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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 Organic

PRODUCT: Wallaby Organic Greek Yogurt

One of 5 varieties of organic Greek yogurt.
Photo courtesy Wallaby.

 

Wallaby Yogurt Company, a family-owned producer of organic yogurt, has launched its first line of organic Greek yogurts.

Greek yogurt—properly called Greek-style yogurt when made outside of Greece—is typically triple-strained, removing much of the water to create a very thick texture.

Wallaby, based in Napa Valley, California, is known for its creamy, pudding-like yogurts which they call Australian-style, a term we’ve not come across elsewhere. We’d call them custard-style, French-style or Swiss-style (see our Yogurt Glossary for the different types of yogurt). The founders were inspired to make the yogurt while enjoying many a yogurt in Australia.

A press release notes that “Once the founders had decided [to make Greek yogurt], they tried every brand of Greek yogurt that they could get their hands on. When they were done, they ultimately concluded that there just weren’t any organic Greek yogurts out there that tasted really great. What followed was an intense effort of repeated trial and error, to come up with what they ultimately felt would be a Greek yogurt unmatched in taste.”

 

While we certainly respect the effort, this is a a different style of Greek yogurt than we’re accustomed to. It’s lighter and less thick, not too removed from the company’s regular lines. Instead of a thick, sour-cream-like consistency, Wallaby’s version of Greek yogurt is silky and elegant.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that. But if you’re an organic yogurt eater who is fond of Oikos* Greek yogurt from Stonyfield—or delight in the Greek-style yogurts from Chobani and FAGE Total—note that Wallaby takes a different approach.

*The Oikos brand name is also licensed to Dannon, a part-owner of Stonyfield, which produces a non-organic line of Dannon Oikos Greek yogurt. Yes, it is confusing!

Wallaby Organic Greek Lowfat Yogurt is available in a variety of flavors and sizes.

  • Flavored Yogurt. The 5.3-ounce flavored varieties—Blueberry, Cherry, Honey and Strawberry—are packaged in the same type of two-compartment cup used by FAGE Total yogurt. We’ve never been fans of this cup. The intent is to allow consumers to control the amount of flavor they get. But regardless of the brand, we find that scraping out the last morsel of fruit or honey yields barely enough to flavor the cup—and it’s a lot more work than the if-it-ain’t-broke-don’t-fix-it “fruit on the bottom” alternative.
  • Plain Yogurt. Conventional plain yogurt is available in 6-ounce and 16-ounce sizes.
     
    The Greek yogurt line is now available nationwide in Whole Foods Markets. The 5.3-ounce and 6-ounce sizes are priced at $1.99; the 16-ounce size retails for $3.99. The line is certified USDA organic and certified kosher by the Orthodox Rabbinical Council of San Francisco (K-ORC).
  •  
    Learn your yogurt types in our Yogurt Glossary.

      

    Comments

    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: The Best Granola & Muesli

    Our intrepid reviewer tasted her way through 49 granola and nine muesli brands to find the best—including gluten-free, kosher, organic and raw varieties. Wow, that’s a lot of fiber!

    The good news: Seven granolas and four mueslis were selected as “favorites.”

    In this review, you’ll discover:

  • The difference between granola and muesli
  • If granola is really “healthy”
  • A brief history (both products were invented by
    doctors at sanatoriums)
  •  
    Head for the review.

    Make your own granola at home: a video
    demonstration and recipe.

     
    Find more of our favorite cereals.

     

    Fiber-rich granola is a popular way to start
    the day. Photo by Lynn Seeden | IST.

     

      

    Comments

    GIFT OF THE DAY: Kanon Organic Vodka

    In 1580, King Karl IV of Sweden built the Åkers Styckebruk foundry to produce cannons for the Swedish army. Along with the foundry, he built a distillery to make vodka for the workers (nice benefit!).

    Over time, the distillery became privately owned and the largest distillery in Sweden. Nearly 300 workers produced more than a million liters of vodka annually.

    After a succession of monarchs, King Gustav IV outlawed the private production of spirits, in order to reap the revenues via a state monopoly. The distillery was closed for more than 200 years. The monopoly was lifted in the 1990s and a new owner set out to revive the legacy. In 2010, the first case of Kanon Organic Vodka was shipped to New York.

    The vodka is produced with 400-year-old traditional techniques in an artisan environment: The distillery employs just 15 people.

    Kanon Organic Vodka makes a good gift at any time; but is especially easy to grab as a last-minute gift.

     

    Photo courtesy Kanon Vodka.

