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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 14, 2010

Editor's Choice: Italian Foods Corporation

I’m part of a food lovers’ book club, and we read, as you might expect, memoirs and other books about food. At our last meeting we read Garlic and Sapphires, Ruth Reichl’s memoir about her adventures as the restaurant critic for the New York Times, a book I first read — and loved — a couple years ago when I actually was a dining critic for a newspaper in Washington.

Our next book is The Man Who Ate Everything, by Jeffrey Steingarten, and it aims to hit close to home as well. After being named the Vogue food critic, Steingarten attempted to turn his dislike for certain foods, like clams, into love. This premise will carry over into our book club dinner party — we each have to make a dish that we hated when we were kids but now love.

While our dinner is still some time away, I’ve already begun thinking about what to make. Today’s product, a bell pepper and eggplant spread from the Italian Foods Corporation, has reminded me of a food that I used to avoid but now go out of my way to eat – peppers.

While I’m still not sold on green peppers (and this is something I’ve learned I’m not alone in), red peppers are one of my favorite foods. Served raw or roasted, they can be sweet or smoky, and they’re versatile ingredients. I regularly buy them at markets with no purpose in mind and create recipes around them.

So when this product landed on my desk a couple weeks ago, I took it home that night to try it. The spread is made from Italian bell peppers and eggplant in La Spezia in the Liguria region of Italy. I’ve used it to top slices of baguette and mixed it with spaghetti, and it’s delicious in both. It would be ideal on an antipasto tray, or used as a condiment on an Italian-inspired sandwich. My jar is just about empty, so I’m going to have to track down another one pretty soon. While I’m still not sure what to make for the dinner party, I think I’m on the right track.

— Amy