Thursday, July 29, 2010

Durian Candy

At first glance, one would think that this durian candy came from Thailand, the Thai script is quite prominent. I suppose perhaps the Durian came from Thailand, if anything, this is a candy made in China. I liked that the first ingredient is durian, followed by sugar and flavour. It does taste like they used durian, I’m glad of that, and they’re not so sweet.

President's Choice Organic Sea Salt Potato Chips

I can’t really recommend these potato chips, though if you are a fan of plain potato chips, and I mean plain, then these are the ones for you! Made from Organic potatoes using Organic sunflower oil, and sea salt, it should at least be reasonably good for you (compared to the more commercial less expensive ones).

Pacari Manabi

This is the second of the four chocolate bars from the Ecuadorian chocolatier Pacari; each features single source organic Arriba Nacional cacao varietal beans from a different region of Ecuador. These cacao beans come from the region of Manabi region in southwest Ecuador. The cacao content is at 65%. The ingredient listing looks good, cacao beans, evaporated cane juice and sunflower lecithin.

How does it taste? Like the Esmeraldas chocolate bar, this bar snaps well, is very dark in colour, and smells fruity. The chocolate melts well in the mouth, has a good aftertaste, and tastes fairly good, though it suffers, like the Esmeraldas bar, from the taste of the cane sugar coming through the chocolate, though not as much. The bar cost me $3 (for a 50 g or half-size bar) at a health food store, and I enjoyed eating it (as I do most Ecuadoran chocolate).

Lindt Excellence Crunchy Caramel

Normally I wouldn't even consider buying this chocolate bar, as it is Milk chocolate, but it came as part of a four bar package; Lindt makes some good bars, but I don't like their Milk chocolate ones. The ingredient listing is typical for a Milk chocolate one, sugar, cocoa butter, caramel pieces (sugar, milk ingredients, lactose, canola lecithin), milk ingredients, cocoa mass, lactose, soya lecithin, barley malt extract and artificial flavour. The cacao content is at 30%.

How does it taste. The chocolate itself is smooth, and the Crunchy Caramel portion of it was, in 2 words, very crunchy (and stuck to my teeth). I would not buy this bar again.

Kombucha Wonder Drink Essence of Juniper Berry, Spearmint and Lemon Myrtle

I would say this has been my least favourite of the kombuchas from Wonder Drink. Juniper berries are the main flavouring for gin, which I don’t care for. The spearmint is not a strong flavour, less than the juniper berries; the lemon myrtle I missed its taste completely. The kombucha didn’t come across as being very strong in flavour either. I am disappointed in this one, and miss my Himalayan


Friday, July 23, 2010

Fresh Chickpeas

My beautiful Bride found this for sale at the Square One Farmer’s Market, it is fresh chickpeas, which I’ve never seen before. Really, never even though of it, having seen them only canned or dried. They have a pod like peas, and do have a “pea” taste to them when eaten raw. Quite interesting.

Sarotti No. 1 Mexico Dark Chocolate Chili

This is the second of two from Sarotti’s No. 1 line of chocolate bars, this one features cacao beans from Mexico, with chili as flavouring, and has a cacao content of 66%. The ingredient listing is good, cocoa mass, sugar, cocoa butter, chili soya lecithin and natural vanilla.

How does it taste? The few I’ve eaten from Sarotti have been hit and miss, this one was not so good. The chili was not very strong (okay, only a little spicy aftertaste), and the dark chocolate could be more dark. I’ve never eaten chocolate made from cacao beans from Mexico, but they seem pretty okay. The chocolate itself is smooth but not so flavourful; it's definitely not the sugared chocolate I've seen labelled as Mexican chocolate. I doubt that I would eat this bar again.

Mississauga Rotary Ribfest

The Mississauga Rotary Ribfest was on this past weekend. Pretty much the same, though we went in the middle of the recent heat wave (feels like high 30's!) we were experiencing, so we didn't have much time to linger. This year, too, they blocked off Duke of York Boulevard next to the Living Arts Centre, which, along with the construction, caused major traffic grief getting in to Square One. All I got this year was a pulled pork sandwich, with beans and rice and corn bread.

Sarotti No. 1 Brazil Dark Chocolate Mint

I found a couple more of Sarotti's No. 1 line of chocolate bars, this one features cacao beans from Brazil, with mint oil as flavouring, and has a cacao content of 60%. The ingredient listing is good, cocoa mass, sugar, cocoa butter, soya lecithin and mint oil.

