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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 TheNibble.com,
    the online magazine about gourmet and specialty food.

Archive for October, 2009

PRODUCT: New Siblings For Bacon Salt



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The Bacon Salt family. Photo by Hannah
Kaminsky | THE NIBBLE.

 

When Bacon Salt debuted two years ago, we loved the idea. While the founders looked at it as “bacon flavor everywhere,” we delighted in the idea of “kosher, vegetarian bacon flavoring for those who can’t have bacon.” But we never found the salt bacony enough. In full disclosure, except for a sprinkling of sea salt here and there, we’re not big salt users. So while we applaud the innovation, perhaps we’re just not the target market for this product.

But Bacon Salt has throngs of devotées, so when two new limited edition flavors were released (Cheddar and Jalapeño), we sat down with all five varieties. There were some hits as well as misses.

  • Bacon Salt: Op.cit., not bacony enough. On the other hand, we absolutely adore Baconnaise, the company’s bacon-flavored mayonnaise. It was a Top Pick of The Week recently.
  • Hickory Bacon Salt: Good hickory flavor as well as nice and salty (although the whole line is “low sodium”). Our runner-up favorite.
  • Peppered Bacon Salt: Very peppery. We like it as a seasoning, though it’s not exactly pepper bacon. Our third favorite.
  • Cheddar Bacon Salt: No discernable Cheddar flavor.
  • Jalapeño Bacon Salt: A light jalapeño burn, enjoyable without overwhelming the palate. Not exactly bacon salt, but a very nice jalapeño salt and our favorite seasoning.

  • See our Salt Glossary for the scoop on sea salts, seasoned salts and salts to salivate over.
  • Peruse our favorite seasonings in our Salt & Seasonings Section. (How alliterative is that?)

  • Comments

    GOURMET GIVEAWAY: Dove Peanut Butter Milk Chocolate + Bubble Chocolate



    Halloween is right around the corner, and all those ghosts, goblins and superheroes will be expecting you to hand out some special treats. So go out and buy a few bags of candy, as this week’s Gourmet Giveaway prizes are definitely too good to give away.

    Dove is offering one winner several bags of bite-sized candy in its newest flavor: Peanut Butter Milk Chocolate. These melt-in-your-mouth candies have just enough smooth chocolate to encase the creamy, peanut butter middle, and each individual piece also comes with an encouraging PROMISE message inside the wrapper, urging us to feel good about ourselves or expand our horizons. We loved it (see our blog post) and are lucky that fights didn’t break out at THE NIBBLE offices over how to divide the pieces.

    This week’s Gourmet Giveaway also features 5 bonus prizes of Bubble Chocolate for five additional winners. These “aerated” chocolate bars imported from Beylorus are popular in Europe, and now available in the U.S. It’s not what the name sounds like—pockets of bubbles bursting in the mouth—but it’s tasty like a crisped chocolate bar without the crisps—a very interesting technology. Available in Milk Chocolate and Dark Chocolate, both are delicious and high quality. The Dark Chocolate tastes a bit like devil’s food cake to us, and the milk was not sticky-sweet like most U.S. milks. Both flavors are bound to please.

     

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    If you love chocolate and peanut butter,
    rush out for Dove Peanut Butter Milk Chocolate. Photo by Hannah Kaminsky |
    THE NIBBLE.

  • To enter this Gourmet Giveaway, see THE NIBBLE’s Gourmet Chocolate 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, October 26. Good luck!

  • Comments (2)

    TIP OF THE DAY: Scooping Pumpkin


     

    The easiest way to scoop out a pumpkin is with an ice cream scoop. Whether you’re removing only the pulp and seeds or all the fruit, a large scoop makes the job go faster. If you’ll be turning the pumpkin into a Jack o’lantern, you can make the vegetal scent fragrant by sprinkling cinnamon, nutmeg or allspice inside. The lit candle will diffuse the scent, and you can refresh the spices each day when you light the wick. Try cinnamon today, nutmeg tomorrow, then cloves, then allspice.

