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    THE NIBBLE’s Gourmet News & Views

    Trends, Products & Items Of Note In The World Of Specialty Foods

    This is the blog section of THE NIBBLE. Read all of our content on TheNibble.com,
    the online magazine about gourmet and specialty food.

Archive for November, 2007

REVIEW: Bar Harbor Seafood

If you start to salivate at the thought of a bowl of steaming hot clam chowder…then grow sad, wondering where you’re going to get that authentic vacation-in-Maine experience…we have the solution. Bar Harbor Seafood makes the real deal and cans it, so you can stock your shelves to get you through the winter in fine style. This is such hearty clam chowder, you can eat it as your main meal—no oyster crackers needed (but, feel free). The amazing thing is, this gourmet experience is just twice the price of a can of Progresso. Bar Harbor Seafood also cans lobster, clams and other seafood right out of the water (the boats pull up to the dock right in front of their cannery). The chowder is so good, you can give it as stocking stuffers—but make sure you don’t give it all away, or you’ll find yourself growing sad again. Read our full review. And, read more about our favorite favorite seafood products in the Seafood Section of the THE NIBBLE online magazine.   Clam Chowder
No oyster crackers needed with this delicious New England clam chowder.
 

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REVIEW: Kosher Gourmet Food Gifts For Chanukah

White Chocolate BrownieSomething different: a white chocolate chunk
brownie from The Exceptional Brownie.
  If you’re kosher or have friends who are, we’ve compiled our favorite kosher food gifts (delicious for anyone who likes fine food—kosher or not—these artisan foods just happen to have obtained kosher certification). This year’s selections have something for everyone. For sophisticates, take a look at Dagoba Chocolate tasting squares and flavored cacao nibs, Lucini extra-virgin olive oil and Savannah Bee Company rare artisan honeys. For kids and families, Cream-Nut peanut butter and peanut butter clusters (better than peanut butter cups), Divvies kettle corn, Enstrom’s peppermint bark, the Exceptional Brownie in eight flavors and Sweet Riot’s pocket-size cacao nib snacks. For corporate gifts—or just about anyone—Galaxy Desserts’ fancy individual desserts send the patissier to your gift recipient (figuratively, not literally), and Michael’s Cookies beautiful gift boxes. Read the full review. See all of our gift recommendations in THE NIBBLE online magazine.
 

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CONTEST: Beef Gourmet Giveaway ~ Only 3 Days Left!

Filet mignon lovers: Is it worth 5 minutes of your time for a chance to win four tender, six-ounce filet mignons? It’s $86.99 worth of meat—who wants to spring for that at the checkout counter? If your response is, “Show me the tenderloins,” then click on over to this week’s Gourmet Giveaway and answer four quickie trivia questions about beef. You don’t have to answer correctly to win—just take your best shot and give us your email (and name, too—we like to address the winner by personally, rather than “To Whom It May Concern”). Even if you don’t win, you’ll know much more about beef than when you started, because you get the answers to: Who/what is Kobe beef named after, the difference between grass-fed and grain-fed beef, the top quality beef in America and where to purchase it.   Filet mignon
Win me! Cook me! Eat me!
Tempted? Enter now. And the next time someone says, “Where’s the beef?” it may be on the way to your house! Learn more about the different cuts of beef in our Beef Glossary…and how to save on beef with the Best Value Steak Cuts. Moo hoo!

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TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Cocoa Puro Kakawa Cocoa Beans

Kakawa Cocoa Beans
Five types of chocolate in one fascinating bite.
  We thought of Cocoa Puro’s Kakawa Cocoa Beans as a gourmet gift for a connoisseur—until everybody at THE NIBBLE offices started to dig in, and wanted more. This is a unique product, a chocolate-covered cacao bean (not the nibs, which are the “seeds” of the bean). The finest beans are roasted until crunchy, like coffee beans; then they are enrobed it all three types of chocolate (white, milk and dark). Finally, the tri-chocolate-covered bean is rolled in cocoa powder to create a five-in-one chocolate experience—all of the manifestations of cacao in one bite. Each stage of production is a hand process: It takes a lot of artisan work and the most minute attention to detail to create these beans. Kakawa is the Olmec word for cacao; the Olmecs were the first people to cultivate the plant. Read more about Kawkawa Cocoa Beans, and why you might want to treat yourself to some of these beauties as a holiday gift. They’re wonderful with after-dinner coffee.
 

