Samples of summer entertaining

Here at WAG, we are often asked to sample new products – and we are usually most happy to do so.

Sure, it’s fun – but we’re also hoping to come across items that are interesting, unique or just plain tasty that we can share with you.

Some of the recent products we’ve sampled seem ideal for warm-weather travel and entertaining, so we thought we’d offer a bit of a roundup as we head into the holiday weekend – and the unofficial start of summer.

• Toast the impending arrival of summer with Santa Margherita Sparkling Rosé ($29.99). It’s a pale pink Italian wine that’s said to bring “a full bouquet of pleasing floral aromas with hints of red berries.” It is indeed quite a sweet sip, ideal for a lazy afternoon.

• Brunch is always better with a sweet finish. Serve up Loacker Quadratini ($2.79 to $5.49), a treat with a light-yet-pleasing taste from the Italian-based family business that got its start in 1925. Five layers of crispy wafers surround four layers of smooth cream, with the bite-size cookies coming in nine flavors ranging from lemon to chocolate, raspberry-yogurt to coconut. We sampled the hazelnut – and have no complaints.

• Need an easy-but-healthy snack to toss into your beach bag? We suggest a bag (or two) of Gold Emblem abound White Cheddar Flavored Bite-Sized Quinoa & Rice Cakes ($2.79). The focus is on ancient grains with the company integrating everything from sprouted grain quinoa to brown rice into these new bite-sized rice cakes. The cheddar snack, which our reviewers enjoyed for its “popcorn-like” texture and subtle flavor, is also whole-grain and gluten-free.

• Liven up an impromptu picnic with GAEA Olive Snacks ($1.47). The snack packs offer a savory, low-calorie serving that’s all-natural (no additives or preservatives) and convenient (no liquid in the resealable package). Choices include Pitted Green Olives Marinated with Chili and Black Pepper (we caution that these are for true fans of bold spicing), Pitted Green Olives Marinated with Lemon and Oregano and Pitted Kalamata Olives.

• And finally, when the kids want candy but you want them to have something that’s not candy, offer them Welch’s Fruit Snacks ($2.99). These between-meal snacks feature fruit as the first ingredient and are also gluten-free, fat-free and contain no preservatives. Adults can keep these portion-controlled pouches on hand to satisfy those cravings for sweets, too. We tried the fruit punch – we usually prefer the Concord grape – and found it to be one that will surely get the kids on board. (Reduced sugar options are also available).

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– Mary Shustack

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