Sucking on a See’s Candies Cafe Latte lollypop. Yep, that’s exactly what I’m doing this minute to channel my inner chocolate beast and write this post. Do I need to do that, No… but it extends my a.m. coffee and is a good lead-in for the subject at hand: a holiday gift that we (and our friends and relatives) would sorely miss if there wasn’t that familiar-sized box all wrapped in red under the tree.
I’m talking about the iconic See’s Candies who has been delivering deliciousness since 1921 in the great state of California. While they’ve grown to over 200 stores, See’s happily continues to make candy Mary See’s way, using only the finest ingredients – with no added preservatives. Ever.
At the recent Grand Opening of See’s new concept store in Tustin Marketplace their motto: American-made. Always. Since 1921. is emblazoned above the vintage candy store scene set against sparkling white walls and their signature black and white tiles.
The new Tustin store is big news because its twice the size of the over 200 See’s retail stores. Orange County is one of their highest sales areas and Tustin Marketplace is a central and very busy shopping and entertainment mecca with close proximity to the 5 Freeway. We’re so lucky to have this store in our midst! You know how bad the lines can be during the holidays – and let’s not forget Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day.
How is it different?
* More candy and more registers for faster checkout.
* Two candy counters instead of one for building more Custom Mix boxes.
* Double the floorspace to accommodate shoppers during busy seasons.
I have my favorites (Nuts & Chews and Toffee-ettes) and at the media preview guests were able to savor chocolates expertly paired with California wines. After that experience my favorites have expanded to include Peanut Brittle paired with Muscat. A delightful dessert treat with or without the Muscat! We can expand beyond chocolate, right? I also liked the Pinot Grigio paired with Key Lime – refreshing, tart and like a burst of sunshine in your mouth.
Celebrating along side us were See’s Candies President Brad Kinstler, Brand Manage Natalie Brown and a handful of district and area managers. This was a really Big Deal for See’s and I’m happy that I could be there to learn about the history of the company and quirky bits of trivia like See’s holds the record for World’s Largest Lollypop (weighing in at over 7,000 pounds and over 16 feet tall) as declared in the Guinness Book of World Records record for the largest.
See’s is one of the few remaining candy makers that still ages their chocolate, a process that imparts a smooth, mellow flavor profile and elevates the taste of the chocolate overall. Are you a Bordeaux lover? Then you have a full appreciation of See’s aging process. Pictured above is a happy chocolate lover donning the See’s hat and three of the red wines selected for the deep dark chocolates Bordeaux, Dark Raspberry Truffle and Caramel Patties.
Another piece of trivia: Lucille Ball trained at See’s for the hilarious I Love Lucy episode where she and Ethel are working on the line at a chocolate factory (inspired by the See’s L.A. plant) and comically unsuccessful at keeping pace with the stream of chocolates. So classic, if you have never seen it, you’re missing out!
Did you know that See’s Candies are über popular in Hong Kong and Japan? When College Girl was studying in Japan, she brought a gift of See’s Candies to her host family. It’s customary to bring a gift that represents your country or speaks to the culture of your area and she was a little surprised at how excited they were to receive this box of chocolates. The See’s Candies were a huge hit and quickly devoured – especially, obaasan (grandmother) couldn’t get enough. We sent another box to thank them for their hospitality before she left to come home
Until the grand opening of See’s new concept store in Tustin Marketplace, I thought See’s Candies were only in California, but they’ve delighted the East with Mary See’s candy kitchens in Hong Kong, Macau, Taipei, Taiwan and Tokyo, Japan. (Maybe that’s why the Japanese hosts were so excited – they live in small mountain town near Mt. Fuji and may have heard about See’s Candies.) Here in the states, there are no stores east of Chicago, but there are plans for expansion into states like Florida, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and in Washington D.C.
Hot Tip: While doing research for this post, I discovered their “Countdown to Christmas” contest – daily prize winners and a chance to win the Grand Prize: a lifetime of See’s Candies delivered in the form of See’s Candies Gift Cards totaling $6,500, which is equivalent to 1 lb. of See’s chocolates every month for 30 years! Hop on over there and enter – if you win, you can thank me with a chocolate donation; my favorite is the Victoria Toffee or the Nuts & Chews gift box 😉
Counting today, there are eight more shopping days, you can order online and avoid ALL the crowds, buy from one of their seasonal kiosks at the mall, or grab a shopping buddy and visit a See’s Candies near you – where every visit is rewarded with a free sample of your choice!
210 El Camino Real
Tustin, CA, 92780