American Camels produce first retail Camel Milk brand by Desert Farms

 

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We know that camels have long been useful animals in many parts of the world such as the Middle East, northern African, and Mongolia (we think). Those who live with them ride their backs, use their strength to carry packages, and drink their milk. But camel milk up to now could only be found in the United States in camel mild chocolate, or in some instances imported. Too bad, because the United Nations hailed the nutritional value of camel milk in 2006 and predicted higher consumption once it became easier for consumers to buy.

camelmilk-IMG_7329Desert Farms is now announcing that this has changed with the releas and distribution of their U.S.-created camel milk. The milk will be available in a number of outlets, including over 40 Whole Foods in California, as well as direct via the company’s www.desertfarms.com.

Desert Farms’ camel milk is bottled and labeled  on small Amish/Mennonite family farms where the average herd is about 6 camels. This is done within hours of milking in small batches to prevent exposure to contamination and to ensure maximum possible freshness.

Desert Farms camel milk is free of GMOs, additives, preservatives and hormones – and tastes slightly sweeter than processed cow’s milk. Containing only milk from U.S.-based camels and bottled entirely in America, Desert Farms Camel Milk is available in several varieties: Raw Camel Milk; Raw Camel Milk (Frozen); Raw Camel Milk Kefir; Pasteurized Camel Milk; Raw Camel Milk Colostrum (1st); and Raw Camel Milk Colostrum (Regular).

 

Tequila Herradura Limited Edition Colección de la Casa

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We love great design, especially when it is a combination of a well designed product with well designed product packaging. This is the case with Tequila Herradura, who has recently announced the release of their third limited edition Coleccion de la Casa, Reserva 2014 – Scotch Cask Finish Reposado.

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Per their latest announcement:

Stemming off the success of its small-batch tequila series, Tequila Herradura announces the release of the third Colección de la Casa, Reserva 2014 – Scotch Cask Finish Reposado. Having undergone a double maturation process after resting in two different types of oak casks, American oak and single malt Scotch casks, this limited edition tequila offers a desirable taste and finish to delight the senses.

“With the latest in the Colección de la Casa small batch series, Tequila Herradura solidifies its commitment to provide new tequila experiences to discerning spirits drinkers who appreciate specialty crafted, artisanal tequilas,” said Liz Edwards, Senior Brand Manager for Tequila Herradura.

Casa Herradura has a strong reputation as an industry innovator and is credited with introducing the first-ever reposado in 1974 and extra añejo tequila in 1995. Colección de la Casa is the best example in the industry of how each of the sources of flavor– agave, water, fermentation, distillation, and maturation – impacts the character of the final product and creates a totally new flavor profile. As with the other two editions, Master Distiller Maria Teresa Lara was the force behind the Scotch Cask Finish Reposado.

Colección de la Casa, Reserva 2014 – Scotch Cask Finish Reposado will be available at fine wine and spirits stores in October nationwide for a limited time at a suggested retail price of $89.99.

 

Tasting Notes for Herradura Colección de la Casa, Reserva 2014 – Scotch Cask Finish Reposado

Color: Warm gold with brilliant hues.
Aroma: A masterful combination of toasted malt, cooked agave, and smoky wood.
Taste: The finest aged tequila is highlighted by the taste of vanilla, butter, honey, caramel and balanced soft spices.
Finish: The unique scotch cask results in a long-drawn and with a touch of sweetness.

 

 

Gaslamp Popcorn talks new Flavors, Expansion, and the State of Gourmet Snack Food

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San Diego’s Gaslamp Popcorn continues to release new flavors for their gourmet kernels, including Sea Salt and Olive Oil, Apple Crumble Pie, and Pumpkin Spice Pie. This adds to their lineup of favorites such as  Kettle Corn, White Cheddar Popcorn and Cinnamon Caramel Corn.

To find out more about their plans and latest news, including tips for aspiring food entrepreneurs, we chat with Mark Singleton, VP of Sales and Marketing at Gaslamp Popcorn.

 

TasteTV: The latest news is your new distribution. Why did you decide to expand into these retail outlets?

MARK: Gaslamp Popcorn announced the expansion of distribution into California Safeway and Vons retailers beginning August 2014. Through this expansion we aim to offer more convenient locations to meet the needs of a growing number of consumers demanding healthy snack alternatives.

 

TasteTV: Is this only in Southern California?

MARK: Our recent expansion into Safeway and Vons spreads throughout the entirety of California.

 

TasteTV: What flavors are selling really well right now?

MARK: For the last several years we’ve seen a real surge in popcorn sales driven by sweet and salty kettle corn. We see that trend continuing due to the simple ingredient statement of sweet and salty popcorn, as well as its lighter taste. Unique flavor profiles such as White Cheddar and Cinnamon Carmel, which are locally made in California, have really appealed to consumers. We look forward to having another great year in that category and expanding our lineup of flavors.

