Archive for the ‘Candy Type’ Category

by TammyJo Eckhart

Are you sure what you’re eating is chocolate?

I run a blog called “The Chocolate Cult[1]”, and we’ve tested products from 201 different brands and companies in our five-year history.  We have a fairly broad definition of chocolate and chocolate-related products — if it contains at least one ingredient that comes from the cacao tree or the cocoa bean, we consider it to be “chocolate.”  However, when it comes to foods, candies, and drinks, we also prefer more pure or simple ingredients; the shorter the ingredient list, the better, in our experience. Most of the samples we are sent to feature are chocolate — white, milk, or various degrees of dark — but some are not.

Why does that matter?

It matters if you care about what you put into your body and where you spend your money.  While you may want to believe that companies in the USA are forced to be honest, the fact is that unless someone files a complaint, the amount of oversight in the food industry is relatively low (you can thank your Congress for that, since they oversee spending).  Time and again we see food and drink recalls on our newscasts; the Chocolate Cult has a weekly update on these matters.  From these constant recalls, it is clear to see that the US government is not strictly enforcing the regulations that exist.

Now, let’s be fair.  The simple fact is that businesses in the USA must, legally and practically, be focused on making profit.  However, in the name of profit some business owners will lie or mislead, subtly decreasing the percentage of chocolate and cocoa in their products, adding in potentially harmful or at least unnecessary ingredients, and even cutting costs through lax hygiene standards at their kitchens and factories at the expense of your safety.  But in the end it isn’t the companies’ job to protect your health; that’s your job.

Step One in protecting yourself and getting the best value for your money is to know what is and is not chocolate.

Many countries have food regulations – not all, but many.  While it is the job of the food producers and sellers to know what these regulations are, it is your job as the consumer to know as well. How can you trust what a label says if you don’t know what it should or should not say?

The Food and Drug Administration is the USA’s federal agency that oversees food and drug regulations, and this is where you need to turn first to learn about chocolate and cocoa regulations for products sold in America.[2]  If you consume chocolate or cocoa from other countries you’ll need to check their regulations; they are not the same.  Not only are there federal or nationwide food regulations, but individual states also have food regulations that you may need to be aware of.  Finally, differences in chocolate are a reflection of local or regional tastes and traditions, which is why Swiss chocolate seems creamy, German chocolate seems buttery, and Mesoamerican chocolate seems spicy.

According to FDA regulations milk chocolate and white chocolate are limited by how much chocolate liquor (in the case of milk chocolate[3]) and how much cocoa butter (in the case of white chocolate[4]) they contain, as well as what added ingredients are allowed.  The FDA does not have a definition for dark chocolate, though they do list regulations for several other chocolate and cocoa variations. Please do check out the regulations to be aware of what you should be looking for if you want to enjoy or use chocolate.

Product labels generally express the amount of an ingredient as a percentage based on weight, so you will see products labeled “45% chocolate liquor” or “70% cacao.” By law the label must list the ingredients in order of greatest to least in the product.  Simply by checking the ingredient list you can get a good idea of whether a product meets FDA standards, but not all companies reveal everything on their labels, even if they are legally required to do so.

Perhaps in later months I’ll talk about the legal definitions of other types of chocolate. But for now, let’s look at one type of chocolate that repeatedly fails to meet FDA standards and that tends to be the most misleading of those we are sent to feature on The Chocolate Cult: white chocolate. By FDA regulations, at least 20% by weight of white chocolate’s fat content must come from cocoa butter.  It may also have “nutritive carbohydrate sweeteners,” a long list of dairy ingredients, “emulsifying agents,” antioxidants, whey or whey products, and several spices and flavorings that do not imitate ”the flavor of chocolate, milk, or butter.”  The legal code gives percentage information for all of these allowed ingredients, but just knowing which ones are allowed at all can help you determine if a product is white chocolate or not.

The most common problem with “white chocolate” that we find is the addition of palm oil.  Aside from ecological questions or health concerns, this is simply not one of the allowed ingredients.  In fact, any fat or oil that is neither cocoa butter nor one of the listed dairy products is illegal if the manufacturer sells the product as “white chocolate.”  Frankly it is also unnecessary, given that there is no upper limit on the amount of cocoa butter the maker could add if it really needed a more buttery flavor in its white chocolate.

Remember, your body and your wallet are directly affected when you buy “chocolate” or “cocoa” products.  In order to protect yourself and your loved ones, and to get the best quality for your money and not just the greatest quantity, you need to know the facts.

 

Check out TammyJo Eckhart at thechocolatecult.blogspot.com

InspiredTheChocolateCult

 

Check out TammyJo Eckhart at thechocolatecult.blogspot.com

 

[1] http://thechocolatecult.blogspot.com/

[2] http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/CFRSearch.cfm?CFRPart=163

[3] http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/CFRSearch.cfm?fr=163.130

[4] http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/CFRSearch.cfm?fr=163.124

 

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Heres a treat for your backyard barbecue that promises to cool you down, no cooler needed!

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Nobody loves a popsicle or creamsicle in summertime more than we do, but if you’re setting up a candy buffet or snack table for your summertime soiree (or something a little more laid-back!) frozen treats can be a potential headache.  You need the extra cooler, and enough ice to keep it cool for 3 or 4 hours.  Plus, you need to keep an eye on it for when it needs to be emptied and refreshed.  And you can still end up with all the goodies becoming a goopy, soggy mess!

Well, we found the perfect solution.  These real size ice pop and cream pop lollipops from the Melville Candy Company come in all your favorite flavors, and are an easy addition to your snack and candy buffet.  Not a lot of candy can say summertime the ways these do!

