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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 Top Pick Of The Week

TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Jif Whips Peanut Butter & Chocolate Spread

Style your own cookies with Jif Whips. Photo
by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

 

We focus on specialty foods, so rarely name a mass-marketed supermarket product as a Top Pick.

But Jif’s new Whipped Peanut Butter & Chocolate spread is just so yummy, special and, well, welcome, that it takes this week’s top honors.

Everyone who loves peanut butter cups should run out and buy a tub, possibly several.

The whipped PB spread, which also includes an unsweetened Creamy Peanut Butter variety, is spreadable, dippable, mixable, pipeable, frostable and topable.

If you don’t want to do any of those things, just dip a spoon into the tub and enjoy!

Read the full review.

 
FIND MORE OF OUR FAVORITE PEANUT BUTTER BRANDS.

 

  

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TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Mah-Ze-Dahr Bakery

In 2002, Kee Ling Tong left a career on Wall Street to create artisan chocolates in SoHo. Kee’s Chocolates have garnered fans worldwide.

In 2003, international investment banker Joan Coukos launched Chocolat Moderne in Chelsea.

More recently, Umber Ahmad traded finance for flour (and plenty of chocolate) and opened Mah-Ze-Dahr, an online bakery. Her wares attracted the interest of chef and restaurateur Tom Colicchio, and they are now looking for a retail space for a joint venture.

Until that happy day, you can buy her Chocolate Explosion Cookies, Dark Chocolate Brownies and—better yet—the Heaven In A Box Sampler—from the website.

Read the full review and treat yourself to something delicious.

 

Don’t want chocolate cake? Check out the brownies! Photo courtesy Mah-De-Zahr Bakery.

 

  

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TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Q Drinks

Grapefruit, one of the 6 varieties of Q
mixers. Photo courtesy Q Drinks.

 

How demanding is your palate?

If the answer is “pretty demanding,” move on to the next questions.

Do you enjoy mixed drinks? Are the mixers big-brand sodas?

Well, we all know what’s in those sodas: artificial flavors, high fructose corn syrup and other ingredients that should not be shaking hands with top-shelf spirits.

The solution: Q Drinks, top-shelf mixers.

The first in the series, Q Tonic Water, is a revelation if you’re used to the HFCS/artificial quinine variety. All of the mixers—including Grapefruit, Ginger, Kola, Lemon, Orange—are made with organic agave sweetener.

All can be enjoyed as soft drinks as well: lightly sweet and elegant.

Read the full review.

 

As a bonus, it includes the history of carbonated beverages—an accidental scientific observation that now generates billions of dollars of sales worldwide.

FIND MORE OF OUR FAVORITE COCKTAIL MIXERS.

  

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TIP OF THE DAY & TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Spoonable Caramel Sauce

What‘s the first thing you think of when you hear the words “caramel sauce?”

If you’re like most people, you’d say “ice cream” or “sundae.”

But beyond an ice cream topping, caramel is a pretty universal dessert sauce.

  • Dip fresh fruit in it—a caramel fondue
  • Drizzle it over baked apples, sautéed bananas or poached pears
  • Shake it up with popcorn for delicious caramel corn
  • Use it as a topping for brownies, cheesecake, chocolate cake, crêpes, pound cake or pudding
  • Drizzle it over apple pie
  • Make caramel-swirl brownies or semifreddo
  • Add it to s’mores or spread onto shortbread for a gourmet twist
  • Eat it right from the jar
  •  
    Have other suggestions? Let us know.

     

    A classic: brownie sundae with caramel sauce. Photo courtesy Sugardaddy’s Sumptuous Sweeties.

     

    How would you use this luscious caramel,
    made in six different flavors? Photo courtesy
    Chef June Pagan | Spoonable.

     

    TOP PICK: SPOONABLE CARAMEL SAUCES

    Our Top Pick Of The Week is Spoonable Caramel, an artisan producer in Brooklyn, New York, that makes luscious, buttery caramel sauce in six flavors:

  • Brooklyn Butterscotch (an old-fashioned style made with molasses)
  • Chewy Sesame Caramel
  • Flowery Lavender Caramel
  • Peppered Orange Caramel
  • Salty Caramel
  • Spicy Chili Caramel
  •  
    They’ll be a hit at home and a memorable gift.

    Read the full review.

     
    HOW MANY DESSERT SAUCES HAVE YOU TRIED?

    Check out the different types of dessert sauces in our Dessert Sauce Glossary.

