Saturday, June 29, 2013

Patriotic Chocolate for The Fourth of July

The Chocolate Cult has made a new contact with the very patriot entitled Uncle Sam's Chocolate Factory.  They kindly sent us three of their chocolate creations and today we're going to look at a 72% bar they make.  As you can see it has a red, white, and blue design that could make for a good decorative addition to any 4th of July party you might have.  Aside from the wrapper let's explore with all our senses this bar and see if it could offer you a yummy addition to your celebrations this coming week.

The Special Dark Chocolate bar that you see in the center of the above photo is a bittersweet chocolate according to the label.  Bittersweet is a type of dark chocolate but the exact definition varies.  In my experience these bars are support to be both bitter and sweet in taste and the label says it will be a "mellow and balanced" bar so let's see if that's true.  I tested this with the help of one of our Acolytes so this will be a consolidated view of our experiences with the bar that comes in at 1.5oz.

The paper wrapper slips free leaving the red foil wrapper that unfolds without a tear.  The bar inside reminds me a big brand name.  The 12 sections break apart easily without a jagged edge that makes sharing a breeze.  Oddly the bar does not have much of a scent to it but it feels cool in my fingers starting to melt at my body temperature.  It makes a very soft snap when I take a bite and chew.  The first flavor is just a hint of bitter but over all the description of "mellow" is very correct though it is not as sweet as I expected either, a good thing since you know I love darker chocolate, Sisters and Brothers.  Our Acolyte says this is surprisingly smooth, clearly not a milk chocolate bar but in no way unpleasant even though he prefers lower cacao content himself.  The second piece I let melt in my mouth wondering if the bitterness will be heighten as is often the case with darker chocolate.  No, not at all. The second pieces melts very uniformly and stay as smooth as the first piece without a waxy taste and texture that so many big brand chocolate bars have.

Other than vanilla, a very common addition to most chocolate in the USA and soy lecithin as an emulsifier, this is simply aged chocolate liquor, sugar, and cocoa butter.  Simple ingredients allowing the crafted to focus on creation and we to enjoy that skill.  This earns as Sacrament status for a wonderfully smooth dark chocolate that could be enjoyed by non-dark lovers.  Uncle Sam's Chocolate Factory has a website that gives a look into their shop at 2571 Albany St. in Schenectady, NY 12304, a lot of videos of their candy making in action, as well as lush photos of their products.  We'll have two more feature reviews of their creations in the future so keep watching this site. If you've been to the brick and mortar store leave us a comment and tell us about it!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Chocolate Recall For June 23, 2013

Yup, we have another recall, actually an expansion of a previous one though I recall seeing the original which concerns me since I'd like to stay on top of these things for you all, Sisters and Brothers.

Oskri is Expanding the Recall of Fig Dark Chocolate Bars
to Include Additional Lots. Lot: 161 through 164

Oskri Recalls “Coconut Bar Dark Chocolate”, “Coconut Bar Dark Chocolate Minis”, “Fig Dark Chocolate Bars” and “Almond Dark Chocolate Bars” Because of Undeclared Milk.

Consumer Contacts: 920-648-8300; quality@oskri.com

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - June 12, 2013 - OSKRI Corp. of Lake Mills, WI is recalling “Coconut Bar Dark Chocolate”, “Coconut Bar Dark Chocolate Minis”, “Fig Dark Chocolate Bars” and “Almond Dark Chocolate Bars” because the dark chocolate contains milk. People who have an allergy or severe sensitivity to milk run the risk of serious or life-threatening allergic reaction if they consume these products.

The recalled “Coconut Bar Dark Chocolate”, “Coconut Bar Dark Chocolate Minis”, “Fig Dark Chocolate Bars” and “Almond Dark Chocolate Bars” was distributed nationwide to retail stores.

