The retail food landscape has long been populated by bland, low-cost spaghetti noodles and insipid jars of watery marinara sauce. However, gourmet foods companies are revolutionizing the world of prepared sauces and dry, fresh and frozen pastas with high-quality ingredients and surprising flavor combinations. More and more consumers are turning to these companies and their products in order to make their Italian meals more memorable. Here are 10 companies to look for when stocking your pantry with artisan pastas and sauces.
1. Cucina Antica Foods Corp. The 2014 sofi Award winner in the Outstanding Pasta Sauce category for its Tuscany Pumpkin Pasta Sauce, Cucina Antica Foods Corp. offers a broad selection of all-natural sauces and authentic Italian pastas. The signature Tuscany Pumpkin Sauce features pumpkin and carrot puree, mixed with Italian San Marzano tomatoes, autumn spices and a touch of cream.
2. Dave’s Gourmet. The gourmet pasta sauce experts at Dave’s Gourmet strive to think outside the box when it comes to introducing new sauce flavors into the specialty food marketplace. The company’s product line contains unexpected hits like butternut squash, Indian-inspired masala marinara and wild mushroom. Dave’s Gourmet also offers a gourmet pasta sauce gift basket.
3. The French Farm. The French Farm offers a number of Italian specialties, including herb mixes, risotto mixes, polenta, sauces and dry pastas. The company recently introduced a new product to its line of brightly colored pastas: farfaline (bowtie). The new multicolor farfaline pasta is made exclusively from high-quality durum wheat semolina, tinged with natural plant-based colors.
4. Italian Foods Corporation. The shelf-stable dry stuffed pastas in Italian Foods Corporation’s La Piana line are a convenient and delicious way to enjoy an authentic Italian specialty. The stuffed pastas include ravioli, tortellini and mezzaluna filled with everything from Gorgonzola to winter squash to pesto. Italian Foods Corporation also offers artisan egg pastas, gnocchi and jarred sauces.
5. La Pasta Inc. A brilliantly-colored artisanal pasta delicacy, La Pasta’s Beet, Butternut Squash & Goat Cheese ravioli recently won the 2014 sofi Award in the Outstanding Pasta, Rice or Grain category. The product features the star ingredients wrapped in a delicate pasta sheath. In addition to this sofi Award-winning ravioli, La Pasta delights consumers with fresh vegan and gluten-free pasta offerings.
6. Michael’s of Brooklyn. Michael’s of Brooklyn traditional Italian tomato sauces taste like homemade, because they use high-quality ingredients: imported Italian tomatoes, fresh herbs and spices, garlic, onion and olive oil. The result is an extraordinary range of fresh, delicious sauces in six distinctive flavors, including marinara, tomato basil, filetto di pomodoro, puttanesca, arrabbiata and the newest flavor, home style gravy.
7. Pastificio Felicetti. Felicetti pasta is the world’s largest supplier of 100 percent organic pasta. The company’s pasta is outstanding because of its exceptional aromatic quality, taste and excellent nutritional value. These results are thanks to the attention paid to three key components: flour, water and drying technique. The company’s Monograno Felicetti line comes in three varieties: Farro, Kamut and Matt.
8. Po Valley Foods. Imported from the Po Valley plains of northern Italy, the products from Po Valley Foods include dry pastas, risotto, rice, polenta, olive oils and vinegars. The company offers four dry pasta lines: Campofilone® Elite, high-quality egg pastas; Premiato Pastificio Afeltra, bronze drawn durum wheat pastas; Carlo Moro, a line of buckwheat pastas; and Casarecci di Calabria pasta kits.
9. Robert Rothschild Farm. The artichoke pasta sauce from Robert Rothschild Farm features tender artichokes blended with tomatoes, onions, celery and herbs, creating a truly gourmet pasta topping. The product is just one of a number of distinctive pasta sauces offered by Robert Rothschild Farm. The company’s other sauces include puttanesca, vodka, roasted portabella, roma tomato and more.
10. Sauces ‘n Love. Specialty food company Sauces ‘n Love recently introduced a line of gluten-free pastas, including ravioli, tagliatelle, rigatoni and gnocchi. These products have a premium gourmet taste that surpasses many traditional wheat pastas in flavor and consistency and pairs perfectly with the brand’s pasta sauces. It is an innovation both omnivorous gourmands and wellness-concerned customers can enjoy together with gusto.
