Friday, July 31, 2015

An August Full of Chocolate Holidays

Tomorrow is the first day of August so it is time for the new Fun Food Holiday calendar.

August = National Romance Awareness Month -- if you don't know that chocolate can play a big role in romance, you may be in trouble! I'll be reviewing a romance novel that involves chocolate this month to honor the "holiday" but here is a preview of that book using my Amazon Associates link.



August 1 = Swiss National Day - established as a holiday in 1994, it refers to the Federal Charter of 1291, a political action that is often seen as the beginning of Switzerland

August 2 = National Ice Cream Sandwich Day -- Who out there likes ice cream sandwiches?

We tested an ice cream sandwich recipe last year, please check it out again here.

August 4 = National Chocolate Chip Day; National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day

August 5 = National Waffle Day -- What kind of waffles do you like?

August 6, 1826 = Birthday of Joseph Storrs Fry II who took over his grandfather’s thriving chocolate business in England. (mostly because I couldn’t find an accurate birthday for the chocolate genius that was Joseph Storrs Fry)

August 10 = National S’mores Day: I have an idea I want to try out this year but for now, go back and check out this recipe from 2011 here.

August 10th is also the birthday of Henri Nestlé, German Confection and founder of the Nestlé corporation along with Daniel Peter who created the Milk Chocolate bar using Nestlé expertise with condensed milk

August 12 = John Cadbury Birthday (1801-1889)

August 18 = National Soft Serve Ice Cream Day

August 20 = National Chocolate Pecan Pie Day; Sometimes we do interviews with everyday cooks, bakers, and candy makers. Check out this one that includes a chocolate pecan torte recipe here.

August 24 = National Waffle Day (anniversary of the first US patent for the waffle iron); why are there two waffle days in the same month?

August 25 = National Banana Split Day

August 27 = National Pots de Crème Day

August 30 = National Toasted Marshmallow Day -- What does this have to do with chocolate? Really? You have to ask?

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Klondike Reese's Rounds Out National Ice Cream Month

To finish off National Ice Cream month we return again to Reese's, this time in the form of a Klondike bar. We were sent a coupon from Unilever so we could get this product for free from our local grocery store but were otherwise not compensated for our article today. As you can see the bars are individually wrapped in the standard Klondike wrapper with the iconic polar bear but has the Reese's label very prominently displayed. Let's take a look under the brown shell.

Under the shell, is supposed to be peanut butter ice cream with tiny peanut butter cups. These are indeed tiny because it took me three bites to even find them; my co-tester says he didn't find any by taste, texture, or sight. This is disappointing since the box says that there are pieces in the ice cream. The pieces would have both cocoa butter and chocolate if we could find them. The peanut butter ice cream is made with Reese's peanut butter. The milk chocolate flavored shell is made with chocolate processed with alkali and cocoa processed with alkali but also coconut oil which is very common in these types of coatings. In terms of allergens this has dairy, soy, and coconut. The principle scent and taste is the peanut butter ice cream with the chocolate not that noticeable. Given the lack of tiny peanut butter cups, I think this could be improved by either including a lot more of those or increasing the thickness of the shell, perhaps a darker chocolatey coating would be able to compete with the peanut butter and the cold. As it is, this is very similar to just eating light peanut butter ice cream straight.

That ends July for us, Sisters and Brothers. Do you know of any other ice cream, gelato, or sorbet brands that have been focused on a particular flavor this year? Unilever's peanut butter versions of Magnum, Blasts!, and now Klondike have certainly been peanut buttery but the quality of their chocolate has varied a lot. Between these three, I'd say go for the Magnum bar if you want both strong peanut butter and strong chocolate.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

CocoNoNut CACAO-NECTAR BAR’s Recall

Sadly I have one recall to share with you all today. I have not seen these bars here in shows in Indiana but perhaps you have seen them where you live or even have the recalled bar.

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Nectar Foods, Inc. Issues Allergy Alert on Undeclared Almond in CocoNoNut Cacao-Nectar Bar

Consumer Contact: 503-819-4284

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — July 10, 2015— Portland, OR — Nectar Foods, Inc. of Portland, Oregon is recalling 300 CocoNoNut CACAO-NECTAR BAR’s because it may contain undeclared almonds.  People who have an allergy or severe sensitivity to almond run the risk of serious or life-threatening allergic reaction if they consume these products.

Product was distributed in retail stores in California and distributors in Oregon and Washington and all locations have been contacted and bars pulled from shelves to our knowledge.

The product has an orange label and is sold in an orange cardboard display box in the refrigerated grab and go pastry and deli sections of grocery stores. The product has a net weight 2.5 oz. (70.8 g), Honey Mama’s brand, UPC 8 54835 00406 7, expiration date listed on back of package is: 121815.

