Sunday, November 19, 2017

More November 2017 Chocolate Related Recalls

No rest from Recalls this month, Sisters and Brothers in Chocolate. I'm trying to stay on top of these for us all. Please follow the links back and check your pantries!

-------------------- Recalls and Allergen Alerts --------------------

Figi's Issues Recall Alert 

Figi’s Companies, Inc of Marshfield, WI is recalling the following 2 products that are related to the GKI FOODS LLC Dark Chocolate Products recall because it may contain undeclared milk allergen.  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.

Figi’s Gift #0368 Christmas Gingersnap Variety – The tin contains 5.5oz of the dark chocolate gingersnaps (all lots are being recalled).

Figi's Gift #0368 Christmas Gingersnap Variety Tin

Bulk dark chocolate gingersnaps are packaged in a plastic bulk bag with approximately 8-12 ounces of product (all lots are being recalled).

Figi's Dark Chocolate Gingersnaps Bulk
The recalled dark chocolate gingersnaps were distributed nationwide through mail orders.  The mail order gifts are Figi’s Gift #0368 packed in a gold tin with an old-time winter scene on the lid.  It contains a variety of gingersnaps and were distributed nationwide through a distributor who sold directly to consumers. The bulk dark chocolate gingersnaps in clear plastic bags were only distributed through Figi’s Outlet Store located in Marshfield, WI.

No illnesses have been reported to date in connection with this problem.

Figi’s was notified by our supplier that there is a potential for the undeclared milk allergen.

Consumers who have purchased (or received) Gift #0368 Christmas Gingersnap Variety containing 5.5oz of the dark chocolate gingersnaps (all lot numbers) or the bulk-packaged dark chocolate gingersnaps from our Outlet Store are urged to return them to Figi’s for a full refund. Consumers with questions may contact Figi’s Companies, Inc. Monday – Saturday, 9am-5pm CST at 1-800-437-3817.

--------------------
Germack Dark Chocolate Almond Bark
Germack Roasting Co Recalls  Dark Chocolate Almond Bark

Germack Roasting Co, is recalling its 5 ounce and 1lb packages of Germack Dark Chocolate Almond Bark because they may contain undeclared milk. People who have allergies to milk run the risk of serious or life-threatening allergic reaction if they consume these products.

The recalled Dark Chocolate Almond Bark was distributed to the retail store at Eastern Market in Detroit, MI and through mail orders.

The product comes in a 5 oz and 1 lb, clear plastic packages and was sold between 9/20/2016 and 10/30/2017 with the UPC codes 088401520105 and 11681398.

No illnesses have been reported to date in connection with this problem.

Germack was notified by supplier (GKI) on October 30, 2017 via email for this recall. Since then the production of the product has been suspended until FDA and the company are certain that the problem has been corrected.

Consumers who have purchased Dark Chocolate Almond Bark are urged to return them to the place of purchase for a full refund. Consumers with questions may contact the company at 313-784-9484, Monday- Friday between 8:00am- 3:00pm EST.
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Dilettante Espresso Blend Recall Label

Seattle Gourmet Foods of Kent, Washington is recalling 127 cases of Costco item # 2335, Dilettante Chocolates Espresso Blend, Espresso Beans in Semisweet, Milk and White Chocolate, because it may contain undeclared almonds.  People who have an allergy or severe sensitivity to almonds run the risk of serious or life-threatening allergic reaction if they consume this product.

Dilettante Chocolates Espresso Blend was distributed to Costco Business Centers located in Lynnwood, Washington and Tukwila, Washington, and Costco Northwest located in Salt Lake City, Utah between August 22, 2017 and November 9, 2017.

The product is packaged in a clear plastic bag, net weight 5-pounds and has the UPC 37041 05211.  The affected product is labeled as Dilettante Chocolates Espresso Blend, Item# 2335, Lot Code 12287, and has the Best By 021619.

There have been no any illnesses or deaths reported to date in consumption of the recalled product. No other Dilettante packaged products are affected.

The recall was initiated after the firm discovered the chocolate covered almonds were mixed and packaged with the Dilettante Espresso Blend.  Product was distributed in packaging that did not reveal the presence of almonds.

Seattle Gourmet Foods is deeply sorry for the inconvenience this may have caused to our customers and has implemented a more standardized control of blending procedures to avoid errors like this in the future.

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

People who have an allergy or severe sensitivity to almonds should not consume the recalled product and should return Dilettante Chocolates Espresso Blend to the place of purchase for a full refund.  Consumers with questions may contact the company at 1-206-957-9834 from 5:00am to 3:30pm PST on Monday to Friday.
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Weis Dark Chocolate Bark
Lipari Foods, LLC. Recalls

Lipari Foods, LLC has issued a voluntary recall of specific dark chocolate products packaged by sister company JLM due to an undeclared milk allergen. People who have an allergy or severe sensitivity to milk run the risk of a serious or life-threatening allergic reaction if they consume these products. The products are safe for consumption by those who do not have an allergy or severe sensitivity to milk.

The products were distributed to retail stores throughout Alabama, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Wisconsin and West Virginia.

Products were distributed under the Weis and All Natural brand names or as generic product without branding.

The affected products can be identified by: checking this link because the chart is too large to copy and paste here.

The brands are:

"All Natural"

"Generic"

"Weis"

There are no reported illnesses in connection with these products to date.

This was brought to our attention by our sister company, JLM after they received an initial recall notification due to undeclared milk allergen within the ingredients labels for select dark chocolate bulk product from our  manufacturer, GKI Foods. As a precaution, Lipari Foods private label and non-branded products are being recalled as they are mislabeled. We are working closely with the FDA to ensure that all affected product has been pulled from commerce.

