“Shortbread Without Shortcuts”

We are excited to have Shortbread House of Edinburgh as one of our newer product lines for our retailers! To give you an idea behind the title of today’s post, Shortbread House of Edinburgh prides itself in creating handmade shortbread products, they create “Shortbread Without Shortcuts”. There is no mass production of shortbread within their facilities. These shortbread are served in the best hotels, sold in some of the finest shops and are enjoyed from boardrooms to tea tables. These biscuits are also found and served within the actual House of Lords! We taste tested the Sicilian Lemon flavored shortbread and found they pack a ton of flavor!

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You can watch some of the behind the scenes action in this short video produced by Shortbread House of Edinburgh that was posted on YouTube. Dough is made from scratch, biscuits are hand cut, and baked to perfection. They are beautifully made and baked and can I mention, the packaging is just gorgeous! I cannot wait to get my hands on a tin of these biscuits! The YouTube video appears to be a little dated, as the packaging has been recently redesigned, and it’s lovely! They have beautifully packaged holiday tins and packaging as well! Great gift ideas! Check out the slide show below for some of the holiday packaging! So adorable!

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The man behind Shortbread House of Edinburgh is Anthony Laing, one of Lord Laing of Dunphail‘s three sons. Lord Laing was known for the being the chairman of United Biscuits, long considered a baking dynasty. Anthony, along with his wife Fiona, purchased a one-woman business based in historic Edinburgh, decided to make the business their own. Anthony and Fiona’s two boys, Christopher and Rupert, also take part in the family company and now have joined the family business full-time.

In 2014, the Duchess of Cornwall visited the company’s factory and made the news across Europe. Camilla sat upon Anthony’s knee for a company photo! You’ll have to read the article from The Telegraph to see how the story and photo came about, it has a little history with his son Rupert’s charity events for the military!

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Who Wants Meatballs?

Who doesn’t love meatballs? I cooked up this recipe last night to share with you – and it’s not your average recipe! And not your average ingredients! I used Hela Curry Spice Ketchup (Original) to flavor up the meatballs from a recipe that they had posted on their website. I have to say, I was a little nervous pulling this meal together, but I am so glad I did and so glad I tried something different! And you know what, it’s pretty darn good! I would definitely make this dish again and I’d save it in my recipe box! It is a really easy meal to pull together, if you have someone help you out in the kitchen, like I did, the meal comes together quite quickly.

The prep for this wasn’t too terrible, and since the website from Hela lists the ingredient measurements in metric, I am loosely converting what I used to pull this meal together! Feel free to look at the original recipe here on the Hela website if you’d like to convert your own measurements! And in some instances, there wasn’t any type of measurement provided, so I ad-libbed!

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Meatballs

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (roughly!)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt (roughly?)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper (eyeball it..I pretty much did with the peppermill!)
  • 1 large onion (original recipe calls for 2)
  • 1 medium-sized apple
  •  1 3/4 cup (14 ounces) Hela Curry Spice Ketchup Original (just shy of one whole bottle)
  • 1/2 cup cream

Directions:

  1. Mix meat with egg and spices, form little balls and fry in a pan.
  2. Chop the onion(s) and the apple, fry in another pan.
  3. Mix Hela Curry Spice Ketchup Original with cream, add meatballs and fried apple and onions
  4. Heat for five to ten minutes.

Goes well with rice.

 

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What type of apple did I use? Well, to mix up my flavors, today I chose a Red Delicious apple. It turned out great! The recipe says it serves four people, which I could guess to be close. I have left overs and I am hoping that they gel together over night and taste delicious for me later when I need to eat! ENJOY! Nibble, nibble!

Time for an Employee Chili Cookoff!

We are excited to tell you that we are doing an employee chili cookoff! We’ve already started collecting names of our chili chefs and the contest will take place on Tuesday, October 24! We will have first, second and third place winners that will be tallied by secret ballot! To inspire our chefs, we are using Oro Di Parma tomato products. Each employee that participates in the chili cookoff will receive three cans of Oro Di Parma Chopped Tomatoes . We realize that everyone’s recipes are different and may not require that much tomato in their chili, but we have our staff covered!

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We can’t wait to try to the different chilis that the staff are cooking up! From beef to venison, there will be quite the choosing for judges to try! At this time, it appears that we have at least 10 chili chefs signed up for this fun occasion! Time to bring the team together and taste some chili!

Who’s chili will reign supreme!? We don’t know, and you’ll have to find out next week as we bring you along our Chili Cookoff ride!

Sending Happy Boss’s Day Wishes!