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REVIEW: Best Chocolate Holiday Gifts

When you taste as many different chocolate and candy products a year as we do (500? 1000?), certain products stand out. Some of them get written up as full reviews in our Chocolate Section, some of them end up on our Best Chocolate Gifts list and some are in both places! This year’s gift list isn’t your typical selection of quality chocolates. We have artisan bonbons from organic and Fair Trade ingredients, chocolate-covered cacao beans (not nibs—the whole bean), the best peppermint bark we’ve ever had, jumbo slabs made of different types of chocolate and garnishes, our favorite chocolate-covered figs, chocolate sushi and more. Each item is truly special, and deserves to be part of a grand chocolate buffet. We’ll be showing other chocolate items in our Best Kids’ Gifts and Kosher Gifts lists (including great PB cups and PB turtles). But for now, take a look at the Best Chocolate Gifts. You can see the chocolate gifts from previous years in our main Gift Recommendations page of THE NIBBLE online magazine.   Poco Dolce Sea Salt Tablets
Poco Dolce Mint Toffee Sea Salt Tiles rock the chocolate casbah.
 

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NEWS: The Worst Food In America

Burger

A turkey burger buys you nothing over a regular burger at Ruby Tuesday’s (shown). In fact, the turkey burger has 1,145 calories.
  Men’s Health Magazine has come up with a list of the 20 worst foods on American menus, based on calorie and fat count. Most of these individual items have as many calories as the average woman should eat in a day. It’s a shocker—900 calories for a smoothies, 2,000 for a chicken entrée, 2,900 calories for cheese fries! As reported by WTLX.com, the website of a Texas television station, they are, in no specific order:
- Worst fast food chicken: Chicken Selects Premium Breast Strips from McDonald’s (5 pieces) with creamy ranch sauce (830 calories)
- Worst drink: Jamba Juice Chocolate Moo’d Power Smoothie (30 fl oz, 900 calories)
- Worst supermarket meal: Pepperidge Farm Roasted Chicken Pot Pie (whole pie, 1,020 calories)
- Worst “healthy” burger: Ruby Tuesday Bella Turkey Burger (1,145 calories)
- Worst Mexican entrée: Chipotle Mexican Grill Chicken Burrito (1,179 calories) (gosh, a chicken burrito sounds like the healthy alternative)
- Worst kids meal: Macaroni Grill Double Macaroni ‘n’ Cheese (1,210 calories)
- Worst sandwich: Quiznos Classic Italian (large, 1,528 calories)
Worst salad: On the Border Grande Taco Salad with Taco Beef (1,450 calories)
Worst burger: Carl’s Jr. Double Six Dollar Burger (1,520 calories)
Worst steak: Lonestar 20 oz T-bone (1,540 calories, with baked potato and lettuce wedge, 2,700 calories)
Worst breakfast: Bob Evans Caramel Banana Pecan Cream Stacked and Stuffed Hotcakes (gosh, you don’t need to be an R.D. to figure out this one, at 1,540 calories)
Worst dessert: Chili’s Chocolate Chip Paradise Pie with Vanilla Ice Cream (1,600 calories)
Worst Chinese entrée: P.F. Chang’s Pork Lo Mein (1,820 calories)
Worst chicken entrée: Chili’s Honey Chipotle Crispers with Chipotle Sauce (2,040 calories)
Worst fish entrée: On the Border Dos XX Fish Tacos with Rice and Beans (2,100 calories)
Worst pizza: Uno Chicago Grill Chicago Classic Deep Dish Pizza (2,310 calories)
Worst pasta: Macaroni Grill Spaghetti and Meatballs with Meat Sauce (2,430 calories)
Worst nachos: On the Border Stacked Border Nachos (2,740 calories)
Worst starter: Chili’s Awesome Blossom (2,710 calories)
Worst food in America: Outback Steakhouse Aussie Cheese Fries with Ranch Dressing (2,900)
Read the whole, sad story here. For truly healthy foods, visit the Diet Nibbles and NutriNibbles Sections of THE NIBBLE online magazine.