Consumers who have purchased this recalled product should not consume it. They should return it to the point of purchase. Consumers with questions should call Customer Service at 800-729-3354, 8:15 am – 4:30 pm, EST, Monday through Friday.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Farm Fresh Chocolates Take Roots

Earlier this week I introduced you all to Lisa Nelson, the owner and force beyond Roots Chocolates in Wisconsin. Today I'm going to take you all along with me as I tried her 15-piece chocolate box. I didn't just sit down and stuff my face with these chocolates, I followed our standard testing procedures and spread the testing out over several days writing about each chocolate flavor as I tested it. I worked my way through the box as you will see in this article -- starting at the upper left and going row by row. Aren't these squares of chocolate lovely to just look at? I'll include close-ups of each one as you are introduced to them. The label that was wrapped around this box hide a wonderful surprise -- it has a photo list and brief description of several flavors that Roots Chocolates makes. As you may recall in the past I've bemoaned not knowing what a flavor might be not so much for the flavor but for fear of allergens which I know many chocolate lovers struggle with. Roots Chocolates sent me this box of chocolate free in exchange for a fair and honest review; no other form of compensation was received.

Tart Cherry, Roots Chocolates
Tart Cherry has a gentle wave pattern in shades of red and pink. I cut the square in half (I'm going through dental treatments that do not affect my ability to taste but I do need bite sized foods now). The inside is a fudgy looking center that has a strong dark chocolate and light cherry fragrance. I let one half melt on my tongue. The first flavor is the chocolate, not bitter to me but then I love darker chocolates as you all know. Then the cherry essence appeared getting more tart yet remaining sweet until the truffle finally melted away. The other half I chewed. The shell made a light sound and the chocolate flavor was immediately joined with the cherry on my tongue. The tartness didn't build as strongly enjoying this piece in this fashion and it allowed the chocolate to blend better with it. I really liked this truffle.

Lavender Honey, Roots Chocolates
Lavender Honey is rather plain looking, only a small tick of chocolate on the top identifies it. Even before cutting this square open I could smell the lavender. The inside looks very similar to the previous piece of chocolate; the lavender scent is about the same. Letting half of this piece melt in my mouth revealed that the lavender and chocolate is well balanced. A touch of sweet honey slowly was revealed but the chocolate remained strong as it melted. When I chewed other half I found it was a bit firmer than the previous flavor. The chocolate was the dominant flavor, the lavender and honey secondary but clearly there. I liked this flavor both ways though I got more of a cocoa rush form letting it melt on my tongue.




Carmato, Roots Chocolates
Carmato is the one flavor that gave me hesitation. In the letter Lisa Nelson sent me she states that the flavor is made using her "heirloom tomatoes" that are made into a caramel. I didn't even know you could make caramel from tomatoes! I'm curious but still this is unique flavor and I want to be fair so I try to maintain no expectations beyond chocolate. I think the red on the top of this square looks a bit like tomato sauce spread over it. This has a strong chocolate scent and something I can't quite place. Once cut in half, the inside has a look and consistency of caramel and there is a tomato scent that isn't unpleasant but it overwhelms the chocolate. Letting the first half melt on my tongue makes the chocolate primary flavor; it melts I get a sweet light tomato taste then a tart caramel flavor.  The caramel is sticky and I hope I can test the second half fairly. Chewing it makes the caramel not as sticky and blends the chocolate, tomato, and sweet flavors together. In this case, I like this piece best when chewed.

Lapsang Souchong, Roots Chocolates 
Lapsang Souchong is a tea flavor so I turned to our Tea Acolyte for his expertise but he had never had this type of tea before. Still he is far more familiar with tea and love many types so he can be more objective than I can be. This is rather plain looking but is that a tea leaf on the top? What did our tea lover think? He starts with chewing one half of the piece first. The initial flavor was WOW, it tastes like delicious smoke, the type you'd want for an aromatic BBQ. The next thing I thought I'd taste would be bacon but no, it is chocolate, darker but not bitter chocolate. The inside is truffle consistency, the ganache makes a snapping sound when I bit into it. He lets the next half melt in his mouth. The chocolate is the first flavor and the smoky flavor is more subtle, the two flavors blend very well together. I want this type of tea now! Tasting the thing on top reveals it is mostly likely a piece of the tea leaf. This was cool, I'd eat more of these!

Mint Basil, Roots Chocolates
Chocolate Mint Basil has green circles of various shades and sizes on the top of it. Since green is one of my favorite colors, this one appealed to me visually the best of the 15 pieces. Prior to cutting it in half it has a very strong, dark chocolate scent but once opened the mint was certainly there, too. I let the first half melt on my tongue. The first flavor was the chocolate followed closely by basil; I use basil a lot in my cooking. The mint is more of a cooling sensation until the half has melted the ganache coat off then the basil and mint kicked in strongly. Chewing the second half brings out the mint and the basil more but they blend very well with the chocolate. I loved this piece and enjoyed the cool feeling in my mouth after I enjoyed it.


Sea Salt Sugar Baby, Roots Chocolates
Sea Salt Sugar Baby appears to have both seas salt and sugar crystals on the top of it. When I cut it in half I gasp in surprise -- this is a caramel, a very firm not gooey caramel. That's a problem right now with my dental work that I'll be dealing with for 16-24 months. I let one melt on my tongue but the other I give to my partner to try out for you all. The sea salt is in the crystal, the saltiness doesn't extend to the caramel (tangy) or the chocolate ganache. It takes several minutes for the caramel to melt. First flavor was the salt followed by the caramel which dissolved quickly on tongue. Finally the dark chocolate. It all mixed together very nicely. We each liked this but I'm sad I couldn't try it by chewing, too.



Holy Mole, Roots Chocolates
Hole Mole is molé as in the Mexican sauce not as in the animal that is digging tunnels all over our bad year. As I'd expect from a Mexican style chocolate, the red peppers on the top hint that this will be spicy hot. To me, peppers and spice doesn't really have a scent, it is more a tingle when I breath them in and I got that tingle when I cut this piece in half. Are you familiar with my pattern now, Sisters and Brothers? Yes, I let the first half melt on my tongue. The dark chocolate quickly channels the heat through the ganache. Then I discover a more solid center that has texture and a hint of tartness... Interesting. Chewing the second half blends the chocolate and heat more uniformly but I lose the textural differences. This is a warm sensation in my mouth, not too hot and I'm very sensitive to spicy heat so this is a pleasant surprise for me.

