“Going to work every day is an honor,” says Vice President of Taste and Chief Chocolatier at Bissinger’s, Dave Owens. “The opportunity to build upon 350 years of tradition provides a wonderful incentive as I approach each day and every piece of chocolate crafted at Bissinger’s.”
Bissinger’s has been crafting confections since the time of Louis XIV, when he declared the company “Confiseur Imperial” or Confectioner to the Royal Empire, in 17th Century France. No other chocolate company, let alone company known to Bissinger’s, has such a long-standing legacy. Commitment to crafting premium, indulgent and beautiful confections is always the task at hand. This tradition has been the same for three and one half centuries.
Owens brings an extraordinary range of talent and depth to the company, including executive chef and partner at award-winning restaurants. He has a deep respect for the integrity and proper sourcing of ingredients, an exceptional culinary sense and a praiseworthy passion for natural foods and sustainability. Confectionery innovations have won Bissinger’s sofi Awards from the Specialty Food Association. The categories were best chocolate and best confection.
In his free time, Owens has two children and a wife who is also in the food industry, employed as a food stylist. Owens also enjoys helping philanthropic organizations like the March of Dimes, Habitat for Humanity, St. Louis Area FoodBank and has contributed to Taste of the NFL and Taste of the Nation.
At work, Owens is passionate with the company’s involvement with the Rainforest Alliance. Because not all cocoa is responsibly farmed, Bissinger’s works with them to ensure its superior cocoa beans are grown on farms in the Cote d’Ivoire esteemed for exceptional taste. The Rainforest Alliance promotes environmental responsibility, social equity and economic viability for farming communities. For more than 25 years, it has been working to conserve biodiversity and ensure livelihoods by transforming land-use practices, business practices and consumer behavior.
Owens say it is deeply rewarding on both a professional and personal level to be a part of a company that shares his values to in sourcing premium ingredients that not only make for an indulgent and delicious taste, but also are good for our people and the planet. “Our mission is not to be the biggest, but the finest chocolatier,” said Owens. “The word ‘finest’ doesn’t just refer to the quality of the chocolate. It also encapsulates working for a company that has a social and environmental consciousness.”
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.
“Lour 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.
For more information, visit www.mccreascandies.com or visit the company this year at AmericasMart.
Abdallah Candies is introducing 12 new flavors to its truffle flavor lineup that are both trendy and traditional.
In operation for 106 years, Abdallah Candies is already known for the quality in its original 12 flavor truffle line, and adds to it with options like Margarita, Malted Milkshake and Strawberry Cheesecake.
Rounding out the new line of flavors are Tiramisu, Hazelnut, Key Lime, Latte, Butter Pecan, Caramel, Anchochile, Sweet Tea and Rum. Any truffle connoisseur will be hard pressed to find a flavor that they would refuse.
Like the traditional line of truffles, all are made with heavy whipping cream, butter and the finest chocolate for their ganache centers. The new flavors will attract newcomers as well as established foodies.
Each truffle comes in two sizes. The miniature truffle weighs in at 11 grams, while the traditional truffle is 24 grams.
Along with the expansion in the truffle line, Abdallah Candies continues to create its wide assortment of prepackaged products that are excellent impulse buys. With more than 250 bulk candies to choose from, ranging from the 12 different flavors of caramels, traditional candies like raspberry creams and amazing toffees, if you can think of it, Abdallah Candies can make it.
This includes specialties such as Abdallah Candies’ cashew grizzlies which are made with cashews, caramel and chocolate, and the sea salt almond alligator, a scrumptious candy made with rich sea salt and almonds for a salty sweet crunch sensation.
Based in Minnesota and making candy since 1909, Abdallah Candies knows how to make a product that inspires nostalgia from its customers.
“We are truly an American success story,” said MaDonna Schmitz, National Sales Manager, Abdallah Candies. “People want to tell stories of memories of buying our candies when they were children and how much it meant for them.”
John Kelly Chocolates, known for its award-winning truffle fudge, walnut caramel clusters and other handcrafted chocolate delights, has substantially expanded its product offering by introducing a line of solid chocolate bars, in six different flavors, at the Summer Fancy Food Show. The line serves as a complement to John Kelly’s existing products, and will appeal to customers who enjoy solid chocolate in addition to its signature creamy, unique gourmet chocolate fudge.
Each flavor is a proprietary recipe developed by the company in-house. The bars will be offered for sale at John Kelly stores and online, as well as offered as a wholesale item for its extensive list of customers nationwide.
The bars are packaged individually in a highly designed premium box, sealed in gold foil. Each bar is also custom molded with an intricately branded design in the chocolate, marking the bar as undeniably a John Kelly creation. For wholesale customers, the bars will ship 12 to a case, in a self-contained point of purchase box ready to be placed on-shelf.
