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PRODUCT: Silicone Oven Mitts

When silicone potholders and oven mitts appeared on the market, we traded in all of our cloth versions for the superior heat protection when baking, cooking and grilling. But lots of the mitts are very clunky, and also sized to fit men’s hands.

Finally, here are women’s silicone oven mitts that are sized right, flexible, and available in 10 colors: Coral Red, Fall Orange, Fuchsia, Lime Green, Mustard Yellow, Navy Blue, Pink, Steel Gray and Teal.

Made in Italy, they appear to be discontinued by their U.S. retailer, because they’re marked down from the original $47.00 to $19.99 with free shipping on orders over $35. Bargain time!

We’re loading up on holiday gifts. We can’t think of too many other $20 items that are as universally needed and long-lasting.

Get yours on Amazon.com.

 

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Teal, one of the 10 colors of these nifty heatproof silicone kitchen gloves.Photo courtesy Love This Kitchen.

 

  

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HALLOWEEN: Best Chocolate Witch

Chocolate Witch

Bewitching in dark or milk chocolate. Photo
courtesy Li-Lac Chocolates.

 

We’ve been looking around, and think we’ve found the best chocolate witch for Halloween. Eight inches tall and weighing in at 14 ounces of solid chocolate, the Big Halloween Witch from Li-Lac Chocolates is our favorite this season.

There are many nifty chocolate molds around, but we like the garments and expression of this particular paranormal practitioner of magic. With her crooked smile, flowing robe and pointed hat, carrying her broomstick and jack-o’-lantern, she’s almost too cool to eat.

The chocolate witch is made fresh to order in milk or dark chocolate, and is certified kosher (dairy) by OU.

Get yours at Li-LacChocolates.com, or at the company’s retail stores in New York City.

The 90-year-old chocolatier has been delighting New Yorkers for generations. We love to sneak in for a bite; or, in the case of this witch, many bites.

 
THE HISTORY OF TRICK OR TREATNG

“Guising” traditions began as a Christian practice in the Middle Ages, when children and sometimes poor adults would dress up in the costumes and go around door to door during Hallowmas (All Saints Day, November 1st, the day after Halloween). They begged for food or money in exchange for songs and prayers for the dead (the latter called “souling”).

That tradition was ported to the U.S., with children going door to door for treats in exchange for reciting a poem or singing a song. Bonfires, a European tradition on All Hallows Eve (Halloween), were also held.
 
The night before Halloween came to be called Mischief Night, when the neighborhood youth would sow some wild oats. Front gates were removed, windows were soaped and outhouses were tipped over [source].

The term “trick or treat” didn’t emerge until the 1920s. The first printed reference is found in a newspaper from 1927 [source].

While today the “trick” portion of trick-or-treat is usually an idle threat, it began with youthful participants who insistently rang doorbells and promised worse (knocking over trash cans, sticking a pin in the bell so keep it ringing, papering the house) if they did not get a treat. The residents paid the price in candy or other treats, and the costumed visitors went on to the next house.

Individual trick-or-treating evolved in some locales in the 1960s and 1970s, into community events for the whole family, house parties for kids, and other activities that circumvented the need to send children to strange houses (and the reverse, to avoid having to opening one’s door to strangers).

 

THE HISTORY OF HALLOWEEN CANDY

For hundreds of years, Halloween came and went with no candy! Costumed children going door-to-door received everything from homemade cookies and cake to fruit, nuts, coins and toys.

It wasn’t until the 1950s that candy manufacturers began to promote their products for Halloween.

In the 1960s, following a hoax that miscreants had inserted pieces of glass into apples and other treats, factory-made, wrapped candy became the only acceptable treat to hand out. Producers of the most popular candies made miniatures, making a household’s candy giveaway more affordable.

Here’s some trivia about popular Halloween treats:

 

Chocolate Pumpkins

Chocolate pumpkins from Woodhouse Chocolate.

