Chocolate & Why we just can’t get enough!

Today we celebrate a sacred day in our Sweet Street community. That day is National Chocolate Day. Our friend, sweet, glorious and rich chocolate. Here’s a little history of this craveable ingredient, found in many of our desserts, and why we just can’t get enough of it.

Brief History

Chocolate, as you may well know, comes from the cocoa bean, which have been growing on trees in South and Central America for over 100 million years. Cocoa trees started growing in the lower slopes of the Andes Mountains. They live in hot and rainy areas close to the Equator. The cocoa beans come from a large fruit such as this:  They are full of vitamins like magnesium and Vitamin C, but they are quite bitter. They also contain a fair amount of caffeine. People started farming cocoa as early as 15,000 BC in South America. Cocoa farming spread quickly to North and Central America and by 2000 BC, people of Mexico were grinding cocoa beans and making them into a hot or cold spicy chocolate drink. Making various concoctions, they sometimes used honey to sweeten the chocolate. 

 

 

By 200s BC, during Aztec Empire, cocoa beans became an important trade item as the people in the north could not grow their own due to climate restrictions. Thus, the migration into Arizona and Colorado. The government soon made people use cocoa beans as money and the farmers could not afford to actually eat them anymore. Only the rich were privileged enough to drink chocolate drinks. In the late 1400s Ad, when Spanish invaders came to Mexico and America’s Southwest, they tried chocolate delicacies made for the rich and they brought it back to Europe with them. 

 

What We Crave

Today, chocolate is distributed everywhere and is meant for everyone. Variations of chocolate have been developed and endless dessert items have been created from this ancient ingredient. But why do we love it so much?

Dr. Stavnezer says “We crave chocolate because it is good!” It tastes, feels and smells good. Those feelings are the result of our brain releasing chemicals, dopamine, in response to the experience. Dopamine is that feel-good neurotransmitter that is released whenever we enjoy something and is part of our reward circuit. However, this circuit is part of our uniquely designed genetics. Thus, some people claim they don’t like chocolate… Crazy! 

Chocolate also contains theobromine that can increase heart rate and arouse the senses, caffeine that makes us feel awake and increases focus, fat and sugar, preferred food sources due to calorie density.

Our brain creates a memory of this positive experience through the hippocampus. Therefore, every time we eat chocolate we are strengthening and reinforcing that reward system (dopamine response)  and the memory of feel-good sensations associated with it.

The Numbers

The numbers speak for themselves. According to Data Essential, chocolate is on 71.1% of US menus with a high versatility score. Chocolate can be found in cakes, brownies, cookies, candy, pies, ice cream, milk shakes, cheesecake, pudding, dessert bars, custards, mousses, fudge, pastries and much more. It’s popularity continues to grow, with no end in sight. 

Soucres:

https://quatr.us/south-america/chocolate-come-south-america.htm

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/comfort-cravings/201402/why-do-we-crave-chocolate-so-much

https://apps.datassential.com/snap/food?q=CHOCOLATE




2018 FABI Award Recipients Announced

[Editors note: For the second year in a row, our Manifesto® desserts have received the Food and Beverage award. Last year we won for both our Individually Wrapped Manifesto® Cookies & Bars and  our Manifesto® Bake-off cookies. This year, we are again honored to receive this award for our newest individually wrapped dessert. Our Honduran Chocolate Manifesto® Brownie is Certified Gluten-Free and is baked with only cage-free eggs, our own blend of gluten-free flour, sustainable chocolates and ingredients free of gmo’s and artificial additives–yet the star of these irresistible brownies is the purely dark Honduran chocolate. Sourced from a small cocoa collective of women farmers, this chocolate supports the advancement of these women providing them with the skills, education and income necessary to bring success to their families and village.]

March 28, 2018 CHICAGO — The National Restaurant Association (NRA) has revealed the recipients of the this year’s Food and Beverage (FABI) Awards, which will be presented during the NRA Show 2018, being held at McCormick Place from May 19 to 22.

The awards recognizes food and beverage products that stand out for taste, creativity and profit potential, and will make a substantial impact in the restaurant industry.

