Easter is fast approaching, but before you pick up those Easter basket bunnies, be aware and beware! Impostor chocolate rabbits flood the shelves every season, and if you’re not careful, those bunnies can make their way into your homes, and even worse, into your mouth!
As both a hard-core chocoholic, and Jedi master bargain hunter, I can tell you unequivocally that chocolate is something that you get what you pay for. If you are only spending a couple bucks at the drug store for it, dollars to (chocolate) doughnuts, it’s not going to be good chocolate. When chocolate is made cheaply, many manufacturers take a lot of the cocoa butter out. Cocoa butter is the good, natural fat in chocolate that comes from the cacao bean, and makes the chocolate smooth and creamy and melty on your palette. The cocoa butter is pressed out and sold off to cosmetic manufacturers, so it can then be put it in to our hand creams and body lotions, because it’s so good for our skin.
They do this to enhance their bottom line, as the cocoa butter becomes a separate commodity. Cocoa butter has a 300% markup rate when used in personal care items. But what does it mean for the chocolate? Well, all that good fat that they took out has to be replaced by something. So what do they often use? Paraffin–which is edible wax. So if you’ve ever eaten bad chocolate, that coated your mouth in a weird way and left a funny, filmy after taste–that’s what that was. You were having some chocolate mixed with essentially, crushed up candles. What’s worse is that paraffin is actually a petroleum-based product. Yeah, chew on that one!
So how do you avoid these horrible chocolates? It’s all in the labeling! Legally, candy makers and confectioners are not allowed to call things chocolate unless it contains a 9% minimum percentage of cocoa butter. If it does not contain that, then they have to watch how they word things on their packaging. The tip off is, they will usually call something “milk chocolate flavored,” or avoid using the word chocolate all together. If you go to the grocery store or pharmacy right now, chances are you will see a ton of bunnies with exactly this sort of labeling.
Palmer’s is a HUGE culprit of this–which makes sense, because Palmer’s also sells bottles of cocoa butter for skin care! That’s right! The very same company who is putting out extremely low quality chocolate that doesn’t pass FDA labeling muster, is putting out the bottles of stuff that is good for your stretch marks! So next time you see one of those “milk chocolate flavored” bunnies, you should yell at them “You should have kept the cocoa butter in your chocolate, Palmer’s!”