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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.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Editor’s Pick: Phin & Phebes ice cream

As my family, friends and co-workers will tell you, ice cream is my kryptonite, my Achilles heel, my weakness. At least once a week I will treat myself to a cone or a sundae from down the street. Well, with Phin & Phebes in the freezer at the office, I will be making those trips less frequently.

Phin & Phebes was started by two friends, Crista Freeman and Jess Eddy, in Brooklyn, NY, who were dedicated to creating a quality products from start to finish. The duo attended the prestigious Ice Cream University at Penn State University. (Rest assured, if I ever go back to school, it will be for this program.)

Phin & Phebes presently makes seven flavors: Coconut Key Lime, Banana Whama (Banana Pudding Ice Cream), Ginger Cookie Snap, Vanilla Cinnamon, Vietnamese Iced Coffee, Peanutty Pretzel, and Dark Chocolate Salty Caramel. After several rounds of taste testing, every flavor is a unique, creamy, burst of deliciousness but I am partial to the Dark Chocolate Salty Caramel. The salt in the rich decadent chocolate caramel opens your taste buds allowing the ice cream to literally melt in your mouth. Like all flavors, just a few bites is enough to fulfill any sweet tooth, and leave you feeling satisfied.

Phin & Phebes ice cream starts with a 14 percent butterfat base, milk, cream, pure sugar and farm fresh egg yolks. The company doesn’t use any stabilizers or syrups. All flavors include ingredients sourced by small, artisanal producers that Freeman and Eddy have discovered throughout the United States.

Now excuse me while I head to the freezer for another spoonful.


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Editor's Pick: GoPicnic

It's rare that I wake up early enough to pack a lunch for work. Generally, if I don't pack some fruits, veggies and a salad the night before (and put my house keys in the refrigerator next to my brown paper bag as a reminder), I often forget about lunch. And as someone who frequently presses the snooze button more than once in the morning, I often don't have time to eat a balanced breakfast, and end up grabbing an instant oatmeal packet to go. So I was happy to stumble upon GoPicnic's ready-to-eat meals.

Today, I had their Creamy Vegetable Spread & Multigrain Crackers Breakfast. Complete with gluten-free crackers, a garden veggie cheese spread and a 90-calorie pack of fruit and nut mix, this meal on-the-go was a good Apples & Cinnamon oatmeal replacement. The Copper Cowbell creamy spread really was creamy and fresh, like a cheese spread I would expect to get from the grocery store. For breakfast, they feature six unique meals, including:

  • Almond butter and multigrain bagel chips
  • cinnamon spread and multigrain bagel chips
  • creamy vegetable spread and multigrain crackers
  • chocolate almond butter and croissant
  • maple turkey sausage, fruit and nut mix
  • superbutter and multigrain crackers

For lunch and snacking, GoPicnic offers 13 variety options in order to keep you from getting what they call hangry; the grouchy feeling easily and deliciously avoided with GoPicnic meals. Their boxed-meal concept is an alternative to the bag of chips offered in many office vending machines. There's no refrigeration or preparation required, and the perfectly sized box offers puzzles, reminiscent of the back of your cereal box as a child. They're perfect for travel, portion control, and any number of hunger emergencies. 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Editor’s Pick: 5Sparrows

Just Add Coffee.

Much like my average morning, coffee for the people behind 5Sparrows is more than a caffeinated beverage; it’s a way of life. 5Sparrows evolved from a specialty espresso business, finding pleasure in connecting with people through drinks and the barista way of life. They started developing their own mixes, sourcing the best ingredients, and today their chai, cocoa and frappe powders are a boutique favorite.

The team behind 5Sparrows believes that it’s the encouragement of the coffee industry to think outside of the box that has fostered this idea of challenging flavors and ingredients to work in a different way.   

Which is why the Montana-based company is at the front of the line this week for our editor’s picks. Their zero-sugar product line refuses to taste like a typical sugar-free beverage; they’re still decadent and seriously sweet. A perfect choice for health conscious customers and retailers alike, their entire product line is gluten free and naturally sweetened with stevia and xylitol.

The Sugar Free House White Chocolate is a best seller, and after tasting the smooth, velvety drink (we added coffee rather than making a hot cocoa) we can see why. Other favorites include the Sugar Free House Chocolate, which dissolves easily into either hot milk or coffee for a full-bodied, rich chocolate beverage. It’s also stevia-sweetened—stevia being a natural sweetener made from a plant in the daisy family; it has zero calories, zero carbs and doesn't impact blood sugar levels when processed through your body. And the best part? There truly is no sugar-free aftertaste. The Sugar Free Monumental Spiced Chai, with its richness and depth, is also getting great reviews from customers. Join the cafĂ© culture at 5Sparrows; their powder, coffee-house specialties don’t disappoint. 

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Editor's Pick: Rosanna Farm Belle Syrups and Jams

After celebrating America's birth for a solid four days with friends and family in town, I realized on Monday that I needed to go grocery shopping. Since I live alone and don't own a car, grocery shopping can be an difficult. I need to get just the right amount of produce before it expires, and I usually plan my meals in advance and make enough for two or three servings. Since I leave for a trip to Atlanta later this week, I really had to plan my meals in advance so that I eat all of my food before I leave.

I normally eat fruit or make a smoothie before work in the morning, but this week, I decided to treat myself. I picked up a package of English muffins to indulge in before my trip south. This morning, I ate the best breakfast, an English muffin with butter and Raspberry-Rhubarb jam from Rosanna's award-winning Farm Belle product line.

All of the products from Rosanna's Farm Belle line are natural, sustainably sourced, gluten-free and kosher. They are beautifully packaged so they make a great gift or self-gift. The Raspberry Rhubarb jam has a great thick yet easily spread constancy and the syrups will be great with pancakes or waffles. The Marionberry-Pinot Noir has a distinct, unique flavor and will pair will with a number of cheeses and crackers. Tonight, I plan on pairing them both with baked brie and a glass of wine.

Rosanna also offers beautiful cartographic trays and a tote which display nicely next to the jams and syrups. Customers will be able to pair their favorites pieces with their favorite sweet indulgences, creating the perfect gifts for hostesses, housewarmings and other special occasions.


Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Editor's Pick: Maya Kaimal's Chickpea Chips

Chickpeas and rice. Something I never imagined I would enjoy in the form of a chip. Typically, I think of hummus when I think of chickpeas, so when I saw these bags of chips, I was fairly taken aback. 

Today I had the pleasure of trying Maya Kaimal's line of Chickpea Chips. The makers of Indian foods, sauces, and now chips, sent over some delectable flavors. Lightly Salted, Seeded Multigrain, and Sweet Chili. Besides being loaded with protein and fiber, they taste like a gourmet potato chip, which I'm always ready to try. I knew I was being healthy as I was eating handfuls at a time, which made them so much more enjoyable (they're gluten-free, kosher and vegan). Great with cheese, meat, or dipped in virtually any kind of sauce, the flavors go with just about anything, but are also delicious enough to be eaten by themselves.

Inspired by murukku, a traditional South Indian snack, their Chickpea Chips use the 

seasonings and ingredients that are always so popular among the flavors of South Asia. 
Maya Kaimal, owner of the self-named business, has received a Julia Child Cookbook Award, and as the driving force behind these Indian-inspired products, Maya attemps to always faithfully translate the traditional home cooking of her Indian family for the modern American lifestyle.