 

  • Candy corn: Candy corn was invented in the 1880s in Philadelphia by George Renninger of the Wunderle Candy Company. He didn’t trademark it, so other companies produced their own versions. The Goelitz Confectionery Company (now the Jelly Belly Candy Co.), has been making candy corn since 1898.
  • Hershey’s: The first Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Bar was produced in 1900; Hershey’s Kisses followed in 1907. Chocolate, which had previously had been a luxury item, became affordable for average Americans.
  • Reese’s: In 1917, Harry Burnett Reese joined the Hershey Company as a dairyman and later worked in the factory. He began making candies in his home basement, and ultimately left Hershey to built his own factory. He invented in Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups in 1928. Full circle: In 1963, Hershey acquired the H.B Reese Candy Company.
  • Mars: In 1923, a Minnesota candy maker, Frank Mars, launched the Milky Way Bar. It was followed by Snickers in 1930 (reportedly named for his favorite horse) and Three Musketeers in 1932. Frank’s son Forrest Mars joined the company, had a falling out with his father, relocated to England and created the Mars Bar.
  • Kit Kat: The Kit Kat Bar first appeared in England in 1935, known as Rowntree’s Chocolate Crisp. In 1937 it was rechristened the Kit Kat Chocolate Crisp said to be named after a venerable London literary and political group, the Kit-Cat (or Kit Kat) Club. The brand was acquired by Switzerland-based Nestlé, which debuted the Nestlé Crunch Bar in the late 1930s.
  • M&Ms: In 1941, Forrest Mars launched M&Ms. He had anticipated that World War II would engender a cocoa shortage, so he partnered with Bruce Murrie, son of a Hershey executive, to get access to a sufficient supply. M&Ms stands for Mars & Murrie.
  •  
    [Source]

      

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    PRODUCTS: Pumpkin Flavored Foods

    The fall cool-down began here last week. But we knew fall was in the air more than a month ago, when the fall-flavor product samples started to arrive.

    Fall is perhaps the best season to get into the flavor spirit. As the choices of warm-weather fresh produce narrow, pumpkin, squash and foods flavored with “fall spices”—allspice, cinnamon, clove, ginger and nutmeg—give us something to look forward to.

    Consider all the seasonal specialties with pumpkin:

    BREAKFAST: You can start the morning with pumpkin spice oatmeal, pancakes and muffins; spread your toast with pumpkin butter; and pop pumpkin marshmallows into your cocoa. Or, just grab a pumpkin scone and a pumpkin spice latte.

    BREAK: With your morning or afternoon “coffee break,” switch to Zhena’s Vanilla Spice Harvest Herb Tea or Republic Of Tea’s Pumpkin Spice Seasonal Black Tea, with a a pumpkin chocolate chip cookie or pumpkin biscotto.

    LUNCH: How about Chobani’s Greek Yogurt Flip, with Pumpkin Harvest Crisp to toss into the plain yogurt? (Pumpkin Harvest Crisp comprises pie crust pieces, glazed pumpkin seeds and pecans.) We also liked Chobani’s seasonal blended Cinnamon Pear yogurt.)

    DINNER: There’s pumpkin soup, pumpkin pasta, roasted pumpkin alone or with other vegetables, rice, even in a green salad. And by all mean, have a pumpkin ice cream hot fudge sundae for dessert. We’ll save the pumpkin cocktails, crème brûlée, bundt cakes and pies for another time.

    Here’s the first batch of what we’ve enjoyed so far:

  • Gourmet pumpkin baking mixes. At Sur La Table alone, there’s Pumpkin Spice Donut Mix, Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake Brownie Mix, Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Chip Cake Mix, Pumpkin Spice Whoopie Pie Mix and Buttermilk Almond Pumpkin Spice Quickbread, all nicely boxed and giftworthy.
  • Pumpkin spice instant oatmeal from Quaker. Just add hot water, and 60 seconds later you’ve got a warm bowl of comfort. It’s OU kosher.
  • Pumpkin pancakes: There are mixes on store shelves, online, and of course, at IHOP.
  • Pumpkin spice peanut butter from Peanut Butter & Co. Blended with real pumpkin and pumpkin pie spices, at $6 a jar it’s great for Halloween and Thanksgiving party favors, too. It’s also available in a fall flavor three-pack, along with with Cinnamon Raisin and Maple PBs.
  • Pumpkin spice syrup from Monin, to make your own PSLs at home (even a sugar-free pumpkin spice latte).
  •  
    For snacking, we’ve enjoyed:

       

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    flip-pumpkin-harvest-crispchobani-230

    Dandies Pumpkin Marshmallows

    TOP: Talenti’s Pumpkin Pie gelato contains real pumpkin and actual pieces of pie crust. MIDDLE: Flip some Pumpkin Harvest Crisp into your yogurt. BOTTOM: Dandies pumpkin mini-marshmallows, vegan and kosher.

