THE NIBBLE BLOG: Products, Recipes & Trends In Specialty Foods
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REVIEW: Miller’s Select Premium Crab Meat

If you’ve ever spent big money on a can of crab meat, only to be disappointed by the mediocre flavor and the pieces of shell—we feel your pain. We’ve thrown out more than a few such cans. That’s why we were so excited to discover Miller’s Select, premium wild catch crab meat, available in Jumbo Lump, Lump, White and Backfin meat, all from the blue swimmer crab. It’s one of our favorite low-calorie gourmet treats. This company takes such pains to pick and process the best crab meat—there are no disappointments here, no tinny, mushy crab. It’s pasteurized and shelf stable, but tastes as fresh as, well, fresh crab. In addition, we’ve developed a separate article comparing crab meat grades, along with a “crab glossary,” to explain the different types of crabs. Blue Crabs
Blue crabs. Photo by Michael Thompson | IST.
Dungeness, stone crab, blue crab, snow crab: Do you know how they differ and which to buy (or order)? Finally, the world of crab—and crab meat—will be demystified! Read our full review of Miller’s Select, check out the Crab Glossary, and enjoy every bite with superior knowledge, going forward. We’ve even included some delicious crab recipes.

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PRODUCT WATCH: Vote For The New Kettle Chip Flavor

Kettle Chips

Hot chips! Get yours and have a party.

  It’s time to order your Kettle Chip Party Packs, pick a date and have a potato chip tasting party to vote for the next flavor of Kettle Chips. One of our favorite fall rituals is tasting the five candidates for the new Kettle Chip flavor. We cast our votes along with many thousands of other chip lovers, and the winner, which will be announced in January, will be available next summer. Each year there’s a flavor theme, and this time it’s Fire and Spice. All five candidates are hot, but complex—not just mouth burn in need of a beer (although these chips were made to go with beer!). In fact, there’s a lot of heat and sweet, like Mango Chili, sweet mango and cinnamon with a salty, spicy blend of cayenne and habañero chiles.
Also up for your vote are Death Valley Chipotle, a smoky, slow-burning blend of cayenne, chipotle, habañero, red chile and herbs; Jalapeño Salsa Fresca, a blend of jalapeño and cayenne mellowed with sundried tomato, green bell pepper and lime flavors; Orange Ginger Wasabi, Asian heat from a blend of ginger, wasabi and a twist of citrus; and Wicked Hot Sauce, a cayenne burn and a vinegary tang. For just $14.95 plus shipping, you get a 5-ounce bag of each of the five flavors, a fun tasting guide, food and drink ideas to cool your palate between fiery flavors, voting ballots, stickers and more (BYOB). Voting is now open. You don’t have to purchase the Party Pack to vote, but where’s the fun in that? Last year we loved all five flavors and voted for them all. This year, we have one clear favorite. We won’t bias other opinions, though, so we’ll tell you what it is when the winners are announced. The Fire and Spice Party Pack is a fun gift idea for the hard-to-buy-for people on your holiday list—we’ve been giving them out for three years. Visit KettleFoods.com for more information and to order your Party Pack; and read more about gourmet potato chips in the Gourmet Snacks Section of THE NIBBLE online magazine.

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WINE: Beauties From Calabria and Puglia

Last night we went to a tasting of Southern Italian wines from Winebow, an importer and distributer of premium wines from Italy, Spain and South America. You can pretty much never go wrong with a Winebow import. Company founder Leonardo LoCascio, who presented the wines, has the passion and palate to represent only well-made wines from family-owned properties. All of the wines were good, some memorable, and most were priced for everyday enjoyment at $10 to $15. We fell for two wines from grapes we never heard of (but like most people, we know little about the wines from this region). Gravello IGT* Val di Neto 2005 is a “Super Calabrian” wine, a new blend of 60% Gaglioppo, a grape indigenous to Calabria, and 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, an expensive import from France that adds depth, character and cost (and the title “Super,” which began in the 1980s with the Super Tuscan blends). The wine is aged for three years, of which 18 to 24 months is spent in Allier barriques, the fine oak barrels used to age Bordeaux. Drinking beautifully now, this wine has serious plummy fruit and a finish that lasted for about 10 minutes. It’s worth every cent of the $32.00 retail. For almost a third the price and equally as impressive, the rustic-style Salice Salentino Rosso Riserva DOC 2003 from Puglia (the heel of Italy’s “boot”) was spicy, earthy and sensual. It’s a blend of Negroamaro and a small amount of Malvasia Nera. Five days of maceration with the skins has extracted beautiful color plus black cherry and dried fruits—prune, raisin—plus lead pencil nuances found in some great Bordeaux. In fact, the wine is aged for two years, and 20% of it is refined in French barriques of Allier, Nevers and Tronçais oak. It’s a beautiful food wine for roasted and grilled dishes, as well as pizza, for those of us who think that “pizza wine” should be as good as “filet mignon wine.” Both wines are available nationwide. At these prices, we’re buying a case of the Gravello and two of the Salice Salentino—which for $12 makes a great stocking stuffer.   Gravello Val di Neto
Gravello Val di Neto from Calabria: beautiful fruit, complexity and length.
*IGT, Indicazione Geografica Tipica, indicates a geopgraphic area but is not as strict as the DOC classification, which specifies permitted grape varieties, amonng other things. Many non-traditional wines such as the Super Tuscans fall into this category.

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REVIEW: Kool Freeze Kulfi Bars (Indian “Ice Cream”)

Kulfi Ice Cream
Kulfi is rich, creamy, and has less fat than ice cream.
  Kulfi, an Indian frozen dessert similar to ice cream but made without air (overrun), is now available in cool and refreshing ice cream bars. Made in California by Kool Freeze for American palates, they’re richer, creamier and less grainy than traditional kulfi. They’re also made with cow’s milk instead of water buffalo’s milk; so if you haven’t enjoyed kulfi you’ve had before, there’s a good chance you may like these bars. In exotic flavors like Chikoo, Faluda, Malai and Saffron, plus the more familiar Coconut, Mango, Pistachio and Strawberry, Kool Freeze Kulfi Bars are an experience in satisfying your sweet tooth, with a flair that transcends the typical frozen dairy bar. The bars seem very rich, despite the fact that kulfi doesn’t have high butterfat content like premium ice cream—the bars are 160 to 180 calories apiece. They’re also all-natural and certified kosher. Read the full review in THE NIBBLE online magazine. For more information on the different types of frozen desserts, read our Ice Cream Glossary.
 

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TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Amano Artisan Chocolate

It takes passion, skill and guts to open a bean-to-bar chocolate factory with the goal of nationwide distribution. In this country, aside from large industrial producers, only three artisan companies have done so. The first two were Scharffen Berger, spearheaded by an entrepreneur who had launched and sold a successful Napa Valley winery to the owners of Pommery Champagne; and Seattle’s Theo Chocolate, begun by an experienced importer of cacao beans. Now, high in the Rockies, in Utah’s Wasatch Mountain range, two young men with no prior food experience are the third. Amano Artisan Chocolate is dedicated to creating some of the world’s finest chocolate bars.Most people who have dreamed of quitting their day jobs to make great chocolate would find the challenge daunting, the odds against success stacked as high as the Rocky Mountains. But, undaunted, Amano succeeded in its debut year, winning three gold medals at the 2007 San Francisco Chocolate Salon and a finalist trophy for Outstanding New Product at the Fancy Food Show. Read our full review of Amano Artisan Chocolate.   Amano Artisan Chocolate
Gold medalists.
 

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