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New Online Service Offers Same-Day Specialty Foods Deliveries in San Francisco

An online service offering on-demand, same-day delivery of wine, spirits, specialty foods, and more has launched in San Francisco. To celebrate its launch, the company is offering San Francisco area residents free same-day delivery. Lasso users can order a bottle of champagnefresh cheese and charcuterie and have the order delivered in less than two hours or up to 30 days in advance. Available on desktop and through an iPhone app, Lasso currently serves San Francisco, with more markets coming soon. Lasso is the first online service to provide same day delivery of spirits in San Francisco.

“Lasso’s mission is to help reconnect people with the best local stores in their community, starting with artisan beverage and food purveyors,” said Adam Zbar, co-founder and CEO of Lasso. “During our pre-launch trial, we were excited to see unexpectedly fast sales growth and large order sizes validating the strong latent demand and product market fit for our service.”

“We built Lasso to make shopping locally as easy and convenient as shopping online,” added co-founder and CTO Braxton Woodham. “During the hectic holiday season, we offer the fastest and easiest way to host an event and send gifts locally.”

The company also announced it closed a $1.7M seed financing round led by PivotNorth Capital and including investments from Baseline Ventures, U.S. Venture Partners, and Relevance Capital. High profile angel investors include Sukhinder Singh Cassidy, CEO Joyus, former president of Asia/Latin America, Google; Ted Meisel, former CEO Overture (acquired by Yahoo for$1.6B); and Lars Albright and Andy Miller, co-founders of Quattro Wireless (acquired by Apple for $275M). The company will use the funds to develop the service, build technology and scale the business.

“At PivotNorth, we like world-class founders disrupting very large markets with innovations in computer science,” said Tim Connors, PivotNorth’s founder. “Lasso has architected a first-to-market service that connects consumers with local inventory in the $4.7 trillion local retail shopping market.”

Lasso supports small businesses and plays a pivotal role in extending their distribution and providing an important new revenue channel.

“Especially during the holidays, our bandwidth to acquire new customers and distribution channels is limited,” said Ray Bair, owner of Cheese Plus in San Francisco’s Russian Hill neighborhood, which is one of Lasso’s merchant partners at launch. Added Michael Priolo, an owner of The Jug Shop, “Since working with Lasso, we’re pleased to say we’ve seen an increase in our wine and spirit sales, generating thousands of dollars a week in additional revenue for our store.”

To order same day wine, cheese and more, or for more information, visit or download the iPhone app: To inquire about joining Lasso’s online marketplace, contact To follow Lasso on Facebook and Twitter, go to and @lassolocal.

Introducing MARCHESI “Liquid Gold” Extra Virgin Olive Oil from the Sabina D.O.P.

Copy of A10For 2,600 years, the hills of Sabina have been home to the “Oliveti Secolari” the oldest olive trees in Europe. Today, nine historic olive varietals originating in the Sabina hills are blended into the velvety “liquid gold” that is MARCHESI Sabina D.O.P. Extra Virgin Olive Oil. True to its origin, Sabina D.O.P. is aromatic with notes of fresh herbs and artichoke. Sabina D.O.P.boasts an excellent balance of fruit and spice and is smooth on the palate.

The “Sabina” begins at Rome and extends from the left bank of the Tiber River to just past the Sabini Mountains. Its lush, hilly landscape is dotted by medieval villages, castles and ancient monasteries. Yet it’s the olive groves, green valleys and forest laden mountains that dominate this ancient countryside.

consorzio sabina dopSABINA was the first extra virgin olive oil to receive the coveted D.O.P. (Denominazione di Origine Protteta, the Italian designation that indicates that the product is guaranteed to come from a specific limited area of origin). This guarantees the SABINA D.O.P. extra virgin olive oil from MARCHESI is from the designated area of Sabina and that its production and processes result in a final product of the highest quality and integrity.

Po Valley Foods is currently one of only a few importers of Sabina D.O.P.Extra Virgin Olive Oil. It is available in a 500 ml tin with a suggested retail price of $17.95. For further information, contact Po Valley Foods by emailing or calling 516-801-4688.


