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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 28, 2013

Editor's Choice: Magic Straws

During my journey through the Sweets + Snacks Expo here in Chicago last week, I saw a whole lot of cool ideas and tasty treats. It was nearly impossible to walk by a booth without saying "oooh, that looks good! Can I try that?" Thankfully I controlled myself (kind of) and was able to avoid going into a sugar coma.

Sometimes the greatest ideas are the simplest. I had the pleasure of meeting the friendly people behind Magic Straws, and they were nice enough to give me a few samples of their product. The idea is a good one: if you are a kid, milk, although healthy, is boring. It's just white. It doesn't fizz or change colors or start an uncontrollable chemical reaction when mixed with pop rocks. Thankfully, kids and parents will enjoy Magic Straws - it's an easy, convenient and mess-free way to enjoy a cold glass of milk, and all the nutrition that comes with it. The fun, flavored milk straws magically transform dairy, soy, rice, or lactose-free milk into a delicious treat. 

All you do is stick the straw in the milk, and drink through it - you don't cut it or mix it or anything. It's easy! And there are literally a ton of flavors: Chocolate, Strawberry, Vanilla Milkshake, Cookies & Cream, Strawberry/Banana, Orange Cream, Wild Berry, Banana Cream and Cinnamon Roll. And that's not including their seasonal flavors, like Cotton Candy or Root Beer Float for the summer, and Chocolate Candy Cane for the winter. Magic Straws are also creating new flavors and promotions by partnering with some of today’s most iconic brands, such as Dippin' Dots.

You might be thinking, "I can only imagine how much sugar is in these things!" Actually, there's only 17 calories and 4 grams of natural sugar. It's just a great way to transform dairy, soy or lactose-free milk into a delicious, nutritious treat. 

So if your customers are looking for a way to increase their child's (or their own) milk consumption, contact Magic Straws to find out how to become a retailer. 

Monday, May 20, 2013

Editor's Choice: Fusion Gourmet

I came to appreciate the wonders of coffee at an early age. I remember going with my grandma and mom to visit our aunts where coffee and…. was part of the day. I was allowed to have a little bit of coffee in a cup of milk.You might say, it was my first cafĂ© au lait.

As an adult, a cup of coffee is part of my morning ritual and especially appreciated after dinner when I'm dining out.

That’s why I was intrigued by a sample packet of Bali’s Best Coffee Candy from Fusion Gourmet ( The small, hard candies have captured goodness of coffee in one drop. It tastes just like you have had a sip of a rich coffee. The full flavor is very satisfying.

The Espresso Candy delivers more of a punch, but with none of the bitterness you sometimes get. And, lastly, I enjoyed the Latte flavor. This one brought that full, comforting flavor that I have grown to love.

Besides the flavors, one of the great things about these wrapped candies is you can carry them anyway. You can have the great taste of a bit of coffee wherever you go.

For retailers, I can see these coffee candies included in a coffee gift basket or part of a sophisticated sweets basket or display.

And for the tea drinkers, there is also Bali’s best Tea Candy. It is offered in several flavors, including Citrus Green Tea and Classic Iced Tea.


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Editor's Choice: Plush Puffs Gourmet Marshmallows

Everyone loves marshmallows, right? There's no other snack quite like it. I'm not sure I've ever met a person who, when asked if they'd like to have a marshmallow, would ever consider not having one.

What if I told you there are delicious marshmallows that also have bacon in them? If you're anything like me, nothing more needs to be said other than "please direct me to the nearest dispensary of said bacon marshmallows." Luckily when I was told of this wonderful creation, we happened to have a few boxes of Plush Puffs Gourmet Marshmallows in the office.

Plush Puffs are made in small batches using fresh, high-quality ingredients. They only make a few batches, so certain flavors need to be gobbled up while they still can, while others are available all year long. The aforementioned Maple Bacon flavor is currently in a limited run, and I'm glad I got to experience it. The marshmallows are made with real maple syrup and sprinkled with crunchy chewy bacon bits. If you are thinking to yourself, "well that just sounds fantastic," you are exactly right. It's a unique and wonderful taste, and is heightened even more when you toast them (which I highly recommend).

We were also able to try the Mochaccino flavor (made with natural chocolate and cappuccino extracts, salt, corn starch, and powdered sugar) which were dynamite when inserted into a coffee-related beverage. That's the great thing about Plush Puffs - they can be combined with drinks, chocolate, and many other recipes, and only get better when toasted or heated. If you're looking for something to give your campfire s'mores a little more pizzazz, you need only reach for a box of Plush Puffs. 

I'd also be insane if I didn't mention that these marshmallows also come in a BIG size - which means a two pound marshmallow. YES. Check out the photos on their website for a better scope of what exactly that means (it means it's awesome).  Entirely edible, this novelty item also can be used as a gluten-free cake.

They have many different flavors, including Gingerbread Spice, Vanilla Granola Chip, Pumpkin Pie, Simply S'mores, Toasty Coconut, and others that arrive in a limited edition. You can order them online, and they are available for wholesale.

-Marc Kozak (

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Editor's Choice: Nancy’s Hudson Valley Camembert

Dear, sweet merciful cheese gods, thank you for giving me Nancy’s Hudson Valley Camembert. I have never loved a cheese so much in my whole cheese-loving life. I doubt I ever will. 

I have been running into Nancy's Camembert for a few years now on discerning cheese plates around Chicago, and indeed, the country. When the cheese arrives on a cheese plate, first I say a quick and silent prayers of thanks to the gods of cheese, and then I let my fellow diners know that they can have a small taste of the cheese, but I shall be taking the lion's share. I also renounce my claim to all other cheeses on the plate, so this doesn't seem grossly unfair. It is not. I am the winner in this situation. I GET THE CAMEMBERT!

The the 2-pound wheel of a lush and creamy soft-ripened cheese has a subtle nutty flavor with just enough good cheese ripened stink to make me, literally, weak in the knees when it hits my palate. Sheep's milk cheese is one of my favorites being versatile and flavorful without being overwhelming. There are so many varieties, but why try a single other one when you can have this one. I don't know. Can someone explain it to me?