Vermont Brownie Company Giveaway

IMG_6688

Are you hungry?

Hungry for a super treat made in Vermont? Vermont Brownie Company is here to deliver!

 

IMG_6686

Vermont Brownie Company was founded eight years ago in Shelburne by Shawna Lidsky. Last year Vermont Teddy Bear acquired the sweet business and together they make a great pair.

What makes a Vermont Brownie so unique? They are are preservative free and made from all natural ingredients. They are using local ingredients from King Arthur Flour, Cabot Creamery, Vermont Creamery, and more (including Vermont maple syrup!).

IMG_6690

 

The Gourmet Six Pack Sampler (shown above) is their current best seller. They sent me a sampler which I was more than happy to taste test.

IMG_6691

I will start by saying that I loved, honestly LOVED, every single flavor. It is recommended that you microwave the brownie for 15 seconds before eating. Each was moist, rich, and melted in my mouth. The Signature brownie is their original brownie… the one that started it all. The Vermont Brownie website lists this brownie as “A.K.A. Chocolate ecstasy”. True.

IMG_6700

I shared the Peanut Butter Brownie (above) with my children and here are their thoughts:

“Gooey, awesome, really good taste, I love it.” (My son, age 7.)

“Can’t complain about this!” (My diva daughter, age 4.)

I agree! This brownie is a bit of a sandwich with a  thick layer of peanut butter. The classic combination of sweet with salty is perfect!

IMG_6689

You must try the Dark Chocolate Chevre Brownie, which beat famed celebrity chef Bobby Flay in a brownie baking challenge. This brownie is both sweet and savory with the addition of local chevre (goat cheese). After finishing this brownie myself (so fast I didn’t take a photo) I sat back to appreciate its complexity.

IMG_6721

Everyone in my family loves walnuts in their brownies. My parents are known to complain if someone leaves out the nuts. These brownies are for nut lovers!! The name “Walnut Chunk” is quite an accurate name. You will not find small chopped up nuts, you will find large crunchy walnuts and walnut pieces in each bite.

IMG_6687

The amazing brownie flavors don’t stop there (which is why the Gourmet Samplers are the perfect gift!). The Maple Toffee Crunch has a layer of maple candy that is out of this world. Regrettably I let my husband have this brownie, though I insisted on a taste. He is the family’s maple fan and and loved each bite. He suggest adding a scoop of Vermont ice cream on top.

Find details about each of Vermont Brownie’s 8 flavors here on their website.

GBR013006stack2_1024x1024

Order your Valentine a sampler pack today. You can also order a single brownie, two pack, a dozen, or more! There are many size options. You can also order personalized wedding/party favors and corporate gifts. If you are really ready to spoil someone enroll them in the Monthly Brownie Program (husband… take note…). You can also send a Vermont Teddy Bear with your Vermont Brownies!

Save money today by using the code VBCSAVE10VT. You’ll save 15% off any order!! Offer valid until February 15, 2016.

BBR000006_1024x1024

Vermont Brownie Company is going to send two lucky winners each a Valentine’s Gourmet Brownie Sampler (6 pack). Be sure to complete all of the entry options to increase your chances of winning!

ENTER HERE:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Happy Hearts Day!
~Honi

 

 

 

 

Chocolate Hollow Giveaway

IMG_7948

I would like to make your day a little bit sweeter, with a twist.

IMG_7947

Chocolate Hollow, based in Burlington, is making luxurious vegan chocolate bars. Owner  Madeleine Siegel began making her own chocolate after her parents gave her a cacao stone grinder as a gift. She started experimenting with making Schmilk bars – vegan milk chocolate bars – and currently is producing seven different bars, with more in the works.

IMG_7963

This vegan, organic chocolate bar is sure to satisfy your sweet tooth. I blindly taste tested this bar and would not have been able to tell you that it was dairy free.

I shared it with my friend Jill and here are her thoughts: “Not being a big chocolate bar fan, I wasn’t sure how I was going to really like this. On top of it all it being a Vegan chocolate. Let me just say it totally surprised me! I thought it was so yummy. It tasted just like milk chocolate. You wouldn’t know that there wasn’t any milk in it. It was very creamy, with the perfect cocoa taste. I even saved a piece for Mom to try and she said she gives it a thumbs up. I would defiantly sit down and eat this chocolate bar anytime.“.

