Yellow Cream Filling, Flowers & Bunnies – Springtime Oreos & the Oreo Anniversary Series, One Year Later!

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I have to say, I have impeccable timing.  Almost a year to the day of Oreo’s 100th Anniversary (March 6, 2012), I stumble on their gorgeous, bright, happy and cheerful, brand spankin’ new springtime Oreos!  Yes, springtime Oreos!  Adorned with butterflies, flowers, bumblebees, smiling suns, and frogs and lily pads on the cookies on the outside and special yellow cream filling on the inside.  Yellow, one of my favourite colours.  Yellow, the sunny colour that makes me happy.  And now the colour of a special edition Oreo filling.  Sigh.  This makes me happy.

I don’t know if these special seasonal, springtime treats are released every year or not but they’re certainly brand new and shiny to me and I LOVE THEM.  Even though I know there are folks who moan and groan about special edition items and dislike the concept of releasing things that aren’t permanent or readily available (trust me, I’ve grumbled over my fair share of special edition items that were out of my reach in my time), stuff like this is just pure fun and happiness.

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And where did I find this bundle of yummy sunshine?  At Uncle John’s Candy Shack on Mount Pleasant Road, one of my favourite candy shops and speciality stories in the city!  It’s been a very long time since I last posted photos from the shop (almost two years!) and I really missed just popping into the store every once in awhile to see what new goodies were ripe for the picking.  I missed scoping out the flavoured Kit-Kats and M&Ms and ogling the collectible tins so I finally told myself to stop beating around the bush and just GO.  So I did, 2 weekends ago.  And I was rewarded.  With Oreos!  And you know, St. Patrick’s Day themed candies and merchandise, cute-as-a-button Easter sweets, and pastels.  Lots and lots of pastels!

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To be clear though, these Oreos are for novelty.  They don’t taste any different from regular Oreos; they’re just etched with cute designs and filled with a sunny yellow cream filling (can you imagine if the filling tasted like banana or lemon?!  Hmmm, something to chew on…).  I don’t care though.  I love the way regular Oreos taste and these are such a treat to me because I always feel like we get the short end of the stick north of the border.  I was crestfallen when I couldn’t find the special Christmas Oreos with the red cream filling and Santa etched on the cookies; they were so cute.  So this is kind of like an Oreo redemption.  I’d say there are about 36 cookies in the package (I haven’t taken the whole cookie tray out to count) and they’re $4.99 a pop.  Oreo lovers unite!

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Uncle John’s Candy Shack is located at 635 Mount Pleasant Rd. in between Eglinton and Davisville Ave.

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Say It With Chocolate – Celebrating Valentine’s Day With M&M Goodies and Heart-Shaped Tins!

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It’s the night of Valentine’s and as I am writing this, I am sitting on my couch wrapped in my fuzzy red blanket, quietly reminiscing about Valentine’s past and the fun and sweet Valentine’s memories I made today and over the past week.  Decked out in dangly heart earrings, heart printed socks, and my little red jacket, I spent the day with my other half where we enjoyed heart shaped veggie pizza, cookies and cream Hershey Kisses, and dvd episodes of Big Bang Theory.  A day of love and fun much like any other, but special, loving, and heartfelt nonetheless.  Valentine’s Day is quite the commercial occasion, yes, but it’s also a day to acknowledge and reflect on love in all its beautiful forms.  It’s a day to have fun and a day to remind all of us of all the people, pets, and things in our life that warm our hearts and bring us joy. 

In that vein, humour me while I rattle off some reasons why I love Valentine’s:

  1. everything is decked out in red, pink, and white (and the occasional purple)
  2. everything is printed with cute hearts
  3. Valentine’s restaurant menus are fun to look at (not so much fun to pay for, but fun in a creative and thematic way!)
  4. Valentine’s themed accessories and jewelry fit effortlessly into my wardrobe (I wear heart necklaces and earrings, and both my rainbow and hot pink-and-gray heart printed argyle socks all year round)
  5. Valentine’s themed stationery, kitchen, home decor, and baking accessories are too darling not to love
  6. the classic “I Choo-Choo-Choose You” Simpsons episode is one of the best things to ever grace cartoon television
  7. kiddie Valentine’s in general (don’t tell me you never gave your friends and classmates Lion King, Disney Princess, Looney Tunes, Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Spiderman, Animanics, Winnie the Pooh, Hello Kitty, and/or Casper the Friendly Ghost valentine cards!)
  8. my best friend, who’s a kindergarten teacher, gets to celebrate Valentine’s with her little ones in kindergarten party fashion complete with crafts, edible goodies, and the quintessential paper baggy card exchange
  9. Valentine’s desserts.  Enough said.
  10. it is yet another occasion ridiculously devoted to chocolate!  Unless you are like my best friend and allergic, this works in your favour. 

