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Chocolate Industry Joins Forces With Danish Foundation To Push Support For Cocoa Farmers

The World Cocoa Foundation and Denmark’s Toms Foundation are joining forces to convene later this year a cross-section of representatives from the chocolate and cocoa industry, cocoa-producing countries, development agencies, donor groups, non-governmental organizations and cocoa certifying bodies. The gathering, to be held on October 15-16, 2014, in Copenhagen, will focus on improving efforts to boost incomes, production levels, quality of life and technology for the world’s five million-plus cocoa farmers.

Bill Guyton, President of the World Cocoa Foundation, said that the partnership with Toms Foundation is a natural choice for his organization. “Toms Foundation and WCF share a commitment to helping cocoa farmers improve their livelihoods. WCF’s membership of more than 110 companies from around the world possesses some of the world’s best expertise about sustainability in the cocoa sector.  We look forward to learning more from them, and from our friends in Denmark, about practical steps that can be taken to advance the sustainability agenda,” he said.

Jesper Moeller, CEO of Toms Confectionery Group, said “At Toms we are proud to enter this partnership with the World Cocoa Foundation. We look forward to welcoming the participants to Copenhagen in October and value the opportunity to share our experiences from Ghana in areas such as traceable cocoa, farmer training and primary school programs.”

The meeting, which is expected to attract 200 attendees, will include sessions on new strategies for providing improved planting materials to cocoa farmers; plans for making fertilizers and other essential inputs more readily available to farmers; updates on efforts to establish widely agreed upon standards for quality and sustainability; defining and measuring success in programs that support cocoa farmers; the importance of educational, gender equality and child labor reduction programming in cocoa-growing communities; and recent innovations in technology and program implementation that can hasten improvements in the lives of cocoa farmers.

About Toms Foundation
The Toms Group Foundation was established December 12, 1974 and is the sole owner of Toms Confectionary Group, a midsized producer of chocolate and candy with production facilities in Denmark, Germany, Sweden and Poland.

Fairway Introduces Tamales and Empanadas to Latin Table

It may be freezing outside, but inside Fairway Market it is hot and spicy. Indeed, Fairway is now offering home style tamales and empanadas through its new Latin Table line in all 14 stores in the tri-state area.

FairwayTamalesThe line debuts with three types of tamales — beef, chicken and black bean — and three empanadas –Argentine-spiced beef, spicy chicken and spinach-Portobello mushroom. Loaded with flavors, these pre-cooked items are made with the finest ingredients and are produced from traditional recipes. There are four tamales and two empanadas in a pack and each comes with a chipotle dip and an avocado-tomatillo sauce. They are available in the stores’ deli pack-out cases.

Fairway empanadas“For Fairway’s new Latin Table line we have created very delicious tamales and empanadas – two traditional and beloved foods- that are perfect as appetizers or for lunch and dinner,” said Bill Sanford, Interim CEO  of Fairway Market. “Here’s another option for busy families who want to enjoy affordable, convenient foods made with top quality ingredients.”

The tamales are made with masa –a corn meal dough –then wrapped in a cornhusk and steamed. The stuffed empanadas, which are baked, have a wheat-based pastry shell. Each pack sells for $4.99. For more information go to www.fairwaymarket.com

Roland Truffle Mac & Cheese Impresses

By Lorrie Baumann

If you ever have one of those occasions when you need to bring a dish to a potluck dinner with friends who’ve already had your signature dish so often that they’ve begun just to assume that’s what you’re bringing, it’s time to think yourself back into the box. American Roland Food Corp. has just introduced Truffle Mac & Cheese, if once you’ve tried it, you’re going to suspect that the company’s product developers had you in mind when they came up with this idea. As easy to make as that macaroni and cheese that comes in the blue box, this has been given a gourmet twist with truffle, and the result is easily good enough to take to a party. Whether you confess the role of the box or merely claim it as your own is totally up to you, because neither flavor nor the texture of the sauce is going to give you away.

packagesRoland was kind enough to let us at the Gourmet News editorial office sample a box each of the regular and whole wheat pasta varieties of the Truffle Mac & Cheese, and popular demand from the folks who saw the boxes come into the office required that I cook it up and bring it in for all to sample.

Cooking

 

The box contains the pasta and a packet of cheese sauce mix – you add your own butter and milk to the sauce mix and fold it into the cooked pasta. I brought it into the office, set it out in our break room with paper plates and plastic utensils and stood back to avoid being trampled. The verdict: yes, this would definitely pass muster on the buffet table. And no, most of us aren’t mentioning that it came out of a box. Nor do we expect to have the question come up.

Mac & CheeseIf you really want to put on the dog, you could add a little sriracha sauce; you could follow a Roland suggestion and drizzle some Roland White Truffle Oil over the dish just before serving; you could top it with some crispy bits of chopped bacon; or you could follow Top Chef contestant Dave Martin’s cue and add a little Tabasco Chipotle sauce. But you definitely don’t have to.