Ol Fashion, Roots Chocolates
Ol Fashion names comes from the alcoholic drink so I turned to one of our alcohol specialists for her opinion. The Old Fashioned drink is made muddling sugar with bitters, then adding alcohol, such as whiskey or brandy, and a twist of citrus rind -- I think the sugared piece on top may be the citrus rind but I wonder if that flavor is also in the chocolate. What did our specialist think? It's good. The first flavor is the dark chocolate and the top piece is a wonderful candied orange piece. It all blends just like an Old Fashioned should. Can't smell the whisky but it is strong to her taste buds. The whiskey is every stronger when she let it melt on her tongue. Can I have more? Compared to previous wine, liquor, and beer truffles, I've had this is on point in terms of blended flavors.

Ms. Figgy, Roots Chocolates
Ms. Figgy is topped with purple flower designs, the color may refer to the fig's not yet ripe coloration and the fake that the flower is inside the pod that later becomes what we eat. (I had to do research to figure that out myself.) I wish my camera was good enough to show you the inside, there are little pieces of something, maybe figs. There is supposed to be a port wine and I've had that so I'm not out of my element to test this one. The port is a stronger fragrance than I expected. I switch things up and chew the first half -- there is a cracking sound and I'm biting into something but it isn't hard, the port flavor is very strong threatening to overpower the dark chocolate. Letting the second half melt in my mouth lets the dark chocolate out first but the port follows quickly. I can feel the little pieces and as I work them with my tongue I get the sweet fig flavor. Interesting flavor and I wonder how it would pair with a glass of port.

Beer Naked, Roots Chocolates
Beer Naked required our alcohol specialist's attention but she was happy to help. Has a dark chocolate scent and she bites into it eagerly. The center is more solid than she expected, not as creamy. No beer flavor or buzz, only chocoolate when chewing it. Hopefully the beer will come out when she lets the next half melt in her mouth. The dominant flavor is dark chocolate, after several moments there was a subtle lighter beer flavor, not hops and not malts as she was expecting from the description. The pretzel pieces on top did nothing as far as our tester was concerned. At the end, our testers wonders if part of her disappointment was that she was hoping for a beer she is familiar with from Wisconsin called Totally Naked.


Pumpkinator, Roots Chocolates
Pumpkinator has orange stripes and given the layout of the guides I think they are supposed to be horizontal stripes. If I didn't know the name of this piece I'd still guess pumpkin spice because that traditional scent came through the ganache very strongly and only increased after I cut it in half. The dark chocolate is the first flavor when I let it melt in my mouth but the sweet pumpkin and a kick of spices builds up by the moment. Once the ganache has melted the inside is quick to follow but the chocolate flavor is constantly there. Chewing it makes the pumpkin and the spices come out more and I'm left with a little tingle in my mouth but the chocolate was still there. Great blending of the flavors for this piece that makes me want a chocolate pumpkin pie. Who can give me one of those for Thanksgiving?

Aronia, Roots Chocolates
Aronia has more chocolate drizzled on the top. The aronia berry is not something I've had before but the pictorial guide warns that it is astringent and bitter so this may pack a punch. The inside is very dark, nearly black and has a fudgy texture. I'm not sure what Aronia is supposed to smell like, but the dark chocolate has a gentle smoky fruit scent to it particularly after I cut it in half. The chocolate tastes very dark as it melt on my mouth. As it melts I get a similar texture to the Ms. Figgy then a burst of fruit that is not very sweet but definitely not tart or sour either.





Espresso, Roots Chocolates
Espresso is clearly a coffee flavor. If you have doubts, note the yellow coffee bean designs on the top. As with tea, I'm not a fan, so I turn to our Mocha Acolyte's palate. She can smell coffee immediately. She chews one half of the square and her face makes a pleased but surprised look. That's good. Again with a very good balance of dark chocolate and deep espresso coffee. Sometimes the coffee chocolate taste burnt or bitter but this one is very balanced with a strong espresso and a strong dark chocolate flavor that blends beautifully. Both chewing and letting it melt created the same flavor balance. Loved it!




Pechuga Mezcal, Roots Chocolates
Pechuga Mezcal is an agave distilled alcohol so I turned again to one of our alcohol specialists for help with this one. Smells only like dark chocolate. She makes a face when chewing the first half, trying to sort out the flavors. There is an initial smokiness to the dark chocolate, no tequila flavor but then the smoky flavors hits hard at the end; the dark chocolate flavor is strong throughout. Letting it melt in her mouth revealed more of the tequila flavor versus the smokiness until the end though it is smoother than when chewing. Letting it melt was her prefered method but both tasted well balanced.






Raspberry, Roots Chocolates
Raspberry is a flavor I can tolerate but as pretty as the red top is on this piece, I decided to give it to one of our Acolytes who loves raspberries above almost any other type of fruit. The raspberry is a light fragrance. Chewing it reveals a vinegary edge to the raspberry that is shocking, it tastes like a balsamic vinegar so maybe that was added? There seeds but they are tiny, they don't get stuck in my teeth. Oddly the chocolate does not make it through when I chew this half piece. Letting it melt in my mouth the first flavor is the vinegary raspberry but now the chocolate starts to come through because the vinegar flavor is not as strong. It is much better to enjoy this by letting it melt in your mouth if you want a chocolate and not a vinegar flavor. Yet, I still like it because the vinegar enhances the raspberry flavor and this was a good balance of tart not sour which can happen with raspberry.

Beyond these 15 flavors, Roots Chocolates offers even more, often seasonal because they use farm fresh ingredients whenever they can right from Lisa Nelson's farm. To me, these chocolates are a lot like truffles but since Roots Chocolates does not use that word, I've tried to avoid it. All three testers loved most of the pieces we tried and agree they were delightful to try. The use of fresh ingredients and are a woman-owned business are a plus here on The Chocolate Cult. The box of Roots Chocolates earn a Sacramental Status for pleasing our five senses and for those reasons, too.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Meet the Woman Behind Roots Chocolates

Lisa Nelson of Roots Chocolates
Sisters and Brothers in Chocolate, please help me welcome Lisa Nelson of Roots Chocolates. Welcome to The Chocolate Cult, Lisa.

Thank you for contacting me to talk about Roots Chocolates!

