San Francisco-based See's Candies has learned a thing or two during its 90 years of operation. One is how to promote itself, which, in this case, is a good thing for us.
For starters, on National Lollipop Day - July 20 - the candymaker will give away a gourmet lollipop to every customer who visits any of its 200 stores. Also, candy-lovers can buy boxes of the pops at reduced prices.
The bigger news is See's National Lollipop Day Sweepstakes, in which the winner and a guest will win round-trip air fare to San Francisco, four nights at a hotel, ground transportation, $100 per day for "incidentals," and a VIP tour of See's candymaking facilities. Enter the sweepstakes through July 23 at www.sees.com/lollypopsweepstakes or at any See's outlet. See the rules at www.sees.com/sweepstakesrules. Winners will be randomly selected on Aug. 26.
One more thing: See's four lollipop flavors are cafe latte, butterscotch, chocolate and vanilla, but right now there's a limited-edition summer flavor - root beer. We got our hands on a batch and orchestrated a quick taste test:
"Not too sweet, but the flavor could be bolder. When it comes to root beer, subtlety should not be part of the equation."
"Very nice, not cloyingly sweet, good root beer flavor, with a touch of creaminess. The original pops are good, but I like this one better."
"I like root beer plenty, but I've never been crazy about it in candy. The sucker's not bad, but not something I would opt for, given See's other choices."
"Very satisfying. I'm not one for root beer candy, but this is really flavorful, caramel-like and smelled of root beer as soon as I unwrapped it. It lasted a long time."
"Wow! This is as high-quality a root beer sucker as I have ever had. Though with every lick, all I can think is: I'd rather be sucking on a chocolate one."