Chocomania: Maintaining a social conscience (+ a review)

My original plan for this post had been to tell you about some random different chocolates I’ve tried recently, but as I was writing, I discovered something that  had me almost foaming at the mouth in anger and general pissiness for several days.

I tried the Ghirardelli Intense Dark Toffee Interlude, which is a dark chocolate with toffee bits and caramelized almonds.  I liked the chocolate and also liked that there was something sweet to cut some of the bitter, but I couldn’t decide how I felt about the toffee itself.  I didn’t hate it, but the toffee seemed a bit off. I read the ingredients list to see what it could be that I was tasting and made the horrifying discovery that Ghirardelli uses high fructose corn syrup in this product.

High fructose corn syrup!?!?  This was completely unexpected.  I went to my pantry to check the rest of my Ghirardelli stash and what to my wondering eyes should appear but HFCS in the Ghirardelli Raspberry, Mint, and Caramel chocolates.  There was none in the Intense Dark chocolate bars, but it doesn’t matter because now Ghirardelli is ruined for me.

I actively try to avoid HFCS and refuse to buy products that contain it, even if I love the food in question.  HFCS is bad stuff — research is showing it has a number of detrimental effects on humans, including increasing the risk of obesity, diabetes, hyperactivity, hypertension, and more.  Yet food companies continue to use it instead of sugar because it’s so much cheaper and therefore their profits are so much greater. Yes, sugar is also sweet, but if you can choose between it and HFCS in your food, you want sugar.

So now I’m pissed because a company that I trusted turns out to not  be trustworthy at all.  Ghirardelli — a company that sells upscale chocolates and which charges higher prices as a result — is putting HFCS in a number of its products.  There’s no flavor reason to do so, so when a company uses HFCS, it’s to cut corners and increase profits.

No true gourmet chocolate company would adulterate their products with that shit.  I checked all of the other organic and gourmet chocolates in my private stash and none have HFCS.  I went to several stores and read labels and found no HFCS in any other decent products.  Hell, even Hershey’s doesn’t put HFCS in their iconic chocolate bars.

So now Ghirardelli is dead me.

~ ~ ~

In the good news department, Cadbury’s is now using Fair Trade chocolate for their Dairy Milk products. And, once the company can find Fair Trade sources for nuts and raisins, they’ll include their other bars in the Fair Trade line-up too.

People, this is HUGE.  This means that one of the largest chocolate companies in the world is supporting the campaign to pay cocoa farmers a decent wage.  And they’re doing it without raising the prices of Dairy Milk bars.

So you can now eat Cadbury’s with a clean conscience.  I know I will.

~ ~ ~

sbmmsFinally, it’s taken me a while, but I finally tried the new limited edition Strawberried Peanut Butter M&Ms.  Unlike the Coconut M&Ms, I wasn’t terribly excited about this new iteration of M&Ms and didn’t rush out to the store to get some.  In fact, every time I saw them, my stomach heaved a little.  It finally occurred to me this week that I had a duty to at least try them and report back to you, so I did.

The short of it is that, while they’re not disgusting, they’re also not worth eating.  The peanut butter flavor is the same as Peanut Butter M&Ms, while the strawberry flavor is obviously fake, but not so strong as to make you want to vomit.  I had a few and then threw away the rest of the bag.

~ ~ ~

So that’s the Chocomania report for this week.  I’m still mulling over topics for next week, so speak up if you have a special request.

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14 Responses to Chocomania: Maintaining a social conscience (+ a review)

  1. Eating chocolate vicariously through blog reading is the next best thing to being there. I thank you. My butt thanks you, too.

  2. I don’t if you have a Costco near you, but their Dark Chocolate covered Pomegranates are amazing.

  3. kimkasch says:

    I guess I’m old school – I like Converse and Adidas originals and it goes doubly-true for M-n-M’s

  4. paperdiva says:

    Thanks for the M&M review-saw them at the store but wasn’t dying to try them. Now I won’t bother.
    I eat waaaay too much HFCS. No wonder I’m chubby.

