Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Spotlight on Vegan Chocolate and Vegan Caramel

Dark chocolate is bliss and certainly there is nothing wrong with having it straight up. An honest and true dark chocolate bar with just beans and sugar, maybe a little extra cocoa butter, is not to be argued with. I have spent many a happy day munching on an 85% solid dark chocolate and wanted for nothing more. 

But I like a little variety in life. So, every now and again I go a bit caramel crazy. Smooth oozing caramel is my favourite - maybe a little salty to balance the sweet. Sharing with friends is even better. Happy days! But, it’s a bit awkward when you’re standing around with mouths full of chocolate and delicious caramel and your vegan friends walk up. 
Guilty side ways looks. Quickly trying to munch down the evidence and casually wipe your mouth, resisting the temptation to lick your lips. Oh for shame! 

Ok, it’s probably not that dramatic. Still, I wanted my vegan friends to join in the caramel joy too!  The challenge to create a non-dairy caramel was too fun to pass up! Thanks to Chad and the eager volunteer tasters for their help! The end result was a non-dairy coconut caramel, which we now use to make non-dairy gooey pecans, non-dairy habaƱero caramel and other vegan caramels.  Made with coconut milk (which I do indeed make from scratch myself with real organic coconuts) it is smooth and sweet just like caramel should be, but without the dairy. 

Now, I have been slightly reluctant to advertise our vegan chocolate much because I don’t make vegan chocolate exclusively. Although we don’t put dairy in our dark chocolate or coconut caramel, we do make it in the same kitchen as our dairy versions, so it may contain dairy traces. So, if you just can’t take a chance that there might be a minute whisp of dairy somewhere in there, I get it, and I’m not offended in the least. But since I get asked about vegan chocolate all the time and because the coconut caramel has become one of our best sellers, I thought it was time to put it out there. 

Here’s a list of some of the chocolate we make that is non-dairy (may contain dairy traces):
Coconut Gooey Pecans
Coconut HabaƱero Caramels
Solid Dark Chocolate
Dark Chocolate dipped fruits (Pineapple, Goldenberries, Cherries)
Dark Chocolate Almonds and Hazelnuts
Dark Chocolate Coffee Beans
Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Honey Hearts *some vegans do not eat honey

We believe in keeping the ingredients of our products as simple as possible. We do not use soy lecithin.
A note on cocoa butter: cocoa butter is not a dairy product, it is the oil pressed from cocoa beans.
To order vegan chocolate, visit our website, email me directly or visit us at the farmers market.

Monday, February 10, 2014

In case you were wondering...

Everyone knows that I heart the farmers market. It’s full of love – good food and good people. On a crisp Saturday morning in winter, there’s no place I’d rather be. 

But there is a “market” word that I don’t much care for.  It gets stuck in my throat when I try to speak it.  Is it just me, or is it a lewd word? We all have words that make us uncomfortable and this one makes me cringe – “marketing”.  Now I know many of you are probably shaking your heads, wondering what my problem is. I have a business, and surely everyone knows that you cannot have a successful business without a proper marketing plan! But I bet at least some of you are nodding in agreement…mmmhmm…marketing is a dirty word

For those of you who are tsk tsking and clucking your tongues, let me let you into my head for a sec - I apologize if you have nightmares afterwards (grin) . It’s like this - I see marketing as cartoon characters on sugary cereal  boxes and stick-insect-white-skinned sex icons selling noxious perfumes. They are powerful images and they work, but what do they have to do with the product they are selling? Even the “green” image that markets to environmentally conscious buyers is a manufactured concept. I once saw a “reusable” shopping bag, packaged in “throw away” plastic packaging! Do they think we are idiots? But then again, I must shamefully admit to wearing mc hammer poop catchers when they were all the rage – some clever marketing department was clearly having a laugh at my folly. 

So, what to do, when you own a business and you can’t stomach the unmentionable word?  I want people to buy Take A Fancy Chocolate because, well, they fancy the chocolate! Is dark chocolate good for you? Yes! But it just feels sleazy for me to try to convince you that you should buy my chocolate because it will extend your lifespan.  Should I package a small amount of chocolate in a ginormous box, so that you will feel you are getting more?  I think not! 

Well, it’s out there now. My fear is on the table, dear blog reader.  So, here’s what I intend to do about this whole dilema. I commit to marketing  with honesty.  I’m not here to push something on you, but I understand that you want to know about Take A Fancy and be able to make an informed decision on your purchase.  You will hear more from me on this blog and I will endeavour to bring relevant info to your attention and let you, the intelligent customer, make your own mind up. Perhaps, marketing isn’t creepy if it’s intentions are sincere and striving for integrity. That sounds like a good starting place. 

Thanks for supporting Take A Fancy Bean to Bar Artisan Chocolate – created by Becks D’Angelo. You can email me directly with any questions at