Sunday, March 31, 2013

Friday, March 29, 2013

Candy News

Here's a few Easter links to get you in the holiday mood:

You're a winner if you come in first place in the official Peeps diorama contest, you get a double win if you incorporate space and science into your diorama.

Just Born releases silliest poll results in the history of candy polls.

The Huffington Post has a great photo collections of desserts featuring the Easter Bunny. They also posted a great collection of nest themed treats as well.

Working at a candy factory looks like a lot of fun, but I imagine around Easter time it's also really busy.

I'm sure most of you are familiar with Cadbury Cream Eggs, if you're not, here's something that will bring you up to speed.

Ancient Cadbury Cream Egg uncovered... I'd still eat it.

I present to you, the Cadbury Cream Scotch Egg, it's a wondrous way to use up your leftover Cream Eggs. And just in case this isn't enough for you, here's 8 other ways you can enjoy your Cream Eggs.

And here's our regular links of the week:

I have a new fascination with "candy brands" lately, here's a study about which are the most popular.

British schools are worried that kids will put out an eye out with their lunch time desserts.

How would you like to eat a Macaron, that looks like a miniature Big Mac?

Archaeologists are always finding cool things, some have even found ancient chocolate.

Would you ever eat a Mountain Dew/Dorito cupcake, I couldn't, I'd have to eat a dozen of them.

Is candy such a big part of our diet that it's the only reason we gain weight?  According to these statistics, probably not.

The US has some great treats, only available in certain states, counties, or even cities.

Giving blood?  Why not chow down on some dark chocolate, doctors say it helps.

Did you know that in the US Senate, there's a secret candy drawer full of free candy?

Austerity in the UK is becoming very difficult to deal with, but I'm not sure buying American is the best solution.

If you want to keep up with all of the daily candy news that we come across as it happens, follow us on Twitter.


Stuff I Want To Try

Giant Peeps  - Just Born - We all need to eat a giant marshmallow bunny once in out lifetime. - Click here to learn more about this treat.


Friday Candy Video

I love cake, and I love watching things in reverse, but I think watching a man eat an entire wedding cake (mostly with his hands) in reverse is a little gross.  About halfway through this video, the constant craving I have for cake (I know you have one too) went away for a few seconds.


Thursday, March 28, 2013

A Look At Easter Treats

When you think about Easter candy, you generally have two themes that come to mind, eggs and bunnies.  Both of them have their advantages and disadvantages, and both of them are very prolific on the Easter candy shelves.  The question is, is one Easter candy theme better than the other?  Would you rather have a basket full of eggs, or a basket full of bunnies waiting for you on Easter morning?
The most common type of Easter treat has to be chocolate.  Often it's hollow chocolate, but sometimes it's solid or filled with something sweet.  In these cases eggs provide some advantages while bunnies provide others.  The key difference is in the shape (we'll ignore the size variation at this point since both shapes come in many sizes), the egg is a large single cavity with lots of room for filling (or air), the bunny generally has smaller cavities for filling, but it has more variation in cavity size.  When it comes to chocolate filled treats you're faced with either a large amount of filling (the egg) or great varieties of filling.  So which you prefer depends on if you want a lot of filling, or if you want your filling to be tasted in different proportions to the chocolate on each bite.

If your chocolate bunny or egg happens to be hollow, I think the decision is a lot easier to make.  I think the bunny is the best way to eat a hollowed out Easter treat.  The egg has way too much air, and often shatters into a million pieces too easily.  If you happen to be eating a solid chocolate bunny or egg, I think bunny is really the only choice.  Unless the egg is really small, I don't think anybody would have a good time trying to eat it. The solid chocolate bunny allows for more bite choices without breaking your jaw.
The other area of thought is in the non-chocolate Easter related treats.  These are generally far and few between compared to their chocolate comrades  particularly in egg department.  There are a few egg treats, but most of them are similar to Jelly beans.  They're candy coated egg shaped treats filled with something either jelly like or marshmallow like.  While I do eat these if offered, I generally don't prefer these eggs.  Bunnies on the other hand seem to dominate the gummy world.  I've seen a few varieties of gummy bunnies, some are great, some are kind of gross, but that's par for the course with gummies.
While there are certainly other shapes of Easter treats available, in my experience bunnies and eggs tend to work best.  With an egg or a bunny you're instantly able to identify it with Easter.  Other attempts I've sampled either lose the Easter feeling, or in some cases they're just flat out weird.


Classic/Creative Candy Advertising

I never really made the association between the Easter Bunny and Bugs Bunny.  I guess one could make the crossover in your head, but it seems strange.  I think it has to do with Bugs Bunny's character, he doesn't seem like the kind of bunny that would get joy from delivering candy to little kids.

I found this ad here.


Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Stuff I Want To Try

Doritos Locos Doritos  - PepsiCo - I love a good mouthful of irony. - Click here to learn more about this treat.


Old Candy Critic Articles - Easter Eggs

I've decided to take down several old articles from the and re-post them here on the Candy Critic blog.  This week we look at an old article I wrote dealing with the huge variety of chocolate filled eggs available on the market.

It's that time of year again; time to enjoy another egg from the Easter bunny. Wait a minute; does the Easter bunny lay eggs? This doesn't seem right at all.  On the other hand, I don't think I would want anything that a regular rabbit would produce.

Whether from a chicken, a factory, or the Easter Bunny, chocolate eggs are great. The shape is simple, and you can fill it with all kinds of crazy things. Well being the candy experts we are, we decided to take a look at a bunch of different eggs on the market and let you know which are Grade A and which are just scrambled.



The chocolate in this egg is nice and smooth. Although there wasn't anything interesting inside, the quality of the chocolate was okay, so it wasn't that bad. The part that I'm not to sure about has to be the fact that it's actually two halves of an egg and not one egg. I can’t understand why they would do this, it's not like you can re-wrap the other half and save it for later since the foil always rips. And it's not like I want to anyway, who eats just one half of a chocolate egg? This isn't a huge snack; it's easily a one sitting snack. So it's not bad but it's just nothing spectacular.



Messy, that is one of the words I would use to describe the Cadbury Caramilk Egg. Not only was there a little caramel dripping out before I even bit into it, but as soon as I did the caramel went everywhere. This treat tasted good, as good as a Caramilk bar, but it left my mouth so phlegmy that I instantly had to chug a glass of water just to get some balance. The caramel to chocolate ratio is okay; I just think it's a little too much of both together.

Creme Egg


Of all of the eggs mentioned, this one is truly the classic Easter treat. As long as I can remember these have been staples of my Easter diet. I always thought it was cool to have a chocolate egg that was kind of the same size as a real egg, maybe a little smaller, with a candy like yolk and egg whites. When I ate this egg I did notice one thing that I never really thought of before, what flavour is the centre? It's not that it’s bad; it's just a mystery. As with all of the Cadbury eggs, the chocolate was great and the filling smooth.

Harry Potter "Dragon Eggs"

Master Food UK

This egg was probably one of the most original eggs so far. Again like every other, it made me so amazingly thirsty, but the inside was a little creamier than some of the other eggs and there were two colours so it was kind of cool. The greatest thing was the little gummy in the middle. I'm told it was a little dragon and I guess it kind of looked like one. I'm not a big fan of orange and chocolate, particularly synthetic orange and chocolate, and that's just what this had. So I have to say that the flavour wasn't the highlight, but for novelty this thing was pretty cool.



I must say that this egg was a bit of a surprise to me. I'm not fanatical about white chocolate, and for the most part unless purchased in a high quality store, white chocolate is gross. This treat however held up. I was expecting trouble and I got pure joy. I'm not too sure, but I think most of the 'joy' came from the stuff in the centre. The outside chocolate seemed like standard white chocolate, but the centre truffle-like filling was great. I can't say this was my favourite egg, but it was surprisingly good.



Seeing as this is the only entry into the competition by Mars, and one of the few non-Cadbury eggs, I figured that any change would be welcome. I have to say that although the change was good, it really didn't seem to have the quality of some of the other eggs. The chocolate seemed a little cheap and the caramel was a little flat. Having said that, I found that this one really didn't make me as thirsty as the other eggs. This egg also had the split in two feature, which is fine if your sharing but it really isn't great for saving, what do you wrap it in after eating just half? If you've eaten way too many of the other egg, and your looking for a change, then you've found it, just be careful what you wish for.



I've started to notice something doing all of these chocolate egg reviews; a glass of water is always needed. A chocolate egg with a chocolate interior may seem a little strange but it's not that bad. It is a lot of chocolate, but the stuff in the middle is classy truffle cream, so it's not bad. The cream makes this egg seem a little classier than other eggs. I wish I knew why they call it truffle, I mean isn't a truffle a mushroom? Not one of the more creative eggs of the bunch but fine in its simplicity.



I was kind of wondering how they would manage the multi-level treat that is a Wunderbar in an egg format. It seemed to work pretty well. The peanut butter was in the centre with the caramel and chocolate surrounding it. The ratio of chocolate was a little higher than in the regular Wunderbar, but I really didn't mind that at all. Actually it seemed to make it work a little better than the bar. I always thought that the peanut butter in the original bar was a little much, but this works. I think the only strange thing has to be calling it a Wunderbar, as it is not a “bar” at all.


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Stuff I Want To Try

Reese's Ice Cream Eggs  - Good Humor - I should point out that it doesn't have to be in egg form for me to want this treat. - Click here to learn more about this treat.


