Summer days are all about eating light *and* decadent, in my case. Ever so focused on extremes, I can’t escape the duality of my foodie heart: One day it’s salad, another day it’s ice cream and cookies – and even extras, sometimes!
As a food writer, I am lucky to be able to try a variety of products on an ongoing basis, to experience a variety of flavors and textures, and to share my findings with my readers. This roundup is the latest in a series of recent product tests. What do organic rice pasta and chocolate shots have in common? You are welcome to discover below 🙂
- Jovial Foods stelline pasta
Jovial was founded by Carla Bartolucci and her husband Rodolfo in 2010, after discovering that their daughter’s health issues were attributed to sensitivity to modern wheat and gluten. “Looking to the past for answers, they discovered a nearly extinct ancient grain called einkorn, nature’s original wheat. In einkorn, Carla and Rodolfo found a wheat their daughter could flourish with. They realized they had to bring einkorn back to help other families.” Carla and Rodolfo established the Jovial brand to help address the many issues faced by those with food sensitivities, such as their daughter, and to showcase delicious flavors derived from wholesome goodness. As stated on the company’s website, “Jovial is all about family, feeling good, celebrating life, and showing love with good food.”
To make this pasta salad I used Jovial Stelline (“Little Stars”) brown rice pasta, which is produced in a dedicated gluten-free facility using Italian traditional pasta making techniques. I added veggies and herbs which needed using up, extra virgin olive oil, nutritional yeast and everything bagel seasoning- and lunch was ready! I just love the precious little star shapes 🙂 While eating the wholesome pasta and marveling at each scrumptious bite, I felt this dish was an excellent example of “affordable indulgence.”
- Mary’s Gone Crackers
I love these snacks because they are made of quality ingredients, and are perfect to enjoy in a variety of applications. The texture is crispy and sturdy – I am happy to report I’ve seen very few crumbs in the bag.
Last but not least, the protein in Mary’s Gone Crackers’ snacks is sourced from plants, and all the brand’s practices embrace the welfare of all living things. You are welcome to find out more about their sustainability efforts here.
Do you snack a lot in the summer? What’s your favorite summer snack? Let me know in the comments 🙂
- 7th Heaven chocolate
Anyone else a fan of stracciatella?
“Meaning little rags, stracciatella is the name for three different Italian foods: soup, cheese, and gelato – the only thing they have in common is their name (…) The gelato flavor originated in 1961 at La Marianna in Bergamo, a city in Lombardy around one hour northeast of Milan. Owner Enrico Panattoni created a white ice cream studded with shards of dark chocolate.” (lacucinaitaliana .com)
In 2013, vegan couple Daniel Bareket and Elya Adi missed milk chocolate so much they decided to create a new version of it – free of guilt and animal products. After two years of research and a whole lot of taste tests, their dream came true!
7th Heaven coconut and soy-based treats are more sustainable than dairy milk chocolate because they require only 1\22 of the water and produce just a third of the greenhouse gases dairy products do. According to info published on their website, 7th Heaven are constantly looking for innovative ways to make our production, packaging, and shipping processes even more earth-friendly.
I used 7th Heaven chocolate vegan chocolate to make the stracciatella, and I served it with raspberries, freeze-dried strawberries, mango and pomegranate, and bee pollen. Rummaging through the ice cream to uncover the chocolate bits inside is the very definition of comforting sweet bliss, in my opinion 🤤
I also enjoyed 7th Heaven chocolate with a cup of strong black coffee with no sugar, the beverage I usually enjoy in the afternoon. It’s that time of the day when my energy levels are low, and I need the invigorating burst of energy provided by caffeine. I drink coffee, I eat chocolate, and inner balance is restored.
- RED Chocolate
As I wrote in my review of this year’s edition of the National Restaurant Association Show, “affordable indulgence” is one of the hottest trends in the hospitality industry at the moment. “Affordable indulgence” defined in terms of menu items, service style, ambiance etc. keeps customers satisfied and engaged, and it can make a big difference to restaurant success. One example presented to the media at the Restaurant Show were The Dirty Cookie cookie shots.
Inspired by this trend, I recently made a fresh batch of chocolate shots, using RED European milk and dark chocolate, which is non-GMO, gluten free, kosher and keto friendly, with no added refined sugar.
I filled the shots with homemade lilac liqueur (recipe credit: dianesfoodblog.com) and garnished them with carnations.
When RED Chocolate approached me for a collaboration last year, I got super excited to discover its values resonated with mine. They maintain a personal relationship with the cocoa bean farmers from the Ivory Coast, where they get the beans from (big YES to direct trade!) Moreover, their products are non-GMO, gluten free, kosher and keto friendly. With no added refined sugar, these chocolates have fewer calories and reduced fat -hence the RED Chocolate slogan “Pleasure, without the guilt!”
RED has recently launched a new vegan orange and almond bar. You can shop on the RED website for any of their delicious varieties. Use code MICHAELA10 to get 10% off your purchase. I am excited to continue my collaboration with RED 🙂
- Culinary Jo Chef
Shortbread cookies + chocolate custard + freeze-dried berries + homemade blow torched marshmallow fluff = deconstructed s’mores, and lots of sweet summer happiness.
Do you agree? 🙂
I had a lot of fun recently making the deconstructed s’mores below using Culinary Jo Chef‘s latest kitchen torch model.
✅ Jo Chef PRO kitchen torch has a lightweight and durable design
✅ More robust, longer torching sessions with bigger 8oz butane canister
✅ The adjustable flame gives you precise control of the heat output, making it useful for a variety of tasks
✅ Jo Chef PRO Kitchen torch head & butane fuel canister can be bought separately or as a bundle
✅ Jo Chef PRO is available on Amazon.com
This torch is super sturdy and versatile. I used it with creme brulee and donuts, as well as to make these deconstructed s’mores. I love the adjustable flame – great when it’s windy and bright outside, and you want to be able to manage the flame quickly. I needed this tool in my kitchen, and I’m very pleased with its performance. I’m saying YES to safety, control, and lots of s’mores deliciousness – who’s with me? 🙌
Which of the products above would you try first? Let me know in the comments, and have a fabulous summer 🙂
*Disclaimer: While I received complimentary products to facilitate this review, all opinions expressed here are my own.