The product comes in a 1.9 ounce, flexible plastic wrapper, UPC 666016-300703 (Coconut Bar Dark Chocolate), UPC 666016-400311 (Coconut Bars Dark Chocolate Minis), UPC 666016-300307 (Fig Dark Chocolate Bars) and UPC 666016-300420 (Almond Dark Chocolate Bars) marked with the following stamp, which can be found on the front of the wrapper:

P 1/1/13 through 6/6/13
EXP 7/7/14 through 12/12/14
LOT 001 through 164

There have not been any complaints of allergic reactions to this product.

The recall was initiated after it was discovered that the “Coconut Bar Dark Chocolate”, “Coconut Bar Dark Chocolate Minis”, “Fig Dark Chocolate Bars” and “Almond Dark Chocolate Bars” may contain milk in the product. Subsequent investigation indicates the problem was caused by a temporary breakdown in the company's production process.

Consumers who have purchased these products are urged to return it to Oskri for a full refund. Consumers with questions may contact Laura Pineda at Oskri’s Quality Department by emailing quality@oskri.com.

Please return products to: Oskri, 528 E. Tyranena Park Road, Lake Mills, WI 53551

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Award Winning Dark Chocolate Bars

Have you heard of Marou Chocolate, Sisters and Brothers?  These award winning chocolate bars from Marou, Faiseurs de Chocolat does several things we love here on The Chocolate Cult.  First they are single-origin from Vietnam.  Second they work directly with the cocoa farmers making this a “bean to bar” chocolate.  Third, while the company, Dark Chocolate Imports, that sent us these samples is in the USA, the actually cocoa processing and chocolate crafting is done in Saigon and uses local sugar cane but "French" methods.  Their website is rather simple but you can find the bars under the "Store" tab underneath the title header.

We were sent four of their five bars and as you can see in our photo above they are wrapped in gemlike colors and gold lettering that really makes them stand out.  While the photo above is not organized in terms of cacao percentage we will look at them in that order and we did the testing in one sitting so we could tell the subtle differences (if any) between them.  Yes, we did a basic water cleansing of the palate between each sample.  If you want to do this testing on your own, you know have the basics again.  Each bar is 3.5oz and costs $9 frankly given where they come from this isn't particularly expensive. If you'd like to find them in a store, they do have retailers in seven states.  Checkout this map from their website that shows where the cocoa beans are grown for these bars.


Our first bar is called "Tien Giang 70%" from organically grown cocoa beans from "farmers of the Cho Gao Co-op in the Mekong Delta" according to the website.  This is in the grayish blue wrapper and as you can see it had a little accident in the shipping that split the bar.  While the top of the bar has lines etched into it these do not go all the way through or even more than a 1/4th of the way through the 3/8th inch thickness of each bar.  1/4th of the bar is a serving so if you practice moderation please keep that in mind.  This has a light but intense cocoa scent that spreads when I break off a piece with a very loud snap.  Taking a bite also makes a snapping sound.  At first I get a smooth flavor that turns a bit fruity then a touch of spice before fading into the bitterness you expect from darker chocolate.  It is well-balanced and the flavor lingers for about a minute so you can eat it slowly and savor it.

The "Lam Dong 74%" bar is crafted in small bars so I would expect it to cost more but it doesn't.  It is produced from woodlands near "the Vietnamese Central Highlands between Madagui and Bao Loc."  This has a darker scent, almost a coffee like undertone to the fragrance when I bring a small piece to my nose.  The flavor is more simple than the previous bar.  It begins with a smoother dark chocolate essence that turns a very slight mocha before settling back into the smooth dark flavor that cannot be described as bitter in any sense.  The light blue wrapper is a nice indication of of how smooth this really is, so smooth that I think if you like a darker milk chocolate you should give this bar a try.