Candy Art - Cutest Cookies Ever

If anybody can point me out to cookies that look cuter than these, I'll be truly amazed.
I can't say that I've ever seen cookies before that would make me feel so guilty about biting the heads off.
I particularly like the use of real food to decorate.

Click here to see more of these cute cookies.


Monday, March 25, 2013

This Week In Candy

After last week's experiment of making chocolate from the base ingredients, as well as checking out the grand opening of a new chocolate shop here in Athens, I started to wonder a bit about chocolate.  First of all, how many varieties of chocolate are there?  I can think of dark, milk, and white (I know white is not purely chocolate but it's close enough), but are there others?  I also started to think a bit about dark and milk chocolate.  Today there are so many levels of dark chocolate available, so at what point does a chocolate go from being milk to being dark?  I'm sure that someone out there has the answers to my chocolate questions, but frankly I'd rather spend years of my life exploring the world of chocolate to discover them myself.

I guess Easter is coming up for a part of the world on Sunday as well.  This week I'm going to take a look back at some of my past Easter reviews and see what they have in common, and if there's a great deal of variety among them.  Frankly it's been a while since I've discovered a new revolutionary treat for this holiday, but I can't complain, since it's the best holiday to get some good quality milk chocolate. It's also the only opportunity you'll have all year to bite the head off a cute animal and not feel guilty.


A New Russian Review

The most exciting thing about getting a treat with no decipherable English on the package is the fact that I really don't know what I'm going to get. The hardest part about reviewing treats with no decipherable English on the package is knowing how to label it on the website.  I list all of the reviews I do by alphabetical order, geographical, and candy type.  The last two I can generally figure out without knowing how to read the package, but alphabetical can be a real challenge with some languages.  Fortunately I have lots of really great people that follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and RSS, and many are great with foreign languages.  In this case I want to thank our Facebook followers Ashley for translating this wrapper.

Click here to read this Russian review.


Friday, March 22, 2013

Candy News

Here's a quick list of DIY Easter treats, with an added bonus of a Pop-Rocks recipe.

A look at some classic Easter treats, and why they've managed to hang on over the years.

You don't want to miss the Oreo crossbow, you could shoot cookies in your mouth from a great distance.

The Huffinton Post has a great list of "Canadian Food", strangely several of these foods I've never tried before in my life.

A while back Mike and Ike broke up, but don't you worry, they're back together now.

Red Bean pies at McDonald's, you'd think I would hate it, but really I want to try it.

Did you know that some people can taste colours, Skittles should really have a handle on these people.

Do you know how to describe texture?  The basics are simple, but in detail it can be kind of complicated, unless you have a texture dictionary.

Have you ever thought of eating candied cherry tomatoes?  Well someone has, and it actually sounds kind of tasty.

An Ex-Kraft executive is claiming that junk food companies should take more responsibility for what they're selling to people.  Do you agree?

Speaking of misinformation, here's a few myths about soda pop that you may not have known.

Can't find cream eggs in your neck of the woods for Easter, here's a recipe that's said to be better than Cadbury's.

The cocoa nib is said to be more flavourful if you can roast it on its own, thank you very much science and innovation.

Are your homemade cookies not fancy enough, why not customize them with your own cookie stamper.

My favorite flavour of chips is salt and vinegar, but which brand makes the best?

An indoor marshmallow roaster is a great idea for those of us living in the city without a fire place, but 70 bucks seems little steep.

If you want to keep up with all of the daily candy news that we come across as it happens, follow us on Twitter.


Stuff I Want To Try

Chunky Mint Kit Kat - Nestlé - I may not like every Kit Kat I've ever tried, but I've wanted to try every Kit Kat I've ever seen. - Click here to learn more about this treat.


Friday Candy Video

The guys at Epic Meal Time have once again outdone themselves with the "Chocolate Breakfast".


Thursday, March 21, 2013

Gorilla Gum Stickers

Gorilla Gum Sticker
Gorilla Gum Sticker by candycritic
Find other Gorilla Bumper Stickers at

Instead of sticking gum to your binder, workbooks, or walls, why not stick our latest Gorilla Gum sticker around instead.  It comes in one size, but will fit in many places.


