This August 10th is National S’mores Day! To celebrate, Alter-Eco is teaming up with Global Exchange, an activist human rights organization, to promote the use of Fair Trade chocolate. Why? Many cocoa farmers live in poverty and do not have access to education, health care and human working conditions. With the help of Alter-Eco, the El Ceibo cooperative in Bolivia has invested in equipment to process and transport their cocoa. By selling on Fair Trade terms, these farmers are able to invest in high-quality production, increase their incomes and improve their living standards. El Ceibo benefits 800 families in the Bolivian Amazon by helping the farmers achieve higher living standards and protect their environment through sustainable agriculture.

Global Exchange and Alter Eco have a goal: to inspire the consumption of 1,500 irresistibly delicious and undeniably ethical Fair Trade s’mores nationwide. Whether you choose to make s’mores at your barbeque, campfire, or home, indulge in Fair Trade s’mores this summer and beyond! Participants can register their s’mores and sign a petition that will be sent to Hershey’s asking them to implement Fair Trade practices on the Global Exchange website.


Fair Trade has never tasted so good! Alter Eco’s Fair Trade and Organic chocolates are available in several mouth-watering varieties such as Dark Chocolate Velvet, Dark Chocolate Mint, Dark Chocolate Twist, Dark Chocolate Cacao (73% cacao with crunchy cacao nibs), Dark Chocolate Blackout (85% cacao) and Dark Chocolate Almond. Alter-Eco’s Organic Dark Almond Chocolate is made with sun-dried and slow-roasted almonds for a deliciously crunchy taste, the Dark Chocolate Twist is made with delicately prepared with crystallized orange for a zesty and unique flavor and the Dark Chocolate Velvet is made from the finest cocoa and a touch of organic milk to round-off the flavor and make it supremely smooth.

Alter Eco sources ingredients for their chocolate from marginalized farming cooperatives in the global south, harvested by the members of the El Ceibo cooperative located in the heart of the Bolivian Amazon who use sustainable farming methods that preserve the local agricultural biodiversity. The chocolate bars are then crafted with passion by a master chocolatier in Switzerland from all natural, organic and Fair Trade ingredients – free from artificial flavors, chemical additives and emulsifiers. Alter Eco’s chocolate can be purchased at Whole Food’s nationwide, for a complete listing of retailers near you, please visit Alter Eco on the web at:


Alter-Eco is a San Francisco-based gourmet food company that features a variety of delicious Fair Trade Certified products including gourmet dark chocolate, authentic jasmine rice, 100% Carbon Neutral extra virgin olive oils, sugar and quinoa. A team of fair trade visionaries and food-loving explorers on a mission to connect you to farmers and their honest foods, the Alter Eco brand reflects diversity in the faces, shapes, colors, landscapes, traditions, and cultures of the small farmers who cultivate them. Each product has a unique story and an authentic fragrance that will take gourmet enthusiasts on a journey of discovery from the kitchen, to the Himalayas, Palestine, Bolivia, Switzerland, and beyond.

Giveaway Details

Alter Eco will be giving away 3 delectable chocolate bars this month to honor National S’mores Day, and to encourage you to support Fair Trade chocolate! The three enticing flavors include: Alter Eco’s Dark Mint Chocolate, Dark Velvet Chocolate, and Dark Almond Chocolate. We’ll have 3 winners, one bar each.

Prize Descriptions:

altereco-darkchocolate-mintAlter-Eco’s Dark Mint Chocolate is bittersweet and refreshingly intense. This chocolate is a real treat for your taste buds—and for the cocoa farmers too! To make the chocolate, Alter-Eco uses the finest ingredients—grown and selected by farming partners in Bolivia and Paraguay through sustainable farming methods that preserve the local agricultural biodiversity —which are then crafted with passion by a master chocolatier in Switzerland. The chocolate is both Fair Trade Certified and USDA certified organic and contains a minimum of 61% of cocoa.


altereco-velvetAlter-Eco’s Organic Dark Velvet Chocolate is Fair Trade Certified and 100% natural – no chemical additives, artificial flavors or emulsifiers were used in its production. It is made from the finest cocoa and a touch of milk is added to round-off the flavor of this dark chocolate and make it supremely smooth. The cocoa in this chocolate was grown and harvested by members of the El Ceibo cooperative located in the heart of the Bolivian Amazon. By purchasing this chocolate, it directly helps 800 small-scale farmers achieve higher living standards and protect their environment through sustainable agriculture.


