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TIP OF THE DAY: Sansaire Sous Vide Machine

Sansaire Sous Vide Machine

Sansaire Sous Vide

Sous Vide Filet Mignon

Sous Vide Filet Mignon

Sous Vide Filet Mignon

Sous Vide Machine

[1] The Sansaire Sous Vide Immersion Circulator. [2] The back and side of the Sansaire, showing the clip that attaches to any pot. Step 1: Attach Sansaire to pot filled with water (photos 1 and 2 courtesy Sansaire. [3] Step 2: Season your food and place it in a cooking bag. [4] Place the bag in the water and set the time and temperature (photos 3 and 4 courtesy Williams-Sonoma). [5] Voilà: Cooked to your exact wishes. (Photo courtesy Frankie Celenza, Frankie Cooks | You Tube. Watch the video to see him cook the meat). [6] Before Sansaire, a sous vide machine was this big (photo courtesy Sous Vide Supreme).

 

COOKING SOUS VIDE WITH SANSAIRE

You’ve no doubt heard about sous vide (soo VEED) cooking. You may even have heard other home cooks say it produces the moistest, tenderest, most succulent and flavorful food, cooked to perfection.

So why haven’t you tried it?

Maybe it’s the lack of counter space for a sous vide machine (photo #5, about 14″ x 11″ footprint); or maybe it’s the price tag (up to $400, even $800)?

Now, you can spend less than $200 and cook sous vide with pots you already have, with Sansaire’s Sous Vide Immersion Circulator.

There’s no bulky countertop machine, but a far smaller device that stores and travels easily.

Sous vide cooking uses precise temperature control to achieve perfect, consistent results, portion after portion, time after time.

Foods are cooked evenly from edge to edge, to exactly the doneness you want. Temperature control keeps water within one degree of its ideal setting—a process that can’t be replicated by any other cooking method.

You don’t have to be a gourmet cook.

Sous vide cooking is an easy way to prepare any everyday dish as well as fancier ones. One of our editors even cooks his scrambled eggs sous vide to his desired consistency. (It also poaches and makes hard-boiled eggs.)

The sous vide technique was developed in France to easily cook fine meals on trains, many portions at a time. Sous vide guarantees, for example, that a steak or piece of fish will turn out exactly as the client wishes.

The quality of the food it produced attracted fine French chefs and caterers. Sous vide machines quickly appeared in some of the world’s best restaurants.

It took a number of years for a home version to appear (photo #5), and just a couple of years after that for Sansaire’s conveniently small model that simply clips on to your pots.

It’s not just for dedicated home cooks: It’s for those who don’t cook more often because they don’t have the time to cook and clean.

Treat yourself to a Sansaire sous vide for $168, on Amazon.

Give one as a Mother’s Day, Father’s Day or graduation gift.

You can also give it as a new baby gift! It heat milk or formula to precisely 98.6°F for worry-free feeding.

Is sous vide cooking an adjustment to your process? Yes, but a very small one, like switching to an induction cooktop. You get the hang of it in very short order.
 
 
THE BENEFITS OF SOUS VIDE COOKING

We love sous vide: consistency, perfection, precise, predictable results. Plus no pots, pans, grills or ovens to clean. The only thing your pots contain are water, and sealed bags containing individual portions.

Sous vide tenderizes tough cuts, keeps poultry juicy (no dry white meat!), cooks fish to perfection, retains the nutrients of vegetables, and uses less fat without sacrificing flavor. It makes perfectly poached eggs (or other style) every time.

You can turn out perfect filet mignon and duck confit, but also everyday dishes from breakfast eggs, grain dishes, vegetables, sides, fish tostadas, chicken tikka masala, to dulce de leche.

You can pasteurize raw eggs for mousse, Caesar salad, steak tartare and other recipes.

There’s no cooking food to check and re-check. The machine keeps the water at a specific temperature for a specific time, at the end of which your food is ready to eat.

