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The Food Channel®, in conjunction with CultureWaves® insights and trends analysis, has created its 2014 Top Ten Dessert Trends.

1. Spoon Desserts

Pudding, custard, tapioca, rice pudding and non-fancy soft desserts are big this year. Whether it’s the texture or the variety, or simply that we’ve all stocked up on small ramekins and need something to do with them besides crème brûlée, we are into the combination of soft and sweet to finish our meals. Spoonables are easily made in savory as well. See our recipe for a Quick Brûlée Tapioca Spoon Pudding that will hit all of your senses with something new and delightful!

2. Layers

The more layers the better, and if jam is one of the fillings, we lick our lips in anticipation! It’s a great way to combine our love of artisan and homemade jams with the new tools that make it easy to bake and divide cakes into layers. And, while we love the decadent look of a layer cake, it’s not confined to cake. We are layering just about anything, from muffins to cheesecakes to trifles. Try it with the new Otis Spunkmeyer Angel Food Muffin, with a layer of delicious jam and a cheesecake topping to take it too decadent!

3. Hand Pies

The mini dessert has finally extended itself to the pie. Instead of a slice, now you can devote yourself to a whole pie that you can pick up and eat, almost like a sandwich. Hand pies are sealed on all sides and usually hold a fruit mixture, but expect to find them filled with just about anything this year. Some are fried, but there are new kitchen gadgets that allow you to make them like waffles, or simply bake them like turnovers.

4. Midwestern Influence

One of the big trends for 2014 in general is around Midwestern foods, and when it comes to desserts that means cobblers, pies, crisps, tarts, upside down cakes, and bar cookies. Try our Midwestern Fruit Pie with a side of cheddar cheese!

5. Mashups and Muffins

Muffins are the new doughnuts, or what some are calling the duffin. The new mashup isn’t really about putting unlike things together as much as it is creating a new form of something you love—and it’s usually done to make it easier to make or a little bit healthier. Love buttermilk doughnuts, for example, but don’t want to fry your food? You might like the new Buttermilk Doughnut Muffin.

6. Pepper, Flavored Salts, and International Spices

No need to ask for the pepper mill for your dessert when it’s baked right in! New desserts on the menu are heavy on the stronger spices. Cracked pepper is particularly on the rise, perhaps because it gives a visible difference to a dessert plate without an overwhelming flavor punch. Try it in scones in place of fruit, with desserts made with fruit and cream, on ice cream, in bread pudding, in cookies and in candy. You can also progress beyond sea salt on your truffles to some of the flavored salts (Himalayan pink salt, anyone?). See our recipe for speed scratch peppered ice cream to eat alone, with a cookie, or simply put on top of your pie.

7. Dessert Butters

These are not compound butters, but are actually ground up cookies turned into a soft filling that is perfect for rolling into a truffle or adding to a sandwich cookie. That’s right, use ground up cookie to layer another cookie—what’s wrong with that?! There’s a popular recipe for Oreo truffles that may have started it, but Bischoff is in the game now, too, and we expect to see more. This really creates a new category for almond butters, cookie butters and more, perfect for the Sandwich Generation. We’ve made a PB and Chocolate Cookie here using the Otis Spunkmeyer Sweet Discovery Double Chocolate Chip cookie on the outside, and the Sweet Discovery Peanut Butter cookie, turned into a cookie butter, on the inside. Cookie butter sandwiched between two chocolate cookies? Yes, please–for great dual flavor!

8. Crepes

What’s old is new again with additional flavors and combinations coming into play. People who are getting a little more adventurous with their cooking skills are also looking for that new item to add to their repertoire, and crepes fit the bill since they can be the main course or an amazing dessert. We’ve demonstrated our favorite with a Raspberry Crepe with Lemon Sauce.

9. Nuts

Nuts are big in desserts right now, particularly as we recognize there are some possible health benefits that give us a little good with our decadence! So the idea of adding a handful of walnuts here, or dipping those cookies in chocolate and a coating of pistachios there, is only going to grow. One of our favorite recipes in this series was the Spiced Walnut Crust Cookies with Chocolate Ganache and Sea Salt. Melt-in-your-mouth delicious!

10. Small Batch Desserts

We also call this “Desserts for Two,” because these desserts are definitely made for sharing, just not with the world. We don’t have to make enough dessert to feed an army to be satisfied; we’ve discovered it’s OK to just make a little. So dessert recipes are downsizing into one-offs, where you get a small batch of homemade chocolates, or a few dipped marshmallows, or a taffy pull that results in just a few pieces of taffy (but a whole lot of fun).

by Food Network Kitchens in News

by Food Network Kitchens in News, December 30th, 2013 – Interesting Article from Food Network that I wanted to share on my website. I like to follow food trends and this is great article!

The editors, cooks and food-curious experts at Food Network Kitchens are always looking for what’s fun, delicious and next. It’s become a given that food fans, chefs and media types of all sorts look ahead and share their expectations. From their glimpse into the 2014 crystal ball, here’s a not-so-serious, definitely unscientific look at the food trends seen as up-and-coming.

“It’s kind of a wild time in food, full of contradictions,” says Katherine Alford, SVP of Culinary at Food Network. “On one hand people are more adventurous than ever. They’re eating Korean and Szechwan, seeking out crazy-hot ghost peppers, and mixing and matching to make outlandish hybrids of comfort foods. But that’s all balanced with a growing demand for food that matters more to our bodies’ well-being and the planet’s well-being, too.” Recently and still coming, you can see an eclectic mix of comfort food and healthy food, plus local picks as well as far-flung favorites. “In the past few years we’ve upped our spices, eaten more veggies and grown to expect some playfulness on the plate,” Alford says. “With all that, next year I’m keeping my eye on what’s cooking right here in America’s heartland. There is real excitement in the fresh voices cooking there. As for 2014, we hope what we found is inspiring with a little wishful thinking mixed in.” Tell us what you’re looking forward to as the next delicious food on your table in the new year.