GloryBee, a family-owned and operated provider of all-natural honeys, sweeteners, spices, dried fruits, nuts and oils recently debuted five new raw honey flavors. The new flavors include California orange blossom, featuring a fruity and sweet citrus flavor; mountain wildflower, offering a rich, floral flavor; organic tropical blossom, a very flavorful, multi-floral honey; Pacific Northwest clover, a premium honey with a light flavor and amber color; and Pacific Northwest raspberry, a lightly sweet honey with a mild floral essence.
GloryBee’s new honey flavors are all raw, meaning the honey has not been heated above 115 degree Fahrenheit, pasteurized or processed in any way. This allows the honey to retain a more creamy texture. Raw honey contains bee pollen, natural vitamins, enzymes, antioxidants and other important natural nutrients.
Started in the garage of a beekeeper and his wife nearly 40 years ago, GloryBee now offers a wide variety of all-natural, 100 percent pure honeys, rich in minerals and nutrients. GloryBee sources honey from both Pacific Northwest beekeepers and various other cooperatives of small beekeepers that ensure the bees are well treated and the honey is high quality.
For more information, visit www.glorybee.com.
Tribe’s new Herb Infused Olive Oil hummus has a bold taste that is both rustic and refined. The brand’s beloved Classic hummus is blended with exotic za’atar, which is a mixture of sumac, sesame seed and herbs frequently used in Mediterranean foods. This distinctive blend is topped with dried roasted garlic, sesame seeds and then drizzled with olive oil that has also been infused with za’atar, the final touches on this complex flavor is that is simply delicious.
Tribe’s Limited Batch Herb Infused Olive Oil is as versatile as it is unique. Perfect for those looking to add flavor without loading on the sodium or fat, it makes for a great spread or dip for all types of breads, replacing every day table olive oil and butter. Additionally, it’s a great accoutrement for all vegetables including a simple crudite platter or roasted vegetables, namely cauliflower, eggplant and zucchini.
“We’ve gained a reputation of continually introducing new and exciting flavors and flavor combinations to hummus lovers, and the addition of za’atar really delivers on that,” said Adam Carr, CEO of Tribe Mediterranean Foods, Inc. “Once again I think we found a premium partner for our beloved chickpea.”
Herb Infused Olive Oil is the fourth installment in Tribe’s popular Limited Batch series. Its previous flavor, Rosemary Focaccia, which launched this past summer, was so well-received it recently became part of the permanent portfolio, rebranded as Lemon Rosemary Focaccia, joining the ranks of Everything, another former Limited Batch flavor that became part of the Tribe family of flavors back in 2013.
Tribe Limited Batch Herb Infused Olive Oil can be found at fine grocery stores nationwide. The suggested retail price of the eight-ounce bowls will be $3.49.
Rabbit Creek Products has three new dips to celebrate with. If you are a fan of hot, spicy, flavorful dips, then the company’s Damn That’s Hot Dip is right up your alley. Rabbit Creek’s new Cheeseburger Dip has all the taste of a cheeseburger in one convenient package, allowing you to enjoy yourself without slaving over hot coals. Pairing up beautifully with the Cheeseburger Dip is the new Dill Pickle Dip. For all who are pickle-holics, this is a hopelessly addictive creation. Like all of Rabbit Creek Products’ wares, these dips are available in private label for free. The team at Rabbit Creek can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 800.837.3073.
Click here for more about Rabbit Creek’s dips.
I used Pendleton© Brown Sugar+Molasses Barbecue Sauce the other night to make a batch of baked beans that turned out fabulous! I started with a couple of cups of cooked Anasazi beans. I put that in a pot with about half an onion that I chopped finely and browned in the fat I rendered out of a couple of strips of bacon. I drained the grease and added the browned onion and chopped bacon bits to the beans, then added enough of the barbecue sauce to moisten it well — probably about 3/4 cup. Then I just let it simmer for about 45 minutes while I baked some chicken and dressed some cole slaw. And the best thing is that I managed to stop eating while I still had some leftover beans and cole slaw for today’s lunch!
