Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Hello Gorgeous: Oreo Cookies

With the possible demise of Hostess and photos I never used, I'd like to say "Thank you for existing, Oreo cookie." Check out that last link to turn an Oreo into a turkey.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Popcorn Buffet

What to bring to a party so close to Halloween?

Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Boys Are Back

Tomorrow is my Uncle Phil's 101st birthday. We think. One of our taste testers, Jackie, threw a party for him, but he fell and was in  the hospital for the big event. They are hoping to try again this weekend.

It's not that I don't love to see the fam, but there's a five dog minimum at these things (not pictured, Leo, the sweet and hyper yellow lab), and the dogs are usually a hoot and a half.

Oilver Twist, aka, "Carmel Corn"

Bob, who has not been the same since the little "Creature" above was added to the family

Sassy, the only girl, in the arms of Steve

My main man, Roscoe, trying to keep a civil tongue in his head

Explains why Sassy is stronger than bigger dogs. Bob is not pleased

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Popped Corn

It was 104º today so I said "What the *$@!," and did a movie two-fer.

From top to bottom:Carmel & Cheddar, CrazySweet, Unpopped White, White Cheddar With Peppercorn, Sour Cream, Ranch, and Deluxe Caramel Corn

The undelivered haul mocking me from the love seat was largely responsible for my blowing off the day. I wish I hadn't already devoured my bag of Rural Route 1 corn before cooling off with the new Peter Parker and the latest Wes Anderson, but this popcorn is so good, I'm still tasting it. And not in a bad way.
It was six degrees cooler a few days ago when I got this trunk of treats, and I'd turned  the AC on full blast for the ride home, but by the time I got back and delivered the first bags, all the C.C. Winkle had melted and left fudge splots.
The cheese corn held up well. The plastic tub of Deluxe Caramel Corn seemed ok and has looked fine for living in my parents' dining room and their idea of cool.
We'll see what happens when I finally get the tin of carmel corn and cheddar cheese to its rightful owners. Bonus, the kernels didn't pop before I got in the door.
Rural Route 1 has yet to disappoint regardless of the abrasive woman scarfing up all the Barbeque popcorn~a hasty blech and have at it, but then I didn't get a chance to try any. Didn't check for a FIB plate, and not being one to judge (hahahahahaha), I'll just emphasize there are certain courtesies to observe when shopping for gourmet popcorn. Maybe she thought I was serious when I said "Aww, I wanted the last of the barbeque popcorn."
The chocolate fudge covered carmel corn with cashews, C.C. Winkle, tasted particularly good, I didn't care for whatever was going on with the fruity Brewers mix, the Cherry Cheesecake seemed its usual enticing self, but the Cheesy Sour Cream, and White Cheddar With Peppercorn were less ebullient than usual.
Cheesy Ranch kicked Sour Cream's arse which doesn't sound right considering they make it the same way each time. Is it the age of the corn, I have them bag it, maybe more delicious cheese saturated a particular batch, I don't know. My recommendations from my last trip to Montfort regardless: Cheesy Ranch and C.C. Winkle.
If you've never been, go. And expect a generous row of samples to greet you.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Candy Contest: Darrell Lea Liqourice

The good people from Darrell Lea want to give you free licorice, or "liqourice" if you will (written with an Australian accent). Or at least a Public Relations firm out of Long Island wants to give it away. I'll be getting licorice in I can't even wait to see what condition considering that 95º means it's cooled off. It's more than 20 degrees cooler over there. I'm not kidding.
Wisconsin, ya'll.
There will be candy and coupons and everyone is a winner. Just for reading this sentence, you've won.
Here are the rules, there are no rules, but send me something to do with licorice or Australia. Write it, illustrate it, shoot it (with a still or video camera), audio it, whatever it and send to:
The Ched Curtain.
That's it.
The first winner is Mary Ruth, former Ched, current rabid Packer fan who saw our announcement on The Candy Dish Curtain Facebook Page.
Snaps, btw, are a BIG ol' favorite around here, and many still speak of the Snaps licorice drought some six years back.

