Winter Time Cookie Craving.

Winter time cookie craving in full effect! You may be seeing and reading a lot about different cookies and biscuits in the next days and weeks… it’s winter time and I just want to grab something quick and tasty to nibble on. It’s not candy or anything super sweet that I am craving, it is a tasty cookie that I am looking to curb my cravings. I guess you could say it’s a cookie time of year. After all the gingerbread and other holiday sweets, I kind of just want to get back to regular cookie mode. (But yes, I am still finding leftover holiday cookies and treats in my cupboards, it’s time to clean the cupboards out!)

This time of year is always so blah. Some days there is snow on the ground, some days it melts and then some days you get it all in one day. I can’t believe February is almost here, but yet, this winter and past fall seem like they have just been dragging us along. I’m ready for warmer days and longer daylight. Winter blues can go away!

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So while out and about today, I decided to pick up these Biscovalo shortbread cookies made by Ambrosiana. I’ve highlighted cookies from Ambrosiana before, this was one of the cookies I haven’t tried yet! These cookies are thin and have a hazelnut flavor. The bottom has a nice chocolate glaze that melts right in your hand!

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Just the right size and just the right amount of crispy cookie crunch needed on a gloomy, winter day! The weather here in Michigan is being quite finicky as usual: yesterday warm and thunderstorms, today cold and snowy. But while the weather is finicky, I can be happy knowing that I am enjoying a cookie delight that is GMO free. Made in Italy, Ambrosiana cookies are delicately made with wholesome ingredients.

I love the simple, yet elegant packaging of these cookies. And what you see on the box is what you get inside the box. No tricks or gimmicks! So go grab your favorite warm or hot beverage and sit down with a book or a good movie. Open up a box of these Biscovalo cookies and enjoy your day and take your stresses away!

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Taking a Walk with Mr. Stanley.

I love mint. I also love dark chocolate. I love these Magnificent Mint Chocolate Walking Sticks made by Mr. Stanley’s. So you’ll find me walking around with these from time to time. I can’t just eat one either, I must have like 3 or 4, maybe more (yes, more)? I am addicted to anything minty and anything dark chocolate, so when I found these little treat sticks, I knew I was in trouble! These are perfect for me when I am running errands and I’m trying to get out of the house, but I also want something minty – but not gum. I can grab these little sticks and get the kids in the car and away I go! They are not messy, no wrappers to deal with, since I grab them straight from the box. I’d show you the inside of the box, but it’s – uh… empty! (Shhh! Don’t tell anyone!) The box itself states, “Tasty Twists of Pure Chocolate Indulgence”, and I have to agree… they are tasty twists of pure indulgence!

If you are not a fan of mint or you like a different flavor, these little sticks come in orange flavor as well!

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I love Mr. Stanley’s classic packaging with the stripes and fun fonts! When I grabbed this box off the shelf at the store, I sort of felt like I was getting myself ready to have some fun! And I have! Because not only did I find the Magnificent Mint Chocolate Walking Sticks, I also found the fun Chocolate Matches with Popping Candy! Seriously! How fun can we make candy? I found the white chocolate matches – and not only do I think they are fun and funky, my kids love biting into them and feeling the little popping pops in their mouth!

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The Chocolate Matches come in a fun box that, why yes, resembles a box of matches! These are matches the kids CAN play with! I am not endorsing any such thing, but these chocolate matches are sure not to spark any flame or fire! But they will spark curiosity fun with kids and candy lovers alike!

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The chocolate matches are probably double the size, maybe a little more, than the mint sticks. But either way, they both are delicious and tons of fun to eat and share! And not to worry, the popping candy in the matches aren’t obnoxiously poppy, they are just enough pop to make you think of the popping sounds and start of a wood fire!

While I have the white chocolate matches, these also come in different varieties: milk chocolate & salted caramel, and Earl Grey dark chocolate matches! Note that these other flavors do *not* have popping candy, but they do have some unique flavors! So there you have it! Some delicious fun from Mr. Stanley’s! These are fun for any occasion, or no occasion at all! Just get them and have fun! But they do make great gifts for young and old, and their fun and classic packaging makes it so inviting to open up and share! Not all gourmet chocolate is this fun!

