McCrea’s Introduces Limited-Edition Holiday Party Box with Festive Gilded Design

Award-Winning Caramel Maker Also Announces Two-Piece Pillow Pack for the Hospitality Industry

McCrea’s Candies has introduced two new products: a limited-edition holiday party box and a two-piece caramel pillow pack.  Both products will make their debut at the Fancy Food Show in Booth 6209 in the Massachusetts Pavilion. 

McCrea’s has elegantly wrapped its bestselling party box for the holidays, adding scrollwork in a festive gilded design.  Available in two sizes: a Small 12-ounce, 40-piece version and a Large 24-ounce, 80-piece version, the boxes are filled with four flavors of the company’s handcrafted, slow-cooked caramel, including Black Lava Sea Salt, Classic Vanilla, Deep Chocolate and Tapped Maple. 

McCrea's Candies caramel holiday gift box

The candy maker has also debuted a two-piece pillow pack.  Aimed at the hospitality industry and featuring two Black Lava Sea Salt caramels, the company’s signature flavor, it is ideal for coffeeshop counters, inflight refreshments, and as a nightly turn down treat. 

McCrea's Candies caramel hospitality hotel coffee shop airline pillow pack

“Both the holiday box and our new smaller pillow pack were developed with our customers in mind,” said Kate McCrea, the company’s Chief Caramel Visionary.  “As a maker of fine caramel for the gifting market, we know that the yule season necessitates extra special packaging for presenting gifts to loved ones, friends and work colleagues.

According to McCrea, the company’s new two-piece pillow pack received the same attention to detail. “We have received a number of requests for a smaller packaging option, one that would be a fit for the hospitality marketplace.  We’re keeping our sophisticated look and feel, yet scaling down size for hotels, airlines and coffeeshops.”

McCrea’s Candies uses the finest salts, spirits, and seasonings to produce handcrafted, slow-cooked caramel candies in biodegradable packaging. The company starts with the butter and sugar and slow cooks it to just the right temperature. Milk from the local dairy is added as are real-food flavorings.  From there, McCrea’s handrolls the caramel and sends it through a restored early 20th century cutting and wrapping machine. McCrea’s quest: find perfect combinations of smooth, sweet, fresh, and unexpected using the fewest possible ingredients. Its mission: make the world's best caramel.

 

Our Moms, Our Heroes

Being a mom is all about the little things…the quiet moments, the smiles, the laughter, a hug for no reason, the light bulb moment when your child understands something, snuggles on the sofa, a family meal, belly laughs, sharing your favorite foods, mud puddles, and reading a cherished book aloud together.  It’s about baseball games, gardening, running errands, red shoes, family vacations to bucket list locales, cooking together, concerts, and so much more.

It is all of these moments with our mothers that craft who we are, who we become.  McCrea’s Candies is made up of a team of individuals, that together make something special.  And that’s because we all come from someone special.  Read our stories, see which of those little moments shaped us, made us, and brought us together.  

To all our moms...thank you. We wouldn't be here without you!

Jason McCrea / Chief Caramel Scientist

McCrea's Candies Mother's Day caramel gift

My mom is a powerhouse, a true dynamo.  She’s got an adventurous spirit and taught me so many things. 

We had a garden and each year she grew a bizarre food item.  We didn’t have to like it once she served it up but we certainly loved the process of watching whatever it was take shape and grow.  That sense of adventure is still a big part of who I am.

There was a time, in my teens, when I was tasked with painting our house; it was my summer job between school years.  I’d been out with friends one night and was not feeling up to par the next day.  She let me sleep in but roused me at 2:00 pm and set me to painting.  So, while she cut me some slack, she taught me that responsibilities were just that, responsibilities, and meant to be kept.

And she was always there for me even when I drove her crazy.  I had a class assignment to turn in a typewritten speech.  The morning it was due, I had it in longhand on notepaper but was nowhere close to having it typed.  And while she was angry that I had procrastinated, she pulled out her typewriter and completed that freaking assignment for me because she knew she was the faster typist (by a long shot).

It is because of her that I seek out adventure.  It is because of her that I’m drawn to powerful people.  It is because of her I can embrace uncertainty and know, always and forever, that things are going to be okay.  Thanks mom!  I love you.