     

    WHY ORGANIC VODKA?

    Organic vodka is a feel-good product—and not just because the vodka is delicious. At Kanon, the entire production process is not only organic, but totally sustainable.

  • Organic means freedom from chemical pesticides and other artificial ingredients; organic production means that the environment was not harmed in the growth and harvesting of the ingredients. More about organic agriculture and products.
  • Sustainable agriculture and manufacturing use environmentally and socially responsible methods of production. It preserves natural resources by choosing natural, recycled and bio-degradable products, bio-friendly cleaners, and solar power where possible. More information.
  •  
    The superpremium vodka uses only the heart* of the distillation: The heads and tails are converted into ethanol to make environmentally-friendly biogas for local buses.

    The only ingredients in the bottle are wheat and artesian water. The taste and character of the vodka are maintained in perfect balance, with no “burn.”

    We keep our vodka in the freezer and drink it neat. Skal!

    Learn more at KanonVodka.com

    *Look at distillation as a bell curve. The distillate in the center (heart) of the curve is of higher quality than that produced at the beginning (head) or end (tail). The heads and tails can be re-distilled to get a second heart, but the heart from the first run is superior. The heads and tails, which are included in inferior alcohols, produce hangovers.

    THE SCOOP ON MULTIPLE DISTILLATION

    You’ve seen vodka claims: distilled three times…five times…50 times. Kanon Organic Vodka is only distilled once. Here’s why:

    When the ingredients aren’t pure enough to begin with, when parts of the head and tail are included, then multiple distillations with charcoal filtration are needed to remove impurities. The impurities in Kanon are removed after a single distillation.

    Multiple distillations also remove the taste and character of the vodka.

    Skål!

      

    Comments

    STOCKING STUFFER & YEAR-ROUND TREAT: Sun Cups

    If you love peanut butter, you may have the same reaction we do when we hear of someone with a peanut allergy: “I’m so sorry.”

    Those who know the joys of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich or peanut butter cups empathize with those who can’t have them.

    But everyone can have sunflower butter!

    Sunflower butter is a smooth spread that looks and tastes almost identical to peanut butter. It’s made from sunflower seeds and is completely peanut- and tree nut-free.

    It’s healthier than PB, with one-third less saturated fat and 27% of a day’s recommended allowance of vitamin E, along with a much higher iron and fiber content (but 25% less protein).

    In jars, it’s available in the same variations as peanut butter: creamy, crunchy, natural, organic, unsweetened, even individual snack-size packs. Sunflower butter is also an ingredient in snack foods that previously relied on peanut butter, including energy bars, granola bars and peanut butter cups.

     

    All the lusciousness of peanut butter cups with no nuts whatsoever! Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

     

    Sun Cups are chocolate cups filled with sunflower butter instead of PB. They’re made by Seth Ellis Chocolatier in Boulder, Colorado.

    They resemble Reese’s peanut butter cups, with a similar flavor (there’s just a hint of sunflower seed tanginess).

    How Sun Cups Differ From Peanut Butter Cups

  • Sun Cups are filled with sunflower butter instead of peanut butter (and sunflower butter is perfectly creamy-smooth).
  • They’re made with a better-quality chocolate.
  • They’re available in flavors: not just dark chocolate and milk chocolate but caramel and mint (we’re partial to the dark chocolate).
  • Unlike Reese’s, they’re organic, nut-free and gluten-free. The chocolate is Rainforest Alliance Certified. The wrapper is compostable.
  • Like Reese’s, they’re vegetarian and kosher (dairy) [OU-certified for Reese’s, EarthKosher—an organic kosher certifier—for Sun Cups].
     
    The manufacturing plant and the entire supply chain (the ingredients suppliers) is nut-free, so even folks with the strongest of peanut allergies can nibble safely. The Sun Cups team must wear “inside shoes” so nothing gets tracked in from outside. The sunflower seeds are even grown in a region too cold to grow peanuts, so the fields can’t be contaminated with migrating peanut plants.

    And the cost: about $1.00 per cup. A 20-pack of duos is less than $40 on Amazon.com.

    Or if you just want to test them out, Sun Cups offers a $1.99 sampler of the four flavors.

    Sun Cups are a safe bet for stocking stuffers, school lunch boxes and Halloween. They‘re a sweet treat for anyone—with nut allergies or without.

    And they’re a favorite at THE NIBBLE. Try them!

      

  • Comments

    PRODUCT: Kashi Cinnamon Harvest Cereal, A Whole Grain Powerhouse

    Crunchy nuggets with a cinnamon blush.
    Photo courtesy Kashi Company.

