THE NIBBLE BLOG: Products, Recipes & Trends In Specialty Foods
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PRODUCT REVIEW: Bake ‘mmm Bagels

All natural, organic- and kosher-certified bagels with no sugar added are a real find. We protest the unnecessary sugar thrown into most bagel recipes. From your freezer to table in 12 minutes, these 200-calorie bagels are the right size and the right stuff.

If your idea of happiness is a breakfast or brunch of piping-hot bagels, your dream can come true every day. Excellent Bake ’mmm frozen boiled bagels, in standard and gourmet flavors, are shipped directly to your door. Keep them in the freezer or refrigerator, ready to pop into the oven, where they emerge hot and fragrant in just 8 to 12 minutes. Some flavors go beyond ordinary bagels: They’re gourmet breads.

 
A stack of Bake ’mmm bagels, hot from the oven.
Bake ’mmm Bagels are even patented. According to the manufacturer, their exclusive process creates a bagel with complex carbohydrates that have a lower Glycemic Index than standard bagels. While we haven’t studied the science (you can read it on their website), we have studied the nutrition panel, and kudos are due for making a good-size bagel (100g, 3-1/4-inches in diameter and one inch high) that has as few as 195 calories. We did a lab test calorie count on our local bagels a couple of years ago. With all that sugar and added bulk, the plain bagels were 600 calories—without the cream cheese.

Bake ’mmm Bagels are boiled, then frozen, so the last step in bagel-making—baking to a crisp, golden brown—takes place in your own oven or toaster. Being a bagel baker is not only tasty, it’s fun! Read the full review on TheNibble.com.

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PRODUCT REVIEW: Jennie & Vera’s Cookies


Something classic (jam sandwich cookie
with heart cutout), something
new
(peach-
shaped and flavored cookie
sandwich), all delicious.
  Thank goodness for America’s artisan bakers. They provide us with such wonderful things for our own pleasure and to give as gifts. The mother-daughter team of Vera and Jennie produce lovely cookies, including some eye-openers we’ve never seen before. As an impressive gift, a memorable end to a dinner party or a treat for yourself, these ladies show you welcome old classics and exciting new concepts.

Vera Mirkovic and Jennie Näss are a mother-daughter team who, after pursuing their own business careers, joined forces in 2005 to create elegant cookies for people who appreciate European traditions and hand detailing that go into them. Handcrafted in suburban Chicago, the butter cookies, made with imagination and the finest ingredients, can be delivered anywhere.

These are not just any handmade butter cookies. Drawing on Vera’s Croatian background, some use only confectioner’s sugar and some a blend of confectioner’s and table sugars, creating a less sweet and softer profile that still delivers buttery goodness.

Nicely gift-boxed, the cookies make a special gift for people who recognize and appreciate something distinctively different. And of course, don’t hesitate to buy a few boxes as a treat for yourself. Read the full review on TheNibble.com.

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PRODUCT REVIEW: Spava Fortified Coffee

It’s no news to most of us that coffee—that growth-stunting, tooth-staining, for-grown-ups-only beverage—has undergone a substantial image makeover of late. In recent years, studies have begun to emerge indicating a positive correlation between coffee consumption and good health. Some studies show that coffee is, on the whole, far more salutary than it is harmful; one USDA study shows that coffee has more antioxidants than blueberries! All of this comes as quite a relief to those who consume it by the gallon each day.Since 2006, Spava Coffee has been allowing coffee guzzlers to increase multifold the health and wellness benefits of their daily dose of Joe. Beyond being Certified Organic and Fair Trade (read: good for the buyers, the producers and the planet), the line is nutrient-fortified. Using a patent-pending technology, Spava infuses Fair Trade, 100% Arabica coffee beans with vitamins and herbal nutraceuticals that target specific health concerns. These enhancers are completely flavorless, allowing the drinker to enjoy the coffee’s nutty, woody aroma and characteristic bitterness without interference.  
Spava fortified coffees offer infusions of
chondroitin sulfate for speedy healing, ginkgo biloba for memory-strengthening,
or rosehips, vitamin C and echinacea for immunity.


