CocoaPlanet opened a craft manufacturing facility and chocolate tasting room in the heart of California’s wine country. Situated on Broadway just blocks from the historic Sonoma Plaza, visitors to a region famed for artisanal food and wine will now have the opportunity to see CocoaPlanet chocolates being made and sample the company’s award-winning chocolates at their freshest.
The elegant, mid-century modern tasting room features a glass-walled observation area where visitors can see the all new craft manufacturing line while enjoying French bistro style small plates, hot or cold drinks and a variety of desserts based on CocoaPlanet chocolate. CocoaPlanet will also host wine and chocolate pairing events each month with local wineries from the region.
Pearls of Flavor Give You More Taste, Less Sugar
CocoaPlanet distributes drops, or “pearls,” of flavored fillings throughout premium dark chocolate (64 percent cacao), giving More Taste, Less Sugar[TM] than traditional filled chocolates. The chocolate’s structure is designed to readily deliver flavor throughout your palate using much less filling. The result is that each single serving chocolate has less than 100 calories, eight grams of sugar or less and net carbs of nine grams or less.
Flavors include Salted Caramel, Deep Dark Truffle, Vanilla Espresso, Mandarin Orange and CocoaMint™. CocoaPlanet chocolates are made with all natural and mostly organic ingredients, including Fair Trade Cocoa certified by Fair Trade USA. They are Non-GMO Project Verified, gluten-free tested and Kosher OU-D certified. Three of the flavors (Vanilla Espresso, Mandarin Orange and CocoaMint) are vegan.
How Did it Come Up with This Idea?
Founder Anne McKibben was inspired to provide a new taste experience along with fewer calories and sugar. No one in the industry could think of how to realize her vision for a new way of combining flavored fillings with chocolate.
After much research and prototyping, she invented the new technology used to create CocoaPlanet chocolates. Her patent-pending invention suspends pearls of flavor within premium dark chocolate. The result has only 15 percent filling versus the 60 to 80 percent of sugar-based filling found in most flavor-filled chocolates. The perfect balance of flavors means more taste, less sugar – a better, healthier experience that evolves the concept of flavor-filled chocolates.
A superb eating chocolate, CocoaPlanet can also be prepared as a hot chocolate. Simply steam or microwave four to six ounces of milk or milk-substitute, drop in the chocolate and stir. Voila – the chocolate melts along with the flavored filling to create a splendid hot chocolate.
Based in Sonoma, California, CocoaPlanet Inc. uses ethically sourced chocolate produced using sustainable practices, enabling cocoa farmers a better quality of life.
For more information, visit www.cocoaplanet.com, call 707.721.1275 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Each year, the Good Food Awards celebrate tasty, real food that is responsibly made, and grants awards to outstanding American food producers and the farmers who provide their ingredients.
In further news, USA Today has recognized McCrea’s in its 10 Best “Best Gift for Foodies” competition. The contest features twenty exceptional products curated by a panel of food and travel experts. Readers of the national newspaper vote for their favorites. McCrea’s currently ranks fourth in the competition.
“We are thrilled that both The Good Food Awards and USA Today have recognized McCrea’s Candies as a company that not only produces exceptional caramel but one that strives to do good at the same time,” said Kate McCrea, the company’s co-founder. “It is important to us that we give back to our communities, pay a fair price for ingredients, and are environmentally responsible. All of which helps us on our mission to make world’s best caramel.”
The recognition from The Good Food Awards and USA Today comes hot on the heels of the company’s placement as a finalist in the Martha Stewart Living American Made Awards. In addition, McCrea’s Candies caramels were awarded the Yankee Magazine Editor’s Choice Food Award in 2014 and named Best New Autumn Product at the 2013 New England Made Specialty Food Show. McCrea’s Candies also received Best Candy honors at the 2012 New England Dessert Showcase.
McCrea’s Candies was founded by husband-wife team Jason and Kate McCrea. Building upon backgrounds in biology and chemistry, the McCrea’s transitioned into the sweet science of candy making after double layoffs. Started in a home kitchen, McCrea’s Candies now offers a full line of mouthwatering caramels to retail outlets throughout North America.
