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I know what you’re thinking. New Year’s Eve is just around the corner, and what am I going to take to that cocktail party to wow my friends? Or, what’s the perfect hostess gift for the kind of friend who doesn’t ask you to bring an appetizer? Or…or, how do you say “I love you but I’m not IN LOVE with you” on a major holiday?

Look no further, friends. The Bacon Vixen has got you covered with her new candy company, The Sticky Pig. And this is not just any candy company. No! This is a bacon candy company, specializing entirely in candy, yes that’s right, made of bacon. And with flavors like Coconut Curry Lime and Raspberry Jelly Doughnut, you can color me completely mesmerized.

bacon-smoresThe great thing about these candies is that they’re not some novelty item like “bacon” jellybeans or gummi bacon. This is the real deal, made with all natural ingredients. You can buy a variety pack, or go for a monthly subscription. And the website encourages special orders, so you can give them a call and let them know, for instance, that you’re allergic to nuts but still want to eat an adorable little bacon s’more.

The company is based in Orange County, but can ship anywhere in the U.S. International shipping is not yet available, but hopefully that will be forthcoming. You would not believe how much people in Northern Europe love their bacon!

maple-bacon-teaSo my maple bacon black tea arrived this week, and I was so excited to try it! First of all, it came loose, giving me an excuse to use that teaball spoon I’ve had sitting in a drawer for the past 3 years. I loves me some kitchen gadgets, but don’t always use them as often as my husband considers to be “justification for ownership.” FYI husband, I used the tea spoon AND those cute 4 ounce ramekins this winter, so see? I totally deserve that ebelskiver pan.

maple-bacon-up-closeAnyway, when I opened the tea pouch, the first thing I did was take a big whiff. Hm. Smells like black tea. Maybe a little maple syrup, but mostly just…gross. Okay, no problem, smells and tastes don’t always match. Next, I poured some tea into my hand to investigate. There were definitely some bacon bits in there, but I couldn’t smell them at all. I have to say, I give 52 Teas props for not just throwing some liquid smoke in the mix to get the effect. That’s my biggest beef with “bacon flavored” novelties; they’re usually just regular food/candy with some smoke attached.

maple-bacon-in-spoonOkay, well on to the taste test. I put a teaspoon of tea in my tea spoon. How many times are you allowed to say tea in one sentence? (Ooh, check out that huge bacon nug in the spoon!) Anyway, I steeped it for 5 minutes as recommended and added one packet of Splenda, because I supposedly don’t do sugar these days. I thought honey might help boost the maple flavor, but I didn’t want to taint the results. On my first sip, I thought perhaps I tasted a little maple, but it was faint. I kept drinking and a few sips in I thought perhaps I was just imagining any flavors beyond black tea…the power of suggestion.

I’m a cream-in-my-tea type, so about halfway through the cup I added a little. And that was the end of that. No bacon, no maple, but it reminded me of good English breakfast tea. So I enjoyed the rest of the cup and will be very happy to drink the rest of the tea as well. The black tea itself seems to be of very high quality, so I can still recommend 52 Teas without reserve, regardless of any novelty flavors. I would much prefer the flavors be too subtle than see a whole bag of tea ruined by artificial smoke and mirrors.

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I’ve been hearing for months that the west coast is in for an epic El Nino winter, and it looks like maybe it’s finally starting. With rain and clouds predicted for this entire week, I think I’ll put on something cozy and have a cup of tea.

And speaking of soothing hot beverages, 52 Teas has joined us here in baconland with their very own maple bacon tea. It’s a base of black tea cut with imitation bacon bits, and infused with maple and bacon flavors. Doesn’t that just sound like breakfast in a mug? I really liked Boca Java’s Maple Bacon Coffee but thought it could have used a stronger bacon flavor. With black tea, the bacon may be able to shine a little more, so I’m going to give it a try. Naseem and I will give you a full review after it arrives.

If you’re a tea fanatic, you really should check out 52 Teas. They’ve got a wide variety of unique tea flavors like malted chocolate, pumpkin pie and banana split, along with all the tradition flavors you love. Perfect for cold winter mornings and evenings. Also a thoughtful gift for your friends that won’t break the bank.

I know people keep trying to say the bacon craze is over. I know there are some people out there who don’t want to hear, see, or think about bacon anymore. If any of those people are reading this now…well, why would they be? It’s a bacon blog. So I’ll just pretend they don’t exist.

Although I experienced a lull in my bacon enthusiasm after Bacon Day ’09, Thanksgiving really helped re-kindle my love. I mean, you just can’t have green beans without bacon. And one thing leads to another…

Our friends and sponsors over at baconfreak.com have provided us with a list of their top 10 bacon related products this year. And what do you know…they’re all available for your gift giving pleasure!

