Friday, April 27, 2012

Buy some candy lollipops at the Flying House Art & Craft sale!

photo borrowed from the Flying House website
We are going to be selling lollipops Saturday & Sunday at the Flying House Art & Craft Show in Issaquah, WA - so if you live on the Eastside of the Seattle area (or want to make the track over the bridges on the weekend), we'd love to see you live and in person.

When: Saturday & Sunday, 11am - 5pm both days
Where: 270 NE Birch St, Issaquah, WA

We'll have all our collections, from Adventurer's Pack to Spice Rack at the sale and dozens for those of you who know just which flavor you like (Watermelon-Basil or Salted Caramel, anyone?).

We hope to see you there!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

What is the Flying House Art & Craft Show?

You may notice in our sidebar that we'll be at the Flying House Art & Craft show this upcoming weekend. So what is the show?

The wonderful and awesome Becky Brooks opens up her house to artists from the Seattle area once a year to showcase artists and promote buying awesome local handmade goods. These are photos from last year's event.

This year, there are going to be a ton of great artists from Garden Bon Bons to Glass Elements and lots of people in between! We're proud & excited to be a part of the show, and we hope to see you there!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Do you put your lollipops on your desk?

photo from Etsy customer bri d
I just love it when one of our customers shares a photo of our lollipops. I like how she's got her lollipops tucked unobtrusively in one corner of her desk always ready to hand for when she needs a little pick-me-up during the day! (I also really like tulips and globes, so that might be another reason I enjoy this little vignette.)

Do you store your lollipops on your desk? How do you display them?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Fiddlehead Fine Foods

Carrie Duncan, creator of delicious Alki Girl granola and longtime friend of This Charming Candy (we made our products in the same commercial kitchen when we started our businesses), recently opened Fiddlehead Fine Foods Café in the West Seattle neighborhood. Congratulations Carrie!
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She & her partner Dana serve delicious breakfast & lunch foods, including this amazing bacon, fried egg, and avocado breakfast sandwich on their freshly house-made biscuit:
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Uh, YUM. I kind of wish I had ordered two of them! Guess I’ll just have to go back soon.
They also carry lollipops by This Charming Candy and several other locally-made delights at their counter!
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We wish Fiddlehead all the success in the world! They deserve it.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Goodies for Gifts

We were recently contacted by Goodies for Gifts, asking if we wanted to add our candy to their site. We took one look and said "yes!"

screenshot of the Goodies for Gifts website
They're targeting the food+gift niche, which is perfect for us. Plus there are a ton of other delicious looking food gifts on the site, like this bread of the month subscription and white cheddar popcorn. Yum.

So head over, check them out, and check us out, too!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Where can I buy some candy?

I'm glad you asked! We are going to be selling our hard candy lollipops in Issaquah, a suburb of Seattle, at the Flying House Art & Craft Sale on April 28th & 29th. If you live on the eastside of Seattle, it's a great opportunity to see some fabulous local artists in an intimate setting - this event takes place in a lovely private home. And you can get your favorite lollipops, of course! Our friend Marja of Glass Elements will be there, with gorgeous fused glass jewelry such as this:

see http://www.etsy.com/shop/GlassElements for more!


We'll also be in Portland at Craft Wonderland's spring show on Saturday May 12th (the day before Mother's Day). So if you live in the Portland area and love delicious candy, you should stop by! We'd love to see you.

Look for more details in the upcoming weeks!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Shipping & Pickups Announcement

If you’ve ordered from us before, you know we get your order in the mail with lightning speed. Just browse our feedback on Etsy! Hard candy doesn’t spoil (though it does need to avoid excessive humidity), so we keep enough inventory available to enable us to ship orders within 1-2 days of receiving payment. Heck, if your order arrives early in the day, we sometimes even get it in the mail that same day.

However, there will be a very brief shipping delay from April 20-23. It's my mom's 75th birthday so I'm going to visit her for a long weekend! Shipping goes back to normal on Tuesday April 24 with our usual 1-2 day turnaround times.

This also means that we're rescheduling local order pickups & walk-in sales. Normally they'd be on Monday the 23rd - next week only they will be on Tuesday the 24th at the usual time (4-7 pm). Thanks for your understanding!
boxes of candy, ready to be shipped
These orders came in yesterday... and they're shipping today!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Mother's Day is coming up

photo by Kevin Keeker
Mother's Day is May 13th! Does you mom have a sweet tooth? If so, she'd enjoy our delicious candy lollipops. May we recommend the Fruit Basket? It's full of summery flavors like Watermelon-Basil and Pineapple Heaven.

