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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,
the online magazine about gourmet and specialty food.

Archive for July, 2008

PRODUCT REVIEW: Jennie & Vera’s Cookies

Something classic (jam sandwich cookie
with heart cutout), something
shaped and flavored cookie
sandwich), all delicious.
  Thank goodness for America’s artisan bakers. They provide us with such wonderful things for our own pleasure and to give as gifts. The mother-daughter team of Vera and Jennie produce lovely cookies, including some eye-openers we’ve never seen before. As an impressive gift, a memorable end to a dinner party or a treat for yourself, these ladies show you welcome old classics and exciting new concepts.

Vera Mirkovic and Jennie Näss are a mother-daughter team who, after pursuing their own business careers, joined forces in 2005 to create elegant cookies for people who appreciate European traditions and hand detailing that go into them. Handcrafted in suburban Chicago, the butter cookies, made with imagination and the finest ingredients, can be delivered anywhere.

These are not just any handmade butter cookies. Drawing on Vera’s Croatian background, some use only confectioner’s sugar and some a blend of confectioner’s and table sugars, creating a less sweet and softer profile that still delivers buttery goodness.

Nicely gift-boxed, the cookies make a special gift for people who recognize and appreciate something distinctively different. And of course, don’t hesitate to buy a few boxes as a treat for yourself. Read the full review on


PRODUCT REVIEW: Spava Fortified Coffee

It’s no news to most of us that coffee—that growth-stunting, tooth-staining, for-grown-ups-only beverage—has undergone a substantial image makeover of late. In recent years, studies have begun to emerge indicating a positive correlation between coffee consumption and good health. Some studies show that coffee is, on the whole, far more salutary than it is harmful; one USDA study shows that coffee has more antioxidants than blueberries! All of this comes as quite a relief to those who consume it by the gallon each day.Since 2006, Spava Coffee has been allowing coffee guzzlers to increase multifold the health and wellness benefits of their daily dose of Joe. Beyond being Certified Organic and Fair Trade (read: good for the buyers, the producers and the planet), the line is nutrient-fortified. Using a patent-pending technology, Spava infuses Fair Trade, 100% Arabica coffee beans with vitamins and herbal nutraceuticals that target specific health concerns. These enhancers are completely flavorless, allowing the drinker to enjoy the coffee’s nutty, woody aroma and characteristic bitterness without interference.  
Spava fortified coffees offer infusions of
chondroitin sulfate for speedy healing, ginkgo biloba for memory-strengthening,
or rosehips, vitamin C and echinacea for immunity.

The question is: How much coffee do you have to drink to get the benefits? The answer: a lot. That’s why we said it’s “good for guzzlers.” Here are some examples:

-A cup of Spava Clarity provides 20mg of ginkgo biloba and 25mg of white tea extract. One of the country’s most prominent neurologists, who specializes in memory, prescribes 120 mg of ginkgo twice a day for normal maintenance of clarity.

-Spava Flexibility contains 30mg of chondroitin sulfate, and 20mg of MSM. Anyone who is concerned with prophylaxis—much less healing and pain—is taking a minimum of 500mg of chondroitin sulfate daily, and similar amounts of glucosamine sulfate. So, this is a drop in the bucket.

-Spava Immunity has 25mg of rosehips per cup, which contain vitamin C, plus 35mg of echinacea; but anyone who takes vitamin C pills for immunity aims for 500mg a day.

However, little bits can add up, and for people who don’t like to swallow pills, 20mg or 30mg is better than nothing at all. While the coffee won’t pass muster with the coffee connoisseur klatsch, it tastes as good as what most people enjoy. And the attractive package is a nice idea. So, if all this makes it worth it to you to pay double the amount for a bag…tear one open and start brewing!

Read the full review of Spava Fortified Coffee and find more about organic, natural & wellness foods in the Nutrinibbles section of THE NIBBLE online magazine.


TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Mercer’s Wine Ice Cream

Our two favorite flavors of Mercer’s Wine
Ice Cream, Ala Port and Red Raspberry
Chardonnay, can be served at the most
elegant dinner party. Photography by
Saidi Granados
  Like ice cream? Like wine? Here’s something to make you glad you’re over 21: Mercer’s Wine Ice Cream. Made with 5% alcohol, you must be of age to enjoy—no, to wallow in—such ice cream happiness. July is National Ice Cream Month, and we’re in love with this wine ice cream.

We first discovered Mercer’s two years ago. This upstate New York dairy had a standout Port ice cream and three other flavors of wine ice cream that were a distant second. A lot of work has gone into making all four flavors medalists at THE NIBBLE Ice Cream Olympics, and two new flavors are about to join them.

All of the flavors are an ice cream and wine lover’s dream. In Ala Port, Cherry Merlot, Chocolate Cabernet, Peach White Zinfandel, Red Raspberry Chardonnay and Royal White Riesling, these seductive frozen dreams rock. As they soften in your dish, they evolve into an ice cream cocktail. No one we know is satisfied with just one serving, so here’s our advice: Don’t show restraint; order two of everything and call over your nearest and dearest to celebrate. Scoop up the details in the full review. And for a great line of wine sorbets, read our review of Wine Cellar Sorbets, another Top Pick Of The Week.



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