What’s Dipping in the Well: Mayan Chocolate

SVFCMayanChocIceCream

Mmm…Mayan…Chocolate…

Fresh from our Deli to your tastebuds: Organic Mayan Chocolate Ice Cream. Warm up and perk up with the latest seasonal flavor in our ice cream well: handmade Mayan Chocolate — a blend of dark chocolate, vanilla, chipotle chilies, and ground cinnamon.

Stop by for a scoop or pint of our popular twist on the Co-op’s smooth, melt-in-your mouth, original chocolate flavor. It’s gluten-free and handcrafted using quality chocolate and a special combination of spice. Our Mayan Chocolate is just the fix for a cool, drizzly day: it’s zippy, tickles the senses, and warms the blood.

The ancient Mayan people of the Mesoamericas were chocaholics and revered chocolate (or cacao) as “the food of the gods”. One can argue that not much has changed since. Humankind, across the globe, loves chocolate. According to CNN, in 2009, chocolate was a $83 billion a year business.

Rich in iron, antioxidants and fiber, chocolate is a delicious super and comfort food. One we enjoy incorporating into ice cream. Enjoy this fabulous marriage of chocolate and spice by making an unforgettable milkshake: blend it with organic fair trade bananas, coconut or berries.

Posted by Claire

Skagit Brew Corner: Welcome, Winter Ales!

TenBelowIt’s time to embrace the winter ale season! Many breweries are beginning to release their seasonal winter brews; brace yourself for rich flavors and slightly higher alcohol content.

We now have a large display of seasonal ales at the foot of the stairs to the mezzanine. Several winter seasonal ales are available now, such as Ninkasi’s Sleighr and Big Sky’s Powder Hound, and there are more on the way. So stop by the Co-op and pick up some liquid winter warmth!

Here’s a quick guide to some festive favorites:

10° Below, Scuttlebutt Brewery, Everett, WA.  7.4% ABV / 22 IBU.  An Imperial dunkelweiss-style brew, this local gem is loaded with crisp citrus flavor and a smooth, rich finish.  Locally grown Cluster and Cascade hops are combined with deep roasted malt, evoking the flavors of milk chocolate, pretzels, and orange peel.  Medium-bodied and very food friendly — don’t miss this limited release. Pair it with roasted lemon herb chicken or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches!

HalesWeeHeavyWee Heavy, Hale’s Ales, Seattle, WA.  7.2% ABV / 24 IBU. In December 1985, Hale’s Wee Heavy became the Northwest’s first designated “seasonal” ale.  This award-winning, chestnut-colored Scotch-style ale is well SSWW14matched for the cold weather months. Savor its warming, malty richness alongside hearty foods and good friends. Pair it with chocolate desserts or blue cheese with honey and pears.

Samuel Smith 25th Anniversary Winter Welcome, Yorkshire, UK. 6% ABV, 30 IBU.  America’s first imported winter seasonal beer is still a benchmark: deep honey gold, with a full body and wonderful malty richness. Inviting and elegant, it’s fermented in open-topped stone vessels called “Yorkshire Squares”, which are made of slate.  This icon of British ales delivers well-balanced flavor and restrained bitterness from dried whole cone Fuggle and Golding hops. Pair it with roasted meats, shrimp ‘n’ grits, or cheese plates.

Festeroo Ale from Hop Valley Brewing Company, Springfield, OR. 7.8% ABV / 60 IBU. Hop Valley Brewing is a relative newcomer to the microbrew scene, but are gaining notariety with their Alpha Centauri Imperial IPA. Their holiday seasonal, an English-style Old ale, does not disappoint. Loaded with flavors of burnt caramel and hazelnut, with sprucy hop spice, Festeroo is an easy going winter warmer. Enjoy it in moderation and good cheer.  Pair it with raspberry cheesecake and chocolate truffles.

Posted by Claire

The Cheese Whisperer: Henning’s Curds

SVFCHenningsCurdsNew to our Cheese Department: natural white cheddar curds from the Henning Cheese Company in Kiel, Wisconsin. These “squeaky” fresh curds are perfect for snacking or adding to your favorite meals. Free of gluten and rGBH (recombinant growth bovine hormone), these curds are now available at an affordable price of $6.99 per lb!

Curds are essentially very fresh, young cheese. In order to create cheese, artisans cook milk and add enzymes to separate the milk into curds and whey, a la Little Miss Muffet. In the usual cheese making process, curds are salted and pressed into wheels, then aged for at least 3 months before being sold. Typically, curds have a fresh, mild flavor and springy texture, similar to a string, paneer, or mozzarella-style cheese.

kerry_henning

Kerry Henning, American Master Cheesemaker

Since 1914, the Henning family has been making cheese. Founders Otto and Norma Henning purchased a rural hometown cheese factory in the heart of dairy country. For 100 years, the Henning Cheese Company has been producing award-winning cheeses. Most recently, Kerry Henning — a graduate of the only Master Cheesemaker program in the United States — heads up the company’s cheese making operation by innovating and fine tuning heirloom recipes.

