White chocolate dessert sauce from Somebody's Mother's: rare and scrumptious. Photo by Corey Lugg |

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THE NIBBLE 2011 Artisan Food Awards

The “Delectable Dozen”: Food Awards Honor Top 12 Artisan Producers For Quality & Innovation


November 18, 2011, New York — A whopping $70.32 billion of specialty food was sold in 2010, the last year for which figures are available. The $55.92 billion purchased at retail represents 13.1% of all retail sales. Even in a recession, consumers who cut back on fine restaurant meals still treat themselves to specialty foods that they can consume at home.

While there are big names in the specialty food business, some 80% of the producers are small businesses, reporting under $1 million in sales. These smaller companies include food artisans who make their products using centuries-old techniques. It is to them that THE NIBBLE webzine, the largest-readership publication devoted to specialty food, dedicates THE NIBBLE Artisan Food Awards.

“We taste thousands of products a year,” stated Karen Hochman, editorial director of THE NIBBLE, who founded the online publication in 2004 to review specialty food products. “Even among very good specialty food products, these items stand out. They’re what THE NIBBLE staff members will be giving as holiday gifts.”

All the award winners have been a NIBBLE Top Pick Of The Week, an honor that goes to the 52 most outstanding products of each year (you can get subscribe via email or RSS).

As a convenience to readers, the majority of this year’s award winners and other Top Picks Of The Week have been assembled into a new store on the webzine: TheNibbleGourmetMarket.com.

In addition to the “delectable dozen” food award winners for 2011, Petrossian, an artisan caviar producer, has been selected for a special Product Innovation Award.

Representing  artisan food producers from coast to coast, in alphabetical order, the winners are:


Fancy SugarJust one of the beautiful styles of handcrafted sugar from Artisan Food Award winner Chambre de Sucre. Photo courtesy Chambre de Sucre.


Chambre de Sucre, of Cypress, California. These exquisite artisan sugars are crafted in Japan, using techniques that are hundreds of years old (full review).

  Truffle SalamiCreminelli’s truffle salami: wonderful! Photo courtesy Creminelli.

Creminelli Fine Meats, of Salt Lake City, Utah. Bringing centuries-old craftsmanship from Italy to America, Creminelli is one of America’s great cured meat artisans (full review).


eCreamery offers ice cream lovers the luxury of creating their own unique blends. Not only is it a fantasy-come-true, but the ice cream is also really terrific (full review).


Enstrom Candies, of Grand Junction, Colorado, makes the best toffee and peppermint bark THE NIBBLE editors have ever come across. The products are kosher-certified, and the toffee is available in a sugar-free version that is just as delicious as the conventional version (full review).

  Enstrom’s remarkable toffee is available in traditional and sugar-free. Photo courtesy Enstrom.

Gary West Meats, of Jacksonville, Oregon, makes the most tender and versatile collection of jerky—elevating jerky to a gourmet treat. In addition to beef, the company makes buffalo (bison) and elk jerky (full review).


Olympia Granola, of North Branch, Minnesota, makes an elegant line of raw food granola bars that are delightfully different—like a dense nut torte. They are truly gourmet granola bars (full review).

  Gourmet Cashew NutsSquirrel Brand not only roasts the finest quality nuts; the deft seasonings make them irresistible. Photo by Corey Lugg | THE NIBBLE.

Somebody’s Mother’s Dessert Sauces, of Houston, Texas, creates among the best dark and white chocolate dessert sauces—in fact, just try to find a white chocolate dessert sauce anywhere  else! (full review).


Squirrel Brand Nuts, of McKinney, Texas, makes gourmet flavored nuts that are simply better than all the other gourmet nut brands. The Italian Black Truffle Almonds and Meyer Private Reserve Cashews seasoned with a three-peppercorn blend are outstanding artisan nuts (full review).


Tatte Fine Cookies & Cakes of Brookline, Massachusetts. Tatte’s Nut Boxes are memorable nut  tarts. Buttery pastry crust is filled with nuts—an assortment or single varieties—that in turn are glazed with honey. A simple-but-brilliant concept, the combination of flavors and textures is sublime (full review).

  Nut tartTatte’s Nut Boxes are a brilliant concept, beautiful to look at and heavenly to taste. Photo by Katharine Pollak | THE NIBBLE.

Tiny Footprint Coffee of Minneapolis, Minnesota. Here’s a do-good food: For every bag sold, Tiny Footprint more than offsets is carbon footprint by planting a plot of saplings in an Ecuadorian rainforest. And, the coffee is exceptional (full review).


WannaHavaCookie, of Chicago, Illinois, elevates the whoopie pie to a gourmet treat. Buttercream replaces the traditional Crisco frosting, and the cake portion is superb (full review).

  Oysters On The Half ShellMagnificently fresh and tasty oysters. Photo by Nathan Maxfield | IST.

Willapa Oysters, of Oysterville, Washington, farms oysters in America’s cleanest estuary. Oysters are harvested to order and express-shipped nationwide. The oysters are exceptional: perhaps the best and freshest oysters that can be experienced away from Willapa Bay. This year, the company expanded its line with chowders and oyster stuffing (full review).

Innovation Award Winner: Petrossian

Petrossian of Paris, with U.S.  headquarters in New York City, earns the Product Innovation Award for its revolutionary Caviar Powder. Made from pearls of fine Petrossian caviar, this unique product comprises caviar that is dried through a secret process. What look like peppercorns in the grinders (photo at right) are actually dried beads of caviar.

While Petrossian is the world’s most renowned name in fine caviar, it remains a family business. Artisan techniques are employed to create the finest products.

This year, the Petrossian team has innovated not only with Caviar Powder, but also with Papierusse (“Russian paper”), a thin sheet of caviar in the style of pressed caviar (think of the nori sheets used for sushi, but made with caviar instead of seaweed). Papierusse, which is available to consumers, is chiefly used as an exciting culinary accent by chefs. It is served in different ways at Petrossian’s restaurants in New York City and Paris,  including a delicate rolled omelet wrapped in Papierusse, made to resemble tamago sushi.

  Petrossian Caviar PowderSprinkle caviar on everything, thanks to this innovative caviar grinder from Petrossian. For caviar, it’s very affordable! Photo courtesy Petrossian.


Previous Nibble Artisan Food Award winners include Chokola’j fine chocolates, Cool Beans bean dip, Fizzy Lizzy juice drinks, Holly’s Oatmeal, Peeled Snacks dried fruits, Pestos With Panache, Popchips “popped” potato chips, Rick’s Picks pickles, Ruby et Violette chocolate chip treats, SuperSeedz flavored pumpkin seeds and Wine Cellar Sorbet wine-based sorbets.



THE NIBBLE®, “Great Food Finds,” is an online magazine about specialty foods and the gourmet life. It seeks out the best small food producers, ones that most consumers—and retailers—might never discover on their own. THE NIBBLE is the only consumer publication and website that focuses on reviewing the best specialty foods and beverages in every category, and includes extensive reference and education materials. THE NIBBLE staff tastes more than 3,000 specialty foods each year in order to choose the “best of the best” for review. The Top Pick Of The Week is e-mailed to opt-in subscribers. The magazine also covers gourmet housewares and other topics of interest to people who love fine food. TheNibble.com and Blog.TheNibble.com are visited by some one million monthly readers. Content is also available at Twitter.com/TheNibble, Facebook.com/TheNibble.GourmetFood and via RSS.


Media Contact:
Karen Hochman
Karen ### at ### TheNibble.com

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