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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 Kosher Nibbles

STOCKING STUFFER: Justin’s White Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups


Get them while you can! Photo courtesy Justin’s.


Justin’s makes delicious organic peanut butter cups in dark, milk and white chocolate. The salty peanut butter is a tasty counterpoint to the creamy, quality white chocolate. We’re hooked!

The white chocolate cups are available at Whole Foods Markets and other major retailers, as well as at

Learn more about Justin’s line of organic nut butters and PB cups at Peanut butter flavors include:
Almond Butter

  • Maple Almond Butter
  • Classic Almond Butter
  • Chocolate Almond Butter
  • Honey Almond Butter
  • Vanilla Almond Butter
    Hazelnut Butter

  • Chocolate Hazelnut Butter
    Peanut Butter

  • Classic Peanut Butter
  • Honey Peanut Butter

    The line is gluten-free and certified kosher by OU.



    PRODUCT: Harvest Pumpkin, Seasonal Tortilla Chips From Food Should Taste Good

    How delicious are the fall flavor tortilla chips from Food Should Taste Good?

    Very delicious! You can enjoy them plain, with a savory or sweet dip, or as “fall nachos.”

    • Harvest Pumpkin tortilla chips are as good as eating a cookie. Deftly spiced with cinnamon, clove, allspice and nutmeg (and a touch of cane sugar), stone ground corn is mixed with pumpkin, spices, sea salt.
    • Sweet Potato tortilla chips, which are made with a touch of sugar, can be served with fruit salsa, raspberry jam or apple butter; served with ginger snap dip, or instead of cookies with vanilla ice cream.

    The all natural line is certified gluten free, certified vegan and OU kosher. The snack contains 19 grams of whole grains per serving. (The USDA recommends 48 grams of whole grains daily.)


    This recipe, adapted from Taste Of Home, makes a “dessert dip.” For a less sweet dip, cut the sugar in half or eliminate it entirely.



    Sweet Potato and Harvest Pumpkin tortilla chips from Food Should Taste Good. Photo by Hannah Kaminsky | THE NIBBLE.

    Ingredients For 3 Cups

    • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
    • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
    • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice*
    • 1 carton (8 ounces) plain Greek yogurt
    • 1 package (16 ounces) gingersnaps

    *You can combine equal amounts of allspice, cinnamon, clove and nutmeg or adapt the spices and proportions to your preferences.>

    1. BEAT the cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar and pumpkin pie spice in a small bowl until fluffy. Beat in the yogurt.

    2. REFRIGERATE until ready to serve.



    Gingersnap dip for cookies or seasonal tortilla chips. Photo courtesy Taste Of Home.



    Biscoff Spread looks like peanut butter but smells like gingerbread and is nut-free. It is made from spice cookies, called spéculoos cookies in Belgium, where they are the national cookie—a variation of gingerbread. (The cookies are called Belgian spice cookies in the U.S.)

    The name Biscoff is a combination of “biscuits and coffee,” a nod to enjoying the cookies with your cup of java. The spread, a NIBBLE Top Pick Of The Week, was the winner of a recipe competition in Belgium that was held by the largest producer of the cookies. The winning concept: Grind the cookies into a “cookie spread” that can be enjoyed an alternative to Nutella or peanut butter.

    Biscoff Spread is available at supermarkets nationwide and onlineonline; Trader Joe’s sells a private label version called Cookie Spread. In Europe, the generic version is called spéculoos spread.

    This recipe, which was originally developed for dipping fruit and cookies, is equally delicious with pumpkin and sweet potato tortilla chips.

    Ingredients For 4 To 6 Servings

    • 1/4 cup Biscoff Spread
    • 1 container plain lowfat yogurt (6 ounces or 3/4 cup)†
    • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon


  • Pumpkin and/or sweet potato tortilla chips for serving
    Optional Fruit To Serve Alongside The Chips

    • 1 red apple, washed and cored, cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
    • 1 small banana, peeled, cut into 1-inch slices
    • 1 cup whole or halved strawberries, washed and dried
    • 1 ripe pear, washed, dried and cut into 1/4-inch thick slices, or other favorite dipping fruit

    †Or, use lowfat vanilla yogurt and omit the vanilla extract.

    1. WHISK together the Biscoff Spread and yogurt until smooth.

    2. WHISK in vanilla and cinnamon. Place in small serving bowl. Serve with chips and optional fruit.



    TIP OF THE DAY: Genmaicha Tea

    Genmaicha, green tea mixed with toasted
    rice. Photo courtesy Wikimedia.


