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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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Stop & Shop expands holdings with conversion of two C&S stores

BY Jenna Duncan

QUINCY, Mass. Stop & Shop this week announced that it has agreed to buy out two Massachusetts Grand Union Family Markets stores and switch them to the Stop & Shop namesake.

The Grand Union in Provincetown, Mass., as well as the Ro-Jack’s in Seekonk, Mass. Will close in December for updates and reopen as Stop & Shop locations in time for the holidays, Stop & Shop said.

C&S Wholesale Grocers, based in Keene, N.H., has been operating the Grand Union store in Provincetown since its 2001 acquisition and the Ro-Jack’s store in a 2003 asset exchange with Supervalu.

C&S is also the supplier to Massachusetts area Stop & Shop stores.

 

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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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