Sunday, May 31, 2009


The first time I drove through Burlington, Wisc. I wanted to see the town that hosted ChocolateFest. I thought I'd pocket some brochures, look around, get a cup of tea.

Chocolate teapot
I'd meant to go to the fitness center that morning, but got distracted. Then I got lost looking for a piny hiking trail with eagles flying o'er head while specifics such as name, location, and distance escaped me.

Chocolate eagle headI ended up on the very top of an oberservation tower, not a good place for an acrophobe, but a great place to look inward rather than downward, although looking outward might have helped me find out where I was.
After several more wrong turns (which by now should be assumed), I managed to drive through Burlington before ending up seated next to a glowering old Asian man on the bow of The Lady of the Lake.

Blue ribbon curds I was still in Wisconsin, so hoorah. But it struck me that I'd rather do this, roll with getting lost inside the Cheddar Curtain while munching travel candy, than find new adjectives for the words "sweet," "creamy," and "nougat."
Note: I'd like to thank Jim of Jim's Chocolate Mission for introducing me to the word "splodge" in his review of Reber Mozartkugeln truffles.
It might be worth mentioning (I'm going to at any rate) that I got turned around on the well groomed trails of Lapham Peak until I found a path of teaching tools left by a group of elementary school teachers preparing for a field trip.

LemonadeI later got caught peeing behind foliage—GCPBF—by some guy who may or may have not been a teacher. I didn't ask to see his teaching tools.

The second time I drove to Burlington was for ChocolateFest, Friday, May 22 - Monday, May 25, with carnival hours starting May 20.

Carnival rideThere were a preponderance of bare feet on the midway and rides

According to official brochure copywriter Dana Roberts, the festival started with help from the local Nestle USA in 1987.
Another chocolate company took the low road on the Hershey highway a year later, suing the city of Burlington over their new nickname, "Chocolate City." It took years for Hershey's to settle, according to Roberts.

Chocolate ambulance If this post had actually been written (rather than gathered) in May, I couldn't mention the E. Coli Warning by the FDA About Nestle Tollhouse Cookies. Take them out of the fridge and throw them away unopened. Don't risk contaminating surfaces, don't bake them, throw them away now.

They began to call the celebration by its current name, ChocolateFest, in 1998, and started to have it at the end of the month in 2004, taking advantage of Memorial Day weekend.

Chocolate top hatThere's been some interesting chocolate art over the years, including a Harley, and a bed—there's something kinky, erotic, and deliciously messy about a bed of chocolate. I don't have those photos so please enjoy this sweet hat instead.

Vince Bubbagum TattooNotice the Bubbagum tattoo
I went to ChocolateFest on Memorial Day, while Nanci ate brats and teenagers skulked on park benches. I guess that would make it (counting on fingers) six days ago. Play along with me here.
Tea party
This year's theme was Alice In Chocolateland, which I would have realized right off had my head not been in a rabbit hole of its own.

Hippie kidsIt took a few more rabbit ears,
Escobar candy
a candy bar named after one of the most brutal drug lords of the last century,
Chocolate ant
evidence of psychotropic drug withdrawal,
Love Childand a Deadhead hippie kid shining, gleaming, streamingflaxenwaxen—I didn't know if he was going to pull out a pack of Naked Papers or call me mommy—to catch a theme; and I think I caught the wrong one.
Candy wrapper wear
But the youth of south eastern Wisconsin were clothed in candy wrappers in a pageant called Project Yum-Way,

Dude chillingMonster Energy drinkers were grinding out sweet dreams on miniramps,
Horse head
there was a creepy horse's head named Henry,
and Cocoa beans and Escobars.
Chocolate covered bacon
But these, two luscious pieces of bacon splodged with chocolate, were the Holy Grail of ChocolateFest. I'm thinking the many candy vendors would dispute this. Do you understand why having a candy blog may not be the thing for me?

