Archive for the ‘Candy Memories’ Category
Being in the candy business is a lot of fun. We often get to connect people with candies they’ve loved and lost. Each holiday brings a wave of exhilaration at being part of something joyful. But every once in a while, we’re fortunate that our work allows us to do something really cool. Just before Christmas this year, an email from a drowsy dad gave us just that kind of opportunity.
Nearly every young child has their favorite thing — some item they hold on to for comfort throughout their early years. For one boy, it was a soft yellow M&M’s pillow. He’d slept soundly with it every night, beginning with his first night home from the hospital after being born. On a recent vacation, that M&M’s pillow went missing and sleepless nights began.
After searching desperately (without any luck) for a replacement, the boy’s father wrote to Candy Favorites. The pillows were long gone from our inventory, but he hoped that just maybe we could connect him with one yellow pillow. It just happened that our President,
Jon Prince, had set a few collectible pillows aside, thinking they were interesting novelty items. He went searching, and sure enough, a yellow M&M’s pillow was among them. Jon was delighted to send it off just in time for Christmas.
We are so grateful to this family for sharing their Christmas with us. Like anything else, the candy business has its ups and downs. But these are the moments that make it all worthwhile.
Interested in celebrating yet another holiday between Thanksgiving and Christmas? Need a distraction from your kids’ constant countdown? Belsnickel Day is the perfect opportunity to practice your early-morning home-videography skills and encourage children to keep the pre-holiday tantrums to a minimum.
A few of us graced with the good fortune of growing up in rural German Pennsylvania towns know the joy of a little early Christmas visit. On the evening of December 6th, we put our shoes (one pair apiece, of course) next to the front door. In the morning, they’d most likely be full of candy treats and small gifts. This was, however, the only occasion on which we really ever saw lumps of coal. After all, it was Belsnickel’s job to let Santa know whether we’d been behaving our P’s and Q’s.
A Sometimes Troubling Tradition
The tradition of Der Belsnickel was brought to America by German immigrants and was soon adopted by other settlers. The name translates roughly to “Niklos in furs,” and the character is traditionally covered in, well, furs. In some traditions, he’ll even wear masks or be painted to look pretty terrifying. The job of Belsnickel is to reward good children and punish those who’d misbehaved.
The Belsnickel I believed in was a far cry from the mythical being who scared the Bejeezus out of kids (and probably their parents). In my own view, Belsnickel was more or less Santa’s brother or cousin popping in to make sure things were as they should be as Christmas approached. Though I never stayed up to try and catch a glimpse, had I known the real legend, I imagine I’d have refused to sleep — or maybe even to leave school. As it turned out, I stayed blissfully unaware and reveled in the fact that I got to enjoy the gifts of an “extra” jolly gentleman who passed by the homes of my classmates.
Keeping a Classic
The Pennsylvania Dutch tradition of Belsnickle started fading in the 1920′s. It’s for that reason that I’d really like to keep it alive. It’s one of those opportunities to celebrate a fading cultural practice and develop a yearly tradition at the same time. Just like I feed my friends saurkraut on New Year’s Day, I plan to add a shoe-Santa moment to my pre-Christmas ugly sweater party. What better way to add a dash of unexpected magic to the holiday season?
Mark your calendar for December 6th and check out our naughty-and-nice stocking stuffers for the perfect Belsnickle treats!
They say that variety is the spice of life. Well, Brach’s is delivering a variety of spices with its new lineup of holiday nougats.
Okay…so they’re mostly mints. But you get the idea. You might remember Christmas Nougats from going “treeing” at other people’s houses. They have these tiny little trees in the middle, and you can’t help but try and bite around the candy just so, in an effort to free the tree from a forest of nougat. And then, when you fail, you can’t help but try again. Over the years, I wiled away many hours this way, waiting for adults to finish talking. These candies, for many of us, are a signal that the holidays are really here.
Classic Peppermint Christmas Nougats
It all started with the Brach’s Peppermint Christmas Nougat. This red-and-white variety is the classic soft candy of Christmas, but as a kid I shied away from them. But as an adult, curiosity struck. What I found is that these are actually quite addictive.
