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FOOD FUN: Chocolate Fruitcake Shake

‘Tis the season for adding a little something special to the conventional.

So here’s a twist on a chocolate shake: a Chocolate Fruitcake Shake.

It was created by American Heritage Chocolate, which focuses on historical chocolate products and recipes.

Prep time is 45 minutes, cook time is 10 minutes. However, you can save most of that time by purchasing chocolate syrup—although it won’t be as good, and it will likely have high fructose corn syrup.

If you make the syrup from scratch, refrigerate the extra for another use.
Ingredients For 2 Shakes

For The Chocolate Syrup

  • ½ cup Finely Grated Baking Chocolate*
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ⅓ cup water
    For The Fruitcake Shake

  • ½ cup dried fruit, coarsely chopped (cherries, pineapple, apricots, dates, raisins, oranges)
  • 1 tablespoon rum extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup milk
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon allspice
  • 3 scoops chocolate ice cream
  • Optional garnishes: whipped cream, grated chocolate, dried fruit skewer (fig, apricot, pineapple)
  • Optional rim: melted chocolate, coconut flakes

    See Step 7 for the optional chocolate rim.

    1. MAKE the syrup. Combine the water and ¼ cup sugar in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer stirring constantly until the sugar dissolves. Add the chocolate to saucepan stirring constantly until chocolate dissolves.

    2. ADD the remaining ¼ cup of sugar, continuing to stir until sugar dissolves.

    3. COVER the pan and refrigerate 30-40 minutes, until chilled.

    4. PREPARE the shake. Place the dried fruit in a small bowl with the vanilla and rum extracts, and pour boiling water over the fruit just just to cover. Chill in the refrigerator for 30-40 minutes. When the fruit is chilled…

    5. DRAIN the water and place the rehydrated fruit into a blender. Add the milk, 3 tablespoons of chocolate syrup, and the spices. Blend until the fruit is puréed and the ingredients are well blended.

    6. ADD the ice cream and blend until smooth and frothy. Pour into glasses and serve immediately.

    7. PRIOR to making the shake (Step 4)—up to 2 days in advance—melt your chocolate of choice (dark, milk, white) in the microwave at 30 second intervals, watching until it bubbles. Remove from the microwave and dip the rims of the glasses in the melted chocolate. Wait until semi-hard, then sprinkle with chopped coconut. If you have larger coconut flakes, chop them.


    *This American heritage product is crafted to go with its recipes. Their Finely Grated Baking Chocolate is not sugar-free, but is 57% semisweet chocolate with sugar, anise, cinnamon and nutmeg, red pepper and other flavors. You can buy it online.


    [1] ‘Tis the season for a Chocolate Fruitcake Shake (photos #1 and #3 © American Heritage Chocolate).

    [2] American Heritage Chocolate’s Fine Grating Chocolate (photo © Shops At Mount Vernon).

    [3] Grated cinnamon (actually, it’s cassia—here’s the difference).

    [4] Just as with pepper, freshly-grated nutmeg is so much flavorful than the pre-ground variety (photo © McCormick).




    HOLIDAY GIFT: Tea Advent Calendar

    [1] The most fun and flavorful gift for a tea lover (photox #1 and #2 © Vahdam Teas).

    [2] Holiday surprise: so many teas to discover.

    [3] The gift provides a different variety of tea for 25 days (photo © Julia Sakelli | Pexels).


    What could a tea lover love more, than the chance to enjoy 24 different top-quality teas?

    We highly recommend the experience of a Holiday Advent Calendar from Vahdam Teas.

    Vahdam Teas is the winner of the prestigious SOFI 2019 and 2020 or the BEST NEW PRODUCT along with 6 World Tea Championships.

    It is loose leaf tea, which is the pick of the crop.

    Imagine discovering a different type of tea every day (or space it out as you wish).