More blessings of sous vide cooking:

  • Save time: Make whole meals in the one pot with no cookware to clean afterwards.
  • Foolproof results: Temperature control keeps water within one degree of its ideal setting.
  • No watching the pot. Sous vide enables unattended cooking, so you can spend more time with your guests or family.
  • No meal prep stress: One less pot to watch while turning out a meal.
  • Dinner is ready when you are: Foods won’t overcook while they hang out in the water bath.
  • No unwanted cooking aromas. You may enjoy the scent of meat and garlic from conventional cooking for a while. But unless you have a great ventilation set-up, you may not enjoy them hanging around the next day or the next.
  •  

  • Try different recipes at the same time, in the same pot: Individual bags allow for individual flavors. Try sweet and sour chicken in one bag, teriyaki chicken in the other.
  • Please everyone: If someone doesn’t like cilantro, use another herb or seasoning in his/her pouch.
  • Use less fat: Cooking foods in a sealed environment allows you to coat proteins and vegetables with a fraction of the amount of oil or butter. Plus, vegetables retain all their nutrients in the sealed bag.
  • Gentle cooking: especially with meat, it means that the juices stay in the muscle and don’t run out when cut.
  • No plastic, no landfill option: Reusable silicone bags are available to enable green and plastic-free cooking*.
  • Small footprint: Roughly the size of a bottle of wine.
  • Better than slow cooker cooking: There’s never anything overcooked.
  • Portable: It’s easy to take the unit to another home to cook your dish.
  • Saves money over the original sous vide technique. The original Sous Vide Water Oven was $499 and required a vacuum sealing system to contain each serving, for another $80 plus plastic refill rolls at about $16 to $30 (depending on size).
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    ADD-ONS

    To ease yourself into sous vide cooking, consider:

  • Sous Vide At Home Cookbook (photo #7): It’s the bible to start you off with confidence, showing times and temperatures to cook just about anything. On Amazon.
  • Reusable Bags (photo #2): If you’re not down with disposable plastic bags, these are the solution.On Amazon.
  • Sansaire Searing Kit: Put a perfect sear on a sous-vide steak. Blisters chiles, crisp chicken skin, add a char to anything. Designed specifically for home kitchen use, the kit includes a torch, a stainless steel rack and an enameled drip tray. On Amazon.
  • Steak Aging Sauce gives any steak the complex flavor of dry aging. Just add a spoonful to each pouch of meat before cooking. Se how lesser cuts taste like the expensive, aged cuts from steakhouses. On Amazon.
  •  
    For a large number of portions, consider:

  • Polycarbonate Tub. On Amazon.
  • Cooking Rack. On Amazon.
  •  

    Enjoy the era of sous vide cooking. Who knows what the next better-faster technique will be…but it sure won’t be for a while.
    ________________

    *Standard ziplock bags are fine and contain no BPA. S.C. Johnson, the company that makes both Ziploc brand bags and Saran Wrap, states on its website that it does NOT use BPA in the manufacture of these products.

     

    Sous Vide Cookbook

    Reusable Sous Vide Bags

    Sous Vide Cooking

    [7] Start with the Sous Vide At Home cookbook (photo courtesy Ten Speed Press). [8] Consider reusable plastic pouches (photo courtesy TopsHome). [9] Sous vide salmon (from the Sous Vide At Home cookbook).

     

      

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    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Jeff’s Famous Jerky

    We’ve had Top Pick jerkys before, but they are few and far between. Even small-batch artisan brands can be too tough for us, and/or leave remnants of gristle.

    Not so with Jeff’s Famous Jerky. Each variety we tried was melt-in-your-mouth tender, with exquisite flavor. When you can say jerky has exquisite flavor, you know you’ve hit the motherlode.

    Jeff’s Famous Jerkey, of Mission Viejo, California deserves to be famous, especially for its eye-opening bacon jerky. Bacon or beef, the meats are marinated in deep, layered marinades.

    Jeff’s produces more than a dozen flavors (below).

    The beef jerky has lower sodium than most brands, with no added MSG or nitrates. The bacon jerky has less sodium than pan-fried bacon.

    The only caveat with jerky in general is that it’s high in sodium (don’t buy it for anyone on a salt-restricted diet).

    But it’s almost fat free, and it’s solid protein: One ounce has about 23% of one’s daily value of protein. Before we continue, check out:

    TRENDS IN JERKY

    And America wants more of this high protein, low-fat, grab-and-go snack that’s naturally gluten-free*.

