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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,
the online magazine about gourmet and specialty food.

Archive for Kitchenware/Tabletop

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



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




PRODUCT: Keurig Kold Cold Beverage Machine

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.

    /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 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.



    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.

    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?



    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.

    You’ve got time to order a celebratory mug.

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

    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?




    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).


    /home/content/p3pnexwpnas01_data02/07/2891007/html/wp content/uploads/ipa wheat stout spiegelau 230

    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.


    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.


    /home/content/p3pnexwpnas01_data02/07/2891007/html/wp content/uploads/three types of beer in pilsner glasses wisegeek 230

    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



    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.

  • 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)

    /home/content/p3pnexwpnas01_data02/07/2891007/html/wp content/uploads/beer glasses original copy

    See the original chart at



    PRODUCT: Quesadillas On The Grill

    Quesadillas, anyone?

    Yes, and make them on the grill for a touch of smoky flavor! For just $7.98, you can get this Quesadilla Grill Basket from Williams-Sonoma, on sale from $19.95.

    In fact, at these prices get more than one, and grill multiple quesadillas at the same time. Then, enjoy smoky quesadillas hot off the grill, with a crisp golden exterior.

    The 12-inch diameter grill basket cooks one large quesadilla or two halves at the same time. The basket is designed to flip and cook without spilling any ingredients from the quesadilla.

    Buy this Williams-Sonoma exclusive online at

    You can also use it to grill pita and other flat bread. Mmmm!



    Add a touch of smoke flavor by cooking quesadillas on the grill. Photo courtesy Williams-Sonoma.




    PRODUCT: LidLover

    LidLover was created by a woman who wanted a lid that could fit with a tight seal around her kitchenware: bakeware, containers, cookware and dishes.

    While LidLovers can (and should) be used year-round, now that it’s summer we especially like them to keep the bugs out of patio and picnic food.

    The lids are easily storable and strong enough for the containers to be stacked. They can be easily stretched to fit over bowls with any type of rim.

    Even better: You save money and the environment when you use LidLover instead of temporary, landfill-bound covers such as plastic wraps and foils.

    The 12″ LidLover, with grooves fitting from 9″ to 12″, fits most large serving bowls and dishes. It’s $16.95.



    Seal ‘em, stack ‘em, save the environment and keep picnic insects out of your food. Photo courtesy LidLover.


    LidLover is top rack dishwasher safe, may be used as a cover in the microwave and can be used in both the freezer (down to -40°F) and the oven (up to 400°F). All LidLover lids are made of BPA-free food grade silicone.

    Check out the different varieties of LidLover on the company website.

    If you’re invited to a picnic or a barbecue, bring one to the host!



    FOOD FUN: Pie Crust Cutters

    Surrounded by luscious spring and summer fruits, it’s hard not to want to bake a pie—or to learn how to bake one, if you’ve never dipped a toe in the oven.

    Two pie gadgets from Williams-Sonoma make even a novice seem like a sophisticated pie baker.


    Like lattice crusts but lack the time or patience to make them?

    Williams-Sonoma offers this solution: a lattice pie crust cutter. It quickly and easily cuts a lattice-like crust from rolled-out dough.

    You simply place the lattice insert in the bottom of the gadget’s frame, then lay a sheet of rolled dough on top. To create the pattern, use a rolling pin to press the cutter into the dough. Lift off the insert and invert the latticed dough onto the pie.

    It’s not as dramatic as a hand-woven lattice, but it’s certainly more interesting than a solid top crust!



    Press a lattice-style pie crust in 1-2-3. Photo courtesy Williams-Sonoma.


    Get yours at, $19.95.



    A patriotic pie, indeed! Photo courtesy



    What we really love is this American flag pie crust cutter, also from Williams-Sonoma and also $19.95.

    While we try to avoid bringing single-use gadgets into our small kitchen, we made an exception for this one. Now, a patriotic pie will be our annual contribution to July 4th festivities.