     

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    Pumpkin Spice macaroons from Danny Macaroons. Photo courtesy ScoutMob.com, which sells them and other tasty things.

     
  • Dandies all-natural pumpkin mini marshmallows, gelatin-free, vegan and certified kosher by the Chicago Rabbinical Council. Tasty and fun, most people would never suspect they’re vegan (and also nut-free, gluten-free and corn-free). Get them at ChicagoVeganFoods.com
  • Danny Macaroon’s spiced pumpkin macaroons, “pumpkin pie in macaroon form.” They’re made with real pumpkin, pumpkin pie spices and toasted pumpkin seeds. Get yours here. (Macaroons, based on coconut, are gluten-free.)
  • Talenti’s Pumpkin Pie gelato. While there’s a choice of pumpkin ice cream brands, Talenti’s pumpkin pie variation not only uses real pumpkin—it adds real pie crust pieces.
  •  
    There’s more to come, so stay tuned! But first note: Most of these are seasonal specials. Eat up!

     

      

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    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: CrunchDaddy Popcorn

    Back in 2012, we reviewed a startup company with 10 flavors of savory or caramel corn: CrunchDaddy Popcorn.

    You know it’s not just good: In the ubiquitous world of popcorn, their business just keeps growing. The company has expanded distribution, evolved their product flavors and traded most of the original brown kraft paper bags for lustrous poly bags in burgundy and forest green. They recently sent us new samples, and they were dee-licious.

    The new number one seller is Bourbon & Bacon Crunch, made with a brown sugar and Kentucky bourbon caramel with bits of smoked bacon. It outsells the other flavors by three to one. The alcohol evaporates completely during the cooking process, so it’s kid- and pregnancy-friendly.

    The second best seller is Salted Caramel Crunch, with a butterscotch caramel made with sea salt, Myers’s Dark Rum and honey.

    Sure we liked the top two; we like everything from CrunchDaddy. But our personal favorites among the four caramel corns sampled are:

       

    Bacon Bourbon Caramel Popcorn

    The best seller: caramel corn with bacon and bourbon. Woo hoo! Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

  • Butter Rum & Cranberry Crunch. What was once a holiday special is now available year-round. When we bite into the antioxidant-rich cranberries and the fiber-laden popcorn, we think we’re eating guilt free. Oh, except for the sugar. We’ll be ordering lots of these as holiday gifts.
  • Caramel & Peanut Crunch. If only CrunchDaddy would leave the peanuts whole instead of chopped, it would be the Platonic ideal of Cracker Jacks.
  • But if none of these rings your bell, here’s the full menu:

     
    Sweet Flavors

  • Bourbon & Bacon Crunch
  • Butter Rum & Cranberry Crunch
  • Caramel & Peanut Crunch
  • Chesapeake Peanut Crunch
  • Honey & Cinnamon Crunch
  • Salted Caramel Crunch
  •  
    Savory Flavors

  • Bombay Market Crunch
  • Maryland Crab Feast Crunch
  • Movie Night Popcorn (butter and salt)
  • Smokey Cheddar Crunch
  • White Cheddar & Horseradish Crunch
  •  

    Bacon Bourbon Caramel Popcorn

    Great for gifting! Photo courtesy Crunch Daddy

     

    Whether for Halloween gifts, Thanksgiving party favors, stocking stuffers or 1-gallon tubs for family gifting, options include:

  • 1 quart poly bag (lustrous red or green), $7.69 (we finished ours in two days)
  • 1/2 gallon tub, $13.75
  • 1 gallon plastic tub, $29.05
  •  
    Not all flavors are available in all sizes; and bag colors vary.

    ITS THE CRUNCHIEST!

    The name does not mislead: This is the crunchiest popcorn we’ve had. Caramel corn can get soggy from the moisture in the caramel. We were so impressed: How do they keep those big, fluffy kernels so crunchy and crisp?

    All of the popcorn is popped in canola oil. Get yours at CrunchDaddy.com.