The hallmark of the McCrea’s Candies line is its use of striking seasonings to produce provocatively-flavored caramel candies. McCrea’s flagship product features Hawaiian black lava sea salt swirled into caramel to provide a salty-sweet mouthful. Basil and cayenne are combined for a heat and sweet treat. Additional flavor combinations include ginger fusion, curried butternut, and rosemary truffle sea salt. McCrea’s also offers such classic flavors as vanilla, scotch, chocolate, maple, mocha, and coffee.
Tortuga Rum Cake Company is known world-wide for authentic and original Tortuga Caribbean Rum Cakes. Baked in the Caribbean from a generations old island family recipe, the cakes are made with the finest ingredients and special oak-barrel-aged Tortuga gold rum. Each cake is hand glazed and vacuum sealed, locking in the delicious freshness and giving the cakes a shelf life of 12 months.
The company also offers Chocolate Rum Turtles with Sea Salt, Caribbean sauces, flavored gourmet coffees including single-serve coffee, rum balls and rum fudge. Tortuga is also now offering homemade Salt Water Taffy with Rum. It is made from a special recipe and with the finest ingredients.
Sweet Salt Water Taffy will bring back memories from your travels to sea side destinations including the Caribbean. Each package includes eight unique flavors that are individually wrapped: TORTUGA Rum and Cola, TORTUGA Rum, TORTUGA Coconut Rum, TORTUGA Banana Rum, TORTUGA Mango Rum, TORTUGA Pineapple Rum, TORTUGA Orange Liqueur and TORTUGA Rum Punch.
The taffy boasts a shelf life of 12 months and has received rave reviews on the delicious tropical, rummy flavors. This new treat is a perfect addition to the delicious gourmet products you offer year-round.
One of the nation’s top wine brands has partnered with award-winning Sheila G’s Brownie Brittle to make this holiday season all the more merry. Starting November 1, Robert Mondavi Private Selection wine bottles will be adorned with a coupon offering consumers $1.50 off a 4-ounce or larger bag of Brownie Brittle with purchase, through December 31 at stores nationwide including retailers like Walmart, CVS, Safeway and Albertson’s. In states that do not allow a required wine purchase for coupon, a $2 mail-in rebate will be offered instead.
“Die-hard Brownie Brittle fans already know how well our snack pairs with wine—now we’re making it official with our Robert Mondavi Private Selection partnership,” said Founder Sheila G. Mains. “The partnership is perfectly timed with the release of our holiday flavors: Chocolate Chip with Snowflake Drizzle, Mint Chocolate Chip with Dark Drizzle and Salted Carmel with Dark Drizzle, also hitting shelves this season.”
The wine pairing experts at Robert Mondavi Private Selection recommend pairing their Cabernet Sauvignon with Salted Caramel Brownie Brittle, and Heritage Red with Chocolate Chip Brownie Brittle.
Sheila G’s Brownie Brittle is available in tens of thousands of stores across the globe, including Target, Walmart, Kroger, and Safeway. Brownie Brittle has also been flying high as a snack on United and Alaskan Airlines flights.
The Virginia Diner has signed a three year licensing agreement with the Norman Rockwell Family Agency. The license gives the Virginia Diner marketing and sales use of a number of the Norman Rockwell original prints. Scott Stephens, Director of Sales and Marketing with the Virginia Diner states the initial launch has been well received by our wholesale customers. “We recently introduced our Norman Rockwell collection at both the New York Fancy Food Show and the Atlanta Gift Show, realizing record sales from this new product line,” he said.
The complete collection will be available in the fall of 2015 in the Virginia Diner retail and fundraising catalogs, as well as for the company’s national list of retail partners and corporate custom gift customers. “We have incorporated a number of original Norman Rockwell images into our Merry Christmas labels and used various designs to invoke the nostalgia and history of the Diner. There isn’t a more iconic illustration of the holidays than the Norman Rockwell collection,” Stephens said. “We are very excited to be associated with the Norman Rockwell family”.
The full product offering can be previewed by contacting the Virginia Diner at 888.482.6887.