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For a neat centerpiece, try this:  Take a standard metal bucket that you can find at a garden center or home design store.  In the bottom put a foam or styrofoamblock, and stick the popsicle sticks up right into the foam.  Next fill the bucket up to the top with clear rock candy.  Now you have faux ice to go along with your lollipop popsicles!IMG_0691

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Thanks for reading!

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in Candy, Lollipops, Melville Candy Company

Hi everyone!  Happy Independence Day!

We wanted to give you guys one more cool idea for your fourth of july celebration.  A little bit of rock candy can take your traditional ice cream sandwich and make it a cool patriotic treat.  All you do is take some rock candy, in this case red and blue and lay it out on a flat plate, and when you have the sandwiches made, (or take them out of the package, no judging here!) you roll them back and forth across the plate.  Also, just so you know, we used these delicious chocolate honey stinger waffles for ours. Check out the results!

FourthofJuly-IcecreamSand2 Fourth of July Ice Cream Sandwich Rock Candy Honey Stinger Waffles Independence Day Patriotic Dessert Treat Red White Blue Party

Fourth of July Ice Cream Sandwich with Rock Candy and Honey Stinger Waffles

These can also be used for any color themed event like a summer birthday or even to add some color to your next backyard barbeque.  The little toothpick flags are an easy touch too.  If you can’t find a simple flag pattern to use online, just use red and blue construction paper.

FourthofJuly-IcecreamSand3 Fourth of July Ice Cream Sandwich Rock Candy Honey Stinger Waffles Independence Day Patriotic Dessert Treat Red White Blue Party

Flag Detail

Thanks for reading.  Have a Happy Fourth!

 

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Candy.com is proud to announce it’s Summer Candy Buffet Contest. Follow the link below to enter to win $500 to help you build the candy buffet of your dreams!

Candy.com Candy Buffet Contest Fourth July 4

In the spirit of Independence Day, we decided to give you a little patriotic inspiration to go along with the contest. Needless to say, to put this together we looked at a lot of red, white, and blue sweets!   As a whole, we decided to stick with items that hold up well in the heat, and we also found ourselves gravitating to fruit and berry flavored items that are sweet and refreshing at the same time. Take a look!

Fourth July 4 Independence Day Candy Buffet lollipops gummy jelly bean gum rock candy red white blue flag backyard party celebration patriotic

Lets start with the centerpiece. We wanted a real eye catcher, so we picked  these blue and white Twister Pops. At one foot long, these lollipops can’t help but attract attention.  To present them, we found a great oblong metal bucket (meant for utensils) from HomeGoods, and filled its sections with Styrofoam. We planted the sticks in it, and they stood right up.  You can’t see, but we then covered the styrofoam with white sixlets to give it a cleaner look.

Twister Lollipop blue white unicorn pop swirl Fourth July 4 Independence Day Candy Buffet backyard party celebration patriotic

We filled the front of the bucket with Watermelon Cube Pops. These tasty  pops are a pretty juicy visual compared to a standard small round pop.

Watermelon Cubes lollipop pop Fourth July 4 Independence Day Candy Buffet backyard party celebration patriotic

Next we put a perennial favorite, rock candy sticks (Strawberry, White Sugar, and Raspberry), in a bed of white sixlets.  In hot weather, if a candy item has a stick option; go with it.  Sticky fingers do not a happy quest make.

Rock Candy Stick red white blue Fourth July 4 Independence Day Candy Buffet backyard party celebration patriotic

For single color candies, we wanted three simple candy staples that would present simple, large blocks of color. The red is the gummy, a delicious red raspberry gummy from Albanese…

Red Raspberry Gummies Albanese Fourth July 4 Independence Day Candy Buffet backyard party celebration patriotic

while the white  is Celebration Shimmer White Gumballs

Shimmer White Gum ball Fourth July 4 Independence Day Candy Buffet backyard party celebration patriotic

Lastly, these blueberry jelly jeans from Jelly Belly are about as blue as you can get and burst with flavor.

Blue Berry Jelly Bean Jelly Belly Fourth July 4 Independence Day Candy Buffet backyard party celebration patriotic

For one last element, we found this great three piece tower at HomeGoods (FYI you can find all the glass containers we use there!) We did a combo of blue raspberry pufflettes at the top and bottom and filled the middle with more red gummies.

Blue Raspberry Pufflettes red raspberry gummies Fourth July 4 Independence Day Candy Buffet backyard party celebration patriotic

For styling, we wanted to keep it traditional with a slight vintage American feel.  We labeled the candy containers with simple blue and red hangtags on twine.   We used the same tags for the signs, and added a band with red and white striped craft paper.

Hang tag decoration Fourth July 4 Independence Day Candy Buffet backyard party celebration patriotic

Blog0620_10BucketLabelFor the twist pops we put the sign on a large bamboo skewer and stuck in with them.

 Twister Pop Unicorn lollipop swirl sign Fourth July 4 Independence Day Candy Buffet backyard party celebration patriotic

Friends and family can take some candy home in red paper bags, and we put these and the candy scoop in small metal buckets decorated with the same striped craft paper and blue stars.

Buckets decoration Fourth July 4 Independence Day Candy Buffet backyard party celebration patriotic

For the streamers, we cut simple triangles using the the same red and white striped paper and blue paper that we used for the buckets, but we also cut white stars to add to the blue. We hung it on the same twine as the hangtags, and called it a styling day!

Flag streamers Fourth July 4 Independence Day Candy Buffet backyard party celebration patriotic

Thanks for reading! Please let us know what you think, or if you would like any more info about how we did it.  Happy Fourth, and don’t forget to enter the contest!

Fourth July 4 Independence Day Candy Buffet lollipops gummy jelly bean gum rock candy red white blue flag backyard party celebration patriotic

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