The texture seems to be hard before you open them. But the nougat softens as you chew, giving way to one of the cleanest and smoothest candy textures I’ve experienced. They’re really nice after dinner (and after dessert) to make your mouth all fresh and tingly. They’re more peppermint than sweet, so you feel like you’ve eaten a mint rather than a candy.
Wintergreen Christmas Nougats
Somewhere over the years, Brach’s decided to mix it up. So now those more inclined to eat Canada Mints can have a Christmas candy, too. Wintergreen is one of those bizarre flavors that you don’t think you want to eat on purpose. Pepto Bismol might have done that to us. But one bite of something Wintergreen that’s actually yummy, and you can’t stop eating it.
Brach’s Wintergreen Christmas Nougats are no exception. They have the exact same wonderful texture and festive design as the Peppermint nougat, but the base color is light green instead of white. These leave you with a distinct cool feeling in your mouth.
Cinnamon Christmas Nougats
Cinnamon might be the best variety for children new to the world of Brach’s Christmas Nougats. These also have the little tree design, but the main color is pink. When you open an individually wrapped piece, you’re immediately hit with a jolt of cinnamon fragrance. These are just remarkably pleasant, because they have potent cinnamon flavor without overwhelming you with a burst of heat.
Cinnamon Christmas Nougats give you all the texture of classic nougats, plus a cinnamonny experience without the annoying loss of flavor you get from chewing gum. Unlike the mint varieties, this one leaves your mouth feeling warm and toasty.
Chocolate Mint Christmas Nougats
And then there’s one more — the fun one. Brach’s Chocolate Mint Christmas Nougats take things outside the box. They abandon the classic tree design for a basic but totally cute irregular swirl. This makes them fun to smash, so kids — or you — might end up playing with them more than the others. The chocolate and mint layers are made from two distinct flavors of nougat. The chocolate is a really nice surprise. It has none of that essence-of-fake-chocolate taste, but rather adds a subtle chocolate tone to the distinct mint flavor.
I carefully nibbled at the mint layer of several of these, trying to decide what kind of mint it was. I gave up. It has the light green hue of wintergreen but the freshness of peppermint. And seems too much like a Peppermint Patty to be Wintergreen. Either way, when you eat the layers together, you still get that very consistent, smooth nougat texture, with a refreshing flavor that leaves behind notes of mint.
A Christmas Candy Tradition
The nutrition facts on these puppies makes them an indulgence that’s worth it. The stats are pretty similar for all varieties, so 5 pieces have around 160 calories and 3 grams of fat. That’s not bad at all for candy in any season. Stick with Brach’s to revive old traditions or start new ones. These candies are so unique, they won’t be forgotten.
Candy is as much a part of our American culture as hamburgers, jazz, and baseball. Since so many of our sweet memories include candy, we decided to pitch a contest to see to who has the best one to tell.
Do you remember the first time you had Pop Rocks? Did your grandmother make a bad day better with caramel creams? Did your toddler stash all the Marshmallow Peeps in her diaper to keep her siblings from getting any? We know you’ve got something worth sharing.
Give us your best candy story by Friday, August 19 and you could win a $150 Sweetcertificate to spend on CandyFavorites.com. Who else will reward you for reminiscing about candy?
Browse our huge candy selection to jog your memory and we bet you’ll be surprised how many happy scenes return to you. Enjoy, and we look forward to reading your story.
PS: To enter the contest, simply post your memory or story as a REPLY to this blog entry. Good Luck!
For those of you who are keeping up, researching the new guy here, and cyber stalking me, you already know that I once took a trip to Thailand to become a Buddhist monk. It was a heck of an exciting trip to take for many reasons. However, it was not all fun and games, not that you likely expect a lot of fun and games in a Buddhist monastery. I experienced a good bit of loneliness and culture shock there, even though I was among friends and knew a good bit about the culture I was in.
Something that helped me out was chewing gum. No, I am not making this up. I had gum for my plane ride and took to having some from time to time as a reminder of home. It was easy to find in the country, as almost every town had a 7-11, Lotte, or other convenience store. It reminded me of where I came from and gave me a little taste of home, something to savor among the sing-song syllables of a foreign land. It grounded me and made me feel a bit less lost during my stay.
