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Create a Delicious Holiday Tradition With a Gift of Ethel M Chocolates

Infuse your holidays with the delicious nostalgia of the season by sharing Ethel M® Chocolates. These affordable gourmet confections — with seasonal flavors meticulously crafted of the finest, preservative-free ingredients -– will evoke warm family traditions of the holidays, handed down through generations.

“Confections that infuse seasonal flavors and aromas like pumpkin spice, egg nog, butter rum and peppermint have the power to evoke warm memories, which is why they’re especially popular around the holidays,” said Bernard Pacyniak, editor-in-chief of Candy Industry magazine. “The holidays are truly a time to come together, to celebrate and to create lasting memories with friends and families.”

Based on family recipes, Ethel M Chocolates are handcrafted in small batches and made with fresh, quality ingredients. For example, the buttery filling inside the Satin Cremes® is stirred by hand in special cream beaters and flavored with real chocolate, vanilla, raspberry and lemon. Quality is paramount in every step.

“Today, we use some of Ethel Mars’ 100-year-old recipes to deliver an affordable luxury experience that’s authentic and delicious for chocolate lovers, especially those who appreciate family tradition, uncompromising quality and unparalleled taste,” said Oren Young, General Manager of Ethel M Chocolates. “We’re passionate about continuing Ethel Mars’ legacy of fresh crafted chocolates. It’s a passion you can taste in every bite of Ethel M Chocolates.”

This season, the chocolate artisans at Ethel M Chocolates have prepared special assortments, sure to make your holidays merry and bright. To sweeten the deal, enter the code BFRIDAY14 to receive a 20 percent discount on orders of $50 or more from November 25 to December 3.

A thoughtful gift of Ethel M® Chocolates will transport friends and family back to the fragrant kitchen of Ethel Mars, as she lovingly made kettles of rich holiday chocolates in the early 1900s. Inspired by his mother’s sumptuous creations, Forrest Mars Sr. joined his father, Frank C. Mars, in founding world-renowned Mars, Incorporated, manufacturer of iconic brands like M&M’S® Brand Candies, SNICKERS® Bar and DOVE® Chocolate. In 1981, Forrest established Ethel M Chocolates as a tribute to his mother’s fine art of chocolate making.

Today, Ethel M Chocolates spread holiday cheer by delivering a true gift for the culinary senses. Give the gift of good taste with these seasonal suggestions:

Peppermint Bark ($22) is a beloved holiday tradition. This handmade delicacy features crushed peppermint candies drenched in creamy white chocolate and covered with a layer of premium dark chocolate.          

The Holiday Deluxe Collection ($34) offers variety with the mouthwatering flavors of the season all wrapped up. Each 24-piece box includes limited edition pieces of Peppermint Silk, Pecan Pie, Pumpkin Pie and Egg Nog, plus Satin Crèmes®, Almond Butter Krisps®, chewy and creamy caramels and Almond Crunch.

NEW Seasonal Chocolate Bars ($20-$70are the perfect gift for the connoisseur who appreciates blending rich, premium chocolate with indulgent seasonal flavors: Milk Chocolate Buttered Rum, Dark Chocolate Pumpkin and White Chocolate Peppermint.

NEW Creamy Caramels in a Keepsake Box ($12-$95are ready to give in a decorative box topped with a red acrylic bow. These indulgent treats are filled with creamy caramel and wrapped in milk and dark chocolate. Plus — along with several Ethel M Chocolate varieties — they’re kosher and make a thoughtful Hanukkah gift.

The Nut & Caramel Collection ($28-$34), encased in an attractive Snowflake Box, features toffee crisps, pecans, almonds and caramels, each drenched in dark or milk chocolate.

The Classic Collection ($28-$42is a welcome addition to any festive gathering, offering a selection of sweet caramels, nuts, milk and dark Satin Crèmes® and Almond Butter Krisps®.

The Holiday Cocktail Collection ($28)with retro designs that evoke the 1960s, gives chocolate lovers a new way to toast the holidays. Each of the 16 pieces is filled with real spirits combined in a creme center: Champagne Cocktail and Mucha Margarita in milk chocolate or Lemon Drop and Chocopolitan in dark chocolate. (Some state laws prohibit shipment of alcoholic products directly to consumers. See website for details.)

