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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 Kosher Nibbles

PRODUCT: Lovely Caramels, Vanilla & Chocolate Swirl

The Lovely Candy Company of Woodstock, Illinois is committed to all natural, gluten-free and non-GMO candies made from the best ingredients. Its products include caramels, fruit chews and licorice.

We love good caramels, and devoured the two bags we received: Original (vanilla) and Chocolate Swirl. We also received Fruit Chews—not our thing—which were devoured by the rest of THE NIBBLE team.

Buttery and soft yet chewy, no dentures or fillings will compromised by these tender caramels. They’re made from brown rice syrup (a lower glycemic* sweetener), sweetened condensed whole milk, butter, dried cane syrup, molasses, vanilla and lecithin, with chocolate liquor† added for the Chocolate Swirl variety.

Our preference is for the Chocolate Swirls, which are less sweet than the Original. We’ve earmarked them for stocking stuffers.

But give us either flavor—the contents will disappear just as quickly.

The line is certified kosher by KOF-K.

 

We couldn’t stop eating them until the bags were empty. Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

 
We’ve seen the caramels at a number of specialty food stores; there’s a store locator on the company website.

Or, head to Amazon.com for:

  • Chocolate Swirl Caramels, $5.50 for 6 ounces, a 4-pack for $19.96 or a 12-pack for $59.88
  • Original Caramels, 6 ounce bag, 4 pack and 12-pack
  •  
    You can also find the Fruit Chews on Amazon.
     
    ABOUT BROWN RICE SYRUP

    Brown rice syrup, also called rice bran syrup and rice malt, is a low-glycemic sweetener. This means that its complex sugars are absorbed more slowly into the bloodstream—usually a boon for people with diabetes (see the next paragraph). It’s about half as sweet as table sugar and one-third as sweet as agave syrup/nectar.

    Although brown rice syrup has a GI (glycemic index) of 20,* it is not recommended for diabetics. That’s because its sweetness comes from maltose, which causes spikes in blood sugar. But, check with your healthcare provider if you are a diabetic who’d like to try brown rice syrup or products it contains.

    *Table sugar has a GI value of 60-65. Pure maple syrup maple syrup has a GI of 54.

    †A misleading term, chocolate liquor contains no alcohol. It is a thick, gritty, dark brown paste. Here’s a longer explanation of chocolate liquor.

      

    Comments

    HALLOWEEN: Chocolate Covered Orange Peel

    For a sophisticated Halloween treat, consider dark chocolate covered orange peels from Lake Champlain Chocolates of Vermont.

    Chocolate-covered orange peel is one of our favorite chocolate treats. You bite into the refreshing taste of citrus, covered in rich dark chocolate.

    Fresh Valencia orange peels are sliced and candied before they are dipped into the chocolate, in a process that takes three days. One taste assures you that it’s been worth every minute.

    The 7.25 ounce gift box, tied with a green satin ribbon, contains approximately 25 pieces and is $35.00.

    Beyond Halloween gifting, we love to serve these at the end of a fine dinner, with coffee or tea. A couple of pieces are more satisfying; no other dessert is required!

     

    Chocolate-covered candied orange peel is a treat for Halloween or after-dinner coffee. Photo courtesy Lake Champlain Chocolates.

     

    Lake Champlain chocolates are certified kosher by Star-K. Buy them online at LakeChamplainChocolates.com.

      

    Comments

    PRODUCT: Cashew Milk

    Slide over, almond milk, soy milk and rice milk. There’s a new milk in town: cashew milk. We got the 411 from Hannah Kaminsky of BittersweetBlog.com. It’s a boon for kosher, lactose-intolerant and vegan food enthusiasts. Hannah writes:

    Well, it’s about time! Considering the proliferation of non-dairy milks populating grocery stores, it seems unthinkable that cashews have been entirely missing in action. Until now.

    Who better to unleash the world’s first commercial cashew milk than So Delicious, having proven their mastery of both frozen and refrigerated dairy-free delights? Before I even realized my own unfulfilled nut milk desires, this turned out to be the creamy drink I had been waiting for all along.

    Almond milk is my typical go-to milk alternative, the prime candidate for drinking, baking, cooking, and yes, ice cream-ing.

     

    New cashew milk from So Delicious. Photo © Hannah Kaminsky | BittersweetBlog.com.

     

    From here on in, consider that prime spot in my fridge under serious reconsideration, because So Delicious’ cashew milk performs all of those tasks with equal grace, and of course, great taste.

    Currently offered in Unsweetened and Unsweetened Vanilla, my only hope would be that the line takes off and expands to include a chocolate option.

     

    Cashews: ready to be “milked.” Photo by
    Midori | Wikimedia.