Burt in better times
Congrats, Mary Ruth.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Great Grape, Welch's Filled Licorice

I got two packs of warm Welch's Filled Licorice through the mail and they perked up like a wilted potted plant after cooling off in the fridge. Will we ever have normal weather again? I think not.
The only two flavors they have right now are Strawberry and Concord Grape.
The Strawberry Licorice was substantially better chilled, but sugary and bland compared to the flagship Grape.
The Strawberry Filled Licorice tasted more like fruit snacks than I wanted, decent, edible, not great.

The Concord Grape Filled Licorice showed promise even as the filling drained from its center. It reanimated in the fridge that 90 who knows what hellish degree day, and spurred a quest to find a store that sold it.
The marketing firm that sent the samples couldn't tell me where to buy more, but I did get a half dozen names from Welch's, who also sent two .50 cent coupons if I ever did track down a store that sold their product.

One place was Dollar General, which I get mixed up with all the others and rarely frequent, another was Piggy Wiggly, gone for decades, and the final recommendation was try your Super Walmart.
After doing nasty, unfixable things to a broiling pan, I was in the Sun Prairie Walmart looking for a new one so I looked for some Welch's Licorice too. Didn't find any, kept shopping, came back for a gummy fix, and found a few packs of the Concord Grape all but buried on a rack with one of the packages ripped open.
I can't say I'm impressed with their distribution efforts in Wisconsin.


If you find it, go for the Grape and be greeted by the quintessential aroma of real grape juice.The jelly filling might be too subtle, but it's there and greatly contributes to a lighter texture and attractive glop at the end of the straw. I love the texture, it feels right and easy to bite.
The licorice itself is fairly delicious, maybe more aromatic than flavorful, yet a fine treat, landing more on the candy than fruit snack side of the nosh.
My Godfather here loved it, and he's a picky food expert. He said he couldn't taste the filling, but it didn't seem to diminish the taste. It was a little like a fruit roll-up, though more solid.
He and Jackie, a regular Dish taste tester, were psyched the licorice tasted so much like Welch's Concord Grape Juice. They said they'd buy it, and all this from a warm pack that was sitting in the car for who knows how long waiting to be photographed.
Be warned, there are 26 grams of sugar in five pieces, there are 10 pieces in a pack. Half a pack has 170 calories and only 20mg of sodium.
Three purple thumbs up for the Concord Grape, I wasn't impressed with the Strawberry, what's going on with the distribution?

Friday, June 22, 2012

Floating Into Summer: The Dish Summer of Root Beer, Test One

Tall Culver's Rootbeer Float

The funny thing about the shade when it's still 95° in it, the point is moot. Especially on concrete. Concrete Shade, Concrete Shake, the two don't mix well in the heat and Root Beer Floats are even worse. Concrete Shade, that would make a good name for a band.
Now that I look at the tall glass with the medium sized hole on top, I can see how it looks like a fourth grade science experiment. 
And speaking of experiment, The Dish will be making an extra effort to bring all things root beer, especially float-wise, to its pages this summer.

These did not look like this for long. The one in back is already losing it

This is the first of two taste tests we had that day, the condition of these Culver's floats forcing a second to be posted later. It's also the first in a series, kicking off and continuing throughout the summer.
So much root beer, so much ice cream, a fair amount of time.
The thing about Culver's, they're everywhere. You can't roll into a population of 2k without seeing one—ooh, they've got an Old Fashioned Cherry Soda.
The Culver's chains have beaten Mickey D's into a flat sandwich around here and their Flavors of the Day taunt you from every crevice of the city.

Culver's Root Beer Float
I broke down and started sipping, then slurping, then gulping the Tall Root Beer Floats ($3.59 each). This was mostly because they began melting and the photo shoot was over.
Culver's is not just about frozen custard, rich, buttery, over the top custard. Their root beer is one of my favorites in a field which includes Sprecher, probably the best root beer made.
You'll see more from these two later
There was a perfect proportion of root beer to custard, creating creamy root beer suds. They tasted like carbonated clouds of heaven.
You do have to dig down deep for the last glops of custard nestled in the bottom of the plastic container, but well worth it. Melting didn't detract much from the flavor, probably due to the strength of the custard.
Warning: Don't trust a cardboard tray to hold or tame your floats. Just ask the front seat of my car.

Summer of Root Beer Rating: 4.5 Mugs (out of 5)

Friday, June 15, 2012

A Fistful of Taffy

.87 Cents Worth of Salt Water Taffy From Shopko

I was looking for more Welch's Filled Licorice to shoot before I posted, but ended up with a delicious handful of Taffy Town candy (and a bath mat) instead. I'd already feasted on a few before pulling out the camera, but you get the idea.

