Posts Tagged ‘Handcrafted’

christmasgiftpack

Photo From Wondermade.
Click on the Pic to go there.

About Wondermade:

Every box of Wondermade marshmallows is handcrafted and taste great right out of the box. You can also drop a few in a cup of hot chocolate, melt them on top of baking brownies, or toast them on a skewer or in a s’mores.

I received these Marshmallows as part of the Christmas Set available from Wondermade.

What I Think:

After my first bite, I couldn’t really taste much honey-like flavor.  It wasn’t until the aftertaste that the honey really came through.  After that, the honey was very prominent – so I guess it would be fair to describe the flavor as one that develops.  One is not enough of this particular marshmallow (seldom is one marshmallow enough when you’re talking about homemade marshmallows!)

Tasty.  I found these to be particularly nice in hot chocolate, and I mixed them with the Bourbon marshmallows (one honey and one bourbon) in the hot chocolate to give a honeyed bourbon taste that was really quite tasty.

My Final Thoughts:

Of the four boxes of marshmallows in the Christmas set, this was my least favorite and it’s the main reason that I bought the set because I had never tried a “honey” marshmallow.  That said … it’s still a really tasty marshmallow and I’m not at all disappointed that I bought the set of four flavors.  I love everything about Wondermade Marshmallows – I love the size, I love the packaging, and most importantly – I LOVE the marshmallow itself.  So yummy!

alehousecheddarProduct Information:

Castleton Crackers of Vermont never ceases to amaze us with their delicious new crackers. The latest out of Vermont is their Alehouse Cheddar made with local craft ale, cheddar cheese and very mild horseradish mustard. All natural, and hand-made in Vermont.

I received a full sized box of these crackers in my November Knoshbox.

Tea Suggestion:

I chose a mild white tea go to with these crackers.  I wanted something mild because I didn’t want anything to interfere with some of the more nuanced flavors of the cracker and I wanted something cooling to soften the effect of the horseradish mustard.  The horseradish is mild, as the description above states, but, it does build a little bit and the white tea helped to cleanse the palate in between crackers.  I chose this China Mutan White Tea from Mark T. Wendell – and the crackers and tea made for a lovely tea time!

What I Think:

I’ve tried a few different Castleton Crackers since I’ve started this blog.  The first package that I tried were the Windham Wheat crackers, and then I tried the Rutland Rye and the Sesame Graham crackers.  Now we have the Alehouse Cheddar Crackers and these are reaffirming for me why I love this company’s crackers so much.

Not only are they a handcrafted cracker that are made in small batches and obviously broken by hand rather than crafted in an assembly line in a factory somewhere, but the flavor of these crackers just cannot be beat!  You just can’t get this kind of taste in a commercially manufactured cracker.  The crackers not only look like they were made in someone’s home kitchen, but they taste like it too!  You can taste the love in them.

As much as I loved the salty and sweet contrasts of the aforementioned Graham Crackers that I tried most recently from this company, I think that these Alehouse Cheddar might be my new favorite.  It’s surprising to me, really, because I’m not a big fan of alcohol, as I’ve mentioned before, but, I love the way the flavors are represented in these crackers.

I taste the cheddar, but it doesn’t hit me over the head with cheesy flavor.  I taste notes of the ale, but the most intriguing note that captures my interest is the horseradish.  It’s not an overwhelming flavor … it’s in balance with the other notes in the cracker.  But, it is a flavor that builds and after I’ve eaten a couple of crackers my mouth is pleasantly warm and I can feel that enjoyable “burn” in the top of my throat and even that hint of a sting near my eyes and nasal passages that one gets from horseradish.  I love horseradish, so these notes were certainly a welcome surprise to this cracker.  I like that it starts out subtle but the heat builds.

My Final Thoughts:

I really like these crackers.  Then again, I’ve really enjoyed all the different crackers I’ve tried from this company … but I think that the unique layers of flavor in this cracker might just make it my favorite!  They have the cheese, they’ve got some ale flavor, and some horseradish mustard … all that you need is a cup of tea!

marshmallows

Photo from Knoshbox.
Click on the pic to go there.

Product Information:

These could be our favorite new product of the year. These delicate morsels are crafted with pure Maker’s Mark Bourbon and exhibit notes of wood, vanilla and oak. Each box contains 16 marshmallows, a perfect amount for eating.