Fun with curds: melt on pizza, pasta, or steamed vegetables. Dress them up with some fresh herbs, garlic, or chiles. Add curds to green salad or serve atop french fried potatoes with gravy to create homemade poutine, a national dish of Canada. Or go carnival-style and batter and deep fry your curds in oil for a tasty melt-in-your-mouth treat.

Pair your curds with lighter beers such as pilsners, hefeweizens, and blonde ales. Try Pike Brewing’s Naughty Nellie organic Blonde Ale or the original Czech Pilsner Uruquell. Wine fans may serve curds alongside fruit wines — try local Pasek Cellars’ Cranberry Wine, or a white Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, or Rielsing.

Posted by Claire

The Bounty of (Wellness) Bulk: DIY for the Holidays!

SVFCBulkWell

Our Wellness Bulk section is growing! Take the opportunity to get familiar with new and classic personal care bulk offerings of many fine products, from beauty care to vitamins and supplements. And now it’s even easier to find what you need to craft your own health and beauty aids and customize your holiday gifts.

Look for new items in wellness bulk: we now carry liquid organic coconut oil, shea butter and cocoa butter, as well as dried organic rosebuds, lavender and calendula flowers. We also stock beeswax, bentonite clay, french green clay, and red henna powder. We expanded the bulk Wellness section with the intention of giving our customers more opportunities to make their own soaps, salves, deodorants and other beauty products from natural, whole ingredients.

Visit the cleaning products and cereal aisle and discover more Wellness bulk items, including over a dozen shampoos and soaps, as well as dish and laundry soap, from high quality companies like Dr. Bronners, Giovanni, Alaffia, and Shikai. You’ll also find bulk soy and whey protein powders, and epsom and dead sea salts.

Make your own personal care products, such as skin care products and bath soaks. Here’s a quick recipe (adapted from Wellness Mama) for natural baby diaper balm, free of preservatives and artificial fragrances. This recipe utilizes the awesome nourishing and moisturizing power of shea butter and cocoa butter – naturally high in antioxidants, vitamins and fatty acids that help to moisturize the skin.

Homemade Baby Balm Recipe

Ingredients
  • ¼ cup cocoa butter
  • ¼ cup shea butter
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil – available in bulk grocery area
  • Essential oils of choice: try Frankincense, Myrrh, Chamomile and/or Rose
Directions: Heat all ingredients (except essential oils) in a double boiler or in a glass jar or bowl over a small pan of boiling water. Stir carefully until melted. Remove from heat and add essential oils if using. Pour in to a glass jar for storage. Use a small amount as needed for baby or adult skin.
See Claire’s post from last week about using the Co-op’s brand of essential oils in your DIY wellness products! Co-op brand essential oils are on sale all month, $5.99 each.
Posted by Claire

Co-op Brand Essential Oils

SVFCEssOilsCo-op Brand 100% pure essential oils are now on sale at an excellent value price! Use these highly concentrated, long-lasting aromatic oils in a variety of ways around the house for their therapeutic properties.

Create a soothing massage oil by diluting the essential oil with a carrier oil like jojoba, almond, or olive. Use a few drops to scent candles, create homemade soaps, lotions, or potpourri. Or mix small amounts of essential oils with purified water in a spray bottle for a room spray or body perfume.

Manufactured for the Co-op to the highest standard, these pure botanicals are steam-distilled or cold-pressed. No chemicals are ever used in their production. Your Co-op has selected the most popular essential oils to offer at prices lower than better known brands. Look for French and Bulgarian Lavender, Clover Bud, Eucalyptus, Peppermint, Tea Tree Oil, and more. On sale now for $5.99 – $13.99 each per 1 oz.

Here are a few staff recipe favorites for homemade aromatherapy misting room or body sprays. You will need:

  • 4 oz. glass spray bottle, available in the Co-op Mercantile Department
  • 2 oz. distilled water
  • 1 oz. vodka, to preserve freshness (optional)
  • 5-20 drops essential oil

Soothing Sleepy Mix – blend lavender and chamomile — an ideal medley for relaxation and bedtime.

Wake Up Energizing Blend – use grapefruit, orange, rosemary & peppermint — greet the day with an uplifting fusion of bright, invigorating scents.

Deodorizing Helpers – a cocktail of eucalyptus, oregano, mint, lemon & peppermint — perfect for keeping it fresh in the bathroom and by the litter box.