# 10 – Boss Hog’s Bacon Chocolate Sueyts

Bacon and chocolate; it’s one of the few salty/sweet flavor combinations I actually enjoy. And they were wise enough to use dark chocolate instead of milk. As I discovered with our Bacon Day chocolate fountain, bacon is the best thing to happen to chocolate since peanut butter. Oooh, bacon peanut butter cup. Someone should totally steal that idea.

# 9 – Bacon Freak Maple Bacon Pancake Mix

Whether you stick this in someone’s stocking or have some ready for Christmas morning, these pancakes are a great idea. With chunks of bacon and maple mixed right into the batter, it’s an entire breakfast ready to go. Finally a pancake mix that is bold enough to say eat me!

# 8 – Bacon Pillow

Direct from Bacon Today comes a unique, hand-made, limited production item that is a must-have for the bacon lover in your life. Bacon throw pillows! Measuring approximately 13″ x 23″, this soft slice of bacon is made of fuzzy red & white fleece. The outer cover even has a zipper so you can slip the inner pillow out and clean the bacon’s shell.

# 7 – Swine and Wine Gift Box

This gift set includes everything you need to throw a Swine and Wine Party! You can take your pick from Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot or Chardonnay paired with a selection of Boss Hog Hickory Smoked Bacon. And just in time for your next big holiday party, they’ll throw in a one pound chunk of their Smoked Mozzarella Cheese. Oh yeah, your order includes a t-shirt that says, “Swine and Wine – Two of my favorite things” – that should help start your party off right. Oh, and based on our results from Bacon Day ’08, I’d recommend the Cab.

# 6 – Boss Hog’s Bacon Cheese Straws

Now I’ve never been to the South, but I hear cheese straws are a true southern treat. These crunchy guys are sprinkled with Boss Hog’s Bacon Seasoning, so they have the added benefit of tasting like…you guessed it, bacon.

# 5 – Bacon is Meat Candy T-shirts, Hoodies and apparel

BaconFreak has more than a dozen bacon related t-shirts boasting their trademarked label – Bacon is Meat Candy!

# 4 – Bacon Gift Wrap

Don’t forget to wrap your gift in the wrapping paper that is perfect for the pork lover in your life.

# 3 – Boss Hog Sampler Deluxe Gift Basket

This Gift Box is for the loved one who loves bacon. You get two pounds of Bacon Freak Bacon, one bag of Boss Hog’s Maple Bacon Pancakes, and of course Boss Hog’s Bacon Seasoning to make everything taste like bacon! Shipping is included in the price.

# 2 – Bacon Freak Bacon Jerky

Love bacon, but can’t always be at home, slaving away at the stove? Then Bacon Jerky is your ultimate snack! This is for the bacon lover on the go. *Pets love them, too!

*Brutus tested, Brutus approved

# 1 – Bacon Freak Bacon

When plain old bacon just won’t do. Bacon Freak is serious about creating amazing flavor combinations. Our readers really enjoyed the sun-dried tomato and jalapeno flavors, but there are another 20 flavors to choose from, including chipotle, cajun, hickory, honey bbq and more.

And don’t forget, the RBS Bacon Store has a mind-boggling number of other products to choose from. From stocking stuffers to gifts that give all year long…don’t delay! Your holiday shopping days are numbered.

For those of you just tuning in, we here in America just celebrated Thanksgiving; a day of feasting, fun and family where we celebrate how a long time ago, the Native Americans saved our asses. Or something along those lines. It reminds me of how I once got in a debate with a Canadian about what Thanksgiving is really all about. In Canada, they celebrate the fact that Martin Forbisher, some old-timey explorer, found his way to the Pacific and back. And get this, they celebrate on a MONDAY in OCTOBER! Weird, right? Eh? Hoser? This Canadian also schooled me about how basketball was invented in Ontario. Whatever. We invented Michael Jordan.

Anyhow, I’ve never met a Canadian I didn’t like. In fact, they’re often the funniest people in any room. But since the Canadians are so fond of correcting us, here’s a really old clip (1999) of Tom Green bringing Jon Stewart up to speed on bacon. Canadian bacon.

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
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The day before Bacon Day, Naseem was at my house and asked me what we were going to do with all the bacon grease. We had toyed with the idea of offering it as a beverage option for the truly brave (or deeply disturbed). When that idea got shot down, Naseem volunteered our good friend Cameron to come up with an appropriate display. That evening, they both showed up with a giant, cylindrical glass vase, which we figured could probably hold close to a gallon in volume.

We started by filtering in all the standard (non-flavored) bacon grease. It was absolutely beautiful, a vessel of liquid amber. It was such a lovely shade, I didn’t want to taint it with the other colors. But we had four fabulous bacons from Bacon Freak, which had made grease in varying shades from a lovely orange (Bourbon Street Cajun Style) to a deep crimson (Coastal Caliente Smoked Jalapeno). If we really wanted to show off the grease we’d made, they’d all have to go in. From lightest to darkest we added them, and for a while they settled at the bottom. I thought we might maintain a layered effect, but eventually all the colors melded into a vibrant orange shade. The result was quite pretty.