And it is here that I will focus on Reason #10.  Everyone is a different type of Valentine’s candy person.  Some get giddy over the cheesy conversation hearts while others will enjoy the bright red spicy cinnamon hearts by the fistful.  Then there are the chocolate enthusiasts.  You know who you are.  The ones who will scarf down an entire box in one night, or the folks who show up at the shops first thing in the morning on February 15th, ready to roll with a shopping basket and a thirst (or rather, appetite) for chocolate on sale.  In those chocolicious moments, the whole world is right.  For some, there is no better way to express love than saying it with chocolate. 

I fall under the second category.  The culprits?  Cookies and cream Hershey Kisses and any and all M&Ms.  You are all aware of my love affair with M&Ms and the pride and joy that is my M&M tin collection!  Imagine my happy dance then when I found a brand new, heart-shaped M&Ms candy tin for Valentine’s Day!  With my favourite green girl M&M on it!  In my chocolate universe, it doesn’t get any better than that.  I know chocolate sales are ubiquitous the day after Valentine’s, but I’ve been through many heartbreaking situations in my life where I would hem and haw about an item, wistfully walk away for the time being, and come back to it only to find it gone.  It’s an awful habit of mine and given how dearly beloved these M&Ms tins are to me, there was no way I was about to take that chance again.  Especially considering they were only available at Pharma Plus drug stores!

In addition to the heart-shaped tin and the coconut M&Ms I love so much, I found myself mint dark chocolate ones too!  After paying a visit to Yonge Market a few weeks ago (where I found the coconut M&Ms at their least expensive last summer – only $0.99 a bag!) and finding out they didn’t have any of the coconut ones, I made my way back to Uncle John’s Candy Shack on Mount Pleasant Rd.  I picked up a baggy of coconut M&Ms and was absolutely ecstatic when I found out they had new mint dark chocolate ones! 

I’ve been so jealous of my American counterparts who have special flavours like strawberry and raspberry, so it felt so nice to find a new flavour I had never encountered before.  They’re $1.49/bag and although the price has gone up by $0.10 since last summer, it’s still less expensive than several other candy shops around the city who sell them for $1.59, $1.79, and even for $1.99!  I am dying to rip open all my M&M candy packages and devour all the goodness inside, but part of me really wants to save them to use for cookies.  Who knew Valentine’s could put me in such a chocolate predicament?  If I bake them in cookies, you will see them and hear about them.  If I eat them all, you’ll just see a very happy me.  Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone, from my heart to yours!

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Uncle John’s Candy Shack is located at 635 Mount Pleasant Rd. between Eglinton and Davisville Ave., just north of Manor Rd.

Candy, Candy, and More Candy! Novelty Flavours and Sweets & The Elusive Coconut M&Ms: Part II

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I’m so excited to finally make this post!  I discovered the coconut M&Ms a year ago and never even thought to do a blog post until the past week when the little lightbulb inside my head went off.  I have friends and friends of friends who have been aching for coconut M&Ms for eons and who’ve been searching for them high and low.  For those of you who love M&Ms the way I do and who adore novelty flavours of candies, this is for you!  And for those of you who believe these sweet morsels of chocolate aren’t available in Canada, I have two words: YOU’RE WRONG 😀  Now, I can’t speak for the entire country but they’re definitely available in Toronto and in more than one location!  I know I say this all the time, but exploring the city till my feet are sore is worth it when I find gems like these.  My discovery of coconut M&Ms (and pretzel and strawberry peanut butter!) was entirely accidental and I found them in two different shops on two different occasions. 

I’m actually really looking forward to turning this into a series for the blog, profiling different candy shops, chocolatiers, and specialty markets.  It’d be a great way to showcase some of the novelty stuff in and around the city and c’mon, who doesn’t love looking at colourful candy and snacks?!  If you enjoyed yesterday’s and today’s post, you’ll love the photos I have for you all tomorrow!  Hint: more M&M love. 

Here’s the deal: I’m going to keep poking around to see if other places in the city sell them, but for the time being, I have two places for you all to go to for that coconut M&M fix.  If you read and browsed through yesterday’s post, you would have realized that I posted all those photos for a reason, because Uncle John’s Candy Shack is one of them!  Uncle John’s is an amazing uptown candy shop located at 635 Mount Pleasant Rd. between Eglinton and Davisville Ave.  I made this foodie discovery last year while walking up and down Mount Pleasant from St. Clair to Eglinton and I was overjoyed to find such an amazing place with a selection of goodies as big as theirs. 

