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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, June 28, 2011

Editor's Choice: Demitri's Bloody Mary Seasoning

I love breakfast food. In fact, at my house, we often have breakfast for dinner and cook an assortment of waffles, French toast, omelets, bacon and grits. And, my love for the morning meal doesn’t stop at the food. Morning cocktails are regularly enjoyed — whether it means mixing up Bellini’s, mimosas or Irish coffee.  However, my breakfast/brunch beverage of choice will always be the Bloody Mary. This probably stems from my inherent love of all things tomato/tomato flavored. When I was a child, my mom had a huge vegetable garden and I would eat cherry tomatoes by the fist full. So, when Demitri’s Bloody Mary Seasoning Kit (complete with two cans of tomato juice, two different jars of seasoning and the company’s Bacon RimShot) showed up in the office, I made a beeline for it.

The seasoning I prepare myself for Bloody Mary’s generally resembles a combination of ingredients you would use to marinade a steak. There’s certainly a hearty mixture of Worcestershire Sauce, a dash of garlic and red pepper flakes (as I like my libation spicy). Therefore, I was happy to see that Demitri’s incorporated a similar recipe and executed it perfectly. I sampled both the company’s signature flavor and its Chipotle-Habanero (the newest flavor in the line). Both were tasty and well balanced (a difficult feat considering the number of ingredients listed). The Chipotle-Habanero has a hearty kick that’s spicy without turning the drinker off. You’ll definitely come back for more. I preferred the Bacon RimShot — a bacon flavored bloody Mary rim salt that features J&D baconsalt — against the more basic flavors of the classic recipe. Regardless, these handy mixtures are sure to make breakfast, brunch or breakfast of dinner more fun!


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Editor's Choice: Doc's Dressings

We get our fair share of salad dressings here in the Fancy Food office. And luckily for us bring-your-lunch types, there's always a wide array of dressings to choose from in the staff fridge. I never have to worry about toting a bottle of ranch along with my usual salad. With last week's salad — greens, sliced Asian pears, chopped walnuts and a sprinkle of crumbled bleu cheese — I reached for the perfect accompaniment: the Balsamic Vinaigrette from Doc's Dressings.

The slightly sweet vinaigrette didn't overpower the veggies in my salad, and its tangy kick paired well with the crisp pears. I can see this dressing used alongside a vegetable tray as a dip or even used as a marinade for grilled chicken breasts. Best of all, the vinaigrette is low-fat and gluten-free, making the dressing more appealing to specialty customers.

Other than the Balsamic Vinaigrette, which comes with a sweet message to a childhood friend on the back of the bottle, Doc's offers Mark's Miso Vinaigrette, Quintessence Marinade and Doc's Rockin' Salsa, and the company has even included recipes on the website for using each product.

But if you're anything like us, the salad dressing will be gone before you have a chance to even contemplate an alternate use.


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Editor's Choice: Aunt Sally's

Like many people I suppose, for me, certain foods are connected to memories of people and places. I first tasted this week’s choice, Aunt Sally’s pralines ( during a trip to New Orleans. I remember walking into the charming shop and deciding to try some of the local fare. With the first taste, I became a praline fan. It was delicious, and there was something wonderfully decadent about it. Over the years, I’ve brought back pralines to enjoy and shared them with family and friends.

A perk of working for Fancy Food & Culinary Products magazine is sometimes your favorite foods come to you. It was at the recent Sweets & Snacks Expo held here in Chicago that I received samples of the pralines, including some new flavors.

One of these is Bananas Foster. For me, it is another memory treat. The smooth, rich creamy taste of pecans and brown sugar blends perfectly with the taste of banana and other flavors to evoke the famous dessert served at Brennan’s, The praline makes a great dessert or a nice treat in the afternoon. It joins a whole selection of flavors including original, CafĂ© au lait, and chocolate. All would be a fine take-along choice for a summer evening outing, as well.

For retailers, I could see the pralines included in a variety of gift baskets. They could even be part of a promotion or theme event. And for later in the year, they could be a fun stocking stuffer.

It’s another gift from New Orleans that you can enjoy anytime.


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Editor's Choice: Sahale Snacks Tuscan Almonds with Parmesan and Herbs

When it comes to snacking, I’m generally looking for two things — crunchy and cheesy. My snack preferences usually lead me to cheese popcorn or cheese and crackers, but sometimes I want something a little more upscale. When Sahale Snacks’ Tuscan Almonds with Parmesan and Herbs crossed my desk today, I  opened them as a post-lunch snack.

The seasoned nuts are part of Sahale’s newest collection, which also includes Barbeque Almonds with Mild Chipotle and Ranch and Southwest Cashews with Chile and Cheddar. I didn’t open either of the other bags, since I was drawn to the promise of salty Parmesan and herbs like basil and thyme.

The nuts provide a definite crunch and the seasonings are baked onto them, forming a rough coating. Also in the seasoning mix is sun-dried tomatoes, red pepper and oregano. Each serving offers five grams of protein, calcium, iron and fiber, so it’s a healthier choice than chips. And it’s tasty — the mix of toppings evokes Italian dishes and they’re a fun twist on straight up almonds. Recommended for cocktail parties or straight out of the bag at your desk.