Chocolate Manufacturers – Guide for Chocoholics – Gail Ambrosius

We featured Gail Ambrosius Chocolatier in our Chocolate Manufacturers – Guide for Chocoholics.

About the Company:

Gail Ambrosius founded her chocolate business in 2004, based on a deep love of dark chocolate and all of its richly complex and flavorful possibilities. She holds monthly tastings in her shop and encourages you to drop by and learn more about the distinct flavors of single-origin chocolate.

Gail Ambrosius Chocolatier
photo courtesy of Gail Ambrosius Chocolatier

Gail Ambrosius Chocolatier specializes in creating deliciously exotic dark chocolates in her Madison, Wisc., shop daily for legions of loyal fans in the area and around the country. Much like coffee, fine chocolate takes on the characteristics of the regions where the cacao beans are grown. Gail uses single-origin chocolate for most of her truffles, meaning that the unique flavors of a particular region’s cacao are melded with the finest spices, fruits, teas, nuts and other natural ingredients for the ultimate chocolate experience.

Gail and her staff are constantly tasting, adjusting and concocting new signature truffles and treats, bringing in fresh seasonal flavors to their handmade chocolates. At the same time, Gail is involved in every step of the process from ensuring the cacao farmers receive fair payment to powering her shop with solar and wind power.

About the products:

Looking for a small, simply divine pleasure for a gift, a special occasion or to savor in a rare moment of pampering? Gail Ambrosius Chocolatier has a constantly changing assortment of flavor options that fits the bill. Below are just a few of the possibilities:

Gail Ambrosius Chocolatier
Gail Ambrosius Chocolate. photo courtesy of Gail Ambrosius Chocolatier

Boxed chocolates: Truffles are available in beautifully designed boxes in a variety of flavor assortments and sizes. Flavor assortments include: Travel, Teas and Liqueurs. You can also select your own flavor combinations from our wide variety.

Price per box: $4.25 for two-piece; $11.00 for six-piece; $21.50 for 12-piece; and $40 for 24-piece box.

Twelve on the twelfth: You can order their box of twelve chocolates to arrive on the 12th of each month (or as near as possible). This makes a great gift anytime or as a convenient way to keep yourself in chocolate each month. You can select the flavor and length of time you want them to deliver.

Price: $64.50 plus shipping for three months, billed in monthly installments.

Hot chocolate: Warm your senses with this small batch, shaved 65 percent dark Columbian chocolate. Melt into warmed milk or enjoy European style in hot water. Thick and decadent. One bag makes 25 eight-ounce servings.

Price: $15.00

Chocolate sauce: A chocolate sauce for grown-up tastes. Dark and thick, it’s perfect on fruit, ice cream or just treat yourself to a spoonful. Made with Rainforest Certified Ecuadorian chocolate.

Price: $9.00

Shipping: Gail Ambrosius Chocolatier chocolates are made by hand in small batches to provide the freshest chocolate experience. Chocolates should be eaten within two weeks of purchase or refrigerated.

Location:

Chocolates can be purchased at their retail store at 2086 Atwood Avenue, Madison, Wisc., or purchased online at www.gailambrosius.com.

Chocolate Manufacturers – Guide for Chocoholics – Bissinger’s

We featured Bissinger’s in our Chocolate Manufacturers – Guide for Chocoholics.

The Story of Bissinger’s

In a small kitchen in St. Louis, there is a place where tradition and quality are still the most important ingredients in the making of the world’s finest chocolate confections. This special place is Bissinger’s Handcrafted Chocolatier, one of the last handcrafted chocolatiers in the world. Bissinger’s has been making fine confections for more than 350 years taking pride in the fact that it has not sacrificed quality ingredients, taste, or craftsmanship to produce more candy at a lower cost. Even today, in an age of high tech production and immediacy, Bissinger’s remains committed to the high standards, heritage and traditions that have made the company what it is today.

bissingercaramelsBissinger’s History

The name Bissinger has been long linked to fine confections. In fact, in the early 1600’s, the Bissinger family was named Confiseur Imperial, or “Candy maker of the Empire” for excellence in the confectionery arts by Emperor Louis Napoleon.

Karl Frederick Bissinger left France in 1863, bringing his loyal candy maker and all of the Bissinger family making-secrets to the United States near Cincinnati, Ohio. In 1927 his son, also name Karl, opened the Bissinger’s candy-making kitchen and first Bissinger’s shop in St. Louis on McPherson Avenue. Today, the retail business has expanded to include three stores in St. Louis and one in Minneapolis. The Maryland Plaza store in St. Louis is a particularly fun place since it is a chocolate lounge where small plates of chocolates and chocolate desserts can be paired with special teas, coffees, wines and ports.

