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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, September 28, 2010

Editor's Choice: H.K. Anderson

Although I like a variety of snack foods, I’ve always been partial to pretzels. I’m not sure why. I remember when I was growing up, we always had pretzels in the house. In any case, I’m always ready to try a good pretzel. So I gladly accepted the samples that were being handed out at a recent show.

It was a good call. H.K. Anderson ( Honey Wheat Braided Twists is a real find. When you bite into them, the pretzels are crisp, not very doughy. They say it has something to do with the way they are braided. The blend of the wheat and honey gives you a rich, mellow taste. They make a great, filling snack.

Although tasty on their own, I bet the pretzels would be good served alongside a variety of dips. I could also see them accompanying fall soups, such as pumpkin or squash. And, of course, they would be good alongside a favorite fall beverage.

For retailers, the pretzels come in a 10-oz. bag that has a cool black-and-white photo of the company’s old delivery trucks on the package. They definitely would stand out on the shelf.


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Editor’s Choice: Marley Coffee

I have a confession. Few people in my professional life know about this, but I’m prepared to let it out.

I have a small percentage of hippie running through my blood.

Yes, despite my unassuming external appearance (which I suppose is fairly conservative), there are peace-loving, crunchy-granola-consuming, hemp-wearing, jam-band-loving aspects of my personality that I’ve done my best to abandon since college. (Although, I admit, these traits do occasionally resurface, particularly if I’m at a concert. If you ever witness them in person, don’t judge me.)

So, I was thrilled, as you can imagine, when I received samples of Marley Coffee.

Marley Coffee?! Yes! Named for the idol of all hippie worshippers, the legendary, iconic Rastafarian, Bob Marley.

The company, founded by Marley’s son Rohan, offers single-origin and blended coffees that are inspired by the aromas and memories he has of the Marley Estate in the Blue Mountains in Jamaica. The coffees are ingeniously named after familiar Bob Marley tunes; flavors include One Love, Simmer Down, Lively Up!, Mystic Morning and Jammin Java.

All in all, Marley Coffee will be appealing to all your customers, whether they are closet hippies who disguise themselves as coffee snobs or whether they sport dreadlocks for all to see.


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

New statistics on hunger

Yesterday, the U.N. released new statistics on world hunger that indicated that for the first time in 15 years, the number of chronically hungry people (those who are unable to consume the minimum energy intake of 1,800 calories per day) around the world has dropped. Nonetheless, an astonishing total of roughly 925 million people fall into the chronically hungry category, and that number does not reflect the aftermath of the recent flooding in Pakistan.

To read more, click here.


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Editor's Choice: Braswell's

As the newest editor here at Fancy Food, it probably goes without saying that I consider myself something of a foodie. Or an indiscriminate eater, in any case. Maybe it was the years I spent devouring anything deep-fried that came out of my mother’s kitchen, or the fact that I lived in Florida during the first half of my childhood, but Southern food will always stake claim on a piece of my heart. Grits, pecan pie, anything smothered in gravy — I love it all, which is why I was delighted to try Braswell’s — a Georgia-based condiment company — as my first Editor’s Choice.

The company's all-natural line of salad dressings come in perfectly Southern flavors, such as Vidalia Onion & Summer Tomato and Peach Vanilla. The slim, attractive bottles have one especially brilliant feature: They’re reusable. The smart folks over at Braswell’s incorporated a durable cap that snaps easily back into place, and each carafe holds nine ounces of product. Braswell’s even offers Carafe Companions, small packets of dry dressing mix for refilling empty bottles.

But onto the taste: Unable to choose between the Vidalia Onion & Peppercorn and the Raspberry Vinaigrette, I divided my lunch in half and drizzled the dressings over leafy greens, sliced chicken breast, thinly sliced apples, raisins, toasted walnuts and lots of crumbled bleu cheese. The Vidalia Onion dressing had the perfect amount of savory to accompany the sweetness of the salad, and I found myself wondering what other uses I could glean from this dressing. A marinade for chicken or fish, perhaps? Or mixed into a potato salad for a little extra bite? I hope to exhaust all the options.

The tangy sweetness of the Raspberry Vinaigrette paired well with the crunchy walnuts and sliced chicken breast. Unlike more subtle vinaigrettes, the tart raspberry flavor was undeniable. My thoughts soon drifted to bite-sized toasts smeared with creamy Brie, topped with a dollop of this sweet raspberry condiment.

Whether you dream up something more imaginative or stick to a well-crafted salad, these Braswell’s dressings are a great tool to add to your culinary arsenal — or simply the fridge.


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Editor's Choice: St. Lucia Bread Company

They say that bread is the staff of life. It’s certainly been true in my family where I grew up appreciating a great slice or two of bread. So I was a happy camper when several loaves of bread arrived at the office a few months back. The bread from the St. Lucia Bread Company ( has all natural ingredients with no preservatives and they recommend keeping it in the freezer. You take it out two hours before you serve it.

I recently tried the Berry Blueberry Bread with Walnuts. The first thing you notice as you open the bag is the great scent. The bread has a full rich taste. The blueberries are just sweet enough and accented nicely with the crunch of the walnuts — a great combination. I first tried the bread along side some soup. Then again with some peanut butter spread on it. The third tasting, open face with a slice of baked ham, was my favorite. It was a good combination of the salty and sweet tastes. The bread would, of course, be great with a cup of tea. Or I could see it served with some cheeses.

The bread comes in a variety of flavors including: Apple Cinnamon Nut Bread, Pear Bread with Walnuts, Banana Nut Bread and others. The company is based in Texas and the breads come in a commemorative Texas Flag Tin that is reusable. This also makes them great gifts.


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Pot and How to Use It

This was a fascinating article. Perhaps I'm biased, as Roger Ebert is somewhat of a Chicago hero. Regardless, it's definitely a testament to the fact that food experiences are inevitably tied to memories and feelings. Would love to flip through this cookbook, if only for Ebert's witty words, enviable sense of humor and clear passion for food.