10 Questions With ... Larry Graham

I wouldn't really put it that way of sour versus chocolate. I mean, I really like chocolate. One thing that's happening with chocolate is, it's salty in chocolate. There's caramel surrounded in chocolate and then salt on it. It's really good. And that's been — the new M&M, pretzel. Salty and sweet, I would say, rather than sour and sweet. Although I like the sour gummy bears and all that, the new flavors. I think they're good.

I like the new artisanal chocolates, many of the dark chocolates in there. I like the salty and chocolate together. I think the thing in some of the sugar candies that's changed is there's mango and there's all kinds of new flavors. I kind of like those, although I like all the traditional stuff. I think you find that what you liked as a kid, you like the whole rest of your life. I loved Milky Ways and Three Musketeers. I still like them. I love Hershey bars, Nestle Crunch. I'm big on marshmallow — I like Peeps, I like chocolate-covered marshmallow.

I tend to like the filled chocolates, something inside. My favorite would be chocolate-covered marshmallow or chocolate-covered caramel. If you get box chocolates out, I would go for the caramel and the marshmallow.

Tell us about the insider candy world — what's weird?

One year at our trade show, we had a company from China. A lot of our members are very secretive about products they want to reveal at the show, so this booth — I probably shouldn't be telling this story — but this booth had a curtained-off part of their booth, and so finally one of the members came to me and said, "You've got to stop this company from selling." And apparently these were sort of off-color chocolate novelties — exotic, loosely speaking.

So we realized we didn't have a rule against those kind of. ... We let them continue the show, but we asked them not to display — which they weren't anyway, they were hiding it — that product when they came back the next year, and they didn't do it. There's a lot of really weird — I'm not even going to get into it — disgusting flavors and stuff that are out there.

There was one that was a plastic moose that was called "Moose Poop." You hit him in the head, and, you know, it's chocolate, really. But kids like that kind of stuff.

Do you have a favorite gift you like to give?

One thing we did, which was pretty popular, is a year's supply of chocolate. So, every month you get a delivery, and we would orchestrate it from one of our companies. We auctioned that off. One of our charities is Children's Inn at National Institutes of Health. It's a place where families stay when they're visiting their kids who have — it's a pediatric AIDS and cancer ward. We've always liked supporting that charity. We send the kids candy on various holidays. I went to an auction there and auctioned off a year's supply of chocolate.

With so much variety in sweets, everybody's personality must be a little bit like some sort of candy. So what would President Obama be if he were a candy?

He likes arugula and stuff, he'd probably be a gourmet jelly bean, and he'd probably like a mango.

What about Mitt Romney? Mitt is serious, right? He's the uber-American. He'd probably go for the traditional Hershey bar or Milky Way. It's traditional, it's been around forever.

Hillary Clinton? Sophisticated. Probably boxed chocolate. It's sort of the intelligent choice for the sophisticated consumer.

Sarah Palin? How about Red Hots?

Newt Gingrich? He might like the Peeps. Peeps are the kind of outlier in our industry. Who would have thought of creating a marshmallow like a chicken? It's kind of off the wall, which Newt can be.

Wolf Blitzer? I think Wolf must be northern European in ancestry. I would think the Gummy Bears, which really started in Europe, and have a lot of different flavors, too.

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