    And crunch happily through the season.

     

      

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    PRODUCT: Keurig Kold Cold Beverage Machine

    Editors Note: This product was discontinued in 2016.

    Thanks to Keurig, 20 million American households make their coffee of choice—or tea, cocoa, chicken soup, even iced tea brewed into a cup of ice—one K-Cup at a time.

    Six years ago, fans and industry observers asked Keurig: What can you do for cold beverages?

    On Monday the company launched its long-awaited cold beverage system, Keurig Kold. The result involved 250 engineers and scientists, 10,000 consumers who participated in research, 50 patents issued and another 100 pending globally.

    This plug-in machine offers Keurig’s same ease and convenience for single-serve cold beverages: carbonated sodas and flavored seltzers, still flavored waters, iced teas and sports drinks.

    The good news:

  • Keurig Kold makes delicious soft drinks, perfectly carbonated without a CO2 canister, at the push of a button.
  • The beverages are delivered perfectly chilled, in 8-ounce glasses. Most servings are 100 calories or less, and there’s an excellent variety of low- and zero-calorie options.
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    /home/content/p3pnexwpnas01_data02/07/2891007/html/wp content/uploads/KeurigKOLDdrinkmaker DietCoke 230

    Keurig Kold: the coolest way to make cold drinks. Each Kold Pod makes an eight-ounce drink. Photo courtesy Keurig.

  • The Kold Pods create favorites like Coca-Cola, Diet Coke, Dr Pepper and Canada Dry; craft sodas (e.g. Orange Cream, Spiced Root Beer, regular and diet, from brands like Flynn’s and Red Barn); plus plus lemonade, flavored waters, seltzers and iced teas (Tierney’s).
  • There are also sports hydration drinks; cocktail mixers are coming soon, starting with Margarita and Mojito.
  • Keurig Kold is imposing, cool, and at $369.99, a status symbol. You can get one at Keurig.com and selected retailers, in black or white.
  •  
    What’s less than ideal:

  • The price tag. Even if it’s ultimately discounted, it would take a household with money to burn to choose this system over the 99¢ two-liter bottles or club store bargains (or the $59-and-up Sodastream).
  • Depending on the beverage, the pods are $4.49 to $4.99 for a four-pack. That’s $1.12 to $1.25 plus tax for an eight ounce drink.
  • The machine’s footprint is larger than anything else on your kitchen counter. The pods are similarly oversize.
  • The pods are recyclable #7 plastic, but not every municipality recycles #7.
  •  

    Keurig KOLD Wire Carousel

    The pods for Keurig Kold are big: at least three times the size of the K-Cups. Photo courtesy Keurig.

     

    HOW IT WORKS

    Insert a drink pod, press a button and the water in the reservoir is drawn into a proprietary chilling mechanism. When the water is cold enough (39°F), it gets pushes though Karbonator beads that are inside each pod—small, round beads that are perhaps the coolest part of the invention.

    Water + beads = perfect carbonation. A secret imparted by Keurig: Carbonation absorbs into water best when the water is really cold.
     
    IS IT FOR YOU?

    Keurig Kold is impressive. It’s fun. And the drinks are delicious—they seem even tastier than if you purchased the same drink in a bottle or can.

    The big question that vexes the NIBBLE folks who tried Keurig Kold is: Who is the customer for this machine? It must be a household that:

     

  • Doesn’t look for bargains.
  • Wants the latest, coolest wow item.
  • Has space for it.
  • Isn’t into sustainability.
  •  
    Alternatively, it’s a wonderful plaything, a gift for people who have everything. If they already own one, there are other rooms in their home that could make use of another.

    Would we want one? In an ideal world, yes; in our particular practical world, no. Even if someone gave us a Keurig Kold, where would we put it in our small home or office?

      

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    DAY OF THE DEAD: Skull Mug

    Día de los Muertos, the Day of the Dead or All Souls Day, has has been an important festival in Mesoamerica since pre-Columbian times.

    It is a time of festivity and joy, not mourning. Families gather to welcome the souls of the dearly departed—human and animal—who return from the spirit world for an annual visit home to the loved ones they’ve left behind. What a nice concept!

