Sunday, April 14, 2013

Local students give up their Saturday morning to shine in the Kitchen!!!

What happens when middle and high school students volunteer their Saturday morning sleep time to a wonderful organization called REAP Food Group? They make breakfast for the masses of course! Below are some great pics of Madison students whipping it up in the kitchen, getting chummy with local chefs, and serving up hundreds of local Madisonians at a Dane County Indoor Farmer's Market. Kudos to all the students, staff, chef and REAP volunteers who came out in full force and woke up extra early to make a delicious breakfast and help get the word out about REAP's - Chef in the Classroom program.





















Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Community Supported Chocolate - Madison Chocolate Company


What do you think of the amazing new logo? Design by Tom Cranley
Most of you know that I have been working, working, working on staring my own chocolate business. Well, it is really happening. Madison Chocolate Company is my new baby. The process has been long and slow, but yet with each step, progress has been made. I have had to let some of my blogging go over the last year to make room for something a bit sweeter. 

For my first initial push of the business, I am offering a Spring Chocolate Share. Just like your agricultural share, yet made out of chocolate. I have been so encouraged by my local community,  that I wanted to find a way to continue sharing my passion with those who are willing to support the neighborhood chocolate maker. I am a micro-business, offering hand dipped, mouth melting chocolates. I want my business to always reflect the happiness that I get from making tempting treats and seeing others enjoy them! The process of making chocolate is so precise and technical yet so utterly intimate and artistic. I am working at this because I get something back from it. I am happy in the kitchen as making chocolate is simply pure magic.


Spring Chocolate Share - Madison, Wisconsin

Get your Spring Chocolate Share via Madison Chocolate Company! A CSC... Community Supported Chocolate! Madison Chocolate Company will offer its first share of chocolate goodness beginning this March. I am looking for those of you who are willing to commit to a chocolate share for three months. I have a personal business goal of purchasing a tempering machine in the upcoming months. This machine will enable me to hand dip more of my chocolates in less time. I hope to make this goal via this first run of a Community Supported Chocolate subscription! In the Spring Share, you will receive a box of chocolate goodies, chocolatier's choice (that's me), for late March, April and May. Each box will contain a mouth melting mix of around 14-16 pieces. The cost is $75.00 for three months = $25 per box. Support your local chocolate maker! I have a limited amount of subscriptions, and as always, first come, first serve. Exact Dates, more details, and pick-up times, TBD. Email me if you are interested. First Delivery – week of March 25th. March box spoiler alert: turtles.

I will be posting here with updates while I am working on my website.



 





Saturday, February 2, 2013

Farm-To-Table Breakfast Madison, February 9th!

Get out of the cold and into the kitchen!

Need something to do next weekend here in Madison? I hope to see you at the downtown indoor Dane County Farmer's Market! Join students from Madison's middle and high schools and Chefs Lisa Jacobson of Mermaid Cafe and Tory Miller of L'Etoile and Graze as they help create an amazing local breakfast! As a former educator, I am thrilled to see kids giving back to their community and having the chance to work with two amazing chefs to creating some ultra-delicious-local-eats! See you there!



REAP Food Group Announces  
Special Farm-to-Table Breakfast to Support REAP Food Group's
Chef in the Classroom Program 
Saturday, February 9th, at the Dane County Farmer Market
Madison Senior Center, 330 W. Mifflin St., Madison, WI
 

Join REAP Food Group on Saturday, February 9th at the Dane County Farmers' Market for a delicious breakfast prepared by local chefs, featuring products grown and produced by the familiar faces of DCFM market vendors -- ALL PROCEEDS FROM THE BREAKFAST SUPPORT REAP'S CHEF IN THE CLASSROOM PROGRAM!

Local Chefs Tory Miller of L'Etoile and Graze and Lisa Jacobson of Mermaid Café will lead a team of students from Sherman Middle and East High Schools in preparing a mouth-watering breakfast using ingredients sourced mainly from the adjoining market. This event not only showcases delicious seasonal ingredients and each chef's different, influential styles, but is a platform for students to implement the valuable skills they have learned while participating in REAP's Chef in the Classroom program. It truly is the students' time to shine!

Started in 2006, Chef in the Classroom works to teaches youth how to cultivate the tools of healthy eating through increased hands-on participation in scratch cooking, develop students familiarity with, and an appetite for, fresh local foods, and instill well-rounded knowledge of the local food system. This breakfast is the community's opportunity to see all of these lessons come together as the students work to prep, cook and serve up local fare. It is also our opportunity to say THANK YOU to the dedicated chefs that volunteer with the students year-round, helping mold them into positive, impactful members of our local food system.