Trinitario cacao beans are used to make the "Ba Ria 76%" bar and they are "sourced directly from family-owned farms in the Ba Ria Province."  Trinitario beans are a hybrid species created through selective farming of Criollo and Forastero beans back in the early 18th century.  The sort of salmon colored wrapper seems calming and yet with a hint of spiciness  let's see how the bar stands up to that color suggestion.  It does have a tone of spice underneath the dark cocoa when I take a whiff of it.  This has a slight bitterness to begin and then a subtle hotness starts as I keep chewing that fades back into a slight bitterness.  Hey, that means the color's suggestions to my brain were either correct or my brain affected the flavor; either way it was great.

Finally we have the "Ben Tre 78%" bar from cacao beans grown in the "Ben Tre Province in the Mekong Delta" where they are planting the cocoa trees with coconut trees and not using monoculture production.  The quarter of the bar I break off with a loud snap has a dark and almost earthy scent to it and that suggests to me that underneath the lime green wrapper will be an intense chocolate flavor.  The first thing I am surprised by when I take a bite is that there is no bitterness here but instead a dark smooth flavor that turns with each bite into a slightly almost lime or lemon like tones that blend back into the smooth chocolate.  At 78% cacao I'm surprised and again I think that if you like darker milk chocolates you could try this one and be pleased.

Adding no additional flavors or ingredients beyond the basics of cocoa mass, cocoa butter, and sugar cane, to their bars allows the subtle differences of where the beans are grown to shine through.  Dark Chocolate Imports is the American shop that allows us to try this award-winning international chocolate.  The requirement for PayPal as a method of payment is limiting to many people who are not comfortable with using a third party for making payments but as I linked to above there are a few stores in seven different states if you'd prefer to go find one at a brick and mortar retailer.

For the pureness of the chocolate, the empowerment of the farmers, and their focus on quality versus mass production, Marou Chocolate Bars earn Sacrament Status and are now in the running for best chocolate of 2013 that we've tested and featured on The Chocolate Cult.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

June 16, 2013, Chocolate Recalls

Why, oh why, must I put out this announcement on Father's Day?  Because like you, Sisters and Brothers, I love my father and do not want anyone's father to each or drink something that might harm them.  This is a national brand so take note and check your chocolate.

Contact Consumer:
1-800-789-7337
Media:Diana Ebbesen at 214-259-3427
 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - June 14, 2013 - See’s Company of San Francisco is recalling all Milk and Dark Raisins because it may contain undeclared tree nuts and eggs. People who have an allergy or severe sensitivity to tree nuts (e.g.: almonds, walnuts, pecans, cashews) and/or eggs run the risk of serious or life-threatening allergic reaction if they consume these products.

Product was distributed nationwide through See’s Candies Retail Stores, Licensees and Mail Order. The product is sold bulk and packaged at the stores in 8oz clear cellophane bags. No illnesses have been reported to date. The product UPC are as follows: Milk Raisins UPC: 737666083060 and Dark Raisins UPC: 737666083053.

The recall was initiated after a retail store discovered a chocolate covered pecan in the raisin bulk pack. Subsequent investigation indicates the problem was caused because of shared lines that produce nut containing candies. There is a potential that nut and egg residue may be present in some of the chocolate enrobed raisins.

Consumers who have purchased Sees’ Candies Milk or Dark Raisins and are sensitive to nuts and eggs are urged to return the raisins to the place of purchase for a full refund or exchange. Consumers with questions may contact the company at 1-800-789-7337 (Monday thru Friday, 8:30am to 4:30pm PDT).
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Saturday, June 15, 2013

Life is Sweet Fudge

Tomorrow, June 16, is "National Fudge Day," so I thought I'd finally reveal four samples of fudge from Life is Sweet Candy Store in Keene, New Hampshire that my husband, our Chocolate and Tea Acolyte, discovered back in 2012 right after Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast.  Luckily for him they were open on that Sunday and thick it is great that any business can have expanded hours into the weekends and into the evenings so that potential customers, many of whom also work, can find and use their business. I wish more chocolate and candy companies, heck, all companies did this because it sure would make the average worker's life a bit easier.

