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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 Father’s Day

PRODUCT: Personalized Beer Labels

Personalize a six-pack: a great gift idea. Photo courtesy Pinhole Press.

 

Give your favorite beer lover a memorable six-pack: one with custom, personalized beer labels. If you’re looking for something different for college graduation or Father’s Day gifts, this could be it!

Pinhole Press, which specializes in gift items customized with your photos (calendars, journals, magnets and the like), has a beer label option that’s sure to make an occasion more festive.

You simply upload your photo and text and get 15 labels in return ($11.99). Add the cost of a six-pack, and you’ve created a memorable yet affordable gift.

Order yours at PinholePress.com.

Prefer Wine To Beer?

Custom wine bottle labels are available in a broad selection of designs, including some for baby showers, weddings and other celebratory occasions (9 labels, $9.99).

Cheers!

 

  

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TIP OF THE DAY: More Affordable Champagne Cocktails

A yummy Prosecco cocktail that can be
adapted for kids. Photo courtesy
Harvard Common Press.

 

Champagne cocktails make any occasion more festive. And they don’t require Champagne, per se, but can use more affordable bubblies such as Prosecco and Asti Spumante from Italy, Cava from Spain and Sekt from Germany. You can also substitute red bubblies such as Italian Brachetto and Lambrusco, sparkling Shiraz and the many American sparklers.

These alternatives work just as well in a “Champagne cocktail,” in which the mixers cover up much of the complex Champagne flavors for which one pays so much more.

We’ve been working our way through a whole book of bubbly recipes—Champagne Cocktails: 50 Cork-Popping Concoctions & Scintillating Sparklers by A.J. Rathbun—that we enjoy giving as a gift, along with a bottle of Prosecco or Cava.

Here’s a recipe from the book: the Tiziano cocktail, a “cousin” of the Bellini* that uses grape juice and Prosecco instead of peach purée and Asti Spumante. It’s easy to make an alcohol-free version by substituting ginger ale for the Prosecco.

The grape juice-ginger ale cocktail with frozen grapes is very popular with kids!

 

*Both cocktails are named for great artists. Giovanni Bellini was acclaimed as the greatest Venetian painter of the fifteenth century. Fifty years later, his former student, Titian (Tiziano Vecelli), was acclaimed as the greatest Venetian painter of the sixteenth century and the father of modern painting. We’re not sure if the Rossini cocktail, below, is named for the great 19th century Italian composer Gioachino Rossini or the 20th century Polish painter, Nicolaus Rossini.

TIZIANO COCKTAIL RECIPE

Ingredients For 4 Drinks

  • 6 ounces white grape juice (not grape juice cocktail)
  • Chilled Prosecco
  • Frozen green and/or red grapes
  • Champagne flutes
  •  
    Preparation

    1. Add three or four frozen grapes to each flute glass.

    2. Pour 1½ ounces of grape juice into each flute.

    3. Fill the glasses almost to the top with Prosecco. Serve.

    Variation: Change the white grape juice to strawberry juice or strawberry purée and garnish with a strawberry (not frozen) instead of a grape. This drink is known as a Rossini.

    Find more of our favorite cocktail recipes.

      

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    FATHER’S DAY GIFT IDEA: Gourmet Gift Certificate

    No decisions required: Send Dad a gourmet
    gift certificate.

     

    It’s getting close!

    If you haven’t figured out what to get your favorite dad(s) for Father’s Day—or you don’t have time to run out and buy it—we have a delicious solution:

    A gift certificate to The Nibble Gourmet Market.

    We created our gourmet marketplace to make it easy to find our favorite foods, most of which have been NIBBLE Top Picks Of The Week (the rest are future Top Picks). So many readers write to ask what to give their girlfriends, grandmothers, kid’s teachers and so forth. The Nibble Gourmet Market makes it easy.

    And what makes it even easier is a gift certificate. It gets emailed as soon as as your order is processed, so if you can’t get around to it until Father’s Day, this Sunday, it will still arrive “on time.”

     

    Those who don’t get around to it can always send a belated gift certificate on Monday.

    A gift certificate also eliminates the decision making: Does Dad want our favorite whoopie pies, artisan salame, fresh-picked oysters or single malt chocolates, for example. Let him decide!

    Visit TheNibbleGourmetMarket.com. There’s a link for Gift Certificates at the top of the page.