    The Christmas gift set includes so many different tastes of black, green, herbal and flavored teas. In alphabetical order:

  • Assam Exotic, Blooming Rose, Chamomile Mint Citrus, Chocolate Vanilla, Darjeeling Premium First Flush, Daily Darjeeling Second Flush
  • Earl Grey, Earl Grey Citrus, Ginger Masala, High Mountain Oolong Tea, Himalayan Green Tea, Kashmiri Kahwa, Lemon Spiced, Masala Chai
  • Moringa Tulsi, Sweet Cinnamon, Sweet Himalayan, Turmeric Ashwagandha, Turmeric Chamomile, Turmeric Ginger, Turmeric Moringa
  • Turmeric Pepper, Turmeric Spiced, Vanilla Spice

    The brand is certified carbon-neutral and plastic-neutral.

    The company measures its overall carbon and plastic footprint and offsets it via investments in environment sustainability initiatives in India.

    An innovative supply chain model ensures that the tea farmers get a better price for their produce and that consumers get the freshest teas.

    There’s also a social initiative, TEAch Me, which directs 1% of revenues towards the education of the growers’ children.

    Vahdam Teas was established in India by a 28-year-old fourth generation entrepreneur, who is very consumer conscious:

    If you don’t like the product, the company will issue a 100% refund.

    Just don’t drink up the entire box and claim you didn’t like it. 🙂

    You can purchase it:

  • On Amazon
  • On the Vahdam Teas website





    TIP OF THE DAY: Make Your Home Smell Like the Holidays

    Today’s tip comes from Jacqueline Parisi of Hello Fresh, the largest meal-kit provider in the U.S.

    These natural DIY room scents are made with everyday foods.

    Plus, if you use a glass vase or attractive jar, they double as festive tabletop centerpieces.

    It couldn’t be simpler.


    Select a scent (photo #1), and purchase enough to fill the pitcher, jar or vase you’ll be using.

    Don’t worry about buying too much: These are ingredients you fan use every day (well, maybe not the pine twigs).

  • Scent 1: Orange, cinnamon sticks, and cloves
  • Scent 2: Lemon, rosemary, and vanilla beans
  • Scent 3: Orange, cranberries, and pine twigs

  • Glass pitcher, jar or vase

    1a. COMBINE the ingredients in a glass jar and fill the jar to the brim with warm water.

    That’s it! The fresh and slightly sweet scent will linger pleasantly in the room.

    For an alternate approach, here’s is an old trick to make a pleasant-smelling home when guests are expected.

    The ingredients are simmered on the stove so it takes some watching, like any stovetop cooking.

    1b. SIMMER the ingredients in a pan on the stove.

    Bring the water to a boil, then lower to a simmer and keep it on a simmer as the fragrance fills the air.

    Be careful, though. Once the water evaporates, the citrus can easily burn, delivering the opposite of what you want to achieve.
    Happy holidays from The Nibble.


    [1] You don’t need a fancy jar—a Mason jar is fine (photos #1 and #2 © Hello Fresh).

    [2] Choose your scent.

    Pomegranate Arils Cocktail Garnish
    [3] Extra citrus makes a holiday garnish with the leftover cranberries or pomegranate arils (photo © [now closed])




    PRODUCT: FatBoy Ice Cream In Holiday Flavors

    [1] Yummy ice cream sandwiches in Egg Nog and Peppermint (all photos © Casper’s Ice Cream).

    [2] FatBoy’s version of a peppermint sundae—no spoon required!

    [3] Our new favorite chocolate ice cream: Frozen Hot Cocoa.

    [4] You can’t put FatBoy under the tree…but load up the freezer!


    We were not familiar with Fat Boy ice cream until the brand recently reached out to us with an offer to try their holiday flavors.

    And are we glad they did. We LOVE their premium ice creams.

    Back by popular demand, are three FatBoy favorites and the new tub in town:

  • Holiday Egg Nog Ice Cream Sandwiches
  • Holiday Peppermint Ice Cream Sandwiches
  • Peppermint Ice Cream Sundae (the “sundaes” here are ice cream bars on a stick, enrobed in chocolate)
  • Frozen Hot Cocoa Ice Cream Tub (56 ounces)
    The truly are “premium” ice creams—better than the major supermarket brands we know. We may hoard every last bite.

