Thursday, May 30, 2013

Triple Caramel Frappuccino

I was not entirely impressed with this drink in theory. Caramel is a bit tasteless, I mean, it is just sugar after all. I don't dislike it, but plain caramel isn't ever my go-to filling for chocolate, or flavor for ice cream.

 Salted caramel is a whole 'nother kettle of fish. By that I mean I'd eat a kettle of fish if it was drizzled with salted caramel sauce.

All that being said, the caramel frappuccino is the frappuccino I usually get. It would be the strawberries & cream, but if I'm in Starbucks it is always pretty early in the morning and I want some semblance of caffeine, even if it is in milkshake form.

So, I wasn't too sure I'd like it, but I knew it would be edible. Also, it appeared to be slathered in whipped cream, which again could top a kettle of fish and get eaten by me.
Mine had a perfect little hill of whipped cream, and some crispy sugar-bits on top. This was easily the best part of the drink, I'd be so happy to eat a bigger bowl of that as a dessert. Interestingly, the whipped cream at Starbucks in the UK is significantly nicer than the USA whipped cream. Well, interesting to me. As a dairy fan I feel very strongly about Kool Kreams and Whippy Dreams and other "creams".

Once I had eaten all of the cream off the top, which I did and I am not ashamed, the rest of the drink was a bit dull. It tasted just like a caramel frappuccino, maybe a bit more thin because of the extra syrup/sauce. The taste was exactly the same, though.

Shockingly, perhaps only to me, the Triple Caramel Frappuccino was double the calories of an equivalent plain Caramel Frappuccino with cream. I guess there is much extra sauce, too bad it didn't really do much to change the flavor. With frappuccinos a lot does depend on how it got mixed, but I just can't see this one as being worth the extra calories if you want caramel, it's all basically the same.

Mocha Cookie Crumble on the other hand...

Magnum Stolen Kiss, Tarte Aux Pommes

There are five new Magnums on the UK ice cream scene, and they all look nice, sure, if not a little bit forward.

I say that because all of them are named after styles of kisses, for some reason.

First Kiss, the first one, is Creme Brulee inspired, with custard ice cream and caramel sauce & pieces, covered in milk chocolate. I'm not reviewing that one.

Loving Kiss is 'cream' ice cream, red fruit sauce with bits of cranberry and meringue, covered in dark chocolate. Not reviewing that ever because I don't like any of the bits, and I have my suspicions about 'cream' flavored ice cream.

Passionate Kiss is Tiramisu style, mascarpone flavored ice cream, coffee sauce with chunks of chocolate and sponge covered in milk chocolate. This one sounds very nice, but things are starting to get a bit saucy with these names. I guess tiramisu is a romantic dessert, what with the ladyfingers and the booze.

Flirty Kiss sounds excellent. Chocolate ice cream, chocolate sauce, and chocolate brownie pieces slathered in milk chocolate. Since I've been eating less badly (you might've noticed less blog posts! a symptom of trying to curb sweets) I've been really craving chocolate, so this sounds delicious.

What I'm reviewing today though, is Stolen Kiss, which seems like the clear winner for least likely flavor, and potentially nicest. Tarte aux pommes inspired, which is Fancy for apple pie. So it is vanilla ice cream, apple sauce, nutmeg pastry pieces, and covered in white chocolate dusted with cinnamon. So cinnamon flavored white chocolate.

I understand that these come in a mini-pack as well, but I got the full-size bar from a Tesco freezer. They only had Stolen Kiss, though. Do they do a mini-pack of all 5? It would be a shame if they didn't.
The box was nice, kept the ice cream safer than your standard plastic-y wrap, but it was a bit silly that the only thing that kept it closed was a Magnum sticker at the front. It worked, but I couldn't help but wonder if a lot of them would get busted open in transport.

Pretty attention grabbing color scheme as well, but I almost walked right past it because I thought it was just a mint Magnum in a box. I guess it came between apples and 'red' fruits, who would be able to use a red color sceme. Red fruits must've won.

