30 Recent Fun, Healthy, Unique Food & Drink Discoveries

With everything happening in the world, there is a lot of uncertainty going around, to say the very least. But everyone needs to eat, and there is no shortage of exciting food and drink offerings to try these days. So, if you are searching for new food and drink discoveries, you have come to the right place.

As a prolific writer and podcaster, I have been monitoring the latest and greatest from food-related retailers and have assembled a list of new food and drink discoveries you have got to try. Below are 30 recommendations available for purchase today.

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Garden Lites’ Veggies Made Great

Veggies Made Great by Garden Lites, the leader in unique veggie-rich foods, recently unlimited two new flavors of Frittatas (Broccoli Cheddar Frittata and Mushroom & 3 Cheese Egg White Frittata) to Costco stores and two new flavors of Veggie Cakes (Butternut Squash and Broccoli Cheddar) to Kroger stores. Veggies Made Great Frittatas meet the growing consumer demand for healthy plant-based food. Like all the items from Veggies Made Great, veggies are the #1 ingredient, they are gluten-free and remarkably delicious.

The Frittatas have the added benefit of high protein and made with only clean and simple ingredients; both Frittatas have less than 90 calories and 5 grams of protein. Other Veggies Made Great products include the very popular veggie-rich Muffins. The Muffins are made with fresh zucchini and carrots and include flavors such as Blueberry Oat, Double Chocolate, Banana Chocolate Chip, and Cranberry Orange.

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Freshly Meals

Freshly is a weekly subscription service delivering fresh — not frozen — chef-cooked meals that can be heated and served in 3 minutes. Unlike meal kits, all you need for Freshly’s offerings is a microwave, fork, and (optional) plate to get a satisfying meal on the table.

Its menu features “better-for-you” versions of comfort foods with smart ingredient swaps. For example, its Chicken Parm is coated in almond flour (rather than bread crumbs) and topped with marinara sauce sweetened with honey (instead of refined sugars). Its Mac & Cheese is made with brown rice pasta and cheesy sauce, as blended with a purée of cauliflower and butternut squash. Meanwhile, its Turkey Meatballs are packed with mushrooms and served over zoodles for a lower-carb alternative to pasta. Freshly’s meals are all gluten-free and single-serve for effortless portion control.

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Customers can order 4 meals ($11.50/each), 6 meals ($8.99/each), 9 meals ($8.99/each) or 12 meals ($7.99/each) weekly. Thus, if you have the cash, a pleasant alternative to cooking 3 meals a day.

Lakrids by Bülow

On 07.07.07, the first Lakrids by Johan Bülow shop opened in Svaneke. The idea was to cook the licorice in the shop, making sure that you could smell it within a radius of 100 meters. That idea worked, as everything was sold out within two hours; the last customer even bought the sample bowl on the counter.

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My favorite of the Lakrids by Bülow offerings is its Anniversary line. Imagine organic, slow-cooked, gumball-shaped licorice coated in luxurious milk chocolate, as based on the original recipe from 2007. I am personally guilty of having eaten a whole container in one sitting.

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Serendipity Ice Cream

Serendipity’s dynamic new line of ice cream takes inspiration from Serendipity 3, the iconic New York City restaurant. With a history that spans back decades, the very-popular Serendipity 3 restaurant has entertained the appetites of children, adults, and world-famous celebrity personalities alike. A true treat and an exciting experience, it only made sense to create a brand of memorable flavors to match.

Those flavors, you ask? They include Forbidden Broadway Sundae (chocolate-flavored ice cream with brownie pieces and fudge swirls), Outrageous Banana Split (banana-flavored ice cream with fudge swirls, walnuts, and strawberries) and Strawberry Fields Sundae (strawberry ice cream with strawberries and cheesecake pieces). I can’t pick a favorite, but I can tell you this is the best ice cream I’ve tried in 2020.

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Cleveland Kitchen’s Cleveland Kraut

Raw and unpasteurized, Cleveland Kraut keeps its crunchy flavor and gives you added nutritional benefits unlike that of sauerkraut in a jar. This brand of kraut has a lot of clout, notably receiving Twitter praise from celebrity chef Michael Symon. Each package contains in-house chopped cabbage that’s rusticly-cut to lock in fresh flavor and crunch. The company has added hand-chopped fresh vegetables and mix it all together with the finest spices and kosher salt for old-world fermentation.

Also great from Cleveland Kitchen are its fermented dressings and marinades, which are now available in Whole Foods Market locations all over Chicago. With a base of fermented vegetables, these dressings bring gut-healthy probiotics to your plate in a seamless way.

