Mars choc brownie

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I’ve written plenty of entries about KitKats, and there will be more to come, but other candy bars are a bit lacking with only the occasional Twix or Milky Way. That’s why I was quite excited to find a chocolate brownie Mars bar in the shops in Holland while I was there. I like Mars. I like brownies. This could not go wrong.

Well, it did go wrong. This was another case of a product not living up to its name and therefor not meeting expectations. Instead of the regular nougat-like center, this one had a chocolate nougat center. For the rest it was the same as a standard Mars bar. Soooooo, we have chocolate, but where’s the brownie? Not that it tasted bad, I just think that if you advertise something as “brownie” there should be something resembling that in there. I’ll stick to my precious KitKats.

Fear Factor – 0 / Taste Test – 5

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Sweetgale beer

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Myrica gale, also known as sweetgale, is a small flowering plant that you can find in Europa and North America. In Holland, however, it’s on the endangered plants list, and can’t be harvested freely. Once a year though, a very small number of breweries is allowed to take a limited amount of the leaves and catkins from the plants. These are then used, just like hop, to brew beer.

I ordered two bottles online to use in my multi course dinner of local produce. I used some of it to make a syrup for dessert, and I shared the rest with my father. I gave him a full bottle, and kept the opened bottle for myself as I’m not a big beer lover, but I almost wished I hadn’t. The sweetgale beer didn’t have that usual bitter flavor at all. It was a little sweet as well as a tad sour and reminded me of a Belgian gueuze beer. I’d be happy to have another one, even as a non-beer drinker.

Fear Factor – 4 / Taste Test – 8

Smoked puffin

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A puffin is a seabird that lives in the northern hemisphere. There are actually three different kinds, one of which can be found on Iceland. Due to its colorful beak and relative likeness to penguins people often label this bird as “cute”. On Iceland, however, people have had no qualms about hunting this animal for its meat and eggs, as there were no mammals around in the old times. These days the consumption of puffin has gone down, because Iceland is now home to sheep and other cattle.

On my food tour of Reykjavik we were served an appetizer of smoked puffin in a local restaurant. The meat was red, almost like beef, and was served quite rare. It was plated with a sweet berry sauce which turned out to be the perfect accompaniment. The meat was really tender, and tasted amazing. It was a little more like duck, especially with that sauce. It ended up being one of the best things I’ve eaten in Iceland.

Fear Factor – 1 / Taste Test – 9

KitKat chunky cheesecake

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If you didn’t know I like my KitKats, you have obviously never read my blog. I must have written about nearly 20 of them. Maybe I should have started a KitKat blog, but I think I’ll stick to my unusual food blog for now. On my travels I came across another variety of this chocolate candy bar that I hadn’t tried before. This time around it was a cheesecake filled KitKat chunky.

A cheesecake, at least for me, has that thick, yet creamy topping with a lovely crumbly base. This KitKat did have a gooey center, but that’s as far as the comparison goes. There was none of the cookie crumble base, and none of the actual cheesecake flavor. The taste was so generic, I don’t know why they called it the way they did. These KitKats are really all over the place, with some great ones and some not so great. Unfortunately this one falls in the latter category.

Fear Factor – 0 / Taste Test – 5

 

 

Asparagus liquor

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The other week I told you how white asparagus are a favorite of my the area I grew up in, Limburg. I had planned to dish up a big multi course dinner celebrating local produce and found an online shop with loads of ingredients that are locally sourced. Among those, I found a bottle of asparagus liquor. I had never heard of such a thing before, so naturally I bought it.

I served a glass of the asparagus liquor to all the dinner guests as an aperitif, and no one had heard of such a concoction before either. I was half expecting a savory drink, but actually it was quite sweet. I couldn’t really pick up on any asparagus, so my guess is this drink is not so much flavored with asparagus, but actually distilled from it like you distill vodka from potatoes. Then again I’m no scientist, perhaps they should have just put more in. It tasted quite good though no matter the process

Fear Factor – 5 / Taste Test – 7 .

Dried fish snack

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During my stay in Iceland I joined a food tour of Helsinki, which is where I tried the infamous fermented shark (I’ll follow up on that another time). Whilst hopping from one restaurant to another we also stopped by a little mini market. I thought perhaps our guide wanted to give us an opportunity to buy a drink, but she had something else in mind. She ended up buying a bag of dried fish snack known locally as “hardfiskur”.

I’m no stranger to seeing dried fish around. It’s all over the supermarkets here in China. Though I haven’t tried any dried fish here yet, I did try some dried squid, which was rather chewy. As I didn’t like that all too much, my expectation for the dried fish was quite low. To my surprise, however, I actually liked this Icelandic variety. It was not chewy at all, but crispy and crunchy, which is always preferable over chewy. The taste of fish was there, but not overpowering. I actually went back for seconds, and bought some more to take back home.

Fear Factor – 4 – Taste Test – 8

Magnum chocolate bar

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If you’ve been following my blog, you’ll know that I love chocolate and ice-cream. The perfect combination of the two for me is a good old Magnum. It is a wonderfully creamy ice cream, coated in a crispy delightful chocolate. While traveling through Europe I came across a Magnum chocolate bar and was in high hopes for something equally wonderful.

Those hope were not met unfortunately. The chocolate didn’t have the characteristic snap. Perhaps it wasn’t tempered correctly, or maybe it was just too thick. The taste was also lacking. It didn’t have a full bodied milk chocolate flavor at all. This was the kind of chocolate cheap supermarkets use for Easter and Christmas candy. For that money I could have bought four bars of regular chocolate of equal quality.

Fear Factor – 0 / Taste Test – 5