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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 Snacks

FOOD FUN: Popchip Snacks

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Make Guacpops with guacamole. Photo
courtesy PopChips.

 

A boat-shaped chip demands filling.

So Popchips* created two snacks using its popular air-popped chips:

Guacamo Popper

Ingredients Per Chip

  • 1 Salt & Pepper Popchip
  • 1 dollop of spicy guacamole
  • Red and green jalapeño slices
  •  
    Nachopop

    Ingredients Per Chip

  • 1 Barbeque Popchip
  • Spicy beef
  • Grated cheese
  • Jalapeño slice
  •  

    Popchips are sold nationwide. While we personally love the original (Sea Salt), there’s something for everyone. Flavors include Barbecue, Cheddar & Sour Cream, Hint Of Olive Oil, Nacho Cheese, Salt & Pepper, Sea Salt, Sea Salt & Vinegar, Tuscan Herb, Ranch, Sour Cream & Onion and Sweet Potato.

    That’s a lot of popped chips!

    Here’s our review of the brand, which has been a NIBBLE Top Pick Of The Week.

    Discover more at Popchips.com.
     
    *The brand spells its name popchips, without a capital letter. But we, schooled in editorial techniques that still prevail, can’t leave a proper name uncapitalized.

     

    nacho-popper-230

    Another south of the border snack. Photo courtesy Popchips.

     

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Flavored Chips For Super Bowl Sunday

    As you stroll down the snacks aisle of the supermarket, instead of grabbing the same old chips, treat your crowd to something special.

    For more than a decade, chips have been exploding in flavor. Although most supermarkets give shelf space to the three or so biggest sellers, bagel chips, bean chips, pita chips, potato chips, tortilla chips and rice chips have gone from plain to Pepperoncini (an actual flavor from Kettle brand chips).

    For decades, potato chips were available in the U.S. in Original (lightly salted), Barbecue and Sour Cream; perhaps you’d find Salt & Vinegar.* Then, artisan chip makers like Route 11 broke through with flavors like Chesapeake Crab, Dill Pickle and Mama Zuma’s Revenge (habanero).

    Kettle Brand works in overdrive to come up with a trending new flavor every year. Its current selection of 18 flavors (not including Krinkle Cut flavors) offers Maple Bacon, Red Curry and Spicy Thai potato chips.

    Now, even megabrand Lay’s makes chips in Dill Pickle and Flamin’ Hot, plus Chile Lemon, Garden Tomato & Basil and a host of others.

       

    FoodShouldTasteGood-asstd-flavors-230

    Food should taste good makes tortilla chips in 19 flavors, from Cheddar to Kimchi (and yes, plain chips too). Photo courtesy FSTG.

     
    Flavored chips create a bigger taste experience with dips of any kind, or with straight nibbling. Why not set up a chip tasting bar for your Super Bowl Party? It just begs for a beer tasting bar alongside.

     

    stacys-pita-chips-fire-roasted-jalapeno-230

    Stacy’s newest flavor, Fire Roasted Jalapeño
    Pita Chips. Photo courtesy Stacy’s Snacks.

     

    THE NEW CHIP IN TOWN

    Stacy’s Pita Chips began plain, as most brands do. Today the original Simply Naked Pita Chips are joined by Cinnamon Sugar, Garden Veggie Medley, Italian Harvest, Multigrain, Parmesan Garlic & Herb and Salted Caramel.

    Just in time for Super Bowl Sunday, Stacy’s has released its newest flavor: Fire Roasted Jalapeño Pita Chips.

    Real jalapeño chiles are baked into the chips. The subtle jalapeño kick builds after a minute or so, and made us reach for a beer.

    The chips are available in grocery stores nationwide for a suggested retail price of $3.99.

    For more information, visit StacysSnacks.com.
     
     
    *Although potato chips were born in the U.S.A., the U.K. was an early pioneer in flavored potato chips. Here’s the history of potato chips.

     

      

    Comments

    SUPER BOWL: Garrett Popcorn

    For Super Bowl munching, how about some Spicy CheeseCorn? The limited edition flavor from Garrett Popcorn is a welcome gift: a yummy blend of cayenne pepper and chili powder mixed with freshly melted Cheddar cheese corn.

