What’s in a Brownie? Featuring Broma Brownie Company

 

Brownies are a go-to, classic dessert. I like to think of brownies like an old, faithful friend. They have been with me since childhood and carried me through many a birthday celebration, the sudden “I need to bring a dessert to a dinner party and only have 30 minutes to spare!” freak out, and those “all-I-want-are-chocolate” kind of days alike.  They are just a delightfully and perfectly simple dessert; nothing too fancy, but everything so classic. Tried and true, never to go out of style.

Derek, of Broma Brownie Company (formerly Boston Brownie Company) knows how to take this simple staple and amplify it to a whole new level. I am not joking. While always delicious, I think it is rare to find a brownie that literally makes your jaw drop. So what makes his brownies different you ask?  My hope is that this interview informs you on the artisanal nature that brownies can take on, and also gives you a look into the heart behind Broma Brownie Co. You will soon learn these are no run-of-the-mill brownies. These are  brownies filled with craft, honest ingredients and made by someone who knows food, lives food, and cares about giving you the best brownie experience you have ever had. I don’t think you will be disappointed.

O & G: So Derek, why brownies? Have they always been a love from childhood? Why not cookies or cupcakes?

D: Who doesn’t love brownies? Brownies are the most iconic dessert in America next to the apple pie, and one of the most nostalgic treats in America. Brownies can instantly bring you back to your childhood, sitting at your grandma’s kitchen table with a plate stacked full of brownies and tall cold glass of milk to wash them down. But we also found the history of the brownie very intriguing. The first brownie recipe was published in the 1896 Boston Cooking School Cook Book. We felt since the brownie was born in Boston that brownie needed proper representation. With that said I’m also a huge chocoholic!!!

O&G: What made you first say to yourself, “There needs to a new kind of brownie”? 

D: The brownie market has become complacent with run of the mill brownies made copious amounts “dutched processed”; cocoa powder that has been chemically treated to extract bitterness.  With everyone being more aware of what they’re putting into their bodies (present company included) we wanted to be honest with our ingredients and our business practices.

 O&G: Where do you source most of your ingredients? I know you said many of them are local, so where do you find these?

D: I’ve been in the restaurant industry for 20+ years and have had the opportunity to work with some of Boston’s top Chefs. I was influenced by the chef’s insistent “farm to table” approach; this is many years before it became fashionable. Over years you learn who to buy from and where to look for new sources.

O&G: Alright…someone is taking their first bite of a Broma Brownie, what is the ideal reaction? 

D: When they bite in I want them to relax their shoulders, close their eyes, tilt their head to one side, and make their “Ohhh” Face! Like it’s best thing they have ever tasted.

O&G: I feel like your brownies are much more than just a “brownie.” There is a lot of thought and art behind each brownie. 

D: Our brownies are really about the chocolate and we base our creativity around that.  Chocolate has natural inherent flavor profiles so we try to play off of them like our use of Bourbon & Cherries, Amber Rum & Raisins, Spices and Citrus.

O&G: I would love to hear a little bit more about the business behind the brownies. Can you lay out a bit of your story leading up to Broma Brownie Co.? 

D: After being in the restaurant business for 20+ years I wanted to make a change but still wanted to be part of that industry which I love. My wife Kristin is a very talented classically trained pastry chef and she had a killer brownie recipe. So we tweaked and played with the recipe making it a little more contemporary and then it all came together and we knew we had a hit and with some encouragement from family, friends, and co-workers here we are.

O&G: Alright, so honestly what about running your own business has been unexpected (difficult or wonderful)?

D: Changing people’s perception of the brownie, which is both difficult and wonderful. There’s nothing like hearing someone say, “What’s so special about your brownies, brownies are brownies”? And then watching them make their “Ohh face” as they try one, it’s the ultimate feeling.

O & G:  Finally, what is the best piece of advice given when starting Broma Brownie Company you hold on to?