     

    Our grandfather loved Post Shredded Wheat, and we came to love it too—despite the fact that his daughter (Mom) didn’t like it and wouldn’t keep it in the house. So when we went to Grandpa’s, our treat was getting to eat as many bowls of it as we could.

    When we left for college, Shredded Wheat became a go-to comfort food, standing in for many a dinner as well as breakfast.

    Today we know that Shredded Wheat and similar boxed cereals are whole grain powerhouses. When we saw that Kashi Company’s Autumn Wheat contained 50g of whole grains—even more than the recommended daily value—we switched brands and started each day with a bowl of Kashi. (The flavor is better, too.)

    Now the Kashi Company, known for its tasty organic cereals, has launched Cinnamon Harvest: crunchy, bite-size whole wheat biscuits splashed with ground cinnamon and organic evaporated cane juice crystals.

     

    Just one serving contains 47g of the 48g recommended daily value (DV) of whole grains, and 20% of one’s daily fiber.

    It’s a great snacking cereal, too, and is also available in Island Vanilla, made with finely-ground vanilla beans.

    Why Is Whole Grain So Important?

    Our article on whole grain cereals explains all.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: How To Avoid Pesticides On Vegetables & Fruit

    Consume fewer pesticides: download the
    pocket guide or app. Image courtesy
    FoodNews.org.

     

    We’ve previously written about the “Dirty Dozen” and the “Clean 15,” terms that refer to how much residual pesticide is left on produce, even after you wash and/or peel it.

    With tempting seasonal produce entering the market, it’s time to revisit when it pays to buy organic produce.

    Research has found that people who eat five fruits and vegetables a day from the Dirty Dozen list consume an average of 10 pesticides a day. Those who eat from the “Clean 15”—the 15 least contaminated conventionally-grown fruits and vegetables—ingest fewer than two pesticides daily.

    The Shopper’s Guide To Pesticides, from the Environmental Working Group (EWG), is a key resource for consumers aiming to eat healthier. It helps us make informed choices in order to lower our dietary pesticide load.

     

    There’s a downloadable pocket guide and iPhone app to help you avoid the Dirty Dozen—those conventional fruits and vegetables found to be highest in pesticides—and focus instead on the Clean Fifteen fruits and vegetables that are the lowest.

    Download the guide or app.

    The guide was developed based on data from nearly 89,000 tests for pesticide residues in produce examined between 2000 and 2008, collected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. You can find a detailed description of the criteria EWG used to develop these rankings and the complete list of tested fruits and vegetables at Foodnews.org.

    In order of the amount of pesticide residue:

  • The Dirty Dozen (it’s worth paying for organic): celery, peaches, strawberries, apples blueberries, nectarines, bell pepers, spinach, cherries, kale/collard greens, potatoes and imported grapes.
  • The Clean 15 (no need to buy organic): onions, avocado, sweet corn, pineapple, mangos, sweet peas, asparagus, kiwi, cabbage, eggplant, cantaloupe, watermelon, grapefruit, sweet potato and honeydew melon.
  •  
    You’ve been eating pesticides all your life. Why should you care about them now?
    The growing consensus among scientists is that small doses of pesticides and other chemicals can cause lasting damage to human health, especially during fetal development and early childhood. Scientists now know enough about the long-term consequences of ingesting these powerful chemicals to advise that we minimize our consumption of pesticides.

    What about washing and peeling the produce?
    The data used by researchers is based on produce tested as it is typically eaten: washed, rinsed or peeled, depending on the type of produce. Rinsing reduces but does not eliminate pesticides. Peeling helps, but valuable nutrients often go down the drain with the skin. The best approach: eat a varied diet, rinse all produce and buy organic when possible.

      

    Comments

    CONTEST: Win A Gourmet Food Prize In The Gourmet Giveaway

    Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with tortilla soup,
    and enter the Gourmet Giveaway. Photo
    courtesy Wolfgang Puck.

     

    Fans of the Gourmet Giveaway know that our gourmet food giveaway went on hiatus in February, as we were building its new home on TheNibbleGourmetMarket.com.

    The Gourmet Giveaway is back, with three gift baskets from Chef Wolfgang Puck.

    All you need to do is enter your email address. To enter, go to TheNibbleGourmetMarket.com, scroll down, and click the box right underneath the shopping cart.

    The gift basket is filled with Chef Puck’s Signature Tortilla Soup—which we’re going to enjoy again on Cinco de Mayo—plus other gift items from Chef Puck.

