Sugarlands Distilling Company has announced Hazelnut Rum as the newest addition to its award-winning line of spirits. The east Tennessee distillery partnered with distilling legends Mark Ramsey and Digger Manes from the hit series “Moonshiners” to develop the spirit.
Hazelnut Rum meets the nose with sweet aromas of toasted hazelnut and brown sugar. It is a smooth, full bodied spirit that blends the tastes of vanilla, cinnamon and honey. At 80 proof, this brown spirit finishes with a sweet, oaky kick.
“Our Hazelnut rum really became a labor of love, mainly because our wives became the first big fans of it,” said Manes. “Because of them, we were determined to make it better than any other homemade liquor that anyone had ever tasted.”
Mark and Digger created hazelnut rum while filming for the Discovery Channel program. The duo combined real hazelnuts and rum in their backwoods still to create a one-of-a-kind flavored spirit.
“In the words of our mentor Popcorn Sutton, ‘this is some of the finest liquors that’s ever been,'” said Ramsey. “Now it is our pleasure to share it with the rest of the world. We’re really humbled that folks are eager to try it.”
In honor of National Brownie Day on Thursday, December 8, 2016, the Boston Mayor’s office has named Dancing Deer Baking Co.’s Chocolate Chunk Brownie the Official Brownie of Boston. All scratch-baked in Dancing Deer’s Boston bakery, the Chocolate Chunk Brownies have been delighting Bostonians’ taste buds since 1994.
As part of the proclamation, Dancing Deer was recognized for the company’s outstanding work in the community as seen through its support of One Family Inc., an organization dedicated to ending homelessness in families in Massachusetts.
Since 1994, Dancing Deer Baking Company has been known for its delicious, scratch-baked brownies, cookies, cakes, baking mixes and gourmet gift arrangements. Dancing Deer is renowned for its superb quality, innovative products, socially responsible business practices and world class customer service. Its brownies have twice been recognized as “Best Brownies in America,” and Dancing Deer has won many other national awards and accolades for its distinctive products.
In 2009, the company was one of the first 25 Massachusetts companies to become certified as a sustainable business leader. Dancing Deer places an emphasis on giving back to the community, most notably by helping homeless and at-risk families through its Sweet Home Project initiative. Dancing Deer baked goods can be found in specialty, natural food and grocery stores nationwide.
Rabbit Creek Products’ Bacon and Kale olive oil bread mix makes a bread with a deep golden crackling crust encapsulating dense crumb studded with kale and bacon all propped up on the grassy undertones of the olive oil. This bread is the perfect accompaniment to our fast-approaching cool weather.
For more than 30 years, Rabbit Creek Products has been producing top-quality mixes to order, still in the original family and still in the same town, which is about 275 miles from the geographical center of the Lower 48.
All of the mixes are still available private labeled for free, with a minimum order of only one case.
Rabbit Creek Products
By Lorrie Baumann
The founders of Among Friends are unabashedly advocates for whole grains, as is today’s CEO Darcy Zbinovec, who joined the company in 2014. Among Friends, founded by Suzie Miller and Lizann Anderson, makes a whole line of gluten-free baking mixes based on whole grains. The company started several years ago as a local enterprise, but began expanding nationally in 2013 after the products had built a fan base.
The baking mixes are based on whole grains, but also include low added sugar and no added fillers or high-glycemic starches for a clean-label appeal that draws consumers who are seeking to eat foods made only with ingredients their grandmothers would have recognized. “We continue to see gluten free growing, and as it grows, we see consumers looking for better quality – not just that it’s gluten-free anymore, but that it’s got some positive aspects,” Zbinovec said. “Even people who aren’t looking for gluten free are looking for clean labels, and we’ve got really clean labels.”
High-glycemic starches like tapioca and potato starch as well as fillers like xanthan gum are often added to other gluten-free products to hold them together in place of gluten, which creates the structure in conventional baked goods, said Zbinovec. The result is an end product that doesn’t have the traditional texture associated with traditional home-baked goods. “The typical products that use these ingredients have a very fine crumb with a very smooth texture caused by the starches and the gum,” she said.
Among Friends, by contrast, has found ways to use whole grains and other clean ingredients to produce mixes that turn into baked goods whose texture more closely resembles that of the cookies and muffins that grandma might have turned out. “We’re using whole-grains oats, brown rice, sorghum. These whole ingredients rather than a processed starch give a more natural-tasting texture – more like the kind of texture that homemade products that are not gluten free have,” Zbinovec said. “We get a lot of consumers who write to us and tell us that they passed it off as their own. We love reading this because that’s kind of our intent.”
