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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, November 19, 2013

Editor's Choice: Justin's Peanut Butter Cups

When I was asked if I could take my little nephew out for trick or treating a few weeks ago, I couldn't have jumped higher at the chance. Not only was it a great excuse to dress up in costume (which I did, as Chewbacca from Star Wars), but it brought back great memories of sifting through a pillowcase of candy, looking for the "good stuff."

In my day, the "good stuff" was any kind of king-size candy bar. After looking through my nephew's haul at the end of the night, it was pretty evident that his total volume of "good stuff" was way larger than what it used to be when I was a kid. Thankfully, my nephew is a kind, sharing sort of fellow, and as he sat surrounded by his candy treasures, he granted me permission to partake from his sweet stockpile.

I have a crippling weakness for peanut butter, so I was intrigued by the clean, white packaging of some Justin's Peanut Butter Cups that some unknown neighbor was kind enough to introduce into our lives. I popped the packaging open, and we both had one. The results were unanimous: this was the most delicious peanut butter and chocolate item possible.

To make the deal even sweeter, each individually-wrapped Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup is 100 percent organic, vegan and Rainforest Alliance certified. The company uses only the highest quality organic and fair-trade peanut butter in their products.

The company also works hard to lessen their environmental footprint. All of their cartons, boxes and caddies are made with wind power, while all packaging cardboard is made with 100 percent recycled paper. All ingredients are sourced as locally and sustainably as possible. For example, they get the nuts for their peanut butter from Georgia, not China, using local ingredients to support local economies and lower their carbon footprint.

Their peanut butter cups come in Milk Chocolate and Dark Chocolate. Retailers can order them in packs of 12. These would be great items to stick by the register almost anywhere. Learn how to order some for your store, or check out their other peanut butter-related products at Justin'


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Editor's Choice: Tribes-A-Dozen

For some of us, there’s nothing like the aroma of bread baking. I remember last summer one morning being in a cab in New York and as we turned the corner there was the delightful smell of bread baking and it continued for at least another block. It was a fine way to start the day.

Fresh-baked bread is one of the great comfort foods. It was always a treat to see a long loaf of bakery bread on the dinner table. I remember Tuesdays in college enjoying lunches of Italian beef sandwiches made with fresh-baked bread from the bakery down the street. Good bread helps create good memories.

The owners of Tribes-A-Dozen ( feel the same way about bread and also about carrying on tradition. They have introduced Voila! Hallah, bread mixes that make the traditional egg bread, known as hallah, challah, barches, brioche, kalács, osterbrot, or, simply, twisted bread. The mix is all-natural, kosher, and brings convenience to old world bread baking.

The mix contains everything and you only need eggs, water and vegetable oil. And full disclosure: Not much of a baker myself, I enlisted a friend to test out the mix. The dough rose properly and once baked produced a bread that was moist and full of flavor. It would be perfect to serve for any meal, large and small. 

The hallah bread is great on its own or as sandwich bread. It also makes terrific French toast. It is available in three varieties: Traditional Egg Bread Mix, Wholey Wheat Egg Bread Mix and Simply Spelt Egg Bread Mix.

For retailers, it would be a great product to stock for the upcoming holidays and winter weather.


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Editor's Choice: Almondina Toastees

Now that Halloween is over, retailers have shelf space for more healthy and delicious snacks such as Almondina Toastees.

These crisps come in four delectable flavors; Cranberry Almond, Sesame Almond, Lemon Poppy Almond and Coconut Orange Almond.

Here at the office, we tried the Sesame Almond. They are thin and crunchy, and are bite-size with the perfect consistency which keeps them from crumbling and making a mess. They can be prepared with both strong and mild cheeses. I recommend serving them with goat cheese and preserves or with creamy havarti. They would also be appetizing paired with fresh mozzarella, tomato, basil and a balsamic glaze for a twist on a traditional caprice salad. Almondina Toastees can also be paired with coffee or used as a garnish for frozen yogurt.

Almondina Toastees are a lighter version of founder Yuval Zaliouk’s grandmother Dina’s Petit Gateau Sec cookie recipe. These Toastees are great by themselves as a snack or light dessert and remind me of a cross between a cracker and my own grandmother’s Norwegian Christmas cookies.

Unlike my grandmother’s Norwegian cookies, they are a lot healthier. Almondina Toastees boast no added fat or salt, don’t have preservatives and are dairy free.

Almondina Toastees make a great snack or dessert alternative to Halloween candy. I would recommend them for their versatility, easy preparation and consumption, and most importantly, their delicious flavor.