Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Trick Is to Parcel Out the Treats

The natural candy mix, above, as well as the popcorn balls and dark chocolate bites (below) are available at naturalcandy store.com, while the pumpkin spice truffles, bottom, are on offer at gnosischocolate.com. Photos from www.naturalcandystore.com and www.gnosischocolate.com.

TRAIL mix. You have got to be kidding! Dried prunes. Surely, you jest.

Likely some of the sentiments trick or treaters will hold for givers who dare pass out these perfectly sensible/nutricentric edibles instead of Milky Way bars.

For a couple of weeks, Yours Truly has been mulling what to say about Halloween treats. Because I endeavor to promote good, whole food whenever possible, it was my intention to jaw about alternatives to sugar-, chemical-laden candy.

I’m sorry, folks, Halloween puzzles will only puzzle – unless they are edible and chocolate-covered, preferably with dark chocolate. A kid can have an apple any ol’ day. For Halloween, if it is not candied or caramel leave it in the fruit basket. Coloring books with ghosts and goblins fairly screaming from the pages are not the way to endear yourself to the young set.

My beloved grandmother had the best solution: rationing. That’s what she did with my brother and me. When we came home with our loot we had to hand it over. In turn, she doled out Tootsie Rolls in sensible portions over the following weeks. It was painful, but it kept the sugar intake to a minimum.

My great, late grandmother had a good system that can still work today. I recommend it. There is help, too, from other sources. No Trick Treats, aims to accommodate those on restricted diets – which should be all of us when it comes to sugar, etc. The site lists the addresses of homes, apartments and businesses countrywide that will be giving out Halloween treats that take into account restricted diets – from allergen-free to vegan. (http://notricktreats.com/)

If yours is such a venue, simply add your address where indicated. In the hunt for sugar-free peppermints and other hard candy in your city/town/hamlet? Enter your address, then click on the sugar-free category, a little green circle should pop up. Click on it to see the
addresses where you can bag said peppermints and butterscotch. One can also create a map of the addresses serving, say, kosher jelly beans.

No Trick Treats also lists a number of places online where one can buy specialty candies i.e., Divvies (http://divvies.com/) for both vegan and nut-free products. One of my favorites is Natural Candy Store (http://www.naturalcandystore.com/). Socially conscious Halloween shoppers can do business with the Global Exchange Fair Trade Store (http://www.globalexchangestore.org/) with the assurance that the candy corn is made in conditions/countries where there are no labor, trade, human rights or environmental abuses and so on.

If popcorn is the treat of choice, do so in the form of popcorn balls. That’s what my childhood best friend’s mother did every year. Mrs. M’s house was one of the most popular stops. Natural Candy Store probably can’t top the late, great Mrs. M, but it does stock delicious-looking popcorn balls, Divine 70 percent dark chocolate bites and many other goodies.

Speaking of chocolate, the affable, beautiful and talented Vanessa Barg (aka Chocolate Girl) is this year offering pumpkin spice truffles at her NYC-based newbie outfit, Gnosis, which is a Greek word meaning knowledge. VB declares that it is the source of the world’s most nutritious chocolate. The truffles do contain ingredients to bolster the claim along the lines of cacao beans, maca, blue-green algae and Love. Even if they are not made from the most nutritious chocolate, they are nutritious. And they are sweet, too, which brings us back to the sugar situation and rationing. Even a good thing should be enjoyed in moderation, no? (http://www.gnosischocolate.com/)

The best news here, though, is that Gnosis and Natural Candy Store promise in the words of the latter, absolutely no artificial colors or dyes, no artificial flavors, no artificial sweeteners, no preservatives, no hydrogenated oils. And while they make no such promises, neither is offering play dough, pens or pencils in lieu of candy. Everything is edible.

That, is a good thing.

Chambord Entertains Some Pretty Ghoulish Ideas
FOR Halloween, adults can have their candy and liquid treats, too. There are numerous of the latter from many sources, including Chambord.

Though French, the raspberry liqueur maker has enthusiastically thrown itself into the season with any number of libations, garnishes and entertaining ideas. No doubt, its efforts are directed at the base in Ireland, United Kingdom and United States.

For the Halloween soiree, Chambord is suggesting several enticing-sounding martinis that are easy to concoct.

Vampire Kiss Martini requires only Finlandia Vodka, Korbel California Champagne( the maker’s claim, not mine) and, of course, Chambord.
(http://www.chambordonline.com/email/ch1266/Chambord_Vampire_Kiss_Martini.pdf

Also on the drink list are Chambord Candy Apple Martini
(http://www.chambordonline.com/email/ch1266/Chambord_Candy_Apple_Martini.pdf), and Ghoul-Aid Cocktail (http://www.chambordonline.com/email/ch1266/Chambord_Ghoul.pdf)
.
Would any such cocktail be complete, though, without a garnish:

Halloween Eyeball Cocktail Garnish
Canned lychee in syrup, drained
Raspberry (or other red-colored) preserves
Blueberry

Dry lychee & fill cavity with red preserves.
Insert Blueberry, blossom end facing out.
Spear with a toothpick or cocktail skewer.


And in conclusion some ideas about entertaining straight outta the Chambord laboratory:

1. Put gummy worms in ice cube trays and fill with water. Freeze and use in your favorite beverages to scare guests.

2. Wrap a tall glass with cheesecloth several times around to look like a Mummy.

3. Hollow out pumpkins to use as a holder for your punches. You may want to insert a plastic bowl into the pumpkin for easy serving.

4. Buy an inexpensive Calderon and place glass bowl in the center of it. Place a smaller rimmed bowl into the bigger bowl to hold your punch. In the outside glass bowl, fill with water and put in dry ice chips to give a bubbling fog effect (be careful not to touch the dry ice. Use tongs at all times and do not put directly into your punch).

5. Truly frighten party-goers with floating hands. Fill 2 food service gloves with colored water and twist and knot opening closed to make a tight seal. Freeze gloves for 12 to 24 hours. The result looks like two hands, which you can add to your punch bowl for a great effect.

Incidentally, both Chambord and Yours Truly strongly urge all partakers to drink responsibly.

Visit http://www.chambordonline.com/age.aspx?ReturnUrl=%2fDefault.aspx for more ideas.

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