1. The Mashup Is the New Melting Pot
After a year of Cronuts and ramen burgers, it’s clear that America is no longer a melting pot; it’s a pastrami taco. Culinary mashups have been gathering steam since 2008, when L.A.’s Roy Choi first introduced kimchi to tortillas. Guy Fieri brought them to a mass audience with recipes like Cajun Chicken Alfredo and the Jambalaya Sandwich. Now mashups have moved into grocery stores and fast food with two prominent examples: Pringles’ recent introduction of a mint-chocolate chip potato chip and Dairy Queen’s new peanut butter-pretzel Blizzard. We live in a time of identity blending and cuisine blurring, when the mashup for the mashup’s sake dominates and matzo ball pho and kimchi quesadillas feel like authentic choices.

Look for: limited-time-only mashups; hybrid cuisines in restaurants (Viet-Southern, Indian-Mexican, Thai-Nordic, Jewish-Japanese); sweet and savory collisions in the snack aisle; salty desserts; pretzel-crust pizzas; birthday cake as a flavor; beer-and-pretzel flavored confections; popcorn flavored sweets; black pepper chocolates; miso butterscotch; kimchi poutine.

Try these: Food Network Kitchens created a roundup of comfort food mashups just in time for winter 2014. Get cozy with s’more brownies, mac-and-cheese onion soup, Caesar salad pizza and more.

2. Real Food Is the New Fast Food
It’s not the end of burgers and fries; it’s the dawning of an age of affordable, quick, even healthier foods. Millennials’ commitment to healthy eating (as a lifestyle, not a diet) has propelled many former fringe foods like kale, vegetable juice, quinoa, and organic produce into the mainstream, with more on the way. Couple this with their desire for fresh fast food with more variety and we’re wondering whether the fast-food industry will do its own version of a juice cleanse in 2014 — go fresher, healthier, more cosmopolitan. And we’ll all eat better for it.

Look for: juice bars; chopped salads; chickpeas; miso; cashew milk; seaweed; tahini; kefir; kombucha; turmeric; tofu; wheat germ; nutritional yeast; amaranth.

3. Vegetables Are the New Meat
For years, we’ve heralded the march of vegetables toward the center of the American plate. Guess what? They’ve arrived. 2013 was the year of the $30 cauliflower steak and the $26 roasted mushroom, the year when ABC Kitchen’s roasted carrot and avocado salad became the ultimate New York City power lunch. What’s up next? Having conquered the entree, vegetables will find their way into desserts, cocktails and salty snacks.

Look for: the continued cauliflower boom — as steak (cauliflower ribeye with compound butter), as wings (Buffalo cauliflower) and as noodles (mac and cheese); barbecued vegetables (smoked carrots, squash “ribs,” planked zucchini); parsnip cakes; cucumber sorbet; beet flourless chocolate cake; avocado smoothies; chiles, beets, kale and arugula in cocktails; kale and other vegetable chips.

4. Midwestern Is the New Southern
Don’t tell the Midwest about New Nordic or DIY pickles — that’s old news. Home cooking is alive and well in Middle America, the land of rich stews, comforting casseroles and pie — always pie! Throughout the region, farmers, chefs and artisans are joining forces and energizing local food scenes. We’re loving Midwestern chefs like Cleveland’s Jonathon Sawyer and Iowa City, Iowa’s Nickolas Illingworth and their locavore approach to regional classics and techniques: cheese, beer, meat (especially charcuterie), baking and pickling. We’re looking at a new direction in American lifestyle aspiration and the next big thing in American roots cooking.

Look for: heartland gastrotourism and new destination cities like Iowa City, St. Louis, Detroit and Milwaukee; American charcuterie (bacon, brats, braunschweiger and smoked pork chops), pawpaw and persimmon, smoked lake fish, paczki, buttermilk pie, caraway, cheese curds; Midwestern classics infused with new-immigrant flavors (chorizo-stuffed cabbage, brats with salsa verde, braunschweiger banh mi).

Watch and try these: Check out cook Amy Thielen‘s Food Network show, Heartland Table. Or, in honor of the newfangled Midwestern infusion style, Food Network Kitchens developed a sausage-as-the-star Braunschweiger banh mi sandwich.

5. Bitter Is the New Sour
Brace yourself for bitter. Early indications abound: kale is, after all, a bitter green, and broccoli rabe is already riding a pizza crust to mainstream acceptance. In fact, when you survey the realm of trendy ingredients, bitterness is a running theme: from the sheer number of cocktail bitters now available to IPA brews trumpeting their international bitterness units, to the popularity of Fernet Branca and other bitter liqueurs, to Brussels sprouts, to dark chocolate, to charred everything, to all those grassy green juices sweeping the nation — they all point in the same direction.

Look for: hops as an ingredient; bitter greens like dandelion greens, chicory, and watercress; DIY bitters; charring; parsley; bitter melon; bitter orange; tannic tea.

