Scotch Diamonds for Valentine’s Day


First of all, THANK YOU to everyone who filled out the survey for BonBonBar‘s Valentine’s Day offerings. It’s been great to go through the results for the empirical data, but really, I live for the suggestions and comments! All of the thoughtfulness and support just plain makes me feel good and bubbly.

I thought I’d share a bit about the responses… and respond to some of them myself, because a lot of them bring up issues that I’ve been trying to figure out.

63% of respondents were from CA, with about 5-8% in each of the other regions of the US and 9% from outside of the US. I was a bit surprised that 91% of respondents were women… and 58% said that they would most want the Scotch Diamonds for Valentine’s Day and 70% said that they would be most likely to buy them. For those new to the game, Scotch Diamonds will be based on my Scotch Bar.

The Peach Brandy option came in second — at about 13% for both questions — and the Strawberry Tequila and Orange Rum were just about tied, and not too far behind. The rest were suggestions, about 16%.

I still think that Scotch is a little risky, especially for men buying for women, but I’m willing to accept that… especially because I happen to find the bar completely delicious. I did get a lot of responses along the lines of “Unlike many other women, I love scotch,” so I will write the description with that in mind. And maybe women who are looking for presents for men will buy them. Also, the Caramel Nut and Malt Bars will still be available, as well as marshmallows and hot chocolate, so there will still be other options.

And here are my responses to some of the suggestions… Idiosyncratic, to be sure, but if we were having a casual conversation, this is what I would say…

Non-alcohol – I do tend towards being a lush when it comes to this. I love the taste of alcohol, and I think that alcohol-based candy bars in stores (such as… liquor stores) would be unique indeed. But I respect that not everyone likes or can have alcohol, and in the future, I hope to have a specialty Valentine’s Day bar that’s not alcohol-based. Again, though, there will be non-alcoholic options for sale.

Raspberry – Every time I have raspberry and chocolate together I’m reminded of how fantastic the combination truly is. It’s a classic for a reason. But here’s my dilemma: I can’t find a source for organic, seasonal raspberries in the LA area. They don’t grow well here naturally, probably b/c it doesn’t get cold enough for them. And yes, I am aware of the booth at the Santa Monica Farmers market that sells conventional raspberries, but I once bought absolutely horrible figs from them that they had fully endorsed… and I can’t trust them again yet.

I can recognize that I’m idiosyncratic about this. I do use ingredients that are neither from California nor organic. But with fruit, my reasoning is that since I have so many options at the farmers markets here, I don’t feel quite right about using non-organic and non-local fruits in my bars. I will keep looking, though.

Peanut Butter – Another dilemma. I’ve come to terms with the fact it’s ok that peanuts do not grow in CA, but apparently, there are a lot of issues with growing them anywhere. They are very susceptible to a certain type of mold, but the mold can be controlled with pesticides. So, my options seem to boil down to peanuts with either possible mold or possible pesticide issues. I really hope to figure this one out, too, since I love peanut butter and this would probably be a very popular bar, but again, this is a sourcing issue. I’m probably being extreme about this — peanut-products are everywhere, aren’t they? — but I can’t quite come to terms with it for my own company yet.

Strawberry, Rhubarb, Cherry – YES! Someday soon, but not sure if it could be ready in time for this Valentine’s day, though. Since these are out of season now — and jams and liqueurs “extend” the seasons of fruit — I am going to plan for a strawberry or cherry bar next year. I don’t have enough of the cherry brandy that I made last year, and I have to figure out how work with my strawberry jams so that bars made with them turn out consistently. PS – Extra credit for rhubarb.

Hazelnuts – I think my coffee bar with hazelnuts will do hazelnuts justice. I’m still coming to terms with hazelnuts. A year ago, I would have dismissed this with a “I hate hazelnuts, and would never knowingly put them into my food.” I said that at least three times in ’07. BUT I’ve realized that I generally like (organic) hazelnuts grown in Oregon. Most hazelnuts are grown in Turkey, and they’re generally small and wrinkly, slightly larger than peas. The varieties of hazelnuts in Oregon tend to be larger and smoother, like marbles with a pointy end. Their flavor is also smoother and sweeter, without that bitter, um, stale flavor that used to ruin my day. Anyway, what I mean to say is: Yes, I’m cool with hazelnuts. And if you’re in LA, the Coop in Santa Monica is a great place to get hazelnuts from Oregon in small quantities.

Pate de Fruits – Conversely, I used to champion pate de fruits, but now that I’ve become so enamored with fresh fruit, I’m off the pate bandwagon. Pate de fruits generally need added pectin and a base of apricot/apple/pear to set properly, and now I feel that those flavors are too strong in the final product. I think that some fruits might be able to make a pure pate, so I will look into that. I am all for the texture. But I also feel weird putting “pate de fruits” or “gelee” on a candy bar wrapper. I can accept “ganache,” though. Go figure.

