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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.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Editor’s Choice: Anette’s Chocolates

I was extremely lucky to get a wonderful assortment of dessert toppings to sample from Anette’s Chocolate Factory. A family run business, it has been a local institution for over twenty years. According to Mary Stornetta, director of sales and marketing, “We have a terrific line up of dessert toppings which are made in small batches in copper kettles. Since we are located in the Napa Valley, we make a Chocolate Cabernet Wine Sauce, Chocolate Port Wine Sauce and a Merlot Fudge.  Our Chocolate Cabernet Wine Sauce came about after patrons swooned over our cabernet chocolate truffles. In addition to these sauces, we also make a Chocolate Raspberry Liqueur Sauce, Chocolate Amaretto Liqueur Sauce, Belgian Brandy Sauce and a Caramel Brandy Sauce. These dessert toppings all contain 4.8 percent alcohol. We also make two non-alcoholic sauces, Chocolate Belgian Fudge and Salted Caramel. Our dessert toppings are intended to turn the ordinary dessert into the extraordinary. Simply pour or spoon a little over ice cream, cheesecake or fresh fruit and enjoy.”

Well, that I did. I invited my sister over to help me out with a little taste test and we both agreed that this was something very special indeed. My favorite was the Chocolate Raspberry Liqueur Sauce, which was fresh, fruity, and oh so deliciously smooth and bright over plain vanilla ice cream, while hers was the Salted Caramel, which was a perfect balance of sweet and salty goodness. It was really fun to try these flavor combinations that were interesting, unexpected and absolutely mouthwatering!


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Editor’s Choice: The Funny Apron Company

There were lots of laughs at my house this week when a package arrived from The Funny Apron Company bearing an apron with the slogan, “Mr. Good Lookin’ is Cookin’.” The red “flaming” letters really popped out of the black background to leave no doubt who was in charge of the barbeque. Both my husband and my son immediately sparred on who would take possession of this flashy titled cover up once the summer grilling season starts!

Ellice Lovelady, president of the Funny Apron Company, has an interesting background. She started her company in 1996 as an offshoot vanity project stemming from her primary career as a freelance creative director and copywriter in the greeting card industry, having worked for many of the top-name companies. She took away the lesson that you have to gear your products to the right demographic and this is reflected in her large and creative line of humorous aprons, with “Mr. Good Lookin’” being the number one best seller.

Not only is the apron fun to wear, but it’s one size fits all and made of a sturdy, generous cut 65/35 poly cotton twill. Many designs are available. I can’t wait for barbeque season to start to see my two handsome men try it out.


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Editor’s Choice: Brianna’s Salad Dressings

Sometimes I crave the Far East flavor of my favorite restaurant, Benihana, but realistically I can’t always get there. So it was very fortunate that as I was doing my weekly grocery shopping I came across a bottle of Brianna’s Home Style Ginger Mandarin Dressing. The label said it was a balance of ginger, soy sauce and mandarin orange. Sounded like it would fit the bill! I couldn’t wait to try it out on a big green salad.

Oh my, this was right on target. The flavor was a sweet/tangy blend of seasoning that kept me coming back for more. And as the label suggested, I could definitely see this as a marinade for meats, vegetables or fish. The all-natural ingredients were evident in every bite; I felt like someone whipped this up in their kitchen especially for me. In fact, if I were blindfolded, I’m not sure I would even think this had come from a bottle.

Brianna’s makes lots of other dressings and now I’m excited to give those a try. I’m betting the Classic Buttermilk Ranch, Lively Lemon Tarragon or Chipotle Cheddar will make my boring weekly grocery trip something to look forward to in the near future.


Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Product Review: Chicken Soup for the Soul Vodka Pasta Sauce

I've always been a big fan of Italian food. I love pasta and I love sauces. From spaghetti, to marinara, to Alfredo, you name it, and I am a fan. I especially enjoy vodka sauce but have never mastered making it, every time I try, the sauce comes out too thick or too runny. Luckily, former Waldorf-Astoria Chef Jon Doherty and Daymon Worldwide, makers of Chicken Soup for the Soul, got it right. Their sauce is the perfect consistency. The sauce is a rich blend of imported Italian and domestic tomatoes, olive oil, onion, bacon, cream, Parmesan cheese, and a splash of vodka. It covers pasta smoothly, and one can taste the flavors with each bite. 

The new Chicken Soup for the Soul line features healthy, comfort foods and the products are designed to make things easy for the person preparing the meals. They are versatile enough to be prepared with a variety of dishes. I used the vodka sauce with whole wheat Penne pasta one night and served it over Eggplant Parmesan another night. Some of the other products featured in the new Chicken Soup for the Soul line are: 
  • Soups: Chicken Noodle Soup, Chicken Tortilla Soup, Spicy Thai Style Chicken Noodle Soup, Beef Barley Soup, Lentil and Beef Soup, Minestrone Soup, Tomato Basil Soup, Southwestern Style Black Bean Soup
  • Broths: Beef Broth, Chicken Broth, Reduced Sodium Chicken Broth, Beef Broth, Chicken Broth, Reduced Sodium Chicken Broth, Thai Style Broth, BBQ Beef Style Flavored Broth, Italian Style Broth, Southwestern Style Broth
  • Gravy:  Beef Gravy, Chicken Gravy, Turkey Gravy,
  • Meal Builders: Meat Loaf Meal Builder, Sloppy Joe Meal Builder, Sesame Ginger Meal Builder, Chili Meal Builder
Happy Eating!