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Fishers Island Lemonade

Fishers Island Lemonade has been called “the original canned cocktail” by many folks within the spirits industry. Female-founded in 2014 by Bronya Shillo, the spiked lemonade cocktail originated at Shillo’s family’s bar on Fishers Island, New York, the Pequot Inn; the Inn is the only public ar on the island and has been open for 100 years.

Shillo refined the decades-old recipe and canned the premium distilled vodka, whiskey, lemon, and honey-based cocktail. The approved gluten-removed cocktail has both a refreshing flavor profile and a 9-percent ABV. Fishers Island Lemonade is also notably a proud member of 1% For The Planet.

Bobo’s

Bobo’s not only makes oat bars and protein bars, but also “bites” and toaster pastries. Started as a mother-daughter tradition in 2003 — between Beryl Stafford and daughter “Bobo” — the Bobo’s brand uses 100 percent organic whole grain oats, producing products that are gluten-free, non-GMO, kosher and soy-free.

My favorites of what I tried are the Apple Pie Toaster Pastry offerings. The same line also has Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein, Strawberry Jam, and Raspberry products. Free shipping is offered on all online Bobo’s orders, while the website has a “Special Diets” section to help cater to followers of specific diet plans.

Cappello’s Grain Free

Cappello’s was founded by friends and co-founders Ben Frohlichstein and Stacey Marcellus with a mission of creating cuisine that was simultaneously paleo-friendly, gluten-free, and guilt-free. Its “clean label” approach to food promises that its products use the following ingredients as staples: cage-free eggs, coconut oil, olive oil, whole milk mozzarella, organic maple syrup, and cassava flour.

My favorite of the Cappello’s products tried is either the White Pizza (with spinach and caramelized onion) or the Sweet Potato Gnocchi. Unexpectedly, Cappello’s also makes a great cookie dough. Cappello’s products can be found at the Gold Coast, Streeterville, West Loop, and South Loop locations of Whole Foods.

Royal FrieslandCampina’s Dutch Masterpiece Cheese

Royal FrieslandCampina daily provides millions of consumers spread all over the world with dairy products containing valuable nutrients from milk. With an annual turnover of 12 billion Euro, FrieslandCampina is among the largest dairy companies in the world. FrieslandCampina also sells ingredients and semi-finished products for producers of infant nutrition, the food industry, and the pharmaceutical sector all over the world, with locations in 34 countries.

A Dutch Masterpiece is an award-winning cheese with new packaging to speak of for 2020. My favorite of the new product labels is for the Rembrandt. Traditionally ripened for one year, this Extra Aged Dutch Cheese has a firm texture, a robust flavor, and an exceptional taste. It was a World Championship Cheese Contest Overall winner in 2004 and a World Cheese Awards Gold winner in 2016.

Folios Cheese Wraps

Lotito Foods is an Italian specialty foods manufacturer and importer that provides products in several brands, including Gabriella, Folios, and Suprema. The company offers a wide collection of imported and domestic cheeses in various types, such as grated, shredded, shaved, sliced, cubed, wedged, and blended. In addition to cheese, Lotito provides dairy and butter custom blends.

New to Lotito’s portfolio is a frozen line of authentic Italian street food, which is the product line of focus for this go-to market. Lightly baked sheets of cheese, its Folios Cheese Wraps are soft yet firm, delicious, and an excellent alternative to any sort of traditional wrap or bread that you may use for a sandwich. Its cheddar, Jarlsberg, and parmesan flavors are all lactose-free, gluten-free, and absolutely delicious.

Meat District

Meat District is the branded label of the Golden West Food Group’s premium, butcher-crafted burger. In turn, from Meat District you can expect, top-notch, premium-crafted, high-quality, whole-muscle meat cuts straight from folks that really know meat.

You know the way your mouth salivates when you catch the scent of ember hot wood chips & barbeque beef cooking on the smoker? Or the deep dark bark of a perfectly smoked brisket with that sticky, caramelized, glazed on BBQ sauce? This is the inspiration for Meat District’s The Pitmaster burger. Expect ground angus beef brisket with hickory-smoked bacon, brown sugar, and molasses blended in.

Meat District also has “Party Wings” on the market. These great chicken wings come in the following offerings: “Sweet & Sassy, Lemon Herb,” “Beer Brined,” and “Zesty Ranch.” You can find said wings and other fine products of Meat District at dozens of Jewel Osco locations around Chicago.

Man Crates

Man Crates is an online destination with gift sets for every man in your life. Each crate comes with a themed assortment of carefully-curated, high quality, and luxury goods. Many of the gift sets come packaged inside a wooden crate, so the recipient gets to pry it open with a crowbar. Its Coffee-cue Grill Crate is a fun offering for anyone who digs both coffee and BBQ, boasting sauces and spices to caffeinate one’s cookout with 4 unique coffee flavors.

