Monthly Archives: August 2013

Victoria’s Kitchen Launches New Label for Almond Water

Victoria’s Kitchen has given us a sneak peek at new packaging for Almond Water, designed to position the beverage as an alternative to iced teas and lemonades. “The new design showcases our french heritage, authentic and traditional aesthetic and will help consumers identify our three distinct flavors,” says Deborah Meniane, half of “The Almond Couple” behind Victoria’s Kitchen.


The new bottles will begin shipping to distributors soon. They’re still the same 16-ounce glass bottles, and UPCs remain the same.



Passage Foods Now Certified Gluten-Free

Passage Foods range of authentic cooking sauces are now certified gluten-free by the Gluten-Free Certification Organization (GFCO). The Passage Foods range includes Passage to Mexico, Passage to Thailand, Passage to Morocco, and Passage to Europe as well as several other classic and ethnic product ranges. Each of the 23 different simmer sauces is a blend of fresh ingredients creating a recipe deep in the traditional flavors of its country such as Moroccan Harissa, Red Thai Curry, Spanish Chicken and Chipotle Lime. “It has always been in our brand’s DNA that Passage Foods products be gluten-free and we have always used third-party testing to detect gluten to a level of 5 parts per million. The Celiac community understands the importance of this testing, but there is a much larger share of the North America population that is now practicing a gluten-restricted diet as a healthy lifestyle choice,” states Passages’ Mark MacKenzie. “We knew that the Gluten Intolerance Group through their GFCO program was the foremost trusted certification program available, and we felt that partnering was an important message to both our healthy lifestyle and celiac customers.”

Miss Lily’s Line of Jamaican Sauces and Marinades Launches into NYC Market

Miss Lily’s new line of Jamaican sauces and marinades is now available at Fairway, Gourmet Garage, Dean & DeLuca, Zabar’s, Eli’s, and Foragers (Brooklyn store only) in addition to Miss Lily’s store (132 West Houston Street) and website. Developed by Suzanne Couch, Miss Lily’s Culinary Director and a renowned caterer in Jamaica, the three flavors include Rass Hot Jerk BBQ, Jerk BBQ, and Jerk Marinade.

Allowing home cooks to bring the flavors of Jamaica into their own kitchen or backyard grill, the sauces are incredibly easy to use – just brush onto meats, seafood, or vegetables and grill or bake. The classic Jamaican, all-natural ingredients include scallions, brown sugar, Habanero chilies, onion, garlic, ginger, lemon juice, cumin, Scotch Bonnet peppers, and more. A portion of proceeds go to the Rockhouse Foundation, an organization chaired by Miss Lily’s founder Paul Salmon and designed to support education in Jamaica.

Drawing from the diverse roots of Jamaican cuisine, Miss Lily’s kitchen offers delicacies like jerk chicken, escovitch fish, oxtail and curried goat seasoned with scotch bonnet peppers and fiery jerk spices. In addition to Miss Lily’s Restaurant, a beach shack meets Jamaican diner, Miss Lily’s also includes: Miss Lily’s Café – all the classics of the restaurant menu with an added section of homemade Jamaican patties, Trinidadian rotis, salads/sandwiches, vegetarian options, and sweets; Melvin’s Juice Box – a favorite juice bar in the city from juicing legend Melvin Major, Jr.; and Miss Lily’s Variety Shop – an expertly-curated, West Indian record store, gallery and boutique. The front of Miss Lily’s Variety Shop is home to Miss Lily’s Radio, an internet radio station spinning reggae and other Jamaican jams.

Date Lady Organic Date Syrup Now Available in Pacific Northwest Whole Foods Markets

Date Lady™ Organic Date Syrup is now available in Whole Foods markets in the Northern California and Pacific Northwest regions through Renaissance Specialty Foods of South San Francisco and Crown Pacific Fine Foods of Kent, Wash., respectively.

Date Lady Date Syrup as well as the newly introduced Caramel Sauce are USDA Organic and kosher certified, and are naturally sweetened by the dates themselves, said Colleen Sundlie, company founder. With more potassium per ounce than bananas, date syrup is increasingly finding favor with U.S. consumers as a whole food and an alternative sweetener both on the table as a condiment as well as for cooking and baking, Sundlie said. It also has become more sought after as an ingredient by manufacturers interested in finding substitutes for sweeteners that consumers are tending to avoid, she added.

Date Lady Date Syrup contains only 100 percent organic dates, and Date Lady Caramel Sauce contains only three ingredients with no added sweeteners. The sweetness comes from the dates themselves, Sundlie said. The Date Syrup and Caramel Sauce are packaged in 12-ounce jars with suggested retail prices of $7.99 and $8.99 respectively. Whole organic dates are available in a resealable 8-ounce pouch with a suggested retail price of $6.99.

More information and recipes are available online at or by calling (417) 414-2282.