The breakfast begins at 8:30am and runs until approximately
11am (or when the food runs out). Come early and hungry!
No reservations accepted.
Tickets sold at the door on a first come first served basis.  

Cost: $12.50 for a plateful of local food.
(Small portion available for $8.50).

MENU TO BE ANNOUNCED SOON.

For details about the breakfast or Chef in the Classroom,
please go to www.reapfoodgroup.org, or call (608) 310-7836.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

About REAP Food Group
REAP is a non-profit organization based in Madison, Wisconsin, focused on building a regional food system that is healthful, just, and both environmentally and economically sustainable. REAP connects producers, consumers, policy makers, educators, businesses and organizations to nourish the links between land and table. REAP is committed to projects that shorten the distance from farm to table, support small family farmers, encourage sustainable agricultural practices, preserve the diversity and safety of our food supply and address the food security of everyone in our community.
For more information about REAP visit www.reapfoodgroup.org.
  
 REAP no tagline 
  


Friday, November 23, 2012

Black Friday Chocolate


I just came back from my first Chocolate Trade Show! I loved it - it was amazing and I was buzzed out of my mind on theobromine! (In case you don't know what theobromine is, it is the feel good chemical in chocolate that keeps one coming back for more)

Theobromine has a similar effect than caffeine, but about 10 times weaker. Theobromine has diuretic, stimulant and relaxing effects. Theobromine can lower the blood pressure because it can to dilate blood vessels. Theobromine has stimulant properties, similar to caffeine. Unlike caffeine theobromine does not affect the central nervous system. Theobromine can also relax bronchi muscles in the lungs. Theobromine can be used as cough medicine. Studies indicate that theobromine acts on the vagus nerve, which runs from the lungs to the brain.- phytochemicals.com

The National Chocolate Show, held last weekend on the breezy shores of Lake Michigan at Chicago's Navy Pier, was a fest for those who love chocolate, wish to learn more about chocolate, or for those who make a living producing chocolate in some fashion or another.


All the big names in the chocolate industry were in attendance. Valrhona, Cocoa Barry, Callebaut, and a new name in my chocolate book, Luker. I was not familiar with this Colombian brand and was happy to make their acquaintance on my visit. Luker chocolate tastes amazing and I look forward to using it in some of my confections. 


Another very cool find from the show was Crio Brü. Crio is based out of Utah and they are selling ground cacao of the Criollo variety of bean. They are selling it as a drink to be brewed like coffee. This drink is delicious, full of antioxidants, and gives you an amazing boost without the caffeine. Look for it in your local specialty store of coffee shop. Ask for it if no one in your area is carrying it. If you enjoy the raw flavor of cacao and the feeling that it brings you, then you must get your hands on this stuff, absolutely amazing. Tip it back and drink cacao like the Aztecs were doing some 500 years ago! 


My other very nice "surprise" was seeing Pacari Chocolates. Pacari is a brand of chocolate from Ecuador. Of course my own internal happy compounds went off as I was able to chat it up with Pacari reps not only about my last trip down to Ecuador, but I was able to find out what this great company is busy doing. I learned that they are quite busy indeed. They are farming the Nacional Variety of cacao in Ecuador and not only doing it organically, but also bio-dynamically. They have earned the Demeter Certification which is a biodynamic certification. Pacari's chocolate is delicious and at this years International Chocolate Awards held in London, Pacari walked away with 10 awards, including the Gold Medal for Best Dark/Origin Chocolate Bar. Congrats to Pacari! They seem to have a very successful brand that is sustainable from the bottom up. I am currently eating a bar of their Raw 70% award winning chocolate as I write this and let me say, it screams nacional bean variety.  (total chocolate dork here)

For those of you who care about the chocolate you eat... get out there are purchase a bar of Pacari 70% raw. It won the gold medal this year at the World Chocolate Awards in London. This is what real chocolate should taste like. Break a piece off, put it in your mouth and let it melt and melt and melt. The flavors are so earthy and real I guarantee you will have a conversion experience. Let it melt in your mouth and just taste the amazing flavor profile of a chocolate that is definitely worth spending $$$ on. Nacional variety beans, Ecuador, fermented, Demeter Certified = delicious.



Bliss out - eat good chchocolate and enjoy your weekend.