    Combine with a cold beer, and you may not care who wins or loses.

    Send Spicy CheeseCorn as a gift or send some to yourself, at GarrettPopcorn.com.

    You can choose from an array of tin sizes and six different tin designs, from 1 gallon to 6.5 gallons ($31 to $135). And if you don}t like things spicy, you can choose from Garrett’s other flavors:

  • Almond CaramelCrisp
  • Buttery
  • CaramelCrisp
  • Cashew CaramelCrisp
  • CheeseCorn
  •  

    spicy-cheesecorn-beauty-230

    Spicy CheeseCorn; BYOB. Photo courtesy Garrett Popcvorn.

  • Garrett Mix (sweet CaramelCrisp with savory CheeseCorn)
  • Macadamia CaramelCrisp
  • Pecan CaramelCrisp
  • Plain
  •  
    You can order single flavors or combine three flavors in one tin. Details are on the company website.

      

    Comments

    PRODUCT: Honey Maid Go Bites

    Honey Maid, the brand that supplies America with graham crackers, Gramfuls sandwich cookies and Teddy Grahams, has added a new graham-inspired snack to its repertoire: Honey Maid Go Bites.

    They’re very crunchy little pillows, about 5/8-inch square, with a choice of chocolate or vanilla filling.

    On the back of the box, soccer player Alex Morgan states that “Go Bites is a great snack to give kids a kick of energy to help them stay in the game.” It is an official snack of U.S. Soccer.

    But you don’t have to be on your school soccer team. Adult snackers who want lots of crunch and a fun filling can enjoy Go Bites, too.

    Personally, we wish Go Bites had more graham flavor, but that didn’t stop us from snacking on them with a cup of hot chocolate (coffee, tea and milk work, too). We also tossed the pillows atop whipped cream garnishes and stuffed them between scoops of ice cream, parfait-style.

     

    honeymaid-go-bites-230

    New Honey Maid Go Bites. Photo courtesy Mondelez International.

     

    The nutritional profile is pretty good for a processed snack. Each serving delivers 5g protein and 7g whole grains, while tasting like junk food (in a good way), which will appeal to kids.

    You get 26 pillows per serving—that’s a lot—which deliver 5 grams of protein and 7 grams of whole grains. The serving is 140 calories (40 from fat), 1.5g saturated fat (8% DV), 75mg sodium (3% DV) and 10g sugars.

    The line is certified kosher by OU. Discover more at HoneyMaid.com.

      

    Comments

    PRODUCT: Plum Vida Fruit & Veggie Pouches

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    A delicious and better-for-you snack alternative for adults. Photo courtesy Plum Organics.

     

    Squeeze tubes of fruits and veggies are not just for kids. While they started out targeted to the junior set, moms and other adults started to enjoy the benefits of the easily portable, wholesome fruit and vegetable snacks.

    So Plum Organics, which had been making products for kids, developed the Plum Vida line for grown-ups. The flavors are more complex and sophisticated, and the portions are larger. The five-ounce pouches can be kept in pockets, purses, lockers, glove compartments, desk drawers—pretty much anywhere.

    Each pouch delivers a light, flavorful, refreshing and healthful snack, made entirely from organic fruits and vegetables with a hint of herbs and spices.

    You can sip it from the pouch or mix it with hot tea or club soda. You can even use it as a sweet salad dressing (we added a splash of good vinegar). We eat it at room temperature, but on a hot summer day, you can chill it in the fridge.

     
    Plum Vida pouches are available in three delicious flavors:

  • Pear, Kale, Spinach & Celery, a base of leafy greens softened by the natural sweetness of juicy pear.
  • Cherry, Berry, Beet & Ginger, a mix of natural sweetness and tartness with a subtle ginger zing.
  • Pineapple, Carrot & Mint, a burst of tropical flavor with a refreshing minty kick.
  •  
    Each pouch delivers:

  • 1/2 cup fruits and veggies in every pouch
  • 3g fiber
  • A snack for 70-90 calories
  •  
    The line is certified kosher by OU, certified USDA Organic and Non GMO verified. It is currently sold exclusively at target stores (in the beverage aisle), for $1.99 a pouch.

