Ordered: December 7, 2005 Arrived: December 12, 2005
What was ordered:
1 Small Panettone W/Sorrento Lemon
1 Hail Sugar (Pearl Sugar)
1 June Taylor Strawberry Syrup
1 Stollen With Marzipan
1 Wild Berry Extra Jam - France
1 Pernigotti Cocoa - Italy
1 Penrith Fudge (8 Oz)
1 Sakurazawa Yuuki Unpasteurized Shoyu
2 James White Russet Apple Juice
2 Parc Du Moulin Apple Juice - Normandy
1 Organic Stonecut Oatmeal - Scotland
Shipping $18.97 Order Total - $170.85
The Hail sugar was out-of-stock and back ordered. It came within a week of the first shipment.
The shipment contained one each of the Apple Juices but I had ordered two of each. I called and they immediately offered to ship it out – which they did.
The Pernigotti Cocoa was labeled that it contained Vanillin - a vanilla flavor (albeit natural it’s a byproduct of the wood processing industry). I was particularly unhappy about it as I avoid products with that ingredient - two reasons: I think it’s an unhealthy flavoring and it’s ruining the true vanilla industry (as it’s much cheaper and used in many foods that children (and adults) – they get a taste for it and then don’t want the real vanilla taste.) I send them comments and received a reply – transcript below.* - Update January, 2006: The Pernigotti cocoa does contain Vanilla - as I suspected, there was a translation problem which is being resolved.
Albertengo Sorrento Lemon Small Panettone - The Panettone was good with chunks of candied lemon and a flowery lemony flavor. It’s made with real ingredients. Good!
Stollen with Marzipan (from Fudges in Dorset) - Dense stollen with lots of raisins (no other fruit) and marzipan running through the center (not integrated). Too raisiny for me and not marzipany enough. I would not order again.
Penrith Fudge from The Toffee Shop – A Hit! Two tablets waxed paper wrapped in a box. This is the Butter Fudge. Butterscotch flavors. It melts in your mouth. Exactly as expected (and hoped for). Very fresh. I'm sure I bought this when I was in England last. Recommended.
James White Russet Apple Juice –
Very clear amber color. Has Citric acid added and the acidity is unbalanced as a result. Trent will not drink it and neither will Jack. Good flavor once you get past that zing of acid. Would not reorder – but would try a different product. I like that they have single varietal apple juice and offer many organic juices.
Parc du Moulin Apple Juice from Normandy - We liked this one. It’s unfiltered (cloudy) and tastes like fresh pressed apples. Is it organic? I do not know.
Hail Sugar (Pearl Sugar) – A good quality product at a good price. Would order again.
Oatmeal of Alford –
Organic pinhead oatmeal - I love it. It tastes like the Oatmeal you are served in Scotland. Highly recommend it. When I run out I’ll be reordering. I've found that the oatmeal to water ratio is slightly higher on the oatmeal side. The package suggests 1.5 oz of Oatmeal I recommend 2oz for 300ml of water. Highly Recommended.
Products not yet tried: June Taylor Strawberry Syrup
Sakurazawa Yuuki Unpasteurized Shoyu This is really good. Much better flavor and balance than any of the grocery store brands. Not as good as Jack's favorite from the Grateful Palate - but this one is not as expensive either.
Wild Berry Extra Jam - France I'm currently enjoying this with breakfast daily. I'm not sure I'm wild about it. It's a bit on the sugary side which obscures some of the fruit flavor - but it's not too off balance. Good.
My Overall Thoughts:
I love Chefshop’s mission statement “searching the world for the best artisan-produced, sustainable foods and ingredients”. I want to like this company.
I’m been considering ordering from them for quite a while (6 months or more) and I finally was intrigued enough with the descriptions of the fudge and the stollen offerings to place the order. Plus if you join their mailing list they regularly send you 5% off codes.
After my first order I’m left with mixed feelings. I might order again but I would be more cautious. Where ingredients lists are absent I would ask questions. I also would be more wary of products they highly recommend as the stollen and the panettone. Now that I have the cocoa issue resolved I have to come up with some plans for 2lbs of cocoa powder. Review forthcoming.
*Correspondence with them
re: Cocoa December 15, 2005
“I ordered PERNIGOTTI COCOA - ITALY based on your great description - however what you missed mentioning was the ingredient Vanillin - artificial (albeit natural) vanilla flavoring. I would not have ordered this product knowing that ingredient was present. You seem to really feature artisan producers - is it perhaps a translation mistake? Or perhaps this producer should be reconsidered? Or perhaps the producer needs some education?”
Their response December 17,2005:
“Thank you for contacting us. It wasn't a mistake; the Pernigotti does in fact contain Vanillin. I apologize for any confusion. I've forwarded your inquiry to the appropriate department for further review.
Thanks for your feedback and Happy Holidays!”
Their follow-up response:
January 13, 2005 from Tim: "Hello Joanne, I wanted to follow up with your recent review. First I wanted to apologize for your order missing items. That time of year we are quite crazed and occasionally (more often than we would like) multiple items are missed. We push very hard to get every order out that we can as people have parties, needs, time requirements, and the sooner we get their orders out (and received) the better.
I wanted to let you know that we have confirmation with Pernigotti about the ingredients in their cocoa. It is in fact Vanilla and NOT vanillin, as in the sap of the tree or even the artificial commercial version here in the states.
These inquiries can take some time. We have been asking the question for some time and are pleased with the answer.
Though never quite clear, it appears to be a label issue/translation and that they are changing the label as early as our next shipment. When we first started carrying this 2.2 commercial pound bag it came with no label and we had to request for Pernigotti to add it."...