THE NIBBLE BLOG: Products, Recipes & Trends In Specialty Foods
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Archive for June, 2008

TOP PICK: Geoff & Drew’s Brownies

Often, people as, us to recommend brownies. We always ask about the recipient and the occasion. Some companies sell brownies in very nice packaging that are too sweet for the sophisticated palate. We’d send them to a kid, but not to a fine food enthusiast. Others, like the brownies made with Dagoba organic chocolate by artisan chocolatier Chokola’j, are very fine, indeed. But they are too elegant to snarf down at a picnic or barbecue, and too delicate for grab-and-go.

Enter Geoff & Drew’s. There are three flavors, each a variation on the same moist, fudgy brownie. Chocolate Chip is the most classic, Toffee has a subtle caramel topping and Mint will blow your socks off with a large chocolate peppermint pattie embedded in the top—a simple but brilliant idea and our favorite idea to borrow thus far this year. The caveat emptor on these brownies is that they melt in your mouth so easily that one brownie seems like only half a portion. To compensate, we drink an extra tall glass of milk with each. The brownies are individually shrink-wrapped for shelf life as well as easy grab-and-go. Take a closer look in the full review on TheNibble.com. Caution: Photos may cause drooling.

 

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Gourmet Macaroni And Cheese Recipes

  Last year, we published an incredible collection of award-winning macaroni and cheese recipes from Tillamook’s annual competition. We’re thrilled to present this year’s winners. If you have a recipe that’s a national contender, check with Tillamook Cheese for the 2008-2009 competition rules; the deadline for recipe submissions is July 28, 2008. In the meantime, try one of these delicious recipes from this year’s winners, located on TheNibble.com:

-Autumn Comfort Mac with butternut squash, pancetta and cavatappi

-Jumbo Shell Pasta with white cheddar & chicken macaroni

-King Crab Mac & Cheese

-Mi Casa Chicken Pasta

-Pacific Northwest Macaroni & Cheese

-Shrimp Embrochette

 

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PRODUCT REVIEW: Old Goat Fruit Salsa, Tomato Jam & Rum Raisin Sauce

Like sweet fruit salsa? Like adorable pygmy goats? Here’s the salsa for you. The line has four mascots: pygmy goat triplets and their canine “brother.” Together, they dish out nice, sweet-and-spicy salsas and an outstanding rum raisin sauce for ham, dessert or whatever you can find an excuse to put it on.

The Szareks have a greenhouse in Clinton, New York, where they grow tomatoes and herbs. Some of their produce goes into their own line, under the Old Goat label. Today, three pygmy goat triplets—Spike, Vinca and Violet—are the honorees. Each goat has a salsa named after it, based on, according to the Szareks, their personalities (Vinca being very sweet, Violet a moderate and Spike, well, hot and ornery).

There’s also a Pembroke Welsh Corgi, Baylee, the official “goat herder.” He gets the best deal of all: Our favorite product is named after him! More about that in a moment.

 

 
The Szareks grow their tomatoes and herbs in a greenhouse, without the use of pesticides. Their products, with their sweet labels, will be popular with food lovers and animal lovers alike. Read the full review on TheNibble.com.

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PRODUCT REVIEW: Old Chatham Sheep’s Milk Yogurt

  People who love fine cow’s milk yogurt may become instant fans of sheep’s milk yogurt—smoother, richer and creamier. Old Chatham Sheepherding Company, producers of acclaimed sheep’s milk cheeses, makes an excellent sheep’s milk yogurt that is more nutritious and healthy than cow’s milk yogurt. The 100% natural line (no artificial thickeners, stabilizers, colors, etc.) also contains probiotic cultures. You also can cook with sheep’s milk yogurt: It does not break down at high temperatures like cow’s milk yogurt.

Sheep were the first animals to be domesticated as mankind transitioned from nomadic hunters to sedentary farmers. Eventually, man discovered how to transform milk into yogurt and cheese. While sheep and goats provided milk and cheese* to ancient civilizations and are still the staple dairy animals in many areas of the world, cows have replaced sheep in countries that have grazing land for them, because of their higher yield: A sheep can give just one quart of milk per day (a high-producing breed, 1.5 quarts); a goat, 3 quarts; a cow, 14 quarts. The lower yield is also why goat’s and sheep’s milk products are usually more expensive than their cow’s milk counterparts.

*Some well-known sheep’s milk cheeses include Feta, Manchego, Ossau-Iraty, Pecorino Romano and Roquefort.

Old Chatham Sheepherding Company has been delighting specialty food consumers for 15 years with its farmstead sheep cheeses—farmstead meaning that the products are made from the milk of the farm’s own animals. Starting with 150 ewes in 1993, the company now has more than 1,000 East Friesian purebred and crossbred sheep, and is the largest sheep dairy farm in the U.S. The fields and pastures are organically managed; while the company has not pursued organic certification, no hormones, routine antibiotics, herbicides or pesticides are used. Read the full review on TheNibble.com.

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PRODUCT REVIEW: Arico Cassava Chips

Love chips, but want less fat and more fiber…and maybe something a little more “gourmet” than the familiar old fried potato slice? All-natural Arico Cassava Chips, in Original plus Barbecue Bliss, Ginger On Fire and Sea Salt Mist, belong on your plate. We love the elegant flavor profiles of these chips, which are sophisticated enough to be served with dinner. The healthier profile is a bonus.

Although it is rarely seen in North America outside of Latin American markets and restaurants, cassava—also spelled casava, and also known as manioc and yuca—is a staple of nearly 500 million people worldwide. The root of a woody shrub native to the Amazon basin, cassava is the third largest source of carbohydrate food in the world.* It is a popular replacement for potatoes in the countries where it is grown, a resilient root and grows well in arid or drought-ridden soils.

*Claude Fauquet and Denis Fargette, (1990) “African Cassava Mosaic Virus: Etiology, Epidemiology, and Control,” Plant Disease, Vol. 74(6): 404-11.

 
Thousands of years ago, the subtropical plant was carried from the Amazon basin throughout Latin America and, through long boat journeys, to Africa and Asia. (Arico purchases its cassava roots from farmers on the island of Java, in the South Pacific.) Today, travelers can enjoy cassava in purées (liked mashed potatoes), fried, made into dumplings, added to soups and stews, in bread, pies and puddings, Tapioca is made from cassava root flour.

Now, you can take a bite of this ancient food—a crunchy bite. Arico Natural Foods has brought gluten-free Cassava Chips to America. In four flavors, with 30% to 40% less fat (depending on the flavor) and twice as much dietary fiber as potato chips, these all-natural chips are a healthier alternative,** as well as an exotic new addition to the snack and garnish repertoire. They add a fresh, new taste to crunchy foods. The thin, yellowy disks with their brown edges add a graceful design to the plate as well. Read the full review at TheNibble.com.

**They have 150 calories per ounce.

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