    And there’s a $1.00 coupon on the Plum Vida website to make your first pouch even sweeter.

     
      

    Comments

    PRODUCT: New York Style Bagel Crisps

    bagel-chips-cream-cheese-230

    Tiny, crispy bagel chips hit the spot. Photo by
    Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

     

    As someone who is overly fond of bagels and breakfast pastries—not a whole lot of nutrition in exchange for all of those calories—we’re glad we discovered New York Style Bagel Crisps. They come in regular and mini sizes

    The light and crispy chips are made from bagel-type dough, but cut into small, thin, crisp slices that can be enjoyed at breakfast or for snacking (they have half the fat and fewer calories than regular potato chips).

    The flavors are everything you’d expect in a bagel:

  • Cinnamon Raisin Bagel Crisps
  • Everything
  • Garlic Parmesan
  • Plain
  • Roasted Garlic
  • Sea Salt
  • Sea Salt + Black Pepper
  • Sesame
  •  
    The Mini Bagel Crisps are made in:

  • BBQ
  • Cheddar
  • Garlic
  • Sea Salt
  •  
    Bagel Crisps are great on their own or paired with toppings, dips and spreads—a delectable snack in a New York minute.

    But the company doesn’t rest on its bagel laurels. There are also:

     

    New York Style Pita Chips

    These baked pita chips have real pita pockets, all the better for dipping. They’re available in:

  • Garden Fresh Ranch
  • Parmesan Garlic Herb
  • Red Hot Chili Pepper
  • Sea Salt
  •  
    Enjoy them plain or with dips like hummus and guacamole. We like dipping them in plain Greek yogurt.
     
    Panetini

    We’d have called these crostini; but by any name, they’re crunchy, tasty and great with dips,spreads, soups and salads. Try them in:

  • Garlic
  • Garlic Parmesan
  • Original
  • Three Cheese
  •  

    cinnabon-chocolate-230

    Sweet bagel chip can take the place of breakfast pastry. Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

     
    New York Style Sweet Swirls

    Instead of a cookie, have a Cinnabon Swirl Crisp or a Chocolate Swirl Crisp. It satisfies that sweet craving with a cup of coffee or tea; and we turned them into little crispy ice cream/frozen yogurt sandwiches.

    Discover more at NewYorkStyle.com.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Snack On Sriracha Kettle Corn

    Americans consume approximately 17.3 billion quarts of popcorn each year. Sweet-and salty kettle corn is the category’s fastest-growing flavor. Hot and spicy foods in general have been trending for some time.

    So Hannah Kaminsky of Bittersweet Blog combined the two into a recipe for Sriracha Kettle Corn: sweet and salty plus a warm burn with each bite.

    This whole grain snack couldn’t be easier or faster to whip up, whether for better snacking while you’re hanging at home this week, or when guests drop by. Adjust the sriracha to taste, depending on how hot you like it.

    RECIPE: SRIRACHA KETTLE CORN

    Ingredients For 8-10 Cups Popcorn

  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup popcorn kernels
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 3-5 teaspoons sriracha
  • 1/2-1 taspoon flaky sea salt (like Maldon)
  •    

    sriracha-kettle-corn-kaminsky-230

    Sriracha kettle corn adds heat to the traditional sweet and salty seasonings. Photo © Hannah Kaminsky | Bittersweet Blog.

     

    sriracha-solo-230

    Sriracha, a hot sauce that originated in Thailand. Photo courtesy Huy Fong Foods.

     

    Preparation

    1. HEAT the coconut oil in a large stockpot over medium heat, along with two or three kernels. Keep covered, and when the test kernels pop, add the rest, along with the sugar and sriracha. Stir well to coat before quickly covering with the lid once more.

    2. SHAKE the pot constantly and vigorously to prevent the corn from burning. This is critical, both for even cooking and for fewer unpopped kernels. Once the popping has slowed to one every two to three seconds…

    3. REMOVE the pot from the heat and uncover, continuing to shake for a few minutes until the popping has stopped. Pour the popcorn onto a sheet pan and sprinkle evenly with salt, to taste. Let cool and break up the large clumps, picking through to remove any unpopped popcorn kernels that might remain.
     
