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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, May 29, 2012

Editor's Choice: Braswell Food Company

Since I like the taste of peaches in anything from pies and cobblers to the good martinis I’ve had in Atlanta, I found treasure in the latest product care package to arrive in the office. Peach Vanilla dressing is one of the choices offered in a reusable carafe from Braswell Food Company (

A warm night last weekend gave me the perfect opportunity to try the product on a salad. The first taste, of course, is the rich, full flavor of the peaches blended with just the right amount of vanilla. The dressing livened up the greens and was a nice complement to the ham and chicken that I had added across the top. Then you taste just enough black pepper to get your attention.

The dressing also worked its taste magic drizzled across some green beans. I look forward to using it on snap peas and other good stuff that will be available at the neighborhood farmer’s market. 

The company’s website also suggests using the dressing as a finish on grilled chicken and pork so that may also be in the future.

And besides being tasty, the dressings are also eco-friendly. The nine-ounce carafe can be washed out and reused, along with its snap-on lid.

It’s a good taste of summer that will make everyone happy.


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Editor's Choice - Paige Stationery

One thing gourmet retailers need to quickly realize is that the industry that’s virtually recession-proof is the wedding industry. When young women have been waiting all their lives for the perfect dress, cake and ceremony – those dreams can’t be squashed. However, in recent years, the industry has expanded to include a new subsection. The DiY bride who wants to have a clever hand in wedding preparations. This past week, at the National Stationery Show in New York’s Javits Center, I realized there are a number of products that would be perfect within your store while fitting both the wedding and the DiY bridal trend.

Forget the overwhelming assortment of cool trays and cupcake liners. The number one product I repeatedly saw were coasters as shower and wedding favors. Coasters make an excellent addition to your store for a number of reasons. They take up a limited amount of space. They need to frequently be replaced. And, they’re cheap enough to constitute an impulse purchase. 

Paige Stationery had some of the cutest coasters within the show. I was particularly fond of this letterpress variety that reads, “Eat, Drink and Be Married.” In fact, I was so fond of them, I forwarded the image to my sister-in-law (whose upcoming nuptials are in June 2013). Brides could buy these in bulk and bundle them for end-of-festivities favors. Or, those who prefer shopping off the register could use these coasters as a gift addition – alongside some of the couples favorite glass or barware. For those interested in hosting “Stock the Bar” showers, you could create a gift basket with an assortment of clever coasters, bar mixes and glass ware. The possibilities are endless! So, take it from me that this trend isn’t going anywhere. And, cash in on it while you can! 


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Editor's Choice: Chicago Cupcakes

Brendan Bolger, owner of Chicago Cupcake graciously supplied our office with some delectable samples of his unique take on cupcakes for us to try and I assure you, it made the whole office happy. Chicago Cupcake is just a year or so old, but has made an impact on the burgeoning cupcake scene.

Bolger brought in a plethora of tasty flavors for sampling: red velvet, pumpkin, chocolate, chocolate chip, Rocky Road, Bananas Foster, turtle and red raspberry/chocolate. But there are at least a dozen others available, including the Spring special Lavender Jane. My favorite was the classic chocolate chip with white frosting, but the red raspberry ran a close second.

What makes Chicago Cupcake different is the density of the cake (it has a cheesecake-like consistency that never struggles to be moist), the crust and the frosting. All of the cupcakes have a flavor-appropriate crust, like pretzel or graham cracker, that help the dense and heavy cake stay together and adds another flavor and texture to the mix. The frosting is like nothing I have ever tried. Admittedly, I am not a frosting fan. I usually scrape it off to get to the cake. This was flavorful, light without being too fluffy, tasty without being too sweet. It really added a lot to the overall experience.

Not your average cupcake, the Chicago Cupcake is a gourmet adventure into dessert. Dense, moist, flavorful, you will need a fork to consume this treat, and it will leave you wanting another. Chicagoans, keep an eye out for the new cupcake truck that will be cruising around town this summer. You won't regret it!

- Elizabeth Dugan

Monday, May 7, 2012

Editor's Choice: Almondina/YZ Enterprises, Inc.

I blame it on my family. Growing up, a meal didn’t seem complete unless it ended with something sweet. I call it my dessert gene. Over the years, of course, I’ve tried to limit the cakes, cupcakes and other sweets of my youth. There’s still that wish, however, for a little something.

About two years ago, I discovered Almondina from YZ Enterprises, Inc. (, a crisp little cookie with roasted almonds and sweet raisins. A couple of these cookies make a great ending to a meal.

Now the company has moved to the next level. A package arrived recently containing boxes of cookies with several new flavors. One of them is Dark Chocolate Dipped Almondina, cookies dipped in chocolate on one side — making them even more of a treat. That’s the one I chose to sample first. I was rewarded with smooth rich flavor of fine chocolate melding with that same crisp cookie — a perfect blend of textures and tastes.

The cookies are also available dipped in milk chocolate. They were another office hit and disappeared quickly. I also sampled the Yogurt Dipped Almondina Bran Treats with Cinnamon. The yogurt provides a creamy, lighter taste in contrast to the rich taste of the cookie. These crisps are also cholesterol free. Besides dessert, I could see them as a breakfast treat.

For retailers, I can see the 4.75-ounce boxes also included in gift baskets. For me, they are fine ways to serve my dessert gene.


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Editor's Choice: Duchy Originals Lemon All Butter Shortbread Biscuits

Whenever I have a choice between salty and sweet, I always grasp desperately for the sweet treat. This runs the gamut from ice cream and cupcakes to popsicles. For the love of my waistline, I try to keep these most delectable goodies out of my pantry. But, my real weakness (and something I can’t resist buying or eating) is cookies. I might have replaced Sesame Street’s original Cookie Monster. I could eat cookies morning, noon and night. Therefore, unsurprisingly, I was drawn to Duchy Originals Shortbread Biscuits infused with lemon. While I’m not much of a tea drinker — preferring the caffeine kick coffee provides — these pretty and thin cookies were clearly meant to be served during an afternoon tea.

Duchy Originals was founded in 1992, by none other than the Royal Highness Prince Charles, himself. This is clearly a cookie with class!  The Lemon All Butter Shortbread “Biscuits” (as well as the other products in the line) incorporate only the finest ingredients to ensure great taste. The lemon flavored cookies include crystallized Sicilian lemon peel selected for its zesty citrus taste and British wheat flour grown from Duchy Home Farm at Highgrove. My favorite thing about the cookies are their crispness. Because they are so thin, it would be easy to eat multiple biscuits in one setting. Moreover, the lemon flavor isn’t overpowering. Rather than leaving me feeling as if I had eaten something tart, Duchy Originals Lemon All Butter Shortbread Biscuits felt as if I was eating something refreshing. The cookies would be a perfect addition to a gift basket composed of tea and tea accessories.

For more information about the line, visit