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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.

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.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Editor's Pick: Gaea Olive Oil

I’ve recently been noticing something whenever I’m cooking: I care—no—I really care about using good olive oil. It makes the final dish taste better; from boiling pasta to baking Brussels sprouts and potatoes, I’ve noticed the type of oil I use has a dramatic affect on the final product. As Homer referred to it in The Odyssey, this stuff really is liquid gold. Of all the varieties of olive oil resting on my lazy Susan, Gaea’s is currently being utilized most. The Gaea Fresh bottle alone solves olive oil’s three enemies—heat, oxygen and light—which is perfect for extended kitchen life. The Sparta variety of extra virgin olive oil is harmoniously balanced and obtained directly from handpicked olives of the Lakonia region, and is my current go-to.
The line was unveiled this past June at the New York Fancy Food show and I haven’t been able to get enough of it since. From Kalmata to Sitia, there’s a different flavor to suit all of my cooking needs.

I once read that Gaea means Mother Earth, which is fitting because the Ancient Greeks worshipped their land’s natural products—none more than the olive tree. While Gaea hasn’t been around as long as Greek civilization, it has been serving international markets since 1995. The company was founded upon the finding that Greek agricultural food products are inherently high in quality, but low in international representation. So the company harvested the traditional way and sent it across the seas to our local markets.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Editor’s Pick: Just Cook Foods

By way of the seasoning blend, one kitchen can take a trip around the world in the span of 7 days. One week of easy-to-prepare meals are twisted, uprooted, changed and variabled in every which way through the spice blends and rubs of the world. What was one day a Southern Indian-inspired chicken dish with curry flavors is a smoky Texas-barbecue inspired chicken dish of the ancho-chili variety the next. But what makes one line of spice blends different than the rest? At Just Cook Foods, I found out one night surrounding my stove, a modern spin is put on traditional spices—from herbed coffee rubs to a mole influenced taco rub, an elaborate dinner party for one was awaiting. This night’s dinner would be of the Spanish variety.

Your typical taco night blend is one that might not set off any sparks—the packets of seasoning for ground beef and taco Tuesdays tend to be pretty dull, and I find myself mixing and matching my own. Twist off the top of the Just Cook Taco Night Blend, influence by the kick of traditional mole flavors, and your eyes will open wide. The traditional flavors of chile powder and cumin combine here with a twist of chocolate, nutmeg and cinnamon and add tremendous flavor to chicken, turkey, ground beef and more. Or seriously consider the power of this spice blend on your average vegetable—it’s a stress free way to add impressive flavor with little fuss.

The Any Day Chicken Blend is another that I’d stock my pantry with. Bursts of orange. A hint of cardamom, and accents of lavender and sage add personality and a modern touch to a chicken dish that might otherwise find itself on the basic scale. I roasted chicken with grape tomatoes, potatoes and sprig vegetables, and the dish was something I could eat every day. 

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Editor’s Pick: Nomoo Cookies

As a lover of all things sweet, I was certainly impressed with Nomoo Cookie Company. The company was started by David Bader, who often made cookies for his friends but many of them couldn’t enjoy them because they kept kosher. Bader shared his frustration with his colleague, Gretchen Dossa, whose daughter had a severe dairy allergy which forced her to rely on certified-kosher foods and to learn how to cook without dairy. Together, and with a team of long-time friends, the two started a gourmet, dairy-free, certified-kosher cookie line.

All of the cookies are baked to order without preservatives and ship the same day. Retail packaging consists of single or double packs and are sleeved for catering. The shelf life is about 10 days but if refrigerated, they can last up to one month.

Available in flavors such as Almond Oy, Big Chipper, Big Chipper with Walnuts, Choco-Lift, Flyin’ Hawaiian, Flyin’ Hawaiian with Pineapple, Ginger Slap, Oat-rageous, and Sugah Sugah, there’s certain to be a cookie to satisfy every palate.  

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Editor's Pick: Laiki Rice Crackers

With restored interest in ancient grains and discoveries of the antioxidant-rich contents, red and black varieties of specialty rice have been on the move into store shelves across the country. With the hopes of capitalizing on not only the trends, but also the natural goodness and benefits of the grains, Bay Area food start up Grains of Health has created Laiki Rice Crackers.

At first glance, one might assume the texture and taste to be similar to that of sand paper—the look and feel both promoting such a thought. (I don’t hesitate to try many things, and I didn’t here either, but I can’t deny my second glance when I opened the package.) But these are anything but. 

The crackers are small and dull in color, but are filled with flavor. Truly. And with only three ingredients—black or red rice, palm fruit oil and sea salt—nothing else, it’s a refreshingly light salty treat. The flavors of the black and red rice, both vaguely different, really do shine through. It’s a low calorie snack—each small package only 100 calories—that won’t have you reaching for the potato chips. They’re wholesome; they’re minimally processed; and, as mentioned before, zero allergens.

I’d imagine the snack packs to have an incredible reception with everyone looking for the next flavorful way to make it through the snacking day. And these did the trick. Laiki Crackers are available online at in two pack sizes: 3.5-ounce resealable stand up and portion-controlled, single-serve 100-calorie snack packs.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Editor’s Pick: Love Grown Foods

There’s something so wholesome about Love Grown Foods. Perhaps it’s that they’re free of GMO’s, high fructose corn syrup, and hydrogenated oils, or perhaps it’s that they make me a little nostalgic for the healthy breakfasts my mom served for me when I was growing up.

With six different products in a variety of flavors, Love Grown Foods offers something for every picky eater—for the record that’s my sister, not me. My personal favorite is the Hot Oats on chilly mornings, perfect for rapidly approaching fall weather. Available in four flavors—Apple Cinnamon, Blueberry Banana Walnut, Peach Vanilla Almond and Strawberry Raspberry—they are the perfect light, healthy breakfast to rev up my metabolism for the day.