Friday, December 26, 2008

Candy Blog round up...

With the Hanukkah upon us and Christmas just around the corner we're busy here at The Candy say the least! But we wanted to slip in a few more holiday ideas before you nestle into your beds in your 'kerchiefs and caps for a long winter nap.

For those stockings that are hung by the chimney with care start a new holiday tradition by adding a Candy Store gift card. You can choose the amount and we'll put it on a reloadable gift card you can slip in their stocking. Our gift cards are a great way to let them pick out exactly what tickles their fancy. Make an outing of it by walking to the store or stopping off for a hot chocolate along the way home and spend some special time together over the holidays.
Are there visions of sugar-plums dancing in someone's head but they can't have sugar? We've got your covered at The Candy Store with an ever-expanding variety of sugar free candies, gummis and chocolate. One of our favourite items from this area include Barnier candies from France. These little hard candies are flavoured with real fruit juices and you'd never know they weren't just as sweet as their full sugar counterparts! One of our little Candy Store elves has been seen dipping into this jar more than once for a little mid-shift treat!

What happens when the bundle of toys are opened and the children are more like whirling dervishes than quiet little mice? Crafting with candy is not only a novelty but also very time-consuming and engaging for little ones that would otherwise run a-muck. Our little friends Chewie and Louis as made on air for the A-Channel are great distractions and fun to construct using a few select candies and imagination. Or become inspired by our selection of candies for your gingerbread house - pick up some new treats to mix it up! There are heaps of ideas online and available - we'll help you find just the right candies for every craft idea on your list.

Our Sweet Memories contest closes December 24th so if you're still waffling over submitting a story, you've got a little time left to share your memories and get a chance to win a gift card! So far the entries have been fantastic and we're looking forward to sharing one or two once the winner is chosen. Keep 'em coming, there's one day left!

Labels: , , ,

Friday, December 19, 2008

Nuts about Nougat

Nougat has its roots far back in the Middle East, but France is where nougat has been perfected. Montelimar is the world capital of nougat. Inhabited since the Celtic area, the region is rich with history and tradtion, nougat being no exception!

Chabert & Guillot nougat is probably the best known of the region and has called Montelimar home since 1800 when it was started as a small family business. That business soon grew into one of the most widely recognizeable nougat makers in all of Europe. To show their gratitude to this incredible company, inn 1991 the town of Montelimar even renamed the street on wchih the factory is situated to be rue Charles Chabert. At The Candy Store we are proud to be able to say that we carry four different nougats from this illustrious company, which, by the way, is still family run two hundred years later!

Another nougat maker owes a debt to Chabert & Guillot. Vital Gormez, a Turk travelling through Europe, learned the secrets to nougat from the Montelimar giants. He then proceeded on to Ghent, Belgium where he met a lovely woman, fell in love and began his life with her. They started Vital Nougat and adapted many of the French recipes for Belgian taste. We carry a number of Vital nougats as well, allowing you to taste first the master's work and then the student's!

Not to be forgotten is another little nougat maker in Montelimar - Au Rucher de Provence is a small nougat maker now available through The Candy Store. With options such as fleur de sel, cranberry and walnut, you'll never grow bored! They pride themselves on using the very best lavender honey in their nougat and it truly is a treat.

Whether you're new to nougat, or a seasoned veteran, you'll find just what you're looking for at The Candy Store...and maybe something new too!


Thursday, December 18, 2008

We've got you all wrapped up!

The biggest weekend of the holidays is almost upon us and you know that
that means: holiday parties! You've probably been to a few already and
are scheduled for a few more, but what are you bringing the host or
hostess? How about candy as an alternative or addition to the dozens of
bottles of wine that everyone gets (whether they like it or not!).
We've got a wide range of options from grand gift boxes to simple
samplers and a lot of choice in between! Luxurious candy is a pleasant
escape during the hectic holidays and will put a smile on their lips
any time of the day or night. An assortment of cordials or malt balls
is always a hit, as are the many international bars to choose from in
the chocolate section. Tied with a satin ribbon and bagged to go, we
make it a snap to get these little to-dos off your list!

