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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 29, 2013

Editor's Choice: Jelly Belly Countdown to Christmas Calendar

The advent season is always special for me and my family. I have warm childhood memories of getting some candy and a handwritten letter from St. Nick at the beginning of every Advent. The letter would tell me that I had been very good this year (with some kind of specific reference to something that had been accomplished), and that he and my parents loved me very much. Even though I am miles away from my family now, I still get a handwritten letter from St. Nick every year; when I call my dad to say thanks, I can hear him smiling on the other end of the phone as he excitedly exclaims, without ever once owning up to it himself, "Wow, St. Nick wrote to you? Man, he is quite a guy!" I can't wait to hear from him again later this year.

A great part of our household decor is the Advent calendar, that counts down the days until Christmas. We have a big, hand-knitted tapestry that hangs by the tree, with each day represented with a little pocket that gets filled with a small Christmas trinket as each day passes. It was always fun to be the one to put the last item in the pocket of the 25th, signifying that Christmas had arrived. 

So I was understandably excited to see Jelly Belly's new product for the 2013 holiday season -- the Countdown to Christmas calendar. The calendar is filled with 24 tiny bags of Jelly Belly Kids Mix jelly beans -- one for each day leading up to Christmas. The oversized and colorful advent calendar is poised to be a popular gift for the holidays, and would make a great little gift from your family's St. Nick.

The box is really quite large -- it's like the size of a big hardcover art book. It really adds to the fun and excitement of opening each numbered window. A colorful illustration depicts Mr. Jelly Belly in a winter holiday scene adding Jelly Belly jelly beans as ornaments to trees. The Jelly Belly Countdown to Christmas Calendar ships in 6-ct. cases.

The other great part about it is the Jelly Belly jelly beans, of course! The OU Kosher, gluten-free, peanut free, dairy-free, fat-free and vegetarian-friendly jelly beans come in such signature, true-to-life flavors as Bubble Gum, Cotton Candy, Orange Sherbert, Very Cherry, and Buttered Popcorn. 

So if you're looking for a fun and tasty treat to kick of the holiday season this year, head on over to Jelly Belly's website. It would look great on display in your store, and would certainly stand out as a unique item that kids and adults alike would love to have.


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Editor's Choice: Walkers Shortbread, Inc.

If, as they say, virtue is its own reward – sometimes cookies can be an added bonus. To explain: While straightening out a food cabinet last weekend, I found some treasures from the Sweets and Snacks Expo. One treat I discovered was a package of Shortbread Fingers from Walkers Shortbread, Inc. (

The cheery red and green plaid package greeted me like an old friend.  The shortbread inside had the great, melt in mouth rich taste that I remembered. With the weather getting colder here in the Midwest, the shortbread is a perfect companion for a cup of coffee, or, maybe more appropriately, a cup of tea. It’s just sweet enough to be a light dessert. It would also be good paired with ice cream or fruit.

Pure butter shortbread is one of those great comfort foods. They are baked in the Scottish Highlands, with just four natural ingredients. They would also make a good gift and Walkers offers several varieties in an array of charming tins.

With the holidays approaching, the shortbreads would make a nice addition for retailers.  The packages would also be a festive addition to a gift basket. And, of course, you can always offer samples, so your customers can enjoy the goodness.


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Editor's Choice: Aunt Aggie De's Pralines

If you're a retailer looking for something unique, sweet, delicious, and visually appealing to display during the holiday season, I have just the thing for you: Aunt Aggie De's Pralines.

The first thing you'll notice about these wonderful treats is the many wonderful packaging options. We here at Fancy Food received the beautiful gold gift box with a red ribbon (shown above), which more than one staffer commented on how nice it looked -- it would really make a snazzy gift. If you look on the company's website, you will also see some other really neat gift basket arrangements. There's baskets shaped like the state of Texas, a Kicker boot, a Santa boot, and even a Texas hat, all filled with the company's varieties of pralines. They also come in brightly colored striped tubes, each containing 8 individually wrapped pralines. There's no doubt that these would be perfect gifts for almost any occasion.

After getting inside the package, the next thing you'll notice is that these babies are BIG. Texas big! They make a great afternoon snack. These pralines are made with the highest quality, USA grown and processed ingredients in batches. Each one is still hand-dipped and chock full of pecans. An unusually large amount of pecans and consistent creamy texture set them apart and create a praline you can feel good about buying, eating and giving.

