THE NIBBLE BLOG: Products, Recipes & Trends In Specialty Foods
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Archive for March, 2011

PRODUCT: BarTule Bar Tool Set

The Swiss Army Knife of bar tools.
Photo courtesy Bartule.


So you have a small apartment but like to entertain; or you enjoy a cocktail in the office at the end of a long day. Or you need to set up a bar area for your boat, patio or other outdoor venue. What should you do?

BarTule aims to tackle this challenge with its space-saving all-in-one bar set. Neatly nested are an ice bucket, a bottle opener, a corkscrew, a 4-ounce jigger,* a citrus juicer and an ice bucket lid that doubles as a coaster or salt-rimmer. There are no extraneous parts.

*That’s the size of a wine pour, and four times the size of a normal jigger.

After use, the pieces fit back in place. The manufacturers call it an “abstract sculpture,” but to us, it looks like what it is: a bar set.

Made from high-density polycarbonate and stainless steel, the Bartule is available in six colors—blue, clear, green, red, smoke and yellow. It’s $49.91 at And yes, it’s dishwasher safe.



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FOOD HOLIDAY: Chocolate-Covered Raisins Day

It’s National Chocolate Covered Raisins Day.

The best-known chocolate covered raisins in the world are Raisinets, made by Nestlé. Some fun Raisinet facts:

  • Raisinets are produced in Burlington, Wisconsin, with California raisins.
  • Nestlé didn’t invent Raisinets: They were created in 1927 by the Blumenthal Chocolate Company, which also made Goobers. The brand was acquired by Nestlé in 1984.
  • In 2010, nearly 20 million pounds of Raisinets were produced—that’s almost 30 million Raisinets per day and 8 billion per year. If you lined them up end-to-end, Raisinets would stretch around the earth about three and a half times.
  • It took almost seven million pounds of raisins and more than 10 million pounds of chocolate to produce all those Raisinets.


    Celebrate the day with Raisinets. Photo
    by Jerry Deutsch | THE NIBBLE.

    To celebrate National Chocolate Covered Raisins Day, Nestlé has launched the Star Struck Sweepstakes: Upload a photo of you with Raisinets, and you could win your choice of a trip for two to Hollywood or New York City, plus $2,500. The contest continues through June 21, 2011.

    Final factoid: There’s a town in America called Raisin City, located in the heart of California’s San Joaquin Valley. Home to nearly 5,000 raisin growers, it’s where 99.5% of U.S. raisins are produced—including those that become Raisinets.

  • Find our favorite old-fashioned candies.

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Sustainable Seafood

    Atlantic Cod is endangered. Switch to Pacific
    cod. Photo courtesy McCormick. Get a
    recipe for beer battered cod.


    You may see plenty of fish in the market or on restaurant menus, but the world’s population of wild seafood is threatened with extinction. Over-fishing and lack of fishing regulation have depleted numerous varieties of fish, including most types of tuna.

    Ubiquitous fish farming may be the solution of the future. But for the present, shrimp and salmon, the two leading farmed seafood species, are often farmed in an unsustainable manner, polluting the environment.

    The Monterey Bay Seafood Watch, sponsored by California’s Monterey Bay Aquarium, creates pocket seafood guides showing which fish are both sustainably harvested and low in toxins. Download a pocket guide that is customized for your region before you go shopping for fish or head to a restaurant. There’s also an iPhone app.


    The non-profit Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program is the most recognized and trusted resource for sustainable seafood recommendations. Seafood Watch recommendations are science-based, peer reviewed and use ecosystem-based criteria.

    The website also offers delicious and environmentally-friendly seafood recipes by some of the nation’s leading chefs. You can sign up for the recipe of the month as well.

    It’s easy to make sustainable choices that satisfy your taste buds and your conscience.


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    PRODUCT: Flavored Half & Half

    If you love flavored coffee, check out Organic Valley’s new flavored Half & Half pints for an instant treat. They turn plain coffee into hazelnut or vanilla coffee. A soy creamer is also available in vanilla varieties.

    Half & half, which is a combination of cream and whole milk, adds just the right amount of richness to a cup of joe.* The new flavors add the perfect amount of hazelnut or vanilla, as well.

    *Why is coffee called a cup of joe? The true story is lost to history, but here are the three top contenders.

    The only catch, for those of us who don’t add sugar to our coffee, is that the flavors are presweetened – with Fair Trade certified, unrefined organic cane sugar.

    Beyond coffee, we used the flavored half & halfs on our morning Cheerios and oatmeal. It’s a delicious touch, if not exactly contributing to a healthy, whole-grain breakfast.

    Organic Valley is a co-op of family farms that practice organic dairying. Their cows are antibiotic- and hormone-free; no pesticides are used in the pasture or to grow their feed. The line is certified kosher by OU.


    A rich splash of flavor for your coffee,
    in half & half plus soy creamer. Photo
    by River Soma| THE NIBBLE.



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    TIP OF THE DAY: Smarter Chips

    Popcorn “chips”: Pop Corners from Medora
    Foods. Photo by Katharine Pollak | THE


    Today is National Chip & Dip Day. Before you reach for the potato chips and onion dip, here are some suggestions for healthier chipping and dipping.

  • Tortilla chips. Pick whole-grain tortilla chips. Salsa, the dip of choice, is low-calorie and healthy.
  • Popcorn chips. Pop Corners presses popcorn–a whole grain–into chip shapes.
  • Popped potato chips. Popchips are a real find. They aren’t fried or baked – they’re popped. Delicious and nongreasy, they’re a keeper.
  • Kettle Brand Chips. If you want a conventional potato chip, we love the Kettle Krinkle-Cut chips. Thick and very crunchy, they don’t break when dipping.

    Just about everyone loves crunchy snacks. The right chip is crunchy and good for you.

  • Find more of our favorite snacks in our Gourmet Snacks Section.
  • The history of popcorn.
  • The history of tortilla chips.
  • The history of potato chips.


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