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December 2006 New Food Rollout

Nov. 27, 2006
December's best new food products include Lucini Italia's gourmet soups and sauces; Walkers' Luxury Scottish Cookies; seasonal teas from Bigelow Tea Co.; Planters Nut Lovers Mixes; three varieties of Cognac from Sidney Frank Importing Co. Inc.; and Bellagio Sipping Chocolate from Caffe D'Amore.

Small batch sauces and soups

Everyone's busy during the holidays, so let Miami-based Lucini Italia help you make dinner with very little effort. Lucini introduces five scrumptious new sauces as well as two exceptional soups. Made in Italy with only fresh Italian ingredients, they are prepared by hand in small batches, resulting in richer flavors with more depth.

All Lucini Italia's Gourmet Sauces are made with only Lucini Premium Select Extra Virgin Olive Oil and fresh San Marzano plum tomatoes. Varieties include: Tuscan Marinara with Roasted Garlic and Rustic Tomato Vodka Sauce with blended herbs and Pecorino Romano and Parmigiano cheeses - both in 25.5-oz. bottles; and 16.9-oz bottles of Robust Tomato Gorgonzola, Creamy Tomato Ricotta and Savory Tomato Parmigiano. Soups include Roman Tomato Cream and Rustic Italian Minestrone in 16.9 oz bottles.

"Lucini products are like having an Italian mother in your home," says Chef Art Smith, personal chef to Oprah Winfrey. "These delicious products have brought my family back to the table many times."

Suggested retail prices are $5.99 for the soups, $7.99 for the Marinara and Gourmet Cheese sauces and $8.99 for the Vodka Sauce.

Cookie connoisseurs rejoice

Walkers of Aberlour-on-Spey, Scotland, introduces an all-natural line of Luxury Scottish Cookies with distinctive flavors and appeal, sure to please your family and guests.

The cookies contain no artificial flavorings, colorings or additives and are certified kosher OUD. Offerings include: Oatflake and Cranberry, made with Scottish whole oats and cranberries; White Chocolate & Raspberry, garnished with premium white chocolate and raspberries; Stem Ginger & Lemon, containing Buderim ginger and tangy lemons; and Belgian Chocolate, baked with genuine imported rich Belgian chocolate.

Suggested retail price for each 5.3-oz. package (eight cookies) is $3.99.

Teas burst with holiday flavors

Looking for a gift for your favorite teacher, babysitter or co-worker or a treat for yourself? Bigelow Tea Co., Fairfield, Conn., has a suggestion: Give them tasty, fragrant, seasonal all natural Harvest and Holiday Teas, bursting with spices and holiday cheer.

Varieties include: Bigelow Apple Cider Herb Tea, with the taste of comforting hot apple cider and sweet cinnamon; Bigelow Pumpkin Spice Tea, an blend of rich and creamy pumpkin flavors, ginger, cloves and black tea; Ginger Snappish Herb Tea, a comforting herbal blend of ginger with a hint of lemon; and Bigelow Eggnogg'n Tea, a blend of black and green teas with the sweet flavor of eggnog.

"This season take pleasure in some quiet time by relaxing with a warm and flavorful cup of Bigelow Tea," says Cindi Bigelow, co-president. "Our seasonal teas are tremendously flavorful treats for the whole family to enjoy. A fantastic taste with no calories."

Suggested retail price for 20 individual envelopes is $3.19.

Century in a nutshell

To celebrate Planters' 100th birthday, Northfield, Ill.-based Kraft Foods introduces four new Planters Nut Lovers Mixes, perfect snacks for holiday guests. Each contains 50 percent of a "favorite" nut: Cashew Lovers Mix, Pistachio Lovers Mix, Macadamia Lovers Mix and Pecan Lovers Mix. Each favorite nut is combined with two complementary nut varieties.

"We are excited to introduce the Nut Lovers Mixes because they feature unique combinations of many nuts that people have told us they love the most," says Heath Osburn, senior brand manager.

Incidentally, more than half a million respondents were queried as to whether Mr. Peanut, America's most loveable legume, should don a new accessory (cuff links, bow tie or pocket watch) in 2007. They overwhelmingly voted to keep the dapper icon just the way he is. You can't beat perfection.

Suggested retail price for a 6-oz. can is $3.99.

Fit for the king or queen in your life

Sidney Frank Importing Co. Inc., New Rochelle, N.Y., adds three varieties of Cognac, to its line of ultra-premium beverages: JC Cognac VSOP, JC Apple VSOP and JC Jasmin VSOP, all available in 50ml, 200ml, 375ml, and 750ml sizes.

JC Cognac, short for Jacques Cardin, comes in a graceful angular bottle topped with silver and stylishly emblazoned with the initials "JC" on the front. The back of the bottle has a rendering of the Fleur de Lys, or "Lily of France," which represents purity, royalty, and immortality.

Made in Cognac, France, with a selection of Ugni-Blanc grapes, these VSOP (Very Special Old Pale) Cognacs are aged at least four years in small French oak casks. JC has an amber hue with deep golden reflections, an intense floral nose that reveals notes of vine flowers and some vanilla undertones. On the palate, it has a heady taste with a gingerbread and honey finish.

Suggested retail price is $29.99 for a 750-ml bottle.

Sumptuous sipping hot chocolate

When your shopping is done and packages are wrapped, sit down and treat yourself to Bellagio Sipping Chocolate, a luxuriously rich dessert hot chocolate from Pasadena, Calif.-based Caffe D'Amore.

Debuting late last year, Bellagio Sipping Chocolate was honored as Best New Food Product in 2005 by the Specialty Coffee Assn. of America, but was only available in foodservice venues. Now, the beverage described by the company as being "to the lover of fine chocolate what espresso is to the lover of fine coffee," is available at specialty food stores, Saks Fifth Avenue, www.caffedamore.com and appropriately at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas.

Imbued with an alluring taste of fine European dark chocolate (along with a hint of vanilla), this creamily delicious new gift to the palate is best enjoyed steamed with whole milk and is blended with only the finest possible ingredients. These include pure cocoa powder, pure cane sugar, chocolate liquor and cocoa butter. Sipping Chocolate contains no trans fats or hydrogenated oils. Just add milk or hot water and you have a cup of hot chocolate, or use it to make chocolate mousse, chocolate frosting or chocolate liqueur dessert.

"We are very proud of our Bellagio brand and heartened to have seen it evolve into our premier line in such a short period of time, says Chris Julias, CEO of Caffe D'Amore. "With Sipping Chocolate more popular than ever among our foodservice clients, the time was clearly right to introduce the line directly to consumers, and we look forward to significantly building the brand over the years ahead."

Suggested retail price for a 9 oz. tin is at $8.75.

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