"Stuart rose from the ditch, climbed into his car, and started up the road that led toward the north…. As he peeked ahead into the great land that stretched before him, the way seemed long. But the sky was bright, and he somehow felt he was headed in the right direction." (from Stuart Little by E.B. White)

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New Tree Display edit

Just when William and I thought we had reviewed the entire selection of chocolates offered at our surrounding stores, a brand called New Tree Gourmet Chocolate popped up! This fresh, modern brand focuses on the added flavor attributes of natural extracts to compliment the taste of their chocolate. They also use non-GMO emulsifiers which is positive for those seeking a sweet treat without modified or artificial ingredients. With a line of bars extending from the standard Dark (66% cocoa solids minimum) to a vibrant Ginger, it’s worth noting that New Tree focuses on creating Belgian chocolates with “all-natural” flavors and extracts. This includes a product that “features 2 times more fiber than regular chocolate”.

To avoid both the possibility of being critical or biased we aimed to compare overall experience to the broad spectrum of store bought chocolates vs. artisan small batch chocolate. In this tasting the array of textures were notable as well as how well the chocolate contained naturally infused flavors.

All chocolates were “Belgian Chocolates”, 66% cacao, and weighing in at 2.82 ounces.

New Tree Cherry edit

Cherry Chocolate (Origin: Latin America)

Texture: Tiny granules, truffle

Flavor: Confectionery sugar, graham cracker, this is a straight-up cordial cherry chocolate with a flavor that builds and ends on bright fruity notes.

New Tree Ginger edit

Ginger Chocolate (Origin: Latin America)

Texture: Generous amounts of candied ginger

Flavor: Bright, warm, up-front ginger flavor. Sweetness of cane sugar compliments while ginger climbs to a “nose-clean”. This is a great bar for those who can’t handle intense ginger.

New Tree BlackCurrant edit

Blackcurrant Chocolate (Origin: Latin America)

Texture: Rich, fibrous

Flavor: Tart fruit pulp, minerals, “Smuckers Jelly”, overall fruit taste with bitterness of currants.

New Tree Dark edit

Dark Chocolate (Origin: Dominican Republic and Peru)

Texture: Syrupy

Flavor: Molasses, oats, overall subtle flavors with little complexity.



SHAKE IT UP – Organic Shamrock Shake Recipe

shamrock presentation edit

On Saturday March 9th we spent the day still basking in the pride of a successful homemade wine tasting from the night before. By one o’clock our hunger brought us to Wegmans for food items, mint leaves and coconuts. After the sadness of realizing organic coffee was $11.00 finally subsided, we decided to pass on that purchase. With the fridge stocked heavily Meg and I brushed off the lack of french press and became excited for the preplanned frozen treat that was in store.

Items you will need:

dye. flavor. ice cream


  • 1/3 cup Organic Almond Milk
  • 1 cup Organic Vanilla Ice Cream
  • 1/2 – 1 teaspoonNatural Mint Extract
  • Tru Whip Natural Whipped Topping (optional)
  • 4 drops Green Food Coloring (optional)
  • Alter Eco Mint Chocolate Bar (optional)
  • Mint Leaf Garnish (optional)
  • Organic Cane Sugar (optional for rim of glass)


1- Prepare rim of glass ahead of time by dipping in water and then in a bowl of green colored sugar. Wait for milkshake.

2- Mix ice cream, milk, extract, and green food coloring in blender. (1/2 a bar of Alter Ego Dark Mint Chocolate for delicious, crunchy affect).  Mix until creamy.

3- Pour into glass carefully to avoid ruining the rim

4-Place a few dollops of whip cream in the center.

5-Shave off a fair amount of Alter Ego Dark Mint Chocolate on top of the whip cream.

6-Add mint leaf for garnish.

alter eco mint display edit



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Winter Sake Wonderland


William and I have this sushi place in downtown Rochester we really enjoy, Max Sushi & Noodles. They just opened on Main Street East in the beginning of the winter. We just accidentally stumbled into it one evening. The first time, we ordered a few rolls, some were seared in front of us with a torch. Some had smokey salt on top. Some noodle dishes had delicious salmon. The second time, we got Sake. And I am glad we did. Typically, for me, Sake all tastes the same. But like anything else we are learning, when you intentionally consume it side by side with other counterparts, each one takes on their own unique personality. We bought two Sake flights. It was a good time. Have you tried any of these?

Hakkaisan Tokubetsu Junmai

Aromatics- N/A

  • Flavor- Fleshy, candied apple

Draft Nigori Kikusui “Perfect Snow”

Aromatics- N/A

  • Flavor-Creamy, sediment, fruit pulp. Don’t. Do. It.

Junmai Daiginjo

Aromatics- Honey, floral nectar, berries, fruit punch

  • Flavor-Minerals, white zinfindale

Nama Sake

Aromatics- coconut water

  • Flavor-Lemon peel, plant root, fruit rind

Oze No Yukidoke

Aromatics-Sage, basil

  • Flavor-“Bullyhill-type wine”


Aromatics- Pool water

  • Flavor- N/A


Cheers to Sake in the winter!



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Hardy Harvest Orzo & Venison Dish

Sunday mornings William and I have a tradition; Morning Market Shopping.

Although Woody Allen would mock me by saying, “Tradition is the illusion of permanence”, I, for one, love them. Nothing is better than walking around the bustle of a Farmer’s Market with Joe Bean Coffee steaming from a mug in your hand and colorful and palatable possibilities at every stand.

Today, I came home and watched Fast Food Nation. While I’ve seen a dozen documentaries on the depressing state of our nation when it comes to consuming food and other goods, this one still left an impression. Albeit humorous, it highlighted a lot of critical down falls. Without getting out a soap box, I just want to post an “Ode to Local” meal post.

This dish was one that is easy, doesn’t take a lot of prep work, and is super filling. Will and I used venison from a deer that his Dad shot last season, colorful organic pasta from a local artisan pasta maker called Flour City (this was the Mushroom, Saffron, Spinach, and Cayenne Bon Vivant Orzo) and  a lot of produce from a local Farmer’s Market.

What You’ll Need:

  • 1lb. of Venison
  • .5 lb. Orzo Pasta
  • Green Bell Peppers (Or make it colorful!)
  • 2-3 Carrots
  • 1 Medium Onion
  • 1 Tbsp. Corn Starch mixed in 1/4 c. water
  • Sriracha
  • Ketchup (Some are made without HFCS)
  • 1/8 c. Soy Sauce
  • Organic Better than Bouillon Beef Base
  • EVOO
  • Salt (We used Simply Organic Grinder Salt)
  • 1-2 Tbsp. olive oil


1.) In a skillet, brown the steak (half inch strips work well), onion and pepper in oil.

2.) During this process start your chopped carrots in a pot of water to boil on the side.

3.) Add seasoning salt to your skillet and cook for 5 minutes.

4.) Now add bouillon beef base, ketchup, sriracha making sure steaks are thoroughly covered. Cook another 5 minutes.

5.) Strain your chopped carrots. We used the boiling water to start cooking our 1/2lb. of orzo at this time. Add carrots to the pan along with the cornstarch water mixture and soy sauce.

6.) Cover and simmer until meat is tender. approx. 10-20mins

7.) Remove your cooked orzo and strain from water. Add any seasonings or sauces your prefer.

Note: We chose to display our two dishes separate and garnish with a red pepper/herb leaf. If you care to go the extra mile and cleanse your palette, this meal goes wonderfully with the thick, roasted pumpkin and nut flavors of Festbier from Victory Brewing. Enjoy!