Published on March 4th, 2011 | by Greg0
Fancy Food Snacks and Cookie-Fu
When we're not busy testing the latest gadgets and following the updates on the iPad 2, we're probably either cooking or eating. We always walk away from the Fancy Food Show with our eyes bigger than our stomachs, desperate to try out everything at the show. But we generally can't really get a good feel for what works or doesn't in the crowded Moscone Center, so we spend the next month running taste tests of various kinds. We've covered cakes and mixers recently, but today's focus is on snack foods, and a bit of a random addition, a sort-of board game, Cookie-Fu.
We'll start with Stonewall Kitchen. They sent us two items to try out, the Carmelized Onion Mustard and Wild Maine Blueberry Champagne Jam. As usual, their packaging is lovely- perfect for gift-giving. We opted to finish them off ourselves though, using the mustard well beyond hotdogs and hamburgers and instead throwing into dishes as disparate as Italian pasta and some Chinese fusion. It works well, balancing the savory, and isn't as spicy as some mustards so lends itself more to use as another flavor rather than the main one. The jam featured in a few of our recent brunches, as it goes great with pancakes/waffles and mimosas. One tester mentioned the champagne overpowering the blueberries a bit, others said that they liked that it wasn't too sweet and felt quite "real". Texturally, it's interesting- lots of tiny blueberries! Overall, both are recommended, and are available $3.50 or $7.75 for the jam depending on size, and $5.95 for the mustard.
We've also been sampling some goods from Terrafina- Natural Omega3 Mix, Milk Chocolate Pretzels, and
Natural Cranberries. It was an odd assortment with small amounts of each, that looked to be from bulk containers. Nothing caught our attention here- it was all good, fairly fresh, just pretty standard. But one item that did stand out were the Le Nibble Cheese and Chives Crackers. They have two other flavors as well- Olive/Rosemary and Sea Salt- and our initial impression was of the slightly-odd packaging. From the ingredient list (0.2% chive) to the 12.5 cracker recommended serving size, as well as the "handmade in France" label, we found ourselves amused. But the crackers were quite good, addictive even, and were classy. With the appearance of tiny waffles, the Le Nibble were some of the better crackers we've tried- testers agreed that they weren't "too cheesy", and "felt light and healthy". They seem to be hard to find though, and their website was down at press time so we are linking instead to their official profile.
Finally, we bring you Cookie Fu. This is a tongue-in-cheek game, cleverly packaged in a lookalike Chinese takeout box. It comes with a fortune cookie inside, which felt a bit like a gimmick. But the fortune is special, and kind of cute. Basically a custom dice game, your face off against your opponent using martial arts moves like strikes, kicks, blocks, grabs, throws, and the slightly-odd chi. There are "Clans", and a odd way to determine turn order, but we didn't love how the game encourages you to buy "boosters" and such. The gameplay itself lends itself to kids, not adults or even late teens, and though probably fun for a family game, we found that the concept wore thin as chance-based games tend to do. It's easy to learn, and can fit up to 6 players, and does offer really nice dice and some fun strategic twists… but we couldn't quite get into it. At press time, the store was down, but prices range from $6-$20.