Apart from packaging and presentation, the bars themselves are in keeping with John Kelly’s driving mission to create the most delicious-tasting chocolate that adheres to the highest quality standards. Each flavor has been carefully balanced with notes that complement each other and the underlying chocolate. And each bar is gluten free, soy free, non-GMO and all natural. The bars also contain fair trade ingredients.
The product line is the result of years of tinkering, and should satisfy pent-up demand. As co-owner John Kelson states, “Many of our customers have been asking us to create a solid chocolate bar line, but we wanted to do it our way and ensure it would be simply the best on the market. That’s what our customers expect, and that’s what we feel we have achieved.”
Lavle, from The Good Chocolate Company, is the only finished chocolate or cocoa product on the market that gives consumers their daily 200 mg of cocoa flavanols in a single 10 g portion. It sources only the highest flavanol-percentage cocoa bean varieties. But more importantly, its mild post-harvest treatments preserve the beans’ naturally present health components.
Rich and velvety, with a deep, roasted cocoa flavor rounded out by a subtle sweetness, Lavle preserves both what’s indulgent and truly “good” about chocolate in a bite-size portion.
The bag retails for $12.99 for 5.25 ounces (150 g).
The product is currently only available on the East Coast and will be making its debut on the American market at the Natural Products Expo East, September 17-19 in Baltimore, Maryland.
For orders and additional information, email Good Chocolate Imports at Info@goodchocolateimports.com or call 954.357.2509.
Salazon Chocolate Co., a premium chocolate maker known as the first company to craft salted chocolate, is launching a line of premium salted chocolate bars to demonstrate its dedication to outdoor adventure. The TRAIL SERIES features three dark salted chocolate bars, including:
Salazon has garnered a reputation for crafting delicious, premium salted chocolate in unique flavor combinations. Founded by Pete Truby, an avid outdoorsman and trail enthusiast, the company’s commitment to the U.S. national scenic trails can be traced back to the origin of the company. According to Truby, inspiration for an energy-rich salted chocolate bar came to him in 2009 during a backpacking trip in Utah.
“The Appalachian Trail, our country’s oldest and original protected trail, is right in our back yard and we frequently find ourselves on the trail in our spare time,” said Pete Truby. “The ability to get out and hike for a day, a week, or even go for a life changing six-month hike is the magic of the national scenic trails. We wanted to make a line of chocolate specifically honoring our amazing national trails.”
Salazon is partnering with the Appalachian Trail Conservancy for its Caramel bar, the Pacific Crest Trail Association for its Coffee bar, and the Continental Divide Trail Coalition for its Almond bar. The packaging for each bar depicts actual scenery captured on the trails.
A portion of the gross proceeds from the Trail Series funds the efforts of these nonprofits to protect, preserve, and promote the country’s national scenic trails, one being the Pacific Crest Trail Association.
“The Pacific Crest Trail Association is very appreciative of Salazon Chocolate Company’s support in our work to promote the Pacific Crest Trail,” says Angie Williamson, Development Director for the association. “Their support helps us coordinate hundreds of volunteers to keep the trail clear, and ensure that the trail will remain pristine and undeveloped for future generations.”
The Trail Series will be available at natural food stores and outdoor retailers nationwide, available at a suggested retail price of $3.99.
Liberty Richter, a division of World Finer Foods, has added Valor Chocolates to the company’s comprehensive assortment of premium products. For more than 130 years (since 1881), Valor Chocolates, based in Spain, has crafted some of the most exquisite chocolates and bonbons, using the finest cocoa beans from various parts of the globe including Ecuador, Panama and Ghana. The master chocolatier has been honored with accolades such as the “2011 European Candy Kettle Award,” one of the most prestigious awards in this sector.
Produced with the very purest raw materials, specially selected from the best harvests, and by a unique, traditional manufacturing method, Valor Chocolates offers indulgent, “pleasure-igniting” flavors. Valor also offers more health-conscious yet equally delightful no sugar added, lactose-free and gluten-free versions. Among the artful chocolate treats now available in the U.S. exclusively through World Finer Foods and its Liberty Richter division are:
“We continue to focus on growing our portfolio of premium brands and Valor Chocolates is the perfect addition to our mix,” stated Susan Guerin, CEO of World Finer Foods. “The quality of their products, innovative recipes and unparalleled manufacturing capabilities deliver a premium range of chocolates. We look forward to raising awareness and expanding distribution of the Valor brand. We’re especially excited to promote the no sugar added assortment which offers consumers not only a healthier option but also the same great taste as the traditional line of chocolates.”
As a premier confectioner, Valor has adopted the quality strategy and focuses on continual innovation to bring the highest quality of chocolate goods to the customer. The Company’s latest creation of a range of no sugar added chocolates, blends an exclusive recipe developed by Valor’s Master Chocolatiers which preserves the richness and unique taste of its traditional chocolate products. Valor’s All Natural range is free of artificial flavoring and preservatives and is made with the finest cocoa grown, guaranteeing the full “from bean to bar” confectionary process. These all natural products have been specifically developed for the U.S. market where 100 percent natural products are increasingly appreciated and demanded by consumers.
