Healthy Eating can be Delicious too! May 05 2017
This week at school they were handing out blue and white cookies in celebration of Israel’s Birthday. One of the parents said ‘No thank you, I’m doing The Whole 30 Diet.’ He only looked slightly disappointed as the cookies passed him by. The truth is we sometimes go on these extreme diets with the hope that in the end they will modify our eating habits. The good news is no matter what your eating habits are, healthy doesn’t have to equate to tasting bad.
At my house, we did The Paleo Diet almost 6 years ago. That meant for 10 days we had no caffeine, alcohol, carbs, dairy or salt. We did get to eat a lot of protein, fruits, and vegetables. The diet made me realize that some of the meal choices I made weren’t giving me the energy I needed. From this 10 day experience I made some changes for the better. Our house is now mostly carb-free. We rarely have pasta or potatoes as part of a meal and I must say I don’t really miss them. Here are some tricks to keep your healthy eating delicious.
- Season Your Food – The spice blends from La Boîte add an amazing amount of flavor to vegetables and proteins. That means you don’t need a heavy sauce to coat what you are cooking to make it taste delicious.
- Stick with Dark – Chocolate that is. Dark Chocolate doesn’t have any dairy mixed in which makes it much healthier for you to consume. The single origin bars from Palette de Bine take dark chocolate to the next level and really are out of this world. Now you might thinking, chocolate isn’t healthy. When you eat a bar as amazing as these you need just a little bit to satisfy even the biggest sweet tooths.
- Go Nuts – Almonds, Walnuts and Pecans make a great snack and pack a lot of energy into something easy to take with you. Our Ranch Salad Almonds are perfect for keeping your energy levels up during the day with something delicious and tasty.
I hope these tips will help you keep to your healthy eating goals and be the in the shape you desire before swimsuit season begins 😊
Judging Chocolate, Sign me Up! April 07 2017
Last Friday, I had an amazing opportunity to assist with judging the International Chocolate Awards. In the pouring rain, I made my way from the Upper West Side in New York to Hoboken, New Jersey. I thought that journey was long but when I sat down to judge I realized I hadn’t come as far as others. I found out about the judging from my friend Jessica of Bar Cacao. She specializes in Craft Chocolate and is ready to get involved with all types of chocolate. Jessica traveled from California to be here for the judging. At my table there was a man from Portland, Oregon and a woman from Germany. I guess people really will travel for chocolate.
I was a little intimidated by the thought of judging these prestigious awards but when I arrived at Ultramarinos in Hoboken, where the event was held, I was given a warm welcome. What I thought would be a super stringent judging process ended up a being a great opportunity to not only taste a lot of chocolate but also network with colleagues in the chocolate industry. Don’t get me wrong, there was a lot of chocolate to judge and that was taken very seriously; but I was surprised by the amount of discussion that came along with the judging. Here is a run-down of my experience.
After I was set up on the judging system, all online and confidential I believe, I had to awaken my palette. I was give 3 chocolates to taste and record their flavor profile. Later in the day one of these chocolates would return to see if my palette was still on par with where I started. Between each tasting I tried to drink a lot of fizzy water to cleanse my palette and people also eat very plain polenta to help keep their taste buds in tune. Next came the chocolate and lots of it. Every 10-15 minutes we were presented with a plate of 3-5 different chocolates. They all had a description of what was inside and I was informed to taste the stronger flavors (like chili) towards the end. Everything came out without packaging so you didn’t know who the producer was. The most memorable chocolates I tried were a dark chocolate ganache with soy sauce and Pedro Jiménez Sherry which was surprisingly successful. I also really enjoyed a dark chocolate ganache layered with a bumbleberry gelee. I can tell you coconut cream is popular right now along with Asian flavors (wasabi, soy sauce, pickled ginger).
After about 3 hours, it was time for me to return to the real world. I had a slice of pizza on my way back to the Path Train to balance out the sweetness from the chocolate. Most of the other judges were in it for the long haul, tasting up to 8 hours a day for 3-5 days in a row. You can read more about the International Chocolate Awards on their website.
We also have a collection of past winners in our marketplace including Palette de Bine Vietnam 72% Dark Chocolate, Rococo Chocolates White Chocolate Cardamom, Rococo Chocolates Sea Salt, Almond & Rosemary, Rococo Chocolates Basil & Persian Lime and Rococo Chocolates Sea Salt Milk Chocolate.
Craft Chocolate is here March 24 2017
The chocolate industry has been growing rapidly in North America over the past few years. I was first introduced to the industry while working for Rococo Chocolates in the UK. I became very familiar with the chocolate industry in the UK and in Europe but I was in for a real surprise when I moved back to the US in 2014.
The most exciting part of the chocolate industry in North America is the Craft Chocolate Makers. Craft Chocolate is loosely defined as a chocolate bar that is made from bean to bar by one chocolate maker. These chocolate makers carefully source their cacao beans from farms around the world, looking for the perfect flavor. The cacao beans take on a new character from each craft chocolate maker as they impart their uniqueness through the process of roasting, grinding, conching, tempering, molding and packaging their bars. Many of these craft chocolate makers take their chocolate one step farther and make single-origin bars. This means all of the cacao beans for a specific bar are sourced from a specific country or region. Here is a link to a great article about craft chocolate featuring my friend Jessica of Bar Cacao.
We are thrilled to welcome craft chocolate maker, Palette de Bine to our marketplace. Christine Blaise is the mastermind behind this craft chocolate made in Mont Tremblant, Canada. We have two of their single-origin bars, Vietnam Lam Dong 72% and Ecuador Camino Verde 85%. Both bars have their own flavor profile which become more distinct when tasted side by side.
It’s Friday, go ahead and have a bar of chocolate!