Handmade Confections

Bissinger’s chocolate confections are still made in the St. Louis kitchen, many using original recipes from the Bissinger family cookbook, dated 1899. Bissinger’s candy makers oversee every detail of each delectable treat. Hand-dipped and hand-decorated, Bissinger’s confections are made the old-fashioned way in copper kettles, on marble slabs with wooden ladles, and each box of chocolate is hand-packed and wrapped for delivery or sale. Bissinger’s only uses the finest ingredients in its family recipes, and continues to produce over 400 confections by hand. Bissinger’s is a company that always strives to provide its customers with unique and innovative confections. Seasonal specialties have been added to the Bissinger’s collection throughout the years, such as Chocolate-Covered Raspberries and Blackberries, both only available in July / August / September.

bissinger3More recently, Bissinger’s has focused their energies on making all-natural contemporary products which taste great and are good for you. Bissinger’s Naturals (black sesame, pumpkin seed, sunflower seed, almond, walnut), adult gummies (pomegranate white tea, blueberry acai, gogi guava camu camu, pink grapefruit with grapeseed extract), high antioxidant chocolate bars, olive oil truffles, porcini mushroom truffles, etc. are treats perfect for chocolate-lovers with a healthful eating plan.

Bissinger’s, based in St. Louis, is a leading confectioner of fine chocolate products, distributing to more than one million customers worldwide through retail, catalog and online sales. Bissinger’s products can also be found at upscale retail locations throughout the United States. For most chocolatiers, Valentine’s Day is the leading holiday. However, at Bissinger’s, the company has nine major seasons that require the company to be busy all year long: Valentine’s Day, Easter/Passover, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Chocolate-Covered Raspberry Season (July), Chocolate-Covered Blackberry Season (August/September), Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas/Hanukkah. This consistent seasonal demand allows them the opportunity to search the world for the finest packaging and gift ideas to marry with Bissinger’s fine chocolate.

Bissinger’s Corporate Gifts

Bissinger’s has a corporate gifts line designed to meet the needs of today’s busy executives. From the Business Card Folding Box to the Corporate Truffle Box to the Corporate Deluxe selections, Bissinger’s Master’s Reserve Corporate line has a gift for everyone on your customer list!

Bissinger’s Online

In 1999, Bissinger’s launched its full-service e-commerce Web site at www.bissingers.com . Today the site generates more than 20% of total revenues for the company and has over 25,000 visitors each month.

The Chocolate Catalogue

Bissinger’s distributes eight catalogs annually, with unique items including hand-crafted chocolates, hand-roasted nuts, fresh and glaceed chocolate covered fruits, decorated mints, edible table decorations, fabulous gift-giving ideas for children and adults, and great confections to complement a new wine or dinner as a delectable dessert. For more information on Bissinger’s exquisite chocolate confections, please visit Bissingers.com.

Chocolate Manufacturers – Guide for Chocoholics – Chalmers Ganache

We featured Chalmers Ganache in our Chocolate Manufacturers – Guide for Chocoholics.

chalmers ganache

About Chalmers Ganache:

Founded in January 2004, Chalmers is the product of a Friday night family tradition of ice cream and TV, a beloved ritual made sweeter with the delight of a homemade ganache-like chocolate. Seizing the moment in the marketplace for a high-quality chocolate with more versatility, richness and natural dark chocolate flavor, Chalmers was born. Recipe experimentation resulted in Chalmers Ganache – made without high-fructose corn syrup unlike most traditional sauces and spreads available.

About the products:

Chalmers Ganache products are crafted from the finest imported European cocoas and blended to a luxuriously thick, silky texture. It is an exquisite, affordable chocolate indulgence and can be used in a myriad of recipes – spoon, melt, spread, or dip. Original Luxe Dark, Ultra Mint, and new Mucho Mayan Spice, are available in 8.25 oz. jars – and a beautiful gift set.

chalmers taste trio
photo courtesy of Chalmers Ganache

The stylish set includes three 8.25 oz. jars of Chalmers Ganache – one of each flavor: original Luxe Dark, Ultra Mint, and Mucho Mayan Spice, presented in a lush brown sueded gift box tied with Chalmers blue grosgrain ribbon. Suggested retail price for the set is around $30.

Additional epicurean products available online soon, will include industry-first “Patisserie Pack” presented in a pastry bag-like package for bakery/foodservice, drinking bowls and stylish logo “baby-Ts.”

