An online community for gourmet and specialty food retailers.

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, March 29, 2011

Editor's Choice: Contigo

I have a thing for reusable water bottles. On any given day, I have at least one at my desk, a couple in my car and several threatening to burst out of my kitchen cabinets. But for the amount of water bottles that I've accumulated, I've probably thrown out just as many. Sooner or later, the lid stops screwing on correctly or the interior straw starts leaking. When I stopped at the Contigo booth at the International Home + Housewares Show, I mentioned my penchant for reusable water bottles and how they inevitably get tossed once they stop working. Contigo sent me home with the Autoseal Bella Double Wall Insulated Mug, and I have a feeling I won't be needing any of the other water bottles I keep on-hand.

Contigo is known for the Autoseal technology; with a quick push of a button on the back of the mug, the seal opens up and allows you to drink — perfect for clumsy drinkers like me. The seal also prevents liquid from leaking, so you can throw it into a bag or stash it in a desk drawer without worrying about spills. The insulated mug also keeps both warm and cool beverages at a desirable temperature for up to one hour. I can sip cold water throughout the day and use it at night for a splash of hot tea.

The Bella comes in eggplant — my color of choice — and black, and each bottle holds 14 ounces of liquid. Stock up on a few Contigos, and you won't have to worry about stashes of broken water bottles. In my case, I'll be able to make better use of that overflowing kitchen cabinet.


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

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

Dear GGD Reader,

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

GGD March Cover
This Month's Featured Content:
• Zen-spirational
• Dear Ol' Dad
• Time for Tabletop
• Garden State

• Natural Designs
• Shelftalk
• Calendar

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, March 22, 2011

Editor's Choice: Bella Vita

Maybe it was because it was a cold March day, but the items for warmer weather held a particular appeal for me at the recent International Home and Housewares Show. One in particular caught my eye so I was glad when several samples arrived at the office. It is a Chill It bag from Bella Vita (

The sleek bag can be put in the freezer, taken out and used as a cooler to carry a bottle of wine or other beverages. I can see it as perfect for taking wine to an outdoor concert, party or bring-your-own-beverage restaurant.

The bag has a contemporary design and is filled with colorful and safe freezable liquid. The liquids come in a choice of fun colors, such as the red pictured.

The design also makes it great for a host or hostess gift, since you can use it to bring the wine and the bag is an additional, reusable gift.

For retailers it could be merchandised with outdoor and picnic accessories and also in the wine section.

The Chill It collection also includes several sizes of bags to accommodate bottles, a gourmet bag perfect for taking lunch and a bag that holds six bottles of beer.

I’m looking forward to putting this bag to use.


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Editor's Choice: Granna's Gourmet

A few summers ago I got into pickling, and since then I've been whipping up batches of pickled beets, green beans, cucumbers, and other farmers market veggies to snack on or incorporate into meals. I’ve always loved pickled vegetables and relishes, but have even more of an appreciation for them now that I know how much work goes into creating great ones.

Granna’s Gourmet, based in South Carolina, offers Lowcountry pickles perfect for adding to Southern-style dishes, using on sandwiches, or eating straight from the jar. I recently brought home a jar of Bread and Butter pickles, and they’ve been a big hit in my house. Jarred with mustard seeds and onion slices, the crunchy rounds are a nice balance of sweet and sour. They’re delicious layered in tuna sandwiches or as a side to burgers.

Granna’s also offers sweet onion petals, bread and butter pickle relish and sweet onion relish, all of which I imagine would add some Lowcountry brightness to everyday sandwiches or salads. Bread and Butter pickles retail for $7 for a 16 oz. jar.

-- Amy

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Editor's Choice: MamaMancini Meatballs and Sunday Sauce

I was raised in an Italian household. Needless to say, I’m no slouch when it comes to spaghetti sauce, meatballs and home made pizza dough. My Nonie — i.e. grandmother — spent hours in the kitchen teaching me the fundamentals for comforting and soulful Italian cuisine. As a result, I try my best to avoid everything from prepared sauces to frozen entrees. I’m a connoisseur of all things authentic. So, I was definitely skeptical when the package of MamaMancini Frozen Beef Meatballs in Sunday Sauce arrived in our offices. Three things quickly convinced me to try them. Reason one was an empty refrigerator. Reason two was a starving husband. Reason three was the mounting snow outside our window. Luckily, we had one remaining box of rigatoni, some fresh Parmesan and crusty bread to accompany our meal. Though, I must admit the packaged meatballs were definitely the stars of the show and it seems my endless labors in the kitchen could hardly compete.

Here’s the thing. It wasn’t as if they were good as far as frozen meatballs are concerned. They were good by all standard. Restaurant quality … heck, they were close to Nonie’s quality! You could tell that care had been taken during the preparation, as I could taste a delicate mixture of herbs combining with the juicy chunks of tomatoes. The meatballs themselves were huge and would have been excellent sliced in half and slathered inside a hoagie bun. After gobbling them down, I decided some research regarding the company was warranted — if only to find out where they’re sold to buy more! The popular meatballs are derived from the original family recipe of founder Daniel Mancini’s Brooklyn grandmother and within the past year have experienced a 300-percent growth in sales. Co-founder Carl Wolfe attributes this to the fact that, “people want simple, delicious ways to bring their families together for dinner.” If that was the overall goal, MamaMancini certainly succeeded. Luckily, eager Italian chefs that crave authenticity can find them in a number of grocery stores including but not limited to Publix, Giant Eagle, Brookshires, Key Food, Mars Supermarket, Harris Teeter and Big Y World Class Markets. They’ll definitely be on my future shopping lists.


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Editor's Choice: Just Desserts

To say that I'm a chocolate fan is a bit of an understatement. If chocolate were its own food group on the food pyramid, I would be getting more than my required daily intake. Needless to say, the chocolate-lover in me (and our office) was beyond excited when San Francisco-based Just Desserts sent us a box of decadent treats.

On the hunt for the quickest chocolate-induced sugar coma, my eyes immediately landed on the Brownie Bites. The individually packaged, bite-sized brownies are definitely on-trend with the gourmet industry's ongoing obsession with all things miniature. And true to form, each package contained two mini brownies shaped liked tiny cylinders. Wanting to savor my 3 p.m. indulgence, I took several bites from the first brownie, then — giving in to impatience — I quickly popped the second one into my mouth. The brownies are satisfying in the way only a chocolate fix can be, with a spongy interior that fans of cake-like brownies will appreciate.

And for those needing a little more than bite-sized brownie to satiate the sweet tooth, Just Desserts offers a variety of tiny sweets, ranging from mini bundt cakes to mini loaves of sweet breads. For the full-sized appetite, the company's mouth-watering cake selection will make you wish you skipped lunch — flavors include Mocha Creme, Lemon Nut Crunch, Black Velvet and more.

Brownies are certainly the quickest way to a chocolate-lover's heart, and the Brownie Bites from Just Desserts are the perfect size for chocoholics like me. Just don't suggest that I re-learn the food pyramid.