When it rains, it pours. As you know, this popultar idiom refers to something occurring in large quantity after a lengthy absence. And although it’s often used to describe unhappy ends, that’s not always the case.

As luck would have it, the sun came out for Executive Editor Deborah Cassell's photo shoot, during which she sported candy-coated accessories from Dylan's Candy Bar.

When it rains, it pours. As you know, this popular idiom refers to something occurring in large quantity after a lengthy absence. And although it’s often used to describe unhappy ends (mass layoffs, a flu outbreak, the golf ball-size hail that came down in early April in Chicagoland after a week of blue skies), that’s not always the case.

I recently experienced a dry spell (pun intended) here at work, with few new products crossing my desk. In the short term, I turned to BNP Media sister publications and other sources, revealing innovations I might not have encountered otherwise. But I began to wonder if new products would ever start popping up on their own again.

Eventually, the winds of change blew my way. At the start of the month, I began getting daily phone calls from the receptionist in our office alerting me to the fact that I had received a package. (Unsolicited: my favorite kind. I love a good surprise.) Samples have included:
Duets Double Filled Chocolate Truffles from The Madelaine Chocolate Co. (Classic PB&J takes a chocolate twist in the Raspberry Peanut Butter variety.)
Titan 6 Layer Crunch Bar from Premier Nutrition (I’ll be sure to introduce these to my dentist, a health fanatic who loves energy- and protein-based snacks.)
• Way North Foods’ Beer Brittle, Stout Brittle and Ale Brittle (Nontraditional, on-tap temptations.)
Dream Candyfrom Sorbee International (Each airy, caramel- and nougat-based bar contains just 90 calories and 3 g. of fat.)
Healthy Indulgence Slender Nutrition andDaily Wellnesschocolates from Hero Nutritionals (I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Everything tastes better in miniature.)

Via e-mail, I also caught wind of new Sugar-FreeRing Pops(perfect for next month’s Sugar-Free feature) andSpangler StrawMallows(soft, shapely treats that reminds me of Strawberry Shortcake: the doll, not the dessert). Look for these and the aforementioned items inRetail Confectioner’sMay edition.

But first, flip through this issue for the latest from Guylian, Broncolin, Fun Sweets, Maxim, Ritter Sport, Germack, Oberto and Kellogg … plus an Editor’s Choice from Sunflower Food & Spice Co. On a recent business trip to Chicago, Sunflower’s ceo, Jarrett Dunn, gave me a sneak peak at (and taste of) newSilly Seeds - candy-coated sunflower seeds for kids that will make their debut at the upcoming Sweets & Snack Expo May 25-27 right here in Chi-Town. (I love a conveniently located trade show.)

Silly Seedsare among the introductions to be featured in the New Product Showcase at the 2010 expo. Others include snack nut mixes, theater boxes, single-serve meat snacks, novelty candy ... and gummies, as described in this month’s Industry Trends. Now that offerings in this chewy non-chocolate category are being made with real fruit juice and liquid-filled centers, there are even more reasons to enjoy the flavorful snacks - even those shaped like insects. (What is it about kids and bugs?)

But is bigger better? Recently, I encounteredThe World’s Largest Gummi Bear, which NBC News Chicago says weighs in at 5 lb., and measures 5.5 inches tall and 3.5 inches deep. The behemoth bear comes in nine colors/flavors and is “one thousand times larger” than standard offerings, according to www.candyship - the “official home” of the gelatinous creation. That’s “bigger than a football.” (Why, you may ask? As journalist Steve Bryan writes, “Why not?”)

Size may or may not matter to gummy enthusiasts, many of whom also enjoy licorice - a sister category that’s going healthier. Take newNatural Vinesfrom American Licorice Co., available in strawberry and black varieties. Then there’s new All Natural Licorice Scottie Dogs from Gimbal’s Fine Candies, which contain real licorice root and pure anise. (My dad will be pleased. He ranks old-fashioned black licorice right up there with English Toffee.) Turn to Bits & Pieces for IRI’s list of top-selling licorice brands.

Here’s hoping April showers give way to May flowers … and a field full of confectionery delights worth writing about. Let the candy rain.

Editor’s Note:Stop byCandy Industrybooth #247 and meet Katharine Weber, author of “True Confections,” who will be doing a book signing on the opening day of the Sweets & Snacks Expo. If you’ve not yet read Weber’s confectionery novel, I highly recommend it! Reviews byThe New York Times,Chicago TribuneandThe Washington Post offer nothing but praise for this candy-coated work of fiction. Turn to our exclusive Q&A with Weber in this month’sCandy Industry.