The 36 FABI-Award recipients were selected by an independent panel of experts and represent a variety of both commercial and non-commercial industry segments.

“The FABI Awards showcase the visionary companies helping chefs and foodservice operators innovate and drive guest satisfaction,” says Dickie Brennan, convention chairman for NRA Show 2018 and owner/managing partner of Dickie Brennan & Company. “The FABI-Award recipients provide opportunities for operators to meet consumer demand with cost-effective solutions. This list of award recipients serves as a guide of the must-see food and beverage exhibitors at NRA Show 2018.”

This year’s recipients and their recognized products are:

• Atalanta Corporation — Caffè Vergnano Compostable Espresso Capsules; Menu Dorati; Menu Shakshuka
• BCGA Concept Corporation — Brooklyn Crafted Mini
• Belvoir Fruit Farms — Organic Elderflower and Rose Lemonade
• Beyond Meat — Beyond Sausage
• Bridor — Simply Baguette
• Brooklyn Delhi — Roasted Garlic Achaar; Tomato Achaar
• Earnest Eats — PRO: Protein + Probiotic Oatmeal
• Gator Pears — Guacamole Mild 100/1.27 oz. portion packs
• Grecian Delight Foods — Falafel Fritters; Garlic Sauce
• Impossible Foods — Impossible Burger
• Kronos Foods Corp. — KronoBroil Gyros Slices
• La Colombe — Draft Latte
• Love Beets — Beet Salsa
• Mama La’s Kitchen — Beef & Chicken Pho Concentrates
• Natalie’s Juice — Matcha Lemonade
• Nona Lim — Shiitake Beef Bone Broth
• PepsiCo Foodservice — Naked Bars
• Pete’s Living Greens — Salicornia or “Sea Beans”
• Sabatino Tartufi — Truffle Soy Sauce
• Seascape Foods — French Fried Butter Beans; Fresh Vegetable Falafel
• Smart Flour Foods — Gluten Free Hoagie Roll
• SomPriya Fine Spirits, LLC — SomruS Original
• Sud’n’Sol — Pepper Spread; Tomato Spread
Sweet Street — Manifesto Gluten-Free Brownie, individually wrapped
• The Eli’s Cheesecake Company — Florentine Honey Almond Bar
• Venice Bakery — Gluten-Free Low Carb Cauliflower Pizza Crust; Plant Based Gluten-Free Crusts (Broccoli Cheddar and Seasoned Cauliflower)
• Wagshal’s Imports — Minioliva
• Weston Foods Foodservice — ACE Bakery Mini Schiacciatas
• Wild Flour Bakery — Gourmet Gluten-Free Cookie Dough

More information about the award winners and their products can be found here.




Manifesto Desserts- Treat Yo Self!

Time to Think of You

The past couple months you’ve only been thinking of others and now it’s finally time to think of yourself and what you would enjoy this holiday season. It’s a wonderful time of the year to indulge in sweet delights, but guiltless treats are the best way to enjoy yourself now. Take time to experience Sweet Street’s individually wrapped Manifesto all-natural Cookies and Bars.

You Won’t Know What’s Missing

Every batch of freshly baked Manifesto desserts is made from simple ingredients befitting of your pantry. Mixed with only pure cane sugar, cage-free eggs and sustainably grown chocolates, these gourmet desserts are deserving of their two Food and Beverage Innovation Awards for breakthrough, cleaner desserts. These treats are so delectable you won’t know what’s missing, but we’ll tell you — there are no artificial colors, flavorings, high-fructose corn syrup, trans fat or alcohol.

It’s the most wonderful time to try Peruvian Chocolate Manifesto Brownies.

It’s the most wonderful time to try Peruvian Chocolate Manifesto Brownies.

Satisfy Your Chocolate Craving

If you’re a chocolate lover, then take a moment to enjoy the individually wrapped Peruvian Chocolate ManifestoBrownie, with an intense, full-bodied chocolate delivery, dense and fudgy with a chewy crust…all of the comfort we know and love grown up, a brownie like no other. And with these individually wrapped delights you’ll be sure to satisfy your taste buds.