6. Bar Snacks Are the New Food Trucks
Food trucks have proven that people will try something new if it’s offered in an exciting environment and doesn’t require a whole lot of cash. Add booze to that formula and you have the conditions for a real flavor adventure. The bar is the ideal point of entry for flavors and ingredients we’d never dare to try sober, and we’re seeing more and more chefs seize the opportunity with hybrid bar-restaurants that offer tastes of extraordinary bar food from around the world. Japanese izakayas cracked open the door on this trend, bringing blistered shishito peppers with them. Now chefs like Andy Ricker (Whiskey Soda Lounge), Hooni Kim (Hanjan) and Miguel Trinidad (Jeepney) are introducing us to pub grub from Thailand, Korea and the Philippines. Much of it is unabashedly aggressive: funky, spicy, vinegary and very low on the hog. This food might be old hat in its countries of origin, but it feels downright cutting-edge here.

Look for: Isaan Thai, Korean and Filipino bar snacks; grilled chicken skin; dried squid; crispy pig ears; fish-sauce chicken wings; adobo chicken wings; lop chong (Chinese dried sausage); Asian jerky.

7. Eclairs Are the New Macarons
It’s been several years since we were swept off our feet by the light-as-air French macaron — those vivid colors, that creamy-crunchy-chewy texture, that adorable shape. Now from the world of French pastry comes another delectable with designs on our hearts. In Paris, pastry chef Christophe Adam has reimagined the fusty, old eclair as something sleek, sexy and glamorous by applying a stunning lipstick-color palette and contemporary flavors (yuzu, popcorn, salted caramel). This is a makeover, not a mashup — don’t expect a social media fameball. It might blossom in popularity the way the macaron trended: steadily, leaving us with something new and gorgeous to indulge in.

Look for: eclair ateliers; high-fashion eclairs; savory eclairs; flavor-forward varieties like pistachio, hazelnut-brown butter, green tea-sesame and passion fruit-raspberry.

8. Dim Sum Is the New Tapas
The idea of dim sum, with its carnival of carts and tableside service, was always too good to be restricted to Chinatown. Dim sum brings fun, spontaneity and theatricality to small plates, adds a sense of urgency and community to ordering and shifts the focus from the bar (tapas style) to the dining room. Beginning with the 2012 opening of San Francisco’s smash hit State Bird Provisions, some of the most-exciting new restaurants in the country — Atlanta’s Gunshow, Chicago’s Fat Rice, L.A.’s The Church Key — are seizing the format and running with it, offering modern takes on dumplings and tableside service. We’re certain this is a trend with legs — and casters.

Look for: carts, carts and carts (goodbye, menus!); avant-garde dumplings; cocktail trolleys; tableside service; creative tartare; Western dim sum.

9. Barrel-Aged Cocktails Are the New Punch
Wood is the flavor of the moment in cocktails. For the last few years, high-end bartenders across the country have been experimenting with aging cocktails in oak casks to add depth and warmth (and to make service easier). But price and availability of the casks have kept the trend from going far — until now. Recently, a couple of whiskey brands — Tuthilltown and Woodinville — have released DIY barrel-aging kits. And a wood chip-based workaround just took the cocktail internet by storm. In 2014, wood chips won’t just be for your smoker anymore.

10. The Whole Fish Is the New Whole Hog
Early this year we started seeing fish heads popping up on trendy menus. Then classes in fish butchery swam onto our radar. Next thing we knew, “seacuterie” (seafood charcuterie) had entered our vocabulary. A renewed appreciation for the entirety of the fish is clearly upon us — a trend we’d call nose-to-tailfin, if only fish had noses. We see this mostly in fine dining, where the whole fish is returning as the grand presentation piece it once was. But it’s also showing up in the willingness of more home cooks to forgo fillets for the freshness and frugality of whole fish.

Look for: bluefish rillettes; seafood terrines (octopus head cheese); cured, smoked and potted seafood; fish collars, cheeks and roe as delicacies; fish-skin chicharrones; salmon and carp heads on menus; whole sea bass, trout, snapper and mackerel in home kitchens.

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Dolce Vita USA Shares Winter Fancy Food Show Trends

From USATODAY (Elizabeth Weise)

SAN FRANCISCO — Gluten-free is gone, baby. Quinoa is quiescent. Seaweed went, and hemp lost its edge. In their place, find a new South American cuisine, grains the Romans knew and a high-end take on a college staple.

Trendy new foods on their way to stores and restaurants near you were on display at this year’s winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco. Some 1,300 exhibitors from 14 countries sought to entice the 18,500 attendees with their newest offerings. Some to watch for:

Not for jerks. Jerky is the “it” snack for those following the paleo diet, which tries to emulate the eating patterns of our caveman ancestors. It guides eaters to consume only foods their hunter/gatherer ancestors might have found. A veritable carcass of dried meat products graced the showroom floor. There was Krave, a Sonoma, Calif., company which offered black cherry barbecue jerky. Salmon jerky was offered by Ocean Beauty Seafood in Seattle. Three Jerks Jerky offered the seemingly oxymoronic but very tasty filet mignon beef jerky.

Baby food grown up. Shelf-stable stand-up foil pouches engulfed the baby food market starting in 2008. As those infants grew to toddlers and beyond, the market followed them. Today, foil pouches of fruit purees and veggie mixes are one of the hotter trade items in many elementary school lunchrooms. Marketers are offering them in more adventuresome blends that appeal to adult tastes.
“When you go to the gym, while you’re driving, it’s a healthy new way of eating fruit,” says Damien Callery of Ouhlala Gourmet of Coral Gables, Fla.

