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Elizabeth LaBau

Nostalgic Favorites Are Back At the Expo

By May 30, 2010

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Chocolate Pop RocksWhen I told a friend I was at the Sweets & Snacks Expo this year, he jokingly asked me, "Are Pop Rocks making a comeback?" Well, the joke's on him, because Pop Rocks did have a large booth at the Expo, and an almost-new product, Chocolate Pop Rocks, to showcase as well. I say "almost-new" because Chocolate Pop Rocks were available in a limited edition a few years ago, but they're re-launching them as a limited-edition product again this year. Pop Rocks already came out with the Pop Rocks Bar, a chocolate bar studded with popping candy, so a chocolate-covered version of their rocks seems like a natural extension of the brand. They also join a growing number of popping chocolate products, from the Wonka Xploder to Chuao's Firecracker bar. The Chocolate-Covered Pop Rocks are exactly what you'd expect: sweet, mild milk chocolate covering fruity-flavored popping candy. I do wish that the candies were unflavored, as I found the fruit flavors overpowering, and would have enjoyed a simple popping chocolate a little bit more. But I did think they were a nice change from the standard Pop Rocks product, and I could also see using them in candy recipes--perhaps a new version of Exploding Truffles?

Turkish Taffy

The nostalgic favorite with the biggest buzz had to be Bonomo's Turkish Taffy. This candy went out of production in the 1980's, and I actually wasn't familiar with it until this Expo, where it seemed everyone was talking about it. In fact Marc Summers, host of the Food Network's Unwrapped, professed himself to be a huge fan and is apparently hoping to tape an episode of Unwrapped at the Turkish Taffy factory. Turkish Taffy isn't actually a traditional taffy at all. The candy's texture in the package is quite hard, but if you hold it in your hand or otherwise warm it up, it becomes soft and pliant. The candy's tagline is "Smack it and Crack it!" and the packaging encourages eaters to hit the bar against a hard surface to break it into manageable shards. Once you put the taffy in your mouth and let your body heat warm it up, it becomes nicely soft and chewable. It has other interesting properties as well: if you smack it and then let the bar sit, the pieces will fuse back together over time. You can also fuse multiple flavors together when warm, and as they cool they harden back into a single bar, now customized with your favorite flavors. The taste itself is very mild and sweet, so I think the appeal is really in the nostalgia and the fun interactive aspect of the candy.

Two other nostalgic favorites are also back: Astro-Pops, a hard cone-shaped candy on a stick, looks to be back with its original shape. The pops were first introduced with the stick at the base of the cone, but the design was later changed to have the stick skewering the peak of the cone (allegedly to prevent kids from whittling the peak into dangerously sharp points that could cause injury and perhaps lawsuits.) I also saw Fizzies drink tablets, which are perhaps not quite a candy but do seem appropriate bedfellows in the nostalgic candy aisle. Fizzies are like a fun version of Alka-Seltzer: sweet, mostly fruit-flavored tablets that fizz when put into cold water and produce a sweet drink not unlike Kool-Aid. Much like the Turkish Taffy, the end result is not memorable so much for the flavor but for the hands-on process that is sure to appeal to kids.

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Photo ©2010 Elizabeth LaBau, licensed to About.com, Inc.


May 30, 2010 at 11:39 pm
(1) Lola says:

I was at the Expo also, but I didn’t see the Astro Pops. Who is making them? I would love to have them in my shoppe.

Stay Sweet!


May 31, 2010 at 1:42 am
(2) Mark D. (sugarpressure) says:

Lola, here is the website for Astro Pops: http://www.astropopcandy.com/

From what they told me at the EXPO, they are not quite done tweaking the recipe. They should have them ready to go very soon though.

Elizabeth, Great coverage of the new items, the pictures you took were great too.

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