Posts Tagged ‘Carolina’s Box of Goodness’

Share the love on Valentine’s Day with handmade local treats

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

Go local this Valentine’s with a heart-shaped chocolate torte from Carolina’s Box of Goodness.
Photo courtesy of Carolina’s Box of Goodness

Even with climate change, it’s unlikely that cocoa beans and sugar cane will ever grow in Ottawa. But that doesn’t mean sweet-toothed locavores are stuck with mass-produced candy on Valentine’s Day. Far from it. The region boasts a growing number of small-scale artisan bakers, chocolatiers, and confectioners who make their products from scratch, using local ingredients as often as they can.

With February 14 just days away, here are some ideas for treats made in the Ottawa region.

Auntie Loo’s Treats

Ottawa’s first 100% vegan bakery, Auntie Loo’s makes fresh desserts in small batches, from scratch, using organic and local products when possible. Many treats can be made in gluten-free versions.

  • Single-layer 6-inch cakes ($15 + HST)

Available in flavours such as champagne and chocolate strawberry, and decorated with Valentine messages.

  • Cake pops (6 for $15)

Choose from double chocolate and chocolate peanut butter.

  • Sugar cookies (6 for $15)

Available in sets with and without Valentine’s Day messages, and in mixed packs.

Other Valentine treats include: Cupcakes for 2 ($10 + HST), donuts with Valentine’s sprinkles (6 for $20), and a giant heart-shaped whoopee pie ($15 + HST).

Order online or call the store at (613)238-ALOO (2566). Arrange pick-up for February 13, 14 or 15.

Carolina’s Box of Goodness

Carolina Foresti, owner of Carolina’s Box of Goodness, specializes in artisan brownies, custom cakes and dulche de leche (a kind of milk jam similar to caramel but more complex). A native of Brazil, she creates her products based on family recipes and French baking techniques.

  • Valentine’s Sweet Duo ($12.50)

A small jar of dulce de leche and a large chocolate fudge brownie, packed in a craft box with red satin ribbon. The duo is perfect for sharing, Carolina says. “Just warm up the dulce de leche, cut the brownies in small pieces and serve like fondue, with berries. Or try a brownie a la mode, only add ice cream.” 

  • Heart shaped Chocolate Torte ($10.50)

Available in chocolate fudge, dulce de leche, caramel sea salt or raspberry swirls decorated with pearls of Belgian chocolate.

  • Box of 6 or 12 artisan brownies ($13.00-$25.00)

An assortment of chocolate fudge, caramel sea salt, dulce de leche, gianduia, cookie and raspberry swirl.

Place your order online.

Hummingbird’s Chocolate’s handmade, single-origin bars with Valentine wrappers.
Photo courtesy of Hummingbird Chocolate

Hummingbird Chocolate

A small-batch producer of dark, organic chocolate, Hummingbird Chocolate  is making a name for itself with handcrafted bars from single-origin Latin American and Caribbean cocoa beans. Owner-artisans Erica and Drew Gilmour make the chocolate using 19th century methods that bring out the unique flavours of the cocoa bean varieties.

  • Cinnamon-studded bars
  • Hummingbird’s regular bars (Bolivia, Bo-nib-ia, Hispaniola, Fleur de sel, Momotombo) with a Valentine’s wrapper

All bars are 50 g, cost $6.50, and can be found at locations such as: Red Apron, Thyme & Again, Kitchenalia, Pêches & Poivres, and Equator Coffee Roasters.

Hummingbird is also hosting a Valentine’s Day “Chocolate 101” tour of its workshop in Almonte; reserve at events@hummingbirdchocolate.com. For the month of February, it also launched a series of Saturday tours.

Isobel’s Cupcakes & Cookies

A family-run business, Isobel’s Cupcakes & Cookies makes its treats from scratch daily, working from quality ingredients (no mixes, shortening or preservatives) in a 100% nut-free environment. All boxes, cups and napkins are made from recycled materials.

