These marijuana edibles are an artistic endeavor of connoisseur status.
As recreational marijuana legalization progresses across the United States, people may opt to smoke it, but having cannabis in your favorite candies, snacks, drinks and more makes consuming this drug a pleasure for your taste buds. The marijuana edibles market is booming, and it’s not some random person cooking up a batch of brownies in their kitchen. Professional chefs are establishing an edible art form in the cannabis industry by creating amazing infused food that rivals its traditional counterpart.
Great Taste, No Bad Trips
When you eat a marijuana-infused treat, you want to know it will taste great and that the high is reliable. Marijuana edibles for recreational use are regulated for the amount of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) — the chemical compound responsible for the high — that can be used in a single product. For example, in Colorado producers are limited to 10 milligrams of THC per piece, not to exceed 100 milligrams in a package. While every product is tested, it might not entirely qualm your fears of one cookie, for example, doing nothing and another making it so you can’t get off the couch. When it comes to taste, you don’t want a dry cookie that you have to chug a glass of milk with to swallow. Luckily, edibles chefs put high value on taste, customer satisfaction and consistency.
Lauren Gockley, Coda Signature’s head chocolatier who was educated in France and has over 10 years of experience in the chocolate industry, said she started making edibles because in the cannabis industry “the experience of getting high was there, but there was such a great opportunity to start your experience off with something that tastes really good.” One such tasty treat coming out of Gockley’s kitchen is a Coffee and Doughnuts bar featuring milk chocolate with coffee and toasted milk, topped with cinnamon sugar. “It’s wild to see people’s reactions to it,” she said.
At Love’s Oven, head chef Hope Frahm said, “Lots of products on the market, they’ll get you high, but it tastes like you’re eating buds.” Frahm develops flavor profiles and uses her knowledge of cannabis butter to ascertain just how much will be used in a product to avoid the “eating buds” effect. For example, best-selling Turtle Brownies, which feature a double-fudge ganache base with toasted pecans and house-made caramel sauce on top, can take more cannabis butter because chocolate masks the flavor.
Frahm and Gockley both agree that taste matters, but product consistency is key. “[Cannabis] butter is never consistent,” Frahm said, but “the product is.” It all comes down to math — “I should have listened to my algebra teacher,” members of Frahm’s staff say when they come to work at Love’s Oven. She has some help in the kitchen to make sure her products are made to perfection — computerized double ovens “Bonnie” and “Clyde.” Bonnie tests the product and then tells Clyde what to do when everything equates.
Taste will always be a deciding factor in which edibles consumers choose to buy, but they should find comfort in knowing the chefs behind the products have their well-being in mind. “Always consistency. You want everyone to have the same experience every time,” Frahm said. “You know exactly what you’re getting, like in a grocery store product.”
Inside a Marijuana Edibles Grocery Store
You won’t find recreational marijuana edibles at the local supermarket. They have a dedicated home — dispensaries. But the idea is the same, with products lining shelves, inside glass cases for you to pick and choose from. And what they have to offer is on par with traditional fare, just with an extra kick.
Mountain High Suckers is the “Ben & Jerry’s of hard candy,” according to its founders Chad Tribble and John Garrison. They offer 27 flavors of melt-free, pocket-friendly suckers, all of which are chosen in-house. Caramel apple is their best-selling topping sucker, with real caramel on an infused apple sucker.
When it’s cold outside, cravings for hot chocolate rise. Well, how about hot chocolate on a spoon? “People rave about it,” Gockley said. You can eat it on its own and savor the sweet and creamy milk chocolate, or melt it into your coffee or on top of ice cream for a boost of flavor. If you’re a fan of marshmallows, don’t fret: there’s an option available.
More of a truffle fan? Coda Signature won first place in the 2016 High Times Colorado Cannabis Cup for its truffles. You can delight your senses with white chocolate filled with fresh lemon and a hint of juniper berries, milk chocolate with Earl Grey tea leaves and sweetened with Colorado Honey, as well as caramel spiked with Maldon salt crystals. The presentation alone makes them edible art. Gockley said the truffles are parallel to how people enjoy chocolate on a conventional level: “Same as if you went to Godiva and bought a variety pack of chocolates.”
The Crescendo 6-piece truffle collection by Coda Signature featuring burnt caramel, Earl Grey, and juniper lemon.
To quench your thirst, grab a root beer from Keef Cola. It tastes just like the real thing, with a bit of a bud aftertaste that’s not off-putting. And for the tea, cocoa and coffee drinkers of the world, Purple Monkey has you covered.
In the mood for something cheesy with a crunch? Portland Premium’s Toasty’s, which are made from locally sourced ingredients in Oregon, like Tillamook Cheese, can be your new snack option. “They’re closer to cheese sticks than crackers,” company partner Noah Sternthal said. There are five in a bag, but he suggests you pace yourself: “Digestion can be slow, and everyone is different,” so eat one and wait a couple of hours before having another.
For gluten-free consumers, Julie’s Natural Edibles makes infused granola products for a healthy snack.
There are also, of course, cookies and brownies. Love’s Oven has many choices, including tried-and-true chocolate chip cookies, s’mores brownies and red velvet cookies.
A Change on the Horizon
The growth of recreational marijuana has led to rumors of large corporations joining the business. But that doesn’t mean an end to marijuana’s Main Street, because marijuana edibles consumers are quickly becoming connoisseurs.
“Bigger companies can provide a better price point, but the customers are also getting educated. And that’s where we are going to become empowered in this industry,” Gockley said. “If we choose to say that quality matters, then the small grows will last. We are the ones who have the ability to dictate how the big companies do it, and the little companies do it.”