    The celebration begins on November 1st and ends on November 2nd. Despite the timing and skulls, it has no relation to Halloween (here’s the history of Halloween). Analogies to the Celtic-based Halloween are purely coincidental.

    The celebration of the Mayas and Aztecs evolved into what today is a large Mexican festival, incorporating:

  • Photos and mementos of the deceased, placed on special altars along with…
  • Cempasúchil (marigold flowers).
  • Candles and copal incense (made with resin from a local tree).
  •    

    dia de los muertos mug

    Drink your coffee from a joyful skull. Photo courtesy Inked Shop.

  • There are music and dancing, plus special offerings for people who have died.
  •  

    Crystal Head Vodka Bottle

    Not into coffee or sugar skulls? Perhaps a bottle of Crystal Head Vodka is for you. Photo courtesy Crystal Head.

     

    Special foods include:

  • Pan de muertos (bread of the dead—recipe).
  • Sugar skulls, usually brightly painted.
  •  
    YOUR OWN SKULL MUG

    You’ve got time to order a celebratory mug.

    The Mexican Sugar Skull Giant Mug in the photo above costs just $14.95 from InkedShop.com.

    High quality ceramic, dishwasher and microwave safe, it’s inspired by the Day of the Dead sugar skulls, but perfectly at home year-round.

    Or perhaps you’d prefer a skull full of vodka?

     

      

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    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Made In Nature Coconut Chips

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    Madagascar Vanilla Coconut Chips. Photo
    courtesy Made In Nature.

     

    The new Made In Nature Organic Toasted Coconut Chips are a big hit with THE NIBBLE team. We love them for snacking and garnishing.

    Crunchy, health-tasting and versatile, we enjoyed the original plain toasted coconut chips. But the flavored versions are even better, and each is a winner:

  • Ginger Masala Chai
  • Italian Espresso
  • Maple Madagascar Vanilla
  • Mexican Spiced Cacao
  • Vietnamese Cinnamon Swirl
  •  
    A bit of maple syrup is used as a sweetener. All ingredients are organic and non-GMO* with natural flavors. The coconut chips follow the Made In Nature mission: healthy snacks and global flavors.

    The manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) is $3.99 for a 3-ounce bag. The line is certified kosher by OU.

     

    *Certified USDA Organic and Non-GMO Project Verified.

     

    A REALLY GREAT GARNISH

    Beyond delicious snacking and incorporation into your trail mix, toasted coconut chips fit into every meal of the day as a garnish:

  • Breakfast: cereal, cottage cheese, yogurt
  • Lunch: Asian chicken salad, green salad, PB&J sandwiches, soup
  • Dinner: general plate garnish, international dishes, rice and other grains
  • Dessert: cake/cupcakes/pies, fruit salad, ice cream
  •  
    You can match the flavors of the coconut chips to the flavors of your dishes; for example, Italian Espresso Coconut Chips on coffee ice cream, Mexican Spiced Cacao on anything chocolate, or Ginger Masala Chai with an Asian stir-fry and rice.

    Or mix and match the flavors. We just added Vietnamese Cinnamon Swirl on top of a baked apple. We promise, you’ll have fun being creative with these flavored coconut chips.

     

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    You can toast your own coconut chips. Photo courtesy WholePureRecipes.com.

     
    If you want to make your own coconut chips, here’s a recipe from Jodye of WholePureRecipes.com. It takes a while to get specialty flavors perfect, though; so you might want to start with Made From Nature.

    Made In Nature is available nationwide at retailers such as Costco, REI, Safeway, Sprouts, Wegman’s and Whole Foods Market; at select natural food stores; and online.

      

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    TIP: The Right Beer Glass Makes A Big Difference

    We’re one of the many people who likes to drink beer straight from the bottle. We believed, as with sparkling wine, that the narrower the opening, the more the carbonation stays in. A cold bottle from the fridge keeps the beer colder than a room-temperature glass. And, we don’t particularly care for a foamy head.

    But according to Spiegelau, a manufacturer of fine glassware in Bavaria, Germany, we have it all wrong. You only get about 15% of the flavor of the beer when you drink it from the bottle.

    That’s because smell, not palate, is the major component of taste (and explains why you can lose your taste when you have a badly congested nose and can’t smell). You get zero aroma through the narrow neck of the beer bottle, covered by your mouth as you take each sip.

