Vanilla and chocolate are a classic combination. World-renowned ice cream flavor manufacturer Star Kay White has been making vanilla extract and chocolate extract for five generations, since 1890. Gold Star Vanilla Extract® and Pure Chocolate Extract #18® are simply world class.
Gold Star Vanilla Extract is guaranteed to be two-fold (twice the concentration), made from 100 percent Grade 1 Madagascan beans, cold processed, non-GMO and with no sugar added. No one else in the retail marketplace makes this combined guarantee.
Pure Chocolate Extract #18 captures the botanical notes of chocolate that are lost in the high-heat and pressures required in processing of chocolate and cocoa. It is the worldwide standard by which all other chocolate extracts are judged.
Compare these extracts in quality and price to any other in the marketplace and decide for yourself. Use these separately or together to make your creation superlative.
For more information, visit www.starkaywhite.com.
This holiday season, give everyone on your list an affordable luxury experience: Ethel M® Chocolates from www.EthelM.com. These exceptional gourmet confections — made without preservatives — hold true to the recipes that Ethel Mars once made in her own kitchen in the early 1900′s. Comprised of the finest ingredients and made in small batches -– some made by hand, Ethel M® Chocolates embody the ideal holiday gift for everyone on your list, from friends and family to party hosts and business associates.
Who is “Ethel M” and what makes her chocolate special? She was the matriarch of the Mars family; her husband and son –-Frank C. Mars and Forrest Mars, Sr. -– founded world-renowned Mars, Incorporated, manufacturer of iconic brands like M&M’S® Brand Candies, SNICKERS® Bar and DOVE® Chocolate. In 1981 Forrest Mars, Sr., created Ethel M® Chocolates as a tribute to his mother, who taught him the art of making chocolate.
Cyber Monday shoppers seeking the perfect gift can unwrap a special deal at www.EthelM.com. Enter the code CYBERMONDAY13 to receive a 20 percent discount, with no minimum order, plus a $5 flat rate standard shipping fee for orders of $50 or more. This code is valid during the 24 hours of Monday, Dec. 2, 2013.
“At Ethel M® Chocolates, we’re dedicated to offering uncompromising quality and unparalleled taste,” said Jessica Ruttman, Marketing Manager, Ethel M Chocolates. “This holiday season, we’ve prepared a special assortment of chocolates designed to bring tasteful good cheer to any occasion. A gift of premium chocolate offers a personal touch of luxury and never fails to please the recipient.”
Ruttman offers gift suggestions that will delight everyone on your list.
Wild Sweets® By Dominique & Cindy Duby won a silver medal for its certified organic Walnut, Fig & Fennel Seeds chocolate bar at the 2013 International Chocolate Awards competition, which took place in London, England earlier this month. The competition judged the best of the best – gold and silver winners and finalist nominations from more than 800 products entered into the European and Americas semi-finals and the Israeli, Italian and Canadian national competitions.
The International Chocolate Awards was set up to recognize the best fine quality chocolate from around the world. The awards are designed to reflect international tastes and offer a level playing field for international entries. The judging panel is made up of experts, food journalists and pastry chefs from the host country, overseen by a grand jury who travel to each competition. More than 13,500 judging forms were completed in all competitions in 2013, by more than 300 judges worldwide.
This is not the first award for Wild Sweets. In the fall of 2012 it won several gold medals as well as the Best Overall Chocolate Bar (cocoa bean-to-bar) competition. Wild Sweets was also a recipient of the 2013 Best Chocolatiers & Confectioners in America Awards from TasteTV and the International Chocolate Salon. This spring, Wild Sweets won a bronze medal at the 2013 Academy of Chocolate competition in London, England. Wild Sweets also won several gold medals as well as the Best Overall Chocolate Bar and Best Caramels at the 2013 Seattle Luxury Chocolate Salon in May 2013. This fall, Wild Sweets won several gold and silver medals as well as overall ‘Top Chocolate Bar’ Award at the 2013 International Chocolate Salon in San Francisco, USA.
Wild Sweets By Dominique & Cindy Duby is Canada’s only science-based artisan cocoa bean-to-bar chocolate-maker. It evolved from a three-year research and development project in collaboration with the University of British Columbia and is scheduled to culminate in the opening of a brand new virtual chocolate boutique concept next month (more details will follow soon). For more information on the cocoa bean-to-bar process at Wild Sweets® By Dominique & Cindy Duby, visit The Process page on the company’s website.
