Tag Archives: stonyfield farm

Natural Products Expo West Part One and Meeting Lillie Belle Farms

This year, I had the opportunity of attending the Natural Products Expo West which is the largest trade show in the natural/organic/healthy product industry.  Every year thousands of retailers, vendors and press attend the event to learn more about the latest and greatest when it comes to natural products.  I honestly had no idea what to expect when I arrived at the expo, but I was blown away.

The Natural Products Expo West is held at the Anaheim Convention Center and has over 3,000 exhibits ranging from natural and organic food and beverage, beauty and household products.  Since Sweet Potato Bites focuses on natural and allergen-friendly foods, this expo was pretty much a food lover’s paradise for me.  And it’s safe to say I left the expo with a bunch of goodies.

expowest_organic productsI was glad to see some of my favorite brands at the expo such as Reed’s Ginger Brew, Evolution Fresh and KIND Snacks to name a few, and even had time to take a SMOOCH with the cow from Stonyfield Farm and won a free candle as a prize.  I have to give special kudos to Stonyfield Farm for their excellent social media and consumer engagement – their booth was rocking!

stonyfieldfarm_expowestIn addition to stopping by some of my favorites, I also had the opportunity to sit down and chat with some of my favorite brands as well as some brands that were new to me.  One of those new brands was Lillie Belle Farms.

Lillie Belle Farms is an artisan chocolate company based in Southern Oregon that creates decadent chocolate using European techniques with a fun American “twist.”  Lillie Belle Farms is most well-known for their decadent truffles and bon bons, but I was most excited to learn about their “Bean to Bar” chocolates.

lilliebellefarms_expowestI had the chance to talk with Jeff Shepherd, the owner of Lillie Belle Farms who truly has a passion for making delicious chocolate while putting a creative spin on it.  After many years of making delicious truffles, he told me how he decided one day that it would be interesting to make a chocolate bar made directly from coffee beans, so he borrowed some beans from a friend, combined them with some sugar, and with a bit of trial and error, made a delicious “Bean to Bar” chocolate bar that ended up winning two Good Food Awards in San Francisco.  I tried the award-winning bar which was named Perfect Illusion (all of the bars named after songs) and it was divine.  If you are a chocolate purist, I definitely recommend these.  Jeff even uses quality Criollo beans from Peru in some of his Bean to Bar Chocolates.

lilliebellefarmschocolate_expowestHowever, if you are in the mood for something more creamy and decadent and perhaps milk chocolate, then The Most Awesome Chocolate Bar EVER made with homemade almond and hazelnut gianduja, crunchy feuilletine wafers and sea salt.  This bar is quite possibly the best chocolate bar I have ever tasted (and I have tasted a lot).  I now see why Jeff calls it The Most Awesome Chocolate Bar EVER.

Jeff also has other creative chocolate creations including a chocolate bacon bar that has a strong bacon flavor and the Sunshine Daydream bar made with milk chocolate and powdered buttermilk.  All of the Lillie Belle Farms chocolate flavors are so unique and you can tell that Jeff pours a lot of love into each bar.  Making chocolate is this man’s passion and it definitely shines through.

Unfortunately Lillie Belle Farms isn’t in Southern California (yet), but you can order their delicious chocolate from the website.  I definitely predict having many more Lillie Belle Farms chocolates in my future.  Thanks Jeff for taking the time to meet with me and introducing me to your delicious chocolate!

Stay tuned for part two of the Natural Products Expo which includes meeting Mary from Mary’s Gone Crackers!

Barry’s Bootcamp and Oikos Greek Frozen Yogurt

Ok, so Barry’s Bootcamp and Stonyfield Farm’s Oikos Greek Frozen Yogurt don’t exactly go together, but they are two new things that I tried today and instantly felt the need to share on ol’ Sweet Potato Bites.  While Sweet Potato Bites is a food blog, when I’m not enjoying good eats I like to get my exercise on either through running, Pure Barre or yoga.  This week I had the opportunity to try out Barry’s Bootcamp, which is widely known as a butt-kicking good time and is popular among celebrities.

The concept of the class is pretty simple.  You are broken up into two groups. One group runs drills on the treadmill (the only thing common in everyone’s personalized medical weight loss program) and the other group hits the weights.  The treadmill drills include running sprints, jogging, and running at a 14.0 incline which was killer.  The weights involve a variety of free weight exercises that work your arms, shoulders, triceps and back.  You also do a bunch of bodyweight exercises such as lunges, burpees and mountain climbers to keep your heart rate up.  By the time the hour is up you will have spent 30 minutes doing weight exercises and 30 minutes on the treadmill.  Oh, and you’ll be dripping in sweat also.  It was a great workout and hopefully I’ll be back again soon!

So what’s the perfect sweet treat after a bootcamp workout?  Some Stonyfield Farm Oikos Greek Frozen Yogurt of course!  I’m a big fan of regular Greek yogurt and when I heard there was frozen Greek yogurt that was low in calories and sugar and free of artificial ingredients I was sold. And the fact that there was a chocolate flavor was just icing on the proverbial cake.

Granted this doesn’t have the same richness as traditional ice cream, but when you are in the mood for something a little sweet, this definitely hits the spot.  I can’t wait to try the other flavors Stonyfield has to offer including honey, vanilla and blueberry.  And in case you were wondering, this frozen yogurt goes quite well with this banana bread.  Trust me.

What new things have you tried recently?