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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 26, 2012

Editor's Choice: Seattle Chocolates

It might not be Christmas time, but Seattle Chocolate's Hot Buttered Rum Milk Chocolate Truffle bar is certainly getting me into the season. I love hot buttered rum (the best I have had is available seasonally at The Duke of Perth in Chicago) and this creamy, rich candy bar brings to mind the cold afternoons in front of the Duke's warm fire.

This flavor, like the hot drink, appears to also be seasonal, but it will be well worth the wait. There is a light and fluffy truffle chocolate with little pieces of caramelized candy bits in the bar that combine to melt in the mouth in a soothing, tasty way.

Seattle Chocolates has many fun flavors as well, if Hot Buttered Rum isn't your thing, including: Meltaway Mint, Rainer Chocolate Cherry and Birthday Cake Batter. I can't wait to try more of these fun flavors from Seattle Chocolates.

-Elizabeth Dugan

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Editor's Choice: Praim Group

As I walked through the Gourmet section of the 2012 Sweets & Snacks Expo last month, I experienced the proverbial blast from the past as a familiar brand name caught my eye. It was a chocolate bar labeled Bosco and that was definitely worth further investigation.

Bosco was this wonderful chocolate syrup from my childhood that moms stirred into a glass of milk to turn it into chocolate milk, which was definitely more appealing to me, and I bet to most kids. It was also great drizzled over ice cream.

I found out the syrup is still being made and the Praim Group ( has a licensing agreement to offer the Bosco taste in a candy bar. I was more than happy to accept one to take home.

The 3.5-ounce candy bar is wrapped in fun, retro packaging. The milk chocolate itself is soft and smooth with a rich, delicious flavor. It is a treat for anyone, even if you have no memories of the original. 

I could, however, see the candy as a fun gift for someone who shares your memories. Or I could see retailers using it as an element in memories type of display or in a nostalgia gift basket. It would also be a fun take home gift at a themed birthday party.

But mostly, the Bosco candy bar is worthy of its name.


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Editor's Choice: Sonoma Syrup

One thing many don’t know about me is that I’m an excellent baker … if I do say so myself. My grandmother taught me, when I was very young, that the secrets to above average baked goods are time and quality products. So, I was thrilled when Sonoma Syrup’s baking extracts arrived in our office. And, when I say thrilled, I mean the shrieking and jumping up and down variety.

The line includes five flavors (Vanilla Bean Extract, Lemon Extract, Vanilla Extract, Vanilla Extract Crush and Almond Extract). I was equally excited the company sent us samples of the Lemon Extract and the Almond Extract as I had the perfect recipes set aside for them (Lemon Sugar Cookies and Almond Biscotti).

Now, the thing to remember when sampling extracts is that they should be tasty without overpowering other flavors. They have to mix harmoniously. And, Sonoma Syrup’s variety did so wonderfully. The Almond Extract was sweet and nutty. It gave the biscotti a rich flavor profile that wasn’t overpowering.
The pure lemon extract is the finest quality available with the exquisite flavor and aroma of California lemons. The company’s website says it’s, “Handcrafted in small batches in the Northern California wine country with a special cold-process method to preserve the complex flavor bouquet.” This extract is more full-bodied and offers a simple way to improve the zesty flavor of Lemon Sugar Cookies.

As your promoting products such as extracts in your store, be sure to feature other baking supplies
alongside them. And, if you’re feeling really ambitious, create an assortment of cookies using the extract for consumers to taste. Offer the recipe alongside the bottle displays.


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Editor's Choice: GoPicnic

I am an adult woman, I like Lunchables, and I am not ashamed. Well, that is a lie. I am ashamed. Lunchables are for kids, and I frankly feel a little ridiculous eating them, let alone buying them. But what I like about them is the crackers and cheese and meat part. It is like portable appetizers. Granted, neither the cheese nor the meat...nor the crackers are what I would call gourmet, but sometimes you just want a little snack, not a whole sandwich. So, it is more the concept that I enjoy than the actual product.

The GoPicnic ready-to-eat-meals are right up my alley! Cheese? Its there! Meats? There. Crackers? Not only there, but very good! And best of all? They do not need to be refrigerated. Each meal comes in a box with the aforementioned crackers, some kind of protein, some other kind of little snack like dried fruit and an individually wrapped almond Roca. Color me happy!

The first meal I tried was while I was waiting to pick my boyfriend up from work. He was running extremely late and the possibility of me getting some kind of tasty food in my belly before 8pm was dwindling. I had stashed the GoPicnic meal in my glove box, and opened it up while waiting. I only meant to eat the cheese. Just a little protein to tide me over, but it was so tasty that I polished off the turkey pepperoni, crackers, fruit and almond Roca in short time and felt satisfied and full without being overwhelmed by either carbs or salt. There is also a Sudoku puzzle in the box so I did that while I continued to wait for my boyfriend.

The GoPicnic meal is a delightful alternative to many of the meal-in-a-box choices on the market, being free of high fructose corn syrup, added MSG, and trans fats. Indeed, these little boxed treats would be perfect for parents on the go and to throw into a kid's backpack for lunch. They also come in vegetarian-friendly, classic PB & J and a dozen other varieties. No more lunchable for me!

-Elizabeth Dugan