The Anasazi beans are a Southwest heritage variety that I bought at my local farmers market. They’re a gorgeous bean with cranberry and cream speckles, and they have a creamy texture when cooked. The Brown Sugar + Molasses sauce is one of a pair of new flavors from Pendleton, which also makes new Hot+Spicy flavor and Original and Mesquite flavors. The sauces are made by Oregon Growers & Shippers in partnership with Hood River Distillers. The Brown Sugar + Molasses Sauce was created for consumers looking for a sweeter flavor profile and is made from premium quality molasses and dark brown sugar for a caramel flavor accented with hints of citrus from coriander and some mild heat from black and chipotle peppers and a backdrop of hickory smoke that add some spicy tang to that sweetness for a result that didn’t taste anything like candied beans.
– Lorrie Baumann
Passage Foods offers lines of ready-to-use simmer sauces made from all natural ingredients to help home cooks create authentic restaurant-quality Asian dishes in 20 minutes or less. Newest to the brand is the Passage to Vietnam™ Lemongrass Chicken Stir-Fry Sauce, which draws together ingredients such as lemongrass, galangal and lime into a stir-fry with the traditional flavors of Vietnam. Just reading the list of ingredients is like stepping into a white tablecloth Vietnamese restaurant.
Vietnamese cuisine is one of the fastest growing segments in the food category, according to Mintel, and the growth of the Vietnamese population in the U.S. augurs for increasing acceptance and familiarity with Vietnamese flavors among the mainstream population, particularly as American palates become more adventurous and more Americans travel outside the country, where they have the opportunity to taste authentic examples of other culinary traditions.
“It is important to recognize the growth of cuisines from countries like Vietnam,” said Passage Foods’ Mark Mackenzie. “Currently, 80 percent of the Asian category sales originate from mainstream products designed for the U.S. palate, however, the category growth is being driven by authentic products and recipes. With our Lemongrass Chicken sauce, we tried to capture the most authentic and fresh recipe to satisfy the consumer looking for a true Vietnamese meal.”
Robert Rothschild Farm announces its first complete line of organic sauces after recently achieving organic certification of its manufacturing facility in Urbana, Ohio. Robert Rothschild Farm produces sauces, dips, preserves, mustards, spreads and other gourmet products that are all natural, gluten free and kosher.
Robert Rothschild Farm grows and manufactures all their food on the Ohio farm, but is the first certified organic line. This new line of organic products will launch the beginning of a movement to convert the majority of the Robert Rothschild Farm’s current product offering to be organic certified.
“We are conscientious of current healthy lifestyles and want to provide the consumer what they desire,” said Jim Gordon, President and CEO of Robert Rothschild Farm. “We felt compelled to provide organic products that tasted great. Taste should not be compromised when seeking organic products using Non-GMO ingredients.”
The new organic line of sauces was announced at the Summer Fancy Food Show on July 1, 2014 and includes Blueberry Balsamic, Citrus Chardonnay, Pineapple Habanero BBQ, Sriracha Teriyaki, Whiskey Pepper Cream and White Wine Creole sauces.
This year also celebrates Robert Rothschild Farm’s 30th Anniversary of producing specialty foods. Robert Rothschild Farm is continually recognized as one of the top gourmet food manufacturers in the United States and has been honored with numerous awards for its branded product line, but the company also produces gourmet products under many private labels. Robert Rothschild products are carried in over 5,000 grocery and specialty stores throughout the US.
“Creating organic products shows our commitment, not only to high-quality, flavorful products but taking our company to the next level,” said Gordon. “Organic foods are a growing market in which Robert Rothschild Farm is well positioned to produce and provide these essential products. We look forward to leading the specialty food industry and bringing our consumers the finest in organic, open and serve products that they have come to expect from us.”
Victoria Fine Foods has just launched new packaging for its Victoria premium brand of artisanal pasta sauces listing ingredients on the front of the label.
Extensive consumer research was conducted among primary shoppers and meal preparers of pasta sauce that led to the revolutionary decision to place the ingredients on the front of the label. Consumers indicated that placing ingredients on the front was very positive and helped show that Victoria had all natural fresh ingredients without preservatives that were similar to ingredients they would use in their own pasta sauce. They also indicated it would make shopping easier.
This new label approach supports Victoria’s philosophy of Ingredients Come First™, making Victoria the only major pasta sauce brand to highlight the ingredients on the front of their package.