Kate McCrea / Chief Caramel Visionary

McCrea's Candies Mother's Day caramel gift

As an only child, I was very close to my mom. We enjoyed many things together that were just fun at the time but that I think also shaped my view of the world around me. It’s hard to describe how fun it was to go to downtown Boston and “shop” all day for nothing and then go to Bailey’s for coffee and ice cream. We loved the hustle and bustle of downtown even if we didn’t have the means to buy things. We didn’t really want things, we wanted the experience. She gave that to me, a love of life and for the everyday experiences that make it rich and wonderful.                                                                                                                                                                                         
She is in her twilight now. Many of her memories and faculties are fading but she is still in there. Take her to an art exhibit and she’ll choose the strongest piece as her favorite. Take her to a concert and she’ll sing the songs. Bring her a grandson and she’ll make sure he knows how proud of him she is.                                                                                                         
My mom has been especially proud of McCrea’s Candies. She sees to it that her nurses all get candy at the holidays and keeps them on hand to give away, and anyone who gets caramels from her is told that it’s her daughter and son-in-law who own McCrea’s and that it’s the best candy ever made. Thanks Mom!

Jim LaFond-Lewis / Chief Operations Officer

McCrea's Candies Mother's Day caramel gift

My mother had nine of us. We called her Mum or Ma. She was a warm and loving person in an organized way. With nine kids, I guess you become a manager. From the earliest days, I remember having chores in the kitchen, beginning with playing in the sink while she worked. She taught me to cook. I loved to help her with the holiday baking. She made apple peeling fun. You can imagine the volume.

She was one of ten siblings herself and most of them had many kids, so we were a substantial lot. The work, for her, was never done. She did it all in good humor, and although she was not the joking type, she seemed to get a kick out of being the object of us kids’ teasing. She was also our historian…knew all the details in all the lives of all the families. I often wish I could ask her,"'Hey, Ma…?"

Matt Roche / Director of Logistics

McCrea's Candies Mother's Day caramel gift

 

This picture was taken after a game where the Red Sox let the fans walk around the bases and the field itself.  My mom has always made it a priority to make sure we get to spend quality time together.  The Red Sox (and Fenway Park) is something that we’ve always loved.  It’s a magical place, especially for a little kid…we started going to games when I was about 7.  My mom didn’t know a whole lot about baseball initially, but made it a point learn so that we could share our interest in the sport. 

The experience of the games has changed as we’ve gotten older.  In a lot of ways it reflects the way our relationship has evolved over the years.  At the beginning, getting souvenirs and eating delicious ballpark fare was a big focus.  As I grew up, we started to know about the players and understood the game better so the actual baseball took on more meaning.  Now we’ll meet up for a bite before the game, and when it’s over go our separate ways.  It’s special because no matter what else is going on we have those few hours to just be together at Fenway. 

The past decade or so Red Sox tickets have been the Christmas present because getting to the games has become a tradition that’s important and “the next game” is always something to look forward to.  I think of my mom whenever I hear Sweet Caroline or stand up for the Seventh Inning Stretch and will always love the time we get to spend at the old ballgame!

Cheryl Bornstein / Director of Fulfillment

McCrea's Candies Mother's Day caramel gift

In this picture, I'm just home from college. My mom was -- and is -- always so happy to see me. She is my biggest cheerleader and has always told me I could do anything. She's right!

Diane Parazin / Director of Marketing

McCrea's Candies Mother's Day caramel gift

My mom is my inspiration.

After successfully and single-handedly raising four rambunctious kids, she went back to law school and received her degree. She taught me to never give up.

She was my biggest cheerleader when I left all that I had ever known to move across country and start a new life. She taught me to be brave.

She was first on the scene when I had a tough pregnancy and there when my kids received some difficult diagnoses. She taught me I can handle whatever life throws at me.

She’s the first to help plan a getaway. Together we’ve swam with sting rays, caught Mardi Gras beads, and rejoiced in the inner circle of Stonehenge. She taught me to be adventurous.

She’s loved me since I was born and continues to support and encourage me every day in every way. She taught me how to be a mom.

Julie Ayotte / Director of Sales

McCrea's Candies Mother's Day caramel gift

My mom is my best friend. She and I love to go shopping together….especially for shoes. My mom is wearing her favorite red shoes in this picture. I love it for that and for the protective way she is holding me. She is my biggest champion, always offering me advice and sage bits of wisdom as only my mom can.