Kumquat & Persimmon – In combination. Perhaps not a V-Day flavor, but I think this is could be an interesting flavor that I really want to taste. And the season is now.

Pretzels – Love them. Will hope to make them myself, but am ok with buying organic pretzels to use. Will definitely be in the Beer Bar, and maybe in another product,too.

13 Responses to “Scotch Diamonds for Valentine’s Day”

  1. Jen in SF Says:

    Thanks for the recap of the survey! I’m looking forward to some Scotch Diamonds.

  2. Mimi Says:

    About your peanut dilemna. I wonder if an almond butter bar would work? Almonds are widely grown in California and if it works it would make for a unique bar. (Although roasted whole or chopped almonds would probably always be better than almond butter).

  3. Mimi Says:

    After, I hit enter, I had a thought. You could use almonds to make torrone. Better yet, chocolate covered torrone!! Yum!

  4. Nina Says:

    Jen – Sure! Thanks so much for your feedback!

    Mimi – You know, I’d thought about another nut butter earlier this week, but my mind only got as far as pecans and walnuts and stopped…. so now that you mention almond butter, it makes complete sense! The peanut butter bar contains strawberry jam, honey, and caramel… all of which are fantastic with almonds. And I love the idea of keeping the nut from California. I tasted some amazing new-to-me almonds a couple weeks ago that are grown in Paso Robles that might be perfect.

    I don’t know how popular almond butter has become, but people do love almonds… so as long as my weak food processor is up to the challenge, it would be a unique twist that might just work. I’ll send you samples if it does! Thanks!

  5. dreamsicle Says:

    I used to really hate nuts but am starting to appreciate the wonderful fragrance they impart to chocolate confections, as in gianduja or praline. Pretzels sound good … have you considered chocolate-dipped items like chocolate-covered pretzels, potato chips and tortilla chips? Those are addictive!!!

  6. cybele Says:

    I don’t love a lot of pate de fruit, but Boule does do a fantastic kalamansi one. I think the best ones are for fruits that have super-intense flavors like raspberry or grapefruit.

    When will the scotch diamonds go on sale? I’m ready to place my order!

  7. cybele Says:

    Oh, I almost forgot. I really like spelt pretzels lately. (Organic from Newman’s Own.) They’re a bit drier and crispier than regular pretzels, which may be a good choice as an inclusions to maintain texture.

  8. Nina Says:

    Dreamsicle – I have considered them, but I’d feel guilty about featuring them as prominent products without having made them totally myself. I’ll see what I can work out.

    Cybele – I’ll have to try the kalamansi one. I think my favorite pat de fruits is the passion fruit from Charles Chocolate b/c you’re right — the super-intense flavor masks the others.

    I’ll have to try the spelt pretzels. It’s so weird how my palate is developing… wheat seems kind of boring lately. I even bought corn and quinoa pasta yesterday to make macaroni & cheese with, and really liked it.

  9. Nina Says:

    Dreamsicle – I have considered them, but I’d feel guilty about featuring them as prominent products without having made them totally myself. I’ll see what I can work out.

    Cybele – I’ll have to try the kalamansi one. I think my favorite pat de fruits is the passion fruit from Charles Chocolate b/c you’re right — the super-intense flavor masks the others.

    I’ll have to try the spelt pretzels. It’s so weird how my palate is developing… wheat seems kind of boring lately. I even bought corn and quinoa pasta yesterday to make macaroni & cheese with, and really liked it.

    And I’m planning on putting the diamonds on sale early next week, to start shipping on Feb 4.

  10. Julie Says:

    Mmm … all this almond talk reminds me of how much I adore frangipane and marzipan.

    I was in the nonalcoholic group, but I’d try your Scotch Diamonds and will keep an eye out for them on your Web site. I received your sampler pack in the mail a couple of weeks ago, and it didn’t last long, everything was so tasty! Your candy bars really had a mature taste, and I enjoyed them immensely!

  11. Courtney Says:

    When can we buy these wonderful sounding (and looking) Scotch Bars/Diamonds? I’m trying to get ahead of the curve for V-day this year!

    Thanks!

  12. Courtney Says:

    Well, nevermind. I acutally just took the time to finish reading through these posts and saw that you will be putting them on sale. I’m ready to place my order too!

  13. Nina Says:

    Julie – Woohoo! I’m so happy that you liked everything! And I like the description of them as “mature.” 🙂 And yeah, I forgot to mention marzipan. I like it, but I I need a stronger food processor — a robot coupe — until I make marzipan right. I think that there’s a lot that can be done with flavoring marzipan, so a form of it should be in some bars some day.

    Courtney – So sorry I didn’t respond sooner!!! Yes, I am aiming to put them on the website on Tuesday, for shipping next Monday. 🙂

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