And what about the children? Gummi bears in pretty rainbow layers tied
with a ribbon are a treasured gift, or you could select from our red,
green and white candies for a festive twist. Tickle sticks, our
signature candy kabobs, are all wrapped up and ready to give. In fact,
there are many in-store options ready to give, but we're more than
happy to custom create that perfect gift in a matter of moments for you
- no one knows the recipient like you do and we love to be able to help
with suggestions and recommendations from our extensive offerings. We
can create based on colour themes, candy preferences, tastes and many
other fun factors!

Don't forget teacher! This Friday is the last day of school for most
boards - there's still time to come in and see us for a teacher's gift
that will leave them with a sweet reminder during their holiday break.


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Let's talk licorice!

There's an entire world of licorice that many of us in North America know nothing about, but ask a Dane, Fin, German or Swede and they'll smile knowingly and relate childhood stories intertwined with this international treat. Salmiak or salted licorice is higher in ammonium chloride (not sodium chloride, which is table salt) than normal licorice, resulting in a uniquely spicy taste and bears little resemblance to the red stuff most people consider to be licorice. Unlike the red version, which actually contains no licorice extract, the salted stuff is chock full of licorice extract and comes in a variety of shapes, textures and flavours.
At The Candy Store you'll find 14 different varieties of salted licorice and 7 types of North American style licorice. 21 different licorice options in a single store - you've got to see and taste them for yourself!

Munten drop, schoolkrijt, duiten, boerderij drop, schuintjes, dubblezoute, katjes and honing are just a few of the favourites found in the licorice section at The Candy Store. Varying from sweet to minty to oh-so-salty, there's a variety for everyone. Treat someone who remembers or challenge an adventurous foodie's taste buds this holiday season with a traditional cone-shaped bag filled with fresh, salty licorice.


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Happy Chocolate-Covered Anything Day!

According to the National Confectioner's Association today is chocolate-covered anything day! At The Candy Store, that's all we had to hear to know that we wanted to celebrate too! In honour of this special day we'd like to let you know about all the fantastic chocolate covered options we have to appease your sweet tooth (and maybe even tickle your funny bone!).

Our fantastic bulk section is filled with chocolate covered delights from New York City from espresso beans to almonds. But not just any old espresso bean! Koppers was the first candy maker to do a chocolate covered espresso bean and we carry their original bean coated in chocolate as well as their NYC mix - beans covered in six different types of chocolate!

Chocolate covered almonds come in milk, dark and almondola - a chocolate covered almond with a sugar and spice mixture that "tastes like Christmas." There are pretzels too! Not to be overlooked are the milk chocolate, dark chocolate and peanut butter pretzel poppers that take salty and sweet to a whole new level. Try a mixture of all three to really experience the full effect.

If almonds and pretzels aren't your thing, how about some other options? Chocolate covered bing cherries never fail to delight and the pecan cinnamon buns, a pecan covered in chocolate and dusted with cinnamon, is a definite crowd pleaser. Or perhaps you're looking to really make a chocolate covered statement? Look no further than chocolate covered gummi bears! Another first for Koppers, these gummi bears in milk chocolate and white chocolate (called polar bears - collective "aww!") put a smile on everyone's face and taste a little bit like little Turkish Delights but without the rose water. On our list, these are tops!

We hope to see you today celebrating the day with anything at all chocolate covered!

Labels: , ,

Monday, December 15, 2008

Whew! What a weekend at The Candy Store!

We barely had time to sit down, let alone get some blogging done. As a thank-you for your patience we've got all your tasty blog entires here in one post - don't want you to miss a single sweet thing!

Les Anis de Flavigny - worth the wait

At the base of every pea-sized candy is an anise seed and four centuries of tradition. Made in Flavigny, France, a town founded in 52 BC by the Romans, and dating back to the Benedictine Monks, these hard candies are layered with flavour. Over the centuries the only thing to change with Les Anis are the tins, beautifully portraying a shepherd and shepherdess in front of the town Abbey. The time-honoured tradition of hand-panning these sweets in large copper bowls takes more than 15 days and takes the seed from 2mg to 1g in size.

