Get Adobe Flash player

Grains

Pereg Natural Foods Introduces Kaniwa

Pereg Natural Foods will introduce kañiwa – also known as baby quinoa, at the upcoming Kosherfest trade show, November 15-16, 2016 at the Meadowlands Expo Center in Secaucus, New Jersey.

Kañiwa is an excellent source of complete protein and amino acids, is exceptionally high in iron and is gluten-free. It’s dark reddish-brown in color and about half the size of a tiny quinoa seed. It cooks up quickly to resemble a smaller version of red quinoa.

Unlike regular quinoa, kañiwa doesn’t have saponins, the coating that gives quinoa a somewhat soapy, slightly bitter flavor if not rinsed properly, so it’s actually easier to process. (Note that all quinoa from Pereg is pre-rinsed and ready to cook from the package.) Another advantage kañiwa has over quinoa is that it’s an even better source of iron.

According to Gill Schneider, CEO of Pereg Natural Foods, “This mighty little ancient grain cooks up with a crunchy texture, and offers a nutrient rich food for breakfast, lunch and dinner. We are excited to bring consumers yet another healthy choice to serve to friends and family, from our family-owned Pereg Natural Foods business.”

Kañiwa from Pereg Natural Foods is all natural, gluten-free, Non-GMO Project verified, vegan, OU and CRC kosher-certified, and produced in the USA. It is available in 5-ounce boxes ($3.57) and re-sealable 16-ounce bags ($5.50).

Empowering Farmers, Growing Sustainably & Staying True to Organic

Founded by an organic farmer 20 years ago, ecoLife® was established by passion to empower and improve the daily lives of farming families. ecoLife provides farming communities with assistance and free education in current social, economic and environmental best practices. It’s a relationship and a way of doing business that truly sets the company apart.

ecoLife offers over 20 items across four food categories, including aromatic basmati rice, high-protein quinoa, freekeh, chickpeas and many other nutrient-rich items. An exceptional item in the line is the Quick Cook Brown Basmati Rice. What differentiates this organic brown rice is its reduced cooking time of just 12 minutes, a convenient alternative to the 40 minutes normally required to prepare brown rice.

The full range of authentic rice, ancient grains, pulses, and beans – are all USDA organic and non-GMO verified products. With a farm to fork approach, ecoLife partners with more than 75,000 registered organic farming families to offer sustainably grown, cultivated and harvested products from their country of origin.

 

Pastas, Soup Mixes and Dessert Mixes from Intermountain Specialty

Intermountain Specialty Food Group, located in Salt Lake City, Utah, is a gourmet food and artisan pasta company comprised of several brands: Plentiful Pantry, Pasta Partners, Chidester Farms, and its latest brand, Zpasta.

In 1992, Debbie Chidester and her husband Jody transformed a passion for food into a business opportunity. Debbie had long loved entertaining friends with fabulous meals, and with her experience working in restaurants she knew what it took to consistently provide delicious food. Her friends wanted to eat gourmet but didn’t necessarily want to do all the work to get it.

Debbie took her own time-tested recipes, converted them into easy-to-prepare dishes, and voila. A new business was formed.
The business started as Pasta Partners (later to become Intermountain Specialty Food Group), focused on pasta sauce blends that would easily make dishes similar to those made by the chefs in gourmet restaurants. Wanting to kick it up a notch and provide unique flavored pastas, the search for a supplier who provided the reliability and quality they demanded was not found.

This did not stand in the Chidesters’ way; they purchased their first pasta machine and set up an artisan pasta production plant making traditional Italian style pastas with unique flavors and shapes. The pastas are made in small batches and dried over an extended period, hand crafted and packaged to provide a firm pasta with a pleasantly soft texture for an extraordinary experience.

plentiful-pantry-fciThe Pasta Partners brand features beautiful long pastas, hand tied with raffia bows and geared to gourmet retailers and gift basket companies. From the finest of angel hairs to the more substantial fettuccines, all contain wonderful flavors, making them perfect as side dishes or part of any gourmet meal.

The ZPasta brand is the most recent addition to the company’s product line. These are made in the Italian tradition with bronze dies, giving them a rough texture that helps the sauce cling to the pasta. They’re more shelf friendly for grocery stores and larger retail markets. Both brands offer vibrant colors, fanciful shapes and unique flavors such as kale, butternut squash, jalapeno, roasted red bell pepper and the latest, squid ink.

The Plentiful Pantry brand consists of a variety of soup mixes that are just-add-water or a few additional ingredients, making them easy to prepare. The dessert mixes, for the most part, are just-add-butter-and-water, and they take less than five minutes to prep. A full line of breads, cakes and dips is also available.

Intermountain Specialty Food Group currently provides private labeling services for grocery chains of all sizes. The company is very proud to offer wonderful tasting quality food that is easy to prepare. “The Easy Way to Gourmet,” Intermountain Specialty Foods is for customers who want to eat well but don’t always have a lot of time to spend in the kitchen.

Intermountain Specialty Food Group
801.977.9077
Intermountainfood.com

Fall River Wild Rice: New Ways with America’s Native Grain

Interest in plants and grains is soaring as shoppers look for new ways to eat healthy. High in protein and fiber, nutty and with a striking visual appeal, wild rice is one of the healthiest grains available. It was a staple food of several Native American tribes, who called it “manoomin” or “precious grain.”
Fall River Wild Rice brings this culinary gem to your store shelf. This naturally cultivated wild rice is great in salads, soups and stir-fries. However, it also works well in mixes for pancakes and muffins and even in chocolate and desserts. Fall River’s Fully Cooked Wild Rice is high-protein goodness in seconds.
Fall River Wild Rice is a small grower-owned cooperative in the Fall River Valley, a rural mountain valley nestled between the Cascade and Sierra Nevada ranges.

