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


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TODAY IN FOOD: It’s National Corn Chip Day


Fritos, America’s first corn chip (photo © Mx. Granger | Wikipedia).

 

January 29th is National Tortilla Chip Day.

What’s the difference between a corn chip and a tortilla chip?

Both are made from corn or masa,* vegetable oil, salt and water.

But tortilla chips are made from cut-up wedges of actual tortillas. That’s why they’re triangular.

Corn chips, on the other hand, are processed into a particular shape—curls or scoops, like Fritos.

Fritos, the first commercial corn chip, were invented in 1941, in San Antonio.

Tortilla chips were created some 10 years later, in Los Angeles.
 
 
>The History Of Corn Chips

>The History Of Tortilla Chips

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**You’ll often see masa listed in the ingredients, instead of corn. Masa is corn that has been dried, treated with a lime water solution (i.e., nixtamalized), then ground.

 

 
  

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TIP OF THE DAY: Souper Gifts

Broccoli Soup
Make a double batch of your delicious soup and share the wealth. We didn’t even start from scratch here, but used our favorite dried soup mix from Frontier Soups (each package makes so much soup, there’s enough to share).
  When you’re cooking your homemade soups, stews and sauces, make a double batch and give the other half as a gift. Delicious home-cooked food makes a welcome gift for birthdays, get well pick-me-ups, tired new parents, housewarmings, and is a nice touch to bring to a party for the host to enjoy the next day. If you want to make the gift even more elaborate, buy a special serving dish, ladle or set of soup bowls; or deliver the food in a handsome thermal container. See some of our favorite soups and soup recipes in the Soups & Stocks Section of THE NIBBLE online magazine.
 

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TODAY IN FOOD: It’s Blueberry Pancake Day

While we never turn down a plate of pancakes, this is another one of those holidays where we must question the wisdom: Why have Blueberry Pancake Day when blueberries are out of season? Who wants to make pancakes with highly expensive, not very sweet, fresh blueberries, or with tart frozen ones? The best solution, we think, is to sprinkle tasty dried blueberries onto your pancakes. We also recommend the following diversions:   Blueberries
Why schedule Blueberry Pancake Day when blueberries are out of season?
– THE NIBBLE’s Pancake Glossary, with dozens of different types of pancakes you’ve probably never heard of.

– An understanding of the grades of maple syrup.
– A review of Cherrybrook Kitchen’s allergen-free pancake mix.
Robert Lambert’s Gourmet Syrups for pancakes (and many other uses)—no maple here, but you might enjoy Bergamot or Kaffir Lime.

– The amazing Blender Bottle, perfect for mixing pancake batter without a whisk, egg beater or electric mixer (campers take note).

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TIP OF THE DAY: Be Color Blind To Olive Oil

Olive Oil
Don’t judge an oil by its color. Different varieties of olive produce different colors of oil.
  Don’t judge an olive oil by its color. Many of us have been led to believe that the darker and greener an olive oil is, the better the quality. It’s not true: The dark green color is just a characteristic of some cultivars (varieties) of olives. Other top olive cultivars yield lighter-colored, and equally delicious, oils. Plus, knowing how people are attracted to the dark green oils, some producers add color to lesser oils (shocking, but true). Color is so unimportant that in judging competitions, oils are drunk from blue glasses to mask the color! Now that you know the “color trick” doesn’t work, how can you find the best oils? Try to research brands before buying, and buy at specialty stores where you can taste the oils. There’s plenty of information about olive oil, and reviews of 100 brands, in the Oil & Vinegar Section of THE NIBBLE online magazine. You can have hours of fun with:
– Our Olive Oil Glossary
– Understanding the Flavors & Aromas Of Olive Oil
 

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NEWS: Lindt Chocolate Owner/Chair Dies

Last week, one of the titans of chocolate entered into eternity. Rudolph R. Sprüngli, owner and chair of the largest prestige chocolate company in the world, Chocoladefabriken Lindt & Sprüngli A.G., passed away in Geneva at the age of 88. If you have noticed the pervasiveness of Lindt chocolate throughout your town, it is thanks to the leadership of Mr. Sprüngli. He took the company from being another Swiss chocolate manufacturer to the world’s largest producer of prestige chocolate, with a work force of 4,000. (The most expensive category of chocolate. In the confection industry, chocolate is categorized by its price per pound at retail. The categories include Mass Market, less than $15 per pound; Mass Market Premium, from $15 to $25 per pound; Gourmet, from $25 to $40 per pound; and Prestige, at $40 per pound and higher.) Mr. Sprüngli kept the family firm, established in 1845, from being acquired by a mass-production multinational corporation. He listed Lindt & Sprüngli on the Swiss stock exchange in 1986.   Lindt Excellence
The 85% cacao bar from the Lindt Excellence line is one of the finest 85% bars in the world. Read our full review of Lindt Excellence chocolate bars.
Rodolphe Lindt revolutionized the chocolate industry in 1879 when he invented conching, the process that smooths chocolate into the velvety, aromatic product we know today. While Lindt was arguably the most famous chocolatier of his day, his business in Berne, Switzerland remained a small though high-quality one. In 1899 it was acquired by the larger Sprüngli chocolate company of Zurich, and Lindt & Sprüngli has been a major player in the quality chocolate business ever since. However, it took Rudolph R. Sprüngli, who was born in 1920 and spent his entire career with the firm, to build the brand overseas. Today, the U.S. eats so much Lindt chocolate, there’s now a production facility in Vermont! Rest in peace, in chocolate heaven, Mr. Sprüngli.

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