No illnesses have been reported to date.

We were notified of the issue from a customer 7/9/15. A recall was initiated after it was discovered that product containing almonds distributed in packaging that did not reveal the presence of almonds.

This recall is being made with the knowledge of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Consumers who have purchased CocoNoNut CACAO-NECTAR BAR and have allergy or severe sensitivity to almond are urged to return it to the place of purchase for a full refund.  Consumers with questions may contact the company at 503-819-4284 between 8 am-5 pm PDT, Monday to Friday.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Healthy National Junk Food Day?

July 21st will be National Junk Food Day but as someone who has been losing weight, and doing pretty well at that, and who wants to keep it off, how could I celebrate it with chocolate but in a healthier fashion?  During the winter of this year I got a sample from Brookside Chocolate of their new Dark Chocolate Crunch Clusters Berry Medley Flavors through CrowdTap where I've gotten other products to test and write about on various social media. This product fits into our blog here so I thought I'd share my findings of this 5oz bag with you all today. I know that I can find these in my local stores so I'm betting American readers can find it as well.

The very first ingredient is dark chocolate made with chocolate, cocoa butter, and cocoa the label says. I wish it had only healthy and natural  ingredients but the list is long and includes, sadly, chemicals and sunflower oils which is not nearly as bad as palm oil but still why does it need added oils at all? The crunchy part of these comes from oats, rice, bran but there is soy here as well in case you have an allergy. In case you have a fruit allergy here is the list of fruits in solid, puree, or juice from: apple, pomegranate, raspberry, blueberry, lemon, and cranberry. As you can see in this photo of two servings, the pieces vary greatly in shape and size; the bigger pieces are more fruity and less crunchy.

The initial flavor is light chocolate that soon becomes a general fruit then returns to a darker chocolate; the intensity of these two flavors depends on the size of the piece as I said above. The crunch is there from the first bite through the last and it doesn't take many bites to finish. The better pieces have less crunch and more of a chewiness to them again reflecting the amount of fruit in them. The fruit is really generic though so if you don't like one of them (or even all of the fruits listed in the previous paragraph) you won't be able to really tell them apart of the over all sweet and tangy flavor. In terms of nutrition these are not bad though given the ingredients I'm really shocked that one serving only has 1g of dietary fiber in them; you'd get that from just dark chocolate, shouldn't the grains and fruit add more?

You can snack on this like junk food but until just a candy bar this has more flavor and is definitely lower in calories and more fun to each piece by piece.  I shared it with my husband and he loved it, too.  I think this goes on our list of possible purchases in the grocery store for our family. What about you? Have you tried this?

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Breyer's Brings the Peanut Butter to Chocolate

Breyer's and Reese's have teamed up in another frozen treat, this time with the Reese's Chocolate variety of their Breyer's Blasts! line of frozen dairy dessert. We were sent freebie coupons from Breyer's to try out this treat and share the results with you all. Since July is hot and I know that you, like me, are looking to cool down, I hope this product will do the trick. Let's take a closer look at this Blast!

The ice cream itself is light brown in color and you can see the orangish ribbons of peanut butter in it. More difficult to see are the pieces of Reese peanut butter cups because they are buried within the chocolate ice cream. The problem with any chocolate pieces in any frozen dessert is that the cold tends to dull the flavor of chocolate and indeed that happens with this treat. The ice cream has a very light chocolate flavor but a definite peanut butter flavor even if you are not encountering a ribbon of it or one of the cup pieces. When you find a piece of one of these peanut butter cups, if you let the ice cream melt in your mouth and allow the candy to warm up a bit you'll get a much stronger chocolate flavor though the peanut butter is still the main essence.

The chocolate in this Breyer's Blast comes from cocoa butter, chocolate, and cocoa processed with alkali. This does have peanuts like Reese's does as well as dairy and soy if those are allergens for you. If you like peanut butter and if you like Reese's cups, then you should like this frozen treat, too. Have you tried it? Leave us a comment and let us know what you thought of it. If you haven't tried it, do you think you might in the future?

Monday, July 6, 2015

Atkins Chocolate Recall for July 6, 2015

Just one recall to share with you all but since I've seen these in many stores in my area, they may be common where you are as well.

Atkins Nutritionals, Inc. Voluntary Recalls Limited Quantity of Atkins Chocolate Candies

Consumer Contact: 1-800-628-5467

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – June 27, 2015 – Denver, CO – Atkins Nutritionals, Inc. is initiating a voluntary recall of a limited quantity of Atkins Chocolate Candies, 5 ct. sachets with UPC code 637480075558 - because it may contain sachets of Atkins Chocolate Peanut Candies. Although the inner sachets are properly marked as Chocolate Peanut Candies, there is a chance of consumer confusion. People who have an allergy or severe sensitivity to peanut products may run the risk of serious allergic reaction if they consume these products.