D: Don’t listen to the “Nay Sayers” and cut them out of your life completely (sounds harsh but its true) and be honest! If your truly honest about what you create people will see that and it will help pave the way to your goals/success.

 

So now are you ready to go find the most delicious brownie ever? Oh…did we mention they are made with 100% organic, preservative free, locally sourced New England ingredients and contain 100% fair trade organic cacao.  (AKA Everything good in life!) Don’t deny yourself it’s goodness any longer. You need to go find yourself some Broma Brownie Co. brownies!

- Krysia

Derek will be joining us at Olives & Grace (81 Pembroke Street) on April 19th for a brownie tasting. Please come on by the shop and get a chance to talk with Derek and taste Broma Brownies for yourself!
Find more info on the event here.

 

 

 

Two friends, a dozen pencils, and one mission

“KITE – Kid’s Inspiring Tomorrow’s Education – a one- for- one school supplies company”

Two best friends, Emily and Elizabeth together started KITE.

For every pack of pencils bought, a pack of pencils is given to a child in need. The hope behind KITE’s one-for-one project is to help lower the rate of poverty through providing school supplies to children without them. Looking around at the poverty situation, Emily and Elizabeth have noticed how a lack of school supplies leads to unproductive learning and even the abandonment of school altogether. That is why they are on a mission to help kids stay in school, one adorable pencil at a time. Starting with a pencil, the hope is to provide a better learning environment, helping kids to stay in school, and empowering kids to break the poverty curve.

 

The history of KITE goes a little bit like this…

Both Emily and Elizabeth took time working in Africa. Emily had the chance after college to work in an orphanage with underprivileged children. She experienced schools in desperate need of school supplies and saw the way this need affected the education received. Emily went to Rwanda in high school and after college worked with a company that empowered artisan women in Rwanda.  These experiences gave way to the inspiration of KITE. The two friends started with a big vision, to lower the rate of poverty. A big vision carried out with something as simple as a pencil.

Why pencils? Well, because pencils are by far the most basic of school supplies. A pencil is the essential writing instrument to education.  A pencil is a symbol of childhood education. So, the better question is why start with anything besides pencils?

And let me be the first to tell you, these are no ordinary pencil. They are adorable pencils, sky blue with clouds, and more designs to come soon. Emily was in the fashion world before KITE, leading to these pencils being true artistic gems.

[Ultimately, KITE is passionate about making change. Making education a reality for more children through the humble act of providing pencils.]

Who would have thought a pencil could do so much good? KITE not only serves as a tool for formal education, but also creates awareness of poverty and is a reminds us of the gift of an education.

-Krysia

Check out more of their story on:

http://www.kiteproducts.com

 

 

Wondermade Marshmallows: the s’more gets s’better

WONDERMADE MARSHMALLOWS on shelves at Olives & Grace

Interview by Brad Jones of To Cure, a food anthology.

Nathan and Jenn Clark have discovered a recipe for success—success defined not just by making a living, but by making a life. And they found it making marshmallows. Wondermade is an Orlando FL based company giving the classic culinary treat an artisanal twist. Think Bourbon, Lavender, Carrot Cake…all of which are made by hand and packaged with care. Nathan chatted with me about how he got into making mallows and why those made by hand can’t even be compared their Industrial counterpart.


So Nathan, how did you get into gourmet Marshmallow making of all things? Was it to appease your inner S’more eating child?

Actually, the whole thing started as a gift. I was stumped on what to give my wife, Jenn, for Christmas. Fortunately, I heard a piece on NPR about the benefits of candy and I started wondering what it took to make different types . I got to thinking about marshmallows and learned that we had almost all the equipment we needed. The only thing we were missing was a candy thermometer. So under the tree that year Jenn received a candy thermometer and the recipe for making marshmallows.

The first time we cooked the marshmallows it was a revelation. The difference between our first try and the marshmallows we bought at the store was striking – It was like we’d been tricked our entire lives into thinking the cheap store-bought kind were real marshmallows when really they were just cheap marshmallows.

