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Welcome to Fancy Food & Culinary Products' blog, your place to read reviews of the great fancy and gourmet products we find in the marketplace.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Editor's Pick: Bungalow 23

It's been cold outside, so I've been on an at-home cocktail mixers kick lately. I've been reading about and trying culinary-inspired mixers that will make my drinks taste like I spent at least 10 minutes developing and executing a concept. Enter, Bungalow 23. The three flavorsPear Ginger Martini, Blueberry Lemon Drop, and Prickly Pear Margaritaoffer vastly different flavors to suit any cocktail desire.
Pear Ginger Martini offers a fruity mix that's set against a spicy ginger flavor with a crisp finish, brightened by a finishing lemon and lemongrass flavor.
Limes and oranges lay the foundation of the classic Prickly Pear Margarita flavor. Agave nectar adds a sweetness and a pinch of cilantro offsets the feature ingredient, prickly pear. The pear adds a complexity to the mix, giving a new twist to the classic margarita drink.
My personal favorite, Blueberry Lemon Drop, is made of the simplest combination of lemons, lemongrass, lavender and blueberries. So good you could drink it alone or with a splash of club soda, Blueberry Lemon Drop has a crisp tasteperfect for a summer day.
Winner of one Gold and two Silver Medals at the 2014 San Francisco World Spirits Competition, and two Platinum and one Gold Medal at the SIP Awards, Bungalow 23's line of cocktail mixers is a great line to have at home or stocked at the bar.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Editor's Pick: Oregon Olive Mill

A premier purveyor of award-winning Extra Virgin Olive Oil and home to the only estate olioteca in the Pacific Northwest, Oregon Olive Mill is also the first certified modern milling operation in Oregon. The Extra Virgin Olive Oils are sourced from the family’s grove that owner, Paul Durant, personally oversees. From what we hear, Durant’s dedication is rooted in ensuring the quality they’re known for at every stage of the olive milling process.


I can contest to that. I’ve tried and used every type of extra virgin olive oil from low, bottom-of-the-totem-pole quality for sautéing in college—when money was scarce—to the prime-time oils that are cultivated with care. A delightful and fragrant oil, the Frantoio Extra Virgin Olive Oil was my first endeavor into the Oregon Olive Mill’s line of products. The single Italian olive varietal is smooth and buttery with hints of artichoke, hazelnut and a peppery finish perfect for the light vegetables I was working with. Oregon Olive Mill grows many distinctive varieties: Arbequina, Leccino, Mission,Pendolino, Koroneiki, and Picual, as well as several others. What’s more, they supplement their estate fruit with olives sourced from prime groves in Northern California, which allows for the blending to build more distinctive flavor profiles and mitigates cool climate risk.

Oregon Olive Mill is located on Red Ridge Farms, a destination for the senses as it’s called. Quick Tip: they also encompass a variety of visual and culinary delights in the heart of the Willamette Valley, including the Durant Vineyards Tasting Room, a gourmet retail shop, nursery, as well as on-site accommodations.


A second top choice of the editors here at Fancy Food is the Arbequina Extra Virgin Olive Oil, a Spanish version with a sweet and fruity aroma. The floral undertones of the oil are accented with notes of almond and feature a mild and buttery flavor that’s delicious in any culinary setting. For more information on Oregon Olive Mill, check out their website.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Editor’s Pick: Bellagio Gourmet Hot Cocoa Mix



With sub-zero temperatures, and tv shows back on for the season, there’s nothing more enjoyable than curling up in a couple of blankets and drinking a nice rich cup of hot cocoa.

I was fortunate enough to be given Bellagio Gourmet Hot Cocoa Mix in Chocolate Truffle for Christmas. The smooth, rich, creamy, decadent flavor warmed me up from head to toe and satisfied my chocolate craving.

The European bittersweet dark chocolate and Old World attention to tradition make this an extraordinary cup of cocoa. Other flavors include French Vanilla, Raspberry Parfait, White Chocolate, Caramel Praline, Holiday Spice, Peppermint Truffle.

It’s available in 7-ounce canister, 14-ounce canister, 2-pound bulk and sample bags.


Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Editor's Pick: Crafted Cocktails

High end restaurants and bartenders who know what they're doing have the capability to make some of the most delicate, perfectly-balanced cocktails. But sometimes, sophisticated flavor profiles can be difficult to find when it comes to at-home mixers. Crafted Cocktails was developed by Felicia Vieira, who wanted to have the option to create these flavors in her own home.
The cocktail mixers line consists of two flavors so far--Moonlight and Lanai. Moonlight is a blend of natural agave, watermelon, jalapeno and lime. The balance of sweet and spicy flavors proved versatile when combined with different liquors. With tequila, the spiciness was a little more dominant, but the watermelon flavoring was soothing; and with vodka, you can really taste the agave, and adding a little fresh mint to your cocktail brings out the flavors even more. Lanai, the pineapple, lime and jalapeno blend, also offers a diverse flavor profile depending on your spirit selection. One of my favorite flavors to combine with tequila, is pineapple. And with a spicy jalapeno kick, I really enjoyed this version. I salted the rim of my glass for additional flavor, and one of my guests enjoyed the Lanai mixer with club soda for a non-alcoholic alternative.
Each mixer is only 60 calories and made with all-natural ingredients, a nice change of pace from a cocktail mixer market that's dominated by processed sugars. Both of these flavors are great to have on-hand when having guests over, since they pair well with multiple spirits, and are just as delicious mixed in a non-alcoholic beverage.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Editor's Pick: Georgia Grinders

If you've ever taken a note or appreciation to my eating schedule, you'd find that peanut butter is an unwavering mainstay. Zero questions asked. An apple and peanut butter a day (most days) keeps the doctor away, right? The peanut butter to my apple is typically of the all natural, many times organic, variety; so when I found out about Georgia Grinders' two-ingredient PB, my eyes widened, and I cut right into an apple, its sidekick.

Made with two simple ingredients, the finest quality non-GMO Georgia grown peanuts and sea salt, the peanuts are hand selected, slow roasted and then ground to the NaturAlmond company's signature texture for a really fresh peanut butter experience. I tried the creamy first. Just the right amount of salt with a fresh-out-the-shell taste, it was delicious. Same can be said about the crunchy, of course. 

The Georgia Grinders Peanut Butters, which are available in creamy and crunchy versions, began production in December and were picked up by regional Whole Foods, Sprouts Farmers Markets, Central Market Grocery Stores and many gourmet food markets in Georgia, North Carolina, Alabama and Florida.  But now, the 12 oz glass jars of Georgia Grinders Peanut Butter will be available on shelves beginning in January at all of these retailers. For more information on where to find Georgia Grinders  Peanut Butter, or how to carry it in your store, visit www.georgiagrinders.com.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Editor’s Pick: Tonja’s Toffee

Tonja’s Toffee is a delicious treat that satisfies any sweet tooth, without hurting them. I am very picky about what sticky foods I eat. After enduring braces for 4.5 years and now wearing a permanent retainer, I won’t eat anything that I think will damage my teeth. One of the great things about Tonja’s Toffee, is that it’s neither tough nor sticky. Each bite is a sweet, perfectly textured treat bursting with flavor.

Kansas-based Tonja Williams, the owner, knows how to please both the taste buds and the eye, with her visually-appealing packaging perfect for gifting. Each portion—1/4, 1/2, and 1 pound—is sold in a clear, high-quality bag making it a great holiday gift for neighbors, teachers or anyone else in your customers’ lives.


Each batch of toffee is made from pure butter, sugar, whole almonds and milk chocolate. 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Editor's Pick: Umpqua Oats

One of my pre-New Year resolutions has been to eat breakfast more often. I used to love eating breakfast. Until I stopped becoming such a morning person, and decided as much as I love breakfast, I love sleep more. Instead of making an egg-white omelet stacked with bacon and cheese in the morning, now I grab a pack of Instant Oatmeal and hit the road. The only problem is, now the flavors are starting to taste somewhat basic. I was thrilled to come into the office one day last week and learn about Umpqua Oats. They recently launched their new flavor, Vanilla Almond Crunch. The first-of-its-kind, warm oatmeal cup included a satisfying mixture of custom-milled rolled oats, oven-roasted almonds, rich Bourbon vanilla, sweet honey and crunchy vanilla almond granola. 














The conveniently-packaged breakfast filled the office kitchen with a delicious vanilla aroma that I haven't experienced in a long time and the flavor combination isn't overwhelming, in fact it's fairly discrete. It's also completely satisfying. It had a little bit of a different texture than the oatmeal I'm used to, it was thicker and creamier than you would expect. It's definitely innovative—a concept the company is no stranger to.

In the development of Vanilla Almond Crunch, the company conducted multiple focus groups and invited people to provide their opinions on several oatmeal flavor profiles. After an overwhelming response to Vanilla Almond, the company moved forward in the Umpqua Oats wayby adding a unique twist on traditional oatmeal with granola that stays crunchy even when hot water is added.