Now Get Your Sweet Treat

After shopping, cooking and thinking of others, it’s time you think of yourself. Experience the power of good food, shared. To enjoy these wholesome and delicious indulgences, visit the Manifesto products page on our website.




Sweet things happen when you start with custard and pudding!

Most of us likely have strong associations with the words “pudding” and “custard.” Thinking about pudding, for instance, can evoke childhood memories of dipping a spoon into a little plastic cup and discovering pure creamy chocolate goodness.

Meanwhile, custard has become wildly popular in the frozen variety. With its smooth texture and limitless topping possibilities, frozen custard can give ice cream a run for its money in the arena of craveable creamy treats.

So what makes these scoopable sweets so irresistibly appealing? Well, the “secret sauce” of custard is, of course, eggs. And the amount of eggs used will determine the consistency of the custard, from a pourable sauce to a thick pastry such as flan. Pudding is similar to custard in consistency, but it commonly includes the addition of setting agents such as cornstarch or gelatin to create its thick, rich texture.

We at Sweet Street fully appreciate the ubiquitous appeal of pudding and custard, and you’ll find both varieties lending their creamy magic to various offerings throughout our dessert product line.

Our Salted Caramel Vanilla Crunch Cake starts with a supernaturally light, but buttery, vanilla-flecked pudding cake and waves of rich caramel cake. The drama builds with a salted caramel crunch layer, a creamy custard layer and a sexy caramel finish.

The Sweet Street Caramel Granny Apple® features buttery caramel and toffee-studded custard hugging fresh Granny Smith apples, all piled high in our melt-in-

Caramel Apple Granny Pie

Caramel Apple Granny Pie

the-mouth shortbread crust.

And in an homage to that first cup of pudding we all enjoyed as kids, the Choc’late Lovin’ Spoon Cake® takes the rich, luscious flavor to a whole new level. It’s a giant mouthful of chocolate pudding between two layers of dark, chocolate-drenched chocolate cake.

Now is the perfect time to discover—or rediscover—the goodness of pudding and custard in your dessert offerings.




Sustainable Chocolate, a Labor of Love. – Sandy’s Journey to Peru.

35Chocolates_1C&WEditors note: As the consumer demand for chocolate grows, so do the pressures of production for the many small producers; working in harsh, tropical conditions and many times struggling to make a living wage. Supporting the sustainable farming of these crops is vital to the global industry and to the livelihood of the farmers and their communities. Many of us may never have the opportunity to personally meet the farmer that cultivated the fields from which that yummy, sustainable chocolate brownie – we enjoyed this afternoon – came from however, we can come closer to appreciating its real-life impact through education and the experiences of others.

In the summer of 2016, our leader, Sandy Solmon, trekked to the family owned coffee and chocolate plantations in the high jungles of Peru; an educational expedition fit for a foodie. Driven by her insatiable appetite for knowledge, Sandy wanted to experience first-hand how her support of sustainable chocolate production impacts local economies and the lives of these farmers and their families.

Enjoy as Sandy reflects on this experience and shares her personal photos.

“Running an organic farm in the jungle is a labor of love. I can’t imagine a harder life. The farmer who owned the cacao plantation  we visited was Jose, a 62 year old, with soft eyes but  strong arms gained  from wielding his machete to cut the cacao from his trees. He can still climb a 20 foot high tree that I would have hesitated climbing when I was 25. His father owned the 15 acre farm originally and lived to be 101. It is a hard life powered by passion for his land.

A moment captured: Jose and Sandy and her husband Doug.

A moment captured: Jose and Sandy and her husband Doug.

On Jose’s farm he had mangos, avocados, giant misshapen but very sweet tangerines, papaya and pomelo, guayanaba, pineapple, coffee, 6 kinds of bananas, plantains, oranges that tasted flowery and aromatic, Coca trees, sugar cane, and chocolate –all of these crops grow in a hodge podge across his fifteen acres in an effort to keep the soil more fertile and free of pests.

