Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Sweet Pete's Gluten Free Standards

Sweet Pete's is pleased to offer a wide variety of gluten free sweets. We value our gluten free customers and strive to provide them with delicious, safe products.

Currently, there is no government review process for restaurants that offer gluten free fare. We understand that this lack of policy makes it difficult for consumers to feel comfortable enjoying their favorite gluten free foods.

Sweet Pete's carries a large variety of products. Many of the items available on our candy carousel contain gluten. Since the candy carousel items share scoops, all of the unwrapped products on the carousel are at risk for cross contamination. We keep clean, uncontaminated gummies, gumballs and jelly beans in the kitchen. If gluten is a concern for you please ask our staff to package you product from the kitchen.

All of the chocolate, taffy, ,marshmallow, nougat, lollipops, candy canes, peanut butter products and caramel produced in Sweet Pete's kitchen are gluten free. We only dip gluten free cookies, crackers and pretzels. This helps us prevent any gluten contamination in our chocolate.

Sweet Pete's Raw Dipped Items:
Cookies and Crackers- Kinnikinnick Brand
Pretzels- Snyders Gluten Free or Glutino
Chips- Cape Cod Original

We are committed to serving the gluten free population and will continue to focus on maintaining a safe, gluten free kitchen. Please contact us directly if you have additional questions about our kitchen protocol.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Art Show @ Sweet Pete's!

We are very excited to have the opportunity to support local artists by hosting a Sweet Jacksonville Art Show. We were so lucky to meet one of our wonderful customers who also curates art shows and volunteered to help us put our show together. We are thrilled with all of the work she has done. Below is a guest blog by Deborah Reid about the upcoming show. Thanks Deborah!

I was introduced to Sweet Pete’s when some local artists and I were invited to display our painted pumpkins there last Halloween. For me, it was love at first sight – a super cool and colorful restored Victorian filled with salty caramels, chocolate and other delectables.

I have since attended some other terrific events there. Each one was creative, delicious and lots of fun. Needless to say, I was delighted when I was asked to curate the Art Show at this terrific venue. As you will see, Sweet Pete’s was inspirational to other artists as well.

From Bronwen Chandler’s lovely rendition of the candy jars, Jami Childers’s lollipops and bubble gum, the show moves on to some other Jacksonville highlights. Ashley Sowers will exhibit her surreal photos of the monorail and Florida Theater. I included my interpretations our city’s bridges. There are some beautiful sky lines as well. Jacksonville’s natural beauty is showcased in Barbara Fryefield’s beaches and Marie Thompson’s live oaks.

Melanie Palmrose’s all natural hypertufa pots embedded with caramel swirl tiles and Leah Fox’s ceramic barnacles will also featured at the show. There will be cool jewelry, cupcake cards by Nancy Asbell and some other great work by a dozen or more other more local artists.

Fainted Paces will be playing on the porch. They will be pouring cotton candy and chocolate martinis inside. It promises to be a sweet evening. Hope you can be there.

Deborah R. Reid is a lifelong painter and a practicing attorney. Her work is largely based on her own photographs which she interprets in a combination of oil, acrylic, egg shell and ink. Deborah curates monthly art shows at the Zodiac Grill on Adams Street as a fundraiser for Jacksonville Area Legal Aid. Her work can be seen there and at Fireflies on San Jose. Deborah is a seasoned litigator with the Jacksonville office of Rumrell & Brock. Prior to joining the Florida Bar, she practiced in California, New Jersey and New York.

Thursday 8/11
Sweet Pete's
1922 N. Pearl St.
Jacksonville, Florida 32207

List of Artists
Barbara Fryefield – Painter
Bob Aguilar – Painter
Carol Todd - Watercolorist
Deborah Reid – Paintings and Painted Clocks
Marie Thompson - Painter
Nada Frazier – Photographer
Bronwyn Chandler – Photographer
Leah Fox – Ceramics and Sculptor
Joanelle Mulrain – Painter
Jamie Childers – Painter
Melissa Mejia – Painter
Artefax Redux – Jewelry Paula Foster – Painter
Rick Wilkerson – Photographer, Cards
Melanie Palmrose – Handmade Pots
Julie Fetzer - Watercolor prints and Photos
Miles Batt – Brightly Colored Prints
Marcie Beeching – Painter

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Southern Pralines!

Whether you pronounce them prah-lines or pray-lines, they are southern confectionery favorite. These delicious treats are a favorite among our customers, however we cannot always keep up with them. Since pralines taste better made fresh we only make ours once a week and when they are gone they are gone!