Ethel M Chocolates are sold online at www.EthelM.com, by phone at 800.438.4356 and in six locations throughout Las Vegas, including a pop-up store in Summerlin’s Tivoli Village.

Ralphs Grocery Company to Hire 1,200 New Employees Across Southern California

Ralphs Grocery Company has announced that it is hiring to fill an estimated 1,200 permanent positions at its stores in southern California.

Ralphs currently employs more than 19,000 associates at its stores in southern California.

“Ralphs is committed to creating job opportunities for our current and future associates,” said Donna Giordano, President of Ralphs. “Working for Ralphs offers our associates great benefits, flexible schedules and a great place to grow a career.”

Ralphs is hiring for a variety of positions including front end, deli, bakery and store clerks. Ralphs is also looking to fill cake decorator positions and openings in its Murray’s Cheese and Starbucks shops that are located in many of its supermarkets. These positions and more are available at Ralphs supermarkets in each of thesSouthern California counties served by the supermarket company, which include Los AngelesOrangeRiversideSan BernardinoSan DiegoSanta Barbara and Ventura counties.

Ralphs invites interested applicants to visit www.ralphs.com/careers between November 17 and November 24 where they can join Ralphs’ talent network, sign up to receive job alerts and apply for jobs.

Click here to read more supermarkets news on GourmetNews.com.

MOM’s Organic Market Opens in Washington, D.C.

MOM’s Organic Market first Washington, D.C. store is opening at the Hecht Warehouse District. The new store features:

  • Free car charging stations
  • Naked Lunch, an all organic vegetarian eatery
  • Craft beer and organic wine
  • Daily deliveries of Bethesda-based Spring Mill bread
  • Sustainable local farm-raised trout (Friday and Saturday only)
  • Only the highest quality 100% certified organic produce

“We’re excited to finally be in DC,” says founder, Scott Nash. “We have 10 stores in the DC suburbs where I grew up, but I’ve wanted MOM’s to be part of the city community for years. We found a great first location - NoMa and surrounding communities lack sufficient choices for organic groceries.  I support DC’s 2016 $12.50 minimum wage increase and we will be paying that wage in DC effective immediately.”

MOM’s Grand Opening will feature direct-trade oysters from MOM’s Chesapeake Bay Oyster Farm, local vendor samples, environmental advocacy groups, and Naked Lunch tastings.

MOM’s is donating 5 percent of Grand Opening sales to Sasha Bruce Youthwork (SBY), a local services provider for DC youth. SBY is the only 24-hour, open access, youth-specific shelter in the District. Over its 40-year history, SBY has reunited over 13,000 homeless youth with their families. SBY offers counseling, life skills, and job training (http://sashabruce.org/).

Customers can drop off light bulbs, shoes, batteries, cell phones, and more at MOM’s for recycling. To learn about MOM’s, check out Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/momsorganicmarket) and Twitter! (https://twitter.com/MOMsOrganicMrkt).

Mondelez International to Expand Tassimo Beverage Capsule Production

Mondelez International has announced plans to invest $50 million (£30 million) in its Banbury, UK factory to build two new lines that will manufacture Tassimo beverage capsules. Tassimo is Europe’s fastest growing single-serve system, brewing a wide variety of beverages including Jacobs and Costa coffees and Cadbury hot chocolate.

The decision is part of Mondelez International’s multi-year investment in European manufacturing, under which $1.5 billion has been invested since 2010. The planned investment will create close to 80 roles and coincides with the 50th anniversary of the Banbury factory, which produces coffee brands such as Kenco, Carte Noire and Maxwell House. The Tassimo capsules produced in Banbury will be exported to Western European coffee markets in France and Spain as well as distributed in the UK.

“Tassimo is a key driver of growth for our European coffee business, so this $50 million opportunity is a great one for Banbury,” said Phil Hodges, Senior Vice President, Integrated Supply Chain, Mondelez Europe.  “Over the past 18 months, we’ve made similar investments in Bournville and Sheffield, underscoring our commitment to UK manufacturing. The proposed investment is part of our vision to manufacture our products on state-of-the-art lines that will enable us to meet growing demand while increasing our competitiveness.”

Click here to read more Gourmet News stories about coffee.

Continued investment in the plant has created an efficient and modern factory capable of producing both instant and capsule coffees for Mondelez International’s brands. The $50 million investment, conditional on commitments to flexibility and cost competitiveness, will fund two new Tassimo coffee production lines to be installed in 2015.