     

    Both flavors have an excellent viscosity, a moderate thickness without any cloying sensation. Though considerably less rich than homemade cashew milk, for a mere fraction of the calories (35 per cup) cashew milk tastes surprisingly creamy and luscious.

    A very subtle nutty flavor defines thee background flavor, distinctly cashew in essence, and easily minimized when mixed into other recipes. Bearing a clean flavor with no sugar to speak of, they can seamlessly work in any application, a testament to their versatility.

    In short, if you don’t give these cashew milks a try, you’re seriously missing out! They may very well replace my almond standby, at least once they gain wider distribution in more mainstream grocery stores.

    So Delicious products are certified Kosher (parve) by Kehilla Kosher.

    —Hannah Kaminsky

     

    WHAT’S SO GREAT ABOUT CASHEWS?

    Surprise: Cashew “nuts” are not true nuts but seeds that adhere to the bottom of the cashew apple, the fruit of the cashew tree.

    Another surprise: Cashews are always sold shelled, because the inside lining of the shells contains an inedible, caustic resin. This “cashew balm” is used to make varnishes and insecticides!

    But the bounty inside the shell is a most delicious, nutritious nut/seed, with one-quarter cup providing copper (37.5% DV), magnesium (25% DV), manganese (28.4% DV), phosphorus (20.3% DV) and tryptophan (DV 28.1%), as well as iron, selenium and zinc.

    Cashews’ high antioxidant components also help to lower risk of cardiovascular and coronary heart diseases.

    Cashews have a lower fat content than most other nuts, and most of it comprises heart-healthy monounsaturated fats (the same fats found in olive oil).

    So dig in—or drink up!

      

    Comments

    PRODUCT: Black Rice Tortillas, Exotic & Gluten Free

    Yes, there are gluten-free tortillas from Rudi’s and Udi’s that have been lifesavers for Mexican food fans who follow a gluten free diet.

    But now there are even better ones: black rice tortillas from Food For Life. Exotic, gluten free, vegan and yeast free, they are ready to be turned into:

  • Crust, e.g. for chicken pot pie
  • Croutons (cut into strips, fry and season)
  • Mexican favorites: burritos, empanadas,
    enchiladas, tacos, quesadillas
  • “Mexican lasagne”
  • Sandwich wraps
  • Tortilla chips and nachos (cut into triangles and bake into chips)
  • Tortilla “pizza”
  •  

    Gluten-free wraps are dramatic as well as tasty. Photo courtesy Food For Life.

     
    WHAT’S BLACK RICE?

    Black rice, also known as purple rice and forbidden rice, is a group of rice types that are black or dark brown when harvested, but turn purple when cooked.

    Unlike refined white rice, black rice is a whole grain loaded with fiber, 18 amino acids, iron, zinc, copper, carotene, vitamins, minerals and anthocyanins (the same antioxidants that are found in like those found in açaí, blackberries, blueberries and tart cherries, and give all of these foods their deep pigments).

     

    Quesadillas with a twist. Photo courtesy
    LeslieLovesVeggies.net.

     

    In ancient times, black rice was reserved exclusively for Chinese emperors—thus the name forbidden rice. (See the different types of rice.)

    Today, you don’t have to be royalty to enjoy black rice—you can buy it at almost any natural foods store and online. It makes an especially glamorous rice pudding: Thai black rice pudding with coconut milk.

    A healthier alternative to traditional wheat flour tortillas, these black rice tortillas are tastier, too.

    One thing to watch out for: We didn’t see an expiration on our package and left them out at room temperature. The tortillas are actually pretty fragile: the shelf life is five days at room temperature. But they’ll stay fresh for three weeks when refrigerated and one year frozen.

     

    The tortillas are certified kosher by KOF-K.

    Here’s a recipe for homemade gluten-free tortillas.

    Here are some of our favorite gluten-free products.

    For information on gluten intolerance, visit the Celiac Disease Foundation.

      

    Comments

    PRODUCT: Nonni’s THINaddictives Biscotti

    What we think of as delicious Italian biscotti began life thousands of years ago—not as a sweet treat but as a convenience food for travelers (here’s the history of biscotti).

    Biscotti means “twice cooked.” The unleavened, finger-shaped wafers were baked first to cook them, then baked a second time to completely dry them out. This made them durable nourishment for for travel and a staple food of the Roman Legions. The Roman author and military commander Pliny boasted that they would be edible for centuries.

    Today we enjoy biscotti for the pleasure. They’re crunchy and delicious with coffee and tea, and made in so many varieties that the prospect never gets dull (chocolate-dipped biscotti, anyone?).

    But they can be so hard, you might worry that a pleasurable nibble could turn into a whopping dentist bill.