    Genmaicha, pronounced gen-my-cha with a hard “g,” is one of our favorite green teas.

    The flavor of the sencha green tea base is secondary to the nutty, toasty flavor of kernels of toasted and popped brown rice that scattered among the tea leaves.

    The name translates as “brown rice tea”; it is also called roasted rice tea and popcorn tea, because a few grains of the rice invariably pop during the roasting process and resemble popcorn. To further confuse matters, different American tea packagers bestow names of their own. At Mighty Leaf it’s Kyoto rice tea; at Numi it’s toasted rice tea.

    The good news is that this tea, which for a long time was only available loose, can now be found in tea bags. And people who want to drink green tea for its health benefits, but don’t like the grassy and vegetal flavors, can try it and possibly really enjoy the nutty flavor (from the roasted rice).

    As a stocking stuffer or small gift, you can buy a box for as little as $5.49, on



    Genmaicha was originally drunk by poor Japanese. The rice was used as a filler and reduced the price of the tea; which is why it is also known as the “people’s tea.” Today it is enjoyed by everyone.

    Genmaicha is also sold with matcha (powdered green tea) added to it, called matcha-iri genmaicha (literally, “genmaicha with added powdered tea”). The flavor is often stronger and the color more green than pale yellow green of regular genmaicha. Rishi sells an organic version.




    Thinking ahead to stocking stuffers? How about a box of genmaicha tea? The organic Numi line is certified kosher by Natural Food Certifiers. Photo courtesy Numi Tea.




    PRODUCT: Marich Sugar Free Candy

    What’s Halloween like for people who can’t have sugar?

    While there’s no sugar-free candy corn (because candy corn is essentially sugar, corn syrup, color and flavoring), there are other sugar-free treats, from Gummies, hard candies including Cinnamon Buttons, Jelly Belly jelly beans, Jolly Ranchers, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and much more (for a great selection head to

    Or, you could go gourmet at Marich.

    Marich Confectionery makes a lot of the all-American candies sold in bulk in better candy stories: bridge mix; caramels and toffees; chocolate-covered coffee beans, fruits and nuts; Holland mints, licorice; and our favorite malted milk balls.

    Some of the most popular items are available in sugar-free versions: Sugar Free Chocolate Bridge Mix, Sugar Free Chocolate Espresso Beans, Sugar Free Dark Chocolate Almonds and No Sugar Added Chocolate Cherries (the cherries themselves have natural sugar).

    Whether for Halloween gifts or for the holidays, in eight-ounce, ribbon-tied bags ($10.50, $11 for the cherries), we love these for gifting.



    Sugar-free treats Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.



    Easy sugar-free gifting. Photo by Elvira
    Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.



    From the regular line, two items great for stocking stuffers or party favors are two-ounce boxes of:

    • Christmas Holland Mints (red, white and green, $2.50)
    • Cinnamon Spice Apple Caramels ($3.00)
    • Pumpkin Spice Caramels ($3.00)

    The line is certified kosher by by KOF-K.

    Dig in at




    HALLOWEEN: Trick Or Treat With Pumpkin Brownies

    It will be a ghoulishly delightful change this Halloween when you serve Fairytale Brownies’ new Halloween brownies in Pumpkin Spice, with a Halloween label that features jack-o-lanterns and bats.

    Perfect for party favors, the individually wrapped, 3” x 3” dark chocolate brownies are also sold in bulk by the dozen, if you want to present them on a dessert tray or plate them individually (perhaps as the base of a brownie sundae, with pumpkin ice cream?).

    Treat your friends, treat your co-workers, and let these delicious brownies melt in your mouth. Like all Fairytale Brownies, they are made with Callebaut Belgian chocolate, alfarm fresh eggs, pure creamery butter and dark brown sugar. Then, sweet pumpkin purée is blended with cream cheese, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and ginger, and swirled into the brownie batter.

    And although religious Jews don’t celebrate Halloween, the Fairytale line is certified kosher (dairy) by the Greater Phoenix Vaad Hakashruth.



    Trick or treat! These Pumpkin Spice Brownies are definitely a treat. Photo courtesy Fairytale Brownies.




    Pumpkin Spice Brownies in a gift box have a
    plain cellophane wrap. Photo courtesy
    Fairytale Brownies.



    For Thanksgiving treats, hostess gifts and holiday gift giving, the Pumpkin Spice Brownies are available in a plain cellophane wrap, in a gift box. You can choose all Pumpkin Spice Brownies, or a combination box with Chocolate Chip Brownies.