    WHAT IS KETTLE CORN?

    Kettle corn is sweet-and-salty popcorn. A Colonial invention, the corn was popped in iron kettles and then sweetened with sugar, honey and sometimes molasses before adding the salt. It is less sweet than caramel corn and appeals to those who like a sweet-and-salty flavor profile.

    Check out the history of popcorn.

     

    WHAT IS SRIRACHA?

    Sriracha, pronounced see-RAH-jah, is a Thai hot chili sauce. It is made from red chiles, distilled vinegar, garlic, sugar and salt; and is aged for three months or longer.

    Unlike American hot sauces such as Tabasco, which are vinegar sauces that are infused with hot chiles, sriracha is primarily puréed chiles, making it a much thicker sauce.

    The sauce is named after the coastal city of Si Racha in eastern Thailand, where it was first made and marketed. Different brands can be found in the Asian aisle of many supermarkets and in Asian groceries.

    According to multiple sources, including an article in Bon Appétit, the sauce was made more than 80 years ago in by a local woman, Thanom Chakkapak. She initially made the condiment for her family, and then for friends, to enjoy with the local seafood (think of it as a much hotter counterpart to American cocktail sauce).

    As is a common story in the specialty food business, they encouraged her to sell it commercially—and it became the best-selling chile sauce in Thailand. In 1984, Ms. Chakkapak sold her business to a major food company, Thai Theparos Food Products.

    What’s the correct spelling: sriraja, si-racha, sriracha or siracha?

    According to Andrea Nguyen, who wrote the article for Bon Appétit: Since Thailand does not adhere to one romanization system for Thai words, many variants have emerged, chosen by manufacturers who have created their own version of the original sauce.

    However, the most commonly accepted spelling is sriracha.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Chocolate Drizzle Popcorn

    chocolate-drizzle-popcorn-cretors-230

    Enjoy some at home, box some up as a gift. Photo courtesy G.H. Cretors.

     

    If you’re looking for something to bring to a Christmas Eve celebration—or to serve at home—here’s one you can make in 15 minutes. The recipe is from G.H. Cretors Popcorn, whose bags of popped corn were a NIBBLE favorite (here’s our review).

    RECIPE: CHOCOLATE CRANBERRY POPCORN BARK

    Ingredients For 12 Servings

  • 1 pound 70% (bittersweet) dark chocolate
  • 4 cups popped salted popcorn
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries or cherries
  • 1/4 cup toffee bits
  • Optional garnish: 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  •  

    Preparation

    1. LINE a 9×13-inch baking sheet with parchment paper so that it overhangs the edges.

    2. BREAK up the chocolate and place it in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water. Stir occasionally until melted, then remove from the heat.

    3. RESERVE a 1/2 cup of melted chocolate for drizzling. Pour the remaining chocolate onto the prepared baking sheet and spread evenly. Top evenly with the popcorn, dried cranberries and toffee bits. Drizzle the reserved chocolate on top. Sprinkle the optional sea salt over the chocolate drizzle.

     

    4. REFRIGERATE for 1 hour or until the chocolate is set. Remove from the pan and peel off the parchment paper. Break into pieces. You can store the popcorn in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

     
    ABOUT G.H. CRETOR’S POPCORN

    Charles Cretors invented the modern popcorn popper in 1885. Previously, popcorn was popped on stove tops in large copper kettles. Cretors developed a raised steam-powered popper that popped the kernels at the top of a large glass bin and spilled the fresh popcorn into the bin, where it could be scooped into bags (the system is still used in today’s movie theaters and elsewhere).

    More recently, the family launched a line of popped corn in five varieties: Chicago Mix (sweet and salty cheese corn), Just The Caramel Corn, Just the Cheese, Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Organic Simply Salted.

    The line is certified gluten free and certified kosher (dairy) by KOF-K. Discover more at GHCretors.com.

      

    Comments

    PRODUCT: Freakin’ Awesome Snack Mix

    freakin-awesome-bag-bowl-230

    The fun name made this product a hit. Photo courtesy The Festive kitchen.

     

    Recently, we were asked if we’d like to try a snack mix called It’s Freakin’ Awesome. How could we resist?