For further information, call 800.221.4030 x 222 or visit www.rolandfood.com.

Nocciolata Wins Kudos from Time Magazine

Having already taken Manhattan, the Nocciolata squirrel has now moved on to conquer taste buds in the editorial offices of Time magazine. Time’s reviewers found Nocciolata superior to alternatives from Barefoot and Chocolate, Natural ChocoDream and Hershey’s, among others. Least popular among the spreads reviewed by the panel: Nutilight, whose taste was described as, “extremely, dreadfully, wildly unfortunate.” Nocciolata, by contrast, was described as “a perfect blend of chocolatey and nutty flavors.” Read all about it here.

Murray’s Cheese Director of Program Development Wins Comté Scholarship

The Comté Cheese Association is delighted to announce the winner of the second Comté Scholarship for American Cheese Society Certified Cheese Professionals™ . Amanda Parker, Director of Program Development for Murray’s Cheese, took home the first place prize in the blind essay contest. She has won an all-expenses-paid trip to the Comté region to learn first-hand about the region and production. There was a tie for runner-up between Jason Herbert, Assistant Specialty Team Leader of Whole Foods, and Leah McFadden, Associate Perishables Buyer for the northern California region of Whole Foods. They will each receive a special Comté care package.

The essays were judged anonymously on the basis of knowledge and creativity by a panel of three renowned cheese experts: Greg O’Neill (Board President of the American Cheese Society; Owner of Pastoral Artisan Cheese, Bread & Wine); Cathy Strange (Global Cheese Buyer, Whole Foods Market, Inc.); and Max McCalman (Maître Fromager of Artisanal Premium Cheese Center, Author and Cheese Writer). The judges did not have access to the applicants’ names or information.

Amanda Parker states of winning the scholarship, “I am delighted for this incredible opportunity and the chance to see in person such an important cheesemaking region!” Her winning essay can be viewed here.

The Certified Cheese Professional™ (CCP) Exam was established by the American Cheese Society in 2012 to encourage high standards of comprehensive cheese knowledge and service for professionals in all areas of the cheese world. The exam is based on the knowledge and skills required to successfully perform cheese-related tasks in jobs across the board.

Made exclusively in the Jura Mountain region of France, Comté is an artisanal cheese with AOC (Controlled Appellation of Origin) and PDO (European Protected Denomination of Origin) designations. Each wheel of Comté reflects a unique terroir, a season of production, and centuries of cheesemaking and affinage traditions.

The Comté Cheese Association represents all those who are involved in the production of Comté—dairy farmers, cheese-makers, affineurs—and carries out activities in all fields of interest to the trade, including research and technical issues, economics, information and communications, marketing, law and promotion of the Comté appellation, defense of local traditions and protection of the environment.

Cool Down This Summer With The Republic of Tea

By Phillip Cahill

The Republic of Tea’s new Strawberry Basil iced green tea is hitting shelves around the world on March 1. This exciting flavor is one of many among the Republic of Tea’s line of bagged iced teas. A classic among tea enthusiasts for ages, this variation on green tea gets bold for a promise of a cool, refreshing summer.

The flavor is, in a word, satisfying. It is bold, sweet, subtle, and refreshing all at the same time, making for a beautiful and welcome guest to a hot summer day. Unlike in some flavored teas which sound good but get lost in translation, these elements work together in an unexpected way. No single flavor is the hero; they all work together to make something more.

Green tea is coming in to its own lately, not only with an array of flavors, but also with knowledge of its powerful health benefits. Enjoyed for centuries for how it helps the mind and body, green tea is growing in both popularity and variety.

Not satisfied to leave the mission at quality tea, The Republic of Tea’s bags boast an eco-friendly angle: these tea bags are unbleached and biodegradable, making for great nutrition in a garden once brewed. In a wasteful world, this is a welcome change.

With a commitment to flavor, health, and the environment, The Republic of Tea is a strong frontrunner for the emerging tea revolution; with popularity like never before, this amazing plant has found its home. This is a flavor that is not to be overlooked. Whether you’re new to tea and are looking for a relaxing drink for the summer, or you’re experienced and looking for something new, this is one drink that both promises and delivers.

Coming March 1 with a pack that makes eight quarts.

Dei Fratelli Truly Tomatoes from Hirzel Canning Company & Farms

Dei Fratelli Truly™ Tomatoes from Hirzel Canning Company & Farms, a fourth-generation, family owned and operated company are crafted for home chefs and offer a premium tomato product packaged in an environmentally responsible carton. The three product varieties include: Petite Cut Tomatoes, Finely Chopped Tomatoes with Onion, Carrot & Celery and Rustic Cut Tomatoes. All Dei Fratelli Truly Tomatoes products are packed in a delicate, light puree. Each carton weighs 26.46 ounces and can be easily substituted in recipes requiring a 28 ounce can of tomatoes. The three new products are an addition to the brand’s line of Truly™ Veggie! and Truly™ Tomato! Juices.

