Tuesday, June 23, 2009

You can chew gum in this class!

You don’t have to stop learning just because summer is finally here. In fact, we love picking up little tidbits of information and trivia around The Candy Store, especially if it has to do with candy! That’s why we were so pleased to find out that some very special chewing gum was coming back into production for a very limited time. With the limited release of Beemans, Black Jack and Clove Gum, we’ve been able to learn a little bit more about three chewing gums that haven’t been available commercially for years. Since everything we learned is all so neat, we thought we’d share it with the rest of the class!

Beemans (or Beeman’s Gum after Dr. Edward E. Beeman, the physician) was invented with the idea of being a digestive aid in the late 19th century. The gum was discontinued in 1978, but not before earning the reputation of being lucky for pilots. It certainly wasn’t forgotten either as it was featured in three Hollywood films, The Right Stuff, Hot Shots!, and The Rocketeer. Cadbury Adams now owns the rights to this over 100 year old gum and produces it in small batches every few years, much like Black Jack and Clove.

Black Jack gum is an Adams original gum invented by Thomas Adams, Sr. himself in 1870. It also holds the distinction of being the first chewing gum manufactured with flavour and the first chewing gum made in stick form. If you haven’t tried this gum, you’ll be surprised to know that the flavour is licorice! The chewiness of the gum originally came from chicle, derived from a Central American evergreen tree (yes, this is where Chiclets got their name!) and Adams hadn’t been trying to make chewing gum, he’d been trying to make rubber! Good thing for us candy connoisseurs he realised the chewing gum was a better bet.

Another of Adams’ bets paid off in Clove Gum. After the success of Black Jack and mechanization of his chewing gum manufacturing process, Adams tested out another flavour, adding clove spice to his gum in 1914. The response was overwhelming and he had another winner on his hands. What may have fueled the popularity of this gum, however, was the belief during Prohibition that chewing Clove Gum would mask the smell of alcohol. Regardless of the reason, Clove Gum is one of the longest produced flavoured chewing gums available – and it too is only available in small batches as a limited release.

We highly recommend coming in for a taste of nostalgia and picking up a pack or two. They won’t be around for long and once we’re sold out, that’s it….for another few years at least.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Local Flavour

When looking for the inspiration for this week’s blog, we didn’t have to look very far! In fact, we just had to look across the river to Wakefield and we were able to spy Olivia Chocolat, Canada’s newest, most innovative and exciting small-batch chocolatier. Started in December 2008, on the birth of a new year, Olivia Chocolat is owned and operated by the head chocolatier, David, and named for his daughter, also as old (or rather as young!) as the company herself!

Olivia Chocolat focuses exclusively on making dark chocolate bars using a bean to bar process. “Bean to bar” is the term given to any chocolate manufacturer who takes the raw cocoa beans and works with them all the way through to the final product you see displayed on our shelves. Surprisingly, this is rare in the chocolate world, but it has many distinct advantages, such as being able to know your chocolate intimately, having smelled, tasted and felt it from the start to the end. Olivia Chocolat, for this reason, is able to exact more control and skill in working with their recipes, perfecting a dark chocolate nearly devoid of any of the bitter qualities often associated with high cocoa, zero milk solids chocolate. In their 50g and 100g bars of 76%, 85%, Almond, Touch of Maple and Maple Flakes, the care and love is evident.

This care doesn’t just stop with the products they produce. Olivia Chocolat is fair trade, holds EcoCert organic certification and puts sustainability at the top of its priority list, taking their five questions into consideration with each decision (see the Sustainable Living section on their website for those five questions!).

If you’re not already excited about learning more about Olivia Chocolat, produced with Criollo and Trinitario beans from the Caribbean and made in Ottawa’s back yard, then this might help: David and Olivia Chocolat will be at The Candy Store this upcoming Saturday, June 20th doing an in-store tasting of their amazing chocolate! That’s right, from 1:00PM until about 4:00PM you’ll be able to drop in and have a taste and chat with these fine people while learning all about their chocolate….and maybe even pick up a bar or two (don’t forget about Dad – Father’s Day is Sunday!).

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Summer in the city

Nothing beats a block party in the summer and unless you’re new to the city or immune to any of the advertising, excitement or hype surrounding one of Ottawa’s finest, then you know that the best neigbourhood party in town is WESTFEST. This is the sixth year for this one-of-a-kind party and it happens right on The Candy Store’s front door. Last year was our first WESTFEST and we had, without a doubt, the time of our lives. Memories amongst the staff range from being covered in candy floss to staring at a sea of faces from across the counter in total bewilderment and awe. We didn’t know what to expect, but we knew it would be memorable!

WESTFEST is happening this week, Friday June 12 to Sunday, June 14 and we’re excited to announce that we’re going to stay open until 11:30PM (shows end at 11PM so you can grab a sweet on the walk home) all weekend to satisfy your sweet tooth! We’ll have our cotton candy machine running all day and we’ve got our ice cream-scooping arms rested and ready for, what looks to be, a warm weekend in the sun. If candy floss and ice cream weren't already the bees knees, we've also got more news: Gotta Paint is coming to set up in front of our store! They'll be doing projects with the kids and it's certain to be a blast. If you haven't booked an event with these fine ladies, we highly recommend it as an awesome activity for all ages. And not to be forgotten, we have a face painter as well - set up right on the street you'll be able to get a little face painting done while taking a breather and getting a snack.

With all the family-friendly activities and shows to take in, we know it’s going to be another memorable year. If you haven’t been to WESTFEST or The Candy Store, consider this your personal invitation to come check out a unique party in one of the warmest, friendliest neighbourhoods in the city. We look forward to seeing you here!