Category Archives: Candy

Kilwin’s Coming To Boulder

Franchise fudge shop named one of the best in the US.

Kilwins-logoIn part of the space on Boulder’s Pearl Street Mall that once housed Trattoria on Pearl, a Kilwin’s shop is taking shape with a promised January 9 opening. I’ve been to the Kilwin’s in downtown Fort Collins and am therefore looking forward to its appearance in Boulder too.

TheDailyMeal.com just release a list of what it considers “America’s 25 Best Fudge Shops” to be. Eight are in Michigan, but Colorado’s Front Range will soon have two locations of one brand. Here’s what the site says:

Kilwins was founded in 1947 by Don and Katy Kilwin, and today there are nine locations as far and wide as Ann Arbor, Michigan, and Atlanta. The fudge recipe used at all the locations was created by Don and Katy themselves, and crafted on marble slabs. Top selling flavors include classic chocolate, sea salt caramel, and turtle; with seasonal favorites including egg nog and peppermint stick.

The Daily Meal’s writer isn’t much of a reporter, claiming that there are “nine locations far and wide,” when in truth there are more than 100 which would be both farther and wider.

Lola’s of Littleton on Best Candy List

LolasSugarRush-capTravel & Leisure magazine’s recent selection of “America’s Best Candy Shops” included Lola’s Sugar Rush of Littleton. If I lived anywhere near there, I might be haunting this cheerful shop at 2490 West Main Street. Here’s what this prestigious national magazine published about what they call “a shrine to sweets” — largely nostalgic old-timey sweets, really:

Lola’s Sugar Rush, Littleton, CO

“Perhaps it was inevitable that a woman whose nickname is Sugar would open a shrine to sweets.”  About 200 glass jars line the shelves of Lola Salazar’s fanciful pink and white boutique. “We serve every single customer, and we welcome them and tell them how it works. We want to make sure everyone who walks through the door has personal assistance,” she explains. Besides the gummies, jelly beans, and other bulk candies in the jars, the store sells nearly 900 types of novelty and retro treats like candy cigarettes, Astro Pops, and Sky Bars, as well as ice cream and cookies.”

Candy Corn Memories

Love this Halloween candy or loathe it? Or just want to learn about it? Read on

When I was growing up in Connecticut, my neighborhood included lots of regular-size homes and one true mansion — an imposing Italianate house located on the deepest part of a big triangular lot that  tapered to a point on the other end where a small road came into the main one on a diagonal.

A big barn on the back of the lot housed a Bentley. We never saw much of the occupants, Mr. and Mrs. Murphy, who either simply kept to themselves or were too good for the rest of us, but they welcomed children on Halloween. I grew up in a more innocent time, when packs of children roamed neighorhood streets by themselves after dark on October 31, with the bigger ones keeping tabs on the little ones. Parents stayed home to pass out goodies to other trick-or-treaters. 

 Mr. and Mrs. Murphy unlocked the big front door (or even left it open on a warm night) and set up card tables  in the spacious foyer. No big candy bars at the Murphys’ but bowls and trays of sweet treats, including M&M’s, home-made popcorn balls, ribbon candy, gum drops, taffy, home-made brownie squares, Hershey’s Kisses and a very big bowl of candy corn. It was a world without hand sanitizers, and little hands reached into the bowls and grabbed as much as they wished. We all lived, and if anyone got sick, it was only from eating too much candy.

I only took enough candy corn to “be polite.” I thought that this popular confection was cute, but I wasn’t really crazy about it — not when there was lots of chocolate as well. How about you? Now, thanks to the magic of Twitter, @robinchocolates pointed me to a website with an online poll about candy corn. You can click on “love it,”  “loathe it” or on “other.” I clicked and then learned that so far, “love it” wins by a landslide..

According to The Learning Channel’s page about candy corn, 35 million pounds of it are produced annually, 20 million pounds by Chicago’s Goelitz  Confectionery Company, according to a segment on “Unwrapped.” Candy corn, those tri-color marshmallow-ish pointy triangles, was invented in the late 1890s and has been a Halloween tradition ever since. Candy corn is formed layer by layer in wooden trays. The process takes several days. The “secret ingredient” that provides the well-loved mouth feel is marshmallow, and each piece is coated with an edible wax and polished. The “Unwrapped” video shoes how it’s made.