Well I for one appreciate you lifting the wool from our eyes. Certainly it’s hard to go back to the factory version.  Speaking of that despicable word “factory”, it sounds like from the outset that your mallow making was different, that it was a family affair?

We’re just a couple who stumbled onto something we really love. We’re both really focused people so locking into Wondermade and creating really fun marshmallows was a natural fit for us. Even better, it’s something we could chase together which is pretty much priceless when you’re married. We’ve got four young children so it’s hard to carve out time for each other. We immediately loved doing this together, so that was a big part of the appeal of throwing ourselves at the science and art of marshmallow-making.

 Science, yes! Art, absolutely! But where does craft fit in? What exactly does “hand-crafting” a marshmallow entail?

We’re hands-on every step of the process. But the “hand-crafted” label means more than just making things by hand. When things are machine-made the human touch is focused on rooting out defects. When things are hand-crafted the human touch is directing a product towards perfection. That’s a really huge difference. You’ll never achieve something truly great just by trying to avoid mistakes.

Is it the process of “directing a product towards perfection” through the magic of human handicraft that makes your marshmallows Wondermade?

I’d been using the name “wondermade” for years before we started with the marshmallows. I’d always loved the name, but never had a business behind it. When we sat down to brainstorm names around this burgeoning marshmallows enterprise, we kept hitting deadends. Nothing seemed right. Then my wife rightly pointed out the problem wasn’t that the ideas for names were bad, but the problem is that “Wondermade” was better. It just perfectly captures our joy and vim and wonder that we put into making every box.

You crowd-sourced funding through kickstarter to establish a production space, no? How was that process? Did you find that people were really eager to offer their support for your cause?

It was a blast to Kickstart our very own candy factory. The best part was connecting with so many people who really believed in us. Every supporter was someone literally buying in to the idea that marshmallows could be something truly remarkable. It was such an encouragement and validation. In fact, we’ve got a couple of other ideas we’re thinking about Kickstarting in the coming months, so stay tuned. Our new space is great – it’s big enough to handle the holiday rushes and small enough to keep things intensely personal. There’s something so fun about having a space like this for Wondermade. During the Kickstarter we called it a “Magical Marshmallow Workshop” because the idea that we could have a dedicated space to hand-craft marshmallow is pretty magical. The workshop always smells wonderful, like whatever flavors we just cooked. So we come home smelling like peppermint or chocolate or strawberries often covered in tiny flecks of marshmallows. Really, it’s just a great place to create.

Bourbon.

Guinness.

 


www.wondermade.com

What’s your favorite marshmallow recipe? Or should they just be savored alone?

By themselves, yes… alone, never! Marshmallows are best enjoyed with friends.

Step 1: Invite friends over

Step 2: Open box of marshmallows

Step 3: There’s some opportunity here. You could just share what’s in the box. Or you could take a cookie sheet and lay the marshmallows on graham crackers – broil for a few minutes and you’ll have indoor s’mores. You could even grab a lighter or a torch to toast some skewered marshmallows.

DRAM Apothecary: A Bitters’ Sweet Symphony

DRAM Apothecary (Northern Colorado)

by Brad Jones

When bitters were first added to alcohol the cocktail was born. But the history of bitters reaches back much further than the early 19th century. Although now used almost exclusively as flavoring agents for our favorite cocktails, (and an instrumental part of the craft cocktail revolution), bitters as traditional tincture and herbal medicine have been around since time immemorial. In her new line of hand crafted bitters, Shae Whitney, founder and bitters maker of DRAM Apothecary, has managed to merge these worlds once more. And it’s our health and taste buds that stand to reap the benefit.

O&G: Okay Shae, in a dozen words or less, why use Bitters?

