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

PRODUCT: Dessert Hummus? Delightful!

America loves hummus, as can be seen by the proliferation of brands and flavors in the refrigerator case of almost every supermarket and deli. It’s nutritious, gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan.

But what about dessert hummus? Dessert from chickpeas? That breakthrough concept is now available, healthy and actually delicious! Flavors include:

  • Carmel Apple Dessert Hummus
  • Chocolate Mousse Dessert Hummus
  • Maple Walnut Dessert Hummus
  • Peanut Butter Dessert Hummus
  • Pumpkin Pie Dessert Hummus
  • Toasted Almond Dessert Hummus

Read our full review, including all the ways you can serve Dessert Hummus.

  • Stay tuned for our review of our favorite traditional hummus brands in the November issue of THE NIBBLE online magazine.
  • Find more of our favorite (and more traditional) desserts plus recipes in the Desserts Section of THE NIBBLE.

Serve a trio of Dessert Hummus flavors for
dessert. Above: Caramel Apple, Maple
Walnut and Pumpkin. Photo by Hannah
Kaminsky | THE NIBBLE.



GOURMET GIVEAWAY: National Geographic Terra Firma Coffee

In honor of National Fair Trade Month, this week’s Gourmet Giveaway prize is not only socially conscious, but also smooth and satisfying.

Six winners will enjoy Brazilian coffees from National Geographic’s Terra Firma coffee brand. All Terra Firma coffees are Fair Trade Certified™, which guarantees fair prices to farm families, environmental stewardship and investment in farming communities.

We know many people will love Terra Firma coffee (it was on our Father’s Day gift list in June). The single-origin, specialty-grade coffee is sourced from six of the world’s finest growing regions: Brazil, Ethiopia, Costa Rica, Colombia, Sumatra and Kenya. If you don’t win, you can purchase it on in light, medium and dark roast, ground or whole bean. The handsome bag makes it a nice gift, too.

  • To enter this Gourmet Giveaway, see THE NIBBLE’s Gourmet Coffee Section and click on the link at the bottom of the page. Enter your email address for the Gourmet Giveaway prize drawing by noon on Monday, November 2. Good luck!
  • Learn more about Fair Trade coffee.

It’s effortless to make the world a better place, simply by buying Fair Trade coffee.



TIP OF THE DAY: Oil Spritz

For ease in pan frying, put your cooking oil in an oil mister—you can find one in any housewares store. You’ll get a better flavor than with Pam, you won’t be using chemical propellant and you’ll use much less oil than by pouring it the pan from the bottle. We have four misters filled with different Salute Santé grapeseed oils: regular, garlic, lemon and hot chili, to variously impart flavors to our food (some days we like eggs with garlic, some days with lemon, some days with a jolt of chili). Grapeseed oil has one of the highest smoke points, 485°F, so fry away!

  • Learn more about grapeseed oil in our review of Salute Santé, a Top Pick Of The Week. Their unflavored grapeseed oil is certified kosher.



PRODUCT: Barefoot Contessa Sweet Treats


The Barefoot Contessa’s “French Bark,” called
a mendiant in French. Photo by Hannah
Kaminsky | THE NIBBLE.

Fans of Ina Garten and dark chocolate may wish to check out the Barefoot Contessa’s new line of sweet treats:

  • Chewy Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Caramels—very light on the salt for those who aren’t into salty, with distinct cocoa notes from the chocolate.
  • Dark Chocolate French Bark—creamy dark chocolate with a milkiness that even children would love (there’s milkfat in the recipe). The 6.5-ounce bar is topped with cashews, dried apricots and cherries, crystallized ginger and raisins. The French don’t use the word bark, but mendiant, which means beggar. See the origin of the term in our Chocolate Glossary.
  • Dark Chocolate Toffee With Almonds, very crunchy and made with butter, although if you like your toffee very buttery, this is not that style.

Find Barefoot Contessa products at Chocolate lovers are invited to take a look at more of our favorite:



TIP OF THE DAY: Storing Chocolate

Fine chocolate is far too sensitive to be stored in a refrigerator: It absorbs odors and reacts to changes in temperature. Moving from cold to warm and back again can cause chocolate to develop a grayish-white “bloom” on the surface (that’s the cocoa butter separating out from the chocolate). It still tastes fine, but it mars the appearance. Find a cool place to store chocolate (the ideal place for both temperature and humidity is a wine storage unit). The best advice is not to buy more filled chocolates or truffles than you’ll eat in a week; and if you’re given a large box, don’t hoard it, share it. The finest chocolates are made without preservatives and should be consumed within two weeks. They’ll still be edible in a month, but the fillings will have started to break down and won’t be as flavorful. Beyond that, the flavor does begin to decline. Plain chocolate bars with no filling or nuts can stay fresh for a year or more, wrapped well in foil and kept in the right “wine refrigerator” environment.



CONTEST: Aunt Jemima Pancakes Vacation

As the weather grows brisk, Aunt Jemima Frozen Pancakes invites you to photograph “Morning Moments” with your kids for the chance to win a family vacation to a warm location and digital cameras.

“We want this contest to highlight the importance of giving your children a warm breakfast even when you are on the run,” said Eric Hintz, Vice President of Marketing at Pinnacle Foods.

All you have to do is photograph a breakfast moment with your child/children and submit a picture along with a description in 100 words or less, of how you share a delicious, warm moment in the morning with them. We guessing that it helps if they’re eating Aunt Jemima Frozen Pancakes, available in Blueberry, Buttermilk, Homestyle, Low Fat Buttermilk, Whole Grain and Mini.