Fudge is one of the candies that they make in the shop itself and their website says that they have a changing menu of flavors so if you are in the area, go in and check out what is available today.  At this time when I'm writing this feature review live (soon after my husband brought the samples to me in early November 2012) the company delivers products around the Keene area so you can also place and order and get it sent to you for an extra five dollars.  Of course if you are in the area, why not get it yourself?  Perhaps you want to use their catering services or have placed a load order and don't have the vehicle to safely deliver it.  But you want to see the fudge, right, Sisters and Brothers?

Let's look at these clockwise from the upper right in the first photo.  The first must be the simple chocolate fudge.  It has a strong sweet cocoa scent that I expect from basic fudge.  This piece is solid but still soft and easy to bite into.  It starts to melt at soon after I take a bite.  There is great balance between the chocolate, the butter, the milk, and the sugars that are the basic ingredients for all fudge which allows the chocolate to be the dominant flavor and this tends to be difficult to achieve in most commercial fudges I've noticed so I'm very impressed.

The second piece obviously has almonds but is it the Chocolate Almond or the Chocolate Amaretto? Since I usually Amaretto fudges with two layers of fudge, one a pinkish color, I'm going to guess this is a simple Chocolate Almond fudge.  While the Almonds are thin slivers there are a lot of them that you can see throughout this variety.  The nuts and the ingredients of the fudge cancel each other out and oddly I'm getting almost now scent from this no matter how many whiffs and sniffs I take.  Taking a bite the only crunch is in the nuts because the fudge, like before, starts to melt in my mouth.  The sweetness of this variety is much greater than the previous

The third piece is the Chocolate Peanut Butter, this is clear by both the look, two layers one clearly chocolate and one clearly peanut butter, and the fragrance of the sample.  The peanut butter permeates the entire piece of fudge.  I take a bite of just the top fudge layer and it is a sweeter version of the simple chocolate fudge above.  When I take a full bite including both peanut butter and chocolate layer, the peanut butter and chocolate blend well, resulting in a balanced flavor.  The peanut butter layer is a lot softer than the chocolate layer but both melt in my mouth.

This leaves the Chocolate Amaretto as the final of the four samples from Life is Sweet Candy Store.  As I hope you can see in the photo this has the light pink bottom layer as well as hints of lighter fudge in the higher layer.  Turning this fudge over you get two different scents: the pink has a strong Amaretto fragrance but the dark has a light cocoa essence that lets out the Amaretto again.  The pink layer is softer and oddly a bit chewy when I take a bite while the fudge layer melts. The Amaretto really overwhelms the other flavors so unless you like that flavor this is probably not a fudge for you.

Life is Sweet Candy Store was also a guest post from my husband about his trip to the East Coast back in October/November 2012.  I'm very glad they gave him these samples so we could let you all know about them just in time to go check them out for tomorrow's fun food holiday.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Baked! Chocolate Cookies Delivered to Your Door

In Your Chocolate Priestess's town we have several bakeries but one of these has a very fun vibe not far from the university campus.  Baked! of Bloomington was started in 2006 and now in 2013 they are going strong enough that they are thinking of expanding into Indianapolis.  When I went I was accompanied by one of our Mocha Acolytes, Tim, and his husband-to-be, Long, who often helps us test products.  Of course I gave them some of these cookies you see in the photo here as an thank and to get their opinions.  Let's see if I agree with them.

First up is the basic chocolate chip cookie however the dough is their sugar dough.  These were baked to a nice golden brown, no burning, and spread out the most of the four varieties.  The dough has a slight sweet flavor but not nearly as sweet as I feared given the sugar (plain) dough base.  It actually has a slight buttery flavors as well.  The cookies crunch a bit around edges and the chips still were melty when I first tested one letting a burst of chocolate into my mouth.  While you can't see them too well in the photo, every bite had chocolate chips in it and thus a good cookie for milk chocolate lovers.