      

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    FATHER’S DAY GIFT IDEA: Blended Scotch Whisky

    Last night we learned how to blend Scotch, courtesy of America’s best-selling Scotch brand, Dewar’s.

    A few decades ago, when single malt Scotch became all the rage, we became a snooty single malt drinker and hadn’t drunk a blended Scotch until now.

    We were missing out!

    Single malt versus blended Scotch is purely a matter of preference, and one can prefer several different styles.

  • A single malt Scotch is made entirely by a single producer at a single site. The flavors and aromas are distinctive to the terroir* of the area. Each of the different regions of Scotland produces whisky with flavors and aromas unique to its climate, water and so forth. For example, over the years of aging, barrels on Islay, an island region, pick up a hint of saltiness from the sea.
  •  

    The four expressions of Dewar’s blended
    Scotch whisky. From left: White Label,
    12 Years, 18 Years and Signature. Photo courtesy Dewar’s.

     

    *Terroir, a French word pronounced tur-WAH, is the unique combination of geographic location, climate and microclimate, soil and temperature that creates the individual personality of an agricultural product. As in the growing of grapes for wine or beans for coffee, terroir dramatically affects the flavor profiles of the product.

  • A blended Scotch is created by mixing the distillations (Scotches) from multiple single malt producers. By selecting particular single malts, the blender can achieve the exact flavor combination desired, with more balance and complexity. Examples include honey and floral flavors from Highland Scotches, fruity flavors from Speyside, vanilla flavors from Lowland Scotches and peaty flavors from Islay. Dewar’s blends can contain up to 40 different single malts and grain whiskys (a whisky that contains some grains other than malted barley, such as corn, rye or wheat) to attain the perfection the blender seeks.
  •  
    If you don’t know a drinker’s preference and select a single malt, it may not be the profile the recipient prefers. With a fine blended Scotch, the balance and harmony are generally enjoyed by anyone.

    The proper glass† to “nose” Scotch is a sherry copita, also called a single malt whisky glass. It resembles a tulip, and can be used for any fine whisky. The lip turns outward to catch the aromas of the whisky.

    †Professionals and connoisseurs use different shaped glasses to fully enhance the flavors and aromas of fine wines and spirits. It really does make a difference!

    Why is it there so often a gap between our preferences and our pocketbook?

    While all of the Dewar’s expressions are very fine, we fell in love with the masterpiece of the portfolio, Dewar‘s Signature (upwards of $200). The nose burst with aromas of luscious Seville orange and a touch of peat. On the palate, orange and chocolate notes were accented with honey, vanilla, toffee and caramel overtones. It was dessert in a glass, and a real treat.

    For everyday, we’re going back to the very affordable Dewar’s 12 Years—which, by the way, is also made in a kosher expression: Dewar’s 12 Year Old Special Reserve.

    THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN “WHISKY” & “WHISKEY”
     
    Which spelling is correct?

    In Ireland and the United States, the word “whiskey” is spelled with an “e.” The British, Scots and Canadians spell it “whisky.” To be perfectly correct, you’d use “whiskey” when referring to an Irish or American product; and “whisky” when referring to the others. But most people in the U.S. use the spellings interchangeably.

    Etymologists don’t know why the variations exist. The best explanation is that the Irish had whiskey first, and when the Scots started to make it, they left out the “e” to point out the difference between their spirit and Irish whiskey.

    We’ll drink to that!

  • The Different Types Of Whiskey: How many types of whiskey are there? This article explains it all.
  •   

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    FATHER’S DAY GIFT IDEA: Premium Gin

    We are big fans of Cold River Vodka and Cold River Blueberry Vodka, made by Maine Distilleries of Freeport, Maine. They’re artisan-made from Maine potatoes and are gluten-free, as well as very flavorful (we drink them straight up*).

    *The difference between straight up and neat: “Neat” means an undiluted shot served at room temperature; straight up is shaken or stirred with ice and strained into a glass.

    Now, from the same copper pot still, comes Cold River Gin.

    A traditional-style gin made from a 400-year-old recipe, Cold River Gin is ultra-smooth and “superpremium.” The gin is distilled with seven traditional botanicals: juniper berries (the dominant flavor of gin), angelica root, cardamom, coriander, lemon peel, orange peel and orris root.

