8 Best Organic Holiday Candies

It’s December and the holidays will be happening before we know it. As part of the tradition, many will partake in eating lots of candy. The winter holidays are third in terms of candy sales, only behind Halloween and Valentine’s Day. When it comes to eating candy, it’s important to choose organic and sustainably sourced confections.

Organic candies contain cane sugar instead of GMO sugar or high fructose corn syrup.  They also use natural ingredients for color and flavors, natural waxes, and more heat stable oils. Plus being certified organic means it has non-GMO ingredients which weren’t sprayed with any pesticides such as glyphosate. Additionally, the organic candy companies source their ingredients from farms where the workers are treated fairly and paid a fair price for their work.

In terms of holiday candies, I searched all of the organic candy businesses to see who had products which were holiday related in one way or another. One element I was looking for was ingredients associated with winter time, such as peppermint or  gingerbread. Another type of candy which could make my list is winter season or holiday related shapes, such as a snowman, a Christmas tree, or coins known as Hanukkah gelt. And of course, what would the holidays be without candy canes?

In alphabetical order, here are the 8 best organic candies you can buy for the holidays:

 

Hammond’s Candies

Hammond’s Candies dates back over 100 years ago when founder Carl T. Hammond Sr. opened Hammond’s Candy Factory in Denver, CO. Carl started it as a small family business committed to quality. The first candy he created was Carl’s Honey Ko Kos, which were chocolates topped with shredded coconut. What began as a one man business soon developed into Carl hiring a manager to run the store while he traveled throughout the west selling candy to other retailers. Several generations of the Hammond family ran the company from Carl’s son Carl T. Hammond Jr. to Carl Jr.’s son-in-law Emery Dorsey. In 1995, Williams-Sonoma purchased a number of their products and Hammond’s became a national name. The company was sold in 1999 to three veterans of the candy industry who expand Hammond’s from a small business to 10 employees to a factory twice as large with over 60 employees. In 2007, candy lover Andrew Schuman purchased Hammond’s. Having a similar background in retail and enthusiasm for entrepreneurship as Carl T. Hammond Sr., Andrew eventually expanded the company to 300 employees and into the snack foods arena. For the holidays, their organic options include candy canes of various flavors, mint pillows, and mint mini ribbons.

 

Hu Kitchen

The story of Hu Kitchen begins with the three founders, Jordan Brown, Jason Karp, and Jessica Karp, all wanting to improve their health. Jordan did extensive reading on health and wellness. Jason had successfully overcome autoimmune disease himself. Jordan left the corporate world to devote himself full time to nutrition and food. The three researched the gut-brain connection, what causes inflammation, and the effects of foods and additives have on our health, immunity, and performance. They concluded processed ingredients needed to be replaced with basic and healthier alternatives. And the food brand of Hu Kitchen was born. They now offer different flavored chocolate bars, chocolate covered fruits and nuts, and chocolate gems. Hu has a holiday-themed gingerbread dark chocolate bar.

 

Lake Champlain

Lake Champlain founder Jim Lampman bought fancy chocolates every year as holiday presents for his Ice House Restaurant staff in Burlington, VT.  One year, his pastry chef said the chocolates Jim bought weren’t all that great, so Jim dared him to make better ones. His chef took him up on the challenge and the two started making hand-rolled creamy truffles together. Today, Lake Champlain has a wide variety of chocolates which are all fair trade certified and GMO free. Many of their products are also certified organic. They remain a multi-generational family business which sources from local and sustainable partners. Lake Champlain has a wide variety of organic holiday candies with everything from Hanukkah gelt to peppermint cream dark chocolate jubilees to chocolate snowmen and Santas.

 

OCHO Candy

Natural food expert Denis Ring thought we’d soon see an organic candy bar hit the market. But he waited year after year without seeing this happen. So he eventually felt it was time to create one himself. Denis tried several different concepts and had his friend entrepreneur Scott Kucerik taste. As it only took one bite for Scott to be won over, Denis asked him to join OCHO Candy. Their holiday contributions are milk chocolate tree-shaped candies filled with caramel or peanut butter and peppermint-filled dark chocolates.

 

Raaka Chocolate

Raaka Chocolate prides itself on transparent trade. They purchase cacao directly from cooperatives and grower organizations who value quality, sustainability, field support, market access, and premium prices for farmers. They always purchase cacao premium prices which are higher than the commodity market and fair trade prices,  in addition to making sure the prices will remain stable. Every transaction of Raaka makes can be found on their website. For the holidays, they offer gingersnap chocolate bars with ginger-steamed Tanzanian cacao mixed with winter spice-infused cocoa butter and sparkling brown sugar sprinkled on top.

 

Taza Chocolate

While traveling through Oaxaca, Mexico, Taza Chocolate founder and CEO Alex Whitmore took his first bite of stone ground chocolate. His trip then inspired Alex to open a chocolate factory back in his hometown of Somerville, MA. He began sourcing direct trade cacao and hand-carved granite mill stones to make less processed chocolate. In 2005, he officially launched Taza with his wife, who serves as Chief Design Officer. Taza prides itself in its sourcing. It’s the first U.S. chocolate maker to establish a third-party Direct Trade Cacao Certification program. Their holiday products are chocolate bars with peppermint stick and gingerbread cookies.

 

Theo Chocolate

Theo Chocolate was created in 2005 by Joe Whinney and Jeff Fairhall. Joe had previously formed the first company to manufacture and supply organic cocoa and chocolate products in bulk to the U.S. food industry. Jeff was one of the founders of  The Essential Baking Company. Joe & Jeff’s goal with Theo was to make high quality chocolate from scratch from the cocoa bean to the chocolate. Their practices also include using third parties to verify that everybody they work with is being truthful in their claims, negotiating stable prices with their farm partners, and having full transparency with everybody they work and trade with. Theo makes six different holiday-themed chocolate bars in the flavors of peppermint crunch, nutcracker brittle, gingerbread spice, egg nog white chocolate, milk & cookies, and peppermint mocha.

 

YumEarth

Two young men had been living organic lifestyles. After both becoming fathers, they felt it was time to start an organic candy business. YumEarth began with lollipops and then expanded to hard candy, gummy bears, gummy worms, jelly beans, and licorice. Their holiday candies include candy canes, mini candy canes, and candy pops.

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