Eats & Treats, Part II

It sure looks like caviar -- but it's not.
It sure looks like caviar — but it’s not.


They are tiny and black, boast a briny taste, and look for all the world like caviar.

But these are not sturgeon roe by any means. In fact, they are vegan and made from seaweed.

Caviart was developed by Danish Chef Jens Moller, who sources sustainable seaweed in France to make these plant-based pearls in Denmark that are free of gluten, soy, cholesterol, and fat. They have no calories, either.

I had a chance to try a sample. The pearls glisten and are more minuscule than typical caviar. They don’t necessarily have the initial crunchy pop of real caviar, but they have a delicious sea taste that’s a little earthy and a lot savory. There’s also a depth of flavor, thanks to the additions of turmeric, cayenne, leek, dill, tarragon, and laurel. So, it’s not solely salinity that you taste.

Use it any way you would the real deal.
Use it any way you would the real deal.

The mock caviar is a perfect way to dress up the holiday table because it makes any dish more festive. It’s ideal for vegetarians and vegans, and tasty enough to pass muster with gourmet carnivores.

Dollop on a baked potato, potato pancakes, softly scrambled eggs, deviled eggs, potato chips, endive spears, or soba noodles like I did.

A 2-tablespoon serving has 340mg sodium. A 3.5 ounce jar is about $5 at Walmart and World Market.

Burlap & Barrel Spices

If you know Burlap & Barrel, you know this international spice company loves a good collab.

One of its latest is with the Bay Area’s Fatted Calf, a specialty butcher and grocery shop with locations in the San Francisco Ferry Building and Napa’s Oxbow Public Market.

Burlap & Barrel's collaboration with the Fatted Calf.
Burlap & Barrel’s collaboration with the Fatted Calf.

“Tutto Porchetta,” which I had a chance to sample, is a heady blend of fennel, black pepper, rosemary, oregano buds, garlic, coriander, allspice, and red jalapeño chili.

It is a mouthwatering spice mix full of warmth and zestiness. It takes to pork like apple to pie.

Even if you don’t want to go to the trouble of rolling your own porchetta roast, it will make a plain pork chop taste almost just like one. But don’t stop there; try it on roasted veggies, chicken, turkey, lamb or duck, or even simmered in a pot of beans or stirred into a sour cream- or cream cheese-based dip for chips and crudites.

A delicious addition to jazz up a plain pork chop at home.
A delicious addition to jazz up a plain pork chop at home.

A 2-ounce jar is $11.99.

Peruse the online site for other delicious spices, too. At this time of year especially, I am loving the Smoked Chipotle Chili Flakes (2-ounce jar for $9.99) on roasted kabocha and butternut squashes to lend a smoky, sweet lilt of heat.

Burlap & Barrel prides itself on being a Public Benefit Corporation, established to operate in a responsible and sustainable manner. It sources spices directly from farmer cooperatives and small farms all over the world, helping to identify unique varieties to bring to market to help growers increase profits.

Klatch Coffee

OK, call me lazy, but I loathe hotel rooms that don’t come with a coffee maker, because I don’t want to have to get dressed and thoroughly presentable just to trudge down to the lobby for a cup of joe when I wake up.

Klatch Coffee to the rescue.

Klatch coffee -- ready anywhere in about 5 minutes.
Klatch coffee — ready anywhere in about 5 minutes.

This family-owned Southern California company makes coffee bags that you steep in water just like tea. That means if you have access to even hot tap water, you can get your caffeine fix just like that.

The single-serve bags couldn’t be easier to use. Just place one in a bag, pour hot water over, dunk it several times, then allow it to steep for about 5 minutes. The longer it steeps, the more robust the coffee flavor.

I sampled the Crazy Goat Blend. A medium roast blend of Arabica beans from Africa and Central America, it’s smooth tasting with chocolate and toffee notes along with a gentle acidity.

A package of 8 bags is $17 on Amazon, and will soon be restocked on the Klatch web site.

Convenient enough to take anywhere.
Convenient enough to take anywhere.

Take them camping or traveling. Or keep a stash in your desk drawer at work to enjoy your favorite brew, er, steep. You can even make your cold brew by steeping a bag overnight in water.

Klatch also sells a variety of whole bean coffees, too, for times when convenience isn’t paramount.

More: Eats & Treats, Part I

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  • I love Burlap and Barrel spices and having been using the Tutto Porchetta to season my Roast Chicken, mostly following Ina Garten’s Lemon Herb Roast Chicken recipe but subbing in the Tutto Porchetta for the herbs in the recipe. Every time I make it people ask for the recipe. I used it last night to season chicken wings and this morning on skillet cooked Country Potatoes with extra vegetables.

  • Hi Farrell: That sounds delicious using it on chicken wings and country potatoes like that. I’m definitely going to try that. I love Burlap & Barrel’s spices. They have such pronounced fragrance and flavor. You can really tell how fresh they are. Happy cooking, and happy holidays!

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