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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, August 30, 2011

Editor's Choice: Simply 7 Snacks

Like probably many people I like to have a little something to munch on to go with a sandwich. Unfortunately, most of those treats, like French fries and chips of many varieties are not the best for you. It’s the old trying to eat healthy thing, again. I was faced with this dilemma at home this weekend and discovered a tasty alternative.

I had picked up a bag of Simply 7 Snacks ( Hummus Chips at a show recently. The chips are baked, giving them health points and at the same time providing them with a good crunch. The Sea Salt flavor offered that first satisfying salty snack taste. This is paired with the hummus, which gives them a fuller, richer flavor. The chips are the perfect accompaniment for sandwiches and soups. Since they are formed like shells, they also would be good for scooping up hummus and other dips.

Sea Salt is the original flavor, but the chips also are available in Tomato Basil and Spicy Chili Pepper. Retailers could promote them as a snack alternative, an option to include in school lunches and in college care packages.

And, of course, a fine addition to the snack drawer.


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Editor's Choice: Katie's Home Style, Old-Fashioned, Pool-Room Mustard Slaw

There are a few Chicago delicacies that I readily enjoy, as well as a number of which I pass on. For instance, you’ll never catch me indulging on deep-dish pizza. Mostly because I believe it tastes like a pizza casserole. It’s too dense for me. And, when I initially moved here, I thought I would feel the same about Chicago-style hotdogs. With so much going on, how could it be good? But, the Chicago dog (complete with a beef frank smothered in yellow mustard, onions, pickled relish, a dill pickle spear, tomato wedges and a dash of celery salt on a poppy seed bun) stole my heart. In fact, I’ve sworn that I will never eat hotdogs any other way. That is, until I sampled Katie’s Home Style, Old-Fashioned, Pool-Room Mustard Slaw by the Shoals Commercial Culinary Center. The condiment made my barbecues easier because it adds so much to hotdogs and hamburgers.

Made in Florence, Alabama, Katie’s Slaw is a delightful mixture of cabbage, mustard, carrots, onions, sugar, vinegar, bell peppers, various spices and salt. It has an unexpected spicy kick that’s not for the faint of heart. While I solely tried it on my hotdog, I can see the slaw as an excellent accompaniment on hamburgers, cold cut sandwiches or alongside barbecue chicken. Moreover, it’s low in cholesterol and calories. Many Weight Watchers clients claim it’s the perfect way to liven up proteins without over-indulging. It’s available in over 70 stores and delicatessens in eight states. I advise you make your store, restaurant or deli the next to offer it. Your customers will thank you! And you better believe, I’m thankful to have the condiment for future outdoor gathers to come. This way, I don’t have to stock up on yellow mustard, onions, picked relish, dill pickle spears, tomato wedges or celery salt!


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Editor's Choice: Sulpice Chocolat

One of the many benefits of editing a gourmet food publication is the chocolate. We receive our fair share of chocolate samples in every form, packaging and shape you can think of. And not just any chocolate: high-end, gourmet products that make chocolate snobs like me weak in the knees.

Sulpice Chocolat picked the perfect week to send us a box of samples. It happened to be a week full of deadlines, impending projects and rather busy schedules, so taking a moment to myself for a quick chocolate break was much-needed. I chose the Pistache flavor, which incorporates cardamom, orange essence and toasted pistachios into a chocolate bar packed with 55-percent dark chocolate. (A perfect ratio, if you ask me.) The flavors blended beautifully, and had I not shared this little gem with the other editors, I could have easily scarfed down the entire bar and been left wanting more.

Paired with a cup of hot tea or coffee, enjoying a gourmet chocolate bar from Sulpice makes the perfect wind-down treat. And trust us, it won't hurt to stash a bar or two in the office for a busy day treat.


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Editor's Choice: Asian Sun Tea

Like many people, I have been drinking more green tea lately. I’ve always enjoyed tea and the many reported health benefits are an added bonus.  So at a recent gift show, I was happy to try a sample of some peach-flavored iced tea. I was pleasantly surprised that the good tasting tea from Asian Sun Tea ( was actually liquid green tea that was mixed into cold water. The tea comes in liquid form in single serve packets and there’s no steeping required. The single serve packet means you can take it anywhere. It also works with hot water. The company rep said she also mixes it into smoothies.

Besides the peach, the teas are available in natural, lemon and raspberry flavors. They are offered presweetened or unsweetened and in 15-count boxes.

But for retailers, there is more. The company offers a lovely embroidered silk tea wallet that holds four teas. It is available in an assortment of colors and retails under $10. I could see it as a great add-on gift, in a gift basket or even as a stocking stuffer.

The teas are also available in gift boxes and a wooden tea box, perfect for display.
Something that tastes good and is good for you, that sounds like a fine choice to me.


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Editor's Choice: La Crema Roasting and Packaging

I start every single morning with coffee, and prefer to make a cup myself rather than stopping at Starbucks. I usually just reach for a blend from Trader Joe’s, but I love trying new coffees to liven up my morning.

At the Living and Giving Show at the Chicago Merchandise Mart this week, I picked up a pack of coffee from La Crema Roasting and Packaging, which is based in West Chester, OH. The Blah Blah Blend is part of La Crema’s Girlfriends line of coffee, which includes four blends flavored with chocolate, spices or nuts. The Blah Blah blend is flavored like a vanilla cupcake frosted with almond icing, and was great with just a splash of milk. I drink my coffee iced during the warmer months, and this blend translated well to an iced version. I never add sugar to coffee, and it was a nice change from my more bitter drinks to sip a coffee featuring hints of sweetness.

La Crema uses 100-percent Colombian coffee and packages the Girlfriends line in bright green, pink or black packaging with a café design on the front. It would be perfect as part of a brunch gift basket or to serve at a girls only shower or other event.

- Amy