Dime-Store Sweets Retro candy is making a comeback. At San Francisco's Frisson, pastry chef Garrett Melkonian creates his own Pixie Stix and Sweet Tarts, and at David Burke & Donatella in New York City, the CandyMosa cocktail comes in a flute rimmed with crushed fruit-flavored Life Savers. Manhattan's Broadway Panhandler sells bubble-gum-making kits, and cotton-candy kits can be found at chefscatalog.com. On shelves: Steve Almond's Candyfreak goes inside Nashville's Goo Goo Cluster factory, while Hilary Liftin's fun chick-lit memoir, Candy and Me, links her love life and passion for sweets.
Varietal Vinegars In California, Round Pond's vinegars include a Sangiovese, Nebbiolo and Petit Verdot blend, aged in oak for 10 months. Grapevine Trading Co. makes five varietal wine vinegars, including one based on Champagne.
Fancy baking mixes Williams-Sonoma's molten-chocolate-cake mix, made with ingredients like Schokinag cocoa, easily passed the F&W taste test. So did scone mixes from California's Ivéta Gourmet (especially fluffy cranberry) and Vermont-based King Arthur Flours' new muffin mixes in flavors like triple coconut.