IMG_7960

IMG_7961

Look at how loaded this chocolate bar is! This Hazelnut bar is a Schmilk style chocolate with lightly toasted hazelnuts. I ate this bar first and will admit that it was gone very shortly after I started it. It was very rich and addicting.

IMG_7955

If you enjoy hazelnut as much as I do I would like to recommend that you try this Hazelnut Truffle Log ASAP! It is amazing! I cut mine into bite size pieces and limited myself to one a day, because I wanted to make it last. The inside of this bar is filled with a hazelnut gianduja, which means it is creamy, thick, and a bit like fudge. This happens to be Madeleine’s best selling bar.

IMG_7964

IMG_7968

The Fruit and Nut bar was another favorite bar of mine. It was loaded with chewy dried cherries and crunchy toasted almonds. I enjoyed the different textures set in Schmilk chocolate.

IMG_7957

Though I seem to have no photos of it, but friend Hannah wants to tell you about the Toffee Crunch bar.

“Chocolate Hollow’s Toffee Crunch is a Beautifully balanced smooth and creamy chocolate with a delightful crunch of light and buttery toffee.  Delicious! A locally made, vegan chocolate that is organic and fair trade certified, means this is an  indulgence to feel good about!” -Hannah

IMG_7951

You can find Chocolate Hollow products at City Market, New Moon Café, Natural Provisions, Sweet Clover Market, UVM at Henderson’s Café, Top of the Block Sandwich Shoppe, the Peace and Justice Center, Pingala Café, Evolution Yoga, and online.

IMG_7952

Madeleine would like you to try her wonderful chocolate bars. She is giving away a deluxe variety pack with one of each of her 7 bars. We will choose one lucky winner and you MUST enter HERE to WIN:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Show your support for this growing VT business and LIKE Chocolate Hollow on Facebook.

Indulge,
~Honi

 

 

An Outrageous Giveaway!

IMG_5370

Rex’s Road Crew Crunch officially began in 2006, though the recipe had been in the family for many years before then. Rex shares that his grandmother Jobyna created the original “Gravel” recipe with cereal, pretzels and peanuts covered in white chocolate. Here is his story of acquiring the recipe: “Originally from Pennsylvania, my wife and I moved to VT in 2000 – it didn’t take long to run out of a supply of Gravel. The problem became that Jobyna refused to ship it to us here in VT! After an exchange of heated words in her kitchen at Christmas, she threw the recipe at me and said “You make it!” Well, we kinda took it from there and built a business that both my wife and I do full time. We are now up to 15 flavors (8 year round and 7 seasonal) with distribution all across New England and it still continues to grow.”

IMG_5371 IMG_5372

Our family enjoyed all four of Rex’s flavors that we tried. Gravel, pictured above, combines salty peanuts and pretzels and sweet white chocolate. That’s a great combination of texture with a powerful crunch. Note that all of Rex’s flavors are gluten free, even with the pretzels.

My friend Lauren was happy to help us taste test these products. Here is her review: “Yes yes yes! That is my review..yes to white chocolate, yes to peanuts and yes to crunchy cereal and pretzel pieces.  And they work soo well together.  Sweet enough to feel like a treat yet light enough to grab a handful at noon (if you have the willpower for just one) and not feel guilty all day. The ratio of the chocolate coating to the peanuts and cereal pieces and pretzels was perfect, It wasn’t globbed on, so that every bite contained the perfect amount of each ingredient.  I thoroughly enjoyed every bit of this treat.”

IMG_5368

The Backfill flavor was addicting and I can confess to eating the whole bag in one day. Toasted coconut makes this crunch a bit more chewy than other flavors and it’s simply out of this world!

IMG_5378

Pot Hole has a great story: “This is the Rex’s Outrageous ode to the winter of 2009 and the disastrous roads that were in the wake of that winter . . . We named this first, then picked the ingredients – hemp seeds (aka pot) were the first of the required ingredients, and the pretzels have holes – thus Pothole. Incidentally, this is the healthiest choice of the Rex’s Outrageous lineup as the hemp seeds are 33% protein, super high in antioxidants, super high in omega 3 fatty acids – but sadly they don’t get you super . . . well you get the idea.” I didn’t want to share this bag. I selfishly kept it all to myself. The rich dark chocolate wrapped around the nuts, the pretzels and the cereal. This bag didn’t last long either.