 Maybe the brown should've been white, though? Since it is white chocolate-and it would further differentiate it from the mint Magnum.
I ate this on the train, haha. It was pretty difficult to take a picture, but I think this shows pretty well the flecked white chocolate, a peak of a pastry piece or two, and in between the ice cream and the white chocolate, the apple sauce. Don't let that description fool you though, it isn't apple sauce, it is like apple pie filling...or for those of you who don't know about pie filling in cans, imagine simmering down apples with sugar and liquid. There are bits of actual apple, but it is mostly a thick sauce type thing flavored like apples. It tastes like the innards of apple pie.

 The white chocolate was decently spiced with cinnamon, and since it is so sweet naturally it is really a perfect balance. I really like the white chocolate Magnum uses, it is very creamy and buttery- this just adds some sweet spice to it.

The pastry pieces were spicy, soft, crumbly, and plentiful. The ice cream was the good stuff, really premium for an ice cream bar which is kind of Magnum's thing, I suppose!

All in all, it tasted like apple pie a la mode. If you like the sound of that, you have to get one of these. Forget all about the Ben & Jerry's version, it's is nowhere near as nice as this. The Ben & Jerry's tasted mostly like vanilla ice cream, with a bitsy amount of mix-ins, where as this one tastes like apple pie with a big scoop of ice cream.

Just a matter of balance, and I think the Magnum bar is a lot more interesting and a much better interpretation of apple pie. I want to try the rest of these for sure.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Moringa Creamy BAKE, Cheese Brulee

These are probably the strangest candy I bought in my last NapaJapan order. I've been side-eyeing them for months now, always managing to find some other sweet to eat so I didn't have to find out exactly how accurate these were.

I was inspired by a review by The Review Addict recently for the Fran Collection Fromage Macadamia Pocky-type sticks to finally give these a go. It reminded me that I've tried some weird 'cheesy' Japanese snacks before, and been relieved when I discovered that they weren't actually all that cheesy--more cream cheese, less cheddar.
The appealing thing about these BAKE treats are that they're uh...baked. Really though! The texture is described by NapaJapan as " wonderful [...] the outside is crispy while the center is soft and creamy." You can tell from the image on the package that they're baked, with the browning on top and the illustrated squidginess of the center.
Hot damn, these smell like cheese. Like, fondue. Definitely cheese of European descent, maybe parmesan.  The kind of cheese kids, and persnickety adults, refuse to eat.

I pass them along to my chewing partner, who also says they smell like cheese. Truth in advertising!

We brace ourselves to eat them, wondering if this would be our last moment shared before cheese and candy were both ruined in one fell swoop.
Well the picture also stinks much like cheese, but just maybe you can tell that it is soft and almost bubbly in the center, with a crunch on the outside. I guess the most similar texture would be a perfectly under-baked cookie or brownie. I loved the texture, if you sucked on them it just sort of all collapsed eventually, and if you crunched them you had a nice balance of crispy bits to crunch and soft bits to savor.

It tasted nothing like how it smelled, which is probably a very good thing as it smelled like a pretty formidable savory cheese. Instead, it tasted like lemon cheesecake! Or a lemon roulade cake. Actually, it is incredibly similar to a meringue lemon roulade that my husband's aunt made. It was a sweet fresh lemon taste that was crispy on the outside, with a creamy filling. Basically, it is like eating a miniature version of that without any of the effort that comes with a roulade.

If I really think about it, there is a bit of a cheesy undercurrent, therefore the lemon cheesecake comparisons, but I was quite surprised how strongly this tasted of lemon. I don't know if it's just a trick of my tastebuds, maybe protecting me from a sweetened gouda or something, but if someone would've told me that I just ate a lemon cream flavored cookie, I wouldn't have been surprised.

I really loved the texture of these, and the taste was quite nice too if you're a fan of citrus and don't mind smelling cheese while you eat lemons. I definitely plan to put either the regular chocolate or white chocolate into my cart next time I order from NapaJapan.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

KitKat, Golden Citrus Blend

Now, before you get too excited this came from Japan--but before you become immensely disappointed this and other nice KitKats can be found at sushinoms, an online-and-convention type shop located here in the UK.

I think their prices were quite reasonable, and it was nice to not have to wait for something to ship all the way from Japan. They have a pretty nice selection of KitKats and gummy-type sweets, and really cute key chains and little figures if you happen to be into that sort of thing along with candy and snacks. And if you are, are you my twin?