Order by May 6th to make sure they arrive on time!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Cute Lollipop Display!

photo from theTomKatStudios.com
We were happy to provide some teal blue Bubble Gum lollipops (instead of their usual neon pink) for a mermaid themed kids birthday party. They look beautiful, and I love that they filled the white container with gum balls! How perfect is that?

Monday, April 16, 2012

Want to be a taste-tester?

photo by Kevin Keeker
We are looking for a second (and final!) round of taste-testers. We are experimenting with our lollipop recipe and we need your help!

Specifically, if you live in Seattle or the surrounding areas (or will be visiting Seattle - we don't discriminate), we will be distributing Salted Caramel lollipops that are made with 2 different sugars. We need you to eat them both - a hardship, we know - and then tell us what you think! Which one tastes better? Do they taste different? Which one is less sticky? We want to know!

The details:
When: Monday April 16th, 4pm - 7pm
Where: The Wandering Cafe, 7533 Lake City Way NE, Seattle, WA
(You can RSVP to the Facebook event if you're a Facebook user.)

We'll give you the 2 lollipops, a small paper with some questions, and you'll email us your answers by May 1st. It's that simple.

Thanks for your help!

The fine print: no more than two sets of samples per customer. Any recipe changes won't happen until 2013. At this time, we can't ship samples to customers.

Friday, April 13, 2012

What Kate & Susan are Talking About

Yay, a new hockey movie!

Gourmet horseradish. My husband LOVES horseradish, so of course I sent this to him.

If you didn't see this earlier in the week: Ashley Judd is awesome.

Did you know that cheese has morphine? The article doesn't mention any pain-killing effects - we're wondering if it's merely addictive without the side benefits. Anyone out there know?

Did you miss Dyngus Day? Or Anderson Cooper cracking up over it?

Octopuses* are awesome - 60% of their neurons are in their arms.

* A note from the dictionary on my computer about the plural of octopus: "Because this word is actually of Greek origin—not Latin—the classical plural is octopodes (ok- top-uh-deez), not octopi. But the standard plural is octopuses."

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Guess what's back in the shop?

purple Sweetheart (honey-jasmine flavor) lollipops
photo by Kevin Keeker

red heart-shaped apple-anise flavored gourmet bloodsucker
photo by Kevin Keeker

brown round hazelnut-coffee lickanthrope artisan lollipops
photo by Kevin Keeker

love triangle gourmet handmade lollipops
photo by Kevin Keeker
That's right! Our fabulous, amazing Love Triangle lollipops are back in the shop today.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Why do we care about packaging?

photo by Kevin Keeker

photo by Kevin Keeker
Susan and I love beautiful things. We are happier when things look pretty - I think that's one of the reasons that I enjoy making Etsy treasuries so much. Collecting beautiful things together puts a smile on my face.

Beautiful things are also enormously inspiring. They make my thoughts flow more smoothly, which makes me more productive.

We want our lollipops to be as lovely as possible. That's one reason we test not only the flavors, but the colors. The packaging also plays a big role. We want the lollipops' wrappers and the bags they come in tell you about the quality of the product you're getting inside. Not to mention that I believe that if something tastes better if it looks good. We want every aspect of your lollipop experience to be a pretty, happy one.

That's why we care about packaging.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

It's the Finnish Name Factor

When Susan & her friend Deb managed a fantasy hockey team, they had a weakness for Finnish players because their names tend to be much more awesome than any other nationality's. They called this "The Finnish Name Factor". We won't talk about whether this strategy actually helped their fantasy team, though...

Ahem! Finland. It's a cool place (see what I did there?). They have a language that's practically unrelated to any others, and there are LOTS of vowels and double letters.

April from Regretsy made a trip to meet her readers from Finland last year, including a wonderful gentleman named Petja. Now, her fabulous, wonderful fans have made it possible for Petja to visit the US. We're donating some lollipops to Petja-Palooza, with custom labels that feature in-jokes from the Regretsy community (read up on the hellephant here).


We're not *quite* sure what the Finnish swear word "perkele" means, but the urban dictionary and wikipedia are here to help us out. The urban dictionary's definition is more colorful, so I'll quote it here:
Most likely the most powerful curseword ever created by mankind. Cannot be translated without loss. Versatile word that can be used alone or repeated indefinitely.
So there you have it. We've donated lollipops with foreign curse words on them. I hope we don't go to hell for this one.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Want to be a taste-tester?

photo by Kevin Keeker

We are experimenting with our lollipop recipe and we need your help!

