Raising the Chocolate Bar—Maverick Chocolate & 6 More Chocolatiers to Adore

You don’t have to look far to find chocolate makers who see their work as equal parts passion and craft—a science to be explored, continuously perfected. Cincinnati-based Maverick Chocolate Co. has attracted national attention for their bean-to-bar approach, gaining quick accolades from the International Chocolate Awards.

Albeit impressive, that’s not the most interesting thing about Maverick. Hints of the story behind the bar can be gleaned from the packaging of their chocolate. You’ll note illustrations of revolutionary flying contraptions throughout aviation history—mavericks in their own time. As you move your fingers across the fastener on the packaging, the words “remove before flight” appear across the pull tab.

Founder Paul Picton spent the lion’s share of his career working as a mechanical engineer in the aviation industry for GE, Delta, and Mercedes-Benz. He traveled often and found a sweet way to connect with his family upon returning—with chocolate. About 5 years ago, he decided that it was time to reinvent his career and dreams of chocolate making surfaced. “I knew it was time for a change,” he says. “I quickly learned that not all craft chocolate is equal … It’s relatively simple to make [chocolate], but it’s very hard to perfect.” As an engineer, it’s clear that the quest for perfection is a big part of the fun for Paul. His evolution to a food entrepreneur has offered the opportunity to draw upon the talents of his family, like his son Ben Picton, who heads up sales and marketing at Maverick. Together, they are adding a new spin to the classic comfort of chocolate. “It’s not just candy,” tells Paul, calling attention to the devil in the detail.

Maverick’s stunning new chocolate-making facility located in Cincinnati’s Rookwood Commons area is an off-shoot from its original Findlay Market shop. Cocoa beans are roasted, ground, and then tempered on impressive brushed steel equipment from Italy. Paul describes how tempering the chocolate just right brings about changes to its innate crystal structure, resulting in that beautiful shine and snap by natural means—no artificial additives and the ingredients are kept simple.

“We are mavericks in chocolate-making,” Paul says. With that said, we are excited that such chocolate makers are locally based in our own backyard.

6 More Chocolatiers to Adore, by Todd Templin

Dorothy Lane Market Chocolate Bars by Ghyslain

Union City, IN • ghyslain.com

Here at DLM, we love great food and sometimes a collaboration is just natural as it is with our dear friend, Master Chef Ghyslain Maurais … who also loves great food! Together, we’ve created a line of chocolate bars that are beautifully made, affordable, and the perfect accompaniment to nearly any occasion. Available in Dark, Milk, Sea Salt Almond, Artisan Dark Milk, Hazelnut, and Sea Salt Caramel, these are meant to be nibbled at your desk mid-day, post meal for a decadent dessert, or paired with the perfect wine for a tasty treat.

Le chocolate des Français

France • lechocolatdesfrancais.fr/en/

We love this French company that brings to life a whimsical fun side with their vibrant packaging. They’re dedicated to making super high quality chocolates from pure cocoa butter, sustainably farmed beans from Ecuador and Peru, and French ingredients that are 100% natural, without palm oil or preservatives! With labels that remind one slightly of an Andy Warhol collection, these chocolates are delicious, fun, and make one simply smile.

MilkBoy Swiss Chocolates

Switzerland • milkboy.com

The milk from the famed herds that graze high in the Alps each summer is the base for these bars. High quality ingredients, including top-notch cocoa beans from some of the world’s best sustainable sources, make these chocolate bars some of our favorites!

Olive & Sinclair

Nashville, TN • oliveandsinclair.com

Working within an old grocery store turned chocolate factory, Olive & Sinclair is Tennessee’s first and only bean-to-bar chocolate company. They begin their chocolate making process by stone-grinding cacao, using melangeurs (stone mills) from the early 1900s, then adding only pure cane brown sugar. They call it Southern Artisan Chocolate™. From Buttermilk White Chocolate to 75% Cacao, their chocolates are nothing short of exquisite.

Charles Chocolates

San Francisco, CA • charleschocolates.com

Charles Chocolates’ founder Chuck Siegel is self-taught in the art of chocolate making. His passion has driven the dedication of the company to create some of the best handmade chocolate, all crafted with the finest ingredients. This attention to detail has given Charles Chocolates a glowing reputation in the world of small batch artisan chocolates.