    Nonni’s has addressed the concern with THINaddictives, turning dense biscotti into delicate thins. Crunch away: no harm will befall those pearly whites.

     

    Very thin biscotti are easy on the teeth. Shown: Cranberry Almond. Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

     

    Keep them at home and at work for coffee
    breaks. Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE
    NIBBLE.

     

    The kids took mom’s recipe and have recreated it to look “as if it just came out of her warm loving oven itself.” Enjoy them in:

  • Cinnamon Raisin
  • Cranberry Almond
  • Pistachio
  •  
    While we liked all three flavors, the Cinnamon Raisin, inexplicably, had less depth of flavor than the other two. It could have been the batch.

    You can enjoy all flavors with anything from cheese to yogurt to ice cream.

    The “skinny biscotti” are cello-wrapped in two-piece portions. That’s good, because as the name says, they can be addictive.

    The line is certified kosher (parve) by MK, a Montreal certifier (the product is made in Canada). Look for THINaddictives at your retailer, or click the links above to buy online.

    And the next time someone invites you over for a cup of coffee, bring a box.

     

      

    Comments

    PRODUCT: New Delights From Garden Lites

    We’re big fans of the Garden Lites Line, both the veggie muffins and the vegetable soufflés.

    Garden Lites Veggie Muffins

    The line, previously represented by delicious Carrot Berry and Chocolate Zucchini muffins, has been joined by Veggie Blueberry Oat and Banana Chocolate Chip. As we write this, we’re enjoying the two new flavors with a cup of tea.

    The all natural Veggie Muffins are made of 1/3 fresh vegetables. Each muffin is shrink-wrapped for easy portability. Just let the frozen muffins defrost naturally or heat them in the microwave for 30 seconds: You’ll have an extremely moist treat that’s right-sized (not super-sized) at 120 calories per muffin (3 Weight Watchers points), with 5g fiber.

    The recipes contain eggs but are dairy free, gluten free, nut free and soy free. The muffins are certified kosher (parve) by Star-K.

     

    Big chunks of chocolate 5g protein? What could be better? Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

     

    Our favorite new flavor. Photo by Elvira
    Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

     

    Garden Lites Veggie Soufflés

    We simply love these delightful soufflés as healthful snacks. The original nine flavors have been augmented with two more: Loaded Potato Soufflé, a potato, broccoli and chive soufflé topped with cheddar cheese sauce; and Veggie Chili and Cornbread Melt, a delicious cornbread base topped with vegetable chili and cheddar cheese sauce.

    These new additions led us to the blinding revelation of the obvious: That we could add a bit of cheese sauce or grated parmesan to any of the soufflé flavors. In fact, a sprinkle of our own grated parmesan (not from a can, please) added much more flavor than the cheddar sauce.

    It gave the Loaded Potato some needed extra seasoning. But the Veggie Chili & Cornbread Melt is a winner: a great combination of flavors and textures that transported us to the Southwest.

     

    Both new varieties have 200 calories, two servings of vegetables and 5 Weight Watchers points. Loaded Potato has 11g protein, Veggie Chili has 9 g protein. The soufflés are certified kosher (dairy) by Star-D.

    The products are available at select Costco locations and other retailers. Check the store locator for the store nearest you.

      

    Comments

    PRODUCT: Isabella’s Cookie Company

    Jennifer Palmer began baking as a young girl and “always thrived on the happiness brought to others by my cookies.” What a lovely thought!

    Turning avocation into career, in 2001 she founded Isabella’s Cookie Company, so that everyone could enjoy her fresh baked, all natural cookie creations.

    The company is based in Redondo Beach, California, and the cookies are carried by many local retailers (here’s the store locator).

    You can order online and send a gift box of luscious cookies to friends, family, hosts, campers and others deserving of sweet, buttery goodness. Don’t want butter? There are seven vegan varieties. And if you need a themed cookie, there are hand-decorated cookies in every shape imaginable (we love the billy goats). The entire line is certified kosher by KOF-K.

    The only problem is what to order. We tried two delicious flavors (Limey and Muffy—see below), but everything sounds soooo good. For starters are the the flavors you’d anticipate (chocolate [including chipotle chocolate], peanut butter, chocolate chip-PB chip and oatmeal with both chocolate-covered and regular raisins).

