Spicy Slathered Dark Chocolate Truffles

Community Supported Agriculture

Fresh lettuce in season. Photo by Flickr user Muffet

My Momma and Daddy kept a garden at our house on John’s Island, SC. Momma grew the very best ‘maters in all of the area. As a child, I’d stand in the garden, eating them warm from the vine, juice dripping down my chest! While, it’s not yet tomato season in South Carolina, it is time to think about supporting your local farmers.

One way you can do this is to subscribe to a local CSA, or Community Supported Agriculture program. What used to be a unique concept years ago is now a standard way to make sure your local farmer’s crops are sold and to have freshly harvested, local produce on your table. Some areas even have CSAs that offer grass-fed beef, free range chickens and eggs and locally made sausages.

Early spring in South Carolina means we’ll soon begin seeing lettuces, and berries in our CSA boxes. Then come the peaches, and soft stone fruits, followed by tomatoes and summer corn. In South Carolina, you can find your local CSA listed with the South Carolina Department of Agriculture.

If you are outside of South Carolina, LocalHarvest.org offers a quick way to search for a CSA close to you. Just look at all the CSAs in my area!

Sailing Charleston Harbor

There are so many wonderful things to do in Charleston. Visitors to our Holy City often tour by horse carriage through the Historic District. Some take the tour boat out to Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor. Fewer get to enjoy sailing the harbor.

If you ever visit Charleston, find an opportunity to sail in our harbor. It’s beautiful waters are embraced by the Ashley and Cooper Rivers, flowing together to make Charleston Harbor. You often see dolphins frolicking and racing your boat as you can see in this video at the 1:37 point.

Charleston Ocean Racing Association (CORA) holds weekly races in season. This lovely video shares one of the things I love most about living here, our beautiful harbor and the colorful sailboats with their spinnakers full of wind, gracefully plying the waters.

And the Silver Addy Goes to Slather Brand

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Click photo to view full size.

In 2010 when we were ready to have a design created for our sauces, we were fortunate to connect with Adam Lynch and Todd Turner, local graphic designers. Their award-winning design work graces our bottles and website. Now operating as Food Fight, the firm specializes in package design.

This is not the first recognition of the excellent work Todd and Adam did for us. They’ve had their work recognized in The Red Thread and in Berlin.

Todd notified us that they had submitted the Slather Brand Original Slatherin’ Sauce for consideration by Charleston’s Advertising Federation and then let us know that it had been selected for a prize. Off we went to the Charleston Rifle Club, not knowing what level award we were winning.

The incredible creative talents of Charleston’s designers were on show for all to see! The competition was intense, and Slather Brand won a Silver Addy in packaging.

Thanks to Adam and Todd for great creativity!

Farmers Market in Charleston

2010 Charleston Farmer's Market Poster

One of the benefits of living in Charleston, is that our winters are mild, our growing season long and we have many incredible farmers who carefully plant, tend and harvest food for our tables. With the recent spate of mild days, I can feel the earth waking up, getting ready for spring.

As a child on John’s Island, February made us get our garden plowed, and ready to be seeded as soon as the nights began staying warm and ground temperatures were at the right point of germination.  Charleston’s Parks Conservancy offers recommendations and says you should have your seeds now.

Want to learn how to plant your own garden? The Parks Conservancy has classes coming up this weekend.

If you don’t like to get dirt under your fingernails, you can rely on our farmers who bring their produce to market. One of my favorite stops in-season is the Charleston Farmer’s Market. The City of Charleston Office of Cultural Affairs is in charge of the market which takes place alongside Marion Square. The market opens for the 2011 season on April 9th.

And I can’t wait!

Southeastern Wildlife Festival Here We Come!

Southeastern Wildlife Festival

The team at Slather Brand Foods will be out in full force at the Southeastern Wildlife Festival. Our booth will be out front of the Gailliard Auditorium in  Charleston where we’ll be exhibiting with our friends from the Certified South Carolina Specialty Foods Association.

We’ll be offering tastes of Slathered Quail made with Manchester Farms quail.

Manchester Farms Quail logo
Manchester Frams Quail Logo

More School Cafeterias Going Gluten Free

Selected Shelf TalkerTen years ago, most of us never heard of celiac disease or gluten, unless we were bread bakers. Today, going gluten free is one of the most highly talked about nutritional trends.

Some people choose to be gluten free, however there are those for whom being gluten free is imperative: people with celiac disease.

At Slather Brand Foods we advocate improved nutrition in our schools’ lunchrooms and cafeterias.

In Portland, Maine, one school is doing just that.

“Scarborough is among the Maine school districts that are adjusting their cafeteria options for a growing number of students who don’t eat gluten, a protein in wheat, rye, barley and triticale.

In addition to foods that obviously are made with those grains, gluten can be in condiments, luncheon meats and vitamins that contain additives like thickeners and binding agents.” Read the article.

We say, “Bravo,” to the Scarborough school district.

Domenick Celentano Features Slather Brand Foods on About.com

About.com logo

Dom Celentano, the Foodpreneur, knows from first-hand family experience holding executive positions at Celentano Bros., Inc about developing new food products and bringing them to market. He teaches food entrepreneurship and consults, too. His website and weekly updates and knowledge posted on About.com inform and inspire those seeking to learn how to bring a new food product to market.

Often the focus of his articles is a food entrepreneur who has solved the ICE puzzle: “Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship representing the elements of a successful food venture.”

