THE NIBBLE BLOG: Products, Recipes & Trends In Specialty Foods
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REVIEW: Best Chocolate Holiday Gifts

When you taste as many different chocolate and candy products a year as we do (500? 1000?), certain products stand out. Some of them get written up as full reviews in our Chocolate Section, some of them end up on our Best Chocolate Gifts list and some are in both places! This year’s gift list isn’t your typical selection of quality chocolates. We have artisan bonbons from organic and Fair Trade ingredients, chocolate-covered cacao beans (not nibs—the whole bean), the best peppermint bark we’ve ever had, jumbo slabs made of different types of chocolate and garnishes, our favorite chocolate-covered figs, chocolate sushi and more. Each item is truly special, and deserves to be part of a grand chocolate buffet. We’ll be showing other chocolate items in our Best Kids’ Gifts and Kosher Gifts lists (including great PB cups and PB turtles). But for now, take a look at the Best Chocolate Gifts. You can see the chocolate gifts from previous years in our main Gift Recommendations page of THE NIBBLE online magazine.   Poco Dolce Sea Salt Tablets
Poco Dolce Mint Toffee Sea Salt Tiles rock the chocolate casbah.
 

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NEWS: The Worst Food In America

Burger

A turkey burger buys you nothing over a regular burger at Ruby Tuesday’s (shown). In fact, the turkey burger has 1,145 calories.
  Men’s Health Magazine has come up with a list of the 20 worst foods on American menus, based on calorie and fat count. Most of these individual items have as many calories as the average woman should eat in a day. It’s a shocker—900 calories for a smoothies, 2,000 for a chicken entrée, 2,900 calories for cheese fries! As reported by WTLX.com, the website of a Texas television station, they are, in no specific order:
– Worst fast food chicken: Chicken Selects Premium Breast Strips from McDonald’s (5 pieces) with creamy ranch sauce (830 calories)
– Worst drink: Jamba Juice Chocolate Moo’d Power Smoothie (30 fl oz, 900 calories)
– Worst supermarket meal: Pepperidge Farm Roasted Chicken Pot Pie (whole pie, 1,020 calories)
– Worst “healthy” burger: Ruby Tuesday Bella Turkey Burger (1,145 calories)
– Worst Mexican entrée: Chipotle Mexican Grill Chicken Burrito (1,179 calories) (gosh, a chicken burrito sounds like the healthy alternative)
– Worst kids meal: Macaroni Grill Double Macaroni ‘n’ Cheese (1,210 calories)
– Worst sandwich: Quiznos Classic Italian (large, 1,528 calories)
Worst salad: On the Border Grande Taco Salad with Taco Beef (1,450 calories)
Worst burger: Carl’s Jr. Double Six Dollar Burger (1,520 calories)
Worst steak: Lonestar 20 oz T-bone (1,540 calories, with baked potato and lettuce wedge, 2,700 calories)
Worst breakfast: Bob Evans Caramel Banana Pecan Cream Stacked and Stuffed Hotcakes (gosh, you don’t need to be an R.D. to figure out this one, at 1,540 calories)
Worst dessert: Chili’s Chocolate Chip Paradise Pie with Vanilla Ice Cream (1,600 calories)
Worst Chinese entrée: P.F. Chang’s Pork Lo Mein (1,820 calories)
Worst chicken entrée: Chili’s Honey Chipotle Crispers with Chipotle Sauce (2,040 calories)
Worst fish entrée: On the Border Dos XX Fish Tacos with Rice and Beans (2,100 calories)
Worst pizza: Uno Chicago Grill Chicago Classic Deep Dish Pizza (2,310 calories)
Worst pasta: Macaroni Grill Spaghetti and Meatballs with Meat Sauce (2,430 calories)
Worst nachos: On the Border Stacked Border Nachos (2,740 calories)
Worst starter: Chili’s Awesome Blossom (2,710 calories)
Worst food in America: Outback Steakhouse Aussie Cheese Fries with Ranch Dressing (2,900)
Read the whole, sad story here. For truly healthy foods, visit the Diet Nibbles and NutriNibbles Sections of THE NIBBLE online magazine.

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PRODUCT REVIEW: Best Luxury Holiday Gifts

Fresh Lobster
Your own lobsterman, your own lobster traps, your own lobsters flown down fresh from Maine. Your own pockets: deep! From CatchAPieceOfMaine.com.
  If you have deep pockets, you might want to take a look at some of these luxury holiday gifts. Not all are as pricey has having your own lobsterman catch fresh lobsters for you, but it’s nice to think big. Each year, THE NIBBLE online magazine presents the best gourmet food and specialty food gifts. This year we have 11 different gift lists: Book Gifts, Chocolate Gifts, Diet Gifts, General Food Gifts, Kitchen Gifts, Kids’ Gifts, Kosher Gifts, Liquor Gifts, Luxury Food Gifts, Organic & Green Gifts, Stocking Stuffers. Each day, we’ll present a different list here. They can all be found in the December issue of THE NIBBLE online magazine. So what else do we recommend for the luxury-minded? The Glenlivet Cellar Collection 1969, iGourmet’s Cheese Of The Month Club, The Little Pearl Caviar Club, the Nespresso Latissima Espresso & Cappuccino Machine, Pierre Marcolini White Truffle Chocolates, a tea-lover’s trip to San Francisco and Vosges Chocolat Sensory Collection, an opportunity to both study and enjoy serious chocolate. If you have really deep pockets, get one of everything!
 

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PRODUCT REVIEW: Seasonal Beers Rule

Got beer? According to THE NIBBLE’s beer expert, Ryan Smith, the three beers you should be cozying up to right now are Goose Island Nut Brown Ale from Chicago, Ayinger Ur-Weisse from Bavaria and Sierra Nevada Harvest Fresh Hop Ale from California. Read the full article, including why you should change your beer with the seasons, just as you eat seasonally, in this informative and thirst-inspiring article in the Beer Section of THE NIBBLE online magazine. Even if you don’t live in an area where the seasons change much, you should still change your beers, because brewers take advantage of seasonal ingredients just like chefs.   Sierra Nevada Harvest Fresh Hop Ale, Ayinger Ur-Weisse
Our beer expert thinks you should beg, cajole, even take a trip to the California brewery for some of this amazing ale.
 

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ON OUR RADAR: Interesting Nibbles

Chocolatier
Build your chocolate empire (well, it’s only a game).
  Serious Eats reports on Chocolatier: The Game! The company that makes the game, PlayFirst, also makes DinnerDash.com (check out other players’ personalized dinners and waiters) and Ice-Cream Tycoon (own and operate your own ice cream business and become the hottest mogul in ice cream). If you have friends friends who have always wanted to be in the food biz, this might be the holiday gift to start them off.
 

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