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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, January 31, 2012

Editor's Choice: Marché Noir Cabernet Brownie

That's right: wine and brownies. It is an embarrassment of riches. Marché Noir, Foods ( combined two of my loves into one concoction: the Cabernet Brownie, Brut Cacao. This dark chocolate treat uses Wine Flour (milled from the skins of Cabernet grapes) to make a brownie that is both high in iron, fiber, and Res-V (Resveratrol, a natural anti-oxidant recognized for its significant health benefits particularly in relation to heart diseases and cancer).

Seriously, from the first time I helped my mom pour out that dark, rich batter into a baking pan and watched it rise and darken, I have been searching for a way to make brownies healthy. And the main thing about brownies are the schools of thought on them: cakey and a little arid with a lot of chocolate flavor or moist and fudgey with more butter and sweetness. I am in the former category and not only are these brownies cakey without being dry, but they have a sharp bite of dark chocolate and something a little lower down, which I can only assume is the wine coming out in the flour.

The idea of Wine Flour is interesting as well. Marché Noir also uses the flour in their line of Pasta Caberneti, which is a dark, almost black pasta (that be used in place of Pasta Nera, which contains squid ink and can be a turn-off to American consumers) and contains the same health benefits as the brownies. Additionally, the Wine Flour is a sustainable American agricultural product and can make you customers feel good...well better, about eating brownies, pastas and other carby treats.

- Elizabeth Dugan

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Editor's Choice: Biscottea Inc.

For me, there’s always been something special about shortbread cookies. The rich, buttery taste and melt-in-your mouth texture make them perfect comfort food. But the latest treat to arrive in the office, takes a favorite cookie to a whole new level.

The box contained Biscottea (, shortbread squares that are made with tea. The tea adds another level of flavor to a delicious cookie. The taste is subtle, but definitely there. The Mint Tea, made with organic Spearmint Tea and Peppermint Tea, is refreshing and the Blueberry has a nice sweet taste of the fruit, Shortbreads are baked with organic teas and all natural ingredients. So you don’t have to feel so guilty. Other flavors include Earl Grey, Rooibos  (Red Tea) and Chai Tea. The squares, which are wrapped individually, became an office favorite and have gone quickly.

But the shipping box held another taste adventure. The same company also makes Bis-Cof-fee Shortbread ( Just as the name implies, they are shortbread squares baked with organic coffee. I love the smell of coffee and these squares, especially my favorite, the Espresso, reward you with that great smell when you open the package. Inside the coffee taste blends perfectly with the shortbread. Other flavors are Cappuccino and Mocha. These haven’t gone as quickly, and for that, I am grateful.

Both the tea and coffee squares are available in a 16-ounce box of 24 assorted individually wrapped squares. The boxes would be great as a gift or I could see them opened for sampling in a store.
They are also are available in 5 ounce single flavor boxes. 


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Editor's Choice-Rossi Pasta

When I was growing up, every Friday night was pizza night. This often followed the fanfare and whimsy of high school football games or preceded preadolescent slumber parties. And, while Friday night football games and slumber parties have long since disappeared from my life — pizza night remains. It’s a tradition my husband and I greatly enjoy, seeking to discover the best-prepared pies in the city. However, last Friday I stepped outside my comfort zone and used a mix from Rossi Pasta to create a homemade pizza.

The dough comes in single serving packaging and is available in a variety of flavors. While I swiped the Spinach, Whole Wheat and Plain crust — I decided to play it safe and constructed a sausage and cheese pizza on plain crust. The dough was easy to prepare by adding salt, sugar, water and olive oil. Moreover, the entire pizza only took about 30 minutes to create (which is much faster than any delivery you can get in the big city)! I also used Rossi Pasta’s Pizza Sauce. The sauce complimented the crust well with robust flavors. All-in-all, it was a good and convenient Friday night meal.

Rossi Pasta offers a variety of pizza dough, pizza sauces, pastas and pasta sauces. The line would be a great addition to your shelves or as a themed gift basket alongside a block of cheese, olive oil and a bottle of wine. I can see Rossi Pasta becoming a permanent fixture for Friday night dinner. It’s certainly found a permanent place in my cooking rotation. 


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Editor's Choice: Tortuga Rum Cake Company

Like probably many people, chocolate is one of my favorite things so when the package from Tortuga Rum Cake Company ( arrived, I was happy to see that a chocolate cake was included in the group of 4-ounce cakes. I had enjoyed samples of the original flavor cake and was curious about what the addition of chocolate would do to the taste.

I have to admit the cake sat for several months. But a cold night in December, New Year’s Eve to be exact, seemed like the perfect time to share a taste of the Caribbean with a couple of friends.

The packaging itself gives it a special feel. It looks like a treasure chest waiting to be opened. The consensus was the cake inside was indeed a find. It had remained fresh and moist. The cocoa powder blended perfectly with the other ingredients to give the cake a deep, rich chocolate taste. It had just the right hint of rum, not overpowering.

All in all, it was a tasty end to a meal. And that packaging makes it a great gift as well.


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Editor's Choice-Epicurean Organics

I am a huge proponent of the home cooked meal. After all, what kind of gourmet blogger would I be otherwise. However, in today’s hectic and frantic environment — who has time to chop vegetables and sauté fresh herbs. Thankful, lines such as Epicurean Organics from Mountain Rose Herbs ( take the guesswork out of selecting proper seasonings. Recently the company sent a variety of their products to our offices and I was delighted with the result.

Mountain Rose Herbs is committed to providing exceptional quality culinary ingredients that even the most discerning epicurean will applaud. The bold flavors, rich colors, penetrating aromas and nutrients found within whole organic botanicals inspired the creation of the Epicurean Organics collection. I was immediately drawn to the Garlic Pepper seasoning. My favorite thing about this is that nearly every dish I create has a combination of salt, pepper and garlic. It’s so diverse and definitely necessary to prevent bland proteins. One addition reason I loved this product was the balance within it. Oftentimes, garlic can be insanely overbearing. Moreover, I have a bit of a salty palette. The combination of these ingredients solves both problems.

Other products within the line include the all purpose seasoning, Cajun spice, Caribbean blend, celery salt, chili powder, Chinese 5 Spice blend, curry, garam marsala, grilling herbs, Herbs de Provence, Italian seasoning, lemon pepper, Mediterranean seasoning, Mexican seasoning, pumpkin pie spice, Thai curry blend and the West Indies blend.