K + M Chocolate

Napa, CA • kellermannichocolate.com

If there was ever a superstar duo to team up to make decadent tasting chocolate, it is this team: Thomas Keller, the famed chef and owner of Napa Valley’s The French Laundry, and Armando Manni, the owner of Manni Organic Extra-Virgin Olive Oil. Chi Bui, the chocolatier who oversees production of the chocolate, helps with the unique production methodology where a small amount of heart-healthy Manni Extra-Virgin Olive Oil infuses the bean-to-bar chocolate with its signature texture while boosting antioxidant properties.

Equal Exchange Fairly Traded Co-op

Cleveland, OH and other locations • equalexchange.coop

Since their start, Equal Exchange’s mission has been to empower small farmer co-ops that use sustainable agriculture. Using that same vision, they source the organic cocoa and sugar used in their chocolate bars directly from small farmer co-ops in Latin America. Each blissful bite is silky, smooth decadence.

Edmond Fallot’s Mustard Paradise

There are few condiments as tantalizing as mustard. I can’t think of anyone who doesn’t like it for that matter. Smothered on a brat with sauerkraut, slathered on pastrami and rye, incorporated into a sauce and drizzled on asparagus … its tangy flavor makes your nose tingle and taste buds want more.

Combine this innate human need for mustard with our love for French food and you can understand why we were so excited to visit the home of one of the world’s great mustard traditions in the fabled wine and gastronomy region of Burgundy, France. The address: La Moutarderie Edmond Fallot, in the town of Beaune. The charming Fallot Mustard factory is just a stone’s throw from the Hospices de Beaune where aficionados, collectors, and wine geeks from around the globe gather annually in November for the famous wine auction and festival.

I first got to know Marc Désarménien nearly 20 years ago at the International Fancy Food Show in New York. Ever since, we’ve carried his family’s mustard, and I’ve always been a huge fan. Marc’s grandfather, Edmond Fallot, bought this mustard factory in 1928, which had been established since 1840. I asked Marc if he came from a long line of Burgundians, and he quipped non with his definitive French accent.

He shared that Edmond grew up in an unremarkable town in the east part of France, but loved good food as a young man, so moved to Beaune for the simple reason that he wanted to eat well—my kind of guy!

Edmond moved to Beaune and began to work in the town’s little mustard factory in the 1920s. He eventually took over the business, made it his own, and prospered. Edmond’s son-in-law Roger took the reins right after WWII and Edmond’s grandson Marc has headed up the firm since 1994.

As we toured his sparkling clean factory and tasted some extraordinary mustard, Marc and his colleague Caroline explained some amazing facts about mustard. While Dijon is capital of France’s famous Burgundy region and the namesake of the famous mustard, “Dijon mustard” today simply refers to a recipe. Interestingly, most of the world’s mustard seeds come from Canada and the U.S.

Dijon mustard indeed was created in the city bearing its name. Legend has it that Jean Naigeon replaced the usual ingredient of vinegar in the recipe with verjuice, the acidic juice of unripe grapes, which was a plentiful and inexpensive (at the time) leftover from the wine harvest. The use of verjuice gave the mustard a better flavor. Although verjuice is ideal as a liquid base for mustard, many Dijon mustards today, however, are made with inexpensive vinegar.

With a nod to tradition, Marc is resurrecting the glory days of Burgundian mustard by using French grown mustard seeds and white wine from Burgundy in his Burgundy Mustard IGP (IGP translates as Protected Geographical Indication). This is the single most balanced and pleasurable taste of mustard I’ve ever had!

Speaking of taste, the varieties of Fallot mustard will never leave you wanting. At the tasting room, you’ll see a wall covered with photos of many of France’s great chefs, both upcoming and famous. Mark has collaborated with many of them to create pairings and flavors of his mustards.

Try our Chicken Fricassee recipe featuring Edmond Fallot Tarragon Dijon Mustard!

We have chosen several including my favorites the Burgundy IGP, Tarragon, and Blackcurrant. My wife, who is a great cook, also loves the Walnut and standard Dijon. She incorporates these mustards in vinaigrettes, sauces, and other ways several times a week … and I’m a happy consumer of these sublime flavors! For good eating at home these cold winter months, make Edmond Fallot Mustards a regular feature at your table.

 

HONEY & BALSAMIC. A hit on Heavenly Ham®!

BURGUNDY IGP. The king of them all! Try this with any recipe calling for mustard.

WALNUT. Serve on winter meats, such as lamb shanks, roasts, and prime rib.

BLACKCURRANT. Excellent with duck, especialy pan-seared duck breast.

BASIL. Use a teaspoon in a vinaigrette for a Caprese salad or tossed with sliced ripe tomatoes.

