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Give Me Candy: 90th Annual RCI Convention Kicks Off in Kentucky

Tanja Kern for The Food Channel

The best things in life are sweet—particularly if you are a candy maker or supplier at the 90th Annual Retail Confectioners International Industry Expo now underway in Lexington, Kentucky. Or if you’re a reporter with a sweet tooth lucky enough to attend the show.


Here’s a short musical photo-montage tour of today’s show

 

Nearly 200 members descended upon the Lexington Convention Center this week to share and taste the latest in candy creations. Our Food Channel crew sampled as much as we could….the rest we stashed in our bags to take home and try later. Here’s a small taste of what we saw at the show on Day One.

  • Licorice-flavored caramels by Vande Walle’s Candies in Appleton, Wis. ‘These caramels are based on the original recipe Grandma Vande Walle used in her kitchen over 75 years ago,’ shares owner Steve Vande Walle. ‘When my father was a child, my grandma would make candy at home every weekend.’ Soft and chewy, the caramels are made in small batches using time-tested methods and wholesome ingredients like fresh cream and Grade AA Wisconsin butter.
  • Double-filled chocolate truffles from Madelaine Chocolates in Rockaway, N.Y. These scrumptious milk chocolate shells hold two flavors in one. Combinations include milk truffle and white truffle, raspberry and white truffle, creamy peanut butter and caramel, and raspberry and peanut butter. ‘It’s like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for adults,’ says Joan Sweeting, vice president of sales and marketing.

Well-heeled chocolate

  • Souderton, Pa.-based Asher’s Chocolates. Chocolate-covered nuts are a company specialty, and this year Asher’s has introduced a pecan coated in amaretto-flavored milk chocolate. The sweet almond-flavored Italian liqueur plays nicely with the pecan’s crunch.
  • Albanese Confectionery Group, Indiana, has gone crazy for gummies by launching new ‘mighty mango’-flavored and milk-chocolate-flavored gummy bears.
  • Sex and the City fans will go head over heels for the chocolate high heels by the Coblentz Chocolate Co. in Walnut Creek, Ohio. These nearly life-size shoes are decorated by hand in fun colors and were favorites for customers hosting Sex and the City movie parties. ‘Women are also buying them for wedding showers and as cake toppers for weddings,’ adds Mary Coblenz. Chocolatier Rhonda Dehn showcased her own version of the chocolate shoes packaged as a set of two in a white shoebox.

Click here for RCI Expo, DAY TWO

Our Top Ten Finds at the RCI Show

More RCI photos

_The Retail Confectioners International Annual Convention & Expo showcases products, services, innovative ideas and growth opportunities for chocolate and candy makers around the world. This year’s event takes place June 21–25 at the Hyatt Regency in Lexington, Ky. For more information, visit the association’s website at retailconfectioners.org