Ever more exotic grains. The public’s hunger for once-rare grains such as quinoa, buckwheat, teff and sorghum seems to know no bounds. Even more obscure offerings are coming. Freekeh is a roasted green wheat with origins in the Middle East. Pronounced “free-kah,” it has a nutty, smoky flavor that stands out from blander grains. Wholesome Kitchen of Far Rockaway, N.Y.,offered tastes of ready-to-cook freekeh blends including apricot and raisin, herb and currant, and mushroom and herb. Another up-and-coming cereal grain is farro, an ancient Italian strain of wheat sometimes called emmer.

Fancy ramen. You may have lived on 30-cent packages of ramen in college, but they’re nothing like the high-end ramen noodles now appearing in upscale grocery stores. These come fresh or air-dried, often using surprising grains and tastes. One example is traditional Japanese ramen-style noodles made from rice and millet offered by Lotus Foods of Richmond, Calif. The jet-black forbidden rice ramen comes with a white miso and mushroom broth packet. Millet and brown rice ramen cooks up in four minutes.

Peruvian is the new Thai. San Francisco has at least 20 Peruvian restaurants, and the South American nation’s tastes found their way to the showroom floor. One example: air-popped, heirloom chulpe corn grown in the Andes, lightly dressed with avocado oil and Peruvian spices. Called cancha, they are a world apart from the Corn Nuts found in convenience stores. The creator is Ronald Flores, a native of Lima who was studying international business at San Francisco State University. He wrote a business plan that so captivated his professor, Bruce Heiman, that he invested in the company, Nazqiz. “Peruvian cuisine is a deep, untapped well of flavors. They started feeding me Peruvian food, and I was entranced,” Heiman says.

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2014 Dubbed ‘The Year of Retail Contradictions

Daymon Worldwide, Stamford, Conn., released its eight “Global Retail Trends Predictions for 2014 and Beyond” to help retailers successfully address the contradictory, challenging realities facing the industry in 2014. The company forecasts 2014 to be “The Year of Retail Contradictions.”

Each trend was identified through the lens of Daymon’s Global Trendwheel, a proprietary tool that tracks 72 consumer microtrends across eight megatrends that impact global retail success. The 2014 trends, Daymon Worldwide noted, include:

1. Big vs. Small: The Redefinition of the Hypermarket/Supercenter (Megatrend: Cultural Ecology) – There will be a shift from the large supercenter culture to a retail landscape where smaller formats prevail. This shift is driven by increasing urbanization, a rise in smaller households and the consumers’ changing notion of convenience. These smaller formats will become category killers, stealing share from supercenters and mass merchandisers.

2. A Sharing Retail Economy (Megatrend: Conscious Raising) — Consumers are more interested in sharing, renting and reusing options rather than owning bulky, rarely used items. This trend will have significant implications for global retailers in fashion, home improvement and office supply.

3. The Muddled Middle (Megatrend: Current-CY) — The middle class in the United States is shrinking, creating a bigger gap between the rich and the poor. Retailers with low-price positioning such as discounters ALDI or dollar stores will grow, as will premium retailers and specialty stores such as Whole Foods. Retailers without a clear position are at risk of becoming less relevant and losing traction.

4. The War on Obesity Escalates (Megatrend: B-Well) — Companies and governments will begin to take even more aggressive steps to promote healthful diets, leading to the rise of high-quality “cook and assemble” meals and stricter guidelines such as “no GMOs” becoming the cost of entry in retail.

5. The Kitchen Has Left the House (Megatrend: Always On) — Grocery trips are mission-based and no longer about stocking up. Grocery stores will become the kitchen. With the rise of snacking and component cooking such as heat-and-eat, retailers will need to cultivate an even closer relationship with their customers.

6. Local Becomes ‘Personal’ (Megatrend: YOUniverse, All for One) — The idea of “locally sourced” products will change from foods and products sourced in the immediate area of each market to offerings available throughout the broader community, city, state and country. It will be more about personal interaction, authentic experiences and interest versus just geography.

7. Retailers Amplify Branded Experiences (Megatrend: JOYment) — Brick and mortar stores need to provide shoppers with even more unique experiences and not just in flagship locations. For grocery, food theater such as cooking demonstrations and sampling must become a greater part of the shopper experience.

8. A New Way to Service the Aging Population (Megatrend: YOUniverse) — With a growing aging population, retailers will need to reach out to these consumers with products, services and in-store services (such as ergonomically friendly shopping carts) that cater to their lifestyle.

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From Private Label Store Brands:

Brazilian cuisine, sophisticated sweets and bolder burgers are just a few food trends expected to hit in 2014, according to the “2014 Culinary TrendScape” report, a professional assessment of what people are eating now and what they likely will be eating in the coming year. And David Landers, senior chef of Camden, N.J.-based Campbell Soup Co. — the company behind the report — told Private Label⇨Store Brands that these trends could provide inspiration for store brand product development.

The inaugural report — put together by Campbell’s Culinary & Baking Institute (CCBI), a global network of highly trained chefs, bakers and culinary professionals — is part of Campbell’s culinary monitoring and tracking system, the company stated. This system identifies and categorizes the most impactful food topics and follows them as they evolve through six distinct stages — from the discovery phase (fine dining restaurants and cultural hot spots) to universal appeal and international availability.

“The stages in the ‘Culinary TrendScape’ report are about population reach and the number of people exposed to a specific flavor, ingredient or trend. Understanding your audience and knowing what they’ve been exposed to will help to determine which trend stage to take inspiration from,” Landers said, noting that specialty stores might take interest in the first three stages (discovery, introduction and adoption), while national grocery chains might be more interested in the last three stages (mainstream, established, and universal appeal and international availability).

