A Marriage Made in Taste Heaven: Salt Meets Sweet

Somewhere along the lines, people figured out that salty and sweet foods can be great together.

Maybe it was whoever came up with milk chocolate covered pretzels, or the creator of salted caramel, or even the first person to dip a French fry into their milkshake.

That’s to say nothing of classics like peanut butter cups or more adventurous concoctions such as chocolate covered bacon.

We know these pairings taste good, but why? Read on to learn the science behind the heavenly marriage of salt and sweet.

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Dreaming of a White Chocolate

chunks of white chocolate

There are a lot of mis-named things in this world.

Grape nuts aren’t nuts. Panama hats are made in Ecuador. Jellyfish aren’t actually fish.

And there’s no chocolate in white chocolate. So…what IS white chocolate?

In a world where chocolate rules the dessert roost, white chocolate is sort of the black sheep – or maybe the white sheep – of the chocolate family. In this blog post, we’ll look at where it comes from and how it’s different than milk or dark chocolate candy.

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Give Thanks for Chocolate

Dark Chocolate Turkey

Thanksgiving is just around the corner and we’re of course thinking about candy.

True, it’s not really a candy holiday (there’s not a lot of talk about “Thanksgiving candy” the way there is about Easter or Halloween candy), but it’s a time to remember what we’re grateful for, and today we’re giving thanks for chocolate.

And it’s not just because chocolate pays the bills around here. We’d like to think we’d be grateful for chocolate even if it wasn’t our livelihood.

In this blog post, we’d like to share some of things that makes our favorite food so great.

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Is There Licorice Root in Licorice? All About This Classic Candy

Red and Black licorice

Licorice has been around for thousands of years. It’s said to have been enjoyed by Napoleon, the Egyptian pharaohs and Alexander the Great.

But don’t picture King Tut helping himself to some strawberry laces. This candy has come a long way over the centuries. In this blog post, we’re looking at the history of licorice.

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The History of the Chocolate Mold

Chocolate Mold

One of the things we enjoy about writing this blog is that it gives us a chance to share interesting facts about the history of our industry.

We’ve looked at how fudge was created, the origins of Easter, and whether Swedish Fish actually come from Sweden. (Spoiler alert: they do.)

Today, we’re going to continue our history series, looking at the roots of two of our more popular products: milk chocolate molds.

Where do milk chocolate molds come from?

If you went back in time several hundred years ago and said the word “chocolate,” people would think you were talking about a delicacy that only existed in liquid form, and that was enjoyed primarily by the upper classes.

It was only in the 1830s that a British company – Joseph Fry and Sons – developed what was known as “eating chocolate.”

It was solid and easy to distribute, and therefore the first mass-market chocolate. This led to a revolution in chocolate making, including the creation of chocolate molds by Jean-Baptise Letang in Paris in 1832.

Unlike the elaborate milk chocolate molds we sell today, the molds were pretty plain, producing simple, small geometric shapes.

Molds go from simple to complex

But by the 1840s, the French had created a method of joining pieces of the mold together to create three-dimensional figures, such as animal shapes.

In the second half of the 1800s, Germany began to outpace France in the mold-making game, creating a vast array of complex molds. One company alone—Anton Reich, which operated for 90 years – created more than 50,000 different molds on its own.

These molds are highly prized today. A quick search through e-Bay turned up several Reich chocolate molds in the shape of everything from antique pistols to roosters to the Easter bunny. Some of these antique molds sell for under $20, but others will set you back a few thousand dollars.

Modern molds

Butterfly Mold

By the 1960s, metal molds – made from things like tin-lined copper and nickel-clad steel – were on their way out as chocolate makers began working with plastic, and therefore an entirely different manufacturing process.

It’s a method of mold making still used today. If you enjoyed, say, a chocolate bunny at Easter this year, it likely came from this kind of mold.

Plastic and metal molds competed for the industry’s attention for a few decades, but by the 1980s, plastic had won the battle, and metal molds became a part of history.

Dark and milk chocolate molds from Skips

Dinosaur Mold chocolate pop

Has reading all of this put you in the mood for chocolate in mold form? Turn to Skips Candies. We may not have the same 50,000-mold collection as Anton Reich, but we do have a wide variety of milk chocolate molds, from ballet slippers to dinosaurs to fidget spinners.

Best of all, none of them will cost you a thousand dollars. Browse our online catalog or come see us in store. We’re confident we’ll have a milk chocolate mold you’ll enjoy.

5 Things Every Nut-Free Household Needs

Boy about to eat peaanuts

There are a lot of unfortunate myths about nut allergies.

