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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.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Scandinavian Company, Simpli, Releases Oat Based Products in the U.S.

The newly launched Simpli brand is bringing a new line of natural, GMO-free oat-based products to the US from Scandinavia. The first two products are OatShakes (an oat-based beverage) and Gluten-Free Instant Apricot Oatmeal. Simpli’s Gluten Free Instant Apricot Oatmeal combines the world’s most flavorful whole grain oats and delicately dried apricots into a tummy-warming breakfast treat. Low in fat, with zero cholesterol, additives or preservatives it deliciously adds much-needed fiber to gluten-free diets. Inspected prior to planting, the seedlings are also inspected by hand twice in the growing season to prevent contamination by other grains. The mature oats are then sustainably harvested, dried, stored, transported and cleaned, shelled and thinly rolled in carefully cleaned and inspected facilities, insuring that they are free of exposure to other grains. Because Finland’s growing season is short, its oats are more intensely flavored than any others. What’s more exciting is their line of Simpli OatShakes – an oat-based beverage that’s dairy and GMO-free. Perfect for in between meals, kids’ lunch boxes and on-the-go snacking.

The idea for Simpli started in 2008, when US émigrés and Simpli co-founders Helena Lumme and Mika Manninen were visiting their native Finland and tasted their first oat-based smoothie. They realized Finland’s intensely flavored oats were the perfect foundation for a line of products and Simpli was born. Helena and Mika have supervised every aspect of Simpli’s development from the clever package design to production.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Editor's Choice: The San Francisco Chocolate Factory

Of late, like a lot of other people, I’ve been choosing to eat dark chocolate. I enjoy the taste and also like the idea that it has some health benefits. But every once in a while, the six-year old in me wants the taste of milk chocolate. Yesterday was one of those occasions.

While at a gift show, after sampling some dark chocolate pieces, a charming spotted cow package caught my eye. It was a small bar of Got Milk? Chocolate made by The San Francisco Chocolate Factory ( The rep told me that the company has a licensing agreement with the well-known advertising campaign. Never one to turn down chocolate, I took a bar home with me.

It was last night’s dessert. I had forgotten how creamy milk chocolate can be. This was a bit sweet, with hints of vanilla and a great melt-in-your mouth feeling. It does, of course, have milk in it so there is some calcium value.

The company also has several gift sets, syrup, cookies and chocolate-flavored straws. And it is also the company that makes the Wine Lover’s Chocolates, a collection of chocolates that pair with various wines.

Not sure what pairs with this milk chocolate bar, but both the six-year-old and adult in me were very pleased.


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Editor's Choice: Oogie's Gourmet Popcorn

When it comes to snacking, my taste buds are oriented toward salty all the way. I’ll pick pretzels over ice cream any day, so when a delivery of gourmet popcorn from Oogie's Snacks arrived at the office, I knew I was going to be ruining my lunch.

Oogie’s Snacks, which is based in Denver, uses a proprietary hybrid of non-GMO corn as a base for its addictive gourmet popcorn. The company was founded in 2005 by a group of college friends looking to develop a healthier nibble — the popcorn is all natural, gluten-free and 100-percent whole grain, so you don’t have to feel guilty. Recently revamped Oogie’s packaging debuted at the Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco.

There are currently seven flavors of Oogie’s available, with more to come this year, and no, this isn’t your basic Smartfood. While there are classics like movie lovers butter and white cheddar, Oogie’s also offers creative flavors like spicy chipotle and lime and cracked pepper and Asiago.

I tried a couple of varieties, snacking on the sun dried tomato and Parmesan while watching TV one night and demolishing a bag of the smoked Gouda one week at the office, and can see Oogie’s entering my snacking rotation. Each flavor is unique and unexpected — the smokiness of the Gouda is really appealing, while the sun dried tomato is sweet and garlicky. The white cheddar picks up a hint of sweetness from onion powder, while the Hatch chili con queso, with red chili peppers and cheddar cheese, tastes like a taco in popcorn form. The flavors are strong without being overwhelming, and while you’ll end up with sticky fingers, it’s totally worth it.

— Amy

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

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

Dear GGD Reader,

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

GGD January Cover
This Month's Featured Content:
Playing a Selling Song
Lasting Ties
Plush Perfection
Gorgeous Glassware

Tasty Toppings
Hot of the Press

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

Tervis Goes to Dallas

Tervis Tumblers are everyone’s favorite mugs with fun designs that scream individuality. This year, they’ve changed some of their signatures and they have a new location. Tervis Tumblers are still the same great looking, go-to drinkware you’ve loved since 1946, but now they’re making some changes so their brand can better reflect the motto “Always Full of Fun.”