More from sulky teenagers forced to eat chocolate covered bacon—what, you thought I was going to eat it—and other disgusting treats from the bottomless bag of Expo candy after a lovely post from my favorite Kanook, Chrissy.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Guest Blogger YoJimbo: Twang Beer Salt

Twang Beer Salt
Lick The Twang. Drink The Beer.
Honestly, I had never experienced beer salt until my Twangy little package arrived in the mail via my favorite Cheese Head Hottie at the Dish, Jeanna.
I cannot for the life of me think of a reason any sane person would put salt in their beer or ask a redneck bigot (Archie Bunker wanna be) to do a review on it.

Emily Before and AfterThe best thing Twang Beer Salt has goin' for it is the pick up line, Lick The Twang, and it doesn't make me think about lickin' salt. For Christ's sake I'm the fella who experimented with Alka Seltzer and Booty Twang back in the 80's.
You know where I would be takin' this Twang Thang, but I couldn't find a willing victim at my age of the game. As for Twang and beer, this beer salt just ain't my bag.

Emily and AbigailThe only use I could see for it would be for margaritas and tequila shots. Just didn't have the kahunas to experiment in that arena. I tried it with a few beers at the local bars and was not impressed. And I learned not to pour it directly into a beer. That was just nasty! I did want to try it with some Dos Equis, but just never got around to it.

The Twang Bangers play Craponne (yes, really) France July 2007

Twang Bangers, somebody beat me to that one. (Follow the link if the video doesn't load.)
Not a whole lot I can say about the product other than the name and where it takes my perverted, vulgar little mind. Let's face it, Lick The Twang would be a great porno movie.
I can come up with all kinds of Twang related comments with a name like that:
It takes Two to Twango.
My Twang or yours?
Q. What does an astronaut call recycled Tang?
A. Twang of course.
What if we got Beer Nuts involved, Lickin' Twang and Saltin' Nutz. Me thinks this is supposed to be a "G" rated blog. Yep, this will get edited for sure.
TTYL (Twang To Ya Later),
Your favorite southern redneck boy, Booty Twang.

Frogs drinking beer
Editor's Note: I got the Twang Beer Salt from the All Candy Expo.
Follow Jimmy's Uncivil adventures here.

Let Your Fur Flag Fly

Vampire teethHere you go girls. Are you as cold as ice or
hot blooded, check it and see.

Do You Want a Vamp or a Scamp?
Your Result: You Are A Wolf Girl

You love a warm, strong body and a full head of hair. You don't care if your best clothes and comforter are covered in fur as long as you are too. You long for a hot-blooded wolf with tan skin and a tight bod. And although you may not be a cat lover, you don't mind a scratch or two.

You Are A Vamp Girl

Do You Want a Vamp or a Scamp?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

Friday, May 29, 2009

Guest Blogger Andi: Gummi Shocked

Jeanna sent me a package of kooky candy goodies (along with a Wisconsin Badgers toothbrush so I could scrub my teeth afterward). The idea was that I would do a guest post at her blog. I'm not a candy critic, I told her, and I can't write about it as intelligently as she or some of her guest bloggers already have. She told me that was okay, to just write it up unhinged-style. Muahaha.

Gummi Lunch Bag, Brain Surge, Twilight HeartsAs soon as I saw the booty, though, I knew I had to share with my co-workers, shake 'em up a little bit, because that's just how I roll.
Game on.

The Candy Critics:
Andi (aka Unhinged)
Will try any kind of candy that doesn’t turn her stomach looking at it (which means no eyeballs, gummi bugs, or chocolate covered crickets)
Vampire batAnnabelle
Has a 5-year-old, routinely eats gummi worms, fish, and Lord knows what else
Not into candy much, but loves cake at night, even though that's the worst time to eat it
She’s the Mikey, Mikey, She’ll Eat Anything of the group
Has a sweet tooth to rival Willy Wonka and loves Coke
He's from the Philippines and likes a totally different style of sweets
TeresaWine glasses
Gets all the sugar she needs from wine, which means she had to be coaxed into eating this stuff

So we had some bushy-tailed participants, some um, okay-ers, and a few only because you’re making me-ers. Life is a grand melting pot, huh?

