New Premium Licorice, Giant See’s Lollypop To Be Unveiled & Food Gal Contest Winner Plus Bonus

New licorice products by the makers of Red Vines. (Photo by Carolyn Jung)

Premium Licorice and How To Get A Free Bag

Union City’s American Licorice Company — makers of everyone’s favorite Red Vines — has brought out a new licorice product: Natural Vines.

Made without artificial colors, flavors or preservatives, the Natural Vines are sweetened with only cane syrup and molasses. They contain real licorice extract, too.

Natural Vines come in two varieties: Strawberry and Black. The strawberry has an actual vivid berry flavor, while the black licorice tastes of anise and almost black coffee. Both types come not in your traditional long strands of licorice, but fat nubbins, about an inch long. They’re softer to chew than Red Vines, too. Each piece has 17 calories.

Eight-ounce bags are $3.49 each in select grocery stores.

They come in handy, resealable bags. (Photo by Carolyn Jung)

If you’re a film buff, you’ll get a chance to try the licorice. The American Licorice Company will be giving out thousands of full-sized bags of both the Strawberry and Black Natural Vines throughout the summer at San Francisco’s Film Night in the Park, Movies on the Square in Redwood City, and the Starlight Cinema Series in San Jose.

The licorice will be given out at the Aug. 4 and Sept. 29 showings in San Francisco; the July 19, Aug. 2, Aug. 6, Aug. 23 and Aug 30 showings in Redwood City; and at the July 19, July 26, Aug. 16, Aug. 23, and Aug. 31 showings in San Jose.

The American Licorice Company, which has been around since 1914, has a long association with movies. Not only are Red Vines a favorite nosh on while sitting in a theater, but in 1925, the company was asked to make a shoe out of black licorice for a famous scene in Charlie Chaplin’s silent-era “The Gold Rush” film. How’s that for candy trivia?

Come See the World’s Largest Lollypop

See’s Candies is attempting to break the the Guinness World Record by creating the world’s biggest lollypop.

How big?

Think 7,000 pounds!

Wow, I hope they have one sturdy stick to hold that thing up.

You can see it for yourself, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 20, when it is unveiled at Justin Herman Plaza, 1 Market St., in San Francisco.

See's "regular size'' lollypops. (Photo courtesy of See's)

It’s all in honor of National Lollypop Day on July 20. See’s locales will be giving out free samples of its chocolate, vanilla, Caffe Latte and butterscotch suckers that day, too, while supplies last. If you want to buy a box to take home, See’s will be discounting the price on them from now through July 23 in select stores.

See’s also is offering one lucky winner a chance to win a behind-the-scenes tour of See’s factory in Burlingame. Just enter the See’s Candies National Lollypop Day Sweepstakes through July 22 for a chance to win the the grand prize, which includes round-trip airfare to San Francisco, plus three nights at a San Francisco hotel. Ten other entrants will win a $50 See’s gift card.

Winner of the Panini Press Plus A BONUS PRIZE for South Bay Residents

In last week’s Food Gal contest, I asked you to tell me what impresses you most these days. The winner will receive a brand-new Calphalon electric panini grill (a value of about $100).

The prize of a Calphalon panini press.

I was truly overwhelmed by all the fantastic responses submitted that showed so much thought. It was hard to pick just one, but in the end I had to go with this one:

Congrats to Caroline K., who wrote, “What impresses me most these days are parents who are not afraid to be parents. Unfortunately, I rarely run into these kinds of parents but I truly appreciate parents who set boundaries, discipline their children, teach them manners and HUMILITY. Too many kids these days are entitled and self-righteous. and they did not come out of the womb that way. I once overheard one girl yell at a teacher telling her that she did not have to listen to her because she was not her mom. How are teachers supposed to teach overcrowded classrooms of children when they are insolent and rude???? Of course that being said, there needs to be love and compassion for our children. But instead of trying to get our kids to like us, I think we have a responsibility to raise them to be capable, compassionate, contributing citizens….There are so many things I would love to make with the panini press but anything with brie tops my list!!.”

BONUS PRIZE For South Bay Residents or Visitors: Fondue, anyone? La Fondue in Saratoga is offering a free bottle of Kenwood Vineyards Cuvee Brut, Chardonnay or Cabernet with the purchase of a fondue combination dinner package. (The wine is a $40 value.) The coupon is valid through Sept. 15, 2012.

The first person to sign up a friend for my Food Gal newsletter, wins the coupon for the free bottle of wine at the restaurant. Just email me at cajung@sbcglobal when you’ve signed up your pal, and please put “La Fondue Wine” in the heading of the email.


More: My Private Tour of the See’s Factory

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