Our focus is on celebrating confections – whether chocolate covered bon bons or gloriously simple caramels – produced using locally grown, natural, minimally processed ingredients that celebrate regional culture and tradition, highlight American terroir and exemplify excellence in the candy making craft.
The Good Food Awards rely on the expertise of the confections community to create the tasting, determine judges and set standards for the category. Read on to learn who has been integral to building the category, as well as what the confections standard are and who will be judging this year.
Culinary Liaison at Dandelion Chocolate
Leah Hammerman is the Culinary Liaison at Dandelion Chocolate, where she manages the wholesale department, sharing her enthusiasm for single-origin chocolate with curious food & beverage professionals. Prior to discovering the dynamic world of chocolate, Leah lived in New York and LA, where she was on the marketing team at StarChefs and was a restaurant manager with both AvroKO Hospitality Group and Hillstone Restaurant Group. Leah’s deep love for all things food began at a young age, when she prepared weekly Shabbat dinners with her mom. An avid home cook, she still keeps up her Jewish cooking traditions. This is Leah’s third year co-chairing the confections category.
Sustainability Lead, Natural & Organic Division at General Mills
Christina leads sustainability strategy for the Natural and Organic division of General Mills, which includes leading edge brands like Annie’s and Cascadian Farm. Her work focuses on farm-level impact and seeks to advance positive outcomes in soil health, biodiversity, water quality, and economic resilience in farming communities. Prior to joining General Mills, Christina worked with the Good Food Foundation and SCS Global Services, where she coordinated the Starbucks responsible coffee sourcing verification program in Latin America, Asia, and Africa. Christina holds degrees in Agricultural Science and Brazilian Studies from Brown University, and a MS in Agriculture, Food, and Environment from the Friedman School at Tufts University.
In order to be eligible for a Good Food Award, confections entries must meet the following standards:
- Made in the USA or US territories.
- Free of artificial ingredients, including colors, flavors and preservatives.
- Free of genetically modified ingredients.
- Free of high fructose corn syrup.
- If made with chocolate, it must be premium couverture and may not be made with substitute fats as alternatives to cocoa butter. Additionally this chocolate cannot be made with GM sugar, GM lecithin or alternatives to real vanilla (ie flavoring).
- If made with dairy and other animal-derived ingredients, these are locally sourced and/or certified organic; free range; hormone-free; and from animals raised using good animal husbandry.*
- If made with inclusions and flavorings that are grown domestically, they are locally sourced wherever possible; traceable; and grown without the use of synthetic herbicides, pesticides, fungicides or fertilizers.**
- If made with inclusions and flavorings that are not grown domestically on a commercial scale, they are farm-direct, certified organic or Fair Trade certified.**
- Made by a crafter that is an upstanding member of the good food community, committed to equity, inclusion, and justice in all levels of their business.
*The Good Food Foundation will refer to GAP Level 5 guidelines to define “good animal husbandry” should there be any questions as to eligibility based on this criterion.
** If less than 2% of ingredients in the product do not meet this stipulation, the entry will not be disqualified.
Additionally, confections entries must fit within one of the following subcategories:
- Candy (Gummies, Taffy, Lollipops, Licorice)
- Marshmallows, Nougats, Torrones
- Caramels, wrapped
- Caramels, chocolate covered
- Brittles & Toffees
- Chocolates: Truffles, Creams, Bon-bons, Pralines
- Fruit: Pate De Fruit, Candied Fruit and Peel, Fruit Gelee
- Sweet Snacks: Dragees
- Candy Bars
- Flavored & Inclusion Bars*
- Sauces & Spreads
*Bean-to-bar makers may enter flavored or inclusion bars in their choice of the Chocolate or Confections category.
Note that we encourage but do not require that Confections entrants use domestically produced craft chocolate that is made with beans from a traceable source, purchased at a price above Fair Trade standard pricing, with focus on sustainable farming.
Director of Marketing, Guittard Chocolate Company
Founder, Ground Floor Experiences
Vice Fermentor, Slow Brine
Owner, Nosh This
Cristina Arantes De Sousa
Product Manager, Dandelion Chocolate
Executive Design Director, Heath Ceramics
Co-Founder, Alma Superfoods
Pastry Chef, Birdsong
Pastry Chef, Angler
Grocery Manager/Buyer, The Real Food Company
CEO, The Meadow
Farmer and Photographer, Fresh to Farming
Director of Marketing and Sales, Twin Cities Co-op Partners
Founder and Chef, Three Owls Market
Tour Guide, Gourmet Walks
Food Enterprise Reporter, San Francisco Chronicle
Co-Owner, Miracle Plum