    When you pour beer into a glass, the head* releases the bubbles (carbon dioxide) that burst into aroma.

    On top of that, different types of beer benefit from different shaped glasses, engineered to bring out the special attributes of the beer (Riedel, the parent company of Spieglau, was the pioneer in developing different wine glass types).

       

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    Engineered to bring out the best in American craft beers: from left, IPA, wheat beer and stout glasses. Photo courtesy Spiegelau USA.

     

    Different regions have long made different glass shapes for their beers. Think beyond the German stein to the British pint glass; the tall, tapered Pilsner† glass; the stemmed snifter for Belgian ales and IPAs; the tankard for ales, lagers, stouts and porters; and others. See the different types of beer glasses in the chart below.

     
    *The head is produced by bubbles of carbon dioxide gas that rise to the surface. The carbon dioxide is produced during fermentation.
    †Pilsner is the English spelling of Pilsener, the German spelling. The name derives from the town of Pilsen, a city in western Bohemia in the Czech Republic, where the style was originally brewed in October 1842—a new, clear, pale golden beer created from new malts, Pilsen’s remarkably soft water, Saaz noble hops and Bavarian-style lagering. It was a sensation. The Czech spelling of the town is Plzen.

     
    CRAFT BEER GLASSES FOR SPECIFIC STYLES OF BEER

    Spiegelau has developed a Craft Beer Glass Collection, with custom-designed glasses for the three most popular American craft beer styles: IPA, Stout and Wheat Beer. Each glass is designed, according to the company, to highlight “the complexity of aromas on the nose while demonstrating the optimum beer texture, balance and flavor intensity on the palate.”

    Riedel has done this for wine glasses with great success (you won’t believe how much better the wine tastes in a specially engineered wine glass than on a generic one). Now, they’ve done the same for beer.

    An expert panel of master brewers tested multiple glass shapes before finding the optimum shape for each beer type. Here’s what resulted:

  • The IPA glass was engineered to “showcase the complex and alluring aromatic profiles of American ‘hop-forward’ IPA beers, preserve a frothy head, enhance taste and mouth feel, and present a comfortably wide opening for the drinker to savory each beer.”
  • The Stout glass is designed to “accentuate the roasted malt, rich coffee and chocolate notes that define the Stout beer style.”
  • The Wheat Beer glass (wheat beer is one of the world’s most popular styles‚, has a large, voluminous bowl to harness the delicate aromas. The mouth opening was designed to spread the beer across the palate to “enhance mouth feel and harmony of sweetness and acidity.” The “open bottom glass base drives beer and aromatic foam upward into the main bowl after every sip.”
  •  
    And you thought a glass was just a glass!

    Custom-shape beer glasses isn’t hype: It’s precision engineering and it works. Buy yourself a set and test it against what you’re currently using. We had great results with the Spiegelau glasses.

    Beer glasses are a great gift for beer connoisseurs, and other companies have gotten the custom-shape message.

     

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    Wrong! These are traditional Pilsner glasses, specifically designed to bring out the best qualities in a Pilsener beer. That means that they won’t enhance the flavors of stout (left) and amber ale (center). But wait: The Lenox Pilsner glasses are totally different—a stemmed tulip glass! Photo courtesy WiseGeek.com.

     

    MORE BEER STYLE-SPECIFIC GLASSES

    Lenox has a new line of beer glasses in four styles: IPA, Pint With Crown, Stemmed Pilsner and Wheat Beer. And surprise: The shapes are totally different from conventional designs—as well as from the Spiegelau designs.

    The Pilsner is a stemmed tulip, like the traditional Belgian Ale glass. The IPA and Wheat Beer glasses are tall and narrow with a tapered waist, like the conventional Pilsner glass. The Pint With Crown is a sleeker version of the pub pint glass.

