New Organic Candy Bars

I don’t know whether to hug Andy Berliner, or shake my fist at him. Why? Because Andy, the co-founder with his wife Rachel of Amy’s Kitchen, Inc., the top-selling brand of organic and natural convenience foods, has just introduced his line of Organic Andy’s Dandy Candy Bars, and they are completely irresistible, dammit! Those who know me and my love for chocolate are aware that I’ve been able to resist commercial candy bars for years–not counting the 70 percent bittersweet bars that occasionally pass my lips–because of the added no-no’s such as high fructose corn syrup, trans fats, preservatives, and GMOs. Plus, those big-name corporate candy bars just don’t taste as good as I remember. Then along comes a package of Organic Andy’s Dandy Candy Bars and I’m positively weak-kneed around them. Instead of giving his bars cutesy names that divulge no hint of what’s inside, Andy named his bars after the four textures most adored in candy: Crunchy (toffee with almonds), Chewy (caramel with pecans), Crispy (rice crisps and almonds bound with caramel), and Creamy (nougat with a touch of caramel). I’m not exaggerating when I say these are the candy bars of your dreams. The chocolate coating is in the right proportion to the filling; it tastes like a good rich chocolate and not just cheap sweet fat. The caramel has a satisfying chew, yet it doesn’t stick to your molars. And you can’t help feeling a bit smug with the Crispy bar, knowing that the puffed rice is organic brown rice. Add to all these positives the fact that it’s Rainforest Alliance certified, and any guilt you might feel melts away. The gluten-sensitive among us will rejoice that three out of the four bars are gluten-free! It’s taken 25 years for Amy’s Kitchen to even broach the subject of candy. But co-founder Andy is the son of a candy maker, and as a kid he was allowed to sample the goodies as they came off the line in the candy kitchen his father ran for Goldblatt’s department stores in Chicago. In the midst of this second generation of candy making, we caught up with Andy, his wife Rachel (the other co-founder of the business), and their daughter Amy, the real people behind Amy’s Kitchen. Kemp: With Halloween so close, are you considering packaging the candy in the “fun” size for trick-o-treating? Andy: Yes, we are! And they taste even better because there’s more chocolate on each bar. (it’s just like the corner-piece of cake that has a higher frosting-to-cake ratio!) But it will be Halloween 2014 before those are in stores. Kemp: We noticed that three out of the four candy bars contain caramel. I’m a huge caramel fan, so that was good news for me, but one of my colleagues is not, so she was out for the count on three of your bars. What was the impetus for these four flavors? Andy: When we started out making these, we were trying to do organic and…

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