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

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CONTEST: Your Party Recipe Or Tip Could Win $400 In Gourmet Food

Enter your best party recipe by 4 p.m. P.T. on Tuesday, December 16, and you could win a $400 gift certificate to, an online resource for the country’s finest gourmet foods (and yes, imported ones, too). Use it to throw a holiday party, or to stock your larder with truffles, fine spices, artisan oils and vinegars, exotic meats and game, or our favorite ravioli from Nuovo Pasta, a NIBBLE Top Pick Of The Week (filled with everything from lobster to short ribs—read our review).

Just go to, click the Blog link at the top of the page, and enter your recipe or tip on the blog. The $400 winner and two runners up, who will receive $50 gift certificates, will be selected on Wednesday, December 17. Blog visitors will then vote for the winners from December 17 to Sunday, December 21; winners will be announced on Monday, December 22.

From the top: Portabella & Asiago Ravioli,
Gorgonzola & Sundried Tomato Girasole and
Roasted Vegetable Pansotti from Nuovo Pasta,
available on

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RECIPES: Exciting Recipes With Cheese

Buttermilk Blue Cheese ice cream with a poached
pear is one of our favorite desserts—it’s thrilling.
  You can compose an entire dinner of cheese dishes, from appetizer to dessert, as we’ve done here, inspired by our visits to the famous Parisian restaurant Androuet. There, the menu consists entirely of cheese dishes (onion soup with Saint-Nectaire, fried Camembert, ravioli de chèvre, Roquefort tart, Issau Iraty raclette and dozens more) or plates of cheese (you can select from more than 100 types). Here are eight recipes, popular in America, that have been developed with cheese by master chefs across the country for the award-winning cheesemaker Roth Käse, of Wisconsin. The recipes incorporate seasonal ingredients and flourishes, but most can be enjoyed year-round.

Creamy Artichoke Dip With Gorgonzola & Fontiago
Poached Pears On Frisée With Macadamia Crusted Buttermilk Bleu Affinée
Mexican-Style Chicken Soup With Queso Fresco
Tartlette Of Rofumo, Prosciutto, Pears & Arugula
Pork With Fontina, Prosciutto & Sundried Tomato Sauce
Gruyère Soufflé With Endive & Apple Salad
Sweet Potato Risotto With Fontina
Buttermilk Blue Ice Cream With Poached Pears

Learn more about cheese by skimming through our Cheese Glossary.

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GOURMET TRAVEL: Truffle Camp, January 2009

Foodies with funds can give themselves a nice holiday gift: a 3-day trip to Truffle Camp with Chef Ken Frank, executive chef and owner of the Michelin-starred La Toque restaurant in Napa, California, who features a truffle menu at his restaurant. For three days, eight truffle fans will have the rare opportunity to immerse themselves in everything there is to know about the prized delicacy. Truffle Camp includes three days of dinners and luncheons—all with truffles and wine, of course, including a farewell breakfast of truffle omelets—side trips to a local farm and winery (with wine tasting), hands-on experience preparing truffle dishes with Chef Frank, plus lodging in the Westin Verasa Napa, the new resort where La Toque restaurant is located. You can attend camp from January 11-14, 2009 or January 18-21, 2009. Happy campers will need to fork over $2,900 per individual based on single occupancy or $4,800 per couple based on double occupancy.  You’ll leave with a goodie bag and recipes to help create truffle specialties at home. For more information about the Truffle Camp, visit Santa baby, just slip the tickets under the tree for me. Been an awful good girl!  
Costlier than gold: the Périgord truffle of France
and the white Alba truffle of the Piedmont, in
See photos of gorgeous truffles and learn all about these fungus “jewels” in our uber-informative article on truffles.
Console yourself with the affordable wonder of D’Artagnan Truffle Butter.
Check out D’Artagnan’s mousse of duck foie gras, packed with black truffle pieces and spiked with Sauternes. Nice for holiday entertaining (or gifts).
Enjoy the affordable indulgence of Tsar Nicoulai’s Truffled Whitefish Caviar, American Caviar infused with truffle flavor.
Make foie gras French toast with black truffles.
Get Elizabeth Luard’s book about truffles.