TARRAGON. Perfect accompaniment to DLM Chicken Thighs.

DIJON. Superb on a DLM Baguette with French ham and butter.

GREEN PEPPERCORN. Try glazed on duBreton pork loin.

PROVENÇAL. Brush liberally on salmon just as you finish grilling.

 

4 Chocolate Bark Recipes To Gift This Season

‘Tis the season to create something sweet for those you love! One of our favorite things about Chocolate Bark is that not only is delicious to have on hand for your festive gatherings, but it’s a great gift idea if you are looking to add a homemade touch. So, without further ado, here are four chocolate bark recipes to keep you and yours holly jolly this season!

 

Minty White Chocolate Bark

Ingredients needed: White chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate, peppermint extract, green food coloring.

Almond + Sea Salt Chocolate Bark

Ingredients needed: Dark chocolate, slivered almonds, shredded unsweetened coconut, sea salt.

Pistachio + Dried Cranberry Chocolate Bark

Ingredients needed: bittersweet chocolate, pistachios, dried cranberries, orange zest.

Dried Fruit + Walnut Chocolate Bark

Ingredients needed: Bittersweet chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate, walnuts, dried apricots, dried cherries, golden raisins.

Easy Truffle Decadence

Fresh Truffles are seasonal and pretty pricey, but so delicious! We carry them when we can get our hands on them, so if you are a fresh truffle fan come talk to our friendly associates in our Produce departments to find out the specifics.

If you are like me and simply can’t wait for that umami flavor that fresh truffles can give dishes, both truffle oil and truffle salt can be your next best allies.

Truffle oil is best to use as a finishing oil right before you are ready to eat. I like the smaller bottles because a little goes a long way in terms of flavor. The aroma of truffle oil drizzled on the warm food hits your nose right before you get to taste it. There is nothing like it! Try drizzling on pasta, pizza, soups, and on soft scrambled eggs.

Truffle salt is fun to play around with! So delicious on popcorn, which this combination is a perfect pairing for champagne—in case you need an excuse to pop that cold bottle of bubbly. I love it on French fries, baked potatoes, or whipped potatoes made with plenty of butter. It turns the average burger into a flavor bomb! Try mixing a little in your mayo to jazz up your next roast beef or French dip sandwich.

Both truffle oil and truffle salt are naturally good with anything mushroom. It just boosts up that incredible umami flavor. The time is ripe to start savoring the delicious foods of the fall season. Get cooking!

Gourmet S’mores Galore!

S’mores—everyone loves this nostalgic treat, and so do we! What started as three simple ingredients for a campfire snack has now erupted into a trendy flavor found in all sorts of things like cereal, granola bars, trifles, and ice cream. It’s even been an Oreo cookie flavor! At DLM, you can swing by our Coffee Bar and take a sip of our new S’more Latte, complete with a graham-encrusted marshmallow.

This trend got its start in 1927 with a Girl Scout guidebook Tramping and Trailing with the Girl Scouts. The recipe name was “Some More” and it wasn’t until the ’70s, when it was shortened to “s’more,” that it really took flight. As a former Girl Scout, I’m proud that the organization is credited with such a memorable flavor. As a chef, I’m excited to add a gourmet twist to this familiar favorite and I’d encourage you to do the same. Start by exploring the Chocolate Wall at DLM where you can find 30+ chocolate varieties. Also, check out Smashmallow, a line of specialty marshmallows in unique flavors like pumpkin and cookie dough. So gather around the bonfire and toast up some s’mores galore with your own creation or try these 5 gourmet ideas below!

1. COOKIE DOUGH S’MORE

Combine classic favorites by switching out the graham crackers for Tate’s Bake Shop Chocolate Chip Cookies and cut thin layers of DLM’s new edible cookie dough to sandwich a torched marshmallow.

2. PB & GRAHAM S’MORE

Take two DLM Milk Chocolate Grahams and spread DLM Creamy Organic Peanut Butter on both inside surfaces. Place a toasted marshmallow in between.

3. BLACK & WHITE S’MORE

Give this fireside favorite a whole new twist with fresh blackberries, creamy Olive & Sinclair Southern Artisan Buttermilk White Chocolate, and a toasted marshmallow between graham crackers.

4. BANANA NUTELLA S’MORE

Nutella fans, have no fear! Spread a graham cracker thick with Nutella and then layer on sliced banana and a toasted marshmallow before capping it with another graham cracker.