Specifically, if you live in Seattle or the surrounding areas (or will be visiting Seattle - we don't discriminate), we will be distributing Salted Caramel lollipops that are made with 2 different sugars. We need you to eat them both - a hardship, we know - and then tell us what you think! Which one tastes better? Do they taste different? Which one is less sticky? We want to know!

The details:
When: Monday April 9th & April 16th, 4pm - 7pm
Where: The Wandering Cafe, 7533 Lake City Way NE, Seattle, WA
(You can RSVP to the Facebook event if you're a Facebook user.)

We'll give you the 2 lollipops, a small paper with some questions, and you'll email us your answers by May 1st. It's that simple.

Thanks for your help!

The fine print: no more than two sets of samples per customer. Any recipe changes won't happen until 2013. At this time, we can't ship samples to customers.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Thursday, April 5, 2012

10 Things I Never Knew About Cardamom

photo by Kevin Keeker
I had the fabulous fortune to stumble onto #SpiceChat on twitter yesterday. It's a monthly chat about various spices. Yesterday's conversation was all about cardamom. I encourage you to go read the whole thing, there are A LOT of delicious looking recipes and ideas. One account in particular, MySpiceSage, sprinkled a bunch of cardamom facts. Here are the ones I never knew before:

  1. Cardamom is the third most expensive spice after vanilla & saffron.
  2. In the Middle Ages, cardamom was so dear, a scoop of pods equalled a commoner's wage for a year.
  3. Cardamom pods don't ripen all at once and require many passes through a field for harvesting, which makes it so expensive.
  4. Cardamom has the respected distinction of being known as "Queen of Spices" because of its beautiful aroma and flavor.
  5. Cardamom is a plant in the ginger family & cardamom spice goes really well with ginger.
  6. Cardamom contains more than 25 volatile oils that account for its unique aroma and flavor.
  7. Cineole is a volatile oil found in cardamom and bay leaves. It smells like eucalyptus and has antioxidant properties.
  8. Black cardamom has a completely different flavor from green. Bolder, peppery with smoky notes from being dried over fire. (I actually didn't even know that black cardamom existed.)
  9. Cardamom is considered a sign of hospitality in Arab cultures, and it's added to the coffee of guests as a gesture of goodwill.
  10. The region in Southern India where cardamom grows is named Cardamom Hills.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Discounts for Events

Event planners, brides & grooms know that gourmet lollipops make delicious, memorable wedding favors – and now we’ve made it easier to order a lot of lollipops all at once. Whether it’s for your wedding or another special occasion, you can now order 8 dozen lollipops in one single listing from our Etsy shop. And we’ll only charge you for 7 dozen. Pretty awesome.
8 dozen lollipops by This Charming Candy
photo by Kevin Keeker
All you have to do is tell us which flavors you want. It can be 8 different flavors, 8 dozen of a single flavor, or any combination in between. Of course if you need more than 8 dozen handmade lollipops for your event, let us know and we’ll hook you up.

And if you’re looking to splurge on some personalization, we still offer our custom lollipop label service – give us a few weeks’ lead time and we’ll put your initials on the labels in place of the flavor name. Snazzy!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Equipment Check

There’s a saying, “it’s a poor worker who blames her tools”. Meaning, your craft skills are more the determinant of the quality of your final product than your tools are. That’s in line with what Kung Fu Chef says about the lamb chops he recently prepared in New Zealand

Even so, there’s something to be said for being able to trust one’s equipment. I was recently experimenting in my home test kitchen and I started to suspect that one of my cheap-o candy thermometers was not accurately reporting the syrup temperature. I tested its accuracy by putting it in boiling water and what do you know! It read about 218 degrees F – six degrees higher than it should have.
candy thermometer in boiling water

When I cooked my next a batch of syrup I grabbed a digital thermometer that I trust more, and used them both. Interestingly, their readings tracked each other pretty well – within a few degrees of each other – until around 290 degrees when the the glass thermometer’s reading started to climb a lot faster.

This is a really big deal, because lollipop syrup must be cooked to what’s called the ‘hard crack stage’ which occurs at 302-310 F. My glass thermometer reading would have encouraged me to take the syrup off the stove too soon – and my lollipops would have been too soft and bendy because they would have too much water left in them.

I used the cold water test as a backup method for gauging the syrup’s temperature, and confirmed that my digital thermometer was more accurate than the glass one. I guess I had better stick to using the digital one from now on!

So if you’re making candy, it’s a good idea to occasionally check the accuracy of your thermometer – at sea level, it should read 212 F in boiling water and 32 F in ice water. Happy candy making!