Category Archives: New Products

Icelandic Yogurt — Oh, Yes!

Push aside the Greek. Make way for Icelandic yogurt. This one is full of shreds of coconut.

Push aside the Greek. Make way for Icelandic yogurt. This one is full of shreds of coconut.

 

Remember the first time you went gah-gah for Greek yogurt?

Then, prepare to go insane for the Icelandic style.

I admit I’d never had Icelandic yogurt (skyr) until recently when Petaluma’s Smari sent me samples to try.

In short, they blew my taste buds away.

Icelandic yogurt has been made for generations from nonfat milk that’s heated with a culture, then strained and strained again. Smari makes its from organic, grass-fed Jersey and Guernsey milk, which is thicker, richer and more nutrient-dense than most. While its original yogurts were made from skim milk, it recently introduced the first Icelandic-style yogurts made with whole milk.

What you notice with these yogurts is how exceedingly creamy and thick they are, especially the whole milk varieties. They’re the consistency of a decadent pudding.

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Umpqua — Oatmeal with a Funny Name and a Great Taste

Umpqua oatmeal contains a generous amount of custom-milled oats.

Umpqua oatmeal contains a generous amount of custom-milled oats.

 

Umpqua. Say it with me now, “ump-kwah.”

Not that you need to be able to pronounce it to enjoy this premium single-serve oatmeal product.

Named for the valley of the same moniker in Southern Oregon, it’s where this oatmeal product was developed by a couple of moms who were tired of feeding their kids mass-produced oatmeal packets that contained a whole lot more than good-for-you oats.

What makes their oatmeal different is that it’s made with custom-milled oats. So much so, that they’re actually groats — the whole hulled grain — that cook up more chewy rather than mushy and include more fiber.

Because the oatmeal is made in a manufacturing plant that also produces wheat products, it is not certified gluten-free. However, the makers say that the oats consistently test within the acceptable tolerance level for gluten-free certification.

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Noodle Bowls Are A Breeze with Oakland’s Nona Lim

Miso Ramen in a flash -- with the help of Nona Lim.

Miso Ramen in a flash — with the help of Nona Lim.

 

Bowls of brothy noodles are the ultimate comfort dish. But you can work yourself into a tizzy in the time and care it takes to create one from scratch.

Oakland’s Nona Lim makes it easy to enjoy your favorite Asian noodle bowl in a flash. Lim grew up in Singapore, and worked as a consultant in the tech industry, all the while training competitively in fencing. After moving to the food-centric Bay Area, she knew she wanted to start a business built around healthful and tasty food.

Her broths, soups and noodles are made in small batches. Find them in the refrigerated section at such stores as Draeger’s, Sigona’s, and Whole Foods for about $4.40 per package.

I had a chance to taste a couple of samples recently. The broths are super convenient — all you have to do is warm them up in a saucepan. The noodles — wide Pad See Ew, flat Laksa ones, and thinner Pad Thai ones — are all made from rice, so they’re gluten-free. Just boil them in water for a minute, drain, then add to your bowl of broth.

Then, get as creative as you like by adding tofu, chicken, mushrooms, cabbage, Sriracha, green onions — or pretty much anything you like.

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Oakland-Made Santipapas Salsas Tickle the Palate

Santipapas salsas made right here in Oakland.

Santipapas salsas made right here in Oakland.

 

As a registered nurse, Mark Sorenson definitely knows how to soothe the ailing.

Now as a salsa entrepreneur, he’s proving he knows how to perk up the taste buds, too.

What started as a hobby has now turned into a full-fledged business. His Oakland-made Santipapas salsas are now available at the Pasta Shop in Oakland and Berkeley, the Alameda Natural Grocery store in Alameda, Bi-Rite Markets in San Francisco, Rainbow Grocery in San Francisco, and others.

The salsas will soon be in Northern California Whole Foods stores. Sorenson will start direct online sales in June, too.

The company’s name was inspired by Santiago Papasquiaro in the state of Durango. Nicknamed “Santipapas,” it is the town where his mother hails from.

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Get Ready for GourmetFest in Carmel, A New Sushi Menu at Ame, and More

A spectacular morsel from last year's "Rarities Dinner'' at GourmetFest. (Photo by Gina Taro)

A spectacular morsel from last year’s “Rarities Dinner” at GourmetFest. (Photo by Gina Taro)

GourmetFest Comes to Carmel in March

Don’t miss the second year of GourmetFest, March 5-8, packed with cooking demos, exclusive wine tastings and even a wild mushroom hunt.

More than 20 Relais & Chateaux chefs, including an all-female team, will be participating this year. Among the chefs are: Gary Danko of Gary Danko in San Francisco, Michel Bras of Bras-Sebastien et Michel in France, and Justin Cogley of Aubergine at L’Auberge Carmel. Prominent winemakers taking part include: Dom Perignon, Dr. Loosen, Gaja and Ridge.

Events include the luxe “Rarities Dinner” on March 6, a 10-course extravaganza paired with rare wines, and “A Taste of France Lunch and Cooking Demo” on March 7.

Ticket prices range from $175 to $5,500 per person.

Ame Introduces Nigiri Zushi Menu

Michelin-starred Ame in the St. Regis in San Francisco has always incorporated Japanese influences and flavors in its menu.

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