Have you ever had a particular taste that reminded you of home?
I don’t know if it’s just me, but Springtime tastes a bit like marshmallow Peeps, at least in my mind. It’s hard to separate the two, since my childhood Easter memories are permanently intertwined with these little bits of deliciousness.
I love this photo because of the off-center placement of the Peeps, in addition to the combination of colors. Yellow and blue go together when set off by green, at least in this picture. Beautiful Girlfriend would tell me that they complement each other or supplement or something. She’s a real artist and knows this stuff. Plus she brings a whole palette of springtime colors to my day every time I see her. unfortunately, she doesn’t care for Peeps as much as I do, which I guess means more for me. If that’s not complementary, I don’t know what is!
Good job on the photo, Sofia, and enjoy the taste of Springtime!
I love gum drops and love how they look.This was a staple flavor of my childhood – gumdrops and other jelly candies, since my father had a special affinity for them. Even today I can count on a candy jar filled with spice drops or gum drops when I make the trek to Pennsylvania for a visit.
What I really like about this picture is the shallow depth of field, including the very intense magnification of the sugar crystals, showing a crust of sweetness – a crystalline exoskeleton - above the soft jelly interior. This photographer really nailed it in making this picture. other eye-appealing elements include the rule of thirds, diagonal lines and a variety of colors. Good job, Ana G.R.!
Want to see your photos here? We do too! Submit your photos to the Candy Favorites Flickr Pool and you might see them featured here.
When I was a kid my brother and I ate almost nothing but candy, especially the yummy Easter chocolates probably until about mid-afternoon when our mother made us put down the sweet stuff in exchange for a plate of ham or something. Really? Trade chocolate for ham? Who wants to do that? One thing I always wanted to see in my Easter basket was one of those giant chocolate bunnies like the woman in the photo has. I practically dreamt of devouring one of those, eating it feet first so it couldn’t hop away.
That would have been awesome. Maybe Mom will read this and know what to send me. Despite my age, I would still accept an Easter basket if anyone offered. Yes, that’s a hint. Maybe Jon will send me some candy.
Valentine’s Day penny cards were an important part of my childhood, as were Swedish Fish. In the multicolored packs, I used to pick out only the red ones and throw out the other colors. Even as I grew out of playing with Barbies and driving plastic wheels and grew into driving real cars and taking college classes, my love for the chewy red fish didn’t wallow or wane. In fact, when I’m studying for an exam, I need such snacks like Swedish Fish within arm’s reach to get through the night. There’s no better distraction than the little red scraps stuck in the darkest corners of my mouth. Something about maneuvering my tongue to free those little bits is much more fun than trying to memorize a textbook.
Thank goodness this is one candy the big corporate man didn’t “modernize” to an unrecognizable and unwanted entity. So what are you waiting for? Go fishing!
Yes candy lovers, that’s right! I got to visit the warehouse where all the wonderful candy is received, stored, packaged, and then sent out into the world. It all started Monday morning. Since I didn’t have any classes to attend, it was a good day to go. When I first walked in, I met all of the very lovely women who work there answering phones and putting data into the computers. Then we went into the first room. On the right were tables filled with packages ready to be sent out. To the left was the first of many larges rooms filled to the brim with candy. It was like walking into my favorite dream. Candy all around me! M&M’s, gummy worms, Reese’s, and boxes of every candy imaginable surrounded me!
Next I went to the basement where there were boxes of Jelly Beans on every shelf! It was incredible. There were enough Jelly Beans to last a lifetime, and then some! Next we went to the next warehouse just a few steps down the street. Again I was greeted by the sight of thousands of boxes of candy! There was just so much of it! At this point I was given a box to fill with any candy I wanted. Talk about the best dream EVER! I picked out some favorites, as well as some things I have never tried. So in the coming weeks I will of course be reviewing a ton of candy. I’ve already eaten my way through a bag of Hershey Kisses, which I don’t think I need to review. So I’m still deciding what to tackle next, but as soon as I know, you’ll know. So all in all it was probably one of the greatest days ever. You can’t ask for much more than being surrounded by candy!
Until next time, this is Kandy K……stay sweet!!