Level Up Your Chocolate Game This Halloween

[Image: Halloween Candy by whistlepunch]

According to a survey conducted by the National Confectioners Association, candy sales are expected to reach $2.5 billion this Halloween season. While we often think of Halloween candy as varied and available in seemingly endless quantities, it lacks a certain diversity – just 3 companies (Mars, Hershey’s, and Nestlé) produce 99.4% of snack-sized chocolates sold in the US. Most industrially produced candy also lacks chocolate content – the FDA only requires that milk chocolate be 10% by weight of chocolate liquor (the chocolatey tasting part of the cocoa bean). The number one ingredient in Halloween candy is, more often than not, sugar, with a cocktail of milk, corn syrup, palm kernel oil, and artificial flavors holding it together.

There are a number of fine and craft chocolate confections on the market reminiscent of the Halloween candy central to our champion trick-or-treater youths. They’re not always available in snack-sized portions, but what they might lack in individual wrapping they more than make up for in flavor. If you’re interested in having some chocolate that, well, has chocolate in it, here are my recommendations to help you make this Halloween season a game-changer.

[Image: Burdick Chocolate Ghosts]

Love Hershey’s Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups? Just wait ‘til you try:
Alma Chocolate’s Salted Peanut Butter Cups
Chocolopolis Peanut Butter Tortoises
Recchiuti Peanut Butter Pucks
Patric Chocolate PBJ OMG bars

Hershey’s Almond Joy Bars
Fran’s Chocolate Coconut Gold Bars
EHChocolatier Coconutty Bars
Madre Chocolate Spiced Coconut Pecan Bars

Hershey’s Mounds Bars
Chocolopolis Coconut Meltaways

Mars’ Snickers Bars
Xocolatl de David Raleigh Bars
Chocolopolis Dark or Milk Chocolate Salted Peanut Turtles

Hershey’s Assorted Miniatures (Mr. Good and Krackel)
Taza Chocolate Tazitos Mini Bars, Crispy Crunch and Peanut Crunch
Michel Cluizel Dark Chocolate with Crispy Pearls and Cinnamon Bars
Chocolopolis Salty Nutty Bar
Valrhona Caramelia with Crunchy Pearls and Milk Chocolate

Mars Three Musketeers Bars
EHChocolatier Chocolate Chew Bars

Hershey’s York Peppermint Patties
Recchiuti Peppermint Thins
Fran’s Chocolate Mint Thins
Michel Cluizel Dark Chocolate with Crystallized Fresh Mint Leaves Bar

Nestlé Raisinets
Domori Chocolate Covered Raisins

Ferrero Rochers
Guido Gobino Gianduiotti

Hershey’s Rolos
Fran’s Chocolate Salted Caramels
EHChocolatier Salted Caramels
Black Dinah Chocolatiers Flagship Caramels
Xocolatl de David Salted Caramel Bars

Hershey’s HEATH Bars
EHChocolatier Toffee Almond
Alma Chocolate Salty Nutty Toffee Mini Bar

Pop Rocks Candies
Cocanu Moonwalk 65% Dark Chocolate, Cacao Nibs, and Pop Rocks
Chuao Chocolatier’s Firecracker Bars

Hershey’s Whoppers
Recchiuti Confections Malted Dark Milk Revolution

Halloween-inspired confections, for when the candy needs to look like Halloween
Burdick Chocolate Ghosts
EHChocolatier Witch Hats
EHChocolatier Spooky Bonbons
Recchiuti Confections Whooligans
John & Kira’s Chocolate Pumpkins and Apples

If you experience sticker shock while exploring these options, consider this: these are not candies that are cheap by design, ready to be tossed in a pillowcase and stashed under your childhood bed, but rather artisan products produced by skilled craftspeople. Plus more chocolate content necessarily requires a higher price point. Keep in mind, too, that these chocolate confections might cost more than you’re accustomed to, but cocoa farmers aren’t getting rich. This is a question of quality and labor value and, with all products, you get what you pay for.

Happy Halloween!

[Image: EHChocolatier Witch Hats]


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    Bittersweet Notes is an open source research project on chocolate, culture, and the politics of food. I invite you to join me as I explore the story of chocolate and the life stories of those involved with chocolate at its many stages of production and consumption.

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