The Tassimo beverage system, which was developed in Banbury prior to its launch in Europe in 2004, uses barcode technology to calculate the right amount of water, brewing time, and temperature for the specific beverage. Over the past five years, Tassimo achieved strong double-digit growth in Europe through a winning formula of convenience, an unrivalled brand portfolio and quality coffee.

“The proposed investment opportunity demonstrates that, in an increasingly competitive environment, the UK continues to be a prime location for large-scale manufacturing,” said Paul Sinclair, Head of Manufacturing at the Mondelez International Banbury site.  “We’re committed to securing this investment for Banbury by increasing flexibility and competitiveness, and we’re excited about showcasing the quality we can deliver to coffee drinkers in the UK and abroad by producing Tassimo in our factory.”

“This investment opportunity in Banbury is part of our ongoing supply chain reinvention plan,” said Hodges. “We’re implementing several such initiatives around the world to capitalize on growing demand, while also reducing costs and improving productivity.”

Mondelez International’s supply chain reinvention plan is expected to deliver $3 billion in gross-productivity savings, $1.5 billion in net savings and $1 billion in incremental cash over the next three years.  The investment follows Mondelez Europe’s announced $100 million commitment to build a state-of-the-art biscuit factory in Czech Republic earlier this year, as well as the potential new investment of approximately $100 million for the Bournville chocolate manufacturing site in Birmingham, UK.

Specialty Food Association Unveils Picks for Holiday Gifts for Food Fans

The Specialty Food Association kicks off the 2014 holiday shopping season with a tempting selection of sweet and savory treats for the food lover on your list.

From chocolate cayenne cookies with bacon to classic buttery shortbread, this year’s gift picks reflect the innovation and high standards that specialty foodmakers bring to the products they create. Each pick is from a recipient of a sofi™ Award, which honors the best of the best in specialty food from members of the Specialty Food Association.

This year’s list includes nine sweet and nine spicy gifts, plus a can’t-resist goat cheese.

Sweet Gifts:

Spicy Gifts:

Mollydooker 2012 Carnival of Love Shiraz Named #1 Wine and #1 Shiraz in Australia and New Zealand for 2014

South Australia wine producer, Mollydooker Wines from McLaren Vale has just been honored by Winestate magazine at the 2014 Australasian Winestate Awards, held on  November 14, 2014 at the Adelaide Convention Centre.

The Mollydooker 2012 Carnival of Love Shiraz was awarded twice as the 2014 Wine of the Year for Australia and New Zealand and the 2014 Shiraz Wine of the Year for Australia and New Zealand.

Owners and winemakers, Sarah and Sparky Marquis, have been wine industry innovators and have triumphed over moments of near disasters in the competitive, global wine marketplace for over 20 years in Australia.

Winestate, the prestigious and oldest wine publication of Australia, awarded Mollydooker Wines and their 2012 Carnival of Love Shiraz from over 2,400 Australian and New Zealand wine producers and over 11,000 wine entries.

Pinnacle Foods Inc. to Acquire Garden Protein International Inc.

Pinnacle Foods Inc. has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Canada-based Garden Protein International Inc., the rapidly-growing manufacturer of the plant-based protein brand gardein™, from Founder and President Yves Potvin and TSG Consumer Partners LLC, a leading strategic equity firm.

Gardein is an innovator in the fast growing plant-based protein segment, with a line of award-winning frozen products that serve as alternatives for traditional animal-based protein formats, such as chicken strips and tenders, ground beef and fish fillets.  As one of the fastest-growing frozen health and wellness brands in the U.S., Gardein enjoys exceptional velocity trends across both traditional and non-traditional retailers, including the natural and organic channel.

Commenting on the announcement, Pinnacle Foods Chief Executive Officer Bob Gamgort stated, “The acquisition of Gardein is a key enabler to continue building Birds Eye into the leading health and wellness brand focused on helping Americans eat more vegetables.  By bringing Gardein under the Birds Eye umbrella, we will accelerate growth through expanded distribution, marketing and innovation.”

“We believe that plant-based protein is at the tipping point of becoming mainstream, making Gardein an exciting new growth platform for the Birds Eye business.  We congratulate Yves and the Gardein team for pioneering new territory in food and look forward to welcoming them to Pinnacle,” added Gamgort.