Each flavour has an underlying hint of anise paired with delicate notes of original anise flavour, licorice, mint, rose, orange and violet. Each flavour comes in its own unique tin and with six tastes to choose from, you can enjoy finding your perfect match.


Retro Rules!

Do you remember Pixi Stix? Or Gold Mine Gum? How about Charleston Chew? At The Candy Store, our wide range of retro favourites will have you doing your very own version of the Time Warp! From gum to chocolate bars and candy, there's a wide range of items that used to tickle your funny bone and will do so again - why not introduce them to someone new? At The Candy Store we've had the pleasure of watching a new generation of children enjoy some very old favourites. Like NECCO Wafers, made in the same flavours since 1847! And Pop Rocks, a relatively younger candy, made since 1975.

Adding a few retro treats to a gift or stocking for a youngster is a great way of not only sharing your favourite treats, but also your memories. Take the time to relate a story or memory about your childhood and these treats to create a sweet moment. Or give someone a taste they've long-since forgotten and watch their eyes light up as they experience a time warp.

British Invasion!

The British aren't coming...they're already here! The Candy Store has an expansive British selection of confections and we couldn't be more chuffed. From Curly Wurly to Sherbet Fountain, we've got your UK cravings covered and will help you fill the stockings of any ex-pat or Anglophile!

Various treats from Cadbury's, Nestle, Barratts and Thorntons, just to name a few, are all found in store. Buttons, Wispa, Yorkies and Turkish Delight sit proudly on the shelves while Jelly Tots and Jelly Babies look on. Not to be left our are the Flake bars, holding pride of place in original, dipped and praline.

Recently a guest tipped us off to a decadent treat that we just have to share: toast a slice of bread and spread with peanut butter. Then take a Flake bar and crumble some of that smooth milk chocolate on top. If the chocolate doesn't melt enough to suit you, heat the Flake-laden toast briefly and enjoy a gooey and heavenly heated treat!

Labels: , , ,

Saturday, December 13, 2008

A solid foundation

In 1957 Paris-Caramels was established by Guy and Josette Conraux in Paris with only one product: the milk caramel. From these humble beginnings came a whole line of beautiful and award-winning sweets. Using only raw milk, fresh cream, butter from Charentes-Poitou, and natural flavours and extracts, the line of caramels produced by this family-run company are exceptional. In fact, their website puts it best when they say: "Small producers from the Normandy to the Rhone Valley supply Paris Caramels: restricted production, intensive care, and high quality. Productions, which by the way, are too limited and too expensive to interest industrialists. Consequently Paris Caramels knows how to give a remarkable and incomparable aroma and fineness to its products."

There's an unspoken challenge around The Candy Store to make one of the perfect caramel squares last more than one sitting - we've yet to meet that challenge! Their decadent, creamy, salty goodness makes it impossible to walk away from this luxurious French treat. Pick up one of the five different salted caramels today for yourself or a friend and see if you're able to meet this challenge...

Don't forget: the Sweet Memories contest runs until December 24th and we're still collecting all your fabulous memories for a chance to win a Candy Store gift card!

Labels: ,

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Not all gummies are created equal

Gummi bears are a classic treat, but quite often they can be overlooked by their newer and flashier counterparts in the gummi section, taken for granted, if you will. Until now. Albanese Gummi Bears are elite gummi bears. They're the heavyweight in the gummi category and have the medals to prove it - most recently the 2008 Non-Chocolate Candy of the Year Award, as a matter of fact!

Gummi bears have come a long way from their "dancing bear" origins in 1922 Bonn, Germany where they were invented and named by Haribo's founder, Hans Riegel. Those bears first transformed in the 1980's in America where they were renamed gummi bears (gummi literally means "rubber" in German) and, at the hands of Albanese experts, they have seen more improvements and innovations, including the use of real fruit juices in their recipes. But it doesn't stop there! Beyond the incredible tastes and smells of these fruitful bears is the shape - they're perfect little bears. With highly detailed faces and feet, these bears have a personality all their own and will make you wonder why you left gummi bears behind for so long.

