Fort Wayne & NE Indiana News

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Olive Twist and DeBrand Partner on New Chocolate Bars

Fort Wayne, Ind. – The Olive Twist has announced that it is partnering with DeBrand Fine Chocolates to produce and offer chocolate tasting bars that combine DeBrand fine chocolates with the high-quality extra-virgin olive oils and aged balsamic vinegars of The Olive Twist. The new gourmet tasting bars are being introduced this week exclusively at The Olive Twist’s two local retail stores in Fort Wayne and Auburn, as well as through the firm’s website, <; . They are expected to attract chocolate lovers looking for a new taste sensation in a healthy, high-quality product.
The special DeBrand-Olive Twist chocolate bars will be available in three flavors: Raspberry Basil, made with DeBrand dark chocolate combined with The Olive Twist raspberry balsamic vinegar and basil olive oil; Strawberry Almond, made with DeBrand white chocolate combined with The Olive Twist strawberry balsamic vinegar and roasted-almond oil; and Orange Chocolate, made with DeBrand milk chocolate combined with The Olive Twist cara-cara orange and vanilla balsamic vinegar and blood orange olive oil. All of The Olive Twist balsamic vinegars and olive oils are of the highest quality and contain only natural flavors, according to Lori Berndt, who co-owns The Olive Twist with her husband, Terry Berndt.

Berndt said she came up with the idea to partner with DeBrand Fine Chocolates after being approached by an outside firm offering a lesser-quality chocolate that did not suit her discriminating taste buds. She contacted Cathy Brand-Beere, founder of Fort Wayne’s legendary DeBrand Fine Chocolates, who was receptive and enthusiastic about the idea. Berndt provided The Olive Twist’s naturally-flavored olive oil and balsamic vinegar products to DeBrand, whose staff developed the three unique flavors of chocolate that she said exceeded her expectations. “I shared the chocolate samples with my staff, and although we originally planned on offering only one flavor, they tasted so good that we decided to go with all three,” she said. Brand-Beere is also pleased with the results. “We were already in the process of experimenting with balsamic vinegars in various pieces, so the timing was perfect,” she said of the partnership between DeBrand Fine Chocolates and The Olive Twist.

The gourmet chocolate bars will be sold at The Olive Twist retail stores individually for $7 each or in a package of three containing one of each flavor. “Our chocolate bars will make a great unique gift for the holidays that is made right here in Indiana,” Berndt said. Tasting samples of the DeBrand-Olive Twist chocolate bars will be available by request at both stores. The product will also be included in the firm’s online holiday gift guide at <; . Supplies are limited.

Since opening The Olive Twist in 2010, Berndt has earned the reputation of being a consummate partner with area entrepreneurs, collaborating and co-marketing with them for the mutual benefit of their businesses. With the addition of DeBrand, The Olive Twist has partnered with the following companies to incorporate Olive Twist olive oil and/or balsamic vinegar into their products:

· DeBrand Fine Chocolates—Chocolate tasting bars flavored with Olive Twist extra-virgin olive oils and aged balsamic vinegars.
· The Spinach Ball Company—Gourmet spinach balls made with butter olive oil from The Olive Twist.
· Jeremiah’s Brewed Awakening (Auburn)—Home-made pretzels made with The Olive Twist’s butter olive oil.
· Mimi’s Retreat (Auburn)—House dressing made with Tuscan herb olive oil and oregano balsamic vinegar from The Olive Twist.
· Mad Anthony Brewing Company—Seasonal and special salads made with Olive Twist products.
· Amy Krucina Soaps & More—Home-made lip balm and creams created using various olive oil products from The Olive Twist.
· Summit City Soap Works—Two varieties of natural, home-made soap, Double Basil Tomato and Blood Orange Clove, both made with olive oil from The Olive Twist.
· Body Alchemy—Locally-made candles using products from The Olive Twist.

The Olive Twist also partners with local restaurants, retailers, chefs and universities to offer tastings and cooking classes, and with area businesses and artisans by selling Indiana-made products in its two stores. The inclusion of the following Hoosier products gives The Olive Twist stores the ambiance of a quaint boutique for local culinary enthusiasts and foodies:

· Cookbooks by local chefs and foodies Janie Ebinger, Mark Carboni, Cynthia Presser and Margy Hooker.
· Home-made pottery, wood bowls and aprons by various local artisans.
· Average Joe Artisan Bread Kits by Joe Bellavance.
· Spices and herbs from the Great American Spice Co. and the Fresco Spice Co. that can be combined with Olive Twist olive oils for dipping sauces and also used in grilling and in making soups, pasta sauces, and other dishes.
· St. Joe-based Sechler’s Pickles.
· Dukka, an Australian nut-and-spice combination used for bread dipping that comes from Indianapolis.

The Olive Twist anticipates soon adding to its store shelves home-made jam by Bill’s Best Jams and Olive Twist- signature, specially-blended herb packets in partnership with the Great American Spice Company.

The Olive Twist was founded by the Berndts in the fall of 2010. They opened their first retail store in Covington Plaza in Fort Wayne and expanded to a second location in Auburn in the fall of 2011 to serve additional clientele in Northeast Indiana. The Berndts are clients of the Northeast Indiana Small Business Development Center, where they originally went for guidance and assistance in starting their new company in the summer of 2010. Based on its initial success as an emerging business, The Olive Twist was a 2011 recipient of an EDGE award from the Indiana Small Business Development Center (ISBDC) network.

For more information on The Olive Twist, visit <; , or call 260-436-EVOO (3866). More information on DeBrand Fine Chocolates can be obtained through its website, <; , or by calling 260-969-8343. To learn more about the services of the Northeast Indiana SBDC, call 260-481-0500 or visit <; .