Making Chocolate At Home

The folks that make Glee Gum sent me an interesting package.  It contained a lot of Glee gum, and a Make your own chocolate kit.  I'm very well versed in the general concept of making chocolate, but frankly I've never actually made the stuff myself.  I think that's because the ingredients, some of them at least, are pretty difficult to find.
You really can't walk into any store and pick up chocolate crystals or even cocoa butter in raw form.  Then, even if you do manage to find all of these ingredients, the measurements and some of the processes can be complicated.  That's why I like this kit, they give you the basic ingredients, but in a simplified form (everything is ground up and read to use).  This is the perfect kit for someone that wants to understand the process, without having an extreme amount of work and commitment   It's also pretty good for kids, although the amount of detailed work might bore/frustrate some kids.
The kit has two methods to make it, microwave and double boiler.  I did the double boiler technique and I would think, considering the way chocolate is made, that this method is probably the better way to go about it.  From what I know about chocolate, regular stirring is the key to a good chocolate, so the microwave method doesn't seem to allow for this.  I would imagine that the microwave technique might cause some lumps and/or burning.
As I mentioned above stirring is really the name of the game when it comes to making chocolate.  The instructions even say "You really can't stir too much!".  This is the primary reason I don't think some kids would have fun making chocolate. There's a lot of stirring involved, and a lot of precise timing needed.  If I'm any kind of gauge (I'm kind of lazy with a low attention span) then I could easily see kids losing interest and the parents having to finish this without them.
Having said all of that, for someone really interested in chocolate, and even for some chocolate snobs, this would be a really worthwhile experience.  It allows you to have a better understanding of chocolate (for example how much is actually sugar, hint, it's a lot), yet it's simple enough that you don't have to invest in machinery or spend the whole day making these chocolates.
Besides stirring  you really have to pay attention to heat.  Having made chocolates in the past using the melting chocolate wafers method, I understand that to get the right consistency you have to know how to temper properly.  Fortunately this kit makes it fairly easy, but you do have to be patient and you have to rely on the instructions.
When all was said and done, I was really happy with my results.  It seems like the magic chocolate crystals didn't blend as well as I'd hoped, even though I stirred and crushed as the instructions instructed.  But I still ended up with some nice tasty little chocolates.  They were a little gritty for my liking, but very tasty indeed.
It also left my entire house smelling wonderful.  So I managed to really get an idea about what it takes to make chocolate from scratch, and I ended up with a few tasty morsels of chocolate.


Classic/Creative Candy Advertising

I can only assume that this advertisement featuring a kid holding a baseball bat and a bar of chocolate is for the chocolate.  If not, maybe it's for baseball bats.  I'm not really sure what the angle is for this advertisement, and why someone thought that this grouchy bat wielding kid would be a good spokesperson for a chocolate bar.  Unless the chocolate is intentionally bad, and it's the kind of thing you give to the bully that routinely kicks your ass when you walk home from school.

I found this ad here.


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Old Candy Critic Articles - How to be a Smartie Pants

I've decided to take down several old articles from the and re-post them here on the Candy Critic blog.  This week's article is one I wrote a while back looking at the difference between American and UK/Canadian Smarties.

It's about time someone got the record straight. Now you may have read some things on this site that just didn't make any sense to you. In fact, this was something that until I started this site didn't even know. Now your probably saying to yourself, get to the point buddy, I have other candy related things to read about. My point is this, what is a "Smartie". Oh you think you know, your sitting in your chair saying everybody knows what a "Smartie" is, don't they. Well, you’re partially right. Many people do know what a "Smartie" is, but depending on where your from, your answer might be totally different from another person. So I've decided to make it clear for everybody, strap on your... well what ever you wear when you eat "Smarties", you just might learn something.

I think the best way to start this is to explain the concept of Smarties as simply as I can. In this great blue marble we live on there are two types of "Smarties". There are those that are chocolate with a candy coated shell and ones that look like little sugar pills that are all stacked up and rolled together. Now some of you are confused, you are most likely people that don't live in Canada, because unlike many other countries Canada is blessed with both. Although if you were to ask a Canadian what a "Smartie" is, they would say the chocolate with a candy shell, but they would understand that there’s an American version too.

So now that I've completely confused you, here is a little profile of each treat:

The chocolate with the candy shell.

For all you American, this is what many people call Smarties.   These are similar to "M&M's" in that they are little chocolate disks with a candy shell. But, if you look a little closer you can really find a lot of differences between these treats. 

M&M tends to go with filling their treat with something special, like peanuts or almonds or whatever is in those crunchy ones. Smarties are more about flavoured chocolate in the centre. Smarties have just introduced a new flavour called Sundae, and when you get the giant Smarties the orange ones are orange flavoured. Speaking of Giant Smarties, size is something that they interestingly went on opposite sides of the spectrum. M&M's went tiny, while Smarties went giant. Both are great and each are worth trying. Other than that the colours do vary a little, although nowadays they each offer specialty colours all the time, particularly M&M's.

So this is how it goes, Smarties are a lot like M&M's; small, round disks of chocolate covered in colourful candy shells. They generally come in either a tube or a box and are great for decorating cakes. From what I know you can find this variety of Smarties in Canada and the UK wherever you buy standard chocolate bars.

