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THE NIBBLE BLOG: Products, Recipes & Trends In Specialty Foods
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PRODUCT REVIEW: Bertagni Ravioli And Tortellini

Bertagni Ravioli and Tortellini
An 8-ounce package, that feeds 4 people as a side, is $5.99 (suggested retail price).
  Want a quick, delicious lunch or dinner? Look for the all-natural filled pastas—ravioli and tortellini—from Bertagni (pronounced burr-TOHN-yee), the oldest filled pasta producer in Italy. They’re found in your grocer’s refrigerator case, and at fine food stores nationwide. The company also does a vigorous private label business, so even if you don’t see the name “Bertagni” on the package, if it has the your store’s name on it and “Product Of Italy” on the package back, it may well be theirs. You’re in for a treat—the products are so good, we enjoyed them with just a dab of butter or olive oil (filled pastas are meant to be enjoyed simply dressed, because the filling is the center of attention). The pastas cook in four minutes or less, after the water boils—a benefit of fresh pasta. Feast on flavors like Basil Ravioli With Char-Grilled Vegetables; Fire-Roasted Tomato, Mozzarella and Basil Ravioli; Arugula and Cheese Tortelloni; Porcini Mushroom Tortelloni; and perhaps our favorite (though it’s tough to pick just one), Ricotta and Parmigiano Reggiano Tortelloni.
Do these pastas taste so good just because they’re made in Italy (a country that has some of the best food in the world, because they use the finest, freshest ingredients)?
– Read our full review of Bertagni pasta.
– If your ravioli sticks together when cooking, read how to cook fresh pasta.
– There’s more in the Pasta Section of THE NIBBLE online magazine.

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TODAY IN FOOD: It’s Peppermint Patty—Not Pattie—Day (Here’s A Recipe)

February 11th is Peppermint Patty Day. You may indulge in the occasional York Peppermint Patty or box of Junior Mints (we do). But if you love peppermint patties, making them at home is easy.

  • Combine 1 pound confectioner’s sugar, 3 tablespoons softened butter, 3 teaspoons peppermint extract and 1/2 teaspoon real vanilla extract.
  • Mix in 1/4 cup evaporated milk. Roll into 1-inch balls, place on a waxed paper-lined cookie sheet and chill for 20 minutes.
  • Flatten the balls with the bottom of a glass to 1/4″ thick, so they look like peppermint patties.
  • Next, prepare the chocolate coating in a double boiler: 12 ounces of good-quality semisweet chocolate (you can use chocolate morsels, but the key is to get the best-tasting chocolate you can find, like Guittard or Valrhona) with 2 tablespoons shortening.
  • Dip the patties and place them back on the waxed paper to harden.
  •  
    If you want to go all out, you can decorate the tops of the patties with candied mint leaves: Dip tiny leaves or cut pieces of leaf and crystallize in sugar syrup.

    This recipe makes about 5 dozen peppermint patties. Be sure to make extra for friends and family—they’re are so good, you’ll want to eat the whole batch.

    IS IT PATTY OR PATTIE?

      Homemade Peppermint Patties
    Make a batch of peppermint patties for yourself, plus more for gifts. Yours may not look this perfect, but they’ll taste great (photo courtesy Safe Eggs).
     
    To be perfectly correct, the spelling is patty. Patties is the plural form, so many folks assumed the singular to be pattie.

    The dictionary does not recognize “pattie” as a word; although the York Candy Company chose this [incorrect] spelling to refer to a York Peppermint Pattie.

    Patty first appeared in English around 1700, from the French pâté. It referred to an item of food covered with dough, batter, etc., and fried or baked, such as oyster patties. It then referred to ground or minced food; and finally, the thin, round candy we call a peppermint patty.

    Peppermint Patty is also a character from the Peanuts comic series.

    YORK PEPPERMINT PATTIE HISTORY

    According to a company history in Wikipedia, the York Peppermint Pattie (sic) was first produced by Henry C. Kessler, owner of the York Cone Company, in 1940. The company was named for its location: York, Pennsylvania.

    In the annals of corporate acquisitions, in 1972 the York Cone Company was acquired by Peter Paul. In 1978, Peter Paul merged with Cadbury Schweppes. In 1988 the Hershey Foods Corporation acquired the U.S. operations of Cadbury Schweppes.

