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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.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Editor's Choice: Curt's BBQ Sauce

Besides ice cream, barbecue sauce is my husband’s favorite thing to eat. We often joke that we should cut out the middleman and not bother with cooking meat: just pour some sauce on a plate and lick it up; better yet, drench a few pages of newspaper in it for a heartier meal.

Needless to say, I was excited when Curt’s BBQ Sauce (218/731-2432 or arrived in our office. I brought home a bottle of the Mild flavor and asked my husband to slather it on the pork chops that he grilled that night.

Both of us gave the sauce two thumbs up. The sweet, tangy flavor went well with the pork, but I can imagine it also being tasty with steaks, chicken, ribs or onion rings and French fries when used for dipping. The sauce is thin, so it means you can spread it out to go a long way, or use half a bottle between two people (like we did) to get as much sauce onto each bite as possible.

Curt’s offers its tantalizing sauce in Mild, Medium and Hot flavors. It also comes in sizes ranging from 4 pints to 1 gallon and ranges in price from $16—$52, not including shipping.

I had wanted to bring home the Medium flavor to satisfy my husband’s taste for hotter barbecue. But I didn’t move quickly enough—another staffer whisked away this flavorful sauce.


Friday, September 16, 2011

Editor's Choice: Bentley's Reserve

When it comes to popcorn snacks, we all have our favorites. It might be a local brand, and/or a childhood treat. For me, the most important part is it has to taste fresh. So I was more than willing to try a sample of Bentley’s Reserve ( a couple of months back at a gift show. The popcorn had a great rich taste. It was not overly sweet, but filled with a delicious toffee caramel flavor. It was definitely a winner.

I was given a couple of sample bags to take home. This week, since it was my turn to review, I opened one and found that it tasted just as fresh as I remembered. That great toffee caramel flavor once again brought that “this is so good” feeling.

The Bentley family has been making the gourmet popcorn from old family recipes for a many years.  But there’s a little more to the story. The family members are also passionate about helping homeless pets. In fact, the company is named after the family dog. Through the Bentley’s Buddies program, for every bag sold, Bentley’s Buddies make a charitable donation to the Homeless Pets Foundation.  

The gourmet popcorn also comes in cinnamon almond and praline pecan. I could definitely see it used as a holiday party treat. For retailers, it is available in bags and gift boxes, so it would make a fine gift. And it is also offered in grab-n-go 2.5-ounce bags, perfect for store display.


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Editor's Choice: Hammond's Candies Pumpkin Pie Dip

The weather has already started to cool in Chicago as summer melts away. But, I’m not depressed. Fall is my favorite season (despite the fact that dreary winter weather follows it). Fall is a season built around rust colored hues, football games and adequately layered clothing. Most importantly though, it’s the season for all things pumpkin flavored. Therefore, when Hammond’s Candies sent us a sample of their newest condiment — Pumpkin Pie Dip — I was thrilled.

I have to admit, I am not much of a pie baker. Therefore, I was incredibly impressed with the flavor and subtle seasoning employed.  The dip sincerely tasted like a homemade pumpkin pie in a jar. However, what is most noteworthy about Hammond’s Candies’ dips are their product versatility. I bought a package of pretzels and used it as a condiment. But, I can also see the flavor being warmed and used as an ice cream topping. Or, melted down to compose a glaze for cakes. Or, as the filling for pies and tarts. Because it’s not overly sweet, the dip can perfectly accent either an appetizer tray or a dessert table. 

Hammond’s offers a variety of flavors in the company’s dip category to match various seasons. While Pumpkin Pie is perfect for fall, sample the company’s Peppermint Patty or Chocolate Cherry Cordial dips during the holiday season. Grandma’s Apple Pie dip would be ideal for springtime. And, the Lucious Lemon Drop dip is light enough for summer evenings. All five flavors come in 9 to 10 ounce jars and retail for $6.95. So, be sure to ring in my favorite season with a delicious corresponding flavor, Pumpkin Pie. YUM!


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Editor's Choice: Gimbal's Fine Candies

Every once and a while, the Fancy Food editors take a little break from so much, well, fancy food. Don't get us wrong — we're still passionate about gourmet products and specialty food retailers, but every once in a while, we review something a little more low brow. No high quality ingredients, eco-friendly organic origins or impressive-sounding health benefits; instead, we go for the check-out counter appeal of good, old-fashioned, bad-for-your-teeth candy. And today's fix comes in the form of Gimbal's Fine Candies' Sour Lovers, a rainbow of gummi candies that make your mouth pucker upon contact.

The Sour Lovers are exactly what they sound like. Each flavor packs quite a sour-tasting kick, but with enough sweetness that you'll find yourself eating way more than you realized you could. My mother wouldn't want me to leave out that the candies are made with real fruit juice and are high in vitamin C, although most kids frequenting your store will only see the rainbow of colors and a thick, grainy coating of sugar encasing each piece. Sour Lovers are just as addicting as I had suspected they were, and if you're ready to take a little fancy food break yourself, keep a few bags of these intensely sour candies at the front of your store for an unexpected yet welcome change of pace.