Sunday, May 24, 2009

Candy Expo Continued (Pieces v M & Ms)

Hi Gang! Sorry for the delay - when I left Chicago I had to head to Birmingham to give my Leadership Lessons from the Kings of Chocolate seminar and then get back to Raleigh and deal with the pile up. I'm still digging out. No rest for the gluttonous.

This is SOME of the candy I came home with covering my dining room table. Amazing, huh? When will I have time to review all this? How much weight can I avoid gaining? lucky am I????

You should have seen me lugging all this through the airport - I already had one bag checked (at $15 each way that was a cool $45 for nothing). This bag of candy had to weigh over 50 lbs - it's a damn good thing I work out! As it was I lost the feeling in my fingers three times. Oh - I also had a bag with my laptop. I am clearly demented. (And stubborn as hell).

Okay - I just randomly took pictures on Wednesday - I figured they could come and get me if they wanted to, so here are some to give you a tiny idea of how cool these booths were:

How cool is all that???? I wish I had that Lindt bunny for my front yard. And not just for Easter.

The booths were all gorgeous, colorful and huge - with samples! Candy Expo is as close to Willie Wonka and the Oompa Loompas you can get.
Let's do some quick reviews:

I'd never tried these before, but now I have. And these are my thoughts - did Nestle Crunch really need to be any crispier? I don't think this adds anything to the original. (The original isn't one of my favs to start with, but this makes it less flavorful.) Same goes for Butterfinger - I mean it's already great and crispy as hell - it doesn't need any wafers. I prefer the originals of both of these bars.
But THIS is another matter entirely:

I like the Baby Ruth, but I LOVE the Baby Ruth Crisp. I think the Baby Ruth needed a little lighter touch. These are well worth trying. I actually went back to the booth to get more samples. WAY good.
Look at this great idea:

They already had Reese's Pieces, now Hershey's has added York Peppermint Patty Pieces, Almond Joy Pieces, and Special Dark Pieces. The York Pieces are fabulous (and I'm not even a huge mint fan), the Almond Joy Pieces are way better than the Coconut M & M's below, but I would rather just have an Almond Joy. And the Hershey's Special Dark Pieces are good. I don't have any Dark M & M's to compare them with, but they are a solid entry. Great ideas from Hershey.

Grab the York Pieces when they come out - I think you'll like them.

Mars isn't taking this innovation lying down! (Well, maybe lounging on a beach...)

Okay - these don't taste much like coconut at all. The Almond Joy Pieces were much better - they had some coconut texture - although they were too small to autopsy. And they tasted kind of like coconut. These taste like M & Ms. Maybe someone walked through the factory wearing a Hawaiian shirt. No coconut is listed in the ingredient list - the Almond Joy Pieces list both coconut and almonds.

Maybe Mars thinks if they SAY the M & M's taste like coconut, we'll BELIEVE they taste like coconut.....

I was so excited about these - strawberry and peanut butter M & Ms - YAY!!! What a great idea! How exciting! But they disappointed me. I found the strawberry gave them a weird aftertaste. Peanut Butter M & Ms are better (and I think Reese's Pieces are better than those!).

Candy Expo really was a blast!! As I review more of the candy I'll tell you more about some of the people. The candy was cool, but it was the people that really made it a great experience.

I'd also like to express my admiration and appreciation to anyone who has served in the military. My friends Katie and Wally come to mind - I am so proud of them and don't tell them nearly enough. Memorial Day is a great day to think of all those who serve, who have served, and who gave their lives for our country. Thank you!!!


diane said...

Thank you for your support of our military (current & veteran). I really liked to overhead view of the table. lolol Keep on being you!

Denise Ryan said...

Thank YOU Diane for reading!!!! And for being you!! I hope you have a great summer!! Let me know what crazy chocolates you come across!

cybele said...

I am really looking forward to the York Pieces, glad to hear the early positive buzz!

Denise Ryan said...

Cybele - thanks so much for your comment!! I was hoping to have the honor of meeting you at Candy Expo! Will you go next year?

cybele said...

Denise - I have a dayjob where the only thing I am really required to do is be here the last two weeks of May ... so unless ACE moves back to June, I'm not sure I'll ever be able to attend again.

The NCA publicity team has been awesome though (I'm sure you met them and agree) and were kind enough to send me a box with a lot of the new items.

Do you ever go to the Fancy Food Shows (there's one in Chicago, one in NYC and one in SF)? They're actually better for chocolate content.

Denise Ryan said...

Rats!! I was so hoping to meet you! But I'm glad the NCA folks hooked you up! They are fabulous!!

And thanks so much for the heads up on the Fancy Foods Show!! I'll definitely check them out. (And I finally added your blog to my list - I'm sorry it took me so long!) I've been following you and love your work!