Friday, September 30, 2011

Gummy Gallery

Over the years I've tried hundreds of gummy treats.  I'd like to say that I've tried gummies in every shape and flavour imaginable, but that's not true.
In fact I've come to realize that the number of shapes and flavours of gummies is pretty much limitless.
I've decided to start a gallery of gummies.  I'll add to it whenever I can, and I invite you to submit any gummies you may have discovered as well.

Click here to check out the gallery.


Trying to Get an Agent/Publisher - Rejection 11

As you may or may not know, I'm trying to sell a Candy Critic book idea. If you know (or are) someone that can help me out, say hello.  If not, please enjoy my now regular posts of rejections I've received from agents and publishers.

"Hi Chris,

This is cool but illustrated books are not my specialty and I couldn't see more than a couple of places to try. I suggest you try taking this out on your own.



Friday's Candy Links

More bad news about candy prices, the price of peanut butter is going up.

The 25 best selling candies from around the world, I've sampled 17 of them, how about you?

How much do you know about Charlie and the Chocolate Factory?  Do you know who Miranda Piker is?


Cadbury Twirl Bites Machine

I love crazy machines that do nothing except act crazy, and in this case introduce a new kind of candy.

You can learn more about this machine here.


Thursday, September 29, 2011

A Jar Of Life Savers

Some people might look at this jar of Life Savers and think of it as pretty appetizing.  Me, I look at this jar and see hours of frustration.  I picture this jar of Life Savers sticking together, and me desperately trying to get them un-stuck and out of the jar.

Ad found on vintage ad browser.


Discount Cola, is Cheaper, But Is It Different?

So here we have two cans of store brand name cola.  Both made by Carrefour (a huge chain in Europe) both cola flavoured.  The difference?  One is labeled as "cola" the other is "discount".  The question, is there a difference between these two drinks?  The first answer I can tell you just from buying them.  The regular cola cost me 26 cents, the discount 25.  That's a pretty small margin of difference if you ask me.
The next test I decided to perform is the colour test.  The discount cola is much lighter than the regular cola. I'm not really sure what the means since I'm pretty sure the brown of cola is just an added colour.  So if this colour difference affects taste, I'm not sure.
Flavour is the most obvious difference, and the most important.  The regular cola was pretty much what you would expect from a can of cola.  I think the best way to describe it would be to say that it has a nice clean flavour with a slight caramel taste.
The discount cola on the other hand was very sweet.  The cola flavour wasn't as strong either, in fact the sweet flavour was much stronger than the cola flavour.  Without being able to test it out scientifically I'm thinking that the discount cola had a lot more sugar, while the regular cola had more caffeine.  I think this is a common trait of high energy "discount" drinks, more sugar, less caffeine/flavour.


Thursday's Candy Links

Fancy new sweet shop Bubo, in Barcelona, looks great and is open late.

Not in Spain, well if you're in California you might want to check out Rock Candy Snack Shop instead.

12,000-Pound Bar made to help promote "portion control"... What?!!

Although very serious, still a funny sounding headline, "Killer US cantaloupes expected to infect more people".


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Something In His Pocket

Found this shot on "The Big Picture" gallery called "Afghanistan, September 2011".  It's a great reminder that those people fighting abroad are regular people.


You Look Cold

Why not get yourself a new Candy Critic t-shirt.  Why not buy a few so you can keep really warm.