altereco-almondAlter-Eco’s Organic Dark Almond Chocolate is 100% natural and contains no artificial flavors or sweeteners. The chocolate is also Fair Trade certified, contains a minimum of 58% cocoa, and made with sun-dried and slow-roasted almonds for a deliciously crunchy taste. Alter-Eco uses small-scale farmers of the El Ceibo cooperative who cultivate cocoa crops using traditional farming techniques that produce the finest organic cocoa. The very best cocoa beans are selected and combined with organic unrefined cane sugar to make this deliciously rich bittersweet dark chocolate.


This giveaway is open to US residents only.

How to enter (required): Visit  and then come back and leave a comment telling us the name of your favorite product!

For additional entries (leave a new comment for each additional entry):
– one additional entry if you become our fan on FACEBOOK;
– one additional entry if you grab our button from the sidebar and post it on your blog, please post the link;
– one additional entry if you follow us on Twitter;
– one additional entry if you send a tweet about this giveaway (once a day only); make sure to include @1happyblogger. You may use the following to tweet: @1happyblogger For a chance to win a chocolate bar, go to’mores-day-chocolate-giveaway 
– one additional entry if you fave us in Technorati;
– one additional entry if you blog about this Giveaway with a link back to and
– one additional entry if you follow via email.


The giveaway ends on August 10, 2009 at the end of day, Pacific Standard Time. Alter Eco will ship the prizes.

*Please make sure you leave a comment for each additional entry so you get credited.
*Also, please make sure you typed in the correct email address.
*The winner will be announced via e-mail and has 2 days to get back to us or other name will be chosen.
*Incomplete entries will be disqualified & deleted.


RESULTS: Thank you all for participating! It’s been really fun reading your messages. Unfortunately, only 3 people win. Here they are:

Random Integer Generator

Here are your random numbers:


Timestamp: 2009-08-11 18:58:25 UTC

Congratulations, Megan B., Sharon McCloud and alka! You have 2 days to respond to our e-mail or other name will be chosen. Thank you!!

[Me] & goji – Interview with Alexander Renzi

This week we are honored to interview Mr. Alexander Renzi, one of the founders of [me]&goji, a US company that makes custom artisanal cereal.

Design your own cereal mix! photo courtesy of

Could you please tell us a little bit more about [me]&goji? How did it all start?

[me] & goji is the dream of three friends – adam, alexander, and carl – combining our passions for healthy food, unique products and good design: cereal couture, if you will. adam and I met our freshman year while playing soccer at Northwestern University, sharing many 6 a.m. dorm-crapeteria breakfasts before practice or class, and being asked to perform at a very high level without the proper fuel. This created our need.

After college I went to Los Angeles to run a tech start-up in Los Angeles while Adam took a job at Def Jam music group in NYC. Carl – who hails from Stockholm, Sweden – answered Adam’s craigslist post for a sublet while in the States for a consulting internship. Along with his slick blond hair and analytical mind, carl brings a dazzling knowledge of muesli, an extremely healthy, uncooked form of cereal popular in Europe. I decided to visit one weekend and after a spirited karaoke performance of “Sussudio” by phil Collins, we realize we have a talented group on our hands.

We dabbled with many business ideas (an american sake?), eventually deciding to address the need Adam and I discovered in college. Our solution results in America’s favorite breakfast food, cereal, revamped with the nutritional focus of muesli and the flexibility of customization.

On your interactive website, customers design their own mix. Which are the most popular ingredients? Is there a tendency like…let’s say, 2009 ingredients?

When we first started our company were surprised at how many different ingredients people were willing to try. People are really taking advantage of adding ingredients conventional cereals don’t offer. To alleviate the concerns people have about trying new ingredients, we adopted the return policy of if you do not like your mix for any reason, we will happily send you a new one, and even cover those pesky shipping charges! Some of our current top sellers are goji berries, bananas, coconut (my favorite), flax and chia seeds.

I love your “out of the box” packaging! Is there any benefit of having your product in a cilinder instead of a standard rectangular box? Or is it just for esthetic purposes?

