Category Archives: New Products

More Scrumptious Gifts

Stash Tea's holiday "Christmas in Paris'' is elegant and evocative.
Stash Tea’s holiday “Christmas in Paris” is elegant and evocative.

Stash Tea’s 2021 Limited-Edition Holiday Flavors

When the weather turns blustery, a hot cup of tea really hits the spot, especially when it’s a brew with a special holiday flavor.

Oregon’s Stash Tea has got you covered, whether you want to treat yourself or gift friends or family. Choose from half a dozen flavors made especially for this festive season: Christmas in Paris, Licorice Spice, Holiday Chai, Christmas Eve, Christmas Morning, and White Christmas.

Choose from black, white, and herbal tea blends, either in convenient tea bags or loose leaf. I had a chance to try samples recently.

“Christmas in Paris”is an herbal blend with big hits of cocoa, lavender and peppermint, that makes you imagine sitting at a cafe on the Champs-Elysees enjoying this elegant tea. The “Holiday Chai” black tea will warm you up thoroughly with its cinnamon, allspice, ginger, and Jamaican rum flavor. And the “Christmas Eve” herbal tea with orange, cinnamon and clove is just the ticket for sipping in pajamas as you slide the last presents under the tree in anticipation of the next morning.

Six flavors of holiday Stash Teas to celebrate the season.
Six flavors of holiday Stash Teas to celebrate the season.

A box of 18 tea bags is $3.95. A Holiday Sampler Trio of three boxes of different teas is $12.95, while a Six-Flavor Seasonal Teas Gift Box is $24.95. The loose leaf starts at $8.75 (depending on the variety) for 100 grams.

Oryx Desert Salts From South Africa

You can now find a taste of the remote Kalahari Desert in South Africa at Whole Foods stores near you.

Oryx Desert Salts are harvested from underground streams running through ancient rock formations 280 million years old, then sun-dried. The salt is organic and unprocessed, with naturally occurring minerals including magnesium, zinc and potassium.

Oryx Desert Salts, regular (right) and smoked (left).
Oryx Desert Salts, regular (right) and smoked (left).

I had a chance to try samples of the regular salt and the smoked version. The crystals are more compact and crunchy than, say, lighter, fluffier, moist Maldon Sea Salt. They’re also larger in size than Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt.

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Scrumptious Holiday Gifts

A fresh-baked batch of madeleines made with and finished with Adagio Teas Whipped Cinnamon Honey.
A fresh-baked batch of madeleines made with and finished with Adagio Teas Whipped Cinnamon Honey. (Photo by Carolyn Jung)

Flavored Whipped Honeys From Adagio

Add a unique punch of sweetness to a cup of tea or favorite baking recipes with Adagio Teas’ flavored whipped honeys in Cinnamon, Chocolate or Matcha.

I had a chance to try samples recently of these thick, spreadable honeys. The Matcha is sweet with a slightly astringent and grassy note that lingers. The Chocolate is quite floral from the honey, which dominates, with the chocolate, itself, more a background player. Ooh, the Cinnamon is like a Red Hot, spicy on the palate with a pronounced cinnamon warmth.

The Matcha is a fun way to sweeten a matcha latte. The Chocolate can be drizzled over pancakes, waffles or marble pound cake. The cinnamon is delicious in any black tea. Or heavenly in a batch of these Honey Madeleines by Pastry Chef Claudia Fleming. The cinnamon taste in the madeleines will end up fairly subtle unless you add more oomph with a pinch or two of ground cinnamon to the batter. For a final touch, enjoy the warm madeleines dribbled with more of the Cinnamon Whipped Honey.

Thick and spreadable, whipped flavored honeys.
Thick and spreadable, whipped flavored honeys. (Photo by Carolyn Jung)

A 4-ounce jar of any of the flavors is $10; a 12-ounce jar is $19.

Onsuri Extra-Virgin Olive Oils From Jordan

When you think of quality extra-virgin olive oils, the countries of Spain, Italy, and Greece readily spring to mind, along with the Golden State of California.

But Ziad Bilbeisi wants you to get to know olive oil from his native Jordan.

Starting from scratch in a desolate, high-desert area of his native Jordan, he has created the largest family-owned olive estate in that country that includes a state-of-the-art, solar-powered boutique olive oil company, Onsuri.

Onsuri's Discovery Set includes four small bottles of different extra-virgin olive oils.
Onsuri’s Discovery Set includes four small bottles of different extra-virgin olive oils. (Photo by Carolyn Jung)

All the olive oils are graded “extra-premium,” a distinction few olive oils in the world have, according to Bilbeisi. It means they contain less than a 0.3 percent level of unstable fatty acids, and are extremely high in polyphenol compounds, which are powerful antioxidants.

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New Mole Sauces From Chef Susana Trilling

Big, beefy ribs get a big hit of spiciness and earthiness from ¡Ya Oaxaca! Mole Rojo.
Big, beefy ribs get a big hit of spiciness and earthiness from ¡Ya Oaxaca! Mole Rojo.

Mexican moles can be an intimidating and time-consuming affair to make from scratch at home, what with upwards of 40 ingredients that need to be prepared and cooked for hours.