Seattle Gourmet Foods is a food manufacturer based out of Kent, Washington. Growing both organically and through acquisition, today it is comprised of 11 different brands found in retailers around the country. Consisting of a diverse mix of products that include chocolate, breath mints, bakery items, jams, sauces, soups and dry mixes. Every brand and product made contains only the highest quality ingredients. With 160,000 square feet of production facilities, SGF not only has the capabilities to produce its own products, but has the flexibility to provide private label manufacturing as well.
Dilettante Chocolates® is the most recognizable of the Seattle Gourmet Foods’ brands. Founded in 1976 by Dana Davenport, Dilettante continues a family tradition in chocolate and confections that dates back three generations to the late 19th century. For close to 40 years, Dilettante Chocolates has maintained the impeccable quality of handmade truffles, chocolate covered fruits and nuts, TruffleCremes®, sauces, toppings, bakery items and molded chocolate the brand is known for around the world.
Seattle Gourmet Foods is also one of the premier panning operations in the U.S., with the ability to coat an array of centers, and specializes in double coated products. These are made with custom blends of couverture grade chocolate and uses no compound coating. Under the Dilettante Chocolates brand, there are multiple packaging sizes of this type of product, ranging from a 1.5-ounce. grab-and-go option to several sizes of stand-up pouches to more gift oriented items like 6-ounce candy bags and 16-ounce assortment in a clear tray and lid. All Dilettante panned products are also available in 5-pound bulk bags. Examples of flavors available include Bing Cherries, Fruit Medley® (strawberries, cherries, blueberries and apricots), Sea Salt Cashews, Mint Dropz[R], and Dark Chocolate Espresso Beans. There are also all-natural varieties available in multiple sizes. All of the selections of panned products have a 12-month shelf life.
Another top product for Dilettante Chocolates would be its truffle ganache that has been coated in premium chocolate and individually wrapped, known as TruffleCremes. These come in an array of sizes including 4-ounce novelty boxes, 5-ounce tent boxes, 6-ounce metalized pouches and 10-ounce gift boxes. Bulk cases are also available by request. Flavors include Peppermint, Toffee Crunch, Mocha, Dark Ephemere[R] (dark chocolate), Raspberry, Light Ephemere (milk chocolate), and Coffee Trio containing Espresso, Latte, and Mocha. Seasonal flavors are also available in Candy Cane and Gingerbread. TruffleCremes are all-natural and have a 12-month shelf life.
In 2016, Seattle Gourmet Foods will be displaying multiple brands at the Winter Fancy Food Show, Natural Products Expo West, and Sweets & Snacks Expo. For more information on Seattle Gourmet Foods or on the brands and products produced, visit www.seattlegourmetfoods.com, email email@example.com or call toll free at 800.800.9490.
By Richard Thompson
The holidays are quickly approaching, and specialty confectioners are looking beyond fruit infusions to cater to more exotic tastes in their chocolate lines. According to the National Confectioners Association, while shoppers are drawn to traditional favorites, they continue to look for new and different items.
Confectioners haven’t been shy to embrace this taste shift and the $79 million dollar market share it represents.“You have got to get exotic now,” says Jack Epstein, Owner of Chocolate Covered Sweets and Gifts. “This is a global craft chocolate thing now…. Some of the more exotic inclusions that I’ve sold have been the bacon bar, Parmesan bar, blue cheese, porcini mushroom bar and paprika bars.”
The salted caramel and chile infusions that ignited the popularity of flavored chocolates has inspired customers to looks for more unique specialty blends such as the Chocolate Covered Company’s Gourmet Chocolate Covered Jalapenos. This gourmet combination comes in sweet peppers or spicy jalapenos and offers a fiery flavor of sweet and spicy.
The Mo’s Bacon Bar from Vosges Haut Chocolat is infused with applewood-smoked bacon, alderwood-smoked salt and rich milk chocolate, for a campfire aroma that offsets the sweetness of the chocolate. The Super Dark Parmesan-Peppercorn Bar is part of the company’s super dark line, containing 72 percent dark chocolate, yet still maintaining a gooey texture.
“You know, a lot of surprising things can taste great in chocolate. With savory flavors, you can go as far as you’d like, even including umami,” says Brad Kintzer, Chief Chocolate Maker at TCHO. Known as the fifth flavor, umami is finding home in chocolate as a savory inclusion, offering a new chocolate-eating experience, says Kintzer.
