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.
I admit this Food Gal is more of a B&B Gal or Resort Gal than a Camping Gal.
I’ve been camping once, and while it was a blast, I readily acknowledge I am not one for roughing it regularly. What can I say?
Thankfully, one of the best things about camping, well, doesn’t really require sleeping outdoors in a tiny tent. And that is S’Mores.
Theo Chocolate’s version may not be melty from a campfire, but it is every bit as blissful to eat.
The Seattle bean-to-bar chocolate company, the first organic and fair-trade chocolate factory in North America, has created the Big Daddy ($9.99), a three-piece collection of S’More confections that I recently had a chance to sample, along with some of its other new products.
Rice crackers and cheese puffs are among the treats inside this Bokksu box.
Elevated Snack Attack
Founder Danny Taing has elevated the snack box — big time — with his Bokksu subscription service.
Every month, he curates a selection of premium Japanese snacks, which — yes — can include such coveted treats as the newest Japanese Kit Kat flavor — that are mailed directly to you from Japan.
Recently, I had a chance to try a sample box. They come in two sizes, the $25 “Tasting” size and the larger $39 “Classic” size, which is the one I had sent to me.
Each month, there is a different theme for each box. For the November one, it was “Tea Story,” which meant everything inside — about 20 items — married well with Japanese tea. With every month’s box, there is always tea included, too.
Everything is tucked inside a custom box.
The snacks arrived in a sturdy, custom logo box, which is a nice touch if you’re giving it as a gift. Inside, there’s a pamphlet with a primer on tea (apparently, it originated in Japan in the 9th century by Buddhist monks as a religious practice), as well as descriptions of the items inside. That’s a handy guide, too, since much of the information on the actual packages is in Japanese. It even identifies possible allergens in the various products.
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.