 

Take the Bitter with the Sweet.

Yes, go for it! Go ahead and be bitter! Today you can be! Today is National Bittersweet Chocolate Day! Start indulging in your favorite chocolate until the bitter end! Am I getting a little carried away here? I’m sorry! I don’t mean to be obnoxious, but there are just to many perfect ways to express today’s bittersweet day! And just because it’s a day for bittersweet chocolate, it doesn’t mean you have to forget about your milk chocolate. Because we’ve got them all covered today to celebrate Hachez all the way from Germany.

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Let’s first explore what makes chocolate bittersweet:

  • Legally, at least 35 percent pure chocolate with some small amount of sugar added.
  • Also known as: dark chocolate, when it is a European brand.
  • Characteristics: Usually darker and less sweet than semisweet.
  • No legal specifications for the term so not always darker and less sweet.
  • Semisweet and bittersweet can be used in baking interchangeably, depending on personal preferences.
  • Specific sweetness and color intensity varies by manufacturer’s recipes and cacao bean sources.
  • Uses: Baking and eating.

Source: Better Homes & Gardens (Chocolate Types, Selection & Storage)

So, let’s get this (tasty) bitterness out of the way, shall we? Let’s start with these two bittersweet chocolates made by Hachez. The Ecuador green package is a 58% cocoa and the São Tomé blue package is 73% cocoa. How bitter do you like to go?! Missing from our group would be the Madagascar in blue-violet package at 75% cocoa.

Hachez can impress even the best dark chocolate connoisseur. I thought I was a dark chocolate expert until I had some of the darkest Hachez chocolate (I believe 88% is my favorite) and I was blown away! It’s not overly bitter, it’s not “dry” or tastes chalky, it’s just a smooth, chocolatey taste that is very enjoyable! I tried both of these below and they are very good!

 

Back in 1890 Joseph E. Hachez refined superior cocoa from South America according to a simple recipe. The secret to perfect chocolate quality involves roasting the cocoa bean batch, meticulous conching and use of natural ingredients. We still adhere to this recipe today. Enjoy our chocolate compositions handcrafted with love and painstaking care.

Source: Hachez (Product Packaging)

Even though it’s “bittersweet” day, below I thought I would share a photo of some of the Hachez superior milk chocolate, influenced by Venezuela at 43% cocoa and in a yellow package. Silky, smooth milk chocolate, very dreamy and delicious!

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We will be exploring Hachez chocolates some more in the future, so expect to see more delicious chocolate from them coming to the blog! We will also be exploring Hachez’s Taste Navigator in a future post, so look out for that, soon!

To end the post for today, I had to share one of my favorite songs from back in the day, “Bittersweet” by Big Head Todd and the Monsters. Enjoy!

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Thank You for the Fun #TravelingSanta!

As promised, we wanted to share our love and fun of #TravelingSanta!

The children will miss #TravelingSanta until next year! Thank you #TravelingSanta for the fun we had this past Christmas holiday season! Farewell, until we meet again!

We hope you enjoy our little video of the adventures we all had together!

Hello 2018!

Happy New Year! Happy 2018! Let’s start off the New Year with a new name! As you can see, All Things Gourmet, sounds like a nice little fit! What you’ll find here won’t change at all! There still will be recipes shared, gourmet food items to be showcased and shared, along with the sharing of information and traditions and so forth! But don’t worry, there will be little Gourmet Nibbles to be had and I will make sure you can follow my crumb trail!

The month of January is busy and filled with lots of new things, recipes and adventures ahead! There are some sauces and soups to be made, special national days to celebrate – all of course – featured around FOOD! Then we have to face it and admit it – Valentine’s is right around the corner! Yes! I know! We just finished up the Christmas and New Year’s holidays and YES! We must move on to Valentine’s and do I dare bring up the Easter Bunny?! Well, I sort of have to, because we can’t avoid them! And here they are…!

Just a few to get you started!

Over the course of the next year I also plan to keep up on the latest health and food trends, and so far there are a few similar themes I keep seeing popping up! Tumeric  and other spices seems to be one trend. “Gut-friendly” fermented foods such as sauerkraut has hit the list and then don’t forget about your foods filled with probiotic! And as for gut-friendly foods, we have that and we’ve got you covered!

