THE NIBBLE BLOG: Products, Recipes & Trends In Specialty Foods
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Archive for January, 2009

PRODUCT: Pasteurized Shell Eggs

Safe Eggs There’s a new egg in town, and he’s wiping out salmonella. Now, you can crack an egg into your steak tartare, Caesar salad or egg nog without fear, and eat all the cookie dough you want.

The newest type of egg is the pasteurized shell egg. A regular hen’s egg is pasteurized in the shell without cooking the egg, eliminating the potential danger of egg-borne illness caused by salmonella bacteria. Dishes that use raw eggs can be enjoyed without risk; those who enjoy licking the spatula full of brownie batter can do so; and people with illnesses who avoid foods with possible contaminants can enjoy eggs to their hearts’ delight. Many hospitals and nursing homes are already using the products, which are just making their way to retailers. If you want them, make your voice heard at your local supermarket. The “P” stamped on the egg signifies that it is pasteurized. Learn more at

Read about the different types of eggs in our Egg Glossary. You won’t believe how many different types there are!

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GOURMET NEWS: Tampa Beats Seattle As Most Caffeinated City

The second annual HealthSaver Caffeinated Cities Survey is out, and the winner is Tampa, followed by Seattle, Chicago, New York and Los Angeles. The least caffeinated cities are Riverside/San Bernardino, followed closely by Atlanta, San Diego, Minneapolis/St. Paul and Dallas. The survey considered numerous caffeine sources, including coffee, tea, sodas, energy drinks, chocolate, pain relievers and caffeine pills.

Nearly one-half (49%) of all respondents nationwide said they drink caffeinated coffee every day, while cola and tea tied with a 20% daily consumption rate. Sweets containing chocolate ranked fourth among caffeine products, with a 13% daily consumption.

Once considered bad for your health and likely to stunt the growth of children, the health benefits of caffeine in moderation have been well-documented in recent years. Coffee and tea, in particular, have emerged as good health food sources that can lower the risk of diabetes, heart disease, Parkinson’s disease, colon cancer, and cirrhosis of the liver, as well as lift your mood, treat headaches and even lower risk of cavities. Caffeine also enhances athleticism, endurance and performance, according to health care experts.

Read the full results of the survey.

– Learn about the different types of coffee in our Coffee Glossary.

– How many different types of espresso drinks can you name in our Espresso Glossary?

– Take our Coffee Quiz.

– Take our Espresso Quiz.

Shop Gevalia Today!

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PRODUCT: Russ & Frank’s BBQ Sauce

Russ And Frank's BBQ Sauce

Russ & Frank’s BBQ Sauce.

Anyone in America with an internet connection can have a blog. And anyone in America who can find a co-packer can have a barbecue sauce…or a salad dressing…or a jam. A co-packer is a manufacturer that will make your recipe to your specifications and put your label on it. It’s up to you to find the customers. To everyone with that favorite recipe who has heard the words, “Hey, this stuff is great, you ought to sell it…” there are those with the fortitude to find the co-packer, get their label on the jar and set up shop, full time or as a side job. Many think they’ll become the next Famous Amos, with little brown bags of chocolate chip cookies bringing in millions. Or the next Stonewall Kitchen. Maybe their grandmother’s jams will even net them a contract on the Food Network.
But the truth is, more people will lose money—and lots of time—on these ventures than will have positive outcomes. At least they can say they tried. And for some, having been in the game is enough. Before you’re tempted to try it, go not to your local supermarket but to the Fancy Food Show in New York or San Francisco. Walk up and down the aisles and then ask yourself, does the marketplace need another product like mine? Why will retailers be interested in buying my product instead of the dozens of lines that are here…and the hundreds of others that aren’t here?