Next up is the peanut butter dough with toffee, dark chocolate chips, and pretzel pieces.  This is a heftier cookie also golden brown with a bit darker on the bottom and sides though not burnt; I can't stand burnt peanut butter as you know, Sisters and Brothers.  Some of the cookies have visible dark chocolate chips or pieces of toffee and pretzels but each is different looking.  The cookie is nicely soft exactly as I want from a peanut butter cookie, the peanut flavor builds up as I chew. When warm the toffee is sticky and the dark chocolate chips melt but the pretzel pieces remain crunchy whether warm or cooled down fully.  The combination of flavors and textures makes this a memorable cookie that I wouldn't mind having again.  This was Long's favorite of all four cookies!

The third type was a chocolate dough with mint and white chocolate chips along with crushed Oreo cookies.  This is also a very thick cookie and has a strong mint fragrance.  You can see the green and white chips through the dark dough.  The cookie is nice and soft like the previous one and this time the cocoa in the cookie is the first flavor followed by a creamy then a minty burst.  Every now and again I hit a crunchy bit of Oreo and the distinctive flavor of the cookie and cream add to the flavors.  This is actually a very intense flavor combination but I liked it a lot though if you don't like mint, this isn't for you.

Finally, they made us cookies using their current seasonal dough, blue berry oatmeal, with dark chocolate chips.  These have a sweet blue berry scent along with a hint of oatmeal.  The juice from the blue berry and the oatmeal gives the cookie a sort of greenish tint that Tim noticed first.  Tim said this tasted like a blue berry muffin so I'm going to see if I agree.  The texture is not quite muffin but definitely oatmeal cookie with a stickiness;  I use oatmeal a lot in my own cookie baking so I have a fondness for it myself.  The berries are sweet and slightly tart (some folks who had these with me said sour but I think tart) and the bursts of dark chocolate counter it with a bit of bitterness and sweetness of a slightly different nature.  I was very pleasantly surprised by these.

To make your own creations check out their menu and go through the steps to select dough, fixin' (additions), frosting, and even melted tops of candy bars.  Only the melted tops cost extra so don't worry about mixing together a few things.  We agree with the Baked! advice to not add more than four ingredients or you won't taste them all.  If you get one of the combinations we mentioned above, tell them you saw it on The Chocolate Cult.  Personally I liked them all though if I had to pick just one, I'd have to break down and buy two sets of cookies: the peanut butter and the chocolate dough based ones we've looked at today.

If you want to know more about Baked! of Bloomington you can check out the interview and photos shoot we did that day.  Baked! uses high quality ingredients and offers the customer a lot of variety for unique cookies any day they way so they earn a Sacramental status.  With hours varying by time of year you should check first whether or not they are open at Noon or 2pm and closing at 2am or 4am. But if you live in Btown you need to check them out.  Park on the street not the nearby business parking lots and you shouldn't have a problem.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The Fun Cookie Shop called Baked!

Sisters and Brothers I found this little bakery called Baked! right here in my current city hidden away near the university's downtown stretch.  Well, not really hidden, I've passed while driving a few times but always when I was on the wrong side of the four lane road.  I've been there three times now and below are photos of the shop plus a live interview I recorded during my third visit with one of our Mocha Acolytes and his finance.  This is the first time I've used a live recorder and then had the results transcribed (thank you to our Chocolate and Tea Acolyte for his help) so please leave a comment and let us know what you think.

It’s TammyJo, at Baked of Bloomington, on Tuesday (May 14, 2013).  Jeremy, are you the owner of Baked!?

Yes.  Yes, my name’s Jeremy Ness.  I own it with another gentleman named Jason Vogele.  We bought it, actually, about two years ago, from the founder, who we’d worked under since he started in 2006, and it’s been going nuts ever since.

Is this your only location, or do you have other locations? (Photo of the Orphan display case for left overs from the fresh bake orders.  A great inexpensive way to try out their cookies when you can't decide what you want them to make for you.)

This is currently our only location.  We do have some planning under way for a company on location in Indianapolis pretty soon, and then we’re also getting our framework under way for franchising outside of the state.  So we’re definitely pursuing some growth.