The Among Friends baking mixes are all certified gluten free, non GMO, and each package is labeled on the front of the package to let consumers know how much whole grain they’re getting per serving. “It’s really about nutrition,” Zbinovec said. “Whole grains contain both probiotics and prebiotics. They’re just better for the body.”
The baking mixes are designed to allow consumers either to bake them exactly according to the package directions or to customize them with add-ins that turn the end product into something that is customized to their taste. Among Friends helps with recipes and ideas on the company’s web site. A box of Shane’s Sweet n Spicy Molasses Ginger Cookie Mix, for instance, can turn into Bananas About Pie, a banana cream pie with a sassy ginger-molasses crust. Cora’s Honey Cornbread Mix might get a pop of heat with the addition of some jalapenos or show up for brunch with some blueberries stirred in. Blueberry Lemon Muffins might start with a box of Francie’s Make it Your Own Cinnamon Sugar Muffin Mix. “There’s a lot of different things you can do with the product. We just had a contest and someone made a bundt cake with the muffin mix, and it was delicious,” Zbinovec said. “People do like to try new things. It depends on how venturesome they are,” she added. “A lot of times what we’ll see is people tweaking the recipe a little bit – adding nuts, maybe a glaze. It gives the consumer a chance to play with it a little bit and make it the flavors that their family likes, whatever it might be.”
Among Friends baking mixes are distributed nationwide. They retail for $4.99 to $5.99.
Bob’s Red Mill, which has been producing whole grain and gluten free foods for more than 40 years, has developed a new Gluten Free Egg Replacer that, in addition to containing no gluten or animal products, is also without soy, corn, grains, or beans. The new Gluten Free Egg Replacer substitutes for whole eggs in recipes such as cakes, muffins, quick breads, brownies and pancakes. The new formula, which makes use of only four simple ingredients, is available in a re-sealable standup pouch and has a 24-month shelf life. Each 12-ounce package contains the equivalent of 34 eggs.
“We believe everyone should be able to enjoy the simple pleasures of a wholesome, homemade baked good, no matter what foods they are trying to avoid,” said Bob Moore, Founder, President and CEO of employee-owned Bob’s Red Mill. “Now, with the help of our Gluten Free Egg Replacer, bakers can still have their favorite banana bread or buckwheat pancake.”
The new Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Egg Replacer, which retails for $4.49 for a 12-ounce bag, is a blend of potato starch, tapioca flour, baking soda, and psyllium husk fiber. While the company has offered its Vegetarian Egg Replacer for a number of years, this new egg replacer is the first such product it has offered that is made without gluten or soy ingredients.
“We’re delighted to offer this Gluten Free Egg Replacer so that even more of our consumers can experience the joy of baking,” said Matthew Cox, Vice President of Marketing at Bob’s Red Mill. “Now, vegans, those with gluten or soy issues, or really anyone who wants a reliable baking staple stocked in their pantry can turn to this Egg Replacer and whip up a favorite recipe in a safe and easy way.”
As with all of Bob’s Red Mill’s gluten free products, the Gluten Free Egg Replacer adheres to strict gluten free safety standards, including being produced in a 100 percent dedicated gluten free facility and ELISA tested to verify gluten free integrity.
Bob’s Red Mill Egg Replacer is available now to retailers in cases of eight, as well as online at www.bobsredmill.com.
Milwaukee, Michigan’s, local sprouted grain bakery, Angelic Bakehouse, is bringing out its latest innovation and first specialty deli line, called Bread Crisps, which will be available in all Sendik’s Food Market locations. The crisps are also Angelic’s first product in the snack category.
This new snack line, which is made from Angelic’s sprouted baguettes, includes three SKUs of sprouted mash crisps: 7-grain with sea salt, rye with sea salt, and honey wheat with raisins and sea salt.
“The crisps were born out of a selfish desire,” says Jenny Marino, CEO and President of Angelic Bakehouse. “I couldn’t find any sprouted snacks to serve for seasonal parties and gatherings, so we created something better. The crisps aren’t your average sprouted cracker or crostini.”
Angelic previewed the 7-grain crisps at this year’s Natural Products Expo West– one of the largest natural products trade shows in the U.S. – in March. The other two SKUs will be making a debut in Sendik’s this week, and Angelic has plans to expand distribution for all SKUs to other local and national retailers in coming months.
