January 8 2008, 10:00 PM
Best Bites: Spinelli's Sauces We're usually skeptical of jarred spaghetti saucesall too often, they're overly sweet and bear no resemblance to the tomatoes that make up the sauce. But, pop the top on Spinelli's Sauce Company's marinara, puttanesca, or tomato-vodka and discover robust, true flavor. Spinelli's, a Park Hill market that has served gourmet foods and Italian specialties since 1994, now bottles the sauces they serve and sell. There are no artificial flavors, colors, or preservativesjust fresh tasting blends right out of the bottle. Recipe tip: Combine Spinelli's roasted garlic fra diavolo with locally made Canino's Italian sausage for a hearty, fiery sauceperfect for a quick Italian dinner. 4621 E. 23rd Ave., 303-329-8143, www.spinellismarket.com Impulse Buy: Exotic Chocolate When I stumbled upon Mo's Bacon Bar at Marczyk Fine Foods, I was already familiar with Chicago-based Vosges Haut Chocolatmy favorite bar being the D'Oliva, a wacky sounding combo of Venezuelan white chocolate and dried kalamata olives. A little strange, yes, but totally cravable for the blend of creamy and briney. But here at Marczyk's was an even stranger pairing of milk chocolate and applewood smokedbacon. I ponied up the $6 and took the bar home. Vosges isn't chocolate that you sit down and eat all at once; rather, you break off a tiny square and savor the unusual flavors. The bacon bar is no different, a small nibble and I discovered a surprising balance of salty-sweetnot unlike chocolate-covered pretzels. Next up: Vosges' Red Fire, a bar of dark chocolate mixed with Mexican ancho and chipotle chiles and Ceylon cinnamon. 770 E. 17th Ave., 303-894-9499, www.marczykfinefoods.com; www.vosgeschocolate.com In the News: Peggy Markel, New Belgium, the Kitchen The Front Range continues to tip the national culinary scale. To wit: The January issue of Food & Wine magazine mentions Boulder-based cooking instructor Peggy Markel's enviable culinary trip to the Amalfi Coast, and Fort Collins' New Belgium Brewery's green practices. And the Kitchen gets a nod in the February issue of Bon Appetit for its use of wind power and biodegradable napkins, to-go utensils, and containers.