International Chocolate Bar Challenge - Snickers

For years I've had the impression that chocolate bars in Europe are better than Canada, and Canadian chocolate bars are better than American.  I've always said this, but I've never actually tested it.  I've tasted the same bars from these three different regions, but never at the same time.  Well that's all changed, now I've collected chocolate bars from the US, Canada, and Europe, and I'm going to do a blind taste test.  When I taste these bars I won't have any idea which bar is from which place.
For our last instalment of the International Chocolate Bar Challenge, I'm taste testing the Snickers bar.  Bar one is the American bar, bar two is the Canadian bar, and bar three is the European bar.
I first wanted to mention that for the first time since starting this experiment, I've guessed the nationality of each bar right on the money.  I'm not saying there wasn't a little guess work, but I think I'm finally getting the hang of this.  Bar one (US) felt skinny right off the bat.  The peanuts and caramel tasted fairly normal, but the chocolate had almost no flavour at all.  Bar two (CAN) felt much wider than bar one and had a bit of a stronger flavour but again the chocolate wasn't that pronounced.  The third bar (EU) was so vastly different it's amazing.  The chocolate was tastier, but even more, the peanuts had such a deep roasted flavour it was amazing to think that it was the same variety bar as the other two.
The biggest difference in these bars had to have come from the taste of the European bar, it was so much better than the other two it's almost indescribable.  It's also worth noting that each of these bars looked different as well.  The chocolate patterns went from being very messy (US) to very neat and decorative (EU).  The American bar was also longer and narrower than the other two bars.


Stuff I Want To Try

Angry Birds Fruit Snacks - Made by: Healthy Food Brands - Why: I've become a little obsessed with this game, and occasionally wouldn't mind taking a bite out of one of those birds. - Click here to learn more about this treat.


Wednesday's Candy Links

This Friday in Charlotte NC Bar Cocoa is opening at the Ritz-Carlton, you should go.

Mental Floss examines the macaroon or is it macaron?

More good news about cavity fighting lollipops, apparently more studies prove they work.


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Trying to Get an Agent/Publisher - Rejection 10

As you may or may not know, I'm trying to sell a Candy Critic book idea. If you know (or are) someone that can help me out, say hello.  If not, please enjoy my now regular posts of rejections I've received from agents and publishers.

"Dear Chris,

Thank you for your query and interest in representation by _____________________. I regret that ____ is unable to take you on as a client at this time. We receive hundreds of queries a week and as such we must turn down many projects that might have great commercial potential.

Please know I personally read each and every query and that some of these rejections are based strictly on the subject of material, which may not be an appropriate fit for my interests. However, more often than not, the rejections are based on writers not having a good understanding of how to prepare and pitch their work as a query and proposal/manuscript to an agent.

As such, please accept this complimentary attached excerpt from my book, ______________________. You may find my new title for purchase at your local bookstore or nearest library. It is sent in the hope that it will inspire you to continue working on your book.

It pains me to know that quite often writers, in their zest for publication, overlook some of the most obvious tips to catching an agent’s eye and getting one step closer to their dream. I have many clients who endured long terms of rejection before they found the winning combination for themselves. They refused to give up, as I hope you will continue to do.

I wish you all the best in pursuit of your effort to be a published author.

All best,



Candy Website Review - UP2U

So the folks at Mentos have a new gum.  Each pack of gum has two flavours of gum.  Therefore you are allowed to have a choice when you open your pack of gum, e.i. it's "Up 2 U".  To show off this new gum they've decided to make a website that allows you to live out a series of adventurous lifestyles.  Everything from being a hip hop rap star, to playing on a game show, to fighting a monster.  There's also the opportunity to be a model and do aerobics but I'm not really sure how that fits into the scheme.  The basic concept of this site is kind of interesting, although more interaction would be fun, basically all you do is pick a scenario and watch a movie.  The site is also a little slow and the navigation is a little hard at first.  The gum itself is almost never mentioned on the site either, but that's not a bad thing if you want to watch the movies.  I applaud the idea, but technically it really doesn't work that well.

Click here to check out the site yourself.


