Saturday, May 27, 2017

Go More with NuGo Dark

It's time for our final three varieties of NuGo Dark bars. We used two of our specialists to help me, Your Chocolate Priestess, test out these bars. Because of that the quality of photos, their background, and lighting may be different since each tester took her own photos. If you don't remember our earlier articles you might want to check here for the first three bars and here for our interview with one of the employees at NuGo. Don't worry the links will open a new window so you won't lose this article. If it seems like 2017 is becoming the "Year of the Bar" here on The Chocolate Cult, I've had that thought, too. We've had bad bars, good bars, even great bars and we'll keep doing this articles for as long as we have the products to reveal to you all. Originally I was sent this box of six flavors of NuGo Dark in exchange for an honest and objective feature article about them. Some of the flavors came in sets of 2-3 bars while others (like the Mocha and Peanut Butter Cup) were single bars. No other form of compensation was received.

Let's start with the bar I tested myself, the NuGo Dark Chocolate Pretzel with Sea Salt Bar. That's a lot of words in one title, huh? The first ingredient is unsweetened chocolate; exactly what I now expect from this line of products. There is also soy and rice of those are allergy concerns. Weirdly no pretzels listed and as you can see in this photo no evidence of pretzels inside the bar. Dark chocolate is the only fragrance before and after I break the bar in half. The bars are crunchy when I chew them but make almost no sound when I take a bite. The initial flavor is a salty dark chocolate but that's overcome by an inside that does taste a lot like pretzels. Disappointingly the dark chocolate fades away before the pretzel flavor does which is not what I was expected given the other three bars I tested in March. It was still good just not as good as those first three.

Lisa, our Chocolate Coconut Acolyte, tested the NuGo Dark Chocolate Coconut Bar.  This was her experience with the bar. As soon as I opened the package, I could smell the chocolate and coconut scent.  The chocolate coating softened after holding it for just a few seconds.  It was soft, creamy and not at all waxy.  My expectations were set pretty high at this point and when I broke it in half I got another whiff of chocolate and coconut.  The bar is soft but firm.  It doesn't quite snap when broken but you can tell that there are a lot of solid things in it.  It's not a few ingredients held together with some kind of sugar/syrup. In addition to the toasted coconut, the filling contains almonds, soy crisps, non-toasted coconut, and brown rice crisps.  While not noisy when broken in half, once I start chewing I can hear all those crunchy ingredients. Even though there is soy in the bar, all I taste are chocolate and coconut. I've eaten dozens of chocolate nutrition bars and while some have been better than others, none of them can compare to the NuGo Dark Chocolate Coconut bar.  I'd give this a five out of five coconuts.

Elizabeth, our new Mocha Acolyte, tested the NuGo Dark Mocha Chocolate Bar. In terms of nutrition, it was good. only 30g of carbs and 10 g of protein. The bar had a strong coffee smell with a hint of chocolate when she unwrapped it. You can see how it looks in the photo to the right. It had soft crispy texture when I bit into it, Elizabeth reports and a nice blend of coffee and chocolate to the taste. Overall thoughts - I would buy this, Elizabeth adds.

Normally you buy these bars in sleeves of 12 per flavor and you can find the entire NuGo Dark Chocolate line on their website. Nutritionally the entire line of NuGo Dark are very close to each other but in terms of flavor they varied widely. These bars all were ones we've try to buy again. But what about you? Have you had these three flavors? What did you think about them.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Tree Nut Allergy Alert for Chocolate Chip Cookies

Only one recall to share today.

Arabella Station Whole Foods Market Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

The Arabella Station Whole Foods Market store, located at 5600 Magazine Street in New Orleans, is voluntarily recalling packaged oatmeal chocolate chip cookies because the product contained tree nut allergens (walnuts) that were not listed on the product label. People who have an allergy or severe sensitivity to walnuts run the risk of serious or life-threatening allergic reaction if they consume these products. 
 
