phone your order

View My Basket link buton  Checkout

Vanilla Products Link Button

Organic Cocoa and Cacao Products Link Button

Fair trade kitchen items


my account link button

wholesale information link button

quality guarantee link button


payment methods link

shipping methods link

verisign payment services logo

Archive for September, 2008

Dulce de Leche

Monday, September 22nd, 2008

Dulce de LecheI made this delicious dessert the other night with the help of my daughter Lucia. This is a super easy recipe that uses a minimum of ingredients, little skill in the kitchen, and tastes amazing… perfect for me. The thing I really loved about this recipe is how the vanilla does such a great job of framing the sweetness of the dessert without overpowering it.

Dulce de Leche
1 quart of whole milk
1 1/2 Cups of sugar
1 whole vanilla bean, split down the middle and scraped of all its seeds
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Boiling Dulce de LecheCombine all the ingredients in a large saucepan and heat over medium until all the sugar is dissolved. Once the liquid reaches a simmer, add the baking soda and reduce to low heat.

Continue cooking on low heat and resist all temptations to turn up the heat because this stuff will burn if you’re not careful and it is really tough to wash off (trust me).

After 1 to 1 1/2 hours you should have a thick, caramel colored syrup that smells delicious. Simply strain the liquid (to remove the vanilla bean and any of the foam that accumulates on the top) and store in a jar. Use as a topping for cookies, pies, bread, and of course, ice cream.

The King of Foods

Sunday, September 7th, 2008

Several weeks back I jaunted over to our local public library to pillage the publically-funded DVD collection with little in mind, and even less else to do.  After browsing through the unmanageable labirynth of alphabetically arranged titles, I moved to the tried and true documentary section to see just what interesting topics awaited me on my continuous quest to figure out our world this weekend.

Luckily, I stumbled upon an interesting title and (because we have tendancies to judge the proverbial book by its cover) rented it on sheer impulse: King Corn.  

This documentary explored a number of impacts corn has throughout our society from diet and culture, to governmental control on the commodity and how a landmark decision from former Secretary of Agriculture Earl Butz to purposefully over-produce the crop has led to a total immersion of corn-based products in our food.  Corn-fed beef saturates our supermarkets and is actually less healthy for cows than their normal grass/wheat diet, and in turn, unhealthy for those consuming their meat.  Corn syrups, are found in almost EVERYTHING as a sweetener, and add a high number of empty calories to the foods and syrups they sweeten.  We chose to sell Sonoma Syrup Co.’s Flavored Syrups in our store for that very reason.  Sonoma uses pure cane sugar as a base and not high fructose corn syrups like almost all of their competitors like Torini, Monin, and Routin.  Corn syrup definitely isn’t better tasting or good for you (it actually is a pretty nasty concoction requiring sulfuric acid among other chemicals to process it), it’s just cheaper to use because we produce so much corn, which the U.S. government pays farmers to do ($9.4 billion dollar a year in government checks to corn farmers).

It was a pretty interesting investigation, the two boys buy an acre of land in Iowa and farm it in corn, showing the whole process of growing, harvesting, and selling the crop along with their experiences in a small-town in the midwest, just farming.  You can watch the film’s trailer here.

Skybar Cocktails: Passion Fruit Margarita, Lemon Spritz

Monday, September 1st, 2008

Also known in Spanish as the chinola, the passion fruit is exquisite and more than bursting with tropical flavors unlike any of its more common relatives. This drink is served at The Shore Club in chic Miami Beach for $16, but, seeing as though normal people like you and me probably won’t be strolling in The Shore Club’s bar any time soon, we’ve got you covered. Here are two of their recipes you can make at home using Agave Nectar, and Sonoma Syrup’s famous Simple Syrup.

Passion Fruit Margarita
1 ½ ounces tequila (Partido Blanco preferred)
1 ounce spring water
juice of half a passion fruit (save the shell)
¾ ounce organic agave nectar

Mix ingredients into an ice-filled shaker. Shake; strain into a cocktail glass. Fill passion fruit shell with mescal and float on top.

Lemon Spritz
½ ounce simple syrup
¼ ounce of limoncello

Mix ingredients plus 3 ounces of champagne in an ice-filled mixing glass and stir. Strain into a flute. Float grenadine on top with bar spoon. Garnish with a lemon twist.

Looking for more Miami cocktail secrets? Check out the Miami Herald Food and Living.