    America’s consumption of meat snacks has increased by 18% over the past five years, according to recent data from The NPD Group, a market research company.

    House-made jerky can be found more and more on the menus of fine casual restaurants.

  • At Pakpao Thai in Dallas, the Salty Thai Jerky is one of the top-selling shareable starters, paired with a crisp lager or pilsner. The Massaman Curry jerky pairs well with wheat beers.
  • The Greenhouse Tavern in Cleveland, makes a jerky plate which includes smoked andouille jerky, pork curry jerky, black pepper beef jerky, dehydrated maple syrup and sriracha chips.
  • At Chapter One restaurant in New York City, house-made jerky is used to garnish for duck wings and Bloody Bull cocktails (a Bloody Mary with added beef broth).
  •    

    Jeff's Famous Bacon Jerky

    Jeff's Famous Maple Bacon Jerky

    [1] Oh so delicious: Jeff’s Maple Brown Sugar Jerky. [2] Hot and sweet: Jeff’s Honey & Jalapeño Jerky. (all photos courtesy Jeff’s Famous Jerky).

     
    Jeff’s Famous Jerky is so tender and tasty, you can bring it to the dinner table and pair it with fine foods.

  • We really enjoy it with oysters on the half shell, and with ceviche or pan-fried scallops.
  • You can lie it across or at the side of a protein, crumble it on top as a garnish, or mix it into other dishes like vegetables and pasta.
  • Consider Spaghetti Carbonara (which has bacon in the recipe), Fettuccine Alfredo (bacon is a delicious addition to the cream sauce), or pasta simply tossed with olive oil, bacon jerky and shaved Parmesan cheese.
  • With beer or a hearty red wine, it’s a natural.
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    Jeff's Famous Beef Jerky

    Jeff's Famous Beef Jerky

    Jeff's Famous Jerky Maple Bacon

    [3] Jeff’s beef jerky. [4] and [5] Packages of Jeff’s Jerky.

     

    JEFF’S FAMOUS JERKY VARIETIES

    Jeff’s makes so many flavors of delicious, tender jerky that you won’t know where to start. (We suggest a build-your-own mixed box.)

    The flavors are variously spicy, sweet, hot, and combinations thereof. More importantly, they are clean, clear and natural, beautifully layered to imbue the meat with complex flavors.

    All are hormone-free, without added MSG or preservatives, made from American meats.

    Bacon Jerky Varieties

  • Honey Brown Sugar
  • Honey Jalapeño
  • Maple Brown Sugar
  • Sweet Cinnamon Roll
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    Beef Jerky Varieties

  • Black Pepper Sea Salt
  • Cajun Style
  • Cranberry Jalapeño
  • Habanero Heatwave
  • Jalapeno Carne Asada
  • Korean Barbecue
  • Orange-A-Peel
  • Old Fashioned Original
  • Pacific Red Hot
  • Sriracha Ghost Pepper
  • Sweet & Smokin’ BBQ
  • Sweet Teriyaki
  •  
    GET YOURS NOW!

    Single-flavor packages are $6.99 at JeffsFamousJerky.com. The beef packages contain 3 ounces of jerky; the bacon packages have 2 ounces.

    Build-your-own variety packs offer a 20% savings; and there are gift boxes with personalized notes.

    For Easter treats, tie a ribbon through the punch hole on top of the bag, and maybe add some bunny stickers.

     
    SOME JERKY HISTORY

    The word jerky comes from the Quechua language of the Incas, who called their dried meat “charqui.” But they were hardly the first people to make it.

    Neither were Homo sapiens, we can deduce. Homo erectus emerged 1.5 million years ago, and evidence found five years ago in a South African cave suggests Homo erectus that built campfires.

    The remains of animal bones and plant ash could be dated to a million years ago. [source]

    By the time Homo sapiens emerged, 195,000 years ago, man had been enjoying barbecue, and by extension jerky, for some time.

    Drying food is one of the first three food preservation techniques, along with salting and, in northern climes, packing with snow in ice caves or cellars.

    Meat dried over a smoky fire is protected from egg-laying insects and multiplying bacteria (they need moisture to live). Cutting it into thin strips makes it easier to chew.

    All the fat is trimmed from the meat because fat doesn’t dry. The dried meat could (and can) then be stored for long periods of time without refrigeration.