Does this look like a deal for .87? I thought so.

The Flavors:

Rootbeer Float
Wonderful, you can taste the carbonation. Manages to be be salt water without screaming "My *sshole cousin dumped salt in my chocolate milk shake!" So good I'm thinking of doing a series of root beer float posts. 

Licorice Swirl
One of my favorite flavors pretty much across the board. Taffy Town does not disappoint with its generous smack of black licorice, salty overtones, and sassy bite.

Caramel Apple
Tarter than Green Apple with the distinctive taste of caramel. A classic pairing which works especially well in a salt water taffy.

Chocolate can be one of the saltiest taffies, but not so with Taffy Town. A little disappointing, a bit bland but I wouldn't kick it out of bed for being taffy.

Caramel Swirl
Tastes like a caramel, not much of a sweet-and-salt balance, but it's there. Would go well with popcorn and do better in a Dish Curtain popcorn pretzel test than as a stand alone taffy. May be interesting with an apple.

Cotton Candy
Seemed to absorb the wax paper, dull, almost bitter.

An agreeable tartness with a hint of something sweeter. Although it calls itself "Watermelon," I would have guessed Green Apple or possibly Candy Apple. Slightly sour, pleasant, sweet enough without assaulting the palette.

Generally a least favorite flavor, blue or otherwise (Taffy Towns calls it "Raspberry"), but it has a salty kick with a cautious berry tongue.

The newest TT flavors are Maple Bacon and Chili Mango. I didn't see either at Shopko, but I may be compelled to write the company for samples.
Guest blogger Jill did a post on Taffy Town a few years ago. Conclusion, "Excellent."

As for the Welch's Filled Licorice, I know where it can't be found, and would guess it's not yet in distribution. I'm waiting on the PR company or Welch's to get back to me.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

More Toxic Waste: Sour Smog Balls

You may know it as candy you'd eat after the last cough drop is gone. Toxic Waste usually comes in a teeming yellow drum of green hazardous material and has 8-year-old boy written all over it.
It's known for sour candy and gum, is colorful, sour, and distinctively novel. It doesn't taste great, but is fun fun fun.
The back of the bag tells the story of Dr. Smogg who's making it rain, but the cheap bastard is raining solid waste instead of bills.

It's nice the flavors are pictured, because once again, who can tell? I will say the balls did well in a hot car going up to Steven's Point's Green Circle, durability usually being a bonus for novelty candy.

They also did well with the Dish Curtain popcorn pretzel test (chewy sour candy paired with popcorn or pretzels for a sweet and salty bacchanalia).
I'm not crazy about the crunchy protective shell, which crunches harder on some balls than others. Cutting that train of thought short, the package is better than the product, but it's decent emergency candy with a sufficiently sour center, a nice chew, and should go over well with kids and novelty candy fans.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Triple Lic-ables, Kiss Your Fillings Goodbye

One of my favorite places to get candy is the video store. For one thing, there aren't many video stores left so "huzzah" for interacting with human beings, especially ones who like movies. Secondly, over priced or crazy old, video store candy is always fun. And isn't that what candy is all about, fun? Isn't it?
In the spirit of fun despite the chances you'll forcibly pull out something you'd rather keep fixed in your mouth, I give you Triple Lic-ables.

The three flavors taste much the same after you work through the sour coating, but let's start with my favorite, Blue Raspberry with Cherry Taffy.
Blue Raspberry anything is usually not for me, so this was a nice surprise. The Blue Raz was a little less overwhelming than the Strawberry with Vanilla, my second favorite, and a scoch more addictive.The taffy seemed to roll off the plastic stick more easily, but it's probably because I was really going to town on it. I'll buy that the taffy was cherry.

Strawberry with Vanilla Taffy
The Strawberry could be cherry or possibly raspberry, and the vanilla taffy could be any flavor hell bent on dislodging fillings from teeth and teeth from mouths. If you decide to invoke a little will power and suck down the Triple Lic-ables, a name I object to, btw, it will sandpaper your cheeks with one of the two sour flavors. I could only taste one sour flavor which also could have been anything, but the coarse coating is only there to be eliminated.

