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GODIVA Introduces New Dark Chocolate Liqueur

To celebrate the most indulgent day of the year, GODIVA Liqueur Company introduces new GODIVA® Dark Chocolate Liqueur.  Combining the renowned GODIVA chocolate tradition with spirited innovation, this liqueur is the delicious embodiment of liquid dark chocolate.  With Valentine’s Day quickly approaching, this is the perfect occasion to bring the gold standard in chocolate to the ultimate chocolate martini.

The enticing GODIVA Dark Chocolate Liqueur was inspired by GODIVA’s rich dark chocolate and pleases the palate with a blend of flavors including deep, unsweetened dark chocolate, bright black cherry, candied sweet orange peel with a hint of cold-brewed coffee peeking through.  This versatile liqueur is dairy-free, allowing it to easily mix with an array of spirits and ingredients, resulting in the perfect cocktail to share with friends during a night out on the town, while entertaining at home, or when toasting a special moment. Revel in the moment by mixing it into the signature GODIVA Dark Desire made with CIROC®Amaretto and orange juice or put a modern spin on one of the country’s most enjoyed cocktails, the Chocolate Martini, by mixing GODIVA Dark Chocolate Liqueur with CIROC Ultra-Premium Vodka, a sure way to spice up an evening with friends.

“We’re excited to provide chocolate lovers with the latest addition to the GODIVA Liqueur family,” says Stephanie Jacoby, Director of Liqueurs. “GODIVA Dark Chocolate Liqueur is a delicious full-flavored indulgence with less guilt.  As with all of our decadent offerings, we encourage everyone to drink responsibly.”

The new flavor will launch this month at a suggested retail price of $29.99 per 750 ml bottle. It will be available nationwide wherever fine spirits-based beverages are sold and joins GODIVA Chocolate Liqueur and White Chocolate Liqueur.

Study Reaffirms That U.S. Caffeine Consumption Remains Stable, Caffeine From Soda Declines

A study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and published by The American Academy of Pediatrics, shows that caffeine intake in the United States has remained stable throughout the last decade. Moreover, children and adolescents consume less caffeine than they have in previous years.

For more information on this and other issues related to the non-alcoholic beverage industry, follow ABA on Twitter @AmeriBevand Facebook.com/AmeriBev.

This study’s findings are consistent with an analysis commissioned by FDA (updated in 2012), as well as a published International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI) survey of more than 37,000 people, showing that caffeine consumption in the U.S. has remained stable during the most recent period analyzed.

Moreover, while energy drink consumption by children and adolescents continues to be a prevalent topic in mainstream media, it is important to note that this study’s data shows virtually no caffeine consumption from energy drinks among children under 12 and extremely low consumption for adolescents aged 12 to 18.

Here are a few facts from today’s CDC study:

SODA: Data from 1999-2000 shows that soda accounted for 62 percent of total caffeine intake; the most recent data shows soda decreased by nearly half to 38 percent of total caffeine intake.
COFFEE: Data from 1999-2000 shows that coffee accounted for 10 percent of caffeine intake; the most recent data shows that coffee accounts for a growing 24 percent of total caffeine intake.
ENERGY DRINKS: Energy drinks were not measured in 1999-2000; the most recent data shows that energy drinks account for only six percent of caffeine intake.

FoodChannel.com Announces Its 2014 Top Ten Dessert Trends

The Food Channel® (foodchannel.com) has released its “Top Ten Dessert Trends for 2014,” sponsored by Otis Spunkmeyer®. The popular report looks at market trends around sweets and treats. Based on research conducted in conjunction with CultureWaves®, the list identifies the significant behaviors of consumers, foodservice professionals and manufacturers, with original recipes and photographs to illustrate each trend.

The Food Channel Top 10 Dessert Trends for 2014:
Spoon Desserts – Puddings and other soft desserts—called “spoonables”—are big.
Layers – We are layering just about anything.
Hand Pies – The mini dessert has finally extended itself to the pie.
Midwestern Influence – One of the big trends for 2014 is Midwestern foods, and when it comes to desserts that means cobblers, pies, crisps, tarts, upside down cakes, and bar cookies.
Mashups and Muffins – Muffins are the new doughnuts, or what some are calling the duffin.
Pepper, Flavored Salts, and International Spices – New desserts on the menu are heavy on the stronger spices. Cracked pepper is particularly on the rise.
Dessert Butters – These are actually ground up cookies turned into a soft filling that is perfect for rolling into a truffle or adding to a sandwich cookie.
Crepes – People are looking to add adventure to their repertoire, and crepes fit the bill.
Nuts – Nuts are big in desserts right now, particularly as we tally up the health benefits.
Small Batch Desserts – We don’t have to make enough dessert to feed an army to be satisfied; we’ve discovered it’s okay to just make a little.