At The Candy Store we proudly display the Albanese Gummi Bears in their own section, each flavour holding court over their own jar, allowing you to concoct your perfect gummi bear mix with all your favourite flavours. Choose from: orange, strawberry, watermelon, red raspberry, green apple, peach, concord grape, blue raspberry, cherry, lemon, cinnamon and pineapple. Make your mix, pick up a pre-mixed bag or select a layered rainbow cone bag - certain to be a definite hit with the gummi lovers in your life!

On behalf of the gummi bears we say, Welcome Back.

Labels: ,

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Not your Momma's malt balls

Even if you're too young to remember malt shops you probably have an image in your mind from films or stories that your parents told. A long counter with a row of stools. Maybe a checkered floor and waitresses zipping around on roller skates. Malt shops popularized the shake, but what about the malt ball?

Popular since the 1930's, this confection has roots much further back - 1887 was the birth of malted milk but the confection didn't follow until 1936. The malt balls found behind the counter at The Candy Store, however, aren't your Momma's malt balls!

Crafted by Koppers in Greenwich Village in NYC, The Candy Store carries between 13 and 15 different flavours of malt balls depending on the season and the range of flavours is staggering! Shown are espresso, mint cookie, raspberry and ultimate (four layers of chocolate surround the malt center), but other flavours that have graced the glass jars include: classic, strawberry & cream, peanut butter, French vanilla, ice cream sundae (four flavours in one colourful assortment), peppermint twist, candy coated and pumpkin spice.

Larger in size than your average malt ball and boasting a flavour selection that is second to none, these malt balls not only taste phenomenal, but also look impressive, whether as a single flavour or in a fanciful combination of colours. So pull up a stool and share a moment with someone special over a bag of premium malted milk balls!

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Recipes as seen on A Morning

NEWTREE Appetizer
Toast slices of your favourite baguette and drizzle with olive oil. Place a piece of brie cheese on each slice and top with a sliver of RENEW (dark chocolate/blackcurrant).

Hot Chocolate two ways:
Adult: Place a piece of REFRESH (dark chocolate/mint) in the bottom of a mug and pour steamed milk over top, stirring. Top with whipped cream and REFRESH shavings.

Kids: Make your child’s favourite hot chocolate, but instead of adding an ice cube (kids seem to always want an ice cube when it’s too hot, don’t they?), drop a few frozen Junior Mints into their mug. It’ll cool their drink and make it minty.

Ice cream mix-ins:
Thaw your favourite flavour of ice cream in the fridge until it is easy to stir. Mix in most of desired candies (chopped or whole) and stir to incorporate. Place the ice cream back in the freezer until you’re ready to serve! When you’re ready to serve, top each portion with a few of the reserved candies.
Suggested combinations: Chocolate ice cream with raspberry cordials
Vanilla ice cream with mint cookie malt balls
Chocolate ice cream with mini gummi worms
Orange sorbet with blood orange cordials

The Five Minute Cheesecake Fix:
Dress up a plain, store bought cheesecake in no time flat! Select a decadent candy and chop into pieces. Sprinkle the chopped candy over slices of cheesecake and place a few whole or halved pieces of candy on top. Use a coordinating dessert sauce or whipped cream as desired.
Suggested combinations:
Classic cheesecake with espresso malt balls
Classic cheesecake with NYC espresso mix
Marbled cheesecake with ultimate malt balls
Cherry cheesecake with dark chocolate almonds
Chocolate cheesecake with pecan cinnamon buns

Labels: , ,

Scientifically Fun

NEWTREE has gotten some great press recently, but we're going to give it a little more! This Belgian company has been named to Oprah's O-List and was also a Snack of the Day on the Rachel Ray show, but that's just a taste of the buzz surrounding this relatively new chocolatier. Founded in 2001 by a biochemist, this company finds a balance between exacting science and fun. On the science side, NEWTREE offers GMO free products, often boasting features such as high iron content, numerous antioxidants and polyphenols. If multi-syllabic benefits aren't your forte, take comfort in knowing someone else has done a lot of research into what you're putting in your mouth!