Sour Apple with Banana Taffy
Not surprisingly, my least favorite. With the exception of Tootsie's exceptional Caramel Apple Pops, candy makers can't seem to get this flavor right. I did pick up the taste of banana here, but didn't really want to.

I still don't know how much hard candy there was or if the rough sour coating should remind you of a cat's tongue as much as it did, but the taffy is best when it's been masticated to the point of unraveling from the plastic stick. And by the time I got that far I realized I couldn't stop eating it.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Election Tuesday

All we can do now is pray and eat Mac and Cheese pizza from Ian's.
Wordless Wednesday can be found on the Ched Curtain here.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Blood and Popcorn

Clary's Flavored Popcorn
True Blood Season 4 came out on DVD and Blu Ray yesterday and it seems I've waited longer than Sookie and Eric to see this season. What to snack on?
Not finding donors or blood related candy at Family Video, I picked up a few amusing sweets which I'll review in my next post. But lately, there are only two kinds of sugar I crave, everything else is like synthetic blood to me.

Hot Caramel and Cheese
One is halvah, which tastes like sugary, slightly chewy sand. It's lovely. I got hooked on it when I was catering the bar mitzvah circuit, and it's not something found easily around here.
Sure, you can get white chocolate shaped like a Badger Claw or all the chocolate cheese you could want (assuming you do), but halvah, forget about it. Well, yeah, do, because this post is about popcorn, the only other thing I want. But I will be buying all the halvah at Trader Gus.
There have been only three popcorn places I've loved and just one that haunts my dreams.
But there is a fourth on the top of State Street that's growing on me and that's the corn I crave now. Right now.
That bag of hot caramel and cheese corn pictured above, both kinds were perfectly warm. The caramel corn was gooey, I couldn't stop eating it. I was walking down State Street like a vamp sucking on a faerie and got remarks like, "You're eatin' popcorn, huh?"
I didn't say it was Shakespeare.
I might get some cherry red corn for the rest of my True Blood marathon. Unless I fall in love with a Norse god or lose my appetite. For dead food.

Note: Please excuse the poor pic quality, taken with one of the emergency car cameras.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Better Ate Than Never: Candy 1 to 20

Pick a holiday. I think Halloween, not represented, is most appropriate.

I won't bore you with why I'm posting this now. But it is Memorial Day weekend and I've just remembered this.

Of course it's going to be 95° today, not the case when I got the book or three months later when I took photos. But who's counting.        

Speaking of counting, this book, Candy 1 to 20, makes counting candy or numbers or candy numbers, a lot of fun.

Little Catholic girl hugging Mary, holy card in hand

My young cousin was the recipient of this sweet (yeah I said it) and whimsical book from Pam Abrams, Bruce Wolf, and Laurie Goldrich Wolf.
Lita is eating candy in this photo and probably counting the minutes until we find the big gumball machine. Yes, she's a Farino (wiping a proud tear).

She can spot candy like a hawk after field mice

I was too slow when she dove after this floor gum and soon to be cascading gumballs.
It all ended well, although far beyond counting to 20, Lita is not above counting candy.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Roll Me In Chocolate And Call Me In The Morning

The Burlington ChocolateFest starts this Friday, a 25-year-old event that somehow slipped my mind the last few years. But it's all coming back, the chocolate bacon, chocolate sculptures, candy wrapper costumes, everything going all melty in the heat.
There are rides and stages and townies and FIBs and a parade, but the tent is where you want to be.
Look at some of the stuff they have planned.
A flash mob will dance to Choco Choco Latte on Sunday, so, surprise. Be in the chocolate tent on Friday at 5 pm to participate (and get a free ticket). 
There are Chocolate Eating Contests and a Man Vs Chocolate event. Don't you wish it really were a sweet delicious insect attracting tent made entirely of chocolate?
I'm not encouraging this kind of gross overindulgence, but I'm not discouraging it either.
-The Carnival starts at 5 pm on Wednesday, May 23.
-ChocolateFest proper starts at 4 pm on Friday May 25 (10 am on Saturday and Sunday, 11 am on Monday). It ends on Memorial Day, May 28, at 8 pm.
Follow the links for schedules.
Burlington is over by Milwaukee down by Kenosha and Racine. The fest directions hilariously only show a map of the grounds.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Ice, Ice, Maybe

It was 86 before it dropped 25 degrees yesterday, but these didn't look all that tempting. On a more exciting note, the Walgreens on the Square got an Icee Machine. I had one during the St. Pat's Parade, which somehow seemed warmer than last Sunday.

