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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, 2009

FREEBIE: Free Starbucks Pastry Tomorrow


Mmmm–free donuts (and more).


On Tuesday, July 21, Starbucks is handing out free pastry, IF:

  • You purchase a handcrafted beverage (brewed, whether hot or iced)
  • Before 10:30 a.m.
  • At participating locations

  • Pastries included in the offer are: apple fritter, bagel, bread, cheese danish, coffeecake, croissant, doughnut, gluten free orange valencia cake, morning bun, muffins, pie, pound cake, roll, scone, tart and tropical paradise bar. Hey, someone calm down Homer Simpson—remember, you only get one free pasty per customer!

    Print your invitation.

    Or open this page in a mobile device and show your barista.

    The offer is valid between opening and 10:30 a.m. or until pastries are gone, whichever comes first. So, don’t wander in to Starbucks at 10:35 tomorrow morning looking to buy a pastry—there won’t be anything but crumbs left on those shelves!


    NEW PRODUCT: Adult-Flavored Lollipops

    Yearning for a lollipop, but saddled with a sophisticated palate? Katie Das understands. Maker of Das Caramelini fabulously flavored salt caramels (a NIBBLE Top Pick Of The Week), Katie has put her flavor skills to work on suckers. Now appearing at the end of a stick are:

  • Caramel Me Happy (Salty Caramel). Inspired by the magnificent Das Caramelini lavender salt caramel, this lollipop is made with caramelized cane sugar, real lavender extract and tiny crystals of Fleur de Sel sea salt. A sweet, salty and superb sucker.
  • Fab-O-Pom (Blood Orange & Pomegranate). A sweet and tangy fusion of real pomegranate extract and fragrant orange oil with tiny bits of orange zest.
  • Man Bait (Maple Syrup & Bacon). Yes, there are real, smoky bacon bits in this one, and the flavor is truly a smoky bacon lollipop, sweetened with maple syrup.


    The bacon lollipop, “Man Bait,” has real bits
    of bacon and is sweetened with real maple syrup.

  • Naughty Ginger (Ginger & Lemon). Sweet, tangy and spicy, bits of candied ginger are complemented by puckery lemon. One extra benefit: ginger can help soothe an upset stomach. Buy a bunch for your favorite mom-to-be!

  • And what better time to order a batch than today, National Lollipop Day? The lollys are available in single flavors or an assortment at

    The lollipops are all natural, made with fruit, herb and spice extracts, no corn syrup. Each .3-ounce lollipop is 30 calories and 50 cents.

  • More Lovely Lollipops: Try delicious organic lollipops for the kiddies, hard candies for the grownups. Read our review of organic lollipop pioneer Yummy Earth.
  • Comments

    COCKTAIL RECIPE: Celebrate Man’s First Walk On The Moon


    Today marks the 40th Anniversary of Neil Armstrong’s and Buzz Aldrin’s historic, 1969 walk on the Moon. The Apollo 11 mission was the first manned mission to land on the Moon. Commander Armstrong and Lunar Module Pilot Edwin Eugene “Buzz” Aldrin, Jr. became the first humans to walk on the Moon, while Command Module Pilot Michael Collins orbited above.

    When the astronauts returned to earth, they chowed down on real food (no more of those squeeze-meals-in-a-tube, thank you very much). Their first cocktail included Grand Marnier, in a libation created by Joe Gilmore, the head barman at the Savoy Hotel in London, to mark the first manned moon landing. It was dubbed the Moonwalk, a term made nationally famous in 1983 by Michael Jackson during his performance of “Billie Jean” on the televised Motown 25th Anniversary Special (broadcast May 16, 1983).

    Jackson did not originate the move; it was already being performed by street dancers and called the backslide. He renamed the backslide the moonwalk, although there was already a different step called the moonwalk. Dance as you drink—here’s the cocktail recipe:

    The Moonwalk
    – 1 part Grand Marnier
    – 1 part fresh grapefruit juice
    – 2 dashes Rosewater
    – Moët & Chandon (top with)

    – Shake ingredients well and strain into a wine glass.
    – Top up with Moët & Chandon Champagne.


    RECIPE: Southwest Tuna Salad


    Enjoy a south-of-the-border twist with fewer calories.

    Mexican food is wonderful in the summertime with an ice-cold cerveza or an oversized salt-rimmed Margarita. Who wouldn’t love some tacos smothered with cheese and guacamole, covered in sour cream?

    Well…maybe Mexican food isn’t that great an option in the summertime when you have a bathing suit to fit into. Worry not, beachgoers, we’ve got a healthy, delicious alternative to high-calorie, south-of-the-border-fare using Starkist Creations’ Sweet and Spicy Tuna. Try it out at your next fiesta. This is anything but your basic can of albacore.

    Southwest Tuna Salad

    – 1 (5-ounce) pouch StarKist Creations Sweet & Spicy Tuna
    – 1 (15-ounce) can black beans
    – 8-ounces low-fat ranch dressing
    – 6 ounces Cheddar cheese, shredded
    – 1 (10-ounce) package frozen whole kernel corn, thawed
    – 1 (16-ounce) jar salsa
    – 10 ounce lettuce, washed and torn

    Mix ingredients and serve on top of lettuce. Serves 6.

  • Also take a look at President Obama’s favorite (and sustainable) tuna salad recipe.
  • Try a healthy Mediterranean tuna salad recipe with dried cherries, feta and green beans.
  • Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Summer Sorbet

    If you eat a lot of ice cream, try moving to lighter sorbets for the summer. The pure flavors are more in keeping with the spirit of the summer, especially if you buy artisan flavors bursting with seasonal fresh fruit. Sorbet has fewer calories, and the absence of milk or cream makes it fat-free and cholesterol-free (although some products are milk sherbets, made with a bit of dairy—read the label). Plus, the pretty colors look jewel-like when served in a martini glass or wine goblet.