Shae:  They have so many uses, from flavoring cocktails, sauces and cookie batter to soothing upset stomachs and calming allergies. My Honey Chamomile Bitters will add a delicate charming nuance to cakes and muffins, a soft and interesting kick to any cocktail and if you battle with seasonal allergies like I do, a hefty shake in small glass of water will calm reaction symptoms immediately. Bitter flavors induce satiation which in turn kick starts your digestive system and gets things moving along.

O&G: Now we’re talkin. How did you get started?

Shae: I studied food science, agriculture and herbalism in my college years, so the preparation of bitters was familiar to me, from a medicinal standpoint. Bartending was my main bread and butter for about 7 years, and one day I found myself reading the ingredients of the classic Angostura Bitters and I was shocked to see they use synthetic flavoring and dye, two things I am very opposed to. So I set out to make better, all-natural bitters that could even have added health benefits.

O&G: Sounds like in DRAM you’ve found a way to merge your two passions then, mixology and herbalism.

Shae: Absolutely. I have essentially fused these two worlds together with my product line. This is something I am very proud of, being able to make bitters that don’t just taste good but will also make you feel good! DRAM is the only wild-crafted bitters company. It truly is a product of the Colorado soil, my home, and that is precious to me and fans of DRAM.

O&G: Would you say there’s such a thing as “northern Colorado terroir”?

Shae: The location of our factory is definitely important to the bitters. Our bitters are crafted at 9,100 feet in Silver Plume, CO using spring water straight from the peaks. Silver Plume is considered to be a “living ghost town” as there are original historic structures preserved in time on dirt roads, with less than 100 people living among them. We chose this setting as it was in line with our aesthetic and belief in bitters made the old-fashioned way with wild herbs gathered from the surrounding hills and valleys.

I can’t speak for a general terroir of Colorado, but I do know something special happens when you craft bitters using herbs grown in fresh mountain air, away from pollutants and contaminants.  We are working on opening the space up as a bar/cafe/tasting room. If you ever find yourself in Colorado please do stop by!

O&G: Foraging herbs from hillsides in the Colorado summer sun? Sounds like you have your hand in every step of the bitters making process, from bark to bottle. This speaks to the difference between artisanal bitters and their more commercial equivalent, no?

Shae:  In my opinion commercial bitters companies aren’t even in the business of manufacturing bitters, they are in the business of manufacturing synthetic culinary flavorings. Commercial bitters are crafted using alcohol, and a bittering root such as gentian, synthetic flavoring and dye. By making them this way they essentially cut out the most important, (and time consuming part), which is allowing herbs to steep and macerate in alcohol for 1 week to 6 months.

Artisanal bitters are generally made in very small batches, around 2-5 gallons, while commercial are made on a massive scale, in giant plastic or stainless steel tanks. At DRAM we use only glass and wood in the crafting of our bitters as I was taught that metals can have various reactions with herbal preparations. We never use plastic as it is known to leach chemicals.

O&G: It’s 5 o’clock somewhere, let’s talk consumption.

Shae: I have a recipe for Hollandaise Sauce that was born out of a desperate moment. I had no citrus in the house, artichokes on the grill and hungry guests. I decided to use my DRAM Citrus Medica bitters in place of the lemon juice and the result was this lovely sauce with unusual and intoxicating depth to it. I include this recipe on a little card with all of my orders.

But to quench your thirst…here is an interesting recipe using ROOT plus DRAM Hair of the Dog Bitters. I am a huge fan of ROOT liqueur made by the folks at Art in the Age in Philedelphia.

2 oz bourbon
1 oz ROOT
1/2 oz grapefruit juice
splash of ginger ale or 1/2 oz simple syrup
5 shakes DRAM Hair of The Dog Bitters

Combine all ingredients and shake with ice. Serve in a mason jar over fresh ice and top with a float of sour beer, preferably Duchesse De Bourgogne. A nice wheat beer will do the trick as well. Garnish with a lemon wheel or fresh mint.