The newest flavor, Mucho Mayan Spice, is a heady blend of cinnamon, chipotle chiles in Chalmers’ luscious dark chocolate ganache.

Location:

It’s a groovy little brand that’s making some waves in the fancy food world. They are available at select Whole Foods Market stores in GA, TN, SC, and NC, Naples Gourmet Grocer in Long Beach, Rice Epicurean in Houston, and other specialty food retailers as well as online at www.chalmersganache.com

Chocolate Manufacturers – Guide for Chocoholics – Swiss Maid Fudge

fudge
photo courtesy of Swiss Maid Fudge

About Swiss Maid Fudge:

Swiss Maid Fudge of Wisconsin Dells, WI specializes in decadent handmade from scratch candy, just like Grandma used to make!  Swiss Maid Fudge Candy Store has delighted Midwesterners for over 45 years with its decadent and delicious confectionary treats and now their candy is available for everyone to enjoy coast to coast. Owner Jane Heller grew up in the candy business. 

About the products:

Their classic milk and dark chocolate fudge is to die for but there’s plenty of unusual fudge flavors that are just as inviting such as seasonal favorites – Creamy Dreamsicle, Smores, Cookie Dough, Butter Pecan, Creamy Strawberry and Amaretto.

vanilla chocolate marble fudge
photo courtesy of Swiss Maid Fudge

Each day the staff is hard at working creating these and dozens of other sweet creations including mouth watering chocolate bars, caramels, salt water taffy, chocolate dipped angel food cake and brittles…to name a few.  Each recipe is made the European way using copper kettles and cooking over open-fired cast iron stoves. All of their homemade candy is created fresh daily in their kitchen using the finest ingredients and hand mixed on special confectionary tables. Made without artificial preservatives, artisanal candy makers at Swiss Maid Fudge cook, creatively package, and ship your order for you fresh – right from their kitchen!

Location:

Since 1962 her family has been keeping the locals and tourists happy with a delicious variety of fudges and other amazing treats that are now available nationwide at www.swissmaidfudge.com.

Chocolate Manufacturers – Guide for Chocoholics – Recchiuti Confections

We featured Recchiuti Confections in our Chocolate Manufacturers – Guide for Chocoholics.

michaelAbout Recchiuti Confections:

Consuming about 11 pounds of the stuff per person every year, America eats and drinks all manner of chocolate, from the mass-marketed all-American candy bars to the imported bonbons and truffles of Belgium and France. Using words like “seductive,” “sensual,” and “decadent,” Americans claim chocolate as their favorite flavor when it comes to desserts. All this, yet most people in the United States are only familiar with super-sweet “snacking” chocolate, and have very little exposure to premium, dark chocolate and its myriad varieties and complex flavor profiles. Enter Recchiuti Confections, an artisan company in San Francisco on a mission to introduce consumers to “real” chocolate and to share with people what it was meant to be. There’s no going back – one bite of these handcrafted morsels will change the way you think about chocolate forever.

Recchiuti Confections was created by Michael Recchiuti and his wife Jacky Recchiuti in 1997. Michael, a self-trained chocolatier, spent many years in the test kitchen experimenting with herbal and other infusions before finally brining his creations to the masses. He founded Recchiuti Confections with the idea that once you introduce truly exquisite chocolates to people, they will be won over instantly and forever. Then, as now, he achieved those exquisite chocolates by painstakingly selecting each ingredient – all natural – that would go into the final creation. Michael is constantly on the lookout for the freshest herbs and spices that make Recchiuti Confections a necessary indulgence and have made them an obsession to consumers nationwide.

About the products:

Everything at Recchiuti Confections is handmade in small batches using traditional European techniques.

Over time, other confections were added to the Recchiuti repertoire including dessert sauces that taste as good straight from the jar as they do over ice cream, over-sized gourmet chocolate bars, heavenly Fudge Brownies, chocolate-coated Key Lime Pears and a do-it-yourself S’mores Kit. Here are two of their most popular products:

recchiuti confectionsCreativity Explored Box III (3.5 oz, 8 pieces) $21 **This is a gift that gives back!**
Recchiuti Confections released brand new collection of art-adorned chocolates. The third in the Creativity Explored series features the work of Vincent Jackson, Bay Area artist and long-time CE studio contributor. Pieces of Burnt Caramel chocolate serve as tiny canvases inspiring the artist to create something compelling, beautiful and delicious. 
 