The question is: How much coffee do you have to drink to get the benefits? The answer: a lot. That’s why we said it’s “good for guzzlers.” Here are some examples:

-A cup of Spava Clarity provides 20mg of ginkgo biloba and 25mg of white tea extract. One of the country’s most prominent neurologists, who specializes in memory, prescribes 120 mg of ginkgo twice a day for normal maintenance of clarity.

-Spava Flexibility contains 30mg of chondroitin sulfate, and 20mg of MSM. Anyone who is concerned with prophylaxis—much less healing and pain—is taking a minimum of 500mg of chondroitin sulfate daily, and similar amounts of glucosamine sulfate. So, this is a drop in the bucket.

-Spava Immunity has 25mg of rosehips per cup, which contain vitamin C, plus 35mg of echinacea; but anyone who takes vitamin C pills for immunity aims for 500mg a day.

However, little bits can add up, and for people who don’t like to swallow pills, 20mg or 30mg is better than nothing at all. While the coffee won’t pass muster with the coffee connoisseur klatsch, it tastes as good as what most people enjoy. And the attractive package is a nice idea. So, if all this makes it worth it to you to pay double the amount for a bag…tear one open and start brewing!

Read the full review of Spava Fortified Coffee and find more about organic, natural & wellness foods in the Nutrinibbles section of THE NIBBLE online magazine.

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TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Mercer’s Wine Ice Cream


Our two favorite flavors of Mercer’s Wine
Ice Cream, Ala Port and Red Raspberry
Chardonnay, can be served at the most
elegant dinner party. Photography by
Saidi Granados
.
  Like ice cream? Like wine? Here’s something to make you glad you’re over 21: Mercer’s Wine Ice Cream. Made with 5% alcohol, you must be of age to enjoy—no, to wallow in—such ice cream happiness. July is National Ice Cream Month, and we’re in love with this wine ice cream.

We first discovered Mercer’s two years ago. This upstate New York dairy had a standout Port ice cream and three other flavors of wine ice cream that were a distant second. A lot of work has gone into making all four flavors medalists at THE NIBBLE Ice Cream Olympics, and two new flavors are about to join them.

All of the flavors are an ice cream and wine lover’s dream. In Ala Port, Cherry Merlot, Chocolate Cabernet, Peach White Zinfandel, Red Raspberry Chardonnay and Royal White Riesling, these seductive frozen dreams rock. As they soften in your dish, they evolve into an ice cream cocktail. No one we know is satisfied with just one serving, so here’s our advice: Don’t show restraint; order two of everything and call over your nearest and dearest to celebrate. Scoop up the details in the full review. And for a great line of wine sorbets, read our review of Wine Cellar Sorbets, another Top Pick Of The Week.

 

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Best Barbecue Sauces 2008

So much barbecue sauce, so little time. Our box of bottles to try for Barbecue Season 2008 was so heavy, we could hardly lift it. As in previous years, we tested our products on chicken. (See Part I and Part II for other favorites, including kosher and sugar-free barbecue sauce.)This year’s sauces that more than pass muster* are a widely-varying group of flavor profiles. Read each mini-review for details.

*The phrase “to pass muster,” meaning to be acceptable or satisfactory, comes from the military. Troops are gathered in a group to show officers that they are acceptably dressed and equipped. Muster refers to the gathering, so it is especially appropriate for our gathering of barbecue sauces.

Recognizing that preferences vary, we included some sauces this year that might not have passed our “moderate sugar standard” in previous years. You’ll see from our comments what we thought was good, and why people who look for sweeter foods should enjoy them.

Big John’s Ol West BBQ & Dippin Sauce

Blender’s Barbeque Sauce, Marinade & Dip

Buz & Ned’s Real Barbecue Sauce

One Drop Gourmet BBQ Sauce

Smoke Master BBQ Sauce

Taste Of Tassleberry Strawberry BBQ Sauce

Read the full review on TheNibble.com.

 

 
Depending on your pick from our new
crop of barbecue sauces, those ribs
(or chicken, or pork) can taste smoky,
sweet, hot or like strawberries. Photo
by Ed O’Neil | IST.
 

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