Tag Archives: Chocolate

Stonewall Kitchen — Sample Basket Review

9 Feb

Stonewall Kitchen is a specialty foods store based out of Maine. It started back in 1991, vending its goods from the confines of a farmer’s market, and has now expanded to big chains throughout the country, as well as the internet. Stonewall Kitchen has kept very closely to its roots, and has time, and time again, proved capable of canning, jarring, and boxing little bits of Maine for the world to enjoy.

I was fortunate enough to receive a sample package from the kind folks at Stonewall Kitchen, which is wonderful considering I’m a huge fan and avid consumer of their goods. They provided me with Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Caramel Sauce, Caramelized Onion Mustard, Roasted Garlic Onion Jam, Peach Chutney, Roasted Peach Whiskey Sauce, Bourbon Molasses Sauce, Wild Maine Blueberry Champagne Jam, and Double Chocolate Pancake & Waffle Mix. Like all of their products I’ve tried, these were no different–that is, they were all incredible delicious and unique.

Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Caramel Sauce: For chocolate sauce aficionados out there, Stonewall Kitchen’s “Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Caramel Sauce” doesn’t get much better. The boldness of dark chocolate, sweetness of caramel, and saltiness of sea salt is a killer dessert topping combination and one that’s tough to beat. Suggested Usages: sundaes, yogurt, straight-up with a spoon.

Caramelized Onion Mustard: It’s hard to convince me to use any other kind of mustard besides good ole deli or Dijon, but the addition of sweet, caramelized onions seals the deal. Even after using this mustard just once, slapping this in a sandwich or on a hotdog is not only a no-brainer, but a necessity. Suggested Usages: turkey sandwich, hotdog.

Roasted Garlic Onion Jam: For those accustom to jams being fruity, leave your pallets at the pantry door. The Roasted Garlic Onion Jam’s texture might seem a little adventurous at first glance, but you’ll be using it with cheese plates and even on burgers in no-time. Suggested Usages: cheese and crackers, hamburgers.

Peach Chutney: Chutney is a very common pasty sauce in Indian cuisine, but it’s also easily adaptable into American foods as well. Stonewall Kitchen’s Peach Chutney blends together sweet mango and heat-filled spices to create an ideal spread, dip, and even topping. Suggested Usages: spread for sandwiches, dip for tortilla chips or pita bread, topping for yogurt.

Roasted Peach Whiskey Sauce/Bourbon Molasses Sauce: Both the Roasted Peach Whiskey Sauce and the Bourbon Molasses Sauce aren’t exactly A1–but then again, why would you want them to be? The sauces draw sweetness from the peaches and molasses, as well as the boldness from the whiskey and bourbon. Essentially, they’re the bomb. Suggested Usages: ribs, chicken, salmon.

Wild Maine Blueberry Champagne Jam: At first glance, there are so many blueberries in the Wild Maine Blueberry Champagne Jam, that it almost just seems like a jar filled with fruit. But upon further review, the reason there is so much fruit in the jam is because that’s what high quality jam should look like. Suggested Usages: toast, topping for yogurt, topping for pancakes.

Double Chocolate Pancake & Waffle Mix: Stonewall Kitchen’s Double Chocolate Pancake & Waffle Mix takes the approach I wish more folks would–“Why don’t we just add chocolate?” We’re not just talking about dull chocolate powder, but explosive, fine chocolate, evenly layered into a fantastic pancake/waffle mix.

The “Real Bar” — Really Good

1 Nov

One of the weakest sectors of the food industry is the “energy bar.” More times than not, your average energy bar lacks the taste a true foodie craves, and is ironically more unhealthy than foods a nutritionally-conscious person tries to stir away from. Doesn’t it just make sense to create an energy bar that tastes good and is healthy? Enter the “Real Bar.”

Created by John and Gigi Marsh, a chef and exercise specialist, respectively, the couple has fused together their health knowledge into a delicious, organic, and healthy alternative to frankly any other energy bar on the market. The key to the “Real Bar” is the organic ingredients. The bar boasts organic dark chocolate, coconut, soaked nuts and seeds, pomegranate, and whey protein. Unlike energy bar staples like Clif Bar and Power Bar, the Real Bar is on average half the carbs and sugar, and doesn’t disappoint eaters with empty-flavor promises (i.e. Clif Bar’s “carrot cake”).

The “Real Bar” also extends different options to a variety of diets. Aside from the standard “Real Bar,” it also comes in soy free and vegan-friendly variations. In addition, for those people who need a slightly bigger burst, the “Real Bar Sport” provides an additional .5 oz of energy goodness.

It’s not as mainstream yet as the usual suspects, but you can either order the “Real Bar” online here, or drop by Westerly Market on 54th and 8th and Strickley Bicycle in Fort Lee, NJ to pick up your much-needed energy kick.