Illegal Honey

In the last few months I’ve come across many articles on the subject of “illegal honey”.  Many of these articles talk about what a problem this has been, and that the problem seems to focused on honey from China, but very few give great detail about what “illegal honey” really means.  I decided to do a little checking around and I contacted the honey experts at Honibe.  I talked to John Rowe from Honibe on this subject and he cleared up a lot.
He focused on three key impacts that illegal honey is having on the honey industry, environmental, trade, and health.  I have to admit that I was rather sceptical about this talk of illegal honey, and I imagined that it might be a ploy by honey producers to try and stop the trade of cheaper honeys into the market.  While this is an issue, the real problem comes down to why this honey is cheaper.
John told me that there are really two problems with these cheaper honeys (often coming from China). Some of these honeys contain a “blend of honey with corn syrup”.  While this is not dangerous, unless you have an allergy to corn, it is dishonest.  The bigger concern comes from the use of antibiotics in these illegal honeys.  Many of the honeys coming out of China use antibiotics that are banned in Canada and the US and have been found to be very unhealthy.
Both Canada and the US have been working hard at fighting this kind of honey from entering their borders.  After discovering that Chinese honey was a problem a huge tariff was implemented in order to make honey harder to export. Regular inspections of honey imported into the US and Canada make sure it doesn’t slip through the cracks.  This tariff or basically a ban on importing Chinese honey hasn’t been easy.  As soon as the tariffs went up for Chinese honey, suddenly some other countries would have a boom in the amount of honey available to export.  It was/is thought that these countries would bring in Chinese honey, re-label it as their own, and send it to Canada and the US.  It’s become such a problem that John tells me “people have gone to jail for this” and the department of homeland security is now involved.
I asked John about his opinions of small producers of honey (the kind you might find at a county fair) and if home hives are a problem to the honey business.  John explains that “everybody should have a hive”.  To John, honey is not just about business, it’s also about taking care of the world.  He has no problem with low priced honey; he has a problem with dishonest honey and unhealthy honey.  In fact, he explained to me how important honey and honey manufacturing is to the world. 90% or all pollination comes from bees, so the environmental impact of the loss of bees is gigantic.
What I got from this conversation is the passion that many of these honey producers and users have.  Although there is money involved, there are bigger problems that illegal honey creates such as health and the environment issues.  Paying a little more for a quality honey isn’t just about supporting an industry, it’s also about making sure you’re food is healthy and so is the world.

I also found a great link on the subject of home honey hives, well worth reading.


Stuff I Want To Try

Sour Power Berry/Blue Belts - Made by: Dorval Trading Co. Ltd - Why: Because I have an obsession with Blue Berry treats that aren't blueberry flavoured. - Click here to learn more about this treat.


Tuesday's Candy Links

Doritos creator dies at 97.  Mental Floss felt it appropriate to celebrate his life with a gallery of "cute animals eating Doritos", and I couldn't agree more.

Fruute, a sweet shop on the West Coast in the US has one of the best looking stores/websites I've ever seen.

Bacon sundaes are taking over, it's the most popular new topping, even at the county fair.

Taiwanese group of cooks makes special treats for folks with gastric cancer.


Monday, September 26, 2011

Candy Art - Marshmallow Creations

 I love candy art in all of its forms.  I like when people make art inspired by candy, and I like it when people make candy into art, like these awesome marshmallow creations by Alejandra at The Marshmallow Studio.
 I like the paws on this little guy.
 I wonder if the marshmallow is pineapple flavoured too?
 This is really cool, a miniature cake made out of marshmallow.
I wonder what I'd look like in marshmallow form?

Click here to check out The Marshmallow Studio site.

Remember, if you do something creative, and candy is involved, we'd love to hear about it.


The Yummy Earth Contest Is Still Going On

If you want the opportunity to win a free bag of Yummy Earth Lollipops then you better enter before October 7th.  It's easy to enter this contest, all you need is a little creativity.

Click here to find out how you could score a free bag of lollipops.


Trying to Get an Agent/Publisher - Rejection 9

As you may or may not know, I'm trying to sell a Candy Critic book idea. If you know (or are) someone that can help me out, say hello.  If not, please enjoy my now regular posts of rejections I've received from agents and publishers.

"Dear Author,

Thanks so much for letting us take a look at your materials, and please forgive me for responding with a form letter.  The volume of submissions we receive, however, makes it impossible to correspond with everyone personally.

Unfortunately, the project you describe does not suit our list at this time.  We wish you the best of luck in finding an agent and publisher for your work, and we thank you, once again, for letting us consider your materials.