First and foremost, wishing all of you who are bosses, those who are in charge of running the ship — HAPPY BOSS’S DAY! We especially want to say HAPPY BOSS’S DAY to Mike and Monica, you lead us everyday with your knowledge and insight! Thank you for helping lead the way! Together, they are seen in the photo below from the Anuga Food Show from this past week in Cologne, Germany.

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Gourmet International started 40 years ago with Mike and Monica’s parents, Horst and Erika. Originally starting off with a deli, Gourmet International has now grown to be the sole distributor for several Eurpopean lines, Hengstenberg, Dallmayr Kaffee, Breitsamer Honey and more. Mike and Monica both gew up working in the company and now Mike’s daughter Nicole works at Gourmet International. The original distribution warehouse was 45,000 square feet and as the company grows, so does the warehouse! Gourmet International moved into a brand new facility, just down the road from their previous location, and now have 100,000 square feet of warehouse space! While based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Gourmet International also has several independent representative organizations covering the entire United States.

Happy Boss’s Day to Mike & Monica!

Gift Ideas Perfect for Boss’s Day!

Happy Friday the 13th — in case you have forgotten — Boss’s Day is approaching! If you haven’t looked at your calendar, it is Monday, October 16! Now that we have reminded you and have you thinking, you have the whole weekend to prepare and shop for the perfect Boss’s Day gift! And we are here to provide you with some awesome suggestions! Chocolates are always a winner for any boss, unless, they do not like chocolate! And if they don’t like chocolate, well… maybe there’s something wrong with them! Ha! Just kidding!

We wanted to share some ideas for your boss on Boss’s Day.

Such as…
…this Butlers Irish Whiskey Bar! You know you’ve probably stressed your boss enough for him or her to deserve this decadent chocolate bar! Or maybe they’ve stressed YOU out and you need to pick an extra one up for yourself! No worries about any alcohol content when giving this bar, it is just Irish Whiskey flavored, so you are safe to bring this into the work place! I couldn’t help myself from trying it, it’s delicious!

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Or…
…this Reber Fascination Box! This gift box contains 8 pieces of delicious chocolates made by Reber. Inside this box of deliciousness are dessert pralines without marzipan. The pralines are covered with alpine milk and dark chocolate. The four different flavors include: Mousse au Chocolat, Crème Brûlée, Zabaione and Tiramisu.

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Or…
…perhaps a box of Butlers Dessert Menu chocolates! Choose from a large box or small! If you know what’s best for your boss (or mabye your job!), the large box would be my suggestion! The large Dessert Menu box has 16 different chocolates and the smaller Dessert Menu has 8 pieces. The Dessert Menu (assorted 16) has won the Irish Quality Food & Drink Award in 2015! You know with that honor, these are some fantastic tasting chocolates!

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Here’s a little info on what’s inside the award winning Dessert Menu boxed chocolates:

This luscious chocolate assortment features a delectable collection of sixteen gourmet sumptuous chocolates inspired by famous desserts, lovingly crafted and then presented in a delicate chocolate shell and hand finished with a chocolate decoration – the ultimate dessert hit! The heavenly collection comprises; Café Mocha, Red Velvet, Sticky Toffee, Crème Brûlée, Orange Bombe, Lemon Parfait, Hazelnut Brownie and Great Taste Award winning Raspberry Panna Cotta.

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And there you have it! You can’t go wrong with any of these choices for a Boss’s Day gift! Now you have plenty of time this weekend to get out and get your shopping done!
Shop! SHOP!

Travels Through and Near Nüremberg.

While I wished I was along to take these photos, the photos throughout this post for today come from Monica, our Vice President at Gourmet International. As our team was traveling to Germany for the Anuga trade show in Cologne, they also happened to stop at the Wicklein Store in Nüremberg and at Riegelein in nearby Cadolzburg.

From one of my earlier posts, we shared that the famous German gingerbread or traditional Lebkuchen, as it is called, made by Wicklein, has arrived to the warehouse for holiday orders. The team stopped into the “Die Lubküchnerei”, the Lebkuchen Bakery. Here, one can enjoy the scent of festive spices and the fresh aroma of coffee with a tasty pastry. If visiting, and you want to learn how to bake Lebkuchen, they offer workshops! How cool is that! You get to learn how to prepare and bake Lebkuchen, take them home with you and more! Check out the website for more information. It is something you would have to plan and book ahead of time, so be sure to sign up in advance!

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Another stop on their travels in Germany, the team stopped at Riegelein to check out the chocolate shop and watch chocolate makers performing their work at “Chocothek“. Riegelein is known all across Europe and across the globe for its German chocolate products. They make wonderful chocolate figurines for every holiday: Christmas, Easter, Valentine’s Day – even New Year’s Day – and MORE! Riegelein is a family-owned company, started by baker and confectionery master Hans Riegelein and his wife Gerda back in 1953. The company, in 1998, has now passed down to the reigns to Peter Riegelein, marking the second generation running the traditional family-owned company. I don’t know about you, but looking at all those figures on display in the photos below are making me crave some delectable chocolate!

