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Five Favorite Candies from the 2010 Sweet & Snacks Expo

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At the Sweet & Snacks Expo, there were literally hundreds of candies to sample, and now that I've returned home, I'm still tasting my way through many of them. However, here are some of my favorite candies from the Expo so far. Some are new to the market, some are just new to me, but they're all candies that I really enjoyed eating. Click on the pictures to enlarge them.

1. Fearless Chocolate

Fearless Chocolate specializes in raw vegan chocolate bars, two labels that generally make me cautious when it comes to candy. I've had too many chalky, gritty chocolate bars to be excited when I hear about another raw candy bar. However, I thought these bars had a great texture, and I liked the experimental flavors, including Hibiscus & Ginger, and Green Tea Peppermint. They also offer a line of organic filled bars called MORE! with bold, innovative combinations like Goat Cheese & Fig, Coconut Curry Caramel, and my favorite, Tamarindo Caliente.

2. DAS French Salted Caramels

At some point it seemed like everyone was making sea salt caramels, and I started wondering if it was time to declare a caramel hiatus and move on to another trendy candy. Enter DAS Foods to rescue me from salted caramel boredom. The caramels have a luscious texture and a lovely buttery flavor that never gets greasy. I actually find them less salty than many other salted caramels, which can be good or bad depending on your personal taste. They offer a nice range of flavors, from Chili Pecan to Ginger Pistachio, and even their Classic variety has notes of lavender and honey.

3. Chimes Ginger Chews

Ginger candy seems to be one of those divisive, loveit-or-hate-it foods. I fall firmly in the "love" category, so I was excited to find Chimes Ginger Chews and try their new flavors. In addition to the standard plain ginger flavor, they have a number of exciting, unusual combinations, like Peanut Butter Ginger, Peppermint Ginger, and (my personal favorite) Mango Ginger.

4. Gimbals Honey Lovers

Your enjoyment of the new Gimbals Honey Lovers line will probably depend on two things: your love of honey, and your tolerance for a wide, Jelly Belly-esque assortment of candy flavors. This new product is a chewy honey center enclosed in one of sixteen different flavored coatings. The problem with having sixteen different flavors is that there's likely going to be one or two that any given person dislikes. I admit that there are a few that I avoid myself. However, there are many more flavors that I think are fabulous, and in general I think the honey center is delicious and I love having a non-jelly bean chewy candy alternative.

5. Ritter Sport Strawberry Creme

I've long been a Ritter Sport fan, and count their Dark Chocolate Hazelnut bar as one of my favorite guilty pleasures. They were debuting a new product at the Expo this year: a Strawberry Creme bar, featuring a milk chocolate coating and a creamy filling studded with pieces of strawberry. The bars have a vibrant strawberry flavor and a bit of a crunch; I thought the bite came from the strawberries being freeze dried, but the reps told me they weren't. No matter how the strawberries are processed, the fresh fruit flavor and slightly crunchy texture, combined with the rich milk chocolate, make this one of my favorite Ritter Sport bars to come out in years.

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