Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Art of Chocolate 2014 Reviewed

The Art of Chocolate is the highlight of my town's Week of Chocolate and this year we were able to send one of the many folks who help your Chocolate Priestess bring this blog to you every week because the event organizers (LifeDesigns) gave us two free tickets.  The photos were taken by Derek and the words are from Emilie (edited by me between two emails she sent me post event).  Note that this is just a small sampling of the photos I was sent for the event so I just tried to match up photos with the text.

The museum has three floors with galleries.
We stayed until about 7pm, after getting there at 5:30.  It got quite crowded.  I think that they could have encouraged people to head upstairs. Several people didn't realize they could go to the second floor.  We did have fun.  I think I would have enjoyed it more if it had not been so crowded and if people had been a bit nicer about not bumping into me (or just apologizing when they did.)  It is very painful for me when people elbow me in the back or step on my foot, because of my medical issues.  But, really, I don't think it is acceptable to run into people and not say anything, whether you can tell they have a medical condition or not.  The crowding was the main reason we left early.  It was difficult to see all of the items in the art auction because of the crowds.  

1st floor looking into gallery
I did not see many people taking advantage of the tours.  It was not terribly clear that you could.  One lady who was in charge of rounding up people for tours seemed, instead, to be trying to keep people out of the galleries.  Her body language and expression was much more that of a guard than of a docent--people thought she was there to keep them out.  And she stood right in front of the sign that said there would be tours at set times.  Not the best job of promoting the museum!  I overheard someone say "It would be cool if we could go look in the museum."  

View to 1st floor check in back
In all, the event was enjoyable but the spread of information was just not that good.  People didn't know they could go upstairs.  It was unclear what line you were supposed to use to enter ("Ticket holders" actually meant "Will call" and not people who had their tickets in hand.  THOSE people were supposed to get in the "buy tickets" line.)  



Some people didn't get tickets to use for voting for their favorite chefs or art works (from the auction.)  Some people got them but didn't know what to do with them.  One chef didn't even know there was a competition. I think all this information could have been provided in the little brochure we were given on entry, which really only listed sponsors.  If there had been more information about the event in there people would have read it and the sponsors would have gotten more attention, too.  

There was no artist actually working in chocolate at the event, they just had a painting in chocolate already completed.  I have to admit, I was a little disappointed there were no men painted with chocolate :-) but there was a lady in a sort of toga with white chocolate splattered on it.  Pretty, but not quite the same thing.  The singer was terrific.  He was a classically trained opera singer but he also sang some pop songs, and his voice easily filled the entire space.  I did not get a chance to get his name, unfortunately.  Another thing that should have been in the brochure, I guess.



Despite all of my gripes, it was a pleasant event.  There were lots of tasty chocolate treats to sample.  The desserts were diverse, delicious, and had great eye appeal.  The samples were of generous size.  The savory snacks were very good, and a nice counterpoint to the sweets.  We did not try any of the alcoholic beverages, but there were Godiva chocolate martinis and wine, which were served in generous quantities.  

The most amazing chocolate treat was from the Rainbow Bakery.  They had mini cupcakes with chocolate cake, rosemary icing, drizzled with salted caramel.  Honestly, I don't even like rosemary that much, but these were amazing.  Very intense flavors, with good mouthfeel, and well-balanced.  I don't know how they did it, since all their products are vegan, and butter is usually the best thing for carrying flavor.  I was really impressed. 




There was also a dazzlingly intense, moist chocolate cake truffle from The Rail. I may have to go there just to check out the desserts sometime.




I have been to The Art of Chocolate the previous three years as part of my volunteer work at the Museum as a Docent so I always was there at closing.  I'm very glad that Emilie and Derek were able to go and report on this event for 2014.  I hope I'll be able to connect with each of the businesses who were there and perhaps feature their creations in future months here on The Chocolate Cult.  There are still two more events in this Week of Chocolate (Posh Ganache and Chocolate Prom) so go check them out please.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Chocolate Recalls January 26, 2014

Every Sunday since the start of 2014 I've had to share another chocolate related food/drink recall with you, Sisters and Brothers.  If this is a sign of the year ahead of it, I don't think it's a good one.  As always look at the links and investigate further if you have purchased on used the products mentioned.