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Growing up, I recall my mom buying Riegelein chocolates during the holidays, most notably, Christmas time. The Christmas figures are what I recall from my youth, being stuffed inside my stocking or maybe mom had (or even still does!) put a little tray of mini Santas or St. Nicholas’ out on Christmas Eve for us to nibble nibble on! And I am quite sure it was a Riegelein Advent Calendar that my brothers and I were always eager to open every day leading up to Christmas! Now, who thinks that next time I should tag along…? Nibble hint, nibble hint!? (Tee hee!)

Take a Break From Everything Pumpkin.

Yes, I did post those cute and super delicious White Chocolate Pumpkin Pots, but sometimes a break from all things pumpkin mid-October can be a good thing! I made this delicious and refreshing Apricot-Berry Smoothie using from a recipe that I got from Hero. Hero is a Swiss company that makes and distributes fruit jams, preserves, spreads, a variety of nectar, glazes, and more. Hero has a plethora of recipes on their website to try out, so don’t be surprised if you see me making and sharing more of what they have out in the cyberworld! They have all sorts of desserts, beverages and more! As the title of the recipe suggests, I used the Hero Apricot Nectar.

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Apricot-Berry Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 6 halved fresh or frozen strawberries
  • 1/2 cup frozen blackberries
  • 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
  • 6 berries for garnish
  • 1 cup Hero Apricot Nectar
  • 1 ice cube

Directions:

  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a blender and purèe until completely smooth.
  2. Pour into a tall glass, garnish with the remaining blueberries and enjoy cold.

This recipe says it makes two portions, but it was portion enough just for me! I will add, this recipe also calls for just *one* ice cube. I believe after the initial blend I added maybe 3 or 4 more smaller ice cubes.  I also must say the picture posted on the Hero website looks much better than my version, but it tastes so good! All of the berries that I used were organic and fresh and not frozen!

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So what does it really taste like? The nectar is free from any high fructose corn syrup and is made from all natural ingredients, so nothing about this smoothie makes it overly sweet. I would say it’s a pretty good blend of flavors. I ended up using my Magic Bullet, which worked okay – but it could have blended my fruit a bit better. I ended up drinking this concoction with my dinner this evening. I have enough fruit and other nectar flavors in my fridge, so I think tomorrow morning I’ll be making another smoothie at breakfast time! And it would normally be a Nibble, Nibble from me… but in this case, I’ll have to grab my straw and SLURP, SLURP!

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Fun Shaped Pasta Your Kids Will Love!

If you are looking for a healthy pasta that your kids will love, look no further than Alb-Gold Organic Kid’s Pasta! Make meals fun for the kids as a side dish or a main meal. This product is unique because there is no powdered sauces added, so you are free to make your own sauce!

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This pasta comes in some adorable shapes: Safari Animals, Farm Animals and Dinosaurs. My youngest *loves* the farm animal shapes. He enjoys finding the farmer in his pasta and the many different animals on the farm such as pigs, horses, cows and roosters. My kids are pretty simple, they enjoy eating these noodles plain with just some butter. I enjoy knowing that my kids are eating pasta made from clean ingredients, something that is hard to find these days when it comes to pasta products. My son attends a farm preschool, so he just loves that he can go to school during the day, where he learns how to feed and take care of the animals. When he comes home he loves to find the animal shapes in the pasta in the evening!

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The past evening we stopped over to visit Grandpa and Grandma. Grandma usually makes some type of noodle for my youngest, so I decided to grab a box of the Farm Animals to take along with us while dad and big brother were at hockey practice. We didn’t cook the entire box, so there will be some extra for Grandma to have handy the next time she watches my kiddo! Surprisingly, Grandpa ended up with a bowl of the pasta and really liked it! So these fun pasta shapes aren’t just for the kiddos, the big kids – even Grandpa – liked eating them! He liked the flavor of the noodle and he too, just had them with butter and nothing else. Win win! And, these pasta shapes are certified USDA Organic for those of you looking for an organic option. Take a look at my youngest Nibbler as he nibbles away on the Farm Animals!

Community Connections.

We do love to talk about gourmet food and beverages, but we also want to share about the many different ways we love to support our own community. A few things happened within the past few days that are worth mentioning because they are important to us!

