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Gourmet chocolate-maker Taza opens doors for tours, tempts palates across the country

BY Melissa Valliant

SOMERVILLE, Mass. The taste of chocolate never ceases to be magical, and an up-and-coming chocolate maker in Somerville, Mass., is opening its doors to show chocolate lovers how the magic happens through Willy Wonka-style tours.

Taza chocolate isn’t anything like your typical Hershey bar. It boasts a more rich, refined taste that combines earthy flavors, all of which stem from 100 percent direct-trade, organic ingredients, as Taza buys directly from farmers and harvesters.

Top-notch Boston restaurants are adding Taza chocolates and chocolate-based confections to their menus, and wine and beer connoisseurs are finding unique combinations of drinks to present at regular tastings and pairings. The factory tours allow visitors to be led through the chocolate process by one of the two founders, Alex Whitmore and Larry Slotnick, where visitors can observe the handful of Taza employees hard at work at constructing chocolate creations. Dark chocolate samples, including 60, 70 and 80 percent bars and flavored chocolate drinks, are offered on the tours.

All of the chocolate-making takes place at the Somerville factory, a rare situation among U.S. chocolate manufacturers. But beware of a Taza chocolate addiction, as it will cost you. One 3-ounce bar is priced at $6.50.

Taza chocolate candies are available at Massachusetts retailers such as Boston Organics, Greenfield’s Market and Whole Foods Markets, as well as hundreds of other grocers and retailers across the United States.

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Meijer updates databasing technology with aid from QuantiSense

BY Jenna Duncan

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. Meijer grocery and general merchandise business has announced that it will build onto its current business intelligence systems by adding QuantiSense data tools.

The tools will help Meijer with improved information fathering, sorting and storage operations, reports said. Meijer will also have more support to for interaction between parts of their IT working on operations and also their business team to better execute strategy decisions, the company has said.  

Meijer is first integrating QuantiSense tools into its merchandising staff and will then roll out the system to executive management reporting, consumer insight groups and supply chain services, the company said. The tools help staff by monitoring dashboards which evaluate performance data.

Meijer also currntly uses the QuantiSense Developing Your Playbook for technology and management consulting services.

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Commerical Bakeries partners with Ganeden to develop probiotic cookies

BY Michael Johnsen

TORONTO Commercial Bakeries, manufacturer of private label cookie products in the United States and Canada, on Wednesday announced a partnership with Ganeden Biotech on the development of a variety of probiotic-enhanced cookie products.

“For the first time, we have the ability to produce baked goods with the added benefit of powerful, health-promoting probiotics,” said Phillip Fusco, vice president of Commercial Bakeries Corp. “Probiotics aren’t limited to the yogurt section any longer.”

“The ability to bake cookies and other products with probiotics is something that was unheard of until recently,” said Mike Bush, vice president for business development for Ganeden Biotech.

Ganeden Biotech’s patented probiotic, GanedenBC30, is the only commercially available probiotic strain that can survive baking and other manufacturing processes, Ganeden asserted. The ability of the probiotic strain to survive harsh manufacturing conditions makes it ideal for inclusion in shelf-stable, baked good products, such as cookies.

Commercial Bakeries Corp. produces an assortment of cookie varieties, including sandwich cream, wire cut and rotary cookies, for private labels in the United States and Canada.

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