IMG_5379

When I asked Rex what made his products stand out this is how he responded: “What doesn’t make us stand out?!? Road Crew Crunch is a healthier snack alternative with no preservatives or artificial flavors. It is also Gluten Free – even the flavors with pretzels! – they are manufactured with potato starch and bamboo fiber eliminating gluten! And it is FUN! From the point you pick up the bag and read our story to your first and last bite – we keep you Diggin’ In for more!”

IMG_5373

Learn more about all of Rex’s flavors here. You can order directly from Rex’s website, or find Road Crew Crunch in a store near you.

ENTER HERE to win Rex’s Outrageous Road Crew Crunch:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Happy snacking,
~Honi

PS: Keep an eye out for Rex’s LIMITED EDITIONS! We loved “Lover’s Lane” this Valentine’s Day!

IMG_5369

Mother’s Day Giveaway

ry%3D400     kkk

Happy Mother’s Day!

This post is dedicated to all moms, especially my mom who mothers me even though I am grown and myself a mother.

To me every day is my “Mother’s Day”. I am blessed to have two wonderfully healthy children that keep me laughing, guessing, and surprised!

Mother’s Day is a great day to give away more great Vermont products!

The following companies will send gifts to two winners in our Mother’s Day Giveaway.

yhst-92796682514694_2260_7456862

Vermont Brownie Company

IMG_8820

Marsh Hollow Jam

image_1367716946675402

Lake Island Girl on Etsy

Simply ENTER HERE to enter this giveaway. Note that LIKING these companies on Facebook and SHARING this giveaway will earn you extra entries!! Please share often!

Happy Mother’s Day! Go hug a mom!

~Honi

May 12th 2013 – 9PM – This giveaway is now closed. Please visit our homepage to find our current giveaways and LIKE us on Facebook for real time updates.

The winners of this giveaway are kamwoman@ & Amyarmstrong@ Congratulations! Check your email.

Liberty Chocolate Giveaway

LIbertyTransparentSolidTaste2-e1313730244155

Katrina Coravos began making chocolate bars two years ago and now those bars are sold at over 150 locations nationwide. Clearly she has well made and delicious products.

Liberty Chocolate, from Worcester, VT, begin their process with fair trade beans from Peru “where the beans are processed by hand and using traditional techniques, such as drying the beans in the sun.  I wanted to preserve the potency, medicine, and power of this amazing plant and create a delicious product doing so.”

IMG_7086

Next they add honey from Northwoods Apiaries in Westfield, VT. The honey adds a subtle and yet rich sweetness that’s very different from other chocolate bars. All Liberty Chocolate bars are dairy free. Liberty Chocolate is committed to using organic ingredients, and local ingredients when possible. They never use refined sugars and make each bar by hand.

Liberty Chocolate bars come in seven flavors: Dark, Peppermint, Almond Coconut, Maple, Acai & Blueberry, Moon Time (Cherry/Pomegranate)  and Hot Pepper. Their flavor combinations are intriguing and I want to try them all. I was lucky enough to try the dark chocolate bar and it was hard to stop eating it. The flavor is luscious and deep. The bar was smooth and had just the right amount of sweetness. I am going to make a point to try every flavor very soon!

IMG_7087

Giving back to the community and charities that are near and dear to them is very important to Liberty Chocolate. They even created a unique strawberry chocolate bar for a local school fundraiser. Find Liberty Chocolate near you!

Katrina would like to share her chocolate with Try Vermont First readers. ENTER HERE  to win Liberty Chocolate. Be sure to LIKE them on Facebook too! Good luck!

Sweet,
~Honi

May 1, 2013 – 9PM – This giveaway is now closed. Please visit our homepage to find our current giveaways and LIKE us on Facebook for real time updates.

The winners of this giveaway are Ufc92591@ and chezjay@. Congratulations! Check your email.

Chocolate For Change

This giveaway is now over. Please enjoy reading our reviews!

 

Nicole Mondejar from Vermont Chocolate For Change contacted me a few months ago about working together. I made it through half of her first paragraph and said “YES!”, not just because she offered to send me chocolate, but because the mission behind what she is doing is very powerful and important.

IMG_7233

I am going to let Nicole tell you a little bit more about Vermont Chocolate For Change, “Vermont Chocolate for Change (VTCFC) is a culinary-based life skills program of Washington County Mental Health Services, Inc., located in Barre, VT. At-risk youth age 16-22 are invited to learn the art of making handcrafted chocolates and confections as a unique and fun approach to helping them develop pre-employment skills related to communication, team work, problem solving and seeing a process through.