They’re over-diagnosed. They’re all in the minds of overprotective parents. They’re not that serious.

But as parents of kids with peanut or tree nut allergies – and as a maker of nut-free candy – we know better. These allergies are very real and very serious and living with them can mean making significant changes to the way your family lives.

If your child has just been diagnosed with a nut allergy, here are a few things you’ll need to make your life in your house easier and safer.

1. Medical professionals you trust

Allergy doctor testing child for allergies

One of the first things you’ll need to do is find doctors that you trust.

“Typically, a board-certified pediatric allergist is the specialist of choice to advise families and prescribe epinephrine auto-injectors,” writes Caroline Bologna in a Huffington Post piece on advice for parents of children with nut allergies.

She also spoke with parents who recommend shopping around until you find the doctor that’s the best fit for your child.

“Don’t worry about offending people because it’s your child’s safety at stake,” said Becky Bergman, founder of the Peanut Allergy Mom blog and mother of a teenage son with a peanut allergy. “If they’re not the right fit they’re not the right fit.”

2. A plan for avoiding allergic reactions

The only sure way for your child to avoid allergic reaction is to keep away from foods that trigger symptoms. It often only takes a trace of an allergen to cause a reaction.

Avoid those reactions by:

Woman reading lbel for nut safety
  • Paying close attention to food labels each time you buy food products, even ones you’ve bought before, as ingredients can change. Teach your child to read labels when they get old enough
  • Let your child’s school, friends and relatives know about the allergy diagnosis.
  • Ask about the ingredients in dishes other people make for your children.
  • Wash your hands and your child’s hands with soap and water before handling food. Prepare and serve food with clean kitchen items and on clean surfaces.

Try to focus on the foods your child can have rather than what they need to avoid. You can even try out new recipes that use safe ingredients. And thanks to the advent of nut-free candy, they can still enjoy the same sweets their peers cherish.

2. A keen eye for allergy symptoms

No matter how vigilant you are, it’s still possible that your child will be exposed to allergens. If that’s the case, you need to be able to recognize the symptoms, which include:

Child with allergic reaction
  • Rashes, hives and itching
  • Swelling of the lips, tongue and throat
  • Difficulty breathing, wheezing, shortness of breath
  • Dizziness and/or fainting
  • Stomach pain, diarrhea and vomiting
  • Panicky/uneasy feelings

Your child’s doctor can provide you with a complete list of symptoms. Some allergy symptoms can be severe, leading to a potentially life threatening allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis, which we’ll deal with in the next section.

3. A plan for dealing with anaphylaxis

Talk to your child’s doctor about how to recognize the signs of anaphylaxis and how to treat it. You can prepare yourself by:

  • Working with the doctor to create an emergency plan for dealing with anaphylaxis
  • Learn how to administer epinephrine shots to your child. This drug comes in a safe, easy to use auto-injector and is the medicine of choice for treating anaphylaxis.
  • Always make sure there are two epinephrine auto-injectors close at hand and teach the people who are with your child when you’re not there how to use them.

You may also want to get your child a medical alert bracelet to let people know about their allergy.

4. A good support system

Moms support group discussing their kids allergies

Finally, it’s important to remember that you’re not alone. Nut allergy diagnoses may be on the rise, but the silver lining here is that you’ll have an easier time finding other parents in your community who have been where you are.

As the Huffington Post story puts it, “A group of fellow allergy parents can help by answering questions, hearing out rants or even just being there to drink a bottle of wine and cry during hard times.”

Searching for nut-free candy options? Skip’s Candies is your source

Nut-free chocolate Butterfly pop

Since 1993, Skip’s Candies has prided itself on providing the finest candy options. We proudly provide nut-free candy to retail and wholesale customers alike.

For the last eight years, we’ve operated a dedicated nut-free facility, ensuring that the raw materials we purchase come from manufacturers who either work in nut-free facilities or have dedicated nut-free areas and/or adhere to safe handling practices.

Contact us today to learn more about our nut-free candy and our facility. We’re confident we have something everyone in your family will enjoy.

Are Swedish Fish Really from Sweden? The Origins of Some Bulk Candy Favorites

Some candies have been part of our society for so long that it’s hard to imagine a time without them. But there was an age before Swedish Fish arrived on our shores, before Sour Patch Kids tickled – and tested – our taste buds.

Read on to learn the history of some bulk candy favorites.

Continue reading Are Swedish Fish Really from Sweden? The Origins of Some Bulk Candy Favorites