Araya Inc. Issues Allergy Alert on Undeclared Tree Nuts, Wheat, Milk and Soy in Their Chocolate Bars, Marshmallows, Dry Fruits and Chocolate Gift Boxes

Consumer Contact: 281-395-1050

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - January 23, 2014 - ARAYA INC of Katy, TX is voluntarily recalling various types of products including Marshmallows, Chocolate gourmet bars, Dry Fruits covered in chocolate and assorted chocolate gift boxes because they may contain traces of allergens not declared on the label. People who have an allergy or severe sensitivity to Wheat, Tree Nuts, Soy and Milk Protein run the risk of serious or life-threatening allergic reaction if they consume these products.

The Marshmallows, Chocolate gourmet bars, Dry Fruits covered in chocolate and chocolate gift boxes were distributed nationwide directly to customers via FedEx from internet sales and in the state of Texas through the following retailers:

CENTRAL MARKET – HOUSTON, CENTRAL MARKET - NORTH LAMAR,

CENTRAL MARKET – PRESTON, CENTRAL MARKET – WESTGATE, HEB - FRY RD, HEB #99 Louetta, HOTEL MOKARA

All products within “best buy” date are being recalled. Representative labels are attached to this press release. Specific information on how the product can be identified:

Product Name                        UPC Code Potential Undeclared Allergen

GOURMET BAR - BACON 729440332044 Wheat

GOURMET BAR - CAYENNE PEPPER 729440332006 Wheat

GOURMET BAR - CRISPY ORANGE 729440332051 Wheat

GOURMET BAR - CURRY 729440332037 Wheat

MARSHMALLOW - CHOCOLATE 760921366004 Milk Protein, Soy, Wheat

MARSHMALLOW - COCONUT 760921366011 Milk Protein, Soy, Wheat

MARSHMALLOW - COOKIES AND CREAM 760921366066 Milk Protein, Soy, Wheat

MARSHMALLOW - GINGERBREAD 760921366003 Milk Protein, Soy, Wheat

MARSHMALLOW - PEPPERMINT 760921366097 Milk Protein, Soy, Wheat

MARSHMALLOW - RED VELVET 760921366073 Milk Protein, Soy, Wheat

MARSHMALLOW - VANILLA 760921366028 Milk Protein, Soy, Wheat

GOURMET BAR - MENDIANT - DARK 729440332075 Tree Nuts and Wheat Soy and Milk are listed as ingredients but are not identified as allergens

GOURMET BAR - MENDIANT – MILK 729440332082 Tree Nuts and Wheat Soy and Milk are listed as ingredients but are not identified as allergens

DRY FRUIT - ORANGE PEEL 729440332105 Tree Nuts, Wheat

DRY FRUIT - MANGO CAYENNE 729440332136 Tree Nuts, Wheat

DRY FRUIT - PEARS 729440332112 Tree Nuts, Wheat

CHOCOLATE GIFT BOX - SC 6 OREOS 729440332167 Wheat Outside Label declares Soy and Milk as ingredients but does not identify them as allergens Inside Label (menu) declares all allergens listed except wheat

CHOCOLATE GIFT BOX - SC SMALL 12 CHOCOLATE 729440332488 Wheat Outside Label declares Soy and Milk as ingredients but does not identify them as allergens Inside Label (menu) declares all allergens listed except wheat

CHOCOLATE GIFT BOX - SC SMALL 6 CHOCOLATE 729440332235 Wheat Outside Label declares Soy and Milk as ingredients but does not identify them as allergens Inside Label (menu) declares all allergens listed except wheat

CHOCOLATE - S'MORES 729440332402 Wheat

The voluntary recall was initiated by Araya after reviewing with the FDA the current product labels and determining that the allergen declaration was not complete since it did not state all the allergens present in the facility. The firm also uses peanuts in some products; however, peanuts are declared as an allergen on all product labels and are not part of this recall.
Customers who purchased any of the recalled products listed above and are allergic or have a severe sensitivity to wheat, tree nuts, milk protein or soy, please do not consume the products. Please discard them.

For a full refund, consumers may visit us at any of our stores with your proof of purchase receipt. Store locations are: 2013 W. Gray St., Houston TX 77019; 1141 Uptown Park Blvd., Houston TX 77056; and 1575 West Grand Pkwy S., Katy TX 77494.

