THE NIBBLE BLOG: Products, Recipes & Trends In Specialty Foods
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Archive for Special Sweets

TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Valentine Food Gifts

One of five alternatives to Valentine
chocolate. Photo courtesy Williams-Sonoma.

 

Situation: You need a great gift for Valentine’s Day. The recipient doesn’t want chocolate candy.

Solution: five recommendations for delicious food items that aren’t chocolates.

Our Valentine Top Picks include:

1. Godiva Chocolate Vodkas & Chocolate Liqueurs

2. Patron XO Cafe Dark Cocoa, a chocolate- and coffee-infused tequila.

3. Cakeslider Creations push-up pops filled with buttercream-frosted cake.

4. Richart Chocolate Chocomacs, innovative macarons filled with ganache and topped with a chocolate paillette.

5. Two Hearts Bakery Heart-Shaped Pies On A Stick (a Williams-Sonoma exclusive)

 

Read the full review to learn more about these luscious choices.

  

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PRODUCT: Tasty Pastry, Kouign Aman


This buttery Breton pastry makes an
addictive addition to your morning coffee.
Photo by Corey Lugg | THE NIBBLE.

 

Seldom found in French bakeries in America, kouign amann (pronounced (kween ah-MAHN) is a Breton pastry (from Brittany, a region in France).

This laminated pastry is time consuming to make, but the payoff is something distinctive and wonderful. If you’re a baker, bake some. Or splurge and have them sent from a top baker as a treat.

Read the full review to learn more about kouign amann.

Read reviews of more of our favorite pies and pastries.

  

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PRODUCT REVIEW: Scharffen Berger Chocolate


The Scharffen Berger logo features an
ibex mountain goat and three stars.
In 1996, winemaker John Scharffenberger and physician Robert Steinberg made a mark in the history of chocolate, shaping the current trend of “micro” (small-batch) chocolate bar production in the U.S. and, as a result, decentralizing the production of fine chocolate bars in Europe. Their fine artisan chocolate grew so popular with consumers and pastry chefs that, in less than 10 years, they helped build a great demand for artisan chocolate in America and were purchased by the country’s largest chocolate maker, Hershey. The line is certified kosher by OU.

Buying a gourmet chocolate bar used to be as simple as choosing from a slender selection of milk, dark or the occasional white chocolate bars (See Peter Rot’s review of the world’s best white chocolate bars), some embellished with nuts or dried fruits. Dark chocolate might be labeled “semisweet” or “bittersweet,” without any other indication.

A lot has changed in the last ten years, as more people have become focused on learning about chocolate (and all categories of fine food). Today, there is an amazing diversity of chocolate for the asking, thanks to consumer interest and to passionate chocolate makers who produce couverture and bars from raw cacao beans. (See Peter Rot’s choices of the best microbatch chocolate makers in America—individuals or tiny companies that produce great bars.)

Read the full review on TheNibble.com.

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New Product: Can Chocolate Predict The New President?

Some people look to the Gallup, Zogby and Harris polls to gauge the presidential preference of the American public. But chocolatier B.T. McElrath is measuring public opinion on a “gut” level: chocolate sales. “Campaign Buttons,” round dark chocolate melt-a-ways that have been selling like—hotcakes?—since early June. They feature cocoa butter images of Democrat or Republican vintage campaign buttons. They’re available at specialty food and gift retailers nationwide, as well as directly available at www.btmcelrath.com. Since August 15, the company has begun issuing weekly postings on the political temperament of the country based on chocolate sales. The current numbers have the Democrats with a slight lead, 51% to 49%. However, this is a poll where you can vote as many times as you like! Five pieces in 60% cacao semisweet chocolate are $10.70.

Read more about chocolate in THE NIBBLE‘s Chocolate section.


B.T. McElrath’s democratic chocolate
buttons.

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TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Dough Ray Me Artisan Cookies

We’re always on the lookout for “special” cookies, to bring (or send) as gifts or to serve as a light dessert at the end of a fine dinner. And when we invite friends and neighbors for tea or coffee, we like to set out something noteworthy yet effortless: impressive cookies. Alas, with the expense of running an artisan bakery these days, it’s not easy to find something noteworthy, much less impressive. The cookies in the case at most of our local bakeries and specialty food stores are pretty unexciting and not worth the calories. Meet Jon Dough—a.k.a. Jon Chazen, a pastry chef who is at the ready with a solution to the dull cookie blues. His company, Dough Ray Me, specializes in what we call mignardises (min-yar-DEEZ, from the French for “precious”)—although Jon Dough is too down-to-earth to use the term. Mignardises are a type of miniature baked good, also called petit-fours (you may get a plate of them at the end of dinner at a fine restaurant). Mignardises can take many shapes, and Jon’s are bite-size cookies. The ten varieties range from familiar flavors (double chocolate and peanut butter-chocolate) to the less familiar (hazelnut-cardamom and sesame-gingerbread).   Dough Ray Me Cookies
Dough Ray Me cookies are so petite, they can sit on the saucer of a teacup.
The versatile bites are most welcome for entertaining, as a light dessert or a garnish for more elaborate desserts, and as a snack for people who deserve the best. Beautiful packaging choices makes these cookies a “precious” gift for any occasion. Party-givers can buy them in bulk. Read the full review of Dough Ray Me and then order your own stash. You can find more of our favorite cookies in the Cookies Section of THE NIBBLE online magazine.

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