In addition to the fresh new look, they’ve added new additions to the Tervis product line. They’ve redesigned their mug, so even though it’s a contemporary new shape, it’s still a favorite. The innovative 10-ounce wavy tumbler is fun for kids and adults alike. And, are you a fan of our thirst-quenching 24-ounce tumbler? Tervis now has a “handy” 24-ounce handle that slips right on for your convenience. Last but certainly not least, the fabulous, new Shaker Top fits perfectly on16-ounce tumblers. Cocktail hour will never be the same! All this and hundreds of new designs will be showcased in their brand new permanent showroom in the Dallas Trade Mart, Suite 1034.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Editor's Choice: Komforte Chockolates

During my first post as the newest Associate Editor of Fancy Food and Culinary Products, I’m going to lay it all on the line. I have a strangely sad confession to reveal right off the bat. I am well passed my prime-time college years. Gone are the days of fraternity parties, house music and microwavable snacks. In fact, it’s been ages since I enjoyed the taste of my favorite nighttime treats (which were consumed after frazzled post-midnight studying sprees). However, thanks to Komforte (pronounced comfort) Chockolate Bars - I’ve reacquainted myself with flavors that aren’t traditionally associated with gourmet products.

The Seattle-based chocolatier produces three flavors. Their dark chocolate is combined with either: Ramen Noodles (a favorite of collegiate freshmen everywhere), French Toast (noshers can taste whole chunks of the flavorful batter) or Tortilla Lime + Salt (my favorite by far). Creators claim they “saw the chocolate industry was driving upscale and more sophisticated with every season. What was of more interest to us was doing chocolate that had fun, interesting ingredients with a ‘comfort feel’ to them that a kid, teenager and adult could all understand and enjoy.”

The candy is simply wrapped in bright packaging. They contain 2.5-oz. bars which can be easily divided (so you can share if you’re so inclined). The chocolate is good quality with a nice creamy texture and no bitter aftertaste. Moreover, it includes whole pieces of either tortilla chips, French toast batter or uncooked ramen noodles. The savory concoctions (even the ramen noodle - which I was a bit fearful of upon purchase) add an additional layer of both texture and flavor which elevates the overall tasting experience. Consider this the new, gourmet version of a Nestles’ Crunch bar.

As an added bonus, Komforte Chockolates is a true mom-and-pop operation that values family input. In fact the owner’s daughter, Emma, suggested adding the third flavor (ramen noodle) to their repitore. See if you can find her initials - ERS - hidden on Komforte’s Ramen Noodle packaging. To learn more about Komforte Chocolates, visit their website And be sure to enjoy its childish nature!

- Cathryn

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Beaverton Foods Newest Acquires Wasabi Growers

It shouldn’t be any great surprise that Beaverton Foods is expanding their empire. The company has been the largest producer of non-refrigerated horseradish and award-winning mustards since 1929. Now, they’re prepared to overtake the Florence, Oregon-based Pacific Farms to produce wasabi. Domonic Biggi, Executive Vice President of Beaverton Foods, claims this was a logical step.

“Our use of wasabi has been growing, so the Pacific Farms’ acquisition made sense for us to continue to grow our business to become the category leader,” Biggi said. “This acquisition makes Beaverton Foods the largest processor of real wasabi products in North America. We will be taking real wasabi and making high quality products.”

Biggi went on to explain that current wasabi on the market is produced by combining mustard flour, horseradish powder, fillers and artificial colors – not real wasabi! Therefore, Beaverton is looking to elevate the market of store-bought wasabis through authenticity. Pacific Farms can certainly produce this level of flavor. Since 1992, Pacific Farms has been growing and shipping their wasabi paste to restaurants, food distributors and individual consumers throughout North America.

“I’m pleased our business that was conceived, incubated and grown in Oregon has been sold to an Oregon-based company,” noted Roy Carver, III, Founder of Pacific Farms. “Beaverton Foods is the best company to take what we started to the next level.”

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Editor's Choice: Artisan Salt Company

Salt gets a bad rap. I know we should be limiting our sodium intake, but sometimes, a dash of salt can really set your dish over the edge, which is why I was excited to take home a little gourmet salt from Artisan Salt Company and start experimenting.

I took home a four-ounce flip top canister of the Murray River Flake Salt, and I've been going through it quicker than than anything else in my spice cabinet. I've since found several uses for it: sprinkled on top homemade pizza dough, rubbed onto meat, even just a tiny dash on top of the whipped cream in my hot chocolate. (I'm a huge fan of the sweet/savory combo.) I've even used it in lieu of regular table salt. Just shake a dash over a warm dish and watch it melt and season your food perfectly. Although be warned: Don't use as much of the Murray River Flake Salt as you would regular salt.

If you're looking to add a little more savory in your life (or store), experimenting with gourmet salts is a perfect way to add a little seasoning!