    Find more of our favorite gourmet dessert sauces.

      

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    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Talenti Gelato New Flavors

    Four New Pints, Seven New Pops

    Our favorite ice cream maker, Talenti Gelato, has introduced four welcome new flavors. The company has also turned seven of the most popular flavors into chocolate-covered ice cream bars.

    As with everything, they done a masterful job with:

  • Argentine Caramel Gelato, a delight for dulce de leche lovers
  • Alphonso Mango Sorbetto, a lovely expression
  • German Chocolate Gelato, an excellent interpretation of the flavors of German chocolate cake into a frozen dessert
  • Southern Butter Pecan Gelato, perhaps the most elegant butter pecan flavor we’ve tasted
  •  
    Also joining the family are chocolate-covered ice cream pops in seven of the company’s most popular gelato flavors: Black Raspberry, Caribbean Coconut, Coffee, Double Dark Chocolate, Mediterranean Mint, Sea Salt Caramel and Tahitian Vanilla.

    Read the full review.

     

    Dulce de leche gelato. Photo courtesy Brown Eyed Baker.

     

    ICE CREAM VERSUS GELATO

    Here’s the difference between ice cream and gelato, plus an Ice Cream glossary featuring all the different types of frozen desserts.

      

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    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Fruttare Bars

    Peaches and milk, one of four dleightful Fruttare flavors. Photo courtesy Unilever..

     

    If you’re a fan of Creamsicles, you know the unique combination of creamy ice cream and fruity sorbet.

    Creamsicles debuted in California in 1923. A mere 90 years later, there’s another creamy frozen treat that combines ice pop and milk: Fruttare bars.

    Created in Europe by Unilever, they’ve arrived in the U.S., and they deserve your attention.

    A distant cousin of the Creamsicle concept—which is a vanilla ice cream bar coated with orange sherbet—Fruttare bars are a blend of fruit juice (the base of ice pops and sherbet) and fresh milk. Chunks of fruit add texture and bursts of flavor.

    The initial flavors include:

  • Banana and Milk
  • Coconut and Milk
  • Peach and Milk
  • Strawberry and Milk
  •  
    The line also includes Fruttare Fruit and Juice Bars (no dairy), conventional frozen fruit bars in Lime, Mango, Orange and Strawberry. They are also delightful, but slightly less awesome than the fruit and milk bars.

    Fruttare bars, available at retailers nationwide, are certified kosher by KOF-K.

    Read the full review.

      

    Comments

    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Panasonic Electric Kettle

    Summer is iced tea time. If you’re a fan, here’s a question:

    Why take the time and effort to brew iced tea? You can buy it in individual bottles and large formats just about everywhere.

    The main reasons to brew your own are sustainability, cost and, if you have a good palate, better quality tea.

  • Save The Environment. Just as with water bottles, all of that extra plastic goes into landfill. Some people recycle, but that, too, requires energy and expense.
  • Save Money. How much does a 16-ounce bottle of iced tea cost? About $1.79 where we live. Even if you buy them at club stores, you’re still paying a dollar—as opposed to pennies to brew your own.
  • Please Your Palate. Brew iced tea from loose tea or quality tea bags and enjoy superior tea flavor. We use great tea that’s so complex and flavorful, it never needs sugar.
  • Decaffeinated Tea. People who limit their caffeine can enjoy decaffeinated iced tea to their hearts’ content.
  •  

    Panasonic’s sleek new electric kettle. Photo courtesy Panasonic.

     

    THE EFFICIENCY OF AN ELECTRIC TEA KETTLE

    Electric kettles have been around for generations, but they keep getting better and better.

    Introduced last month as part of Panasonic’s new Breakfast Collection, the The Panasonic C-ZK1 is a sleek 1.4 liter tea kettle with 1500 watts of power. It’s $179.95 on Amazon.com. You can find an electric kettle for $25.00, but it doesn’t have these features:

  • Quick to heat. Heats up water faster than a traditional tea kettle. The 1.4 liter capacity equates to 47 ounces. Our pitcher holds 64 ounces. The water for the the extra 16 ounces heats in two minutes.
  • Cool to touch. It has a cool-touch exterior.
  • Automatic shutoff. A welcome safety feature, here’s automatic shutoff when the water has boiled.
  • There are more benefits. Read the full review.

    Or head on over to Amazon.com to buy one.

    HOW TO BREW ICED TEA

      

    Comments

    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Perky Jerky

    We receive lots of jerky samples. Most are tough and not anything we’d want to gnaw.

