Raspberry maltesers

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Just a couple of posts ago I mentioned how Maltesers are my favourite candy, but they never really have any unusual varieties. So I thought anyway. I just arrived in Australia for a trip and one of the first things that caught my eye at the 7-eleven was a bright pink bag of Maltesers.

As it turned out this was indeed a new kind of chocolate malt balls. This was a raspberry coated Malteser. I expected a bag full of little pink balls, but they looked the same as usual with a regular coating of chocolate. It did taste of raspberry, though it was a subtle flavour with the actual chocolate being dominant. After a handful or so they started to taste like regular Maltesers though perhaps with a hint of raspberry every once and a while.

Fear Factor – 0 / Taste Test – 7

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Dried goat heart

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I’m in Bali as we speak, which is why I haven’t updated my blog over the past few days. The Internet isn’t always great and I’ve just been too busy eating my way around the island. One of the many amazing restaurants I visited was Locavore, a restaurant that celebrates local ingredients and made it to the top restaurants in Asia list as the number one restaurant in Indonesia.

Among the many strange and unusual sounding ingredients was one that immediately caught my attention – cured smoked goat heart. I don’t think I’ve ever seen this on any menu anywhere, but I have seen it done with dried tuna heart though only on TV.

My dish was presented at the table along with a hunk of dried meat that was in fact the goat heart. It was then Shaved over the dish much like you would a truffel or parmesan cheese. It was a little tricky to get a bite of just the heart, but what I did manage to taste was a little salty and not at all unlike a raw cured ham. In the end it may not have added a great deal of flavour to the dish, but it certainly added some drama.

Fear Factor – 4 / Taste Test – 8

Guinness steak sauce

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If you read my blog regularly you might know that I don’t like beer all that much. The worst beer I’ve ever had has to be Guinness. It’s just way too bitter for me. When an Irish friend of mine visited his homestead he brought back with him a bottle of Guinness steak sauce for me. This made me somewhat hesitant to use, but I’m always in for an adventure and I like cooking so nothing was going to stop me from using it.

Funnily enough I’m also not a fan of steak, but I had found a different use for it. I decided to mix it in with some baked beans to make a breakfast burrito. That actually worked quite well because of the slight smokiness of the steak sauce. Trying the sauce on its own though was a whole different experience. That bitterness I associate with Guinness was there with a vengeance. I won’t be putting it on any steaks, but I’ll still be able to use it in cooking.

Fear Factor – 4 / Taste Test – 6

Lamington M&M’s

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Growing up as a kid in the 80’s, and even as a teenager in the 90’s there were only two kinds of M&M’s. The regular brown ones and the peanut centered yellow ones. As I hate peanuts that left me with no choice but to eat the plain ones. Not that I minded, of course, they are pretty great. Then they came out with M&M crunchy which were great, but that was about it in Holland. In America I recently discovered a few new ones such as caramel centered ones, but in China it’s still just plain, peanuts and crunch.

In one of the import supermarkets I visited I discovered a bag of lamington flavored  M&M’s which were obviously imported from Australia. A lamington is Australia’s national cake, usually with a raspberry jam filling and covered in chocolate and coconut shavings. It makes sense then that these M&M’s were a mixed bag of three different flavors. You guessed it, raspberry, chocolate and coconut. I could definitely taste the berry, albeit quite an artificial flavoring, but the coconut went straight by. Take a handful and you get the flavor of plain M&M’s really. An interesting idea, but a lack of flavor.

Fear Factor – 0 / Taste Test – 7

Bitter melon

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There are lots of different fruits and vegetables around in China that would go very well on my blog, but none sounds as unappetizing as the so-called bitter melon. The bitter melon, in the same family as cucumbers, pumpkins and zucchini, comes originally from India, but is now found all over Asia, Africa and the Caribbean. It is shaped like a cucumber, but with lots of bumps all over the skin almost as if it has some kind of disease. Now that sounds promising.

I had never tried it, because it just doesn’t sound appealing, but not so long ago it appeared on the buffet line of the teacher’s cafeteria at my school and I had no reason not to try. It was served cold as a salad and cut into strips. It appears only the skin was used, so I’m not sure if these guys are hollow or not. I’ve eaten some terrible things such as whale bacon and of course durian, but I never expected a vegetable to rank among the worst things I have eaten. Now, I know better. I took one bite and a massive wave of bitterness washed over me – hence the name of course. I spat it right out and didn’t even bother giving it a second chance, good for you or not.

Fear Factor – 5 / Taste Test – 1

Honeycomb Maltesers

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I have written a lot about KitKats, but that’s not actually my favorite chocolate candy. That honor goes to Maltesers. I just love the malty crunch with the chocolate coating. Though Maltesers nowadays has many other products such as chocolate spread, ice-cream and Easter bunnies they don’t generally change their flavors except for maybe using dark or white chocolate instead of milk chocolate. Maltesers are just that amazing that they can’t be improved on.

That’s why I was quite surprised to find a honeycomb Malteser on a recent trip to Hong Kong. Instead of the malt filling, these ones had a crunchy honeycomb filling. I’m talking about the sugar mixed with baking soda kind, not the honeycomb that’s made by bees. I tried a handful and thought they were really quite nice. It still has that crunch of regular Maltesers, but these ones have more of a caramel flavor. Yes, they were really good, but I still don’t think anything can beat the originals.

Fear Factor – 0 / Taste Test – 8