  • Add more pumpkin fragrance to your Halloween with scented candles.


  • Comments

    HALLOWEEN: Best Gourmet Candy & Other Treats



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    Chocolate Bellboy Skull from Woodhouse
    Chocolate.

     

    Here’s what we want in our trick-or-treat bag:

    The Browniepops Halloween collection, chocolate-dipped sea salt caramel apples from Cocoa Dolce, pumpkin marshmallows from Pete’s Gourmet, burnt caramel Halloween bonbons from Recchiuti Confections, monster cookies from Rolling Pin Productions, the chocolate skeleton bride and groom from Sahagùn Chocolates, the chocolate-covered Halloween strawberries from Secret Spoon, Woodhouse Chocolate’s “bellboy” chocolate skulls and John & Kira’s fig pumpkins (see the post below).

    Are we gluttonous? No, just obsessed with the best—and we share generously!

  • Take a closer look at these Halloween treats.
  • See more of our favorite gourmet candy.

  • Comments

    PRODUCT: John & Kira’s Chocolate-Dipped Calabacita Figs



    We know it’s fall when we receive our John & Kira’s chocolate catalog with photos of their exquisite Calabacita Figs—a perennial NIBBLE favorite and Top Pick Of The Week. This is an exquisite gift for your favorite connoisseur. The bite-size, organic Spanish figs are filled with silky Valhrona chocolate ganache highlighted with a touch of whiskey, then hand-dipped in 58% cacao Valrhona and tucked into a reusable wood box for beautiful gift-giving.

    We use the word “perfect” a lot, but in our book, there’s nothing more perfect than serving these at the end of dinner with coffee or an after-dinner brandy or whiskey (try a smooth Irish whiskey like Jameson or Tullamore Dew). The only problem is our desire to eat the entire box; others may be able to restrain themselves by enjoying one at a time.

    Buy them at JohnAndKiras.com, 1.800.747.4808.

  • Read our review of John & Kira’s Calabacita Figs.
  •  

    Pumpkins-230

    White chocolate-covered figs are also
    available in dark chocolate. Photo courtesy of John & Kira’s.


    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Halloween Frosting


     

    If you’re thinking of baking a sweet [trick or] treat, here’s a trick to add that special Halloween touch: Make a cake or cupcakes with a spooky black frosting. It used to be that you had to create black frosting with blue food color, adding it to chocolate frosting drop by drop until the frosting turned black. But now, McCormick makes pure black food color to make life easier (and a boon for those who can’t have chocolate). Decorate the top of your baked treat with candy corn, or check candy shops for marzipan spiders, candy pumpkins and other holiday specialties.

  • Visit our Cookies, Cake & Pastry Section for recipes and more ideas.

  • Comments

    FOOD HOLIDAY: It’s National Chocolate Cupcake Day!



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    With 102 different flavors of stuffed cupcake,
    you’ll be able to celebrate National Chocolate
    Cupcake Day for many days to come. Photos
    courtesy of The Petite Café.

     

    Very few people we know would decline to celebrate National Chocolate Cupcake Day. So go out and buy a few or stay home and whip up a batch from your favorite recipe or mix.