Cat Harrigan / Sugar Chef

McCrea's Candies Mother's Day caramel gift

My mom passed two years ago. This picture, featuring me, my sister Christin, and my mother, was taken in 2015 when my mom was in remission. All of the women in the family happened to be together and we decided to snap some photos. Time is finite so what better thing to do than take pictures. I miss that and the other everyday things we used to enjoy together, like grocery shopping and running around doing errands...the everyday stuff that makes up so much of life.

Kristina Pavone / Sales Assistant

McCrea's Candies Mother's Day caramel gift

My mom is a very caring person by nature. She wants the very best for her loved ones and shows concern when one receives any less than the best. She has often told me having my sister and I was the most important and wonderful thing she has done in her life, and I have a lot of respect for that.

Many things about the nature of our personalities between my mother and I are completely opposite, but I can say that she definitely instilled in me her friendliness, opened minded attitude, and caring for others, which are extremely important ways to know how to be in this day and age, and for that I am forever grateful.

Though our personalities may not always see eye to eye, I believe that is only because my mom made it a point to instill things in my sister and I that were not instilled in her growing up, and to enhance the things that were instilled in her when instilling them in us. She’s always supported me, instilled self confidence in me, and helped to provide experiences for me that aided in teaching me to be limitless. Thanks, Mom! I wouldn’t be the me I am today without you.

Tony Darosa / Sugar Chef

McCrea's Candies Mother's Day caramel gift

My mom is ALWAYS there for me. I enjoy checking out local thrift shops with her. I scoop up movies (in all formats) while mom looks for knickknacks to add to her collection.

Mother’s Day Gift Baskets Crafted to Celebrate Your Special Mom

Our retailers are a creative bunch, so it made sense to turn to them for Mother’s Day gift suggestions and ideas.  We’ve gathered a unique collection of presents, each one crafted to celebrate your special mom. 

Baskit’s Inc. sources products from around the globe to create thoughtfully-curated gift baskets.  With 30 years of experience, Baskits certainly knows what mom wants.  The company’s gorgeous Champlain basket, filled with a mix of premium goodies, is ideal for foodie moms.  It’s got all of her favorites:  chocolates, caramels, cookies and more.

Mother's Day Gift Basket with McCrea's Candies Caramel

 

Wish and Pink creates luxury gift boxes for life’s extraordinary events. And Mother’s Day certainly qualifies.  If mom enjoys nothing more than a day of pampering, look no further than Wish and Pink’s Ultimate Spa Indulgence box, filled with a crème-de-la-crème of natural products for soothing mind, body and spirit.  Also included are sumptuous sweets (a must!) and a mood-setting candle for the perfect at home spa day.

Mother's Day Gift Basket with McCrea's Candies Caramel

 

For the mom who deserves it all, Valleybrink Road’s Sweet box is filled with both gourmet confections AND drop-dead gorgeous fresh flowers.  A floral design and luxury gifting firm, Valleybrink prides itself on creating the perfect present.  Nowhere is this more evident than in the Sweet box with its bean-to-bar chocolate, luxe caramel, baked treats, and beautiful blooms.

Mother's Day Gift Basket with McCrea's Candies Caramel

 

Does your mom’s birthday coincide with Mother’s Day?  There can be a lot of pressure to find a gift that will suit both occasions.  Mouth Food’s Birthday In a Box is the answer.  Mouth’s goal is to discover the best, most delicious and most interesting food products out there.  Bursting with distinctive delectables, like pate de fruit, small-batch pickles and deep chocolate caramel, Mouth’s Birthday  in a Box box truly takes the cake!

Mother's Day Gift Basket with McCrea's Candies Caramel

 

Bird Box Gifts’ motto is “you pick a gift they will love and we do the rest.”  For moms with a love of the sea and all things summer, Bird Box has certainly stayed true to that maxim.  Its Coastal Salt gift box is filled with salted caramel, a sea salt and juniper candle, bath bomb and matches -- everything mom needs for creating a perfect beach day at home….ocean optional.

Mother's Day Gift Basket with McCrea's Candies Caramel

 

All moms deserved to be treated like queens.  This Mother’s Day, you can give mom the royal treatment she deserves with Wish Gift Co’s Royal box.  Themed in mint and lavender, the box from this Cape Cod-based creator of elegant custom gifts, is filled with gourmet goodies, a candle, a jewelry dish and so much more.  However, the crown is not included.

