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The First Annual Milk Chocolate of Human Kindness

MCofHumanKindness_logo_B_Aug22

 

We’ve all seen it–drooping shoulders, blank stares or uncontrollable weeping–it is a body language that unmistakably comes from loss or failure. Conversely, we’ve all witnessed those who have felt great joy, whether from success, a great love or the thrill of a new adventure.

Great emotion, from either pole, often inspires its witness to act.

To rephrase, when called upon, the human condition is ready to do battle and perhaps, foster greatness.

At Chocolaterie Stam, our first love is our chocolate .  Our second, “mi amor” is for our customers.  Oh, and never to forget, our family is somewhere high up there in the mix, also.

Chocolate is a great leveler.  Meaning, it can be appropriate in any circumstance.

With that said, we ask if you know of someone who needs a little boost, a little inspiration, a little tenderness, or just an “atta-boy” or “atta-girl”, and you want to encourage them.

Like the Orbison song goes, “anything you want, you got it.”  Whether sad or happy, with chocolate, we stand ready to help.   Stam’s is proud to serve!

We announce on August, 22nd 2014, the first annual Stam’s Milk Chocolate of Human Kindness Day. On that day in participating Chocolaterie Stam stores, we will be giving away to the first 100 people who stop into our shops, a one piece box of milk chocolate (one box per customer, please) that carries a gift message to its recipient that who ever gives it, could be trying to say that  “It get’s better” or “I am so proud of you!”

No purchase necessary, no gimmicks.  Just be human, caring, and stop by a participating Stam’s, and think that chocolate… especially Stam chocolate, might make a difference.

Our gelato can be g-free.

(If gelato is “g-free,” does that mean it’s ‘elato?)

Once or twice a week we field questions about our gelato and its appropriateness for people living gluten-free.

In most of our stores, we not only have gluten free gelati but also they are made with a local organic milk from Picket Fence Creamery. Only when seasonal or unusual flavors are added do we have a gluten included in our gelati. Flavors such as Red Velvet Cake or Apple Pie actually have flour ingredients associated with those desserts.  Otherwise, we are gluten and often can be dairy-free (for those lactose intolerant).  If the frozen dessert is a sorbetto which is only fruit, sugar and water added then there isn’t any dairy included in the recipe. To be sure, though, just ask your Gelato or Chocolate concierge at any Chocolaterie Stam. They should be knowledgeable and will help you stay “g-free”. Sampling is encouraged and we hope our Gelato will make you ‘elato!

 

 

The best of times…for chocolate.

In May, we mentioned the famous writer Mark Twain’s “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County. ”  We found it heartening that Chocolaterie Stam carries a “kikker” or chocolate frog and subsequently promoted them in his hometown of Hannibal, Missouri to great reception. This month we wanted to continue our literary journey through chocolate and after a “Google” search we found that Charles Dickens wrote of a chocolate drink in his remarkable tome, “A Tale of Two Cities”.  Below we cite the passage:

“Yes. It took four men, all four ablaze with gorgeous decoration and the Chief of them unable to exist with fewer than two gold watches in his pocket, emulative of noble and chaste fashion set by Monseigneur,  to conduct the happy chocolate to Monseigneur’s lips.  One lackey carried the chocolate-pot into the sacred presence; a second, milled and frothed the chocolate with a little instrument he bore for that function; a third presented the favored napkin; a fourth (he of the two gold watches) poured the chocolate out.  It was impossible for Monseigneur to dispense with one of these attendants on the chocolate and hold his high place among the admiring Heavens. Deep would have been the blot upon his escutcheon if his chocolate would have been ignobly waited on by only three men; he must have died of two.”    From a Tale of Two Cities. Chapter VII.

Well, wasn’t Monseigneur a little high on his self?  La di dah!

Fortunately  we haven’t quite the class struggle that 19th century Britain experienced, though inspiration has struck, and we offer a more democratic (and less laborious) version of a chocolate beverage.

TaleOfTwo

A TALE OF TWO CHOCOLATES 

INGREDIENTS:

1 TBSP (1/2 OZ) TORANI DARK CHOCOLATE SAUCE

1 TBSP (1/2 OZ) TORANI WHITE CHOCOLATE SAUCE

1 CUP (8OZ) MILK

2 SHOTS ESPRESSO*

INSTRUCTIONS:

STEAM TOGETHER MILK AND TORANI SYRUP.  POUR INTO A 16 OUNCE GLASS AND ADD BREWED ESPRESSO*.

SPOON A THIN LAYER OF FOAMED MILK OVER BEVERAGE.

*CAN SUBSTITUTE 1/2 CUP STRONG BREWED COFFEE 

It doesn’t take four men, and two gold watches to make a great chocolate drink for our customers at Chocolaterie Stam.  Nevertheless we want you to be treated like gentry at one of many shops. Please stop by and let us consider you royalty with our service and chocolate.