    The York Peppermint Pattie we know is different from Henry Kessler’s: the mint centers are only semi hard. In February 2009, Hershey closed the Reading, Pennsylvania plant that made York Peppermint Patties, 5th Avenue and Zagnut candy bars, and Jolly Rancher hard candies. Production was moved to a new factory the company built in Monterey, Mexico.

    Find more of our favorite peppermint candies in the Candy Section of THE NIBBLE webzine.
      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Marshmallow Valentines

    Lavender Marshmallows
    Artisan marshmallows like these, flavored
    with real lavender buds, can be as pretty as a box of chocolates.
      If your Valentine doesn’t like chocolate, how about marshmallows? Gourmet marshmallows come in a variety of flavors that will delight the young and charm the food sophisticate. In addition to Valentine gifts, we like serve them as “petit fours” after dinner with coffee. The medley of available colors and flavors match holiday themes and other occasions. And the flavors are heavenly.- Read our review of America’s best artisan marshmallows.
    – Check out Plush Puffs brand of marshmallows.
    – People on sugar-free diets will love La Nouba sugar-free marshmallows.
    – The fudge-covered marshmallows from Momma Reiner must be experienced.
    – The great Belgian chocolatier Pierre Marcolini also makes gourmet marshmallows.

    Try some of these beauties and you just might develop a marshmallow habit.

     

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    TIDBIT: Chocolatier Vs. Confectioner

    What’s the difference between “chocolates” and “confections?” Is a “chocolatier” or chocolate shop the same as a “confectionary?”

    A confectionery (also spelled confectionary) is a confectioner’s shop—more popularly called a candy store or sweet shop in modern times.

    A chocolatier (a French word, pronounced cho-co-la-tee-YAY) is both the chocolate shop and the person who makes the chocolate.

    While both of these words are commonly used in American chocolate circles, the French words for confectioner, confiseur, and candy shop, confiserie, are not.

    So what’s a confection?

    The term “confection” refers to all candies and sweets, including candy bars, candied nuts, chocolate, fudge, hard candies, licorice, lollipops, marshmallows, marzipan, nougat, mints, toffee and other products, from cotton candy and candy canes to gum drops and gummi bears.

    The term applies to snack items, so any baked goods and ice cream sold at a confectionery are included in the term—even though they also repose in other categories as well.

      Strawberry Pistachio Nougat
    A rose by any other name…could be an exquisite confection! Here, it’s rose-pistachio nougat from A Cozy Kitchen.
     
    So…if chocolate is also a confection, what’s the difference between a chocolate shop and a confectioner’s shop?

  • A chocolatier is a chocolate specialist, and generally makes some or all of the chocolates sold on the premises.
  • While a chocolatier often makes marshmallows, marzipan, toffee and other confections, most of what is sold is chocolate-based or chocolate-coated.
  • In a confectionary, you’ll find a balance of sweets, of which only a portion is chocolates.
  •  
    Discover more about chocolate in the Chocolate Section of THE NIBBLE online magazine. If you want to find the confectionery, you’ll have to look in the Candy Section and under Cookies, Cakes & Pastries.

      

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    FREEBIE: Italian Cookbook From Barilla

    Pumpkin PastaFettuccine With Pumpkin and Bread Crumbs will be a hit at your table.   Last year, Barilla created a free downloadable cookbook featuring Italian recipes from celebrities and prominent chefs. For every cookbook downloaded, Barilla donated $1.00 to America’s Second Harvest—The Nation’s Food Bank Network, which helps the needy. This year, five celebrities—Chris Daughtry, Debra Messing, Natalie Portman, Marisa Tomei and Stanley Tucci—contributed their favorite recipes, which were further developed by Mario Batali into this year’s cookbook. Party planner David Tutera contributed table setting concepts. The cookbook is available through the end of this month at CelebrityItalianTable.com. So download your free copy and feast on Eggplant Involti With Ricotta and Scallions, Farfalle with Pancetta, Rucola and Truffle Paste, Penne Alla Vodka, Penne In Spicy Sauce With Capers and Olives, Rigatoni with Basil and Gorgonzola, Sicilian Chickpea Fritters, Spaghetti al Tonno and Steamed Cockles in a Haban?ero Chive Broth.
    Follow the main course with desserts like Cherry Jam Tart, Chocolate Hazelnut Fritters and Torta di Cioccolato Abruzzese.

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