In our travels, our local guide Able shared his dream of returning, to live and farm  these fields someday. He described it as “a paradise, it’s peaceful, and you have all the food you want, I can’t imagine a better life”. He was a sweet guy. He had started working the fields when he was 7 for the equivalent of $1 a day; went on to sell  Peruvian art to tourists in the street, graduated college with a 5 year degree in tourism, and  was now a guide. Over the last 9 years in trekking 400 times to Machu Picchu, and innumerable trips to the jungle he had saved the equivalent of $2,000  for the down payment on a house for he and his wife.  Earlier this year he developed a cerebral aneurysm and needed surgery. His nest egg went for that instead. Able  got out of the hospital 2 months ago and though he looked none the worse for wear, he was started his savings account from scratch. It is a hard life but full of  spirit and commitment and pride in how far he had risen in life.” – Sandy Solmon

In true entrepreneurial spirit, Sandy immersed herself into all aspects of the process including hand-grinding the cocoa beans. Sandy hand-grinding cocoa beans.

Sandy Solmon with the Fruits of her labor

Sandy with the fresh chocolate paste that was the fruit of her labor

 

“Some of the chocolate paste we slathered on the miniature bananas that grew on the farm, and some was mixed with boiling water to make an incredibly rich hot chocolate.”




Valentines Day and Chocolate: A match made in heaven!

There are certain universal truths that apply to the upcoming Valentine’s Day holiday. Restaurant tables will be full, sweethearts will be swooning over each other, and red roses and chocolate will rule the day.

We’ll leave the roses to the able hands of local florists. But when it comes to chocolate, count on Sweet Street to get passions stirring like no one else can.

Here are just a few of the many ways you can make it a holiday to remember with our luscious chocolate dessert offerings.

Choc'late Lovin' Spoon Cake, Chocolate Lovin Spoon Cake, Chocolate CakeChoc’late Lovin’ Spoon Cake®

A giant mouthful of chocolate pudding between two layers of dark, moist, chocolate-drenched chocolate cake. Serve this decadent dessert with a single spoon and watch the romantic sparks fly.

 

Molten Chocolate Cake

Deeply chocolate, enrobed in chocolate and filled with dark chocolate truffle. Serve wickedly warm, unleashing a rush of molten chocolate to your wild delight!

Deeply chocolate, enrobed in chocolate and filled with a dark chocolate truffle. Serve wickedly warm, unleashing a rush of molten chocolate to your customers’ wild delight.

 

Five High Chocolate Cake, 5 layer Chocolate CakeFive High Chocolate Cake

Five layers of dark, moist chocolate cake, sandwiched with the silkiest smooth chocolate filling and finished with elegant dark chocolate ganache.

 

Triple Chocolate Cheesecake

Dark chocolate crust, bittersweet chocolate cheesecake and milk chocolate cheesecake layered in a chocolate trio. All finished with dark chocolate and a drizzle of milk chocolate ganache.triple-choclate-cheesecake-hi-res.jpg

 

Chocolate Cupcakes, Chocolate on Chocolate Cupcakes, Double Chocolate CupcakesChocolate on Chocolate Cupcake

Hand-picked chocolates from South America and Africa assure a deep chocolate experience. Rich, moist, all-natural dark chocolate cake, a bittersweet truffle center and our delectable, deep chocolate frosting are finished with a pure chocolate coin.

 

Just Chocolate Manifesto™ CookieJust Chocolate Manifesto Cookie, Sustainable Chocolates, Cage Free Eggs, Additive Free, GMO Free, Non GMO

Loaded with sustainable chocolates: melted, morsel and cocoa. Blended with sea salt and browned butter and scattered with chocolate shards.

 

 

The enjoyment of chocolate is an intense experience on any given day. But on Valentine’s Day, with emotions running even higher, it becomes a quintessential moment that is sure to be celebrated and savored.

 

 

 

 




Shareable Desserts…Enough Lusciousness To Go Around

A restaurant table is an open invitation for people to gather together and share. Good times. Spirited conversation. And of course, great food.