To view the complete Top Ten Dessert Trends story as well as the recently released Top 10 Valentine’s Dessert article, visit www.foodchannel.com.

Apple & Eve, LLC Acquires THE SWITCH Sparkling Juice Brand

Privately held juice company, Apple & Eve, LLC announced that it has acquired The Switch Beverage Company, a marketer of 100% sparkling juices, to support the company’s plans for growth and expansion specifically in the school nutrition channel.

Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Founded in 2001, The Switch Beverage Company, located in Darien, Conn., is one of the leading marketers of 100 percent sparkling juices in the United States.  Focused primarily on the K-12 school nutrition channel, The Switch is available in seven flavors of 8-ounce slim cans.  The Switch is also available in grocery, club and is among the top selling juices on Amazon.com.

“We are excited to add The Switch brand of 100 percent sparkling juices to our portfolio,” said Gordon Crane, President and CEO of Apple & Eve.  “Our Apple & Eve and FRUITABLES brands of 100 percent juices are among the leaders in shelf stable juices in US schools.  Adding The Switch provides us the strongest portfolio of brands for all possible school usage occasions.”

Bill Harrison, Vice President of Sales, School Nutrition at Apple & Eve added, “The USDA has changed guidelines for foods and beverages sold at schools that go into effect next year that greatly benefit a brand like The Switch.  Providing great tasting beverages that promote health and wellness to U.S. students and school nutrition directors is our #1 objective.  The Switch has proven beyond a doubt to be a best in class brand that students love and nutrition directors trust.”

Making Popcorn Mobile: Popcorn Cups from Buddy Squirrel

By Emily Zager, Marketing Coordinator, Buddy Squirrel

BuddySquirrel-FPThe heart of Buddy Squirrel is our mission to delight customers with friendly service and the experience of the world’s finest confections made with premium chocolate, nuts, and popcorn. We aim to continue cultivating a tradition of excellence as we celebrate the launch of our new Popcorn Cup line.

These delicious — and convenient — grab-and-go snack containers feature our award-winning Cheddar and Caramel popcorns. Current products are available in 1.75-ounce and 5.5-ounce sizes, respectively. Our savory Cheese Corn makes it nearly impossible to stop munching!

We’ll soon be offering Mixed Nut Caramel Corn and Crazy Corn as additional flavors to the line. Our Popcorn Cups will also be available in a smaller size container. Cheddar will be available in a 1.5-ounce container, and Caramel Corn will be available in a 2-ounce cup.

For more information or to place an order, visit www.buddysquirrel.com, email sales@buddysquirrel.com, or call 800.972.2658.

Gourmet du Village Introduces Collection of Flavor Infused Oils

The addition of herbs and spices to oils for dipping and adding to recipes is an idea that has been around for a while. There was a period when everyone had a decorative bottle of oil jam-packed with various herbs and spices in their kitchen window. These were more often for decoration, as the flavors were hit and miss at best.

“Today’s quality infused oils bring a whole new dimension to the taste. Of course they are attractive; we even add some extra herbs just for the look, but the big news is the incredible pure taste.” says Mike Tott, President of Gourmet du Village.

Gourmet du Village infused oils lifestylePerfect served for dipping with some crusty artisan bread, perfect to use as a flavor to add to your home cooking, these infused oils from Gourmet du Village are available in 280-ml bottles in three distinct flavor profiles: Spiced Chili Pepper, Parmesan Pesto and Rosemary Garlic.

This new product along with the entire new collection of gourmet gifts from Gourmet du Village can be seen at the company’s showrooms in Dallas, Atlanta, and Philadelphia.

For more information, visit www.gourmetduvillage.com.

 

British Entrepreneurs Plan to Farm Specialty Produce in London Underground Tunnels

Two entrepreneurs, Richard Ballard and Steven Dring, have teamed up with Michelin-starred chef Michel Roux, Jr to create a working farm in an extensive tunnel network beneath London’s Northern Line.

The subterranean farm, which will start trading later this year, will produce a range of micro-herbs, shoots, miniature vegetables and other delicacies that will be sold to restaurants, supermarkets and wholesalers. The tunnels will provide 2.5 acres of growing space.

The tunnels sit beneath the Northern Line near Clapham North tube station in London.

A crowdfunding campaign starts today, giving investors of all sizes the chance to buy a stake in the project from as little as £10. First deliveries of produce to customers are expected to begin in the late summer.

Specially- designed structures to house the three-layer growing platforms are currently being constructed in Yorkshire. Growing trials have been conducted over the last 18 months in the tunnels and are still underway.

The farm will be carbon neutral. Special low energy LED bulbs and an integrated hydroponics system are used. One hundred feet of earth above the tunnels keep temperatures steady at around 16 degrees centigrade all year round and energy consumption at a minimum. Any energy needs will be fulfilled from green suppliers, and the proximity of the tunnels to New Covent Garden market and London’s many restaurants will keep food miles to a minimum.