    NEW PRODUCT: Lindt Raisin & Nuts Chocolate Bar


    A tasty new snack for milk chocolate lovers.


    Remember Chunky, the trapezoidal chunk of milk chocolate packed with nuts and raisins? Nestlé still makes it, but it’s been improved upon by Lindt. The company has just released a Raisin & Nuts bar with hazelnuts and almonds, as part of its Classic Recipe line.

    The creamy Swiss milk chocolate, crunchy nuts and chewy raisins hit the spot. That the bar is made in a flat, scored 4.4-ounce size instead of one big chunk enabled us to enjoy it with our afternoon latte over a period of several days.

  • Read our review of the Lindt Excellence line, the company’s connoisseur chocolate bars.
  • See our article on the best milk chocolate bars.
  • Learn more about chocolate in our Chocolate Glossary.
  • Check out the history of chocolate.
  • Peruse the Chocolate Timeline—chocolate through the centuries.
  • Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Sculpted Fruit

    Fruits don’t have to be exotic to seem like a special dessert. While a dish of star fruit, mango and papaya may be a treat, so is an architectural sculpture of everyday fruits. A glass dish of melon balls rimmed with vertical quarters of strawberries and dotted with a few berries is a treat for the eyes and the palate. Wine goblets are also a great showcase for fruit salads. You can sprinkle the plain fruit with a few drops of liqueur or top with some sorbet or fruit curd.


    TIP OF THE DAY: Bargain Caviar

    It’s Caviar Day, but don’t worry—you can celebrate without taking out a second mortgage. Pressed caviar is made from the ripest beluga, osetra and sevruga eggs that were broken or otherwise damaged in handling. The eggs are pressed together until they become like a spread, and are sold for substantially less money than regular caviar. Because three pounds of eggs are made into one pound of pressed caviar, it is much oilier, saltier and more pungent than whole caviar eggs; but many people find it a good substitute for a pricier caviar fix. A bit of crème fraîche can diffuse the saltiness. Try some on toasted brioche, and see if you agree. Pressed caviar also works well in canapés (we like it with slices of foie gras terrine).


    Gourmet Getaway: American Wine & Food Festival ~ Los Angeles

    During the weekend of October 2nd-4th, the 27th American Wine & Food Festival is serving up a world-class culinary celebration, benefiting Los Angeles Chapters of Meals On Wheels.

  • The weekend kicks off at 7 p.m. on Friday, October 2nd, with an intimate party where philanthropists and foodies mingle over chic eats and innovative libations.
  • On Saturday, October 3rd from 5-11 p.m., there’s a Wolfgang Puck VIP Cooking Demo, followed by a gala on the Universal Studios Back Lot: an unrivaled epicurean feast prepared by world-renowned chefs, with live bands and a luxurious silent auction.
  • On Sunday October 4th, at 6 p.m., there’s a Chef’s Grand Tasting and live auction at Spago Beverly Hills. Celebrity chefs Thomas Keller of Bouchon, Dean Fearing of Fearing’s at The Ritz-Carlton in Dallas, Jereme Leung of Jereme Leung Creative Concepts, Nobu Matsuhisa of Matsuhisa & Ubon and Gina DePalma of Ristorante Babbo will each prepare one course.


    The Saturday evening event at the Universal Studios Back Lot.

    According to a colleague who attends each year, even for $350 a ticket, the Saturday night event is one of the best foodie deals you can find: more than 50 of the best chefs in America personally serving their favorite dishes as top wineries pour fine wines, all in the fabulous ambiance of the Universal Studios back lot. You can read the full list of marquee names on the website, but a sampling of participating chefs includes Tom Colicchio, Larry Forgione, Ilan Hall, Thomas Keller, Nobu Matsushisa, Mark Miller, Mark Peel, Stephen Pyles, Lidya Shire, Joachim Splichal, Jonathan Waxman, Alan Wong and Sherry Yard. For information and tickets, visit


    GOURMET GETAWAY: WhiskyFest, San Francisco


    Whisky “on the rocks.” Photo courtesy of Tullamore Dew.


    Where can you find more than 200 of the world’s rarest and most expensive whiskies in one place? At America’s largest whisky celebration, WhiskyFest, taking place for its third year in San Francisco on October 16th. Attendees can not only sample the revered spirit, but can learn how to identify, sniff, swill and taste it, see how its made, and discover everything else about whisky, through speakers and seminars and from leading industry experts, master blenders and distillery managers.

    “It gives whisky enthusiasts the chance to taste some incredibly rare whiskies and meet the makers behind the barrels,” says John Hansell, Publisher of Malt Advocate magazine, which sponsors the event. The whisky celebration doesn’t start with the festival; the week leading up to it will feature events related to the spirit and promotions at popular nightspots, restaurants and bars.

    For more information on ticket sales or event information, visit

  • Check out our Whisky Glossary.
  • Peruse a selection of delicious whisky cocktail recipes.

  • You may notice the different spelling of “whisky” versus “whiskey.” In Ireland and the United States, the word “whiskey” is spelled with an “e.” The British, Scots and Canadians use “whisky.” Etymologists don’t know why. The best explanation is that the Irish had whiskey first, and when the Scots started to make it, they left out the “e” to point out the difference between their spirit and Irish whiskey.


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