While pushing our way up one aisle and down the next through the milling throng at the recent Natural Foods EXPO West, sampling this and that, I had to do a double take at one stall that read “Certified Organic Cotton Candy”.
But, there, indeed, beneath the sign was the classic stainless steel centrifuge in a glass enclosure that I recalled from my youth, filled with whirling pink fluff. And beside it, a stand full of the classic white paper cones bearing smallish portions of the stuff.
Bernod’s Spun City, the company hawking the product, is based…where else? California, of course! Face it, would certified organic cotton candy even be thought of elsewhere?
They, like all the vendors at Expo West, were handing out samples and literature about their product.
Here’s the ‘one sheet’ that I picked up:
When I stopped to pick up the sheet, the jolly salesmen handed me a sample cone. I demurred. They pressed. Just a tiny taste, said I. This is a tiny taste, said they, handing me the whole cone with about 2 cups of fluff on it. And I supposed compared to the 8 cups of fluff that comes on the real full-sized McCoy, it would qualify as just a tidbit. So I took it (and the literature about it) and strolled away, laughing and shaking my head.
I haven’t eaten cotton candy in probably twenty-five years and as I tore off an inch or so of it and stuffed it in my mouth, instantly, the years fell away and it was as though I were wandering through the midway of the State Fair. I could almost hear the noises: the shrieks of the people riding the giant ferris wheel, the popping of balloons, the bells dinging from the shooting gallery, the barkers luring people into the side shows. Funny how tastes and smells can so strongly evoke memories.
One bite was all it took, however, to make me shudder and toss the remainder in the first trash can I spotted the next aisle over. That’s not to say that it wasn’t tasty; it was. But it was too sweet, overpoweringly, almost sickeningly sweet. And why wouldn’t it be, considering it’s nothing but pure spun sugar…albeit, pure organic sugar with no artificial color or flavor. Not to mention trans fat and cholesterol free, to boot!
Somehow the purity of its ingredients didn’t help my reeling taste buds much, shocked as they were by such intensity of sweetness after so many years spent eschewing such concentrated fare. Ah, but there was a day, long years ago in my misbegotten youth, when I could have dispatched not just the sample, but the entire full-sized puff, such was my sweet tooth.
And at what a metabolic cost? I cringe to think.
As for ‘almost guilt-free indulgence’ nowadays, give me a chunk of high- quality extra dark chocolate, from Vosges Haut Chocolates or Fauchon. And a tipple of Poire William and a cup of good hot espresso.
That’s a combination to make your taste buds stand up and cheer.