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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, August 27, 2013

Editor's choice: SEN CHA Natural mints

If you want to freshen your breath, but don’t want the kind of mint that could freshen the bark off a tree, try the mints from SEN CHA Naturals. SEN CHA’s flagship mint is its Green Tea Leaf, which is genuinely refreshing with a wonderfully subtle flavor of, yes, green tea. It’s made with “organic green tea powder and extract.” It also bills itself as having the antioxidant properties of a genuine cup of tea. (Side note: All leaf tea of every color, as opposed to herbals, comes from the same plant, Camilla sinensis. The difference is in how, and how long, it’s aged.)
SEN CHA has branched out from the Green Tea Leaf flavor: Its newer flavors include Tropical Mango, Pink Dragonfruit, Bombay Chai, Moroccan Mint, Fuji Apple and Island Guava. Its one-at-a-time dispensing package is designed in an eco-friendly way that complements the product’s natural image: It’s an all-paperboard tube-in-tube. The consumer simply twists the tubes to expose a half-circle aperture and shakes out the mint.


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Editor's Choice: Farm to Market Pickles

I grew up in a pickle household. Whatever we had for lunch was almost always accompanied by a pickle. My parents would try to find ways to sneak pickles in things that I wasn't really expecting to ever have pickles in them - meatloaf, salads, even ice cream (!) weren't immune to a pickle boost. We even practice the tradition of hiding a Christmas pickle in the tree. Whenever someone picks their pickles out of a sandwich, I will always be the first to claim them.

That being said, I was more than happy to try out the new line of pickles from Best Maid Farms, called Farm to Market Single Barrel Pickles. The Farm to Market specialty label denotes honest ingredients and true sustenance, combined to produce a riot of color and authentic purity. Fresh from the farm, these pickles are the “bread and butter” of Best Maid's yearly crop, and are carefully crafted from their single barrel recipe. Best Maid was founded in 1926 by the Dalton family in Mansfield, TX, giving the company loads of experience in producing the most delicious pickle flavors you won't be able to find anywhere else.

And the flavors in the line are truly special. I was immediately intrigued by the Bloody Mary pickles, and had a moment of snack nirvana when a co-worker suggested trying them with some chips and hummus we had in the office. The refreshing and peppery tomato brine was a nice spicy way to liven up the day.

The Sea Salt and Peppercorn variety went great with chocolate (a personal favorite combo of mine), while the Chipotle Lime flavor were covered in a roasted jalapeño brine with just the right amount of lime zest. The Farm to Market line also has a classic Baby Dills variety, as well as a Garden Fresh flavor that was fresh enough to almost be put back on the vine.

Each variety contains no artificial flavors, high fructose corn syrup, or artificial coloring. They're low in calories, and make a great snack, regardless of what time of day it is. The jars and packaging have a nice clean, classic feel, and would look great in any store. Contact them today to find out how you can stock these tasty treats.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Editor's Choice: CookieZen

As readers of this blog may know, I am very fond of desserts of all kinds, and always on the lookout for new treats. I’m happy to report that the quest for a great cookie, a continuing journey, made a delightful stop this week thanks to CookieZen LLC ( I have to admit, I’ve never been too sure what “zen” exactly meant, but if it has anything to do with happiness – these cookies create it.

I sampled the Sea Salt Chocolate Oatmeal flavor. The first thing you experience is the crunchy yet chewiness of a good oatmeal cookie. Then you discover the taste of smooth, rich bittersweet chocolate chips joined with a little bit of vanilla. And to add another dimension, the contrast of the sea salt topping. All in all, a very happy experience.

These rich cookies are said to pair well with red wine or would make a nice ending to meal. They, of course, would be perfect for snacks. In fact, the company has introduced a four-pack CookieZen Bites package that you can take along. You can even store them in your desk drawer since best of all — although they have no preservatives — the cookies last for nine months.

The cookies are also available in Zesty Lemon. And as an added bonus, the company has recently introduced a gluten-free line, which has a six-month shelf life.

For retailers, with the holidays coming up, these four packs make a good stocking stuffer or can be used in a variety of gift baskets.


Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Editor's Choice: Gator Ron's Heavenly Barbecue Sauce

It's summertime here in Chicago, and for me, that means it's time to barbecue as many nights a week as possible. Unfortunately, I don't actually have the room at my apartment complex to be able to do so that often. Also, I don't even have a barbecue grill. Right away, you can see the kinds of problems I'm dealing with.

Thankfully, I can mooch off of my friends and their more grill-enabled living areas. Their condition: bring food or condiments with you. Their condition for me specifically: you work at a food magazine. Bring something REALLY good with you. 

Right away, I knew I would knock them over with Gator Ron's Heavenly Barbecue Sauce. I use it myself at home on all kinds of grilled products like chicken and shrimp, and I was confident it would be a perfect addition to any outdoor BBQ occasion. 

I was totally right - we put it on several different meats, including burgers, chicken, and ribs, and the crowd response was unanimous - Gator Ron's is amazing, and I must be some kind of BBQ genius. While the latter may be a wildly inaccurate perception, there is no doubting the big taste of Gator Ron's. To make things even sweeter, Gator Ron's all natural sauces and mixes contain no gluten ingredients and are low in calories. 

Gator Ron's also works towards an important cause. The company works to enhance awareness of ALS while raising money to fund ALS research to develop effective treatments for ALS patients, and ultimately find a cure.  A percentage of all profits of Gator Ron’s Zesty Sauces and Mixes are donated to the Robert Packard Center for ALS Research at Johns Hopkins.

If you're looking for a versatile barbecue sauce that works well on a variety of items, I recommend you try Gator Ron's out. It's great with not only meats, but snacks, hors d’oeuvres, and side dishes like spicy orzo or hot artichoke gratin.