Your purchase of the Creativity Explored series helps the organization continue its work. each sale goes to Creativity Explored, a nonprofit visual arts center where artists with developmental disabilities create, exhibit, and sell art.

 

recchiuti confectionsBlack Box (16 pieces; 8 ounces) $44
A chocolate assortment containing Tarragon Grapefruit, Burnt Caramel, Lavender Vanilla, Sur de Lago, Lemon Verbena, Spring Jasmine Tea, Pearl Mint Tea and Star Anise & Pink Peppercorn, Ginger Heart, Force Noir, Kona Coffee, Sesame Nougat, Rose Caramel, Candied Orange Peel, Bergamot Tea and Piedmont Hazelnut.
 
Awards:

In 2005 Michael’s book Chocolate Obsession (Stewart, Tabori & Chang), co-authored with renowned pastry expert Fran Gage, was released to wide acclaim; the book was a finalist at the 2006 James Beard Awards and won high honors for photography and design at the 2006 International Association of Culinary Professionals annual conference.

Recchiuti creations have received praise from hundreds of upscale consumer publications, critics and the food and wine industry in general. Currently, new chocolates and confections are being developed with Michael finding new ways to make the chocolate consuming public happy and…obsessed.

Locations:

In 2003, Recchiuti Confections opened its first retail store in San Francisco’s Ferry Building Marketplace; the renovated historic building has become a mecca for the artisan food community and a destination point for food lovers everywhere. Meanwhile, chocolate lovers across the U.S. are able to purchase online at www.recchiuti.com

Chocolate Manufacturers – Guide for Chocoholics – Jer’s Handmade Chocolates

We featured Jer’s Handmade Chocolates in our Chocolate Manufacturers – Guide for Chocoholics.

Jer's Handmade Chocolates
photo courtesy of Jer's Handmade Chocolate

About Jer’s Handmade Chocolates

Making peanut butter confections started as a hobby in college for Jerry Swain, and in 2001 he founded Jer’s Handmade Chocolates.

With unique, award winning flavor combinations, Jer’s uses all natural peanut butter and chocolate in combination with rice crisp, pretzel, toffee, or caramel. The award winning chocolate flavors now come in gourmet chocolate peanut butter bars and peanut butter brittles in decadent flavors. With more than 75% of all candy bars sold in the U.S. containing peanuts or peanut butter, Jer’s takes a classically loved combination of chocolate and peanut butter to a gourmet level.

Products and flavors:
Signature Collection:
• The Original Incrediball: Jer’s Original Crispy Peanut Butter Recipe, created in Milk, Dark, or White Chocolate
• Pretzo Change-O: Baked Pretzel Bits & Peanut Butter Center, offered in Milk, Dark or White Chocolate
• Toffee Break: Homemade savory toffee chips married with natural Peanut Butter in Milk, Dark or White Chocolate
• Cara Mella: Creamy Homemade Caramel & Peanut Butter center, double-enrobed in Milk or Dark Chocolate
Peanut Butter Bars:
• Original IncrediBar Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter
• Pretzo Change-o Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter
• Toffee Break Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter
• Cara Mella Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter
Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Brittle Bites:
• Coco Nutty Dark
• Pretzo Change-o Milk
• Yippee Cayenne Milk
• Toffee Break Dark

Ingredients and Quality:
• Handmade – All Jer’s products are hand crafted, not machine processed.
• Certified OU-D Kosher
• Real Ingredients – No compromises. Everything from the sugar to the peanut butter is
real and of the highest quality.
• All-natural peanut butter (not homogenized). Jer’s uses the most premium Valencia peanuts and peanut butter and supports US Farmers by sourcing them domestically.
• No Trans Fat
• No Hydrogenated Oils

Jer's Handmade Chocolates
photo courtesy of Jer's Handmade Chocolates

Awards:
– Best First Time Piece, 2001, International Confectioner’s Conference
– Best New Piece, 2002, 2008, International Confectioner’s Conference
– Best of Show, 2002, 2003, 2008 International Confectioner’s Conference

Location
Jer’s products are available online at www.jers.com as well as several fine food stores such as Whole Foods, Henry’s, Bristol Farms, D’Agostinos, Fresh Market and more.  Also, make sure you check Jer’s Chocolates Facebook fan page.