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RECIPES: Holiday Cocktails

It’s a pumpkin pie in a glass.
This holiday season, start your guests off with the same flavors that end the meal—pie! These cocktails take advantage of seasonal flavors to perfectly complement your cocktail hour—or dessert.

Caramel Apple Pie Cocktail

The seasonal flavors of this sweet cocktail come from butterscotch schnapps and real apple cider. For more pie flavor, you can dip the rim in graham cracker crumbs.

Ingredients Per Cocktail

-1 ounce tequila
-1/2 ounce butterscotch schnapps
-1 ounce apple cider
-1 teaspoon lemon juice
-Apple slice garnish
-Graham cracker crumbs for rim (optional)


1. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice.
2. Add tequila, schnapps, apple cider and lemon juice.
3. Shake well and strain into a chilled martini glass. If desired, first moisten rim of glass and dip into graham cracker crumbs.
4. Garnish with notched apple slice.


You can try different rims for different flavors. This recipe calls for cinnamon, but you could use graham cracker crumbs, shredded coconut, cocoa powder—or a blend.

Ingredients Per Cocktail

-1-1/2 ounces vanilla vodka
-1-1/2 ounces crème de cacao
-2 tablespoons pumpkin purée
-1-1/2 ounces milk


1. Shake milk and pumpkin purée to combine.
2. Pour in vodka and crème de cacao, and shake over ice.
3. Strain into cinnamon-rimmed martini glass.

Learn how to plan a cocktail party.
Find more winter cocktail recipes in THE NIBBLE’s Cocktail Section.

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TOP PICK: Le Grand Pesto

We know about pestos. For our review of the best pesto sauces, we dipped and sauced with hundreds of them, from the classic pesto alla Genovese* to scores of variations from A to Z (or at least to S, including shiitake mushroom, spinach, sundried tomato and sweet red pepper pestos).

*The classic recipe contains basil, olive oil, Parmesan and Pecorino cheeses, pine nuts, garlic and salt.

The good news is, no matter how much exciting food you’ve tasted in a specialty food category, there’s always more to discover. So we smacked our lips when we came across Le Grand Pesto, an all-natural line of artisan pesto sauces and tapenades made by a couple in Canada. Since then, we can’t imagine life without Le Grand Pesto Lemon Confit & Pumpkin Seed Aromatic Sauce—it may ensure our cult status among foodie friends who credit us with the discovery (try it with fish, seafood, pasta, vegetables and anything that lemon takes a shine to).

We’ve been snacking on spoonfuls of the five other flavors, in between using them as a condiment on everything from eggs to sandwiches to soups and salads. Just try enlivening that Caprese salad or cheese pizza with Spicy Olive & Sun-dried Tomato Tapenade. Squirt a spoonful of 4 Nut & Cheese Pesto into a bowl of tomato soup or onto pear slices. Try

Pesto can enliven almost every dish (except sweet
desserts, but try them with cheese). Here, Le
Grand’s herbalicious Garden Pesto turns the same
old poached egg into a gourmet delight. Healthy
eaters can enjoy the egg, pesto, microgreens and
stewed plum tomatoes. Revelers can rest a
pancake and some bacon underneath.
some Sun-dried Tomato Pesto on that sandwich instead of mayonnaise, or serve it as a spread with cocktails. You’re a hero without doing any actual cooking (but, then, being a top hunter-gatherer is as great a skill as being a good cook). The products are very thick—no oozing pools of oil, but vegetable paste with only as little oil as needed to bind the ingredients. You can spread them, or dilute with your own oil into sauces. All are made with the finest ingredients, no preservatives and no sugar or sweeteners of any kind.If you love fresh, new tastes, want easy ways to make your everyday foods fly high and can’t wait to play with six new ready-to-cook-or-eat condiments/sauces/ingredients, read the full review on

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