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Archive for February 17, 2009

FREEBIE & NEW PRODUCT: Starbucks Instant Coffee, VIA Ready Brew

Starbucks Instant Coffee Starbucks introduces VIA Ready Brew. It’s “our amazing new way to make a truly great cup of coffee, just by adding water,” says the company promotional material. “This isn’t like instant coffee you’ve ever tasted before. This is rich, flavorful, aromatic Starbucks coffee—in an instant.”

Made with the highest-quality, ethically-sourced Arabica beans, Starbucks claims to have “found a way to microgrind them in a way that preserves all their essential oils and flavor–trust us, you won’t find anything like VIA Ready Brew anywhere else.” “We have been working on this project for more than 20 years,” Starbucks said, “and have a patent pending on the technology that delivers Starbucks coffee in an instant form.”

You don’t have to trust them on this point: You can send for a free sample and try it for yourself: The instant coffee is available in Columbian and Italian Roast. VIA will be sold online and in Starbucks stores in packs of three for $2.95 or packs of 12 for $9.95—a cup of instant Starbucks for under $1.00.

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FREEBIE: Jelly Belly Jelly Beans

Love Jelly Belly jelly beans? From today through Sunday, February 22, you can buy the “irregulars,” called Belly Flops, regularly half the price, at an even deeper discount: buy 3 bags of Belly Flops and receive 2 bags free of charge.*

Just place a minimum of 5 bags of Belly Flops in your shopping cart at and you will automatically receive an $18 discount (the cost of two bags). You can also buy a 12-count case of Belly Flops for only $50 (regular price $97.20). There’s free shipping for any order over $50**.

Belly on, dudes!

*Discount only applies to the first five Belly Flops 2 lb. bags and/or the first 12-count Belly Flops case in your shopping cart. All additional bags or cases will be charged at full price. Offers may be used together–five Belly Flops 2 lb. bags and one Belly Flops case in one order will activate both discounts simultaneously. Offer good until February 22, 2009 at 11:59pm PT, or while supplies last. No rain checks.

**Merchandise total must equal or exceed $50 for free shipping to apply. Shipping cost is added before discount is applied–ordering six or more Belly Flops 2 lb. bags during the discount period will activate the free shipping option as well as the $18 discount. Applies to UPS Standard Shipping (excludes heat-sensitive items and other items requiring expedited shipping). Offer is valid only on, and may not be valid with any other offer. Orders shipping to multiple addresses must amount to at least $50 per address to qualify for free shipping. There are no returns, refunds or exchanges on outlet product. Other restrictions may apply.

Belly Flop Sale

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NEWS: Amano Chocolate Wins 5 Awards From London Academy Of Chocolate

Amano Cacao Nibs

Madagascar bar and cacao nibs.

America has a new president, but also a new king…of chocolate. In mid-2006, we heard the buzz through the chocolate grapevine that some great chocolate was being produced by a physicist in Orem, Utah. We called to get some and were told by founder and chocolatier Art Pollard that he would let us know when the bars were ready for release. We were thrilled with them, and named Amano Artisan Chocolate, a Top Pick Of The Week. In the summer of 2007, at the Fancy Food Show, we watched at Amano’s booth as a stream of well-known chocolatiers stopped by to taste the goods of the new guy in town.

The small chocolatier, using traditional and antique equipment and incorporating both modern and ancient chocolate-making techniques, has received steady recognition. In addition to winning 2007 Outstanding New Product at the Fancy Food Show, some other awards include:

– 2007: L.A. International Chocolate Salon, Best Dark Chocolate and Best in Salon
– 2007: San Francisco International Chocolate Salon, Gold Medal for Best Dark Chocolate, Best Dark Chocolate Bar and Most Gifted Chocolatier
– 2008: Seattle Luxury Chocolate Salon, Best Dark Chocolate
– 2008: London Academy of Chocolate, Bronze Medal, “Bean To Bar” Category

This year, Amano Artisan Chocolate has made a clean sweep at the prestigious Academy of Chocolate Awards in London, held last week. In this “Olympics” of the chocolate world, each Amano chocolate bar submitted received an award:

– GOLD: Madagascar 70%
– SILVER: Ocumare 70% (Venezuela)
– SILVER: Montanya 70% (Venezuela)
– BRONZE: Jembrana 70% (Indonesia)
– BRONZE: Ocumare Milk (Venezuela)

With the Gold win for the Madagascar bar, Amano has claimed the highest award ever given to an American company for bean-to-bar dark chocolate (i.e., a company that buys and roasts its own beans and makes its own chocolate, as opposed to chocolatiers that purchase couverture chocolate from other manufacturers to make their bars and confections). Amano competed against more than 60 premium chocolatiers from around the world; more than 440 entries were judged in 14 categories. An esteemed panel of judges consisted of Academy members, Michelin-starred chefs, food writers and international chocolate professionals.

Past Academy Of Chocolate awards have been dominated by such esteemed industry names as Amedei (Italy), Valrhona (France), Michel Cluizel (France), and Domori (Italy)—all NIBBLE favorites. (Continue paragraph here). This is the first time that an American company has been honored in such a resounding way by the Academy. In fact, this is the first time the Academy has awarded Gold and Silver awards to an American chocolate company for dark chocolate. That each chocolate bar in Amano’s entire line (the company produces only bars) was given an award is an almost unheard of accomplishment. Last year, Amano was the first American chocolate company to receive an award for making dark chocolate—a Bronze for the Madagascar, which this year took the Gold. It’s in the DNA of dedicated artisans to strive to improve quality with each batch that they make. It’s especially rewarding when the industry’s tastemakers take notice. And it’s rewarding to all chocolatiers in the United States that a small American start-up is given the same accolades as longtime pillars of European artisan chocolate.

More Amano News

Amano has just debuted five new cacao nib varieties: Madagascar, Ocumare, Jembrana, Barlovento (Venezuela) and Accra (Ghana). Unlike other chocolate makers, who package their nibs abroad, Pollard and his team roast the beans and package the nibs on-site. They taste wonderfully fresh. If you are a chocolate geek, as we are, you’ll want to get them all ($9.95 to $11.95 per 6-ounce bag) and have a nib tasting. Not surprisingly, the nibs taste as different as the chocolate made from them, and it’s a rare experience to taste and compare the nibs and the bars made from them. Nibs can be tossed into salads, savory and sweet sauces, baked into cookies, cakes and brownies, and eaten as high-antioxidant “health food.”

All products can be purchased at The company is still waiting for the packaging for the Montanya and Ocumare Milk bars, so you’ll find them in the online shop under “Previews.”

15% Off Orders of $100 +

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