More localized to the UrbanMatter crowd, Man Crates has been acclaimed for its Opening Day Ballpark Crate (Wrigley Field is an option), NFL Barware Crate (Chicago Bears is an option), NHL Barware Crate (Chicago Blackhawks is an option), and the NBA Barware Crate (Chicago Bulls is an option). So Chicago sports fans of all ages have something to be excited about with Man Crates.

CELSIUS

CELSIUS is a healthy energy drink with no crash or jitters, unlike traditional energy drinks, and is clinically -proven to accelerate metabolism, burn fat, burn calories, boost endurance and help build lean body muscle. CELSIUS has 7 essential vitamins, includes zero sugar, has no added artificial flavors, colors or preservatives, and features no aspartame or high fructose corn syrup. It is also non-GMO, vegan, and Kosher.

You can find CELSIUS via Amazon.com, at big retails like Dick’s Sporting Goods and Target, and at grocery and convenience stores nationwide such as Walmart, CVS, Rite-Aid, and 7-11. A 12-pack generally runs in the $20 to $30 price range.

Que Pasa Liberty Tortilla Chips

Prior to the 2020 edition of July 4th, organic tortilla chip brand Que Pasa launched its Liberty Tortilla Chips. Unlike typical corn tortilla chips that use processed corn flour, Que Pasa grounds whole corn kernels using volcanic stones, the traditional way of making tortilla chips that has been passed down through generations.

Que Pasa’s Limited Edition Liberty Tortilla Chips also uses natural ingredients to color the chips like Whole grain organic blue corn, whole grain organic white corn, and beet juice. Liberty Tortilla Chips are organic, GMO-free, nut-free, gluten-free, vegan and kosher, and are made using only the highest quality ingredients. In turn, you have an ideal, guilt-free chip to serve all summer long.

Backyard Soda Co.

Backyard Soda Co is an all-natural, non-alcoholic, CBD-infused beverage company with a lineup of 8 unique, all-natural flavored syrups and three sparkling soda options. Its Colorado-sourced, full-spectrum CBD syrups and sodas deliver all the benefits that come from the cannabinoids found in hemp plants to help you relax and even wake up refreshed. Backyard Soda can be found at 80 retailers, including Whole Foods and Amazon, and is on track to reach more than 300 stores in 2020, while all of its products are made in small batches with real ingredients using local products.

This business started as a small syrup cart in Denver in 2011 creating natural sodas, snow cones, slushies, and teas. Its simple but sophisticated flavors include ginger-lime, lavender-lemon, mango-jalapeño, and pomegranate orange blossom, all of which contain 15mg of full-spectrum CBD per serving. The overall product is distinct from the water-based, no-calorie, artificially-flavored competitors in the field.

RECOVƎR 180

RECOVƎR 180 provides premium functional hydration for those who work hard and play harder. Its perfectly-balanced isotonic formula of salt and sugar, along with clinically-proven premium herbal extracts and essential vitamins, provides rapid rehydration and relief. In turn, the beverage lets you hydrate through plant-based extracts, vitamins, and 930mg of electrolytes. Earlier this year, RECOVƎR 180 was noted in the “Ready-To-Drink” category of the 2020 Best Bite Awards.

Magic Spoon

Magic Spoon’s cereals make for a great breakfast offering or a healthy snack for any time of the day. Not only does it taste delicious, but these Magic Spoon cereals ought to be reminiscent of your sweet and fun favorites from childhood. Magic Spoon’s Variety Pack (Blueberry, Cocoa, Fruity, Frosted) reimagines your favorite childhood breakfast into a low-carb/sugar, gluten-free, grain-free, high-protein, guilt-free daily indulgence, hitting every mark.

These cereals from Magic Spoon notably use high quality, simple and non-artificial ingredients (protein blend, coconut oil, natural sweetener blend, tapioca flour, chicory root fiber, natural flavors, salt) that promote a healthy lifestyle and that can fit into any diet. They can be ordered online, including on Amazon where the brand has over 6,000 5-star reviews (and counting).

Eastern Standard Provisions Co.’s Pretzels

Eastern Standard Provisions Co. — a favorite of legendary Chicago broadcaster Oprah Winfrey — is a popular Boston-based gourmet snack brand that ships its hand-twisted pretzels and artisanal salts right to your door. Each of its pretzels is crafted by hand with the finest, all-natural ingredients. All of the pretzels arrive fresh via mail, meaning all the customer needs to do is heat and eat them. The individually-wrapped pretzels are also perfect for freezing, giving the customer an option to enjoy them one-by-one over time.

