PR PLAY OF THE WEEK: Heart's Desire comes up big in a crunch

ROHNERT PARK, CA: California's nearly $40 billion budget deficit has left a lot of people with a sour taste in their mouths.

ROHNERT PARK, CA: California's nearly $40 billion budget deficit has left a lot of people with a sour taste in their mouths.

But one business has found some sweet success thanks to the state's financial woes. Heart's Desire Chocolates has come out with the "California Budget Crunch Bar," milk and dark chocolate bars chock full of orange and almond bits. Selling for $2 each, the bars come wrapped in pink foil, symbolizing all the pink slips California residents have received recently. The wrappers also depict a yellow and blue cartoon character in the shape of California, with a belt cinched around its bulging waist. Ten percent of all sales go to the California State Educational Fund. Heart's Desire has found some unusual admirers in its latest confection, including Gov. Gray Davis, who has handed out the bars at media events. Local media, desperate for some good news about the budget crisis, have gobbled up the story, which has been covered by the Sacramento Business Journal, Ventura County Star, Contra Costa Times, and local broadcast media. While media coverage has been predominantly local, select national and international media outlets have picked up on the story as well. "Only in California, where the nuts come from, an inventive chocolatier is having fun with the state's fiscal fiasco by selling California Budget Crunch Bars," writes the Financial Times. The Associated Press referred to the candy bar as a "sweet twist" to a situation that is pretty much making everyone sick to their stomach. The media coverage has led to an onslaught of calls from the press and the hungry alike, CEO Diana Calderon has told local press. And since the candy bar has been a hit with the likes of Davis, Calderon has also sent them to Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer. Heart's Desire is probably the only company to capitalize on the desperate budget impasse, as hundreds of bars have already been sold. The company is currently making about 2,000 more.

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