Interview by Brad Jones. Big thanks to Shae & the DRAM team for schooling us. Photo’s provided by DRAM. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two Sisters, Olive Oil + a Mission

 

 Written by Brad Jones.  Photo Credit Tiny Photo Studio

Oliovera Tasting at Olives & Grace

Milena and Desi package big dreams in a small bottle.  And pretty darn good olive oil to boot! I recently
had the good fortune to spend the afternoon with these co-founders of the LA-based olive oil company
Oliovera.

Started only two years ago, Milena and Desi are quickly getting noticed. And rightfully so.  All of their olive oils are extra-virgin and have undergone the California certification process which is far more arduous than the European counterpart. Only the very best oils pass muster. In addition to pure olive oils, Oliovera also does a number of vinegars and blended oils using the best local ingredients they can get their hands on. Think jalapenos, roasted garlic, Persian limes. Having myself lived in Italy, and on an olive grove no less, I say wholeheartedly that Oliovera’s olive oils and vinegars are the real deal. They rival the absolute best to be found abroad.

Milena and Desi don’t have an olive grove. They work with a couple of small farmers who are too busy
actually making the very best quality small batch olive oils to commercialize them. “We work directly
with the farmers,” Desi says. “We have a 1 on 1 relationship with them. We like to think we’re part
of the extended farmer family.” It is to building and sustaining these relationships that they defer the
largest part of their success, but it quickly becomes clear that despite their humility, the sisters work
tirelessly running their small company. They do everything it seems: the deliveries, the calling, the
meeting, the sampling, the facebooking, the tweeting. They even hand-write all their labels (“Well Desi
does,” Milena chimes in laughing, “You don’t want my writing on them.”). “We wear all hats,” say the
sisters who have a charming habit of finishing each other’s sentences. “And we like it that way. It’s our
baby and we’re not ready to give that up.”

The sister’s story is remarkable; the veritable American dream. Born in Bulgaria, their mother won
a green card and they immigrated knowing very little English. What they did know, however, were
the pleasures of eating together and eating well. “Everything that we ate (in Bulgaria) was from the
neighbor’s farm,” Milena recounts, “or from the farmers market where we knew all the farmers. They
were either neighbors or friends of friends. It’s all a big community there, where you have this personal
relationship with the person who grows your food.” Waxing romantic, in coming to America it was
this spirit of community that they longed for the most. “Food is one of those intimate things,” Milena
says, “one of the best things that brings people together across cultures, religions, languages. It’s the
common denominator. Food helps create community.” With Oliovera, they’re doing their part each day
to help rebuild that.

What’s more, they have a deeply rooted social mission that they take seriously. Working with Feeding
America, for every bottle of Oliovera they sell they provide five meals to help feed the hungry.
“Although many people couldn’t afford nice things back home, everybody had access to nice food,
and we sort of grew up with that idea that nobody should go hungry.” Milana continues, “When we
started the company, we knew about kids going to school hungry, to bed hungry, and we wanted to do
something about it. We couldn’t be in the position to be fortunate enough to afford good food and to

be able to start a company about food, and promoting this quality of life and these eating habits, and
not do something about people who aren’t fortunate enough to even be near these kinds of foods.” For
these sisters Oliovera is fun but it’s not all fun, it’s about helping to change the way America eats.

Oliovera is an olive oil company but it’s so much more. It’s an homage to the way things used to be and
it’s a vision of a better tomorrow. It’s a tale of tireless exertion and it’s a labor of love. “That’s our story”
Desi shrugs, “and its personal one.”

We are happy to carry Oliovera at Olives & Grace, and welcome the company to New England

Cereal pours into Olives & Grace

 

Cereal Magazine II In pursuit of food and travel.  Volume One.