Consumers who purchased any of the recalled products through the internet or who have questions about this recall may contact the company at 281-395-1050 from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. CST Monday-Friday.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Loving Hearts in All-Senses of the L-word

To kick off our Valentine's Day features we have two boxes of chocolate hearts from Equal Exchange Chocolate -- their 41% milk chocolate and their 55% dark chocolate versions -- for you to consider as possible gifts for your loved one this year.  I'm going to be updating this post later on because I plan to use these chocolate for a baking project but I wanted to get the basic testing results up in time for you to check them out yourselves, Sisters and Brothers.

We'll start with the 41% Milk Chocolate Hearts comes in a red box containing 0.14oz hearts wrapped in pink foil. For our readers with food allergies please note that these have hazelnuts in them, just a bit but if you are allergic to tree nuts this is necessary for you to note and it has milk as well for those of you with dairy allergies; there is also the trace peanut and tree nut warnings that my husband with severe tree nut allergy never has a problem with. The little heart is cool but a bit sticky in my fingers when I bring one to my nose.  It has a creamy chocolate hazelnut scent. It makes a soft snap when I bite it in half and at first the creamy chocolate hits my taste buds. This fades into a hazelnut flavor that blends back into the chocolate with a little roasted aftertaste. Letting it melt in your mouth intensifies the cocoa essence as is often the case for chocolates. Definitely one for the chocolate hazelnut combination lovers out there.

If you like slightly darker chocolate then the 55% Dark Chocolate Hearts come in a brown box with 0.14oz chocolates wrapped in red foil.  Other than chocolate these have no allergy warning beyond the trace peanut and tree nut warnings -- my husband's severe tree nut allergy is not set off in these cases but you are no forewarned.  This is cool in my fingertips and has a nice, moderate cocoa scent when I take a whiff of it.  It makes a much louder snap when I bite it in half and continues to make little crunching noises for a few chews.  What I notice right after a burst of cocoa is a burst of very intense sugar cane flavor that I wasn't expecting. That fades a bit to allow more of the dark chocolate through but I'm not as thrilled as I was hoping to be.  Letting the second of the heart melt cuts back a bit on that sweetness but not enough.  Less sugar cane for this recipe please.  I'll have to find a unsweet treat to add these to or it will be overwhelming.

Let's compare the two cacao contents in terms of just what they look like -- you can clearly see that one is darker than the other but otherwise they are the same simple chocolate heart with diagonal lines across them.  These are small enough and in fact each has 23 calories so they seemed ideal to me to use as decorate accents for homemade dessert projects. Both are made with organic cocoa butter, organic raw cane sugar, organic chocolate liquor, organic unrefined whole cane sugar, organic ground vanilla beans; the only difference is the hazelnuts and whole milk powder both of which are organic, too, found in the Milk Chocolate Hearts.  No weird chemicals you have difficulty pronouncing.

Clearly since I am going to use these to decorate some homemade treats I have to use the dark chocolate otherwise my hubby couldn't eat them but I do have friends coming over one evening so I can use the milk chocolate to make a treat for them.  I'll post these updates with photos before Valentine's Day.

If price is a concern for you these are both very reasonable and you could easily get both for under $15 (not including shipping) and do so many different things with them.  While these may not have the romantic look of a heart-shaped box of truffles the quality of the chocolate is very good plus the versatility of them make them useful in ways that a traditional box of chocolate can't be. When you factor in the companies support for small cocoa farmers I think this could be a gift that speaks volumes of love on different levels. We'll have several other feature articles about Equal Exchange Chocolate throughout 2014 because they sent us several of their products to test out.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

January 19, 2014 Chocolate Coins Recall

Paskesz Candy Company Issues Allergy Alert on Undeclared Milk in Premium Belgian Chocolate Coins

Consumer Contact: 1-800-PASKES0, 1-800-727-5370

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - January 14, 2013 - Paskesz Candy Company, Brooklyn, New York is recalling its Premium Belgian Chocolate Coins Hologram .5 oz bags because they may contain traces of milk.

