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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

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.

  

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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.

  

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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.
  •  

      

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    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.
  •   

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    PRODUCT: Flavored Half & Half

    If you love flavored coffee, check out Organic Valley’s new flavored Half & Half pints for an instant treat. They turn plain coffee into hazelnut or vanilla coffee. A soy creamer is also available in vanilla varieties.

    Half & half, which is a combination of cream and whole milk, adds just the right amount of richness to a cup of joe.* The new flavors add the perfect amount of hazelnut or vanilla, as well.

    *Why is coffee called a cup of joe? The true story is lost to history, but here are the three top contenders.

    The only catch, for those of us who don’t add sugar to our coffee, is that the flavors are presweetened – with Fair Trade certified, unrefined organic cane sugar.

    Beyond coffee, we used the flavored half & halfs on our morning Cheerios and oatmeal. It’s a delicious touch, if not exactly contributing to a healthy, whole-grain breakfast.

    Organic Valley is a co-op of family farms that practice organic dairying. Their cows are antibiotic- and hormone-free; no pesticides are used in the pasture or to grow their feed. The line is certified kosher by OU.

     

    A rich splash of flavor for your coffee,
    in half & half plus soy creamer. Photo
    by River Soma| THE NIBBLE.

     

      

    Comments

    PRODUCT: The Best Chocolate Sauce

    There are lots of chocolate sauces out there. The best ones are made from, not surprisingly, the highest quality chocolate.

    While we’ve had a variety of tasty dessert sauces, four brands have been named Top Picks: The King’s Cupboard, Robert Lambert Chocolate Sauces, Sassy Sauces and Somebody’s Mother’s. Except for Robert Lambert, which focuses on chocolate only, the brands offer both chocolate and caramel sauces.

    The King’s Cupboard has introduced three new flavors:

  • Irish Cream made with real Irish cream liqueur, perfect for St. Patrick’s Day
  • Crème De Menthe, a robust chocolate mint that is certain to delight
  • Bourbon Caramel, with a splash of Bourbon whiskey (it’s family-friendly; we’d add an extra splash)
  •  

    Three new dessert sauce stars. Photo
    by River Soma | THE NIBBLE. Tray from PacificMerchants.com.

     
    Chocolate or caramel sauce drizzled over cake, crêpes, ice cream or fresh fruit elevates something plain to something special. Mix a teaspoon into a cup of coffee to make a fancy drink or add to milkshakes instead of chocolate syrup. If you need a sweet fix, just dip a spoon into the jar.

    The products are kosher-certified (dairy) by OU. Crème de Menthe and Irish Cream are also certified organic.

  • Read our full review of The King’s Cupboard.
  • See our favorite dessert sauces and recipes in our Dessert Sauce Section.
  • How many types of dessert sauce are there? See our Dessert Sauce Glossary. You’ll discover new options to serve with your desserts.
  •  

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    PRODUCT: Quinoa & Whole Grain Brown Rice

    Absolutely delish: a mix of quinoa and brown
    rice, deftly seasoned. Photo courtesy Seeds
    Of Change.

     

    The Uyuni Salt Flats of southeast Bolivia, high in the Andes Mountains, are best known for salt production. But quinoa has been cultivated there by the Incas for some 5,000 years.

    Quinoa, pronounced KEEN-wa or KEE-noo-ah, is an exceptionally nutritious supergrain (in fact, it’s the Quechua/Inca word for “mother grain” or “super grain”).

    Quinoa contains more protein than any other grain. A complete protein equivalent to milk, it contains all eight essential amino acids and a portfolio of vitamins and minerals. Everyone should eat more quinoa.

    Our discovery of the week is a shelf-stable (no refrigeration required), 90-second microwavable package of quinoa and whole grain brown rice from Seeds Of Change.

    This whole-grain combo is deftly seasoned with black pepper, garlic, onion, parsley and sea salt. The earthy flavor of quinoa tempered with nutty brown rice is a winner. We consume lots of quinoa and lots of brown rice, and the mixture is magical.

     
    Serve it with anything or enjoy it as a high-protein, whole grain snack.

    Seeds Of Change products are certified organic by the USDA and QAI. The company contributes 1% of net sales to advance the cause of sustainable organic agriculture world wide.

    Print out a $1.00 coupon at SeedsOfChangeFoods.com.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Kiss My Cheesy Grits

    If your only exposure to hot cereal is instant packages of oatmeal, you’re depriving yourself of a real treat. For us, Cream Of Wheat, Cream Of Rice, grits, polenta and cornmeal mush are some of life’s great comfort foods.

    Today’s shout-out is to grits (hominy grits), a versatile hot cereal or side dish to other breakfast foods, lunch or dinner or as a main dish (shrimp and grits are a match made in heaven).

    If you don’t like grits, you’ve never had the real deal. Anson Mills’ honest-to-the-core organic-certified antebellum sweet Carolina corn grits have no relation to the gluey, pallid, tasteless grits served up at so many diners.