All affected products have been removed from store shelves. The recall affected oatmeal chocolate chip cookies sold in packs of 18 with a best-by date of May 19, 2017. They can be identified by UPC code beginning with 247191. The products were sold at the Arabella Station Whole Foods Market store at 5600 Magazine Street. No other stores were affected by the recall. 
 
One allergic reaction has been reported to date. 
 
Customers who purchased these product and wish to return them can bring a valid receipt into stores for a full refund. Consumers with additional questions should contact the local store at (504) 899-9119.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Lying Chocolate Peanut Butter Bar

You may have noticed that in 2017 I not only continued to be honest about what is in the products we review but also ramped up my language. I'm just disgusted with the misleading labels and images on products that try to trick us into buying and consuming all types of products. If it's clothes, what's the most harm it can do to you other than your wallet? But anything you put in your body can harm you, too. Today we're looking at another protein bar that looks great on the wrapper but may not be what you think once you look more closely at it. I received this PowerBar ProteinPlus Chocolate Peanut Butter Bar for free using my Kroger Loyalty card; neither Kroger nor PowerBar knew they'd be subject to a feature article here on The Chocolate Cult. I'm doing this for all of you, Sisters and Brothers in Chocolate.

The first thing to note is that the bar looks much like it does on the wrapper minus the distracting mound of peanut butter, pieces of chocolate, peanut pieces in the art. Oddly the bar has almost no scent to it when I unwrap it. It continues to have little scent when I break it apart to take this photo and bring it up to my nose, the scent is bland, not even sweet, definitely neither peanut nor chocolate. Of course if we look at the label we see the "chocolate coating" is made with cocoa not chocolate liquor and certainly no cocoa butter. Nutritionally this bar is loaded with protein as promised, 20 grams of it, which is more than the 12 grams of sugars. It also has 4 grams of dietary fiber and only 3 grams of saturated fat. Not a horrible protein bar by any means though in terms of pure ingredients, particular chocolate, it is disappointing. The bars makes a light crunch when I take a bite and when I chew which is surprising since I see only what appears to be creaminess inside. The peanut butter is rather bland, not sweet but also not roasted either. As for chocolate, our most important flavor concern, I taste none of it. The chocolate coating must have used very little cocoa plus consider the photo above again, it is a thin coating over a lot of peanut buttery inside.  The texture isn't bad, the flavor isn't overwhelmingly sweet so I don't hate it, I'm just disappointed in it. This isn't something I'd buy again.

Now you tell me if you think it is fair for products to claim any "chocolate" title of they are only made with cocoa or are they lying to us? How do you feel about companies lying? Do you just assume they all do?

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

What are You Baking Today?

Today is World Baking Day. We have a lot of "National" days but not so many "World" days to celebrate with chocolate. So I thought we might celebrate by looking back at a few of the recipes I've created over the years. Then I want to hear from you in a comment telling me if you are going to bake today and if so, what are you making.

I've introduced you to Chocolate Chunk Blondies very recently.


Back in 2015, I tried out a recipe for Zebra Cookies.


If you are sensitive to gluten, look back at this Rice Flour Chocolate Cake.


So what are you baking today?

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Chocolate Recall for Mother's Day 2017

Well, drat! I have a chocolate related recall to share with you all on Mother's Day.

---------- Recalls ----------

Recall of Mikawaya Chocolate Chocolate Mochi Ice Cream

Mikawaya is issuing a voluntary recall of a limited number of Mikawaya Brand Chocolate Chocolate Mochi Ice Cream, which may inadvertently contain peanuts. People who have an allergy or severe sensitivity to peanuts run the risk of a serious or life-threatening allergic reaction if they consume the product. Only product labeled with UPC code of 070934990609 and lot number LOT 090-17 is included in this recall. The UPC code can be found on the back of the box and the lot number is printed on the top enclosure.

The affected product is sold in a paperboard box, containing 9.1oz (258g) of 6-1.5oz (43g) pieces with UPC code of 070934990609 and lot number LOT 090-17. The product was distributed to all Trader Joe’s stores nationwide and has been removed from sale.