The report also discusses how American tastes are evolving as a result of global influences and greater awareness about sustainability and nutrition, Campbell’s explained.

“We see Americans being more adventurous with their food choices — bolder burgers, new takes on pastrami and other old-world Jewish deli favorites and beverage-inspired flavors,” said Thomas Griffiths, CMC, vice president, CCBI. “As chefs and bakers, we are naturally inspired by emerging niche food trends that help keep us creative in the kitchen. What fascinates us at Campbell is how these trends have their own lifecycle, from emerging taste discoveries in South America to Japanese-inspired burgers popping up in middle-America restaurants.”

CCBI chefs set out on culinary immersion tours around the world, the company noted, observing and reporting on what they see as the latest trends and then tracking developments across different aspects of food culture.

The top 10 trends expected to hit in 2014 include:

Brazilian cuisine — Rio de Janeiro will bring its country’s seafood stews, grilling techniques and local ingredients into the culinary spotlight when it hosts the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Summer Olympics.
Fresh juices — Craving better-for-you balance through “juicing,” the health-conscious are “going green” to refresh and recharge.
Sophisticated sweets — Spices, botanicals and fresh takes on fruit are hitting the dessert scene.
Yogurt going savory — Greek-style yogurt is showing up in savory non-spoonable applications such as condiments, baked goods and snacks.
Beverage-inspired flavors — The bar has inspired the kitchen, and barrel-aged, bottled and brewed flavors have moved beyond public house glasses into everything from hot sauces to barbecue. According to Landers, Campbell followed this trend to develop its Tavern Style Pot Roast Slow Cooker Sauce and Apple Bourbon BBQ Slow Cooker Sauce.

Bolder burgers — America’s iconic sandwich is changing with the times, with new buns; unique burger patty options such as chicken, lamb, elk and brisket; and a range of toppings—all redefining what a burger is.

Top 10 Food Trend Predictions for 2014

Dolce Vita USA- Shares this interesting article below about 2014 Food Trend Predictions.

Millennials, health-conscious shoppers and a shift in consumer palates set the stage for what’s to come in the food world this year according to Supermarket Guru Phil Lempert. For 2014, Lempert, who works closely with ConAgra Foods, Inc. and its retailers, predicts that the most dramatic food changes will stem from the ever-changing consumers and their relationships with merchants, brands and food.

“How consumers interact with their food and favorite brands will continue to evolve as we head into 2014,” says Lempert. “Shoppers are looking for convenient, healthful and satisfying food for themselves and their families, and brands will rise to meet these demands through product innovation and the use of mobile technology to make shopping faster and more convenient.”

Lempert sees these 10 trends gaining traction among consumers in 2014:

1. The Emergence of the “IndieWoman”: Almost 31 million strong, the “IndieWoman” will be a major food influencer. These women are 27 and older, live alone and have no children. When they are not busy being social or growing their careers, they also enjoy shopping. According to a survey, these women have strong affiliations to brands and love to hunt for bargains. When it comes to their supermarket habits, “IndieWomen” spend $50 billion on food and beverages each year.

Time is of the essence for the “IndieWoman,” so look for more brands to cater to this powerful consumer who wants to cook, but might not have the time for a homemade meal every night. A ConAgra Foods survey conducted by, found that 59 percent of respondents purchased multi-serve frozen meals because of their busy schedules. Because this group is increasingly busy, brands will cater to this demographic through more semi-homemade meals that use fresh-tasting, high-quality ingredients.

2. Better for You Snacking: When researching the association between daily snacking frequency and the Healthy Eating Index1, researchers from the NPD Group recently found that as snacking increased, so did individuals’ overall diet quality. As a result, healthy options for consumers are on the rise with nearly 60 percent of all snack foods now positioned as better for you, according to Innova Market Insights.

Look for supermarkets to capitalize on the healthier snacking trend in 2014 by replacing traditional higher-sugar, higher-fat snacks at the checkout with better-for-you on-the-go offerings.

3. Brands Reach Consumers Locally Through Cause Initiatives: In 2013, consumers heard a lot about real, transparent and simple foods. In 2014, brands will extend this feel-good simplicity by finding greater purpose in serving the larger community. A survey recently conducted by ConAgra Foods found that 62 percent of consumers appreciate and want to support companies that donate to important social causes. In 2014, look for food brands to increasingly focus on community outreach.

4. Click to Cook: As consumers continue to rely on technology for the sake of convenience and saving time, people will begin to rely more on their mobile phones when grocery shopping. In a recent online ConAgra Foods survey, one third of consumers reported using their mobile phone while at the grocery store, most often to refer to shopping lists and recipes.

Technology will continue to play an important role for shoppers as the next phase of technology will offer the ability to select a recipe, order ingredients and check-out directly from mobile devices or in-car touch screens. Watch for grocery retailers to install drive-through windows for quick order pickup. Additionally, consumers will increasingly turn to online shopping sites for mealtime staples.

5. Supermarkets —The New Culinary Schools: To add value in an increasingly competitive food retailer environment, supermarkets are becoming the center of communities. Taking a cue from what is already occurring in the social media food world, grocery stores are beginning to offer services such as “community cooking centers” where shoppers can collaborate and learn from each other. These social environments are the perfect place for the aging millennial population as they are a group that likes to cook, but doesn’t necessarily have the skills to make elaborate meals at home.