    They’re cold-milled grits, handmade from certified organic whole heirloom seed corn. To our knowledge, they’re the best grits that money can buy. They’re not instant, but they’re terrific: true grits, indeed.

     

    Enjoy cheesy grits or plain grits for
    breakfast, lunch or dinner. Photo courtesy
    AnsonMills.com.

     
    Try them and fall in love with the full-flavor taste of these organic heirloom grains: fresh corn flavor, texture, nutrients and richness with the additional floral flavors from fresh corn germ. This style of grits was popular before the Civil War and was still available until World War II, fresh-ground every Saturday morning in downtown Charleston, South Carolina. Fresh-milled hominy grist, right out of the mill, is a food lover’s delight.

    Here’s a basic grits recipe from Anson Mills. Add 1 tablespoon of grated cheese (we use Parmesan) to make cheesy grits/cheese grits.

    You can purchase grits at your local supermarket, too. They’re fine—we use them all the time. But for a special treat, get the artisan version from AnsonMills.com.

  • Read our review of Anson Mills grits, including a “grits vocabulary.”

  • Comments

    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Sustainable Coffee

    We were thrilled to discover Tiny Footprint coffee, an organic brand that is doubly sustainable through negative carbon emissions.

    We taste most things blind. So before we knew it was organic or carbon negative, we thought it was a great cup of coffee.

    Then, we found out how sustainable it is, first through organic agriculture (no pesticides to pollute the environment or the farmers plus conservation of the land).

    The name, Tiny Footprint, refers to the company’s carbon footprint. A carbon footprint is the total amount of greenhouse gas produced, directly and indirectly, to create and sell a product.

    For an individual, one’s carbon footprint is the result of everything it takes to support all of one’s life activities—food, shelter, transportation and so forth. Everything you buy and use makes your footprint grow. The larger your carbon footprint, the more greenhouse gas you generate. Greenhouse gas creates climate change (previously known as global warming).

     

    Delicious coffee for you, a bonus for the
    environment. Photo by Katharine Pollak |
    THE NIBBLE.

    The growing, harvesting, roasting and distribution of Tiny Footprint coffee provides a tiny footprint indeed.

    For each pound of coffee purchased, the company more than offsets the carbon impact of harvesting, roasting and distributing its coffee by planting a small plot of saplings in the Mindo Cloudforest of Ecuador.

    Reforestation helps to protect dozens of threatened bird species and other forest animals by replacing habitats that have been cut down for cattle ranching, lumbering, tourism and general human expansion. And it helps the atmosphere: Plants take in carbon dioxide, the leading greenhouse gas, for photosynthesis. In the process, they expel oxygen.

  • Read the full review, which also directs you to where you can calculate your own carbon footprint.
  • Find more of our favorite coffee brands and recipes.
  • Master the language of coffee in our Coffee Glossary.
  • Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Kamut Khorasan Wheat

    Say what?

    KAMUT® (kah-MOOT) is the manufacturer and brand name of a Khorasan wheat that is available in the US. Khorasan is an ancient wheat, the grain of which is two times larger than modern wheat. It has a rich, nutty flavor. As produced by Kamut, it’s organic and whole grain—just as it was in the time of the Pharaohs.

    And it’s better for you than modern wheat: higher in protein and many minerals, especially magnesium, selenium and zinc. It has a higher percentage of lipids, which produce more energy in the body than wheat’s carbohydrates. Think of it as high energy wheat, better for athletes and anyone looking for high energy food. Learn more at Kamut.com.

    While we haven’t loved every whole grain pasta we’ve tried, pasta made from Kamut/Khorasan wheat merits your attention. We’ve been serving it up and no one has noticed that it isn’t conventional pasta—whereas we did get complaints from picky eaters about whole other wheat pasta.

     

    Pasta made from the ancient wheat,
    Khorasan. Organic and whole grain, it’s
    become our daily pasta.

     
    So we stocked up on lots of Kamut/Khorosan elbow macaroni, spaghetti, rigatoni and spirals from Eden Organic, and have been feeling good about eating more pasta (after all, we must have three servings of whole grain daily!).

    The ancient grain of the Pharaohs was einkorn (a NIBBLE Top Pick Of The Week).

    But at some point, Khorasan wheat was introduced into Egypt (the modern name is balady durum, or native durum), possibly by invading armies of Greeks, Romans, or the later Byzantines.

    Khorasan is the Pahlavi (Persian) word for “the land of sunrise.“ The ancient land of Khorasan included territories that presently are part of Afghanistan, Iran, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

    The wheat can still be found growing in small plots in Turkey, the home of Mount Ararat and Noah’s Ark. Legend says that Khorasan wheat, which is also called Camel’s Tooth or the Prophet’s Wheat, was the grain Noah brought on the ark.

    So, have a taste.

    Kamut sells its Khorasan wheat to different manufacturers, who turn it into hot cereal, cold cereal puffs and corn flakes, pancakes and much more, from puffed corn cakes (similar to rice cakes) to baking flour.

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