An insider's view of the Connecticut dining scene
Jul 22, 2014
03:29 PM
The Connecticut Table

A Connecticut Company Wants to Change the Way People Eat Candy

A Connecticut Company Wants to Change the Way People Eat Candy

All photos courtesy of Torie & Howard

As a kid, Torie Burke loved the artificial food coloring in candy.

"I used to run around with a blue tongue thinking it was really fun,” she recalls, but that was because she didn’t know how potentially unhealthy food coloring was. “Now as an adult I look back and I’m like, ‘Wow, that was basically like putting paint on my tongue.’”

Today, Burke (right) still loves candy, and as the cofounder of Torie & Howard, a company that makes specialty organic hard candy, she’s dedicated to providing it to health conscious consumers in as natural and least harmful way as possible.

The New Milford-based company sells four flavors of addictively good, USDA certified organic hard candies that are made with all-natural ingredients and are free of additives, artificial flavors and colors. While not quite good for you, these candies certainly are healthier than the competition and they taste better too—a sample stash provided to Connecticut Magazine for “research purposes” disappeared quicker than you can say “certified organic.”

“We’re following along with what everybody wants, which is higher quality, better taste, cleaner ingredients,” Burke says. She adds that with Torie & Howard products “you’re not eating something that’s carcinogenic.”

The bite size, not-so-guilty pleasures Torie & Howard sells are distributed nationally at hundreds of stores. In 2012, the company was founded by Burke and her longtime friend Howard Slatkin, an uber successful interior designer and the founder of the home fragrance brand Slatkin & Co. which was launched in the 1990s and quickly became a favorite at high-end retailers including Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, and Barneys.

The two met through the interior design industry, as Burke was a sought after color consultant. They were inspired to start the company after they both underwent dramatic diet changes. A few years ago, after realizing he was living an unhealthy lifestyle, Slatkin had a health awakening and lost more than 100 pounds. Around the same time, because of severe food allergies, Burke had to change her diet dramatically. Both were suddenly paying tremendous attention to what they were eating and found there were not many healthy sweets available. As a result Torie & Howard was born.

While still candy, Torie & Howard’s sweets are treats you can enjoy without the guilt.

“This is a dedicated moment when you’re having a little sweet treat in the afternoon, it’s three grams of sugar, just under a teaspoon, and it’s 12 calories,” explains Burke. “ It’s a moment; you’re not grabbing a bag of popcorn and you’re not eating a whole candy bar that’s 150, or 180, or 200 calories. It’s just a sweet-treat little moment where you can indulge and not take on 100 calories.”

In addition to providing organic hard candy to the masses, the company is dedicated to supporting nonprofit organizations and charities through donations. One of the company’s favorite nonprofits is Autism Speaks, which is among the world's leading autism science and advocacy organizations.

Today, the mouthwatering flavors the company offers include d’anjou pear and cinnamon, pomegranate and nectarine, blood orange and honey, and pink grapefruit and tupelo honey.  Asked which is her favorite, Burke hesitates.

“I joke that I sleep around with all of them,” she says. She adds, “I do like them all for different times of the day and for different uses. The pear and cinnamon is the most subtle and many people’s favorite but the current bestseller is pomegranate and nectarine, which has the most verve. Really I love them all for different reasons, so I move around through them. But if you had to force me gun against the head into a decision I would take either the pomegranate or pink grapefruit.”  

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A Connecticut Company Wants to Change the Way People Eat Candy

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