Bartons Peppermint Bark Review

Bartons Peppermint Bark, also called Bartons Gold Old Fashioned Peppermint Bark Dark Chocolate if you try to look for it online, is a Christmas treat that is made of crushed peppermint candy pieces embedded in white chocolate with a layer of dark chocolate at the bottom.

Bartons Peppermint Bark

Bartons Peppermint Bark

There are many brands that make Peppermint back but, IMO, Bartons is the best. The large chunks (most brands use tiny pieces) of candy cane are crunchy but not hard on the teeth and the chocolate is thick so that the peppermint to chocolate ratio is great.

You might notice that on the box picture, the peppermint candy pieces are enormous and seem to fill the bark from edge to edge. I almost didn’t buy because of that since the candy bits looked like they were overpowering the chocolate. The reality is the image below.

Peppermint bark

As you can see, the proportions are much more equal and there is a good amount of peppermint candy but there’s also a lot of chocolate to balance it out. 10/10 would eat again!

The packaging isn’t pretty. The outer packaging is just a cardboard box and inside are these large sized bars of bark. However, what really matters is that the inside is absolutely scrumptious. Anyway, it’s also available in a tin but I believe it costs a bit more.

Links:

http://bartonscandy.com/ – the official website but it is currently under construction

Bartons Facebook Page – it hasn’t been updated since 2015

Choya Sarari Sparkling (Plum Wine Cooler) Review

Today I bought this “mystery item.” It’s a mystery item for me since I cannot read the Japanese text on the can. Of course, when I got home I was able to google more info about this prodcust.

This is what it looks like:

choya sparkling

The only thing I could make out from the can were the words “Choya” and “sparkling.”

Since I was not sure what it was when I saw it, I only bought one.

A quick Google search yielded the information that this mystery product is something called Sarari Sparkling by Choya. “Sarari” means silky smooth in Japanese. According to the Choya website, the ingredients are ume, sugar, cane spirit, and brandy.

I have no idea what ume is but apparently it is a sort of fruit that is commonly called the Chinese plum. Hmmm. In this case, the can contains brandy in which ume fruits have been steeped to give it a nice ume flavor. In short, this can is a can of Umeshi soda.

The taste is great and I loved the bubbles. It’s basically a bubbly, fruity, alcoholic drink. Good stuff, I recommend it.

Trivia: Eating the pickled ume fruit for breakfast can supposedly stave off misfortune (source). Does this also apply to drinking the umeshi?

Zin Gourmet Finishing Salt – Triple Pepper Blend Review

In the past I used salt and salty condiments (soy sauce, Knorr seasoning, ect.) freely but these days I am trying to eat more fresh and healthy food. No more potato chips dripping with grease and salty goodness! Instead of using a lot of salt, it’s better to use spices. One of the things I have been using lately is pepper. Lots and lots of pepper!

Pepper is good for cardiovascular health because 1 teaspoon of it contains only 1 milligram of sodium which is less than 1% of the recommended daily allowance for sodium. (source) Using pepper in place of salt helps keep my daily sodium intake low.

Zin Triple pepper blend

Zin triple pepper blend

Just freshly cracked black pepper is quite awesome but I also use a nice blend of three types of pepper – green, black, and pink.

I have been trying to buy this at the nearest SM grocery store but alas, I was able to buy it only once. Subsequent visits yielded only the regular black pepper mills. Due to the lack of triple peppers in the local stores I have been buying this brand “Zin Gourmet Finishing Salt – Triple Pepper Blend” online. The pepper is easy to grind and the container has enough to last quite a while.

Zin also sells a bunch of other stuff such as pepper with pink Himalayan salt but I have not tried anything else yet.

I buy mine from Marketa.ph but Zin also sells it directly from their Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/zinmanila/.

I have not been paid to blog about this nor did I receive any free samples/items.

Cookie Bar – Cookie Cups Review

This weekend, since some younger people were going to visit me, I ordered some cookies from Cookie Bar (http://cookiebarmanila.com/). Kids love cookies, right?

cookie bar review

Cookie Bar box

I got it from Marketa.ph. The box was pretty nice but what matters is what’s inside, right? What I ordered was a box of “cookie cups” which is a little bit different from the regular cookies that I normally like. Cookie cups are chocolate chip cookies with candy toppings like Milky Way, Snickers, Reese’s, Ferrero Rocher, Maltesers and Twix.

cookie cup review

A cookie cup

I actually only ate one because the cookies were for the kids. The one I got was really sweet, probably because of the candy topping (pictured above). The cookie part was soft and somewhat moist but nothing super spectacular. It tasted nice, exactly like a cookie with a candy bar on top of it. I would not recommend this for adults as it is too rich and sweet, unless you really have a craving for sweet stuff. However, the kids loved it and since it was for them, then it’s perfect, right?