You have a long family history in agriculture that ties directly into Roots Chocolates. If you don't mind let's talk a bit about that history and we'll get into chocolate in a few questions. How many generations of farmers are in your family?

I am the fourth generation owner of my family farm.  I grew up milking cows, baling hay and just being a normal farm kid. No one in my family was a confectioner. I got the baking bug from watching my mother bake cookies and desserts. I was always there to taste test!

You mentioned how that family history is incorporated into the marketing of your chocolate. On the label of the 15-piece box you sent us, your family is right there front and center. Would you tell our readers who that farmer is and why you honored him on the label?

The first part of my brand name, Roots, comes from being the fourth generation owner of my family farm. The picture you see on my box label is of my father on my farm in the 1930's. They were to poor to afford horses to pull equipment, so they used the cattle on the farm for it. My father isn't around any longer, but I loved spending time with him. I gained so many of my work ethics and values from him. It just seemed fitting to include him in my branding.

You mention on the Roots Chocolates website that you loved sweets as a child. Were chocolates a big part of that love or did you have other flavors you preferred?

I've always loved chocolate and desserts. I learned allot from watching my Mom make desserts during the holidays.  However, I've always had an affinity for chocolate.  When I started working with chocolate professionally, I really learned how different the mass produced products you find on store shelves are from making my own chocolates with chocolate or cacao beans that I have a direct decision in purchasing and using.

Chocolate Slabs at Roots Chocolates
You have had a varied career ranging from food to computers. Which industry does you enjoy working in most?

Chocolate of course! I enjoyed the ever changing world of technology, but not the corporate environment. When I lost my job in technology, the first person I called was my sister. She said, "I'm so sorry you lost your job."

I said, "I'm so happy I lost my job! It's the push I needed to really focus on what I feel is important in life. I'm going to launch a chocolate business!"   

I think my sister thought I was crazy. I'm just glad that I don't have to work for in the corporate arena any longer. I love making a product that is interesting and unique.  When I started, I figured I'd give it a shot. If people didn't like my chocolates, then it wasn't meant to be.  That hasn't been the case!  I'm going on nine years in business as a Farmer and Chocolatier. I love it!

Do you think that having such varied professional experiences has helped you create and run Roots Chocolates?

I do! Having a background in technology has helped me understand the workings of a website and social media. Being a farmer gives me the opportunity to experiment with growing things that would taste great in chocolate. 

Let's talk chocolate now. Do you personally prefer white, milk, or darker chocolates?

Dark, single origin.  I make chocolate bars from the bean as well.  There is definitely and art to it. Getting beans from different countries, and even regions in countries, affects the flavor of cacao beans. I'm like a little kid when it comes to experimenting with flavor profiles, both cacao beans and the chocolate I use for my truffles.  

While I prefer dark chocolate, I'm all about the flavor profile when developing a truffle flavor.  If the flavor I'm working on calls for white or milk chocolate, then that is what I use.

When you were a personal chef did you work with chocolate very often?

My focus as a personal chef was mainly to make prepared dinners for my customers. Desserts were secondary, so I didn't make them as often because my customers didn't request dessert.

You use a lot of fresh ingredients that you grow on your own farm. Does this mean that you have a lot of seasonal flavors?

Roots Packed Boxes
Yes! Having seasonal selections is great because customers get excited anticipating a chocolate to be released.  For example, my Chocolate Mint Basil is available as long as the mint and basil are growing on the farm.  The Aronia berry isn't ready until later in the fall, so it is released later.  And our Quince are the last fruit that we pick, so it is the last seasonal I have the opportunity to make before the snow flies.  However, I do have a raspberry chocolate in my collection available year around.  The raspberries are plentiful on the farm, so I get so many that I freeze them over, It provides me with a year-around chocolate!

We have about 40 different things growing on the farm from fruits to herbs.  Not all of them are ready for prime time yet. It takes allot of care and patience to wait five years for a tree to bear fruit to use in a chocolate. I take great pride in the end product.

We have already tested your chocolates so I have a few specific questions from our testers. Without giving away any trade secrets I hope you are willing to answer them. How did the idea of making caramel from tomatoes occur to you for your Carmato flavor?

I tell people I dream in chocolate. And it's true!  I grow heirloom tomatoes in my strawbale garden each year. When they are at perfect ripeness, I pick them and process them for the Carmato (heirloom tomato caramel).  I figured a tomato is a fruit, so why not highlight those beautiful tangy, sweet notes in a caramel?

Our tea expert was very impressed by the Lapsang Souchong but he was curious. Is the tea smoked when you get it or is that a process you do when you make the chocolate?

I buy the organic Lapsang smoked all ready. I tried many samples from various vendors before settling on the one I use. I love the flavor! It is the truffle that won me an International Chocolate Award this summer in New York.

Our alcohol specialist thought that your Beer Naked flavor might be made with one of of the Wisconsin beers she loves but it didn't taste like that. Do you use a particular brand of beer for that chocolate?

Wisconsin has a very large craft beer market.  I'm partnered with a local brewery in Waunakee, WI that is little over a year old. They have my chocolates on their menu to pair up with their beers. 

Finally, which flavor is your favorite of all of those that you make?

In my standard collection, which are the chocolates I always have available, the Ol' Fashion is my favorite.  It has lots of Wisconsin in it. Wisconsin distillery, Wisconsin bitters, and muddled cherry juice from my farm cherry trees. I candy my own orange rind for the decoration because I'm too picky and can't find a candied orange rind on the market that suits my tastes.

Of the seasonals, I'd have to say the SassSquash is my favorite. It's local farm squash with our farm grown ginger.  I tell people there are sightings of the SassSquash on the farm. It makes people smile.

Thank you, Lisa, for answering our questions.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

1 More Brand Caught Up in the GKI Foods Chocolate Recall

The mislabeled fallout from last week continues. Read the text and follow the links, do not assume the only products are those I managed to get photos of please.