The sugar pills wrapped in cellophane all lined up.

Some people know these treats as "Rockets" as well, but to many Americans if you say "Smartie" this is what they expect. These are the staple of every Halloween diet, as I've said in the past, "you will get a roll of these if you go out for Halloween". Not that it’s a bad thing. These tangy little treats are great; they have a tangy zip and leave a powdery feeling in your mouth. As far as variety goes these things don't really have much to offer, the only variation I've ever seen is really long rolls and really short rolls.

I guess if you have to compare these with another snack I might look in the direction of the "Sweet Tart", but really they are something of a unique treat. Having said that so many companies make a version of these that you do see them around a lot all over the world.

So there you go, if you ask for a "Smartie" in the USA, and you don't get what you expected, this just might be why. I hope you've learned something because learning about candy is almost as fun as eating it.


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Candy Art - Sexy Chocolate

I've read many articles on the idea of chocolate and sex being similar.  Most of the articles say that this similarity is most common in women's brains.
Most of these articles focus on the chemicals in chocolate, and how they stimulate the brains in similar ways to sex.
The question is, do pictures of chocolate, in suggestive ways, stimulate the mind the same way sexy pictures do?  I'll let you decided.

Click here to see more sexy/chocolate pictures.


It's National Chocolate Caramel Day!!!

This is probably the most classic of candy combinations, but is it overused?  I think it might be used improperly, but really I can't get enough of chocolate and caramel together.  The problem I find with this combination is the quality of many of the ingredients.  So many times have I sampled chocolate and caramel together and discovered that one or both of the ingredients are cheaply made and gross.  If you want to impress with this simple combination, quality is the key.


Monday, March 18, 2013

Stuff I Want To Try

Green Giant Chips - General Mills - I love vegetable chips, I wonder if they have Green Giant corn niblet chips, that would be awesome. - Click here to learn more about this treat.


This Week In Candy

This week we're making chocolate from scratch.  Notice I didn't say "chocolates" with an "s", I said chocolate.  The folks that make Glee Gum, this weeks featured review, sent us a kit that allows you make milk chocolate from it's basic ingredients.  So instead of just melting down some already formed chocolate, we took the various ground ingredients, cocoa butter, and strange crystals to make some pretty tasty little treats.  It also made the house smell spectacular.

We're also still working on our popcorn articles, but having some trouble tracking down some oils.  Palm oil and coconut oil are very hard to find in our neck of the woods.  We'll keep searching, however we might have to limit our test for now.

Finally, if you're of the Greek Orthodox religion you're now in the time of Lent.  Someone explained the rules to me and said that you can't eat anything with a face.  So I'm sorry to say that means that gummy bears are off limits.  Both because they contain gelatin, and they have cute little faces.


A Gleeful Review

Completely off topic, but I'm actually watching the television show "Glee" right now, I'm in the middle of season 2 and I'm really enjoying it.

Now back to the candy talk.

Gum is a bit of a peculiar treat for me.  First of all Allison absolutely detests gum, she never eats it and hates it when people chew it around her. I don't share her hatred, but I also don't really find it to be a problem.  While I enjoy a good chew, I never really was a regular gum chewer.  I never have the need to chew gum, and if my breath smells bad, I generally brush my teeth.  So you may notice that I don't really post that many gum reviews.  It's not that I don't like the stuff, I just never crave it either.

Click here to read my latest gum review.


Friday, March 15, 2013

Candy News

So sweet companies can't afford to pay back their loans, the solution, drive up the price of sugar so they can increase their prices... An economist I am not.

Americans might finally be getting over their fear of toys inside candy.

If you've ever been to a RAMs game, did you notice that it smells like cotton candy?  Not really "manly" is it?

What do you get when you cross the most unhealthy meal in the world, with the most unhealthy baked good?

Looking to hold your popcorn, and all you've got is a hoodie?  No problem.

Twinkies are officially back, in the USA!!!  We Canadians never lost them.

The chocolate you can play with known as Magic Choc, is now available in the USA.

We've all heard the expression "beans to bar" in chocolate making, but how does it work?

According to new research the difference between chocolate addiction and addiction to opium might not be that much.

Remember how New York banned the sale of large sized soda pops?  Well a judge decided that this isn't cool.

The popularity of locally made candy is getting so big that the large corporations want to start selling it.

Is this the best candy contest of the year?  Have your entire likeness made into a giant life sized gummy.

Obesity rates are still going up, but the number of calories people are eating are going down, maybe a little exercise is in order as well.

Can you lose weight by chewing gum? I heard this before with regular chewing gum, but now a company claims to have a gum that can help you even more.

According to this article, Cadbury created a non-existent factory in India to cheat their taxes. I want to know what candy this non-existent factory was supposed to be making.

