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Archive for November 12, 2016

GIFT OF THE DAY: Le Brownie, The Perfect Party Favor Or Stocking Stuffer

There are more than a few places in the U.S. named Pain d’Avignon, and many more worldwide.

Avignon is a town in southeastern France, on the Rhone River. It was the seat of the papacy from 1309 to 1378.

Its medieval Palais des Papes, cathedral, Pont d’Avignon (the historic bridge over the Rhone), and the entire ancient town enclosed in medieval ramparts have helped to make the town a major tourist destination. Avignon became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995.

The Festival d’Avignon, established in 1947 and held each July, is considered one of the world’s greatest festivals.

There’s also great local cuisine. “Quality restaurants are easy to find and good food is hard to miss,” says Naomi Bishop of Eat Your World.

Cultural background concluded, it’s now time to…


Pain d’Avignon means bread of Avignon, which is just part of the tasty cuisine. Like “Bistro de Paris,” it has become a popular name for French-style bakeries, cafés and restaurants.

Today’s focus is Pain D’Avignon in Hyannis, Massachusetts, a café-boulangerie (bakery-café), that began baking artisan bread in 1992. It expanded to pastries, and then to an entire café menu.

Alas, you can’t get the bread and pastries unless you live locally. But you can buy the biscotti, brownies, gourmet granola bars and raspberry shortbread on line—shrink-wrapped and waiting to be presented to your friends and family, as:

  • Party favors
  • Stocking stuffers
  • Anytime little gifts

But aren’t there good brownies in most places?

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Le Brownie Bite

Le Brownie and Le Brownie Bite, from Pain d’Avignon. Get lots!

We enjoyed everything we tasted, but we’re going to load up on Le Brownie.Le Brownie has three benefits:

  • Size. Le Brownie is a perfect size, 5″ x 1″, for when you just want a small treat. For an even smaller treat, Le Brownie Bite is one-third the size—truly a bite. They’re very good for portion control.
  • Price. We can’t find anything this good at this price where we live: $2.75 per Le Brownie, $2.00 per Le Brownie Bite.
  • Taste. They’re way better than “good”: They’re deeply chocolate and nut free (so everyone can enjoy them), a very satisfying brownie experience.


Head to and order lots!

You can never order too much: The brownies keep well in the freezer (and, we hesitate to admit, taste equally good frozen).


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TIP OF THE DAY: 12+ Unusual Pizza Toppings

Greek Pizza Toppings

Tuna & Capers Pizza

Kimchi Pork Belly Pizza

[1] From Italy’s neighbor: Greek pizza with feta, kalamata olives, onions and more (here’s a recipe from Cooking Classy). [2] Sorry, Charlie: tuna pizza with onions and capers (here’s the recipe from the New York Times). [3] Go Korean with pork belly, kimchi, scallions and cilantro (here’s a recipe from No Recipes).


November 12th is National Pizza With Everything Day.

Set aside the usual toppings for the moment, and consider a pizza topped with “everything unusual.”

While these recipes come from our own kitchen inventions, you can find recipes for many of them and adjust them to your tastes.

  • Bacon & Egg Pizza: Top a white pizza with bacon, eggs (fried or scrambled); garnish with cherry tomatoes (or ketchup!) and large toast croutons.
  • Bacon Cheeseburger Pizza: A white pie topped with ground beef or meatballs or bacon, onion, halved cherry tomatoes and your favorite BLT cheese (Cheddar? Swiss?). Add thin-sliced romaine hearts or fresh arugula if you like lettuce on your burger.
  • BLT Pizza: Top the pie with bacon and fresh* or sundried tomatoes; garnish with fresh arugula when it comes out of the oven.
  • Caviar & Smoked Salmon Pizza: Top a white pie with boiled potato slices, smoked salmon and red onion; garnish with salmon caviar when it comes out of the oven.
  • Chicken Livers & Caramelized Onions. Liver lovers will love it; here’s a recipe.
  • Cobb Salad Pizza: Top a white pie with thin-sliced romaine hearts, avocado, cubed chicken breasts, sliced hard-boiled eggs and crumbled blue cheese.
  • Greek Pizza: Top a white pie with feta, kalamata olives, peperoncini, fresh dill and optional ground lamb. Here’s a recipe for starters; we added more toppings.
  • Indian Pizza: On a regular pizza crust or naan, flavor the marinara with Indian spices (curry, garam masala) and top it with paneer cheese and your favorite dishes, from tandoori chicken to any of the dozens selections in pouches: channa masala, khatta aloo, palak paneer (spinach and cottage cheese), vegetable korma, etc.
  • Korean Pizza: Pork belly, kimchi, fresh chiles, green onions, cilantro. Garnish with sriracha or hot sauce of choice. Here’s a recipe to add to.
  • Paté Pizza: Top a white pie with chicken liver mousse or other pâté. The pâté will melt on top of the pizza, creating a new way to enjoy paté. Add wild mushrooms and a drizzle of truffle oil. Here’s a recipe to use as a base.
  • Seafood Pizza: Beyond clams, you can top a white pie with the finest: bay scallops or sliced scallops, calamari, lobster, mussels, octopus, oysters and shrimp. Add the toppings during the last 10 minutes in the oven.
  • Tex-Mex Pizza: Mix salsa into the marinara and top the pie with refried beans, avocado, shredded chicken or protein of choice, sliced jalapeños (substitute bell pepper), fresh cilantro and shredded jack cheese. If you can find a cornmeal crust, great; otherwise garnish the cooked pizza with some tortilla chips.
  • Tuna Pizza: Hold the mayo, but top the pie with flaked tuna, sliced red onion and capers. You can add anchovies, too. Here’s a recipe to use as a guide.
    What’s your favorite unusual topping?
    *Use cherry tomatoes or plum tomatoes when tomatoes are not in season.



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