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Holiday food entertainment and party guide

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The holidays are here, so that means lots of events, parties, food and entertainment with friends and families! Whether it's breakfast, brunch, lunch, afternoon snack, cocktails, dinner, dessert or midnight snacks, below are some great choices that you and your party guests will be very pleased with.

Top picks from the Editor Showcase for Cooking & Entertaining:

  • Alouette introduced its latest and greatest cheese products recently at the Editor Showcase for Cooking and Entertainment. These mouth watering cheeses will be sure to impress any holiday party, such as New Years Eve celebration!

- Alouette Pumpkin Spice Soft Spreadable Cheese consists of intense nutmeg and cinnamon flavor with a smooth and creamy texture, perfect for frosting cakes and cookies, topping pancakes or adding a taste of holiday cheers to any cracker.

- Alouette Vanilla Bean Cheesecake Soft Spreadable Cheese is perfect for serving guests the classic flavor of cheesecake, either for dipping fruits, frosting on cakes or cookies, or spreading on graham crackers. For those who want to bake someone extra special, be sure to use this vanilla bean cheesecake spreadable cheese to bake Alouette's Inverted Cheesecake!

- Alouette Brie for Baking is specially formulated to create the perfect baked brie, because it retains its shape when baked, and offers a quick, delicious, and unforgettable appetizer. Alouette's brie for baking is perfect for its famous and sinfully delicious Baked Brie in Puff Pastry.

  • Lifeway Kefir showcased its Frozen Kefir Bars at the Editor Showcase for Cooking and Entertainment recently. They are a guilt-free treat because they're low-fat and healthy, as they are made with the same probiotic, 99% lactose-free and naturally gluten-free properties as the rest of the Lifeway's frozen kefir treats. The new Frozen Kefir Bars are available in pear, vanilla, green tea-raspberry and coconut flavors. Other popular Lifeway products are Frozen Kefir, Frozen ProBugs and Greek-Style Fro Yo (this is a great protein rich snack) All of them are refreshing, tart, tangy and delicately sweet and are a great alternative to ice cream (they make a perfect alternative to dessert, to avoid gaining any "holiday pounds") when you're in the mood for a nutritious and satisfying treat.
  • Sartori Cheese also presented at the Editor Showcase for Cooking and Entertainment recently. Sartori has been producing artisan and premium cheese for 70 years for specialty, retail, ingredient, restaurant and food service markets. Based in Plymouth, Wisconsin, Sartori has an impressive array of award winning cheese noted for innovative approaches and consistent top quality products. For those who haven't tried Satori Cheese yet, definitely try it soonest, because it's delicious, savory and goes great with crackers, sandwiches, pastas, sauces, wine or just snacking on it alone. At the Editor Showcase, Satori launched its limited edition of Cannella BellaVitano and Cognac BellaVitano cheese for the 2013 holiday season!

- Cannella BellaVitano cheese boasts of sweet, buttery BellaVitano, aged at least 15 months, and steeping it in a cinnamon liqueur. The flavor of the cinnamon in this cheese is perfect for holiday parties, especially served with hot apple cider.

- Cognac BellaVitano boasts of being the most premium Limited Edition item! The cheese is extra-aged, at it it matures for at least 18 months. After the aging process, it is submerged in a premium Cognac. It tastes smoky, nutty, oaky, with toasted notes of vanilla and caramel from the Cognac.

- The BellaVitano Gift Set makes a great hostess gift. It includes five 4 ounce wedges of Balsamic, Espresso, Black Pepper, Raspberry Tart Ale, and Merlot BellaVitano.

Favorites from the Food Fete:

  • ALDI showcased some of its holiday treats at the Food Fete recently. Thanks to ALDI, everyone can enjoy holiday entertaining and New Years parties at prices of approximately 50% less than traditional supermarkets! ALDI stocks many of its own exclusive brands (ie., Fit & Active, SimplyNature), and test its products to meet or beat the national brands’ quality. Many loyal customers shop at ALDI, due to its Double Guarantee for all products (does not apply to non-food special buy items, alcohol or national brands)!

- ALDI has affordable, high quality products and seasonal must-haves such as holiday gifts, award-winning wines, beverages, pre-made hors d'oeuvres, and backing essentials (bakeware, frosting, sprinkles, flour, sugar and spices), which are perfect for those who wish to make someone personal and special for a significant other.