My new favorite magazine is coming out today. I haven’t seen it, nor held it in my hands, but I just know. This one will be a breath-taker, heartbreaker, stop-what-you’re-doing-and-sit-down-bully. I’m keeping the day’s schedule open.
See, I’ve been following Rosa Park and her food and travel blog since its inception. She ruthlessly steals hours from me on Pinterest and reroutes my meal and travel plans. She makes me realize all that I didn’t while traveling in the same cities. She’s got eyes like the best of Instagram filters; everything is pretty.
Park, a former Bostonian and New Yorker (Vancouver before that), worked in fashion and beauty before endeavoring on food and travel. Her passion was always in the kitchen and around the world though, eventually spurring her to leave the hectic pace of NYC for the hills of England, where she pursued a Masters in English Literature, hoping that writing would fill her future.
She settled in Bath, the UNESCO World Heritage Site, a place she says helped bring Cereal to fruition, “Bath is surrounded by the sort of rolling hills of the English countryside that you see in films – the whole place is incredibly genteel and easy on the eyes. It’s hard to not be inspired when you live in such a lovely, peaceful place. Cereal would never have materialized unless I moved here – I believe that 100 percent.”
Cereal- the name is a nod to the morning delight of sweet grains in fresh milk, a routine of reading the back of the box, testing your knowledge, learning something new- is a collaborative effort of Park and her two partners. Rich Stapleton is the visual designer, in charge of the logo, branding, layout, stock choice and all things artistic, cover to cover. Richard Aslan is the contributing editor that stood fast to the rule that Cereal would be educational; they would offer the history and context of their topics, as well as the social and entertainment value as well.
In this first issue, Rosa thought it imperative to have personally experienced each of the topics covered. She has tasted this food, taken these pictures, traveled to these places. Each contributor and Maker focused upon has piqued her interest and caught her eye. After years of curating the blog and formulating the flow, this issue will be the culmination of all of their efforts. Cereal will be a quarterly magazine, calibrating the seasons for us and reminding us of the beauty that surrounds us.Rosa, Rich and Richard—and their forty contributors and printers—debut today their inaugural printed effort. We can hold in our hands their gorgeous book full of passion and curiosity. This magazine, like the blog as always been, will be a feast of all kinds: meals, destinations, photography and minimalist design.
Visit their newly launched website http://readcereal.com/ to find stockists (like us) near you. You’ll be glad to have Cereal in the morning- it will awaken all your senses.
Lauren Bell, contributing writer for Olives & Grace.  

Bottled Tea…Well fancy that!

Sofi Madison (left) and Evy Chen (right)

The first time I was introduced to Tea Cuvée, I thought I was in for some top-shelf day drinking.  Despite my initial intake, the narrow bottles weren’t filled with mead, (or any wine for that matter). Instead I was poured a glass of chilled, loose leaf tea.  Since when is tea served in glass bottles from France?  Meet Evy Chen, owner of Tea Cuvée, a Boston based small-batch tea company.  Evy’s background is in marketing, and early on she shared with me that her tea was to be packaged in beautiful bottles, or bust.  Her vision, “I’d love to see my tea offered in hotels, restaurants, spas and holiday resorts, as a fine wine-alternative that is tasty, elegant, and healthy.  Somebody who doesn’t feel like drinking alcohol doesn’t have to fake it with ice cubes and tonic (like I did),” she says.

Evy turned to Olives & Grace to find a home for her product.  A place for customers to learn about the Tea Cuvée story, allowing Evy to focus on making tea, crunching numbers, and growing her business.  Those Maker & Store relationships are crucial to the sustainability of a small business.  Gone are the days of house parties while parents are away.  While the Makers hit the road to get back to business, we clean up house on their behalf.  (Well, we party a bit too.  See above photo from the September ART-Tasting event).

When I asked Evy about her resources for her big vision, she was optimistic. “Boston has a wonderful community that supports local foods, Olives & Grace being one of them.  You love to hear from makers and foodies, and share information.  I also love FarmFresh, as you can see who else close to you supports local makers.”   (By the way, if you haven’t checked out Farm Fresh, please do).

