Bullet Point Sunday will have to wait (Bullet Point Monday?) because there's important stuff going on!
Every year Cologne hosts one of the largest candy shows on the face of the planet (called "ISM") which is a fascinating place to spend a day. There's hundreds of candy makers from around the world showing their latest creations and tempting you with handfuls of free samples. Some of the candies are deliciously familiar... others not so much.
My favorite candies are those that are just bizarre... either by concept or creation. There's candy made from insects. There's candy made from vegetables. There's candy made from gold (yes, real gold!). There's even candy that's made from Jack Daniels!
The show is so massive that I could spend an entire week blogging about it. Since my attention span is quite short, I'll just show a few highlights instead...
It's not just the candy that's sweet at the show... it's the samples. High-end chocolates that would cost you major bank to buy can be sampled free! Even better, they are often served up by total babes. There's not many things better than having beautiful women give you candy all day long. Sadly, there are people who really take advantage of this. The worst are those that bring a roller-suitcase, and grab handful after handful at every booth, stuffing their suitcase to overflowing without ever intending to buy anything.
Some of the major manufacturers have large booths that range from extravagant to clever. Fisherman's Friend (the throat lozenge guys) built a ship in the middle of their space that was way cool (they are also handing out colorful bags to everybody, which is really smart... their name is everywhere here now).
First you find candy that says "hello" to you, then you turn a corner and see candy giving you the finger.
Chocolate is, of course, everywhere. One booth hired a guy to carve statues out of chocolate. Another booth built a chocolate waterfall. One booth even has a chocolate volcano. Except there's a guy out front telling everybody "no pictures! no pictures!" To which I can only say WTF? I mean, why are you here if you aren't wanting people to get excited about your company? I took a picture anyway because I thought this was pretty stupid but, since they don't seem to want the publicity, I deleted it once I got back to my hotel.
Candy for Bad Monkey! Banana candy isn't seen much in the USA, but it seems to be popping up everywhere else. I found some chocolate-covered banana marshmallows that were tasty (even if they do look like little turds).
Some candy is just strange. I saw some "Russian Roulette" candy which featured a box filled with a bunch of delicious flavors... and one "bad" flavor. Since the candies aren't marked, you are literally playing Russian Roulette with the candy "bullets"... trying to avoid the piece that tastes like crap. And of course there was ass candy. You can't have a candy show without ass-pops.
Familiar faces show up from time to time... Hello Kitty is everywhere. Other characters are not so familiar (and kind of odd)... like Trolli's "Glotzer" gummy eye-ball guy (who I think is pretty nifty).
I thought this company had the right attitude. And cool packaging with their little "Munchy" guys.
Haribo had a kind of fashion show going on, where mannequins were dressed up in costumes made from their packaging. It's hard to see in this photo, but those are gold Gummi-Worm packages, and she has the candy worms in her hair. Awesome! I was rather shocked when Sexual Harassment Panda showed up... only to learn that it wasn't Sexual Harassment Panda after all... these guys are mascots for Panda licorice, which is a candy company in Finland.
EXTERMINATE! EX-TER-MIN-ATE! Apparently the Daleks have their own candy. I'm afraid to eat it though, because it could be just another plan to conquer the universe. And speaking of universal domination, the Haribo kid kind of looks like me. But he hangs out with a friendly giant golden bear instead of a bad-ass Bad Monkey, so I think Lil' Dave could take him in a fight.
And now, if you'll excuse me, some of the Belgian booths are cooking up fresh waffles(!) for sampling, and I mean to get me some. Then it's off to Scotland, because I loves me the Walker's Shortbread.
I sure hope I don't end up with a stomach ache tonight...