Category Archives: New Products

Let Michael Mina Jazz Up Your Backyard Burgers

Home-made bison burger flavored with the new Bourbon Pub burger seasoning.

Home-made bison burger flavored with the new Bourbon Pub burger seasoning.


Bay Area Chef Michael Mina has so many restaurants around the country now that I can hardly keep track of them all. Now, he’s bringing a taste of his Bourbon Pub in Santa Clara to your backyard barbecues with his new line of burger seasonings and relishes sold at Williams-Sonoma.

I had a chance to sample one of the seasonings, the Classic.

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Dolce Delizioso — Loacker Wafer Cookies

Loacker's Classic Chocolate.

Loacker’s Classic Chocolate.


It’s not often that I eat mass-produced, grocery-store cookies, preferring instead to visit an honest-go-goodness neighborhood bakery for just-baked treats. But I do make exceptions for Australian Tim Tams, and French La Mere Poulard butter cookies.

I don’t know what it is about foreign packaged cookies, but they are pretty irresistible.

Now comes Loacker wafer cookies.

First created by the Loacker family in the Italian Alps, and now manufactured in Austria, these multi-layered cookies are now more readily available in the United States. They have been made for more than 90 years, and are already sold in more than 80 countries.

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California’s Olive Queen Olive Oil

You might just feel like a queen when you taste the Olive Queen's extra virgin olive oils.

You might just feel like a queen when you taste the Olive Queen’s extra virgin olive oils.


California produces 3.5 million gallons of extra virgin olive oil annually from more than 400 growers/producers, according to the California Olive Oil Council.

Rob Akins and Mark Berry of Olive Queen Olive Oil in Forestville are among the smaller growers. But they make up for that in quality. The oils they produce are exceptional, as I found out when they sent me some samples to try.

Akins and Berry moved from Southern California to Sonoma County to buy an old, forlorn apple orchard, which they replanted with olive trees.

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Lobster — Smoke That!

Vinalhaven Smoked Lobster dip (cherry wood-smoked-style).

Vinalhaven Smoked Lobster dip (cherry wood-smoked-style).


You may be familiar with smoked salmon and smoked trout. But Robert Young wants you to get to know smoked Maine lobster.

His Vinalhaven Smoked Lobster company is named for Vinalhaven, a small island 12 miles off the coast of Maine, where Young fishes.

For the past decade, he’s been catching fresh lobsters aboard his boat, then steaming them, before extracting the meat to smoke over either cherry or hickory chips. The flesh is then either preserved in oil or turned into a lusty dip.

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Bee Free Honee — It’s Like Honey, But It’s Not

A honey-like product that tastes of apples.

A honey-like product that tastes of apples.


With its golden, amber hue, it looks a lot like honey.

But from the moment you unscrew the cap on the jar, you get the unmistakable whiff of sweet apples.

Bee Free Honee is a honey substitute made from organic apple juice, cane sugar and lemon juice — all cooked down until sticky and viscous.

The company was founded by Minneapolis-based Katie Sanchez, who grew up on an apple orchard with a father who was a beekeeper. One day, while trying to make a less sweet apple jelly, she accidentally created this syrupy concoction instead.

It’s vegan, and safe for anyone who has a honey allergy. Use it just like you would honey.

With bee populations decimated over the past decade, it’s also a way to enjoy a honey-like product while stressing bees less. Moreover, for every jar sold, Bee Free Honee donates 10 cents to pollinator-friendly groups.

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