It’s like two treats in one.
Just in time for Valentine’s Day, TCHO, Berkeley’s bean-to-bar chocolate maker, has injected a little boozy fun and deliciousness into its artisan bars.
It has teamed with Jose Cuervo to add that renowned spirits maker’s reserve tequila, Reserva de la Familia, into TCHO’s distinctive tile chocolates.
Four-star chocolate from a four-star chef.
When Thomas Keller of the French Laundry makes a chocolate bar, you just know it’s not going to be your run-of-the-mill candy.
Not by a long-shot.
What makes this chocolate bar so different and special is that it contains extra virgin olive oil. And naturally, it’s olive oil by one of Italy’s most exclusive producers, Armando Manni. The Tuscan producer makes some of the most cherished and expensive olive oils around, beloved by illustrious chefs such as Keller and New York’s Jean-Georges Vongerichten.
Their collaboration is K+M Extravirgin Chocolate. The premium cocoa beans are processed in a way that maintains their antioxidants that are normally destroyed in the chocolate-making process. A small amount of Manni extra-virgin olive oil is added to boost the level of antioxidants even more.
Cherry Almond Cranberry Tsampa mixed with water makes a quick, good-for-you breakfast.
You may never ascend Mount Everest, but you can eat like Sherpa climbers.
Those extreme climbers who lug gear and scout conditions at dizzying altitudes fuel themselves with Tibetan tsampa, a coarsely whole grain cereal made from sprouted, roasted barley.
The Dalai Lama apparently eats it regularly, too.
Now, Washington manufacturer Peak Sherpa, founded by Tibetans who were born in India, is making the cereal more widely available.
Sherpa Tsampa boasts more dietary fiber than oatmeal, is low in gluten, and boasts prebiotics to improve gut health. It is also low fat, organic and non-GMO.
Dave’s Gourmet Butternut Squash Pasta Sauce — with my addition of crisp pancetta bits.
I typically favor made-from-scratch, but I am not above taking the easy way out at times.
Especially when it comes to jarred pasta sauces.
After all, they are so very handy to stock in your pantry, and they take well to doctoring with fresh herbs, sausage, veggies, and more.
San Francisco Dave’s Gourmet, which makes some especially good ones, was founded by Dave Hirschkop. After starting a successful taqueria in Maryland known as Burrito Madness, he created Insanity Hot Sauce as a way to subdue inebriated patrons. But it ended up being so popular that even perfectly sober diners became fans. How hot is the sauce? Apparently so explosive that his sauce was banned from the National Fiery Food Show.
His award-winning pasta sauces are tamer, but no less delicious. They come in seven varieties, including Creamy Parmesan Romano, and Organic Roasted Garlic & Sweet Basil. They are gluten-free and almost all of them are organic. A 25.5 ounce jar is $8.99. Find them at retailers such as Whole Foods, Sprouts and Costco.
The two Dave’s Gourmet sauces you can win.
I had a chance to try samples of two of them recently: Wild Mushroom, and All Natural Butternut Squash.
Masala chai made with RawSpiceBar’s recipe and peppercorn chai blend.
Do you love cooking with new spices, but hate searching high and low for more exotic ones? Or winding up with way too many bottles of spices stuffed into your pantry?
Then, RawSpiceBar is for you.
This monthly subscription service sends three new spice blends to your door each month, complete with recipes. Each has a theme, too.
I had a chance to test drive a sample kit recently. Although it’s called a “Monthly Spice Box,” the spices actually arrive in neatly sealed packets inside a brown mailing envelope, so there’s no box involved. Instead, it’s a much more efficient use of packaging.