New AngelBowls Deliver Homemade Taste and Flavor with Fresh Non GMO Ingredients

A new line of AngelBowls is appearing in the freezer cases at Sprouts Farmers Market stores this December.  By combining the highest quality vegetables with made-from-scratch sauces, AngelBowls frozen entrées serve up great taste with clean ingredients, exceptional value and culinary convenience for the perfect work day lunch or weekday meal component.

The first five AngelBowls  (retailing at Sprouts for $4.49) are made with non-GMO ingredients from the veggies themselves to the oil they are cooked in. They’re being sold at Sprouts Farmers Market stores across the country.

AngelBowVeggie_zps6b6109adThe AngelBowl lineup includes Mediterranean Eggplant Parmesan, Roasted Vegetable & Goat Cheese Gratin, Vegetable Bruschetta & Mozzarella, Penne Pasta in Parma Rosa Sauce and Corkscrew Pasta & Creamy Tomato Vodka Sauce.

Served in an eco-friendly bowl packaged in a recyclable outer carton, AngelBowls offer a premium eating experience with vegetables that are uniformly diced, ensuring the perfect flavor combination in every bite. Health conscious consumers can rest assured that they are purchasing the best of the best from the frozen food aisle, as each of the AngelBowls has conscientious levels of sodium and calories, while the clean ingredients and creative sauces provide a burst of flavor that is appealing to even the most discerning palate.

The new AngelBowls brand is a strategic line expansion by parent company, Dominex, which has been providing eggplant products to consumers for more than 25 years. With this latest product introduction, Dominex continues its promise to deliver exceptional taste and flavors with the cleanest of ingredients at an affordable price.

Emmi Roth Cheeses Take Medals at World Cheese Awards

Emmi Roth USA’s Roth®Grand Cru®Original and Roth Grand Cru Reserve each received a bronze medal at this year’s World Cheese Awards in the United Kingdom, bringing the total number of awards won for U.S.-produced cheeses in 2013 to 24, a new record.


Grand Cru Original wheel

Grand Cru Original wheel


The flagship cheese of the Roth product line, Grand Cru is an Alpine-style cheese crafted from fresh, high-quality Wisconsin milk. Drawing from Swiss inspirations, Grand Cru is made in traditional copper vats and carefully cured by Roth cellar masters to reflect the distinct terroir of America’s dairyland. Grand Cru Original, a beautiful melting cheese, is cured at least four months, while Grand Cru Reserve is aged six to eight months to create a robust flavor with earthy and nutty undertones.


Grand Cru Reserve wheel

Grand Cru Reserve wheel

This competition brings together the world’s best cheesemakers, and we are extremely proud that our cheeses continue to receive recognition on a global stage,” said Steve Millard, CEO and President of Emmi Roth USA. “It’s a tribute to the dedication and passion of our cheesemakers and cellar masters who craft and cure our cheeses.” 

Emmi Roth’s parent company, Emmi of Switzerland, also took home 17 medals, including three “Super Golds.” Available in the U.S., through Emmi Roth USA, is Kaltbach Cave-Aged Le Gruyère AOP.

Emmi hand selects the very best cheeses from the top Gruyère producers for further aging in the Kaltbach caves. The conditions inside this nature-made sandstone cave are ideal. The cool, humid air aided by a stream running throughout the cave, allows for the cheeses to acquire a dense texture flecked with calcium lactate crystals, a true masterpiece in the art of cheese.

Hosted by the U.K.’s Guild of Fine Food, the World Cheese Awards is the world’s largest cheese event and the most respected competition of its type. This year, 250 judges scored more than 2,700 cheeses from 34 different countries across the globe, including the U.K., France, Belgium, Austria, Switzerland, New Zealand, Spain, and the U.S. 

For additional details on awards in 2013 and previous years, visit

Wholly Wholesome Pie Shells Awarded Yoshon Certification

Wholly Wholesome, which provides natural and organic baked goods, has secured Yoshon certification on its Traditional, Wheat and Spelt Organic Pie Shells. This certification allows Wholly Wholesome Pie Shells to appeal and to satisfy a broader group of consumers with their products. The move to Yoshon certification further aids the brand in its quest to appeal to unique consumer niches with the best quality product—meeting family needs across a wide variety of dietary needs. Today, Wholly Wholesome also represents a growing number of products in the gluten-free, all-natural, kosher and allergy-specific categories.