     

    The Muffy: a blueberry-muffin inspired cookie. Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

     
    But then, the surprises: Isabella’s creates flavor combinations that you won’t find elsewhere. A sampling:

  • Apple Fritter, an oatmeal cookie with apples, white chocolate chips and a hint of cinnamon, also available in Cran-Apple
  • B-Nana, a cookie version of the banana split, with banana flavor, chocolate chips, white chocolate chips and dried strawberries
  • BOB, a chewy oatmeal cookie with butterscotch chips and dried blueberries
  • Chocolate Haze, dark chocolate and crunchy hazelnuts
  • Dark Mocha Monster, a soft brown sugar cookie with dark chocolate chunks and roasted espresso beans
  • Fluffy, a Fluffernutter in a cookie—banana cookie with peanut butter chips and marshmallows
  • Limey, a graham cracker base with white chocolate chips and a lime-vanilla drizzle
  • Maui Wowie, macadamia nuts, pineapple, coconut and white chocolate chunks
  • Muffy, a blueberry muffin-inspired cookie with dried blueberries, milk chocolate-covered blueberries and white chocolate chips.
  • Orange Dream Cream, an orange and vanilla cookie packed with white chocolate chips
  • Paddy, green mint chips added to a classic chocolate chip cookie—one of our favorite recipes
  •  

    Limey: graham crackers, white chocolate
    chips and a vanilla-lime drizzle. Photo
    courtesy Isabella’s.

     

    There’s even a chocolate chip cookie with half the sugar! And a purchase of a bag of Milk + Bookies Chocolate Chip Cookie sends books to children in need.

    Nut Allergies?

    While the bakery does use nuts in some of the cookies, they follow a strict allergen control program: a chemical cleanup upon the completion of using the nuts, and no co-mingling of ingredients.
     
    TOO MANY COOKIES?

    You don’t have to eat them all at once: You can freeze them. Here’s how to store cookies.

    HOW MANY TYPES OF COOKIES HAVE YOU HAD?

    Check out some of the world’s favorite types of cookies in our delicious Cookie Glossary.

      

    Comments

    PRODUCT: Pillsbury Summer Flavors

    Pillsbury recently sent us two new mixes: Orangesicle Premium Cake Mix and Key Lime Premium Cookie Mix, both with matching frostings.

    The jury is in: We love the Orangesicle cake and frosting. The flavor profile presents both the vibrant orange and the vanilla counterpoint of a Creamsicle® (which is a trademarked brand of Unilever—here’s the history of the Creamsicle).

    For a killer dessert, serve the cake with scoops of orange sorbet and vanilla ice cream. It’s double Creamsicle/Orangesicle heaven.

    The Key Lime cookies were tasty, but not something we’d make again. While the orange and vanilla flavors were prominent in the cake, the cookies lacked the sprightly tartness we’d like from something called “key lime.”

    The mixes are available at retailers nationwide. For sure, we’ll be serving Orangesicle again soon.

    The mixes are certified kosher (dairy) by OU.

     

    Creamsicle lovers will love this new cake mix. Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

     

      

    Comments

    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Fruttare Bars

    Peaches and milk, one of four dleightful Fruttare flavors. Photo courtesy Unilever..

     

    If you’re a fan of Creamsicles, you know the unique combination of creamy ice cream and fruity sorbet.

    Creamsicles debuted in California in 1923. A mere 90 years later, there’s another creamy frozen treat that combines ice pop and milk: Fruttare bars.

    Created in Europe by Unilever, they’ve arrived in the U.S., and they deserve your attention.

    A distant cousin of the Creamsicle concept—which is a vanilla ice cream bar coated with orange sherbet—Fruttare bars are a blend of fruit juice (the base of ice pops and sherbet) and fresh milk. Chunks of fruit add texture and bursts of flavor.

    The initial flavors include:

  • Banana and Milk
  • Coconut and Milk
  • Peach and Milk
  • Strawberry and Milk
  •  
    The line also includes Fruttare Fruit and Juice Bars (no dairy), conventional frozen fruit bars in Lime, Mango, Orange and Strawberry. They are also delightful, but slightly less awesome than the fruit and milk bars.

    Fruttare bars, available at retailers nationwide, are certified kosher by KOF-K.

    Read the full review.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Fruit Cones

    Today’s tip is an easy, kid-friendly, guilt-free, handheld snack or dessert.

    Ice cream cones filled with fruit are a way to bring the fun without the refined sugar, calories or drippiness of ice cream.

    Simply cut up a fruit salad into a small dice (the size of raspberries). Blueberries and raspberries can go into the cone as is; blackberries and strawberries should be halved or quartered.

    You can add a little ice cream or frozen yogurt as a topping, using a small scoop or a tablespoon. Or, top with:

  • Plain Greek yogurt, lightly sweetened (we use a noncaloric sweetener)
  • Vanilla yogurt
  •  
    GLUTEN-FREE CONES

    We really enjoyed these gluten-free ice cream cones from Goldbaum’s.

     

    Photo courtesy Stephanie Jackson | Pinterest.

     
    They’re also available in gluten-free, sugar-free ice cream cones.

    The line is certified kosher by OU.

      

    Comments

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