 

TasteTV: How did you develop these flavor profiles?

MARK: We did some re-polarization to make the ingredient decks even more all-natural and relevant to the target consumer. Our all-natural flavors contain certified non-GMO popcorn. We’ve worked hard to keep these labels simple, and yet, make them taste unbelievably good. In the final analysis, remember, this is a snack food, and it needs to taste great! For traditional popcorn enthusiasts, we have an authentic Kettle Corn, sweetened only by pure cane sugar and a pinch of sea salt. For those who prefer a sweeter twist, our Cinnamon Caramel is made in small batches using a hint of brown sugar. For those who prefer a pop of cheese flavor, our White Cheddar flavor is how we turn popcorn fans into fanatics.

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TasteTV: How long has the company been around?

MARK: Gaslamp Popcorn, established in 1998, quickly became a premier popcorn snack option for American snackers. It was acquired by Rudolph foods in December 2011. The Gaslamp District of San Diego was named in the 1860’s as a reference to the gas lamps that were common in San Diego in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries. Gaslamp Popcorn is a nod to the honest, warm feel of a simpler time with true flavor and honest manufacturing.

 

TasteTV: Are you expanding into other products?

MARK: No, however we have developed unique holiday flavor options that will be hitting California store shelves this fall, including Apple Crumble Pie, Holiday Cookie, and Pumpkin Spice Pie.

 

TasteTV: Are you concerned that gourmet popcorn might go the way of cupcakes (ie. too many companies)?

MARK: We understand the mass amount of competition in the popcorn category, however we know that consumers continue to look for great tasting flavors as well as companies that support local ingredients, develop interesting flavor profiles and deliver a consistent quality product. As we continue to fulfill consumer needs across California, we know Gaslamp Popcorn will be a top choice.

 

TasteTV: What advice do you give to aspiring food entrepreneurs?

MARK: We continue to be very innovative in the things that we offer. You’re seeing some great items, once again, like the sweet and salty popcorn. It’s a great item that hundreds of years old that has been brought back to a new group of consumers. It started out in county fairs and now this great group of entrepreneurs has made it a huge part of the category. You look at the guys that came out with pretzel thins, pita chips. It’s just a wonderfully dynamic industry that will continue to have a real place in every consumer’s daily eating habits. I think I say this all the time; the neatest thing about what we do is that we’re in the dollar and nine category. For a couple of bucks we can really make someone’s day. To really give an uplift to their day.  And there’s hundred of thousands, if not possibly millions of Americans that work really hard to make great tasting snack food out there. That is what gets me up every day,

 

TasteTV: What is your favorite pairing with this popcorn?

Historically, popcorn has been shared. Gaslamp Popcorn is a perfect on the go snack; great for sharing with family and friends at a party, sporting event or just watching a movie at home!

 

Biliner Mineral Water from the Bohemian Czech Republic

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Thirst is a natural desire in humans, and thirst for refreshing water is the most natural of all. In places where there are regular droughts, such as in the State of California, that thirst turns many people to bottled water.

One of the newest entrants in the bottled water market is actually one of the oldest. Biliner Mineral Water’s spring source was discovered in 1664 on the noble Lobkowicz estates in royal Bilina in the Northern Bohemia region of what is today the Czech Republic. Balneologists flocked to Bilina, drafting extensive reports about the water’s healing and medicinal powers.

Some of these health benefits are linked to a high concentration of minerals (5000 PPM). The water is bottled as it flows from its source and contains sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium and iron, as well as anions of chloride, sulfate and bicarbonate.

Our tasters tried the “Premium Mineral Water” and concluded that for many Americans it might be an acquired taste. The flavor is a bit reminiscent of the slightly salty taste of carbonated Perrier, however because the Premium is not carbonated the experience is not exactly the same.

The tasters however found the “Royal Class Spring Water,” the higher priced of the two selections, to be very tasty and quite competitive with others currently available. TasteTV gives it a “Highly Recommend.”

Biliner is now available in several locations throughout the United States and North America, including San Francisco, San Jose, Florida, etc. For more information go to  www.biliner.com, www.facebook.com/biliner

 

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Master Sommelier Evan Goldstein authors new wine guide, Wines of South America

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Wine expert and author Evan Goldstein has a brand new guidebook out, called the Wines of South America, currently available in stores and on Amazon.com

Evan Goldstein is a Master Sommelier, and President and Chief Education Officer of Full Circle Wine Solutions, Inc. in San Francisco. He is the author of Perfect Pairings: A Master Sommelier’s Practical Advice for Partnering Wine with Food and Daring Pairings: A Master Sommelier Matches Distinctive Wines with Recipes from His Favorite Chefs, both published by UC Press.