What Makes a Cookie a Cookie

Over the last few years I've been traveling a lot.  I've traveled to many different places, sampled all kinds of treats and discovered all kinds of really great snacks.  Every single country I've ever visited has had one kind of treat in common, and that's cookies.  In some cases people might also call them biscuits, but the general idea is the same, or is it?  I'm not sure if the whole world has the same idea as to what a cookie (or biscuit) actually is.  So I ask the question, what defines a cookie?
I asked Candy Critic's two resident baking experts and they had pretty similar opinions on the matter.  Jane said: "Certainly density is a factor. If it's too light it's more like a cake. Also size and shape. They have to be flat-ish. And they're usually on the small size of baked goods, but there are exceptions. I don't think there are ingredients that define them, but sugar or sweetness is a must, otherwise it's a cracker."  Zoe agreed: "How about a small, sweet, usually crispy type of cake."
The thing that I wonder is how we can define some of the stranger cookies we see today.  For example, I had a praline with almonds, half dipped in chocolate cookie a few weeks ago.  It was round and flat, and sold with other cookies.  If you are to take this same treat make it into a small square it would probably be more of a chocolate or candy than a cookie.  Am I right?
People ask me all of the time if I review things other than candy on Candy Critic. These people argue that some of the treats I review are in fact cookies.  The thing is, I'm not sure if these people could truly define a cookie, in fact I don't think I could truly define a cookie either.


Monday's Candy Links

Mental Floss looks at deep fried things on a stick.

A Nashville chocolate company is now offering tours, watching chocolates get made is pretty fun.

Cool Star Trek cookies on Boing Boing.


Sunday, September 25, 2011

Russian Review

Does anybody know what the name of this treat might be?  I've attempted my best translation by using the keyboard to copy the letters, but I'm sure it isn't right.  In fact, I'd be totally surprised if I was even close.

Click here to read the review.


Friday, September 23, 2011

Did You Know That We Sell Stuff?

Gummy Bear Weight Loss shirt
Gummy Bear Weight Loss by candycritic
Become a clothing affiliate at
Have you ever considered getting a new t-shirt?  You might want to.


Why We Call Dried Grapes Raisins

For years I've wondered why certain fruits, when dried, change their name, namely grapes (although the same is true with prunes, but that's another blog entry).
Most other dried fruits, such as figs, apricots, apples, etc, keep their fruity name and just add the word "dried" at the beginning.  But grapes seem to have evolved a different title when they're dried.  While finding out where the word came from is easy.  According to Wikepedia "The word raisin dates back to Middle English and is a loanword from Old French; in French, raisin means "grape," while a dried grape is referred to as a raisin sec, or "dry grape." The Old French word in turn developed from the Latin word racemus, "a bunch of grapes.""  This still doesn't explain why we use this word, and not dried grape.
Today I'm sure raisin marketing firms are pretty happy about the name change.  It would be much harder to sell people on "dried grapes" than it would be sell them on "raisins".  I just find it makes conversations with my French friends a little difficult.


Bazooka Fun Times Ahead

The folks at Bazooka (@BazookaCandy) said that they'd send me some treats to sample... sounds great.  Then they tweeted me a preview photo of the treats they're sending... awesome (but a bit of a tease).


Friday's Candy Links

Cadbury is taking away chocolate to keep prices down.  Would you be happy with less chocolate, or would you rather have more of a lower quality?

How the chocolate market works, a really simple explanation that will help explain why chocolate prices are going up.

After all of this talk about the price of chocolate going up, you might want to have a chocolate tasting party, but have it soon or you might not be able to afford it.

Are you in or around Pasadena?  Well make sure to stop by the Los Angeles Luxury Chocolate Salon this Saturday.


Don't Put Gummy Bears in The Microwave Oven

Not only is it cruel, but it also makes a big mess.  Instead, you can watch this video of other people being cruel and making a big mess instead.


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Thursday's Candy Links

The Berry has a great collection of candy photos, maybe not the greatest ever, but it's pretty good.

"5 Best Candy Bars You've Never Heard Of"?  Are there really people out in the world that have never even heard of a Wunderbar?

You know the Mr. Softee ice cream trucks?  You know the song that they play?  Did you know it had words?

Chocolate price fixing, according to a judge in Pennsylvania, it could be a reality.

