At the Winter 2012 Fancy Food Show there were quite a number of truly great cookies. Last year I discovered Vin Tucci, biscotti made with wine, for pairing with wine and also Cookies and Corks cookies designed to pair with wine.
This year in the new products showplace I tried Napa Cookie Company's Wine Snaps. These thin little cookies have a nice crunch and buttery flavor with a spicy kick of black pepper. Red and white wine versions include wine in the recipe and are designed to pair with wine. Sturdy enough to top with cheese like a cracker, but sweeter. I love these cookies and I love this trend!
Another cookie that includes a beverage in the recipe as well as for pairing are Biscottea. Designed to pair with coffee and tea, they include a variety of ground tea and coffee in each shortbread cookie. Flavors include favorites like Earl Grey, Chai, Mint and even Rooibos. I liked the coffee ones too, that come in Espresso, Cappuccino and Mocha.
For a more classic pairing with tea, there is the traditional French Madeleine. Locally Donsuemor makes a wonderful version, several in fact, including chocolate, lemon and chocolate dipped. Widely available at coffee shops, these cookies come to life with a cup of hot tea. Packaged in a pretty box they make a nice Valentine's Day gift for someone suffering from French macaron fatigue.
For innovative shapes and decoration two cookies caught my eye. One was a line extension from Walker's, known for their shortbread cookies. Now they are making adorable scottie dog shaped shortbread cookies with a percentage of sales going to the ASPCA. I cannot imagine a dog lover not being utterly charmed by these!
Another company that was new to me, was Queen City Cookies. They make very decorative cookies that are sold as gifts. Rather than using nasty tasting fondant, they create lovely designs using molds and white or dark chocolate or buttery frostings and some are painted with great detail. Each cookie is also a gift card. The floral and "love" designs would make particularly nice gifts for Valentine's Day. Also worth seeking out are their savory rosemary shortbread with sesame and sunflower seeds. I really liked these a lot and could see pairing them with wine. A bag of them would make a great hostess gift.
For pure deliciousness, I saved perhaps the best for last. At Kitty Keller's booth I tried Les Sables & Palets de Mere Poulard (they are available at Market Hall Foods). These crumbly, rich cookies will transport you to France with their divinely sweet butter direct from Brittany. Melting and crumbly as sables should be, they come in flavors too like double chocolate and salted caramel. As if you need another reason to buy them, the colorful tins they come in are extremely gift worthy, decorated with Mont St. Michel and art nouveau flourishes. But I won't blame you if you keep both the cookies and the tin for yourself.