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.


  1. We have a local chocolate shop where they make 99% cocoa dark chocolate truffles -not much room for any sugar in them and absolutely scrumptious and guilt free. Not a trace of bitter either. Incredibly good and makes any normal chocolate taste like that spun sugar.
    Love your column!

    COMMENT from MD EADES: Thanks. Sounds like I would love that chocolate. Do they ship?

  2. Yes they DO ship! Oddly enough they don’t list the 99% truffles on the web site – but they DO make them and you could probably call or email. I think I’m gonna need to get to Madison soon – my mouth is watering!

    COMMENT from MD EADES: Okay, spill. What is the name of the shop?

  3. An interesting and timely (to me!) article. I celebrated a friend’s birthday this weekend and we made brownie sundaes in lieu of birthday cake. Thus, I indulged in a real, sugary treat – something I haven’t been doing so much lately with PP. I used to be a complete carb and sugar addict – I couldn’t wait for dessert or the treat to come. But this weekend, to my surprise, I found the brownie sundae much too sweet for my new taste — much like your reaction to the cotton candy. I can’t even imagine eating cotton candy right now! Thanks for the anecdote — and also, thanks to Beverly, a new chocolate to try!!

    COMMENT from MD EADES: Sometime when you want the taste, but not th sugar rush, you might try the low carb version of the brownie sundae (Ice Cream Brownie-wiches) in the Low Carb CookwoRx Cookbook. That recipe is also available, I believe, on the CookwoRx website at http://www.lowcarbcookworx.com.

  4. What wonderful organic ingredient did they use to make it pink?

    COMMENT from MD EADES: Their literature didn’t say, but there’s an entire line of organic food colorings, plant based, I think. I purchased a set of them online for tinting the frosting of my granddaughters ‘pink snake cake’ that she requested for her 3rd birthday. The colors are softer than the standard food colorings and they have a distinct flavor, unlike the others.

    And yes, before someone else asks, it was real frosting and real cake, made with butter, cream, eggs, powdered sugar and flour. At least they were organic real ingredients. She doesn’t get a lot of sugary treats as a rule, but it was her birthday. There were about 20 guests–adults and children–and there wasn’t a crumb of that snake left. Mike and I each ate about a 1/2″ slice of it and I must say it was moist and delicious. It’s good to stumble into the honey tree now and again.

  5. Organic cotton candy?? What is the world coming to?

    I seriously believe this is getting too far – I mean we have organic oreos, vodka and even clothing in stores now!! The problem with organic is that people assume it is healthier – it’s not. An organic cookie has the same amount of fat, sugar and calories as a ‘normal’ cookie does.

    Sometimes organic has more. Natural Feelings organic hummus has 5.5g sat fat per 1/4 cup serving, while their normal variety has 2.2 sat fat!! I would like an organic supporter come up with a rebuttal to that!!

    COMMENT from MD EADES:  Well put. My point, precisely.

  6. Organic Cotton Candy… a Food Allergy mom’s blessing!

    My son is severely allergic to 6 of the Top 8 common food allergens. Our entire family has converted to his semi-vegan, semi-kosher pareve diet, which has been a blessing. But when it comes time to be a kid, with his sisters and the rest of the world, there is very, very little I can allow him to have that will not harm him. And we are one of the lucky FA families. There are some families out there that are corn-free, or soy-free, or silicate-free. Ever tried eating without those ingredients in your food? Try it,… for one meal.

    It is bad enough that we have to deny our kids foods they love like regular eggs or peanuts because ingestion, or aroma, or touch of the protien can set off a deadly reaction. To then have to deny them a sweet now and then is painful, especially when they are at a friend’s birthday party and they cannot partake in the celebration of the cake. For us, organic cotton candy, with no artificial dyes or flavorings that could kill my son, with no partially hydroginized this, or high fructose that, with none of his allergens in it what-so-ever, that can bring a smile to my son’s face to help him not feel left out because of his special needs, THAT alone is the best reason in the world for having organic cotton candy.

    I hope that sheds some light on the importance of having organic foods for at least us FA sufferers. Without organic foods, most FA sufferers would have little to nothing to eat that would not kill them, unless they went raw.

    BTW… organic food colorings are mostly vegetable/fruit based.

  7. Hi, everytime I load up pages I just find myself seeing half of the page. I do not understand if it is my web browser(Opera) or not, anyone else experiencing this issue?

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