Their claim of putting the "fun in functional food" really stands out when you survey the list of milk and dark chocolate combinations they have on
offer: Pleasure (pure dark chocolate), Vigor (dark chocolate/coffee), Renew (dark chocolate/black currant), Forgiveness (dark chocolate/lemon), Sexy (dark chocolate/ginger), Blush (dark chocolate/cherry), Refresh (dark chocolate/mint), Tranquility (milk chocolate/lavender), Rejoice (milk chocolate/bitter orange & crisped rice) and Crave (milk chocolate/apricot). The names alone make these clever gifts for those on your list! And in two sizes - one a 70g full-sized bar and the other a mini bar box (3 individually wrapped bars per box, making it easy to slip into a pocket or purse for a pick-me-up), there's a size for every gifting need.

Not to be missed is the 9 bar tasting set which includes Cocoon, a milk chocolate/cinnamon bar not available in full size! With mini versions of 9 different bars, the set is an efficient and fun way to determine your favourite flavours and the tasting set's compact packaging allows it to slip perfectly into a stocking or parcel. Just don't take the tasting set out after a holiday dinner with my family: the entire 9 bar set was gone in about 6 minutes of complete silence (not easy to come by!). That's proof of a glowing review!

Labels: , ,

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Dolfin Chocolate: Well Blended

The Art of Blending is the motto of Belgian chocolate maker Dolfin. Priding themselves on innovation and harmonious combinations, they use both milk and dark chocolate with flavours such as lavender, hot masala and green tea. Not only have Dolfin ensured their bars are preservative free, they are also Belgium's first CO2 neutral chocolate maker, which pleases the soul as much as the chocolate craving!

With bars coming in 30g and 100g servings, they fit perfectly into your life for either a single or multiple serving treat. The 30g bars, with their colourful wrappings, are fun additions to gifts or given in groupings - we have a box perfect for just such a gift and the colours look great together!

Labels: , ,

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Coconut Dreams

There's a name for Vital's Coco bars at The Candy Store: the coconut converter. These densely packed little bars have given even those with the staunchest aversion to coconut a run for their money. Made by Vital, a family-owned Belgian company based out of Ghent and run by Vital Gormez's grandchildren, these bars are available in coffee, pistachio and vanilla (all with coconut, of course).

The company, formed in 1926, is best known for it's nougat, but these little gems are not to be missed! Best enjoyed with a friend over a cup of coffee, they are a must for the coconut lover (or soon to be lover!) in your life!

Labels: , ,

Friday, December 5, 2008

Galler Chocolate – The Belgian Chocolate

There’s chocolate and then there’s chocolate. Chocolate produced by Galler certainly falls under the latter! Galler has the honour of being a member of the Belgian Association of Royal Warrant Holders, a distinction that is not only difficult to acquire, but equally as difficult to maintain. The Warrant was granted to Galler in 1994 and is among the many awards and certificates bestowed upon Jean Galler and his team for their efforts.

His chocolate speaks for itself and The Candy Store carries thirty-one different bars and tablets by this expert chocolatier. The bars come in combinations of dark, milk and white chocolate with a ganache-like filling in flavours such as pistachio, sweet coffee, cognac and praline. The tablets explore specific cocoa bean regions as well as tout the original 70% dark chocolate bar – Galler released this bar in 1993 staking their claim in the dark chocolate world long before most had even begun producing a dark chocolate option.

Perfect for stockings, a treat to keep you sane during holiday shopping trips or for your carry-on bag if you’re traveling (you never know when you might become stranded overnight in, say, an airport in France and need a fix to keep your spirits up!), there’s a Galler flavour for everyone in your life!

Labels: , ,

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Barley Toys: Canadiana on a stick

Even if you didn't grow up in the maritimes, there's a chance you'll
have a memory of barley toys. These sugary little candy pops are a
maritime holiday tradition and we've fallen in love with them at The
Candy Store. Barley candy was popularized in 17th century England and
transformed into barley toys in the 18th century when the Victorians
began using molds to form Christmas shapes.

Our barely toys hail from Robertson's Candy in Truro, Nova Scotia - a
little factory in a little town, still making the most remarkable and
flavourful treats! Using molds, some over 150 years old, with
traditional shapes (turkeys, bunnies, Santa Claus, peacocks,
boats....), barley candy is cooked and worked to a glossy sheen before
being poured into chilled molds and shaped. Very few ingredients are
required to make this special treat and, as a customer informed us
recently, many grew up making barley sugar candies in home economics
classes around the country!