Mother's Day Gift Basket with McCrea's Candies Caramel

 

If your mom likes nothing more than cozying up with a good book and a cup of tea, we recommend the Lavender Deluxe box from Madianite, a gift-getting, professional gift wrapping and personal shopping service.  Perfect for the bibliophile, the Lavender Deluxe contains calming mist; tea, honey and an infuser; and a container of caramel, a perfect combination for long afternoons spent with the latest best seller.

Mother's Day Gift Basket with McCrea's Candies Caramel.

 

For the chocolate-loving mom (basically all of them!), Fountain Gifts has the perfect gift set.  Its Chocolate Trio includes luxe caramel, small batch chocolate and decadent truffles.  And best of all, Fountain Gifts will include a handwritten note for you, totally giving you favorite child status.

Mother's Day Gift Basket with McCrea's Candies Caramel

 

Every mom wants a moment (or ten) away from the kids.  Something Lux Box Company’s founders, a mom-daughter trio – know firsthand.  They offer the perfect escape in the Sweet Serenity gift basket. The ultimate in relaxation and comfort, it includes small restoratives and indulgences, including a hair tie set, a jewelry trinket dish, candle and sweet treats….everything to help mom get her “om” on.

Mother's Day Gift Basket with McCrea's Candies Caramel

 

Wild Things of Birmingham offers bespoke arrangements and bouquets, flowers by the stem, and a variety of curiosities and home good.  They have put together a gorgeous Mother’s Day gift set, complete with a petite flower arrangement, candle, fizzy bath cubes and caramel.  Just what mom ordered!

Mother's Day Gift Basket with McCrea's Candies Caramel

 

Just Gifted is known for its thoughtfully-packaged and visually stunning gifts.  No less can be said of the company’s Mom Time basket with a sugarcane & violet candle, caramel, "Momosa" champagne flute, AND a bottle of Moet.  We’ll raise a toast to that and to mom’s everywhere.

Mother's Day Gift Basket with McCrea's Candies Caramel

Happy Mother’s Day!

8 Fun and Festive Easter Brunch Ideas

For us, Easter is the start of the spring and summer entertaining season. And since we love to get together, share a special meal and exchange gifts, Easter brings with it fun-filled celebrations of family, life and love.

Welcome this springtime holiday with fresh ideas and new twists on tradition.  From festive adornments to delectable, slow-cooked flourishes, this collection of Easter Sunday brunch recommendations will help you bring together those dearest to you, show you how to share a delicious meal and highlight creative ways to enjoy each other’s company.

Signature Drink

Start your guests off with a unique-to-the-occasion drink.  Try a themed concoction like a carrot mimosa or whip up a delicious grapefruit-mint Bellini. For more inspiration, Country Living has a wonderful guide to spring cocktails. Lots of under twenty-ones attending your brunch?  It’s easy to craft non-alcoholic versions of most drinks by replacing alcohol with a splash of soda.  For an added festive touch, provide Easter glass charms.  These let each guest mark his or her glass while adding an unexpected hint of holiday decor to the festivities. 

McCreas Candies Easter Gift Cocktail Caramel

Easter Eggs

An Easter brunch wouldn’t be complete without Easter eggs.  Go beyond the traditional dyed egg this year.  Woman’s Day Magazine offers some wonderfully creative Easter egg ideas, including decorating with metallic paper, real flowers, watercolors and even twine.  Whatever you choose, your Easter eggs will look lovely as a part of an Easter tablescape.

McCreas Candies Easter Gift Egg Candy  Caramel

Easter Egg Hunt

Setting up a child’s Easter egg hunt is easy. This year, add another dimension to the traditional egg hunt and invite adults to participate. With a few simple changes you can transition this children’s activity into fun for everyone. By hiding your eggs in hard-to-spot locations, implementing a time limit, turning it into a scavenger hunt/puzzle-solving adventure or switching out the traditional candy fillings with mini bottles of specialty liquor, golf balls and tees, lottery tickets, high-end sweets, and other adult favorites, you'll challenge mature guests to participate in the game. Find a complete guide to an adult level Easter egg hunt here.

Floral Arrangements

Give your celebration a fresh burst of color with a floral arrangement. Use as a centerpiece or place on your buffet to brighten your space and give your home a warm, spring-like feel. The most common flowers used in Easter bouquets include lilies, azaleas, tulips, and daises.

