Spotted on Shelves is showing off what was in the aisles at this year’s Summer Fancy Food Show (FFS) in New York City. I scoped out new products from familiar brands and interesting things from up-and-coming companies.
As is the nature of trade shows like this, I was plied with free samples and the occasional tote bag. This did not affect what was chosen to appear in this column or my opinions of the products, but it did affect my waistline.
Chocolate – it’s everywhere, it’s been on shelves for 171 years now, there’s a million forms and flavors. Yet, there’s still more to do with it. I was happy to find some innovative and fun twists on chocolate at FFS.
Chuao Chocolatier Sprinkle Dreams Bar
I’m a big fan of Chuao’s chocolate bars – I like their flavors and their mini bars keep me portion controlled. So I was delighted to see them at FFS with a new bar – with sprinkles! EEEEE! LOVE SPRINKLES! Sprinkle Dreams was a delicious milk chocolate bar with waffle cone bits and hazelnuts and sprinkles, but I wished it had one more whimsical element. Maybe mixing in something like Dippin’ Dots to complete the ice cream theme?
Don’t get me wrong, I will be buying these in mini-bar form, but I’ll always sprinkle-dream of something just a little extra magical.
Available now at grocery stores, drugstores and retailers nationally.
Jelly Belly Harry Potter Chocolate Wands, Chocolate Crests, and Chocolate Creatures
I’ve never seen a Harry Potter movie or read the books, so I don’t fully understand these products in the context of that universe, but I’m guessing many of you do?
There weren’t samples to try, but the consistency and flavor of the chocolate aren’t really the appeal here. The question I have is…milk chocolate wands? This seems like a parent’s nightmare – a handheld meltable object. Small, delicious handprints – coming soon to your walls and sofa! The chocolate creatures are mystery items – you won’t know which one you’ve got until you open it.
Available starting in October.
Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate Craft Mini Bars – Milk Chocolate Sea Salt Caramel, Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Caramel, Milk Chocolate Waffle Cone Caramel, and Milk Chocolate Cookie Butter Cookie
Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate – the most literal company name ever – has release some tiny chocolates chocolates chocolates into the world! The sea salt caramel varieties of these bars had a surprising amount of salt in them. If you prefer a light salt touch, pass on these. I liked it, however. The waffle cone caramel bars were studded underneath with chunks of cones, and the cookie butter bars were dusted with speculoos cookie crumbs and a ribbon of speculoos filling. They were pretty delicious and the small size is good for lunch boxes or secret stashes.
Available now in specialty retailers.
jcoco Boharat Middle Eastern Spice Dark Chocolate bars
This collaboration with noted chef Tarik Abdullah combines dark chocolate and black peppercorn, cumin, cinnamon and cloves. With this list of ingredients, I expected to be hit over the head with spices. It was much more subtle, however. The cumin and cinnamon were the flavors I picked up most, but even those aren’t overpowering. The chocolate itself was soft and just a hair on the dry side, which was a nice compliment to the flavors of this very ‘adult’ chocolate bar.
Available now online, coming soon to specialty retailers & gourmet shops.
Let Them Eat Candles – milk and dark chocolate candles
Edible candles! Made of real chocolate and everything. These babies only flame long enough to sing Happy Birthday – the wick doesn’t go all the way into the chocolate base. They’re interesting novelties for parties, and certainly better than sending Great-Grandpa Jimmy into cardiac arrest with those candles that won’t blow out. And they tasted pretty good, too.
Available now online and in select bakeries and specialty markets nationwide.
Hands Off My Chocolate – Red Velvet & White Chocolate, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough and Hazelnut Seasalt & Cocoa Nibs Dark Chocolate
These chocolate bars are designed to break into round pips, which is something I haven’t seen before. I was told this shape fits our mouths better. Makes sense – you can see by the anatomically correct artwork on the package. They were all delicious but I thought the Cookie Dough was the best of the bunch. Each round is printed with the word “mine” except for one “yours,” which is X’d out. So you have full permission the eat the whole thing yourself.
Available at CostPlus World Market and select retailers starting in July.
Seattle Chocolate Mexican Hot Chocolate Dark Chocolate Truffle Bar
While not a revolutionary flavor, I really enjoyed the packaging and taste of this bar. It was spicy, but balanced with the dark chocolate and vanilla. I loved the artwork and the inner wrapper was a matte black foil, which was new to me. I feel like some of the magic of Mexican hot chocolate is lost on something that’s not steaming hot on a cold day, but on a steaming hot summer day, this was still pretty good.
Available starting in September/October in gourmet grocery stores.
Appletinies Flamingo Love and Unicorn Food
This Austrian brand caught my eye with beautiful packaging. They have a full line of chocolate-covered dried apple bits, but of course the trendy, colorful Unicorn Food and Flamingo Love limited editions were my favorites.
The bright orange Flamingo white chocolate coating was reminiscent of an orange Creamsicle. Unicorn Food was a mauve hue with elderberry white chocolate. As elderberry isn’t a readily familiar flavor to me (outside of Monty Python quotes), it read simply as a light, fun berry taste that paired well with the apple underneath. Most unicorn-branded items are strawberry or raspberry flavored, so I liked that this one was a little outside the norm.