Product Taste Test
Sunday, July 8th, 2012
Product Taste Test: Calypso Vodka Spritz
We were provided press material and product from the Marc Anthony Group in preparation for our taste test. Our taste panel always likes to have some background information before sampling a product as it helps us understand what goes into the production of the liquor in question. Once again, our panel members – familiar with vodka coolers - were quite enthusiastic to try out this product.
From the press material: The product is a gluten-free speciality vodka beverage made from natural fruit flavours with a lightly carbonated clean crisp taste.
The two flavours are Star Apple - which captures the essence of fresh apples and Ruby Red Citrus - which highlights the notes of tropical ruby red grapefruit.
Taste Test: In appearance the bottles are attractive and well designed. The initial taste of the Star Apple was a bit flat and suggestions of adding an apple garnish were made to enhance the flavour. The initial taste of the Ruby Red Citrus was similar to the apple, the overall crispness was not there and the same add a garnish comment was mentioned.
To do your own taste test and for more information on the Calypso Vodka Spritz please visit their website at http://www.calypsospritz.ca
At Food Vancouver we wish you have a great summer – but remember – please drink responsibly!
Saturday, April 3rd, 2010
Product Taste Test: Silhouette Satisfaction by Danone
For most women, the challenge to managing weight is not eating extra calories. But how does one control those mid-afternoon hunger pangs. You’re at the office; you need a quick pick-me-up so you reach for that handy chocolate bar. That’s an average of 300-400 calories loaded with fat and sugar. And did you know that in order to burn off a measly 200 calories you have to walk at a fairly brisk pace on the treadmill for an hour?
What you need is a healthy snack that curbs your hunger.
Danone appears to have taken this into consideration in launching its new generation of healthy snacks – Silhouette Satisfaction yogurt. Silhouette Satisfaction is a fat-free yogurt that has an exclusive Protei-Fibres formula of milk protein and natural source fibre designed to help you consume less calories by curbing your hunger. It comes in 4 exciting flavors: Peach-Mango; Strawberry; Red Fruit and Muesli and Blackberry-Blueberry Muesli.
Our Tasters Panel tried these 4 flavors as a mid-afternoon snack. The strawberry lovers liked the clean, fresh strawberry taste and found it to be more satisfying and much more filling than other similar yogurt brands.
Our “no-time-for-breakfast” participant rushed off to work with the berry-muesli flavors and found them not only surprisingly tasty and filling but also a pleasant breakfast substitute which helped curb that 10:30 a.m. donut craving.
The peach-mango with bits of added fruit was a little bland with no distinction between where the peach ended and the mango started. Yet, it also had a clean, smooth taste and was surprisingly filling as a between-meals snack.
Our Product Taste conclusion: Overall, our panel found these yogurt flavors not only tasty but also satisfying in curbing hunger, keeping us feeling full longer, while getting to the next meal feeling less hungry.
At 80 fat-free calories per 120 gram serving it’s easy to make Silhouette Satisfaction part of your healthy diet and lifestyle. It also contains all the vitamins and nutrients of Silhouette 0+ with no fat and no added sugar. In fact you could even ‘cheat’ and eat an extra serving later in the day without agonizing over unwanted weight gain!
Danone’s Silhouette Satisfaction is now available at all grocery stores across Canada.
By: Sheila LoGuisto
Friday, February 12th, 2010
Product Taste Test – New Nestle Noir Dark Chocolate Tablets
At Food Vancouver we always welcome the opportunity to taste new products. Our chocolate-loving panel recently worked its way through 5 New Nestle Noir chocolate creations. Ranging in intensity from 54% to 80% dark chocolate each of these tablets received a solid two thumbs up from our satisfied panel.
Nestle Noir was launched in Canada in 2008 as Nestle Canada’s first step into the premium dark chocolate category. The 5 new creations come in a new curved-shape described as the ‘wave’ – adding to that melt-in-the-mouth sensation. Each tablet contains 24 of the new wave-shaped segments and sells for $3.49-3.99 at retail and grocery locations.