The recall was initiated after receiving one customer report that a Chocolate Chocolate Mochi Ice Cream contained the presence of peanut butter. Mikawaya has not received any reports of illness or allergic reactions associated with this product.

No other Mikawaya Brand products besides this specific lot of Chocolate Chocolate Mochi Ice Cream are affected by this voluntary recall.

Customers who have purchased Mikawaya Chocolate Chocolate Mochi Ice Cream with the affected UPC code and lot number, and have an allergy or sensitivity to peanuts, are advised not to consume the product. Customers may return the product to any Trader Joe’s for a full refund. Customers with questions may contact Mikawaya at (323) 587-5504 (Monday – Friday) between the hours of 9:00 A.M. and 5:00 P.M. Pacific Time.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Quinoa Goes Unreal with Chocolate and Peanut Butter

While not an official fun food holiday, a few years back, a petition was circulating online and through Change.org to declare May 14th National Quinoa Day. Back around Halloween we tested out a Milk Chocolate Crispy Quinoa Peanut Butter Cup from Unreal Candy but I saved the focused review today in honor of the quinoa lovers attempt to get a fun food holiday started. Maybe this will post will help them out. As you can see the bag these come in is a bright green one, one of my favorite colors, but that doesn't mean I'll automatically love the treats,  you'll have to keep reading to find out. I did receive this bag of treats to test out, share, and write about from Unreal via the Tryazon program, no other form of compensation was received for this honest review.

These cups come individually wrapped in silver with the "UNREAL" label in matching green so you cannot confuse them if you happen to mix several varieties together but kept them wrapped. The cup is 1.5 inches across and 0.25 inches thick and looks a lot like the Halloween version of Unreal's Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter cups did. There is no external sign of any crispy anything inside so we'll need to take a bite to find out. The cup has a light chocolate and sweet fragrance to it. The chocolate itself makes no noise when I take a bite but the inside makes a very loud crunch when I chew. However even though the inside makes noise it is thick and creamy, tasting almost entirely like a sweet yet roasted peanut butter. The flavors blend very well in this cup and I like it though not as much as I have Unreal's dark chocolate treats in the past. Each cup is 80 calories made of some organic ingredients with over 30% of these certified fair trade products. This is milk chocolate so it has dairy but also sunflower, quinoa, and coconut derived ingredients in case any of those are an allergy problem for you.

Leave me a comment and let me know if you have tried these out and what you thought of them, please. If you haven't tried them, is this a variety of peanut butter cup you've be willing to give a chance?

Friday, May 12, 2017

Fair Trade and Chocolate

Fair Trade Challenge Image
This weekend, May 12-14, 2017, people around the world will be celebrating the growing practice of fair trade. Today I want to reveal what I've learned about fairtrade and the chocolate industry. Not all of it is as good as you may have been led to believe by the big announcement from some brand names. I want to talk about what fair trade is, how it connects with cocoa production and manufacturing, and how it affects consumers. I'm going to be using a lot of graphics and images from some organizations to demonstrate which chocolate making brands stand in terms of fair trade and I'll note which sites gave me with graphics as we go along.

Let's start with a definition of "Fair Trade" -- At the most basic level this simply means that the producers, the cocoa farmers and workers at cocoa plantations, are paid a wage that they can live on. It can also mean good treatment of workers by employers. However the specifics of what qualifies as fair wages and treatment varies and is certified by different organizations in different ways. Sometimes "Fair Trade" refers to a relationship between the chocolate grower and worker and the company that ultimately turns their raw ingredients into the chocolate products you buy. The phrase "fair trade" is used in a variety of ways. If you care, look into the brand of chocolate you are buying and into the organization that they received fair trade certification from, if they did at all. Given that "fair trade" is increasingly desired  by some consumers (if not backed by their spending), companies are putting those labels on their goods. We've seen enough lies from brands here on The Chocolate Cult to know you can't assume that what the label claims is true. Yes, you'll need to do a little work, folks, if you care.