Fall River Wild Rice
800.626.4366
www.fallriverwildrice.com

Whole Grains Are Among Friends in These Baking Mixes

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.

Lotus Foods Seeks to Preserve Traditional Dehraduni Basmati Rice

Lotus Foods is extending its line of exceptional heirloom, organic and specialty rices with an authentic Indian basmati – Dehraduni basmati. Dehraduni’s famed flavor, fragrance and elongation are what elevated basmati rice to one of the world’s most recognized and best-loved rices. Dehraduni basmati is a long slender, aromatic grain that almost doubles in length when cooked. The word “basmati” comes from the Sanskrit word for fragrant.

Dehraduni basmati is recognized as the “mother of all basmati.” It is a landrace, which means it is a locally adapted variety with a distinct identity of historical origin and lacks any formal crop improvement. Landraces are often genetically diverse and associated with traditional farming systems. They are closely associated with traditional uses, knowledge, habits, dialects and celebrations of the people who developed and continue to grow them.

Dehraduni basmati gets its name from the city of Dehradun, capital of the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand, in the foothills of the Himalayas, where it has been grown for centuries on small family farms. However, in recent years, farmers have been abandoning the rice to get higher yields from hybrid rices. To counteract this trend, Lotus Foods is sourcing Dehraduni basmati from farmers who have adopted More Crop Per Drop™ (System of Rice Intensification) methods. With this method of organic rice intensification farmers can increase their yields 40-50 percent with 30-40 percent less water. And because they need 80-90 percent less seed than with conventional practices their actual yield is even higher and their production costs significantly lower. “Providing these innovative farmers with a market and organic premiums will make Dehraduni basmati production profitable,” says Ken Lee, Lotus Foods Co-Founder/Co-CEO. “We hope that consumers will join us in helping to preserve this traditional basmati and at the same time scale adoption and spread of More Crop Per Drop practices, which reduce women’s toil, conserve water and cut methane emissions.”

The company’s introduction of the Dehraduni basmati coincides with the launch of its “Do the Rice Thing” campaign, which will draw attention to the benefits of More Crop Per Drop growing methods for water and women. It will be available in bulk initially, and in both polished white and whole grain brown rice options.

Since 1995, Lotus Foods has been partnering in fair trade with small family farmers around the world who are growing rice more sustainably and preserving heirloom and specialty rices. Lotus Foods’ product line is unique in delivering consumers healthier, versatile rice and rice-based foods that respect their multiple concerns for the highest standards of taste together with social and environmental ethics.

Going Organic, a Natural Choice for JSL Foods

JSL Foods has announced that it has gained organic certification from Quality Assurance International for products made in its Los Angeles, California, plant. This plant produces Asian noodles, rice, grain and Asian wrappers. Currently five noodle SKUs have been given the “Certified Organic” stamp.

“The word ‘organic’ should stand for something more than just a marketing hype to entice consumers,” said Teiji Kawana, company President. “At JSL Foods, it is a very personal commitment to quality – quality ingredients and quality manufacturing,” he added.

JSL’s two-step process of purchasing organic ingredients and then mixing the formulas goes beyond the processes used by many other organic manufacturing companies.

“We believe it is important that the manufacturing process be certified as well. Organic certification is the only way you can be sure a company’s product truly complies with organic standards,” said Wayne Nielsen, Vice President Sales & Marketing.

The company will continue to add more certified organic products to its line. JSL Foods is a third-generation family-owned business that markets to grocery retail, foodservice and industrial segments with its brands: Fortune, Twin Dragon and JSL Foods Professional Products.

Explore Cuisine to Launch Gluten Free Pad Thai Noodles

Explore Cuisine will be launching its new Thai Rice Noodles at Expo East 2016.  There are two varieties.

Brown rice noodlesBrown Rice Pad Thai Noodles are made with organic, nutrient-rich whole grains. Brown Rice Pad Thai Noodles take the guesswork out of gluten-free Asian cooking by providing you with Pad Thai Noodles that are perfectly packed in a 2-ounce package.

Red Rice Pad Thai Noodles utilize nutritious red rice grain for authentic texture. Explore Cuisine’s Red Rice Pad Thai Noodles are a healthy alternative to traditional Pad Thai. With 4g of protein, this three-ingredient Pad Thai pasta is made with whole foods directly from the farm.

These pastas are certified organic and vegan, non-GMO and gluten free. They’re high in protein and fiber.

Specialty Food Producers Take Home the Gold

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.

CFM_Prosciutto-sliceFinalists 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.

JulieAnn CaramelsOther 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 maple hi res (2)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.

NorthAfricanChermouladressingwozzWozz! 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.

Apple-y Goodness in a Muffin

Rabbit Creek PFNew for the Summer Fancy Food Show is Rabbit Creek Products‘ new doughnut muffin mix. Taking a riff on classic cider doughnuts, these delicious muffins bring apple-y goodness without the mess of frying doughnuts. A wonderfully enticing treat that can go with breakfast or dinner, think of these with some beautiful pork chops!

Like all things Rabbit Creek, the doughnut muffins can be ordered in a mixed case (12) of like items. Free private labeling is as always offered as well.

For more than 30 years Rabbit Creek Products has been creating the best gourmet dry mixes there are. Still family owned and operated in a bucolic eastern Kansas town, Rabbit Creek is there for the long haul.

Gourmet News
Follow me on Twitter