Happy birthday Peeps, you don't look a day over 59.  To help celebrate Peeps' birthday, here's a list of 18 different ways to enjoy them.

If you want to keep up with all of the daily candy news that we come across as it happens, follow us on Twitter.


International Retro Candy Commercials - Part 5 - Jpan

Without understanding this commercial, I can only assume that these awesome climber things came with the candy.  I want to know why these amazing little climbers were never available in North American candy (or even cereal for that matter).  I'm not saying we didn't get cool things in cereal/candy, but we never got these.

All this week I've been posting videos featuring retro candy commercials from all over the world.


Thursday, March 14, 2013

Stuff I Want To Try

Maltesers Teasers Bar - Mars - The idea of Maltesers in bar for intrigues me. - Click here to learn more about this treat.


International Retro Candy Commercials - Part 4 - Finland

I love a good bag of random candy, it's guaranteed to both satisfy and disappoint.  A few commenters on this commercial mention that they feel this advertisement is both creepy and racists.  Without understanding a single word said I can really only agree about the creepy part, but only a little.

All this week I'm posting videos featuring retro candy commercials from all over the world.


Classic/Creative Candy Advertising

Mark sent me a link to this really interesting candy advertisement.  It's an advertisement for a bar called the Chicken Dinner Bar, a treat with a really mysterious past.  According to the website where I found it there is no chicken in the bar, nor does it taste like chicken at all.  It is suspected that it's tied to Herbert Hoover's promise of a "chicken in every pot."  It was also apparently one of the best selling bars of its time.

Click here to learn a little more about the Chicken Dinner Bar.


It's National Potato Chip Day and Pi Day!!!

Today is a two for one holiday... sort of.  The most popular holiday event happening today is something called Pi Day.  I'm sure many would argue that today is not about slicing off a warm piece of apple pie, but instead a holiday celebrating a number with no known ending.  Fact is, pies are round, and pies are tasty, so many people celebrate Pi Day with a pie.  It's only logical.
Today is also National Potato Chip Day, and this day is far less confusing.  Potato chips have become one of the staple snacks all over the world.  It's pretty amazing to think that the potato chip was said to be invented only 160 years ago.


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

A Fun New T-Shirt

See more Gorilla T-Shirts
I just posted a new t-shirt that I designed featuring a gorilla blowing a giant bubble.  This will be the first of many t-shirts and other merchandise based on fun sketches I've made.


International Retro Candy Commercials - Part 3 - Indai

I'm sure if I understood the basic rules of Cricket this commercial would make a little more sense... Well maybe not.  I must say it is both sweet, and really strange to me all at the same time, that's a pretty great accomplishment in my book.

All this week I'm posting videos featuring retro candy commercials from all over the world.


Old Candy Critic Articles - The 'Key Lime' Conspiracy

I've decided to take down several old articles from the and re-post them here on the Candy Critic blog.  This week we an old article I wrote when I found out that many companies didn't use real key lime juice in their key lime candies.

Lies, lies, it's all lies. One of the worst things in the world is a lie, and in the candy world it’s no different. One of the worst lies has to be the great 'key lime' conspiracy. Simple it is, but evil? You better believe it.

One of the most interesting flavours used today has to be lime. Sometimes it’s used instead of lemon just to give a treat a bit of originality. It's great especially when it’s real limejuice because real limes do have a great unique flavour and can always add a great twist to any treat. But there are bad people in the world. People who feel it is okay to lie. These evil people think that everybody out in the world are idiots, morons all of them. That's what some of these candy companies think, when it comes to.... What the heck was I talking about? Oh yeah, limes.

Have you ever enjoyed a treat that was labelled “key lime” and thought to yourself, "I guess key limes are just like any other lime." or maybe that “key lime” is probably just a style of flavouring for pie. Well, its not! A key lime is a unique lime with a special flavour, and people you are getting ripped off. I'm here to blow the whistle on candies that claim to be “key lime” flavoured but don’t actually have a drop of key lime in them.

People... read the label. If it says “key lime”, check the ingredients. If there are no key limes in it, you are getting ripped off. Stand up and unite against the fake key limes. Key limes are so good and it’s about time we got what we paid for.

If you ever do get the chance, you should try a fresh key lime and if you're even luckier you might find a candy with real key lime in it.


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Stuff I Want To Try

Caffeine Chewing Gum - Wrigley's - Because sometimes coffee just isn't enough. - Click here to learn more about this treat.


International Retro Candy Commercials - Part 2 - Greece

This might be the greatest idea ever for interactive salty snacks.  Why didn't they try selling these in other parts of the world?  Why don't they sell them now?  Why won't the company that used to make them send me a bag right now, so I can run around my house dressed as a vampire with crunchy puffy teeth?

All this week I'm posting videos featuring retro candy commercials from all over the world.


