What’s the Most Popular Valentine’s Day Candy in Every State?

What’s the Most Popular Valentine’s Day Candy in Every State?

With 90% of Americans regularly treating themselves to a sweet, frozen dessert, it’s no wonder we go crazy for candy on Valentine’s Day. Chocolate is the old favorite, but there’s more variety than you might think when it comes to picking the perfect Valentine’s Day candy for your sweetheart.

For a long time, conversation hearts — those sweet candies with phrases like “be mine” and “xoxo” on them — won the battle of the sweets. But this year there’s a new top pick for Valentine’s Day candies. Here’s a breakdown of what’s sure to sell out when people are buying sweet treats for their sweethearts this year.

Which Candy Won Out?

For a long time, SweetHearts conversation hearts dominated the Valentine’s candy market. But they suffered a set back last year when they failed to appear on store shelves. That had a significant and lingering effect on conversation hearts.

In their place, treats like M&M’s are moving up. M&M’s claimed the number one spot in three states this year: Arizona, Kansas and New Jersey. That may be in part due to the drop off in conversation hearts. But M&M’s Cupid’s Mix and Cupid’s Message products also quickly became favorites since hitting the market.

Heart-Shaped Boxes Reigned in 2019 CandyStore.comSource: CandyStore.com

Of course, the old staples are still well represented. Things like heart-shaped boxes of chocolates, Hershey kisses and chocolate roses placed in the top three for several states. Don’t count on these longtime favorites disappearing any time soon. Alongside M&M’s and conversation hearts, gift boxes, chocolate roses, and general chocolates appear as frequent contenders for each state’s favorite Valentine’s candy.

Here’s one you may not have considered: Cupid corn. Often associated with Halloween, candy corn is also making a push during Valentine’s Day. While candy corn, in general, is falling off as a favorite among consumers, there are some places, like Michigan, where the candy is still incredibly popular on Valentine’s Day and other holidays.

Other Valentine’s Day Facts

Candy isn’t the only thing consumers are concerned about when it comes to Valentine’s Day. Many are ready to throw down some serious money to make their loved one feel special for the holiday.

In fact, consumers are expected to spend $30.19 on family members this year, which is up from $29.87 last year. Friends will get about $14.69 (compared to $9.78 in 2019) and co-workers will see an average of $12.96 spent on their gifts (compared to $7.78 in 2019). Even pets are getting some love, with people expecting to spend an average of $12.21 on pets, up from $6.94 last year.

Overall, consumers are predicted to spend about $101 this year, which is up from $93.24 in 2019. That’s still down more than 60% compared to a decade ago.

And where will all that money go? A lot, $5.8 billion, is expected to be spent on jewelry, with another $.43 billion spent on a nice evening out with a significant other. Candy is predicted to account for $2.4 billion, with flowers close behind at $2.3 billion. Smaller amounts will be spent on things like gift cards, greeting cards and experiences.

Source: CandyStore.com.

If you’re still thinking about what to get your special someone for Valentine’s Day, consider picking up the most-loved candy in their state (have fun with the interactive map directly above). After all, there’s a good chance they’ll also be a fan.

Basil Hayden’s x Beehive “Pour Me a Slice” Cheese

Basil Hayden’s X Beehive Cheese Launch “Pour Me a Slice” Cheese

We’d never thought two of our favorite things together, especially since they are not normally paired together. When one thinks of bourbon, it’s usually pertaining to strong, classic cocktails. Bourbon isn’t normally mentioned in the same sentence with cheese and we know when it comes to cheese, wine is the pairing go-to. Thanks to Basil Hayden’s Bourbon and Beehive Cheese‘s collaboration, we had the great pleasure of experiencing the unconventional pairing of bourbon and cheese. We enjoyed a wonderful evening at the official unveiling of their latest partnership, the Basil Hayden’s X Beehive Cheese “Pour Me a Slice” Cheese. The result is a one-of-a-kind bourbon-infused cheese that’s sweet and creamy with a hint of bourbon spice.

