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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, July 27, 2010

Editor's Choice: Byron Bay Cookies

It may only be the end of July, but I think I may have found the ideal autumn cookie. I received samples of Australia-based Byron Bay Cookies’ ( Sticky Date & Ginger Cookies, and they could not be a more perfect fall gourmet gift.

The cookies contain dates, which, in my opinion, are an underused ingredient in the U.S. I find dates to be earthy and naturally sweet all at once, which is really pleasing to my palate. If you have customers who are unfamiliar with the flavor profile of dates, these cookies are a great introduction.

The cookies also contain chopped walnuts and ginger pieces, both of which complement the dates well. These flavors meld together into an unexpected, subtly spiced treat that I could see being served with tea or warm apple cider in the fall.

I also was surprised at how soft the cookie was, despite its relatively dense ingredients. To my surprise, it was moist and flavorful rather than dry and tasteless as some comparable cookies are. Overall, Sticky Date & Ginger Cookies are cookies with substance; just one is fulfilling and goes a long way in satisfying a sweet tooth. Try these cookies in your store this fall; they’d be great in gift baskets and would also be a fun item to sample.


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Editor's Choice: Bob's Red Mill

Everyone who knows I have a vegan diet asks, without fail, “is it hard?” And I always have the same response: No. Having not eaten diary, eggs or meat for so long, I take for granted how simple it is to create nutritional and delicious vegan meals. Sometimes, it’s easy because I’ve already figured out what works, but sometimes cooking vegan is easy because I find a great product. Bob’s Red Mill Vital Wheat Gluten is one of those easy-to-be-vegan products.

After more than a year of buying pre-made seitan at Whole Foods, I picked up a bag of Bob’s Vital Wheat Gluten to make seitan from scratch, and I promptly let it sit in my pantry for months. Talk about shelf-stable, when I was finally prepared to make my own seitan, Bob’s was patiently waiting for me. Making seitan isn’t difficult, but it’s intimidating and time consuming, so finding the best ingredient is a must.

The Vital Wheat Gluten package has a seitan recipe and tips for incorporating the protein-rich wheat byproduct in baked goods. Bob’s suggests adding a few tablespoons to homemade bread for a elastic texture, and the package offers a recipe for Honey Oatmeal Bread too. Vital Wheat Gluten is so beneficial, health-conscious omnivores will love it too. For gluten-free diets, Bob’s offers myriad gluten-free products and continuously receives praise for its celiac-disease-friendly products.

I don’t just use Bob’s Red Mill Vital Wheat Gluten either. I just made homemade corn dogs with the company’s cornmeal, sprinkle the flaxseed on my salads, add bulgur to vegetarian chili and use its flour in just about everything I bake. Delicious, pure, organic ingredients are so important for a delicious meal, and I know I can rely on Bob’s Red Mill to help me make yummy treats.

Read more about Bob’s Red Mill in the baking ingredients article in the August issue of Fancy Food & Culinary Products, or take a tour of the factory with Bob himself in the video below.

- Mary

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Editor's Choice: Sahale Snacks

Ever since I was allowed to have a little coffee (with lots of milk) as a kid, I have loved the taste of coffee. Actually looking back, maybe that was my first latte. For me, there’s nothing better than coffee after a meal or as a midday treat (especially surrounded by a charming cafĂ©). And maybe a cookie or two served with it to complete the picture.

So I was happy to try one of our latest arrivals, Sahale Snacks Almond Vanilla Latte Biscotti Crisps ( The crisps are thin like a cookie or cracker. They have a rich vanilla taste, along with a nice crunch from both the crisp and almonds. And, of course, they offer the great taste of coffee. It was like having a latte without the cup. The crisps would, of course, be great with a cup of coffee, tea, with ice cream or even with a glass of wine.

And bonus points—it turns out they are made from whole grains, so they are actually healthy. The crisps are also offered in Cranberry Pecan, Pomegranate Cashew and Banana Walnut Chocolate. All sound good just on their own or maybe even with cheese.

They are packaged in a 5.5-oz. resealable bag.


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Editor's Choice: Wonka

Although Nestle’s Wonka brand ( may not classify as gourmet, I couldn’t resist choosing the Wonka Exceptionals Scrumdiddlyumptious Chocolate Bar for my Editor’s Choice pick this week. Say what you will about big-brand chocolate, but this creamy candy bar is absolutely irresistible.

We received samples of an array of Wonka bars in the office last week, and I immediately tried the Scrumdiddlyumptious Chocolate Bar because, well, how could you not want to eat candy with a ridiculous name, especially one that was featured in one of the greatest films of all time? (Ok, maybe not the greatest film of all time, but certainly one of my childhood favorites. And I may or may not have the entire film memorized, including those catchy Oompa Loompa songs.)

The Scrumdiddlyumptious bar comes in a shiny, metallic purple wrapper that is as eye-catching and imaginative as the scenes from “Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory” film. The bar itself combines all my favorite candy elements: milk chocolate, toffee bits, crispy cookie pieces and crunchy peanuts. The chocolate is surprisingly rich and smooth, and the toffee bits add a caramel undertone that creates depth.

The arrival of these bars got me thinking about in-store merchandising. Have you ever considered creating a display of candy and foods inspired by films and books? Or merchandising classic candies alongside books such as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl? The artwork in children’s picture books is so colorful and could be used as inspiration for displays. What’s more, it gives you the opportunity to tap into peoples’ childhood memories and love for nostalgic treats.