Submit Products Now for the New Annual Buyers Guide

Now’s the time to start putting together your listings for the annual Gourmet News Buyers Guide, which comes out in print in December. This annual issue is a compendium of all that’s good and great in the world of specialty food. If you’d like to submit a product, here’s what we’ll need:

Your company name, phone number and website address, product name, SRP, the product’s main ingredients, and a brief (25 words or so) description. If applicable, please include descriptors like “vegetarian,” “gluten-free,” etc.

You may submit multiple products, but you may submit only one product per category. Examples of product categories may include:

tea & coffee,

caviar & truffle products,

yogurts & kefirs,


ice creams & gelatos,

etc. If you’re not sure whether two related products would fit into different categories, please submit both, and we’ll let you know.

Mail your entries to and put “2013 Gourmet News Buyers Guide” in the subject line. Entries run as space is available and are considered in the order in which they arrive, so submit sooner rather than later.

Emmi Roth USA Wins Two Awards at 2013 World Dairy Expo

Emmi Roth USA received two awards at the 2013 World Dairy Expo Championship Dairy Product Contest held in Madison, Wis. Roth Hot Chili Gouda received a first place award in the Flavored Natural Cheese category. Roth Petite Swiss Reserve won a third place award in the Swiss Style category.

Roth Hot Chili Gouda is a new introduction for the company and will be available to customers in the coming months. This rich, buttery Gouda is infused with a special blend of three peppers for just the right amount of heat. “As consumers continue to look for bold flavors, Emmi Roth USA is excited to offer another specialty cheese with a spicy kick,” said Linda Duwve, Vice President of Sales and Marketing.

Roth Petite Swiss Reserve is a well-rounded, sweet and buttery cheese with a rich mouth feel and tangy finish. This marks the third award the cheese has received in competitions this year.

The World Dairy Expo Championship Dairy Product Contest, sponsored by the Wisconsin Dairy Products Association, received a record number of 820 entries in this year’s competition. All category first place winners will be auctioned off at the World Dairy Expo, which will be held Oct. 1-5 at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison.

Keep Your Wine Fresh Long After Opening

While a touch of oxygen in an individual glass can help open the bouquet and release the full flavor of a wine, for an opened bottle exposed overnight this life-giving gas is actually the kiss of death. As wine oxidizes it loses aromas and flavors leaving a vinegar-like, less than desirable beverage behind. CapaBunga® has created a simple and inexpensive new way to keep opened bottles of wine fresh for days, weeks, even months until they are used again with the Ultimate Wine Preservation Kit by CapaBunga.

Wine PreserveThe Ultimate Wine Preservation Kit by CapaBunga pairs together a can of specially blended inert gas to prevent wine spoilage with the unique sealing power of the CapaBunga. When used together, Wine Preserve by CapaBunga and the CapaBunga cap are capable of keeping a bottle of wine at its pre-opened, oxygen-free state.

Wine Preserve by CapaBunga prevents wine spoilage by using the same inert gases used in the production and bottling of wine at every winery worldwide. A harmless combination of Argon, Carbon Dioxide and Nitrogen gases, Wine Preserve by CapaBunga blankets the wine’s surface in the bottle displacing harmful oxygen. And, unlike vacuum devices, Wine Preserve by CapaBunga will not strip out a wine’s delicate aromas that are essential for full enjoyment.

The Ultimate Wine Preservation Kit is simple to use and should be used each time you pour and store wine. Wines treated with Wine Preserve by CapaBunga must be stored upright to maintain the gaseous seal over the wine. If turned on its side, the surface area of wine will increase and the gases in Wine Preserve by CapaBunga will not be as effective. The Ultimate Wine Preservation Kit by CapaBunga can be used with non-effervescent red and white wines originally sealed with a natural or synthetic cork closure.

Wine Preservation KitThe Ultimate Wine Preservation Kit by CapaBunga includes one can of Wine Preserve by CapaBunga (about 120 full uses) and three CapaBunga caps with an MSRP of $23.95. For more information and purchasing, visit:

Escali Introduces Smart Kitchen and Bathroom Scales

This September, Escali will introduce its SmartConnect™ wireless Bluetooth®Low Energy scales and free app.

Escali-SmartConnect-Kitchen-Scale_PHONEThe new SmartConnect™ app is a free download and operates via Bluetooth® Low Energy to sync with the SmartConnect™ kitchen and bathroom scales.

The app will be updated and improved over time, improving as technology advances and always ensuring the user a more thorough experience in their kitchen endeavors and on their health and fitness journeys.

The app will not only sync up with the new products but can be used with any scales as well through manual entry option. These affordable products and app will pave the way for new innovations in home kitchens everywhere. The SmartConnect™ scales are Escali’s sleekest products yet.

This fall, chefs, bakers and those tracking their health and fitness will join the revolution with Escali SmartConnect™!

For updates on the Escali SmartConnect™ scales and app, as well as to view existing product, go to


Vestar Acquires Roland Foods

American Roland Food Corp. and Vestar Capital Partners today announced that Vestar Capital Partners VI, L.P. has signed a definitive agreement to acquire a majority interest in the Roland Foods family of companies, including Bruno Scheidt, Inc., American Roland Food Corp., Pro Warehouse Corp., and Costamar Corp.  Terms were not disclosed.  The transaction is expected to close by the end of September.