- ALDI also has an online recipe book that includes mouth watering, scrumptious holiday recipes! The amazing online book has recipes a variety of meals and yummy sweet treats. It's so easy to navigate; simply search by categories like appetizers or desserts, and create a shopping list.

  • BARE Snacks showcased its line of good-for-you snacks made simply from nature at Food Fete recently this year. Bare Snacks are made 100% from natural ingredients, and its new Crunchy Chile Lime Apple Chips (delicately sweet and has a spicy kick of flavor in every bite) and Crunchy Sea Salt Caramel Apple Chips (great for those with a sweet tooth, as these apple chips are both mouth-watering sweet and salty) apple chips have only 50 calories of deliciousness per serving - perfect for healthy snacking! Bare Snacks Apple Chips have no saturated or trans fat, added sugar or sodium. All Bare Snacks are gluten free, Non-GMO Project Verified, kosher, vegan and are free of added sugar, preservatives, lactose, cholesterol and trans-fats.
  • Brazen treated attendees to aromatic coffee and espresso at the Food Fete recently with its innovative new home coffee brewer that uses technology previously only available in commercial brewers. It boasts of enabling coffee lovers the capability of brewing their own gourmet coffee simply by using adjustable settings for pre-soak, brew time and temperature. This is definitely one coffee maker to use for a holiday party, or to gift to a coffee connoisseur. Per Brazen inventor Joseph Behm, "The Brazen is the only coffee brewer that combines modern electronics and controls with a new water delivery system to give users the ability to brew a cup of coffee with the superior taste profile of a manual pour over." Many attendees were enjoying the mouth watering, delicious, scrumptious food and sweet treats showcased at Food Fete, and then headed over to the Brazen booth to try a coffee or espresso, compliments of Brazen and Boyd's Coffee. The result was a satisfying smile on each lucky individual's face, who was fortunate enough to squeeze through the crowd at Brazen's booth to receive complimentary coffee!
  • Divine Chocolate displayed it's collection of chocolates this fall and holiday season at Food Fete. From holiday treats to hostess gifts to stocking stuffers, Divine offers a delicious collection of Fair Trade chocolates: Divine Dark Chocolate After Dinner Ginger Thins, Divine 70% Dark with Ginger and Orange, Divine 38% Milk Chocolate with Toffee and Sea Salt, Divine Dark Chocolate After Dinner Mint Thins, Divine Dark and Milk Chocolate Christmas Trees, Divine Dark and Milk Chocolate Coins, Milk Chocolate Advent Calendar, Limited Edition Divine Milk Chocolate with Spiced Cookies and Limited Edition Divine Dark Chocolate with Hazelnuts and Cranberries.

-What was unique about Divine, was that it partnered with brewers, bakers and mixologists in the NYC area to develop unique recipes featuring its range of chocolate. Partners include: Bitter & Esters, 508 GastroBrewery, Fuhmentaboudit!, Prohibition Bakery, Ivy Bakery, Astor Center and The Cocktail Guru.

- Divine also partnered with Chris O’Brien, author of "Fermenting Revolution: How to Drink Beer and Save the World" and BeerActivist.com, to pair nine of its favorite chocolate bars with craft beers from the NYC area. His carefully curated selections are included in a guide, which is available for downloading on Divine’s website here.

  • Nasoya served Tofu Tacos and Apple Cinnamon Rolls for attendees at the Food Fete to try recently. It's amazing how delicious it was, considering it's made of tofu! Nasoya tofu and wraps are delicious and a healthy alternative. Wraps are fantastic for easy appetizers for holiday and New Year’s entertaining. Tofu had many health benefits, such as but not limited to lower bad cholesterol, lowers the risk of cancer, stronger bones, a great source of calcium and vitamin E. Nasoya has many meatless products that will make every meal of the week delicious and interesting. For some great recipe ideas from Nasoya, click here.

