Earlier this week we gave you the lowdown on some fun savory finds at ExpoWest; now it’s time for some sweet treats. ExpoWest, of course, is the mother of all natural products trade shows, with 77,000 attendees and 2,700 exhibitors. But don’t be fooled by the “natural products” label into thinking that you’ll only see kale chips. If you’ve got a sweet tooth, there’s a whole world of tasty new treats waiting for you.
First up, maraschino cherries. We just happened to be walking by this booth and these unbelievably vivid red cherries from Cherry Man caught our eye. Red food dye? Nope. Artificial colorings? Nope. These “Farm to Market” cherries get their coloring from veggies. The cherries, grown in Michigan and Oregon, go through a “harvest/brine/pit/rinse/infuse/pack/pasteurize process” before they can become the maraschino cherries that we would all recognize on top of our sundaes. But given that they’re dye-free, non-GMO, vegan, kosher, gluten-free, fat-free, and preservative-free, we can eat them with a clear conscience.
Speaking of sundaes, you’re going to want to put something underneath that maraschino cherry, which is why we were tickled to find Tillamook’s new line of “super-premium” ice creams. These new premium flavors come in a variety of flavors, such as California Peach Cobbler and Salted Caramel Toffee, in the form of extra-creamy ice cream, farm-style gelato, or frozen custard. Once again, this represents another Oregon-based partnership for Tillamook, this time with Portland-based Stumptown Coffee (Stumptown Cold Brew Coffee Extra Creamy Ice Cream, anyone?). And of course, with Tillamook, the products are always made with milk from cows with no artificial growth hormones, and no artificial sweeteners. Additionally, less air is whipped into Tillamook ice creams, meaning that there is about half a pound more ice cream per gallon than the industry standard.
Moving on to chocolate (which of course is the best transition ever), we were totally thrilled by the “Sweet Dreams” line of chocolate-covered rice cakes from Lundberg Farms. These crispy, thin rice cakes are coated with organic fair-trade chocolate and have only 60 calories per cake (for those of you counting calories). Our kids have enjoyed the sample rice cakes in their lunch bags all week; they’re just chocolate-y enough to make you feel like you’re eating dessert, without actually chowing down on a heavy cookie or brownie. Oh, and they’re organic and gluten-free to boot.
And for more chocolate-y goodness, we also found chocolate with a “boost” in Attune Food’s Probiotic Chocolate Bars. These shelf-stable bars (unlike many probiotic products, they don’t need to be refrigerated) offer 4.1 billion CFUs of probiotics per bar. They are Fair Trade certified and come in dark chocolate, milk chocolate crisp, and toasted coconut flavors (all are gluten-free and all are dairy-free, except for the milk chocolate bar). We find the milk chocolate crisp bar most kid-friendly – the crisp is from brown rice, but the taste is just like a traditional chocolate-and-crisp bar.
Last but not least, we did bring a kid with us, so he practically dragged us over to taste some gummy candies. Gourmet Gummies by Project 7 are made with no artificial colors or dyes, they’re gluten-free and non-GMO, and they are 90 percent organic. They come in flavors that charmed our kid, such as “Front Porch Lemonade” and “Birthday Cake.” As he worked his way down the line, he was literally like a kid in a candy store. (Note that Project 7 is a company that has made its mission one of giving back with each purchase; see some of the non-profits it partners with here.) If you’re going to serve a candy treat, this is one of the good ones.
See anything that tickles your fancy? Or did you see something else at ExpoWest that you want to share? Let us know; and in the meantime, keep an eye out for these sweet treats!