Roland Foods is a recognized leader in the imported specialty foods business in the U.S. and around the globe.  “My parents started Roland Foods in the U.S. nearly 75 years ago, and the company has grown consistently over the years with the help of our valued customers, suppliers, and staff,” said Charles E. Scheidt, a member of the company’s founding family and CEO of Roland Foods.  “Vestar appreciates and shares our values, as well as our company’s single-minded focus on our brands, quality products, and exceptional and reliable customer service.  This evolution enables Roland Foods to build on its excellent foundation.”

“Roland Foods is a great company with a unique niche and superb reputation in the industry, and an exceptional initial investment for our new Vestar VI fund,” said Dan O’Connell, Founder and CEO of Vestar.  “Roland Foods is not only performing extremely well but also has impressive potential.  Coupled with the bright growth outlook we see in the specialty foods sector, we believe Vestar’s resources and experience in the food and branded products arena can help Roland Foods grow substantially.”

The management team and staff will remain in place.  Charlie Scheidt will continue as CEO and Chairman of the Board and will retain a meaningful investment in the company.  The company anticipates that a new CEO will be named in the coming year.  Roland Foods expects a seamless transition for the suppliers, vendors, and customers, with continuity, stability, and growth being top priorities.

Wells Fargo Securities, LLC acted as the M&A advisor to Vestar in this transaction.  Financing for the transaction was provided by BMO Capital Markets and GE Capital Markets.  Vestar’s legal advisor was Kirkland & Ellis LLP.

Evercore Partners served as financial advisor to American Roland Food Corp. and McDermott Will & Emery LLP served as legal advisor.

Specialty Foods Producers Wow Restaurateurs

by Lorrie Baumann

Specialty food producers showed up en masse at this year’s Western Foodservice & Hospitality Expo to introduce southern California restaurateurs to great gourmet products that can help their foodservice operations create the kind of flavor experience that their upscale clientele demands. Many of these folks will be familiar names to specialty foods retailers too.

Sparrow Lane artisanal varietal vinegars was at the show to talk about why these California-produced products are better. “A lot of balsamics on the market start with red wine or white wine and then add caramel colors. We have our own plant where we produce our own vinegars from the natural grape must, so you don’t get the extra sugars and the other things that don’t belong in there, and then they’re aged in oak barrels from 12 to 15 months and then bottled,” says Jesse Layman, the company’s “head chef and marketing guy.” He’s been a chef for 25 years, and he says vinegars have a wide variety of uses, allowing you to eliminate salt while enhancing the flavors of the food. Blackberry balsamic is wonderful with pork and chicken dishes and served en croute. And of course, they are still good on salads. Use Sparrow Lane varietals on salads as a nice finishing vinegar.

Fresh Origins offered fresh microgreens packaged for foodservice use. Although microgreens have been getting a lot of buzz in white tablecloth restaurants over the past year or two, the company is just now looking for a toehold on the retail market. Contact

Daiya brought its line of dairy-free, soy-free, gluten-free, Kosher, vegan cheese alternatives. Daiya recently came out with some cream cheeses that come packed in 8-ounce containers (12 per case) in flavors including strawberry-style, made from real strawberries, original flavor that’s like a traditional plain cream cheese and an onion and chive-style product. The company also makes cheese-alternative slices for retail sale in Swiss-style, cheddar style and a provolone style.  The slices come in cases of 12 7.8-ounce packages. Mozzarella, cheddar, and pepper-jack style cheese alternatives are also available for retail in shreds. Contact Trevis Umble He’s the retail sales manager for the western U.S., but if he’s not the appropriate contact for you, he’ll refer you to the right person.

Pure Indulgent Foods is offering “flats” as a companion for cheeses and spreads. These savory crackers come in flavors including Rosemary Cranberry, Cashew Date, Chili Mango and Fig Olive. At the show, the Rosemary Cranberry and Chili Mango flavor crackers were drawing attention as an all-natural way to add a crisp touch to a salad. Call 403.243.5699 for more information.

SooFoo demonstrated that “Mighty Grains with a Strange Name” can be delicious with samples of their blend of nine organic, GMO-free grains and lentils grown in the U.S. “We have the original blend here that we’ve cooked in water in a rice cooker and we’re sampling with some olive oil and a little salt,” says Felice Charlton, Director of New Business for the company. The product also makes a Lemon Kale Salad for which Charlton developed the recipe. Add the cooked grain to some kale and crumbled feta and toss with an olive oil-lemon juice dressing. Add some pine nuts and dried cranberries for nutty crunch and sweetness. Visit

Blaze’s Beans in Vancouver teamed up with Orange County Produce about 10 years ago to produce a line of spicy pickled beans that are great for Bloody Marys. “Almost everything we market has been going to Canada for the last 10 or 15 years, but we’ve been marketing in the U.S. for only the last five or six years,” says Matt Kawamura, a Partner in Blaze’s Beans. Visit