Like all of Angelic Bakehouse’s sprouted products, the crisps are crafted from sprouted mash whole grains of red wheat berries, quinoa, oat groats, rye berries, barley, amaranth and millet. Angelic attributes the superior taste, texture and nutritionals of its bread to this proprietary process. The crisps are also:
“It’s a happy coincidence that we’re launching the crisps in time for the holiday season,” says Marino. “They’re toasted to perfection and topped with sea salt, making them delicious straight from the bag or paired with your favorite wine and cheese.”
All Natural Products is pleased to announce that it has obtained non-GMO certification for its world famous Davidovich Bagels as part of its quest to provide the best products in the market place. The use of genetically modified ingredients has been a controversial topic all over the world. All Natural Products made a commitment several years ago to never use genetically modified ingredients in its world famous Davidovich bagels, but now those bagels are officially certified as GMO free.
This certification adds to the list of important oversight for All Natural products, including being kosher certified, Pas Yisroel, all natural, third-party audited, certified Made in NYC, certified Pride of NYS. With the exception of egg bagels, Davidovich bagels are vegan.
-Vegan (except our egg bagel)
By Lorrie Baumann
Renowned New York bakery, Junior’s Cheesecake and Desserts, is gaining traction in the retail marketplace after opening a 103,000 square foot baking facility in Burlington, New Jersey, that gave the company the capacity to expand beyond supplying its own restaurants with cheesecakes that have been consistently voted New York’s best.
“We’re really excited about the progress that Junior’s has made in the past year. We have successfully transitioned our business from our Brooklyn facility to a state-of-the art facility in Burlington, New Jersey,” said Alan Rosen, the company’s third-generation Owner. “The best part is that we have more room to make our desserts the same way we have in Brooklyn for more than 65 years. I can proudly say that the recipe has not changed one ounce.”
New York has voted Junior’s cheesecakes the best the city has to offer every year since the early 1970s, and Junior’s is still using the same cheesecake recipe developed by Rosen’s grandfather, Harry Rosen, who opened his first restaurant on election day in 1950 with the idea that if Junior’s was going to be a great New York restaurant, it needed to serve great cheesecake.
Junior’s still operates four restaurants, soon to be five, as well as the bakery. Three are in New York City – one in Brooklyn, one in Times Square and one in Grand Central Terminal. The fourth is in Foxwoods, Connecticut, and there’s one coming in Boca Raton, Florida. Junior’s also has satellites in South Korea and in the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn.
“Over the past year, we have found ourselves in both bakery sections and frozen sections, depending on the needs of the retailer. Wegmans, Kroger, Tops Friendly Markets, ACME Markets, Stop & Shop – we are well represented in the New York market, including upstate,” Rosen said. “We are growing, but we still listen to the needs of our customers. In the past six months, we’ve gained retail distribution in over 1,500 stores, and we look forward to bringing to the whole country what New Yorkers have known forever – you haven’t really lived until you’ve tasted cheesecake from Junior’s.”
New for this year, Junior’s Cheesecake is featuring its six-inch Apple Crumb Cheesecake, seasonal specialties, and of course, traditional New York cheesecakes in 10 varieties. In addition to cheesecakes, Junior’s Cheesecake and Desserts also offers layer cakes, loaf cakes, shortcakes and tiramisu as well as seasonal specialties for any sweet occasion. “We are a full line bakery,” Rosen said. “We even customize items for special customers.”
Forty years from the development of his original CheeseSticks recipe and 30 years after the launch of John Wm. Macy’s CheeseSticks from a tiny storefront on New York’s Lower East Side, John Wm. Macy’s re-introduces its brand with a focus on the company’s history as a family-owned and family-run bakery and its dedication to making delicious baked snacks with simple, natural ingredients and expert craftsmanship.
The company is also introducing an addition to its line of cracker-shaped sourdough CheeseCrisps. Rosemary, the herb of love and remembrance, lends its magic to the company’s delicious new Cheddar Rosemary CheeseCrisps. With multiple layers of sourdough and aged Cheddar and Asiago cheeses, baked twice to crunchy perfection, they are simply unforgettable.
John Macy discovered his passion for food and entertaining as a teenager while catering clambakes during a summer on Martha’s Vineyard. In 1976, he developed his original CheeseSticks recipe for his small Northern California catering business. The twice-baked CheeseSticks, made with multiple layers of hand-mixed sourdough and aged sharp cheddar cheese, rolled into thin sheets and cut into strips and twisted by hand, soon became John’s signature appetizer at his catered events.
Following a move to the East Coast, John decided in the early 1980s to bake and sell CheeseSticks from his New York City loft apartment one day a week. He soon realized his tiny apartment kitchen and weekly batches of CheeseSticks were not enough to get the job done. In 1985, John opened a small shop on the Lower East Side of Manhattan and launched John Wm. Macy’s CheeseSticks.
