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.
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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.
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Finally, 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.
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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.