As consumers are looking for a more “connected culture,” retailers will begin rethinking the layout of the supermarket. We’ll see them offering solution centers where all of the ingredients for certain recipes are found together to bring the recipe-making experience in-store. Food companies will work with retailers to understand consumer purchase habits and how to best reach shoppers in-store.

6. The Retailer Becomes the Brand: Consumers have become increasingly loyal to their preferred retailer and its products. In fact, a recent survey by ConAgra Foods found that 53 percent of consumers shop at a particular retailer because it has good private brand products. This aligns with the report by the Private Label Manufacturers Association (PLMA) that states private brand sales increased by more than 2.9 percent in 2012, pushing annual revenues to more than $108 billion – an all-time record, according to Nielsen.

The growth stems from the rising quality of private brands, and the blurring distinction between private brands and national brands. No longer will private brands just emulate national brand products, but consumers will see more private brands creating new products of their own.

7. Rise and Shine —The New Way to Start Your Day: Breakfast remains one of the most important meals of the day, with 74 percent of respondents from a ConAgra Foods survey reporting that they eat breakfast regularly at home. In 2014, consumers will look to add more protein to their first meal, with Mintel reporting that consumers are looking more at foods like eggs, meats, and Greek yogurt, as well as whole grain products, for their breakfast to live a healthy lifestyle without compromising taste and indulgence. Look for more brands to offer protein-rich breakfast options.

8. Packaging Evolves to Share More with Consumers: The packaging of our food is evolving. This year, canned soups shifted to carton packaging with more than 58 percent of all broth products transitioning into cartons, according to Symphony IRI research. Pasta sauce is following the trend as well.

Consumers are looking for more information, but the current surface area of the package is limiting. In 2014, look for packaging to become “touch” sensitive to reveal additional information on command. Using an app on a mobile device, consumers will be able to learn more about an ingredient or health claim by simply focusing the mobile device on the product’s label. This technology might also be used to tell where the ingredients come from, who prepared the food, the company’s history and even offer other customer reviews and ratings.

9. Millennials Make the Supermarket Social: The millennial generation’s fascination with social media will begin to overflow into other parts of their lives — including the supermarket. In fact, 57 percent of Pinterest, the pinboard-style photo-sharing web site, is made of food related content with 33 percent of Pinterest users saying they have purchased food or cooking items after seeing them on site, according to a survey by PriceGrabber.

Grocery retailers are now even beginning to “pin.” For example, one store’s registered dietitian may create an infographic that displays superfoods and their nutritional benefits. Store chefs will begin using Pinterest to show prepared food recipes more often. and other online retailers, such as Google Shopping Express, offer same day delivery and supply back-end technologies, which allow impulse purchasing and home delivery of all the ingredients for a particular recipe. The next evolution will be “click to buy” for consumers looking to purchase ingredients for a recipe on Pinterest or other social media platforms.

10. International Restaurant Flavors At Home: The surge of Latino and Asian populations, along with growing consumer interest in adding more flavor and variety to mealtime, has led to more growth opportunities for South American, Indian and Middle Eastern cuisines in the food world. From school cafeterias, to the dining room table, global flavors are sprouting up in places other than restaurants.

As children become exposed to global cuisine flavors at a much younger age than in previous generations, international flavors will be more accepted by these children as they age, and their palates will be more sophisticated at a younger age. With children influencing nearly 80 percent of purchase decisions by families, look for consumers to spend more time in the international flavor aisle of the grocery store, so they can bring these new flavors to their dinner table, as well as frozen Indian and Middle Eastern meals.

Candy, Snack Items Earn Top NCSA Awards

Dolce Vita USA® share update on this year’s TOP Candy Awards from the National Confectionery Sales Association.

See below Article:

TAMPA, Fla. – The National Confectionery Sales Association (NCSA) named this year’s winners of its 2013 New Products Awards: Twizzlers Bites, Jelly Belly Tabasco Bottles, Snickers Bites, 7-Layer Dip Combos, Lindor Caramel Milk Chocolate Truffles and Warheads Super Sour Candy Canes. Candy and snack buyers, brokers and suppliers nominated items in six categories, and winners were selected based on significance of innovation and/or sales potential in the candy and snack categories.

More than 360 industry guests attended the black-tie Candy Hall of Fame induction banquet in Tampa, Fla., where winners received crystal trophies and finalists were presented with certificates of achievement.

By category, the 2013 honorees were:


Winner: Snickers Bites, Mars Chocolate North America
Finalists: Rocky Road S’mores, Annabelle Candy Co. Inc.; Rolos Minis, The Hershey Co.; Bonomo Vanilla Taffy Nibbles, The Warrell Corp.

Licensed/Limited Edition

Winner: Tabasco Bottles, Jelly Belly Candy Co.
Finalists: Klondike the Candy Chocolate Bar, Flix Candy/Imaginings 3 Inc.; Mickey Mouse Clubhouse
Helicopter Fan, CandyRific LLC; Smurfs Gummies, Haribo of America Inc.


Winner: Twizzlers Bites, The Hershey Co.
Finalists: Airhead Bites, Perfetti Van Melle Inc.; Peeps Bubble Gum Chicks, Just Born Inc.; Juicy Gold-Bears, Haribo of America


Winner: 7-Layer Dip Combos, Mars Chocolate North America
Finalists: Salted Caramel Brownie Brittle, Brownie Brittle LLC; Fiery Tomato Baked Lentil Chips, The
Mediterannean Snack Food Co.; Japon Japanese-Style Peanuts, Dos Amigos Inc.; Salty Date & Almond Raincoast Crisps, Lesley Stowe Fine Foods Ltd.