    While the prehistoric method of drying the meat was used by other ancient peoples, it was not known in Europe.

    The first visitors to the New World found Native Americans making jerky† from the meat of any animal they hunted (that which wasn’t consumed immediately).

    In addition to helping early colonists stave off starvation, later pioneers who headed west quickly learned to make jerky. It was easy to transport, and was an important, high-protein addition to their diet.

    The meat for jerky could be anything from buffalo to whale. Today jerky can be found in proteins as common as turkey, tuna and salmon, to exotics such as alligator and ostrich.

    Today’s jerky eaters have the luxury of enjoying it as a snack rather than a necessity. We also have the pleasure of using tender cuts of meat marinated in a variety of spices, salt and/or sugar—seasonings that were not available to most ancients jerky-makers.

    Modern jerky is dried in low-heat smokers, as opposed to the ancient technique of hanging strips of meat racks to dry in the hot sun. (The campfire could hold only so much.)

    If your only experience with jerky has been dry and tasteless jerky, you deserve some of the good stuff.
    ________________

    *Some brands or flavors within brands may use soy sauce or other glutinous ingredient in the marinade.

    †The pemmican you may have read about in tales of early America was dried meat mixed with dried berries and rendered animal fat. It was invented by Native Americans and used extensively by immigrants in the fur trade. Many years later, it served as a high-calorie food for Arctic and Antarctic explorers such as Robert Falcon Scott and Roald Amundsen.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Decorate Snacks With Candy Melts

    With Easter coming, you may want to get a bit craftsy.

    We’re not suggesting that you mold your own chocolate bunnies, make rocher nests of almonds and chocolate filled with your own truffles, or take on homemade Peeps.

    Rather, just decorate some of your everyday favorite snacks with drizzled candy melts in seasonal colors.

    It is as simple as:

  • Heating a drizzle pouch or two of candy melt drizzle (photo #1) in the microwave.
  • Laying cookies, potato chips, pretzels or other snacks on a baking sheet.
  • Snipping off a corner of the pouch and drizzling the color(s) over the snacks.
  • Chilling until set, about 5 to 10 minutes.
  •  
    That’s it!

    As with chocolate, candy melt brands vary by quality and price. Merckens* and Wilton are two quality brands.

    You also want to use fresh melts—nothing that’s been sitting in a cupboard (or on a retailer’s shelf) for a year.

    Here are some examples of colors to play with:

    WILTON CANDY MELTS

    Colors – Vanilla Flavor*

  • Bright Green
  • Bright Pink
  • Bright White
  • Red (vanilla flavor)
  • Turquoise
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    Other Flavors† & Colors

  • Light Cocoa flavored (dark brown)
  • Mint Chip flavored (lighter green)
  • Peanut Butter flavored (light brown)
  • Salted Caramel (light brown)
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    Wilton drizzle is $1.99 for a 2-ounce/56g pouch. One package covers 3 dozen mini pretzels, as shown in photo #1.

    You can buy them online or check the Wilton store locator for a retailer near you.

    Don’t buy candy melts way in advance to keep until you need them: Fresh candy melts work better.
     
     
    ________________

    *All colors of Merckens wafers are flavored with artificial vanilla, as are the vanilla-flavored colors from Wilton. Candy melts are great for decorating, and people, and some people melt the wafers into colored bark and other candy. But flavor-wise, they are no substitute for chocolate—or for hand-tinted white chocolate.

    †These are artificial flavors as well. The chocolate varieties are flavored with cocoa.

    ________________

       

    Pretzels With Candy Coating

    Drizzled Chocolate Potato Chips

    Homemade Cracker Jacks

    Flower Bites With  Pretzels & M&Ms

    Recipes for [1] [2] and [3] from Wilton: drizzled pretzels, drizzled potato chips and colored peanuts-and-popcorn. [4] Flower bites made with pretzels and Easter M&Ms, bound together with white candy melts. Here are instructions from Two Sisters Crafting.

     

    Merckens Candy Melts

    Merck's Candy Melts

    [5] Candy melts come in a rainbow of colors, that can be blended together to make still other colors. [6] These may look like chocolate wafers from a fine chocolatier, but they’re candy coating—candy melts—without any cocoa butter (both photos courtesy Merckens).

