The term “healthy candy” never fooled anyone, until Ashby Confections came along.
Jennifer Ashby began making chocolates and other confections over 10 years ago, and her superfood sour strips are a reason to go back for seconds and thirds in the name of health.
Ashby’s most recent additions to the superfood sour strip family are boysenberry, and wild sea buckthorn, a berry found in cold, harsh climates that tastes like a cross between orange and mango. She uses only five ingredients, with no artificial anything.
Last year, Ashby began sourcing some chocolate from Mutari for its truffles and other chocolate treats. Ashby also uses Bay Area-based Guittard organic chocolate. Ashby spoke to us about the latest developments.
Why sea buckthorn?
JENNIFER ASHBY: I was looking for organic sour cherries, because around here we don’t get sour cherries—we get black cherries and Rainiers and other types. Those don’t give a strong enough cherry flavor, and I was looking for strong flavors. I love experimenting with different fruits and trying new things, so I was so excited when I found this website that sells all kinds of wild and organic berries, and I saw wild seabuckthorn. I’d never tried it. They are an exotic superfruit, extremely high in vitamin C and omegas and loaded with antioxidants. It’s really cool to get this good stuff in your system in a way that’s delicious.
Any other new stuff?
We have the harvest cup made with Mutari dark chocolate shell and housemade marzipan and a piece of dried apricot. On top, there’s a dried cherry and pistachio. All of that is delicious. I always want to grab one for the drive home, they aren’t too sweet with the dried fruit, dark chocolate and marzipan. It’s the best. We also have more vegan stuff now, particularly more vegan truffles. We also have a blonde Kahlua coffee truffle, which is made with Mutari caramelized white chocolate—all organic, local and fresh. Kahlua, coffee, and caramel chocolate. What could be wrong with any of that?
In the last two years, we’ve also really developed brittles from my family recipe. My mom always told me she made the best peanut brittle, I grew up with her telling me that. I’ve tasted a lot of brittles, and have to admit, it’s really good. So I took her recipe and tweaked it. I use local beer or wine instead of water. The alcohol leaves behind the great flavor and robustness.
INFO: 16 Victor Square, Scotts Valley. ashbyconfections.com.