“When I first met these guys I thought they were absolutely crazy,” said Michel Roux Jr, “but when I visited the tunnels and sampled the delicious produce they are already growing down there I was blown away. The market for this produce is huge.”

Richard Ballard and Steven Dring hatched the idea two years ago after lengthy debates about how to achieve a carbon-free economy and how to deal with the pressures of urban population growth. Since then they have been working out how to bring their vision to reality. Chris Nelson, an expert horticulturalist used to growing crops in some of the harshest conditions on the planet, is a core member of the team.

Richard Ballard said: “Steve and I are thrilled to be close to getting Growing Underground underway. We’ve been experimenting for months. Now that we’ve secured the site we’re kicking off a crowd-funding campaign today. We have a detailed business plan, and we’ve already had lots of interest from private investors. We’re confident that investors of all sizes will see a significant return on their investment. Integrating farming into the urban environment makes a huge amount of sense and we’re delighted that we’re going to make it a reality.”

He added: “There is no ‘could,’‘might’ or ‘maybe’ about our underground farm. We will be up and running and will be supplying produce later this year.”

Steven Dring said: “When we showed Michel our farm for the first time, he thought the rumble he could hear was my stomach. It was actually a Northern Line train about to go overhead.”

The tunnels were originally used to house people sheltering from air raids in World War II. All fittings and reminders of its past were removed decades ago, although a nearby tunnel network, which retains bunk beds, has been listed by English Heritage.

Full scale work on the farm will commence in March and the first ‘Growing Underground’ produce will hit restaurants and shops by late summer this year. Initial crops will include a range of exotic herbs and shoots, including Pea Shoots, Rocket, Red Amaranth, Mizuna, Broccoli, Garlic Chives, Red Vein Sorrel, Mustard Leaf, Radish, Coriander and Thai Basil. Edible flowers and miniature vegetables will also be grown. Stage two crops will include heritage tomato varieties, and mushrooms.

Special filters keep the air in the tunnels free of pests, eliminating the need for pesticides.

The crowdfunding campaign, complete with a video that shows the tunnels, is at http://www.crowdcube.com/investment/zero-carbon-food-13724. Investors can get a stake in Growing Underground today for as little as £10. For £25,000, investors will get voting rights. A full business plan with projections can be found on the site.

Michel Roux Jr has joined the company as a director and will be advising on crop selection, product design and partnerships.

Cheesemonger Offers “Perfect Bite” at San Francisco Cheesemonger Invitational

The “Perfect Bite” at the first West Coast Cheesemonger Invitational (CMI) at Public Works in San Francisco on January 19 was an unlikely, but delicious combination of flavors and texture that just worked.

Perpetual Goatstopper close upThe Perpetual Goatstopper” was the creation of Cheesemonger Perry Soulos of Arrowine and Cheese in Arlington, Va., who paired award-winning chèvre from Redwood Hill Farm with grapes, candied ginger and Burstin’ Berry Poppin’ Pebbles™ breakfast cereal to create his unique, eye-catchingly delicious perfect bite. Soulos was awarded $1,000, immeasurable glory and an all expenses paid trip to the Vermont Cheesemakers Festival this summer along with top two finalists Zach Berg of Bi-Rite Market in San Francisco and Nate McElroy of Bedford Cheese Shop in New York.

Perry Soulos CMI headshot“I really wanted to do something different and fun with my perfect bite,” said Soulos. “When we first received the list of cheeses to choose from, I went right for Redwood Hill Farms’ Traditional Plain Chèvre. I knew the product very well from my years behind the cheese counter and thought it would be the perfect choice for a California-inspired cheese bite. Its decadent and rich flavor and clean lemony tang make it very versatile in the kitchen.”  

Redwood Hill Farm Owner Jennifer Bice, said: “We were thrilled to be one of the hometown hosts of the first West Coast Cheesemonger Invitational. It was wonderful to see how Perry used our fresh chèvre in such a surprisingly delicious way.”

Redwood Hill Farm’s cheeses were featured throughout the competition. Competing mongers enjoyed a vertical tasting of Camellia, Redwood Hill Farm’s Camembert–style cheese at various ages, from three days to eight weeks. It was also served as a delicious dessert course sandwich topped with berry preserves created by Michael Davidson, aka The Grilled Cheez Guy of Oakland, Calif. Cheesemonger Max Frederick from The Cellar Cheese Shop in Costa Mesa, featured Redwood Hill’s Raw Milk Feta in his Greek-inspired spoon sweet. 