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PRODUCT REVIEW: Best Luxury Holiday Gifts

Fresh Lobster
Your own lobsterman, your own lobster traps, your own lobsters flown down fresh from Maine. Your own pockets: deep! From CatchAPieceOfMaine.com.
  If you have deep pockets, you might want to take a look at some of these luxury holiday gifts. Not all are as pricey has having your own lobsterman catch fresh lobsters for you, but it’s nice to think big. Each year, THE NIBBLE online magazine presents the best gourmet food and specialty food gifts. This year we have 11 different gift lists: Book Gifts, Chocolate Gifts, Diet Gifts, General Food Gifts, Kitchen Gifts, Kids’ Gifts, Kosher Gifts, Liquor Gifts, Luxury Food Gifts, Organic & Green Gifts, Stocking Stuffers. Each day, we’ll present a different list here. They can all be found in the December issue of THE NIBBLE online magazine. So what else do we recommend for the luxury-minded? The Glenlivet Cellar Collection 1969, iGourmet’s Cheese Of The Month Club, The Little Pearl Caviar Club, the Nespresso Latissima Espresso & Cappuccino Machine, Pierre Marcolini White Truffle Chocolates, a tea-lover’s trip to San Francisco and Vosges Chocolat Sensory Collection, an opportunity to both study and enjoy serious chocolate. If you have really deep pockets, get one of everything!
 

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PRODUCT REVIEW: Seasonal Beers Rule

Got beer? According to THE NIBBLE’s beer expert, Ryan Smith, the three beers you should be cozying up to right now are Goose Island Nut Brown Ale from Chicago, Ayinger Ur-Weisse from Bavaria and Sierra Nevada Harvest Fresh Hop Ale from California. Read the full article, including why you should change your beer with the seasons, just as you eat seasonally, in this informative and thirst-inspiring article in the Beer Section of THE NIBBLE online magazine. Even if you don’t live in an area where the seasons change much, you should still change your beers, because brewers take advantage of seasonal ingredients just like chefs.   Sierra Nevada Harvest Fresh Hop Ale, Ayinger Ur-Weisse
Our beer expert thinks you should beg, cajole, even take a trip to the California brewery for some of this amazing ale.
 

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ON OUR RADAR: Interesting Nibbles

Chocolatier
Build your chocolate empire (well, it’s only a game).
  Serious Eats reports on Chocolatier: The Game! The company that makes the game, PlayFirst, also makes DinnerDash.com (check out other players’ personalized dinners and waiters) and Ice-Cream Tycoon (own and operate your own ice cream business and become the hottest mogul in ice cream). If you have friends friends who have always wanted to be in the food biz, this might be the holiday gift to start them off.
 

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NEWS: Better Test For Antioxidants

The Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry reports a better test for measuring the antioxidant value of foods. The CAA (cellular antioxidant activity) assay is a more biologically relevant method than the popular chemistry antioxidant activity assays because it accounts for some aspects of uptake, metabolism and location of antioxidant compounds within cells, according to the authors of the study. Antioxidant activity has been measured using a range of lab-based assays, including the ferric reducing ability of plasma (FRAP) assay, the oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) and Trolox equivalent antioxidant capacity (TEAC). A test of select phytochemicals, the researchers reported that quercetin (a flavonoid found in berries, broccoli and leafy green vegetables, capers, citrus, cranberry, red grapes and others) had the highest CAA value, followed by kaempferol (found in apples, cabbage, onions, leeks and spinach,), epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG, found in tea), myricetin (found in berries, fruits, grapes, vegetables and walnuts) and luteolin (found in basil, celery, parsley, peppermint, thyme, sweet peppers), respectively.   Berries
Get your antioxidants here.
The CAA centers on dichlorofluorescin, a probe trapped within cells that can be easily oxidized to produce fluorescence. The decrease in cellular fluorescence when compared to the control cells indicates the antioxidant capacity of the compounds. The popular ORAC is still a valuable test; the CAA shows how the compounds react with cells and are believed to be is a stronger measure of how antioxidant compounds could potentially react in the body. Read more about antioxidant foods in THE NIBBLE online magazine.

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