Top Pick Of The Week

November 29, 2011


The nut boxes from Tatte Cookies, with glazed mixed nuts as shown above or with single-nut flavors, get our award for best pastry of the year. Photo by Katharine Pollak | THE NIBBLE.

WHAT IT IS: Twelve of the best products that have been Top Picks Of The Week.
WHY IT’S DIFFERENT: Exceptionally delicious yet affordable treats, chosen from the thousands we’ve tasted.
WHY WE LOVE IT: Each product is wonderful for home enjoyment and for gifting.
WHERE TO BUY IT: See individual listings.

Treat someone to handmade salami flavored with truffles. Photo courtesy Creminelli.

Truffled almonds from Squirrel Brand nuts. Heavenly! Photo by Cory Lugg | THE NIBBLE.


Nibble On Our 2011
Artisan Food Award Winners

Jump to the article index below


CAPSULE REPORT: Just in time for holiday gifting, we’ve named our 2011 Nibble Artisan Food Awards: the “delectable dozen” food producers deserving of your attention. Petrossian, the artisan caviar producer, has been given a special Product Innovation Award.

All of the award winners have been Top Picks Of The Week, and are favorites of THE NIBBLE team.

This year, for your convenience, most have been added to, with a 10% discount (use code Santa through December 31st).

The red links will take you to where you can buy them. And the prices are gentle, with the exception of eCreamery ice cream and Willapa Oysters, which require overnight or two-day shipping.

If you’re looking for gourmet holiday gifts, we’ve created a product category index below, to help you decide. It highlights products that are kosher, low in calories, sugar free, stocking stuffers, sustainable and so forth.

And The Winners Are...

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

  • Chambre de Sucre, of Cypress, California. Their exquisite artisan sugars are crafted in Japan, using techniques that are hundreds of years old. A gift for people who entertain, or simply love beautiful things. ($10.95 to $55.95; Top Pick Review)
  • 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. A gift for meat lovers who appreciate the best, and snackers who want gourmet protein. ($35.00 and $45.00; Top Pick 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. A gift for ice cream lovers who want to be creative. $49.99 & $89.99 plus expresss shipping; Top Pick 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. A gift for anyone who loves sweets—including those with sugar restrictions. Certified kosher. ($19.95 to $37.95; Top Pick Review)
  • 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. A gift for jerky fans and those who want a protein-packed snack. ($19.99 to $79.00; Top Pick 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. A gift for those who like healthier, yet luscious, snacks. ($49.99; Top Pick Review)
  • 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! A gift for ice cream and dessert lovers and those who entertain. ($25.00 and $35.00; Top Pick Review)
  • Squirrel Brand Nuts, of McKinney, Texas, makes gourmet flavored nuts that are simply better than all the other gourmet nuts we’ve tried. The Italian Black Truffle Almonds and Meyer Private Reserve Cashews seasoned with a three-peppercorn blend are outstanding artisan nuts. A gift for healthy snackers and the cocktail set. ($39.49 to $48.49; Top Pick 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. A gift for anyone who likes great pastry. ($6.00 to $38.00; Top Pick Review)
  • Tiny Footprint Coffee of Minneapolis, Minnesota. Here’s a do-good food: For every bag sold, Tiny Footprint more than offsets its carbon footprint by planting a plot of saplings in an Ecuadorian rainforest. And the coffee is exceptional. A gift for people who appreciate fine coffee. ($10.99 and $11.99; Top Pick 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. A gift for anyone who likes cake and cookies. ($2.25 to $36.00; Top Pick Review)
  • 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 pristine oyster waters. This year, the company expanded its line with chowders and oyster stuffing. A gift for oyster lovers. ($48.00 to $76.00, two-day shipping required; Top Pick Review)

Head below for the Innovation Award winner, Petrossian.



Cookbook Gifts

A History Of Food

The Whole Hog Cookbook

A History of Food, by Maguelonne Toussaint-Samat. For the knowledge lover, this 700-page book is a revelation about the foods we eat and how they came to be. More information.

The Whole Hog Cookbook: Chops, Loin, Shoulder, Bacon, and All That Good Stuff, by
Libbie Summers. For the pork and bacon lover: how to enjoy every part of the pig. More information.

Gourmet Gifts: 100 Delicious Recipes for Every Occasion to Make Yourself and Wrap with Style, by Dinah Corley. For those who like to make gifts, great anytime gifts. More information.


This is Page 1 of a one-page article. Click on the black links to visit other pages:


Innovation Award Winner: Petrossian

Petrossian of Paris, with U.S.  headquarters in New York City, earns the Product Innovation Award for a trifecta of unique and revolutionary caviar products. Caviar Powder, made from fine Petrossian caviar, is dried through a secret process. What look like peppercorns in the grinders (photo at right) are actually dried beads of caviar. ($74.00 to $88.00)

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.

The second innovation is 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. ($49.00)

Completing the terrific trio is Caviarcube, cubes of pressed caviar the size of a cocktail garnish. Wow your holiday guests with a caviar-garnished Martini, or with cubes of caviar atop  canapés and other hors d’œuvre. ($45.00)

Sprinkle caviar on everything, thanks to this innovative caviar grinder from Petrossian. Photo courtesy Petrossian.

If you’re daunted by all the choices, let us assure you that any of these award winners is a delectable, memorable treat.

— Karen Hochman

Products By Category

Fish & Meat Healthier Options Kosher
Low Calorie/No Calories Snacks Stocking Stuffers
Sugar-Free Sustainable/Green Sweets


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