Why should you care? Think about it this way. If you were paid horribly and had to work for a long time, do you think that you'd honestly do the best you could? Do you truly believe that you'd produce the best quality of products that you could under conditions you felt were unfair? If you want high quality products, safe chocolate, maybe you need to pay a bit more so that the producers and those working for them are motivated to the best job they can. I really like the below graphics as a simple visual of the benefits of fair trade.

http://www.lakechamplainchocolates.com/media//fair-trade-chocolate-lcc.jpg
Let's look at some graphs to show you what manufactures stand in regards to fair trade. You'll recognize some of the names of companies we've test and written about in the past.

http://www.greenamerica.org/programs/fairtrade/whatyoucando/chocolateScorecard.cfm


http://www.thegoodshoppingguide.com/ethical-chocolate/#chocolatelongtable

There are a lot of brands not on the lists or the above charts, too. When you find a chocolate bar, when you walk into chocolate shop, check out the labels, ask the questions, and then look into the organizations that have verified this particular treat is whatever you are interested in be it fair trade, sustainable agriculture, or GMO free. Don't assume, research. But realize that you will pay more and decide if paying more worth it to you.

For me, when a brand is actually doing everything it claims on the label, it is worth paying more for most of the time.

Are you concerned about Fair Trade at all? Leave us a comment and let us know.

Sources Consulted for this Essay:

Green America

Fair Trade Challenge

The Good Shopping Guide

Fair Trade USA

Fair Trade International

Lake Champlain Chocolates

Slave Free Chocolate

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Fish and Peanuts = Chocolate Recall

Yes, you read the title correctly -- issues of undeclared peanuts and fish are causing the two recalls below.

----------- Recalls ----------


LOS ANGELES, CA – May 1, 2017 – Herbalife (NYSE:HLF), a premier global nutrition company, is voluntarily recalling certain lots of its Protein Bar – Peanut Butter because the product may contain a trace amount of fish gelatin, which was added to the product as part of a flavoring ingredient provided by a third-party supplier. The amount of gelatin in the finished product is extremely low (approximately 0.02%). The gelatin is a highly processed collagen from fish skin, which contains a negligible amount of parvalbumin, a fish allergen.
There have been no reports to date of any illnesses or adverse health effects associated with the affected product. Nonetheless, the Company is taking this voluntary action out of an abundance of caution. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has been notified of this recall.

The product was distributed in the U.S. from 6/30/2016 to 4/7/2017, exclusively to individual independent distributors as 14-pack cartons. Lots numbers affected are 066539A11, 066553A11, 066601A11, 066660A11, 066688A11, and 066691A11.

Herbalife maintains high quality standards for its products and is dedicated to the health, safety, and satisfaction of its consumers. Independent distributors and their customers that have purchased this product are urged to return the product for exchange or refund. Consumers with questions about this issue may contact Herbalife’s customer service department from 9:00am – 6:00pm Pacific Standard Time, Monday – Friday at 1-866-866-4744.

----------
Ben and Jerry's Undeclared Peanut Recall

Unilever is voluntarily recalling a limited number of boxes of Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Fudge Brownie Pint Slices, which may inadvertently contain Vanilla Peanut Butter Cup Pint Slices. Although the slices were individually wrapped and identified as Vanilla Peanut Butter Cup Pint Slices, the ingredient peanut butter (containing the known allergen peanut), is undeclared on the outer product packaging. Persons who have an allergy or severe sensitivity to peanuts run the risk of a serious or life-threatening allergic reaction if they consume the product.
This limited voluntary recall is being conducted in cooperation with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The affected product is sold in a paperboard box, containing 9 fL oz (266 mL) (3 individually wrapped ice cream slices) with UPC code of 076840657940 best by date AUG1218LT2 and lot number of AUG1218LT2.