The dessert occasion is particularly ideal for sharing, as the rich and enticing flavors are even sweeter when enjoyed in the company of friends and loved ones. Not surprisingly, this creates a great opportunity to offer larger dessert formats that are easily shared among multiple guests.

Sweet Street offers many dessert options that are worthy of the “extra-large” moniker, by virtue of both their actual size and their mega lusciousness. So explore some of the decadent possibilities—and make sure you grab enough forks and plates for everyone.

 Skillet Cookies

Skillet Cookies from Sweet Street bring cookie lovers together for a shareable, craveable and simply irresistible new kind of cookie experience. Every skillet cookie is uniquely crafted to caramelize when freshly baked, serving up a warm moment of goodness to be savored by all who are lucky enough to get a bite of it.

Three irresistible varieties are available: Sandy’s Amazing Chocolate Chunk Skillet Cookie, the Just Chocolate Skillet Cookie and the Salted Caramel Crunch Skillet Cookie.Cookie-Pie Rave

Cookie-Pie Rave™

Another uniquely shareable experience, the Cookie-Pie Rave™ from Sweet Street packs enough blissfulness for the entire table to enjoy. These colossal 8-inch caramelized offerings come prebaked and ready to serve, perfect either as is or topped with ice cream and your favorite sauces.

Sweet Street offers two intensely flavorful options: the Salted Caramel Crunch Cookie-Pie Rave™ and Sandy’s Amazing Chocolate Chunk Cookie-Pie Rave™.

Sweetness is best shared. And Sweet Street is second to none when it comes bringing people together over dessert.




2016 and Beyond: Top Dessert Trends

The end of the calendar year traditionally means out with the old and in with the new, right? But when you talk about dessert, some of this year’s biggest trends are sure to keep gaining traction well into 2017. And it’s easy to understand why when you see just how enticing they are.

Sweet Street is, of course, right there on the leading edge of this luscious innovation. Let’s take a closer look at what’s captivating dessert lovers today—and how you can take advantage on your menu.

Make them feel like a kid again with candy

On the trend-watching website TheThings.com, “featuring classic candies” makes the list of 20 Amazing Dessert Trends of 2016. There’s just something about enjoying a nostalgic childhood treat with a contemporary new twist.

Sweet Street fits the bill with our Peppermint Stack, a decadent, refreshing, chocolate-mint delight. This festive offering is decorated with pieces of all natural peppermint candy—just like the ones you first unwrapped and enjoyed as a kid. Talk about a fresh take on dessert!

Share sweet times with skillet cookies

TheThings.com also lists skillet cookies on its list of 2016 top dessert trends. Oversized and able to tackle virtually any sweet tooth, skillet cookies are ideally made for sharing. You’ll find several tantalizing options from Sweet Street, including Sandy’s Amazing Chocolate Chunk Skillet Cookie, the Salted Caramel Crunch Skillet Cookie, and the Just Chocolate Skillet Cookie.

For another uniquely sharable experience, mix things up with our Salted Caramel Cookie-Pie Rave®. This sweet and salty colossal 8-inch treat comes to you baked and ready to serve.

Get back to basics

Patrons continue to demand cleaner, more wholesome ingredients everywhere on the menu, and desserts are no exception. FoodFanatics.com describes how pastry chefs today are taking note and switching out the processed foods in their pantries for organic and all natural alternatives.

In this same spirit of ingredient integrity, Sweet Street proudly offers our Manifesto™ line of cookies and bars. Every batch starts with all-butter, pure-cane-sugar and cage-free-egg cookie dough and promises ingredients that are GMO free, additive free and sustainable. Our Salted Caramel Manifesto™ Cookie is a pure, natural and blissful place to start.

Of course, some desserts never go out of style—particularly during the holiday season. Dial up the festivity on your menu with our Red Velvet Cupcake or Red Velvet Cake. And don’t forget a few all-time favorites for sweets lovers: our Molten Chocolate Cake and Crème Brulée Cheese.

 




The Magic of Chocolate Discovered

Over the past few years on this blog, we’ve often delved into the many wonderful attributes of chocolate (taking a fork, a spoon and even a straw with us along the way). It’s easy to justify all the attention. Chocolate remains the top dessert flavor1—and just the mere mention of the word takes most people to a luscious place full of fond memories.