Slather Brand Foods founder Robin Rhea is featured in this article from Dom Celentano.

Learn how Robin Rhea experienced her light-bulb moment and how she formulated her plans to bring you Slatherin’ Sauce. Read the article.

Fresh is best for children

One of the things I’m super passionate about is what we feed our children. As a former teacher who spent many years in the classroom and also as a mother, I have committed Slather Brand Foods to campaign for better meals in the school cafeteria and at home.

The recent United Kingdom study conducted by Kate Northstone, of the University of Bristol and published in published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health reports that feeding children processed foods may lower their IQ.

“A diet high in processed food at the age of three was linked to a slightly lower IQ at the age of eight and a half, suggesting early eating habits have a long term impact.” [BBC report Healthy diet ‘boosts childhood IQ’Read the news about the study.

Boy in Garden Flickr user wwwworks

What can you do to offer fresh foods to your children and help them develop healthy eating habits and the best minds? Here are my suggestions:

  1. Model healthy eating. Children who see you eat lots of fresh vegetables and fish will want to eat them too.
  2. Grow fresh vegetables. Children who help grow radishes, broccoli, spinach and other vegetables will be proud of and want to eat what they harvest.
  3. Serve colorful steamed soft, veggies or soft fruits, in finger sized bites for young children just learning to feed themselves. They are so proud that they can master this new skill. However, consult your pediatrician for expert advice on which veggies, fruits and meats to feed them and at what stages.
  4. Eat fresh or as close to fresh as you can. Avoid commercially canned produce. You might even “put up” like my momma did when I was growing up. Home preserving of food is better and you can do it. Respected blogger Heather Solos of HomeEc101.com is a great source of information on home preservation of foods.
  5. Plan your meals. When you plan your meals, you’ll feel less desperate and won’t as easily fall back on commercially processed foods. Again, my go to girl is Heather Solos who uses a plan and shop cycle.

Photo credit: flickr user wwworks

Thankful and Humbled

Thank you all for coming out and supporting us yesterday at Taco Spot. I am truly amazed by the turnout and the responses we got about Slatherin’ Sauce…and always humbled!!!! Despite the fact that the weather was so dismal, we had a great response and I think everyone had a good time. Lindsey and Jason of The Taco Spot did a fantastic job with the food.

We’ll have some photos posted from the event up on our Facebook page in the coming days. So, be on the lookout for those and tag yourself and your friends.

I especially loved meeting Pastor Chris and his son Chris (below) whose church will be having a mega Easter Egg drop this Easter time. Pastor Chris said, “Awesome people/awesome product!” They invited Slatherin’ Sauce to be there for the drop and so we’ll be coordinating that with them in the coming months.

PastorChris and Chris at Slather Partay Taco Spot 2-5-2011

We also had the pleasure of meeting JasonCZ (his Twitter handle) who took a photo of himself in his shirt that we gave him. Jason has the most lovely family, who were with him on Saturday.

JasonCZ in his Slatherin Shirt

I also want to say a very special thank you to my team who helped make the day awesome. Here is my right-hand and VP of Sales, Cheryl Savage! Cheryl thought of so much to make this event special. I jokingly call myself, the Queen of Slather and Cheryl the Princess of Slather.

Cheryl Savage at Taco Spot

Thank you again for supporting our efforts and making Slatherin’ Sauce a recognized brand!

Spicy Slathered Dark Chocolate Truffles

Rich, dark chocolate truffles accompanied by Champagne say romance better than anything!  We think this recipe developed by cookbook author and Chef Holly Herrick using Spicy Slatherin’ Sauce combines the perfect zing to snap your love’s heartstrings.

Chef Holly says, “Dark chocolate takes on shades of ancient Aztec cooking with a splash of Slather Brand Foods Spicy Slatherin’ Sauce and a dash of chipotle chile powder. At first sweet with a mildly hot finish, these easy chocolates are perfect for romantic celebrations. And, they can be prepared days in advance, if need be.”

Slathered Chipotle-Spiked Chocolate Truffles

(Makes about 40 truffles)

For the ganache:

1 cup coarsely chopped semi-sweet chocolate

1 cup coarsely chopped dark chocolate

1 cup heavy cream

Pinch salt

½ teaspoon ground chipotle chile pepper

2 tablespoons Slather Brand Slatherin’ Sauce Spicy Recipe

For the chocolate dusted finish:

½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

½ teaspoon ground chipotle chile pepper

To prepare the ganache, combine the semi-sweet and dark chocolates in a medium bowl. Separately, heat the cream in a small skillet over medium high heat until just simmering. Pour the cream over the chocolate. Stir with a wooden spoon or spatula to combine completely.  Once combined, stir in the salt, chipotle, and Slather Brand Slatherin’ Sauce Spicy Recipe until incorporated. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until completely set, at least five hours or overnight.

To finish the truffles, sift together the cocoa powder and chipotle chile pepper in a small bowl. Using a teaspoon, dip into the set chocolate ganache and level off the teaspoon. Scoop the chocolate out and roll, between palms, to form small little balls of chocolate. Roll each of these in the cocoa powder and chipotle mixture until completely coated on all sides. Arrange in a single layer and repeat until the ganache is gone. Count on approximately 40 delicious truffles. Refrigerate, covered with plastic, until ready to serve. They will store for several days and up to one week in the refrigerator.