But that laborious process can be bypassed easily with new ready-made jarred moles from an impeccable source.

¡Ya Oaxaca! moles are by Chef Susana Trilling, a renowned expert and ambassador for Oaxacan cooking. She started cooking at age 10 alongside her grandmother, a chef from Tampico, Mexico, who ran a small cafe in San Antonio, TX. In 1999, she founded her Seasons of My Heart Cooking School on her ranch in Oaxaca, and has since taught countless lessons both in-person and online.

Her children have inherited her culinary passions. Son Kaelin Ulrich Trilling is the chef de cuisine at Thomas Keller’s La Calenda in Yountville. He’s also involved in ¡Ya Oaxaca! moles, along with his brother Jesse Ulrich Trilling, who is the company’s head of operations, and his half-brother Azul Couzens, who is in charge of marketing, sales and distributions.

Acclaimed chef and cooking teacher Susana Trilling has teamed with her sons on this new mole sauce venture.
Acclaimed chef and cooking teacher Susana Trilling has teamed with her sons on this new mole sauce venture.

The moles, sold in shelf-stable 12-ounce jars, come in three varieties: Mole Rojo, Mole Coloradito, and Mole Negro. They are based on recipes handed down for generations.

Recently, I had a chance to try samples. The ¡Ya Oaxaca! web site includes recipes online, while the jar labels are printed with recommendations for what types of protein or vegetables best go with each mole.

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What I’ve Been Drinking of Late, Part 14

The 2019 Memento Mori Cabernet Sauvignon has power and finesse.
The 2019 Memento Mori Cabernet Sauvignon has power and finesse.

2019 Memento Mori Cabernet Sauvignon

What do you get when you source grapes from the storied Napa Valley vineyards of Beckstoffer Dr. Crane, Beckstoffer Las Piedras, Oakville Ranch, Vine Hill Ranch and Weitz Vineyard, and blend them into one singular wine?

The flagship 2019 Memento Mori Cabernet Sauvignon ($250).

You know you have something special — and spendy — on your hands when the bottle arrives, as my sample did, in its own custom-designed, cushioned box like fine art.

Winemaker Sam Kaplan has created an inky garnet wine that is velvety smooth. Big Cabs sometimes exhibit aggressive tannins early on, needing to be set aside to age to give them time to settle down. Not Memento Mori. This is a powerful wine that surprises with impeccable balance already. There are aromas of dark berries and dark wooded forests. The palate gets caressed with cassis, purple plum, mocha, cranberry and pomegranate, plus a touch of anise and toast.

Outfitted with its own custom box like fine jewelry.
Outfitted with its own custom box like fine jewelry.

Consider this the Dwyane “The Rock” Johnson of Cabs — imposing, with weight and solid structure, yet also surprising with a soft, gentle side.

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Four Reads To Savor

“Lineage” by Steven Kent Mirassou

There is pure poetry not only in the way wine tastes, but also in the way it is made.

That’s no more evident than in the new book, “Lineage: Life and Love and Six Generations in California Wine” (Val de Grace Books), of which I received a review copy, by Steven Kent Mirassou.

If the name sounds familiar, it should. He hails from six generations of winemakers in the Bay Area, responsible for crafting wines under the Mirassou Winery, La Rochelle Winery, Steven Kent Winery labels.

Salinas-born Mirassou didn’t follow in the family’s wine-making immediately. Instead, after graduating from George Washington University with a BA in American Literature and New York University with a MA in Literature, his intention was to teach literature and to write novels. But after getting married and wanting to start a family, he wanted to come back to San Jose so his children could be near their grand-parents.

It was then that his passion for wine-making was ignited. He partnered with his father to produce Iván Tamás wines, before selling the brand to Wente Vineyards. Father and son followed that up with Steven Kent Winery in 1996.

Now, Mirassou is CEO of well-regarded Lineage Collection — Lineage Wine Co., The Steven Kent Winery, L’Autre Côte Cabernet Franc, and Mia Nipote Wines — in the Livermore Valley.

His literature background is evident from the first pages, which recount his family’s rise in the wine industry. The prose is evocative, sensual, and yes, downright poetic.

Consider how he describes the effect of a new experience — or wine — that rocks you to your core:

“The process of considering anything deeply, be it great wine, fine food, book, movie, or your lover’s naked hip is necessarily one of opening up, of being willing to jettison commonplace shapes in favor of those that put the lie to the contemptibly familiar. To taste some new bottle of wine, to slurp air through it in your mouth, and feel it, to remark on the flavors and the way the wine makes your mouth feel, dryingly astringent or wetted by acid, and to let those sensations rebirth past experiences is to insist upon living an un-ordinary moment.”

Uncork a bottle of wine and fill your senses completely with “Lineage.”

“Every Cake Has A Story” by Christina Tosi

Milk Bar Founder Founder Christina Tosi has many cookbooks to her credit. Now, she has her first children’s book, “Every Cake Has a Story” (Dial Books For Young Readers), of which I received a review copy.

The charming book, whimsically illustrated by Emily Balsley, tells the story of what happens when Sammi of Samesville decides to break from baking the same vanilla cake with chocolate frosting over and over again. A whole new kaleidoscope world of friends and delightful cake flavors enriches her life like never before.

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