Candy Art - Ginger Thrones

I've never seen Game of Thrones, but the shows fans are pretty obsessive.
It just makes sense that people would start to develop gingerbread castles.

Click here to see more examples of this ginger castle.


Monday, March 11, 2013

International Retro Candy Commercials - Part 1 - Australia

Nothing sells a chocolate bar better than a rock star being an ass.  If you replaced all of the references of the chocolate bars in the commercial with references to drugs, you'd probably have an Oscar winning movie.

All this week I'm posting videos featuring retro candy commercials from all over the world.


This Week In Candy

All this week we're featuring retro candy commercials from places other than North America.  We have a commercial from Australia, India, Greece, Japan, and Finland on deck.  I'm not sure if these commercials are classics in their country of origin, but I liked them.  If you have a particular commercial you remember, let me know about it, even if you're from North America.

This week I'm hoping to bake a batch of cookies.  My goal is to bake the best smelling cookies, because I'm having some people over and I want my apartment to smell nice when they come in.  The thing is, I often notice that the best smelling cookies aren't always the best tasting cookies.  What I want to know is can you get the best of both worlds, can you have a cookie that smells fantastic when baking, and tastes fantastic when you eat it?

I'm still working on a few articles for later publication on topics such as popcorn, chocolate making, and gum flavours.  If you have any insight into these topics let me know.


Cake New Review

Recently I've had a great craving for cakey treats.  Some have argued that cake treats are not candy, and therefore have no business appearing in Candy Critic, but I disagree.  To me candy is not a specific type of treat, but a treat mindset.  Cakes, chips, chocolate, and any other fine treat fits into the candy category in my opinion.

Click here to read today's cake filled review.


Friday, March 08, 2013

Candy News

Countries all over the world have different recipes for the same treats, and as it turns out Hershey's has decided to make the Canadian bars much better than in the American.

Did you know that you used to have to buy OREO cookies by weight only, or that it takes 59 minutes to make an OREO?  Well here's 11 more OREO  facts you may not have known.

It turns out that some government agencies are having second thoughts about how safe some blue candy dyes might be.

It turns out that Seattle is becoming a hub of ethical and fair trade chocolate.

For all of my graphic design friends that love to mix food with their love of overly organized visuals, I present this.

The topic of sugar VS sweetners has become of great interest for me, here's a little something to get you started on the subject.

A brief history of one of the greatest chips ever made, the Dorito.

Most people just say that sugar and diabetes go hand in hand, but the science is still trying to prove it.

Someone broke into a warehouse and stole 19 grand worth of Girl Scout cookies, do Girl Scout cookies have a black market value?

Apparently Zachary Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Eggs thought they had a salmonella problem, turns out they're OK.

The Bel Air Chocolate festival looks like a lot of fun, but it has one of the strangest looking mascots I've ever seen.

If you want to keep up with all of the daily candy news that we come across as it happens, follow us on Twitter.


Stuff I Want To Try

Multi-Flavor Cheetos Packs - Frito-Lay - I like a little variety in my salty snacks. - Click here to learn more about this treat.


Friday Candy Video

As a special treat, I have two OREO videos that I think are really creative and really worth sharing.

This first video is about a man that built a machine.  This machine is very complicated, but it only does one simple task.  This machine removes the cream from the center of the OREO cookie.  More and more I'm discovering people in this world who actually like the cookie part of an OREO more than the cream.  I'm not saying that these people aren't crazy, they're just more numerous than I had previously thought.

This second video is a great example of what you can create when you play with your food.  See, the cream is not only tasty, but it makes for a great medium for stop motion animation.

I found the first video here, and the second video here.


It's National Peanut Cluster Day!!!

I decided that before I posted anything about peanut clusters I would try and clear something up in my head. What I needed to know was, what exactly is a peanut cluster.  By definition a peanut cluster should be a bunch of peanuts bound together by some kind of product, chocolate or taffy.  After looking around the internets I discovered that the most common way to bind these nuts would be chocolate.  The thing is, according to many of the examples I found, you can also have additional, ingredients in a peanut cluster.  Caramel, marshmallows, other nuts, can all be found in peanut clusters.  So that means that just about any chocolate that you eat that contains more than one peanut, could by definition, be a peanut cluster.  I'm not sure I agree with that, I think a peanut cluster should only contain peanuts, and a binding agent.  I guess that makes me a peanut cluster snob.


Thursday, March 07, 2013

Sweeter Than Sugar?

There are so many products in the food industry that try to replace white refined sugar with something more "healthy". White refined sugar has become public enemy number one to many people, but yet people still want their food to be sweet.  This has created many movements and industries with the simple goal of eliminating refined white sugar while keeping our food sweet.  I can't say that I'm against these changes,  I even tend to use more natural sugars when I bake.  I also drink many diet beverages using these synthetic sweeteners.   I'm not saying that I don't like refined white sugar, I'm just saying that I like variety, and I'm convinced that you can have too much sugar in your diet.

