Friday, February 27, 2015

Candy In The Media

Not to get to psychological on you, but the association with love and sex and lollipops is pretty massive in pop culture.  I mean you can always look at the obvious phallic connection between sucking on lollipops and certain... "acts", I guess.  But you do find many songs that use lollipops as a reference to love, and not just sex.  The problem I have is I'm never really sure if these songs are using "lollipop" and a reference for sex, or as a reference for love.  It could also be that sometimes they're just talking about lollipops.


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

A Sucker of a Candy Thing

It pains me to say this, but I've always found the "Lollipop Guild" to be the creepiest of all of the characters in the Wizard of Oz.  I can't really give you one solid reason why they creep me out, it's really the whole package.  While it's really nice that these fine three fellows wanted to send Dorothy off with a sweet treat, I just think that three grown men giving a girl candy is a little creepy.  Having said that, I regularly give out candy to everybody around me.  So does this mean that I'm creepy?


Monday, February 23, 2015

This Week In Candy

This past week I was sent a whole mess of lollipops from the fine folks at Original Gourmet Lollipops (@oglollipops).  Normally after I get candy from any company the first things I do is do a little taste test and write up a review. This particular shipment however poses a bit of a problem, there's an over abundance of variety.  The folks at Origional Gourmet sent me so many different flavours that I can't really decide which one I want to review.  Fortunately they sent me so many lollipops that I was able to share with all of my friends, family, frankly just about everybody around me over the last week has enjoyed a lollipop.  I've listened to their reaction, but it's just not enough.

So I've decided that I need your input as well.  So I'm asking anybody who reads this to pick a flavour and send it to me.  I realize that you don't actually have these lollipops in front of you, but I'm asking you to pick which flavour you think will be best, based on the name.  If you want to go one step further, why not buy a bag or two of these fine Original Gourmet Lollipops, taste a few and let me know which I should try.  Next week I'll post the results along with the winning review.  You can vote on the flavour you think I should try by leaving a comment here, or dropping us a line on Facebook or Twitter.

Here's a list of all the flavours I've received:

Mocha Latte
Pina Colada
Orange Creamsicle
Candy Apple
Orange Splash
Strawberry Banana
Rootbeer Float
Juicy Grape
Bubble Gum
Wilde Cherry
Juicy Grape
Banana Split
Pomegranate Raspberry
Pink Lemonade
Cherry Cheesecake
Blueberries & Cream
Blue Raspberry
Cotton Candy
Strawberry Shortcake
There are also 6 "Mystery" Flavoured lollipops as well.

This week on Snack Facts, our Instagram feed, we'll be looking at the colour red (or in some cases it may be the colour pink, which should really be called light red, but I won't get into that).  We're going to examine one of the most common colours in the candy industry, it's a little weird, but trust me there's lots to say on the subject.  If you want to follow our Snack Facts feed you can connect into our Instagram feed, or if you don't have Instagram, you can also connect via our Twitter feed and our Facebook page.

This week's review ties in slightly with our Snack Facts theme, and may even be featured in a later post.  The Azuki Kit Kat is one of the most Japanese Kit Kat variations ever.  How this relates to the colour "red"... well you'll have to read here to find out.


Friday, February 20, 2015

Candy In the Media

I'm a big fan of using candy and snacks in your daily cooking.  I'm also a big fan of trying something new, unique, and something that probably won't work, but is fun to try.  However, I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest that you do not try this recipe.  It just sounds so very horrible, and it sounds like a waste of perfectly good nachos, chicken, and Mountain Dew.  While I think the nacho/Doritos on chicken would work really well, to me the Mountain Dew is really the deal breaker in this recipe.  If for some reason you decide to try this out, and if it actually turns out that it's really tasty, let me know.  If enough people can convince me, I just might try it... maybe.


Wednesday, February 18, 2015

A Warm Candy Thing

After checking the weather reports for a great deal of the northern hemisphere, I thought that this week's "Candy Thing" should be something to warm people up. And what could be warmer than a nice steaming cup of hot cocoa?  The only problem you'll have after getting yourself a neat hot cocoa machine, is deciding what you want to ad to your cocoa.  Are you a marshmallow and cocoa person, or do you like melting in a candy cane, maybe you'd prefer a little bit of chilly powder. What's the best addition to your hot cocoa?


