Category Archives: New Products

Bright Bar — A Different Kind of Energy Bar

Not your typical energy bar. Bright Bars taste like real food.
Not your typical energy bar. Bright Bars taste like real food.

I’ve had my share of energy bars, but I’ve never had one quite like Bright Bar.

Unlike so many others, it’s not rubbery, nor cookie- or candy-like. Instead, it’s like shredded fruits and veggies packed and held together in bar form. The bars are a whole lot less sweet tasting than others, and actually taste like real food.

The Los Angeles company was founded by Brenden Schaefer, an avid cyclist and yogi, who was looking for a good-tasting, good-for-you snack bar. When he couldn’t find one to his liking, he decided to create his own, made with organic produce.

He likens the products, which are also vegan, gluten-free and dairy-free, to cold-pressed juice, but in bar form.

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The Amazing Story Behind Maui Ku’ia Estate Chocolate

Little squares of Maui Ku'ai Estate chocolate -- with a big story.
Little squares of Maui Ku’ai Estate chocolate — with a big story.

It’s one thing to make exquisite farm-to-bar estate chocolate.

It’s a whole ‘nother thing to donate 100 percent of net profits to Maui charities and non-profits.

Maui Ku’ia Estate Chocolate succeeds on both those fronts.

The artisanal chocolate company was founded by Dr. Gunars Valkirs, a Maui resident and retired biotech entrepreneur, who was the inventor of the first fast and sensitive pregnancy test.

Agriculture is in his heritage, as Valkirs’ father was a farmer in pre-World War II Europe before moving to San Diego, where he maintained a lush citrus orchard.

Inspired by his father, Valkirs started experimenting with planting cacao trees at his Kapalua home. Before long, he was leasing 50 acres of former sugarcane fields in Maui. Today, his farm, which marked its first harvest in spring 2018, encompasses about 7,000 cacao trees.

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A New Snack From Leftover Beer-Making

ReGrained Smoked Sea Salt and Pepper Puffs.
ReGrained Smoked Sea Salt and Pepper Puffs.

Berkeley’s ReGrained is all about re-purposing.

Particularly when it comes to spent mash left over from beer making, that is.

UCLA fraternity brothers Dan Kurzrock and Jordan Schwartz were avid home-brewers who got the idea a few years ago to take that oatmeal-like mash with a nutty, malty flavor and turn it into nutritious energy bars.

After their ReGrained bars became a hit, they tinkered with more products that would highlight the mash, high in fiber and protein, that normally would be discarded or composted by breweries.

The result is their new ReGrained Puffs, a crunchy puffed chip snack that has the airy crispiness of shrimp chips.

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Coconut Collaborative: A Dairy-Free Deep Indulgence

Small yet mighty in satisfaction.
Small yet mighty in satisfaction.

It’s tiny. But it’s oh-so-big on decadence.

The Coconut Collaborative’s Chocolate Dessert Pot is thick and fudgy, and tastes like velvety dark chocolate ganache. Close your eyes, and you can easily imagine enjoying it out of a crystal goblet at a fine restaurant, not out of a plastic cup in your own kitchen.

What’s more, it’s dairy-free.

That’s because it’s made with coconut cream.

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Craft Chocolate Experience, La Cocina Municipal Marketplace, and More

Inaugural Craft Chocolate Experience

Attention all chocoholics, don’t miss the first ever Craft Chocolate Experience at San Francisco’s Palace of Fine Arts, March 6 to 8.

This sweet extravaganza will bring bean-to-bar makers, chocolatiers, pastry chefs, and cacao bean farmers from around the world for panel discussions, cooking demos, and a chocolate marketplace with more than 85 artisans sampling and selling their creations.

There’s also an opening night party on March 6, featuring a dazzling array of chocolates, pastries and cocktails.

The renowned participants include: Jordi Roca from El Celler de Can Roca in Spain; Francisco Migoya, head chef at Modernist Cuisine; John Scharffenberger, founder of Scharffen Berger Chocolate; Kenji Lopez-Alt, chief culinary consultant for Serious Eats and author of “The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science” (W.W. Norton); and founder Todd Masonis of San Francisco’s Dandelion Chocolate.

Tickets for the opening night party are $95 each; a weekend pass to the event is $145 per person.

Celebrate A Milestone For La Cocina

La Cocina, San Francisco’s pioneering kitchen incubator for women, people of color, and immigrants wanting to start food ventures, expects to open its much-anticipated food hall this spring.

Momos at Bini's Kitchen. (Photo by Eric Wolfinger)
Momos at Bini’s Kitchen. (Photo by Eric Wolfinger)

To celebrate the impending debut of La Cocina Marketplace, a landmark all-women operated food hall, the organization is hosting a Week of Women in Food, March 2 to 8. It’s a series of prix fixe dinners spotlighting the seven La Cocina chefs who will make the new food hall their home. For these special dinners, each La Cocina chef will cook alongside a well-known, established Bay Area chef.

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