Dei FratelliThe eco-friendly packaging allows Hirzel Canning Co. & Farms to use a more delicate cooking process, thus preserving the fresh-tasting flavor that nature provides. The BPA-free carton provides an environmentally friendly and convenient package. The carton is comprised of 75 percent paperboard, which is 100 percent recyclable, and carries the certification from the Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC).

Dei Fratelli Truly Tomatoes are grown on local, family farms in the rich, fertile soil of the Lake Erie Basin. After a short journey from their growers’ fields, the tomatoes are carefully selected for the distinctive Truly Tomato products. Moreover, the tomatoes are preserved within a maximum of 10 hours after harvesting. This innovative concept and traceability is called “Field to Carton.” The tomatoes are packed in a light puree providing a rich tomato flavor, and do not contain any artificial additives or preservatives.

“It’s about quality. When a product’s ingredients are so simple, they have to be quality and that has always been a focus for the Hirzel family. With local growers, we are able to monitor every aspect of the production from seed to shelf – ensuring that only the highest quality tomatoes make it into our products.” shared Stephen Hirzel, President of Hirzel Canning Company & Farms. “Each variety of our Dei Fratelli Truly Tomatoes offers home chefs a premium foundation for authentic soups, stews and sauces. We anticipate this new line of products generating renewed enthusiasm in the shelf-stable tomato category.”

Greenview Kitchen Organic Sauces Receive Non-GMO Project Verification

Greenview Kitchen, a brand of organic sauces manufactured by Giovanni Food Co. Inc., has received the Non-GMO Project
Verification seal for its organic pizza sauce and organic bruschetta. The verification was awarded by the Non-GMO Project. Greenview Kitchen is one of the first brands of organic pizza sauce and organic bruschetta topping to receive this verification. “We plan to continue the verification process for all future organic products under the Greenview Kitchen brand,” said Louis DeMent, CEO of Giovanni Food Co. Inc.

In addition to receiving the verification seal for these two products, Greenview Kitchen has three organic pasta sauces that are currently in the Non-GMO Project verification process. It is part of the company’s ongoing commitment to being a leader in the organic sauce category. “We are confident that this verification will help to get our brand into more health-food store chains that are committed to non-GMO products,” De Ment said.

The Greenview Kitchen organic products are all kosher, gluten-free and all natural, and will soon have the Non-GMO Project Verified seal on the product labels. In addition, the products are enrolled in the Quality Assurance Institute’s Gluten-Free certification program to further verify the integrity of the products and give consumers the verification they need as many consumers are faced with dietary restrictions that prohibit gluten.

In addition to seeking certification for its own products, Giovanni Food Co. Inc. is helping some of its current and prospective co-packing and private-label customers take the next step in becoming Non-GMO Project verified. For more information about Giovanni Food Co.’s private-label or contract manufacturing services, visit www.giovannifoods.com.

Hyatt Hotels Choose Grass-fed Beef

Strauss Brands  is working with Hyatt Hotels & Resorts in their drive to serve the best tasting, highest quality sustainably and ethically raised foods available to their hotel guests through the launch of Strauss Free Raised® American grass-fed beef burgers. Launched at the end of 2013, the burgers are available at Grand Hyatt, Hyatt Regency and HYATT branded hotels in the United States.

Since the launch of their food and beverage philosophy, “Food. Thoughtfully Sourced. Carefully Served,” Hyatt has been driven to bring great quality food and beverage products to their customers. Three pillars ground this philosophy: Healthy People, Healthy Planet and Healthy Communities. By selecting Strauss as a partner, Hyatt has taken another step towards satisfying a customer demand for sustainable options on its menus.

“Customer research indicated that grass fed beef was very important to our customers, yet, we knew to meet both ours and our guest’s expectations, we had to find the best-tasting grass fed beef in the United States. When we tasted Strauss Free Raised, we knew we had found what we were looking for,” said Jim Milkovich, Corporate Director of Purchasing for Hyatt Hotels & Resorts – Americas.

Strauss Free Raised is sourced from independent American family farmers who raise and finish their heritage bred, free-roaming cattle on a 100 percent grass and forage diet. Cattle never receive grains, are never confined to a feedlot and are never administered hormones or antibiotics.

“We wanted to create something very special for Hyatt guests – the best of the best,” said Randy Strauss, CEO and third-generation co-owner of Strauss Brands. “Our family’s passion is to not only provide the healthiest burgers – but also the best tasting burgers possible.” To do that, Strauss and Hyatt started with the best cuts possible – whole chucks, briskets and sirloins – that are ground fresh weekly and are always fresh, never frozen. The result is a flavor-packed, juicy burger.

Independent research has shown that grass fed beef is high in CLAs and Omega3s, and Vitamin E, while lower in saturated fat and cholesterol than grain-finished beef. Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) may help reduce body fat deposits and improve immune function. Omega 3s, Vitamin E and low amounts of saturated fat are all recommended as part of a heart-healthy diet.

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.