Long time no post, eh? I started a new job in September and have been crazy busy since then!
A few months ago, I received two bags of Godiva‘s Limited Edition fall coffee flavors — Pumpkin Spice and Caramel Pecan Bark– as part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker program.
Unfortunately, I don’t have a coffee machine at my house and my new job doesn’t have a small coffee machine that I can use my own coffee in. So, I gave this coffee to my dad and went over to my parents’ house one weekend to try a cup of each.
The coffee has a strong aroma, especially the caramel pecan bark. The pumpkin spice flavor had a weaker smell that was less sweet, but still noticeable. The smell is still strong after being brewed, but the smell did not translate into flavor. Drank plain, there is no flavor in the liquid that is discernible from normal coffee. Adding cream and sugar helped to bring out some of the spice notes, but not any more than adding a flavored cream to regular coffee would. This coffee is good, but I don’t think I would buy it for myself at full price, especially since this coffee retails for $12-$14 per bag.
As part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program, I received a bottle of KC Masterpiece® Buffalo Marinade recently. At first, I thought “Wow! Awesome, I can use this for some great things”, and then I thought, “Oh.. It’s a marinade… I need to marinade things…which will take time…and has to be meat”.
So I tried that. I marinated some chicken breasts in the sauce for 30 minutes as was suggested and grilled them on a gas grill. while they were grilling, we brushed more sauce on the chicken and also brushed some on some white onion rings. The chicken tasted alright, but I felt like the flavor wasn’t truly absorbed. The onions on the other hand, tasted great with the marinade. And that’s when I realized: I shouldn’t use this as a marinade, as intended, but rather a sauce or dressing!
The photo above is of some shirataki (yam) noodles that I marinated in the sauce, then added some vegetables and cooked in a pan. I also used some below-average produce (crisper bin potatoes and frozen brussel sprouts) and they got a second lease on life with this sauce! I tossed the cubed potatoes and sprout quarters in the sauce, added some pepper and cojita cheese, and roasted at 400 degrees for 40 minutes. The vegetables had the perfect done-ness and spiciness.
The only thing to mention is that with a marinade-method, most of the sauce is discarded, so the flavor isn’t as strong. When using this as a cooking sauce or “dressing”, the sauce stays put so the flavor is stronger. In the case of the buffalo sauce I received, the flavors are red pepper, garlic, paprika, vinegar, and…hot sauce. The heat tends to build up a bit if you don’t take a break with a beverage or side dish, but that might be my low heat tolerance talking.
As part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program, I received three squares of Ghirardelli Luxe Chocolates to sample — one each of milk, milk with almond, and milk with hazelnut.
Ghirardelli touts that these chocolates blend the finest cocoa beans, whole milk, cocoa butter, and vanilla to “create a rich and creamy chocolate experience like no other”.
I snapped the chocolate in half, rubbed the chocolate between my fingers, and smelled. The aroma was nutty and sweet on the hazelnut and almond flavors, but the milk smelled like regular milk chocolate. All the squares tasted creamy and there were no large sugar granules to be found like in lower-grade chocolates, but this difference may have been noticeable because 1) I was looking for it since it was advertised and 2) I used to work as a choclatier.
These were great, indulgent snacks, but they weren’t much better than regular Hershey’s or Nestle chocolate, especially for the price difference.
As part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program, I received a coupon for a free box of Magnum Ice Cream bars. Out of the four flavors, only vanilla and double chocolate were available in our local grocery store.
The bars are true to promotional photos, but they are a tad on the small side, considering you only get 3 bars in a box for $3.00. They were crunchy, refreshing, and cold, but I couldn’t tell the “premium” ingredients that are supposed to set these bars apart from others. I’ll just stick to the nostalgic fudgesicles or Dove bars–until maybe we get the other flavors here!
In July I received a nice, shiny coupon for a free “Buitoni Frozen Meals for Two” package as part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker program.
I didn’t see Buitoni meals in the freezer section at first, then realized that it just looked exactly like our local Wegman’s “Italian Classic” generic brand and grabbed a package. Out of the available options, I chose the Four Cheese & Spinach Ravioli.
A few days later, we cooked the pasta and sauce according to the package directions and plopped ourselves down to eat. The pasta tasted alright, though a little bit soggy. As is the case with all frozen pasta, the flavors were a bit muted in the filling. The spinach was basically just for decoration, not for taste. The sauce was alright as well, though too sweet for my tastes.
At the check-out register, I remember the frozen meal being around $8. While this does feed two people, I could see some people being left hungry. I also think that this is a fairly easy meal to make yourself for much cheaper. Cheese Ravioli + Pasta Sauce? That’s one of the cheapest, easiest meals to make, and I didn’t see a big flavor payoff to justify the price increase.
Thanks Buitoni, but I don’t think I’ll buy these again!
Below is a picture of the product from their website, for comparison.