THE NIBBLE BLOG: Products, Recipes & Trends In Specialty Foods
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Archive for 2012

GIFT: Angie’s Holiday Chocolate Drizzle & Peppermint Popcorn

Angie’s Popcorn serves up all natural popcorn year-round, in Lightly Sweet, Salted Caramel, Sea Salt, Sweet & Salty, Sweet & Spicy and White Cheddar.

But the special holiday popcorns are the our favorites: Dark Chocolatier Sea Salt Holidrizzle Kettle Corn and White Chocolatier Holidrizzle Kettle Corn.

We like both the chocolate and peppermint popcorn so much, that we’re stocking up for the next few months:

  • 6-ounce bag, $4.99
  • 6-pack, $26.94 (saves $3.00)
  • 12-pack, $50.88 (saves $9.00)
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    Plain popcorn is just 35 calories per cup; the chocolate and peppermint popcorns are 135 to 150 calories, but worth it! And, if you need a sugary snack, popcorn is a whole grain.

    Check the store locator for the retailer nearest you, or head to AngiesPopcorn.com.

    WHAT’S A CHOCOLATIER?

     

    Two delicious flavors of kettle corn for treats or gifting. Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

     

    Pronounced show-coe-lah-tee-YAY, chocolatier is French for either a chocolate shop or the person who makes the chocolate.

    Find more chocolate terminology in our delicious Chocolate Glossary.
     
    Find more of our favorite snacks in our Gourmet Snacks Section.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Easy, Delicious Goat Cheese Appetizer

    It couldn’t be easier: drizzle the cheese with
    honey and sprinkle the almonds. Photo
    courtesy VermontCreamery.com.

     

    We adore mild, creamy goat cheese with its subtle tang. We’re always looking for an excuse to eat it.

    So how about this couldn’t-be-easier hors d’oeuvre or appetizer for entertaining? Simply:

  • PURCHASE a pyramid, log or other shape of fresh goat cheese, a bag of slivered almonds and some fancy crackers or a baguette.
  • PLACE the cheese on a serving plate, drizzle with honey, then sprinkle with almonds. Alternatively, you can roll a log or other shape in the almonds before drizzling the honey. You can substitute other nuts, but you’ll need to chop them finely.
  • SERVE with crackers or baguette slices or toasts. It’s equally delicious with wine, cocktails or beer.
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    What’s your favorite easy hors d’oeuvre? Let us know!

    Learn all about goat cheese and our other favorite cheeses in our Gourmet Cheese Section.

     

      

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    FOOD HOLIDAY: National Hard Candy Day

    December 19th is National Hard Candy Day.

    We’ve all had hard candy of some type: butterscotch, horehound drops, lemon drops, lollipops, mints, root beer barrels, sour balls and fruit flavors galore.

    Hard candy begins by boiling sugar and water, then adding flavors and colors. As the syrup boils, water evaporates and the sugar concentration increases.

    Who invented hard candy?

    HARD CANDY HISTORY

    Cave men ate honey from bee hives. Ancient Arabs, Chinese and Egyptians rolled fruits and nuts in honey. That was it for many centuries.

     

    Head to the supermarket or candy store and pick up some hard candies. Photo courtesy QCandy.com.

     

    In the Middle Ages, merchants brought sugar back from the Indian subcontinent, where sugar cane originated. But it was very costly. Whether for tea, baked goods or confections, sugar was a treat for the wealthy. Honey was the sweetener available to those of lesser means.

    By the 17th century there were many more sugar mills, and sugar became more affordable to the middle class. Confectioners began to express their creativity, resulting in the large selection of hard candy we have today.

    With the Industrial Revolution (1750 to 1850), candy-making developed into an industry and hard candies became accessible to everyone. Hard candy on a stick followed: The word “lollipop” (originally spelled lollypop) first appeared in print in 1784.

    Here’s more about the manufacture of hard candy. Read it as you enjoy a piece.

    Pick up a bag or two at the supermarket, or head to the candy store to customize a nostalgic selection.
     