People who have allergies to milk run the risk of serious or life-threatening allergic reaction if they consume these products. To date one parent has reported that her child took ill after eating one of these coins with the production code P233. Subsequent testing of a sample by the FDA showed that the coin contained .000041 parts of milk (41 parts per million). Out of caution we are recalling all production codes.

The recalled "Coins" were distributed nationwide in retail stores between October 2012 and December 2013.

The product is sold in mesh bags of .5 oz. There are 24 bags in a box.

To date one parent has reported that her child took ill after eating one of these coins with the production code P233. Subsequent testing of a sample by the FDA showed that the coin contained .000041 parts of milk (41 parts per million). Out of caution we are recalling all production codes.

This does not affect the product’s “KOSHER PAREVE” status.

The recall was initiated after it was discovered that the milk-containing product was distributed in packaging that did not list the presence of milk. Sale and distribution of the chocolate coins have been suspended until FDA and the company are certain that the problem has been corrected.

Consumers who have purchased these .5 ounce packages of "Paskesz Chocolate Pareve Hologram Coins” are urged to return them to the place of purchase for a full refund. Consumers with questions may contact the company at 1-800-PASKES0 between the hours of 9AM and 4PM Monday through Thursday and on Friday until 12 pm EST.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Sensible but Tasty Hot Cocoa?

Your Chocolate Priestess was sent a eight envelope box of Swiss Miss Hot Cocoa Mix, Sensible Sweets, Diet, 8-Count Envelopes (Pack of 6)
via the Amazon Vine program back at the end of October.  We were so busy with feature reviews for products directly from companies and brands that I didn't want to try to squeeze this in so we'll do it now while it is still cool enough of hot cocoa where I live.

The mix in these eight packets contain non-fat milk then cocoa processed with alkali then several other chemicals and sucralose.  Each envelop will make one six-ounce cup of cocoa and have 25 calories or about 1/6 to 1/4 other varieties of Swiss Miss hot cocoa mix I've had in the past.  The powder whisked up well with a ratio of 2-1 hot-cool water.  It has a light brown color that I hope you can see both before and after it was mixed.

The hot cocoa itself had an unexpected sweet scent and flavor.  There is an edge of bitter cocoa when I tasted it but the sweet lingered and turned a bit sour after a while in my mouth; I really wanted to rinse my mouth out after the third sip. If I let the cup set for more than five minutes a bit of the mix resettled onto the bottom of the cup but I find that to be the case for most hot cocoa mixes we've tried.

At 25 calories a 6 ounce cup this seems like a great deal but the sweetness was not pleasant and hid a lot of the cocoa flavor.  Ultimately this would NOT be something I'd buy unless they change the recipe to get rid of a lot of the sucralose to let the chocolate essence through. If you disagree and think you'd like to give Swiss Miss Hot Cocoa Mix, Sensible Sweets, Diet, 8-Count Envelopes (Pack of 6) a try, please do so then come back and leave us a comment and tell us what you think. If you have tried it then please also leave a comment and tell us what you thought about it.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Week of Chocolate 2014

Art of Chocolate Invitation Image
For the entire time your Chocolate Priestess has lived in Bloomington, Indiana, there has been a chocolate event to benefit charity organizations that help the local people.  At first this was the Chocolate Fest a one day event then it grew and grew until it become the Week of Chocolate featuring different charity organizations each year.  The event is coordinated by LIFEDesigns but four other groups are also hosting events related to chocolate.  Two of our Acolytes will be attending one of these events as guests in exchange for our telling you about it.  I'm going to use the official releases and photos and then add in some notes from my own experiences over the years with advice on how to participate.

Week of Chocolate 2014 Events
The Monroe County History Center
Event Title:  Sundaes on Saturday
Address:  202 E. Sixth Street, Bloomington, IN
Phone Number:  812-322-2517
Website: www.monroehistory.org
Event Date:  Saturday, January 25th  
Time: 1:00pm to 4:00pm
Admission: adults $3, children $2, members and children under 6 FREE
Description: Design your own sundaes with Hartzell’s Ice Cream and lots of chocolate toppings. Learn the history of ice cream making, and enjoy old-time music.  The museum will be abound with activity from Monroe County’s past.  Enjoy the exhibits and let Monroe County History come alive.

