Sunday, June 28, 2009

Lotte Apple Mint Xylitol Chewing Gum

Having enjoyed my first testings of the more healthful xylitol gum (xylitol is a sugar that promotes dental health, and is also a more healthy sugar than sucrose, and definitely better than any of the fake sugars or chemical sweeteners), I found this chewing gum in the Korean supermarket and decided to try it. It is mostly xylitol (if I'm not reading it wrong, and most of the packaging is in Korean, which I can not read, the xylitol content is at 75%), in a chewing gum base, with apple mint flavouring. The apple mint flavour is okay, it tastes more like what I would call green apple flavouring, though it has the freshness of mint. This is also much cheaper than the other Spry xylitol gum, $2.39 for 36 pieces (as opposed to $3.60, or even double that for other brands). So far, these are good, but I would prefer the citrus flavour of the Spry rather than the apple mint.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Endangered Species Survey - Win Chocolate for a Year!

I found this chance to Win Chocolate for a Year, this time from Endangered Species. Of course, my idea of Chocolate for a Year is definitely different than theirs (what you get is a number of their premium 3 oz. chocolate bars - 72 of them, made up of their Supreme Dark Chocolate, Extreme Dark Chocolate, Smooth Milk Chocolate, Dark Chocolate with Mint, Dark Chocolate with Cranberries and Almonds, and Dark Chocolate with Hazelnut Toffee; what I am saying, is that the amount that they suggest, would not last me the year). Go here to complete a survey, specifically about their website, and how to improve it, and what you would like to see on it. The contest closes July 31, 2009.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Riegelein Easter Bag

There isn't much to say about this bag of Easter chocolates from the German chocolatier Riegelein, except thanks to my Dad. This is a milk chocolate, at 30% cacao content. Not bad, but I prefer dark chocolate.

Spry Green Tea Gum

This is another flavour available from Spry in its sugar-free Xylitol-based gum line. The natural green tea flavour is strong and not bitter tasting, and seems to last a fair amount of time. I think, though, that I prefer the Citrus one better (which kind of smells like Juicy Fruit). I wonder if there are any additional health benefits from the green tea.

Taiwan High Mountain Tea

I snagged these from work, the President of the company I work for had got it from one of his business trips (and perhaps didn't quite realize how good a green tea this is). I have talked about High Mountain Tea or Jin Xuan Oolong before (though that one was not so good), having enjoyed the gift of such I got from my sister and brother-in-law a few years ago.

This is a good version of High Mountain Tea, certainly the leaves are whole (and unfurl into long leaves when placed in hot water). The taste that you look for, a tingling in the back of the mouth, is there. I gifted some of the large bag to my sister and brother-in-law, coming full circle, and they both agreed that this is good tasting tea.

The leaves are rolled into little balls.

Royal Family Pineapple Cake

We found this Taiwanese brand of pineapple cake in this little Taiwanese store on The Chase in Streetsville, we wanted to compare it to the more ubiquitous Love's Flower ones.

I think that they taste quite good, at least as good as any packaged ones I've tasted. Certainly, these ones tasted fairly fresh. I wonder if they are supposed to be special, called Royal Family.

Thai Custard Agar Dessert

My beautiful Bride decided to make this quick dessert for a potluck end-of-program party she recently attended. Of course, making this yourself from fresh ingredients will yield a much better and tastier result, but, if you are strapped for time, this works well. This is an egg custard, with agar-agar, that is similar to Portuguese versions (which don't use agar-agar, nor coconut cream). The ingredients are sugar, coconut cream powder, non-dairy cream powder, whole egg powder, agar-agar and artificial flavours. Essentially, you add water, bring to a boil, then pour into little containers (she used silicon muffin cups) and let set.

The taste? Not bad, though I would like to try freshly made ones.

Wawel Dark

The Polish chocolatier Wawel produces a number of chocolate bars, this is the one with the highest cacao content I have seen, 90%. The ingredient listing is good, cocoa mass, fat reduced cocoa powder, sugar, cocoa butter, lecithin and E476 as emulsifiers, and flavours.

While not the highest cacao content I have seen, there are several at 90%, and Lindt sells one at 99%, I think most bars at this high cacao content suffer from being too chalky, that the lack of sugar is actually detrimental. Don't get me wrong, I eat raw cacao nibs, 100% cacao, but never straight, usually in a morning breakfast mixture, I just think bars taste better at around 70%. Not all bars do, but this one suffers from the chalkiness problem. Otherwise, it's decent chocolate. I don't think that I would buy this bar again.

Endangered Species Supreme Dark Chocolate

This is another offering from Endangered Species, which features the Chimpanzee on its packaging. These intelligent and human-like primates are facing many threats, including deforestation, bushmeat trade, exploitation for entertainment and use for biomedical research, which could lead to them being extinct in our lifetime. This bar is just chocolate, with a cacao content of 72%. The ingredient listing is good, cocoa mass, unbleached water, filtered beet sugar, lecithin and natural vanilla.

The good dark chocolate that is within other bars from Endangered likes exposed, without extra flavourings, and, if you like just chocolate, then this is a good bar to just eat. I probably would buy this bar again, but I like some of Endangered Species offerings better.

Eve Apple

Another new apple I found for sale in the supermarket, is a variety called Eve, which comes from New Zealand. This is apparently a variety of red Braeburn, that is sweeter (and thus more suitable for the North American market). I find it sweet, too.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Marco Polo Dark Chocolate Covered Hazelnuts

There were several offerings available made by this Polish chocolatier in the Polish supermarket I went to called Starskeys, I chose the dark chocolate hazelnut one (as you can well imagine); there was a milk chocolate hazelnut, but I am trying to avoid milk chocolate these days. So saying, I think this just fits into the dark chocolate cacao content requirements (ie 49%), the packaging states that the cocoa mass content is at 40%, with the cocoa butter added it should be at 49% or so). The rest of the ingredients are (83% chocolate) sugar, cocoa mass, cocoa butter, vegetable fat, soya lecithin as an emulsifier, polyglycerol polyricinoleate also as an emulsifier, flavour, hazelnuts (16%), polishing agents (arabic gum, talc, modified starch, glucose syrup and vegetable fat).

How did they taste? Pretty good, though the dark chocolate was a little sweet (and I don't like some of the ingredients) and the hazelnuts were mostly pieces as opposed to whole. My beautiful Bride thought they were pretty good. This 100 g package cost about $1.70, which is cheap, but I don't know that I liked it enough to go back to get some more. Too, I don't like the ingredients that make the coating "shiny".

Discover the World of Lindt Contest

Like last year's Win Chocolate for a Year!, again Lindt is running a contest where you can win chocolate for a year (5 grand prizes - worth approximately $1200) or 1 of 500 2nd prizes of a Chocolate Gift Pack (worth approximately $100). To enter, and you have until July 31st, 2009 to enter (and you can enter once per day per household per email address), go to Discover Lindt and fill in your information. You'll need the UPC codes from 2 different Lindt Family bars (100 g or larger). Good Luck!