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10 Products to Throw an Italian Pasta Feast With

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.

 

CA-Tuscany-Pumpkin_1024x10241. 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.

 

DAWMS-22. Daves 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.

 

Farfaline3. 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.

 

La_Piana___Mezza_49ca2e73abb964. 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.

 

36025. 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.

 

home-style-gravy6. Michaels 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.

 

FELICETTIPENNE-2T7. 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.

 

premiato_pastificio_afeltra_calamari8. 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.

 

artichoke_pasta_sauce_3009. 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.

 

10509534_537367276369779_558576898828685352_n10. 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 Unveils New Raw Honeys

2-GloryBeeFILL-SFFSGloryBee, 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.

Draft Beer Jelly Belly Beans

JellyBelly-SFFSDraft Beer flavor Jelly Belly® beans have taken the country by storm. Now available in bulk, bags and gift items, there are multiple ways to cool down with Draft Beer jelly beans. Created with beer-loving adults in mind, the Draft Beer jelly beans are alcohol-free and fit in perfectly with the craft beer trend. The gift packages are ideal for beer enthusiasts and easily double as keepsakes once the Draft Beer jelly beans have all been eaten.

In time for the gift-giving season, Draft Beer Jelly Belly beans are available in a collectible Draft Beer Can Tin, each containing pyramid bags filled with the new jelly bean. The gift-ready Draft Beer Glass Mini Mug is filled with Draft Beer and Jewel Cream Soda jelly beans to mimic the “foamy head” of a freshly poured glass of beer. The glass mug is the ideal size for beer tastings or for use as a shot glass for other drinks and festivities. The Draft Beer flavor of Jelly Belly beans is also available in the popular Jelly Belly Grab & Go® bag size. The 3.5-ounce bag is perfect for sharing with friends, gift bag additions and other social events.

Wicked Jack’s Tavern True Jamaican Rum Cakes Introduces Gluten-Free Option

Wicked Jack's AromaRidge-SFFSYour classic Butter Rum cake just got better for all to enjoy! Wicked Jack’s Tavern introduces its Gluten-Free Butter Rum Cake. The traditional yet adventurous Gluten-Free Butter Rum Cake is available in a 4-ounce size.

Rum lovers and cake lovers alike will fall for the exquisite, rich, full taste of Wicked Jack’s Tavern True Jamaican Rum Cakes, and now Jack can add gluten-free food lovers to the company’s mix of devotees. A classic, delicious rum cake recipe does not happen overnight, and in Wicked Jack’s small Georgia kitchen, the company’s circle of rum starters drew on generations of Jamaican tradition. They toiled, mixed and shaped their way to a line of traditional, wheat-rich rum cakes so flavorful and powerful that they have quickly gained a reputation as the best-tasting rum cakes available anywhere.

Wicked Jack’s classic rum cakes are baked in five distinct and unforgettable flavors, including Red Velvet Rum, Chocolate Rum, Caramel Rum, Rum Raisin and traditional Butter Rum – all made with Jamaican Rum. The company also offers a line of hand-roasted coffees in ground, whole bean and new single-cup servings.

For more information, visit www.wickedjackstavern.com.

Sarabeth’s Introduces Mini Jar Gift Box

Sarabeth's-SFFS (2)A perfect stocking stuffer, Sarabeth’s Mini Jar Gift Box consists of six 1.5-ounce jars of the most popular, award-winning flavors of Sarabeth’s Legendary Spreadable Fruit. The flavors include orange apricot marmalade, plum cherry, strawberry raspberry, mixed berry, pineapple mango and peach apricot. This neat little item will appeal to gift basket buyers, department stores, gourmet retailers, florists, corporate accounts and any store selling highly regarded branded merchandise. Sarabeth’s Mini Jar Gift Box is an ideal product for a thank you gift, housewarming present, dinner party invitation, a colleague’s birthday or for a Mother’s Day, Father’s Day or Secretary’s Day remembrance.

Sarabeth tested sales of this product at her own bakery in the Chelsea Market of New York City, and it quickly became one of the fastest moving items in the store. The product is available at a suggested retail price of $17.95.

Sensational Sweets Introduces SUPREME Pizzas with Pizazz

SensationalSweets-SFFSSensational Sweets recently announced new packaging and varieties for its line of handcrafted chocolate “Pizzas with Pizazz™.” The SUPREMES are built upon the original pizza, which has a popcorn lace crust, popcorn and pretzels, all drizzled with white chocolate. The SUPREME line includes No Melts, Chocolate Chips, Jelly Beans, Tropical Treat (lime and coconut), Sea Salt Caramel + Decorations, Dark Mint + Decorations, Cinnamon Cheesecake, Pumpkin and Raspberry. These Supremes are also available in the mini-sized pizzas. In addition, Sensational Sweets has expanded its gluten-free versions, now offering the option of gluten-free pretzels.

Additionally, new packaging choices include a large white box with a scalloped cello opening to highlight each large pizza and two choices of either white or brick red boxes with a scalloped opening for the Mini Pizzas. All the pizzas are shrink-wrapped and can still be packaged in the fun and distinctive pizza box. These SUPREME pizzas compliment the already great-selling original line.