At Sweet Pete's we believe in keeping our confections simple, clean and delicious. The praline is no different. We make ours with fresh, whole ingredients and recommend you do the same. Please see our simple, traditional recipe and feel free to call the shoppe if you have any questions!

1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 stick unsalted butter
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup milk
3 cup toasted pecans (toast in oven at 450 degrees for 5 minutes)
1 pinch salt
1 Tablespoon Vanilla extract

Heat butter on high heat, mix in brown sugar, granulated sugar and mix

Add milk & pecans

Stir all together and bring to a boil over high heat.

Let boil for 20 minutes until thick 240 degrees on a candy thermometer.

Take off heat and add salt and vanilla.

Let sit for 2 to 3 minutes.

Use spoons to portion out golf ball sized portions on a greased cookie

Cool and wrap in cellophane or plastic wrap.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Sweet Pete’s Healthy Chocolates Help Hydrate Skin!

Many of Sweet Pete’s customers already love our ATICOA chocolates. The chocolates are known for their super antioxidant properties and their great taste. The chocolates which are processed in the patented ATICOA process retain much more antioxidants than traditional chocolates. In addition to the many health benefits we already knew about ATICOA, including heart health, new research shows they are healthy for your skin.
Barry Callebaut unveils the results of a new study into the anti-aging properties of its range of ACTICOA® products. According to the study presented at FIE, the daily consumption of an ACTICOA® drink rich in cocoa flavanols has been shown to have a positive effect on the hydration of the skin, an important factor in maintaining a healthy, vital-looking skin.
Hans Vriens, Chief Innovation Officer at Barry Callebaut says: “This study is part of the mounting evidence in support of the beneficial effects of cocoa flavanols on human health. Barry Callebaut’s ACTICOA® cocoa and chocolate are one of the richest known sources of cocoa flavanols, powerful antioxidants which are rapidly changing the way we view chocolate. The growing body of research, of which this study is just a part, is helping to make chocolate more permissible by actively showing how it can be a constructive part of a balanced, daily diet”.
For more information on ATICOA go to to purchase ATICOA, drop in the Sweet Pete shoppe or go to

Thursday, April 14, 2011

No More Artificial Colors

Three years ago, I did not pay much attention to artificial food dyes as my focus was the chocolate business which is not as impacted by this issue as the candy business. As many of you may know, a few years ago I found a high end gourmet hard candy lollipop that was selling for $6.50 in a Jacksonville retail shop and it changed my career drastically. The ingredients were not items I would want to feed my child and it was made in China. It was this finding that pushed me start paying closer attention to labels and to eventually open an all natural sweet shoppe.

As I began to focus on creating all natural sweets I quickly realized that using all natural colors, which are typically plant based in high heat hard candy, is tricky. It took some time but I conquered this challenge and as a result the tastes of the sweets are much better. Anyone who has ever eaten a cupcake covered with bright blue or red icing is aware that you can taste the chemical filled artificial dye. My costs are higher but I find my customers are okay with paying a little more for the quality and appreciate the extra effort taken to provide healthier ingredients.

There are many problems with artificial colors, one being that they are petroleum based, another is the fact that there is much research to support that they are triggers for children with autism, ADHD and ADD and last but not least, they are in everything.

While most consumers are aware that food with bright or unnatural colors likely contain food coloring, far fewer people know that seemingly "natural" foods such as oranges and salmon are sometimes also dyed to mask natural variations in color. At Sweet Pete’s we sell all natural ice cream. Our mint chocolate chunk ice cream is white and our strawberry is very light pink, consider this when you order your child a scoop of bright pink strawberry ice cream or deep blue Superman ice cream. Where are the fresh fruits that give the white cream only a hint of sweet color?

After long stating that no scientific evidence conclusively links the petroleum-based colorants to hyperactivity and other ills, last month the FDA agreed to reassess them. A panel of experts reviewed studies to suggest any policy changes. The FDA concluded its two day deliberation and has unfortunately voted 8 to 6 in favor of synthetic food dyes. It stated that, while dyes may cause allergic reactions in certain individuals, they do not pose a health risk to the general population.

Whatever the case may be, almost all expert nutritionists agree that it’s best to limit, if not completely avoid, chemically processed foods. In my sweet shoppe, I prohibit any artificial colors or flavors. I am proud to serve all natural sweets to my customers and their children.

Next week is Easter and many of you will dye eggs and make delicious sugar cookies. It is easy to make these items with all natural dyes!

•Sugar cookies- Follow your regular icing recipe and use drops of food coloring from India Tree or Nature’s Flavors instead of artificial. The natural color dye can be dropped into sugar and stirred to create all natural sanding sugar.

