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

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CONTEST: Submit The Winning Grill Recipe To Win A Backyard Makeover

“At-home grillmasters” now have the opportunity to put their skills to the test and win a $5,000 backyard makeover.

The Crisco Sprays Grilling Hall of Fame contest is inviting grillmasters to share their favorite recipe for a chance to be one of the first inductees into the new Hall Of Fame and win a backyard makeover.

To enter, go to, and submit an original grilling recipe that incorporates a Crisco cooking spray (Original, Butter or Olive Oil), an image of the recipe and a brief essay, 250 words or less, explaining why you created the recipe and why you deserve to be inducted into the Crisco Grilling Hall Of Fame.

Five grand prize winners will receive $5,000 to put toward a backyard makeover. The last day for submissions is December 15, so get grilling!

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RECIPES: Celebrate December 5th, Repeal Day

Celebrate Repeal Day with a classic cocktail like
a Gin & Tonic. Click here for a recipe.
December 5th, “Repeal Day,” celebrates the 21st Amendment to the United States Constitution that repealed the 18th Amendment, which had mandated nationwide Prohibition. But this is no ordinary repeal day: It’s the 75th anniversary of the end of Prohibition. The 21st Amendment was passed on December 5, 1933. Visit the Cocktails Section of and mix yourself up something to celebrate. The 18th Amendment is the only Constitutional amendment ever to be repealed.

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NEW PRODUCT: Oolong Shot Tea Wellness Boost

Since its debut, we’ve been hooked on ITO EN’s Sencha Shot, a highly concentrated 6.4-ounce steel can of unsweetened, premium green tea with an an energy boosting 152 mg of green tea catechins (antioxidants). We order it by the case. Now there’s Oolong shot, with a whopping 171 milligrams of oolong tea polyphenols. Oolong, also known as Wu-long and traditionally called blue tea, is a semi-oxidized tea, between green tea and black tea. Traditionally known as “weight loss tea” and “slimming tea,” an unidentified compound in oolong may promote weight loss, and has resulted in numerous hyped products for decades. However, you need not buy any special “slimming teas;” regular oolong will do the trick, if there is any trick to be done. (No research by a recognized scientific organization has been published.) The suggested retail price is $1.79. Both teas are sold at Whole Foods Markets and other retailers, and online at
Color coded: The green tea in the green can, the
blue tea, as oolong is sometimes called, in the
blue can.
Read our full review of Sencha Shot and Oolong Shot.
Read our review of Ito-En Teas’ Tea bottled teas, a NIBBLE Top Pick Of The Week.
Discover Ito-En’s delicious line of Dr. Andrew Weil For Tea.
Learn about the different types of tea in our 15-page Tea Glossary.
Discover the best tea and food pairings.
Discover how to brew the perfect cup of tea.
Take our tea trivia quiz.

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NEW PRODUCT: Dry Soda Introduces Juniper Berry & Vanilla Bean

  DRY Soda Co. has unveiled the first new flavors since the line’s August 2005 debut: Juniper Berry and Vanilla Bean. The new flavors join DRY siblings Kumquat, Lavender, Lemongrass and Rhubarb. Vanilla Bean DRY is aromatic, lightly sweet and delicate—a sophisticated relative of cream soda. Juniper Berry DRY is crisp with a pine essence and high acidity. Juniper berry is the fruit from which gin is distilled—think of it as non-alcoholic gin and tonic. The line was originally developed for people who wanted a sophisticated, non-alcoholic beverage alternative to cocktails. As with all DRY Sodas, the two new flavors are all-natural, made with fruit or herb extracts and caffeine-free.

Read our review of Dry Soda.

Find more of our favorite “adult sodas” in the Soft Drinks Section of


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TRENDS: Hot Flavors For 2009

Each year, industry experts predict the hot flavors of the following year. With the first predictions for 2009, international research firm Mintel forecasts that manufacturers and restaurateurs will reach for the following exotic fruits and flavors to tempt jaded palates (astute eyes will notice that some of these have been on annual lists for several years running, and have yet to hit the mainstream, as have past hits like chipotle, pomegranate and wasabi):

Persimmon. Our grandmother loved persimmon, but this lovely fruit hasn’t made it out of specialty markets. According to Mintel, it is poised to “make a major splash in food and beverage.” Mintel expects companies to blend it with more common fruits, as seen in a new Japanese yogurt that contains white peaches, persimmon and apricots.

Persimmon will make a major splash in food and
beverage in 2009.
Starfruit. Many of us have been cutting this exotic fruit into fruit salads and using it as a plate garnish for decades. Found in other countries in jams and chutneys, Mintel predicts that star fruit “will become a major global player in 2009.”
Lavender. Is mainstream America ready for lavender? We don’t know. It’s one of our favorite flavors and it’s been “out there” in gourmet circles for years–Mintel expects lavender to move beyond the home and personal care categories and into food and beverage next year. Already seen in products such as Lindt Chocolat Provence’s Lemon-Lavender Dream chocolate (Germany), lavender can be paired with more familiar ingredients to bring a naturally soothing, aromatic quality to food and drink.
Cactus. Cactus is already a popular food flavor in Latin America, seen in products like Nopalia Cactus Toasts (Mexico), which contain both cactus and corn. Next year, look for manufacturers to incorporate this regional taste into new food products around the world.
Chimichurri. A classic from Latin America, chimichurri is a “salsa” from Argentina containing garlic, parsley and olive oil, and used as a sauce for grilled meats. Will American carnivores convert from sweet-and-spicy steak sauces to chimichurri? Old habits die hard. IOHO, it would take a push from the large steak chains.
Peri-Peri. This one has our vote. A hot and spicy chile-based sauce from Africa, peri-peri can sneak in where chile-based salsas have achieved success.
Masala. With the growth in popularity of Indian flavors, masala may follow curry. But we don’t see a flood of it happening in 2009 in the U.S. Masala, or garam masala (translated as “hot spice”) is a blend of ground spices in Indian, Bangladeshi and Pakistani cuisines, used alone or with other seasonings. Blends vary, and can include cardamom, cinnamon, clove, mace, nutmeg and peppercorns.

Mintel predicts that nature-inspired aromas will also hit; however, it seems to us that their predictions have been around in household and personal fragrances for some time:

Spicy + Woody. Perhaps we shop off the main path, but we already own these.
Food Flavors. Can one look in any direction these days and not find products that are lemon, pomegranate and vanilla scents?
Savory. Though “meaty” and “salty” aren’t words that spring to mind when thinking of fragrance, Mintel says these scents are an area of opportunity in 2009, as they evoke the comforts of festive meals and salty snacking. Hmm…though we’ll wait to see what gets produced along these lines, we’re not sure that we want to be cleaning the kitchen and polishing the furniture with “meaty” and “salty” scents. There’s a reason that citrus and other clean, refreshing aromas are so popular.

Stay tuned.

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