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Cutting the Mustard with Tracklements on St. Patrick’s Day

Monday, 17. March 2014 5:26

Tracklements Beer Mustard livens up any sandwich.

Tracklements Beer Mustard livens up any sandwich.

 

As you sit down to a big plate of corned beef and cabbage on this St. Patrick’s Day, don’t be stingy with the mustard.

After all, tender boiled meat and veggies just cry out for a smear of sharp mustard for a little more oomph.

Tracklements English mustards gives you several to choose from, too. The United Kingdom company is named for the arcane British word for condiments. The family-owned business started in 1970 and makes use of the organic mustard plants that grow in abundance on farmland just two miles from its factory.

Now, you can find the British import at Whole Foods, Andronico’s, Draeger’s, New Leaf Markets, Mollie Stone’s, and Lundardi’s.

Recently, I had a chance to try samples of its Wholegrain, Beer, Horseradish and Balsamic mustards.

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Category:General, New Products | Comments (4) | Author:

A British Columbia Mussel Flexes Its Muscle in the Bay Area

Wednesday, 26. February 2014 5:25

A simple pasta dish made extra special with new Honey Mussels.

A simple pasta dish made extra special with new Honey Mussels.

 

There’s a new mussel in town.

And is it ever extraordinary.

You can’t find it in retail stores yet. But you can enjoy it at some of San Francisco’s most discriminating restaurants, including Rich Table, Bar Tartine, Parallel 37, Foreign Cinema, and Ragazza.

The Honey Mussel is so named because of its amber-hued shell. It doesn’t taste of honey per se, but there is a hint of natural sweetness about it. It’s also impressively sized — with its meat taking up almost the entire interior of the shell. Even after cooking, there’s little shrinkage, as I found when I had a chance to cook a sample at home in a simple pasta dish. Indeed, it’s probably the plumpest, most tender mussel I’ve had the pleasure of eating.

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Category:General, New Products, Recipes (Savory), Seafood | Comments (10) | Author:

Cococlectic Delivers the Chocolatey Goods Plus a Food Gal Giveaway

Monday, 24. February 2014 5:25

One of the Twenty-Four Blackbirds dark chocolate bars in February's Cococlectic delivery

One of the Twenty-Four Blackbirds dark chocolate bars in February’s Cococlectic delivery.

Imagine getting a package of four premium, handcrafted chocolate bars delivered to your door every month.

If that isn’t a chocoholic’s dream, what is?

San Francisco’s Cococlectic is a craft bean-to-bar club that does exactly that.

The new company was started by Doreen Leong, who grew up in Malaysia and moved to the Bay Area to pursue an MBA. She worked in the corporate world for many years, but never felt fulfilled. Then, she hit on an idea inspired by her relationship with her sister, to whom she’d regularly send gifts of chocolate. Why not start a company for chocolate lovers like her who are always eager to try a great new bar?

Leong looks for unique products made in small batches from bean to bar. They are all dark chocolate, the favorite of chocolate connoisseurs. Plus, she likes the fact that dark chocolate has been reported to have certain antioxidant properties. None of the bars selected contain nuts or fruits or additional ingredients that might detract from the purity of the chocolate, itself.

Membership levels start at $27 per month. Each monthly shipment includes four chocolate bars. Membership also allows you to purchase more of the same bars if you find you can’t live without them. Those who sign up for a six-month membership receive a 1-month free trial membership for a friend.

Recently, I had a chance to try a sample box. February’s featured chocolate maker is Twenty-Four Blackbirds, which was founded by Mike Orlando in Santa Barbara. Chocolate making started out as a side passion to his real job as a marine biologist. His bars are hand-made from only two ingredients: organic cacao beans and organic sugar.

My box contained four bars: 68% Dominican Republic, 75% Madagascar , and two of the 75% Bolivian Palos Blancos.

An example of Cococlectic's monthly chocolate box.

An example of Cococlectic’s monthly chocolate box.

The bars are quite smooth on the palate. The 68% Dominican Republic, sourced from a cocoa-farming cooperative, boasts a lot of berry fruitiness with a fair amount of acidity. The 75% Madagascar is full of cherry and blueberry flavors balanced by earthiness and a hint of tangy citrus. The 75% Bolivian Palos Blancos is extremely creamy, with almost a vanilla presence, and hardly any bitterness or acidity.

Additional Twenty-Four Blackbirds bars (1.41 ounces each) sell on the Cococlectic site for $8 each.

CONTEST: One lucky Food Gal reader will win a sample gift box of chocolate bars from Cocoeclectic ($34 value). Entries, limited to those in the continental United States, will be accepted through midnight PST March 1. The winner will be announced March 3.

How to win?

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Category:Chocolate, Enticing Events, General, New Products | Comments (17) | Author:

Bay Area-Made Sosu Sriracha

Wednesday, 19. February 2014 5:26

Sosu Sriracha is aged in oak whiskey barrels for three months.

Sosu Sriracha is aged in oak whiskey barrels for three months.

 

Did you go through withdrawal last year over a feared shortage of sriracha sauce?

When Southern California’s Huy Fong Foods, maker of the ubiquitous Red Rooster brand, had to shut down temporarily after neighbors complained about the chile fumes, hot sauce lovers grew desperate.

But Red Rooster’s not the only game in town. In fact, the Bay Area has its own sriracha savant: Sosu Sauces.

Co-founder Lisa Murphy’s company started out on a whim when she decided to try her hand at making a better ketchup. From her upbringing in China and travels throughout Southeast Asia, she learned that ketchup actually has Chinese origins. So, after creating a Classic Ketchup, she concocted Srirachup (a blend of her ketchup and her sriracha), and finally a limited-edition Barrel-Aged Sriracha that’s available only through her Kickstarter campaign.

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Category:General, Great Finds, New Products | Comments (7) | Author:

Brooklyn Popcorn and a Food Gal Giveaway

Monday, 10. February 2014 5:25

The "New York Mix'' from Brooklyn Popcorn.

The “New York Mix” from Brooklyn Popcorn.

I have a weakness for cheese popcorn. Always have.

And I’m not about to turn down caramel corn. Not ever.

But eating both those ying-yang flavors together in one mouthful?

Surprisingly, it works. Brooklyn Popcorn knows our palates better than we do, especially when it comes to how well the combo of sweet and salty works in harmony.

Brooklyn Popcorn’s food truck roams the streets of New York, enticing folks with the aroma of fresh popped popcorn in flavors that range from plain to coconut caramel to dill pickle to ketchup. Now, it also operates an online store.

When the company approached me to try a sample, I couldn’t resist its “New York Popcorn Mix” of white cheddar cheese and caramel popcorn.

The popcorn itself is delightfully crunchy and like all good popcorn, fairly addictive. The caramel corn in particular is quite crisp with a deep bronzed sugar taste. The cheese popcorn is much more subtle. You get a slight saltiness and just a little sharpness. I actually wish it was more pronounced.

The popcorn is available in different-sized containers, including the one I received, a 1-gallon tin for $28.95.

Sweet and salty -- in one bite.

Sweet and salty — in one bite.

CONTEST: One lucky Food Gal reader will win a $20 gift card to Brooklyn Popcorn. Entries, limited to those in the continental United States, will be accepted through midnight PST Feb. 15. Winner will be announced on Feb. 17.

How to win?

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Category:General, New Products | Comments (6) | Author: