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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, September 30, 2015

Editor’s Pick: thinkThin

ThinkThin is introducing thinkThin Protein Bites and thinkThin Protein Nut Bites.  Building on the success of thinkThin protein bars, the new bites mark the first time a leading energy bar brand has launched unwrapped protein and fiber bars in bite-sized pieces.  The new product innovation is a delicious combination of an energizing snack and crave-worthy treat, with the added benefit of protein and fiber and supports the growing trend of consumers seeking perfectly-balanced snack options that are both nutritious and convenient. 

Available in a range of five flavors, the new gluten free and non-GMO protein bites are an innovative extension of thinkThin’s popular bar flavors. Each serving of thinkThin Protein Bites is packed with 10g protein, 5g of fiber and less than 200 calories. Available in Salted Caramel, Peanut Butter, and Chocolate Almond Brownie.

The thinkThin Protein Nut Bites are chock full of nutritious almonds, peanuts and pumpkin seeds offering 9g of protein, 3g of fiber and less than 200 calories.  thinkThin Protein Nut Bites are available in two flavors, White Chocolate, with a drizzle of creamy white chocolate, or Dark Chocolate, with a drizzle of real dark chocolate.


Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Editor's Pick: John Kelly Chocolates

I remember enjoying small pieces of Truffle Fudge about seven years ago from a little chocolatier I had never heard of. Now I'm seeing John Kelly Chocolates seemingly everywhere I go, so I was happy to find a few of its new Artisan Chocolate Bars to share. Tearing into the gold-wrapped chocolate bar is like tearing into a Wonka bar, only instead of a Golden Ticket, you get some really velvety, melt-in-your-mouth chocolate, and that's pretty much all I need. From the ingredients to the flavor combinations, there seems to be an acute attention to detail paid by the team at John Kelly, and chocolate-lovers everywhere can appreciate that there's something for everyone. There are six flavors in the new collection: Dark Chocolate with Fleur de Sel Sea Salt, Dark Chocolate with Roasted Almonds & Pink Himalayan Salt, Dark Chocolate Espresso, Dark Chocolate with Habanero & Jalapeno Chile, Milk Chocolate with Roasted Almonds & French Grey Sea Salt, and Milk Chocolate with Roasted Hazelnuts & Mediterranean Sea Salt.

With the holidays around the corner, I thought it would be a nice idea to put together gift baskets for my family members with these chocolate bars as the centerpiece. The company also offers signature gift towers that feature its famed truffle assortments and are perfect for the holidays. The towers mix and match dark and milk chocolate with various sea salts for truly unique flavor combinations.

Hollywood is full of make-it-or-break-it stories, so it's only fitting that John Kelly Chocolates has one of its own. Armed with nothing but a dream and a delicious chocolate fudge recipe, the owners, two guys named John and Kelly, opened a little chocolate shop in Hollywood back in 2004. The duo has been diligent in their work and creative in their flavor profiles; a combination that has catapulted them into high-end department stores, hotel gift shops and specialty retail shops across the country. The company has multiple sofi awards to boast, and was featured this year in the Oscar Gifting Suite. Pick up some of the Artisan Chocolate Bars or the Signature Gift Towers to hand out this holiday season.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Editor's Pick: Tres Hermanas

It’s official (and somewhat unfortunate, though that’s debatable): I have fallen victim to The Pinterest Effect. It’s been about 4 years now. Those behind the scenes ninjas that are the users, abusers and pinners of the social media site have had their effect on industries around the world—the cookbook publishers, the interior designers, the real photographers, the bloggers, the thrift store shuckers, the Etsy shoppers, and the at-home bakers (that's me!)

It’s a basic admission. I have at least 10 cookbooks scattered throughout my home that now play the role of coffee table décor, lamp stands and more. You can thank Pinterest for that. You see, with a virtual bulletin board enticing my iPhone to a site of Asian fusion appetizers and mouth-watering photography, it’s hard to pull out the trusty paperback under a pile of 17-pound September issue magazines. The first step is admittance. 

Let me tell you that the Food & Drink section of the $5 billion social media networking brand is overwhelming.  Truly. Sure, many are re-pinned and copied among users, but there’s no shortage of dinner images that read 25 Casserole Bakes You Must Make this Week or 19 Healthy One-Pot Dinners. And so it was no surprise that my Pinterest efforts turned to find the most convenient, tastiest and ingredient-less one-pot casserole bakes. With breakfast bakes under my belt, I shifted gears and headed to the border.

I ended at a recipe for Fire Roasted Stacked Enchiladas—quite convenient as I had just picked up the Tres Hermanas Fire Roasted RedSauce, which is a firey, spicy Mexican cooking sauce that transports your taste buds across the border for a second.

Nestled in Southern New Mexico among a pretty picturesque mountainside—portrayed on the packaging—Tres Hermanas got its name from the three small mountains that it sits below. Authentic products made in the border state, Tres Hermanas developed its latest flavors to meet a growing consumer need for specialty ethnic items. “Our family-farm grown food will deliver the flavors and honestly sourced qualities that consumers demand,” says Mark Majewski, president and chief operating officer of Mizkan Americas.