     

    WHAT ARE CANDY MELTS?

    Candy melts are not quite chocolate, but they look like it.

    They are made in two formats: disks/wafers to melt and then use to decorate confections (used to adhere the M&Ms in photo #4 and larger projects like these), and microwaveable pouches to drizzle (the used in photos #1, #2 and #3).

    Candy melts have several other names: compound coating, confectionary coating, decorator’s chocolate, pâté glacée and summer coating.

    Candy melts are an imitation chocolate product that substitutes vegetable oil for all or part of the cocoa butter in chocolate. In milk chocolate-flavored melts, whey powders, whey derivatives and dairy blends can be used instead of powdered milk.

    Thus, the flavor of candy melts is not as fine as chocolate. If you bite into a piece of “chocolate” that doesn’t taste as rich or velvety on the tongue, it may well be made from candy melts.

    People who think they “hate white chocolate” may have experienced white candy melts instead: artificial chocolate flavored with artificial vanilla. Sometimes, the most beautiful creations are crafted from candy melts that don’t taste as good as they should.

    In the U.S., commercial products made with confectionary coating must be designated “chocolate-flavored.”

    Why do people use candy melts if it isn’t as tasty?

  • It is significantly less expensive than chocolate (and kids likely won’t notice the difference).
  • For color, it is easier than tinting white chocolate.
  • It does not require tempering, but melts easily.
  • It can be thinned out to make as delicate a decoration as the user wants.
  • It hardens quickly, and once hardened, does not melt in the heat like chocolate.
  •  
    Before universal air conditioning, chocolatiers used confectionary coating to create their summer wares, including chocolate-dipped fruit.

    The white coating was often tinted pastel pink, blue and green. The products were called “summer chocolate,” not artificial chocolate.

    Again, that’s why so many people dislike white “chocolate.” Give the best white chocolate a try.
     
     
    TIPS

    There are plenty of videos on YouTube and online articles that explain how to work with the disks. However, since the ideas above use only the drizzling pouches, not much instruction is needed except: Start with a very small cut in the pouch or your drizzle may wider than you’d like.

    Here’s how to read the freshness code on candy melts bags.

     

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Aged Coffee & Nespresso Limited Edition Selection Vintage 2014

    Conventional coffee advice tells you to buy the freshest roasted beans, and grind them as you need to make coffee. Don’t buy more than you need for the week: Fresh is everything.

    But now, there’s aged coffee, a growing trend.

    Aged coffee is not analogous to old, stale, flat coffee. It comprises specially selected beans, that are aged using techniques that bring out the best aged qualities.

    While the marketing message compares aged coffee to aged balsamic vinegar, whiskey, wine, etc., that’s an apples-to-oranges comparison. Still, aged coffee isn’t exactly new. The first coffee drunk by Europeans was aged.

    THE HISTORY OF AGED COFFEE

    Venetian traders first brought coffee to Europe in 1615, but it wasn’t a “quick trip” from Venice.

    At the time, all imported coffee beans came from the port of Mocha, in what is now Yemen. It traveled south by ship around the Cape of Good Hope, then all the way up the west coast of Africa, continuing northward to England.

    By the time the coffee arrived, exposure to salt air over time significantly changed the taste of the coffee. When coffee was subsequently grown in Indonesia, the voyage was even longer.

    Europeans came to prefer the flavor over “fresh” coffee. In fact, when the Suez Canal opened in 1869, greatly shortening the voyage, Europeans still preferred the aged coffee to the fresher beans.

    And so it came to be that some coffee was intentionally aged for six months or longer in large, open-sided warehouses in shipping ports—plenty of salty ocean air to transform the beans.

    Over time, preferences changed. Fresh coffee beans became the preferred type of coffee in Europe, the U.S. and elsewhere.

    However, everything old is new again, and aged coffee has become the old new style to try.

    Here’s more history of coffee.

    AGED COFFEE HAS BEEN IN THE U.S. FOR A WHILE

    Starbucks has been aging coffee for certain single-origin coffees and for signature blends, such as Anniversary Blend and Christmas Blend.

    At Peet’s, you can find Aged Sumatra Coffee.

    Boutique producers also have introduced customers to the joys of aged coffee.