The decision to use our Cereal Capsules was a very conscious choice. The following points were the rationale behind the choice:
Big value: packed with 50% more cereal (21oz, 600g) than the average box.
Freshness is locked in with an easy, pull-off foil seal. once opened, a tightly fitting cap keeps cereal fresher, longer.
Convenient and portable: fits in standard cupboards (if there is already one on your countertop) and makes taking cereal on-the-go easier than ever.
Art meets science: both functional and attractive, the cylindrical design makes pouring easy and mess-free. no more difficult-to-open bags or flimsy boxes. Easily recyclable.
Influenced by modern-minimalist interior design, we aimed to create an aesthetically appealing package that sits on your countertop and not in the cupboard.

We have featured [me]&goji on our sister site and have recommended it as a great gift because it is healthy and every cereal capsule can be personalized. Is there a message or customized title (that you can remember of) that makes you smile each and every time you think of it?

We absolutely love looking at the orders that come in every day to see what clever names people come up with on their Cereal Capsules. When we first started out, the messages were from friends and family, so notes like “This better be good Alexander” or “Wash your hands Adam!” would appear.

We now list our top 5 names each week on our blog: My favorite to date has been “added the gojis so the monks in silk gloves can hire repair workers for their stone monasteries” simply because I haven’t the slightest idea of what this person is talking about.

What does the future hold for [me] & goji?

As we approach our 1 year anniversary in September, we couldn’t be happier with all the support and positive feedback from our friends, family and customers. We hope to continue growing our company while upholding our high standard of customer service, and establishing [me] & goji as the go to cereal company. We firmly believe that healthy and natural doesn’t have to mean boring and tasteless.

Thank you very much for the interview!

To read more about [me]&goji or to order, please visit their website at

Mini Snowballs Recipe

Preparation Time: approx. 45 minutes
Baking Time: approx. 10 minutes
Total time: approx. 55 minutes
Servings: +- 20

125g (4.4 oz) butter
2 large eggs
5ml (1 teaspoon) vanilla extract
500ml (2 cups + 2 tablespoons) cake flour, sifted
10ml (2 teaspoons) baking powder
200ml (7/8 cup) milk

mini-snowballsSyrup ingredients:
250ml (1 cup + 1 tablespoon) sugar
pink food colouring
300ml (1 1/4 cups) fine dessicated coconut

Heat oven to 180 C/ 356 F.
Cream the butter and sugar until light.
Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then beat in the vanilla.
Fold in the flour and baking powder alternately with the milk to form a batter with a dropping consistency.
Spoon into greased mini cupcake trays.
Bake for about 10 mins until skewer comes out clean.
Remove from the oven and cool on a rack.

mini-snowballs-recipeTo make the Syrup:
Add the sugar and 250ml (1 cup + 1 tablespoon) water to a saucepan.
Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until the mixture thickens slightly.
Remove from the heat and stir in a few drops of colouring.
Dip the cool cakes into the syrup, then roll in coconut.


Black Bottom Banana Cream Pie Recipe

Another yummy-licious dessert recipe from

What a clever idea! A fudgy layer on the crust keeps the crust from getting too soggy… and it provides a fabulous chocolate surprise in every bite.


1 box (4-serving size) vanilla pudding and pie filling mix (not instant)
2 cups milk
1 Pillsbury® refrigerated pie crust (from 15-oz box), softened as directed on box
2/3 cup hot fudge topping
2 cups sliced ripe bananas (about 2 large bananas)
1 cup whipping cream, whipped
Chocolate curls, if desired

Black Bottom Banana Cream Pie
Black Bottom Banana Cream Pie


1.Make pudding mix with milk as directed on box for pie. Cool 30 minutes, stirring 2 or 3 times.

2.Meanwhile, heat oven to 450°F. Bake pie crust as directed on box for One-Crust Baked Shell, using 9-inch glass pie plate. Cool on cooling rack 10 minutes.

3.Spread fudge topping in bottom of shell. Top with bananas, pudding and whipped cream. Refrigerate at least 4 hours until serving time. Garnish with chocolate curls. Cover and refrigerate any remaining pie.

High Altitude (3500-6500 ft): No change.