Choose your favorite combination from this list:
Nestle Noir Miel Amandines 54% - blends the sweet sensation of honey drizzled almonds with 54% rich dark chocolate.
Nestle Noir Eclat Noir 64% - this combination of caramelized cocoa bean pieces and 64% dark chocolate makes for an intense, yet textured taste
Nestle Noir Éclat Caramel 64% - dark chocolate, sweet and crunchy caramel and a teeny taste of salt combine both bitter and sweet flavors impeccably for that big burst of flavor
Nestle Noir Intense 70% - like the name says this is a combination of the best West African and Ecuadorean beans with a rich fruity aroma. One bite and you’re swept away by the smooth, crisp and balanced flavor.
Nestle Noir Sublime 80% - an intense chocolate flavor that releases a perfect blend of the finest cocoa beans. Subtle and complex yet refined, it isn’t just the chocolate taste that defines this creation but the rich aroma.
Don’t forget, dark chocolate is also rich in flavonol antioxidants – which means it’s good for you. So if you’ve stuck to light milk chocolate one bite of these exquisite creations is guaranteed to take you over to the ‘dark’ side!
by Sheila LoGuisto
Friday, September 11th, 2009
Product Taste Test: Milagro Silver Tequila
We visited the Milagro Silver tequila website in preparation for our product taste test. Our taste panel always likes to have some background information before sampling a product as it helps us understand what goes into the production/distillation of the liquor in question. Once again, our younger panel members – the college crowd familiar with tequilas - were quite enthusiastic to try out this tequila.
Leyenda del Milagro Silver tequila comes in a two-toned glass bottle – bright blue on the top half and clear towards the bottom. Nice presentation! It is made from “the hidden fruit of the blue agave plant – the essence of Milagro Tequila’
Taste Test: In appearance the tequila is clear and shiny. We swirled it in our glass and found it quite viscous and given to developing some long ‘legs’ inside. Not being familiar with ‘agave’ we couldn’t discern its aroma in the otherwise earthy-grassy-citrusy overall fragrance. The initial taste was slightly numbing, salty, and peppery, with a citrusy second tone. Milagro Silver also goes well with your favorite margarita recipe.
Our Thoughts: Our panel tried this tequila as shooters – very popular with the college crowd! However our more ‘mature’ members observed that this tequila tastes better sipped slowly or as a base with your favorite margarita mixes!
For cocktail recipes using this tequila, check out the Milagro website at http://www.milagrotequila.com/
At Food Vancouver we wish you have a great summer – but remember – please drink responsibly!
By: Sheila LoGuisto
Saturday, September 5th, 2009
Product Taste Test: Sailor Jerry Rum
Think of 1930s Honolulu and tattooed sailors. Throw in a full-bodied 92 proof spiced navy rum and you have the legend of Sailor Jerry Collins. If your experience with rum has been restricted to Bacardi’s or Captain Morgan, then Sailor Jerry spiced rum will give you that extra kick.
Popular with the younger set, the Food Vancouver’s 20-something Taste Panel was more than eager to test this Caribbean-spiced rum and deliver their verdict.
Taste Test: Tried the old “R&C” style with a shot of Coca-Cola, our younger tasters noted the spicy aroma with hints of vanilla and cherry. Although it is a dark rum, they found it to be livelier than most other traditional dark rums. The taste was not as limited as other rums as the spicy flavors mellowed it out. This rum is best served with any type of mix as it makes a good cocktail base. Our taste panel commented on the distinctive spiced taste finding it not too-sweet but strong enough for a good kick.
Our comments: Sailor Jerry rum goes very well with Canada Dry ginger ale and a wedge of lime. Lovers of Rum Collins and other rum-based sweet cocktails will be able to concoct all their favorite variations. Cherry lovers can enhance the cherry flavor by adding maraschino cherries to their rum-and-coke mix. Sailor Jerry Rum bottles also include a variety of recipes to get you started.