--------------------Recalls and Allergy Alerts ------------------

DSD Merchandisers Dark Chocolate Almonds
DSD Merchandisers, Inc. Recalls

In cooperation with the GKI Foods LLC recall of Dark Chocolate Almonds due to an undeclared milk allergen, DSD Merchandisers, Inc., Livermore, CA, is voluntarily recalling bulk Dark Chocolate Almonds and pre-packaged Dark Chocolate Almonds. All lot numbers are affected. This recall is an extension of the GKI Foods LLC recall announced on October 27, 2017.

People who have an allergy or severe sensitivity to milk run the risk of a serious or life threatening allergic reaction if they consume these products.



The products were sold at:

Safeway, Pak N’ Save and Vons stores in Northern California, Hawaii and Nevada.

Safeway and Albertsons stores in Oregon and Washington.

Nugget Stores, North State Grocery-Holiday / SavMor, Top’s Market, Murphy’s Markets, Andy’s Markets, NorCal Produce.

DSD Merchandisers, Inc. is voluntarily recalling the products with the following UPC’s and PLU numbers:



There have been no illnesses reported to date.

Consumers who have purchased this product should discontinue use immediately and return the product to the place of purchase for a full refund. Consumers with questions regarding this recall should contact DSD Merchandisers, Inc. at (925) 449-2044, Monday to Friday 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, PST. Consumers with questions or concerns about their health should contact their physician.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Should You Celebrate World Kindness Day with KIND?

Monday, November 13, 2017, will be World Kindness Day. Normally one would do little acts of kindness such as opening doors for strangers or saying a kind word to someone. Perhaps you might do bigger acts of kindness like volunteering or donating money to a charity you care about. Or perhaps you could give someone a treat as an act of kindness. What if that treat was one that you could give that would nurture the body and mind? Today I'm going to look at Kind Dark Chocolate Nuts & Sea Salt Bars 1.4ozx4bars, total 5.6oz, pack of 1variety and see if this sharing this might be an act of kindness. I got this bar free using my Kroger loyalty card. Neither Kroger nor KIND knew that I would write a feature article about this product for you to read today.

This is a 1.4 ounce bar that includes unsweetened chocolate, cocoa powder, and cocoa butter well down on the ingredient list as you can see on this image from KIND's website about this bar's nutritional values. I had to rely on this because opening the bar involves separating the values on the wrapper.

The bar itself has a drizzle of chocolate over the top but turn it over and you'll see the bottom is covered with chocolate. That's good! The fragrance is roasted almond with a hint of dark chocolate and salt.  Eating it crunchy but a touch sticky as well. When I took a bite with the top side on my tongue, I primarily get the almond and sweetness. Each it with the bottom side against my tongue greatly increased the taste of the dark chocolate but also the saltiness for some reason. I really liked this bar, it was much better than my previous experience with KIND bars so I am pleased they now offer this variety.

Have you tried out this variety of KIND? What did you think? Leave a comment and let us know.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Celebrate National Greek Yogurt Day with Chocolate

Today is National Greek Yogurt Day so in honor of that this is a Special Sacramental Review for you all to enjoy, or not. It really depends on your feelings about yogurt and Greek yogurt in particular. Greek yogurt has gotten a huge push in the last decade for health reasons. Compared to regular yogurt, Greek yogurt generally has less sodium, less carbs, and more protein. It is also thicker and should be creamy and tangy, not as sour. Let me confess immediately that I am not a yogurt fan. I'll use it as ingredient but eating solo has never been my thing. I've been trying to slowly introduce myself to yogurt and Greek yogurt so when my local Kroger had a freebie deal for Chobani Flip I decided to try it. The most chocolatey variety the store had available was Chocolate Haze Craze and since I like chocolate and hazelnuts, even though I think it is overdone, I tried it. Kroger had no idea that their freebie would become this review and no other form of compensation was received.


The Chocolate Haze Craze Chobani Flip has chocolate hazelnut flavored low fat Greek yogurt and then pieces of hazelnuts and mini chocolate chips in a side compartment that you mix into the yogurt. As I hope you can see in the photo, the yogurt is a light tan color. When I opened it the sour scent hit my nose... oh, I was hoping for tangy not sour so I hesitate but I do taste a fingertip of it. There is a tang there but also a sour taste, the hazelnut flavor comes through but not the chocolate. I hope adding in the nuts and chip will help with that.









It does because now when I bite into one of the mini chocolate chips the burst of chocolate overcome the tangy sourness.


Unfortunately I don't think there are enough of the chips to really make this delicious to me. I can do things to remedy that however. I could add cocoa powder or more mini chips because I tend to have some in my pantry at all times. I could eat with something like a sweet apple slice to try and balance out the sour again. But all of that is me adding to the eat experience and not a plus for the product on its own. Now I'm sure many of your reading love yogurt and Greek yogurt, I'm sure some of you love the Chobani Flips. If you do, please leave me a comment and tell me about another chocolatey flavor that might be better than this one for me to try.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

A Heck of a Lot of Chocolate Related Recalls of November 2017

We can't start off November without chocolate related recalls it seems here in the USA so keep reading and protect your families! Note: Some of these recalls also apply to Canada. Most of these involved the same supplier, GKI Foods, which makes a brand but also supplies confections to companies that simply relabel them for their own sale. This is a common practice in the food industry so when the supplier has a problem it affects everyone down the chain.

Also note that the bulk of these recalls involve mislabeling where a dark chocolate product actually has milk in some form in it but that isn't on the ingredients. Not only would that mean this isn't dark chocolate but for some folks who have serious milk allergies it could trigger a dangerous reaction. Now if that isn't an issue for you, you may not need to take any action but please be aware of these recalls and allergy alerts for your family and friends who may have dairy concerns.

---------- Recalls & Allergy Alerts ----------

Allergy Alert for Undeclared Milk in Several Dark Chocolate Products 

First Source of Tonawanda, NY, is voluntarily recalling various packaged goods, as well as Products sold in grocery store bulk bins. All these products contain undeclared Milk. People who have an allergy or sensitivity to Milk run the risk of serious or life-threatening allergic reaction if they consume this product.