The employees here at Gourmet International collected craft items and toys for the Spectrum Health Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital here in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Our staff teamed up with the Spectrum Health Foundation to help collect items in need that are on their wish list (which can be found here), many which go towards their Child Life program. As a parent that has had to use this hospital for emergency services and a surgery for her own child, I can tell you, the donations that come in are awesome! If you have time, take time to see what the Child Life program does (see the link). From providing toys and trinkets to “treasure chests” after lab work to providing toys and books to kids preparing for surgery or waiting in the emergency department, donations given to the hospital go a long way! Below is a photo of our own Janice dropping off the donations this morning!

Janice was given a tour by Laurie (seen in the picture on the left). Janice toured the outdoor play area and a library/computer area where all items in the room were donated from the community. Janice said there were LOTS of books! Laurie showed Janice many pieces of artwork that was displayed around the hospital, many done by the patients themselves.

Thank you Janice for taking the time to deliver the donations to the hospital!

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“It is so very special that in the midst of our company growth, we took the time to give back. They are so grateful for our donations! That’s what it’s all about!”
– Janice, Gourmet International Employee

This past Friday, I was able to take part in a fundraising event for a local elementary school at their “Ranger Rally” event. The fundraiser raises funds for Pine Ridge Elementary School and their parent-teacher organization. Gourmet International was one of the many sponsors for this event. I was able to capture all the kids in their different colored shirts as they did their walk! All the students, kindergarten through fourth grade, walked from their school all the way to one of the Cascade Township Fire Stations down the road. The kids walked just under 2 miles there and then just about 2 miles back! Almost a 4 mile trip for all the kiddos! We were lucky the rain held off and that it wasn’t too sunny, but it was humid and warm, so there were a lot of sweaty and tired kiddos afterwards!

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As the kids approached the fire station, you could hear the fire trucks blasting their horns for the kids and honking their horns! One of the fire trucks was set up to shoot water from its hose, it was truly fun to watch and be a part of this event!

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Fire trucks blare their horns and sirens for the kids as they arrive to the station. A water cannon shoots from a hose on one of the fire trucks. Many thanks to the Cascade Township Fire Department and the Kent County Sheriff’s Department for assisting with the walk and keeping everyone safe!

It was just awesome to see a sea of color and kids with parents, teachers and other school staff walking together for this event. The walk winds through several neighborhoods and down the local bike/walking path. There were people lined out to cheer the kids on and to encourage them! It truly was a great community event and I am glad I was able to be a part of it!

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Look at that sea of kids and color going all the way down the street!

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It’s Game Day! What Are YOU Snacking On?

Well, today is the official day! It’s the big showdown between the Michigan State Spartans and the University of Michigan Wolverines! It’s on at 7:30 p.m. EST tonight, a late start for a game! But most likely, many of us in the state of Michigan will be up and wide awake watching the game until the brutal end!

So the question is, what are YOU snacking on today for the game, if you are watching? Or if you don’t watch football, what do you snack on while watching your favorite sport? Okay, maybe you don’t watch sports. What do you snack on?

Normally, I’d be sitting with a bowl of potato chips, my favorite local flavor beer, maybe a spread of cheese and crackers and whatever else I can find in the cupboards or fridge. But today, we are trying something new! Lorenz Snack-World has a whole variety of munchies to choose from: pretzels, chips, nuts and more! Today’s new treat of flavor to try today are Lorenz Curly Peanut Classic and Lorenz NicNac’s snacks.

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These are not your traditional snacks, but that’s okay! Who wants to be traditional? The Curly snacks are really neat – they are puffy and made from ground peanuts. It’s far better than your regular traditional choice of cheese curls! And cheese curls these are not! These puffy treats are light, nutty in flavor and will go well with the rest of your snacking treats.

The NicNac’s are not your traditional peanuts! They are crunchy on the outside and crunchy with peanut on the inside! The outer shell does have a flavor profile to it – it is hard to describe, but it’s tasty! Reading from the ingredients off the package, it mentions onion powder and “smoke flavouring”, which is what I am tasting. They are yummy! Different than your regular plain dry roasted peanuts or other nut mix you would normally have on hand when entertaining.

If you are looking for something new to have on hand while entertaining, tailgating or just to snack on, these Lorenz Snack-World products are right up your alley! You will be pleasantly surprised at how addicting they can be! I keep finding myself getting up from the desk and keyboard to grab a handful of both in the kitchen as I type this up! I’ll have to go sit at the ice rink this evening for my oldest son’s hockey practice, I will be brining some of these along with me to share with some of the other hockey parents! Practice goes into the start of tonight’s big football game, but luckily we will only miss the first half hour or so of the game! And… this Gourmet Guru is going to say NIBBLE, NIBBLE and…

GO GREEN!! (Michigan State is *MY* alma mater!)