I've been to the Sundaes on Saturday event a few times and it was always fun though it can get crowded so here is my advice: do not stay more than half an hour.  Come in, give your admission fee, get your ice cream, hang and chat for a little while, then go upstairs and check out the museum before you leave.  This way others can enjoy the sundaes and you can see the organization you are supporting by coming.  As a historian (did you know that about your Chocolate Priestess?) I have to say supporting any type of organization that preserves and educates about history is worthy of my time.  I hope the weather cooperates this year so we can go again.

LIFEDesigns
Event Title: Art of Chocolate
Address: IU Art Museum
Phone Number: 812-332-9615
Website: www.lifedesignsinc.org
Event Date: Sunday, January 26th
Event Time: 5:30pm to 8:00pm
Admission: $40 pre-sale/$35 student pre-sale/$50 for ALL at the door
Description: At the 10th Annual Art of Chocolate, guests will enjoy an abundance of decadent chocolate desserts and appetizers created by some of the area’s finest chefs.  Live music, guest entertainers, an Art Show and Sale, and a silent auction will highlight the evening’s program.

Chocolate Artist 2013
We have received two tickets to this event so we'll have a post about it after it happens. I've been to three of these in the past in my role as a Docent at the museum where it is held.  I really like walking around and talking to folks, trying the treats, and when folks came into the galleries I liked showing them the collection and getting them thinking about art.  One of the things you should do if you attend is talk to the artist (whomever that is this year) who is creating with chocolate during the event -- you can find him/her on the second floor near the cafĂ©.  We've done follow-up interviews with the artist the past three years as well.

Bloomington Moose Lodge
Event Title: Chocolate Bingo
Address: 1580 West Bloomfield Road, Bloomington, IN
Phone Number: 812-332-1372
Website: www.lodge1081.moosepages.org
Event Date: Monday, January 27th
Time: 6:00pm to 10:00pm
Admission: $20.00 basic package
Description: Come join us at the Moose Lodge for a special night of bingo, with a chocolate theme!  With each winning bingo, the lucky players will be rewarded with cash and a delicious chocolate treat.  As always, Bingo players can enjoy a scrumptious meal with drinks made to order.  Invite friends, family and co-workers to experience Moose hospitality!

I'd really like to try this but fitting into our schedule has always been a challenge.

Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard
Event Title: Posh Ganache
Address: MHC Kitchen, 1100 W. Allen St.
Phone Number: 812.355.6843
Website: mhcfoodpantry.org
Event Date: Wednesday, January 29th
Time: 6:30pm to 8:30pm
Admission: $45
Description: Join Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard in our new teaching kitchen for an evening of truffle making. We will be sharing recipes and tips for working with chocolate, and together we will hand-craft two varieties of truffles for participants to sample and take home. The workshop will include tasty appetizers and (Oliver Winery) wine.

Another event that has happened for several years now that I've wanted to go to but couldn't fit into my schedule or which I had to consider the cost of.  Sadly cost will be a consideration for many folks especially after Christmas but I've always thought this might be worth it not just for the amazing charity (one of our Acolytes is a volunteer there) but also you could then save what  you create that night and give them as a Valentine's Day gift.

Rhino’s Youth Center
Event Title:  Chocolate Prom
Address:  331 S. Walnut St, Bloomington, IN
Phone Number:  812-333-3430
Website: www.rhinosyouthcenter.org
Event Date: Friday, January 31st
Time: 8:00pm to 11:00pm
Admission: $10/person or $15/couple
Description:  Put on your best threads, grab your dancing shoes, invite all your friends, and bring your sweetheart to an event made especially for you.  Enjoy a variety of free chocolate treats and dance the night away to live music (formal dress is optional).

I haven't been to the Chocolate Prom but I've had friends who have gone in the past and they've said it was fun for all ages.  The Rhino Youth Center is a great location for teens and pre-teens in our area plus they once hosted fighter practice for the local SCA group that I used to just go and watch while helping out a friend with his equipment.

Event Logo

I want to see a show of hands (comments) below telling me what you would attend if you live in the area and what you will attend if you do live in the area.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Alaska Biscotti Recall January 12, 2014

We have one recalled from the FDA to share with you all today, Sisters and Brothers, this one is for Biscotti so if you have recently bought or received some in or sent to you from Alaska please check read further.  Yes this is another case of "duh, wouldn't any product like this have these ingredients" but sometimes people don't think and simply read the labels.