After a final top off at Naseem’s house, we ended up with a very impressive display. Next Cameron made a nutrition fact sheet, along with creative suggestions for how to use an excess of bacon grease. I know for a fact that he makes fireplace kindling with bacon grease and dryer lint. No joke. The man is the MacGyver of pork fat. If you need any suggestions, just email us. We (mostly he and Naseem) are absolutely full of ideas.

bacon-greaseFor many, it was the highlight of the event. At very least, it left an impression and everyone learned something. Thanks, Cameron and Naseem, for impressing (and grossing) the hell out of everyone at Bacon Day!

Wow, it is really taking me forever to finish writing about Bacon Day. It was just SUCH a day!

We had a number of very generous donors who helped us make this event a success. First and foremost was Rocco at Bacon Freak. He sent us 12 pounds of his delicious, uniquely flavored bacons. Without exception our guests enjoyed them…I don’t think we received a single negative review. Rocco’s bacons are dry-aged, so they have a texture that’s different from most bacons you’ve eaten. And the flavors! We were fortunate to sample Boss Hogg’s Hickory Smoked Maple , Rocco’s Private Reserve Sun-Dried Tomato (a big hit from Bacon Day 08), Bourbon Street Cajun Style, and the most popular, Coastal Caliente Smoked Jalapeno. You can find all these flavors and more at Rocco’s Bacon Store. Thanks, Rocco, for your never-ending support!

Next, we had a new sponsor in Paradise Island Popcorn. They sent us a split case of their Mmm…Bacon popcorn, and their popular Jamaican BBQ. We had enough popcorn for everyone to sample at the event, and several people won a box to take home. Thanks Steve! We’re customers for life!

dsc_0004Our raffle was jam-packed with awesome prizes. Blogtastic Heather Lauer of Bacon Unwrapped sent us two signed copies of her book, Bacon: A Love Story. John at The Soapier provided us with three beautiful bars of bacon soap (bacon in looks only…smelled divine.) There were swag boxes from Bacon Freak, theatre tickets from Genesis West, t-shirts, bacon novelties…there were moments when I thought the raffle would never end!

Congratulations to our raffle winners, and thanks a million times over to those who supported the cause. It was a huge help in our fundraising efforts, and really made for a fun day. And for those of you who didn’t win…you’ll just have to come back next year and try again!

At the request of our new friends at BaconShot.net, we made bacon shots available to our Bacon Day guests. Seemed like a great idea, since we were serving bacon vodka anyway, so we agreed and we asked people for their reviews. Here’s how that story went down.

bacon-shotsFirst of all, we ordered two bottles of Bakon Vodka, because we wanted people to have the opportunity to try this internet sensation, and because we thought it would be perfect for the bacon shot. Sadly, though we ordered the bottles weeks in advance, the vodka never showed. We were sorely disappointed. When it STILL hadn’t shown a week AFTER the event, we asked for a refund. They gave it to us, so we’re over it.

bacon-shots-sideWhat this means is that for the bacon shot, we had to use the Skyy Vodka I had infused with bacon at home. I know, I know. Why didn’t we buy better vodka in the first place? Well, because we were on a budget and the vodka was going to be severely mixed and tampered with, so we didn’t think it mattered. And maybe it didn’t really…I’m not a fan of drinking even the best vodka straight. But it may be true that this experiment would have gone better with a bottle of Grey Goose or even Ketel One. Trust me when I say, we will never know.

When we got together with our bartenders and volunteers before the event, there was much debate about whether we should make people use a drink ticket for these shots. I was dead against it because I actually wanted people to TRY it. Others thought, hey! Free alcohol? People will take dozens! In the end, we made them available without a drink ticket, a nice little freebie to make sure everyone’s throat burned for at least a moment during the day. Good thing we did.

bacon-shots-aerialThe shot started with some crisp-fried bacon, cut into slivers. Top it with vodka and voila! Liquid death! No, actually, I went in with the strategy to throw it back hard, making sure to get all the bacon in my mouth. Once I swallowed the vodka, I chewed on the bacon for a salty chaser. It made the whole thing easier, I thought. I don’t think a single person agreed with me. Here were some of the colorful comments:

“I didn’t like it. It burned my throat.”

“I’m sorry, that was just nasty.”

“Why would you do that to me?! Did I insult you in some way?”

“Tastes like ass.”

dsc_0013So there you have it. I was the bacon shot’s biggest fan, and that ain’t sayin’ much. But please don’t let me discourage you from taking the bacon shot challenge. Let us know what you think…I can always use a good laugh. Thanks again to our wonderful bartenders: Sheri, Julia and Krista. Your smiling faces made these disgusting shots go down a little easier.