    Ceremony Coffee in Annapolis has a Barrel Aged Coffee Series.

    Water Avenue Coffee in Portland, Oregon sells Oak Barrel Aged Sumatra Coffee and Pinot Noir Barrel Aged El Salvador Coffee.

    So is aged coffee a connoisseur product, or a marketing throwback to the past?

    It is definitely the former! Everyone who savors a full-bodied cup of coffee black should try it. Why black? Well…add too much milk and sugar and you won’t taste the marvelous nuances.

    What To Know About Aged Coffee

       

    Nespresso Aged Coffee 2014

    Sumatra Coffee Beans

    Espresso Beans

    [1] A glass of Nespresso aged coffee from the 2014 vintage (photo courtesy Nespresso). [2] Sumatra coffee beans: aged (top) versus unaged (photo courtesy Starbucks Melody). [3] Roasted and ready to grind (photo © Nebojsa Rozgic).

  • Only certain types of green (unroasted) coffee bean varieties age well; but there’s no single formula. Indonesian beans that are full-bodied and low in acidity, particularly Sumatra and Sulawesi beans that are semi-dry processed, can develop a spicy, complex flavor as they age.
  • On the other hand, some bright, acidic wet-processed Latin American coffees (which mellow as they age).
  • The beans must be aged under the right circumstances, including humidity, or their oils will evaporate, taking with them much of the aroma and flavor. Depending on the bean and the terroir, the aging technique can vary.
  • As with wine, each vintage has its own characteristics, and must be aged accordingly to create a unique, complex taste profile.
  • Unlike with some wines and whiskeys, ongoing aging does not improve the coffee: It simply loses more of its flavor.
  •  

    Nespresso Aged Coffee 2014

    Nespresso Aged Coffee 2014

    [4] and [5] Nespresso Limited Edition Selection Vintage 2014 contains three sleeves.

     

    HOW TO CREATE AGED COFFEE

    Beans with the promise to age well are carefully aged under conditions that are best for the particular type of bean and vintage. As with many agricultural products, the “terroir” of the bean—the type of land, climate, seasonal weather and other environmental factors—produces different flavors and aromas in the finished product.

    After harvesting, the beans are bagged in burlap and regularly rotated to distribute moisture and prevent mold and rot. Some roasters prefer to age the beans in wine or whiskey barrels to impart still more flavors and aromas to the finished beans.

    The beans are usually aged at their origin, often at a higher altitude, where the temperature and humidity are more stable.

    Aging time ranges from six months to three years. Samples are roasted and brewed several times a year during the aging process and when the desired flavors have been achieved, are roasted after they are finished aging.

    A dark roast is best, as it evens out the flavor and accentuates the body of the coffee. Sometimes they are blended with other aged beans.

    However, some connoisseurs prefer a light roast on single-origin aged coffees, which better emphasizes the single-origin qualities.

     
    As more people embrace aged coffee, no doubt, there will be options to everyone’s taste.

    INTRODUCING NESPRESSO’S FIRST AGED COFFEE:
    THE LIMITED EDITION SELECTION VINTAGE 2014

    For the first time, super-premium coffee brand Nespresso now offers coffee lovers the chance to taste aged coffee.

    After years of development and expertise, Nespresso experts selected Arabica beans from the highlands of Colombia, which promised to age well. These beans, from the 2014 harvest, were then stored under controlled conditions for two years.

    They were then ready to roast. The experts selected a sophisticated split roasting technique: One part of the beans was roasted lighter to protect the elegant aromas specific to these beans; the other part was roasted darker to reveal the maturity of the taste and enhance the richness of the texture.

    The result: a cup of espresso that is rich in body, mellow in flavor and velvety-smooth in texture. An elegant woodiness is layered with fruity notes.

    The goal—to create a new sensory experience for coffee aficionados—has been achieved! The aged coffee is a real treat—and a great gift idea.

    Don’t let this limited edition slip through your fingers. Get yours now, in either original or Vertuo capsules.

    Then, we can both look forward to the next aged vintage!
     
     
    HOW MANY COFFEE REGIONS CAN YOU NAME?

    More than 40 countries around the world grow coffee.

    How many can you name? (The answer.)

