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Zuzu puts local ingredients into award-winning sweets
Zuzu Candies prides itself on using local and natural ingredients. - photo by Photo Contributed defines zuzu as both a slang term for candies and as a descriptor meaning “superfantasticlywondeful in a fantabulistic way.” So, naturally Valerie Lamke thought it was the perfect name for her new confections company.

Launched here in Turlock, Zuzu Candies is bringing the denizens of sweet-tooth aficionados delectable treats like the Fleur de Sel Caramel dipped in Organic Semisweet Belgian Chocolate.

Currently, the treats are being offered at local farmers’ markets, including the Turlock Certified Farmers’ Market. One day in the not too distant future, Lamke plans to open a store that will carry a full line of her original tasty treats.

Zuzu Candies prides itself on using local and natural ingredients, including the Turlock alfalfa honey that helped the company’s French Honey Caramel take a five out of six stars rating in the Most Unique Caramel category at the 2012 San Francisco Chef’s Roundtable.

“I was trying all kinds of honey from around the world and finally selected on the Turlock alfalfa,” Lamke said. “They (the judges) loved it and said it had a strong flavor.”

Lamke credits her commitment to using only natural and top-quality ingredients to an old family tradition. Her great-grandfather, Von Schindler, came to America from Austria in 1900 and opened the Vienna Bakery in San Francisco. His insistence on using only the best fruit in his pastries led him to buy several orchards in the Petaluma area and grow his own.

With the family heritage in mind, Zuzu Candies abstains from using any canned products or preservatives and uses only the finest Belgium and French chocolates, Lamke said.

Using techniques learned at the Callebaut Chocolate Academy in Chicago, Lamke creates the treats with old-world artisan craftsmanship and it can take two to three days for a single batch to reach completion.

“What we are bringing to the market is technique and quality,” Lamke said. “We want to bring a piece of quality to people’s lives.”