    The Pumpkin Spice Brownies are limited edition, available only through December 31, 2014. But if you can’t live without them, they do freeze beautifully.

    Get yours at




    TIP OF THE DAY: Autumn Chocolates

    While Halloween chocolate is creeping into stores—chocolate ghosts, pumpkins, candy corn and other holiday specialties—you have a few weeks to enjoy some “autumn chocolate” until Halloween week.

    Until then, how about some “autumn chocolates” that are in chocolate shops until the Christmas flavors come in? Today, we feature two of our favorite chocolatiers, with very different products.


    San Francisco-based chocolatier Michael Recchiuti is known for his fine chocolates, made with a custom blend of Valrhona chocolate. His popular Dragée Sampler, available year-round, includes Burnt Caramel Almonds, Burnt Caramel Hazelnuts, Peanut Butter Pearls and Cherries Two Ways.

    From now through the end of November you can enjoy the flavors of the limited-edition Autumn Dragée Sampler: Burnt Caramel Almonds, Candied Ginger enrobed in 64% cacao dark chocolate and Tart Cranberries enrobed in 70% cacao chocolate.



    Autumn Dragée Sampler. Photo courtsy Recchiuti Confections.


    A lovely treat or gift: a 12-ounce black gift box (sturdy and reusable) tied with an orange satin ribbon is $29.00. Get yours at


    Dragées (drah-ZHAY) are a French word for almonds encased in a hard-shell coating. The almonds can also have a chocolate coating underneath the sugar. They are a popular wedding favor, representing good luck. Hazelnuts, which can be made in the same manner, are a more modern variation.

    “Dragée” is also used to describe tiny, round balls of sugar, often coated with edible silver or gold, and used to decorate baked goods; and to refer to sweet, medicated lozenges. The commonality is the sugar coating. In French, dragée also refers to nonpareils; dragée à la gelée de sucre is a jelly bean. And finally, dragée is French slang for bullets (small shot).
    Panned Products

    Dragées are part of a confection category known as panned products. Panning is one of the basic methods of coating chocolate onto a center (mostly hard centers such as nuts and crystallized ginger; the other methods are enrobing and molding or shell molding).

    In panning, chocolate is sprayed onto the centers as they rotate in revolving pans; cool air is then blown into the pan to harden the chocolates. On a small scale (and before the industrial revolution), nuts are coated on a pan on the stove top; they can be rolled in cocoa powder or other coating before they harden.

    Discover more about chocolate in our Chocolate Glossary.



    Apple Cider Caramels. Photo courtesy Lake
    Champlain Chocolate.



    On the other side of the country in Vermont, Lake Champlain Chocolates is our go-to source for delicious American-style chocolates. We love thechocolate-dipped dried apricots and orange peel, buttercrunch, nut clusters and many other treats. The couverture chocolate is Callebaut from Belgium, and line is certified kosher by Star-K.

    For fall, there are:

  • Assorted Milk and Dark Chocolate Truffles give you a taste of the season via Spiced Pumpkin, which joins French Roast, Hazelnut, Legendary Dark and Raspberry, $16.
  • Autumn Chocolate Coins, a mix of milk and coins, foil-wrapped in festive foliage colors.
  • Autumn Chocolates of Vermont, an autumn-themed gift box of chocolates, $25.50
  • Caramel Chocolate Leaves, $13.00.
  • Milk Chocolate Apple Cider Caramels, $35.00.
  • Peanut Butter Chocolate Leaf Bag beckons to lovers of peanut butter cups, $13.00.

    Find them at



    TIP OF THE DAY: Get Better Crackers


    The Nibble’s reigning favorite cracker. Photo
    by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.


    We’ve eaten more than our share of supermarket crackers—Carr’s Water Biscuits, Keebler Club Crackers, Nabisco Saltines, Ritz Crackers and the like. They’re good, but sometimes we want amazing.

    Special occasions deserve special crackers—to accompany cheese, dips, salads, soups, spreads, whatever. They may be pricier than the supermarket varieties, but if your palate craves excitement and your eyes want visual allure, it’s money well spent.

    Otherwise stated, Cracker Barrel makes perfectly tasty Cheddar cheese. But if we want a great Cheddar experience, we’ll spring for Fiscalini Farmstead, a great artisan wheel from California.