More Irresistible Sweet Treats:

  • Harvard Sweet Boutique offers unique and beautifully presented dessert gift packages filled with freshly baked gourmet cookies, toffee, and brownies that tastes very fresh, like it was baked that very same day. They're made fresh, by hand, in small batches, and boasts of using only the best ingredients available (pure, double-strength Madagascar vanilla, deeply dark Belgian chocolate, fresh roasted nuts). There are flavors to satisfy everyone's desire, pretty box designs of all styles for every occasion imaginable. For example, Harvard's Chocolate Dipped Peanut Butter Cookies are incredibly moist, chewy, sweet but not too sweet, full of chocolate and peanut butter flavor and taste very fresh!
  • La Maison Du Chocolat is the ideal chocolate treat for those who desire to please a very special person with a sweet tooth and exquisite taste this holiday season! La maison Du Chocolate offers the finest chocolates that are grand classics as envisioned by Robert Linxe, a Parisian artisan and international luxury chocolatier. Every flavor of chocolate from La Maison Du Chocolat is delicious and impressive and unforgettable, from timeless ganachs, prailines, fruited and liquor chocolates, to pastries. Whether you're gifting for the holidays, or wish to give a hostess something sweet and beautiful, be sure to look into La Maison Du Chocolat's delectable chocolates here, as well as, pastries here.
  • Magnolia Bakery sweet treats are for all those who love fresh and yummy cupcakes and cakes, fruit pies, cheesecakes and creamy whoopie pies. The famous bakery boasts of making all of its baked goods (ie., cupcakes, cakes, brownies, cookies) by hand on the premises throughout the day! For those who love a little surprise each day, Magnolia's Daily Cupcake Calendar is fun to look forward to (cupcakes available in regular size and mini size). For the mommies and their daughters out there who love to bake, Magnolia apparel store offers matching mommy and children's aprons, that comes in brown and pink polka dots. With the holidays, New Years here, and all the fun events and occasions coming up, Magnolia Bakery's delicious and beautifully decorated desserts and gift packages will be sure to please all those little taste buds and bring a smile to everyone's face.
  • Old World Gourmet is an upscale food and beverage company that offers great drink and snack mixers for the holidays and any time you're in the mood for a spicy, sweet or chocolatey drink. For example, Old World Gourmet's Double Dutch Hot Cocoa Mix tastes very rich, creamy and is even more delicious with some marshmallows! The Vinolicious Sangria Drink Mix will be sure to impress guests, because it makes sangria tastes like it's from a restaurant or cocktail bar.
  • Peeps are loved by both adults and kids! These adorable, cute and yummy marshmallow chicks, bunnies, and other animals and festive shapes are always in season. Whether it's Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Holidays, New Year, Valentine's Day, Easter - Peeps is ready to celebrate with all. For the holidays, Peeps offered wrapped gift boxes of delicious marshmallow treats plush toys shaped like marshmallow reindeer, trees, snowmen, gingerbread men, the chick in a Santa hat, chick dipped in chocolate, a snowman and a tree. Holiday Peeps were offered in chocolate mousse flavored marshmallow reindeer, chocolate dipped candy cane flavored marshmallow chicks, chocolate dipped sugar cookie flavored chicks, gingerbread flavored marshmallow gingerbread men and Christmas rainbow pops. In addition to being cute, fun and delicious, Peeps is a better alternative than many candies and chocolate, because each individual Peep is about 17-18 calories, and one serving size also includes 1 gram of protein.
  • Starbucks Christmas Blend is back this holiday season! Many people prefer Starbucks Christmas Blend over Dunkin Donuts coffee, due to its spicy, creamy vanilla flavor. Just the aroma, smooth, full flavor taste brings back the holidays, even when served all year long. This coffee consists of Latin American, Asia-Pacific coffees and aged Sumatra beans. It is also available in Ready Brew, decaf, K-Cup packs and Verismo pod formats.

- Starbucks also has two wonderful holiday collectibles this year, which showcased at the New Product Events - Holiday Speed Pitching, that make a memorable hostess gift. This limited-edition was designed exclusively for Starbucks by Stacey Bendet, founder and designer of alice + olivia. The collection consists of a Starbucks Double Wall Ceramic Mug by alice + olivia which makes a lovely hostess gift, and a Designer Girl Bearista Bear which makes a great stockings stuffer. These fancy holiday items are so fashionable, sweet and adorable, that they make any fashionista merry!

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