Somethings gotta give

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Fart Bombs

Farty Bombs From Syttende Mai Hey
These were inexplicably littering Main St. tonight. Glad I wasn't there when they went off.

Sassy aka "Fart Bomb"
Most likely letting one rip as I type this.

Friday, April 06, 2012

Pimp My Peeps

It was surprising enough to see how early spring has sprung, but imagine my surprise when I found Peeps blossoming in the trees.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

White Hot Red Hots Jelly Beans

I kept thinking of Jefferson Airplane's Wooden Ships ("You must try some of my purple berries...") when I was shooting and eating these because I think my fingers were turning violet. You can see than even the candy was getting cold.
 Ferrara Pan's White Hot Red Hots Jelly Beans puts the same coat on a new product, and it works. That's an accomplishment that many repurposing candies can't manage.
The red hot taste is there, but it's not as annoying as some of the other hard candy which goes soft, like Life Savers Gummies or even Chewy Lemonheads.
"I been eating them for six or seven weeks now." Or could.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

My Crumby Gummi Valentine

I could not eat them with popped corn.
I could not eat them with a Gorn.
I could not eat them in a car.
I could not eat them in a bar.
I do not like two out of three.
I do not them, let me be.

Valentine Jujyfruits had a fun idea when they put Raspberry (red), Cherry, (pink), and Strawberry (white) into one box for Valentine's Day. But the fun stopped there as my beloved Jujyfruits became a good example of how the same ol' same ol' with a bit of seasonal packaging is not always lame.
The white strawberry was the worst, the pink cherry passable...or was it the red raspberry—please don't make me eat anymore to check.
One sickly taste is distinguishable from another, but not in a good way. It's especially disappointing when you see how well Starbursts Fave Reds (strawberry, fruit punch, watermelon, and cherry) turned out.
Before I continue, I have to remind you that I LOVE Jujyfruits, they are one of my favorite candies in the most esteemed field of gummi.
Maybe if the Valentine's theme had a daring butter cream or a harmless vanilla flavoring for white or did a cherry with vanilla ice cream thing, I don't know, but these flavors did not work for me.

Monday, January 09, 2012

Heavy Hearts

Sweetarts Hearts Gummies smell as good in the package as Junior Mints do in the box,
but the tangy aroma permeates the plastic bag and stays longer than stink on a dog (in a good way). (If there is a good way for stink to stay on a dog.)
What struck me about the weighty gummies was how well they kept on a road trip and how, when trying to chew the formidable pieces, they could change into any flavor your, wait for it, heart desires.
I guess they're tart pink and purple flavor. I pretended the purple was sugar plumb.
Didn't care for them at first, and found the  hearts too heavy—haand bland, but you only need a few to satisfy a sugar cravingsome of you—and they do not go stale easily, if at all, no matter how long you leave them forgotten in a bag somewhere after a photo shoot.
It surprised me when I started to think how good one would taste if only I could remember where I left them. The substantial pieces blend tart and sweet in an underwhelming, subtle way, seem indestructible, and present a pretty, fragrant gummi bouquet.

Friday, January 06, 2012

Have A Heart

Sometimes I think mainstream candy isn't  really trying to come up with new holiday twists. When I started buying Valentine's Day candy last November, my camera bag was stuffed with Valentine Jujyfruits, Sweetarts Hearts Gummies, and Heart Shaped Junior Mints.
Not that there's anything wrong with that.
And speaking of Seinfeld, is it a coincidence that two out of three of those candies are featured in Seinfeld episode where someone's in the hospital?
Although the chocolate is still amicably dark, some of the peppermint glops are red, and the pieces are significantly larger than classic Junior Mints. The hefty hearts goo over generously and linger on your taste buds a trickle longer too. I love how easily you can melt each heart with your tongue.
The oft forgotten (by me) Junior Mints may have a more imaginative and delicious holiday offspring in Junior Mints Peppermint Crunch, but the classically cool flavor and pleasant weight of each heart is a happy Valentine's Day nosh.