National Jumping Frog Day is May 13th

kikkers
 Looking for a way to celebrate a Tuesday?

It has been 148 years since Mark Twain published his first truly successful piece of writing. Known originally as Jim Smiley and His Jumping Frog, the subsequent The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County is a story that was later, to Twain’s surprise, found to bear a striking resemblance to an ancient Greek tale.

Regardless of his unintentional plagiarism, we find the story charming and clever. We wish that we had known him, and that he had tried our “kikkers.” (Kikker is the dutch name for frogs.) Made with pecans, caramel and chocolate the kikker is Stam’s version of the famous “turtle.”

 

 

 

Every Day Should Be Mother’s Day

MomsLoveStam

Mother’s Day is May 11, 2014 and she looks good for a century old (or 5 centuries, depending how you look at it).

Celebrating 100 years anniversary this year, Mother’s Day became a national holiday in 1914 after President Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation. Surprisingly, many senators were not on board with the idea, as they felt celebrating mothers for just a day was insulting.

While Anna Jarvis is credited with starting the holiday, there is another celebration that dates to the 16th century that is believed to be the origin of the holiday. On the fourth Sunday of Lent, in Europe, people would celebrate “Mothering Sunday.” 

Mothering Sunday, sometimes known as Mother’s Day, is held on the fourth Sunday of Lent. It is exactly three weeks before Easter Sunday and usually falls in the second half of March or the beginning of April.

Traditionally, people visited the church where they were baptized. Mothering Sunday is now a celebration of motherhood. People visit and take gifts to their mothers and grandmothers.

How do you appreciate your Mom?

 

 

 

 

 

We’re Minding our Bees for Youse

beeterfly

 It may become a little more difficult to say, “pass the honey, Honey” in the future, as the fates of honeybee colonies continue to look grim. It is estimated that last year in 2013 in Iowa, 70% of the commercial honeybee industry collapsed due to harsh weather.

Honey production, although important, is not the only important task that honeybees provide. Pollination is the real value of honey bees. We all like to eat a diversity of foods in our diets. One-third of our global food supply depends on pollinators and much of our world’s biodiversity relies on the services they provide.

Plant, Grow, Fly

That’s why we applaud the work of the The Plant.Grow.Fly initiative. This worthwhile project is providing a gardening how-to guide for Iowans to support natural pollinators such as honeybees or butterflies.

Using region-specific garden recipes, you can plant the flowers and grasses that benefit local species the most.

The Plant.Grow.Fly project also is backed by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Science Center of Iowa, Drake University, Polk County Conservation, Warren County Conservation, Madison County Conservation, Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden and Des Moines Area Community College’s West Campus as well as a national program, Monarch Joint Venture.

Stam’s does their little part

“It is believed that no effort is too small and that each of us can do our part to preserve the biodiversity around us — just by planning gardens in our yards.” says Jesse Lowry, Blank Park Zoo’s conservation coordinator.

So, this May 2014, Chocolaterie Stam with the help of David Hance, will plant on the corporate campus in Des Moines, a small pilot plot of butterfly and bee friendly natives. Additionally, Chocolaterie Stam has established with the help of apiarist friends, a hive of honeybees for eventual use as a natural ingredient in one our future bonbons. We will continue to check-in with our progress over this first summer and keep you posted on the “buzz”.

Tea for Two Lips

In honor of the Kentucky Derby, we have taken liberties with the drink of choice for this annual equestrian promenade.  We call it a Mint Tulip. MintTulip Stam Mint Tulip Iced Orange Tea Prepare Pickwick Orange Tea

Orange Pickwick Available at Chocolaterie Stam Stores

Orange Pickwick Available at Chocolaterie Stam Stores

In one quart of boiling water add 4 Pickwick Orange Real Fruit Tea Bags. Steep for 5 minutes, then remove bags.  Allow to cool to room temperature.

Mint Infused syrup 

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 10 springs fresh mint

Directions (in 2 pint storage jars)

  1. In a large sauce pan combine the water and sugar on medium heat. Carefully, mix the ingredients well over the heat making sure to not splash anything out of the pot. Once the sugar has dissolved (about 5 minutes) place the washed mint springs in the pot. Turn the heat off and let the mint seep for 5 minutes.
  2. Carefully pour the syrup into 2 pint size mason jars. Divide the sprigs of mint evenly amongst the jar.
  3. Allow the syrup to rest until they reach room temperature then seal and store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
mint ice tea

Serving Suggestion

To assemble the Stam Mint tulip (per 16 oz Iced Tea Glass)

1. Add 2 oz. syrup to cup.

2. Add brewed Pickwick Orange iced tea.

3. Stir well.

4. Fill with ice.

5. Garnish as desired.

And we’re off to the races!