The entire Sensational Sweets facility is nut-free and kosher certified. Visit the website for the pizza decoration choices, and view the rest of the company’s extensive product line at www.sensationalsweets.com. Call 570.524.4361 for more information.

Fast-Pak Trading Introduces New Products for Fall 2014

FastPak-OVSFor fall 2014, Fast-Pak Trading is introducing new packaging for its Va-Va homemade, gluten-free Mediterranean specialties. The new packaging is better suited to conform to American shelf space, and the company’s new labeling is better suited to conform to American sensibilities.

Va-Va’s top performers, including the creamy roasted red pepper spread Ajvar, the smoky roasted eggplant spread Malijano and the chunky vegetable salsa Lutenica, have been joined by a new line of specialty jams, which feature the unique flavors of pumpkin, red pepper, beetroot and carrot. And all Va-Va products are all-natural, gluten-free, non-GMO and vegan-friendly.

Also on tap for fall 2014 for Fast-Pak Trading are the frozen burek pies by Kadino. Baked fresh and immediately flash frozen, Kadino’s hefty burek (a traditional phyllo dough pastry filled with cheeses and vegetables) does a great deal of business at trade shows and in-store demos, and it fits perfectly in any freezer. Simply put the frozen burek in an oven and heat for 35-40 minutes, and you have a fresh-baked, ready-to-eat phyllo pastry.

You can find all of these products and more on the manufacturer’s website at www.fastpakstore.com.

La Sovana Brings the Best of the Tuscan Countryside to American Kitchens

1-La SovanaFILL-OVSAward-winning La Sovana extra-virgin olive oil, distributed in the United States by Mintie Wine & Spirits, is a renowned Italian single estate olive oil, combining a blend of leccino, moraiolo and coreggiolo olives. The olives are harvested at the peak of freshness and pressed by hand on the Olivi family’s Tuscan estate. Preserving the essence of the Italian countryside, the olives are pressed within 24 hours of being harvested.

La Sovana extra-virgin olive oil has been certified by the Consortium for the protection of PDO Extra Virgin Olive Oil DOP Terre di Siena. In addition, the product was recently awarded a Mention of Merit from the national Sirena d’Oro di Sorrento competition.

Already used in some of the finest restaurants in Europe, La Sovana extra-virgin olive oil is now being introduced to the American market. The oil is now available online at www.zingermans.com, as well as at The Cheese Store in Beverly Hills, California and in a growing number of specialty food stores.

For more information, visit the company online at www.lasovana.com/en/olio.

MarDona and Wild Forest Delight with Truffle-Infused Olive Oils

WildForestProducts-OVSMarDona Specialty Foods and Wild Forest Products are all about great taste, great prices, convenience and consistency. Together, the brands import the finest olive oil and truffle essence from Italy to create their highly regarded and sought after truffle products. Their Pure Olive Oil blended with truffle essence from Italy creates their signature Black and White Truffle Olive Oils.

Wild Forest and MarDona brands are best known for their truffle infused olive oils. These oils are available to the retail trade in 8-ounce doric bottles, packaged six per case. MarDona has also become famous for the inventive presentation of its 4-ounce Truffle Oil Spray, available in black and white varieties. The sprays were designed to dispense a predetermined amount of olive oil at a low 2.5 calories per spray.

For the foodservice sector, Wild Forest and MarDona provide 1-gallon jugs and 5-gallon food service pails. Many restaurants from the neighborhood burger shop to the gourmet fine dining establishment are using the brands’ truffle olive oils to create great dishes such as truffle fries, truffle burgers, pastas and so much more.

MarDona and Wild Forest believe in making a quality product with quality ingredients. Their mission is to bring to the American people the best in quality truffle oil at the most reasonable prices possible. You can find MarDona and Wild Forest products in some of the finest gourmet shops in the United States, as well as at Whole Foods Markets and online at www.truffleoilsandmore.com.

 

Retailers Finding Greater Worldwide Selection of Imported Olive Oils

shutterstock_210094447 (2)By Dave Bernard

If you peruse the aisles of Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s or sit down to dinner at many a gourmet restaurant, that delicious extra-virgin olive oil you are either buying, dipping into or enjoying on flakes of halibut quite likely came from Italy or Spain. With the countries combining to ship more than two thirds of all U.S. EVOO imports, gourmet chefs and home cooks have plenty of high-quality and healthful oils to choose from when calling on these traditional powerhouses.

Look closely though, and among the elegant bottles of various sizes filling the olive oil section at your local grocery store, you will spot a 33.8-ounce can from another Mediterranean country that has got a few interesting oils of its own: Tunisia. Tunisia and nearby Morocco now both track in the top 10 producing countries for U.S.-sold EVOO.

