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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, December 18, 2012

Editor's Choice: Suan's Scotch Bonnet Pepper Jelly

I don't really like peppers. Not hot things, but the taste of peppers. Green, red, yellow, orange, jalapeno or anything else: not for me. But when we got Suan's Scotch Bonnet Pepper Jelly, I tried to change my tune.

Ms. Suan has studied the ways of the pepper. The way she talks about peppers and their properties reminds me, in a good way, of a guy I went on a blind date with who presented me with a conspiracy theory that hot peppers were sentient beings who were trying to take over the human race by simultaneously releasing endorphins into the system while eating a hole in the stomach with peppery acids. (I only went on one date with him). Suan's theories are less out there, for sure, and she has learned how to harness the mighty power of the pepper for good, not evil. While living in Jamaica she learned how to cook with the Scotch Bonnet Pepper, grown in every kitchen garden on the island and widely used throughout the Caribbean. The Scotch Bonnet is one of the hottest members of the habanera family, so I was skeptical.

I tried the recipe for Suan's Favorite Meatloaf, because if it can make good meatloaf, it can do anything. The recipe:
1 lb. lean ground beef,
¾ cup Old Fashion Rolled Oats,
1 medium onion chopped,
2-3 cloves garlic crushed,
1 egg,
½ cup milk,
1/3 cup grated Parmesan Cheese,
healthy dash of Worcestershire Sauce,
½ teaspoon salt,
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper.

Mix all ingredients well, form into a loaf and place in baking pan. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes, drain off grease and begin glazing with Scotch Bonnet Pepper Jelly Glaze every 15 minutes until meatloaf is done. Serve remaining sauce on side.

It was marvelous, adding taste and vest without too much heat. I highly recommend pepper jelly and I am looking forward to trying more of the recipes out!

-Elizabeth Dugan

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Editor's Choice: Bettasnax, Inc.

With multiple deadlines looming, snacks have taken on a new meaning the past couple of weeks. I find myself constantly in need of something on which to snack. Of course it has to taste good and, if it might healthy — that would be a bonus.

It turns out that Carol Bard. owner of Bettasnax, Inc. (  must have read my mind. She sent us her company’s biscotti recently and they became an office hit.

The bite-size thin biscotti are made with all-natural ingredients and have no added fat. They have a nice crunch, always a plus in snack, and a rich taste. The almonds are, of course, good for you.

The biscotti are good right out of the bag. I could also see packing them for lunch or enjoying with coffee. For a more continental treat, they could also be enjoyed with cheese, wine or gelato.

For retailers, they are the perfect size for sampling. The four-ounce size pouch could also  be part of a variety of gift baskets from breakfast, to snacks, to housewarming.

The company says that only the original flavor is available for now, but they have ideas for more “yummy” flavors to follow soon.

I, for one, can’t wait to sample them.


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Editor's Choice — Virginia Cocktail Peanuts

For years, I didn’t eat peanuts. I don’t know what my aversion was; though, I do know that I missed out on enjoying this delightful delicacy as a child. I missed out on years of salty goodness and hearty protein. But, I’m now officially on the peanut bandwagon. And, this revelation came not a moment too soon because, last week we got a hearty helping of Virginia Cocktail Peanuts. They were downright delicious.

Virginia Cocktail Peanuts are hand-prepared in the fertile Virginia fields (as the name implies). Mary Vaden started the company in a bustling kitchen overlooking the Navesink River. A barn was her first warehouse. Virginia Cocktail Peanuts has come a long way since it’s humble beginnings. In fact, the brand is now sold nationally and internationally.

Part of its success can be attributed to the creative flavors Vaden created. The line includes everything from sweet treats (think Milk Chocolate, Dark Chocolate and Toffee varieties) to spicy alternatives (such as Jalapeno and Cajun). For consumers who love the salty nuts of their childhood, Sea Salt is a sure favorite. And, for those who just want to appreciate the taste of the nuts alone, Virginia Cocktail Peanuts offers an unsalted flavor.

I sampled the Cajun flavored nuts and greatly enjoyed them. The nuts have a hint of heat — just enough to keep you coming back for more. The flavoring wasn’t overwhelming, so samplers can still greatly appreciate the quality of the snack itself. These treats would be perfect in gift baskets. Retailers could also run specials on the nuts by creating clever trail mix recipes for them.