It’s the dessert equivalent of eating plastic. – Ya know, it is a little plastic-y sometimes, depending on the brand. But I tend to favor Brach’s, which is always soft and honey sweet.
8.) It’s the quickest way to an uncomfortable sugar high. – Perhaps for the average candy consumer, but I can handle my sugar!
9.) Comedians even hate it. – Comedians hate a lot of things; invalid argument.
10.) They look like rotted orange teeth. – This had never occurred to me, but now that I can see it, I think of it as a spooky perk! Perhaps I’ll whip up a creepy candy head with candy corn teeth!

How about all of you? Are you a candy corn friend or foe? Do you agree with the Top 10 list in all, not at all, or in part? Let us know in the comments! :)

Cotton Candy Grapes: A Quick Journey from Skeptical to Intrigued

Image courtesy of Spencer Gray via npr.org

It might come as a surprise to some that I can be a bit of a purist when it comes to food. While I am aware that candy is sometimes full of less-than-desirable colorings and ingredients, and that these are part of what draws me to them, I really do wish that everything I ate was much more natural than it might actually be. I buy organic fruits, vegetables and meats as often as possible, trying to let my dollar do the talking when it comes to what me and countless others desire from the food industry. As such, when I first came across an article about grapes that taste like cotton candy, my first thought was, “Keep your chemicals out of my fruit bowl!” After all, if I want cotton candy I can eat cotton candy, and grapes are delicious all on their own without tinkering around with them. But before jumping to too many conclusions, I read the following article beginning to end: The Cotton Candy Grape: A Sweet Spin On Designer Fruit.

I don’t consider myself an expert on the fruit or food industry because of reading a few articles, so please don’t get that impression! But the article touched on something that I’ve been saying to anyone who will listen for years now – food doesn’t taste the same as it once did.

The horticulturalist behind the cotton candy grape, David Cain, isn’t trying to junk food-ify our fruit supply at all. In fact, he “wants to bring back the natural flavors of our grapes, which have been stripped away by decades of breeding fruit to withstand shipping and storage.” And how is he working to achieve this goal? Not through artificial flavoring as I initially presumed, rather through plant breeding. The cotton candy grape is actually a hybrid of two different species of grapes, drawing on positive attributes of each for an entirely new flavor. This isn’t to say there isn’t any science at all to cotton candy grapes – quite the contrary! As the article explains, there are quite a few test tubes involved, and plenty of human involvement. These grapes weren’t discovered growing somewhere – they were created. But the process seems a lot more logical, and a lot less artificial, than I had originally presumed. I would like to dig a bit deeper to gain a better understanding, but as things stand now, I think I’d give them a try! How about you?

Cynthia Rowley Branches Out Into The Candy World with CuRious

Image courtesy of gotham-magazine.com

Given that this is a candy blog we don’t tend to talk too much about handbags or home décor. But if we did, let me tell you, Ms. Cynthia Rowley’s name would come up much more often! I was nothing short of obsessed with her charming ‘Swell’ line at Target years ago, which sadly disappeared without notice. I am the proud owner of not one, but two Cynthia Rowley purses, each adorable, charming and fabulously functional. And I recently became the owner of an awesomely affordable Cynthia Rowley shower curtain in a brilliant teal shade with a retro modern design, which I scooped up for just $15 at T.J. Maxx. It just seems that whatever this lady touches turns to style gold, and she suits my tastes to a T! And that is why I am THRILLED that she has branched out into candy. Yes, CANDY!

I first read about this newish line (it apparently launched in April – where was I?!) on The Wall Street Journal site – Cynthia Rowley: From Fashion to Candy. As soon as they mentioned a promotional video my fingers danced over to YouTube where I found the Cynthia Rowley CuRious Candy video in no time. Warning: Even though it’s not real glass, watching someone bite into a glass is a bit hard to watch!

But yes, back to CuRious Candy! It seems to embrace the darker, more mysterious side of the candy world. The pictures I found when I Googled ‘Cynthia Rowley CuRious Candy’ have an Alice in Wonderland vibe about them that I simply can’t get enough of. I found the most enchanting selection of images at Marivelous.me, particularly the shot of the walkup! It appears Cynthia has created a most magical world, and I look forward to stopping by her shop next time I’m in NYC. I’ll probably bring my oversized Cynthia Rowley bag along with me to carry my sweets sneakily through the streets!

P.S. Check out this CuRious Candy video as well for a better idea of how much Rowley has done with the beautiful building where her candy shop and more live.

Do You Candy Crush? Because this Lady Can’t Stop!

This post has been a long time coming. I think for awhile there I was in a bit of denial about how much Crushin’ I was doing, but once I found myself furiously lining up like-colored candies in a friend’s bathroom exasperatedly saying, “I’ll be right out!”, I knew. This Candy Crush was a saga after all, and I was going to see it out until every chocolate had been broken, jelly been de-jellied, licorice chain unlocked, and whipped cream cloud vanquished! At least I think they’re licorice chains and whipped cream clouds? Also, what’s up with every recipe involving cherries and hazelnuts? I digress.

The point is that what started out as a casual crush soon exploded into an obsession. And while I have since broken free from Candy Crush dreams (yes, it even invaded my sleeping hours), I have yet to go a full week without playing. OK… 2 days is probs my max. And I wasn’t feeling well those 2 days. And maybe I played just once! Gah. I’m hooked. But at least I’m not alone!

I knew how popular the game was based on how many people talked about it at work, and how many of my Facebook friends were playing. But it really hit home today when I came across this article on Tech Crunch – King Quits Advertising Since It Earns So Much On Candy Crush Purchases. Yes, you read that correctly. And yes, that is kind of candy crazy!

While I’m no marketing genius, I think that whatever King was doing, they must have had a great plan. I remember seeing Candy Crush Saga ads all over the place, online and on television. And naturally, it wasn’t advertising alone that brought them to this level of success. At the end of the day, it’s an attractive, addictive game that you can play free with a little help from your friends if you so choose to. Now, when you run out of lives at 2am and you’ve still got the itch for ‘just 5 more’, chances are good that you’re going to fork over a buck rather than wait 30 minutes for each life or wait for your friends to send them. But you can wait, if you’d like! Free is still an option! But that’s not what most of us do, is it? People waiting isn’t what’s filling King’s pockets with candy gold!