What is the importance of being Yoshon certified? For situations such as a party where one wants to accommodate everyone, there is no difference in taste between Yoshon and non-Yoshon products. But more importantly, the kosher food industry is beginning to recognize that Yoshon observance is a new, growing trend among kosher consumers. Products marked with Yoshon certification contain only Yoshon grains, including wheat, oats, spelt, rye and barley and meet the requirements of being marked as kosher. Consumers that are Yoshon-only are becoming prominent in the New York and New Jersey areas, as well as other communities in the U.S. and internationally.

We are always looking to expand our focus on improving options for consumers with specific dietary needs” said Doon Wintz, President of Wholly Wholesome. “The number of kosher consumers is increasing in many parts of the United States, which is what inspired us to pursue this certification. We’ve been focusing on this niche category and are proud to be able to enhance our product line with a product that consumers, both kosher and non-kosher, will enjoy.”

Wholly Wholesome 9-inch Organic Pie Shells come in packs of two in Traditional, Wheat and Spelt varieties, with baking instructions included right on the package. Made naturally, Wholly Wholesome Pie Shells are suitable for any consumer looking for a healthier option. 

Spelt Right Foods Named Finalist in Next BIG Food Thing contest

Brooklyn-based Spelt Right Foods, with roots in the state of Maine, is a finalist in Fresh Direct’s Next BIG Food Thing contest, a crowd funding campaign created to “find the next food idea, product or innovation that could change the food world.”

Spelt Right Foods is at the forefront of creating healthy and delicious breads, bagels, pizza dough and snacks made with the ancient grain spelt. Spelt, once lost in obscurity, is experiencing a resurgence in popularity because of its depth of flavor, health benefits and ease of digestibility. Spelt Right was founded in a small mill in Maine in 2008 producing products for northern New England customers. In 2012, Spelt Right moved to Brooklyn, NY joining with partners seasoned in the food industry, to expand the product line and distribution network of this mission-based food company.

Spelt Right’s founder, Beth George, created the product line because of a need to fill a void for her young son who has significant food sensitivities, especially to common wheat and many artificial additives. “I soon realized that my son was not the only one who needs great tasting, healthy bread products that are made with alternative grains and real ingredients. There are legions of consumers seeking tasty breads that are made with good clean and easily digestible ingredients, not fillers and a list of chemicals so long we need a chemistry textbook to decipher them.”

Spelt Right products are made with organic spelt, and are complemented by simple, pure, Non-GMO certified ingredients. Spelt Right has won fans from across the country through its on-line store.  The products are distributed to cafes, colleges, Whole Foods Markets, specialty, health food, and kosher stores throughout New England, New York, and New Jersey.

With the intent to expand the reach of Spelt Right and make spelt a staple in most American kitchens, Beth George recognizes the need for more infrastructure and knowledge to increase spelt production in the United States.

Through funds raised in the RocketHub crowdfunding platform, Spelt Right plans to continue its collaboration with the University of Maine extension program for additional studies for the cultivation of spelt, particularly in regard to underutilized farmland in the northeast. These studies would be available to farms seeking a working knowledge of growing this alternative and viable crop. In addition to creating great tasting Spelt Right products and promoting the cultivation of spelt, Beth George promotes the sharing of information on the connection between diet and behavior, learning, and health, a topic closely aligned with the origins of Spelt Right. She volunteers for the Feingold Association providing outreach on this topic.

The Next BIG Food Thing contest winner will be chosen based on a range of criteria including – amount of funds raised, funder engagement, and overall quality of the idea. The business with the winning idea will receive $10,000 and the chance to partner with FreshDirect, a food supplier in metropolitan New York and Philadelphia. Two runners-up will receive $2,500 each to fund their businesses. The judges include David McInerney, the co-founder of FreshDirect; Geoff Bartakovics, the CEO of Tasting Table; Natasha Case, the CEO of Coolhaus; Sarah Copeland, the food director of Real Simple; and John Craven, the founder of BevNet.