I received a box of these amazing marshmallows in my November Knoshbox!

What I Think:

For quite a while now, I have sung the praises of a certain marshmallow making company, so please don’t take this review as my way of changing “favorites.”  I still love that company, but I think there’s room enough at the top for two marshmallow favorites.

These marshmallows are amazing.  As in … they are SO GOOD.  They are fluffy and chewy and sweet.  And I can definitely taste the bourbon in them.  I could even smell the bourbon when I opened the package.  I’ve never been big on alcoholic beverages (as I’ve said before, I’m more like a TeaTotaler!  ha!) but I like the contrast of the flavor of bourbon with the marshmallow sweetness.  It’s like a sweet confection that’s just for adults.

And it isn’t just the flavor that I love … I love the size of the marshmallows (bite size!), I love the packaging (the box is adorable, isn’t it?) and I love the variety of flavors that Wondermade offers (I think I’m going to have to this Christmas Pack before the holiday arrives as a special Merry Christmas to me!)

My Final Thoughts:

I love these marshmallows.  I’m so happy that Knoshbox put them in the November box!  These taste amazing as a topper for hot chocolate or for sweet potatoes, and they’re delightful eaten on their own.  If you have a soft spot for homemade marshmallows, you’ve got to try these.

Product Description:

Classic rich caramel with a bit of French Sea Salt to open the taste buds.

Learn more about Jonboy on their website.

Tea Suggestion:

I actually enjoyed these caramels on two separate occasions.  The first time, I had a glass of iced tea at my side, and I really loved this RadioactiTEA Iced Tea from 52Teas with these.  One of the best “pure” iced teas I’ve had in a very long time, and the sweet flavors of the Assam complimented the flavor of the caramel quite well.  Based upon that experience, I decided to try another Assam with this tea – this time, I served it hot.  This 2nd Flush Assam from Tea Horse went along with the caramel tones very nicely too.  These caramels make a really decadent tea-time treat!

What I Think:

When I saw that Fleur de Sel Caramels were going to be included with the Seattle Box (my last box from Foodzie!), it was probably the main selling point for the box and what led me to ultimately decide to choose the Seattle Box over the other selections.  I mean, why go healthy with the raw food when I can have salted caramels, right?  I mean, if I’m in a sample line at Costco (just using Costco as an example, since that is typically where I find many sample tables!) and I have to choose between a sweet, creamy salted caramel and a raw granola health food concoction, I’m going to choose the salted caramel every single time.  Sure, I enjoy a good granola bar, and I’ve reviewed a few here on this blog… but, when it comes to my taste buds preference, well, I’d say they’re more sweet toothed than health foodie.

I know I’ve mentioned before my adoration for salted caramels … and while I didn’t know which company was going to be supplying the Fleur de Sel Caramels.  There was part of me that was sort of wishing for Fran’s Chocolates, because, well, they hold a special place in my heart as I’ve mentioned before.  But even if it wasn’t Fran’s Chocolates – and it wasn’t! – I was still excited over the opportunity to try a new candy company, and, well, caramel generally just makes me happy.

And these salted caramels are making me very happy!  They are soft and chewy and absolutely yummy.  These aren’t the hard-to-chew kind of caramels that seem to require a good amount of effort on the part of the jaw to break down … these are so soft that the teeth sink right into them.  I can feel the Fleur de Sel in these, it isn’t a hard crunch but there is a slight texture from them.  The salt is mostly noticeable in the taste though, and there’s no mistaking it.  I love the sharp contrast between the creamy, sweet caramel flavor and the salt.  The salt cuts right through it, eliminating that cloying sensation that I’d probably experience with unsalted caramels.

My Final Thoughts:

Completely and utterly yummy.  I really loved these caramels.  Maybe not quite as fancy as Fran’s Chocolate salted caramels, but for simple, pure salted caramel enjoyment, it doesn’t get any better than this.  My only complaint is that I wanted more.  The package in the box was not one of those boxes in the photo at the top… it was a smaller package – not quite a sampler with only two or three caramels, but, not quite a box either.  I don’t know exactly how many were in the package because I tore into it and started eating before it occurred to me that I should count them.