Under the guidance of well-known restaurateur Garrett Harker and head baker Lauren Moran, Eastern Standard Provisions recently launched a special box offering for Father’s Day. The box, which is available nationwide at esprovisions.com for $59.99, includes one Topknot pretzel, 12 SlidePiece buns, one Bag of Pretzel Bites, and a Gourmet Salt Pack (White Truffle Salt, Chili Lime Salt, Everything Spice, Lemon Rosemary Pretzel Salt). The set, as an added bonus, also features Eastern Standard Provisions Socks and Father’s Day Sticker. But believe you me, the pretzels alone are worth the cost of the set.

Runamok Maple

Runamok Maple is a maker of all-natural, organic maple syrup. At last year’s Summer Fancy Food Show, the team showed off a new maple syrup flavor, Coffee Infused. Such was a divine variation of the brand’s maple syrup, serving as an ideal topper for a vanilla ice cream sundae, the ideal centerpiece for a classic Rhode Island-style Coffee Milk, and/or a superb ingredient for a cocktail like a White Russian.

With a rich flavor infusion from Vermont Artisan Coffee and Tea Company’s organic coffee beans, this unique maple syrup is as addictive as your morning “cup of joe.” Husband and wife team Eric and Laura Sorkin notably-produce Runamok Maple amongst over 1,000 acres of land in northern Vermont, managing 100,000 taps to bring their pure maple syrup to consumers near and far.

I Love Ice Cream Cakes

July marks National Ice Cream Month, with July 19th itself being National Ice Cream Day. Last year, to celebrate the highly anticipated Frozen 2 release by Disney — in partnership with Rich Products/I Love Ice Cream Cakes — a special-edition Disney Frozen 2 Ice Cream Cake was released, as made available at major grocery retailers, including Walmart, Publix, and ShopRite. The Double OREO Chocolate Ice Cream Cake is irresistible, as are the REESE’s Ice Cream Cake and the OREO Ice Cream Roll.

ONE PLANT

ONE Brands has excellent plant-based protein bars on the market under the ONE PLANT moniker. These bars bring superior taste and texture into plant-based snacking. As made with high-quality ingredients, each ONE PLANT bar provides 12 grams of plant protein and only 1 gram of sugar. The plant line features Banana Nut Bread, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Churro, and Carrot Cake flavors.

ONE’s first-ever limited-edition bar is a S’mores flavor. Expect all the flavor of marshmallows, chocolate and graham crackers into one bar, along with 20 grams of protein and just 1 gram of sugar from this one.

Baked Cravings

Love Cookies & Cream-flavored ice cream but hate the brain freeze? Well, thanks to Baked Cravings, you can enjoy your favorite dessert in cupcake form, as are Baked Cravings’ “Cupcakes in a Jar” offer the best of all sweet treat worlds. They have taken Oreos, the classic crème filled chocolate wafers, and combined such with their mouth-watering signature chocolate ganache cake made from scratch. Thus, you can savor the rich, moist chocolate taste mixed with the sweet, soft creamy texture.

RollinGreens

RollinGreens is a chef-led, clean label and 100 percent plant-based food company — as seen on Shark Tank and QVC alike — and it is elevating the frozen food category by delivering delicious comfort food options in the clean, whole food space. RollinGreens is now available in more than 2,000 stores nationwide, and are committed to helping consumers to take control of their wellbeing by offering tasty, better-for-you snack options.

Founded by CEO Lindsey Cunningham and husband (and Head Chef and Chief Innovation Officer) “Chef Ko” Ryan Cunningham, RollinGreens is committed to fulfilling the mission of playing a small role in a cultural shift of Americans making healthier food choices that they can feel good about, without sacrificing the flavors they love. RollinGreens’ wonderfully-tasty comfort foods are indeed plant-based, nutrient-rich, and made from real and recognizable ingredients. RollinGreens is redefining expectations of how delicious clean, healthy food comfort food can be through products include a variety of crispy cauliflower “wings,” and Millet Tots (the only ancient whole grain potato alternative on the market). In turn, its products hold the distinction of also being gluten-free, allergen-friendly, and vegan.

Slumber: Natural CBN Sleep Aid

Slumber is a revolutionary new all-natural sleep-aid product, as derived from the cannabinol known as CBN. Slumber’s proprietary sleep aid was designed to promote deep and restful sleep. Its hemp-derived CBN is powered by nature to help you maximize relaxation and tranquility at night, for a better day tomorrow.