Monday, February 16, 2015

This Week In Candy

It's a bit of a slow week here at Candy Critic, or at the very least on the surface.  I'm working on my book in full force this week, and I'm researching a few articles for the future as well.  I've also been asked to play food consultant over the next week, that basically means I've been asked to eat and criticize particular meals for someone, it's a good gig. So it's not like I'm not doing anything, just nothing that'll be showing up on the blog this week.  We will however have our regular posts coming up, Wednesday's "Candy Thing" and Friday's "Candy In The Media", so there's still lots to check out.

This week on Snack Facts, our Instagram feed, we're looking at one of the most popular thing to put on bread, peanut butter.  Make sure to follow along so you can learn a fun new peanut butter fact every day this week. If you don't use Instagram, that's OK too, you can follow Snack Facts on our Twitter feed and our Facebook page as well.

Our new review this week is a rather strange one.  It's the first time ever that I've tasted a cheese/chocolate candy, and it pretty much works out as well as you might imagine.  Click here to read the new review, and learn why some treats are just a bad idea.


Friday, February 13, 2015

Candy In the Media

Most people say that candy is impersonal, but the fact that you can now get your, or your sweetheart's face on M&M's changes that perception.  I however have a better idea for these M&Ms, I think this year I'm going to get Allison a bag of M&Ms with the faces of her enemies on them instead.  This way she can take out all of her enemies at every bite.  It would not only show I care, but I care enough to let her exact revenge.


Wednesday, February 11, 2015

A Sweet Candy Thing

One of my favourite things as a kid was getting a Valentine's Day card that had candy attached to it.  It adds so much more to get something sweet to eat, as well as a fun message.  It's funny, I don't really remember at what grade we stopped giving Valentine's Day cards to our friends, but it must have been pretty early on.  I can't recall ever getting cards in High School for sure.  Every so often though, I head over to the local card or drug store and pick up a box of Valentine's cards.  I fill one out for each one of my friends, and hand them out.  I get a mixed reaction, some are confused, some think it's sweet and nostalgic.  I'm sure more people would like them if I attached some candy as well.


Monday, February 09, 2015

This Week In Candy

Last week I was challenged... well sort of, by the folks at Kit Kat to make a Kit Kat hot dog.  There's pretty much no food challenge I won't consider, and this one seemed like it might work out.  On Twitter, the folks from Kit Kat sent me a photo of a Kit Kat hot dog and kind of dared me to try it.  The bread and Kit Kat seemed like it would be not problem, but I was a little concerned about the ketchup.  At first I went through the various ingredients that I could use that would look like ketchup, but would taste good on a Kit Kat bar.  I had a few ideas like jam and strawberry sauce, but then I thought about it.  I thought that using anything but ketchup would be cheating, and not really in the spirit of the challenge.

So I decided that the best thing I could do is just go for it.  As you can see above, it's not the most appetizing of foods to look at, but strangely enough the ketchup wasn't so bad.  The fact that many bottled ketchup's have so much sugar worked with the Kit Kat bar.  The slightly sour vinegar taste of the ketchup actually balanced out with the sweet Kit Kat.  While I don't think we'll be seeing a Ketchup Kit Kat in the near future, it wasn't as gross as I thought it would be.

We just posted a new episode of our Junk Fud podcast.  Junk Fud is a podcast where I chat with my friends about the world of candy, baked goods, fast food, and anything else we might deem as "junk food".  This episode I'm talking with my friend Mark about one of our favorite foods, pizza.  Mark and I are going to try and post a monthly episode of Junk Fud, and we're looking for any subject ideas you might have.  You can download the latest episode here, as well as some of our older episodes as well.