Sour Gummi French Fries
The big hit for everyone. The general consensus was that the candy fries were all lemony, tangy goodness. They were soft and chewy, but didn’t stick to your teeth like some kinds of gummi candy. (Plus, the crazy-funny thing about the fries is that we had McDonald’s French fries for lunch on the day we tried the candy, so it was like we were fated to love the fries.)

Trolli Brain Surge
The runner up for the great candy experience, Gummi-shaped brains, what more could we want? The brains were supposed to be a two-part candy—you have the right side of the brain and the left side of the brain, and each side was a different flavor. I have to admit that as soon as I saw that, my stomach shrank. However, most of the brain halves fell out of the bag unattached, which is much like me some of the time—only operating with half a brain.

Trolli Brain Surge
Audrea loved the brains and went back for seconds. "Is it gooey in the middle?" she asked.
"Oh, no. Oy," I replied. But yes, there is liquid inside of them. I tried not to think about it.
Annabelle ate half a brain, loved it and went for another half, then found out it was brain candy. She made a face, cupped her hand over her mouth and made like she was going to vomit. A minute later, she grabbed another handful of brains, so it's probably safe to say these babies are good if the girl had the willies at first, but couldn’t stop eating them.
Jane liked the brains, too, but preferred to take them apart and eat them separately. They last longer that way.
I finally caved and ate half a brain, then ended up taking a handful back to my desk. They were good. Maybe eating brains will help boost my intelligence.

Andi's brain on Keanu
e.frutti Gummi Pizza
Look at the cute widdle pizza! I giggled like the girl I am and debated whether or not to eat it because it was just so awful goldurn cute. But then I decided I had to break into it in the spirit of Jeanna’s candy science project. When I opened the package, the pizza was already sliced. (Ohmigaw! How friggen cute!)
Gloria had the first piece. She chewed and chewed it (which resulted in me looking at the package again to see if it was gum), finally swallowed it in a gulp and said it was good, but rubbery.
Annabelle said it tasted gummi, Teresa tried to bite one of the little slices in half, but that gummi is some strong stuff, baby, and it wouldn’t give. She said it had a weird aftertaste like plastic. She then changed her mind about five minutes later and said it tasted like (and I quote): “Petroleum.”
I thought it was chewy and fruity-weird, but it did take forever to swallow. I also thought it came with an oily aftertaste. Jane was the only one who really liked the pizza. Audrea and Ray wouldn’t touch the last slice, so Jane got the last piece.

Gummi Lunch Bage.frutti Gummi Cola Bottle
This, of course, went to Jane, who was bug-eyed AMAZED that it tasted JUST LIKE COKE. Teresa said those things had been around forever and that yeah, of course it tastes like Coke because they put Coke in it. Apparently they have Dr. Pepper and Root Beer, too.Steaming burger
e.frutti Gummi hamburger
Sadly, the hamburger sprouted legs and escaped. To this day, I have no idea who made off with it, but would guess it falls into the same rubbery category as the pizza.
Note: the e.frutti pizza, hamburger and fries come in what's called the Lunch Bag. Swanky.

Twilight Conversation Hearts
Jeanna, bless her werewolf-preferring heart, sent me a box of the Twilight conversation hearts to try. I was SO EXCITED to see them, too. It was like I was 12-years-old all over again. The thing about the Twilight hearts, though? They don’t live up to the hype. I think someone concocted a pastel colored witch’s brew of sugar, chalk, and different Chapstick flavors, and decided to call them conversation hearts. The text on the hearts was almost impossible to see (and I combed through the hearts looking specifically for the one that said BITE ME).

Twilight SweetheartsThe kicker that is supposed to distinguish the Twilight conversation hearts from your regular Valentine hearts is that they are supposed to sparkle like Edward Cullen does. And, um, they didn't. Woe. And oh, Great Googly-Moogly, did they taste AWFUL. The orange color was tolerable, but left a bad taste in my mouth and I was still burping orange a half hour later.
Still . . . I pressed Ray into trying one because his wife is a fan of Twilight and he said (and I quote): “These are horrible.” Jane quickly chased a heart down with her Coke, Teresa said, "Ew," and Gloria wrinkled her nose.