At Food Vancouver we wish you have a great summer and fall – but remember – please drink responsibly!
By: Sheila LoGuisto
Monday, August 31st, 2009
Product Taste Test: Reyka Vodka
“Reyka” comes from the ancient Icelandic word for steam. Reyka vodka is a small batch (barley-wheat) vodka and its bottlers say it is made from water drawn from a 4000 year old lava field and distilled through lava rock collected from volcanic fields. As the first vodka to be distilled and bottled in Iceland Reyka it is also a green and environmentally-friendly product.
With a description evocative of geothermal steam drawn from the centre of the Earth, the Food Vancouver Taste Panel was eager to take advantage of the opportunity to try out this uniquely Icelandic Reyka Vodka.
Taste test: The panel first tried it straight up but couldn’t discern any aroma or taste. The vodka on its own had a neutral taste. We then tried it two other ways: traditional-dry, with a shot of vermouth and onions-olives. Here we tasted the citrus-spicy undertone reminiscent of cedar. We also mixed a sweeter variation with a shot of Cointreau, pomegranate juice and a lime wedge and noted the floral undertone which reminded us of roses. Both variations were much more pleasing to the palate, as the vodka itself is clean, neutral and to the point without any lingering after-taste.
Our comments: Because Reyka has such a clean and neutral taste it is better suited as the perfect base for most cocktails. Whatever your preference – whether sweet or dry this vodka combines well with any mix. Reyka’s clean taste goes well with any other mix and vodka martini lovers can experiment to their heart’s content.
At FoodVancouver.com we wish you have a great summer – but remember – please drink responsibly!
By: Sheila LoGuisto
Wednesday, August 26th, 2009
Product Taste Test: Hendrick’s Gin
In 2003, The Wall Street Journal named it “Best Gin in the World”. The following year, Hendrick’s Gin was a Double Gold winner at the 2004 San Francisco International Spirits Competition of the Year.
The Food Vancouver Taste Panel was familiar with Bombay Sapphire gin so we welcomed an opportunity to try out Hendrick’s Gin in its unusually shaped bottle – squat, dark brown, looking like something from a Victorian chemist’s shop. Perhaps its bottler William Grant and Sons Ltd. is telling the drinker “It’s good for you!”
The label on the bottle says “This handcrafted gin is distilled from a proprietary recipe which includes traditional botanicals such as juniper, coriander and citrus peel. The ‘unexpected infusion of cucumber and rose petals result in a most iconoclastic gin”. Intrigued, with the unusual combination of flavors, our taste panel conducted the following taste test
Test: Our initial taste-test was plain purist - 1 part gin with a slice of lime to get the true flavor. We found it fairly smooth without too much of a harsh after burn. The cucumber-rose petal combination also made for a very interesting flavor. Although the gin has its usual woodsy aroma we could also detect the coriander-citrus undertones.
Our comments: We suggest the best way to drink this gin is to follow the traditional recipe – 1 part gin, 2 parts tonic with a lime wedge. Or for something completely different also add a chunky cucumber ‘stick’ to your Hendrick’s G&T to create a slightly mellower flavor. Although the Hendrick’s label says “It is not for everyone”, Food Vancouver tells gin drinkers: If you haven’t tried it yet, go ahead and sample some. You might surprise yourself!
At Food Vancouver we wish you a great summer – but remember – please drink responsibly!
By: Sheila LoGuisto
Friday, August 7th, 2009
Product Taste Test: “Honey Drop”
You love the taste of honey but can’t stand the thought of sticky fingers. You want a healthier alternative to the over-refined, over-processed sugar cube during your morning coffee break but just can’t be bothered with honey dribbling all over your keyboard! Imagine holding honey in the palm of your hand without feeling sticky. It’s true! With Honey Drops made by Honibe you can now enjoy the taste of real honey without all the mess. Just pop open the package, drop it into your favorite hot beverage, stir quickly to dissolve and voila. Enjoy the taste of real honey without the messiness involved.