The first time she introduced her product to the public, she went to big dogs at the Fancy Food Show back in June.  Evy shares, “I was super nervous as I didn’t know what people’s reaction would be, since the concept of Tea Cuvée (cold brewing, unique flavors, and a tea that looks like wine) was completely new to the market.  Luckily people liked it!”  This was also the first time Evy spoke with anyone from Whole Foods, and they approached her.  Damn, life is good.

And what about balance?  I asked Evy, “After a long day of the hustle & bustle, how do you unwind and bring yourself back to center?”  Her words seemed to float from her mouth as she imagined those sacred moments, “even after hours of tastings, day after day; I still like to make a cup of good tea, sit in front of my window and relax.  I have tea to calm myself down. It’s rewarding to just think about somebody, somewhere, is enjoying Tea Cuvée just like I am right now.”

Finally I asked for any words she’d like to share with others who Make for a living? Her solid advice: “Stay true to your vision, while listening very carefully to the market.  Do your research about what’s on demand, listen to people outside of your own social circle.”  We can all take a page from her book.

Tea Cuvée Flavors:

-First flavor, Moonlight, is made out of: Moonlight White tea – a raw white tea that is not roasted and harvest under the moon in Yunnan China, with notes of apricot and jasmine that come from France. 
-Second flavor, Amber, which is scheduled to hit the market this November, is made out of – Amber oolong, rosemary,  and orange zest.  A perfectly earthy and bold tea for the cold weather.
Both teas are 100% natural, unsweetened, 0 calories, and are made in Lynn, MA.

Tea Cuvée Appearances:

  • Shubie’s Specialty Market Sat Oct 20th from 12-5pm 
  • Tasting at Olives & Grace Sunday Oct 21st
  • Urban Grape Chestnut Hill Nov 17th 3-6PM, 
  • Urban Grape South End; Sun Dec 1st 2-6PM
  • Eat Boutique Holiday Market December 9
Show your support for Tea Cuvée on the old FB

Two Degrees, A Sweet Good Deed

I (virtually) sat down with Peter Walters because I adore him and the company he keeps, Two Degrees. For me, shuffling through the market for a health bar is more challenging than choosing a nail color.  The shelves are stacked high with shiny wrappers and fancy claims, luring me into a flavorless mistake. Let’s turn our attention to a food company that goes far beyond the industry standard…

Two Characters for Two Degrees: 
Sofi, Second year Two Degrees advocate, vendor, and consumer.
Peter, Two Degrees Director of Campus Program, Corporate Sales and Social Media

Sofi: I just ate a Chocolate Banana bar to really get into character for this discussion, and I fell right back in love.  It was like a fit brownie.

Peter: You know this! Our Product Developer, Barr Hogen, (former Odwalla developer) helped us create gluten-free food bars with quinoa, chia, and millet. She’s extremely health conscious, and the food industry is flavor driven. Together we’ve managed to create a super delicious bar that’s also great for your overall well-being. 

Sofi:  Okay, it’s time…Two Degrees Elevator pitch, Go!

Peter: Two Degrees was founded in an effort to connect consumers to children in need. We decided to sell a food product that would in turn provide a meal to hungry children through one of our NGO partners. We believe that the one-for-one model can be incredibly powerful because consumers do want to do good and help others…we just need to make it simple and affordable for consumers to get involved.

Sofi: How many of you are there?

Peter: Six of us are holding down the fort.  In San Francisco, your favorite.

Sofi:  The perfect city for food innovation!  So, Two Degrees is run by a small, passionate team. How do you keep each other motivated when it gets tough?

Peter: I think you nailed it. We’re all motivated by passion for our mission. We all believe in the power of consumerism for good– “conscious consumerism” if you will. When business slows down, or one of our Whole Foods regions isn’t driving as many sales and we would have hoped, we all get back to the grind– call the stores, set up demos, befriend employees, and really try to give attention and focus to each one of our accounts– whether Facebook, or a tiny little coffee shop in Oklahoma. We want everyone to be able to help in the fight against childhood hunger.