Over the last few weeks several chocolate bar companies have announced that they're changing the size of their chocolate bars.  Some companies have also come out announcing that they refuse to change the size, but prices will likely go up.  This is in big part to a huge increase in the price of cocoa right now.  Or more realistically, a huge fluctuation in the price of cocoa over the last few years.  Since candy companies don't know how much they're going to be paying for cocoa, they assume that they're paying the most it's been for a while, rather than lose money.  So what's your opinion on this, should candy companies change the size of chocolate bars, make them more expensive, or is there another alternative to keeping the candy industry in business.

I can't believe I'm already down to the fourth paragraph and I'm only now talking about Valentine's Day.  It's this week, and that means that heart shaped boxes of chocolates, conversation hearts, and heart shaped lollipops are going to be flying off the shelf this week.

To help you gear up for the holiday of love, this week on Snack Facts we'll be looking at Valentine's Day.  Check out our Instagram feed were every day we'll be posting a new fun fact about the holiday we all love.  If you're not on Instagram, you can also follow our loving posts on our Facebook page and our Twitter feed as well.

I've reviewed a few Valentine's treats in my day, but so many of them aren't really that clever.  So this year I thought of the most clever treat you could give that someone you love.  I thought the Passion Flake is both tasty and a clever gift for this holiday, I just hope Allison agrees.


Friday, February 06, 2015

Candy In The Media - Super Bowl Edition

It's that time of year again, time to look at some of the most expensive commercials of the year.  The Super Bowl has for years been the place where big budget commercials set the tone for the rest of the year.  I like to compile all of the snack/candy commercials together, to see how the advertisers are spending the loads of money that I spend on snacks annually.  Unfortunately, this year I had a hard time finding any "great" ads.  The Coke ad above was OK, at the very least it had a nice message.

Doritos hit us this year with three ads.  I'm getting a little sick of their style of advertising to be honest.  While these ads were clever a few years back, now they're just cliche.  The creative spark that was Doritos Super Bowl commercials of the past, are just boring today.

This Skittles commercial is also lacking in creativity as well. I like a clever ad like the next guy, but this one is just weird for weird sake.  It's about time Skittles dumped this "Taste the Rainbow" campaign and found something new.  It's an awesome candy that has a great deal of advertising potential, I just don't think they're using it.

This Snickers commercial is probably my favorite this year.  While it's still using the campaign that they introduced last year, they cleverly re-packaged it with a retro twist.  I'll give them a pass this year, but they better have something different next year.


Thursday, February 05, 2015

O K Cup?

For a few years now I've had a fascination with the whole pod coffee revolution.  My curiosity has been on the level that I've always wanted to try one out for a little while, but not enough that I wanted to invest in actually buying a machine.  My problem with buying a machine comes from two different problems.  First of all they're not cheap, they can cost several hundreds of dollars for the larger professional units. Even the cheaper unites are around 100 to 150 dollars.  Since I don't drink coffee these prices don't really sound like something in my range.

My second problem with the pod coffee machines is the environmental one.  For each cup of coffee you're throwing away a small plastic cup, a miniature filter, and a foil lid.  For each pot of coffee you're throwing away about one 50th of a tin or bag that the coffee comes in, and a small often bio degradable coffee filter.  Let's not forget that the coffee can you bought your coffee in can also be re-used, while these pod cups are pretty useless, and in the case of the Kuerig destroyed with holes punched in them.  I guess I can feel a little better knowing that there are special cups you can buy that allow you to make your own drinks, and these cups are completely re-usable (but more about these later).
So needless to say, while I've been curious about these pod machines, I've never thought about actually buying one for the house.  This past weekend however, something rather fortuetous happened at the Stewart household.  Allison entered a charity auction, and won, the first prize was a Kuerig machine, with 12 sample pods.  It was a great day at the Stewart house when she brought it home, and the first thing we did was crack it open and see what pods we got.  Allison was very happy to see that most of the pods consisted of some sort of coffee drink.  Of the twelve pods we got, two were tea, one was hot chocolate, and the rest were coffee... sort of.  Allison doesn't consider decaf coffee to be real coffee, so there may have only been 7 or 8 actual coffee pods.