The creamy pecan pralines surprisingly melt in your mouth, despite being crammed full with pecans. It's a very rich, textured and flavorful experience with every bite. The experience is heightened even more with the addition of chocolate; the company also offers their pralines covered in high-quality Belgian chocolate. These would make terrific Valentine's Day gifts, offering a unique twist on regular ol' boxed chocolates. 

I really can't emphasize enough how great of a gift these would make. I gave a lot of these (since the ones that come in tubes are conveniently individually wrapped) away to friends, and without fail, everyone really enjoyed them (while making happy MMMMM! sounds). Whether for an impressive gift or for casual snacking, Aunt Aggie De's has something for you - head on over to their website for more information.


Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Editor's Choice: Frieda's, Inc.

There’s an old saying: You can’t judge a book by its cover. A treasure trove of specialty produce we recently received from Frieda’s, Inc. ( proved that applies to other things as well.

As we opened the box, some things looked familiar, such as the Zulu queen baby pineapple. Only 5 inches high, it can be used as regular pineapple. A co-worker who enjoyed it for breakfast reported it was very sweet.

I have to admit, some of the fruit, while vivid in color, looked a little frightening. Pieces had lots of horns, thorns and prickly things. The dragon fruit, aptly named, has green-tipped scales. The fruit itself has earthy taste, something like a pear, but not as sweet.  I’ve tasted passion fruit juice, but never thought about using it to top ice cream.

I discovered in the box, a treat that brought a flood of good memories. It was a bunch of red bananas. My great-grandfather worked selling fruit and my mom had told me about red bananas. Growing up in the Midwest and only having yellow bananas, it almost seemed like the stuff of myths. I put it aside to try after lunch. The red banana had more substance and a little sweeter flavor than a yellow banana cousin.

But the biggest surprise, was yet to come. It was something called rambutan eyeball -- and it was hairy and strange looking. My Chinese co-worker was very excited when she saw a bag of them.She said the fruit is very popular. Interestingly, she didn’t know its name in English. Anyway, she picked up one, cut it open and insisted I try it. Out of its skin, the fruit had a slippery texture, but the taste was rich and a little sweet. I could see why it was so highly prized. She happily took home the remainder of the bag.

That was my introduction to exotic fruit. For gourmet retailers, I could see a selection of these fruits as a way to bring interest and color to your produce section. And of course, sampling would be ideal.


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Editor's Choice: Perky Jerky

If you've read any of my previous blog posts, you may have come to realize that I am pretty slow on the uptake for many seemingly basic food-related things. I don't really cook that well. I don't have a barbecue grill. I don't usually have any salad dressing but ranch. I mean, I didn't even know what a pomegranate was.

I'm not really proud of my profound ignorance of most food-related things, but while we're at it, I may as well tell you about another one: Until recently, I was totally oblivious to the concept of protein.

I am, and always have been, a very active person. I play all kinds of sports, run all over the place and generally always try to stay moving. However, due to the fact that my diet consists mostly of garbage, I never really paid attention to the health benefits of eating well. 

Of course, time is a cruel and hilarious thing, and eventually I realized the need to start taking care of myself by watching what I eat, otherwise I will need an entirely new wardrobe consisting of much larger sizes. In the interest of wrapping up this super long intro, the moral of the story is - I learned about protein, and its benefits in an active lifestyle like mine.

Enter Perky Jerky. We have gone on a jerky-eating rampage in the office over the last year or so, and one of the ones that really stood out was this energizing, all-natural product. Perky Jerky is made with a seven ingredient marinade, which includes Guaranaa berry from the Amazon that is commonly found in energy drinks. That makes it great for a quick pre-game boost, busy moms on-the-go, or a mid-mountain hike snack. It's a functional morning desk snack and the perfect munchie to survive a long road trip. Satisfying and portable, it's perfect fuel to do, well, whatever it is that you do.

Perky Jerky comes in turkey and beef varieties, with delicious flavors such as Sweet & Spicy, Teriyaki, Hot & Bothered, and their original recipe. They are low calorie, low in fat, gluten-free, and high in protein. There's no nitrates, preservatives or MSG. 

So if you're looking for a new, trendy, healthy snack alternative, I would recommend you check this out. It's an energy drink in tasty jerky form, perfect for people like me, who can always use a boost of energy before zooming off to wherever it is we're going.