Robertson's Candy is still a family run business after 80 years and has
become an institution not only in the eastern provinces, but across the
country and around the world for those who grew up with that familiar
taste of a treat that could last all day.

Swing by and check out the shapes we have in store and experience the
simplicity of a bygone era.


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Olives de Provence! *rounds of applause for the olives*

Hot off the press is the latest issue of Ottawa At Home magazine and our daily installment of sweet treats is featured in the Fab Finds section! Olives de Provence are a clever addition to any holiday party - especially if you lay them out in a martini glass or an olive dish! These chocolate covered almonds masquerade as olives and will cause more than one guest to do a double-take (and they'll be back for more than seconds when they taste them!). Hailing from France and made with the finest almonds and richest chocolate, they will ruin your for all other chocolate covered almonds. But that's alright, we won't let you run dry.

Here's what Ottawa At Home had to say about The Candy Store and this Fab Find:Billed as a premier treat boutique, The Candy Store’s wide range of hand-selected confectionery products from around the world are sure to satisfy just about any sweet tooth. This charming European-style shop carries gummies, licorice, the finest chocolates, buttery caramels, retro candies and much more. Just in from France are fun, festive chocolate-coated almonds made to look like olives.

Labels: , , ,

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Zaabär Chocolate Bars

Do you remember how fun it was to receive those storybook-style candy boxes as a child? You know, the ones where you’d open the packaging like a book and the candy was presented inside. Fast forward to 2008 and find yourself feeling the same way about Zaabär’s Duo Chocolates. These absolutely gorgeous little book-style chocolate bars from Belgium are not only vacuum-sealed for the preservation of freshness, but also made using ingredients that are “entirely natural and free from preservatives, dyes and genetically modified organisms.”

The incredible flavours fulfill the Zaabär promise of “a trip around the world of flavours” and are sure to please even the most decorated chocolate aficionado. Exclusive to The Candy Store in Ottawa are: Cinnamon from Ceylon, Cardamom from Malabar, Lemongrass from Sri Lanka (a staff favourite!), Coriander from Laos, Lavender from Andalusia, Peppermint from Mekong, Pecan Nuts from Taos, Pistachios from Cappadoce and Sage from Barberino.

Combining extraordinary Belgian chocolate with rich, textured flavourings, a Zaabär Duo in anyone’s stocking or gift is certain to delight and impress.

Labels: , ,

Monday, December 1, 2008

Twenty-four days of sweet gifts

Welcome to the first of The Candy Store Blog's twenty-four days of sweet gifts and perfect treats for the holiday season! We're so excited to be able to share these wonderful things with you and hope that you'll check out our blog daily (or RSS us and have the blogs delivered right to you, but then you won't see the pictures!).

Today's theme is the hand-selected gift basket. At The Candy Store you could say that the possibilities are as sweet as the recipients themselves! We lovingly custom tailor our baskets for maximum enjoyment - only the very best items makes the cut and there's no filler to disappoint once the wrapping comes off. We're Ottawa's premiere treat boutique for a reason and our gift baskets are no exception to that rule.

From teacher's gifts to secret Santa selections to coworkers and, of course, friends and loved ones, we can help you choose the right items to please anyone and also provide options for wrapping and display. Need to ship that parcel and worried about the contents? Don't fret, we'll make sure that your gift is packed up and secure before you head to the post office. Want to add something special to really personalize your present? We'll gladly include anything you provide to us in your custom basket - the possibilities are endless! Is there someone on your list with special dietary concerns? We're experts on our candy and can help you choose items that are going to fit the bill. In a hurry and don't have time to hand pick all the items? We've got you covered - a variety of in-store creations await you for a quick pick-up, allowing you to cross names off your "nice" list faster than Santa's sleigh!
So this year consider giving a gift basket to those who are hard to buy for, those who have everything, those who love confections and keep an extra couple on hand for those unexpected moments where you need a gift and haven't the time to find one - our treats make everyone smile and they'll know you were thinking of them (even if in the hustle and bustle you forgot - we won't tell!).

Labels: , , ,