More than 30 of the best cheesemongers – the folks who sling cheese for a living – competed in an intense day-long series of cheese challenges. Participants from San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, Seattle, Boulder, San Diego, Florida and even Toronto, Canada were put through a series of tests. From blind cheese tastings and a grueling written exam to sales-under-pressure and the perfect cheese cutting, the day-long event challenged the mongers’ skills, knowledge and creativity, as evidenced in their Perfect Bite. Following the private daytime competition was an evening party attended by 800 members of the cheese-loving public. 

Attendees were treated to “perfect bite” pairings created by each competing cheesemonger along with award-winning cheeses from CMI hosts: Bay Area cheese pioneers Redwood Hill Farm & Creamery and Cowgirl Creamery, international importer Columbia Cheese and East Coast luminary Vermont Creamery; four custom grilled cheese sandwiches created just for CMI by The Grilled Cheez Guy; plus fondue, raclette and thousands of pounds of cheese. As esteemed panel of judges, including San Francisco Chronicle Cheese Columnist Janet Fletcher, Cheese Connoisseur Magazine Publisher/Editorial Director Lee Smith and American Cheese Society Board Member and DiBruno Bros. Owner Emilio Mignucci, rated competing mongers based on portioning, presentation, taste, aesthetics, creativity and whether or not the pairing created the elusive third flavor of the blended components.

According to Liz Thorpe, CMI Event Producer and Author of The Cheese Chronicles: A Journey Through the Making and Selling of Cheese in America, From Field to Farm to Table, “San Francisco really caught the ‘cheese for life’ spirit of what the Cheesemonger Invitational is all about: celebrating the passion and challenging the skills of this dedicated tribe of cheese lovers. We’re excited to bring CMI back to the city next year for more mongering competitions, world-class cheese tastings, late night dancing and more.”

Adds Soulos: “It’s thrilling to be named the CMI 2014 champion of cheese after competing in the 2012 and 2011 events in New York City and feeling both times that I could have done better. This time I brought my A-game, spending countless nights reading and studying the craft as mental preparation, and several days designing my perfect bite. The hard work paid off.”

Bobo’s Oat Bars Adds to Gluten-Free Line

With the ever-growing demand from consumers for delicious, gluten-free, snack and convenience foods, retailers are continually looking for new options. Bobo’s Oat Bars has become a favorite go-to because of its great taste, variety, portability and “home-made” quality. The company is expanding its line of gluten-free bars to include Peanut Butter and Jelly and Apple Pie, bringing the number of gluten-free flavors to six, and total number of flavors to 16.

“Moms and kids are a big target market for us, so adding PB&J was a natural line extension to meet that growing demand,” says Beryl Stafford, Founder and President of Boulder, Colorado-based Bobo’s Oat Bars. “The Apple Pie also seemed like a good addition, since it’s one of the most popular flavor profiles for baked goods in the U.S.   Bobo’s are perfect because they taste like the ‘real thing’ but are less sweet, plus high fiber and nutrient dense.”

Bobo’s features a line of snack bars in 14 delicious flavors, including six gluten-free with the two new additions, all made with organic and natural Non-GMO ingredients. The bars are ideal for a light breakfast, ie “a bowl of oatmeal to go,” a pre-workout snack, in a lunch box or yoga bag, or a mid afternoon treat. Bobo’s has enjoyed an impressive annual growth rate of over 50 percent over the past three years, evolving from a home-based operation to national natural foods and specialty store distribution in ten years. Its sights are set on making a big push in 2014 to expand distribution to mainstream grocery stores, outdoor retailer, and more specialty and coffee shops, as well as foodservice outlets. Bobo’s moves to a new 12,000 square foot facility in 2014, more than tripling the existing space. With the new manufacturing space, the company can enhance automation, production capabilities, and add new staff, further increasing potential for growth.

Bobo’s Oat Bars are available at select natural foods and specialty stores nationwide. The company just became Non-GMO Certified as well as Kosher Certified. Bars retail for approximately $2.69 per 3-ounce package.

 

California Table Grape Commission Awards Teaching Grants

The California Table Grape Commission has awarded 37 teaching grants worth up to $750 each to schools in the table grape growing regions of California’s San Joaquin and Coachella valleys.
The funded projects will be implemented in classrooms during the current school year.
More than 2,500 students, grades K-12, will benefit from the classroom projects made possible through funding by California’s table grape growers. Examples include conducting science experiments in an after-school program, starting a school garden, purchasing and using music equipment, going on a museum field trip, and producing and performing a theatre production.
“There are a lot of creative classroom ideas funded through this program,” said Kathleen Nave, President of the commission. “The projects combined will benefit thousands of participating students in California’s table grape growing regions.”
The Innovation in Teaching education grant program was created in 1993 to support innovative classroom projects in the table grape growing regions of California’s San Joaquin and Coachella valleys. For more information about the program, go to www.grapesfromcalifornia.com/EducationGrants.