That’s because Honey Drops are individually packaged in dried honey form; free from any artificial coloring, flavoring, additives or preservatives. It’s just 100% pure, natural honey – without the messiness. Honey drops come in two flavors: regular honey and honey lemon. There are 20 drops in each paper container - all you do is tear away the bottom portion and the individual honey drop pops out. It’s that quick and easy to use. Honey Drops are portable and can be easily stored at home; in your desk drawer at the office or even added to your camping gear this summer.
Taste method: For our taste test we used the regular honey drop in our morning tea and coffee and were wonderfully pleased with the results. It tastes just like real honey – it’s that refreshing. Earl Grey tea lovers will enjoy the Lemon Honey drop in their morning cuppa..
We next stirred in some Honey Drops into our favorite spicy-garlic Asian marinade and used it to glaze chicken wings while barbecuing. Honey Drops enhanced the flavor of the sauce without overpowering it, while giving the meat that wonderful finger-licking taste.
During the recent heat wave we found the Lemon Honey Drops extremely useful in sustaining energy during strenuous exercise workouts; jogging or walking. Honey Drops have now become an indispensable addition to our gym kit-bag. Got a scratchy, sore throat? We discovered that Honey Drops also provide calming, soothing relief.
Our thoughts: At just the equivalent of 1 teaspoon of honey per individual package plus its convenient easy-to-use method Honey Drops have now become a staple on our grocery list.
For more information on Honey Drops by Honibe visit their website at www.Honibe.com or to purchase drop by your local Safeway or London Drugs location.
At Food Vancouver.com we hope to continue with our product taste tests and introduce you to new, interesting and easy-to-use products.
Have a safe and happy summer 2009!
By: Sheila G. LoGuisto
Monday, June 22nd, 2009
Product Taste Test: Glenfiddich Single-Malt Special Reserve 12-year Old Whisky
A whisky-tasting opportunity is not one to be missed –particularly when the whisky in question is probably the most popular single malt in the world - the Special Reserve 12 year old whisky from the Glenfiddich range.
Now the thought of a group of novices tasting such a fine drink can be quite daunting particularly when Glenfiddich aficionados are known to roll their eyes in sheer delight as they wax lyrical. How could our quartet of relative newcomers to the actual whisky tasting process make a credible assessment? We decided that our ‘taste’ test would be about more than just taste – it would also include our other senses – the aroma; the color; the way the whisky swirled in our glasses; the initial feel of the whisky on the tongue and the continued after-taste.
Process: While most whisky tasters might prefer to use tulip-shaped glasses when tasting different whiskies, our Group of Four opted to stick with the short whiskey tumblers normally used for whisky shots as we were only testing one product. As some of us were tasting Glenfiddich’s single malt for the first time we decided we would try it two ways: 1-oz each straight up and then 1-oz each with a little water
Straight up: We first sampled 1-oz of the single malt straight up – a new experience for some of us who had never tried whisky without ice or in a mix. We found the honey-amber color extremely rich and pleasing to the eye. The initial aroma hinted at a nice fruitiness at first not quite discernible then becoming slightly woodsy, finally settling into a rich peaty-smokiness. Swirling the liquid in the tumbler helped us to discover its ‘legs’ – the way it slowly coated the glass and dripped down even more gently. We learned that the slower the drips of ‘legs’ – the older the whisky. Our taste product certainly lived up to its age!
Having fully inhaled the first aroma we each took a good mouthful, feeling it roll over the tongue as it released its slow, smooth burn. The longer we held it the warmer and smoother it tasted. The first swallow was smooth and gentle on the throat with no after-burn. Rather the taste continued to linger – nice, smooth and wonderfully smoky. The second, third and fourth swallows tasted even better – rich and soft, gliding like smooth honey. As we rested we continued to feel the slow warmth it released and the nicely rounded pleasing taste that continued to linger.