Headquartered in Elmwood Park, New Jersey, John Wm. Macy’s family bakery employs a staff of 60 and produces a full line of specialty snacks for distribution in the U.S. and Canada. In 1990, John’s brother Tim joined him to help manage the family business. In January 2016, the two brothers were inducted into the Specialty Food Association Hall of Fame for “accomplishments, impact contributions, innovations and successes within the specialty food industry.” John’s enduring passion for good food and good times continues undiminished.
By Lorrie Baumann
La Pasta’s Radicchio, Parsnip & Apricot Ravioli has won the 2016 sofi Award for Best New Product. Radicchio is sauteed with a little bit of balsamic vinegar to bring out the sweetness of the vegetables and then folded into ricotta, parmesan and mozzarella cheese together with roasted parsnips and dried apricots. The filling is then enclosed in La Pasta’s signature pasta with black pepper pasta stripes.
“We got lucky. It happens,” said Alexis Konownitzine, President of La Pasta, “Our chef Kristen made the product and will be at the Fancy Food Show.”
La Pasta already had several sofi Awards for products including its Marinara Sauce and Beet, Butternut Squash & Goat Cheese Ravioli. This year’s winner was selected from among 23 finalists in the Best New Product category by the sofi judging panel of culinary experts in a blind tasting. Overall, 28 products were named winners and 100 named finalists from among 3,200 entries this year.
This year’s judging diverged from the methodology used for the past couple of years, in that the judging was completed before the Summer Fancy Food Show and winners were named at the same time as finalists. This process was designed to make the judging more fair and transparent, according to the Specialty Food Association, which owns the sofi Awards program. The products were judged by criteria that awarded 70 percent of the product’s score for taste, which included flavor, appearance, texture and aroma and 30 percent for ingredient quality, which included a consideration of whether any of the product’s ingredients were artificial and whether they were combined in a creative or unexpected way. One winner was chosen in each of the 28 judging categories, and the top 4 percent of the entries in each category were named finalists. No awards were presented this year in classic, foodservice or product line categories, which were part of last year’s contest.
Finalists for the Best New Product award included Dalmatia Sour Cherry Spread from Atalanta Corporation, Jansal Valley Boneless Prosciutto Toscano D.O.P. from Sid Wainer and Son Specialty Produce and Specialty Food, Organic Stoneground Flakes Cereal — Purple Corn from Back to the Roots and Sliced Prosciutto (Domestic) from Creminelli Fine Meats. “Prosciutto is everywhere in the U.S., but we do it differently, using whole-muscle Duroc pork that’s 100 percent vegetarian-fed with no antibiotics ever. We layer it in the tray by hand instead of by machine,” said Kyle Svete, Creminelli Fine Meats’ Director of Sales for National Accounts. “We invest in people, not machines. It’s part of who we are – people, animal, craft…. We have machines to help us do our job, but it’s really about the people. The recyclable tray and the elegant look of it elevates the product and the category.”
“We’re proud of it. We put the ingredients right on the front of the label,” he added. “That’s all there is to it – time, love, pork and sea salt.”
Chocolate-covered Cocomels – 5 Salts from JJ’s Sweets, Gourmet Honey Spread: Salted Honey from Cloister Honey LLC, Wild Boar Salted Star Anise Single Origin Organic Dark Chocolate Bar from Hagensborg Chocolate Ltd., Original Tangerine Sriracha from Just Jan’s Inc., Mr. Hot Stuff Pepper Spread from Steppin’ Out LLC, Clementine Crush Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Enzo Olive Oil Company/P-R Farms, Inc. and Deschutes Brewery® Black Butte Porter Truffle from Moonstruck Chocolate, Co. were also among the finalists for the Best New Product Award.
Other finalists were Pineapple Habanero Caramel from JulieAnn Caramels, Frozen Passion Chia Lassi from Monsieur Singh LLC, Chicken Fat (Schmaltz) Premium Cooking Oil from Fatworks LLC, Avocado Oil Mayo and Licorice Mint Tea from Chosen Foods, Inc., Chili Crunch Bar from Vivra Chocolate, Vegan Stone Ground Hazelnut Butter from Karmalize LLC, Raspberry Amaretto Preserves from Robert Rothschild Farm, Orange Artisan Fruit Cracker from Simple & Crisp, Gluten-Free Coffee Brownie from Savvy Girl Baking Company and Dark Moon from Marin French Cheese Company.