OK.  Well, I kind of understand the Baked! concept of how you order cookies, but would you tell our readers in your own words how that works out? (Play a game while you wait for your cookies.)

Yeah, definitely.  So we make all of our doughs from scratch, from all natural ingredients and everything.  We use the best ingredients we can find, most times, as long as it’s cost-efficient, and we keep all the doughs refrigerated, with nothing else mixed into them, so the customer can choose whatever dough they might like, whatever mix-ins they might like – we’ve got about 25 or 30 different choices that can go inside the cookies, and they can get as many of those combinations as they like, so really they can totally customize to their tastes.  We also have things called after-bakes – they’re things like frosting or slices of candy bars and stuff, such that that we can put on top of the cookie after it comes out, and hopefully it all results in, about 10 to 15 minutes later, in a custom batch of cookies.  We also offer delivery through most of Bloomington.  We have drivers just like any pizza place or sandwich place like that.  We’re open real late; we’re open – well, in the summer it’ll be just 2 to 2, but during the school year it’s noon to 2 a.m. or 4 a.m., depending on the day.

OK.  And are your prices, do they include most of the mix-ins, or is there like a tier system for the different prices of different types of mix-ins?  (More art above door in the lounge.)

Sure.  The only thing that would cost you extra for a certain set of cookie would be a couple of those candy bars that we slice up and put on top afterwards.  But as far as anything that gets mixed into the dough before it goes into the oven, those are all included in the price.  So yeah, if you just want a chocolate chip cookie, then we’ll do that for you, but if you want all the different kinds of chocolate chips, or some raisins and craisins and coconut in there or something, then it’s no extra cost, yeah, we put it all in there as well.  And then we encourage quantity with your ordering as well, so the price per cookie goes down as your quantity goes up as well.

OK. And milk – milk is sort of a big thing, like you get cookies and milk delivered, that’s what I remember – that’s how I first learned about you guys.

Fantastic.  Yeah, they definitely have gone hand in hand since before we started, so yeah, we thought that we definitely needed to offer as much milk as we could.  We currently offer it in little half-pint cartons, just like you’d see in school, which is cool because they’re a perfect single-serving size, and they always bring back good memories from when you used to get those in school.  And also, if you’re going to dine in for here, we can give you just a mug, and you can fill up for all of our milk, just at your leisure, free refills on all that as well.

So you’ve been doing this since 200 …?

Let’s see, I’ve been the owner since 2011; we’ve been in business since 2006.

All right.  Who would you say are your best customers?  Are they college kids, are they people from the neighborhood, or are people now discovering you from all over Bloomington?  (Take a book to read while you wait for  your cookies.)

In the past I would definitely say the IU community and students have definitely been our bread and butter, so to speak; they’ve definitely been who we’ve been serving most, but we’ve – we’re finding more and more that, we kind of joke around about there just kind of being a different cookie for everybody, and so yeah, we’re definitely getting a lot more young professionals, or just a lot of people saying, “I need this for a meeting that I’m going to,” which is fantastic, because those are the people that are in Bloomington permanently, and those are the friends and families of my friends and family, and everything, so yeah, that’s been our main focus since we took over, kind of broading the community awareness of us, and everything.

How did you come up with the idea for using pizza boxes for the cookie carry out? (The box in the photo is what the sample cookies we received came in that day fresh from the oven.)

While the pizza boxes are now a part of our trademark branding--some in Bloomington can recognize what's in the box even if it doesn't have our logo on it--the decision was purely one of convenience.  In order to serve steaming hot cookies right away, we realized that we wouldn't be able to stack them into a smaller container.  Wrapping them individually would create too much paper waste, so we figured pizza boxes would be the perfect fit.  

Who does the art work on the pizza boxes? (Photo of the ceiling and walls of eat-in section of shop.)