Basil Hayden’s x Beehive “Pour Me a Slice” Cheese

As stated, Pour Me A Slice is sweet and creamy. It boasts three ingredients – Vegetarian rennet, cow’s milk, and Basil Hayden’s Kentucky Straight Bourbon. As you near the rind, the spiciness of the bourbon becomes more pronounced. This beauty will be enjoyed by bourbon and cheese enthusiasts alike. It pairs wonderfully with any of Basil Hayden’s premium bourbons, medium to full-bodied red wines, all ales, and ciders. Creating a platter, it’s recommended to be served with toasted nuts, chocolate, berries, and charcuterie.

Basil Hayden’s x Beehive “Pour Me a Slice” Cheese

Beehive Cheese’s production of deliciously unique and complex cheeses, make them number 1 in this category of American cheeses. With one taste you will surely understand why. Basil Hayden’s Brand Ambassador, Tim Heuisler, and Beehive Cheese’s Co-Founder, Pat Ford played host to our amazing night of bourbon and cheese pairings; a combination we highly recommend trying. We enjoyed three bourbon and cheese pairings concluding with the Basil Hayden’s X Beehive Cheese “Pour Me a Slice” Cheese.

Basil Hayden’s x Beehive “Pour Me a Slice” Cheese

Our wonderful pairing started out with Basil Hayden’s Sweetest Sting cocktail paired with Beehive Cheese Promontory, a Beehive staple; this full-bodied, lively cheese offers snappy, citrus-like fruity notes to fans. It warms on your tongue and leaves subtle sharp notes in your mouth. The citrus notes of the cheese complemented the extra dry bourbon, white port, simple syrup, orange bitters, sage leaves, and orange peel ingredients of the delicious cocktail.

 Promontory Cheese

The next pairing was Basil Hayden’s Dark Rye paired with Barely Buzzed, an American original cheese that’s hand-rubbed with lavender buds and coffee to impart notes of butterscotch and caramel into the cheese; perfect with a full-flavored, sipping spirit like the Dark Rye. The beauty of this cheese is for some the coffee stood out while others picked up more of the lavender.

Barely Buzzed Cheese

Last was the classic Basil Hayden’s Bourbon paired with the special-edition Basil Hayden’s X Beehive Cheese “Pour Me a Slice”. Made with Jersey cow’s milk, this semi-firm cheese infused with Basil Hayden’s Bourbon tastes sweet with a hint of spice.

Basil Hayden’s x Beehive “Pour Me a Slice” Cheese

We ended the spectacular evening celebrating Basil Hayden’s X Beehive Cheese “Pour Me a Slice” Cheese with a wealth of knowledge of cheese and how wonderful it is paired with bourbon. We got to go home with a set of small, personalized plates thanks once again to the artistic calligraphy talent of Nancy Moy; thanks to her, we went home with these wonderful hand-lettering decorated plates.

Nancy Moy Calligraphy

Now, we know most of you are used to wine and cheese pairings, but after falling head over heels for bourbon and cheese, we highly recommend getting yourselves a wedge of Basil Hayden’s X Beehive Cheese “Pour Me a Slice” Cheese and a bottle of  Basil Hayden’s Bourbon Whisky. We promise you won’t regret it.

Stuffed Puffs S'mores Kit

Stuffed Puffs S’mores Kit: The Perfect S’mores…Indoors

Quick question for all of you? Does the fall season make you think of camping? We know millions of people go camping in the summer but for us, the fall season always puts us in a camping state of mind. It could be the thought of being bundled up under the stars; sitting by a warm fire while there’s a slight chill in the air; roasting marshmallows in that fire to enjoy some smores. But of course, we live in a major metropolitan city and the only camping we’ve experienced is bundling up under the covers in our living room. Thankfully we can still enjoy some S’mores action indoors, thanks to the Stuffed Puffs S’mores Kit.

