Published on December 21st, 2019 | by Darren Paltrowitz


10 New-Ish Food & Drink Discoveries For December 2019

With the 2019 holiday season now underway, the colder months of 2019 and 2020 are also here and in full effect. This means that more time is being spent indoors and indulging. In turn, below are 10 recommendations for new-ish brands and/or products on the market which can help make your winter seasonal experiences more fun, comfortable and/or health-oriented.

Juneshine Hard Kombucha

JuneShine launched in June 2018 out of San Diego, California with the purpose of brewing honest alcohol for a healthier planet. JuneShine manufactures and sells organic hard — 6.0 percent ABV, to be exact — kombucha. While a variety of flavors are on draft in its tasting rooms, JuneShine currently distributes 6 flavors in both cans and draft-form: Blood Orange Mint, Honey Ginger Lemon, Midnight Painkiller, Acai Berry, Rosé and its latest flavor Hopical Citrus. JuneShine is currently available in California, Oregon, Seattle, Austin, New York City, Hawaii, Chicago and Boston, and is soon to be available in Phoenix and Las Vegas. Effective, health-minded and tasty.

The Grommet’s Cheese Grotto

Cheese Grotto Maker Jessica Sennett has practiced the art of cheese making for the past 13 years. Cheese shop customers often asked about the best way to store cheese. Refrigerators alone just don’t cut it. In turn, Sennett created the Cheese Grotto as an attractive and functional way to store cheese under the same conditions found in natural cheese caves.

Sennett’s wooden cheese humidors maintain the ideal environment for storing specialty cheeses of all kinds. Bamboo shelving and a terra cotta brick allow for air flow and humidity control. Just add water to the brick to keep the humidity above 70 percent. One can work its cheese-preserving magic out on the counter or in the fridge. Yet another incredible offering from The Grommet, to say the least.

Carvel’s Frozen 2 Ice Cream Cake

To celebrate the highly anticipated Disney’s Frozen 2, which hit theaters last month, Carvel — in partnership with Rich Products/I Love Ice Cream Cakes — released a special-edition Disney Frozen 2 Ice Cream Cake. The new cake, which is the first ice cream cake under the Disney Frozen 2 moniker, gives those in “search” of the perfect treat a snowflake-themed cake with premium vanilla and chocolate ice cream, creamy whipped icing, plus the signature Carvel chocolate crunchies. The Disney Frozen 2 Ice Cream Cake is available at major grocery retailers, including Walmart, Publix, and ShopRite.

Sweet Vegan’s Dreamy Bite Truffles

Sweet Vegan grew out of Andrea Young’s love of creating healthy and delicious treats for people she cares about. Her chocolates — including her Dreamy Bite Truffles — are vegan, nut-free, dairy-free, and gluten-free, but they are not just for vegans or those with food allergies. They are intended for those seeking great-tasting chocolates. You can expect sweets that look appealing beyond the great taste. The brand’s current best-sellers are its Delight 8-Piece Gift Box, its Indulgence 15-Piece Gift Box and its Create Your Own 10-Piece Gift Box offerings.

GoodTo Go Bars

With rapid rising demand of keto-friendly snack options, GoodTo Go straddles the line between healthy and delicious. A brand new line of snack bars in the U.S. marketplace, GoodTo Go’s bars contain low net carbs (3 grams/bar), just a hint of sugar (2 grams/bar) and a whopping 13 grams of healthy fats. The brand currently has four flavors on the market: Cocoa Coconut, Vanilla Almond, Raspberry Lemon, and Cinnamon Pecan. Its soft-baked bars are made with real, organic ingredients, while also vegan, gluten-free, peanut-free, kosher and Non-GMO Project Verified.

Flaviar’s Advent Calendars

Flaviar is a club for fine spirits enthusiasts. Launched in 2012 in Europe, the New York-based company’s mission is to help everyday people build their dream home bar. Both an online-based and a real-world community, Flaviar currently ships to 35 states, offering free shipping. Participating brands include Glenfarclas, Patron, The Macallan, Lagavulin, Yamazaki, Bulleit Bourbon, Sipsmith, and Woodford Reserve. Flaviar membership is currently priced at $300 per year, or $95 a quarter. Flaviar has released not one but two different advent calendars this year, Whiskies Of The World and Spirits Of The World. Both ship to the U.S., are available for $250.00 and include 24 drams, plus a Glencairn glass and tasting booklet.