When we first started in 2006, there was a lot of free time at the shop.  The pizza box artwork stemmed from the creativity of the original crew of managers and drivers.  Whenever there was a quick minute of downtime, a new pizza box piece of art would be created.  These days, there isn't usually a free second to spare, but luckily the customers have picked up right where we left off.  Some of the boxes that look like they've been up forever are some of the original employees'.  The majority of them are created by the customers as they wait for the order.  

Who does the art in the waiting area by the restroom?  I see that some of the pieces are for sale.  If you would be willing to share the artist's name and his/her website or contact information we can mention that in our interview article, too.

The artist's name is Jacob Gardner.  He also goes by Painter Jake.  Honestly, we're not too sure how to get a hold of him.  He can definitely be described as a wandering artist.  We're always glad to see him though, and whenever he comes around we always buy huge amounts of his art.  The customers have gotten to know him pretty well through his feature at Baked!, and they can also find him selling many of the same style paintings on Kirkwood Avenue, or just about anywhere else in Bloomington where there will be a lot of people.  




Over all shot of the ceiling in the lounge area where we waited for our fresh baked cookies.






Well, thank you so much for interviewing today.  Is there any final thoughts you’d like to give our readers? (Chalkboard tells you how to connect with Baked!)

Well, I love the name, “The Chocolate Cult.”  I perused the blog a little bit, and I definitely like what you guys do, so I hope that all your followers come to enjoy Baked!  Thanks so much again for your interest in the store!  We are glad that chocolate, desserts, and gourmet food in general is getting more attention these days.  If you need anything else, don't hesitate.

I want to thank Jeremy and everyone at Baked! as well as my two buddies for going with me for this interview and photo shoot as well as my transcriber (our Chocolate Tea Acolyte).  So Sisters and Brothers, what do you think?  Have you been to Baked! of Bloomington before?  What did you think?  Do you think you'll check them out now?  Leave us some comments and let us know.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Chocolate Recalls for June 2-3, 2013

Updated:  Surprise!  Normally we just post this on Sunday when the new announcements come out but today, Monday, we had more chocolate related recalls.  Since we want to help protect all of you, Sisters and Brothers, we have updated this post.

As always please check our links, the company itself, and the news for further information.

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Eco-Cuisine Recalls Product Because of Possible Health Risk (Extended Recall)

Consumer:
303-402-0289

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - May 23, 2013 - Eco-Cuisine of Boulder, Colorado is recalling all lots of T3314 Basic Brownie Mix, T3333 Betty Brownie Mix with Vanilla, T3388 Ground Beef Style Quick Mix, T3394 Sausage Style Quick Mix, T3416 Chocolate Cookie Mix, T3417 Lemon Muffin Mix, and T3418 English Scone Mix, CM25COOK Basic Cookie Mix 25 lb. bag, CM25MUFF Basic Muffin Mix 25 lb. bag, CM25SCON Basic Scone Mix 25 lb. Bag, because it has the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella, an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Healthy persons infected with Salmonella often experience fever, diarrhea (which may be bloody), nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. . In rare circumstances, infection with Salmonella can result in the organism getting into the bloodstream and producing more severe illnesses such as arterial infections (i.e., infected aneurysms), endocarditis and arthritis.

The baking mix products were distributed nationwide through direct sales and food service distribution centers.

Products affected are:

Product Code Description Packaging Size
T3314 Eco-Cuisine Basic Brownie Mix 1 lb. bag/10 bags per box or 25 lb. bulk box
T3333 Eco-Cuisine Betty Brownie Mix with Vanilla 17.5 oz bag/10 bags per box
T3388 Eco-Cuisine Ground Beef Style Quick Mix 10 lb box
T3394 Eco-Cuisine Sausage Style Quick Mix 10 lb box
T3416 Eco-Cuisine Chocolate Cookie Mix 1 lb. bag/10 bags per case
T3417 Eco-Cuisine Lemon Muffin Mix 1 lb. bag/10 bags per case
T3418 Eco-Cuisine English Scone Mix 1 lb. bag/10 bags per case
CM25COOK Eco-Cuisine Basic Cookie Mix 25 lb bag
CM25MUFF Eco-Cuisine Basic Muffin Mix 25 lb bag
CM25SCON Ec-Cuisine Basic Scone Mix 25 lb bag
TV25PANC Eco-Cuisine Basic Pancake Mix 25 lb bag
TV10GBQM Eco-Cuisine "Ground Beef Style" Quick Mix 10 lb box
TV10CKQM Eco-Cuisine "Chicken Style" Quick Mix 10 lb box
RM10CKQM Eco-Cuisine "Chicken Style" Quick Mix 10 lb box
No illnesses have been reported to date.