To enter:


Will your kid’s photo win a family vacation?

Log onto, or send your entry to: “Aunt Jemima Frozen Pancake Morning Moments” Contest, c/o BHG PR, 546 Valley Rd., Upper Montclair, New Jersey 07043. All entries must be received by December 31, 2009. No purchase is required to win. One grand prize winner will receive a warm getaway for a family of four (Approximate Retail Value: $5,000). Ten finalists will each receive a digital camera to continue capturing their family’s moments (Approximate Retail Value: $200 each).



PRODUCT: Gluten Free, Low Carb Pizza


Say “cheese!” Van Harden’s pizza is gluten-
free, which means few carbs as well. It
uses a cheese-based crust. Photo by
Hannah Kaminsky| THE NIBBLE.

From the crisp crust to the melted cheese, we love everything about pizza. But for carb counters and, more importantly, people with gluten allergies, that crust presents a problem. Millions of Americans can’t tolerate a protein in wheat, rye and barley—and, therefore, traditional pizza crust is verboten.

While it’s possible to buy gluten-free pizza crusts and make pizza from scratch, Van Harden offers a faster solution: frozen pizzas in three varieties with no bread crust whatsoever.

The crust is made from cheese, which gives the nearly 3 million Americans with Celiac disease, people with wheat allergies, everyone on the Atkins Diet and every carb counter a heat-and-eat way to enjoy pizza again.

Available in Cheese, Pepperoni or Sausage (our favorite, shown in the photo at left), you can order Van Harden’s Pizza online until national distribution broadens. (It’s currently available in Hy-Vee retail stores in seven Midwest states.)



TIP OF THE DAY: Deconstructed Dressing

You don’t need a traditional vinaigrette on a salad: Try a “deconstructed” dressing. A drizzle of fine olive oil or a squeeze of fresh lime juice with a few snipped chives is eye-openingly good. Many oils have personalities that can be enjoyed on their own, unblended with vinegar. We’ve been using grassy-flavored extra-virgin olive oils from Sicily and Australia made from the picual olive (they’re also great bread-dippers). And of course, brands of fine olive, grapeseed and avocado oils are available infused with flavors like basil, garlic, rosemary and chile for added flavor.

  • See THE NIBBLE’s Oils & Vinegars Section for more information about fine salad oils.
  • See our October 22 Tip Of The Day, “Flavor Boosters,” for links to our favorite flavored olive oils, grapeseed oils and macadamia nut oils.



SWEEPSTAKES: Win A Spa & Golf Trip To Ireland

McCann’s Irish Oatmeal wants one lucky winner to enjoy a glorious experience in the Emerald Isle. Enter for the chance to win McCann’s Irish Oatmeal Body & Soul Sweepstakes, a trip for two to the Heritage Golf and Spa Resort, a 5 Star resort in Killenard, County Laois, Ireland. Enjoy luxurious spa treatments and majestic golfing on a 72 par Championship course, set within the quaint village of Killenard, County Laois. The trip for two, valued at $7,400, is a week of relaxation to look forward to!

And everybody wins, because when you go to the website to enter the contest, you can download a $1.00 coupon good for any of McCann’s healthy and delicious oatmeal products—from the elegant metal canister of traditional steel-cut oats to 5-minute steel-cut oats, 3-minute rolled oats and instant oats. We’ll be reviewing the entire line in January, “Healthy Foods Month” at THE NIBBLE.

If you like collectibles, McCann’s has just introduced a very limited edition Cookie Jar and set of 4 “Oatmeal Mugs.” Only 1,000 have been produced, so if you’re a McCann, a McCann’s fan or a collectible enthusiast, run to get them before they sell out.


Give these delicious, crunchy-textured steel-cut oats to friends who have only known softer rolled oats as “oatmeal.”



TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Organic & Fair Trade Coffee


It’s effortless to save the world by drinking
organic, Fair Trade coffee. Photo by
Ermek | IST.

With coffee emporia nearly everywhere you look—cafés and shops that sell beans—you’d think that coffee was a hot growth category. Yet the annual growth rate of conventional coffee between 2000 and 2008 was just 1.5%. Organic coffee imports experienced a 29% annual average growth rate during the same period, and Fair Trade® coffee, 35%. Last year, the amount of organic coffee imported into the United States increased 12%, and Fair Trade coffee increased 30%, despite the worst economy in 70 years and the premium prices that both command.

You’d think this would be great news, but just 0.6% of the coffee sold in the major consuming countries is organic certified, and even less is Fair Trade certified.

In honor of National Fair Trade Month, we’ve reviewed some of our favorite organic and Fair Trade coffees. Agricultural products can be organic and Fair Trade, organic or Fair Trade (obviously, the vast majority of foods are neither). What do these terms mean? In brief:

  • Organic farming and products help the environment and mankind by refraining from use of chemical pesticides and by conserving the land for wildlife, by soil conservation and reforesting.
  • Fair Trade practices and products help the farmers by guaranteeing them fair payment for their crops. This enables them to provide education and medical care for their families, among other basic human needs.

Yet of the $18 billion spent on coffee in the U.S. last year, the tiniest fraction went to organic and Fair Trade coffee. You can make a difference while enjoying an excellent cup of java.

  • Discover delicious organic & Fair Trade coffee beans sourced and roasted by artisan roasters in the full review. (More than half of our coffees are certified kosher, too.)
  • Learn your coffee terms in our Coffee Glossary.
  • Where did coffee come from—and more importantly, how did it turn into the beverage we enjoy today? Read the history of coffee.
  • Trying to cut down on your daily coffee expenditures in this economy? Read our money-saving tips.



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