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

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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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REVIEW: School House Kitchen Condiments

School House Kitchen Condiments
The yummiest mustard we’ve had all year.
  Of the thousands of products we have reviewed, perhaps this is the first sold by a not-for-profit organization that was established specifically for the purpose of generating money for education. Hence the name, School House Kitchen. Fortunately, this school house had a good “cooking program,” because the vinaigrette, chutney and mustard are excellent. If you like bottled vinaigrettes, Balsamic Vinaigrette Basico is a sweet, rich dressing with peppery undertones that is perfect over mixed greens or vegetables or as a marinade. Bardshar Chutney sits in an interesting space between sweet and savory chutneys, and as such is versatile to accompany just about anything. It has dark, sophisticated flavors as well as a perky fruitiness. Sweet Smooth Hot Mustard (shown at left) has a touch of sugar and an original creaminess from the unique addition of butter.
Your sandwiches will love you, as will anything else this mustard touches (you can eat it from the jar, it’s so good). The ladies at School House Kitchen teach a good lesson: Create products that make the grade. Read the full review in THE NIBBLE online magainze.

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REVIEW: Chukar Cherries Gourmet Brownie Mix & Pie Filling

Chukar knows cherries. The company specializes in cherry products. We’ve previously reviewed their lovely preserves, toppings and barbecue sauces and scrumptious dried cherries. How would they do with baking mixes? Much better than other mixes we’ve tried! If you want to whip up a batch of Black Forest Brownies (chocolate chips and dried cherries) that taste homemade, just add butter and eggs. If you’re set on making a cherry pie, cobbler or tart, this is the cherry filling to use (you’ll never be able to look at a can of that supermarket pie filling again). We also used the cobbler filling in crepes, omelets, with a pork roast and to top ice cream. The products are all natural and certified kosher. Read the full review in THE NIBBLE online magazine. And learn more about the charming cherry in our Cherry Facts article, which includes a Cherry Tiramisu recipe that would taste even better with Chukar Cherries cobbler filling.   Cherry Pie

Can she bake a cherry pie, Billy boy? In a cinch, with scrumptious Cherry Cobbler Filling from Chukar Cherries.

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