Back in 1999, R&B group TLC dedicated an album to its loyal listeners for their support. The resulting body of semi-serious work was called “Fan Mail.” I’ve long been a fan of fan mail - not just the album by TLC, but fan mail itself.
When my friend’s 15-year-old son, Jake, was diagnosed with Celiac Disease just recently, she e-mailed me to ask for recommended wheat- and gluten-free snacks. Having exhausted the aisles at her local Whole Foods Market (and later, Trader Joe’s), Kathy wondered if I had any additional information or brand names to share. Ironically, I had just begun noticing a steady influx of gluten-free items at my office, including those shared with me by Confection & Snack Retailing sister publication Snack Food & Wholesale Bakery.
Here in Chicago, we have our traditions. For as long as I can remember, Marshall Field’s was synonymous with Frango mints - those delicious boxed chocolates once reserved for holidays and special gift-giving occasions. Today, Frangos are enjoyed years around, and come in every flavor and variety, from crème brulee and sorbet to organic and sugar-free. (Speaking of organic and sugar-free, check out Sweet & Healthy, the new weekly e-newsletter from Confection & Snack Retailing and sister publication Candy Industry. Subscribe at www.cs-retailing.com.)
Three days before attending the All Candy Expo, I went to the dentist for a filling. (Okay, make that two fillings.) After nearly 30 years with nary a cavity, I wondered why I had, in recent months, fallen victim to more than one. I asked if this might somehow be related to my new gig as the editor of a certain confectionery magazine. Surprisingly, my hygienist informed me that candy was not the culprit.
In the timeless children’s book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl (author of another childhood fave: James and the Giant Peach), candy-making mogul Willy Wonka strives to create original confections for kids the world over. And he succeeds above and beyond his (and his father’s, per director Tim Burton’s version) wildest dreams. Who can forget those Everlasting Gobstoppers?
For as long as I can remember, my parents and I have celebrated the winter holidays with Cella’s - those milk chocolate-covered cherries with the liquid centers (also available in dark chocolate, my mother is happy to note).