Chocolate Manufacturers – Guide for Chocoholics – Navitas Naturals

We featured Navitas Naturals in our Chocolate Manufacturers – Guide for Chocoholics.

navitas naturals
photo courtesy of Navitas Naturals

About Navitas Naturals

Since 2003, Navitas Naturals’ mission has been to provide premium organic power foods that increase energy and enhance health.  Their products are of the highest quality, sourced directly from farmers, and are cultivated sustainably and in accordance with fair trade practices. “We look to the past for inspiration,” says Adelman.  “Our products come from the wisdom of ancient cultures and their traditional use of plants for both culinary and medicinal purposes.” The company also supplies power food products as ingredients to other food and beverage companies.

About the products:

Navitas Naturals is making it easy for people to bring home the art of chocolate making with their innovative new Organic Superfood Chocolate Kits.  Available in three delicious organic superfood varieties – Goji Berry, Cacao Nib and Goldenberry – each of the fun and unique Kits creates 12 organic chocolates.
 
Navitas Naturals Organic Superfood Chocolate Kits are packed with antioxidants, and these healthy treats can be prepared in just minutes.  In addition to the Kit ingredients, the only other items needed to complete the easy recipe are a knife, a small bowl, a large bowl and an ice cube tray.  Each Organic Superfood Chocolate Kit contains raw: organic cacao butter, organic cacao powder, organic mesquite, organic lucuma, organic maca and the specific organic superfood which is featured in the chewy center of the chocolates (Goji Berry, Cacao nib, or Goldenberry).  “Raw cacao from Peru, goji berries from China, and goldenberries from Columbia are some of the most popular superfood items in the marketplace right now,” says Zach Adelman, President and founder of Navitas Naturals.

Navitas Naturals
photo courtesy of Navitas Naturals

Each of the organic superfoods featured in the Organic Superfood Chocolate Kits have been revered for centuries by indigenous people for their culinary and traditional medicinal uses, and now modern science is demonstrating their nutritional value.  For example, raw cacao is one of the best sources of antioxidants, the richest food source of magnesium, and offers a vast array of essential minerals and nutrients.  Goji berries are one of the highest known sources of antioxidants and they contain 18 amino acids and all essential amino acids.  Mesquite is of great value to diabetics because it contains fructose which does not require insulin to digest and it is also a good source of lysine (an amino acid), calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron and zinc.

In addition to the new Organic Superfood Chocolate Kits, Navitas Naturals offers a wide variety of organic superfoods from around the world, including green stevia, raw cacao, mesquite, lucuma, acai, yacon, mulberries, maca, camu camu, goldenberries, pomegranate, chia, flax, goji berries, hemp, raw cashews, a greens blend, and a line of Trail Power snack mix blends and Twister Power superfoods blends. 

Location:

Navitas Naturals products are widely available at hundreds of stores throughout the U.S. and Canada including Whole Foods Markets, and on many websites including Amazon.com.  For more information, delicious recipes or to purchase, please visit navitasnaturals.com.

Chocolate Manufacturers – Guide for Chocoholics – Original Beans

We featured Original Beans in our Chocolate Manufacturers – Guide for Chocoholics.

About Original Beans:

Original Beans is a new and innovative chocolate company that blends production of premium chocolate with restoration of some of the world’s most ecologically threatened regions.

Original Beans Chocolate
photo courtesy of Original Beans

Original Beans is a company built on an ecologically rich foundation with deep roots tied into a commitment to eliminate waste, enhance eco-productivity, increase biodiversity, and engage all in the quest for the highest quality. Their mantra “The Planet: Replant It” is the core of their process. For each bar sold, Original Beans plants a tree in the chocolate’s forest of origin. Each bar contains a lot number, which designates the location of a new tree so that customers can track their contribution on the company’s website: www.originalbeans.com.

About the product:

Original Beans chocolate comes in three varieties:

Esmeraldas Milk with Fleur de Sel (49% cocoa, 50-hour conch)—Ecuador
This chocolate – the first long-conch Arriba Milk – pays homage to the Esmeraldas’ lush nexus of jungle, river and sea – a unique terroir.

Cru Virunga (70% cocoa, 20-hour conch)—D.R Congo
This is the first-ever single-source chocolate from the heart of Africa: the Congo. The beans are grown at the margins of dense, unexplored forests, home to gorillas, okapis and the original pygmy people.

Beni Wild Harvest (68% Cacao, 20 – 60-hour conch)—Bolivia
Wild-harvested, this chocolate is conched for 60 hours, which creates a slight acidity with a lingering finish, and expresses notes of honeyed black tea, slightly tannic with a lush prune finish.

Location:

The chocolate is available for purchase online at www.drexeliuschocolates.com and at select retailers in the United States and Europe. For more info, please visit their website at OriginalBeans.com.