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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.

Moonstruck Meadery Produces Best Mead in the World According to Media Organization

Moonstruck Meadery MedalsMead, the alcoholic beverage made from honey, may be the world’s oldest fermented drink. The potable is now creating a buzz throughout the world. And, according to the World Association of Wine Writers and Journalists, the United States’ Moonstruck Meadery produces the best mead in the world. The organization named the company’s Capsumel pepper mead as number one among the 100 best meads in the world.

Every year, the WAWWJ classifies wines and wineries that participate in different wine contests held around the world. Their products are evaluated anonymously by the best specialists. Moonstruck Meadery came in first among meads for its unique pepper mead, Capsumel. Capsumel has traveled the world from the United States to competitions in Argentina, Israel and Ukraine. Each competition brought the unique beverage double gold and gold awards.

Capsumel has a unique taste and the nose of a fresh pepper garden with a harmonious blend of serrano, jalapeño and Anaheim peppers. The company is very grateful to be recognized as the world’s first place mead from professional judges around the world.

“We have a passion about mead, and Capsumel is a direct result of that,” said Brian Schlueter, owner of Moonstruck Meadery. “Mead is exploding in popularity. It’s truly the new delicious flavor people are looking for. One taste is all it takes.”

According to Schlueter, mead production has an all-around positive impact on the economy and the environment. “It directly helps the bees, the farmers, the foods we eat,” he said. “We are very grateful to produce mead and [are] looking forward to expanding our distribution so that others may enjoy this unique beverage from long ago.”

Chris Webber, President of the American Mead Makers Association, is excited for the growth he sees in terms of the overall popularity of mead among U.S. consumers. “The American mead industry is growing by leaps and bounds, and we can’t wait to see what the future holds,” he said.

For more information on Nebraska-based Moonstruck Meadery, visit www.moonstruckmead.com.

Tortuga Rum Cake Company Brings Caribbean Flair to U.S. Gourmet Market Shelves

TortugaRumCake1-SBBy Dave Bernard

If you are one of the 20 million tourists that visit the Caribbean each year, you might have had the chance, after dinner and a stroll along the beachfront in Nassau or Montego Bay, to taste a delightful dessert that does big business in the islands not to mention the United States, but that does it with a homemade just-out-of-the-oven flair: Tortuga Rum Cakes.

Some 30 years after founder Capt. Robert Hamaty took a secret family recipe and set out to share it with the world, the Tortuga Rum Cake Company ships seven varieties of rum cakes in brightly colored hexagonal boxes to 70 countries and generates high-volume sales through the travel retail channel. The cakes are sold in the United States seasonally in large grocery and specialty food retailers.

“There’s a romanticism associated with Tortuga Rum Cake. It’s something that customers find to be rare and unique,” said Monique Hamaty-Simmonds, Tortuga’s Chief Marketing Officer and daughter of the company’s founder

While Tortuga receives virtual sackfuls of customer emails from U.S. tourists to the Caribbean, they often do not hear from these visitors until they arrive back home. Hamaty-Simmonds quotes some typical customer responses: “Wow, I can’t believe my eyes, I had that while in Jamaica!” and “It’s the best cake I have ever had.”

TortugaRumCake2-SBTortuga’s cakes come in sizes ranging from 4 to 33 ounces and in seven different flavors: Golden Original, Chocolate Rum, Coconut Rum, Blue Mountain Coffee Rum, Banana Rum, Key Lime Rum and Pineapple Rum. The 4-ounce cakes are also available in six-packs, and the 16-ounce size is also available in cases of nine cakes. Tortuga also offers attractive shipper display cases to retailers as well.

The company boasts a variety of offerings beyond its namesake cakes, offering gourmet coffees, rum balls, candies and fudge, as well as pepper jelly and a line of seven cooking sauces. Based in the Cayman Islands, Tortuga employs 100 workers across all units and has a staff of 12 in the United States, with offices in Miami. The company estimates it will grow 10 percent over the next two years.

In surveying the U.S. gourmet food industry, Hamaty-Simmonds sees a lot of the family business in the U.S. market. “There are so many entrepreneurs in the industry, people with the next big gourmet product, someone looking to share their secret family recipe just like our company has done,” she said. “I see continued industry growth, and that will mean more shelf space for specialty and gourmet foods in the larger grocery chains across the U.S.”

For more information on Tortuga Rum Cake Company, visit the company online at www.tortugarumcakes.com.

American Appetite for Organic Products Breaks through $35 Billion Mark

American consumers have not had their fill of organic products yet. In fact, sales of organic products in the United States jumped to $35.1 billion in 2013, up 11.5 percent from the previous year’s $31.5 billion and the fastest growth rate in five years. This is according to the latest survey on the organic industry from the Organic Trade Association.

Americans’ hunger for organic products is not expected to ease any time soon. The OTA survey projects that growth rates over the next two years will at least keep pace with the 2013 clip and even slightly exceed it.

“The U.S. organic market is experiencing strong expansion, with organic food and farming continuing to gain in popularity,” said Laura Batcha, Executive Director and CEO of OTA. “Consumers are making the correlation between what we eat and our health, and that knowledge is spurring heightened consumer interest in organic products.”

According to the survey, organic food sales in 2013, at $32.3 billion, accounted for roughly 92 percent of overall organic sales. Non-food organic products, including flowers, fiber, household products and pet food, are currently a very small part of the total organic market, but are making quick in-roads. Sales of non-food organic products – at almost $2.8 billion – have jumped nearly eight-fold since 2002 and have almost doubled in market share.

A niche industry in the huge food sector just a decade ago, consumer purchases of organic food first broke through the $30 billion mark in 2012 and now account for more than 4 percent of the $760 billion annual food sales in the United States. More telling, the growth rate of organic food sales, which has averaged almost 10 percent every year since 2010, has dwarfed the average annual growth of just over 3 percent in total food sales during that same period.

A product breakdown of the organic food sector shows that the fruit and vegetable category continues to lead the sector with $11.6 billion in sales, up 15 percent. With more than 10 percent of the fruits and vegetables sold in the United States now organic, the $1.5 billion in new sales of organic fruits and vegetable represented 46 percent of the organic sector’s $3.3 billion in new dollars.

The relatively small organic condiments category posted the strongest growth, at 17 percent, to reach sales of $830 million. Also showing double-digit growth were the organic snack food sector (up 15 percent to $1.7 billion), organic bread and grains (up 12 percent to $3.8 billion), organic meat, poultry and fish (up 11 percent to $675 million) and the rapidly expanding organic packaged and prepared food sector (up 10 percent to $4.8 billion).

Just two categories of the organic food sector showed single-digit growth rates. The $4.9 billion dairy sector grew by 8 percent, and sales of organic beverages slowed to a 5 percent growth rate to around $4 billion.