Tag Archive | Cucina Fresca

Food Fête Winter 2013: Delicious Discoveries Ahead

Food Fete Welcome Sign
All Photos By Gail

Food Fête is an intimate, semi-annual press event that connects gourmet food, beverage and kitchenware products like brand new sink designs and faucets like the Triflow Concepts all the way to new cookbook recipes. I attended my first Food Fête event last year and they hooked me up with some delicious food stories that you got to read right here on The Worley Gig, such as Kettle Brand Chips, Cucina Fresca Gourmet Mac and Cheese and Emmi Fondue. Because writing about food is awesome.

Food Fete Crowd

Winter Food Fête was held here in Manhattan last evening and the room was packed with writers all hungry to learn about new, innovative and delicious foods. All attendees received a large canvas Food Fête gift bag to fill with exhibitor information and samples, and there was also a variety of delicious passed hors d’oeuvres, not to mention (but you can see I am about to) a bar serving samples of wines from the Pacific Northwest and craft beer to keep the evening lively and enhance a cocktail party-like atmosphere.

Wine
It is Not Lost on Me that the Photo of the Wine is Blurry

Here are some of my favorite products from last night’s event:

Onion Crunch Display

Onion Crunch is delcious topping made from crispy fried onions that has zero grams of transfat. I sampled Onion Crunch as part of an amazing chip dip and sprinkled on grilled turkey hot dogs served right at their booth. They also make a Bacon variety! This is a must-have ingredient for your holiday green bean casserole!

Onion Crunch Mascot

Plus, look how cute their little Mascot is!

Edys Ice Cream

Edy’s Ice Cream (also known on the West Coast as Dreyer’s) was on hand to promote several limited Edition Flavors for Summer, which will be available from May to August, 2013. We sampled the German Chocolate Cake Spectacular (which tasted like a frozen German Chocolate Cake) and Take The Cake, which reminded me of a delicious vanilla birthday cake loaded with sweet creamy frosting and candy sprinkles. Very sweet, but utterly fabulous. Edy’s also gave away free ice cream scoopers!

Maple Bacon Kettle Chips

Kettle Brand Chips is introducing two new Summer flavors, including… Maple Bacon. Yes, please!

Hemp Hearts

Manitoba Harvest is company that manufactures a variety of nutritious Hemp-based foods. Last night they were promoting Hemp Hearts, a hemp kernel product with a nutty flavor very similar to the taste and texture of hulled sesame seeds or sunflower seed kernels. Hemp Hearts would be great sprinkled on salads or soups, but you can also bake with them.

Seagrams Escape Cocktails

Everybody loves to drink and Seagrams Escapes is introducing new flavors, such as the Blackberry Breezer, in their line of flavored malt beverages, which are based on favorite cocktails and are very similar to a hard Lemonade or Wine Cooler. In addition to 17 bottled fruit flavor combinations, they also offer 6 frozen varieties available in freeze and serve pouches! Jamaican Me Happy and Blue Hawaiian are two new flavors debuting in March, 2013. Cheers!

Snikiddy Snacks

Snikiddy Snacks (great name!) made its presence known at Food Fête with a variety of crunchy cheese flavored snacks in puffs and sticks. All very yummy.

Cake Boss at Food Fete

Cake Boss was there, serving tiny plates with sample tastings of every kind of cake they make, I think, A great idea for sure! Cake Boss!

Food Fete Social Media Sign

Tasty Treat of The Day: Cucina Fresca Gourmet Mac and Cheese

Mac and Cheese Box Smoked Gruyere

Macaroni and Cheese: It is my thing. A couple of months ago I attended the Food Fete press event here in NYC, where I was lucky enough to meet Kristen, the PR representative for Cucina Fresca Gourmet Foods, which operates out of Seattle. I’m excited to report that Kristen hooked The Gig up with a couple of boxes of Cucina Fresca’s frozen Gourmet Macaroni and Cheese! I ate some of it last night for dinner, so I could tell you about it today.

Cucina Fresca Tangy Gorgonzola

I received two different varieties of Mac and Cheese in my shipment: Smoked Gruyere, made with aged Gruyere, Swiss, Fontina, and a touch of lightly smoked Spanish paprika; and Tangy Gorgonzola, made with a mellow Gorgonzola cheese blended with Fontina and a tangy blue cheese. Since I was grilling up a simple burger, I decided that Tangy Gorgonzola would be a complimentary accompaniment. I was so right! This dish has a very homemade taste but is also of the quality that you would get in a nice restaurant. Not only was the cheese sauce tangy, as promised, but it has a smooth and nutty  flavor that gives it a sophisticated edge, while keeping the 100% comfort food vibe. I wanted to eat the entire dish but stopped half way, because I was full and because it was so good I wanted to save some for another meal!

Because this dish is so rich and versatile, it lends itself well to being mixed with a vegetable (broccoli would be ideal) or perhaps some cubed ham left over from another meal or a few strips of crumbled, crispy bacon. Make it fancy! I enjoyed topping a bite of my burger with a spoonful of the tangy, cheesy pasta and pretending I was eating some kind of exotic gourmet burger. Fun!

According to the press materiel I received, Cucina Fresca Mac and Cheese dishes are all natural and carefully handmade in small batches. All varieties feature eggless penne pasta accompanied with rich, creamy sauce made with rBST-free milk, fresh cheeses and a touch of whole creamery butter. The secret to the creamy delicious sauce is that it is a roux-based béchamel sauce which the cheese is then melted into. Also, the pasta is cooked al-dente pre-packaging, so that it can finish cooking in your oven and absorb the flavor of the sauce. I am not a fan of hard pasta and this was cooked perfectly: tender but not mushy.

If you are one of those convenience junkies that can’t even figure out how to turn on a conventional over, don’t freak out; you can cook this product in the microwave. It will turn out OK. But let me tell you something as a confessed Foodie who loves convenience but doesn’t even own a microwave (yes, I just typed that): it is so worth it to take a few extra minutes to heat this up the way Mac and Cheese was intended to be cooked, in the oven. Cucina Fresca Mac and Cheese goes right from freezer to oven (all you have to do is take it out of the box and remove the plastic lid) and cooks to a bubbling, golden, uber yummy dish of molten cheesy goodness (with the much-desired crispy, browned edges, even) in less than 45 minutes. It is so easy! It is so good!

Cucina Fresca Mac and Cheese Four Varieties

Cucina Fresca offers two additional varieties besides the two sent to me: Sharp Cheddar, made with 2 year aged white cheddar; and Creamy Fontina, made with a blend of Fontina, aged Asiago and imported Parmesan cheeses. So cheesy! Each variety of Cucina Fresca Gourmet Mac and Cheese sells for $9.99 for a 20 ounce box that feeds two as a meal, but can be also be served as a side dish (reality check: it says on the box that it serves four, but seriously, who eats 5 ounces of Mac and Cheese and then stops? Answer: no one. Be smart and plan on serving two people, max, with one box of this stuff). Bon Appétit!

Visit Cucina Fresca on the web at find out about their other delicious, natural packaged foods at Cucina Fresca Dot Com.