Top Pick Of The Week

March 24, 2009

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Chocolate Biscotti

Double Chocolate Biscotti, iced in white chocolate, have a rich chocolate flavor and give the satisfaction of eating a piece of chocolate cake. All photography by Corey Lugg | THE NIBBLE.

WHAT IT IS: Gourmet biscotti that are distinctively different from the hard, jaw-cracking “have to dip” variety.
WHY IT’S DIFFERENT: Great texture—crunchy yet soft and easy on the teeth. As the cookie softens in your mouth, it becomes cakelike.
WHY WE LOVE IT: Everything about these biscotti and stones are a deluxe experience. They aren’t the classic almond or anise biscotti, but a wonderful dried fruit and rich chocolate interpretation of the genre.

Way North Of Italy: Fabulous Biscotti

CAPSULE REPORT: Way in the north of Michigan is a gourmet foods company established to create all-natural products from choice local ingredients—the best of the farms, fields and orchards of the surrounding region. The company’s first product line is handcrafted biscotti, and if we were in Italy, we’d say bravo! What sets these biscotti apart is, even though they are twice baked like all biscotti, the standard size have a softness that is non-threatening to anyone with dental work, and provide  a pleasing crunch while melting into cake-like satisfaction in the mouth. For those who want the traditional, rock-hard biscotti experience, the ends of the loaf,* cleverly called “stones,” are sold separately. Regular or stone, everything that emerges from the Way North Foods ovens is absolutely luscious and distinctively better than most biscotti we’ve tasted.

*Biscotti dough is rolled into an oblong loaf and baked once. Then the individual cookies are cut from the warm loaf and baked again, giving them their name—bis coctum is Latin for “twice cooked.”

The line departs from classic Italian biscotti (almond and anisette flavors), with a focus on Michigan fruits, plus chocolate. There are seasonal specials, and varieties are added faster than the website can be updated. For example, instead of the Dried Cherry White Chocolate Biscotti on the website, Cherry Cordial Biscotti were available, chocolate biscotti with dried cherries and a bit of dark chocolate icing drizzled with white chocolate.

Did we complain? Heck no—we can’t imagine turning down any flavor baked by the gifted Chef Perry Harmon. Lemon Dried Blueberry, Maple Walnut (made with local maple syrup), Orange Dried Cranberry and Dried Cherry equally pleased our critical palate. We can’t wait for new seasonal flavors and limited editions. We wish you had some marvelous biscotti to munch on as you read the full review below. But buy some today and you’ll have them in time to chew over next week’s Top Pick.

THE NIBBLE does not sell the foods we review
or receive fees from manufacturers for recommending them.

Our recommendations are based purely on our opinion, after tasting thousands of products each year, that they represent the best in their respective categories.

Gluten-Free, Organic & Sugar-Free Biscotti

Mariposa Biscotti Truly Wize Biscotti Aunt Gussie's Biscotti
Need Gluten-Free Biscotti? Turn to Mariposa Bakery, a gluten-free bakery in the San Francisco area and another NIBBLE Top Pick Of The Week. Everything is delicious, including their biscotti. Read our review of Mariposa Bakery. Want Organic Biscotti? Truly Wize Organic Bakery, another NIBBLE Top Pick Of The Week, makes wonderful organic treats, including sweet and savory biscotti. Shown above, Cranberry Biscotti. Read our review of Truly Wize Organic Bakery. Need Sugar-Free Biscotti? Try Aunt Gussie’s, the best sugar-free variety we’ve had to date (shown above with pecan and chocolate chip cookies). Read our review of Aunt Gussie’s sugar-free cookies and biscotti.


Way North Of Italy: Fabulous Biscotti


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Introduction To Way North Foods

Traverse City is the largest city in the northern Michigan region. With a population of 14,532 at the 2000 census, you can tell that this is farm country, with lots of land devoted to growing good food. The countryside has been described as resembling Italy’s famed Tuscany region, produces grapes, and is one of the centers of wine production in the Midwest. It is also known for its cherries. In fact, Traverse City calls itself “The Cherry Capital of the World,” and holds an annual week-long Cherry Festival the first full week of July to celebrate the bounty grown in the area.

The city is also located on Grand Traverse Bay and is surrounded by beautiful forests, which attract many tourists in the summer, and receives a prodigious snowfall that attracts skiers in the winter. It’s the second most popular tourist destination in the state.

Chef Perry Harmon’s grandparents moved to the area in the 1940s because they fell in love with the land, the fresh air, the rivers and the lakes. After vacationing in northern Michigan his whole life, he moved his family to Traverse City in 2004 to start a business, also drawn to the beauty and the “Up North” way of life.

Biscotti Stones

The ends of the biscotti loaf, hard and extra-crunchy, are called “Stones.”

As a chef, he also appreciated the many bounties of the land: the orchards, bogs, vineyards and fields of northern Michigan, and the ingredients, bursting with flavor, that could be incorporated into his new product line.


Continue To Page 2: The Varieties Of Biscotti

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