    It can be a challenge to find great crackers, even when you know what you’re looking for. Recently we raced through three specialty food stores in search of Raincoast Crisps, our current favorite cracker. We finally found them at Dean & Deluca retail and etail, and also online at

    They’re $6.79 for a six-ounce box at iGourmet, and a whopping $10 at DDL. The amazing flavors and textures and small batch production make it worth the special-occasion splurge. They’re exquisite absolutely plain or however you wish to serve them.

    Three more-affordable brands of special crackers we favor, all natural and artisan (small batch, better ingredients):

    Dr. Kracker

    Rolled by hand, these artisan flatbreads are long on flavor and unique in their appearance. Each cracker is topped a generous number of attractive—and healthy—seeds, sesame, sunflower, and/or pumpkin.

  • Company Website
  • Our Review

    Mary’s Gone Crackers

    Mary’s Gone Crackers are gluten-free and vegan, yet packed with so much flavor you start to wonder what is in them that makes them taste so vibrant and delicious (the answer: whole grain brown rice, whole quinoa, flax seeds and sesame seeds). They’re also organic, whole grain and OU kosher.

  • Company Website
  • Our Review
    La Panzanella Croccantini

    Unlike the previous recommendations, which are whole grain and laden with seeds, nuts or fruits, La Panzanella Croccantini provide classic Italian flare. Made from white flour, even the plain version is wonderful, but cracked pepper, garlic and rosemary versions add extra flavor. The line is certified kosher by KOF-K.

  • Company Website
  • Our Review
    You can also browse the shelves at specialty food stores and try whatever looks good.



    Raincoast Crisps with cheese. Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

    As with government, people get the crackers they deserve. If no one wants to pay more for better products, the shelves get stacked with more varieties of Ritz and saltines.

    As crisp as they begin, crackers will attract moisture over time and get soggy. But you can easily re-crisp them:

    1. Put the crackers in the microwave on a paper towel. Don’t overlap.

    2. Microwave them for 40 seconds on medium/high.

    3. Allow the crackers to cool for 3-5 minutes. They will crisp up as they cool down.

    Crunch away!



    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Nonni’s Biscotti Bites


    We want many bites! Photo by Elvira Kalviste


    The history of Nonni’s Biscotti begins in the little town of Lucca, Italy, in the heart of Tuscany. There, among meandering cobblestone lanes and venerable piazzas, one particular Nonni (an endearing term for Grandma) made biscotti for her family and friends.

    When Nonni moved to America almost a century ago, she continued baking the family biscotti to acclaim. One day, her children decided to take the recipe to the bank, creating the Nonni’s brand—now the number one brand of biscotti in the U.S.

    In the modern manifestation of the American Dream, the company was sold to a private equity investment firm several years ago.

    Since then, the original classic biscotti have been joined by two line extensions:

  • Nonni’s ThinAddictives, a melba toast-thin alternative to dense biscotti, introduced last year.
  • Biscotti Bites, smaller size biscotti.
    In Tuscany these biscotti are called cantucci di Prato—cantucci (con-TOO-chee) for short. They were originally baked with almonds from the plentiful almond groves of Prato, a town in Tuscany.

    A cantuccio (plural: cantucci) is a hard almond biscuit. The name cantucci means “little stones,” the stones referring to the almonds.

    We are very keen on the Biscotti Bites, and appreciate that the smaller size gives us a great biscotti experience with fewer carbs. Each is a two-bite treat; the suggested serving size, five pieces, is 120 calories. But two or three pieces is more than enough, and one can suffice.

    The varieties include:

  • Almond Dark Chocolate Biscotti Bites, an almond biscotti with the bottom edge dipped in dark chocolate. Classic deliciousness!
  • Double Chocolate Salted Caramel Biscotti Bites, our favorite, a chocolate biscotto with a chocolate dip; bits of salted caramel are mixed into the dough.
  • Very Berry Almond Biscotti Bites combines dried cranberries and almonds; it is dipped in a vanilla yogurt coating.

    Rich in flavor, crunchy in texture, Biscotti Bites are the perfect coffee break snack. We relish them:

  • With coffee or tea.
  • With ice cream.
  • As a chocolate fondue dipper: Dip into a shallow pot or bowl of chocolate fondue (you can’t easily spear the biscotti on a long fondue fork).
  • As dessert bruschetta, spreading the tops of the biscotti with mascarpone.
    The Italian dessert tradition of dipping biscotti and a glass of vin santo—a sweet late-harvest wine—doesn’t really work here. Plain biscotti are typically dipped into the wine, which softens the biscotto and adds the sweetness of the wine.

