Saturday, May 19, 2012
A few mixed reviews
Microplane has yet another new, fun product that I was offered to try: a parmesan grater. Pretty handy, actually - it's easy to use, rather stylish and gives a good result. However, it did have a few cons, as well. Let's see.
It has very VERY sharp blades, so be careful - when you switch blades, it's pretty "rustic" and a little dangerous. And what I really didn't like, is a design flaw: the cheese takes up some space, obviously, so it doesn't neatly fit together like it does when empty. I hadn't really counted on that. Not sure what can be done about it, though.. but it kind of defeats the purpose of keeping it at hand in the fridge.
We're definitely keeping this one despite the flaws mentioned above - it's so handy. Titus loved using it, and could do so easily enough.
Ben & Jerry's Core
Ben & Jerry's has recently released what they call über-premium flavors: two different ice creams in each pint, and a "core" of sauce. The three flavors are Karamel Sutra (smooth caramel ice cream and chocolate ice cream with chocolatey chunks, caramel core), Berry white (raspberry ice cream with raspberry pieces, white chocolate ice cream, chocolate core) and Dough-ble Whammy (vanilla ice cream with chocolate chip cookie dough, chocolate ice cream, chocolate core.)
I liked the Karamel Sutra lot - no surprise as I'm a caramel fan. I hated Berry White, as did the rest of the family - we actually threw it away. The raspberry tasted really synthetic, the white chocolate was waxy and too sweet, and the core was bitter and really didn't go with the other flavors. Dough-ble Whammy was ok - I still really didn't like the core, but the ice cream was good.
However. Über-premium? No. I do like the concept of multipe flavors in one pint - I do. I didn't like the cores, with the exception of the caramel. But my main objection is the long ingredient list. I don't know why B&J can't use better stuff in their ice cream. The chocolate pieces don't even qualify as that, so they have to be called "chocolatey" instead. And really, if Häagen-Dazs can produce ice cream with just five ingredients, I don't see why other competing brands can't. I don't want stabilizers or other additives in my ice cream.
Starbucks. A favorite topic of mine. We have gotten two Starbucks shops in Sweden now - one at the Stockholm airport (sadly in departures, so you have to have a ticket...) and one in Gothenburg, at the central station. None in Stockholm. I'm sure there are many good reasons, but my frappuccino withdrawal is taking on epic proportions so I can't really think of any at the moment.
Anyway. Apparently the brand is looking to have a larger presence, because I just found these cold coffee drinks in my local supermarket: Starbucks Discoveries. I quickly grabbed one of each - a neutral latte, a caramel latte and a chocolate mocha latte. The regular one was great - very creamy and delicious. The caramel one as well. I didn't like the chocolate much, it was a bit bitter. All three were too sweet and could have done with some additional milk or an ice cube or two to dilute the flavors. And, sadly, all three are full of stuff that shouldn't need to be there, like thickeners. I might buy it again every now and then, but I'm pretty happy with my homemade iced lattes.
Titus liked the chocolate one.
And more coffee! Being a new mother of two, I do go through a bit of it at the moment... I was very grateful to get samples from Jamican Blue Mountain Coffee - this stuff is premium indeed, and while it's not something I'd serve every day (due to price and availability) it was fun to try it.