Vosges: Mo’s Bacon Bar — A Chocolate Delight

19 Oct

People love bacon and chocolate, but when mixed together, there’s a tendency to be grouped with that kid who always picked his nose and ate it. Well, I say pick your nose and eat it–err, I mean eat chocolate-covered bacon (with or without picking your nose).

Despite the unlikely flavor marriage, there is a growing bacon niche in the chocolate scene–but it has often been reserved to small shops like Roni-Sue’s in the Essex Street Market. As wonderful as Roni-Sue’s “Pig Candy” is, Vosges presents a unique opportunity for the mainstream public to easily try the seemingly taboo tandem.

I first noticed the Vosges bar while shopping at my beloved Zabars. I was at the checkout counter when I saw a host of Vosges bars–including the bacon bar. It instantly brought back wonderful memories of Rhonda Kave’s smile at the Essex Street Market, so I had little choice but to impulse buy some chocolate bacon. Even though it was right before dinner, I had to break open the wrapper, and eat the bar (yes, the entire bar). Note: I am a grown person, so I can eat chocolate before dinner (adulthood has its perks).

I immediately noticed the quality milk chocolate (it comes in dark too), the sharpness of the bacon, and the perfect pinch of salt in each bite. While Roni-Sue’s chocolate-covered bacon is certainly supreme–you can’t beat the freshness or the bacon-to-chocolate ratio–Vosges isn’t exactly a slacker. Critics have to remember that Vosges is a chocolate bar, whereas “Pig Candy” is actually a piece of bacon that’s covered in chocolate. Regardless of the semantics, my Vosges experience was a positive one.

You can probably find Vosges bars in most gourmet stores, along with its own self-titled locations in New York, Chicago, and Las Vegas. Vosges bars may soon become a household name, but in the event it becomes too popular, don’t count out a potential “Bacon M&M’s” competitor. In the meantime, however, I’ll stick with Vosges.

Price: around $6-7.50

Bis. Co Lattes – More Biscottis Than You Know What To Do With

29 Jun

Eaters have certain expectations when they go to ice cream, cake, doughnut, and other flavor-oriented food shops. If anything, if one of those food shops doesn’t have a plethora of options, one might even write it off as boring. Unless you come from a biscotti-themed homeland, facing a menu of around fifty of these twice-baked goods is daunting, and even a little bit odd. At Bis. Co Lattes, not only does the small 10th Avenue coffee shop offer their fair share of biscotti, but more biscotti than you know what to do with.

…to read more, continue to NewYork.com

Zabars — [Food] Heaven on Earth

29 Apr

To quote Belinda Carlisle’s 1987 hit song: “Heaven is a place on earth.” I’m not sure if Zabars was directly Carlisle’s influence in the song, but it might as well be blasted throughout the sawdust-filled food haven. Zabars was started in 1934 by Louis and Lillian Zabar, who were on the hunt to vend high quality smoked fish. After renting a table in the Daitch Market (now The Food Emporium) for a few years, Louis decided to open his own store to sell smoked fish and his own roasted coffee. Later on, after his sons Saul, Stanley, Eli, and close friend, Murray Klein took over, Zabars continued to expand its inventory of food by importing edible wonders from all over the world.

…to read more, continue to NewYork.com

Levain Bakery–They Bake, You Eat

23 Mar

Arguably the most popular and mainstream baked good in the world is the cookie. Dating back to the 7th century, cookies were created out of the revolutionary and new found sugar trade. Over time, as cookie recipes were mastered, the baked treat was seen as an optimal snack for travel–and of course, as a delicious dessert as well. While you can literally find thousands of great types and brands of cookies in supermarkets, bake sales, homes, and eateries around the city, could there really be a “best” cookie? For most cookie eaters, choosing just one cookie as the “best” would be impossible–maybe even along the lines of picking a favorite parent. But if there was one cookie to reign supreme, it would have to be the ones baked at Levain Bakery.

…to read more, continue to NewYork.com

Interview with Rhonda Kave (Roni-Sue’s Chocolate’s) on Tuesday, March 9!

6 Mar

After falling in love with her uniquely fantastic “Pig Candy”–or chocolate-covered bacon–I’ve not only had the desire to go back to Roni-Sue’s Chocolates, but actually sit down with the genius behind the counter. Well, it looks like I’ll be killing two birds with one stone on Tuesday, March 9.

For my upcoming NewYork.com review, I will have the pleasure to meet and discuss chocolates with the best of the bunch, Rhonda Kave. I plan to catch up with the chocolate-covered entrepreneur and get some in-depth delights for my review. I’m looking forward to learning about the art, getting some great quotes for my piece, and of course, eating lots of fantastic chocolate.

If anyone out there has a question they’d like me to ask Rhonda, please write a comment on this post, and I’ll be sure to ask her.

I’ll keep the blogosphere updated on when my NewYork.com review gets published.

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