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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, December 29, 2009

Editor’s Choice: Iota

With the winter gift shows just around the corner, I’ve been thinking about the various companies I want to visit to take a look at their new home and kitchen accessories. A must-see on my list is Iota (, one of my favorite companies that specialize in stationery and gifts that can be cross-merchandised with gourmet goods.

With bold, trendy color palettes, Iota always has a great lineup of eye-catching textiles and giftware. At the upcoming winter markets, the company will introduce new eco-friendly textiles, notecards, giftwrap, notebooks and more that are designed with retro-inspired themes and patterns.

One of my favorite new patterns is Cottage Kitchen, a 2010 bonus pattern from the company. Items in Iota’s kitchen collection — including aprons, oven mitts, towels, recipe boxes and other accessories — are decorated with this playful pattern that is sure to be a hit with cooks of all ages.

Take a look at Iota’s full line of vibrant home accessories in the OneCoast showrooms in Atlanta, Dallas and New York at the winter shows. You can even meet Iota designer Kelly Alford at a special event in Atlanta, January 8 at 11 a.m.


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Editor’s Choice: Tribe

So much of eating and cooking has nothing to do with the food itself. I often enjoy the process of cooking and the conversation with my close friends as much as whatever it is I’m preparing. As a vegan, a lot of the memories I have of eating and enjoying food as a child center around foods I don’t eat as an adult. I don’t ever miss meat, but guilty pleasures like ice cream and pizza (or anything with cheese) are often missed.

When a container of Tribe Pizza Hummus arrived in the office, I was thrilled to dig in and enjoy pizza flavors once again. My coworkers and I gathered in the office kitchen to sample the snack, and we came to a conclusion: If you like pizza, you’ll love pizza hummus. My memory may have faded with time, but Tribe expertly captured the flavors of my favorite childhood food (I’m going to pretend I didn’t eat it for breakfast in college).

Simply stated, it is comfort food at its best. Natural, vegan, organic. I love all these qualities in food, but you don’t often find organic and pizza in the same prepackaged food. During the office tasting, I ate more pizza hummus than I care to admit, but I’m not really surprised. I’ve always been a fan of Tribe hummus. I love the bold step they take in creating new flavors and unusual ingredient combinations. And seriously, who doesn’t love pizza?

Learn more about Tribe and it’s hummus online at


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Editor’s Choice: Yogi Products

As you probably have gathered, I’m always on the lookout for something to snack on here at work. Usually it helps if it’s something you can eat while typing or shuffling through papers. So when my co-worker Ashley handed me the package of Yogi Granola Crisps (, I figured this could be a find. Turns out I was right. The flavor I tried was Baked Cinnamon Raisin. The first thing I noticed is that the crisps are bite-size, just right for snacking. They have a nice crunch. The taste reminded me of cinnamon graham crackers; it’s a little sweet, but not overly. It’s one of those tastes that make you smile. Now here’s the good part — the flakes are made with five ancient grains, including oats (always a plus), and are actually a healthy snack. There is all kinds of information on the package about what other good-for-you benefits they provide. Speaking of the package, it is resealable, so even if you’re inclined to eat half the bag, you can act like an adult and save it for another day.

And I’ve just discovered that the Crisps come in two other flavors, Fresh Strawberry Crunch and Mountain Blueberry Flax. Two more of my favorite flavors, so I’m off to the office kitchen to see if those packages are still there. A 10.4-oz. resealable bag has a suggested retail of $5.


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Editor’s Choice: Steven Smith Teamaker

It’s a morning tradition in the editorial department to take a break and head to the kitchen for some tea. I’m sad to say that this morning at approximately 9 a.m., I polished off the box of Mao Feng Shui tea from Steven Smith Teamaker. (If I were a tween and not a totally mature editor, I would insert sad face emoticon here.)

Varietal No. 8: Mao Feng Shui full-leaf green tea is just one of the many delectable blends from Steven Smith, a company that crafts its teas in small batches for an exceptional drinking experience. The company’s wonderful array of green, white, oolong and black teas, as well as its herbal infusions, are created from ingredients picked at their peak. With its earthy aroma and light, almost ethereal color, the Mao Feng Shui blend tastes like a fresh spring morning (I know it sounds cheesy, but trust me). The leaves for this blend are harvested in the spring from China at a high elevation.

During my time drinking the eight or nine bags in the 15-bag package of Mao Feng Shui, I drew immense pleasure from untying the cute little string-tie box of tea (which we’ll certainly be using as a pretty storage container for paperclips and office supplies now that it’s empty). I will miss dropping the elegant sachet into my mug of hot water. The roomy, biodegradable sachet provides greater full-leaf expansion, which helps release even more of a green-tea aroma. And let’s not forget all those fabulous antioxidants I am consuming with each sip!

You simply must check out the company’s website ( I guarantee you will find yourself on it longer than you intended (at least I did — I’m a sucker for well-designed websites). Don’t miss the humble About section, in which I learned — to my surprise! — that founder Steven Smith is also the founder of popular well-known and –respected brands Stash Tea Company and Tazo.


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Editor's Choice: Stonehouse 27

Let’s be honest. No one has the time or energy (especially during the holiday season) to whip up a gourmet meal every night. Add one busy editor with too many after-work commitments to this time crunch, and you get my dinner dilemma just a few nights ago. Faced with a plum tomato, red onion, cabbage, tofu, celery and jasmine rice, I reached for a sample of Stonehouse 27’s Cilantro and Coconut gourmet Indian curry.

I’m not entirely sure the veggies I had aligned with traditional Indian cooking, but that’s the beauty of a delicious curry. As the rice cooked, I sautéed the hodgepodge of vegetables in the curry. Instantly, the aroma of cilantro filled the kitchen, creating an Indian cooking extravaganza. The fresh ingredients (onion, tomato, cilantro, garlic, among others) added a crisp, refreshing taste to the curry. The subtle taste of lemon added another layer of cool, zesty flavor.

Turns out, Stonehouse 27 wouldn’t be insulted that I improvised my meal. Exotic and easy-to-prepare are themes right on the label. Open-ended cooking suggestions (think: serve with fish, but also great with vegetables) makes the curry a create-your-own-epicurean adventure. Stonehouse 27 also makes Dates and Tamarind, Tamarind and Garlic, Tomato and Chilies, Cashews and Cream, and Cashews and Cream curries in varying degrees of heat.

Check out Stonehouse 27, its curries, ingredients and health benefits at