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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, November 30, 2010

Editor's Choice: Jelly Belly

Like probably many people, jellybeans are a favorite of mine. Growing up, they were always a special part of our Easter treats. And over the years the flavors keep expanding and they have become a year-round enjoyment.

The latest product to arrive in the office, however, takes this enjoyment to a whole new level. It is Jelly Belly Jelly Beans Chocolate Dips ( And, yes, it is just what the name implies, jelly beans covered in chocolate — dark chocolate, to be precise. The combination is inspired and delicious.

The flavors include Very Cherry, Orange, Raspberry, Strawberry and Coconut. In the interest of accurate reporting, I sampled almost all. The chocolate taste blends perfectly into the fresh fruit taste. I found myself going back for more throughout the day. I’m told the Coconut was also delicious and also resulted in return visits. And the best part, each
jellybean is just under four calories.

The 4.15 oz. gift box would make a great gift for any occasion. There’s also a 2.8-oz. bag, for more of a take-along or office drawer snack.


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Editor's Choice: Bigg Riggs

We all love tastes that remind us of home, so for my first editor’s choice blog, I chose two products from Bigg Riggs, a West Virginia-based company that sells jams, BBQ sauce, apple butter and other items at farmer’s markets in Northern Virginia. I hadn’t tried the products before, but I have a fondness for that part of the country, since I lived in Washington, DC for four years before relocating to Chicago this summer. I love the southern-tinged tastes you can find in that area, plus the company has a great back-story, making it a no-brainer to sample the products.

Bigg Riggs is the brainchild of Calvin Riggleman, who would reminisce about his family’s farm in Hampshire County, West Virginia to his army buddies while he was stationed in Iraq in 2003. The farm has been in the Riggleman family since the 1940s, and Riggleman’s fellow soldiers gave him the idea to jar fruits and sell them at farmers markets. Soon he added vegetables and the product line grew, eventually being sold at Whole Foods stores in Northern Virginia.

I started with the Hot Pepper Jelly, which comes in a 12 oz. jar. The jelly is the number one selling Bigg Riggs product, and with good reason — it’s a delicious concoction of sweet and heat that’s perfect slathered on a cracker with a bed of cream cheese. It’s accessible for different palates, so you’ll still appreciate it if spicy food isn’t your thing.

I also tried the Strawberry Biscuit Fixer, a charmingly named classic jam that has as many uses as you can think up. I tried a bite right out of the 12 oz. jar, and it has a fresh-made taste that isn’t too sweet. Try it on morning toast, in a nostalgic peanut butter and jelly sandwich or even as an ice cream topping. Jams are made with pure cane sugar and all Bigg Riggs products are made with all-natural ingredients.

Each jar is $6, and you can learn more about Bigg Riggs on their web site.

— Amy

Friday, November 12, 2010

The November Issue of Gift, Gourmet & Decor is Now Available

Dear GGD Reader,

Welcome to the November digital issue of Gift, Gourmet & Decor Magazine.

GGD November Cover
This Month's Featured Content:
Enliven Sales
Winter Markets Update
Valentine's Day
Greeting Card Gazette

New Feature:
Enchanced Page Zooming Feature Now Available-Zooming is now easier then ever!

Please Note:

GGD Digital requires NO special downloads or applications to view in its entirety.

Please click HERE to begin reading now!

We hope you enjoy this issue and all future digital issues of GGD. Feel free to contact us with your thoughts and feedback at

The GGD Team

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Editor's Choice: Mexicali Blues

 In the effort of full editorial disclosure, there was one major reason I wanted to review the samples of Mexicali Blues salsas that arrived in our office last week. I'm not a particular salsa aficionado, nor am I keen on eating foods so hot my taste buds never forgive me. But the restaurant that bottles its salsas of the same name is a local institution... from my home town. Mexicali Blues is a mom-and-pop type of establishment in the heart of Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri. I remember it fondly from family get-togethers and teenage birthday parties made special by off-key renditions of "Feliz Cumpleanos a Ti" and heaping mounds of fried ice cream. And while it's been years since I've stepped into the restaurant for a plate of enchiladas or an icy margarita, I was happy to have a little local flavor at arm's length in our staff fridge.

Paired with my favorite brand of tortilla chips — La Preferida, made locally here in Chicago —the original Mexicali Blues salsa made a perfect accompaniment. While I prefer a more chunky, vegetable-studded salsa, the smooth consistency was a refreshing change. It took me a full minute to work up the courage to dip a chip into the Mexicali Blues XXX salsa, and as it turns out, I was rightfully fearful. The XXX salsa isn't for spice wimps like me.

It's always a good sign when local establishments start manufacturing their own product for wholesale. Maybe I'll make a special trip to visit the Mexicali Blues salsas at the restaurant during my Thanksgiving visit back home.


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Editor's Choice: Dandelion

Although I have never personally used this week’s Editor’s Choice, we also like to use this space to tell you about some neat products we have seen. The feeding items for baby and kids from Dandelion ( I saw at the recent ABC Kids Expo fit into that category. 

The bowls, divided plates and utensils are all made from corn, a renewable source. They are designed for small hands. The bowls have deep sides to keep food where it belongs. The divided plates keep food items apart — an important concern for many kids. There is even an infant feeding set, consisting of a bowl and slim spoon for the littlest members of the green team. All the pieces are yellow, just like the corn. In addition, all the pieces are hand washable.  
These pieces are a great way to introduce kids into thinking eco-friendly and a fine choice for parents who think green. And for retailers, carrying kid products in your store, especially eco-friendly ones, could be a good way to distinguish your store in the community.