The recall was as the result of notification by CHS Foods that ingredients used in the aforementioned products were being recalled for Salmonella. The company has ceased the production and distribution of the product as FDA and the company continue their investigation as to what caused the problem.

Consumers who have purchased the above listed products are urged to return it to the place of purchase for a full refund. Consumers with questions may contact Eco-Cuisine Monday through Friday 8 am to 5 pm MDT at 303-402-0289

Eco-Cuisine
P.O. Box 17878
Boulder, CO 80308-0878
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International Desserts ISSUES ALLERGY ALERT ON UNDECLARED Walnuts IN Uncle 
Eddies Vegan Oatmeal Chocolate Cookies

Consumer: 818-549-0056

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - May 31, 2013 - International Desserts of Glendale, California is recalling Uncle Eddies Vegan Oatmeal Chocolate Cookies in 12 oz bags, because it may contain undeclared walnuts. People who have an allergy or severe sensitivity to treenuts {chestnuts, brazil nuts, walnuts, hazelnuts, pecans, pine nuts, cashews}, run the risk of serious or life-threatening allergic reaction if they consume these products.

Uncle Eddies Vegan Oatmeal Chocolate Cookies was distributed nationwide to retail grocers.

The Vegan Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookies are in a 12 oz brown paper bag and can be identified by the following lot numbers #110813, and #58513.

No illness have been reported to date.

The recall was initiated after it was discovered that product labeled Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies contained Chocolate Chip Cookies with walnuts, product containing walnuts was distributed in packaging that did not reveal the presence of walnuts. Subsequent investigation indicates the problem was caused by a temporary breakdown in the company's production and packaging processes."

Consumers who have purchased Brand X are urged to return it to the place of purchase for a full refund. Consumers with questions may contact the company at 1-818-549-0056.)

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Indiana Style Chocolate Toffee

In the past we've had some excellent chocolate from Chocolate for the Spirit so today we will look at their Milk Chocolate Pecan Buttercrunch Toffee.  They also make a dark chocolate version but this review should only be seen as our opinion on the milk chocolate version.

Made of 38% Grand Cru milk chocolate may seem darker than most milk chocolates we are used to in the USA.  But Chocolate for the Spirit follows Swiss traditions and milk chocolates in Europe can have a higher cacao content level.  In a 4oz bag the pieces are huge, both top and bottom covered with tiny pieces of pecans, two layers of milk chocolate the same thickness as the solid center of butter toffee.  A pecan, butter, and cocoa scent is released as soon as I untie and open the bag.  There are four large pieces and one small piece of toffee inside.

The crunch is audible but the toffee is not so thick that it is difficult to take a bite.  You know some toffees feel like you are breaking your teeth or sticking to them so much that your mouth feels heavy.  Not a problem with this toffee from Chocolate for the Spirit.  It crunches just enough and sticks just enough while the chocolate and toffee melts into my mouth, blending the flavors.  The blending of the cocoa, butter, and nuts is very subtle and leaves a creamy, buttery cocoa essence on my tongue.

Chocolate for the Spirit does it again. With any toffee the chocolate is rarely the primary flavor and that's true for this brand as well.  Yet I don't feel disappointed because everyone blends in terms of flavors and textures that it satisfying on every level.  Worthy of the title of Sacrament.