Winner: Lindor Caramel Milk Chocolate Truffles, Lindt & Sprüngli (USA) Inc.
Finalists: Dove Mine & Dark Chocolate Swirl, Mars Chocolate North America; Celebration Shimmer Teddy Bears, SweetWorks Inc.; the Cravemmm! line, The Warrell Corp.


Winner: Warheads Super Sour Candy Canes, Impact Confections Inc.
Finalists: Cherry Flavored Peeps Dipped & Drizzled in Chocolate, Just Born Inc.; Color Your Own
Sweethearts boxes, New England Confectionary Co.; Twix Eggs, Mars Chocolate North America; Tool and Make-Up Kit sets, R.M. Palmer Co.

Trip to Cavit Winery

My trip to Cavit winery was the best experience in my life. I got to meet Anselmo Martini, the famous wine maker for Cavit wines. Cavit Winery is based in beautiful Trento, Italy. Cavit wined and dined myself and a my friend. We enjoyed every day in Trento. The wines of Cavit are exceptional and I highly recommend them. Winning Cavit’s 8th Annual Pizza Contest was truly and honor I will never forget.

Grazie Mille Cavit Wine!

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See below more information on Anselmo Martini.

Anselmo Martini

As one of northern Italy’s top enologists, Anselmo is perhaps best recognized as lead winemaker at Cavit, where he has played an integral role over the past twenty years in developing the winery’s reputation as Trentino’s leading wine producer.

Anselmo Martini was born and raised in Trentino, and during several years of academic and hands-on training at the renowned Istituto Agrario San Michele all’Adige, Martini earned the titles of expert winegrower, cellar master, and a degree in agrotechnics. He then went on to specialize in enology, honing his skills at a number of advanced technical institutions in northern Italy.

In subsequent years, Martini toured many of the world’s major wine producing regions to study indigenous grape varietals and experience firsthand the influence of terroir. Throughout his travels, he encountered a diversity of winemaking techniques and formed valuable connections with key players in the international wine community.

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Dolce Vita USA shares Top 13 Picks and Article:

Fancy Food Show Summer 2013: Sara Moulton’s Top 13 Picks

Credit: Specialty food Association

Foodies, feast your eyes on this. Behold, the 59th Annual Summer Fancy Food Show in New York. “Good Morning America” food editor Sara Moulton combed the booths at the specialty food show, which features edibles from more than 2,400 exhibitors from 80 countries.

From designer mac and cheese, to the new “superfoods,” to chocolate confections, and more, Moulton picked out the most interesting new products around that foodies should keep an eye out for. See all of Moulton’s picks below.

Amazing New Feta Cheese

Ezra’s Dairy is a new Israeli feta cheese being manufactured in this country by the Bunker Hill Cheese company. It is most unusual in that it tastes like feta , a flavorful robust cheese, and it’s salty like feta, but it has a smooth creamy texture like soft tofu. Even the low-fat version has a creamy texture. Ezra’s is spreadable, meltable and you can puree it with other ingredients to make a smooth creamy sauce.

Designer Mac And Cheese

Beecher’s Handmade Cheese, made at two locations, one in Seattle’s Pike Place Market and the second in New York’s Flatiron district, has been making artisan cheese since 2003. It ventured into the frozen mac and cheese business in 2009 with its “World’s Best” Mac and Cheese, which has won many awards. Now, Beecher’s has added three variations to the line-up: Smoked Flagship Mac and Cheese, Mac and Cheese with Roasted Poblanos and Chicken, and Mac and Cheese with Savory Mushrooms and Pork. I tasted the first two and they were astoundingly delicious.

Killer Dip: Hot Parmesan & Artichoke Dip Mix

The Gourmet du Village company makes hot dip mixes and their latest is Parmesan Artichoke Dip, which won a gold Sofi Award (the Sofis are the specialty food show equivalent of the Oscars) in the appetizer/dip category. You could really wow your guests with this little appetizers.

Unique Meal Starters

Wild Veggie Soup Puree and Recipe Starter

Wild Veggie makes six vegetable purees — broccoli, red pepper, carrot, butternut squash, beet and edamame. You can use the purees as the base of a soup, or as a sauce, dip or dressing. I tasted the broccoli soup made from the puree and it was delicious. Each 14.8 oz container of puree is the equivalent of 3 to 5 servings of whole vegetables. What a great way to get veggies on the table during the workweek!

Kitchens of Africa Sauces

Founded by a young woman who moved to this country from Africa and missed the flavors from her native cuisine, Kitchens of Africa sauces will fill a big void on the supermarket shelf. For someone like me who is looking for a new cuisine to cook at home, these exciting, vibrant, all-natural sauces based on intense spices and fruits, will fill that gap. There are five to choose from, a peanut simmer sauce, an onion simmer sauce and three versions of jerk pastes – mild, spicy and fiery.

Artisinal Tomato Juices

Tomatina is an all natural blend of 100 percent fresh vegetable (beet, red pepper, cucumber, carrot and celery) juices and ripe red tomatoes. A 12 ounce bottle is the equivalent of three servings of vegetables and weighs in at just 80 calories. They’re refreshing and a great way to get some more vegetables into your diet.

Ubons BBQ Bloody Mary Mix

Ubons was first developed by legendary pit master Garry Roark in Yazoo City, Miss., about 20 years ago. During multiple BBQ competitions and events, Roark would share this little homemade concoction with friends, who encouraged him to bring the product to the marketplace. The mix incorporates traditional bloody mary flavors with a Memphis twist, including the flavors of fresh dill pickles. It is quite tasty straight up and I can see it being the secret ingredient as well in many recipes.

