Rory: 2014 in review, and a look ahead to the new

Rory_Great_Day_2014_MarchHere we are, the last day of 2014. We’re tidying up from the last of the holiday rush, and getting ready to open a whole new year of cooking, baking, and entertaining.  AllSpice owner, Rory Brown (right), took some time to look back on this busy, busy year, and reflect on what we — and you — have been up to:

Gift boxes, bags, and sets: The Barnyard box continues to outsell all of the other pre-made gift boxes.  Because it has the variety of rubs and blends for poultry, beef, and pork, customers choose it as a good present to please anyone and everyone, I think.

Double_Chocolate_treat_bagSay it with chocolate. One of the other things that were a huge success this year was the Double Chocolate Gift bag that included the Hot Cocoa, Chocolate Candy Bar, and marshmallows.   We were totally surprised how well they went over, and we actually ended up making about double the amount that we originally had planned! We will continue to have the Double Chocolate Gift bag until we run out of hot cocoa.  It will make a really nice Valentine’s Day gift.

Popcorn continues to be a great hit as well, the new Mambo Italiano gift box and BBQ gift boxes were also a large success. [Mambo and BBQ also feature locally-sourced products – pasta from Graziano Brothers’ (Mambo) and Frank and Russ’ BBQ Sauce.]

We were really happy to get to partner with some local businesses to create these boxes. We feel it not only gets our amazing products in the hands of potential customers, but also gets our partners’ amazing products out there as well.

Looking ahead to the coming year, we plan to continue our partnerships with local businesses in 2015 to share some of the great local foods that are available here in Des Moines. I know it sounds crazy, but we are already thinking of the next “great gift box” that everyone must have next holiday season. Stay tuned!

Cookies, cookies, cookies: One of my greatest joys this holiday season was to share the Spiced Rosemary Chocolate Chip cookies with so many people.   We were so excited when we named this recipe the AllSpice Grand Champion Cookie at the Iowa State Fair. It’s an amazing cookie, and we couldn’t wait to share it with our friends, family, and fans.  The cookie is that perfect balance of spicy, savory, and sweet. I would say that a good 98% of the people who sampled them loved them.   But if you missed out on sampling these treats, don’t worry! I am sure we will be sampling them again soon.

2014_promenade_2The fun we’ve had: Other good things that stick out in my mind from this past year are our annual birthday/anniversary party. This year the October party was so much fun. We shared our love for Gusto Pizza (and their mobile pizza-mobile) with so many people who said they had not had it before.

We worked with our neighbor, Alessandra, at her business, Cooking With Alessandra, and our classes with her turned out to be a great success and so much fun, too.

We have so many ideas for 2015 and are excited to get started on those projects as well.