Tuesday, March 6, 2012

New Foods to try from around the world....

 We love to travel here at Country Mink/City Mink, unfortunately gas prices are going nowhere but up, putting a damper on our wanderlust. So we took a quick drive around town to some of our favorite international stores and we brought back some tasty treasures to share with you!

First off, let us travel to Japan..

Picture from Amazon (since we can't find ours!)
We bought this because of the name and we were pleasantly surprised. The chocolate quality was quite good, it tasted like someone solidified Strawberry Quick. The crunch in the bar comes from malty puffs and it gave it the flavor of a strawberry malt. All in all this was tasty, like an upgraded Nestle Crunch Bar....but with better ingredients. 

Meiji Hi Lemon Candy

When we got this we thought...oooo lemon hard candy that is low in sugar! We are still slightly confused as to what these are. Part Vitamin C tablet and part Sweet Tart, they come individually wrapped (reminded us of how cold medicine comes). The had a initially tart taste, but more of a fake lemon than a real pucker. They dissolve rather quickly and left a little aftertaste. We just wonder how many of these you would have to suck on to tackle your cold. We hear there is a yogurt version of these that is way better. Best to keep our eyes peeled for that. 

Now how about a trip to Germany?

"Forelle" means trout in German

Picking up some fresh cauliflower for a soup, we saw a bunch of these beauties, Forelle Pears. We had never heard of them, so of course, some went into our basket. These are tiny pears, about half the size of a normal pear. They were first brought over to the U.S. by German immigrants in the 1800's. They are now grown in Washington and Oregon. You don't want to waste these tiny gems on cooking or baking, they taste perfect by themselves. The do have quite large seeds for such a small fruit, so be careful. Their flesh is more dense and firmer than a regular pear and you don't have that grainy taste. They are juicy and have notes of cinnamon. We think these would be perfect paired with a good cheese, perhaps Manchego? 

Now how about we head for Sweden for some fresh mountain air??

This may look like Pretzel Salt, but it's pure Sugar!

   Going down the baking aisle on a hunt for black sesame seeds, we saw packs of Swedish Pearl Sugar and intrigued by the cinnamon roll recipe on the back, bought a pack. Pearl Sugar is made from beets and is shaped into ingots under super high pressure, then it's crushed into tiny shards (pearls). Since beet sugar is refined with ions, there's no bone char in Pearl Sugar (yay!).
    Yes, regular old sugar (like you put in your coffee) is filtered with bone char (yup, it's exactly what is sounds like) to give it that super fine texture and pearly white color.
   Pearl sugar can withstand super high baking temps and not melt. Because of this, they are great for topping any number of cakes, cookies and breads to add a crunch and a touch of sweetness. We are very excited about Pearl Sugar and recommend that if you are lucky enough to see a bag, get it-post haste! And the cinnamon rolls were fantastic!

And back home again!      
  For anyone suffering from dairy allergies, I suggest the latest addiction to the dairy-free craze..Coconut Milk! Coconuts are hot right now, from milk to butters to oils and water....it's good for what ails you and everything else too.
   The Coconut Milk comes in Original (pictured and taste tested), UnSweetened and Vanilla. The Original has a pleasant coconut taste and is a tad sweet (compared to milk). It wasn't bad with cereal, but we think it would be the perfect summer smoothie. Also, if you add some pineapple juice and rum....hello Skinny Pina Colada!

Well, we hope you enjoyed our little trip around the world. We are always looking for new things to try, like our Cauliflower and Stilton Soup we had for dinner this weekend. e also made a Short Rib Ragu (because a snowy Sunday afternoon is the only time to make this time consuming dish). If you have any "must-trys", let us know! Happy Travels!

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