Generally speaking, I like products (and I like to review products) that you can just go into your local supermarket or natural food store and purchase easily, which means I don’t usually review online stores.
However, as Halloween is coming up, and the question of where to buy safe, allergen-free candy is on everyone’s mind, I’d thought I’d share an online store, new to me, that both creates and carries candies free of the top eight allergens.
Indie Candy sent me a pineapple lollipop (that I didn’t try), lime jellies that were soft, fragrant and chewy and a Jack-O-Lantern chocolate pop. The chocolate was the one item that I was most interested in, as it’s difficult to find good quality chocolate. This pop had that fruity-like aroma of dark chocolate, good mouthfeel and wasn’t overly sweet. Pretty much, one bite and I was in
Proustian pop-heaven. Why the madeline-tinged reverie? When I was a kid, there were Howard Johnson’s every few miles along the Long Island Expressway. On our way out to our country home on the south fork of Long Island, we would stop at ‘HoJo’s” for lunch. Invariably, I’d beg for, and sometimes get, one of their chocolate-pops, tantalizingly stationed by the check-out. The pops were round circles of milk chocolate with white centers that had a picture on it. Such a treat, chocolate on a stick.
So back to this Jack-O-Lantern chocolate pop by Indie Candy that sent me into chocolate pop recollections, I wanted to know more about Indie Candy, their manufacturing and purchasing, how they source their ingredients, cross-contamination and their top eight free status.
From Indie Candy and reprinted with their permission:
Our facility is completely big 8 allergen free, so there is not an opportunity for cross contamination within our facility.
Our chocolate that we use to make our chocolate products is made in a dedicated nut and gluten free facility. This facility also process soy and dairy. However, this product is produced on a dedicated dairy and soy free line. The ingredients are additionally tested to ensure strict allergen control standards are met. Because of this, our chocolate products are certified gluten free/vegan and CFC Pareve.
We work with our ingredient suppliers to ensure that each product that goes into our products is also Big 8 allergen free. For example, our extracts are made for us to be allergen free and use sunflower oil as a basis rather than the more common soy oil. Most companies just purchase "off the shelf" industrial extracts and may not be aware of the ingredients in the flavor extracts or colors they use. Our flavors are "from the named fruit" and only from the named fruit - so mango is only made from mango, etc. "From the named fruit" is a specific methodology used in flavor making and is just like it sounds.
Since our products are designed to be allergy friendly, we thoughtfully review every step and every ingredient in the process and limit any opportunity for cross contamination.
Also, because we have deep knowledge about each ingredient, if a customer has a non-typical allergy (mango for example - in our line, just don't any thing that is Mango flavored), we can answer their questions and direct them to appropriate products.
Since I am my own customer (I can't have gluten and I have a son with multiple food intolerances), I am very aware of the issues with food production and allergies/intolerances.
Hanson Watkins, Indie Candy
Retailers, wholesalers and parents can go online and place orders through Indie Candy’s website at www.indiecandy.com or phone in orders at 205.835.0094. Indie Candy’s Halloween candy will be available until October 31, 2010.
If you have any questions, I encourage you to reach out to them as they were very receptive to questions as you just read above and I hope everyone has a safe and fun Halloween.