    As with Cold River Vodka, the base spirit of the gin is made from potatoes grown at a nearby family farm, Green Thumb Farms, and is made with pristine spring water from the Cold River aquifer. Like the vodka, it is also gluten free.

     

    Cold River Gin, artisan-made in Maine.
    Photo courtesy Maine Distilleries.

     

    We generally like a heavy juniper flavor, but for those who don’t, the berries here are not overpowering. We can also taste the lemon and orange peel, and if we focus hard, the cardamom. We tossed some cardamom seeds into the glass for decor (and when the gin was gone, we chewed the seeds).

    Consider giving Dad a hand-numbered bottle for Father’s Day. The suggested retail price is $25.99. Learn more at the company website. To find a retailer near you, email info@mainedistilleries.com.

    Tomorrow: gin cocktail recipes.

  • How gin is distilled
  •   

    Comments

    FATHER’S DAY GIFT IDEA: Brownies

    A stack of round brownies from
    Sugardaddy’s. Photo by Melody Lan |
    THE NIBBLE.

     

    Some people bake brownies as Father’s Day gifts. Others look for the best artisan brownies, and send them.

    Here are two of our favorite brownies that are sure to be a hit on Father’s Day:

  • Geoff & Drew’s Brownies, in Chocolate Candy (think M&Ms), Chocolate Chip, Mint (with a large chocolate peppermint pattie) and Toffee. These fudgy brownies are deep in chocolate flavor and extremely moist. Each brownie is individually boxed, so you can also use them for party favors.
  • Geoff & Drew’s Brownie & Cookie Assortment. The brownie flavors above, plus large cookie flavors in Chocolate Chunk, Double Fudge and White Chocolate Cranberry.
  • Sugardaddy’s Sumptuous Sweeties. Six delicious brownies, in your choice of 15 flavors of brownies, blondies, and spicy brownies. In addition to being delicious, these round brownies are charmers.
  • Sugardaddy’s Sumptuous Sweeties. Ten of the same wonderful brownies.
  •  

    Today is the last day to order for Father’s Day delivery with ground shipping! Order by 1 p.m. Eastern Time.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Decorate With Fondant

    Use fondant to make cupcakes that look
    like Dad. Photo courtesy WhiptCream.com.

     

    If you’ve been to enough weddings, you’ve probably had fondant. It’s used to cover cake, as an alternative to icing.

    What is fondant? Sometimes referred to as edible Play-Doh, fondant is a sugar and water mixture cooked to the soft-ball stage, then stirred or beaten until it is a creamy, opaque white mass that can be rolled out like dough.

    Sheets of fondant are used to cover ornate cakes. Fondant both keeps out air so the cake stays moist, and provides a solid “canvas” for decorations.

    Fondant, which can be tinted with food coloring, can be cut with cookie cutters or other methods to create shapes (leaves, flowers, geometrics). It is also used to decorate cookies, often cut to match the shape of the cookies, and applied as an icing.

     

    Working with fondant can be a laborious process, undertaken by skilled cake decorators; but consumer products from Wilton and other companies make decorating with colored fondant a fun experience.

    Start your fondant decorating on Father’s Day cupcakes. With two colors, you can approximate Dad (or buy only white fondant plus some colored food pastes).

    Fondant is dense and heavy, so a two-pound tub isn’t a lot. In addition to cupcakes, cakes and cookies, you can use it as a fun dessert activity for kids and adults: Let them decorate their own cupcakes.

    The Food Network’s Ace of Cakes, Duff Goldman, recently came out with his own fondant line in five colors (chocolate, green, orange, purple and white). The Fondarific brand has even more colors.

      

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    FATHER’S DAY GIFT IDEA: Fresh Oysters

    You deserve fresh-picked oysters. Photo
    by James Antrim | IST.

     

    Willapa Oysters are grown in beds in the cleanest estuary in America: Willapa Bay, in Oysterville (yes, Oysterville!), Washington. They’re picked and shipped to you the same day, avoiding the distribution chain, where they can sit and fade for 10 days or more.

    With Willapa, you eat an oyster that’s not only pristine from its surroundings, but as fresh as can be without a visit to the ocean. Two-day express shipping is required. Even with shipping, though, the cost is the same or less than you’d pay at a restaurant–and the oysters are so much better. It’s an experience you won’t believe…and an indulgence you won’t want to give up.