Tonia’s Biscotti II LLC Issues Allergy Alert on Undeclared Wheat, Milk, and Soy in Tonia’s Biscotti Sampler Bags, Lemon Biscotti Dipped in White Chocolate Bags, and Individually Wrapped Biscotti of All Flavors

Consumers Contact: 907-575-9274

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - January 3, 2014 - Tonia’s Biscotti II LLC of Homer, AK is recalling Sampler Bags, Lemon Biscotti dipped in White Chocolate Bags, and individually wrapped biscotti of all flavors because they may contain undeclared wheat, milk, and soy. People who have an allergy or severe sensitivity to wheat, milk, and/or soy run the risk of serious or life-threatening allergic reaction if they consume these products.

Tonia’s Biscotti Sampler Bags, Lemon Biscotti dipped in White Chocolate Bags, and individually wrapped biscotti of all flavors were distributed at retail stores, craft fairs, and through mail order (via www.toniasbiscotti.com) within the state of Alaska; the last dates of distribution were in December 2013. There was no wholesale or retail delivery of the affected products outside of Alaska.

The bagged products are in white packaging with a clear view window on the front. “Tonia’s Biscotti” is written across the top half and “Lemon dipped in White Chocolate” or “Sampler” is written on the bottom. The only bagged products affected by this recall are missing the “Nutritional Facts” panel; there are no expiration dates, best by dates, or lot codes on the products. The individually wrapped biscotti of all flavors have a single label on the front of the package with the name “Tonia’s Biscotti” and the flavor of the biscotti.

No illnesses have been reported to date.

The recall was initiated after it was discovered that product containing wheat, milk, and/or soy was distributed in packaging that did not reveal the presence of these allergens.

Consumers who have an allergy or severe sensitivity to wheat, milk, and/or soy products are urged not to consume and return products to the place of purchase for a full refund. Consumers with questions may contact Tonia’s Biscotti at (907) 575-9274 from 9am to 5pm Monday-Friday, Alaska Standard Time.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Ovaltine, Improved?

Some time back, Your Chocolate Priestess received two samples of the "Rich Chocolate" variety of Ovaltine.  Since September 27th is National Chocolate Milk Day I thought I'd schedule this feature review in time for you to either go out and buy your own or make sure you don't before that fun food holiday.  I remember drinking Ovaltine when I was younger; my husband drink it a lot he tells me.  To be blunt: I didn't like it compared to the other ways my mother had to make chocolate milk with both dry mixes and syrups.  Let's see if this "improved" version is any better.

One of the two packets I was sent uses 8oz milk and adds 40 more calories to your drink.  I used skim milk because I grew up drinking it.  It has alkalize cocoa as the chocolate related ingredient as well as dairy, soy, a lot of added flavors and vitamins and minerals that bring the 12 vitamins and minerals that the labels brag about to 10% of your daily recommendation for a 2000 calories diet.

It blended well, the dry mix worked in quickly with a whisk and created a light brown drink with a light cocoa scent.  Taking a sip I was surprised that it didn't have the aftertaste I remember very unfondly.  It has a light cocoa flavor and is not gritty at all.

This is an improvement on the memory I have of Ovaltine as a child. However I wouldn't classify it as "Rich Chocolate" merely as chocolatey.  Better than what I expected but still far from the best chocolate milk mix we've reviewed here on The Chocolate Cult.

Have you had the improved Ovaltine, Sisters and Brothers?  What do you think?

Sunday, January 5, 2014

1st Chocolate Recalls of 2014

How sad to start off a new year with new chocolate related recalls, rights Sisters and Brothers?  Luckily we have only one recall to share.

Giant Eagle Issues Allergy Alert On Undeclared Peanut Allergen In Candy Place Chocolate Santas

Consumer Contact: George J. Howe Company 1-800-367-4693

Media Contact: Dan Donovan, Giant Eagle, Inc., 412.967.4551
media.relations@gianteagle.com

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – December 28, 2013 – Candy Place Chocolate Santas packages were voluntarily recalled by Giant Eagle due to an undeclared peanut allergen. While the individual peanut butter filled candies reference “peanut butter”, peanuts are not listed as an ingredient on the primary package label, creating the potential for a serious or life-threatening allergic reaction if consumed by those with a peanut allergy. The product is safe for consumption by those who do not have a peanut allergy.

