On Food: Colorado-produced foods worth trying

October 9, 2013

Some Colorado food and wines have caught my attention, and I think you're going to want to sample them, too.

I've written about Qrunch Burgers but wanted to pass on some news about the vegetarian dish. Peace Lovin' Foods, the Denver-based company that makes the burgers, has expanded the flavor line from regular and spicy Italian to include Sweet Curry with Lentils and Green Chile with Pinto Beans. I love the latter number.

Qrunch burgers are quinoa-based. Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) is a protein-packed grain with a nutty taste. Peace Lovin' Foods combines quinoa with crunchy millet and other vegetables to create a burger that is crunchy on the outside and soft in the center. Plus, the patties are seasoned and don't taste like cardboard.

The company is proving that grain- and plant-focused burgers not only taste good but are good for us. The all-organic burgers are free of most common allergens: gluten, dairy, soy, corn, eggs, wheat and nuts. You can find the burgers at Natural Grocers, Whole Foods Market and King Soopers. Recently, 240 Super Target stores also added the item. That's saying something for a little Denver food company.

Equally impressive is the story of Noosa Finest Yoghurt, which has a tag line of "Aussie Culture - Colorado Fresh." Based in Bellvue, the yoghurt company makes the product with an Australian-style recipe that is similar to Greek yogurt. The flavor is rich and the texture is velvety. There's a touch of honey added to the base that results in a sweet-tangy flavor. The Honey Noosa is one of my favorites. But the big news for this company is the introduction of a Tart Cherry flavor. The lightly sweetened cherries are blended in to the outrageously creamy yoghurt. It's like eating a slice of tart cherry pie a la mode. You'll find Noosa yoghurt in several stores, including Whole Foods Market and Super Target.

I have to give a shout out to The Winery at Holy Cross Abbey with the introduction of American Norton 2010 wine. This wine is new to the Ca?n City winery and was produced from Norton grapes grown locally by assistant winemaker Jeff Stultz at Oak Creek Vineyards.

At 6,985 feet, Oak Creek is one of the higher vineyards in North America, making the new wine "unusual," said winery owner Larry Oddo.

Norton is a true American grape variety because it originated in America. It is a black grape that makes a dark red wine with a deep flavor of black plums and a velvety texture.

"We're always looking to try new things," said Oddo. "I think (people) like it. I think this is a grape variety that could become Colorado's best wine."

One sip and I was hooked. I'll be making plans for another run to Ca?n City to pick up more of the American Norton and to taste more of the award-winning wines that Matt Cookson continually produces.

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