    Biscotti Bites are too short to dip, and the chocolate or yogurt coating kind of interferes with the honey notes of the wine. But the work-around is: Don’t try to dip; sip and bite, alternatively.

    The shiny, perky bags are just waiting for you to make someone happy. Bring to a friend’s house, to teachers, to hairdressers and anyone who deserves some tasty crunch.



    Our new favorite snack with tea or coffee. Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.


    The line is certified kosher (dairy) by United States K.

    There’s a store locator on the website, or you can buy them online:

  • Almond Dark Chocolate Biscotti Bites
  • Double Chocolate Salted Caramel Biscotti Bites
  • Very Berry Almond Biscotti Bites


    PRODUCT: Nothin’ But Snack Bars

    Jerri Graham, founder of Nothin’ But Premium Foods, had some of the same concerns of many people who carefully read nutrition labels. She realized that the snack bars her family enjoyed were lacking.

    “Everything was either loaded with artificial protein powders or a ‘log’ of foodstuff that left much to be desired,” she says. “So, I started making bars that I wanted to eat, give to my friends, and most importantly, what I wanted to feed my own child.”

    Jerri developed recipes and began selling her better-for-you snack bars to local cafés, farmers markets and gyms. People loved them and wanted more, but her production capacity was limited.

    One day, she received a phone call from a businessman who had discovered her product, and agreed with her mission. Together, they launched the Nothin’ But line of bars and granola cookies.

    Everything tastes so fresh, so good—a healthy indulgence with simple ingredients yet layers of flavor. Nuts deliver 4 grams of protein per serving, oats contribute 2 grams of fiber, honey, organic cane sugar and dried fruit are the sweeteners.



    These snack bars look healthy, and they taste delicious. Photo courtesy Nothin’ But Foods.




    Granola cookies. Photo courtesy Nothin’ But



    Nothin’ But Premium Snack Bars are 100% natural, made from a blend of organic oats, nuts, seeds and dried fruits; plus honey, organic cane sugar and olive oil. They are egg free, gluten free, cholesterol free and certified kosher by OK.

    The four bar flavors include something for everyone:

  • Cherry Cranberry Almond
  • Chocolate Almond
  • Ginger Lemon Cashew
  • Peanut Butter Banana

    If you prefer a cookie treat, tasty granola cookies, made from the same good ingredients as the snack bars, are available in:

  • Cherry Cranberry Almond
  • Chocolate Almond

    Retail distribution is currently limited, as is typical of new brands; but you can buy Nothin’ But online at

    Different gift assortments are available.

    Send them to your favorite student, or to anyone who appreciates better-for-you foods.



    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Lärabar’s Renula “Granola”

    The Lärabar brand of healthy, gluten free energy bars (now owned by General Mills) has reinvented granola. They call their new product Renola.

    The reinvention substitutes nuts for the traditional oats in granola. As a result, Renola is grain free, gluten free, soy-free and dairy-free. It is certified kosher by OU.

    It’s also crunchy and complex, with 6g protein per serving.

    A blend of non-GMO fruits, nuts, seeds and spices, Renola debuts in three flavors:

  • Berry Renola: almonds, cashews, pecans, sunflower seeds, molasses, blueberries, dried apple, raspberry powder, lemon juice, cinnamon, sea salt, vanilla.
  • Cinnamon Nut: almonds, sunflower seeds, molasses, pumpkin seeds, pecans, raisins, cashews, tapioca syrup, cinnamon, vanilla.
  • Cocoa Coconut: almonds, pecans, cashews, cocoa nibs, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, toasted coconut, coconut oil, cocoa powder.
    They are purchased in 1.25-ounce single serve packets. We received samples from the manufacturer and are pleased to report: the Berry and Cinnamon Nut flavors are superb.

    And Cocoa Coconut? The sample we received was a disappointment, with marginal cocoa flavor and a bit of coconut too dessicated to be enjoyable.

    But that doesn’t diminish the excitement of the other two flavors. They are wonderful, and thus, our Top Pick Of The Week.

  • On yogurt or cottage cheese
  • On oatmeal or other hot cereal
  • As a snack from the pack
  • In baking (add to cookie dough, for example)
  • As a dessert or salad garnish


    Berry Renola, a nut-based replacement for conventional granola. Photo courtesy General Mills.


    Renola is currently available at select Target stores nationwide, as well as a variety of grocery chains including Kroger, Meijer, Ahold, Safeway and Shaws, with others to come. The suggested retail price is $1.79 per package.

    For more information about Lärabar and Renola, visit



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