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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 28, 2012

Editor's Choice: Ponderosa Roasting Coffee Company

Whether it’s with breakfast, an afternoon break or especially at the end of nice meal, like many people, I enjoy a good cup of coffee. And recently, I’ve been enjoying some great-tasting coffee. It’s the Pretty in Pink’s Beyond the Ribbon Blend from Ponderosa Roasting Coffee Company ( A package of it arrived in the office and a colleague of mine was gracious enough to share it with me.

The morning I tried the coffee, I was greeted with a rich full taste, with what I thought was a taste of chocolate. It turned out I was right. I read later the coffee does have hints of chocolate. The coffee even blended smoothly when I added a bit of soymilk. On the weekend, it made a great ending to a meal.

But this coffee is more than a pretty face. Ponderosa Roasting believes in helping people through its selected blends. In this case, it’s the Pretty in Pink’s Beyond the Ribbon Blend. The Pretty in Pink Foundation’s mission is to provide financial assistance to uninsured and underinsured breast cancer patients with quality, life-saving medical treatment regardless of their ability to pay. Ponderosa has pledged all dollar amounts over the cost of the coffee, bag, label and labor will go to the selected organization.

The coffee would also make a nice gift for someone or included as part of a gift basket. So there you have it, a coffee you can savor and feel good about buying on several levels.


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Editor's Choice: DeBrand Chocolatier

While diamonds are beautiful, they're also rare. And, dogs are great. But they smell up your carpet. I contest that there can be only one girl's best friend and that is clearly chocolate. That's why there's a mad rush anytime we get it in the office. That's why you eat it during a break-up. And, that's why it puts a wide smile on your face after the bleakest of days. So, when we scored a stash of DeBrand Chocolatier's Tart Red Raspberry Tasting Bars, I did the noble thing. I hid them away in my desk drawer and only bothered to eat them when my co-workers weren't looking.

Let me tell you ... it was worth the deception. DeBrand uses only the finest chocolate from around the world. In these tasting bars, this high-quality chocolate was paired with chunks of red raspberries. The combination was sinfully delicious. So much so that after sampling it, you'll forget all about classic combinations (think chocolates and strawberries). This duo will dominate your palette. Moreover, the company labeled pieces of the candy with "bite," "nibble" or "chunk" so you won't overindulge. As if!

If you aren't into sweet and tangy, sample the company's other tasting bar flavors, including: White Chocolate, Hazelnut Coffee Crunch and Peanut Butter Brittle. A complete list of flavors and other products is available on the company website, But, ensure you order enough for everyone. Because every girl needs this kind of BFF!


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Editor's Choice: Stonewall Salt and Pepper Crackers

The truth is everything tastes better with a little salt and pepper. We put this simple and elegant combination on essentially everything savory we eat, and sometimes sweet things as well. Heck, I add it to hot milk if I am not feeling well (just the tiniest bit of pepper, mind you). So the Salt & Pepper crackers from Stonewall Kitchen are adding a little bit of something good to crackers.

For me, crackers are just a conduit for cheese or something else tasty. I don't usually think about the crackers too much. They should be crunchy, not distractingly flavored and not stale. My requirements are fairly simple. I noticed, as I downed a little Port Salut the other night, that I was eating more crackers than cheese. Preposterous! But true. That crackers are so simple, so tasty and with just the right dash of salt and nice fresh pepper that they add that little kick to everything you slather across the top of them. I tested this theory with a sweeter cheese, a dip based in dill and even just a dash of cream cheese. Delicious.

Everything tastes better with a little salt and pepper and these hand-cut beauties are the perfect delivery system for that perfect combination.

-Elizabeth Dugan

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Editor's Choice: Frontera Foods

For me, one of the best parts of summer is the neighborhood farmer’s market. Besides being able to collect my stash of blueberries to freeze for the winter, you never know what you will discover. It was at last Saturday’s market, that I sampled this week’s Editor’s Choice.

As I stopped at my favorite bread vendor, I saw that he was sharing a table with a woman who was heating up and offering samples of salsa. I have to admit, though, I’ll sample most things, I’m kind of wimp when it comes to seasoning. But she said it wasn’t that spicy and I was feeling brave. I dipped a tortilla chip into the sample cup, scooped some of the salsa up and took a bite. That’s how I discovered the great taste of Frontera Foods’ ( Gourmet Mexican Chunky Tomato Salsa.

The salsa has a rich roasted tomato flavor blended with cilantro and mild green chile. It is accented with roasted garlic — tomato and garlic, always a winning combination in my book. She had added onion, corn and kale from another vendor to the salsa and it created multiple layers of texture and flavor. It also had added nutritional value. And, as a bonus, the salsa is gluten-free. By the way, the delicious Handmade Tortilla Chips are also from Frontera. 

The salsa can also be used as a condiment on grilled burgers and on scrambled eggs. There are also recipes on the company’s website.

And for those braver than me, the Gourmet Mexican salsas, all from the kitchen of Chef Rick Bayless, are available in a variety of flavors and levels of heat. For retailers, they would be, of course, great for sampling or as part of International or party theme display.