    Then there’s tender, delightful jerky, like Perky Jerky. In four varieties each of beef and turkey jerky, it has what marketers call “added value”:

    Perky Jerky is caffeinated with guarana (gwahr-uh-NAH), an Amazonian fruit whose seeds contain about twice the concentration of caffeine in coffee beans. It’s typically found in energy drinks.

    So look at Perky Jerky as an energy snack, or as a meaty snack that happens to provide an energy boost. The stylish packages are nice enough for gifting and party favors.

    Perky Jerky, beef or turkey, is available in plain as well as:

  • Hot & Bothered Perky Jerky
  • Sweet & Spicy Perky Jerky
  • Teriyaki Perky Jerky
  •  

    Perky Jerky, a grab-and-go snack, energzer. Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

     

    Head to PerkyJerky.com to get yours, or read the full review.

      

    Comments

    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Poco Dolce Chocolates

    For a special Father‘s Day gift, any chocolate lover will love you for sending him Poco Dolce—a two-time NIBBLE Top Pick Of The Week.

    the chocolate-covered salted caramels, chocolate tiles, toffee, flavored chocolate bars, peanut brittle and special whiskey-infused truffles are sublime.

    The flavors include “original” (we’d never call them “plain”) plus Almond, Almond Coconut, Aztec, Burnt Caramel, Ginger, Mint Toffee, Nuts, Sesame Toffee and others, depending on the particular item.

    The chocolates start at $10.00 for six salted caramels (great party favor!). Most are $18.00-$24, with gift baskets from $65.00 to $180.00.

    Read the full review; then head to Poco Dolce to place your order.

    FIND MORE OF OUR FAVORITE
    GOURMET CHOCOLATE GIFTS.

     

    Luscious chocolate truffles infused with Irish whiskey. Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

     

      

    Comments

    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Rabbit’s Garlic

    Rabbit’s Garlic is pickled garlic in five
    flavors, used here a canapé garnish, in
    hummus-carrot and mozzarella-tomato
    combinations. Photo by Elvira Kalviste |
    THE NIBBLE.

     

    We like garlic, but wouldn’t consider ourselves to be garlic lovers. Yet, we love Rabbit’s Garlic. The picked garlic is made in five flavors, each of which can be served at every meal from breakfast to dinner and snacks. We’re giving jars as Father’s Day gifts.

    The creator is a nurse named Bunny, called Rabbit by her husband. She had long been preserving fruits, meats and vegetables for family and friends until she was convinced to go commercial. Try her pickled garlic, and you’ll be glad she did!

    When Bunny started to add garlic cloves to season jars of dilly beans, everyone started to fight over the garlic cloves. Thus the first flavor of pickled garlic was born: Spicy Dill. The line now includes:

  • Chipotle Pickled Garlic
  • Habanero Pickled Garlic
  • Habanero Dill Pickled Garlic
  • Smoke Pickled Garlic
  • Spicy Dill Pickled Garlic
  • You’ll find many ways to use these delicious pickled garlic cloves. For starters:

     

     

  • Beer: Pop a clove into the bottle.
  • Bloody Mary or Martini: The Spicy Dill flavor is great as a Bloody Mary or Martini garnish.
  • Bruschetta: Mash the garlic cloves and spread on toasted bread.
  • Eggs: In omelets and scrambles, in deviled eggs and as a garnish.
  • Garlic Butter/Garlic Bread: Mash the garlic cloves with softened butter to spread on bread; toast under the broiler.
  • Garlic Mashed Potatoes: The smoke flavor is great for this. Mix sliced and smashed cloves into the mashed potatoes.
  • Salads: Add cut up cloves to egg, chicken, green, potato, macaroni, tuna and other salads.
  • Snack and Relish: Straight from the jar, or serve them like pickles or olives as a snack. A reason to revive the relish tray!
  •  

    Garlic brittle: really delicious! Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

  • Marinade: Mash onto steaks and chops during grilling or add to the marinade for 1-2 hrs before cooking.
  • Meat Seasoning: Cut slits in the side of beef or pork roasts before cooking. The flavor is subtle but well worth trying.
  • Pasta Sauce: Add to your favorite pasta sauces, or toss with the pasta.
  • Sandwiches & Burgers: A memorable garnish.
  •  
    Bunny also sent us some garlic brittle: We tasted it gingerly, now we’re addicted!

    Get yours at RabbitsPickledGarlic.com.

      

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