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

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PRODUCT WATCH: Pellegrino Organic Olive Oil From Italy

What do you do when you’re a New York opera singer and your grandparents in Calabria, Italy make beautiful, organic-certified olive oil from the ancestral olive groves? You start The New York Olive Oil Co-Op and distribute the freshly-pressed olive oil to local enthusiasts who sign up for regular deliveries. Of course, it can be purchased by the single bottle or tin as well. Made from the Leccino olive, which is used to make the popular Tuscan olive oils, in this oil from the boot of Italy, grown the strip of coastline, the oil has the perfect gentle touch of pepper—not the cough-inducing quality of many Tuscan oils. We love the green olive aroma, moderate, fruity taste and rich, buttery texture. If you’re still looking for gifts for your gourmet friends, this could be it! It’s a delicious oil for heart-healthy people to drink from the spoon: 22 grams (.78 ounce) of EVOO per day may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. Read our full review, and learn all about olive oil in the Oil & Vinegar Section of THE NIBBLE online magazine.   Extra Virgin Olive OilSo good, you can drink it from the spoon.

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PRODUCT WATCH: Kettle Chips 100-Calorie Packs

Kettle Chips Lightly Salted
Keep your potato chip snacking under control with Kettle Chips’ 100-calorie packs.
  Starting January 1, Kettle Bakes Lightly Salted Potato Chips will be available in 100-calorie packs, at delis and supermarkets nationwide. The bags contain 18 chips with 65% less fat than regular potato chips. As part of a movement by manufacturers to provide portion-controlled, calorie-limited snacks, the chips are a solution for kids and adults alike. They’re also a top-quality product, made with real potato slices and without artificial ingredients, cholesterol, MSG or trans fats. (In fact, Kettle is the number one brand of natural potato chips). The suggested retail price is $1.09-$1.39 per bag. Kettle’s flavored chips are a favorite at THE NIBBLE (read our article, The Top 5 Flavored Gourmet Potato Chips, in THE NIBBLE online magazine). Every year, the company sponsors a People’s Choice contest to enable customers to vote for the next new flavor. HOLIDAY GIFT ALERT: You can still send someone a holiday gift of a Party Pack of all five “contestant” flavors for just $14.95. Go to These are NOT the 100 calorie packs—but it’s not yet January 1st, so party on!

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TIP OF THE DAY: Bloody Mary Bar

When planning a holiday cocktail party, consider a Bloody Mary bar with everything from Virgin Marys to variations like the Bloody Bull (beef bouillon), Blood Mariner (clam juice), Danish Mary (aquavit instead of vodka, plus dill), Highland Mary (with Scotch) and Russian Mary (with yogurt). Or, try a Bloody Maria (tequila instead of vodka) or a Chipotle Maria. In addition to being highly popular, the red color is seasonal, along with the green garnishes of celery stalks and rosemary sprigs. See the sea of Bloody Mary recipes, plus the history of the Bloody Mary (contrary to legend, it wasn’t invented at Harry’s Bar in Paris). You can find more seasonal recipes in the Cocktails Section of THE NIBBLE online magazine.   Bloody Mary
This Bloody Mary is all dressed up for the holidays with Morton’s Seasoned Salt, a shrimp, a cucumber slice, grape tomato and the familiar celery stalk.

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NEWS: Artisan Chocolatier Pierre Marcolini Goes Corporate With Nestlé

Pierre Marcolini
From left: Peter Brabeck-Lethmathe, Chairman
and CEO, Nestlé S.A., Lars Olofsson, CMO, Nestlé S.A. and Pierre Marcolini, pointing to Marcolini’s Holiday Star And Truffles, coincidentally one of our recommended chocolate holiday gifts. A nice-looking group, but can’t Nestlé photographers do better than these “natural” point-at-the-goods shots?
  One of our favorite artisan chocolatiers on earth, the great Pierre Marcolini of Belgium, has inked a deal with the largest producer of mass-marketed chocolate, Swiss giant Nestlé. In the old days, this was called “selling out.” Today, artisans deserve to be able to cash in for their years of hard work and contribution to the craft—not to mention, the great pleasure they have given to the thousands of people who have been privileged to enjoy their chocolate. But, you may want to enjoy it sooner rather than later, for who knows what changes are in the wind. According to the press release put out today by Nestlé, the partnership will allow Nestlé to benefit from “…the know-how and artistic talent of one of the world’s leading luxury chocolate makers, while Pierre Marcolini will gain access to Nestlé’s global experience.”
Pierre Marcolini will provide inspiration for future Nestlé chocolate ranges, while Nestlé will help Pierre Marcolini expand his network of boutiques across the world.” Does this mean the end of Marcolini’s impeccable standards? Time will tell. Marcolini already has a “worldwide” operation with 15 stores in Belgium, Paris, New York, Kuwait and Japan. There are just so many great beans available, and just so much chocolate that can be made by hand, to scale up a true “luxury” venture, Nestlé-style. The release continues, “Pierre Marcolini will continue to lead his company as an independent and autonomous operation, and Nestlé will join its board.” As of today, the Nestlé logo is on Marcolini’s home page, even more prominent than Marcolini’s own. Perhaps it’s just Marcolini’s excitement and anticipation. You can read the full press release here. Read our overview of Pierre Marcolini and our reviews of his chocolates, chocolate bars and confitures. We wish Mr. Marcolini the best in his new venture.

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TIP OF THE DAY: Gadget Gifts

If you have a favorite kitchen gadget, give it as a gift. It may seem small, but if it does a big job, the recipient will be grateful to have it (our friends were thrilled to get those inexpensive garlic-peeler tubes). To make it a more important gift, package it with the food it’s meant to help—e.g., the garlic peeler with imported French garlic or a silicone barbecue brush with gourmet barbecue sauce. Click here to see some of our favorite gadgets…and some of our favorite barbecue sauces…in THE NIBBLE online magazine. For more gift ideas, see our Gift-Finder section. By the way, the Blender Bottle, shown in the photo at the right, has proven to be a godsend in making scrambled eggs, pancakes, diet shakes from powdered packages and anything else that needs to be fluffed or dissolved. It’s the best $8.99 we’ve ever spent!   Blender BottleWe couldn’t live without our Blender Bottle. Read the review.

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