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: – 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 but Zin also sells it directly from their Facebook page at

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

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.

Cacao Nibs Cookies

Cacao Nibs Cookies

Cacao Nibs Cookies

Today’s Tasty Treat:

Cacao Nibs Cookies, Low Glycemic, Made with Pure Coconut Nectar Syrup

I have diabetes so I have been trying to find sweet stuff that isn’t pure sugar. These cookies are perfect!

Cacao nibs are basically cacao beans that have been dried, roasted, and prepared for grinding. They are basically what chocolate is made of but in their natural, unrefined form so you get the most antioxidants. They taste awesome, too! The flavor is nutty, chocolatey, and dark.

Craving Dark Chocolate Fondue

I bought this pack of chocolate fondue (pictured below) for me, my nephew, and my niece to enjoy. Sadly, it was way too sweet! I made a mistake by choosing milk chocolate instead of dark chocolate.

chocolate fondue

Chocolate Fondue

On the other hand, this one was pretty easy to use. We do have a fondue set at home but it’s HUGE. It’s useful if you are having a party and there are 20 or more people there but it’s total overkill when it’s just the family.

This particular brand of chocolate fondue, Cocoa Monster (and isn’t that a great name?), is quite easy to use. I just got a small microwave-safe bowl, chopped the chocolate into quarters, then put in the the microwave for 20 seconds. It melted very easily.

I prepared marshmallows, cake slices, and bananas for dippers. The marshmallows with the sweet chocolate was an overload of sweetness. I didn’t like it at all. It wasn’t bad at all but I really craved dark chocolate. I missed that luscious, rich, dark flavor. I guess I’m spoiled now and can’t go back to regular milk chocolate.

Also, using a regular bowl and just dipping stuff in it wasn’t as satisfying as using a chocolate fountain or a real fondue set. Next time I will have to splurge on a smaller fondue set and dark chocolate.

The kids did like it, though they haven’t asked for more so it seems that it is not something they loved a lot.