•Easter Egg Dyes- All natural dying kits are available at Whole Foods and other small natural food shops. If you are really hard core you can go to the following link to make your own dyes.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Savannah Bee Company

Sweet Pete's is very excited to carry our new line of honey from Savannah Bee Company. All of the honey is delicious and it has been exciting to learn all about Nature's best sweetener from the Savannah Bee Company. I am so excited about our new partnership with Savannah Bee Company that I have asked them to guest blog this week.

Savannah Bee Company is a specialty honey company located in Savannah, Georgia. One of our missions is to show others the variety of ways our honeys can be enjoyed. Many people love honey in their tea and on toast, but what about honey on a pork tenderloin or in vinaigrette salad dressings?
One our favorite times to show off honey and its versatility is when entertaining friends. On our website ( we have a number of recipes that use honey in many different ways. Gorgonzola cheese stuffed figs with Cheese Honey drizzled over the top, Butternut Squash Soup, Whipped Sweet Potatoes with Honey, Glazed Salmon, and our version of the mojito, a Tupelojito, are just a few of the ideas we’ve put on our website.
One of the most unique, popular, and easy appetizers we recommend is the Savannah Bee Honeycomb Platter. The ingredients are fresh and simple: Savannah Bee honeycomb, green apple slices and other fruits; our favorites are strawberries, blueberries and raspberries, fresh baguette slices, and one or two fresh local cheeses. Our Flagship Store on Broughton Street in Savannah purchases cheese to sample on our honeycomb platter from two very excellent and local cheesemakers. Any fine cheese will pair well with the tart apples and sweet honeycomb. We love a sharp blue, Gouda, cheddar, goat, or Brie cheese. Feel free to sprinkle chopped rosemary, walnuts, or almonds over the top of the honeycomb.
Next time you are entertaining, try a little honey. Put together your own honeycomb platter, try your hand at cheese stuffed figs, or play bartender with our delicious Tupelojito! Honey is great, simple, healthy ingredient that is sure to impress.

To learn more about honey and the Savannah Bee Company join us at our March honey events:

3/24 5:00-8:00 pm
Free Honey, Cheese and Wine Tasting
Meet Savannah Bee Company's honey experts
Honey Recipes
Paint a ceramic honey pot with Morning Glory Fire Arts ($15.00)

3/26 Free Beepalooza 6:00-9:00
6:00 The 2011 Florida Honey Queen Jayla Gillespie
The Jax Beekeepers
Honey Tasting
7:00 Free outdoor showing of Jerry Seinfeld's, "The Bee Movie"
Paint a ceramic bee plate with Morning Glory Fire Arts
(Reservations required for pottery only. $10.00

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Looking for the Perfect Valentine's Day Dessert?

In my twenty years as a chocolatier and candy maker, I have made hundreds of truffle recipes. I have found that the classic truffle recipe is still the best. This simple recipe can be made by anyone capable of mixing three ingredients together. People who want to challenge themselves may want to experiment with some of the advanced techniques offered at the bottom of the recipe.
1 cup of heavy whipping cream
2 Tbsps. Karo syrup
8 oz. finely ground dark chocolate (I recommend Barry Callebaut)
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
• Boil Karo and cream. As soon as the mixture comes to a boil remove from the heat.
• Whisk in chocolate and unsalted butter, stir until smooth.
• Pour into a cooling pan lined with waxed paper.
• Refrigerate 10 minutes.
• Put in a kitchen aid with the paddle attachment and beat on medium for 30 seconds (this process can be done by hand).
Beginners: Roll into balls and roll in cocoa powder, chocolate chips, shavings, roasted and chopped nuts or sprinkles.
Intermediate: Roll into balls and dip into tempered dark chocolate.
Advanced: Shell mold in dark chocolate to create an elegant presentation.
Store truffles in the refrigerator, the truffles will last a couple weeks if kept refrigerated.
• Add your favorite liquor to the mixture. 2 Tbsp. to taste can be added with the butter and chocolate step. I recommend Chambord, Grand Marnier or Rum.
• To add dry spices, tie the spices into cheesecloth and boil with the cream and Karo.
• Most grocery stores have an all natural section where all natural chocolates and sprinkles can be purchased. I recommend India Tree brand all natural sprinkles.
• Pair with a nice red wine, I recently tried Ferrari-Carano Cabernet Sauvignon and really enjoyed the combination.
This recipe is very easy but if you would like to expand your chocolate knowledge, I am teaching truffle classes throughout February. The classes cover tempering and shell molding and each student leaves with a ½ pound of decadent dark chocolate truffles.