Stuffed Puffs S'mores Kit

This popular campfire treat is a century-old American tradition. The Stuffed Puffs S’mores Kit has reinvented the way we enjoy S’mores. The innovative marshmallow is filled with real chocolate. That’s right, Stuffed Puffs puts the chocolate inside the marshmallow, so “the chocolate melts while the marshmallow toasts.” It virtually guarantees a perfect S’more with less mess.

Stuffed Puffs S'mores Kit

Stuffed Puffs puts an end to the frustration of juggling marshmallows, chocolate bars, and graham crackers. Whether you’re around a campfire, hot grill, or stove. It eliminates the chunks of un-melted chocolate or uneven blending of chocolate and marshmallow that turns traditional s’more-making into a hit-or-miss adventure.

Stuffed Puffs S'mores

“The idea was born around a campfire,” said Michael Tierney. who graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park. NY in 2010. “But with Stuffed Puffs, 7 seconds in a microwave makes a great S’more. You can’t do that with traditional marshmallows and chocolate.”

Thanks to Stuffed Puffs S‘mores Indoors, your favorite taste of summer is now a year-round treat. The Stuffed Puffs S’mores Kit features a bag of Stuffed Puffs marshmallows and 2 sleeves of graham crackers (no chocolate bars needed).

“Stuffed Puffs is a simple idea. but very hard to execute. which is why it hasn’t been done before.” Tierney continued. “I spent seven years figuring out a truly innovative system that breaks the rules of traditional candy making. And s’mores is only the starting point. We are already at work on different flavor and coating combinations for a treat that’s as snackable as it is toastable.”

The Stuffed Puffs S’mores Kit is available online and at select WalMart stores across the country for only $5.48. You can also buy individual bags of Stuffed Puffs also available online and in-store at WalMart and other retailers.

Jarlsberg Cheeseburger

The Quest for the Perfect Cheeseburger on National Cheeseburger Day

The quest for the perfect cheeseburger is neverending. Luckily, this delicious search is a foodie’s dream, which is why it is celebrated every year on National Cheeseburger Day. To help settle the question on “what is the most perfect cheeseburger?”, Jarlsberg Cheese has teamed up with Internationally acclaimed chef Elizabeth Haigh for the second annual Global Burger Awareness campaign.

Jarlsberg Cheeseburger

Internationally acclaimed chef Elizabeth Haigh, who is considered one of the brightest shining stars on the London culinary scene, has made four burger recipes, each with an essential story: The Northern Temptation, The Nutty Mushroom Melt, The Orient Cheese Express, and The Korean Hot Bite. The Global Burger Awareness campaign will hit social media and stores from July 15 to September 15th. It showcases the excitement and versatility of Jarlsberg Cheese, the mild, nutty and delicious cheese that compliments everything. Check out the four exciting cheeseburgers below and click on their titles for complete recipes from Jarlsberg. These are so perfect to honor National Cheeseburger Day, which falls on September 18th, 2019.

The Northern Temptation Burger

Jarlsberg Cheese National Cheeseburger Day

The Nutty Mushroom Melt Burger

Jarlsberg Cheese National Cheeseburger Day

The Orient Cheese Express

Jarlsberg Cheese National Cheeseburger Day

The Korean Hot Bite

Jarlsberg Cheese National Cheeseburger Day

From July 15th until September 15th, cheeseburger fans will get the chance to enter to win exclusive Jarlsberg Cheese aprons and tongs every week. The grand prize winner will receive a Gourmet Grill so that they can re-create their favorite Jarlsberg Cheeseburgers, a great way to say goodbye to summer. Fans can triple their chance of winning by sharing their Jarlsberg cheeseburger at #Jarlsbergburger on Instagram.

Jarlsberg Cheese is wildly popular among foodies around the world for its nutty, mild, mellow and sweet flavor. Created in 1956 from an original Norwegian recipe, Jarlsberg continues to bring its unique flavor to some of your favorite cheese-based foods.

