Brittle nibble

Posted: October 23, 2008

Nibs are the grindings of roasted cacao beans before they're crushed and, through magical processes, transformed into chocolate. Occasionally you'll encounter candy that incorporates them, but it's invariably bitter and astringent. Not so with this Theo nib brittle from organic and fair-traded beans. Tamed in buttery brittle, wrapped in winey, rich dark chocolate, they become snap-crackling accents - chocolate's soul whispering from the deep.

Theo's Nib Brittle, $9.99 for a four-ounce box, at Whole Foods Markets or www.theochocolate.com.

- Rick Nichols

Tomato soup redux

I'll admit, I still occasionally regress to a nostalgic childhood meal of Campbell's tomato soup and grilled cheese. But this updated version is a welcome replacement for the days when you don't have time to make your own: a chunky blend of tomatoes and a few other vegetables thrown in, with a dash of parmesan cheese and a touch of basil and garlic. And just 90 calories for a 9-ounce serving.

Campbell's V-8 Tomato Herb Soup, $2.99, for 18 ounces, at most supermarkets.

- Maureen Fitzgerald

Copper beauty

The seventh generation of the Mauviel family in Normandy continues to produce these handmade pans that are heirlooms in any kitchen. This one, a tarte tatin pan, is also perfect for cobblers, quiche and frittatas. Stainless steel interior. Hand wash.

Mauviel copper tarte tatin pan, $180, exclusively at Williams-Sonoma.

- M.F.

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