“Our customers just love the taste of the Moroccan,” said Darya Suddreth President of Carolinas-based The Olive Shoppe stores, commenting on the growing popularity of olive oils from this often neglected Mediterranean locale. At The Olive Shoppe, the Moroccan EVOO ($16.95 for 375 milliliters) sells most briskly, better even than the company’s popular blend from Italy’s renowned EVOO-producing Umbria region. The Moroccan green olive oil, sold under private label like all of the company’s oils, contains mild notes of green fruit that partner with smooth and buttery notes of ripe olive, finishing with hints of creaminess and a slight peppering at the back of the throat.

You do not need to hug the Mediterranean, however, to find high-quality EVOO offerings. Six thousand miles and an equator line away, Chile has been steadily building a reputation with its award-winning mild and fruity oils. No less than 13 of the country’s EVOO producers earned outstanding scores in the prestigious Flos Olei olive oil guide for 2012. Chile (the eighth leading U.S. supplier) has a couple olive oil-producing neighbors of its own, with Argentina (fifth) and newly minted International Olive Council member Uruguay also turning out flavorful award-winning oils.

While Italy and Spain continue to dominate the U.S. market, accounting for a combined 67 percent share of 2013 U.S. olive oil sales, this actually marked a 9-point drop from the previous four-year average. Meanwhile, “second tier” producers from South America and the Mediterranean, including previously mentioned Tunisia and Morocco, but also Turkey, Lebanon and others, have been gradually bottling their way into the picture.

Whether it’s the mild and fruity Chilean oils, the bold and robust Australian products or the sought after gourmet oils from Turkey or Argentina, American consumers are expanding their olive oil palates and finding it increasingly easy to do so, simply by stopping at their favorite local gourmet shop.

“What’s happening in the food world in general is that, with the Food Network and all of those things that have grown within the last decade, people are cooking more at home, and they’re returning to whole natural food and high-quality ingredients,” said Eryn Balch, Executive Vice President of the North American Olive Oil Association. “And with extra-virgin olive oil in particular, people are starting to understand that it’s really very much like wine. You can have different extra-virgin olive oil from different regions, from different types of olives, or different types of olives blended together, just like wine, where you get this huge range of flavors and huge range of options – everything from the store brand stuff up to small-estate, high-quality, high-priced options.”

While second-tier producers in the Southern Hemisphere face challenges breaking into a U.S. market long dominated by Italy and Spain, these relatively young suppliers have some advantages as well, the biggest of which is, quite simply, the sun. With their opposing season harvest time, Southern Hemisphere countries like Chile, Argentina, South African and Australia offer fresh product while heavy producers like Spain and Italy are off-season.

“We’ve got amazing Mediterranean growing conditions here, and we’re producing our oils six months after the equivalent oils in the Northern Hemisphere,” said Tim Smith, Sales and Marketing Director of Cobram Estate, an award-winning Australian producer that this year debuted its premium oils to U.S. consumers. From early July through December, consumers seeking the absolute freshest olive oil can look to Southern Hemisphere producers, and companies like Cobram are making it easy to do so. Cobram has been a top performer two years running at the prestigious New York International Olive Oil Competition, winning five gold medals, including two Best in Class oils in this year’s competition. The company plans to offer U.S. consumers even fresher oil when it begins growing olives and producing oil in a new California operation that is in its early stages. Cobram Estate’s selection of premium oils have U.S. suggested retail prices of $9 to $50, with its 2014 Best in Class Première Extra Virgin Olive Oil selling for $12 for 375 milliliters and its Best in Class Reserve Hojiblanca Extra Virgin Olive Oil selling for $20 to $25 for 500 milliliters.

For some of the more successful second tier producing countries, the key to finding that success has been in building awareness and education among U.S. consumers. Tunisian olive oil, for instance, has been served on American tables virtually since European oil imports began, although not too many consumers knew it, since oils from Tunisia, the world’s second largest net exporter, were branded under Italian and other countries’ labels. One northern Tunisian company has single-handedly changed that over the last two and a half years, however. CHO gave the country its first branded olive oils and has quickly become a factor in the U.S. market, with the company’s gourmet EVOO and organic EVOO appearing in about 4,000 U.S. retailers, a figure that is growing at 100 percent annually.

“We started in a market where consumers did not know much about Tunisian olive oil,” said Wajih Rekik, CEO of CHO America, whose Terra Delyssa EVOO and organic EVOO brand boasts gold medal recognition from Israel’s prestigious international Terraolivo competition and Best in Show accolades from Biofach Germany, the world’s largest organic food and agriculture show. “But the smooth, fresh flavor of our oils are perfect for everyday use,” Rekik continued. “They don’t overpower any other ingredients when cooking, and they can be used in salads and for dipping.” Operating with a completely in-house business model that accounts for its products from tree to retail shelf (CHO even maintains its own importing offices in the United States and other countries), the company has gone from 0 to 4,000 stores in quick fashion. CHO olive oils retail in the United States from $2.99 for 8.5 ounces to $24.99 for 101 ounces.

With small and large global producers continuing to churn out award-winning oils and making their way onto U.S. gourmet market shelves, the outlook is for future growth of such imports as Americans gain both knowledge of and desire for the highest-quality and healthiest extra-virgin olive oil.