Update on Schweddy Balls ice cream, it appears that some people find this flavour offensive.


Cookie Faces

I picked up the package of cookies to test out a theory.  I wanted to know if the package accurately depicted the way the creme would sit in the cookie.  These cookies have half strawberry cream, and half chocolate cream, the package implies that the chocolate cream fills in the eyes of the cookies and the strawberry fills in the mouth.  I wanted to see if Papathopolo (the makers of these cookies) actually took the time to make sure this was the case.
For the most part it appears that they didn't get it at all.  This particular cookie even got it totally backwards.
This cookie got it so wrong that the split went right down the middle.
This cookie was just plain disturbing.  Maybe it was too much for me to ask for a cookie company to work out that kind of detail in their cookie design.  It's really only a small detail, the cookies tasted fine, and the basic face designs are actually really good.  It's just kind of sad that not one of my cookies had the red cream near the mouth and the brown cream near the eyes.


It's National White Chocolate Day And It's Also National Ice Cream Cone Day

I'm thinking the best way to celebrate today would be to get a scoop of some kind of white chocolate flavoured ice cream.  The only one that comes to mind right off the bat would be Baskin Robin's World Class Chocolate... Do they still make that flavour?


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Wednesday's Candy Links

Is Coca-Cola the same in every country?  I know that chocolate bars aren't, but what about drinks?

Mindless snacking, we've all done it.  I personally can't carry an open drink without sipping it uncontrollably.

The best signal of hurricane recovery? Ask the folks at Waffle House.

How much candy is Walgreens giving away... A ton, literally.


International Chocolate Bar Challenge - M&Ms

For years I've had the impression that chocolate bars in Europe are better than Canada, and Canadian chocolate bars are better than American.  I've always said this, but I've never actually tested it.  I've tasted the same bars from these three different regions, but never at the same time.  Well that's all changed, now I've collected chocolate bars from the US, Canada, and Europe, and I'm going to do a blind taste test each week.  When I taste these bars I won't have any idea which bar is from which place.
This week's treat might be a little bit debated, M&M's.  The only reason I think it might be debated is because it's not really a chocolate bar, but more of a chocolate treat.  I figure the main ingredient is chocolate, so it's worth comparing.
The difference in this treat was predictable in taste, but surprising in colour.  Pile one (CAN), which I guessed was either American or Canadian was pretty much what I've come to expect from M&Ms.  Crunchy shell, average chocolate center, not as smooth as chocolate Smarties, but not bad either.  Pile two (EU), I guessed right by assuming they were European.  The difference in the quality of the chocolate was amazing, it was much smoother and the chocolate had almost a fruity flavour. The third pile (US) was almost exactly the same as the first pile, so I had a hard time guessing where it was from, Canada or the US.  The only difference was in a strange aftertaste that I couldn't really place.
Although the flavour and texture difference was expected, I didn't expect there to be any differences in the colours, but there was.  It's most obvious with the orange coloured M&Ms.  The European orange was so much duller than the US and Canadian M&Ms.  In fact all of the European colours were more muted than the North American M&Ms.  There was also a few subtle differences between the American and Canadian particularly with the Canadian yellow being brighter, and the US red being darker.


It's National Pecan Cookie Day!

As of late I've had an obsession with cookies, so a holiday like this is just the ticket to get me motivated.  Motivated for what?  Well, to eat more cookies.


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Best Local Chocolate

Here in Athens there are so many local chocolate companies it would take a lifetime to taste them all.  I’ve even written about one particular street down town (that I call chocolate street) that has dozens of chocolate stores in one block.
The thing about local chocolate companies is I find they can be split into two categories.  One is the great local company that produces original treats using high quality ingredients.  The other is the company that uses average quality ingredients and pretty much produces the exact same kind of treats as everybody else.  Often these lower quality shops don’t even make 80% of their stock, the just sell factory made sweets.  I think I’m going to start an investigation here in Greece, I’m going to find out which shops are really doing creative work, and which are just slacking off. I welcome you to do the same thing in your town or city, and let me know what you discover.