Healthy Choices

Chia Pods

Chia is the hot new seed, advertised as the “richest plant-based source of Omega 3, fiber and protein, loaded with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.” You usually find it added to cereals, breads and other baked goods, but the Chia Co. has come up with an ingenious tasty new way to present it — in a “pod” meaning, a little individual cup, a single serving of chia cooked in coconut milk with fruit. There are four flavors of this new concoction. My favorites are the banana and mango. The texture of the “pod” is creamy, like tapioca.


Freekeh is the new “superfood.” Common in the Middle East, but fairly new to this country, freekah is actually plain old wheat but produced in a unique way. It is harvested in early spring, while still green and moist, and gently roasted over an open fire, scorching off and loosening any chaf. It’s high in fiber, protein and calcium. Freekehlicious makes two versions, wholegrain or cracked, in 9 ounce pouches. The cracked is similar in texture to bulgur wheat; the wholegrain to wheat berries in size and texture. It could be used as a breakfast cereal, or in salads, soups, or even as the base of a main dish. I love its nutty taste and chewy texture.

Chocolate Concoctions

Valrhona’s Dulcey Blond Chocolate Bar

Many great treats of the culinary world came about because of a mistake (champagne, for example) and now one of the darling producers of the chocolate world, Valrhona, is introducing their new delightful “mistake” for consumers. It is called Dulcey, a kind of “blonde” chocolate. Made with pure cocoa butter, the Dulcey bar is smooth and creamy with a velvety texture and warm blonde color. It was discovered when one of the chefs at the Valhrona chocolate school left white chocolate to melt in a bain marie and forgot about it until 10 hours later when he noticed that it had turned golden and its flavor had evolved into something reminiscent of “roasted Breton shortbread.”

Pop Corn Pop Chocolate Bars

Chuao, (pronounced chew wow), already packed one of my favorite flavor/textural combinations into a bar – chocolate and potato chips — but now they have come up with several new combos, equally unique: Pop Corn Pop, Rocky Road and Maple Bacon and in case you might feel guilty eating a whole bar, they have mini versions called chocopods that are just 50 or 60 calories.

Ultimate Hot Chocolate

New Yorkers go out of their way to sample the deeply rich hot chocolate from City Bakery, but until now it has not been available nationwide. Well, that has just changed. Owner Maury Rubin has come out with Tetra Paks of the liquid dessert, available in milk and dark chocolate and ready to heat. The City Bakery Hot Chocolate has a silky texture unlike those gritty powdery cocoa mixes. It is also delicious chilled.

Tea For Kids

A couple in Canada was trying to come up with a snack that was low in sugar for their kids and stumbled upon the idea of Tea Pops, which their kids just love. Deebees make three versions for kids based on rooibus, an herbal tea in mango tango, mint-a-licious and Tea-na colada, and two flavors for grownups — classic iced tea and cherry berry. Both versions are a terrific healthy pick me up for a hot day.

2013 Summer Trends

Dolce Vita USA® wanted to share the article below with all of you Foodies. Dolce Vita USA® likes to keep up on new trends so I can use new ingredients when creating recipes.

NEW YORK, July 8, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — Move over bacon. Make way for kale pops, chia pods, and simmer sauces from around the globe. They are examples of the top five food trends for the year ahead picked by a panel of trendspotters at the 59th Summer Fancy Food Show in New York.

The show was held last week at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. It is the largest marketplace in North America for specialty foods and beverages, with 180,000 products from more than 2,400 food manufacturers, importers and entrepreneurs on display, including the latest artisanal cheeses, chocolates, vinegars, grilling sauces and natural and organic products.

The trends are:

Reinvented Frozen Treats
Green Wave Smoothies – Kalelicious Smoothie Pops
Life Ice – Freeze & Eat Bite-Sized Ices
DeeBee’s Organics – Tea Pops
Bar Gelato by Naia – Blue Bottle Coffee Bar

Grains and Seeds in New Places
The Chia Co. – Chia Pods
La Pasta, Inc. – Sweet Potato, Quinoa and Kale Ravioli
Flamous Brands – Sprouted Multigrain Zatar Chips
Seattle Chocolate Co. – jcoco Agave Quinoa Sesame Milk Chocolate Bar

Global Meal Starters
Saffron Road – Harissa, Korean Stir Fry and Thai Red Curry Simmer Sauces
Kaldes Bros. Trading Co. – Greek Cooking Sauces
Kitchens of Africa – Maffe Peanut and Yassa Onion Simmer Sauces
Terrapin Ridge Farms – Pot Roast Meal Starter

Retro Mania Done New
Callie’s Charleston Biscuits – Callie’s Cheese Crisps
City Bakery – Hot Chocolate
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams – Orchid Vanilla Macaroon Ice Cream Sandwich
Southern Culture – Short Stacks Banana Pudding Pancake Mix

Be Your Own Mixologist
Sociale – Lavender Martini Mocktails
Hella Bitter – Cocktail Bitters
Luke’s Heirloom Tomato Juice – Bloody Delicious Mary Mix
Owl’s Brew – Tea Crafted for Cocktails

Other trends identified are single-serve snacks with calorie counts, Vietnamese flavors, chickpea and seaweed snacks, maple products, and sweet and savory cookies. Trends with staying power identified at prior Fancy Food Shows include coconut, salted caramel and innovations in gluten-free foods.