Sweets and Snacks Expo Day 1

Whew! What a day! Many thanks to Emma for playing Twitter master?and wearing out the #SSE12 tag. Here’s me after we sorted through our haul. Most of the full-sized salty snacks came in our swag bags. Super nice of them to give them to us, but probably too difficult to fly home.

After Emma and I split the goods and leave more with our Chicago host, we’ll be taking the extras back to the Expo and donating them to be sent to troops overseas. So nice that the Expo is providing that service!

Here are some candy interactions that really stood out today:

1. The Perugina booth, where a wonderful Italian man gave me one of every single chocolate bar in their line. Here’s how it went down:

Me: I’m a candy blogger. Could I get a bar to take home for reviewing?

Awesome Italian man: Sure. Which do you want? All of them?

Me: Okay!

As he started grabbing bar after bar, he seemed to realize that “all of them” was a lot of chocolate to hand to one person, but he was too nice to rescind his offer. So now I am the Perugina queen.

Perugina is probably best known for their Baci. Their new thing this year was a white chocolate Baci, identical to the original except for a white chocolate coating.

2. Ritter Sport was represented by a US importer call Euro-American Brands. I chatted up their Gourmet Grande Dame/Goddess of Swagger, who gave me a limited summer 2011 edition Amerena cherry, a rum raisin flavor, and a limited edition dark chocolate with peppermint.

After I dropped hints about how yogurt Ritter Sport was my favorite and gosh, just so hard to find in stores, she gave me one those too. Thanks, GGD!

Ritter Sport’s new thing for the states is individually wrapped small squares in a holiday-esque gift box, similar to these little guys, but in four flavors.

3. Jelina Chocolatier is a Canadian chocolate company in search of a US distributor. I hope they find one, as they have an extensive line of Fair Trade bars in all sorts of flavors. I left with the two most intriguing (to me, at least), a honey nougat and a maple crunch. And some truffles. I can’t wait to break into these.

4. Nashville Toffee is a small, family run operation that makes a delicious chocolate covered almond toffee. When I asked owner and lone booth-manner George if I could have a small bag for a sample to review later, he said no, as he had just the one box of bags, and he needed them to show off and try to sell.

I could, however, take a whole half pound box. In fact, I could have two boxes, one milk and one dark. Thanks, George and Nashville Toffee!

5. Coco Keeno had a great display in Innovation Alley of different types of superfruits and superfoods covered in dark chocolate. I got a sample of chocolate covered golden berries, which were super noms. Formal review to come.

6.?Chatting with export manager Manolo at the?Fini?booth was a pleasure. He was super nice and probably would’ve slowly given me one of each of their hundreds of products if paying customers hadn’t pulled him away.

To answer all the commenters’ questions, yes they are available in the U.S., but alas, he couldn’t tell you where. He sells to an importer and they sell to a distributor, so good luck to Fini hunters. Please report your Fini sightings in the comments for?my original review.

7. Meeting fellow candy bloggers! I got a chance to chat with The Candy Fan and Joe of Eat More Chocolate. Note to self: update blogroll!

8. Emma and I hugged a giant Peep. And then she tried to take a bite out of it. Life is awesome.