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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, October 30, 2012

Editor's Choice: Nonni's Food Company

Like most people, I like a variety of snacks — sometimes they are healthy, sometimes not so much. But every once in a while, my five year old self takes over and the one thing she wants is a cookie or maybe two or three.

Cookies are associated with happy memories. Most of us remember the wonderful smell of fresh baked cookies coming from the kitchen. One of my favorite cookies was the biscotti my Italian grandmother used to make. I remember, besides steeped in tradition, the biscotti had just enough crunch, with a rich flavor.

Which brings me to the subject of this week’s editor’s choice. Lately my kid self and my “grown-up” self have been quite content and Nonni’s  ( Thinaddictives is the reason why.

The cookies are like thin biscotti. They are full of real ingredients such as almonds, raisins, dried cranberries and other good things. They are individually packaged in packs of two, low fat with only 100 calories, so I can have that second cookie. The crunchy almonds and fruit combine for a rich, satisfying snack. I could also see them at the end of a meal with coffee.

My favorite is the Cranberry Almond. The other flavors are Cinnamon Raisin Almond, and for variety Pistachio Almond. I’ve tried all three and all are tasty. The two-pack makes them great to take along and perfect to keep in my desk drawer.

For retailers, I could see them promoted as a snack alternative and also alongside coffee and tea. The colorful packages could also be part of gift baskets.

But for all of us, they are a way to make your inner-kid very happy.


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Editor's Choice — Jaillance Wines

Today’s editor’s choice is a little different. I don’t know about you, but I’m constantly perusing websites to find the best recipes for the holiday season. And, believe it or not, I start looking in mid-October. While my mom prepares Thanksgiving meals and my aunt is the head chef during Christmas, my holiday of choice is New Year’s Eve. So, you can imagine the recipes I’m looking for fall mainly in the libation department.

Recently Jaillance Wines sent a few bottles of bubbly to our office (much to our glee). And, we were about to sample the delicious champagne. One of my biggest qualms with champagne is typically its sweetness. But, Jaillance wasn’t overly sweet or dry. The vintages we tasted were somewhere in the perfect median range. I was equally thrilled when the company forwarded a drink recipe that I’ll certainly be using during New Years’ parties to come. It’s listed below for your perusing (and drinking) pleasure. Include with any purchases of the wine during the holiday season. Your consumers will thank you!

Jaillance Jolly
A spin off of the classic Bellini, the Jaillance Jolly is a quick and easy party cocktail that will delight everyone during the holiday season. Jaillance’s Clairette de Die "The French Moscato Bubbly" compliments the fresh and fruity flavors of peach while adding lovely elderberry floral notes and delicate bubbles (at a much lower price than most other sparkling wines).
• One-third glass of peach juice or pureed frozen peaches (thawed)
• Two-thirds glass of Jaillance Clairette de Die

1. Muddle one whole peach or pour peach juice into champagne flute
2. Tilt the glass diagonally and fill it with Jaillance Clairette de Die
3. Stir with a bar spoon or cocktail stirrer
4. Add your caramelized sugar garnish

For the caramelized sugar decoration:
• 1 cup granulated sugar
• 2 cups water
• 1 Tbsp oil or butter

1. Grease baking sheet thoroughly with oil or butter. Fill a sink or large bowl with cold water.
2. Dissolve 1 cup granulated sugar into 2 cups of water while stirring into a saucepan.
3. Raise the heat and allow the mixture to come to a rapid boil without stirring until golden brown.
4. Remove from the heat and dip the base of the saucepan into cold water for approximately three to five seconds.
5. Use a spoon to drizzle decorations on your well-greased baking sheet. The caramelized sugar will begin to thicken as it sets, so try to make the designs as quickly as possible.
6. Let cool. The decoration should slide easily from the baking sheet. 


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Editor's Choice: Fever Tree Tonic Water

When someone hands you a product that is designed to be paired with vodka, I dare you not to do it. If you are going to, don't do it with this product. Don't just drink it up or pair it with rum or something. Because when Fever Tree Mediterranean Tonic Water says it is designed to be paired with vodka, it means it.