How will you be celebrating National Cheeseburger Day? Will you be trying one or more of these delicious Jarlsberg Cheeseburgers?

ShopRite’s Wholesome Pantry Organic Products

Snack Smarter With ShopRite’s Wholesome Pantry Organic Products

Do you know how many times you reach for a snack every day? Do you even pay attention? Is what you’re reaching for considered healthy? These are the questions we recently asked ourselves. There are times when we have been guilty of mindlessly snacking on whatever’s around. Let’s face it, snacking is part of our daily lives. It gives us the fuel we need to continue on through our day in between meals. The key is to make sure what you’re snacking on is good for you. Luckily we have wonderfully healthy snack options like ShopRite’s Wholesome Pantry line of award-winning organic snacks.

ShopRite’s Wholesome Pantry Organic Products

What makes ShopRite’s Wholesome Pantry products so wonderful? Aside from the absence of 110 artificial ingredients and flavors, Wholesome Pantry products are free from artificial colors, and preservatives. Plus, all the products are USDA Certified Organic. The product range extends to nearly every aisle in the store, with sweet and salty offerings sure to satisfy your snack cravings. Whether you’re looking for organic dinner or snack options, the delicious products from Wholesome Pantry have all you need. Don’t just elevate the snacking experience, enhance it with these best-selling, USDA-certified organic items, and “free-from” products; all made with simple, clean ingredients.

ShopRite’s Wholesome Pantry Organic Products

We had the pleasure of getting better acquainted with some snacks from ShopRite’s Wholesome Pantry. We thoroughly enjoyed every bite of their best-selling and award-winning snacks. The Wholesome Pantry organic snacks we enjoyed included:

Organic Granola Squares Maple Pumpkin Seed with Sea Salt
Organic Granola Squares Oats and Honey
Organic Fruit and Nut Bar Cranberry Almond
Organic Sweet Potato Tortilla Chips
Organic Mango Slices
Organic Raw Cashews

There was no worrying about consuming any ingredients we couldn’t pronounce, just healthy, simple ingredients. If you’re looking for delicious, organic snacks that are free from everything unhealthy, these are the snacks for you.

Bantam Bagels Opening

Breakfast Changer: Bantam Bagels NEW Bleecker Street Shop

Over the last few years, we’ve heard so much about portion control and enjoying food in moderation. Especially with the studies that show childhood and adult obesity is on the rise. Because of this, many people have cut out a lot of their favorite foods and snacks; but this drastic change is not really necessary. Everything can be enjoyed in moderation. While attending the Summer Fancy Food Show, we were introduced to one food brand that is “changing the way you breakfast”, Bantam Bagels.

Bantam Bagels on Bleecker Street Bantam Bagels on Bleecker Street

What are Bantam Bagels? These “mounds of heaven” are mini filled bagel balls with cream cheese on the inside. It’s truly the most unique and exciting way to eat an authentic New York bagel. Founded by husband and wife team, Nick and Elyse Oleksak, Bantam Bagels come in all your favorite bagels varieties and a few new ones.

Bantam Bagels Bantam Bagels Bantam Bagels

The varieties include Plain, Sesame, Onion, Everything, Cinnamon Sugar, Pizza Seasoned, Cinnamon Nutmeg, and Pretzel. The fillings include plain Cream Cheese, Cinnamon Swirl Cream Cheese, Chocolate Chip Cream Cheese, Veggie Cream Cheese, Maple Cream Cheese, Marinara Mozzarella Cream Cheese, Jalapeno Cheddar Cheese, Scallion Cream Cheese, and Cheddar Dijon Cream Cheese.

Bantam Bagels OpeningBantam Bagels

These delicious homemade bagels, which originated in the couple’s Brooklyn apartment, has made appearances on ABC’s Shark Tank and QVC; and now you can enjoy to your heart’s content at their wonderful flagship at 283 Bleecker Street in New York. As we mentioned before, we were first introduced to Bantam Bagels at the Summer Fancy Food Show. It was love at first bite when Elyse invited us over to her booth to indulge. We’ve been addicted ever since.

