Tag Archives: organic food

Chocolate Luxury

I just happened to be down in Seattle’s Pioneer Square last Friday and decided to finally track down Intrigue Chocolates, a chocolatier which specializes in French-style truffles. I have known about Intrigue and its owner Aaron Barthel ever since I played an open house at Davenport Cellars, one of the plentiful boutique wineries here in Woodinville, and I have run into him a couple times since. So, mobile Google Maps in hand, I discovered his lair. It is sort of hard to find, but totally worth it. They don’t have a storefront on the street. Rather, you go up a stair and down a hallway and then ring a bell to be let in. Having to hunt for the place lends to the intrigue, don’t you think? (Pun intended!) And it means you are serious about chocolate! (And who shouldn’t be?)

Aaron has been in business for about seven years. After earning a BA in ecology and botany, he “stumbled” into making chocolate truffles through a recipe in a horticulture magazine. Some friends started a catering business and hired him to make their breads and also feature his truffles.  “Starting to develop my techniques and recipes as an employee was a great way to begin,” Aaron told me, and after a year or so, he then took the plunge to start Intrigue. After several years working out of a combination of his and his friend’s living spaces, he consolidated his operation into the current location at 76 S. Washington Street.

How does one describe his creations? To quote a Pioneer Square blog post: A defining quality of Aaron’s chocolates is how fresh and natural they are, as they are often organic and local.  New flavors rotate in and out according to season.The truffles are not to be munched on in the conventional sense, but are designed to melt in your mouth. The truffles lack the distracting hard shell and are dusted with cocoa power, leaving the taster to discover the complex flavors of the chocolate as it melts. Aaron is generous with his samples, and I tried several. Each one seems to tell a story as it gently melts in the mouth. Being the frugal sort I am, I bought only two of the Vrai Chai truffles, and now I’m kicking myself for not buying more. I guess it gives me an excuse to return soon, don’t you think?

They have a lovely website, aptly named www.intriguechocolates.com and be sure to sign up for their newsletter so you can keep abreast of events where his chocolates are featured. Oh, and did I mention that their chocolate is 100% organic and from sources which follow ethical and fair trading practices? All the more reason to pay them a visit!

A little hard to find, but impossible to forget…

Top photo courtesy of Share the Square blog at www.pioneersquare.org.


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Full Circle Farms vs. PCC

We recently signed up for produce delivery from Full Circle Farms, a provider of organic produce. Last week we received our first box. As promised, it was on our porch before 6AM on Thursday morning.

The “standard” size box costs $37 delivered. I could have opted to pick it up from a nearby location on Wednesday afternoons and save $3, but I never know where I’m going to be from 4 to 9 on a Wednesday and it is more convenient for me to have it delivered. Since it’s just two of us, I am having the produce delivered every other week, so we’re talking $74 a month on average.

After seeing what we got for $37, I was curious to see what it would cost to buy comparable produce at my local PCC market. Here are the results:

As you can see, I could have purchased the same produce for about $8 less if I had made the 5 mile round trip to the store. I was a bit surprised that it was only $8 difference, but organic produce is expensive. One question for me is whether having it delivered is worth the extra money. From a convenience standpoint, this question becomes pertinent if I have no time to shop for food.  As it turns out, even with a one-month computer consulting gig that I am starting tomorrow, PCC is on the way home, so shopping at the store is not inconvenient, at least for me, but it is nowhere near Merrilyn’s commute route.

Another factor is whether we can consume the amount of produce delivered in enough time before it starts to spoil. That remains to be seen, as this has been a very busy week, we have had the produce for a week, and still have 2/3 of the box to get through.

And finally, there is the issue of the produce itself. For example, how is the Circle Farms chard compared to what I could get at PCC? The Fuji apples in the box were small compared to what I would normally buy. Same with the avocado and other fruits. Of course, taste is a factor. The verdict is out until we get through all the produce. I am cooking up a broccoli beef stir fry for dinner this evening, so I’ll be using up the broccoli and maybe the Romano beans. I’ll write a followup post. Until then, Bon Appetit!

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I Love PCC!

Yes, I am rather fond of our local natural food chain, Puget Consumer Co-Op. I believe they are the best in the country. I went there for lunch the other day after my workout. They always have a nice variety in their soup bar. The one in Kirkland is the second store they opened and is one of my faves. I wrote about this elsewhere, but there are certain places that just enhance my mood. Just look at the magazine rack! There have to be a few publications in there that review wellness-related music. I need to send them a copy of Passage and see if they’ll review it.

Can you think of any magazines about wellness, health, mind/body, spirituality, etc. that review relaxation music? If so, I would love to hear your suggestions. Namaste! (Sorry, couldn’t resist.) :-)

The Houghton (Kirkland) store.

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It was time to buy a new set of tires for our SUV and Costco had the best deal around (at over $700, ouch!). It’s been a while since I have gone up and down every aisle in Costco, but I had a couple of hours to kill. I was curious about how much truly healthy food could be found. It was not encouraging.

I found some “wild” smoked Alaska salmon. The back of the package revealed that they catch young salmon in fresh water and then farm raise them. They didn’t use the word “farm” of course, chose “nursery” instead.

They even have organic ground beef. What does that mean? They use organic GMO corn and still grow them in a warehouse? Now if they would have said “grass fed”, now we’d be talkin! They wouldn’t have to bathe the ground beef in ammonia to kill off evil bacteria before sending to market.

One of the aisles was a candy aisle. Why did I walk down that one? Given that I have sworn off sugar (for the most part) I still noticed an enormous bag of gummy bears. 6 pounds!! Can you believe it? I wasn’t even tempted. I am truly rewiring my brain.

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An apple from Down Under

Did a little grocery shopping at Puget Consumer’s Co-op (PCC). There are several scattered around the greater Seattle area. They are truly the epitome of natural food stores. I mean, we’re talking total health food Nirvana. Everything is organic, and I mean EVERYTHING. Not like Whole Foods (owned by Disney) where some things are organic and other things are laden with carcinogenic DNA-disruptive brain-damaging chemicals.

(Just kidding about Disney. Maybe they are, I don’t know. And obviously, the nasty description about the non-organic substances is highly speculative. Okay, I just covered me arse here; I can move on… )

I LOVE PCC!! It is one of those places I like to shop at and it puts me in a good mood. The only thing that tempers my warm and fuzzy nirvanic glow are the prices. I mean, who wants to pay $10.99/lb for organic lunch meat? Unlike the natural food stores of old, their produce is BEAUTIFUL. No inevitable worm holes in their apples. Can you imagine biting into an organic apple with a worm hole and suddenly finding yourself in an unchartered corner of the universe? Me neither.

However, I bought this little beauty that was grown in New Zealand. Didn’t notice this until after I got it home. Have you ever seen an apple like this? Perhaps this one has one of those cosmic worm holes. Makes one wonder what strange experiments are being conducted on apples down under.

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