PRODUCT UPC CODE LOT NUMBER BEST BEFORE DATE
Atkins Chocolate Candies 5 ct. sachets 637480075558 A5118139439C April 28, 2016
                                                                                                A5119139439A
                                                                                                A5119139439B
                                                                                                A5119139439C April 29, 2016
                                                                                                A5120139439A April 30, 2016

The affected product is marked with one of the following lot numbers A5118139439C (with a "best before" date of April 28, 2016), A5119139439A, A5119139439B, A5119139439C (with a "best before" date of April 29, 2016) and A5120139439A (with a "best before" date of April 30, 2016). A small quantity of Atkins Chocolate Peanut Candy individual sachets has been inadvertently placed into outer cartons of Atkins Chocolate Candies - 5 ct. sachets.

Three consumers who purchased the mislabeled product alerted Atkins to the issue. To date, no illnesses or allergic reactions have been reported. Atkins has conducted 100 percent inspection of the remaining product on hand, and has found no instances of the mislabeling above. However, in an abundance of caution, Atkins is issuing a voluntary recall of the affected production lot to ensure the safety of consumers with peanut allergies and we apologize to consumers for this inconvenience.

Consumers who have purchased Atkins Chocolate Candies UPC code 637480075558 should look for the manufacturing lot code A5118139439C, A5119139439A, A5119139439B, A5119139439C and A5120139439A on the bottom of the carton. No other Atkins products are affected by this recall. The affected product was distributed to a limited number of retailers across the United States.

The quality and safety of our products are the top priority for our company. Atkins has notified its distributors and retailers and is taking this voluntary action as a precautionary measure. This recall is being conducted with the knowledge of the Food and Drug Administration.

Consumers who purchased affected product can request a full refund by contacting Atkins Consumer Services directly at 1-800-628-5467 Monday through Friday from 7 am to 6 pm MST to receive a pre-paid envelope for product return.

About Atkins Nutritionals, Inc.
Atkins Nutritionals, Inc. is a leader in the weight control nutrition category, and offers a powerful lifetime approach to weight loss and management. The Atkins Diet focuses on a balanced diet with reduced levels of refined carbohydrates and added sugars and encourages the consumption of protein, fiber, fruits, vegetables and good fats. Backed by research and consumer success stories, this approach allows the body to burn more fat and work more efficiently while helping individuals feel less hungry, more satisfied and more energetic.

Atkins Nutritionals, Inc., manufactures and sells a variety of frozen meals, nutrition bars, shakes and snacks designed around the nutritional principles of the Atkins Diet™. Atkins' three product lines: Advantage®, Day Break™ and Endulge™ appeal to a broad audience of both men and women who want to achieve their weight management goals and enjoy a healthier lifestyle. Atkins products are available online at atkins.comdisclaimer and in more than 50,000 locations throughout the U.S. and internationally. For more information, visit atkins.comdisclaimer.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Kick Off a Month of Ice Cream with Your Kids

What if you shared ice cream with your kids without giving them extra calories? What if you could teach them something about ice cream without boring them? What if they could learn a bit about ice cream and improve their reading at the same time? Peter Sis' Ice Cream Summer accomplishes all of these goals in one fun book written for ages 4-8 and grades kindergarten to 3rd grade (American system). Published by Scholastic Press who put out many of the books I enjoyed as a kid myself, I got this book through the Amazon Vine program in exchange for an honest review on Amazon; this review is a bonus for all of you this 4th of July day.

Like most kids books, the main text is relatively simple but it does include challenging words as well. It is set up as though it is the thought process of Joe who is writing back to his grandfather whom he will see later in the summer for a trip. Within the images of each page there is a lot more writing that includes details about Joe's oddly frozen world as well as some of the facts he is learning about ice cream.

The art in this book has a sort of crayon quality to it, perhaps watercolors, but I think it is supposed to make us think of crayons because at one point in the book, Joe tells his grandfather that he is writing a book and we can see that is included colored drawings in it. How much of the story we are reading is the letter to grandpa and how much is this book Joe is making? That's a good question to ask when reading this with a child.

Joe seems a bit obsessed with ice cream. His world is crowded with ice cream everywhere. One fun thing we did while reading this was to find the ice cream cones and the ice cream scoops. By the end we talked about if we'd like to live in this same ice cream world as Joe. It was a fun read for everyone. I think older kids could enjoy reading it to younger ones.

Warning: You will want ice cream after reading it.

If this book sounds fun to you, please check it out using the link below. If you buy through this link, you'll also be giving back to The Chocolate Cult through the Amazon Affiliate program.