    The Wolfgang Puck soup line is delicious, certified organic and has several gluten-free choices. You know from the first taste that you’re dealing with top-quality ingredients.

    You can purchase the Wolfgang Puck soup line at fine retailers nationwide and online.

     

    We liked the three varieties we tried—Classic Minestrone, Signature Tortilla and Tomato Basil Bisque—so much that we can’t wait to try the rest of the 17 varieties of soups, including Creamy Butternut Squash, French Onion, Old Fashioned Potato, Roasted Red Pepper with Tomato, Thick Hearty Vegetable and Vegetable Barley.

    The gluten-free soup varieties include Black Bean, Hearty Lentil Vegetable, Free Range Chicken With White And Wild Rice, Signature Tortilla and Tomato Basil Bisque. See the full list.

      

    Comments

    PRODUCT: Lychee White Tea

    Fragrant and luscious, this tasty tea
    needs no added sugar. Photo courtesy
    Choice Organic Tea.

     

    The lychee (pronounced LIE-chee, not LEE-chee, after the Chinese lai chi) is one of the most popular fruits in Southern China. The evergreen grows wild in southern China, northern Vietnam and Cambodia, although there is evidence that it has been cultivated since around 2000 B.C.E.

    Lychee tea is highly esteemed in China. Following an ancient process, tea leaves are infused with the succulent juice of the lychee. The lychee is also a symbol of beauty. This tea has delicate woody overtones with a hint of sweet lychee flavor.

    Alternative spellings include lichee, litchi and other variations.

    We’ve been enjoying Lychee White Tea from Choice, a line of tea that is certified organic and Fair Trade Certified.

     

    Blended with the exotic flavor of lychee fruit and osmanthus flowers, the tea is lush and aromatic. It’s a beautiful tea to drink plain, without sweetener. The lychee supplies its own delicate sweetness, and the tea can be enjoyed hot or cold.

    Choice Lychee White Tea is available online.

    Learn more about Choice at ChoiceOrganicTeas.com.

      

    Comments

    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Teatulía Organic Tea Bags

    Teatulia teas are organic, sustainably
    packaged, and help their Bangladesh
    community. Photo by River Soma |
    THE NIBBLE.

     

    Teatulía produces the best organic tea bags we’ve tried to date.

    Why is the tea so flavorful?

    The tea leaves are very fresh: There’s no middleman who buys and warehouses the tea, then sells it to marketers who package and brand it.

    The brews are so strong that we’ve gotten three mug-sized infusions from each bag. Try that with most tea bags.

    And the flavor is so rich that we enjoy each variety straight, without milk or sugar. Promise to at least take a sip of these delicious teas before adding in anything else.

    Along with the selection of black, green, herbal and white teas, there are also several ayurvedic teas. These are blended with herbs that have been used to maintain health and cure disorders for more than 5,000 years.

    Teatulía is an admirable employer, too. Read why—and learn more about these fine organic teas—in the full review.

  • Learn all about tea in our Tea Glossary and Gourmet Tea Section.
  •  

      

    Comments

    PRODUCT: Lactose-Free Yogurt, Kefir & Sour Cream

    There’s a plethora of lactose-free milk options in supermarkets, since more and more Americans are being diagnosed with lactose intolerance. (If you have digestive upsets after consuming milk products, take this quiz, then see your healthcare provider.)

    But what about yogurt, kefir and sour cream? Conventional supermarkets don’t carry lactose-free versions.

    Fortunately, natural food stores are more obliging. We discovered a lactose-free, low fat yogurt and kefir line from Green Valley, and it’s delicious by any standard. You won’t notice any difference between this and regular yogurt and kefir.

    Made from organic ingredients, these lactose-free dairy foods let us enjoy all we want with no negative effects. Packed with protein, calcium and a proprietary blend of ten live & active cultures, they’re a great find.

     

    Delicious lactose-free yogurt and
    kefir. Photo courtesy Green Valley Organics.

     

    The line is certified kosher by K-ORC, The Orthodox Rabbinical Council of San Francisco.

    The low fat yogurt is available in 6-ounce cups of Blueberry, Honey, Plain, Strawberry and Vanilla flavors, and 24-ounce containers of Honey and Plain. The kefir flavors include Blueberry-Pom-Açaí and Plain. Sour cream is packaged in 12-ounce containers.

  • Find a store near you.
  • Learn more about the different types of yogurt in our Yogurt Glossary.
  •   

    Comments

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