I’m like a cheerleader for hard candy in this day & age of over the top trends. Bacon infused burnt caramel pretzel chocolate, sour pellets with warning labels, key lime marshmallows. Don’t get me wrong, I love all that crap, but what I love more is plain old simple hard candies-provided they’re done right.
A few years ago we reviewed the line from a tiny candy company getting their start. Like a steamroller, they plowed out of the gate and-at least to me- suddenly seemed to be available all over the place, even to the point of having Halloween themed bags for Sale at Whole Foods. That’s success, kids. And those kids, to be specific, are Torie & Howard.
I had had the pleasure of meeting them at the Fancy Food show in SF that year, and they were a damn delight. Better than their sparkling personalities and legitimately noble mission (more on that later) was their idea of good flavors. They absolutely embody my personal ideals in that department: strong, intense, true flavors, always including a natural, pleasant tartness in addition to sweet. You can check out their line of flavors here. But this review I sn’t about those. It’s about their best flavor, which just so happens to also be their newest: Meyer lemon & Raspberry.
Don’t ever say that they don’t OWN packaging. It’s like you stumbled into a small town grocery store in Ann Arbor, and discovered that they make their own candies there and hand paint the tins. Go with me here. It’s at least sort of like that.
Wrapped in yellow with light blue accents, they pack them into the tin.
Looks just like their other candies in shape, and is perfectly ruby red in color. One thing I should mention is the size of these lovelies- they’re perfect. Not too small, but definitely not too large, they last a surprisingly long time, providing you can hold back from crunching on them.
While these look nice, they’re all about flavor. The first note you get is the juicy raspberry-it jumps off the candy on you. Really nice and true, it’s quite literally salivating fodder. However, and this is why I adore these candies, soon after, the Meyer lemon kicks in. Anyone worth their salt knows that lemon is a slam dunk pairing with raspberry-but the flavor they got out of the Meyer lemons is amazing. Yes, it’s lemony, but what knocked me out was the presence of the lemon zest/rind. In the best way possible, it brings in a slight bitter note to offset the sweet raspberry and tart lemon. All three together? Bliss. Candy bliss.
Now back to their mission- they’re into responsibly made candy with natural ingredients . Eco-friendly, no dyes, no nuts (makes a dad like me with an allergic jr. rest easy), GMO free, no corn syrup, gluten free, no wheat, no soy, no dairy, no nothing except natural stuff. Here are the ingredients to this candy: organic sugar, organic rice syrup, citric acid, natural flavors, colored with: red cabbage, purple carrots, organic carrot, organic apple, organic black currant. While at first I thought it was interesting that I didn’t see lemons or raspberries on the ingredient list, I now realize they must be included in the “natural flavors” but even if they’re totally absent, who cares? They nailed the flavor regardless, and they’re using real ingredients.
Usually I give props for using these kinds of ingredients, even when the candy eating experience is mediocre. Torie & Howard have once again caught lightning in a bottle and attained the best of both worlds: real ingredients responsibly made, and kick ass slammin’ flavor. These might be a bit more expensive than the usual lot of hard candies you find in stores, but now you know why. And they’re worth every penny.