Discover New Mustard Flavors on the New Maille Website Boutique

Discover New Mustard Flavours on the New Maille Website BoutiqueWith Maille’s new online boutique, lovers of fine foods will discover a world of mustard delights they never knew existed. Maille’s new range of flavors opens up the imagination, beginning with classic combinations such as white wine and blue cheese and branching out into extraordinary new tastes, using fruits, flowers and spirits. You will find a flavor for every type of cook and every type of cooking.

For a citrus burst, try Candied Orange Peel and Ginger. There is Pesto and Rocket for a nutty, peppery kick. For those who are more inclined towards the sweeter things in life, the Mustard with White Wine, Mirabelle Plums and Plum Brandy is impossible to resist.

The Maille gift boxes make a special and unique present for anyone, from a close family member or friend to a colleague at work. Even that unfamiliar Secret Santa is sure to be delighted by these stunning packages.


The Traditional Collection comes in either the classic packaging or in a beautiful wooden box, which would give even the shabbiest kitchen a classy, rustic look. Products in the Traditional line include everything from Parmesan Cheese with Basil to vibrant Cassis de Dijon, with blackcurrant liqueur and a matching red wine vinegar. The Woodland Collection too is available for purchase in an intriguing wooden box and is packed full of woody and nutty flavours, from Walnut Oil to Mustard with Chablis White Wine and Morel Mushrooms. Or why not experience a burst of the Mediterranean? Sun-dried tomatoes, chilli and figs radiate from the Sunshine Collection, an assortment of five mustards that is sure to bring warmth to any kitchen.

If you are of the opinion that a meal just is not complete without some form of alcohol, there are several Maille mustards that should be right up your street. The collection of wine and spirit enhanced mustards will add an intense and sophisticated taste to whatever you choose to apply your chosen mustard to, be it cordon bleu cooking or a slice of bread. As well as jars featuring alcohol from Chablis to Cognac, mustards straight from the pump combine with a range of white wines to produce a strong, refined flavour. From the simple Mustard with White Wine to the sinful Mustard with Chablis White Wine and Black Truffles, there is fresh mustard for every pocket, each served up in gorgeous traditional stoneware jars. Your meals will never be the same again, with these sumptuous mustards enhancing every bite.

Chobani Introduces First 100-Calorie Greek Yogurt Made With Only Natural Ingredients

Chobani, maker of America’s No. 1–selling Greek Yogurt brand, is poised to revolutionize the dairy aisle again with the launch of Chobani Simply 100™ Greek Yogurt, the first and only 100-calorie authentic strained Greek yogurt made with only natural ingredients.

Available in six flavors — blueberry, strawberry, pineapple, peach, black cherry and vanilla — Chobani Simply 100 yogurt gives calorie-conscious consumers what they’ve been craving — a wholesome, delicious 100-calorie Greek yogurt made without artificial sweeteners.

“Our food philosophy is essential to our brand and evident in everything we make, say and do. Anything with the Chobani name has to be delicious, nutritious, made with only natural ingredients and accessible to everyone,” said Hamdi Ulukaya, Founder and CEO of Chobani. “Until now, consumers looking for a 100-calorie Greek yogurt with natural ingredients haven’t had an option. For us, it’s about being best to market — and we think the time we’ve spent perfecting Chobani Simply 100 has resulted in a product worth the wait.”

As with all Chobani products, Chobani Simply 100 Greek Yogurt is made with milk, real fruit, and live and active cultures. To achieve the best balance of taste, calories and nutrition, this innovation features a proprietary blend of three natural sweeteners — monk fruit, stevia leaf extract and evaporated cane juice.

Each delicious 100-calorie cup is an excellent source of protein (12 grams) and fiber (5 grams), is a good source of calcium, and contains 0 grams of fat.

Chobani Simply 100 Greek Yogurt is available in 5.3-ounce single-serve cups, four-count multipacks and a 32-ounce size in vanilla. Chobani Simply 100 has a suggested retail price of $1.29 per cup and will be available nationwide starting this month.