Q: Evan, how many books on wine have you authored so far?

evan-goldsteinEvan Goldstein:  This is my third book with UC Press (the other two being ‘Perfect Pairings’ and ‘Daring Pairings’, two works on pairing wine with food) and I did a service book (now out of print) some years back

Q: South America is a gigantic continent, how long did it take you to research this book?

Evan Goldstein:  Well, off and on, it was over a 7-8 year period but the specific book centric focus was onsite (e.g. in South America over 5-6 weeks in 2012/3 and, via a series of good friends/embedded emissaries, if you will, over a year and a half more. And my own research spanned over 2 years (2012-2013)

Q: How do you categorize the wines, by country or varietal?

Evan Goldstein:  The book is organized, after the introductory chapters which cover off on continental history and a compendium of grapes found across the continent, by country with five core chapters- Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Uruguay and a compilation chapter covering off on Bolivia, Columbia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, and Venezuela, This is followed by a series of chapters on subjects ranging from traveling in South American wine country, dining locally, and a series of recommended wines via a series of ‘top 10’ lists….

Q: What do you think is most important for the reader to take away from using this guide book?

Evan Goldstein:  That South America is undervalued and underappreciated given its significance as a global wine producing continent (2nd most impactful, as a continent, after Europe). Also, that there’s much more to South America than the good-value entries made by a small number of higher visibility producers. Chile and Argentina are in their defining 3.0’s, if you will, and Brazil and Uruguay have yet to get their real day in the sun, until now!

Q: You have photos and maps. Did you take the photos?

Evan Goldstein:  The photos and maps were done by professionals (unlike me!) who have a keen sensibility about the regions they shot in. A big shout out to Matt Wilson, with five photos in the book, and whose work adorns the cover…the maps, serveral of which didn’t exist before this book, were all custom cartographed.

Q: What are some of your favorite South American wines?

Evan Goldstein:  Ahh—for that you’ll need to refer to my ‘top 10’s on pages 265-272!

Q: Any pairings you suggest?

Evan Goldstein:  Well, unlike my first two books with UC Press this one is not a specific paring book. That said, a few can’t misses—great beef (a staple of Argentina, Southern Brazil and Uruguay) with the robust reds of their respective countries (Malbec and Malbec blends (Argentina); Tannat and Tannat blends (Uruguay) and varied rich reds from across Brazil)—Peruvian takes of ceviche with Chilean Sauvignon Blancs, especially those from San Antonio and coastal Casablanca; traditional Argentinean empanadas (filled with meat, olives, raisins, and hard boiled eggs) with Torrontés (really); and any of the fried Brazilian pasteis (savory croquettes) served with, what else, Brazilian bubbly!

Chef Barb’s B Sweet rolls out Bread Pudding product line

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Frozen bread pudding may not sound appealing to foodie purists, but to many people it sounds like manna from heaven. And frankly, it’s pretty darn good, especially Chef Barb’s B Sweet‘s new product line. That explains why it has just been picked up for retail in more than 250 Super Target stores nationwide.

Bread Pudding 4-Flavors-TopThe bread pudding comes in the same size containers as ice cream, and the flavors range from Fudge Brownie and Apple Pie to Cookies & Cream and Glazed Donut. In the TasteTV office, the Apple Pie was a big hit, and there was much discussion about how after we had heated it in the microwave, we should have gone ahead and added a big lump of ice cream on top.

The only drawback is that it really is best served hot, so if you don’t plan on consuming what you have on your plate right away, then save some for later (or give it to the drooling friend staring at your plate).

Bread Pudding Stack-CelebIf you don’t know who Chef Barb is, here is a quick summary:

Barb Batiste founded Chef Barb’s B Sweet© in 2010 as a way to bring back the homemade taste in food and desserts we all love. From her kitchen at home, to now her third commercial kitchen, she continues to remain true to her “handmade like grandma used to make” ways. Barb and her committed team strive to create new recipes with an old-fashioned twist every day.

Chef Barb’s B Sweet© was named Best Dessert of CitySearch Los Angeles, has been a featured chef at the prestigious L.A. Food and Wine event for the past three years and was a featured chef at the Los Angeles Times’ The Taste.

Beyond desserts, Chef Barb’s B Sweet© is a full-service catering company with clients that include Disney, Nike, Apple, E! Television, Sony, the cast and crew of Modern Family and NCIS and more. Chef Barb’s creations have been seen on TV shows like The Bachelorette, local and national news and prominent talk shows. Chef Barb’s B Sweet© also has a fleet of mobile food trucks that cater daily to the local Southern California community. B Sweet™ is growing quickly, and the proof, as they say, “is in the pudding”! 

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More good news:

Chef Barb not only has her fleet of food trucks out in force, but has also just opened up their first brick and mortar store this past weekend in Los Angeles.

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