“We are proud to be first major brand in the pasta sauce category to declare our ingredients on the front of our package; It’s not just a location, it’s a philosophy” says Don Davide, Chief Strategy Officer, VFF. “We are committed to using only fresh ingredients and the most authentic slow kettle-cooking process for a true homemade taste, and by announcing this on the front of our new label, we believe our new package allows the consumer to make an informed decision about what they are feeding their families.”
Victoria maintains small-batch, home-style cooking methods on a larger scale by slow kettle cooking all of their sauces starting with freshly chopped ingredients. Unlike leading national brands, Victoria never adds water, paste (tomato byproducts), or dried ingredients and never compromises taste for processing alternatives like quick heating transfer tubes. Victoria maintains that life and food, like a gondola ride, is better when taken slowly.
If you don’t already sing to tomatoes, you may soon find yourself rethinking your salsa. Known for its freshly flavorful dips and spreads, Sabra® Dipping Company has relaunched its eight refrigerated salsas to the sweet sound of farmer serenades. To underscore the loving process with which Sabra prepares its line of salsas, the brand is featuring in-field farmers singing to vine-ripening tomatoes in its first salsa advertising campaign. Salsa fans are invited to join the fun by sending sweet nothings by way of social media with the hashtag #SalsaLove
“The commercials are a fun take on nurturing growing tomatoes for a delicious product that is filled with love,” said Eric Greifenberger, Director of Marketing at Sabra. “From our ripe red tomatoes to our crisp onions and peppers, our farmers and chefs are meticulous in their care and selection of vegetables for a fresher-tasting salsa. Believe it or not, research has shown singing to plants makes them grow better. We certainly don’t see any harm in that.”
Sabra’s line of refrigerated salsas includes Homestyle Medium, Homestyle Mild, Mango Peach, Restaurant Style, Roasted Garlic, Pico de Gallo, Southwestern and Garden Style. The newly relaunched recipes feature more crisp vegetables for a fresher, chunkier salsa bursting with flavor. The company uses only vine-ripened tomatoes, handpicked by Sabra’s farmers. The nature of the process inspired Sabra’s campaign theme of “Made with Love” developed with creative agency strawberryfrog.
“Sabra goes over and above to create a better tasting salsa. We were inspired by the passion Sabra has for their salsa,” said Ant White, strawberryfrog’s creative director on Sabra. “Known as the brand behind America’s favorite hummus, we wanted to help Sabra share its salsa story in an engaging way. Getting farmers to sing REO Speedwagon’s I’m Gonna Keep on Loving You is just the beginning.”
Sabra Salsa’s integrated campaign kicked off on June 23. It will run in the Northeast and include ads on Hulu and other video-hosting sites as well as radio ads, banner ads, social media and in-store activities. Sabra will also have four trucks crisscrossing the Northeast to share the Salsa Love with free samples.
The entire campaign directs consumer to the microsite SabraSalsaLove.com. Consumers can share their own love by posting on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Vine pages with the hashtag #SalsaLove. The best fan submissions will be shared on the site and may even make it into the next Sabra Salsa ad.
SabraSalsaLove.com is also the host to a summer sweepstakes. One winner will receive a four-day beachside culinary getaway in Southern California, and ten winners each week will receive other great prizes. On Pinterest, fans pinning their favorite recipes featuring salsa will be entered to win additional prizes.
Since its launch in January 2014, the Victoria Amory Collection is rapidly expanding its reach and is now carried in 15 states and over 150 stores across the United States. The condiment collection features three creative ketchups, including the Smokey BBQ Ketchup, chosen from over 180,000 products as one of the Smokin’ Innovations at this year’s Summer Fancy Food Show. Inspired by the flavors and aromas of Spain’s ancient and rugged La Mancha region the Smokey BBQ Ketchup includes ingredients such as smoked paprika, brown sugar, red and white wine vinegar and olive oil.
The collection which also includes three delicate mayonnaises, two peppery piri piris, and one classic romesco sauce, is designed, like all of the items in Amory’s line of sophisticated comfort foods, to make elegant entertaining a no-brainer. The collection includes nine specialty condiments: Green Chili Piri Piri, Red Chili Piri Piri, Almond and Garlic Romesco Sauce, Roasted Garlic Mayonnaise, Fine Herb Mayonnaise, Classic Lemon Mayonnaise, Sherry Ketchup, Champagne Ketchup, and Smokey BBQ Ketchup, transforming the everyday meal into an effortless feast.