      

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    CHOCOLATE STORE: 2 Beans, A Chocolate Paradise

    2 Beans Chocolate Store NYC

    Al Nassma Camel Milk Chocolate Bars

    Marie Belle Matcha White Chocolate Bar

    [1] Enter the emporium: coffee to the right, chocolate to the left (photo courtesy 2 Beans). [2] The first chocolate made with camel’s milk, from Dubai (photo courtesy Al Nassma). [3] Another winner: the matcha white chocolate bar from Marie Belle (photo courtesy Marie Belle).

     

    Depending on where you live, there may be a store dedicated to chocolate bars.

    2Beans is the go-to store in New York City. A gallery of the world’s great chocolates, it’s a dizzying experience for the novice and connoisseur alike.

    There’s fine coffee, too; the second of the “two beans.”

    You can buy all you want to bring back to your lair, or sit down and enjoy your chocolate with a coffee or wine pairing.

    The whole is greater than the sum of the parts: beyond a chocolate store, beyond a coffee bar, the whole is much greater than the sum of its parts.

    There are also high-end soft drinks (like Fentiman’s) and small bites for those who want food with their chocolate.

    The flagship store is a modern, two-story glass rectangle a block from Grand Central Terminal, at 100 Park Avenue (212-937-8914). While there may be larger concepts in other cities, right now 2Beans is where the action is in our town.

    There are currently three locations, with two more to open this year (you can find the other two are in the Turnstile Shops at Columbus Circle, and at Amsterdam Avenue and 82nd Street on the Upper West Side.

    ENTER THE EMPORIUM

    A wall of chocolate bars, a large glass case for bonbons, a stand-up coffee bar and pleasant upstairs seating for some chocolate with coffee or wine.

    2Beans is a chocolate store and coffee parlor located in New York committed in providing best confectionery items and coffee beans.

    There’s a chocolate for everyone: more than 50 brands from over 18 countries: famous, not-yet-famous, bean-to-bar, kosher, Fair Trade, organic, and raw chocolates, even sugar-free (mostly 100 cacao choices, as opposed to artificially sweetened).

    You start with the A’s (Akesson’s, Amano, Amedei…) and work your way through the alphabet of the world’s great artisan chocolate bars—including our own local and national producers.

    There are also boxed chocolates, fill-your-own chocolate boxes, seasonal chocolates and fun chocolates. There are pastries, if you’d rather have some with your coffee.

     

    There are even camel’s milk chocolate bars (photo #2), made by Al Nassma in Dubai (and the only camel’s milk chocolate made in the United Arab Emirates). The name means drifting breeze in Arabic, a welcome and gentle wind bringing cool respite from the heat of the desert.

    One friend, a chocolate bar aficionado, stops by weekly for a pick-me up (and take-me-home). For happy hour, the store is open weekly.

     

    MILK BOY SWISS CHOCOLATE

    Our favorite discover on this week’s visit were the bars from a Swiss bean-to-bar producer, Milk Boy.

    Made in Switzerland with cacao from sustainable farms in West Africa, the company offers

  • Dark Chocolate 60% cacao with pine tree oil
  • Dark Chocolate 85% cacao
  • Milk Chocolate
  • Milk Chocolate with crunchy caramel and sea salt
  • Milk Chocolate with lemon and ginger
  • White Chocolate with Bourbon vanilla
  •  
    We purchased the Milk, Milk with lemon and ginger and White Chocolate…and can’t wait to return for the rest of the line.

    The wrapper depicts the cow parade from villages to the Alps for grazing season. Each spring, the cows parade up the mountains to fanfare from the villagers. At the end of grazing season, they come back in for the winter.

    For art enthusiasts: the design was created by famous Swiss paper-cutting artist Esther Gerber. It’s just icing on the cake (wrapping on the bar?) of this exquisite chocolate.
     
    ANOTHER WINNER

    The Matcha White Chocolate Bar from Marie Belle.

    But in truth, how many winners are on the shelves at 2 Beans?

    We can’t even begin to count!

     

    Milk Boy 85% Chocolate Bar

    Milk Boy Chocolate Bar

    [4] Milk Boy, an outstanding brand from Switzerland. [5] Try the entire line (photos courtesy Milk Boy).

     

      

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