At Shari’s Berries, we’re lucky enough to always have the opportunity to try the merchandise (we need to know what we are selling after all...) The staff here all have their favorites and occasionally we will share them with you, our loyal fans and berry lovers.
While compiling our End of Year Staff Picks, I was taken back to my own first Shari’s Berries experience. I remember my first box of hand-dipped strawberries well. They arrived fresh in the mail, and when I brought them inside and opened the box, it occurred to me that I would probably have to share these with my husband. I ate one, then another, then put them in the fridge and closed the door. By mid-afternoon, I had almost gone through the entire milk selection and was well on my way into the dark. I was averaging one berry each half hour and I knew I had to get out of the house before my husband arrived home to find an empty box.
My first Shari’s Berries experience will stay with me forever, and if you ask me for my top pick now or in the future, I’m pretty certain it will always be the hand-dipped berries. However, when asked for their Top Picks for 2011, I found that other staff members’ true loves were diverse and wide-ranging. Here are a few of them:
These guys created quite a buzz around the office when they first arrived. What sheer bliss the brownie pop brings! From plain dipped and swizzled, to elaborately decorated for the holidays, Shari’s Berries brownie pops are the perfect treat on a stick. Staff at Shari’s Berries love the versatility of the Brownie Pop. They are chocolaty, moist and fudgy, making them an instant favorite based on taste alone. But there is so much more to this dessert.
The perennial favorites (swizzled, flower pop, pink “Komen for the Cure”, zoo animals and sports brownie pops) do well at any event and lift an afternoon tea with the neighbors to new heights, but it’s the holiday brownie pops that have the staff in a tizzy. There are twelve months of brownie pop designs, so the choice is overwhelming! Valentine’s Brownie Pops are adorable in pink, red and white; Easter’s range features bunnies, baby chicks and Easter eggs; and in May, when Spring has sprung, flower brownie pops bring a good dose of cheer as gifts for mom on Mother’s Day.
The year progresses and Sports brownie pops kick off the sporting season. The Independence Day brownie pop makes a brief but delicious appearance in July, and then things heat up for the holiday season. Halloween’s range of Shari’s Berries Spooky Brownie Pop designs include the Pumpkin; Mummy; Frankenstein; Dracula; Skull; and Black Cat. November rolls around and Shari’s Berries Thanksgiving brownie pops flood the office. They are decorated as turkeys and feature candy corn tail feathers. Finally, in December, the Christmas brownie pop makes an entrance. Santa and Mrs. Clause are joined by cute little elf brownie pops!
Hand Dipped Berries
My all-time favorite, it turns out, is popular with the staff too. Around since the beginning, hand dipped berries can be thought of as founding members of the Shari’s Berries product line. Around the office, hand-dipped berries are the gift we give to our friends and family. People are always surprised how well they hold up in transit from the berry shop to their front door. Shari’s Berries can do anything with a strawberry, and we love the cute designs that our creative team dreams up periodically. The wedding berries, dressed in white for the bride and cute little tuxedos for the groom, make great wedding favors or anniversary gifts, and I’ll hazard a guess that our baby berries in pink or blue have been taken to a staff baby shower or two.
The sugar free berries are popular with those in the office who take the stairs and work out in the gym before work, and our holiday berries (including Halloween pumpkins, pastel Easter eggs and Green St Patrick’s Day berries to name a few) are another favorite for the gift giving set.
Cakes and Cupcakes
Particularly popular are the birthday cake varieties. And because each staff member turns a year older every year, there are always lots of excuses to indulge in cake! From Birthday cake cookies to the sweetest, most adorable cupcakes you’ve ever seen… yup, the cake range is very popular around here. Everyone’s taste is different and it’s hard enough to decide which flavor to get for office parties. There’s always going to be passionate debate over Red Velvet, Chocolate Mousse Torte, Carrot, Tiramisu, Lemon Raspberry, Vanilla Bean… So trying to get a staff pick for the Shari’s cake range was always going to be a challenge. Cupcakes, on the other hand, were slightly easier to judge. It was agreed that cupcake assortments are the way to go. This way, staff are catered to whether they are Chocolate, Vanilla or Red Velvet fans.
There’s something so freeing about being able to snack on chocolate without getting it on your fingers and the novelty of eating anything on a stick makes it doubly delicious. The notion has been exploited for decades. And for good reason - would anyone really eat fried dough if it weren’t on a stick?
Anything with “pops” in the name is popular with the staff right now, and marshmallow pops are up there with the brownie pops in the staff picks and here’s why. There’s a huge difference between fresh, handmade marshmallows and the kind you find in a bag at the grocery store. The jet-puffed variety can’t compete when it comes to the real deal. With jet-puffed marshmallows monopolizing the market, there’s something unique about eating real, old-fashioned candy. There’s a touch of nostalgia in the way these marshmallows are made, and you can imagine that this is what made old-school s'mores taste sooooo good in our parent’s campfire days. While the marshmallow is the clear favorite here, when it is dipped in milk chocolate and topped with colorful sprinkles, these sweet treats become an indulgence to be reckoned with.
The staff at Shari’s Berries delight in being introduced to the new collection of pretzel rods for each holiday. Halloween is around the corner and Shari’s Berries Halloween Caramel Pretzel Rods come topped with chocolate haunted houses and ghosts or dipped in caramel and chocolate and swizzled with confection, and decorated with Halloween sprinkles. As the range of pretzel rods expands, it’s difficult to comprehend how they fit all that goodness onto a single salty snack.
For the guys, our pretzel rods are a fantastic alternative to the froufrou of cupcakes. Male staff members have long complained about the conspicuous lack of sweet desserts that respect their masculinity. Men want to be able to turn up at a friend’s place to watch a football game, with something that doesn’t scream “my girlfriend made me bring these!” Shari’s Berries listened to their complaints and provided a few good options. Hand-decorated baseball, basketball and football berries are sure to have them cheering for more, but pretzel rods are the official “macho candy”, that can be taken (sans shame) to a buddy’s place for the game.
So there you have it, our favorites for 2011. The dessert menu here is always changing, always expanding, and always innovative. You can expect that the Staff Top Picks will be different again next year, but rest assured they’ll be just as delicious.