Traditional pairings with chocolate are making a comeback too, according to Kintzer.“Maple is a beautiful partner,” he says. In addition to maple flavored chocolates, Kintzer has seen bourbon-infused nips come back into favor, this time with less sugar and fewer preservatives.“It’s chocolate re-calibrated for grown-up tastes,” he says.
Jacky Recchiuti, Creative Director and Owner of Recchiuti Confections, along with her husband Michael Recchiuti, has brought out a new Shiitake Mushroom Truffle, which has an earthy, sweet flavor. “We want to maintain our relationship with Far West Funghi, our neighbor in the Ferry Building, and their shiitake mushroom. It’s not about shock value with these infusions; it’s about pairing [the mushroom] with chocolate and finding a nice balance of flavors,” says Jacky Recchiuti.
Currently, Recchiuti Confections continues to refine its flavor combinations with earthy, smoky hints in its chocolate. The next few months will see the introduction of the company’s new line of nougat candies that will be infused with Chinese Five-spice powder, nullifying the traditionally honey notes with a more earthy punch. This line is expected to be launched by the holiday season.
Hollywood chocolatier John Kelly Chocolates has just launched new Artisan Chocolate Bars. Developed with acute attention to detail, the new Artisan Chocolate Bars are beautifully packaged, made with all-natural and fair trade ingredients and carefully hand-crafted to provide the highest quality and most delicious taste.
Both the dark chocolate (73 percent cacao) and milk chocolate (41 percent cacao) bars are non-GMO, and soy and gluten-free. Suggested retail price is $7.50 each.
John Kelly Chocolates Artisan Chocolate Bars are available for purchase at select national retailers such as Neiman Marcus and regional retailers such as Central Market in addition to John Kelly boutique stores in Hollywood and Santa Monica. Online purchases can be made at JohnKellyChocolates.com.
By Lorrie Baumann
McCrea’s Candies is a small New England candy maker with a product line exclusively composed of high-quality caramels elegantly packaged for gift-giving. Founded almost five years ago by husband-and-wife team Jason and Kate McCrea, McCrea’s Candies are made without corn syrup or artificial colors, flavors or preservatives.
“Our flavors are done just like you’d do it in your own kitchen,” Jason says. “For ginger, we juice the root and add the juice to our candy. For our Single-malt Scotch flavor, we use real single-malt Scotch and pour that right into the batch.”
The McCreas were research biologists before they decided to start their candy company, and they use that scientific bent as they develop new flavors of their caramels today. “Understanding food chemistry helps enhance the flavors, and I use chemistry to understand how flavors come together and how to make nice balances. That’s really what we do,” says Jason. The McCreas currently offer 14 flavors, including Irish Coffee, Cafe Noir, Dark Roasted Mocha, Ginger Fusion, Rosemary Truffle Sea Salt, Highland Scotch and Tapped Maple.
McCrea’s Candies are now elegantly packaged for the gift trade after the McCreas learned from their customers that they loved the candies so much that they wanted to share them with their friends, so they were buying them as housewarming and hostess gifts, to send to children away at college or to present to dads on Fathers Day. “We do a lot of farmer’s markets around here, and customers would tell us,” Jason says. “They’d say, ‘I bought three sleeves and we ate them all, but I’d meant to give them to my son when he comes home from school, so now I need more.’ There’s no substitute for being out and talking to customers and listening to them telling you what they want. They’ll tell you the truth; ‘I like this; I don’t like that.’”
“We thought that was very interesting,” he continues. “We never had been going to gift shows – we had been going to food shows, but we decided to listen to our consumers and what they want to have and how we can accommodate them.”
As a result of those conversations the McCrea’s recently redesigned their packaging to focus less on the candy’s all-natural simplicity and more on its sophisticated flavors and high quality – without changing the recipes for the candy inside the packages. The product line’s packaging now includes two sizes of cylindrical sleeves plus a new-to-the line pillow box and a large party box that’s popular with customers who take them to dinner parties instead of a bottle of wine or present them as corporate gifts.