McCreas Candies Easter Gift Tablescape Flowers Candy

Place Cards

Easter presents a great outlet to let out your creative DIY side. Personalize your brunch with homemade place cards. From bunnies and fresh sprigs of flowers to these inspired eggshell place holders, it’s a great way to bring a touch of personality to your place settings

Easter Favors

Surprise guests with a small favor at each place setting. The best favors are personal and creative, such as McCrea’s Candies caramels. With a range of distinct flavor profiles, you can select the caramel that best suits your menu or choose a flavor unique to each guest. For scotch aficionados, try Single Malt Scotch Caramels.  The foodie guest will enjoy Rosemary Truffle Sea Salt (add some fresh rosemary sprigs to really make it festive), while the coffee lover will appreciate Dark Roasted Mocha or Café Noir.

McCrea's Candies Easter gift place setting rosemary

 

Lamb Cake

For many, the annual Easter brunch lamb cake is a time-honored tradition. Often baked in treasured, handed-down cake pans, they make for the perfect after meal dessert when served with coffee and aperitifs.  Don’t have grandma’s cherished and well-loved pan?  Find a lamb mold here.

A Good Holiday Spread

We all know the basics of Easter brunch: ham, rolls, greens, and fruit; but why limit yourself to the expected? At McCrea’s we’re all about thinking outside of the box, so here are a few of the items that we’ll be serving up in our holiday spread:

 From our family to yours, Happy Easter!

How to Pair Caramel and Cheeses for the Ultimate Dessert Platter

McCrea's Candies Caramel and Cheese

A simple dessert cheese plate makes for an easy and deliciously elegant finale to a meal.  And when you’re really trying to wow, a dessert platter pairing cheeses and caramels can be an easy-to-prepare yet mouthwatering end to a delightful home-cooked meal.

To learn how to create the perfect dessert and cheese platter, we gathered a variety of McCrea’s Candies’ caramel and headed to Boston’s North Shore and Shubie’s Market. Based in Marblehead, Shubie’s is a family-run gourmet food shop.  The bright and bustling store is filled with delicious epicurean food choices, including baked good, salads, handcrafted sandwiches and freshly-prepared foods.  The store also carries gifts, custom baskets, and a large craft beer selection.

When it opened in 1948, Shubie’s was one of the first shops in the area to carry fine wines.  The owners and staff are more than just vino experts, they are true oenophiles.  In a perfect pairing, they bring this same passion to all things cheese, making them our first choice for teaching the art of a beautiful and satisfying cheese board.  We met up with Doug Shube, owner of Shubie’s, and Rachel Lazar, the shop’s cheese platter guru.  Doug, who grew up behind the store’s cheese counter, is the third-generation of Shube’s to work at the shop.  Rachel is a classically trained chef from Johnson & Wales.

To get us started in creating the perfect cheese platter, Rachel presented a variety of trays.  We had our choice of silver salvers, china plates and, slate boards. Any of these would make for a beautiful platter; we went for the slate.  From there, Rachel brought forth a variety of scrumptious decorative elements including candied ginger, beautiful flaked sea salt, some fresh rosemary, dried apricots and a sprig or two of lavender.  All were selected with an eye to the cheese and caramel flavor combinations and were artfully arranged across the board.

McCrea's Candies Caramel and Cheese

 

Use your imagination when it comes to the accompaniments.  You can fill up the plate will all kinds of ingredients that go with cheese and caramel.  Nuts, honey, berries, fruit, chocolate, cookies, and figs are all great choices.  Pair what you like with what you love. 

Once we had placed the accouterments, cheese was added as were caramels, both wrapped and unwrapped.  According to Rachel, keeping a few caramels in the wrappers alongside the unwrapped candy enables diners to recognize each flavor and provides a topic for discussion. 

Deciding which cheeses and which caramels work best together is the fun part.  Researching pairings is great and can provide a place to start, but our favorite way to determine what to pair is by taste testing (and tasting again) before the big night.  One thing to note, diversity here is key. Rachel suggests at least one hard cheese, one soft and one specialty cheese.

McCrea's Candies Caramel and Cheese

To get you started, Rachel and Doug offer the following pairing suggestions:

    Cheeses and sweets go surprising well together and McCrea’s Candies’ caramel makes for an elegant addition to your cheese platter.

    Happy desserting!