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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Market Pantry Fruit Punch Liquid Water Enhancer

I must confess I thought this was an "energy" water enhancer with caffeine and such when I purchased it. I saw "infused with B vitamins" and just assumed, wrongly, that there would be caffeine as well.

But I have plenty of use for non-caffeinated water enhancers, too. Whether you're looking to replace expensive energy drinks or any other type of beverage, these little bottles of concentrated flavor can save big bucks in the long run—basically generic Mio.

And as far as flavored water additives go, this one is pretty tasty. It tastes like a typical sugar free fruit punch. There's a bit of that tart, unpleasant aspartame type taste that lingers on the tongue, but that's pretty common with water enhancers in general.

Just to clarify, this product does NOT contain aspartame, but there are about a half dozen other unpronounceable chemicals present, not to mention Red 40. Probably not great for you, but let's all hope that we're ingesting them in such small quantities that it'll take a really long time to actually kill us.

Zero calories, $2.97 for the bottle, B vitamins, 24 servings, and a flavor that's not entirely revolting?

I give this product 7 out of 10 stars.



Friday, March 3, 2017

Archer Farms Bunny Bait Trail Mix

I searched high and low for this product last year. I looked in Targets in southern New Jersey, southeastern Pennsylvania, and northern Delaware, but to no avail. Perhaps the hunters in the region were actually using the product to catch bunnies during small game season, so Target was asked to remove the product from its shelves...

Just a theory.

The small game hunters of central North Carolina are not subject to such restrictions, at least not this year, as I procured some of the coveted trail mix at a Target store near Charlotte a week or two ago, with a little help from my better half.

We placed some of the mixture outside our RV in a nearby field. But alas, no rabbits were attracted to the stuff. A few squirrels came near, but even they didn't touch this trail mix, clearly formulated for woodland rodents.

Actually, I'm just kidding. I think they made this stuff for people. Because to people, it tastes really good.

Both Sonia and I think the honey roasted peanuts are a bit out of place. I mean, they work perfectly well by themselves, but in this mix, they seemed a little strange. The confetti cookies, yogurt-covered raisins, M&M's, marshmallowy things, and white chocolate-covered pretzel balls all worked well together.

I'm not sure why this product, like another recently-reviewed festive trail mix, didn't have the word "indulgent" emblazoned on the side of the packaging to let you know that if you consume this product on the regular that, you know, you'll get fat really fast...or in some cases, fatter, as the situation may be. But, ahem, that's neither here nor there...

If you look closely, you can see in the picture that the product is very salty, as there are granules of salt all over my hand, not just on the product itself. It's a salty-sweet kind of situation, which works pretty well overall. I just wouldn't be heartbroken if they had replaced the peanuts with something else in this case.

With Easter just a little over a month away, the pastel colors of this festive mix are fun and seasonally-appropriate. A bag of this stuff would be a great addition to a kid's Easter basket. Or an adult's Easter basket.

I give this product 8 out of 10 stars.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Archer Farms Salted Caramel Gelato

I feel like this salted caramel craze has reached its peak and is starting to wane at this point. I'm not sure when it started. Ten or fifteen years ago, caramel wasn't really a big thing. But then people started adding the words "salted" or "sea salt and..." before it, and suddenly, it was all the rage.

Here are the search results for "salted caramel" from another popular food blog you might be familiar with. Tons of results. We've even seen Sea Salt Caramel Cookie Bites from Archer Farms in recent years. In the end, I think this trend is just a phase; a fad, and it will be over soon. I think most of these salted caramel products are overrated and overhyped, with only one or two exceptions in my experience.

So all that being said, my rant is over, and we can objectively look at this new ice cream flavor from Target. The first thing that jumps out at me is the packaging. Fancy. Much more "top-shelf" than your average store brand ice cream. That shiny golden band around the lid looks good enough to eat just by itself. You could cut a hole in the middle of the lid and use it as a halo for an angel costume in this year's Christmas Nativity.

Or not. Yes, I know I'm digressing. Forgive me.

I just don't have much to say about the ice cream, er, excuse me, gelato, itself. And it is proper gelato, not ice cream. That is an important distinction. It's denser than ice cream, made with milk rather than cream, and has less fat than most American ice creams.

It also contains both corn syrup and HFCS. And carrageenan. Not a fan of any of those ingredients.

The flavor is basically what I expected. It's smooth and silky and slightly salty, but not particularly memorable. The caramel ribbon, at least in my pint, was mostly found in a column right down the center of the product, much like the Ben and Jerry "Core" ice creams. You can taste the butter, and it plays all right with the caramel, but in the end, I think I'd prefer a vanilla base. The mouthfeel's a bit goofy as well.

I can't say I hated it, but I can't really see myself ever purchasing this flavor again, either.

I give this gelato 6 out of 10 stars.

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