    Get yours at

    Both inserts are designed for use with a 12″ diameter pastry crust.




    TIP OF THE DAY: Oil & Vinegar Sprayer


    Spray on oil and vinegar. Photo courtesy Delta.


    Just in time for summer cook-outs and picnics, we were sent samples of the large and small Evo Oil Sprayers.

    They’re different from misters: The spray is less fine and wider. The company claims that the spray nozzle is no-clog (a complaint with the finer-spray misters); so far, that’s been true for us.

    Today’s tip is: If you’re not yet using a mister/sprayer in the kitchen and for grilling, now’s the time to try one:

  • On cooking and baking pans and grill grates, instead of misters or aerosol-propelled (chemical) sprays. You also use your own quality oils, and can vary them (canola, olive, peanut or herb-infused, for example).
  • To evenly spray vegetables before roasting.
  • To spray butter- or herb-flavored oil on grains, popcorn and vegetables.
  • On salads, to save calories and the waste of vinaigrette at the bottom of the bowl.
    Available in two sizes, 8 ounces and 18 ounces, Evo is an option for people who aren’t happy with their current oil sprayers/misters. (We gave up on misters after trying to unclog two different brands.)

    The smaller size package consists of two bottles ($24.08). You can use one for oil and the other for vinegar; the bottles are different colors so you can easily tell which is which. We combined different oil and vinegar combinations into each bottle: one a balsamic vinaigrette, one a red wine vinaigrette.

    The large bottle ($19.99) comes with changeable silicone neck tags that identify five different kinds of oil plus balsamic vinegar (although you’d think that the color of the latter would be a dead giveaway). A funnel (provided) twists on to the bottle for easy filling.

    The Evo sprayers are made of high-quality plastic and are top-rack dishwasher safe; the sprayers are easily hand-washed in soapy water. Both components are BPA-, DEHP- and latex-free.

    The sleek ergonomic design is by Michael Graves Design Group, the architectural firm that has designed a variety of housewares including the iconic Alessi Michael Graves Kettle with Bird Whistle.

    Get your sprayers on, for yourself and for house gifts.



    FOOD FUN: Use Your Julep Cups For Food

    Don’t put your julep cups away because the Kentucky Derby is over. Instead, think of what else you can serve in them, all year long.


    Serve other cold beverages in these glamorous vessels. Kids won’t drink their milk? Let them drink it from the “special” silver julep cup.

    Use the julep cups to hold the forks, spoons and knives.

    Place julep cups in the freezer to chill them before adding ice cream, sorbet or other frozen dessert. The scoops will stay frozen much longer.



    Today is National Shrimp Day. How about a “Shrimp Julep.” Photo courtesy Butter | NYC.

    You can also layer cake and ice cream in the cups, for a surprise ice cream cake dessert.

    And pudding is even more welcome when served in a julep cup.

    Get your family to eat more salad and veggies by serving them in a glam silver container.

    Julep cups are also an impressive vessel for entertaining. Use them to serve anything to guests at a dinner party. They’ll also be impressed by your creativity.

    Butter restaurant in New York City adds ice to the julep cup, but instead of bourbon and mint it adds shrimp and cocktail sauce. Can we take some creative license and call it a Shrimp Julep?

    For fancy TV viewing, Oscar parties, Halloween and other occasions, fill the julep cups with snack food, from candy corn to popcorn.

    A julep is a sweet flavored drink made with sugar syrup, among other ingredients. A Mint Julep also adds bourbon, fresh mint and crushed or shaved ice.



    PRODUCT: Easier Homemade Pretzels

    Here’s help if you want to make homemade pretzels (see the recipe below): the Silpat baking sheet for that Perfect Pretzel Baking Sheet.

    Just lay the dough over the outlines for uniform-shaped pretzels every time.

    The sheet is 16.5 inches x 11.6 inches.

    While the first group of pretzels is cooling down, put the next batch in…and count the moments until you can bite into a warm pretzel.



    Turn out uniform shapes. Photo courtesy Silpat.




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