I took advantage of the buy 3-for-£5 deal, so I got 6 different mini bars for £10. I thought this was a great idea, as most places that sell Japanese KitKats online sell them by the box, which can be a bit costly if you want to try more than one flavor.

Keep in mind, however, that these bars are quite small--about one half the size of a UK KitKat two finger bar. So, quite small...Particularly if like me, you're forced to split them with a snacky loved one. 
The packaging is, as usual, very nice. Three glistening citrus fruits are artfully piled on top of each other, so you know that you're getting lime, lemon, and orange...possibly even in that order.

The bar itself was a medium tone orange, with a very bold KitKat stamp on top.
See, just like I said!

It smelled like a blend of orange, lemon and white chocolate, and unsurprisingly it tasted much the same. It was much more tangy than I expected, and had a much stronger lime flavor than I was expecting. For some reason I assumed it would just taste like 'orange', the same way orange chocolate always does, but it really is tangy and 'citrussy', rather than just orange.

If you like citrus and white chocolate, I see no reason why this wouldn't be a flavor you'd like to try. As far as citrus chocolates go, I'm usually a bit let-down by how sweet they are in comparison to how tangy they are...usually they're far more sweet than sour, but this is different! It is still very sweet, but the flavors are more well-balanced. Kind of like if you dipped a lime wedge in sugar, rather than just 'lime sweet'.

The white chocolate flavor is what sweetens it, of course, but it is nice and cocoa-buttery rather than just tasting like sugar.

I really enjoyed this one! I'm looking forward to reviewing the next 5 very soon.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

McDonald's Chicago Supreme Burger

McDonald's in the UK quite frequently releases these 'Taste of America' burgers, and every year I've seen them I've thought, "how silly".

First off, McDonald's...c'mon. You are basically a taste of America, so why gild the lily?

More importantly though, the toppings and states seem to have been randomly generated and slopped together.

See this round-up on BrandEating for more information on each burger.

Today I'll be focusing on the Chicago Supreme-the burger I share the most geographic connections with. I'm from the Midwest (Indiana, to be precise) and while the region isn't really known in any positive way for our food, Chicago at least gets some cred for pizza, hot dogs, and sausage.

This burger in no way is related to Chicago deep dish pizza, Chicago hot dogs, or Italian beef with peppers. Ergo, it is in no way representative of any food that Chicago is known for.
It's described by McDonald's as being "a 100% beef patty, shredded lettuce, bacon, onions, cheese slices, spicy tomato salsa and cool mayo, all in a chilli, chive and sesame topped bun."

That it is, yes- but which of those varied toppings has anything, anything to do with Chicago? Beef is eaten in Chicago, lettuce is tolerated in Chicago, and all the rest serve various purposes across the nation--not just in Chicago. By the way, McDonald's, if you have to describe your 'mayo' as 'cool', you've done it all wrong.

The tomato salsa was not spicy -really it felt like it was just chunky, smoky ketchup- and was very weird mixed with mayonnaise. If you're doing salsa, why not substitute sour cream? Or better yet, forget salsa all together and put some sport peppers on this, or some relish, or something. Something people associate with Chicago, maybe.

The bacon was limp, soft, and fatty, the kind of bacon never even found in the USA, much less a beloved taste of A'murrca.

The cheese was inoffensive, and exactly like the cheese in a Big Mac from Chicago so...accuracy.

That bun was very stupid, I spent decades in the USA and was never offered a chili, chive and sesame bun. It ended up just tasting like a sesame bun.

Don't get me wrong, this burger was most certainly edible if you like McDonald's, and the smoky salsa did make it taste a bit different than just a classic burger, but I would've preferred a Big Mac.

It just had nothing to do with Chicago, and wasn't even a well-paired group of toppings. You might be thinking, 'Chelsea, it's McDonald's. What did you expect?' Well, from one of the top-grossing businesses on Earth, I would've anticipated at least glance at Wikipedia during R&D. Or to not bother calling it a specific state's burger, because there is no city in America represented by salsa and "cool mayo", least of all Chicago.

Now, where's that Indiana burger?