The recalled retail packaged items: All Best Before dates

Wegman's Dark Chocolate Almonds
Wegmans Dark Chocolate Almonds 23oz tub

Wegmans Dark Chocolate Almonds 11.5oz tub

Wegmans Dark Chocolate Almonds with Sea Salt and Turbinado Sugar 12oz tub

Wegmans Dark Chocolate Cherry-Infused Cranberries 12oz tub

Wegmans Dark Chocolate Strawberries 13.5oz tub

Alpine Valley Dark Chocolate Almonds 11.5oz tub

Circle K Favorites Dark Chocolate Covered Almonds 3.25oz bag

Tops Dark Chocolate Covered Almonds 11.5oz tub

Tops Dark Chocolate Coffee Beans 12oz tub

7 Select Dark Chocolate Turbinado Almonds with Sea Salt 2.25oz bag

These products were distributed to the following states AR, AZ, CA, CO, FL, GA, IL, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MN, NC, NJ, NM, NV, NY, PA, TX, UT, VA, and VT. The affected product was sold from January 1, 2016 to present. No illnesses or allergic reactions have been reported to date.

The recalled products were sold in bulk food bins (self-serve) at the following grocery stores between 1/1/16 and 10/30/17:

15 LBS Dark Chocolate Peanuts distributed to Wegmans Food Markets, Dryden Food Market, New Brighton Food Land, Punxsutawney Country Market, and  Trumansburg Shur Save

20 LBS Dark Chocolate Almonds to Wegmans Food Markets, Giant Food Store, Martin’s Food Market, and Stop N Shop

25 LBS Dark Chocolate Coffee Beans Giant Food Store, Giant Food Mart, Martin’s Food Market, Wegmans Food Market, Dryden Food Market, Orchard Fresh, Stop N Shop, and Punxsutawney Country Market

These products were distributed to the following states MA, MD, NJ, NY, PA, VA, and WV. No illnesses or allergic reactions have been reported to date.

The following recalled product is distributed in Canada with all Best By dates:

Mac’s Convenient Stores Dark Chocolate Covered Almonds 113grams & 92grams

Circle K Favourites Dark Chocolate Covered Almonds 113grams

The recall was initiated after First Source received notification from our supplier GKI Foods of a recall due to undeclared Milk allergen present in the dark chocolate. Consumers who have purchased any of these items are urged to destroy the product. Consumers with questions may contact First Source at 1-716-389-0200, Monday – Friday, 8am - 5pm.
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Meijer Dark Chocolate Covered Coffee Beans
Meijer Recalls Bulk Dark Chocolate Products

In cooperation with the GKI Foods LLC recall of dark chocolate products due to an undeclared milk allergen, Meijer is voluntarily recalling select Meijer branded bulk dark chocolate. This recall is an extension of the GKI Foods LLC recall announced on October 27, 2017. People who have an allergy or severe sensitivity to milk run the risk of a serious or life threatening allergic reaction if they consume these products.

The products were sold at Meijer stores in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky and Wisconsin There have been no illnesses reported to date.

Meijer is voluntarily recalling the products with the following UPC’s:


UPC                 UPC Description
7-19283-40301-8 Meijer Bulk Dark Chocolate Almonds 18 oz.
7-19283-40302-5 Meijer Bulk Dark Chocolate Cashews 18 oz.
7-19283-40313-1 Meijer Bulk Dark Chocolate Coffee Beans

The products are packaged in clamshell packaging with a label listing the above-mentioned UPCs. Consumers who have purchased this product should discontinue use immediately and return the product to the nearest Meijer store for a full refund. Consumers with questions regarding this recall should contact Meijer at 800-543-3704, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Consumers with questions or concerns about their health should contact their physician.
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21st Century Snack Foods Dark Choco Almonds
21st Century Snack Foods Recalling Dark Chocolate Almonds

21st Century Snack Foods, of Ronkonkoma NY 11779, is voluntarily issuing the following recall: Dark Chocolate Almonds: Packaged in a 6 oz peg / stand up bag.  UPC# 030603 228549. Affected Lot #’s are 16100 thru 17300. The product brand is 21st Century Snack Foods. The product is packaged in a plastic hanging / stand-up bag.

These products may contain an undeclared milk allergen. People who have an allergy or severe sensitivity to milk allergen run the risk of serious or life threatening allergic reaction if they consume these products.

No Illnesses have been reported to date.

This product may have been distributed to the following states, and they reached consumers through retail stores: AL, AK, AZ, AR, CA, CO, CT, DE, FL, GA, HI, ID, IL, IN, IA, KS, KY, LA, ME, MD, MA, MI, MN, MS, MO, MT, NE, NV, NH, NJ, NM, NY, NC, ND, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, VT, WA, WV, WI, WY

The recall was initiated after it was discovered, that the Dark Chocolate Almonds containing the milk allergen were distributed in packaging that did not reveal the presence of the milk allergen.

Consumers who have purchased this product will be asked to dispose of this product and contact the company directly via email for a full refund at centurysnack@gmail.com

Consumers with questions, may also contact the company at 631-588-8000 and ask to speak with the recall coordinator, Michael Bell. Hours of operation are 9:30 am – 3:30 pm

This product was manufactured by GKI Foods of Brighton, Michigan and packaged and distributed under the 21st Century Snack Foods Brand.

This recall is an extension of the GKI Foods LLC recall announced on October 27 2017
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Universal Orlando Chocolate Emporium Recalls
Rucker’s Makin’ Batch Candies Issues Recall

Rucker’s Makin’ Batch Candies, Inc. of Bridgeport, IL is voluntarily recalling the specific code dates listed below of The Toothsome Chocolate Emporium Dark Chocolate Coffee Beans, due to an undeclared milk allergen.  People who have an allergy or severe sensitivity to milk allergen run the risk of serious or life threatening allergic reaction if they consume this product.  No illness has been reported to date.

The affected product is packaged in 8 oz. clear bag within a gold Toothsome Chocolate Emporium box, UPC 400013041067, 400013041098 and 400013041098.  This only affects packages with best by codes ranging from 05/11/17 thru 10/09/18.  The product is distributed at Universal Studios Park, The Toothsome Chocolate Emporium in Orlando, FL.

Please note, no illnesses have been reported to date.

Rucker’s Makin’ Batch Candies, Inc. initiated the recall after being notified by our supplier that products were distributed in packaging that did not reveal the presence of the milk allergen.