Bantam Bagels Shop Elyse Oleksak of Bantam Bagels

From the moment you step inside the store, you’ll be treated like family by Elyse and her amazing team. You’ll also delight in the newest additions to their product line, Breakfast Bagels, an egg bagel stuffed with cheddar cheese cream cheese, Egg Bites, and Bantam Pancakes.

Bantam Egg Bites Bantam Pancakes

We can’t sing the praises of these delicious, fun-size bagels enough. Trust us when we say once you take one bite of any of the varieties of Bantam Bagels products, you’ll never go back to regular-sized bagels again.

The Original Colonel Popper Silicone Microwave Popcorn Popper

What’s Poppin’!: Colonel Popper Silicone Microwave Popcorn Popper

If you’ve ever purchased microwave popcorn then you’ve one or all of the following: lots of unpopped kernels, burnt popcorn, heat burns from trying to open the bag, and very oily hands. What if you can enjoy a great bowl of popcorn without the typical hassles microwave popcorn? Thanks to the original Colonel Popper Silicone Microwave Popcorn Popper, you absolutely can.

The Original Colonel Popper Silicone Microwave Popcorn Popper

Whether you’re making popcorn at home or work or dorm room, the portable Colonel Popper Silicone Microwave Popcorn Popper is ideal for mess-free popcorn enjoyment. It is super durable, safe, and eco-friendly. After using it once, you’ll never want to make popcorn without a Colonel Popper again. Made from durable food-grade silicone, the 100% BPA Free, Colonel Popper passes the silicone pinch test. Say goodbye to those unhealthy microwave popcorn bags with harmful chemicals that burn easily. Enjoy popcorn your way for a fraction of the cost. That’s right, this budget-friendly, microwaveable bowl is easy on your wallet and your waist.

Colonel Popper's Classic Silicone Popcorn Popper

There are so many flavor possibilities with using this silicone microwave popcorn bowl. You can prepare popcorn with or without oil (choose olive, peanut, sunflower, or coconut oil); enjoy it plain or seasoned (did you know plain popcorn is only 31 calories?), sweet or savory, or recreate the good old movie theater popcorn taste. In fact, you can use any popcorn kernels you want! The Colonel Popper Silicone Microwave Popcorn Popper makes up to 14 cups of popcorn. Make enough for yourself or for large family or friend gatherings. Because it’s made from the highest grade silicone, you can reuse the dishwasher safe bowls over and over for years.

Colonel Popper's Transparent Silicone Popcorn

The silicone popcorn maker comes in eight colors; four classics (blue, gray, green, and red) and four transparent (Colonel Red, Fresh Mint, Glacier Blue, and Neon Green). We love that the transparent bowls allow you to see your popcorn popping. All the bowls boast convenient grab handles, so you won’t burn your fingertips removing your popcorn from your microwave oven. The collapsible popcorn popper stores away at merely 2″ so it frees up your counter and cupboard space. Treat yourself or a fellow popcorn lover to years of delicious, healthy popcorn for $14.97 on www.shopcolonelpopper.com.

Summer Fancy Food Show Trends

Feast On This: Top Food Trends To Follow For The Rest Of 2019

In recent years, the food industry has become much more conscious of all aspects of food, in part, thanks to the wants of the consumer; whether it’s in terms of nutrition, sourcing, or production, more consumers are growing increasingly cognizant of what they’re putting in their bodies. The World Health Organization recommends that we consume at least five portions of both fruits and vegetables each day. This is something we’ve known since learning elementary school nutrition, yet it’s theoretically easier to digest than it is in practice. However, more of the food industry is conjuring creatively delicious ways to match culinary excellence with nutritionally substantial foods. Let’s look at a few food trends that are leading this movement.

Junkfood Alternatives

For many of us, the puffed snacks we grew up with quickly became love at first bite. In lieu of the traditional starchy options, however, more people than ever have begun to indulge in puffed snacks made from vegetables for that veritable crunch.