Product Description:

Handcrafted soda made with Fair Trade Certified organic evaporated cane juice.  Open a bottle and taste the flavor of extracts of wintergreen, clove and anise.  Our recipe combines these ingredients with FAIR TRADE CERTIFIED ORGANIC SUGAR to allow the flavor of each of these extracts to come through.  This is the one that started it all.  Pop a top off and see why.

Learn more about maine root. on their website.

What I Think:

As I’ve said before, I’m not a big fan of soda.  I rarely drink the stuff, usually only when I’m out to eat and the hot tea selection is dreadful and the iced tea is questionable, and even then, sometimes I take a chance on the iced tea.  There is only one soda that could change this, and that’s Aspen Soda, should Pepsi decide to bring it back.  (And no, Slice is no substitute for Aspen.  Slice is OK, Aspen was awesome.)

Anyway, I do occasionally drink root beer, and it is usually my soda of choice when I am out to eat and decide to have that rare soda.  But that root beer is NOTHING like this.  This is head and shoulders (bottle neck and shoulders?) above any of those what I’ll call “mainstream” commercial root beers.

From the first sip, I knew this was something exceptional.  I could taste the spice in this.  I could taste the clove and the touch of anise.  I even taste the crisp wintergreen as well as its cooling effects.  This is one amazing root beer!

I’m a little surprised to not see a mention of sarsaparilla in the description of this, but I am thrilled to see that it is made with pure cane sugar and not corn syrup or some other cheap sweetener.  While there are those that say “sugar is sugar” – I can taste the difference between them and regardless of the claim that the body will process both in the same way, I know which my palate prefers.  This doesn’t taste sticky or syrupy-sweet.  And I like that.

I can see why Foodzie chose this root beer to include in the Boardwalk Box.  It has a zesty, fresh, crisp quality to it that evokes thoughts of carefree, happy days on the beach.  I’ve never been to the East Coast and never really experienced a “boardwalk” like they have back there, but, this gives me the feeling that I’m there while I sip it, and I like that feeling.  And I like this root beer.

My Final Thoughts:

If I found this in one of my local shops, it would be one I’d pick up from time to time.  And, I must admit that I’m also quite interested in tasting some of their other soft drinks.  Maple Lemonade?  That sounds like a must try item to me!   As does their Pumpkin Pie Soda.  YUM!

OH… and it looks like they do have a Sarsaparilla soft drink too, which is supposed to be the lighter-bodied relative to this root beer!

Where to Buy:  Bissinger’s Handcrafted Chocolatier on Foodzie

Price:  $20. for four 4-ounce packages

Product Description:

Open up a bag of this award-winning treat and you’ll be blown away by the abundant blueberry aroma. Soft and satisfying, this all-natural gummy is made with hand-selected organic sweeteners and two natural sources of antioxidants: blueberries and acai fruit.

What I Think:

This is yet another product that I first discovered at Chuck’s Produce – but I didn’t try this particular flavor.  I actually purchased the Pomegranate White Tea Gummy Pandas at Chuck’s Produce (which I purchased because they were tea flavored), so I was very happy that I received a different flavor in June’s Tasting Box.

But still, I didn’t have high expectations because while I did enjoy the Pomegranate White Tea Gummy Pandas, they weren’t all that exceptional in my opinion.  But these not only exceeded my expectations – but they blew me away!  Quite possibly the best gummy candy I’ve ever tasted.  Not that I’m an expert at all when it comes to gummy confections, because they are not typically my favorite candy.

Just as the description above suggests, I was astonished by the fragrance that came from the pouch as soon as I opened it.  It smelled like fresh blueberries!

The flavor is very vibrant.  Sweet with just the right level of tart.  The blueberry flavor is especially intense!  The berry flavor is quite authentic – so true to the fruit, in fact, that I found myself expecting a burst of juice after biting into one of these berries … err, um, panda bears, that is.

I guess if I were to change anything about these at all, it would be the texture.  As I said, I’m not a big fan of gummy candy, so I find myself wishing this had more of a soft-gel like texture (like in a fruit gel candy) rather than the tough gelatin-ish, chewy texture of the gummy.  But since these are, in fact, gummy pandas, I guess to complain about the fact that they are gummy would be kind of unrealistic, huh?

My Final Thoughts:

With the exception of my misgivings about gummy candy, I found these to be quite flavorful and delicious.  I am surprised at how true to the fruit these gummy pandas are!