While the advent calendar is probably a bit too late for this year’s Christmas season — as is traditionally enjoyed to count down until Christmas Day until the January 6, when most people are back to work — plenty more year-round greatness ought to be expected from the Flaviar team. Products and more info on Flaviar can be found at

Marie’s Market Reserve Salad Dressings

The Marie’s Market Reserve brand has a carefully crafted line of incredibly delicious new flavors of its salad dressings on the market. All of the dressing 60 calories or less per serving. These flavors include Caramelized Onion & Sesame Seed, Meyer Lemon Basil, Smoked Black Pepper Caesar, Southwest Style Ranch, and Wildflower Honey & Lime Vinaigrette. The roots of the Marie’s brand go back over 60 years ago, and its 20+ flavors of dressings come packaged in BPA-free, 100 percent recyclable plastic.

Milkadamia’s Plant-based Butter

I first learned about Milkadamia because of its acclaimed dairy-free milk and creamer alternatives, which are cholesterol-free, calcium-heavy, soy-free, gluten-free and an excellent source of vitamins D and B12. New from Milkadamia is its plant-based, 100 percent palm-oil-free creamy buttery spread. This revolutionary non-dairy buttery spread replicates butter’s delicious creamy taste and texture while also allowing consumers to enjoy the taste of butter without the damaging effects on animals, the planet, the soil, and rainforest lands. More greatness from Milkadamia indeed.

Cobram Estate Olive Oil

Cobram Estate’s California Mission Extra Virgin Olive Oil was named the “World’s Healthiest Extra Virgin Olive Oil” at the 2017 Health & Food Extra Virgin Olive Oil Awards in Málaga Costa Del Sol, Spain. This award was based on the following components: total polyphenols, oleocanthal levels and most balanced fatty acid profile. I recently had the pleasure of tasting the brand’s offerings in-person at an Editor’s Showcase in New York, thanks to Chef Kevin O’Connor, and it is easy to see how this Australian brand has had continuous growth within the U.S. market in recent years.


Everyone seems to have their own tips and tricks when it comes to implementing an effective hangover cure. In turn, you’ve probably also caught plenty of “fad” spin-offs of energy drinks or the like that claim to help out with your overconsumption of alcohol, but there’s no real science backed evidence in most of these. So the folks at ZBiotics are doing their part with a health-conscious, science-backed alternative to help people out. They recently created the first-ever genetically-engineered (TSA-friendly) probiotic after discovering that breaking down acetaldehyde is the answer to getting rid of that all too familiar feeling after a night out. In turn, Zbiotics to the rescue.

Turkish Dried Fruits

Turkish dried fruits are nature’s candy and have versatile culinary applications. As enriched in nutrients and in flavor by the warm Mediterranean sunshine, these items can be baked, sautéed and sprinkled. Turkish dried apricots, renowned for their delicious flavor as well as their health benefits, can be blended into turkey stuffing along with savory ingredients — such as sausage and sage — or sautéed to make a sweet glaze that is delicious on steaks and chicken.

You can also augment your holiday table spread by featuring Turkish dried figs, apricots, and raisins alongside Turkey’s famous hazelnuts and pistachios as part of a charcuterie board. Not only are Turkish dried fruits and nuts perfect for holiday cooking, they are also a great addition to holiday gift baskets and Christmas stocking stuffers.

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About the Author

Darren Paltrowitz is a New York resident with over 20 years of entertainment industry experience. He began working around the music business as a teenager, interning for the manager of his then-favorite band Superdrag. Since then, he has worked with a wide array of artists including OK Go, They Might Be Giants, Mike Viola, Tracy Bonham, Loudness, Rachael Yamagata, and Amanda Palmer. Darren's writing has appeared in dozens of outlets including the New York Daily News, Inquisitr, The Daily Meal, The Hype Magazine, All Music Guide, Guitar World,, Businessweek, Chicago Tribune, L.A. Times, and the Jewish Journal. Beyond being "Editor At Large" for The Hype Magazine, Darren is also the host of the bi-weekly "Paltrocast With Darren Paltrowitz" podcast, as co-produced with V13 (formerly He has also co-authored two published books, 2018's "Pocket Change: Your Happy Money" (Book Web Publishing) and 2019's "Good Advice From Professional Wrestling" (6623 Press), with a second podcast set for a June 2020 launch.

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