Alter Eco Foods has introduced its newest organic, fair trade product line: truffles. In dark chocolate and dark milk chocolate, these truffles are a bold and innovative addition to the popular Alter Eco organic, fair trade chocolate bars. Alter Eco has reinvented the colorful round twist-wrap truffles seen at every grocery store checkout counter. Alter Eco has taken these much-loved favorites and made them with organic ingredients, adding pure lauric acid-rich coconut oil, instead of palm kernel oil, to its fair trade chocolate. Even the packaging is compostable. And while consumers are already familiar with the truffles’ smooth and melty texture, the sustainability-age makeover is all new, all Alter Eco.
Deep dark smooth chocolate sourced from Ecuador (Black Truffles) and Peru (Velvet Truffles) surrounds these sumptuous bite-sized delights. Pure organic coconut oil combined with milk and cacao creates the silky-smooth, melty filling. These Swiss-made, organic, fair trade truffles will launch with two classic flavors: Black (Dark Chocolate) and Velvet (Dark Milk Chocolate). Additional innovative flavors will soon follow.
Newly popular in American nutrition circles, coconut oil is credited with an impressive list of health benefits — from controlling weight, to improving memory, to regulating cholesterol. “Coconut oil is taking the nutrition world by storm with its array of amazing health-promoting properties,” said Jessica Pantermuehl, Nutritional Counselor and founder of Beautifully Balanced Nutrition. “It is full of medium chain triglycerides, better known as the good fat, and even appears to raise high-density lipoprotein (HDL), also known as the good cholesterol.”
Importantly, coconut oil is a sustainable alternative to the more common palm kernel oil. Alter Eco sources its coconut oil from Fair Trade Alliance Kerala, located on India’s tropical Malabar Coast. This farmer-owned co-op practices jaiva krishi, a sustainable farming method that mimics virgin rainforest, where many crops grow harmoniously together, and many animal species — including wild elephants — roam safely.
The truffles are wrapped in new eco-friendly packaging. Alter Eco has developed a groundbreaking wrapper — printed with non-toxic compostable ink — that will decompose in yard waste and at-home compost bins. Additionally, the outer box packaging of the truffles is recyclable. More information and demonstration of this innovation sustainable packaging can be found at: http://www.alterecofoods.com/sustainability/sustainable-packaging.
“Alter Eco’s goal is to provide consumers with a decadently delicious taste experience, while never compromising our own values,” said Edouard Rollet, Co-Founder and President of Alter Eco. “With these truffles, we’ve taken goodness to a whole new level.”
Alter Eco Truffles, like all Alter Eco offerings, are 100 percent organic, fair trade and non-GMO. The products are also Carbon Neutral certified. Alter Eco Truffles (SRP $7.99 / 10-pack) will launch exclusively at Whole Foods Markets from October 2013 to March 31, 2014. They will be available to all retailers through most major distributors by mid-March 2014 for April placements.
By Lucas Witman
Fair Trade USA, the leading third party certifier of fair trade products in the United States,
announced a proposal to change the standards that food and beverage companies must adhere to
if they wish to label their offerings as “fair trade certified.” If these changes are implemented, a
company that manufactures a composite product (made from multiple ingredients) will need to
verify that at least 20 percent of the ingredients in that product were produced in accordance with
fair trade guidelines. That product then can carry a Fair Trade USA Certified Ingredients label.
Although these changes are thus far only in the proposal stage and have not yet become policy,
the certifier is already drawing a great deal of attention from specialty food companies who
market fair trade products and from their customers.
Started in 1988 by the Dutch organization Max Havelaar, the fair trade certification movement is
part of a larger worldwide effort to ensure that workers in developing countries are paid a fair
wage and are employed in safe working conditions and that their companies are operating under
a socially and environmentally sustainable business model. Popular fair trade certified food
products include coffee, chocolate, sugar, tea and fruit. Fair Trade USA is just one organization
that certifies products fair trade. Others include Fairtrade International, TransFair USA and Fair
According to Sri Artham, Director of Consumer Packaged Goods for Fair Trade USA, the goal
of these proposed changes is both to strengthen and clarify the Fair Trade USA certification
model. If enacted, Artham hopes these changes will help to clarify for consumers the specific fair
trade ingredients that go into a product, enabling companies to disclose when just a single
ingredient is fair trade. At the same time, he also hopes that these changes will strengthen the
overall weight of the fair trade movement by enabling more companies to participate than would
otherwise be able to do so under the current standards.
