SPOTTED AT THE 2018 SUMMER FANCY FOOD SHOW (SWEETS EDITION)

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.

FFS is a great place to indulge one’s sweet tooth. I marveled at all the different ways sugar was used – candy, cakes, jellies, even coffees. You kinda need a sugar high to get through the miles and miles of exhibitor booths. Here are a few interesting sweets unearthed in those aisles.

Candy Kittens Gourmet Sweets – Wild Strawberry, Eton Mess, Blueberry Bliss, Sour Watermelon, and Peach Fizz

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I’m a sucker for cats. A cat-shaped gummy candy? I’m dying. I tried the Sour Watermelon flavor, which was a pleasant, low-key version of a Sour Patch Watermelon. The Eton Mess variety, named after Britain’s meringue/whipped cream/strawberry dessert, was a not-too-sweet strawberry and cream without the sugar coating.

Available at CostPlus World Market starting in August.

Loacker Blueberry Yogurt Crispy Wafers and Quadratini Blueberry Yogurt Bite Size Wafer Cookies

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Loacker’s new Blueberry Yogurt wafer bites keep the well-known and loved wafer formula with the filling this time being a deep fruity blueberry with a dash of yogurt tang.

Available at retailers and grocery chains nationally starting now.

Jelly Belly Candy Cones Ice Cream Flavored Mellocreme Candy

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I expected these to be gummy, but they’re candy corn! The package advertises that each piece is two flavors – the cone and the ice cream. It’s true! The cones tasted caramel-cone-y. The ice cream flavors were as promised, but reminded me of 80s-era aroma touchstones – scratch and sniff sticker chocolate and strawberry and Bonnie Bell Lip Smackers vanilla and mint. The orange was a bit more subtle and creamy that the rest.

Available in grocery stores and retailers starting now.

Biena Thin Mints Chickpea Snacks

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These are chickpeas with a coating that perfectly mimics Thin Mint Girl Scout cookies in taste and velvety chocolate texture. The chickpeas added a new dimension of crunch and nuttiness, however. I didn’t love the combo (turns out I don’t really like chickpeas), but if you’re a fan of one of both of these elements, they’re worth a try.

Available in Whole Foods now.

Stonewall Kitchen Strawberry Lemonade Jelly and Hot Pepper Cranberry Jelly

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I usually love Stonewall Kitchen’s jellies, so I was excited to see these two new flavors at FFS. The Strawberry Lemonade, however, was a little too sedate for my taste – I was some lemonade pucker. The Hot Pepper Cranberry on the other hand, set my mouth on fire and I didn’t taste much cranberry (although with the 5-alarm going on in my head, it could have just gotten ignored).

Available in gourmet shops, select grocery stores and specialty retailers starting now.

Bailey’s Cappuccino – Irish Cream, Caramel, and Mint Mocha

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I hate coffee. I intended to just take photos of this product, but the sales rep in the booth convinced me to try it. “Cappuccino? Pfffff,” I said. That guy should earn salesman of the year because I DID LIKE IT. It was sweet and milky and caramel-y – (hence it’s presence here on the sweets list!) nothing like the horror stuff I’ve tasted. I drank the whole sample. This product was released earlier this year in K-Cups and is now coming out in multi-serve instant bags. Just scoop into a cup and add hot water. There’s a technology in this that allows it to self-foam (I’m told it’s the only product on the market that does!) which was pretty cool. Score one for coffee.

Available in grocery stores starting in September.

Tortuga Caribbean Rum Cake Bites

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If you’ve traveled to anywhere tropical, you have definitely encountered Tortuga Rum Cakes. Perhaps you’ve purchased some at the airport 10 minutes before your flight home because, in your hotel room at 1 a.m., you ate the ones you bought in town to bring back for friends & family. Well, Tortuga must have cameras in my hotel, because they’re introducing rum cake bites – perfect for late night snacking beachside or back home. They’re individually wrapped, a little bigger than a quarter, and retain all the rum aroma and flavor of the original. They are a lot more moist, however.

Available at travel/airport retailers starting in July and will launch later as a variety pack for cruise ships and duty-free outlets.

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