    Find our favorite candies in THE NIBBLE’s Gourmet Candy Section.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Maple Sea Salt Butter

    Vermont Creamery’s exceptional cultured sea salt butter has a maple accent for the holidays. Photo courtesy Vermont Creamery.

     

    One of America’s great producers of artisan butters, Vermont Butter & Cheese Creamery, has introduced two new products for holiday season:

  • Cultured Butter with Maple & Sea Salt
  • Crème Fraîche with Bourbon Madagascar Vanilla
     
    Both products, available exclusively at Whole Foods Markets, add delicious seasonal accents.

    The Cultured Butter with Maple & Sea Salt combines top-quality Vermont cream with pure Vermont maple sugar and sea salt crystals.

    The contrast of salty crunch with the sweetness of the maple is delicious on pancakes and waffles, stirred into hot oatmeal, baked into cookies, melted over roasted squash or other veggies, potatoes and rice, or simply spread over a warm piece of crusty bread or toast. The combination of sweet and savory is a hit.

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    Crème Fraîche with Bourbon Madagascar Vanilla combines the flavor of pure vanilla with tart crème fraîche. The result is a subtly sweet, rich and nutty taste well suited to topping tarts and pies, mixing into brownies, warming as a sauce, or as a base for crème brûlée.

    MAKE BOTH AT HOME

    If you can’t find the products, you can make your own.

  • For maple butter, soften top-quality unsalted butter and add maple sugar to taste. Then stir in a pinch or two of sea salt.
  • For crème fraîche, stir vanilla sugar into regular crème fraîche.
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    GIFT: Water Bottles With A Twist

    You can “zing anything” in your water bottle with Aqua Zinger and Citrus Zinger, new concepts that should have great appeal for lovers of flavored water.

    The two new water bottles (actually thermos bottles that keep your drink cool as well) make naturally-infused flavored water, full of vitamins and other nutrients plus antioxidants. Commercially flavored waters use extracts.

    The double wall stainless steel thermos bottles keep your drink and ingredients insulated. A wide-mouth top allows for the easy addition of ice cubes. As a thermos, the products can be used to carry hot beverages as well.

    Both create a convenient new way to enjoy drinking water, adding your favorite flavors to satisfy your palate.

     

    The Aqua Zinger infuses flavor from fresh fruit and/or herbs into your water bottle. Photo courtesy Brookstone.

     

    AQUA ZINGER

    First, the Aqua Zinger: a water bottle that naturally infuses still or carbonated water with the juice and essence of fresh fruits and herbs: basil, blackberries, citrus, ginger, kiwi, mint, peach, raspberries, strawberries and other favorites.

    The fruits and herbs go into the bottom, screw-on base where grinder blades pulverize them and send the essences to infuse into the water. Mix and match and get creative: The flavors and ingredients are limited only by your imagination.

    Aqua Zinger Flavored Water Maker is $26.00 to $29.00 in stainless steel with aqua, lime green, hot pink or black accents; at Brookstone stores and Amazon.com.

     

    Citrus Zinger is a combination water bottle and citrus juicer. Photo courtesy Brookstone.

     

    CITRUS ZINGER

    When life gives you lemons, add them to the Citrus Zinger. Designed specifically for citrus fruits, Citrus Zinger juices clementines, lemons, limes and other citrus, and infuses the water with the juice. (Most oranges and grapefruits are too wide for the bottle-size juicer.)

    It’s the easiest way to extract citrus juice and infuse the flavor directly into your water bottle, enriching your water with vitamin C and flavonoids (citrus antioxidants).

    Citrus Zinger is available in aqua, lime green and orange for $20.

    MORE TO ZING

    The company also makes:

     

  • Vodka Zinger, a way for mixologists to infuse flavor into vodka or other spirits
  • Salad Zinger, which infuses flavor (citrus, fruit, garlic, onion, spices) into olive oil or a vinaigrette (peach balsamic salad dressing is a snap!)
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    Learn more at ZingAnything.com.

      

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