5. RICE KRISPY S’MORE

Split our Bakery’s Krispy Rice Treat and sandwich a DLM Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel Graham inside. Then, torch the top piece to unleash that toasty marshmallow taste.

Fall In Love With The Season: 8 Recipes To Welcome Fall

Fall is here! It’s time for hayrides, apple picking, pumpkins, and all of the foods that embrace this season of change. We want to welcome fall by diving into the quintessential flavors that make this time of year so delicious. Here are 8 recipes sure to have you fall-ing for the season.

8 Recipes to Fall For

8 Recipes to Welcome Fall

1. Honeycrisp Fall Sangria

This yummy recipe features the stars of fall: Honeycrisp Apples, Beaujolais Nouveau (available mid-November, but a strong red makes a great substitute), and DLM 100% Apple Cider.

2. Pumpkin Pancakes

The perfect weekend breakfast.

3. Braised Bacon Kale with Roasted Veggies

It’s time to get roasting! It’s an easy, simple, and delicious way to bring out some of the unpopular root vegetables. Roast at high heat so a lot of color and caramelization happens, and simply season with salt or pepper.

4. Butternut Squash Soup with Garam Masala

This warming soup has subtle sweetness and spice, and is full of unique flavor.

5. Pumpkin Gingerbread

The perfect edible gift for friends and neighbors.

6. Apple Cider Glazed Pork Chops

A hearty dish that is full of fall flavors. It’s one you’ll repeat all season long.

7. Butterbeer

This magically delicious beverage, perfect for fall parties and get-togethers, is sure to put a spell on you.

8. Pumpkin Gooey Butter Bars

Ooey, gooey deliciousness, these butter bars are ones to share.

 

Many Moods of Mustards

With Oktoberfest upon us, it is time to get serious about mustard!

Plain and simple – I love mustard. When I was a kid I hated both ketchup and mayonnaise, and believe it or not, all forms of frosting too! One of my favorite after-school snacks was a piece of ham slathered with mustard and rolled around a pickle. Mustard has been a constant condiment that has always had a home with me. Nowadays, there is always a minimum of 3 kinds in my home refrigerator, although on average it runs closer to 5.

Being a native Chicagoan, good ol’ Yellow Mustard is a staple in my fridge—I even keep a spare one in my pantry. There is simply no other that will work on a Chicago style hot dog or a burnt bratwurst at my house. Plus, it’s indispensable for American potato salad along with my mother-in-law’s salad dressing, a family classic.

While in culinary school, I learned how important and versatile Dijon Mustard can be. Way beyond a simple ham and cheese sandwich, there are sauces, marinades, vinaigrettes, and so many more recipes make that jar living in your fridge a powerhouse of creative ideas just waiting for you to open the lid.

Whole Grain Mustard can do things that other mustards can’t – texture being an important and distinctive feature. Whether you are coating a rack of lamb or spreading it on top of a country pâté, it not only adds that acidic brightness of mustard flavor, but also a pop of crunch that is unmistakable. Visibly it helps add interest and it informs the diner that mustard is an integral part of the dish.

Being a traveler has added a bevy of other mustards to my arsenal that are delicious and truly unique. I love the German Extra Hot Mustard for its wicked bite, Provence Mustard for any cheese and charcuterie tray I am whipping up, and Tarragon Mustard for anything with poultry to name a few. Stop by our mustard aisle and broaden your culinary horizons.

Prost!

Screaming for Ice Cream

Chill out and scoop on this quintessential summer sweet! If you need an excuse to eat more ice cream this summer, we’ve got the scoop. Not only will we be hosting an Ice Cream Social noon-4 p.m. Saturday, July 21, at all three stores, but we’re also having a summer scoop sale this weekend (through July 22) featuring select brands of ice cream so you can share a pint with someone you love.

We carry some really cool (no pun intended) brands, with so many unique flavor combos. Keep reading below to hear a little bit about each.

VAN LEEUWEN ARTISAN ICE CREAM

This trendy Brooklyn-based ice cream is made with gorgeous high quality ingredients and has fun flavors like Honeycomb, Peanut Butter Marshmallow Crunch, and Earl Grey Tea. Vegan flavors also available!

COOLHAUS AWESOME ICE CREAM

Two women launched Coolhaus in 2009 with a barely drivable postal van at Coachella, a music festival. Now they have two scoop shops and a presence in a handful of retail stores, including DLM! The Milkshake & Fries flavor is all the rage with shoestring, crispy potatoes nestled within! Also cool is the Campfire S’mores, Dirty Mint Chip, and Buttered French Toast.