  • Valentine cakes, $25 and up

Choices include white chocolate, raspberry charlotte, bleeding heart chocolate mousse cake (shaped like a heart).

  • Valentine cake pops, $2

Other offerings include and several decadent chocolate cupcakes, and chocolate cookie sticks dipped in white chocolate with Valentine sprinkles.

What’s your favourite spot for sweets in Ottawa?

The gift of food: Stocking stuffers for locavores

Saturday, December 14th, 2013

(Photo: zaimoku_woodpile via Flickr
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)

Good food is a welcome gift, no matter what the celebration. And with the growing number of Ottawa-area food artisans, it’s getting easier to shop for the locavores on your list.

Here’s my list of ideal stocking stuffers: compact and non-perishable, with most prices ranging from $3.50 to about $20. I’ve based the list on my visit to this year’s Locavore Artisan Food Fair, a showcase of products from 20 of Ottawa’s most creative food-makers.

These artisans produce in small batches and use local ingredients when possible. Many don’t have their own retail space, so plan to contact them online, or visit them at the Ottawa Farmers’ Christmas Market or Flavours of Ottawa Holiday Food Markets. I’ve indicated where products are available at local restaurants and stores.

Artisan brownies and dulce de leche from Carolina’s Box of Goodness

Carolina’s Box of Goodness handcrafts rich artisan brownies in flavours such as Chocolate Fudge, Dulce de Leche, Caramel Sea Salt, and Cinnamon Pecan Blondie. The treats come individually packaged or in boxes of 6 or more. There’s also a Boozy Brownies Collection featuring Bailey’s Irish Cream, Amaretto & Ginger and Grand Marnier varieties.

Another option is Carolina’s dulce de leche, a simple mixture of milk and sugar that’s cooked until it becomes thick, creamy and full of complex flavours. It can be served with fruit, toast, pancakes and ice cream – or eaten straight from the jar.

Chocolate bars and Mayan drinking chocolate from Hummingbird Chocolate

Almonte-based Hummingbird Chocolate handcrafts dark, organic chocolate from single-origin, ethically traded Latin American and Caribbean cocoa beans, using 19th century methods that bring out the beans’ unique flavours. In addition to bar chocolate, Hummingbird has come out with Mayan drinking chocolate for the holidays, essentially a cake of chocolate on a stick that you melt in heated milk for a rich, spicy drink. You can find Hummingbird products at a restaurants and food stores across Ottawa. (For more information about Hummingbird Chocolate, read my February 2013 post

Chocolate truffles from koko chocolates

koko makes gourmet chocolate truffles by hand, using premium Belgian chocolate, and all-natural, gluten-free ingredients. Choose from traditional truffle flavours or more adventurous ones like margarita and spicy Thai chili.

Fairly traded coffee from The Barking Barista

These fairly traded, Brazilian, Indonesian, Ethiopian and Colombian coffee beans are craft-roasted by an Ottawa husband and wife team. For every pound of coffee you buy, $1 goes to help dogs in need. The owners are available at barkingbarista@yahoo.com or in person at the Ottawa Canine School, and will ship to you for an added cost.

Gourmet jams from Michaelsdolce

Confectioner Michael Sunderland makes all-natural gourmet jams, using local produce when and where possible. Michaelsdolce jams include: Blueberry & Lavender, Ginger Citrus marmalade; Fig Blood Orange, Papaya & Pink Grapefruit, Plum & Star Anise, and many others. Find them at Isobel’s Cupcakes and Cookies or contact info@michaelsdolce.com for more info.

Oil and balsamic vinegar from The Unrefined Olive

The Unrefined Olive is Ottawa’s only oil and balsamic vinegar tasting bar. It sells 50 fresh premium olive oils from around the world as well as balsamic vinegars and flavour-infused oils.  All balsamic vinegars come from Modena Italy, are aged for a minimum of 12 years, and are available in flavours such as fig, cranberry pear, pomegranate and dark chocolate. Flavour-fused olive oils include mushroom sage, Tuscan herb, basil, garlic, and hot chili. Drop by the tasting bar at 151 A Second Avenue in the Glebe or call 613-231-3133.