Russ and Frank are neighbors in Des Moines, Iowa with day jobs. Friends and neighbors told them that they should sell their barbecue sauce, made from all-natural ingredients. Most certainly, it is better than what is on the local supermarket shelves. So they refined their sauce and found their co-packer. They’re one of the lucky ones (or, as Samuel Goldwyn said, “The harder I work, the luckier I get”): They’ve racked up more than a dozen awards since their line of three sauces debuted in 2003, among them, 2nd Place in the 2008 Great American BBQ Contest in Kansas City. Even a 5th Place ribbon is no small feat, given the number of sauces the judges in any competition taste. One co-packer estimates that there are probably more than 170 co-packers that make barbecue sauce alone, each of them for many clients.

We like that Russ & Frank’s uses real tomatoes as a base—not ketchup or tomato paste like so many brands do. We like that they use molasses, not just sugar, brown sugar or corn syrup, to sweeten. (They use white sugar too, the third ingredient after water and tomatoes; Russ says they tried honey, but couldn’t get a consistent taste in each batch. So they defaulted to sugar to assure customers a consistent flavor.) But would we give them an award, based on all the barbecue sauces we taste each year? No. Too sweet. While we love honey-caramelized spare ribs, we don’t like to taste white sugar on our meat. Although there are complex flavors in the blend, with each bite we also got white sugar. We know that’s what America has gotten used to (along with the HFCS that cheaper brands use), and it makes us sad.

Otherwise, we liked the “Sassy” and “Fiery” flavors, as well as the packaging. Mild, which has one its share of awards, was simply too mild for us city gals. You can buy some for yourself at

And for the two guys who have come a long, long way from their backyward grills in Des Moines: Bravo! (McIlhenny Company)

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PRODUCT: Heart Shaped Goat Cheese For Valentine’s Day & Special Occasions

Getting ready for Valentine’s Day? Throwing a bridal shower? Planning to propose? Don’t hide the ring in a cream puff where your intended can break a tooth. Instead, insert it, standing up, into a Bourbon-chocolate heart-shaped goat cheese (chèvre).

Capriole Goat Cheese enables you to say “I love you” year-round with this loving assortment of three six-ounce goat cheese hearts:

– A 6-ounce fresh chèvre heart with pink
– A 6-ounce ripened chèvre heart
– A 6-ounce Bourbon-chocolate chèvre heart

The three cheeses are boxed in a wooden crate tied with a red ribbon, for $60; the hearts are $8.99-$12.99 individually. BYO Champagne and crackers. The assortment is available for immediate delivery during February. A two-week pre-order is required the rest of the year. At or telephone 1.812.923.9408.


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PRODUCT REVIEW: Michael Season Reduced Fat Cheese Puffs

Michael Season’s Cheddar Cheese Puffs (front)
and Chili Cheese Puffs (rear) offer real cheese
flavor with reduced fat.
Love chips, but want to cut back on the fat and the calories? Michael Season delivers a line of baked cheese snacks that have fewer calories, less fat, and taste even better than his regular line. They’re also wheat-free, gluten-free, certified kosher and all-natural—no preservatives, no hydrogenated oils, no MSG, and made with organic grains.

Michael Season heard the call to organic foods more than 20 years ago. He tried his hand at organic farming long before it was hot, because he wanted his family to be able to eat foods free of chemicals and additives. He developed one of the largest natural foods distributorships in the U.S., and then began to produce “better for you” snack foods—reduced fat and lowfat potato chips. They promise:

– All-natural ingredients
– No preservatives
– No artificial colorings or flavorings
– No GMOs (genetically modified ingredients)
– No MSG
– No hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils
– Kosher certification

We had the opportunity to taste the Season’s line of cheese puffs and cheese curls—the regular, “Ultimate,” line and the reduced fat, “Baked” line, which have half the fat (or more) of traditional puffs and curls—and are wheat-free and gluten-free to boot.

Whether digging into the Ultimate or Baked Line, these snacks are delicious. Where one bite of a major supermarket brand of cheese puff or curl tastes like artificial food, here, these all-natural snacks taste just like that: all natural. Light and crunchy, they’re made with real cheese, not an imitation cheese-flavored powder. That being said, you still end up with orange-powdered fingers. It must be part of the ritual.

Snack along with us as we review these noteworthy, cheesy, crunchy snacks. Read the full review on

The Popcorn Factory

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