Top Pick Of The Week

April 7, 2009

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Onion Sugar

What would you do with a jar of sweet onion sugar, with all of the satisfying sweet and savory goodness of perfectly caramelized sweet onions like Vidalia or Walla Walla, with a tantalizing sugar crunch? Habañero sugar? Dark cocoa sugar? Fourteen flavors of sugar? You’re about to find out!

WHAT IT IS: Sweet and savory flavored sugars.
WHY IT’S DIFFERENT: Beyond the generally available vanilla- and lemon-flavored sugars, this unusual line lets you take your cooking, baking and beverages to a new dimension.
WHY WE LOVE IT: Exciting new tastes and visuals.

Sugar ‘N Spice: Essential Cane Sweet, Hot & Spicy Finishing Sugars

CAPSULE REPORT: You don’t have to be a skilled chef to know there are secret ingredients that, with just a sprinkle or a splash, can turn an ordinary dish into something special—something that makes family and friends think that you are one step removed from entering the Top Chef competition. These bottles, jars and cans are what we keep in our arsenal of ingredients, to turn that pasta dish into pasta pizzazz, the broiled fish into seafood superb, the bowl of salad from greens to glorious.

With FlavorStorm’s new line of Essential Cane flavored sugars, the game has gotten even more interesting. In 14 varieties, both sweet and savory, you now have magic wands flavored with everything from clove to green chile to habanero—and yes, that’s naturally-flavored cane sugar.

Essential Cane not only adds a touch of flavor, but a touch of beauty. It’s not only for the holidays, but for everyday kitchen witchcraft. The other fun part: It’s affordable...for you, for gifts, for everyday, for parties. Turn the coffee klatsch into a cane sugar klatsch. If you don’t already know what you’d do with sweet onion sugar—cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, main courses, desserts—read the full review below. And get ready to shake it.

THE NIBBLE does not sell the foods we review
or receive fees from manufacturers for recommending them.

Our recommendations are based purely on our opinion, after tasting thousands of products each year, that they represent the best in their respective categories.

Become A Sugar Sage

Sugar Spoon Fruit Syrup White Sugar
Sugar & Syrup Glossary. What’s the difference between brown sugar, demerara sugar, Muscovado sugar, raw sugar and all those other sugars? All is revealed in our Sugar & Syrup Glossary. Flavored Syrups. These flavored syrups—in Bergamot, Blood Orange, Meyer Lemon, Rangpur Lime, White Ginger and more—are droplets of heaven, and another Top Pick Of The Week. Robert Lambert Syrups. What’s Up With Organic Sugar? Does sugar production really “raise cane” with the environment? Should you buy organic sugar? Read the argument in our article on organic sugar.


Sugar ‘N Spice: Essential Cane Sweet, Hot & Spicy Finishing Sugars


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Essential Cane Overview

Sometimes all it takes is a sprinkle. Just a sprinkle, and simple chocolate truffles glitter with color and explode with flavor. Just a sprinkle, and a boring Tuesday piece of grilled chicken is company ready. Just a sprinkle, and your cocktails become the life of the party.

Essential Cane, a new line of flavored cane sugars from FlavorStorm, suits the sprinkle. The 14 varieties (both sweet and savory) range from the traditional like Vanilla Bean to the daring like Habañero. Located in Woodinville, Washington, FlavorStorm makes each Essential Cane flavored cane sugar using only two ingredients: natural, unrefined evaporated cane sugar and an all-natural, top quality flavor component such as Red Oregon raspberries, Tahitian vanilla or Korjante cinnamon. There are no extracts, and you can taste the quality.

There are certainly rock stars in this line. Beautifully pale orange, Tangerine leads the citrus pack. It is at once tongue-tinglingly acidic and warmly sweet. Cinnamon is rich and round, effortlessly bringing to mind cold winter nights by the fireplace, traditional holiday baked goods and childhood.


Add some excitement to plain, pan-fried duck with a pinch of raspberry sugar (and a few fresh raspberries, if you have them). Photo © Stanjoman | Dreamstime.

Perhaps the biggest star—and the maybe the most surprising—Sweet Onion has all of the satisfying sweet and savory goodness of perfectly caramelized sweet onions like Vidalia or Walla Walla, with a tantalizing sugar crunch.

A few of the flavors do not quite knock it out of the park. Lemon and Lime are good workhorses for rimming cocktail glasses, but do not quite pack the acidic punch that you want from citrus. The two hot pepper choices, Green Chili and Habañero, definitely hold up the spicy end of their bargain, but fall short in actual depth of fruit flavor (chiles are fruits). The line has a disappointment, Espresso, which tastes burnt and bitter (unless you like your coffee that way).

We categorized the 14 Essential Cane flavors into three groups: Fruity, Rich and Spicy & Savory. Our first stop is the Fruity category. Let’s take a look at what you can do with these blueberry, lemon, lime and tangerine flavored sugars. (Use with fish and meat? Absolutely!)

— April Stamm

Continue To Page 2: Fruit-Flavored Sugars

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