    Here’s what they say about their shapes:

  • The Stemmed Pilsner’s tulip shape “traps the rich aromas and helps maintain a frothy head. The thin flared rim places the beer evenly on the palate, elevating the overall taste experience.” Lenox also recommends the shape for stouts and dark beers.
  • The India Pale Ale glass, tall and slender, “is a perfect complement for IPAs and lighter ales. The contoured shape preserves a frothy head, while maximizing aroma and enhancing taste.”
  • The Wheat Beer glass has a large mouth and a narrow body, “making it the ideal vessel for wheat beers and most pale or blonde beers. By tipping the glass back, the aromas that characterize these brews are pushed to the nose, thus allowing the drinker to enjoy the beer’s full flavor.”
  •  

  • The Pint With Crown is the English-style pub glass that serves an official imperial pint, approximately 20 ounces. “Ideally sized for generous pours of pale ales and lagers, this pint’s curved lip cultivates foamy heads.
  •  
    Frankly, we bet on the precision of the Spiegelau glasses. We’ve tasted with them, and they work! There are no better glassware engineers on earth than Riedel, the parent company of Spiegelau.

    We haven’t tried Lenox or other contenders, and you can’t be sure without trying. So we’ll keep testing, and will keep you posted.
     
    CAN’T WAIT TO TRY THE GLASSES?

  • Lenox Tuscany Beer Glass Collection, set of four styles, $32.12
  • Spiegelau Tasting Glasses, set of four styles, $34.99 (includes the glasses described above plus a lager glass)
  •  
    If you don’t care about precision engineering but like the idea of different glass shapes for different beers, try:

  • Libbey, set of six styles, $19.99 (these glasses are traditional styles, not made with modern engineering to optimize the flavors and aromas)
  •  

    TRADITIONAL BEER GLASSES
     
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    See the original chart at DailyInfographics.eu.

      

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    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Folgers Iced Café For Homemade Lattes

    We love iced coffee, but have some challenges:

  • We never have enough room in the fridge to make and store a pitcher of it.
  • We can drink several a day, so buying it can run into money—plus a lot of plastic into the landfill.
  • Not every iced coffee we’ve bought has lived up to our taste standards.
  • Finally, with a lactose-free milk requirement, we have to drink our purchased coffee black.
     
    [Sidebar rant: Even Starbucks, which claims to be so customer-focused, offers only sweetened vanilla soy milk for those who can’t have cow’s milk, lactose, whey, are vegan, can’t digest soy, etc.

    Plain soy or almond milk would be acceptable to most people who can’t have cow’s milk. But if you don’t like sugar in your coffee, can’t have sugar, etc., well, as our dad would say, you’re SOL at Starbucks (and many other food service venues).

    Starbucks management: If you’re reading this, take a look at the moronic letter your customer service staff sends to people who suggest an unsweetened milk alternative.]

  •    

    Iced Coffee Mason Jar

    For a refreshing iced latte, just squeeze two drops of concentrate into your favorite type of milk. Photo courtesy Folgers.

     
    FOLGERS HAS SOLVED OUR PROBLEMS!

    Now, all we need to make a truly delicious iced latte—in less than a minute—is our milk of choice and a bottle of the new Folgers Iced Café Coffee Drink Concentrate. The bottle is so small, it fits into a shirt pocket.

    Just fill a glass with milk (and ice, as desired), add two squeezes of coffee concentrate and stir.

    Make it with 2% milk and you have a drink that tastes like a milkshake without the ice cream: so creamy, it’s hard to believe this is a low-calorie drink. The drinks are called lattes, but if you’re used to a skim latte, as we are, the taste with 2% or almond milk approaches a milkshake.
     
    Folgers Iced Café Coffee Drink Concentrates debuted in four equally scrumptious flavors:

  • Original Latte Coffee
  • Caramel Macchiato
  • Hazelnut Latte
  • Vanilla Latte
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    We used the Folgers Vanilla Latte flavor plus almond milk for an instant latte treat. Photo courtesy Munchery.

     

    The two drops of concentrate (per eight ounces of milk) add just 10 calories to the milk calories. The suggested retail price for a squeeze bottle with 12 portions is $4.99.

    The flavors are very lightly sweetened with Sucralose. It was so light that we, who normally don’t add sugar to coffee, really enjoyed it. Along with the creaminess of the milk, it heightens the “milkshake factor.”

    You can glamorize your latte, of course, adding whipped cream, chocolate syrup, ice cream or whatever. But the drinks are just perfect as is.

    You can find Folgers Iced Café at retailers nationwide (store locator) and can buy it online.

    We’re adding this “instant latte” solution to our list of delicious stocking stuffers.