 Youth are invited into the kitchen to participate to the best of their ability as they are involved with the tempering, molding, dipping and packaging of the chocolates. Youth are then also invited to participate in selling what they have made directly to customers at the Waterbury Farmers Market and other community events as they develop their personal confidence and competence.

As students participate, they also learn the importance of using local and organic ingredients as much as possible along with all compostable packaging. And, since 100% of our proceeds are reinvested in VTCFC to help keep our program going, this is truly a sweet initiative we can all stand behind!”

IMG_7220

“All items are freshly handcrafted in limited batches using only all natural, pure Belgian chocolate and paired with as many local and organic ingredients as possible. VT products currently include Vermont Peanut Butter Company’s Organic Peanut and Nut Butters, Vermont Cranberry Company’s Dried Cranberries, Pure VT Honey from Bee Haven Honey Farm, Vermont Creamery Butter, VT Artisan Coffee & Tea, Champlain Orchards Organic Apples, VT Cottage Cooking’s Maple Granola and only local, organic cream, eggs and maple syrup. All of the baked goods that we dip in chocolate are also homemade and we use no added refined sugar or corn syrup in our recipes. ”

IMG_7223

Above are VTCFC’s Handcrafted Espresso Truffles. These truffles were very soft and full of deep flavor. No one else got to try one (sorry family)…. they were delicious and gone pretty fast!

IMG_7218

A few words to describe VTCFC’s Sea Salted VT Honey Caramels might be bursting (with honey), sweet (super honey sweet), and perfect! They are made to perfection with pure Vermont honey.

IMG_7222

Here is one more note from Nicole, “Our biggest ask from the community: Is to please help us spread the word about VTCFC. Since 100% of our proceeds are reinvested in helping at-risk youth, EVERY purchase directly supports our mission! If anyone is interested in making a tax deductible donation or would like to explore collaborating with us, we invite them to contact us at vermontchocolateforchange.com.”

You can find Vermont Chocolate For Change at Proud Flower  in Waterbury. They can also be found at the Waterbury Farmers Market and the Granite City Farmers Market in Barre (May-October). If you want to see their products in a store near you please request them!

IMG_7229

Now YOU can win a bag of assorted goodness from Vermont Chocolate for Change! Nicole is offering to send three winner each the following:

Sea Salted VT Honey Caramels,  Organic Peanut Butter Cups filled only with Vermont Peanut Butter Company brand peanut butters, Vermont Artisan Espresso Truffles made with  freshly ground Vermont Artisan Espresso,  a bag of Dark Chocolate Maple Granola Bark made with granola from Vermont Cottage Cooking, dried cranberries from Vermont Cranberry Co, and roasted pumpkin seeds, and several of unique and whimsical molded chocolates. Each reusable canvas gift bags is made exclusively for VTCFC by Alena Botanica and printed by Factotum  (both of Waterbury). These bags will also entitle the winners to 10% off future chocolate purchases when presented at any VTCFC event – a gift that truly keeps on giving!

I LOVE how VTCFC networks with so many other Vermont businesses!! Neighbor helping neighbor!

Lucky readers! Be sure to LIKE Vermont Chocolate for Change on Facebook! ENTER this giveaway HERE.

IMG_7235

Enjoy!!
~Honi

Hop, skip, and jump to Nutty Steph’s!

This giveaway is now over. Please enjoy reading our reviews!

 

Here is another place to love. Another place to visit. Another place to Try Vermont First!

Nutty Steph’s is located on Rte 2 in Middlesex, VT. They are famous for their granola and more. Nutty Steph’s should have a big neon sign above its door saying “TREAT TREATS TREATS!”. Their store is full of delicate and luxurious treats!

We stopped in at Nutty Steph’s to pick up their new Magic Chunks. I will suggest that when you buy the Magic Chunks you buy multiple bags, three or four maybe? They will be gone before you know it, and you will be sad until you get more. This versatile snack candy is made with Nutty Steph’s original nutty granola. This granola is PACKED with more nuts that you can imagine, including almonds, hazelnuts, and walnuts. Then granola meets it’s new friend, dark chocolate, and together they make magic and are addicting.