The product was manufactured in the United States. The product was distributed nationwide and reached consumers through retail stores. No product was shipped outside of the U.S. No other Ben & Jerry’s products – besides this specific lot of Chocolate Fudge Brownie Pints Slices - are affected by this voluntary recall, including other Pint Slices, pints or any products served in Ben & Jerry's franchised Scoop Shops.

The recall was initiated after receiving one consumer complaint, where it was discovered that Vanilla Peanut Butter Cups Pint Slices were distributed in outer packaging that did not call out the presence of peanut butter. Unilever has not received any reports of illness associated with this product, but the company is voluntarily recalling this product out of an abundance of caution.

Consumers who have purchased boxes of the above product with the affected UPC code and date code are asked to immediately discontinue use of the product, retain the outer box and call 877-270-7397, which is operational 24 hours a day, for more information about the recall and to request a replacement coupon. A consumer services representative is available between the hours of 8:30 AM and 5:00 PM EDT.

The company is placing a notification on the Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE) web site www.foodallergy.org.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Chocolate Toffee Trio

Mel's Toffee Trio
On Wednesday you met the woman behind Mel's Toffee so today I'm going to introduce you to three of the seven varieties of chocolate toffee they make. There are the alcohol free varieties; I'm going to be helped out by three Acolytes when I test the four other varieties because they have more expertise with different types of liquor than I do. Let's get back to the three types of toffee I'm looking at today. First thing to note is that there are not made with almonds so this is a safe toffee for anyone with tree nuts. I'm not going to get into the debate about whether or not it even qualifies as toffee when there aren't almonds, I'm just glad that some of you could enjoy this because I know that tree nut allergies are common. The three types I'll be covering today are Plain Jane, Sea Salt Pretzel, and Chocolate Peanut Butter. Mel's Toffee sent me one bag of each of these three flavors to test out and write as objective a review as possible here on The Chocolate Cult; no other form of compensation was received.

Mel's Toffee -- Plain Jane


Plain Jane Toffee is jazzed up a bit with that dark chocolate drizzle that Michelle mentioned in our interview on Wednesday. Didn't read that? Go check it out then come back. It is made with butter (cream), sugar, water, dark chocolate, and salt and has both dairy and soy in it if those are allergy concerns. As you can see, the chocolate drizzle is generous and the toffee is thick. The toffee has a rich caramel color to it but the drizzle stands out against it. I cut open the resealable bag and the buttery sweetness hit me immediately. When I take a bite the toffee makes a snap and then continues to crunch as I chew. It gets stickier with each chew as I expect with thick toffee but it also melts off of my teeth with a few more chews. The flavor is buttery and sweet but the dark chocolate adds a hint of bitter when I bite into. As expected the toffee flavor itself is the dominant one. I like it.


Mel's Toffee -- Sea Salt Pretzel 
The Sea Salt Pretzel Toffee is more than just drizzle with chocolate, it has chocolate on the top and the bottom, the amount of pretzel pieces varied from piece to piece. I chose one that was looked to be balanced between toffee, chocolate, and pretzels. Of course this has more ingredients on the label but for those of you with allergies the ones that stand out will be dairy, wheat, corn, and soy. The sea salt is himalayan pink though I can't really see the salt crystals. This had a salt and chocolate fragrance when I opened the resealable bag but the sweet buttery scent became apparent when I brought the piece I selected to my nose. This piece makes a loud snap and continues to be crunchy as I chew it. it is a bit less sticky on my teeth. The initial flavor is the chocolate followed by the salt and the buttery sweet of the toffee which builds as I continue to chew a bite, the pretzels themselves are more texture than different flavor. Of the two so far, this is my favorite and you know that is all about the amount of dark chocolate.