     

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Make Blueberry Salt

    Sea salt is produced by simple evaporation of sea water. Depending on the body of water, the salt will have different qualities: not just in flavor, based on the minerals in the local water, but also in the size and shape of the crystals. See our Salt Glossary for more on the different types of salt.

    A subset of sea salt is artisan salt, which is created with added flavor is added. With the growing enthusiasm of chefs and home cooks, the flavor options have exploded. Saltopia, an online seller, offers dozens of flavored salts, including:

  • Fruit flavored salt: caper, coconut, habanero, jalapeño, lemon, lime, orange, peach, pineapple, pomegranate, strawberry, tomato
  • Herb flavored salt: basil, cilantro, dill, fennel, garlic, lavender, lemongrass, mint, peppermint, rosemary, saffron, thyme, wasabi
  • Spice flavored salt: Aleppo pepper, anise, black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, clove, curry, ginger, mustard, sumac, vanilla
  • Smoked salt: applewood, alderwood
  • Sweet flavored salt: brown sugar, honey, maple
  • Vegetable flavored salt: mushroom, onion, truffle
  •    

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    Blueberry salt: You can buy a jar or make your own. Photo courtesy Saltopia.

  • And beyond: balsamic vinegar, Cabernet Sauvignon, chocolate, rose
  •  
    Today, how about making a batch of blueberry sea salt? All you need are blueberries and salt!

    There isn’t extensive blueberry flavor because the salt overwhelms it; but the color is gorgeous—a glorious garnish or finishing salt.
     
    HOW TO USE BLUEBERRY SALT

    Sprinkle it as in ingredient or a garnish:

  • Baking, especially with lemon (lemon muffins, shortbread, garnish a lemon tart)
  • Bread dipper with olive oil and herbs
  • Confections: salted caramels and salted chocolate
  • Cottage cheese, soft cheeses, yogurt
  • Dessert: cobblers, puddings
  • Finishing salt: beef lamb, pork, poultry, seafood, smoked fish
  • Food garnish
  • Fruit salad or grilled fruit (a bit of salt brings out the sweetness)
  • Glass rimmer: Blueberry Mojito, lemonade, Margarita, etc.)
  • Ice cream
  • Pasta
  • Plate garnish (sprinkle bits on the plate for splashes of color)
  • Popcorn seasoning
  • Potatoes: baked, mashed, any pale recipe
  • Rice and other pale grains
  • Salted nuts
  • Sorbet
  • Salads and cooked vegetables
  •  

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    Are you inspired to make your own? Photo courtesy Saltopia.

     

    RECIPE: BLUEBERRY SALT

    You can buy the blueberry sea salt or make your own. You can make batches as gifts, too.

    Start with a small batch (this recipe makes one cup of blueberry salt). Prep time is 35 minutes, cook time: is 1 hour to 1 day, depending on whether you choose to oven dry (1 hour) or let dry naturally (24 hours or more).

    After you make this recipe, you can customize it with other ingredients: balsamic vinegar, citrus peel, thyme, rosemary or any of the ideas above.

    The recipe is courtesy of the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council, which has lots of delicious blueberry recipes

    Ingredients For 1 Cup

  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup coarse sea salt (substitute kosher salt, or for a beautiful flake salt, use Maldon salt, with unique, pyramid-shaped crystals)
  • Preparation

    1. LINE two baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.

    2. SIMMER the berries and water in a saucepan over medium heat until the berries pop and release their juices, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.

    3. PRESS the blueberries with a potato masher or the back of a large spoon, reserving the juice. Further strain the berries with a fine wire sieve, pressing out as much liquid as possible; discard the solids. Line the sieve with cheesecloth and strain out the finer particles.

    4. RETURN the juice to the saucepan. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Simmer (watching closely so the juice doesn’t burn) until the juice is reduced to a syrup thick enough to coat a spoon. You should have 2 to 3 tablespoons of juice.

    5. REMOVE from the heat. Stir in the salt until the crystals are evenly coated, then spread the salt onto baking sheets. Let it air dry, stirring occasionally, until dry. This will take 4-24 hours, depending on the humidity. Alternatively, bake the salt in a 150° convection oven, stirring frequently until dry, about 1 hour.

    TIP: For a deeper purple salt, add food color to the blueberry juice in Step 4.

      

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