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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, December 8, 2015

Editor's Pick: Seely Mint

Have you ever been so acclimated to something that when a newer, fresher, tastier option came around, you didn’t know what to think. “This is what I’ve been missing all along?” you’d say to yourself as you consider the artificial concoctions you used to eat.

I’m not just blowing smoke here; that’s how I felt when I bit into a Seely Mint Patty. For years I’ve settled with the sometimes chalky texture of mint patty fillings. I’ve unwrapped plenty of mint chocolates in my life just to be disappointed with the factory-made quality that would just barely satisfy my after-dinner sweet tooth.

This is not the case here, folks.

Every year, Seely Mint Farm in western Oregon transforms into a candy factory as its kitchen team busily handcrafts a range of all-natural mint confections, including hand-rolled candy canes, chocolate mint patties, white and dark chocolate mint melts and peppermint bark.

The chocolate is melt-in-your-mouth amazing, and the mint is something like I’ve never tasted. It’s fresh and real and screams “this is the quality you’ve been missing.”

Mike and Candy Seely, third-generation Oregon mint farmers, never dreamed of being in the candy business; In 2007, however, the demand for their all-natural essential mint oil used for toothpaste, chewing gum, mouthwash and perfume was shrinking because global manufacturers took to less expensive synthetic flavoring options.

"We needed to create new uses for the mint oil before we lost everything," says Mike, whose family began growing heirloom Black Mitcham variety peppermint and spearmint in the early 1940s.
In 2008, Mike and his wife, Candy, made chocolate mint patties to show customers at the farmers market new ways to use the fresh mint oil. They became a hit, but customers didn't want to take the time at home to make them from scratch; they wanted the quality delights the Seely’s were making themselves.

As word of the mint patties spread, local stores in the Pacific Northwest added the confections to their shelves. It’s transparent sourcing that’s winning over the customers who continually tell Mike and Candy they care about what's in their food.

“Our mint confections are all natural in an industry that is saturated with artificial flavor variations of mint in toothpaste, chewing gum and candy," says Mike.

If this is the real deal mint, I’m sold. 

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

The Perfect Purée

We're all looking for shortcuts in the kitchen, but hesitance to use prepared foods in your favorite recipe creeps in when you think about the ingredients - or the source of those ingredients - from an unknown product.
Step in The Perfect Purée of Napa Valley, whose ingredients are so simple and natural that the company feels completely comfortable displaying them front and center on the top label of the eight single-serve samples that were sent to my office.
Ingredients for Passion Fruit Concentrate, for example: passion fruit juice concentrate and filtered water. That's it. You can't get more simple than that, I suspect. Other refreshing flavors like Prickly Pear Puree and White Peach Puree might throw in additional elements like cane sugar and citric acid, but there's nothing - for once - that I can't pronounce.
Flavors range from pantry staples like raspberry, strawberry and banana to the exotic lychee, passion fruit and pink guava. All products contain no artificial additives, preservatives or sweeteners, and the fruits are harvested at the peak of season. Finally, they're puréed and packed frozen to maintain optimal freshness, flavor and color.
Now satisfied with its makings, I was eager to use the White Peach Puree in a cocktail. Once at home, I added some to my Champagne, producing an instant fizzy kick of natural fruit. It was different, fun and pretty to look at, a perfect fit for my next holiday party, I thought.
The company features 30 premium flavors and nine blends for mixology made easy. A visit to the website,, reveals many more recipes waiting for experimentation: White Peach Sangria, Green Apple Martini and Blood Orange Margarita, to name a few. Of course, the options don't stop at the bar, as the company suggests many ways in which these natural fruit purees can help jams, sauces, soups, cocktails and desserts.
Just to get your mind thinking, here are a few recipes that stuck out to me: Pear Poundcake with Pear Liqueur Sauce, Seedless Red Raspberry Jam, Chilled Pomegranate Champagne Sauce, Banana Mini Muffins and even Decadent Raspberry Soup. Of course, chefs can mix and match purees with different recipes, leaving the cook with endless options of new and creative dishes and drinks.
All flavors can be frozen for up to 24 months. When thawed, the purées, concentrates and specialties last 7-10 days in the refrigerator, and blends for 21 days..
The Perfect Purée of Napa Valley started in 1988, and today it caters to restaurants, hotels, bakeries, catering kitchens and, yes, bars. According to its press release, it has "indulged the culinary passions of chefs, mixologists and food enthusiasts with effortless products that provide the ultimate in fresh fruit flavor without the peeling, dicing and simmering required to make purées from scratch."
For order information, visit For daily recipe ideas and inspiration, visit, or