  • For quickie chocolate cupcakes, we like Duncan Hines Devil’s Food Cake Mix. We substitute butter for the oil, add 1/2 cup sour cream for more density and richness and a cup of chocolate chips to the mix to be extra-devilish. Two dozen cupcakes come out of the oven in 18 to 21 minutes, ready for your favorite frosting.
  • Want to send yourself (or someone equally deserving) some special chocolate cupcakes as a gift? Try the stuffed chocolate cupcakes from The Petite Café in Nutley, New Jersey. How about Bananarama, a chocolate and banana cupcake stuffed with Banana cappuccino mousse and topped with banana whipped cream? Blackout, a dark chocolate cupcake stuffed with dark chocolate icing and topped with more dark chocolate icing plus dark chocolate cake crumbs? The Long and Winding Rocky Road, a dark chocolate pecan cupcake stuffed with marshmallow mousse and topped with chocolate icing garnished with marshmallows and pecans? There are 102 flavors—banana, butterscotch, caramel, chocolate, coconut, mango, orange, vanilla and enough other flavors to drive a cupcake lover onto Cupcake Cloud 9.
  • Allergic to gluten, peanuts, dairy and/or eggs? Buy Cherrybrook Kitchen’s chocolate cake mix or send ready-made yummy chocolate cupcakes that are dairy and egg-free (not gluten free) from Divvies (the chocolate cupcakes were so good, we made them a Top Pick Of The Week).
  • Want a “special project?” Make these “burger” cupcakes: The “bun” is made of a vanilla cupcake, the “burger” a chocolate cupcake.
  • If you want to celebrate National Chocolate Cupcake Day more than once a year, that’s OK with us.


    Comments

    PRODUCT: Yo Crunch 100-Calorie Snacks



    Need a sweet treat, like candy or ice cream, but healthier? Want to spend your budget of say, 100 calories? The new YoCrunch 100 Calorie Packs hit the spot, with just 10 or 15 calories from fat. Nonfat yogurt, a blend of sugar and erythritol (one of the sugar alcohols, a natural sweetener that replaces much of the sugar to reduce the calories without artificial flavor) unite to create this 100 calorie, 3.75-ounce treat. And there’s enough calorie budget let to add some famous YoCrunch mix-in. Flavors include:

  • Vanilla: Vanilla Nonfat Yogurt with Nestle Buncha Crunch Candies or Chocolate Chip Cookie Pieces
  • Cheesecake: Vanilla Nonfat Yogurt With Graham Cookie Pieces
  • Strawberry: Strawberry Nonfat Yogurt With Granola

  • YoCrunch 100 Calorie Packs are sold in six-packs. YoCrunch is certified kosher (dairy) by OU.

    Read our review of YoCrunch Naturals yogurt and visit our Yogurt Section for reviews of our favorite yogurts, recipes, our Yogurt Glossary and much more.

     

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    100 calories of pleasure. Photo by Hannah Kaminsky | THE NIBBLE.


    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Leftover Pasta

     

    We hope that you had a tasty National Pasta Day yesterday. If you were a little overzealous in your pasta preparation, any leftover, unsauced pasta can be turned into a pasta salad. Or, serve it as a side with a totally different sauce. Cold tortellini make a tasty hors d’oeuvre—provide toothpicks and a dip (we especially love pumpkin tortellini this way). Add “short cuts”—shaped pasta—to a green salad. If the pasta is already sauced, adding cubes of grilled chicken, pork, ham, seafood or vegetables turns it into a brand-new dish.

  • Visit our Pasta Section, with recipes, cooking tips and our Pasta Glossary, one of our most popular articles.


  • Comments

    GIFT: A Black Cat Crosses Your Path…With Candy



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    Halloween Cat Lollypop Box from See’s
    Candies. Photo by Hannah Kaminsky | THE
    NIBBLE.

     

    See’s Candies has created a special black cat to cross the path of lucky trick-or-treaters. This one is filled with butterscotch, chocolate and vanilla lollipops. Tasty enough to be enjoyed by hard candy lovers and their kids, they’re also certified kosher (dairy) by KSA (although it should be noted that strictly observant Jews don’t observe Halloween since it’s a pagan ritual.)

    The black cat box is a keeper, to be enjoyed as Halloween decoration for years to come. For $10.90, it’s a purr-fect gift for Halloween celebrants of all ages. Pick one up at your local See’s Candies or purchase online at Sees.com.

  • Find more of our favorite candy in THE NIBBLE’s Candy Section.

  • Comments

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