This winter, we’ve turned to the hug-in-a-mug known as hot chocolate to keep our cheeks warm and rosy. Oh, the wonders of this little drink! Whether it’s for breakfast, dessert, or a mid-day pick-me-up, there’s nothing like a hot cup of sweet relief to make you smile.
Here are a few that brighten our days. The best part: they’re all available on our website, so you don’t have to brave the snow to get ‘em! We’d hate to make you suffer through any more hat hair.
Hasslacher’s Hot Drinking Chocolate
If you want pure, unadulterated chocolate, look no further than Hasslacher’s Hot Drinking Chocolate bricks ($12.95). It’s 100% Cacao from Colombia with nothing added. Their mission: to go beyond fair trade and keep every process from bean to bar in Colombia.
We began importing this brand after tasting its high quality. In our store, we’ve been heating up one brick with one gallon of milk in our microwave before mixing them in a blender (we suggest adding a little sugar to taste). The result is frothy and delicious. We’ve got a thermos of it by our front register for sampling—come in and try some today!
For more about Hasslacher, check out this adorable one-minute Flash animation on how their chocolate comes to be, or watch a great short video about how people in Colombia view hot chocolate.
Here at CMB, we have a pretty serious chocolate addiction. There’s not an employee in the house who doesn’t have an emergency bar in their bag (though they don’t all admit it), and we are constantly tasting new brands in hopes of discovering the next great snack (yeah, we love our jobs). So, it is with utmost excitement that we announce that February is Chocolate Month at CMB!
Come share in our bounty as we sample chocolate every day in February. There will be promotions along with the tastings so you can enjoy and save, so check back often (and hungry!). To give you a taste, here are three brand new varieties we’re excited to feature this month:
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In 2013, Cronuts (those croissant-doughnut hybrids breakfast sweets) were introduced, we saw a million recipes for brussel sprouts, and of course everything was better with bacon. This year, one of the top trends in the food world are spicy foods and flavors that use middle eastern spices.
We import spices directly from a South African company called eat.art Living Food (http://www.eatart.co.za) by Kalk Bay Foods. It is a spice company that blends spices from around the globe into unique and delicious combinations. They like to blur the lines between food and art so all their products come with exceptional good looks. (And no they do not Twerk when they mix the spices!) So, in 2014 we are suggesting you may want stay at home and let your taste buds travel the world and explore foods with exotic spices.
The Spicy Side of Spice: There are lots of spicy food seekers and they don’t want to experience just the same everyday hot flavors you get from adding crushed red chili flakes from the pizzeria. The trend is about experiencing different spicy flavors from around the world.
Hot & Spicy Blends from Around the Globe ($28): The 12 jars gift pack is filled with spice mixes that will send your taste buds to the moon. Recipes and the origin of spice are included in the gift pack. A sample of what you will find:
- Vindaloo Spice- Regarded as the King of Curry the fiery hot Vindaloo has roots in Portuguese cuisine. This is normally the hottest curry dish that is available at Indian Restaurants. Add a bit of this spice to vinegar, sugar, fresh ginger to make a marinade, to soak pork or any other desired meat.
- Piri Piri Spice- A fiery and fragrant spice mix that is also called African bird’s eye chili, the pepper that is used to make this spice mix grows in South Africa, Nigeria, Zambia and half of Ethiopia. Use to make the perfect basting sauce for fresh shrimp or bbq.
- Togarishi 7 Spice- Inspired by the traditional Sgichimi Tagarishi Japanese spice mixes, which means seven chilies. The combination of heat, sweetness and a bit of sour round off the resulting flavors perfectly, the spice mix includes red chili pepper, orange peel, sesame seeds, Japanese pepper, ginger and seaweed. This can be used in sauces but other suggestions are to sprinkle it on watermelon, baked potato or melon.
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We are bursting at the seams and now have a bit of extra retail space this holiday season near our Chelsea Market store. Our Warehouse Basket Store is now open right on 15th street (on the north side) in the middle of the block, near the Tippler bar, better recognized as the OPEN sign. This store will only be open during the next couple of weeks and the hours will be flexible.
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Our warehouse is gearing for a very busy and short holiday season this year. Our mail-order business has to switch gears in a big way in December. Usually we ship about 50 gifts per day, during December we plan to ship over a 1000 gifts per day, for hopefully close to a two week period. So, while we normally assemble and ship our gifts from our store in Chelsea Market, during December we do it from our warehouse.
In our warehouse we have been receiving shipments of imported goods for the last few months. We normally receive a container each month, but for the last few weeks we have getting a container about once per week. To unload a 40 foot container takes 3-4 people the good part of a day. We import many of the products that go into our gifts.
Our seasonal staff has been working long days to get all the gifts packed and ready to ship. Some of our holiday help have been with us for many holiday seasons, one in particular for over 15 years. Since many of our products are perishable, we cannot assemble our gifts too much in advance.
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