We spent our first few days with the machine testing it out and sampling everything we could.  Since I don't really like coffee, Allison had a lot more to sample than I did.  For the most part she was happy enough with the coffee choice, however according to her some were much better than others.  I on the other hand had a very different selection of drinks to try.  First I decided to try the Starbucks chai latte, just to get an idea for what I was sampling.  I'm not sure if I've ever had a Starbucks chai latte, but if they're anything like this pod drink I don't ever plan to.  It basically tasted like sweet powdered milk, with some kind of spice.  It was pretty awful.
The real pod I wanted to sample was the Swiss Miss Hot Chocolate.  I'm a big fan of hot chocolate, in fact I'd say that it's probably one of my favorite hot drinks.  The problem with hot chocolate for me is that you can make it well, but you can also make it very poorly.  In a hot chocolate I look for a nice strong chocolate flavour, but it also has to be smooth.  I don't want the sweet and the milk to overpower.  Instead the sugar and milk should only be there to smooth out the bitterness of the chocolate.  I also can't stand grit in my hot chocolate.  If you're going to use a powder, you better stir that hot chocolate really well.

Unfortunately the Swiss Miss Hot Chocolate didn't cut it for me at all.  Fortunately it wasn't gritty at all, unfortunately it was just a cup of sweet, with no cocoa at all.  Ever worse was the fact that the sugar tasted so artificial, and the milk was almost completely tasteless.  It was like drinking a cup of fake sugar that was dyed brown.
This bad experiences isn't going to turn me off of these pod machines though.  I've heard that K-Cup pods have several different hot chocolate flavours, including a Ghirardelli, and possibly a Cadbury pod.  While Swiss Miss is a fairly well known hot chocolate company, I don't think it's know for having the quality chocolate of a Ghirardellior a Cadbury.  So I'll try a few more pods, and see how it goes.

I'm also interested in the re-usable pod concept.  Allison and I have ordered a pair of environmentally friendly plastic pods that we can use over and over again.  My goal is to try and figure out exactly how these things work, and eventually make my own homemade pods.  Once I have a few recipes down, I'll post them on this blog so you can make some home made pods for yourself.
While I'm not sold on the K-Cup after my first sample, I haven't given up.  Let me know if you have any recipe ideas or Pods that you think I should try.


Wednesday, February 04, 2015

A Sweet Candy Thing

Looking for that extreme Valentine's Day gift that will make any sweet-tooth happy?  Why not line the front of your house with giant candy hearts?  Honestly I'm not sure how I would react to the site of love letters on candy lining my driveway.  It might be kind of neat, or it might be a little creepy. What do you think, is it too much?


Monday, February 02, 2015

This Week In Candy

This week Allison managed to win herself a Keurig machine in a raffle.  I've always had a bit of interest in trying one of these things out, but not enough to invest money into a machine.  I've met a few people who've owned them, but every time I've suggested buying pods and trying them out their machine, the people thought I was kidding.  So now that we have our own machine I've been able to sample the drinking sensation that's been taking over the world.  Later this week I'll post a review of my experiences so far.

Valentine's Day is coming up, it's one of the biggest holidays on the candy calendar.  While a great deal of candy is sold on this holiday, I find that the variety of candy is fairly limited.  Cinnamon hearts, heart shaped chocolate, and heart shaped candies are pretty much it.  It's been a while since someone has come up with a really unique sweet treat to celebrate this day of love.

Don't forget that we have a contest going on right now.  You could win yourself some free Mike and Ikes candies. Just click here to get more details, the contest closes next week so don't delay.

On Snack Facts this week, we're featuring the wafer.  It's a staple ingredient in the candy world, and it's been around for a really long time.  I've only recently gained a true respect for this cookie, mostly because so many companies don't understand exactly how to use them properly.  If you're unfamiliar with Snack Facts, it's our Instagram feed that gives you a new and interesting snack fact every day.  If you're not on Instagram, you can also check out Snack Facts on our Twitter feed and on our Facebook page.

This week's review is proof that if I see a candy on television, I want to try it.  I can't tell you how easily I fall victim to candy commercials. I also can't tell you how many times I've fallen victim, only to be disappointed with the final product. Click here and see how the Cadbury Dairy Milk Silk held up.