DO NOT CONSUME this product.  Customers whom wish to receive a refund for unused portions or have questions may contact Kelley Pfeifer at Rucker’s Makin’ Batch Candies, Inc. Phone: 618-945-7778 or 888- 622-2639 or email – kelleyp7@ruckerscandy.com Tues-Thur. 8:00 am – 4:00 pm CST.
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Family Choice Recall
Rucker’s Wholesale and Service Co Issues Allergy Alert

Rucker’s Wholesale and Service Co of Bridgeport, IL is voluntarily recalling all of Uncle Buck’s and Family Choice Dark Chocolate Peanuts packaged in standup twist tie bag, due to the presence of an undeclared milk ingredient. People who have an allergy or sensitivity to milk run the risk of serious or life threatening allergic reaction if they consume this product. No illness associated with this recall has been reported.

The affected product is packaged in a 8.5oz clear twist tie bag with Uncle Buck’s and Family Choice label. Both brands are UPC 0 52545 10226 8. The recall product was sold between March 7, 2016 and October 30, 2017 and distributed nationwide.

Uncle Buck's
The Uncle Bucks brand was distributed to Bass Pro Shops. The Family Choice brand was distributed to Bomgaars Supply, L&M Fleet Supply, North 40 Outfitters and Runnings.

The recall product was sold between March 7, 2016 and October 30, 2017.

The recall was initiated after Rucker’s received notification from our supplier GKI Foods of a recall due to undeclared milk allergen present in the dark chocolate. Consumers who have purchased any of these items are urged to destroy the product. Consumers with questions may contact Rucker’s at 618-945-2411, or 800-663-1857 Mon – Fri 7:30am – 4:30pm CST, or email – customerservice@ruckerscandy.com.

Consumers with an allergy to milk should not eat the product.
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Cherry Bay Recalls
Shoreline Fruit, LLC. Recalls

Traverse City, Michigan, Oct. 31, 2017 -- In cooperation with the GKI Foods, LLC recall of dark chocolate products due to an undeclared milk/dairy allergen, Shoreline Fruit is voluntarily recalling select Shoreline Fruit bulk and Cherry Bay Orchards® branded dark chocolate covered cherry products. This recall is an extension of the GKI Foods LLC recall announced on October 27, 2017. People who have an allergy or severe sensitivity to milk/dairy run the risk of a serious or life threatening allergic reaction if they consume these products.

These products were sold throughout the United States at various wholesalers, retailers and specialty food stores. There have been no illnesses reported to date.

Shoreline Fruit is voluntarily recalling the products with the following product descriptions:

UPC/Product Code      Description                                         Size
8 46659 00048 6 Dried Dark Chocolate Covered Cherries 6 oz.
8 46659 00039 4 Dried Dark Chocolate Covered Cherries 24 oz.
CHDC025Z         Shoreline Fruit Dark Choc Covered Montmorency Cherries 25 lb.

The products are packaged in 25-pound corrugated boxes and 6 oz. and 24 oz. stand-up pouch packaging with a label listing the above-mentioned UPCs. Consumers who have purchased these products should discontinue use immediately and return the products to the place of purchase for a full refund. Consumers with questions regarding this recall should contact Shoreline Fruit at 800-836-3972 available M-F from 8 AM to 5 PM EST. Consumers with questions or concerns about their health should contact their physician.
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Aurora Natural Recall Label Example
Aurora Products, Inc. Announces Recall

This is a big recall -- keep reading because it may cover brands everywhere in the USA.

Aurora Products, Inc. today announced a voluntary nationwide recall for undeclared MILK allergens. Five (5) Dark Chocolate products produced under the Aurora Natural brand; Private Label brands listed below and various Private Label brands that indicate they are packed by or distributed by Aurora Products, Inc. are affected. Please refer to the Products, Brands and Best If Used By dates list below.

This voluntary recall is initiated in response to our supplier GKI Foods LLC. of Brighton MI, notifying us that the products they supplied to us did not properly disclose MILK allergens on their labeling.

People who have an allergy or severe sensitivity to MILK allergens run the risk of serious or life threatening allergic reaction if they consume these products. To date no illness have been reported to Aurora Products, Inc.

Products were distributed Nationwide and in Bermuda.

We are communicating with all warehouses and stores that have received the affected products and instructing them to cease distribution and remove products from the store shelves. Consumers with allergies or sensitivity to “MILK” products should not consume the listed products and may return them to the point of purchase or contact Aurora Products, Inc. with questions at (800) 898-1048 between the hours of 9:00AM to 5:00 PM EST Monday – Friday. Distributors and retail locations should contact Aurora Products, Inc. for instructions on product handling. This recall is being conducted in cooperation with the Food and Drug Administration.

AURORA BRAND AND PRIVATE LABEL BRANDS DISTRIBUTED BY AURORA PRODUCTS

The chart for this is too large to make a  screenshot of so please follow the link to check it out!

PRIVATE LABEL PRODUCT
Private Label Products That Use Store Branded Labeling Include: AG Supermarkets, Belmont Market, Boiceville Market, Decicco’s, Graul’s Market, Gourmet Garage, Harvest Co – Op Market, Hurley Ridge, Lees Supermarket, Morton Williams, Palmers Market, Walter Stewart, and Windfall Market.

Again multiple charts you need to follow the link to check out if any of these brands are familiar to you.
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gold emblem dark chocolate covered berries
New American Food Products LLC Issues Allergy Alert

New American Food Products, LLC of Methuen, MA is voluntarily recalling various packaged goods because they contain undeclared milk. People who have an allergy or severe sensitivity to milk run the risk of serious or life-threatening allergic reaction if they consume this product.
Product was distributed at retail stores throughout the United States. The product was distributed from 2/1/16 to 10/30/17.

The recall includes the following retail packaged items. The recall includes ALL Best Before Dates.