“That’s our hope, that more companies can participate in Fair Trade and more consumers,”
Artham said. “Our hope is to make things stronger and cleaner.”
According to Fair Trade USA, it is simply too difficult for some companies to use 100 percent
fair trade ingredients in the products they offer, effectively prohibiting these companies from
participating in the fair trade movement under the standards that are currently in place. For
example, a domestic chocolate company may want to use fair trade cocoa in their milk chocolate
bar. However, it might be an insurmountable task for them to source fair trade certified milk and
sugar. If the proposed changes are implemented, such a company would be able to display their
commitment to fair trade principles, even though only perhaps one third of the ingredients in its
product are actually fair trade.
A number of specialty foods retailers thus far are coming out in favor of this proposal,
expressing their hope these changes will open up the fair trade movement to greater participation
across the board.
“I really think the fair trade model, for it to really reach more people, expanding and maybe (in
some people’s interpretation) loosening some of the standards is a good thing that’s certainly going to help more farmers in the end. It’s going to enable the whole system to grow,” said Brad
Kintzer, Chief Chocolate Maker for TCHO. TCHO markets a wide range of Fair Trade USA
certified confections, including chocolates for eating, drinking and baking. For Kintzer,
participating in the fair trade movement not only enables TCHO to develop strong relationships
with the distant farmers that supply the company’s raw ingredients, but it also helps the company
reach out to a socially committed consumer base. Therefore, allowing more companies to use a
Fair Trade USA Certified Ingredients label will benefit both the companies and potentially the
For Gary Guittard, owner of Guittard Chocolate Company, the proposed changes to the Fair
Trade USA certification process are a good thing, because they will provide clarity to consumers
who want to know more about the specific amount of fair trade ingredients that go into a
composite product. “I think anything that opens it up and allows transparency is good,” Guittard
said. “Maybe it might be not good for the long run, but certainly to get fair trade more acceptable
and transparent, so people know that the beans are fair trade, but maybe the sugar isn’t, or maybe
the vanilla isn’t—I just think it makes it more transparent.”
Guittard points out another potential benefit of these changes: an increase in overall availability
of fair trade certified ingredients and products on the market. “The actual reality of it is that
you’ll end up buying more fair trade,” he said.
Still, these proposed changes have not been without some opposition. Criticism has emerged
from many who fear that Fair Trade USA is simply diluting its standards. “The proposed labeling
policy falls below the standards upheld by the larger fair trade movement, and are detrimental to
the very concept of fair trade,” said Ariel Vegosen, a fair trade and social justice activist. “Fair
Trade USA will not require brands to list the actual percentage of content that is fair trade. They
are also eliminating their previous policy on commercial availability, which required brands to
use all fair trade ingredients that are available from a fair trade certified source. In addition, Fair
Trade USA will exclude dairy from its calculations, instead of just water, which is more typical.”
Kerstin Lindgren, Campaign Director for Fair World Project, argues that fair trade certification is
important, because it differentiates for consumers companies that are committed to social justice
and environmental sustainability from companies that may simply be interested in reaching out
to a certain market segment, and thus may be making claims that are otherwise unsubstantiated.
“If something says that it’s fair, then it should really be fair, and that should resonate with
consumers,” Lindgren said. Still, Lindgren is hopeful that most companies that are truly
committed to fair trade principles will not waver in their commitment, regardless of any changes
Fair Trade USA may make to its certification standards. “Mission driven companies see business
as a way to do good in the world,” Lindgren said. “That’s what motivates some of the truly
visionary companies.”This definitely seems to be the case for TCHO.
According to Kintzer, these changes are likely to have limited impact on the way his company
does business. “Really we often say that we’re in a lot of ways beyond fair trade, because we go
beyond the certification, and we do a lot of work with our cocoa farmers on the ground, setting
up fermentation systems, drying systems,” he said. “That benefits the farmer, [and] it benefits
chocolate makers that they’re working with, including ourselves.”