Gonzalo Sanchez, Export Director of Valor Chocolates stated, “Valor Chocolates has been successfully marketed in the U.S. for the past 15 years and has a strong and loyal consumer following. We believe now is the time for expansion and in order to take our brand to the next level, we needed a partner that understands our heritage and offering, as well as one with an extensive nationwide reach. Liberty Richter, with their distribution capabilities, customer relationships, and sales and marketing support services is the perfect partner, and we look forward to working with them to bring our assortment of specialty chocolates to those consumers who demand and crave the very best.”
“As the pioneer in specialty products, we have extensive relationships nationwide across all retail channels and see tremendous opportunities to bring Valor Chocolates to consumers who demand the very best,” said Guerin. Our team is committed to delivering an unparalleled customer experience to both our brand and distribution partners, and the combination of Liberty Richter and Valor will be a powerful recipe for success in the premium chocolate market. We look forward to showcasing the product line at the Summer Fancy Food Show and meeting with our customers and partners to further drive innovation.”
Wake up and smell the pancakes; it’s Pancakes & Maple Syrup Jelly Belly® jelly beans. The newest flavor from Jelly Belly Candy Company captures the warm, buttery flavor of a pancake topped with rich maple syrup whipped together in a single jelly bean.
Pancakes & Maple Syrup Jelly Belly beans are now available in the popular 3.1-ounce Jelly Belly Grab & Go® bag size packed in 12-count breakaway caddies.
Jelly Belly beans contain four calories per bean and are fat free, peanut free, dairy free, gluten free, vegetarian and OU kosher certified. For information, visit www.jellybelly.com.
Niederegger of Lubeck Germany is launching three new products with dramatically different flavors: The bitter sweet Chocolate Covered Marzipan Loaf Cranberry (2.6 ounce) gives a fruity berry accent, packed 20/case. Rich milk Chocolate Covered Marzipan Loaf with Salted Cashews is a stand-out in a generous 4.4 ounce size. Cheesecake Marzipan Classics feature 10 bite-size, satisfying pieces in a window box gift -set (3.5 ounces). These delicious sweet confections, in stunning multi-colored packaging, please the eye and the palate.
Carl Brandt., Inc., a key U.S. specialty food importer, represents Niederegger as well as many other European brands.
Seattle Chocolate Company is adding two truffle bar flavors to its premium line of carefully curated chocolate for 2015. The new flavors, alongside current Seattle Chocolates offerings, will be available for pre-sale and sampling in Booth 989 at the Winter Fancy Food Show January 11-13, 2015. Both bars continue the company’s signature combination of fresh, approachable ingredient pairings with creamy, responsibly-sourced chocolate.
Rounding out Seattle Chocolates’ spring seasonal bars, Spring Surprise joins Fluffy Toffee and Fresh Mint in a trio of bars that celebrate longer days, sunny afternoons and the first flowery blooms of the year. Spring Surprise pairs roasted almonds and coconut with dark chocolate, and is packaged in a pastel lavender wrap adorned with cherry blossoms, rain puddles and ducklings all in a row. With a suggested retail price of $3.50, the entire spring seasonal collection is available now.
Inspired by owner Jean Thompson’s favorite childhood snack, the new PB&J bar combines crunchy peanut butter with strawberry fruit jellies in delicious dark chocolate. Available at retail summer 2015, the all-natural PB&J bar is high in protein and tastes like a real peanut butter and jelly sandwich – just the way mom made it, only better! The PB&J truffle bar has a suggested retail price of $3.50.
“At Seattle Chocolate Company we have always had an unparalleled commitment to fresh new flavors and the finest ingredients,” stated Owner and CEO, Jean Thompson. “We source only the best tasting, ethically sourced chocolate and create recipes inspired by the traditions, cultures, memories and personal celebrations of our friends, family and staff.”
Both new Seattle Chocolates truffle bars are made from Rainforest Alliance Certified™ cocoa which is thoughtfully prepared in small batches, without preservatives, additives or extenders. Both the Spring Surprise and PB&J wrappers proudly display the official Rainforest Alliance Certified seal.
In addition to sourcing cocoa from Rainforest Alliance Certified farms, all Seattle Chocolate Company products are 100 percent natural and certified Kosher. Seattle Chocolate Company has also made the switch away from palm kernel oil, the harvesting of which is a major contributor to global deforestation, and now uses only sustainable coconut oil for its signature smooth meltaway texture. To learn more about Seattle Chocolate Company and the new bars, visit www.seattlechocolates.com, or stop by Booth 989 at the 2015 Winter Fancy Food Show January 11-13.