Top Trends in Gourmet Gifts this Holiday Season: Chocolate, Baked Treats, Adult Refreshments and Gluten-Free Goodies

America’s appetite for specialty foods hit a record high last year, with consumers spending $86 billion on everything from artisanal chocolates and cheese to oils and charcuterie. To help food enthusiasts navigate the wealth of food-gift choices available this holiday season, the Specialty Food Association recently released the results of a survey that reveal the top product categories, flavors and ingredients.

Responses from 250 specialty food producers and retailers showed that the three hottest holiday product categories are perennial favorites: chocolate (42 percent), baked goods (36 percent) and alcoholic beverages (25 percent).

Number 4 on the list is a relative newcomer: gluten-free foods, which were named the “hottest” specialty food category by 20 percent of respondents.

“Specialty food producers bring craft and care to the foods they create every day and are taking it up a notch for the holidays,” said Denise Purcell, editor of Specialty Food Media. “Whether a traditional favorite like chocolate or a new twist on a classic like gluten-free peppermint cookies, you can tell by the taste, appearance and packaging that you’re giving the gift of a special food experience.”

According to the survey, specialty food professionals predict that consumers will gravitate to a mix of traditional and non-traditional flavors and ingredients this season. The top traditional flavors include chocolate, pumpkin, ginger and peppermint. The top non-traditional flavors and ingredients include sea salt, bacon, bourbon and truffles.

What do specialty food professionals themselves want for the holidays? Alcoholic beverages (30 percent), chocolate (26 percent) and baked goods (23 percent) are popular choices, as are gifts of cheese, olive oil, charcuterie and coffee.

New Study Finds Corn Oil Superior to Extra Virgin Olive Oil in Lowering Cholesterol

Corn oil significantly reduces cholesterol with more favorable changes in total cholesterol (TC) and LDL-C than extra virgin olive oil, new research shows. The findings were presented last week at the American Society for Nutrition’s Advances & Controversies in Clinical Nutrition Conference by lead researcher, Dr. Kevin C Maki, PhD, of Biofortis, the clinical research arm of Merieux NutriSciences.

Among the 54 healthy men and women in the feeding study, consumption of foods made with corn oil resulted in significantly lower levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol and total cholesterol than the same foods made with extra virgin olive oil. Corn oil lowered LDL cholesterol by 10.9 percent compared to extra virgin olive oil’s 3.5 percent reduction, and total cholesterol decreased by 8.2 percent with corn oil compared to 1.8 percent for extra virgin olive oil. Study participants received four tablespoons of corn oil or extra virgin olive oil in the foods provided every day, consistent with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommendations.  All foods were provided to the study participants as part of a weight maintenance diet.

The randomized, double-blind, controlled crossover clinical trial assessed the effects of dietary oils on fasting lipoprotein lipids. The study compared the effects of corn and extra virgin olive oil on LDL cholesterol (primary outcome variable), total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol), Non-HDL cholesterol, Triglycerides and the total to HDL cholesterol ratio. Study participants had fasting LDL cholesterol ≥130 mg/dL and <200 mg/dL. Fasting blood samples, along with other clinical measurements, were taken from all participants during visits to the clinical study center before and after each treatment phase of the study.

“The study results suggest corn oil has significantly greater effects on blood cholesterol levels than extra virgin olive oil, due, in part, to the natural cholesterol-blocking ability of plant sterols,” said Dr. Maki. “These findings add to those from prior research supporting corn oil’s positive heart health benefits.”

Cardiovascular disease remains the number one cause of death in the United States. Existing research supports the notion diets containing at least 5-10 percent of calories from polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) from vegetable oils, are associated with lower risk for heart disease.

Corn oil has a unique combination of healthy fatty acids and plant sterols, which research suggests help lower cholesterol. Corn oil has four times more plant sterols than olive oil and 40 percent more than canola oil. Based on analysis of corn oil and 2013 USDA comparison of other cooking oils, corn oil has a plant sterols content of 135.6 mg/serving vs. 30.0 mg/serving for olive oil. Plant sterols are plant-based substances naturally present in fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, cereals, legumes and vegetable oils, such as corn oil. To the extent that plant sterols play a part in reducing blood cholesterol levels, they could have an important role in a heart healthy diet. 

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