All of Slumber’s products are made in Colorado using local, organic hemp and are vegan, GMO-free, certified third-party tested, and produced under GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice). So whether you prefer capsules and droplets, Slumber CBN products — which are available through the brand’s website — should not disappoint.

K!dsLuv

The Luving Company was founded by Ashi Jelinek in 2017. Inspired by Jelinek’s experiences as a mother of three who found the market lacked healthy, innovative children’s products, she set out to create a new, better product. Thus, The Luving Company was born out of the desire to provide better products for the whole family, while also maintaining a green carbon footprint.

A complete range of products, The Luving Company sources from the purest ingredients while keeping the whole body and planet in mind. I had the pleasure of experiencing KidsLuv, a 10-calorie, healthy vitamin water for kids, which gives kids 9 vitamins and minerals in each serving. Delicious and nutritious.

Cupcake Vineyards

The latest offering from Cupcake Vineyards, at only 80 calories and 8 percent ABV per 5-ounce serving, Cupcake LightHearted is a new, low-cal, full-flavor wine option unlike anything you’ve ever had. It has 20 percent fewer calories than leading hard seltzers but the flavor is just as rich and juicy as your favorite wine. Cupcake LightHearted is currently available in 4 refreshing, aromatic varietals, including Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Rosé and Pinot Noir.

Cupcake LightHearted is available nationwide in 750ml bottles with a suggested retail price of $9.99.

Outstanding Foods’ PigOut Pigless Pork Rinds

Built on the burning desire to make plant-based foods “tasty as hell,” Outstanding Foods creates foods for everyone without sacrificing taste or texture. Beginning with wholesome 100 percent plant-based ingredients, packed with protein and other health benefits, each product is skillfully prepared for superb taste and superior texture, and is free from gluten, soy, GMOs, trans fats and cholesterol. The brand also gives back, partnering with non-profits that help improve the well-being of farm animals, the environment, and the health of the communities it serves.

Its newest product, Outstanding’s PigOut Pigless Pork Rinds, is available direct to consumer via both www.outstandingfoods.com and select retailers nationwide. The plant-based brand has Los Angeles Laker JaVale McGee among its impressive roster of celebrity investors. I personally have eaten a full bag of PigOut Pigless Pork Rinds several times, but don’t feel any guilt about that, since a full bag is under 500 calories and is very filling. Expect flavor, crunch, and saltiness.

BON V!V

BON V!V — previously BON & VIV Spiked Seltzer — came back with a new look and modified name this year. But BON V!V is still made with the same great taste, zero sugar, 90 calories, and the perfect balance of 4.5 percent ABV that its followers came to expect.

Last year, in time with the kick-off of the 2019 NFL season, the brand staged a stunt that got millions of people talking. It offered a $1,000 challenge to everyday people who had tasted BON V!V Classic next to competitor White Claw Pure. That aforementioned polygraph was administered by Hollywood’s notorious polygraph expert (and reality television staple) John Grogan, while ESPN regular Adam Schefter — as also regularly heard on ESPN 1000 in Chicago — had joined into the unique promotion as an “NFL truth-teller.”

Tom Of Finland Organic Vodka

In the 1950s, Tom Of Finland created the gay male “leather” iconography that inspired Freddie Mercury, Jean-Paul Gaultier, and others. The Tom Of Finland Foundation, based in Los Angeles — which promotes tolerance — licensed the name and image to the vodka. In return, the vodka donates back 5 percent of sales. Certified organic and without added sugar, its palate is silky smooth with a touch of vanilla cream balanced by cracked black pepper and star anise. It is distilled at Lignell & Piispanaen, the oldest distillery in Finland.

This past May 8th would have been Tom’s 100th birthday, and in commemoration of such, a special edition bottle was upcycled leather jacket “pouches.”

Paleonola

Seeking some granola without the grain? Paleonola makes delicious grain-free, gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free, oat-free granola that is free of artificial ingredients granola. Healthy and tasty, also something you can add to ice cream or a less-than-healthy dessert as a fun topping. Available via both Amazon and Thrive Market, while its website — which also has grain-free protein bars on the market — offers free shipping for orders above $49.99. Locals in Chicago can find Paleonola products at Whole Foods, Plum Market, and Carnival Grocery locations.

Simple Mills’ Veggie Pita Crackers

Last but definitely not least are Simple Mills’ Veggie Pita Crackers. Each cracker features vegetables as its #1 ingredient. These Veggie Pita Crackers are certified gluten-free, non-GMO, and also free of soy and corn. They currently come in 3 flavors: Himalayan Salt, Mediterranean Herb, and Roasted Red Pepper. Pour that full box in a bowl the next time you host or watch a movie and expect them to be gone in a matter of minutes.

 

 

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