Elizabeth Kilvert, owner, The Unrefined Olive
(Photo: V. Ward)

Preserves from Top Shelf Preserves

Chef Sara Pishva makes her small batch pickles and preserves from locally sourced produce. Top Shelf wares include: spicy pickled garlic scapes, pickled turnips, red pepper jelly, molasses baked beans, brandied plums, spiced pears in syrup, pickled jalapenos, dill pickles, pickled beets, and more.

Smoked seasonings from The Salty Don

The Salty Don makes its own line of natural smoked salts, as well as pepper blends, unique items such as smoked quinoa and smoked risotto, and spa products. Salt and pepper flavours include Bison Smoked, Canadian Curry, Garlic Smoked, Peppered Provence, Lemon Pepper, and Saffron Pepper Rub, to name a few. You’ll find Salty Don products at Grace in the Kitchen and other locations.

Specialty tea from Kimicha

Kimicha owner and tea sommelier Kimiko Uriu sources the best-tasting black, white, green, herbal and fruit teas from Southeast Asia; two varieties she’s chosen have won awards at the North American Tea Championships.  In addition to packages of loose tea, Kimicha sells sampler sets and tea accessories. Order online or call 613-612-5464.

Sweet treats from Pascale’s Ice Cream

Pascale’s seasonal, all-natural ice creams are renowned in Ottawa.  For the holiday season, she’s also offering less perishable treats: try her salted caramel or sour cherries in balsamic caramel, but order soon because they go fast. Get in touch at pascale@pascalesicecream.com or call 613-322-4256.

What’s the best food gift you’ve received?

 

Harvest season: a weekend at Ottawa farmers markets

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

Harvest season is at its peak in Ottawa these days. This weekend, I soaked up some of the sights, sounds and tastes at the Carp Farmers Market and the Ottawa Farmers Market at Brewer Park. Vendor stalls brimmed with late summer produce, and farmers, food retailers, artisans and customers were out in full force. Here are a few of my photos.

Acorn Creek Garden Farm produces about 600 types of fruit and vegetables, including globe artichokes, tomatillos, hot and chili peppers, sundried tomatoes, orange and purple cauliflower, nearly 50 herbs and more than 40 melon varieties.

 

Carolina Foresti, owner of Carolina’s Box of Goodness, specializes in artisan brownies, custom cakes and dulche de leche (a kind of milk jam similar to caramel but more complex). A native of Brazil, she comes from a long line of pastry chefs and bakers, and creates her treats based on family recipes and French baking techniques.

 

Heather MacMillan of Heather’s Hearth, with husband Patrick, at the Carp Farmers Market. Heather bakes sourdough breads in a wood-fired oven using organic grain from Castor River Farm or organic flour from Mountain Path, an organic and natural foods distributor south of Ottawa.

 

Multi-coloured heirloom beets from Rainbow Heritage Garden. This certified organic, off-grid farm near Cobden produces 200-plus varieties of fruits, vegetables, nuts and drying beans, with a focus on heirloom types. It also offers a CSA program.

 

Artist and farmer Rosemary Kralik raises free-range Tibetan yak, Highland beef, sheep and goats at Tiraislin Fold, her 722-acre farm in the Lanark Highlands. Her animals are raised without growth hormones or antibiotics, on high-quality, pesticide-free local forage.

 

A glimpse of guests eating family-style at the Savour Ottawa Harvest Table, held at Brewer Park on August 18. At the event, some of the Ottawa region’s finest chefs prepared unique dishes with seasonal local ingredients from local farmers. This photo was taken through an arbour at the amazing Brewer Park Community Garden.

 

Do you go to farmers markets? What do you enjoy most and least about them?