Top Pick Of The Week

February 19, 2013


Effie’s Lavender & Sea Salt semolina crackers add panache. Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

WHAT IT IS: Handmade crackers.
WHY IT’S DIFFERENT: Semolina rusticity combined with sophisticated seasonings.
WHY WE LOVE IT: With all due respect to the saltine and water biscuit, we love gourmet crackers!
WHERE TO BUY IT: Available at gourmet retailers and

Semolina crackers in three flavors: Sunflower __, Roasted Garlic and Coriander and Sea Salt & Lavender. Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.


Effie’s Semolina Crackers: Gourmet Crackers For Special Occasions & Every Day

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In the last 10 years, the world of artisan crackers has exploded.

Previously, if you walked into a supermarket for crackers and cheese, Carr’s “table water crackers” were the “gourmet” entry and sat next to the saltines, Ritz crackers, Triscuits and Wheat Thins.

Today, there’s a symphony of crispbreads, crostini, and other crunchy options that have become Top Picks Of The Week: Crunchmaster (gluten-free), Effie’s Oat Cakes, Mary’s Gone Crackers (gluten-free) and other favorite crackers.

Now, Effie’s has launched three rustic, semolina-based crackers, inspired by flavors of the Mediterranean:

  • Roasted Garlic & Coriander
  • Sea Salt & Lavender (our personal favorite)
  • Sunflower & Sesame

These delicious crackers were initially made years ago in Effie’s earlier incarnation as a catering shop. The semolina flour provides a more coarse, toothsome texture; than enriched wheat flour, while the flavors are sophisticated and nuanced.

Now  available in six-ounce bags for $6.00, Effie’s semolina crackers are delicious as an everyday snack cracker or a “guest” cracker for company.

What should you do with gourmet crackers like these?

  • Snack on them
  • Enjoy with cheese and dips
  • Use as a base for canapés
  • Serve with soups and salads
  • Use as a “crown” garnish
  • Give bags/boxes as gifts to foodie friends,
    with or without some cheese


What Exactly Is Semolina?


Durum is a species of wheat that is high in protein and gluten. It is very firm and strong. and is the preferred variety for making pasta: the firmness allows for the cooked pasta to achieve “al dente” texture and baked goods with a “rustic” texture.

Semolina also gives the chewiness to pizza crusts. The sand-like grains found on the bottom of pizza crusts and English muffins are semolina, used to prevent sticking.

Semolina does have a subtle flavor to impart to crackers and cookies, but doesn’t have enough protein (which contains gluten) to make a bread or a cake: It must be blended with other flours.

Semolina is cooked into porridge and is an ingredient in Mediterranean desserts and puddings.

DURUM WHEAT TRIVIA: In the conversion of harvested stalks of wheat into flour, the wheat is run it through rollers to separate the kernels from the chaff (the inedible husks). The kernels get ground (milled) into flour and the chaff becomes horse feed!

The expression, “separate the wheat from the chaff,” from Matthew 3, means to separate what is useful or valuable from what is worthless. But these days, chaff isn’t as worthless as it was in Biblical times!


— Karen Hochman


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