Sofi:  Tell us a Two Degrees secret..

Peter: But then it wouldn’t be a secret….? Okay, Co-Founder and President Will Hauser has an 8-pack and is THE healthiest man alive.

(What Peter really means is that Will is a handsome Harvard grad, with a huge heart, and a firm handshake to boot)

Sofi:  Peter, can you tell us a misconception about Two Degrees..

Peter: That we only give one type of meal, and only in Africa. In reality, we give various types of meals around the world through different NGO partners. We are very considerate of the type of food typically eaten in a region, and the form of hunger or malnutrition that needs to be treated.

Sofi:  If someone gave Two Degrees a big chunk of change, how would the funds be used?

Peter: This money– that we do need– would be used to rebuild our team, jump-start our marketing and demo efforts, more product development, bring on full time designers, and engineers. With the right investors and continued customer support, we’ll be able to continue our goal, to feed 200 million children.

Sofi:  I’m going to help.

Peter:  Yer damn skippy!

Sofi: I’ve chopped the Chocolate Peanut bar up and mixed it into my vanilla ice cream. Has anyone outdone me with Two Degrees versatility?

Peter: Nope. You win, you sweet Graceful, Olives lady.

Bow and curtsy.
The two scurry off to spread the word about Two Degrees.

Bacon Spread? A Double Dare to accept…

the skillet truck

SKILLET STREET FOOD- Seattle, WA.

I like my bacon crispy and lying beside a tall stack of pancakes drenched in syrup. I do not like my bacon mashed up in a jar. It’s safe to say I was a little skeptical when Skillet Bacon Spread showed up on our doorstep. Okay, fine, maybe more than a little skeptical. However, I was raised to try absolutely anything once. So, I spread a little Skillet Bacon Spread on a piece of French bread, and popped it in my mouth. I was shocked by my findings: the spread was rich and creamy, not overpowering, but not afraid to be bold either. In other words, it was DELICIOUS. I’m not sure exactly what I was expecting but what I tasted definitely impressed me. I began imagining the uses for it in any kitchen: on a burger, on bruschetta, on a cheese platter, the list goes on.

Enough of me trying to convince you of its wonders, let me tell you a little bit about the company…
Skillet Street Food began in Seattle in 2007 with Chef Josh Henderson cooking and serving American-inspired cuisine out of a vintage Airstream trailer. Since becoming a leader in the food truck movement, this clearly innovative company has expanded its brand to include artisanal food products (such as the lovely Skillet Bacon Spread) and restaurants. The only thing that sounds better than opening a jar of Skillet Bacon Spread for a late afternoon snack, is going to the skillet diner in Seattle’s Capitol Hill for burger topped with arugula, blue cheese and, of course, Skillet Bacon Spread.

So, truth…Are you ready to accept a dare from the leaders of the Washington food scene? Come on Boston, do it…
You can find the following flavors on the Olives & Grace shelves: Original skillet bacon spread, Skillet bacon spread uncured, Skillet pumpkin sauce (chipotle) and Skillet pumpkin sauce (brown sugar and apple vinegar).

Written by Ally Sprague

Hiring Fall Interns

I’ve been dreading the moment I have to leave the new home I’ve made at Olives & Grace, but as it always does, the time has come.  Sofi Madison, founder and owner of OG (and out-of-this-world boss), is looking for two interns: one general intern to help with marketing, event planning and product scouting, and one web development/graphic design intern to handle the OG website.  Hours are flexible (to work around class schedules, etc.), and working from home is an option.  While writing is a big part of my job here, I truly cannot put into words how much I’ve learned and laughed during my time at OG with Sofi.  Spread the news to all who might be interested!

To get a feel for what OG is all about check out our Facebook page and this article by BostInno.

Interested candidates email olivesandgrace@gmail.com for more information.

Note to future OG interns: You’ve got some big shoes to fill, (mine).

 

Written by Ally Sprague

Olives & Grace

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