Summer Fancy Food 2019 Show Trends

Between quinoa, chickpeas, and beets, researchers have used nearly every vegetable on the market to craft healthy snack alternatives. When many people can’t help but eat an entire bag of their favorite puffs, these snacks help make you feel a little better about indulging every once in a while. One popular puff snack company called Vegan Rob’s has even made puffs with spinach, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower.

Specialty Foods

Each year, the Specialty Food Association holds the Sofi Awards to honor the best in specialty food products from around the globe, as well as highlight food trends. This March and April, more than 2,000 entries were sampled in a blind taste test by 58 experts in the industry.

“For 47 years, the Sofi Awards have identified the best of the best within the specialty food industry. This year, we’re incredibly proud to recognize so many fantastic products across so much of our membership,” notes Phil Kafarakis, the current president of the SFA. “Our 2019 winners are passionate industry leaders creating exceptional, innovative specialty foods. They’re what’s driving excitement among retailers, foodservice, and consumers, and fueling our industry’s growth. It’s a delicious time for us all!”

2019 Sofi Awards Winners

During these changing times, it’s more important than ever to invest in product innovation. The winner was announced at the 65th Annual Summer Fancy Food Show in early July. Among the other 154 Sofi winners, Mom’s Magic Masala All-Purpose Indian Fusion Spice Blend became the victor after 12 days of sampling and tasting.

Minimal Ingredients

But some say it’s important to work smarter and not harder. After all, up to 92% of Americans claim that vacation time is important to them. Among the creative specialty foods on display, Sofi judges also applauded the countless vegetable-based substitutes and sustainable products offered at the show.

Summer Fancy Food Show 2019 Trends

In 2019, many are saying that less is more. While 88% of Americans claim to eat whole seafood for the health benefits, it’s also the simplicity of the dish that truly draws a crowd. With only a few additions and seasonings, Cajun dishes and seafood are transformed with just a little spice. When the recent Summer Fancy Food Show held by the Specialty Food Association witnessed more than 2,500 exhibitors from around the world, judges were eager to sample some of the tastiest specialty foods around.

Summer Fancy Food Show Trends

Amidst the crowd of more than 30,000 attendees, guests and judges were able to sample more than 200,000 foods and beverages at the event. One of the most popular items even featured whole hibiscus flowers, nuance judges haven’t seen before. With only a few select ingredients and long shelf life, it was no wonder this dish drew a crowd. The “Fan Favorite,” however, could only go to the serrano pepper-based Bronx Green Hot Sauce made by Small Axe Pepper.

Summer Fancy Food Show Trends

It just goes to show that less truly can be more.

Collagen

Between aging and sun damage, there is a multitude of factors that can adversely affect your skin. In fact, more than 66% of adults believe that the sun can’t harm them while indoors but this couldn’t be further from the truth. That’s why a growing number of skincare aficionados are opting for collagen-rich foods to improve the appearance of their skin.

Collagen Food Trends

Some people have even invested in collagen powders to help get their daily boost of skin hydration. According to nutritionist Amy Savage, this option actually does work for improving skin elasticity.

“Collagen is everywhere right now from powders to bars to drinks,” she explains. “There is scientific evidence to support the use of collagen for anti-aging — improving skin elasticity and hydration; but you might also see it being promoted for a number of other benefits such as gut healing, none of which are actually backed by scientific research.”

Even though it’s illegal to discriminate against employees over the age of 40 in the workplace, it’s not uncommon for the aging individual to miss their youthful skin. If you’re one of the many people who want to improve their skin, try eating more citrus, chicken, and fish for a boost of vitamin C. This vitamin is critical in aiding your body’s natural collagen production.

From skincare to specialty foods to healthier alternatives, there are countless food trends taking 2019 by storm. Choosing the best option depends on what you value in the perfect product. Try out these food trends to improve your health when you want to eat and be merry.