Mel's Toffee -- Chocolate Peanut Butter
Chocolate Peanut Butter Toffee has very few ingredients again with salted peanuts and dry milk powder added to the basic list from Plain Jane Toffee thus you have three allergens -- dairy, peanuts, and soy. The orange label makes me think of peanut butter which isn't orange but still for some reason it feels right. I was not expecting a strong peanut butter fragrance when I opened the resealable bag but it was the dominant scent. As you can see, the toffee looks quite different from the Plain Jane version because you can see the pieces of peanuts in what appears to be a lighter colored toffee but also less chocolate drizzle. I was expecting more chocolate drizzle given the name and given the photo on the website, weren't you? Maybe I just got an under-chocolated batch. The toffee itself without drizzle is crunchy and has a flavor almost exactly like a sweet crunchy peanut butter would, the light chocolate drizzle doesn't affect the flavor very much. Of the three flavors this is my least favorite but if you really love peanut butter this would be the variety you'd want.

While I liked all three flavors of Mel's Toffee, the amount of chocolate on them really made it easy for me to pick my favorite: Sea Salt Pretzel Toffee. You can buy quarter, half, and one pound bags of these flavors at multiple locations in Michigan or online. If you've had any of these three flavors yourself please leave us a comment and let us know what you think about them.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Meet the Woman behind Mel's Toffee

Michelle at All Things Detroit
Sisters and Brothers in Chocolate, we've looked at a lot of chocolate toffee over the years but it has been a while since we found a new brand. Today I want to introduce you to the woman behind Mel's Toffee, a brand and a product that our own Chocolate Coconut Acolyte, Lisa, discovered and has been enjoying for some time now. This coming Saturday we'll feature some of that toffee but today let's meet, Michelle Williamson.

Thank you for answering some questions from us, Michelle. 

Thanks for the interview.  Let the fun begin!!

Let's begin with your job title, "Chief Toffee Officer" what does that mean and how long have you held that office? 

Chief Toffee Officer means I am IT.  I do everything in this company from the production of the toffee, the packaging, marketing, delivering, event planning......I wear many, many hats.  Some better than others.

On your website you say that Mel's Toffee began as a "5 layer pretzel company" -- what was that called and it it still around today? 

The name of the company was called MEL'S Toffee and Treats, it was a chocolate company.  I used to make chocolate covered pretty much anything.....then it just became too diverse. I made 5 layer pretzels for gifts, showers and different parties. The layers were: Caramel, Rice Krispies, Chocolate, whatever I sprinkled on top and a drizzle of chocolate.

The company just kept growing in many directions and I wasn't able to keep up with what everyone wanted.  So, I chose toffee....and still can't keep up.  I wish I were able to make every flavor that pops into my head.....but.....sadly...can't.  The toffee business is fun, growing by the week, hard work, but rewarding at the same time. 

Do you have formal training as a chef or has your creation of those layered pretzels and now your toffee grown from a lifetime of cooking? 

Growing up, my Dad was always into gourmet cooking. Think pheasant under glass...yep, that was him.  In order to get my way through college, I was a waitress in fine dining restaurants.  Being in that environment reawakened my zest for food and deepened my appreciation of the word foodie. I have no formal training.  I am 100% self taught and have many burns on my hands to prove that.

Why is your brand "Mel's Toffee"? Are you Mel?

I am the "M" in Mel's.  Mel's stands for (me)Michelle and daughters Erin and Lauren.  I was hunting for a name and it came to me in a dream one night and it stuck.  And....to answer a popular question, NO, my girls don't help.

Of course this is The Chocolate Cult so we are interested in chocolate but toffee does not need or even normally have chocolate. Yet all of your flavors include chocolate. Why did you decide to include it?

Lots of toffees I have seen/eaten are enrobed in chocolate.  You mostly get the chocolate with a bit of toffee.  Mine is mostly toffee with a drizzle of chocolate. As I was concocting the flavors, I had to think of a way to keep the toffee from sticking together.  By placing the drizzle on the toffee, that helps.

How did you come up with the idea of using alcohol to make four of your seven flavors? What challenges did you have to overcome when using this unique ingredient?

One of my first flavors was Honey Dark Rum.  I found the recipe someplace and wanted to give it a whirl. At first, it was selling, then it petered off.  I had to replace it with something.  Thus, Maple Bourbon Pecan. To this day. Maple Bourbon is one of my best sellers. THAT one is just like a Pecan Pie in a toffee form.