    It was developed by a Dallas-area caterer, and became a big hit locally.

    A bag arrived: a mix of sweet and salty flavors with a bit of heat. A blend of caramelized tortilla chips (a fun idea!), Chex cereal pieces, dried cranberries, almonds and peanuts, it’s a variation on a Chex Mix.

    It’s tasty, to be sure, but no more awesome than some other Chex Mixes we’ve made. We will acknowledge, though, that compared to the boxed Chex Mixes on the market, the ingredients are more pure (you can taste the higher quality).

    So why are we writing about it?

    First, you might need something freakin’ awesome as a stocking stuffer or party favor. The name is sure to delight. “It’s Freakin’ Awesome” may be hyperbolic, but it is fun.

    Second, a portion of every purchase goes to Carry The Load, a charity started by a former Navy Seal to support the families of fallen heroes from the military, law enforcement, firefighters and rescue personnel.

    We love food with a mission!

     

    You can purchase It’s Freakin’ Awesome online at FestiveKitchen.com, and at Festive Kitchen stores in the Dallas area. A 9-ounce bag is $8.65.

     
      

    Comments

    PRODUCT & GIFT: Perky Jerky, Now In Flavors

    There’s only a week left until Christmas, but you can click on over to get a boat load of one of our favorite snacks for gifting: Perky Jerky.

    This is tender, flavorful gourmet jerky with a twist: the meat is caffeinated. The manufacturer calls it “the world’s first all-natural performance enhancing meat snack.”

    Anyone who needs a snack along with a bit of energy can simply tear open a portion-controlled package and enjoy a flavorful, nourishment and yes, liveliness.

    The protein-laden beef or turkey jerky has been caffeinated with guarana, a natural energy booster with about twice the caffeine content of a coffee bean. A single-portion bag has less than 100 calories per ounce and is low in carbs, with 5g or less of sugar per serving.

    The products are all natural: no added MSF, no nitrates, no preservatives.
     
    BEEF & TURKEY, ORIGINAL & FLAVORS

    Since it debuted several years ago, Perky Jerky has grown in flavors. Marinating the meat overnight allows the flavors to infuse, and makes the jerky even more tender.

    Beef Perky Jerky and Turkey Perky Jerky are available in Original, Hot & Bothered, Sweet & Spicy and Teriyaki. Additionally, Turkey Perky Jerky is Jamaican Style.

       

    jerky-black-plate-230

    Delicious and tender jerky with a jolt of caffeine. Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

     

    package-trio-230

    Give individual packages or multipack boxes.
    Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

     

    PACKAGES FOR EVERYONE

    From individual snacks to multi-portion sizes, there are:

  • Individual snack bags (1 ounce), $2.99
  • Multi-portion bags (2.2 ounces), $4.99
  • Family-size bags (5 ounces), $9.99
  • Multipack boxes of 6-packs (2.2 ounces) and 12-packs (2.2 ounces), $59.88
  •  
    If you want to try the flavors, pay for four and get the fifth free (2.2-ounce bags).

    You can sign up for monthly deliveries, too, and save 20%-30% with free shipping.

    HOLIDAY SPECIAL

    There’s 40% off plus free shipping on orders over $50. Use code HOLIDAY 40 through midnight on December 21st.

    Place your order for great jerky at PerkyJerky.com.

    Perky Jerky is also available in more than 30,000 retail outlets across the U.S., including GNC, Target and Walgreens.

    JERKY TRIVIA

  • The word jerky comes from the Quechua language of the Incas, who called their dried meat “charqui.”
  • While the prehistoric method of meat preservation was used by other ancient peoples, it was not known in Europe. The first European visitors to the New World found Native Americans making jerky from the meat of any animal they hunted, from buffalo to whale.
  • Today jerky can be found in meats as common as turkey, tuna and salmon, to exotic alligator and ostrich.
  • Perky Jerky was a accidental invention, like potato chips, yogurt and many of our foods. An energy drink spilled over some jerky, drenching the meat. Not about to throw good jerky away, the “inventors” ate it and discovered that it was not only more tender, but a great energy boost. (Today, the process for making Perky Jerky is a bit more sophisticated.)
  •   

    Comments

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