Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Ummmmm, mango!

Recently I've become a big fan of mangos and mango-flavored treats. While this flavor has yet to really make it big in the American market, I can sometimes find it in candies from Mexico, or US candies in which the package is written in both English and Spanish (you know what I mean). Last night I tore into a package of Tropical Fun Dip not knowing what to expect but being pleasantly surprised. Whereas traditional Fun Dip comes with grape, cherry, or apple flavored powder accompanied by a chalk white Lik-A-Stix, Tropical Fun Dip branches off into the exotic with strawberry, watermelon, and mango flavored powder with a lime flavored Lik-A-Stix. The strawberry and watermelon powder were just okay, but the mango powder was super tasty. Eating it I felt like I was lying on a beach in Puerto Vallarta. However, the lime Lik-A-Stix gets a thumbs down from me. It was kinda bitter and just not good. I usually enjoy eating the chalk white Lik-A-Stix, but this time once the powder was gone I just threw this lime mess in the trash.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Nerds Bumpy Jelly Beans

Easter is one of my most favorite holidays. Not only is it associated with the end of the freezing winter, flowers, and cute bunnies; in my humble opinion, Easter is the best candy holiday. When I was little, me and my sisters would get the most awesome Easter baskets. And not those ghetto pre-packaged baskets they sell at K-Mart which are a pretty good sign your parents don't love you, these were the real deal, each piece assembled and hand chosen by my Mom. We'd wake up on Easter morning and search the house for our baskets, which were usually hidden behind the couch. They usually included a Barbie doll rising above a sea of Reese's Peanut Butter Eggs and plastic Easter grass like Botticelli's "Birth of Venus", except of course Barbie was clothed, at least for the time being. For some reason when I think about my old Easter baskets I am always reminded of getting Goldmine Bubble Gum. They were those tiny, cloth drawstring sacks filled with misshapen chunks of yellow bubble gum meant to resemble gold. "Goldmine" gum is still sold, but for some reason I always think of them when I think of my Easters as a kid.

With that said, it's time to talk about Easter candy. One of the new treats I stumbled upon this year are Wonka Nerds Bumpy Jelly Beans. To be honest, I'm not crazy about regular jelly beans. I love Jelly Belly beans, but the generic ones that you can get in 10 pound bags, don't really tempt me, which is why I was a little leary about trying these. I love Nerds (especially fruit punch flavor, yum), so I figured this bean was half way on its way to being good. These are made up of a clear jelly center encrusted by an entire shell of bumpy Nerds. There are five different color beans each matching a corresponding fruity flavor - lemon, orange, lime, grape, and strawberry (similar to the flavors found in a box of rainbow Nerds). Surprisingly, I do like these jelly beans. The crunchy Nerds shell provides a delicious punch of tangy, sweet flavor that compliments the gummy bean at the center. In fact, the shell is so crunchy it lasts pretty much throughout the entire chew so there is flavor all the way up to the swallow. Over all, this candy was a nice surprise. I have been eating them the whole time I've been writing this and I'm liking them more and more.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day!

Hope everyone has a sweet Valentine's Day!

Check out this fascinating slideshow from the Necco website on the making of their Sweetheart conversation hearts, the classic way to say "KISS ME". I particularly love slide #2. The orange dough looks like silk.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Marshmallow Cones

Marshmallow Cones are one of the candies that remind me of when I was a kid. I think I was first introduced to them by my mom, who ate them when she was a kid. They are definitely a "nostalgia" candy. Marpro, the company that makes Marshmallow Cones, was founded in 1936 by John Arbino, a tailor whose livelihood was threatened by the Great Depression. At a time when people did not have a lot of money for fancy clothes, Arbino realized they did have spare change for some penny candy. He started making marshmallow candies in his spare time and became pretty successful. Somewhere in the 1950s the Marshmallow Ice Cream Cone came along, and by the end of the 1970s, Marpro discontinued all other marshmallow products and focused exclusively on the Marshmallow Ice Cream Cone.

What is it about this Marshmallow Cone that has made it last for over 50 years? Well in my humble opinion, I think a lot of their appeal belongs to the fact that they are adorable! I love the small, homemade cone topped by the whip of marshmallow streaked with lovely pastel colors. And what do they taste like? There are two components at work here, the marshmallow and the cone. The marshmallow is very light and airy. Lighter than a Peep or Kraft marshmallow, it melts a little on your tongue at first bite, then turns chewy. The cone kinda tastes like a Holy Communion wafer. In combination with the marshmallow, it's a bit strange but even that won't deter me from buying these cute little cones.

Check out the Marpro website for cool pics of Marshmallow Cones being made:

Sunday, February 10, 2008

My Gumball Machine

I wanted a vintage gumball machine for a long time and my friend Kurt, the flea market master, finally found me one at a great price. Here's a picture of it in all it's half-filled glory. Who would have thought this machine would fit more than 3 1/2 pounds of gumballs? Now all I have to do is find a bulk supplier.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Chi, Chi, Chi, Chick-O-Stick!

At first glance, the Chick-O-Stick appears rather strange. Is it sweet? Is it some kind of dehydrated vegetable? I'm here to tell you - do not fear the Chick-O-Stick. It is possibly one of the most delicious "retro" candies out there.

The Chick-O-Stick has been made by Texas' Atkinson Candy Company since 1932. The two main flavors of the Stick are coconut and sweet, salty peanut butter. If I was forced to compare a C-O-S to any other candy, it would have to be a Butterfinger, but only to a certain extent. They both have an crisp, orange, peanutty core, however the center of the C-O-S has what I like to think of as little tubes of real peanut butter laced throughout. On top of that, the entire stick is covered in very fine toasted coconut. Altogether, it's a delicious piece of candy. And at $0.25 a pop, you can't afford to pass it up!