    We’ll certainly do it with Frozen Hot Cocoa Ice Cream, which is the best chocolate ice cream we’ve tasted in recent memory. One of its secrets: malted milk powder.

    You can enjoy these frozen treats as is, or incorporate them into other dishes. For example:

  • Slice an Egg Nog or Peppermint ice cream sandwich diagonally and use it to “sandwich” a scoop of Frozen Hot Cocoa.
  • Serve the a diagonal “triangle” with coffee or hot chocolate.
  • Make a Frozen Hot Cocoa shake.
  • Skewer an ice cream sandwich with a peppermint stick or an upside-down candy cane.
  • Decorate the sides of the sandwich with mini-chips, sprinkles, toffee bits, etc.
  • Make an ice cream sandwich affogato. Put a quartered cream sandwich into a rocks glass and top it with two shots of espresso.

    > Product Locator

    > More about FatBoy Ice Cream


    FatBoy Ice Creams are made in the small dairy town of Richmond, Utah. The parent company, 95-year-old Casper’s Ice Cream, is run by a third-generation family owner.

    Some stats:

  • Casper’s Ice Cream was founded in 1925.
  • The FatBoy ice cream sandwiches are Casper’s best-selling product. The plant makes about 485 tons of FatBoys/500,000 units per day.
  • Beyond the holiday flavors, there are 7 year-round sandwich flavors including a gluten-free variety. See them here.
  • 130,000,000 FatBoys are consumed each year.
    But why Fat Boy? Why not Hungry Boy, or something that most people would wear on a tee shirt?

    We found the answer in an interview with a company representative:

    “Decades ago, Casper’s Ice Cream started making a larger-than-usual ice cream sandwich. At the time they were just selling it as an ice cream sandwich.

    “In about 1985, a member of the Casper Merrill family, who was a sales [representative] in California, was pitching this ice cream sandwich and said, ‘This is not one of those skinny ice cream sandwiches, this is a fat boy!’ And that name stuck.”

    The name initially ruffled some feathers, but the company has had fun with the whimsical name. And judging by the numbers, customers agree!




    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK & GIFT: Sauternes Vinegar From Oliviers & Co

    Before we sing the glories of the Sauternes vinegar from Oliviers & Co (photo #1) our Top Pick Of The Week, a few words are required for those who are not familiar with Sauternes wine.

    Sauternes (saw-TERN) is the great sweet wine of Bordeaux—the great sweet wine of the world. It is made from the white Bordeaux grape, Semillon (SEM-e-yone).

    One Sauternes, Château d’Yquem (ee-KEM), is one of the costliest wines in the world (photo #5).

    Sauternes “is the symbol of the holiday season in France,” according to Oliviers & Co, and is generally served with the foie gras course.

    A luxurious Christmas dinner often consists of foie gras served on a slice of toasted brioche with a glass of chilled sweet wine like Sauternes* (we like a bit of mesclun on the plate.

    These luscious golden wines are beautiful to look at, and the taste is often sublime.

    But you don’t need a bottle d’Yquem to enjoy Sauternes. Your wine store clerk can show you options for your budget.

    Sauternes wine has notes of apricots, honey and peaches, a scrumptious aroma, and a broad pairing beyond desserts:

  • Blue and washed rind cheeses
  • Dessert
  • Foie gras
  • Fish and shellfish (photo #3)
  • Savory dishes with fruit
    Here’s a longer list of food pairings. Now, on to the Sauternes vinegar!

    Oliviers & Co has created a wonderful new way to expand the use of the great Sauternes wine: Sauternes vinegar.

    After our first taste, we were hooked.

    Like the wine itself, the fruity and honey-flavored notes are simply splendid: apricot, candied fig, grapefruit, vanilla even touch of coconut.

    We tasted it from the spoon, and then had another spoon, and another. It’s that mellow: no burning acidity.

