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Jan 15, 2012 06:54 AM

Compari - formula

I'm not sure compari falls under this Chow Board: Wine. But thanks.

I've read here about Compari "Although the exact ingredients in Campari are not known, the distinctive red color originally came from cochineal dye, which is derived from an insect, Dactylopius coccus. Since 2006, however, an artificial coloring agent has replaced cochineal dye in most of the Campari produced worldwide. It also contains cascarilla bark, a botanical product from the Bahamas. This bark has a characteristic strongly bitter flavor. These and other substances which make up Campari are steeped together in an infusion of bitter herbs, which is strained to remove particles of the plants before being bottled."

Wondering what the artificial coloring agent is - Red Dye #? that is a food additive?

Also I was reading that they don't use bark. If anyone knows the answers to this question.

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  1. Campari is much different now compared to the original formulas. Back in the day natural colorings (beetles, plants) and flavorings (herbs, spices, roots, barks) were very common. Now it is much cheaper and easier to produce synthetic flavors so they have completely taken over the market and dumbed down many originally well meaning drinks. I know a number f fruits are/were used and I believe orange peel was a main ingredient.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Unfoodie

      I do not believe that they use any artificial flavors and stick with botanicals. They are secretive about the ingredients and people who have toured the plant describe botanicals in unlabeled bags.

      The reason they changed from cochineal to a synthetic red dye for the U.S. and other markets is that they would be forced by the FDA to change their labeling to tell consumers that there was cochineal (or carmine, the purified colorant from the bugs) in the mix (originally, the rumor was that the labeling would have "contains insect parts"). Other good reasons is that there are people who are (1) allergic to cochineal, (2) vegetarian, and (3) keep Kosher, Halal, or other dietary restrictions that forbid eating insects. Not that Muslims are allowed to drink in regards to point #3, but cochineal can cause anaphylactic reactions in some people so they need to label that allergen.

      I am not sure whether it is red dye #40 or another one. But it is no longer "natural dye #4" or any of the other names used to disguise cochineal-derived coloration.