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There are a few things about coffee I may look into – I keep reading that coffee is good for your liver and there may also be other coffee trends that I am going to try to keep my eye on. Is coffee the key to prevent premature death?I don’t know, but there are reports to claim there may be an association to drinking coffee and longevity by reducing the risk of cancer, stroke, heart and liver disease!

And coffee… that’s in stock as well!

So there’s a lot to look forward to in 2018! And it’s time to get started!

 

 

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!)

End Oktoberfest with Pretzels & Mustard!

Today is the last day of Oktoberfest, let us end it on a high note! How about ending it with a gourmet treat? I have the perfect pair for you! Over the weekend, I had the chance to make a box of Kathi German Pretzel Mix. I have to tell you, they taste DELICIOUS with Hengstenberg gourmet mustards! The two flavors of mustard that I had on hand to dip the pretzels with this weekend were Hengstenberg Medium Hot and Sweet Bavarian mustards. These mustards come in super groovy mugs! Perfect for ending Oktoberfest today! Prost!

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I bet you are wondering: Pretzel mix… how hard was it to make those? Truth? SUPER EASY! Especially if you have a mixer that has a dough hook, which I have! They did not take long to prepare, however, you will have to let dough rise, so plan accordingly if you want to make these tasty pretzels!

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The main dough needs to rise for about 40 minutes or more, if kept covered and in a warm place, it does its job and rises wonderfully! After the dough has risen and you’ve kneaded the dough a bit to let the air out, you will shape your pretzels onto a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Shape the dough in a traditional pretzel, make buns or as we tried with at least some dough, a pretzel stick! Once the pretzels have been shaped, the dough will need to rise for about 20 minutes more, but that’s perfect time for you to preheat your oven. DO keep an eye on them while they are in the oven! The baking time on the package says approximately 20 minutes, depending on altitude and oven temperature. As soon as the pretzels start to brown, don’t leave them in too, long! Pop them out of the oven!

I was given the idea to try this pretzel mix to create “pigs in a blanket”, and that’s just what my husband did with some of the prepared pretzel dough. I had family over for the weekend, and those little piggies were gone as soon as they were ready! They were SO yummy and I happen to love the Hengstenberg Sweet Bavarian Style Mustard dipped with the “pigs in a blanket”. They were a party favorite and tasted soooo good! The kids and adults both enjoyed pretzels and the “pigs in a blanket” equally well! I have a few family members who need to watch their salt intake, so I even prepared some pretzels without adding the salt on top.

Making this Kathi German Pretzel Mix was SUPER easy and super fun! Make any shape you want! They taste awesome and they are even better with the pairing of the Hengstenberg mustards! The pretzels are great tasting warm or cooled. Kids and adults both enjoyed this treat! The pretzel mix was such a hit in this house that my oldest son has asked that I make them again today! These are perfect for any occasion! PERFECT for a tailgate! Speaking of tailgating… stay tuned here this week for more tailgating ideas! Nibble, nibble!

Starting a Crumb Trail…

We are getting our crumb trail ready for you to follow along with us as we explore the wonderful world of gourmet food, beverages, candies and chocolates! Currently, staff in our warehouse are busy with holiday favorites arriving to the warehouse. We plan to bring you along our adventures as our team travels to food shows, we want to share recipes with you and we are wanting to share the world of the products we love to you! We also want to share who we are, how we got here and have you join us on our journey as we continue to grow! So as we gear up to share our love of gourmet and specialty food with you, don’t mind our crumb trail… that’s for you to follow us along so you don’t get lost along the way! There might be something delicious hiding around the corner that you are not expecting! Nibble nibble!

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Welcome to Gourmet Nibbles.

We are excited to be bringing you the latest information, updates, discussion, products and more from Gourmet International!

  • We want to connect with YOU!
  • We want to hear from YOU!
  • We want to share our company with YOU!
  • We want to share our love of gourmet foods, beverages, candies and chocolates with YOU!

Stay tuned… we are gearing up to start “spreading the jam on the toast”!
Welcome aboard our gourmet journey!