CVS Gold Emblem DARK CHOCOLATE ESPRESSO BEANS 2.25oz (64g) UPC: 0504428576601

CVS Gold Emblem Dark Chocolate Espresso Bean 5oz (142g), UPC: 050428513583

CVS Gold Emblem Dark Chocolate Covered Ginger 9oz (255g), UPC: 050428540220

CVS Gold Emblem Dark Chocolate Berries 8oz (227 g), UPC: 0 50428 54100 5

Candy Break Dark Chocolate Espresso Beans 2.75oz (78g), UPC:024354650049

Ocean State Candy Break Dark Chocolate Ginger 9oz (255g), UPC:024354501006

Ocean State Candy Break Dark Chocolate Powerberries 9oz (255g), UPC: 024354501105

Hannaford Excellent Espresso Beans 2.75oz (78g), UPC: 041268206414

Market Basket Dark Chocolate Almonds
Market Basket Dark Chocolate Espresso Bean 3oz (85g), UPC: 049705168240

Market Basket Dark Chocolate Almonds 11oz (311g), UPC: 049705169650

Weigels Dark Chocolate Espresso Beans 2.75oz (78g), UPC: 024354705206

No illnesses have been reported to date.

The recall was initiated after New American Food Products, LLC received notification from our supplier GKI Foods of a recall due to undeclared Milk allergen present in the dark chocolate. Consumers who have purchased any of these items are urged to destroy the product. Consumers with questions may contact New American Food Products, LLC at 978-682-1855, Monday – Friday, 8am - 5pm.
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Setton Farms Deluxe Dark Chocolate Raisins
Setton International Foods Issues Allergy Alert

Setton International Foods, Inc. of Commack, NY, is voluntarily recalling select dark chocolate almonds and dark chocolate raisins products. All these products contain undeclared Milk. People with an allergy or severe sensitivity to milk run the risk of a serious or life threatening allergic reaction if they consume these products.

The recalled retail package items: All Best Before dates

Deluxe Dark Chocolate Almonds 20oz. UPC: 034325078741

Deluxe Dark Chocolate Almonds 14oz. UPC:034325747661

Deluxe Dark Chocolate Raisins 24oz. UPC:034325078758

Deluxe Dark Chocolate Raisins 16oz. UPC:034325147669

These products were sold at Price Chopper Stores and Market Basket Stores and distributed to the following states: CT, MA, ME, NH, NY, PA, and VT. The product affected was sold from February 22, 2016 to present. No illnesses or allergic reactions have been reported to date.

The recall was initiated after Setton International Foods, Inc. received notification from our supplier GKI Foods of a recall due to undeclared Milk allergen present in the dark chocolate almonds and dark chocolate raisins products. Consumers with a milk allergy who have purchased the above listed products and which do not declare “milk” in the ingredients should discontinue use immediately and return the product to the store where it was purchased for a full refund. Consumers with questions may contact Setton International Foods, Inc. at 1-800-227-4397, Monday-Friday, 9am-3pm.

Consumers with questions or concerns about their health should contact their physician.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Tiny Treats You Wear Not Eat

RoseArt CharMinis Pack
For some reason in 2017 I've been offered several craft and arts kits through the Amazon Vine program and I've tested out several of them. I thought some of you might be looking for chocolatey or dessert themed gifts that won't expanded your beloved's waistline so I'll share some of these kits with you. We'll start with the RoseArt CharMinis Charm Maker Jewelry Studio Pack with has a dessert theme that I spent hours testing out. While it is geared toward children ages 12+ there is no reason while adult might not enjoy it, too. I've been enjoying these crafting kits a lot but how did this one stack up? In this review I'm going to show you everything you'd get in the kit, we'll look at my final pieces, and I'll explain how easy or difficult it was to create them. I received this kit for free (taxes applied when I file my tax returns) from Amazon and Mattel to test and write a review about; The Chocolate Cult article you are reading is a bonus they were not expecting.

Everything from the CharMinis Pack
The pieces are plastic but they are designed to stick together with water and a "glaze" not glue so you have no obnoxious fumes to contend with. However, when water or glaze is applied to the the charm pieces it is very sticky. I had glazed on flecks of glitter on my fingers for over a day after I finished these pieces. I used a pair of plastic tweezers from another crafting kit to help me. You must make sure that your hands are DRY to use this kit. Any moisture from water, from sweat, from high humidity makes these pieces more difficult to deal with because they stick to your skin and not each other as easily. The result of this is that in early fall when I tried this kit out for you all, we were in the middle of a heat wave again, and it took far longer for the pieces to dry than the directions in the kit say. Make extra time to use this kit, it is unlikely to be just an afternoon of crafting.

Let's look more closely at the charm pieces in the pack. Note that individual colors and numbers of each color may vary from one kit to another.

Jewelry Tree and Stand Set Up As Directed

White Jump Rings -- to threat cord through for jewelry

Nylon Cords & 2 Safety Clasps

The nylon cords and safety clasps were a disappointment. I ended up make 27 pieces of jewelry but had only the ability to make two necklaces or bracelets given the number of safety clasps. Plus the clasps aren't particularly easy for me to use. The cords are about 30 inches long.

Brown "chocolatey" pieces from the kit

Blue pieces from kit

Pink pieces from kit

Purple pieces from kit

White pieces from kit

Yellow pieces from the kit

Glitter Dome & Glitter Tray along with 3 finished pieces
I had just enough glaze for the 27 pieces I ended up making from the kit but a lot of leftover glitter.

Finished Jewelry Drying
I wanted to show you one more photo so you could see how the lower arms are very close to the top of the glitter dome. I only hung the shortest pieces I made above it and only after I had glazed and glittered the other 24 pieces. Personally I would have prefered less glitter and more glaze or even more arms on the tree less awkwardly laid out.

What did my final pieces look like other than the three you've seen in the previous two photos? Check them out. What do you think?

I made two necklaces. I tried using three ten two of the nylon cords that came with the kit but they would not fit through the jump rings at all. So I went with on cord, knots on either side of the charm, trying to make them evenly spaced.


I made a series of what I'm going to call "bookmarkers" as well using some crafting cord I got at a dollar store near us. This took a long time. I needed someone to hold the charm end down so the cords wouldn't twist as I was braiding them.


If this sounds like a gift someone you love would like, please check it out. If you buy it through our links, you'll be giving back to The Chocolate Cult and me as well.

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