Monday, February 14, 2011

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Healthier Valentine’s

Candy and Chocolate

posted by Greennii Feb 10, 2011 8:02 am
    I used to have a sweet mouth. Not a sweet tooth,
    that wouldn’tdo justice to my love of all things
    sugary. In my earlycollege days, I would
    stop at one of those stores entirelydevoted to
     candies, fill a lunch-sack sized bag, take it
     to my three-hour writing seminar and share it
    during class with my best friend. We would
     finish the bag.  And we didn’t share.

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    I’ve moved on from my sugar-induced writing
     binges and don’t really enjoy sweets like I
     used to, but since Valentine’s is just around
    the corner, I thought I should see what’s out there.
     Several options appeal to me in the candy
    category (I’m taken with the extra-big heart lollipop)
     and any of the dark chocolates on the next page
    are fair game if you put them within my reach.
    Note: Ingredients in those little Necco
     “conversation” hearts?  Sugar, corn
     syrup, corn starch, gelatin,  modified
    food starch, natural and artificial flavors,
    gum arabic, xanthan  gum, FD&C Colors
    (Red 3, Red 40, Yellow 5, Yellow 6, Blue1).

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    1. The Natural Candy Store: Online purveyor of all-natural, organic, non-hydrogenated candies.
    2. Surf Sweets: Gluten free gummy candies, made in a nut-free facility, corn syrup and GMO free, with only natural colors and flavors using organic fruit juice and sweeteners.
    3. Glee Gum: All natural colored and
    flavored gum.
    4. Real Healthy Stuff: Handmade candy
     with all natural flavors and colors,
     gluten free and no preservatives.
    5. Sugar Coated Organics: An online
    retailer carrying various organic
    candies with no artificial flavors or
     colors and no corn syrup. Many
     of their brands are gluten free,
    nut free, dairy free or vegan.

    Note: Check out this fun article on one Analiese
    Paik’s experience hosting asustainble 
    chocolate tasting.

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    1. Theo Chocolate: The only organic, fair trade,
     bean-to-barchocolate factory in the US.
    2. Sweet Riot: “Sweetriot sources their cacao
     directly in Latin America, uses recyclable,
     reusable packaging which features emerging
     artists, and only uses all-natural, healthy
     ingredients for sweetriot’s dark
     chocolate ‘peaces.’”
    3. CocoaVino: Above and beyond just sustainable,
     organic and fair trade, they use 100% recycled
     packaging and purchase 100% wind-generated
    electricity for their kitchen and office facilities.

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    4. Dagoba: Fair trade chocolates, syrup and cocoa powder, from a company participating in both local and worldwide humanitarian and environmental stewardship.
    5. Endangered Species Chocolate: Fair trade,
     organic chocolates with a company policy to
     profit share 10% net by “providing grants to
     our 10% non-profit conservation partners
     and funding on-the-ground sustainable projects
     in areas where our cocoa is grown.”
    6. Sweet Earth Organic Chocolates: Fair trade,
     certified organic chocolates made in the USA.
    7. Coco Zen: Fair trade chocolates in steel
     tins (steel is the most recyclable metal) by a
    company participating in 1% for the planet.
    8. Rescue Chocolate: “From each chocolate
     purchased, 100% of the net profits are
    donated to animal rescue organizations
     around the country.” The company also
     uses biodegradable packaging and hand
    delivery by public transportation when possible.

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    In doing all of this luscious research, I
     began to consider that maybe I
    should surprise my husband with what
     we call a “brother” gift – something
     the recipient will enjoy just enough
     to make up for the fact that you
    really wanted to buy the thing for
    yourself. I have found my
     brother-Valentine’s-Day gift for sweet
     hubby: Dark chocolate covered
     figs infused with 
     port, by Cocoa Vino.
    They come in a package of four. Should I
     give him one, or two?

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