The affected product was sold in 11-ounce packages with the UPC code 3003407341, and included chocolate, caramel and peanut butter varieties of chocolate candy. The product was purchased by approximately 1,100 customers in Giant Eagle supermarkets in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Maryland since October 1, 2013.

No illnesses have been reported to date.  Consumers may return affected product to any Giant Eagle supermarket location for a full refund. Those with questions may call George J. Howe Company, the manufacturer, at 1-800-367-4693 between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. EST Monday through Friday, or may leave a voicemail if calling at other hours.

In addition to this public communication regarding this recall, upon notification by the manufacturer Giant Eagle initiated its consumer recall telephone notification process in conjunction with immediately removing the product from store shelves. The consumer recall process used purchase data and consumer phone numbers housed in the Giant Eagle Advantage Card® database to alert those households that purchased the affected product and have updated telephone contact information in the database.  

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Final Theodent Results

Sisters and Brothers, remember Theodent, the toothpaste made with a chemical (RENNOU) taken from the cacao bean that is supposed to strengthen your teeth?  We've tested over the course of three months the Kids and the Theodent300 varieties in the past.  For the last two months I and my partner have been trying the regular adult Theodent product so this morning I want to share our results with you.  Please note that these are only our experiences, nothing has been tested by our dentists or scientists.

As you can see we've been using it and there is still about a quarter of the tube left.  This photo also demonstrates one of the packaging design problems I have in general with this product -- it is very difficult to get as much of the product out as with a regularly shaped tube of toothpaste.  The end is too thick to us one of those squeezer devices you may have seen to help you get the most from use packages -- I tried it because we do use such things here.  Hey, our money and time is valuable to us so we try to use everything we buy for as long as we can.  Back to the specifics of this version of Theodent.

It has a regular generic toothpaste flavor but is not gritty or harsh on the teeth. That is important since my partner has some serious jaw, gum, and teeth problems and normally uses toothpaste for sensitive teeth -- those are more expensive than just regular fluoride toothpaste like I normally use. This didn't bother his teeth or gums at all.  Neither of us feel like our teeth are less healthy than when we started the experiment.  I've been using Theodent products only since July 2013 and my teeth, gums, and jaw feel great!

My partner and I think you might want to try Theodent, the regular adult version, because it is far less expensive than the Theodent300 and frankly worked as well as far as we could tell.  I want to urge you to talk to your dentist first especially if you have any tooth or jaw or gum problems.  This still isn't inexpensive toothpaste but one tube last more than two months so it isn't financially ruinous if you do give it a try for a while.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Ring in the New Year with a Month of Chocolate!

Our monthly feature is on the date today and just in time to call to your attention that the fun food holidays with chocolate start tomorrow!

January 2 = Feast Day of St. Macarius the Younger, 4th century patron of confectioners

January 3 = National Chocolate Filled Cherry Day -- so is this a chocolate with a cherry filling or a cherry stuffed with chocolate?

January 5 = National Whipped Cream Day -- hey I'd made chocolate whipped cream and it is an ingredient in several chocolate desserts

January 6 = National Shortbread Day -- I covered shortbread cookies with dark chocolate ganache for our annual holiday and they were easy and quick to make as well as great tasting

January 8 = National English Toffee Day -- yes, you can (and should) make it with chocolate!

January 10 = Bittersweet Chocolate Day; National Cream Cheese Brownie Day - combine these into one awesome recipe?  Anyone know of one I could try out?

January 19 = National Popcorn Day -- again a little chocolate drizzle is yummy and not too unhealthy depending on how you make the drizzle and how thick you apply it

January 23 = National Pie Day -- you can make pie without chocolate?

January 27 = National Chocolate Cake Day -- I thought this was any day?

January 30 = National Croissant Day -- chocolate croissant done well are heavenly, well means there is more than a tiny strip of chocolate inside

Any other fun food holidays we need to add, Sisters and Brothers?

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