Sunday, December 6, 2009
Thursday, December 3, 2009
A little background: Taza is one of these modern eco-minded food companies, and one of a handful of American eco-friendly / world-friendly / conscience-minded chocolate companies that have sprung up over the last few years. A what a joy they are, each of them with their own distinguishing points, yet all focused on the same thing: making the best chocolate possible.
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
To this end, I think the chocolate buying populace, and maybe even the food buying populace, can be summed up with jsut a few generalizations about who people are, and how and why they eat . . . think of it as a scale, a way to equalize a person's choices based on their exposure, socio-ecomonic status . . . ok, let's just get to it.
To the madding crowd, the flocks of masses who are the majority of those buying chocolate, Hershey's, or Snicker's or maybe Ghiradelli or Lindt, are the best chocolates in the world. To this large subsection of the world, chocolate is confined, and will probably always be confined, to what 7-Elevens, Walmarts, or Safeways stock on their shelves. But we must forgive these people for their ignorance. Consider what they know as all they know, as they can now, given their environments. That is, that what they buy and what they know is and has been defined by what has surrounded them for years, perhaps much of their life. For whatever reason, I feel like this group, while hopeless in ever really changing their habits, is fine with their place in my chocosphere.
To counteract this group, there is ultra-informed, well-versed chocolate buyer—someone who truly knows what the best products, where to buy them, and how to enjoy them. Sometimes snotty, snobby, sickeningly aware and proud of their self-endowed superiority. But this is not always the case. I like to this of this group as a solid group of individuals concerned with the best of the best, whatever the best may be. Independent of brand names, godawful non-sequiturs about chocolate in general, this crowd of gourmands knows about chocolate, and they're not afraid to show it. Just go ahead and ask one . . . I'm sure you'll learn more than you ever thought there was to know. Knowledge: how refreshing.
There is, of course, a group somewhere in the middle. This, for me, is the worst group. Unlike the first group of ignoramuses, this group doesn't really have the excuse of socio-economics, or environment, which, as we're led to believe, are always (or at least should be) forgivable. But this group of mediocres and moderates (which always seem to be the worst, don't they?) has no excuse for their ignorance. In fact, and I feel strongly about this, most of these people think they know a ton about that which they know nothing. So the moderate, the uninformed, plagued with pseudosis, knows little because of their own mental incompetence, their ignorance far more psychiatric than environmental.
So where does Scharffen-Berger fit into this mess of ignoramuses, pseudopods, and champions? Well, it's sort of tough to say. The company seems to strattle both sides, selling chocolate in markets and stores all over the country in mass quanities, owned by Hershey's . . . yet they also have an artist series, and limited edition blends from exotic and rare beans, which all seem to point to, well, a great chocolate company. Have they somehow done it all?
Judging by these bars below, the mainstays, I'd say possibly. These bars are good, and better than pretty much anything else you'd find at the supermarket. Are they amazing? No, not really. But they're good. Really good.
P.S. Reviews of limited edition bars to come.
I was watching Emeril on the Planet Green channel, and he was cooking a variety of dishes using Bellwether Farms yogurt and cheese. I recognized the logo—I've seen their sheep's milk yogurt at Whole Foods, but never tried it. I was a little wary of sheep's milk products, to be honest . . . I mean, I didn't even know sheep were milked for human consumption. Apparently they are.
Anyways, I decided to give the yogurts a try, as well as look for their elusive cheese, crescenza. I went to Whole Foods in Woodland Hills—they had the yogurt in all five flavors, but I had to order the cheese. It came in about a week later . . . all three pounds of it.Reviews:
I bought all four flavored yogurts (vanilla, strawberry, blueberry, and blackberry), and they were all delicious.
There's a certain sharpness, or tang, to the sheep's milk yogurt, and it's a bit more liquidy than the cow's milk yogurt I'm used to. But, after getting adjusted to the differences, I found this yogurt to be smooth, creamy, and full of unique flavor. And, like Emeril suggests, lamb marinated in this yogurt must be divine. Final thoughts: vanilla is my favorite flavor, with the little black specks distributed throughout, and the yogurts, overall, are definitely of the best on the market.
On to the cheese. Crescenza . . . this is the first time I've tried this cheese. It is a soft, cow's milk cheese, barely stiff enough to be packaged. I almost had to squeeze it out of its shrinkwrap to use it. Nonetheless, I found the cheese smooth, mild, and milky. And again, like the yogurts, the cheese is very unique, especially texturally. I've never really had any cheese that I can compare it to. I think it would be an excellent choice for a grilled cheese sandwich, especially due to its meltability. Recipe to come?
Availability and pricing: available at Whole Foods (possible special order), $2.79/each for yogurt, $8 for 1/2 lb. of cheese.