Right now you are trying to reach into your computer screen to snag one of my Magic Chunks, right? Don’t worry, Nutty Steph’s wants you to try Vermont first too! See the details below on how to enter to win a bag of Magic Chunks!

When I asked Nutty Steph’s owner Jaquelyn Rieke why she started her business she told me it was because she, “Happened to possess the recipe for the world’s most delicious granola.  However, it could have been anything – I’ve started businesses since I could hold out my hand to another person.  It’s just what I do!  As it turns out, Vermont is the most fabulous place to be an entrepreneur, and delicious food is a great thing to have at my infinite disposal!”

The granola that she speaks of is delicious! Today my son asked for granola with his yogurt and I gave him a little bowl of Nutty Steph’s maple almond granola. He responded “Wow this has a lot of nuts, I might need more of this!”. He continued to need two more bowls of granola, even though his yogurt was long gone. Jaquelyn and her team make 1,500 pounds of granola at a time. That’s a lot of granola! Jaquelyn tells us that with the kitchen space they could easily make and sell more.

I encourage you to visit Nutty Steph’s and see their full line of sweet confections. There is something to satisfy everyone’s sweet tooth. Nutty Steph’s makes and sells over two dozen different chocolate bars. Everything from milk chocolate, to dark, and darker chocolate. Chocolate with fruit, nuts, and other goodies like ginger, pretzels, and popcorn. Jaquelyn tells us that the best sellers are the Lemon Ginger Pecan Dark Chocolate and Sea Salt Ecuadorian Dark Chocolate. I will agree that the sweetness from the lemon and the warmth from the ginger make this dark chocolate bar something special! The Maple Walnut bar was bursting with large chunks of walnuts. The Pina Colda bar was gone in a matter of minutes! The chewiness from the dried fruit played well with the creamy white chocolate.

Visit Nutty Steph’s newly redesigned website and read about all of the fun things they have going on! Soon my friends and I will visit their “Bacon Thursday” and I will be sure to let you know about it! Thank you Jaquelyn for hosting a giveaway with Try Vermont First!

Sweet!
~Honi

Vermont Nut Free Chocolates

Vermont Nut Free Chocolates in Grand Isle, VT was started in 1998 by a thoughtful and creative mom, Gail Elvidge. Gail wanted to be able to offer nut free products to children and adults with nut allergies; children like her own son who has a life threatening peanut allergy. VNFC understands the unknowns that people with nut allergies must look out for such as mysterious ingredients and multi-use processing facilities. They have made a commitment to making top quality, carefully made, and completely nut free chocolates and snacks.

My family enjoyed opening this shiny gold box from Vermont Nut Free Chocolates. Inside we found six gourmet chocolate truffles. I particularly liked the orange apricot truffle set in white chocolate which was sweet, smooth, chewy (with dried apricots), and a wonderful treat! I would like to say that I got to try each truffle, but someone else found them even though they were hidden in the fruit drawer! Don’t pass this gold box treat the next time you see it!

Vermont Nut Free has many great products! I suggest trying their chocolate dipped pretzels. I never knew the how well paired the two were. The crunchy pretzels offered a bit of saltiness to offset the sweet and richness from the chocolate. They are as addicting as potato chips. Don’t attempt eat just one. Try the dark, the milk, and the white chocolate; they compliment each other perfectly.

My son and I were excited to try VNFC’s Tanabars. We generally really like bars and often make them at home. Lately I have not made bars as my son’s classroom is Nut Free so this is only a snack he would enjoy a home. Tanabars are nut free, and therefore very easy to pack into my son’s school lunch (or my own). When I opened my Very Berry Tanabar I said “Whoa, that’s a solid bar”. My husband laughed at me and asked what I meant. It’s huge compared to other bars that you can buy in the store. I cut mine in half and shared it. I could easily see packing 1/2 of a bar in my son’s lunch box. The bar was sweet, chewy, and filling. We really liked the Very Berry flavor which had large bits of dried cranberries. I am glad to have found a nut free, chewy granola bar that my son can take to school.

If you are searching for Halloween treats check out Vermont Nut Free’s large selection of goodies! The filled pumpkins would be a great gift. VNFC also carry a line of trail mixes, all nut free of course! Safe for those with nut allergies, and safe to bring to a nut free school!

You will find dozens of nut free chocolates and goodies at Vermont Nut Free Chocolates. Why not try them all?

Enjoy!
~Honi