    In addition to the nuances of fruit and honey, there’s a sweetness to this vinegar that we find analogous to the sweetness of a fine balsamic.

    It’s a great gift for anyone with a palate to appreciate the finer things.

    Thank you, Oliviers & Co. By the way, oliviers is French for olive trees. France has a bounty of them in the southern region of Provence.

    Take a look at all of the fine condiments from this fine French company.


  • Vinaigrettes, of course. The highest expression would be a mesclun salad with foie gras. Also check out the duck salad in photo #4. But you don’t need a special salad. Enhance your everyday greens!
  • Deglazing the pan.
  • Cheese course.
  • Chicken or fish en papillote.
  • Lacquered entrées, such as chicken or pork.
  • Entrées with tropical fruits: lychee, mango, papaya, passionfruit, pineapple.
  • Fresh fruits: peaches, nectarines, strawberries.
  • Hot and spicy Asian foods, such as Indian and Thai.
  • Desserts: fruit tarts, crème brûlée and panna cotta and other custard dishes.
  • Cocktails: Replace lemon or lime juice with Sauternes vinegar, using one-third the amount of citrus juice.

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • Extra virgin olive oil (flavored, as in photo #2, is great)
  • Sauternes vinegar
  • Salt & herbs mix†
  • 4 firm potatoes
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons/30g butter
  • 4 salmon steaks, skin on
  • 6 shallots
  • Fleur de Sel (or other fine sea salt)

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 410°F/210°C.

    2. USE 2 skewers to cut the potatoes. To do so, prick the skewers through the middle of the potato and cut it into strips, so you only cut through halfway. Cut the garlic cloves into strips and divide them among the potatoes. Place them in an oven dish. Cut small pieces of butter and insert them in each potato. Sprinkle the whole with olive oil and fleur de sel. Bake for 40 minutes. Meanwhile…

    3. PEEL the shallots, slice them and let them sweat in 1 tablespoon of olive oil for 10 minutes over medium heat. Then pour in 4 tablespoons of Sauternes vinegar and let it simmer over a low heat for 5 minutes.

    4. Ten minutes before the end of cooking the potatoes, place parchment paper in a large sauté pan and fry the salmon steaks on the skin side until the skin has a caramelized appearance, and cover 7-8 minutes. Then turn the fish over and cook for 1-2 minutes until the flesh is translucent (just cooked).

    5. ADJUST the seasoning, add some fresh ground pepper and serve with a drizzle of olive oil, the potatoes, and the shallots confit with their juice.



    *Other sweet wines from France include those from:
    – Barsac, the commune next to Sauternes, which produces the great Château Climens.
    – Monbazillac, which has a significantly proportion of Muscadelle in the blend, which can lead to slightly different aromas
    – Côteaux du Layon, a sweet white wine made in the Loire Valley from Chenin blanc grapes.
    All of these are white wines, but they vinify into a golden color that deepens as they age. Because of the high sugar content, these wines age long and well.

    †Oliviers & Co sells salt-and-herb mixes for both fish and meat. We mix coarse sea salt with rosemary for a delicious seasoning. You can also use dried basil, chives, dill, lemongrass and/or tarragon. In other recipes where fresh herbs are used, add the fresh versions of these herbs (including garlic, which is already in the recipe above).


    [1] Sauternes vinegar is made from the great French dessert wine, Sauternes (all photos except #5 © Oliviers & Co.)

    [2] This Christmas Duo contains a bottle of Sauternes Vinegar and a bottle of Christmas Olive Oil, EVOO naturally flavored with basil and green lemon. How can you resist? Purchase it here.

    [3] Sauternes Salmon with Hasselback Potatoes. The recipe is at left. You can use the same sauce on other seafood dishes.

    [4] Want something meatier? Make this Duck & Pear Salad With Sauternes Vinaigrette.

    [5] Château d’Yquem on a pedestal, where it belongs (photo © Château d’Yquem)

    [6] There’s something for every cook and connoisseur at Oliviers & Co.




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