“We are proud of the business we built, and are very excited about partnering with Birds Eye and Pinnacle to realize Gardein’s full potential,” said Yves Potvin.  “We look forward to working with Birds Eye to expand the reach of great-tasting, plant-based protein products for consumers.”

Gardein is expected to generate net sales approximating CAD$65 million in 2014.  The acquisition, which includes a manufacturing facility in Vancouver, British Columbia, and nearly 250 employees, is expected to be completed immediately.  The purchase price of CAD$175 million will be funded with available liquidity.

Pinnacle plans to invest significantly behind Gardein in 2015 to continue to expand the brand and leverage the complementary positioning of Gardein and Birds Eye in the marketplace.  As such, Pinnacle expects the addition of Gardein to have a minimal, if any, positive impact on its earnings in 2015.

In connection with this transaction, Perella Weinberg Partners is serving as financial advisor to Pinnacle Foods, while Houlihan Lokey, Inc. is serving as financial advisor to Garden Protein International Inc.

Creative Ideas for Thanksgiving Sides and Desserts

This Thanksgiving, some dishes are going to look and taste a little different – except the turkey, of course, according to a new survey from McCormick, America’s favorite herbs and spices. Classic sides and desserts are beginning to reflect the growing number of cooks in the kitchen, who are getting more creative with new flavors, ingredients and preparations.

While the majority of Americans still want the turkey to taste the same, the survey revealed 40 percent want to change up their sides and 38 percent want to do the same with desserts. Add that two-thirds of adults are now helping cook the big feast – including one in every two men – and it’s clear the Thanksgiving meal is turning into a melting pot of flavors and dishes, evolving from a time when one person planned and prepared a classic meal with mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie.

“Sides and desserts are often made by different people – whether it’s a neighbor, a cousin or a friend – and they tend to add their personality to the dish,” said Chef Kevan Vetter of the McCormick Kitchens. “That might include using cayenne pepper in a great aunt’s sweet potato recipe or searching Pinterest for new flavors, like butterscotch, to make a more decadent pumpkin pie.”

Regional differences are also impacting flavors and dishes. For example, Midwesterners are most likely to change up their menus by adding an entirely new dish. And, those in the West and South are more likely to celebrate with a mixture of friends and family from different backgrounds, bringing their own heritage flavors to recipes.

In celebration of this year’s big and flavorful Thanksgiving meal, the McCormick kitchens are offering cooks tasty inspiration for stuffing, gravy, vegetables and desserts.

Classic Sides with a Twist: Of the Americans changing up sides, 69 percent said they’d like to add new flavors, while 20 percent are looking for spicier ingredients. Introducing a few unexpected twists to traditional Thanksgiving sides is a great way to bring new tastes to the table while still enjoying the ones you already love.

  • Brussels Sprouts with Pecans and Ginger Honey Sauce – Instead of regular green beans or broccoli, serve Brussels sprouts with a delicious ginger-honey sauce and sprinkle with toasted pecans – they might be the biggest hit at the table.
  • Cornbread and Sausage Stuffing – Crumbled corn bread adds a layer of sweet flavor to traditional stuffing seasoned with thyme and garlic.
  • Spiced Whipped Sweet Potatoes – Take a break from your usual Thanksgiving mashed potatoes. Brown sugar, cinnamon and cayenne red pepper add a little sweetness and heat to these whipped sweet potatoes
  • Apple Sage Turkey Gravy – Use turkey gravy mix, sage and apple juice to add warm fall flavor to your gravy.

Flavorful Desserts Prepared in New Ways – Of the Americans changing up dessert, 63 percent want to add new flavors and 29 percent are eager to switch up how it’s prepared. Put together a menu that features an array of desserts and gives your guests a chance to sample it all:

More Thanksgiving Recipe Recommendations from McCormick® FlavorPrint™
Love the flavors in pumpkin pie? Discover new favorite Thanksgiving and holiday recipes using free FlavorPrint recipe recommendations, which take the flavors you like and recommend the dishes you’ll love. Get your FlavorPrint atwww.McCormick.com/FlavorPrint.

