In fun food news, Theo Chocolate has launched a brand-new tour at its Fremont factory. During the hour-long, interactive experience, visitors follow the journey (from cocoa farm to chocolate bar), while learning about the origins of cacao, seeing how Theo crafts its chocolate from scratch here in Seattle and learning about the partnerships they’ve formed with the farmers they source from. You’ll also get a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the factory and sample tons of sweet treats along the way. Reservations are recommended, especially for weekend days; however, each morning at 10 a.m., they post a few day-of spots on their website.
Those looking to get more confident in the kitchen this summer might enjoy learning about Rouxbe online culinary school —a Vancouver-based operation that trains home chefs from the comfort and convenience of their own house. The courses can be streamed on any device and are available 24/7.
We’ve been fortunate enough to sample some cool products in recent months, and we thought we’d pass along the tips!
Sipping on TAJA Coconut Water proves a refreshing way to boost your beauty routine at the same time. The water’s nutrients are kept intact through a patented cold-filtering process, and we have to say the end result is mighty tasty. The company touts the drink as being non-GMO and having no added sugar, and claim the following: “The fiber acts as an all-natural detox that leads to a healthy gut, and the Vitamin C contains antioxidant properties that play a role in the collagen synthesis that promotes skin health.”
We were even happier to get wind of RightWater, a company that prides itself on being “the leader in the zero plastic movement in canned spring water.” As the only example of single-serve water that’s currently supported by Greenpeace, RightWater packages its water in 100% recyclable aluminum cans, without ever using plastic or BPA. (The water is sourced from a protected natural spring in California, chosen for its perfect mineral content, zero nitrates and ideal pH balance optimum for water consumption.)
RightWater cans leave no carbon footprint and help to alleviate the world water crisis by partnering with DROP4DROP. Every RightWater can sold funds the charity’s clean drinking water projects, which have already reached 1.4 million people. (We’ll drink to that!)
SPICE UP THE BBQ SCENE
Kumana changes the game for burgers and salads this summer (not to mention brunch scrambles and lunchtime Buddha bowls, too), with its delicious avocado sauces that offer a bit of tang and a zing of heat, too. Described as “the South American Sriracha – minus the extra calories and added sugars,” Kumano is happy to be Keto approved, Paleo friendly, low in calories and carb-free. Flavors include Be Original, Be Hot and Be Mango and are currently available from Amazon, Boxed and Albertstons/Safeways, to name a few.
PACK MUNCHIES FOR THE ROAD
Some of our favorite travel-ready eats come in the form of gimMe Organic Seaweed Snacks—savory, wafer-like goodies that are light, crunchy and full of nutrients. The snacks, made with premium organic seaweed, roasted and seasoned with tamari sauce and a blend of spices, offer high levels of vitamin C, iodine, calcium, Omega 3s, biotin, folate, fiber, protein and more.
SATE YOUR SWEET TOOTH
Sweeten the deal on your summer picnics and travels by packing bars of Divine Chocolate, “the only fairtrade chocolate company in the world owned by cocoa farmers.” Divine recently launched a new organic line, marking the company’s first time sourcing cocoa from CECAQ-11, a co-operative of farmers on the island of São Tomé, located off the coast of West Africa.
The new line is made with a higher cocoa content, which means less sugar content and a rich, smooth flavor in its four flavors—85% Dark Chocolate with Refreshing Lemon, 85% Dark Chocolate with Turmeric and Ginger, 85% Dark Chocolate with Blueberry and Popped Quinoa and 85% Dark Chocolate with Cocoa Nibs (yum). Not only is the new line Fairtrade Certified, certified organic by the USDA, Non-GMO Project Verified and vegan, but it’s also made without palm oil, soy or artificial flavors. Seattle chocolate lovers can stock up at Whole Foods, Central Co-Op, Hilltop Red Apple Market and Cost Plus World Market.
For protein-filled, treats-on-the-go, dive into ViBE Infusion bars—surprisingly delicious energy bar alternatives that happen to be plant-based, all-natural and free of gluten, soy and dairy. Jump-start your day with Vibe Energy, caffeine-infused protein bars with the equivalent of 1.5 shots of espresso. The actual source of caffeine? Coffeeberry, which is extremely high in antioxidants and has plenty of health benefits, too. Vibe Calm, on the other hand, is a fully vegan (and keto-friendly) bar that helps fight anxiety and de-stress, thanks to the infusion of GABA, glycine, l-theanine and lavender oil.
PACK PROPER GEAR FOR YOUR ADVENTURES
With a more extensive gear guide soon to come, we thought we’d start with a few summer favorites. We’re huge fans of all products from Rumpl, including the oh-so-cozy Original Puffy Down blanket (built from the same materials as premium sleeping bags and down jackets) and the Stuffable Fleece Pillow. MiiR Flagship remains a great spot in Seattle to load up on camp-ready tumblers and transportable coffee mugs, while GRAYL creates lightweight purifier bottles that make it a breeze to drink safe, clean water anywhere you roam.
When it comes to skincare on the move, MyChelle(R) Dermaceuticals offers reef-safe options (with a delightful aroma) that we highly recommend. A couple great options include: their Sun Shield Liquid SPF 50 Non-Tinted (a non-tinted, 100% mineral sunscreen for maximum UVA/UVB broad-spectrum protection), Sun Shield Stick SPF 50 Tinted and Replenishing Solar Defense Body Lotion SPF 50, a 100% mineral-based, hydrating body sun protection (rich in coconut oil and shea butter) that “melts into skin delivering UVA/UVB broad-spectrum protection without leaving behind any greasy residue.”
Since 2005, MyChelle has been committed to producing “clean formula, mineral-based sunscreen,” meaning their sun care products are biodegradable and made without ingredients that endanger ecosystems (like Oxybenzone, Octinoxate, Butylparaben, Retinyl Palmitate, and 4-methylbenzylidene camphor).
Australian-based skincare company MooGoo has an interesting story. What began on a dairy farm where a white paste, intended for use on cow udders, helped manage irritable, dry skin, has been reformulated to fit for humans. They now produce 40-plus products for skin and hair care, include their Natural Sunscreen SPF 30, Night Time Pamper Pack (perfect for gift-giving) and their bestselling “Travel Pack 3.0″—a combo of the popular Milk Shampoo, Conditioner, Milk Wash and Milk Udder Cream in one carry-on-ready package. Happy travels!