So why not delve even deeper and explore what makes chocolate so irresistible in the first place? It all starts with the cacao bean. After fermenting, drying and roasting, cacao beans are liquefied to create cocoa powder and cocoa butter. These are the building blocks of all things chocolate. Dark chocolate is made with a high percentage of cocoa butter, while milk chocolate gets its sweeter flavor from the addition of sugar and, of course, milk.

On a more molecular level, scientists will tell you that chocolate triggers certain feel-good reactions in the brain. Not to overwhelm you with the chemistry, but apparently we have substances such as tryptophan, serotonin and phenylethamine to thank for our intense love of a rich chocolate cake.

As you can imagine, there are many wonderful Sweet Street desserts that begin with the magical goodness of the cacao bean. Our Molten Chocolate Cake is meant to be served warm, unleashing an exhilarating rush of “molten” chocolate as you dig in with a fork.Peruvian Chocolate Manifesto Brownie

Two more favorites are Sandy’s Amazing Chocolate Chunk Cookie-Pie Rave™ and the Just Chocolate Skillet Cookie. Both of these blissfully sweet treats are oversized to encourage sharing.

Most recently we’ve introduced our Manifesto™ line, which features offerings made with clean, wholesome ingredients and no GMOs. The Peruvian Chocolate Manifesto™ Brownie, Just Chocolate Manifesto™ Cookie and Sandy’s Amazing Chocolate Chunk Manifesto™ Cookie are all sure to put a smile on any chocolate lover’s face.

Chocolate by any measure is magical. And with a few special touches from Sweet Street, the magic takes on a whole new level of lusciousness.

1Mintel Menu Category Report: Desserts, July 2015




Sweet opportunities: the top dessert trends of 2015

Beyond all the traditions of the holiday season, December has always been a great time to take an inventory of the events and trends that shaped the entire year.

In this spirit, let’s take a look at some of the products and flavors that have been gaining popularity among dessert lovers—and will continue to drive orders as we turn the calendar to 2016.

Not just chocolate—BOLD chocolate

It’s no secret that chocolate remains the go to choice of so many dessert lovers. But today’s patrons want to dial up the drama. Examiner.com talks about the trend toward “bolder chocolate” in 2015, including deeper, darker and more bitter options.

You’ll find many ways to dazzle chocolate lovers with memorable offerings from Sweet Street. Our Molten Chocolate Cake features dark chocolate truffle that unleashes a rush of molten chocolate to a patron’s delight. Meanwhile, Sandy’s Amazing Chocolate Chunk Skillet Cookie takes the love of chocolate to a decadently unique place.

Deeply chocolate, enrobed in chocolate and filled with dark chocolate truffle. Serve wickedly warm, unleashing a rush of molten chocolate to your wild delight!

Deeply chocolate, enrobed in chocolate and filled with dark chocolate truffle. Serve wickedly warm, unleashing a rush of molten chocolate to your wild delight!

Bite-sized/miniature desserts

This is one trend that’s actually much longer than one year in the making. According to research from Datassential MenuTrends, miniature desserts have been steadily growing on menus since 2005.

You can leverage the popularity of smaller desserts by creatively menuing offerings from Sweet Street. For instance, our Blackberry Cabernet Individual Cheese is an individual cheesecake that could be offered for several guests to share. And our Bandes, such as the Minted Lemonade Bande, accommodate an array of slicing options to create bite-sized servings as well.

Honey, we love you

Firmenich, an innovative Flavor House and research company, has named honey as its flavor of the year for 2015. And while the distinction transcends desserts, it certainly presents a sweet opportunity to leverage the popularity of this familiar flavor.

Add honey appeal to your dessert menu with the Chocolate Peanut Butter Stack from Sweet Street, which is finished with crunchy honey roasted peanuts.

Whatever the next big dessert trend might be, you can bet that Sweet Street will be on top of it—providing gotta-have-it offerings for your patrons to enjoy.