Artisan Bistro Launches New Globally-Inspired Breakfast Entrées

Artisan Bistro’s new Beyond Breakfast line consists of artisan-crafted meals that blend the flavors of hearty breakfast favorites with organic, local and sustainable ingredients. With recipes touting cage-free egg whites, kale, black beans, asparagus and more, the new Beyond Breakfast entrées deliver satisfying meal options that can be enjoyed morning, noon or night.  Artisan Bistro Beyond Breakfast entrées are gluten free and available in three vegetarian options and two varieties with all-natural turkey.

“Our brand fans count on Artisan Bistro for wholesome and delicious meal options, and many of them challenged us to create healthy breakfast meals that would allow them to get a protein-packed start to their busy days,” said Leo Griffin, Chief Executive Officer of Artisan Bistro Foods, Inc.  “We started out by creating great breakfast meals, and found ourselves eating them for light lunches, dinner and snacks, hence the name ‘Beyond Breakfast.’  Like all of our frozen entrées, these new dishes remain true to our commitment to superior, sustainable, non-GMO and organic ingredients.”

All Artisan Bistro Beyond Breakfast meals are made with cage-free egg whites, are gluten free, contain at least 70 percent organic ingredients, and contain between 160 and 200 calories and between 9 and 15 grams of protein per serving.  The entrées are available now at Whole Foods Markets, and will launch in natural food stores and grocers nationwide in January 2015, with a suggested retail price of $3.99. Varieties include:

  • Country-Style Potatoes & Egg – A modern twist on a classic favorite made with egg whites, all-natural turkey, organic kale and red potatoes finished with spicy white pepper.
  • Italian-Style Hash & Egg – A savory blend of egg whites, all-natural turkey, organic asparagus, white beans and crisp bell peppers.
  • Huevos Rancheros Verde – A south-of-the-border-inspired mix of egg whites, organic black beans, bell peppers and creamy jack cheese.
  • Mediterranean Breakfast Stack – A zesty vegetarian offering with egg whites, organic polenta, eggplant and sharp romano cheese.
  • Veggie Chorizo Huevos Rancheros – All the flavor of traditional chorizo in a meat-free version combined with egg whites patty, bell peppers and zesty jack cheese.

Artisan Bistro’s entire cast of nutritionally-rich frozen meals includes delicious, non-GMO ingredients, like sustainably-caught salmon, free-range chicken, grass-feed beef, premium vegetables and a variety of whole grains and legumes, including quinoa, lentils and garbanzo beans. All dishes contain 70 percent or more organic ingredients and are gluten free to deliver wholesome, fresh and unique options for anyone seeking great-tasting alternatives to cooking or eating out. Artisan Bistro meals are available in natural food stores and grocers nationwide, including Whole Foods Market, Target, Safeway, Publix, Wegmans and Sprouts.  For more information, visit www.theartisanbistro.com.

Hammond’s New Popcorn Flavors Kick Classic Snack Up a Notch

Hammond’s Candies has reinvented its classic, handcrafted caramel corns with new flavors and packaging. The company is introducing new Mango Habanero and Honey Peanut All-Natural Popcorn in new display-ready cartons that hold a dozen packages make it easy to grab a gourmet snack. Plus, new lower suggested retail prices of just $3.99-$4.99 makes them especially tempting.

Hammonds popcorn“At Hammond’s, we’re always looking for ways to make it easy to enjoy candy,” said Andrew Schuman, Hammond’s CEO. “We create fun, imaginative and delicious flavors, package it beautifully and deliver it all at a great value.”

Mango Habanero – which combines sweet fruity flavor with a spicy punch — and Honey Peanut – a rich take on a classic — join Hammond’s line-up of All Natural Popcorn in flavors that include Chicago Style, Chocolate Caramel, Sweet Cinnamon Toast, Chocolate Caramel and Hammond’s own take on anything-but-standard Caramel Corn. Like all Hammond’s candies, they’re made with the best ingredients to exacting standards – perfectly popped kernels every time.

Hammonds popcorn family shot

A Denver staple since 1920, Hammond’s is renowned for its beautiful, high quality and inventive candies that pay homage to tradition, but wake up taste buds with fun flavors and formulas. Hammond’s diverse selection of candies includes the classic Mitchell Sweet (caramel-wrapped marshmallows), award-winners such as the Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich Chocolate Bar and the company’s signature stunning, hand-pulled lollipops and candy canes. All are available in Hammond’s award-winning packaging that showcases the “specialness” of candy.

More information is available at www.hammondscandies.com, or by calling 1.800-CANDY.99 (1.800.226.3999).

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