THE NIBBLE BLOG: Products, Recipes & Trends In Specialty Foods


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TIP OF THE DAY: Don’t Age Your Beer

May 14th-20th is American Beer Week, so take some time to celebrate. Unlike wine, beer is meant to be drunk fresh, within 90 days of bottling. Over time, beer oxidizes; while some bottles are perfectly drinkable a year later, others are “skunky” or flat and watery. Some major brewers print “best by” dates on their labels, but foreign and craft brewers generally don’t. What can you do? Don’t stock up: Buy only what you need each month. Purchase fine beers at stores that have good turnover. E-mail your Congressional reps that all beers should be dated, just like other foods. And if there’s a code on the bottle, try to crack it—often the company’s website will provide a translation key. Read more about beer in the Premium, Craft & Microbrews section of THE NIBBLE online magazine.   O’Hara’s Irish Stout
Who wouldn’t want to stock up on O’Hara’s Irish Stout (a Nibble favorite)? But keep it fresh by only buying a one-month supply at a time.
 

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TIP OF THE DAY: Personalized Pops

Palap Azul Fruit Popsicles

Can your creation compete with Palapa Azul’s popsicles, a Nibble Top Pick? Read our review.

  Celebrate the warm weather by investing in something you’ll use all season long: an ice pop mold. Exercise your creativity and impress guests with your own frozen treats. Homemade lemonade and fresh raspberries make a great combination, as does strawberry yogurt with semi-sweet chocolate chips. Try your hand at multi-layered pops by filling the mold only partially, letting the liquid freeze, then re-opening the molds and filling them with a second (or even third) liquid. For example, try alternating bands of spicy ginger ale and fresh limeade. The endless array of flavor combinations will keep you experimenting throughout the summer. And the brine from pickle bottles makes delicious, refreshing ice pops. Freeze it, don’t toss it! Try it with Rick’s Picks Gourmet Pickled Vegetables, a Nibble Top Pick.
For more frozen treats, check out the Gourmet Desserts & Ice Cream section of THE NIBBLE online magazine.

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TIP OF THE DAY: Fruit Soup

One of our favorite desserts is also the simplest to make. Combine mixed fruit juices (we use Knudsen’s black cherry and raspberry) or melted sorbet with yogurt, milk or cream.

You can make the soup as rich or as dietetic as you like, by using nonfat dairy products. If you want a thicker consistency, reduce the juice in a saucepan with a cinnamon stick, some lemon and other spices to taste.

Then add chopped seasonal fruits, whole berries, melon balls and/or scoops of ice cream or sorbet for a festive presentation.

The soup in the photo is a watermelon papaya soup.

For more soup recipes, check out the Gourmet Soups And Stocks section of THE NIBBLE webzine.

 


There’s nothing more refreshing than cold
fruit soup on a warm day. Photo courtesy McCormick.com.

 

  

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TIP OF THE DAY: Butter Ramekins



Flavored butter looks even more enticing when served in a lovely ramekin. This cultured butter is made by Beecher’s Handmade Cheese.
  Instead of bringing butter to the table in a rectangular brick, serve it in ramekins, like some fine restaurants do. In addition to plain butter, you can easily make and serve different flavored butters with style. Use a knife to score decorative cross-hatches on the top; and if you’re of an artistic nature, add a few fresh herb leaves or capers to the center or edges. Or sprinkle the top of sweet butter with sea salt.

Find recipes for flavored butters and read more butter tips in the Artisanal Butter section on THE NIBBLE online magazine.

 

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PRODUCT REVIEW: Starbucks Chocolate

What do you do when you’ve mastered coffee? Come up with a line that goes with it. Starbucks has launched Starbucks Chocolate, a portfolio of artisan-style chocolates inspired by their coffee and Tazo tea products—and in some cases, containing pieces of the coffee and tea. The chocolate looks beautiful: a glossy finish and beautiful design. And it tastes great, too.

Starbucks’ offerings include chocolate bars, tasting squares, truffles and chocolate-covered coffee beans. The chocolate was designed in consultation with The Artisan Confections Company, the subsidiary of The Hershey Company that owns the artisan chocolate brands Dagoba Organic Chocolate, Joseph Schmidt Confections and Scharffen Berger Chocolate Maker.

The chocolate quality is superb—among the best one can find outside a gourmet bar store, and some of the products can compete with most of what is found within those stores. The price is right: 3-ounce bars for $2.99, boxes of tasting squares and Milk Chocolate-Covered Coffee Beans for $4.99 to $5.49 and five flavors of Chocolate Truffles in the same price range.

 
Take a bite out of Starbucks’ tasty new line of affordable, artisan-style chocolate.
Our only unhappiness is that today, we can’t find anyone online to ship these to us. But the products were just launched last month, and distribution will evolve. Whenever you see them, grab them. For three to five dollars a pop, they’re a treat you can enjoy, and a gift you can afford to give. Read the full review of Starbucks Chocolate, and find more about artisan chocolate in the Gourmet Chocolate & Chocolate Gifts section of THE NIBBLE online magazine.

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