1-oz with ice water: Our second taste test was done with 1-oz of the single malt with the addition of just a smidgen of ice water. The addition of water seemed to actually enhance the aroma, almost warming it and slowly releasing the woodsy-smokiness. Although the ‘legs’ moved a little faster this time on the sides of the tumbler the color, fragrance and clarity were in no way compromised. Nor was the taste! This is a great way for first time single-malt tasters to enjoy this slightly milder version in their introduction to Glenfiddich’s single malt.
Our conclusion: As expected each of us experienced a variety of different aromas – from fruity to a crisp herbal to the nice smokiness of a peat fire. We also experienced degrees of taste based on the initial fragrance. Those of us who were more familiar with other whiskies pronounced Glenfiddich’s 12 year old single malt a sure-fire winner for its color, aroma and taste. The novice in our group also commented on the extremely favorable fruity-smoky aroma, the smooth mellow taste and the pleasing, lingering aftertaste long after the liquid had been imbibed. We all agreed that for the ultimate enjoyment this whisky must be slowly sipped to savor the full flavor. While drinking it straight up makes for a great full-bodied taste, adding ice water or a couple of ice cubes is another great version especially while hanging around the BBQ this summer!
FoodVancouver.com wishes you a great summer – enjoy your Glenfiddich but always remember to: “Drink Responsibly”.
By: Sheila LoGuisto
Monday, June 15th, 2009
Product Taste Test: Absolut Vodka + Lemon Absolut Vodka
Close on the heels of an earlier taste-test, I was once again presented with an opportunity to do another comparison taste test when I received 2-750 ml sample bottles of Absolut Plain Vodka and Lemon Absolut Vodka. As usual my earlier taste panel comprising my editor and another good friend gladly volunteered their taste buds to do a sampling and provide their feedback. We checked out 2 Absolut recipes on my site - Light Night Special and Metro Mojito, and settled on a slightly different variation of the Light Night Special - except without the mint. We wanted to taste the Vodka without blurring too much of its flavour.
First Step: I stopped off at my local Meinhardts store to stock up on the necessary accompaniments: three lemon sodas [we chose Boylan’s Bottleworks], plus one lemon and one orange for garnish. We also made sure we had plenty of ice on hand and 3 tall glasses.
Second Step: Light Night Special recipe
1-part ABSOLUT® VODKA
Bitter lemon or lemon soda
Fill a long drink glass to the rim with ice.
Add 1 oz. ABSOLUT vodka and top up with bitter lemon, or lemon soda for a slightly sweeter taste.
Garnish with an orange and lemon wedge, and top with a sprig of mint.
We decided on two samplings using the above recipe – one with 1-oz each of Absolut Plain and one with 1-oz each of Lemon Absolut – except without the mint.
Overall Impressions: The Absolut Plain over lemon soda was clean and refreshing with the lemon-orange garnish providing that extra citrusy flavour. Chilling the vodka before-hand will definitely enhance the flavour.
We particularly loved the Lemon vodka variation – the taste was crisp and zesty. The lemon-soda we used was on the slightly sweeter side, but the recipe is easy to modify using a slightly bitter soda depending on one’s preferred taste. Our taste panel agreed that both recipes would be perfect ice-breakers for upcoming summer barbecues.
At FoodVancouver.com we wish you a Happy Summer 2009 and urge all our readers to please drink responsibly. Cheers!
By Kevin Freeman
Edited by Sheila G. LoGuisto
The following is a list of various Vancouver food, wine, music and sporting events that occur on an annual basis: The Eat! Vancouver Food and Cooking Festival, Fraser Valley Food Show, Dine Out Vancouver, Whistler Cornucopia, Taste of Yaletown, Vancouver International Wine Festival, Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Vancouver Jazz Festival, B.C. Lions Football and Vancouver Canucks Hockey.