If you are used to getting a G & T or a vodka and tonic in a bar, like an airport bar, where you are lucky the glasses are clean, or that they are even glass, then you have never really had a vodka tonic. This tonic water is a beautiful symphony of taste and balance. It could bring a bad vodka to a new level. It is the perfect pairing for a great vodka.

Fever-Tree's Naturally Light Tonic Water combines fruit sugars with citrus, aromatic botanicals and soft spring water to create a delicious, crisp taste balanced by the bitterness of natural quinine. With 45 fewer calories, it is an all-natural lower calorie tonic water. Most tonic water is a little sweet, in a cloying "hey! we don't really know what we are doing! but we know you don't like club soda, so here is something else..." kind of a way. This is not sweet. It is tangy, fresh and lovely. Also because of my deep and abiding Anglophilism, I can picture the cast of Downton Abbey or Hercule Poirot sipping this out on the veranda. And that appeals to me as well. 

On top of this beauty, the company produces: Ginger beer, ginger ale, tonic water (regular), soda water and bitter lemon tonic. All that I sampled were as superb as this and I cannot wait to get my hands on some more, introduce my family and friends to it and get them all liquored up, English-style. Tally ho!

-Elizabeth Dugan

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Editor's Choice: Lesley Stowe

Like I guess many office workers, more and more I find myself eating on the move and snacking throughout the day. Thanks to the kindness of a variety of companies and agencies finding something here usually isn’t a problem.

That’s how I came upon this week’s Editor’s Choice, Lesley Stowe ( Raincoast Crisps. Made in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, the crisps in a variety of flavors have been a gourmet choice for years.

And now the company has introduced gluten-free crisps in flavors of Oat & Seed and Oat & Rosemary Raisin. I have to admit that for me bread (which usually contains gluten) is literally the staff of life. In addition, up until the 1990s I had no idea what gluten even was. I know it is a problem for some people and that other people are choosing to cut it out of their diet for other reasons. I'm not one of them, but I'm open to trying new things.

I wondered how the crisps would taste. A co-worker who wandered into our area in search of food answered that question. He declared the Oat & Seed crisps “pretty tasty” and was happy to also discover reading the box as he munched away that they are good for you. The crisps provide whole grains, fiber and calcium.

My choice for tasting later that day was the Oat & Rosemary Raisin. It was a tasty combination as the sweetness of the raisins combined with rosemary in a chewy good snack. I could see it with cream cheese, brie and other cheeses. The website also suggests melted chocolate — a delightful concept.

I also tried the Oat & Seed crisps. They had a more hearty taste, but again were a satisfying snack and could accept many topping choices.

For retailers, these crisps would be a welcome addition to a gluten-free section or even in a basket of gluten free products. And with the holidays coming, these crisps would be great to sample in a store as another good alternative for the upcoming gatherings.


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Editor's Choice — Alchemy by Carla Hall

Like so many other people, I’m a huge fan of reality television. And, being a self-proclaimed foodie, cooking competitions are constantly on my DVR must-watch list. So, it should be no surprise that I’m an avid Top Chef fan. One of my favorite contestants was and is Carla Hall. This spunky DC-resident was known for her boisterous personality and her clean flavors. When I discovered Hall had created a food line, I was excited by the prospect of tasting her delicacies. And, just last week, we received Alchemy by Carla Hall cookies in the office. You’ve never seen me move as quickly as I did while diving for the Mexican Chocolate Chip variety.

While the flavoring in these petit fares borders on classic — you can clearly taste the quality ingredients used during preparation. During the show, Hall was a huge proponent of cooking with only the finest, freshest materials. So, within her cookies she uses strictly organic flour, sugar and eggs. By incorporating brown sugar, vanilla extract and cinnamon — the sweet treats go from ordinary to flavorful and exciting. Moreover, their miniature size prevents you from feeling the inevitable guilt that typically accompanies eating sweets. Market these cookies as the perfect stocking stuffer during the holiday season.

Other flavors within the Alchemy line include: Black Forest Crinkle, Pecan Shortbread with Vanilla Salt, Goat Cheese and Dried Cranberries, Oatmeal with White Chocolate and Dried Cranberries and Almond Gingerbread Cherry Shortbread, to name a few. There’s one thing I’m certain of, Carla Hall lived up to her Top Chef reputation.