The thing I'm not convinced is that these substitutes  be it natural sugars or sugar replacements, can replace white sugar all together.  There are certain foods, drinks and sweets that I'm not sure would work with these replacements.  One thing I recently realized is that I'm not really sure what many of these substitutes taste like compared to white sugar.  So I've decided to sample a nice wide range of sugar replacements and see how they compare to the pure white stuff.  For this taste test I'm going to sample the sweeteners on their own, and stirred into iced tea.  I've decided to use iced tea because I think it has a fairly neutral flavour that will allow the sweeteners to shine.  So here's our selection of sweet replacements:
White Refined Sugar - This is pretty much the standard, I know I like it well enough, but I'm not sure if it'll be my favorite.

On it's own refined white sugar has very little flavour other than sweet.  That's the main advantage to using it when you're cooking, it doesn't change the flavour, it just adds sweet.  Notionally this is what you'd want from any other sweetener as well, unless you're also looking for an additional flavour as well.

In iced tea the sugar eliminates the bitterness of the tea, and adds a nice sweetness.  The problem one gets with sugar however is that you can over do it very easily.  Too much sugar can overpower, and that can lead to headaches, sore teeth, and stomach aches.  Sugar also doesn't mix into cool liquids very well, and even with a great deal of stirring, you're bound to have a sugary sludge at the bottom of your glass.
Stevia - This is the latest trendy sugar replacement, I have it in a powdered concentrated form.

If you sample Stevia powder on its own you're in for a pretty shocking flavour.  Stevia has a really bitter flavour that coats your taste buds.  It's not that pleasant at all on its own.  According to the research I've done it's one of the most powerful sweeteners and that is obvious by it's very strong flavour.

The strange thing about Stevia is once I added it to my iced tea the bitterness goes away.  I was left with a super sweet drink after only adding a very small amount.  The great thing about this stuff as a sweetener, in powder form, was how well it dissolved in the iced tea.  It took a few stirs to get rid of a couple of lumps, but once stirred I didn't get any traces of it, except for a really sweet iced tea.
Splenda - This is the classic sugar replacement, it's apparently made from sugar, but I'm not really sure why it's healthier.

I can't say that I remember ever having sampled Splenda on its own before.  I know that I've had it in baked goods and sweet treats in the past, but just tasting it is new to me.  Most surprising was how tasty it is.  I was expecting a chemical taste, but it was just sweet.  It wasn't the same kind of sweet as the white sugar, but it was very close.

In the iced tea it was the best, better than even the white sugar.  It sweetened it up really well, it didn't have much of an after taste, and it dissolved instantly (even faster than the Stevia).  I've had a few baked treats in the past with Splenda, and I've noticed a bit of a metallic flavour, but in iced tea it wasn't that bad at all.  Also, unlike the Stevia, the flavour was not overpowering, and it acted more like sugar in the amount that I used.
Honey - This is a nice quality locally made honey, I like using it on my yogurt in the mornings, and I often bake with it.

Honey is one of my favorite sweeteners to use in many desserts and baked goods.  I usually replace any sugar I'm supposed to use when I bake breads or cake and I use honey instead.  To me honey is go to ingredient when I don't want to use sugar.  Most importantly when cooking, honey dissolves a lot faster than sugar, so it's a little easier to use.

In the case of iced tea however, honey is pretty useless.  The only problems with honey is that it has a slight flavour (unlike the sweeteners or white sugar) and it only dissolves with heat.  Since the iced tea was cold, it didn't seem to dissolve at all.  So my iced tea was pretty much not affected at all, except for a few gobs of honey on the spoon and on the bottom of my glass.
Maple Syrup - If I didn't include a nice high quality maple syrup, I'd probably have to renounce my Canadian citizenship.

Right after honey, maple syrup is my second go to sweetener when baking.  It reacts pretty much the same as honey, only with a bit of a stronger flavour. The flavour can be best described as a sweet woody flavour.  Fortunately for me I love this flavour, and I think it goes well with many baked goods.  If you don't want the woody flavour however, maple syrup really isn't that great to use.

As far as in iced tea I was really surprised at how much I like it.  I didn't expect the flavours of the tea and the maple syrup to work well together, but they do.  I think it's because tea has an earthy flavour, and so does the syrup.  Even more surprising was how well the maple syrup dissolved into the iced tea.  I was expecting it to react similarly to the honey and stay as a single glob.  The maple syrup dissolved instantly, and after a couple of stirs it was fully incorporated.  The flavoures it added to the tea were great, and it blended perfectly.