Canadian, American, British, they’ve got it!  Coconut Twix bars, strawberry creme Tic Tacs, containers of mini ORANGE KIT KATS *breathes into a paper bag*.  They have a HUGE assortment of candies, chocolates, biscuits, cookies, teas, collector’s items, and other novelties.  I have to put a mental strait jacket on myself when I’m there because I want to walk away with SO much stuff.  I’m actually whimpering a bit right now because I want to go back for my container of orange Kit Kats.  And maybe a pack of those strawberry peant butter M&Ms.  Sigh.

Now, if you’re looking for a location that’s smack dab within the downtown core, you’re in luck!  Yonge Market, located at 506 Yonge St., north of Grosvenor St. and south of Breadalbane St. (so in between College and Wellesley St. if main roads help you visualize better) has these coveted coconut M&Ms right by cash where all the candies and chocolates are.  

This discovery was made just two weeks ago and was I ever excited to hit the jackpot on this one!  It’s a little supermarket for crying out loud, who would have known??  Unless you just happened to want groceries, you’d seriously pass by this place without a second glance or thought.  Because really, how many of us hang out in the downtown core with the full intention of buying groceries?  I bet you not many, if any at all.  But!  My mom and I saw an amazing deal for blackberries (3 for $5, bring it on baby) and went in and that’s when I saw them.

Is there a price difference?  Yes.  The ones at Uncle John’s sell for $1.39 a pack and the ones at Yonge Market sell for $0.99., so a $0.40 difference.  Obviously, if you love candy shops and want to pick up a bunch of different things that you can’t get elsewhere, you might not care as much about the price difference.  However, if all you want are the coconut M&Ms and the convenience of grabbing them downtown, Yonge Market is your place to go.  And the coconut M&Ms are adorable! 😀  They have brown, white, and bright green ones and some of them have little prints of palm trees and flowers alongside and surrounding the ‘M’ logo stamp.  They’re sweet and yummy and coconut-y and awesome.  Oh, and did I also tell you that the green M&M girl is my favourite?  These coconut M&Ms make me giddy! 😀  So if you’ve been looking for these and yearning for them, I have one word for you: GO!    

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Uncle John’s Candy Shack is located at 635 Mount Pleasant Rd. in between Eglinton and Davisville Ave., and Yonge Market is located at 506 Yonge, north of Grosvenor St. in the downtown core.

Candy, Candy, and More Candy! The Elusive Coconut M&Ms, Part I

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Given the title of the post, you all know what this photo teaser post is alluding to 😉  I may not eat candy on a regular basis, but that sure as hell doesn’t mean I don’t squeal like a 4-year-old when I’m surrounded by canisters and shelves full of M&Ms, Almond Joy bars, colourful bags of Skittles, and my personal favourite, Fuzzy Peaches!  I know everyone has their candy and chocolate weaknesses and chomping on the bit on some fruity tutti sweets or fudgy morsels is just half the fun.  The novelty and nostalgia of candy and candy shops hits us all.  It’s fun remembering the goodies we used to eat when we were kids, it’s fun reminiscing about old favourites that are no longer with us but are instead in sugar coma heaven, and it’s fun finding flavours we never knew even existed! 

I can’t tell you how many friends have oohed and ahhed over my Japanese Yan-Yans growing up, how many Aero bars I have sent across the border and overseas to friends, and how many bags of Skittles my friends and I used to share in high school.  Oh, and don’t even get me started on Chupa Chups lollipops!  I remember how much my friends and I adored Fun Dip in elementary school and how much I loved Ring Pops because of the way it resembled colourful jeweled jelly.  I remember how jubilant I was when putting together candy goody bags for a birthday party years and years ago and how funny my friends were when they unleashed their inner child over them: “do you wanna trade?  Oh my god, Rockets!  Forget taking this home, I’m eating this now!”  It’s one of the reasons why writing this blog is so fun.  You get to reminisce but at the same time talk about things that are still fresh and relevant.

It’s absolutely fascinating and so much fun seeing how different candy and chocolate production is in different regions of the world and seeing the different products and flavours that are offered.  I’m telling you, it blows my mind seeing nearly 50 flavours of Lays chips and being able to get my hands (and my sweet teeth!) on flavoured Kit Kats like green tea, orange, banana, and white chocolate!  Candy and chocolate certainly isn’t the healthiest of treats, but it’s definitely the funnest and the treats that generate the most giddiness and nostalgic discussion.  Enjoy the photos, I have an awesome (if I do say so myself) post for you guys tomtomorrow’s post is going to be gooood 😉

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Uncle John’s Candy Shack is located at 635 Mount Pleasant Rd. between Eglinton and Davisville Ave., just north of Manor Rd.