The first inspector balked at me using alcohol.  I told her that it cooks off after 20 minutes, so it's all good!!

I haven't had any challenges with the alcohol, really.  The only challenge I have is which brewery do I hit up next to see if they'll do a collab.  So far, Right Brain has used it twice for their collaboration day.  The toffee beer has gotten all the way down to Indiana.

You have seven flavors of toffee, of these do you have a favorite, and if so, which flavor is it and why?

Picking a favorite is like picking my favorite daughter.  I like all the flavors for different reasons.

Sea Salt Pretzel is sweet and salty and just plain irresistible

Maple Bourbon is like a Pecan Pie in a toffee form.  I love the maple-y flavor and the rich pecan flavor

Plain Jane sometimes just hits the spot.  It's simple and pure.  Just really good.

Peanut Butter is made with salted Virginia peanuts.  You still get that sweet/salty taste with that.

Totally a guy flavor Coconut Almond is like a Mounds bar in a toffee form.  Anything that is coconut and chocolate is good to me.  

This one is made with Arcadia Ales Cocoa Loco which is a triple chocolate stout.

CEO Stout is a rich espresso-y, chocolately and crunchy toffee.  kinda gives you that caffeine jolt you need. This is Made with Right Brain Brewery CEO Stout.

Chocolate Raspberry is the latest and greatest.  Anyone who loves chocolate and raspberry together would be a sucker for this one.  Made with Dark Horse Raspberry Ale.

What is your best selling flavor?

The Sea Salt has always been #1....closely followed by Maple Bourbon.

Right now your in-store sellers are spread around Michigan and you are a Michigan made brand but do you have plans to spread into Indiana, Illinois, Minnesota, Ohio, or even Canada?

I would LOVE to be in other states.  If the opportunity presents itself, I'm grabbing it and running with it. So...if anyone out there knows someone who'd like to sell this in a store/gift shop out of state, let me know.  You can contact me at my email.

Michelle, is there anything we haven't asked about that you'd like our readers to know about you or Me's Toffee?

I think we have all the bases covered here.  You did a great job concocting the questions.  Thanks to everyone who took the time out to read this!

Thank you, Michelle, for answering all of our questions and sharing your photos with us. We're looking forward to revealing your toffee creations to the world in the near future.

Monday, May 1, 2017

May Chocolate Be With You All Month Long

Yes, it is the start of a new month and that means time for our Fun and Serious Holidays that you could celebrate with Chocolate. Two important figures in the history of chocolate have birthdays this month as well a national month long holidays, cultural holidays, and fun food holidays. All can be celebrated with chocolate. Leave a comment and tell us which holidays you intend to celebrate with chocolate.

May = National Chocolate Custard Month; National Mental Health Month; National Egg Month; Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month; Rainforest Awareness Month

May 1 = National Chocolate Parfait Day

May 2 = National Truffle Day

May 5 = National Chocolate Custard Day -- Wait! The entire month celebrates chocolate custard so why a day, too?

May 5 = Cinco de Mayo -- Make sure you use spicy chocolate to celebrate!

May 11 = National Eat What You Want Day

May 12 = National Nutty Fudge Day

May 13 (2017) = World Fair Trade Day -- Empower the farmer, protect the chocolate, help keep the future delicious.

May 14 = National Buttermilk Biscuit Day

Coenraad Johannes van Houten
May 15 = National Chocolate Chip Day

May 15 = Birthday of Coenraad Johannes van Houten (1801) who treated cocoa mass with alkaline salts to reduce the bitter flavor, a process still called “Dutch” to this day; his father, Casparus van Houten, created the cocoa press

May 17 = World Baking Day

May 19 = National Devil’s Food Cake Day

Joseph Rowntree
May 24, 1836 = Birthday of Joseph Rowntree, Chocolatier and Philanthropist

May 29 = National Biscuit Day