NEW ORLEANS ICE CREAM COMPANY

We’re melting for this ice cream that pays homage to the food-centric culture of Louisiana. Whether it be flavors like Coffee & Chicory, Baked Alaska, Bananas Foster, or Cherries Jubilee, these pints are singing the blues of the Big Easy in the best of ways.

JENI’S SPLENDID ICE CREAM

If you’re from Ohio, then you know this Love Local fave from Columbus. Jeni is indeed the woman behind this ice cream sensation and the James Beard award-winning chef who created the trend of Salty Caramel. Other favorite flavors of ours are Frosé Sorbet, Gooey Butter Cake, and Brambleberry Crisp.

DLM GELATO

Having quite an affection for all things gustatory from Italy, we knew we wanted to bring a gelato under the DLM private label umbrella. We found a local purveyor in Cincinnati and the rest is history. Look for favorite flavors like Killer Brownie® or Madagascar Vanilla, which is so dense with a rich vanilla bean flavor.

GRAETER’S

What would an ice cream article be without mention of Love Local Graeter’s? Not only do that keep all the Fiona hippo fans happy with their limited edition Chunky Chunky Hippo, but they keep our ice cream bowls full all year long with favorites.

HOMEMADE BRAND ICE CREAM

Look for Homemade Ice Cream featured at our Ice Cream Social this weekend.

As the Cincinnati-founded chain United Dairy Farmers grew, the Homemade Brand of ice cream was born in 1982 and has quickly become a freezer staple in homes across the country, boasting a Cookies ‘n Cream flavor made with real Oreo® cookies.

Wake Up! It’s Officially Summer!

Stumptown Coffee
I’m so excited that DLM now carries Stumptown Coffee! The flagship roaster and coffee bar was first opened in Portland, Oregon, in 1999. Stumptown has a huge following of coffee fans and has opened shops in Seattle, New York City, and Los Angeles.

Drop by and pick up one of their coffees – two of my favorites to try are Hair Bender and their Classic House Blend. Or, when it’s this hot outside try Stumptown’s Nitro Cold Brew from our cold drink cases.

So get caffeinated and get going this summer – you don’t want to miss a minute of it!

Drizzle Liberally: How to Make Pesto with Novello

Wondering how to make pesto from scratch? Vera Jane’s Novello Extra-Virgin Olive Oil is just the Earthy taste of spring you need and will help you in your pesto pursuits (keep reading for our perfect pesto recipe). In Tuscany, Italy, sits the Zanetti family’s farm, where the olives are grown that are used to make our very own Vera Jane’s Extra-Virgin Olive Oil.

The fruit of their labor is harvested once a year during a small window. Most of the oil will be stored and bottled as needed, but a select amount is sent to us as the first harvest for you to enjoy. We consider this the most exciting oil of the year with its grassy taste that explodes with freshness as it hits your mouth. It’s a special treat, indeed, and only distinguished as Novello for a limited time. What to do with it? Drizzle liberally. Here are a few ideas, including our recipe for perfect pesto.

  1. Drizzle on top of steamed vegetables, pasta, pizza, steak, or DLM Gelato.
  2. Use to lightly fry meats and seafood.
  3. Finish with a little sea salt, freshly ground pepper, or dried herbs and use as a dip for DLM Artisan Bread.
  4. Make bruschetta, a simple vinaigrette, or pesto!

HOW TO MAKE CHEF CARRIE’S PERFECT PESTO RECIPE

3 garlic cloves
½ tsp sea salt, or more to taste
3 oz basil leaves ( about 1 cup packed )
2 Tbsp pine nuts
2 oz Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated
½ cup Vera Jane’s Novello Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

USING YOUR FOOD PROCESSOR
Pulse the garlic, salt, and pine nuts until finely minced. Add the basil and pulse until finely minced. Stir in the olive oil and cheese, and adjust seasoning according to taste if needed.

For more of an authentic pesto, use a mortar and pestle for a finer texture.

MORTAR AND PESTLE
Step 1: Combine the garlic salt and grind into a paste.

Step 2: Add the basil a handful at a time and grind in a circular motion; continue until all the basil is crushed.

Step 3: Add the pine nuts and crush into the paste, then grind in the cheese.

Step 4: Slowly drizzle in the olive oil until well incorporated. Ready to eat right away, or place in a covered jar with a small amount of additional olive oil.

PESTO USES

  • Toss with freshly cooked veggies
  • Mix into mayo
  • Drizzle over eggs
  • Smear on bruschetta
  • Dollop on soup