Joseph Schmidt Chocolate Headed for the Corporate Ashcan

Giant Hershey’s bought but is now shutting down boutique San Francisco chocolatier

It looks like curtains for Joseph Schmidt Confections, a boutique Bay Area chocolate maker that was especially known for its exquisite truffles. The beginning of the end came in 2005, when Hershey bought it. Joseph Schmidt is now a star-crossed subsidiary whose days are numbered — I suppose a an expendable liability in corporate terms.

Two years ago, after tasting them, I wrote an ode to Joseph Schmidt truffles, which you can read by clicking here. Retail stores in San Francisco and San Jose will be open through Easter, and then the factory is to close around June 30. In fact, Hershey is going to shut down the Bay Area factories that make both Joseph Schmidt and Scharffen Berger confections, which chocolates are both operated by Artisan Confections Company, a wholly owned subsidiary.

That closes the book on a delicious chapter in the Bay Area food world that goes back a quarter of a century, when Israeli-born Joseph Schmidt started selling his chocolates out of a San Francisco storefront. Now. it will be just a sweet memory. RIP.

Twizzlers: My Road Food

Twisted vine candy is my favorite snack on the road. I found a multi-colored twist on twists

Whenever I stop at a convenience store on the road, I am compelled to buy a small package of Twizzlers of Gummy Bears. It’s my guilty food pleasure. Today was a long travel day — 6:57 am. flight to Houston. Changes of planes for Midland-Odessa. Two hundred seventy-mile drive to Big Bend country. I’m with a group spending a few days here before a Society of American Travel Writers convention back in Houston.

About 170 miles into our trip, we stopped to tank up the van and use the facilities. I heard the siren call of Twizzlers. Rainbow Twizzlers. Not the red kind I’ve seen but a sixpack with six different colors and flavors. I wish I had taken a picture, but I didn’t. And I can even find them on he candy company website (Twizzlers are part of the Hershey family, by the way.) I offered to share, but no one was interested. So I at all six in their chewy sweetness,

Turkish Company Buying Godiva Chocolates

According to a New York Times business report titled “Refocusing, Campbell’s Sells Godiva,” a Turkish company called Yildiz Holding is buying Godiva from Campbell, the soup people for $850 million. “Campbell decided to sell Godiva,\ [a Belgian chocolatier founded in 1926], which it acquired in 1967 and built into a worldwide phenomenon, to focus more on its traditional business of soups and snacks. It is increasingly marketing its products as part of a healthy lifestyle, one that chocolate may not fit,” according to reported Andrew Ross Sorkin.

Godiva will become part of Yildiz’s 61-year-old Ülker Group, “the largest consumer goods company in the Turkish food industry, with businesses in cookies, chocolate, confectionery, beverages and dairy. The acquisition is the company’s largest and may help it expand its business internationally,” according to the Times. The company’s own website crowed, “A Giant Step by Ülker: World’s Number One Premium Chocolate Brand is Now Ülker’s” in a headline announcing the acquisition. I wonder whether they make Turkish taffy.

Hooked on Li Hing

Li hing mui is a favorite Hawaiian flavoring. It is used on nibbles that fall into the general category of “crack seed,” which is not an illegal drug but a Hawaiian snack category that, some would claim, is just as addictive. Originally derived from dried, salted plums that fueled plantation workers, it is a bit sweet, a bit more salty and totally delicious. I first discovered it on gummy bears and couldn’t identify it at all. Then, on our recent Hole in the Wall food tour, Keira Nagai explained the li hing story in the crack seed aisle at, of all places, one of Honolulu’s big Longs Drugs outlets. She told us that in addition to gobbling up li hing-flavored foods, Hawaiians use the powdered version on everything from fresh pineapple to the rims of margarita glasses.

I keep confusing li hing and li hing mui, but I know that I like the flavor. Cellophane bags held various li hing-flavored dried fruits (pineapple, mangoes, cherries and more), li hing powder and, of course, gummy bears. I bought several packages. I’ve been nibbling at the gummy bears and fruit, and last night, li hing powder coated the rim of my margarita glass before dinner and was sprinkled on vanilla ice cream for dessert. Was it ever good!

I had to wonder whether anything as tasty as li hing had either nutritional benefits or bad side effects. An article called “What’s Inside Li Hing Mui?” by writer Yu Shing Ting gave me a bit of insight. She noted that many packages are labeled “PHENYLKETONURICS: CONTAINS PHENYLALANINE,” which means that the sweetener is aspertame. Anyone who cannot tolerate aspertame had better stay away from li hing mui flavorings. Nutritious? Alas, it seems not. Delicious? Definitely.