In the remaining categories, Brussizzle Sprouts from Pacific Pickle Works, Inc. was named the best appetizer. The Spice Hunter, Inc.‘s Coriander Lime Global Fusion Rub was named best baking ingredient, baking mix or flavor enhancer, Ginger Hemp Granola from Michele’s Granola LLC was the best in the category for breads, muffins, granola or cereal, and Vermont Creamery‘s Bijou was judged the best cheese. Vermont Creamery’s Bonne Bouche was a finalist for the award both this year and last year.
Money on Honey by Droga Chocolates won the sofi in the chocolate category, and Bittermilk LLC‘s No. 3 Smoked Honey Whiskey Sour won the award in the cold beverage category. Bittermilk was a sofi finalist last year with the same product. Non-GMO Salted Caramelized Fig Spread from King’s Cupboard was named the best condiment, and Sea Salt & Vanilla Farmstead Goat Milk Caramels from Big Picture Farm LLC received the award for the best confection. Big Picture Farm won sofi Awards last year for best new product with its Raspberry Rhubarb Goat Milk Caramels and for best confection with its Goat Milk Chai Caramels. Moon Dance Baking‘s Holly Baking Cookie Brittle Cinnamon & Spice was named in the category for cookies, brownies, cakes or pie.
Barnier Pimento Sauce with Preserved Lemon from FoodMatch Inc. was named best cooking, dipping or finishing sauce. Cranberry Pistachio “The Original” from Jan’s Farmhouse Crisps was named the best cracker. Epicurean Butter‘s Organic Cocoa Coconut Butter was named in the category for best dairy or dairy alternative product. “The reason this is something really new and innovative is that this is organic pasteurized cream, organic coconut oil, organic honey, organic canola oil, organic cocoa powder and Himalayan pink salt. It’s good on crepes, pancakes French toast. We actually just love it on a baguette,” said Janey Hubschman, who co-founded Epicurean Butter with her husband John, who’s the chef and still does all the formulations for the company’s products. “It’s got a lovely mouth feel with the butter and the coconut oil and then the finish of the salt.” The Organic Cocoa Coconut Butter is part of a product line that includes 13 finishing butters, of which two are organic. The company has just installed new equipment in its plant that allows Epicurean Butter to produce single-serve squeeze packs. Each of those has 190 calories for a 1-ounce serving, and Hubschman expects that the single-serve packaging will draw a lot of interest from the producers of home-delivered meal kits.
Bourbon Matured Maple Syrup from BLiS LLC was named the best dessert sauce, topping or syrup. Dick Taylor Craft Chocolate‘s Single Origin Drinking Chocolate 72% Belize, Toledo received the sofi Award for the best hot beverage. Dick Taylor Craft Chocolate was a finalist in the chocolate category last year with its 72% Madagascar, Sambirano bar. The Gelato Fiasco‘s Ripe Mango Sorbetto was named the best ice cream, gelato or frozen treat.
Cioccomiel, a spread made from hazelnuts, cocoa and honey, won the sofi Award for the best jam, preserve, honey or nut butter. It is imported by Marcelli Formaggi LLC.
Fermín Chorizo Ibérico Picante / Fermín Ibérico Pork Dry-Cured Chorizo Sausage Spicy from Fermin USA was named the best meat, pate or seafood.
Stöger Organic Austrian Pumpkin Seed Oil was named the best oil. It is imported by Los Chileros, which won a finalist award last year for the same product.
Gustiamo, Inc.‘s Pianogrillo Sicilian Cherry Tomato Sauce took home the sofi Award for the best pasta sauce, while the best pasta was Pastifico Artigianale Leonardo Carassai, made in Campofilone, Italy, and imported by Bravo International Inc.
Wozz! Kitchen Creations, which won the 2015 sofi Award for best salsa or dip with its Kiwi Lime Salsa Verde takes home the gold in the salad dressing category this year with North African Chermoula Dressing. This year’s award in the salsa or dip category went to American Spoon Foods’ Pumpkin Seed Salsa.
Hickory Smoked Spicy Candied Bacon from Little Red Dot Kitchen LLC won the sofi Award this year in the category for savory snacks. The best sweet snack came from Creative Snacks Co. with its Organic Coconut Bites.
Dinner Tonight Black Bean Tortilla Chili Mix from Backyard Safari Company won the award for best soup, stew, bean or chili. ParmCrisps Mini Aged Parmesan Crisps from Kitchen Table Bakers won the award for the best vegan or gluten-free product. Kitchen Table Bakers was a finalist last year for its Jalapeno Parmesan Crisps. Finally, this year’s best vinegar was Balsamic Nectar from Boulder Flavours.