The Verdict:
We’re all about French fries and brains at the office. Which, when I think of it, is spot-on if you add a couple pots of coffee.

Cup of coffee
Check out Andi's most excellent blogs, Unhinged and Moonburn

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Child's Play

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the woods or well appointed campground, it's time to

Return to Camp Candy

Justin, Melissa, Ghost suckerNo bottle and no nap make Justin something something.

Justin, Ghost Sucker, Cha Cha He loved his Ghost sucker from the Expo. At this point I have no idea who makes it, so enjoy this photo of Halloween Dots instead. I think the Bats and Candy Corn are new. Anyone?

Halloween DotsI may have seen the Ghost Dots around, they're clear and assorted fruit flavors. It's a fun idea and if they really glowed in the dark I'd place them around the house all year round. The black Bat Dots are Blood Orange—cool, no?

Melissa, Ice Cream CandyIf you think you missed the summer, you just may live in Wisconsin. But has it really started until you've had a Bee International's Strawberry Chocolate Ice Cream Candy in Real Wafer Cone?
Melissa was quite pleased with the tiny strawberry rice cake-tasting balls covered in chocolate. Blech. She unwrapped and ate the thing so quickly I barely snapped this shot.

Melissa,chocolate faceGive me a pack of Now and Laters any day.

Mark,Now and Later Mark is showing you a Peach Smash Now and later. He seemed to enjoy them while we enjoyed his t-shirt.

Brooke and BrianaYes, I too thought Persona. Brooke (eating a Now and Later) and Briana are twins. Of all the candy in the evil bag of Expo sugar, Now and Laters were the most popular.

Row of Now and LatersThe befuddled young man at this Farley's & Sathers Expo booth was coming unglued when I stopped by. A few adults and teenagers were playing with a display toy and had that maybe I'll take one of everything attitude. It was a great distraction while I did just that.
I'd kept most of these "samples" for myself, but brought them along in case the campers demanded more sugar (they did).

Collin,Pucker PowderIs it candy or is it Art? Why, it's candy art. (I so wish his name was Art, but it's Collin.)
Collin was the lucky recipient of a tube of Pucker Powder and he loved it. Why not, it's colorful, sweet and sour, and now comes with an easier to lock and load cap. (I found the new tube more difficult to fill and close.)

Blue Raspberry Pucker PowderI had my first taste of Pucker Powder at the Candy Corner in, where else, the Wisconsin Dells before I started this blog which feels like so very long ago will the month of May never end.

Collin,suckerHe also enjoyed this Mexican sucker—where does one get the idea that chilis, tamarind, and insects make for good lollipops. Neither of us could read the label which was probably for the best, but doesn't say much for the state of primary education.

Jarm Brain Power PotionHere's another colorful candy powder which appeals to bracelet wearing, magic loving kids who like to eat their jewelry. The Jarm Real Magic Potion display was at the beginning of the All Candy maze and featured a smoking caldron.

Diamond,Jarms braceletTry to read the label on this Brain Power Lucky Candy Potion before it gets shredded. It talks about giving kids bursts of energy before a test or game, and suggests you wear it for several days to let the magic soak in. You disconnect one end when you need that special boost.
Does any of that seem a little Transpotting, Witchboard, Requiem For A Dream to you? Is it me?
Diamond, who was initially all "I don't want any candy" (she cracks me up), had better things to do than read labels or wear Red 40 around her arm. She's a firm believer in creating her own magic.

The gang at Duck Creek CamproundThat about wraps it up, puts it in a plastic bag, and stores it in a cool dry place until next time.
From the Dish and the gang at Duck Creek:

Go outside and play!

Click here if video loads too slowly

Animation courtesy of Ronald Mavignier and Image Chef