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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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EPA awards WhiteWave Foods for efforts to use and advance green energy

BY Melissa Valliant

DENVER The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency named WhiteWave Foods the 2008 Green Power Leadership Award winner at an event held in conjunction with the 2008 National Renewable Energy Marketing Conference in Denver, Colo. This is the fifth time the company has been recognized as the leader in purchasing green power in an effort to increase the use of renewable energy.

WWFC started buying renewable energy credits in 2003 for the manufacturing of Silk Soymilk. Today, the company uses these sustainability practices for its Horizon Organic, International Delight and Land O’Lakes, as well as at its corporate headquarters. WWFC combines wind energy and recycling to reduce its carbon footprint. Its wind energy purchases have saved 450 million pounds of greenhouse gas emissions annually, the equivalent of taking 40,200 cars off the road for one year. It also developed a recycling and composting program in 2006 that resulted in the equivalent of saving more than 328,000 gallons of water and planting approximately 800 trees.

Silk and Horizon Organic spread awareness of the benefits of green energy through consumer promotions, messages on their packaging and through their Web sites. The two brands have also purchased Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs, or Green Tags) for the past three years to offset the electricity used to power the convention centers that host the annual natural and organic products trade shows. For the past two years, they did the same with the annual Farm Aid concerts. WWFC also “greened” the University of Colorado?s football stadium through recycling, composting, the promotion of alternative transportation and replacing the electricity with renewable energy.

“Our nation is shifting to a ‘green culture,’ with more and more Americans understanding that environmental responsibility is everyone’s responsibility,” said EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson. “The EPA commends WhiteWave Foods Company for making a long-term commitment to protecting the environment by purchasing green power.”

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