How does it taste? The few I've eaten from Sarotti have been hit and miss, this one was fairly good. The mint was not too strong, though the dark chocolate could be more dark. I've never eaten chocolate made from cacao beans from Brazil, but they seem pretty good. The chocolate itself is smooth and flavourful. I would eat this bar again.

Red Fife Wheat

I recently read about Red Fife wheat, which was at one time the best wheat in Canada (a good crop yield at an early date); it has been recently, in the last 10 years, rediscovered and reintroduced to the market. Red Fife wheat was developed by David A. Fife near Peterborough, Ontario, from some seeds sent to him from a friend in Glasgow Scotland; he had got it from Danzig or Gdansk in Poland. It is red in colour, thus was called Red Fife, as was the naming convention of the day.

In looking for Red Fife, I noticed the other day, that you can buy the flour at Bulk Barn. I picked some up, and want to try it making bread, which it is best for.

The other Red Fife I found, was in Loblaws, they were selling artisanal bread made from Red Fife by Weston's (makers of many breads). We picked up a loaf, which tasted pretty good to me, with a dense loaf (this was a whole wheat loaf) and a chewy crust.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Taxo (Banana Passionfruit)

Where I bought this, Whole Foods, they called this a Lulo, also known as a naranjilla, but those are small and round and orange. A little searching on the ‘Net revealed that this is a Banana Passionfruit, also called Taxo, or curuba (Colombia) or parcha (Venezuela) or tumbo (Bolivia), which is what we guessed when we first sliced it open, it definitely looked like other passionfruits I’ve eaten, just orange in colour.

And it tastes sort of pear-like, what struck me first, but sour in flavour, similar to other passionfruits I’ve enjoyed. Quite good, and something I could eat on a regular basis, if only I could find it, and it didn’t cost $2 each.

Santa Cruz Organic Mango Lemonade

Santa Cruz makes fairly good drinks using more natural sources, better than pop certainly, this is no exception. This tastes like a good-flavoured mango with lemon juice. It has an odd colour, kind of neon orange, which apparently comes from beta carotene. This one liter jar cost about $2, though I have seen them for about $5.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Roselle Cake

I like roselle (or hibiscus) and the Taiwanese pineapple cakes, this combination sounded great (and a welcome surprise from my beautiful Bride). The roselle in the cake is jam made from roselle juice with wax gourd.

I would be very generous in saying that this tastes a lot like the roselle I like, the excellent sourness it has. The roselle jam is quite subtle, but not bad. An interesting idea, but not well delivered.

Fairy's Tonic Kombucha - Digestive Super Tonic

Here’s another large (750 mL) bottle of Fairy’s Tonic kombucha; this one is the regular flavoured one. It is made with a combination of black, green and ginger teas. This is good tasting, and one I could drink on a regular basis (but still don’t have a good source, ie. a close source, for).

O.N.E. Coffee Fruit Drink

I’ve eaten coffee fruit before, in Venezuela, and found it to be a little sweet, nothing like coffee (but then the bean gets roasted, which changes its flavour (for the better). Like the Cashew Fruit I tried before, this is based on the idea of a fruit surrounding a more recognizable and used part of the plant. The fruit also contains caffeine, similar to green tea; it also has antioxidants. This drink only contains a little of the coffee fruit juice, it’s mostly acerola and pitanga (both fruits native to Brazil). Tasting it, I don’t get coffee, it has a sweetness along with a different sourness, interesting, but not one I’d want to drink again.

Chilean Carica

I've seen this specialty fruit packed in jars for sale in several supermarkets, but always it seemed too expensive to try, until recently when I bought it on sale (for half-price).The Chilean Carica, also known as the Chilean Golden Papaya or Chilean Mountain Papaya (and the fruit looks golden), grows wild in the mountains of Chile, Columbia, Ecuador and Peru; it grows in limited quantities, thus is really a local delicacy that has recently been exported. Like plantains or chestnuts, carica fruit must be cooked to be eaten (usually poached); even in Chile you buy them in a jar. Nutritionally, carica is rich in Vitamin C, fiber and the papaina enzyme (same as papaya). It can be used in any number of ways, from dessert to cocktails to pairing with seafood or meat.

The flavour of the carica is supposed to remind one of papaya, peach, pear and other fruits. Definitely it has a crispier texture than other fruits I have eaten preserved in cans, and it does remind me of a pear with a peach flavour, though really different than those two. These are quite expensive, so I doubt that I would eat them on a regular basis, but for special occasions, and substituting them for another fruit in a dish would be quite interesting for dinner parties, I would think.