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Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Good & Gather Roasted Garlic & Cilantro Salsa

It's been a hot minute since we've looked at any salsas on this blog, and this one here would be the very first of the Good & Gather (GAG) line that we've tried. I'm a big fan of garlic and I like cilantro okay, so this flavor is just screaming "try me! try me!" 

Okay, salsa jar. Just calm down.

First impressions: it's nice and chunky. That's good. I'm honestly surprised how chunky it is. There are large, robust pieces of tomatoes and jalapeno peppers in there. A lot of time salsas claim to be "chunky style" and they simply don't deliver. There might be bits or shreds of veggies, but nothing so big you could call it a "chunk." Despite not bragging about its chunkiness or thickness, this salsa is both thick and chunky in this author's humble opinion.

The taste? Well, now that's a different story entirely. The first thing I taste here is salt. And I must point out I'm eating it with completely unsalted tortilla chips, so you can't blame the saltiness on the chips. 10% sodium per serving in the salsa. That's par for the course for your average salsa or chip dip. Not sure why I feel like I taste it here more than usual.

Next, I taste tomato. Makes sense since tomato puree and tomatoes are the top two ingredients. Again, pretty common for a salsa to have a tomato base and taste somewhat like tomato. But for some reason here, I feel like they needed to up the garlic flavor a little more. After all, this is called "roasted garlic" salsa. Yes, it's there. Yes, I taste it. Maybe I just like garlic a little too much. Maybe I'm used to the taste of freshly-chopped raw garlic, rather than this kind of faint, smoky garlic essence desperately trying to claw its way through layers of tomato and salt. I like that biting, harsh garlic that clears your sinuses and warms your throat. That's definitely not what this is—probably good for most American consumers, but not for this guy.

I didn't expect to taste a lot of cilantro. Cilantro isn't a very pungent flavor, usually. It's just a background taste normally, and that's exactly what it is here. I wouldn't have minded whole cilantro leaves floating throughout the mix. Again, that might be overkill for most people, but if the salsa has "cilantro" in its name, I'd err on the side of "too much" rather than "not enough."

The texture of this salsa is great. The flavors just don't deliver if you ask me. I'll salvage it by adding my own raw garlic pieces.

We've seen much better salsas from Target in the past. See the Summer Fruits Salsa and Fire-Roasted Pepper and Habanero Salsa.

I give this condiment 6 out of 10 stars.

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Wondershop Sour Drops

I don't think of gumdrops as particularly Christmassy, so I hope you'll forgive me for reviewing a Wondershop product in January. I mean, it's still technically the Christmas season until January 7th or so. Epiphany or Three Kings Day or Dia de los Reyes is today, January 6th. And did you know the Russian Orthodox/Eastern Orthodox Church celebrates Christmas on January 7th? It's true. I'm all about extending the Christmas season, so let's just go ahead and do that in the U.S.

Anyway, gumdrops aren't particularly festive or holiday-ish in my opinion. Spice drops, perhaps, are. Although I find most spice drops totally unappetizing at any time of year.

So yeah, "sour" drops. I had to put the word "sour" in quotes because these are not particularly sour. Why can't anybody make truly sour candy? The only candy I've had that was actually and honestly very sour were Extreme Sour Warheads, and they don't come in a chewy variety as far as I know. Sour Patch Kids are tasty, but I wouldn't mind an even more sour version.

These gumdrops fall just below Sour Patch Kids in terms of general sourness as well as overall taste and quality. They're quite edible and mostly sugary sweet, with just a hint of tang and mouth-puckering pungency. They come in a fun little tube and would make a decent stocking-stuffer.

I'm not thrilled that corn syrup is the second ingredient in these, but at least it's not high-fructose corn syrup, and at least it falls after "sugar" on the list. There's just a whisper of crunchy grit from the sugar crystals on the outside of the drops. Other than that, they're soft and chewy, like any other decent quality gumdrop. We had ours sitting around for a month or so before we opened it, and the product still felt and tasted remarkably fresh.

The wifey and I both agree that the only major weakness of these Wondershop Sour Drops is that they're not particularly sour. Still, they're not a bad purchase. I'm pretty sure the price was in the ballpark of two or three bucks, but don't quote me on that. Also, you might be able to pick up a deeply discounted pack at the end of the holidays since Target will no doubt be clearancing Wondershop products to make room on shelves post-Christmas.

I give this candy 7 out of 10 stars.

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Wondershop Gingerbread Sandwich Cookies

For the past 3 or 4 years or so, each December we've seen these "Wondershop" products on the seasonal shelves of Target stores. As if Archer Farms, Simply Balanced, Market Pantry, Good & Gather, Up & Up, and Boots & Barkley weren't enough, they had to go and add a line dedicated solely to Christmas season snacks.

I mean, I shouldn't complain, because most of the Wondershop stuff we've tried is pretty good, and the packaging is magical and wintry. Wondershop Gingerbread Sandwich Cookies are no different. We've seen some nearly identical sandwich cookies in recent memory. Last year's Pumpkin Cheesecake Sandwich Cookies come to mind. These gingery confections are the same basic idea, but they're made with the most Christmassy cookies of all on the tops and bottoms of the sandwiches.

The creme in the middle is pretty much the same: it's made with cream cheese, sugar, and various oils. In both cases the filling provides little more than sweetness and a pleasant, creamy texture. Most of the flavor is coming from the cookies.

The cookies are vaguely crispy, though I wouldn't describe them as hard or crunchy exactly, either. Definitely not "chewy." They're pretty typical for pre-packaged ginger snaps, texture-wise. 

In the flavor department, they bring a good bit of ginger taste up front. It's not harsh at first at all, but the spices really creep up on you by the end of your first cookie. There's a nice warming sensation at the back of the throat that just begs for a swig of cold milk or hot chocolate. It might be too intense for some, but not even enough for ginger fanatics. For my wife and me, it was just about right: there's a nice little kick, but it's not overwhelming in our opinions, especially if you've got a tasty beverage on stand-by.

The packaging alone screams "Christmas time!" but if you're like me, you intimately associate gingersnaps and the Yuletide season, as well. These would be great for holiday parties, after-dinner desserts, or for mid-meal munching throughout your December vacation. 

$4.29 for three rows of 6 cookies each. I'd buy again next year.

I give these cookies 8 out of 10 Christmas stars.

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