The cookie cups are really something new to me. As a concept, it’s pretty cool. The other adults I showed it to thought it looked strange but they wanted to try it out so that’s good.

The box cost PHP 270 and had twelve mini cookie cups inside it. Since the box is nice and the price is not too expensive, it would make a nice gift. Cookie Bar also has a lot of other interesting things like fudge in a jar, giant cookies, cookie cakes, cookie shot glasses (for milk), red velvet cookies, and so forth. I might try out the dark chocolate cookies next time.

Pokka Sapporo Royal Milk Tea Review

Pokka Sapporo Royal Milk Tea (also called Pokka Sapporo Café de Crié Royal Milk Tea)

pokka sapporo royal milk tea

Pokka Sapporo Café de Crié Royal Milk Tea

Pokka Sapporo Café de Crié Royal Milk Tea Review

I normally prefer to make my own tea, either from tea bags or from loose tea leaves. I even own a Teavana Perfectea Maker that I almost never use. I don’t know what I was thinking when I bought that. These days I just use a mug.

Anyway, I almost never buy ready-to-drink tea but when I do, I like to buy Japanese milk tea. This time I had some Pokka Sapporo Café de Crié Royal Milk Tea which was absolutely perfect. Nice and cold, it was the right size and had that sweet milk taste alongside the goodness of tea. This particular brand is very milky. I like it.

I forgot to take a picture of the tea inside (sorry) but don’t worry it just looks like tea with lots of milk in it.

It’s convenient to have something that I don’t have to steep. Like, when I wake up and I feel too lazy to make my own tea, it’s great to be able to just grab a can from the fridge. Also, I tend to not have fresh milk. At home 3 out of 4 of us are lactose intolerant so when I buy fresh milk it goes bad before I can finish it since I don’t actually drink a lot of milk and no one else will touch it. Therefore, milk tea for me is a special treat.

Having said that, I still want to make my own hot mugs of tea.

Calbee Pizza Potato Chips

calbee potato chips pizza flavor

Calbee potato chips pizza flavor

Calbee is a Japanese brand of potato chips. Today I went to Family Mart and bought this one, it’s the Calbee potato chips, pizza flavor. As you can see it has some Japanese text in the packaging.

The nutrition information label says that each package contains two servings of 30 grams each (approx). One serving is 160 calories so if you eat the whole thing it’s 320 calories. Ouch.

Calbee Pizza Potato Chips Review

The potato chips themselves are quite yummy. They are a decent thickness and I cannot complain about the crispiness of the product. Unfortunately, I did not like the taste. It was too mild. It didn’t taste salty or spicy. There was a slight cheesy flavor and a little bit of sourness, perhaps an onion flavor?

By the way, sorry for the bad quality photo. Here is a nicer picture from their official Facebook page:

While I personally did not like it, my 6 year old nephew loved the chips. He likes pizza and for potato chips he prefers pizza-flavored ones. I guess it’s simply a matter of taste and/or personal preference.

By the way, I have tried the plain Calbee potato chips and they are great.

Godiva Chocolates Heart-Shaped Box

This year’s post-Valentine’s day chocolates sale was pretty good, I managed to nab this Godiva gift item. The chocolates came in a super cute pink heart-shaped box.

godiva chocolates post-valentines sale

Godiva Chocolates in a cute pink box

When the box arrived (it was delivered to my home) I was very pleased since the packaging is so nice. As usual, due to the heat the contents had melted. However, the taste was still great so I have no complaints.

godiva chocolates heart-shaped box

The Godiva chocolates heart-shaped box, perfect for Valentine’s Day.

The box came complete with a gift tag and also a small “what’s inside” card. As you can see from the picture above, it has 7 types of chocolates. There were two of each kind, for a total of 14.

Today’s Daily Writing Prompt: Price

Godiva chocolates tend to be rather pricey so I prefer to buy when there is a sale. In this case I bought during the post-Valentine’s day sale. It was (if I remember correctly) 40% off. 😀 I love that feeling of “saving” money.

Risa Chocolates review

Risa Chocolates is a brand of handcrafted chocolates that I had read about in several blogs. I ordered a set of chocolates from Marketa.ph where they sell Risa’s stuff. This was my first time to use Marketa and, to my surprise, I got my order very fast. Normally, when I order from Lazada or other online stores it takes them at least 3 business days to deliver. Marketa delivered within two calendar days.

Risa Chocolates review

This is the package that arrived. Teddy bear not included! That was just on my bed when I took the picture.