They delivered, all right. In a saucepan, I mixed some heavy cream with the family-made sauce, some water and shredded chicken. I proceeded to fill the dish like a lasagna—one layer of sauce, a bottom layer of sauce-dipped tortilla halves, one layer of pepper pepper jack cheese and green onion, one layer of chicken, a layer of caramelized onions, another layer of sauce and so on. I baked the casserole covered for 30 minutes, and voila, a stacked enchilada bake straight from the farms of New Mexico--and maybe Pinterest.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Editor’s Pick: Cosmos Creations Pumpkin Spice Premium Puffed Corn

The passing of Labor Day marks the arrival of consumer demand for all things pumpkin. Between pumpkin coffees, pumpkin beer and pumpkin snacks, the flavor has exploded over the past few years and it appears that it's here to stay.

Cosmos Creations recently released its new seasonal flavor, Pumpkin Spice, in its lineup of sweet and savory puffed corn.   Made with hints of cinnamon and nutmeg, this fall flavor joins Cosmos Creations’ already established line of everyday snacks. Each bite offers a crisp burst of sweetness exploding with flavor.

Cosmos Creations premium puffed corn is currently available in eight flavors that are all gluten-free, trans-fat free, have no kernels or hulls and are baked with non-GMO corn. The sweet, but not overly-sweet, line is Kosher Dairy Certified. The Pumpkin Spice product will complement the current flavors of Salted Caramel, Caramel, Coconut Crunch, Caramel Apple Crisp, Sea Salt & Butter, Cheddar & Pepper and Spicy Sriracha.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Editor's Pick: Ozery Bakery

I’m constantly looking for quick snacks that are hearty enough to hold me over until dinner, that satisfy my 9:1 ratio of salty to sweet, and that are easy to grab as I’m inevitably running out the door to catch the train. One day I tried Ozery Bakery’s Morning Rounds. These really are the most versatile breakfast I’ve ever had. The four flavor offerings, Date & Chia, Apple Cinnamon, Cranberry Orange, and Muesli are great by themselves out of the refrigerator or toasted with peanut butter on top. I started eating them for breakfast and as a post-lunch snack when that 3 p.m. hunger strikes.
The smaller-sized snacking rounds are great to grab and go for my busy lifestyle. I tossed a few in a bag as I was running to my beach volleyball game after work every week, and they easily held me over until I was home long enough to make dinner.

Morning Rounds and Snacking Rounds are made with spelt, the easy-to-digest grain that’s good for those with a wheat intolerance; whole wheat that’s high in fiber and vitamins B and E; and multigrain, the high-in-protein grain that helps tide you over until your next meal.

Ozery Bakery is the namesake of a father-and-two-sons-owned business that began nearly 20 years ago. Its products can be found at stores across the country including Whole Foods, Costco, Plum Market, HEB and others.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Editor's Pick: Maple Hollow

With rounded edges and a beautifully spherical handle, this glass bottle houses more than just a pancake topper. Pure, tree-tapped maple syrup is arguable nature’s sweetest gift, and believe me, this isn’t your supermarket squeeze bottle.

Tapped right in Wisconsin when winter turns to spring, the third generation company at Maple Hollow has been making quality maple products since 1889. 

From its nutty, vanilla, or floral flavors to hints of coffee and even spice, real maple syrup is just that—real. And as an avid eater—who isn’t?—it’s incredibly easy to spot an imposter with just one bite.

Maple Hollow’s New Cinnamon Maple Syrup was just the choice for a crunchy French toast I’ve been a bit obsessed with lately. (There’s an entire stick of cinnamon in the infused bottle by the way). Although I’m typically heavy handed in the cinnamon I add to the egg batter, I was clearly able to hold out this time. Sweet and spicy, the syrup does all the work for you.

In a flat dish, I whisk up three eggs, the cinnamon maple syrup, cardamom and a hint of vanilla extract, vanilla bean if available. Add milk and half and half until the mixture looks a bit foamy. I use King’s Hawaiian bread here, and I’ll never go back. Pull it from the loaf or rip those mini buns in half for bite size French toast pieces. Dip, let soak and press one side of the bread gently into a corn-flake mixture. You could also use maple or vanilla-flavored cereals here. Place on a skillet and cook through.

Top it with butter, some super thin slices of apple or a handful of blackberries. Add a bit more Maple Hollow Cinnamon Syrup on top, and call it a day.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Editor's Pick: Lovely Candy Company

Looking to enable his wife’s sweet tooth, a loving husband started Lovely Candy Company. She desired something crafted with premium, gluten-free ingredients that didn’t contain GMOs.

Each delectable piece is satisfying and not messy, so perfect for adults and kids alike. Lovely Candy Company’s three gluten-free licorice flavors are original, strawberry, and cherry and are the perfect afternoon pick-up for anyone with a sweet tooth.

Lovely Candy Company doesn’t limit itself to just licorice, it has expanded to include caramels, fudge roles, and fruit chews.