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

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TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Uli Mana Raw Cacao

For everyone wondering about the healthy food picks of the last few weeks, January is “health month” at THE NIBBLE. That’s the brief hiatus between the six weeks of holiday eating that end the old year and the Valentine’s Day delights of the new year. During “health month,” we try not to tempt people away from their New Year’s resolutions. Both our Top Picks Of The Week and the regular reviews and articles on are bursting with the most delicious “good-for-you” foods we can find.

Before you get tired of healthy foods, the indulgences begin again on January 26, with three weeks of Valentine gift recommendations. Or maybe they begin right now, as we show how chocolate can be wholesome, vegan, organic, raw, primitive…and delectable. We polished off every last morsel.

When we first set eyes on Uli Mana, its packaging did not look like manna from chocolate heaven. But then we tasted the organic chocolate truffles, brownies, chocolate spread and more. Raw cacao was never more divine. And with nary a drop of refined sugar: It’s all sweetened with lower-glycemic agave syrup. There’s no cream, no butter, and more antioxidants than in regular chocolate. How could our New Year’s diet disapprove?

Truffles made from raw cacao, covered with raw
cacao nibs, have intense, bittersweet chocolate
flavor. You are mano a mano with the cacao.
In Uli Mana’s hands, raw cacao is a wow. This is food for serious foodies—though they may wish to share it with their raw foodist and vegan friends. Read the full review, including more about raw cacao, on

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BOOK: Great Chefs Cook Vegan

Great Chefs Cook Vegan by Linda Long How popular is veganism? Popular enough to have inspired a gorgeous new cookbook, Great Chefs Cook Vegan, by Linda Long, with recipes by 25 of today’s most lauded chefs, including Dan Barber, David Burke, Cat Cora, Daniel Boulud, Todd English, Suzanne Goin, Thomas Keller, Gabriel Kreuther, Eric Ripert, Marcus Samuelsson, Charlie Trotter and Jean-George Vongerichten. Each chef contributes a three- or four-course vegan meal with beautiful photographs of each recipe. Examples include Baby Beet Salad With Pistachio Vinaigrette & Chickpea Fritters, Sweet Pea Ravioli With Sautéed Pea Leaves, Stuffed Baby Bell Peppers With Sunflower Seed Risotto, and Chocolate Cake With A Chocolate Truffle Molten Center. Yum—what time shall we be there for dinner?
A vegan diet is more restrictive than a vegetarian diet. Vegans exclude any type of animal product, including eggs, dairy and honey. The diet focuses on whole grains, vegetables, fruits, beans and legumes, is low in fat, contains no cholesterol and is rich in fiber and nutrients. And, in the hands of great chefs, the food tastes as wonderful as anything else they cook, as you’ll see when you start cooking up a storm from this cookbook.

Get a FREE Backpack when you spend $100 or more.

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PRODUCT REVIEW: Bosch Tassimo Coffee System

When we last tried the Tassimo Hot Beverage System in 2005, it was fresh out of development with a huge ad campaign, and a few flaws. Since then, it has a new manufacturer and a vastly improved delivery.

It also has what environmentalists might consider a flaw. Given the green movement and the desire of many people not to throw more plastic into landfills, the hard plastic cups that enclose the coffee or other beverage ingredient (here called T discs—other systems have different configurations and different names—for example, the Keurig system’s are K cups) make them distinctly ungreen. If that is your concern, you can go to an instantly degradable paper pod system as is used in the Senseo system. (There is a green offset: If you drink your coffee at home, you don’t waste a paper or [gasp] styrofoam cup, plastic lid, stirring stick, etc. with takeout.)

But if you’re not an avid recycler, one small plastic cup is the least of your landfill contributions, and we highly recommend the Tassimo for convenience, speed and delivery of a great-tasting cup of coffee…plus good hot chocolate and passable tea, the latter two major improvements on the original version.

In brief, single-serve coffee systems produce a very fast, generally quite good cup of coffee—unless you’re an aficionado who buys and grinds fresh beans weekly and has a palate that knows when a brewed pot has been on the burner longer than 20 minutes. It’s the perfect solution for people who just need one or two cups in the morning and don’t need a whole pot. And it couldn’t be easier: Just make sure the water well is filled with water—you can keep it filled so you don’t even have to exert the effort in the morning. Then, just insert a coffee-, tea- or chocolate-filled disc into the machine and press a button. In an amazing 60 seconds, your cup is filled with a steaming hot beverage. You pay for the convenience, 62¢ or more per cup. But that’s far less than you’d pay at retail, and you have steaming hot coffee in your cup in about a minute with virtually no cleanup beyond tossing the used disc in the trash.

Read the full review of the Bosch Tassimo System on

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PRODUCTS: Gluten-Free Food

Chocolate cashew Cupola Clouds offer very
low-calorie crunch.

How pervasive is gluten allergy? Although celiac disease affects approximately one percent of the population, a larger number of people have gluten sensitivity, which causes gastrointestinal complaints. In November, Gluten-Free Diet Awareness Month, Uno Chicago Grill tested the nation’s first gluten-free chain pizza (cheese and pepperoni) in its northeast region. Response was so great, they’re rolling it out nationwide.

This month, THE NIBBLE reviews gluten-free Cupola Cookies and Cupola Clouds cheese bites. An index to all of our gluten-free foods can be found in our Diet Nibbles Section.

New VitaTop flavor

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RECIPE: Grapefruit Granita

Granita is light, low-calorie and crunchier than sorbet. You don’t use an ice cream maker; instead, the ice crystals form in a pan in the freezer and are broken up every few hours.

This recipe uses Texas Rio Star Grapefruit, grown in the Rio Grande Valley in southernmost Texas.

They are more red in color than Ruby Red grapefruit, so have a more lovely color. If you can’t obtain them, you can substitute other red or pink grapefruit, but they may not have the same sweetness.

Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 3 Texas Rio Star grapefruit, juiced
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • Garnish: mint leaves


    [1] It’s easy to make granita with fruit (or coffee), sugar and an ice cube tray (photo courtesy TexaSweet Citrus).

    1. COMBINE the grapefruit juice and sugar and bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves.

    2. LET the mixture cool down and pour it into a flat pan with high sides. Place in freezer. Once ice crystals start to form…

    3. USE a fork to stir vigorously, breaking up the crystals. Return to the freezer. Do this every half hour for about four hours.

    4. Once the granita is totally frozen, fluff it with a fork and give it another half hour in the freezer to solidify. Serve with a mint leaf garnish.


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