    Willapa Bay oysters are perfect for the half shell lover wanting a bit more meat from every fresh oyster. They’re also ideal for grilled oysters, oyster stews, bisques and Oysters Rockefeller.

    For many decades, the pleasure of sitting down to dozens of freshly opened oysters was a local one. Today, with online ordering and overnight shipping, the pleasure can be enjoyed by anyone fortunate enough to learn about Willapa Oysters.

  • Three dozen small (2-3/4 to 3-3/4 inches) fresh Pacific oysters, $48.00.
  • Three dozen extra-small fresh Pacific oysters, $48.00
  • Four dozen fresh-picked Kumamoto oysters, $76.00.
  • Two quarts fresh-shucked Pacific oysters, $58.00.
  •  

    NOTE: Order early for Father’s Day. Oysters are shucked each Tuesday and packed and shipped on Wednesday for Friday arrival. You need to order by Monday, June 13th if you want your oysters in time for Father’s Day.

    Willapa Oysters are a NIBBLE Top Pick Of The Week. Read the review.

    Check out the different types of oysters in our Oyster Glossary.

      

    Comments

    FATHER’S DAY GIFT IDEA: Gary West, The Best Jerky

    One of several gift packages of Gary West’s fine jerky. Photo courtesy Gary West.

     

    If your favorite Dad likes jerky, the crème de la crème of jerky is made by Gary West, a NIBBLE Top Pick Of The Week.

    This premium jerky is so tender, it belongs in a specialized class we’ll call “The Best Gourmet Jerky.” We’ve even tossed it with pasta!

    Memorable Gary West jerky gifts can be had from $19.99 to $79.99.

    The yummy beef jerky is available in Traditional and three flavors: Cajun, Cracked Black Pepper and Teriyaki.

    Hubby may especially enjoy the Beef Jerky Bouquet: one dozen “long stemmed” jerky strips, packaged like long-stemmed roses.

    Take a look at these tasty options:

     

  • Gift Pouch: Your choice of Cajun, Cracked Black Pepper, Teriyaki or Traditional Beef.
  • Beef Jerky Bouquet: Like a dozen long-stemmed roses, but with individual long jerky strips instead of the roses.
  • The Motherlode Sampler: beef (traditional and three flavors), Certified Angus, buffalo/bison and elk.
  • Pepper Trio: Cracked Pepper Beef Jerky, Hot and Spicy Cajun Beef Jerky and Pepperoni Sticks.
  • Single Servings Sampler: 16 sticks of jerky in your choice of four different flavors or all one flavor.
  • Wild Game Sampler: 4 ounces of buffalo/bison, 4 ounces of elk rounds and 4 ounces of traditional beef smoked strips
  • Bull In A Box: Gift sampler in 16-ounce and 32-ounce sizes—two pounds of delicious jerky.
  •  
    Read our review of Gary West Jerky.

    Find more special Father’s Day gift ideas at The Nibble Gourmet Market.

      

    Comments

    FATHER’S DAY GIFT IDEA: The Best Whoopie Pies

    You’ll want many bites of these whoopie pies. Photo by River Soma | THE NIBBLE.

     

    We’ve had many a whoopie pie, and can attest that the absolute best are from artisan baker WannaHavaCookie.

    We wannahav lots of these cakelike cookies:* perfect recipes of moist cake and buttercream. Each one is a pillow of comfort food.

    *A whoopie pie is not a pie, but a sandwich cookie. It’s made not from cookies, but from cake. Confusing? Well, that’s how the industry classifies it. A cookie is a handheld food; a piece of cake requires a fork.

    Send any dad an assortment of scrumptious Wannahavacookie Whoopie Pie Classics.

    The mixed dozen includes chocolate, red velvet and vanilla cake whoopie pies (the best red velvet cake we’ve ever had). They’re filled with chocolate, vanilla, raspberry, mint and peanut butter buttercream fillings, and are packaged in a reusable bucket tin.

    Order them at TheNibbleGourmetMarket.com.

    We bet Dad will say “Whoopie!”

     

    WHOOPIE PIE TRIVIA: Legend credits an unnamed Amish woman with the invention of the whoopie pie. She allegedly took some leftover cake and frosting and made a handheld treat for her husband’s lunch box. He opened his lunch box and exclaimed, “Whoopie.” However, according to food historians, the real credit likely goes to a Boston bakery that created the whoopie pie sometime during the Depression. Details.

      

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