  5. Skywalker says:

    I understand the whole – we’re not putting poison in our bodies thing. You put Ghiradelli on notice.

  6. Heather says:

    That is so disappointing regarding Ghiradelli. Although I am not surprised. I always thought their chocolates had a different after taste I wasn’t thrilled about. LOL (I told you I am a chocolate snob)

  7. I am no fan of HFCS either, but for what it’s worth, manufacturers do use it because it is much cheaper. The reason it is cheaper is because the import tariffs on cane sugar are so high. We pay high prices for sugar to protect a few sugar beet farmers in Montana. Kraft moved a plant from the US to Canada because of sugar prices, so 1,000 factory jobs were lost. But at least we protected the beet growers!

    PS This is why Coke doesn’t taste as good in the US as it does abroad: it’s better when it’s made with cane sugar.

    http://abcnews.go.com/Business/story?id=87274&page=1

  8. Thanks for the report on Ghirardelli. Maybe we can all start emailing them, telling them we’re boycotting until they use the real thing!

    On the fair trade note, do you have Trader Joe’s there? If so, they have a LOT of different types of chocolate to try. I always get overwhelmed by all the choices. But they have fair trade milk and dark, plus loads of other choices.

    Thanks so much for taking this job on! Hey, somebody’s got to do it, right? ;-)

  9. Julie says:

    That is why I love you! Eatting chocolate so I don’t have to!

    I have never been a Ghiradelli choc fan. don’t know why, and now feel so much better that I don’t have to be ever!

    Those new M&M’s sound like a weird flavor combo-peanut butter AND STRAWBERRY? Someone must have been very high to have thought that one up—like one too many bong hits for the idea session that day at the M&M factory . . . ;0

    I still love my coconut M&M’s, though. Got a few more packs in the freezer. They’re my new summer flavor.

  10. Jacey says:

    It’s good that Cadbury’s is using fair trade chocolate… but does this out weigh… or even out the fact that they’re now using palm oil? Not only does is change the taste of the chocolate, but it’s helping destory rainforests for the plantations.
    So good on them for using fair trade chocolate…. but I can’t get over the decision to use palm oil.

  11. Cynthia1770 says:

    Hi,
    My google alert for HFCS picked up your post.
    While I don’t adore chocolate, I understand your frustration.
    I preach the treachery of HFCS so my mission is clear. Please
    email Ghiradelli and tell them that there are lots of brands, domestic and European that don’t have HFCS. Congress and the FDA are not going to make any sweeping changes. The Corn Refiners Assoc (CRA), is a very powerful lobby. The only way we’re going to tackle this issue is at the cash register.
    Ditch HFCS, especially HFCS-55 used to sweeten beverages.
    To your health.

  12. Karen Snyder says:

    Jen,
    Regarding fair trade, you may be excited to know about how the fair trade community is reaching out to the First Lady…

    Fair Trade the White House is a coalition of fair trade vendors and organizations which is inviting the First Lady to join the fair trade movement and make the White House a “Fair Trade Home.” The purpose of the outreach is to raise greater awareness of fair trade to the American consumer, so each person will choose to “Join the Fair Party,” and integrate more fair trade purchases into their regular buying habits, so that poverty is reduced in America and around the world.

    Green America, TransFair, Fair Trade Federation, IMO, Fair Trade Resource Network are all involved, as are 81 other fair trade vendors so far.

    The public invitation to the First Lady is available to sign online at http://www.fairtradewhitehouse.com. It would be wonderful to have your signature.

  13. auntiemwrites says:

    I found the Coconut M&M’s!!!!
    Cadbury’s is the only milk I really like. Now I’m so-o-o-o not going to buy Ghiradelli again. Thanks for pointing that out~

  14. Jaina says:

    I am no longer going to eat Ghiradelli chocolate. Thanks for the heads up! I never would have noticed that.

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