The 2014 sofiTM AWARDS
We are delighted that several companies with kosher products have been nominated as sofiTM Award finalists! How wonderful for kosher eaters that prestigious, innovative, quality brands of this caliber have chosen to go kosher, recognizing and embracing the business benefits and growing market for foods with kosher certification. KosherEye has had the pleasure of trying some of these products, and looks forward to sampling the rest sometime soon. And, of course, we will let you know which companies take home the coveted prizes.
The sofiTM Awards, considered the specialty food industry's most prestigious honor, consists of 32 categories. This year, members of the Specialty Food Association submitted 2,737 entries to the contest. A national panel of specialty food experts judged entries. A final round of judging for the coveted awards will be held at the Summer Fancy Food Show in New York, and winners will be announced at a red-carpet ceremony at the show, the evening of June 30.
And the 2014 kosher certified sofi finalists include:
Classic - Lotus Foods Forbidden Rice
Forbidden rice is an ancient grain, eaten by the emperors of China and thought to give increased health and longevity. It is medium grain heirloom rice, treasured for its roasted nutty taste, soft texture and deep purple color. The rice is high in flavonoid antioxidants, and rich in iron. According to Chinese herbal medicine, it is considered to be a blood "tonifier" Forbidden Rice® pairs with many cuisines – and can be served steamed plain, in a pilaf, stir-fry, salad or pudding.
It is kosher certified, parve, by the Scroll k. For more information visit: www.lotusfoods.com
Confection- Cocomels by JJ's Sweets
Cocomels by JJ's SweetsCocomels are cooked in small batches in copper kettles, and made with fair trade chocolates and organic ingredients whenever possible. The line of artisan crafted, coconut milk caramels—is presented in a newly-designed, "flagship" box, and is gluten free, dairy free, GMO free, vegan and kosher certified parve by Earth Kosher.Cocomels areperfect for a sweet snack, or a small after dinner treat. http://jjssweets.com
Innovation in Packaging/Design - Finalist Late July Organic Snacks
Restaurant Style Sea Salt Tortilla Chips
USDA Organic and non-GMO. This company believes that families have a right to know what's in their food and supports food labeling initiatives. Their nominated restaurant style chips are certified organic, Non-GMO project verified, certified gluten free, nut-free and vegan! The variety we tasted was the quinoa tortilla chip. Crunchy, healthful and of course the packaging was eye-catching!
Late July is a family owned company dedicated to making delicious organic, NON-GMO snacks. Founded in 2003 by Nicole Bernard Dawes & her late father Steve Bernard, the company is celebrating their 11th anniversary ithis year. Latejuly.com (Kof K kosher certified)
Frozen Savory - Uncle Irv's Caramelized Onion Kugel
by Locker Family recipes
All we can say is yumm, Uncle Irv's sure knows his kugel! Kugel, the classic noodle dish passed down from generation to generation, has conveniently made its way to the freezer aisle of the grocery store. The Kugel Company, now lovingly known as Locker Family Recipes has created pre-baked homemade kugels that are ready-to-eat anytime, anywhere. Uncle Irv's caramelized onion kugel has been nominated for the coveted Sofi award. This savory, ready to heat kugel, is scrumptious. It goes well with salmon or fish, or as an entrée on its own. One of our favorite meals was when we paired it with steamed broccoli and enjoyed it for lunch. The kugels are certified OU-Dairy. And the other flavors, don't miss them.
Aunt Nonie's Kugel – Vanilla Cinnamon, (Dessert or sweet side)
Aunt Dotty's Kugel – Lemon Coconut
Uncle George's Kugel – Gluten Free Sweet Potato.
Each variety is accompanied by a memory of a Locker family member. We enjoyed the stories, and, as we have noted, we love these kugels!
Oil - Ascolano Extra Virgin Olive Oil by Lucero Olive oil
Not your average olive oil. This exquisite internationally acclaimed award-winning olive oil from Lucero Olive Oil is the result of three generations of farming and producing olives in Northern California. It is 100% Ascolano Extra Virgin Olive Oil, cold pressed, unfiltered, and naturally grown in Corning, California. Many century-old trees continue to flourish in the Lucero family groves. In fact, we learned that the family has grown a majority of all of the olive trees now in production in Northern California. Ascolano olives are a Tuscan mono-varietal that flourish in the Mediterranean climate. 100% hand picked in late November, the olives are milled within hours of harvesting to ensure the highest level of freshness and quality. We enjoyed this exquisite oil to dress our tomato-mozzarella caprese salad, to dress our margherita pizza, dip our challah and drizzle atop a bowl of simple pasta with tomatoes and basil. So lovely and delicious. Lucerooliveoil.com (Kof K kosher)
Double Nomination for Pastificio Felicetti of Italy:
Pasta, Rice or Grain - Speghettoni Matt Monograno
USDA Certified Organic Product - Rigatoni Kamut Monograno
Kudos to this company for obtaining OU certification on their exceptional pastas. We contend that pasta should be treated like fine wine, olive oil, chocolate and coffee. This pasta from Felicetti of Italy has been recognized in two sofi categories and has attained a double nomination. Both are organic, and exceptional in both texture and taste. The Speghettoni is traditional long pasta, so delicious when we topped it with a classic marinara sauce. The rigatoni is short pasta, perfect for cheesy or sauced casseroles. Pastificio Feliccetti pasta originates in the pure air and water of the mountainous Trentino region of Italy, and is a proud part of Italian culture, formulated for true pasta lovers. http://www.felicetti.it/en/ (OU certified)
Snack Food - Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Macaroons by Hail Merry
These Hail Merry macaroons are gluten-free & vegan, crafted with organic Fair Trade chocolate chips, almond flour and organic maple syrup from a family farm in Vermont. Dehydrated at low temperatures and made with pure ingredients, these macaroons are great at room temp or crumbed and mixed into ice cream! This confection was recognized as the Best of Show winner at Natural Foods Expo West 2014. (Star K parve) http://www.hailmerry.com/our-story
Snack Food - Coconut Snack Bars by Simple Squares
Their motto is "See how delicious simple can taste". This is unfired fare and simple ingredients. Headquartered in Chicago, IL, Simple Squares is striving to transform the grab-and-go food culture from "one focused on preservatives to one that embraces whole foods". The nominated organic coconut snack bars contain Cashews, Almonds, Honey, Unsweetened Coconut, Vanilla and Sea Salt. They are raw and paleo-friendly, protein rich, low in sodium and sugar and are a good source of fiber, with no wheat, gluten, dairy, corn, soy, and no refined sugars. And yes, they taste great! (Apple K Kosher certified)