culinary review
Reviews of packaged foods from oils, to cheese to whiskey

World Market Banana Chocolate Spread

Last Modified: 11/18/11
First Published: 06/30/10
Views: 2161
Views: 2161

If you like Nutella, the chocolate hazelnut spread used widely in Europe you might like to try this sweet banana-chocolate version from the World Market. The flavor is pretty strong, with a significant banana flavor which is very spreadable on just about anything. It is very good, if not a little strange.

Unlike Nutella, which after you get used to the idea of spreadable chocolate tastes normal, the World Market version gives you the idea that this is artificial in a way. One of the best uses of Nutella is to spread it on fresh-made crepes and I bet this banana chocolate spread would work very well for that also.

Since it is so spreadable you can use it on any type of bread. To this point I have not heard of it being used in actual cooking, and I am not sure how well it would hold up to any type of heat. It seems like you basically spread this type of food on anything and everything. Celery, carrots, breads, crepes...I guess it can replace or complement cream cheese. We will have to do some tests to find out.

Nature's Path: Organic Pomegran Plus Granola with Cherries

Last Modified: 06/20/10
First Published: 06/20/10
Views: 580
Views: 580

A couple of months ago I was going through the local health food store, looking around at all the various brands of milk when I came upon a cereal that looked very appetizing.

It was "organic", and expensive, but I figured it would go well with the excellent quality "organic" milk I was looking for.

Sometimes packaging tells the story and sometimes it seems like you are eating packaging. In this case Nature's Path cereal was more like packaging.

The pomegranate pieces were small, or missing, so they could not contribute to the taste very much. I can't even remember the cherries, they were so small too. But the real problem was the texture and taste of the granola, which was more like puffed rice, or something similar.

The one thing that packaged health foods have in common is the lack of salt, and given the low sugar content the badness was multiplied.

There are a lot of great packaged foods from health food stores. There are great soy ice creams, rice ice creams, actual ice creams...but since most of that is ice cream maybe all the packaged food is lacking something.

Maybe the problem is that by creating a food to be something it is not, you disrupt the taste in whatever it really is.

Emmentaler Cheese from Trader Joes

Last Modified: 05/27/10
First Published: 05/27/10
Views: 1992
Views: 1992

Real Swiss Cheese

Trader Joe's has a pretty big selection of decent cheese, as well as wine. We recently tried the Emmentaler Swiss cheese. While not very different from other versions of Emmentaler it was very good. Really makes you want to buy a couple packages and make a fondue.

Trader Joes Sicilian Olive Oil

Last Modified: 05/17/10
First Published: 05/17/10
Views: 1227
Views: 1227

We bought a bottle of Sicilian Olive Oil from Trader Joes the other day to try with some olive bread and nice Balsamic Vinegar. The olive oil was quite different. Very strong and peppery with some fruit behind it.

It seems like most quality olive oils these days seem to be made very much the same, but this one was really different.

Old Ezra 101 Proof Bourbon Whiskey

Last Modified: 05/16/10
First Published: 05/16/10
Views: 1116
Views: 1116
Old Ezra whiskey is a pretty strong drink. It is nothing like the smooth taste of Makers Mark or the harshness of a rye drink. You have to get used to this one and I don't recommend using this whiskey for your next manhattan, this is meant to be drunk straight up in a shot glass.