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Gastro Gems for a Superior Summer Soirée

Credit Lee Kum Kee

Credit Lee Kum Kee

With summer soirées underway, party throwers and goers are on the lookout for fabulous foodstuffs that’ll elevate the at-home entertaining experience. This season proffers a brilliant bounty of gastro gems, from fiery gourmet condiments to smoke-infused grilling staples to heat-and-eat chef crafted meals, that’ll ensure you savor your summer like never before. Enjoy this tasty food and beverage roundup.

Deni Hand Held Food Smoker ( – $55
Quickly smoke your edible summer staples with the Deni hand held food smoker. Simply fill the heated chamber with the included hickory or maple wood chips, insert the device into a covered pot, pan or dish, and let the smoker do the rest of the work! This convenient little culinary tool lets you enjoy fully smoked flavor without the bulky size or lengthy preparation of a traditional smoker. Not just for meat proteins, this gadget is also great for infusing smoky goodness into sauces, fruit, teas, cocktails, meats, seafood, butter and even chocolates! Its small size delivers big, deliciously deep flavor to your favorite foods with ease.

Mrs. G’s Hot Pepper Jellies ( – $8.50/jar
Mrs. G’s began one Christmas, 20 years ago, when Cindy Greaver had more time than money to invest in holiday gifts for family and friends. Instead, she made several batches of hot pepper jelly and soon after everyone was asking for more! Mrs. G’s is now in its second year of business. While the company has grown substantially, the products haven’t lost the small batch charm that keeps fans coming back again and again. Mrs. G’s uses only the freshest non-GMO ingredients, all prepared in a local FDA-certified kitchen to ensure excellence in both taste and quality. Available flavors include Ja-Ha, Jalapeno Garlic Lime, Mango Ginger Habanero, and Peach Habanero.

Lee Kum Kee’s Sriracha Chili Ketchup ( – $4-$5 per bottle
The heat is on! Looking to spice up your BBQ spread? Lee Kum Kee offers an array of condiments, but their sriracha-infused sauces are summer cookout essentials! Not only does sriracha add a fiery kick to each meal, it contains red peppers which are known to help boost metabolism and aid in weight loss—think of swimsuit season! Lee Kum Kee’s Sriracha Chili Ketchup is deliciously zesty, blending sweet tomato ketchup with sriracha chili sauce. It gives your summer dishes the best of both worlds by adding a lively and feisty bite to your grilled meats and veggies, sandwiches, spreads, salad dressings, dips, sauces and marinades. In this same vein, swap your traditional mayo for their Sriracha Mayo. It combines traditional flavors of sriracha with the cool and creamy texture of mayo to create a spicy yet versatile condiment. For hundreds of years Chili Sauces have been used in Chinese cooking, adding flavors and heat to dishes. With an impressive 125-year history, Lee Kum Kee is a quality brand that has stood the test of time.

Fromager d’Affinois Cheese ( – $8 per 8 oz./$16 per pound
Celebrate summer with sinfully delicious cheeses from famed French cheese producer Fromagerie Guilloteau. Its Fromager d’Affinois plain is a double-cream cow’s milk brie-like cheese offering a mild and smooth flavor with a hint of sweetness and a bloomy edible white rind. It is the perfect addition to any cheese plate or picnic basket, and can be paired with all manner of crackers, baguette, fruits, and sparkling wine. Add it to traditional recipes to elevate the flavor! The company’s Fromager d’Affinois Florette, dubbed as a “goat brie,” is a double-cream, one hundred percent goat’s milk version of the company’s famed cheese. Unlike most goat cheeses that deliver sharp and almost pungent tangy flavors, Florette offers a more refreshing and subtle taste–delicate in consistency and creamier and softer than most goats’ milk cheeses. Florette is also distinctive for is its pillowy, velvety rind and unique shape. The luscious texture of this cheese makes for a perfect snacking cheese–pair with fresh strawberries or fig preserves for a sweet-salty bite. Both are outstanding complements to traditional summertime fare and are sure to satisfy the tastes of all your cheese-loving friends.

Three Bridges Chef-Crafted Meals ( – $7.99
Three Bridges’ fresh chef-crafted meal solutions make “real” foods deliciously accessible and easy to prepare. Never frozen, Three Bridges meals are made fresh and are meant to be refrigerated. The high quality ingredients are evident with every bite, and you can see and taste the gastro-goodness in each thoughtfully created recipe. With seven different meal options, Three Bridges Chef-Crafted Meals are great by themselves or as a tasty summer BBQ side dish. With options like Chicken Paella, Sausage & Basil Lasagna and Sausage & Jalapeno Mac & Cheese, there’s a recipe to satisfy every palate.

J Vineyards & Winery’s “Club J” Membership ( – Varies
Whether you are raising a glass every night around the family table or choosing wines for a special event, J Wines seeks to enhance those special moments in your life. The varietal and sparkling wines of J Vineyards & Winery are the result of the finest Russian River Valley cool-climate fruit combined with gentle, respectful winemaking. A great way to experience all J has to offer is by joining its Club J. Membership opens up access to small production, single-vineyard Pinot Noir favorites as well as special cuvée sparkling wine bottlings—many of which are limited to only Club J members. The winery sends out four quarterly shipments a year, in March, May, September and November. Membership to Club J also provides access to invitations to its elegant events, private tours, concierge gift service and travel recommendations, complimentary wine tastings and other unique opportunities. There are various membership levels as well as customization to your personal tastes.

Kura Protein Smoothie Powder ( – 24.99
For those seeking to stay fit, trim and healthy during the summer months, and even where children are concerned, Kura is a unique protein smoothie powder unlike anything on the market. Each serving offers 14 grams of pure, pristine New Zealand-sourced dairy protein—long considered the gold standard of dairy since the cows and dairy are grass-fed, free-range and non-GMO. Kura also has 26 essential vitamins and minerals, five grams of fiber, and both prebiotics and probiotics, which support a healthy gut. And get this: the product has 4 times the omega 3s found in a piece of salmon! During the hot summer months, just pour your Kura smoothies into popsicle molds to create fun and healthy frozen snacks for your kids! Whether frozen or not, adding Kura to your family’s smoothies, you have the peace of mind that your brood is getting delicious fuel and energy during their day.


“The Luxe List” Executive Editor Merilee Kern scours the luxury marketplace for exemplary travel experiences, extraordinary events, and notable products and services. Submissions are accepted at Follow her on Twitter here: and Facebook here:

***Some or all of the accommodations(s), experience(s), item(s) and/or service(s) detailed above were provided and/or sponsored to accommodate this review, but all opinions expressed are entirely those of Merilee Kern and have not been influenced in any way.***

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