It arrived in a paper bag with a yellow gift tag, perfect if you want to give this as a gift. As I opened the package the items inside felt a bit warm. This is understandable since it was quite hot outside. I therefore put the chocolates inside the refrigerator before taking pictures and eating them.

Risa Chocolate Bars

Brown Butter Milk Chocolate and Coffee (Dark Chocolate)

Risa Chocolates review - my haul

Pastillas de Pili and a box of 6 pralines and truffles

This is what I got:

Brown Butter Milk Chocolate bar (P100)
Coffee (Dark Chocolate) bar (P100)
Pastillas de Pili bar (P200)
Half dozen truffle and praline box (P230)

This is a pretty big haul, enough for a one month supply of chocolates. Sadly, when I read the box and it said that chocolates are best eaten immediately. Noooooo! What about my diet? So, I will just have to share the chocolates.

I guess since they are handmade and fresh, they don’t have preservatives so they are different from brands I can buy from the store that last for months.

Risa Chocolates Half Dozen truffle and praline box

Closeup of what the chocolates look like

The box has assorted chocolates. The flavors were tipsy calamansi, quezo de bola, cookie dough, coco rum, dark rum, and classic truffle.

Here I sit, writing this while eating truffles and listening to Adele’s “Set Fire to the Rain.” The truffles are incredible. They melt in my mouth and taste like happiness.

Disclosure: I only ate the two dark chocolate ones because devouring six in one sitting is way too many.

Risa Chocolates review- dark chocolate coffee

This is the dark chocolate coffee bar.

When I opened the dark chocolate coffee bar, a deliciously rich smell wafted up and made my mouth water. I bit into it and it was scrumptious. It’s bitter, earthy, semisweet, and smooth.

Rating: 5/5, would buy again and the price is very reasonable

Risa chocolates:
website – http://risa.ph/
facebook – https://www.facebook.com/risachocolate

Special note: This is a fully independent review. I have no relationship with Risa Chocolates or Marketa. I bought all the items here with my own money.


Today’s writing prompt:

Modern Families -“If one of your late ancestors were to come back from the dead and join you for dinner, what things about your family would this person find the most shocking?”

I think they would find the internet extremely shocking! Like “what, you use this box to talk to people you don’t know? why?” Even if they could accept the technology part of the internet, I think they would be shocked at all the things that happen on the internet.

Bruges Belgian Chocolates Review

I recently bought Bruges Belgian Chocolates (http://www.bruges.ph) online. On their website, the handmade chocolates are so beautiful but the proof is in the eating. Do they taste as good as they look?

Bruges Belgian Chocolates Review

I ordered a 12 count box of their mint chocolates because mint is my favorite flavor.

My mom was quite surprised when she saw the delivery because she thought it was an enormous box of chocolate. The package looked big enough to contain three pairs of shoes. However, the package was just large cardboard box packed with Styrofoam on all sides and with two frozen gel packs on the top and bottom. This was to keep the items cold so the chocolates wouldn’t melt.

When the small box of chocolates was revealed, mother was like “oh my gosh it’s so small!”

It’s actually not small, it’s just a regular sized box with 12 mint chocolates inside. I really appreciate that they went through all this effort. I have had candies and chocolates delivered before that got melted before I was able to eat them so this was great. I wish the other chocolate sellers would also pack their product so thoughtfully.

Bruges Chocolates - Mint Pralines

This is “The M Collection” (PHP 789.00)

The box is super nice! I really like the cool green color and classic design. It looks like something I could gift to people and they would think that it’s worth a lot.

The box contains 12 mint pralines with 64% dark chocolate. Mint is a strategic choice for me. You see, mint with dark chocolate is an acquired taste because of it’s mix of bitter dark chocolate flavor and the cool/spicy mint. This is combination that makes the other people in my family want to hurl which is wonderful for me – no sharing! If I wanted to share, I would order their assorted pralines or caramel pralines, those are probably better crowd-pleasers.

bruges belgian chocolates review

The chocolates looked beautiful in the box and on the website pictures but the item I got was not as perfect as the advertising images. Above is the item as pictured on their product page. Below is what I got. So this is the difference between advertising and reality!

Bruges Chocolates Review

Having said that, the chocolates I got are actually still very nice-looking, they just aren’t perfect like in the product page.

So what about the taste?

I loved it. The dark chocolate + mint combination was very good, with both elements blending harmoniously. The size of each praline is perfect, large enough to satisfy but not so big that I get scared about the calorie content of each praline. The dark chocolate is rich and velvety. The mint flavor is cool but doesn’t overpower.

Rating: 5/5, would buy again