Last week I reminisced about the hottest AC-less summer that the duck and I can remember. This week I want to write about another way to cool down when it’s hot outside: ice cream! When I was still good with milk, ice cream was a summer staple. I loved devouring the occasional tub of that extra creamy American style, preferably cookies and cream-flavored, ice cream. Unfortunately, that was the literal food that started my milk troubles some years ago. Gelato and frozen yogurt still worked for the duck and me for a while after, but these days, our ice-cold refreshment of choice when we’re out is sorbet (just to be safe). A side effect of not eating a lot of ice cream was the disappearance of our regular ice cream cravings which made encountering deep, beautifully bitter matcha soft serve on almost every street corner back when we were living in Japan decidedly more bearable. The duck and I had gotten used to life without ice cream until, some weeks ago, we saw that one of our favorite grocery stores, Aldi, had started selling vegan ice cream that looks just like the kind I was in love with many years ago. Of course, the duck and I had to throw our no ice cream lifestyles overboard and make this the subject of a subjective taste test – summer edition:
Snacks: Rosemary chips
When the duck and I saw that Naturals chips were on sale at the local grocery store the other day, we decided that that was the perfect opportunity to finally compose a non-chocolate subjective snack review! Lorenz advertises the use of natural ingredients in their Naturals chips and that the peel is left on the potatoes as they are sliced and roasted in sunflower oil. The duck and I had seen them before, but I don’t remember ever trying any of the varieties. When we spotted the one called “Rosemary,” we couldn’t resist.
The duck and I fell in love with rosemary a few years ago. We worked at a pretend Italian cafe that offered a pizza made with a pizza dough base topped with olive oil and fresh rosemary. Whenever we smelled this rosemary bread baking in the oven, the duck and I felt intense food envy (that, fortunately, we were strong enough to never act upon). This is why we didn’t look twice when we grabbed a bag of these nicely priced natural chips and carefully placed it in our shopping basket, super excited for a beautiful rosemary-scented and -flavored snack. Here’s how that turned out: Continue reading
Snacks: Pistachio Schogetten
Maybe it’s time to start calling the duck and my super subjective snack reviews “chocolate reviews” instead because we yet again present you with a chocolaty treat we discovered. After falling in love with Peanut butter Schogetten last year, we were excited when we spotted some new interesting-looking flavors that are part of a line called Schogetten Selection Gold that recently hit the grocery store shelves. Out of the five varieties adorned with fancy golden lettering: hazelnut and cacao waffle in milk chocolate, hazelnut and cacao in semisweet chocolate, salt caramel crisp in milk chocolate, coconut almond in white chocolate, and pistachio in white chocolate, the duck and I knew right away that we wanted to try the pistachio one. Here’s what we thought of it:
Snacks: Taza Chocolate Mexicano Sampler
When I reported on the duck and my attempt to make homemade hot cocoa, I mentioned that our lovely friend R had gotten us chocolate for Christmas that we were excited to try. We finally did. And we liked it so much that we decided to write about it.
Let’s start by saying that this is by far the fanciest chocolate that the duck and I have tasted. The Taza Chocolate Chocolate Mexicano Sampler comes with eight different varieties ranging from chili over salted almond to vanilla. Looking at the box, we knew that we would like this chocolate because the ‘basic’ variety is called ‘Cacao Puro’ and comes with a beautiful 70% of cocoa which, based on our very specific chocolate bias, is a perfect place to start! On top of that, the chocolate is organic, not as heavily processed as most other chocolate, and promises to be ethically sourced. I don’t think the duck and I have tried stone-ground chocolate before. When we read on the box that this apparently means a bolder flavor and an unusual texture we were curious. As soon as we found out that you could transform these chocolate discs into cups of hot chocolate, we were sold. Now the only thing that was left for us to do was to try it:
Snacks: Winter Ritter Sport
Christmas is over, but it’s still winter. So, the duck and I decided to try this year’s Ritter Sport chocolate winter mix – this time without waiting until the end of the season to look for a box of miniatures. Nevertheless, we still had to conduct our (now) traditional visits to four different stores until we found a box. When we had finally gotten a hold of one (the last one in the store, it seemed), we took a closer look at the individual chocolate bars for the first time and then realized why they had been so hard to locate even though astronomical winter was less than a month old:
Even though they are called ‘winter edition’, the chocolates are definitely Christmas-themed, as is the shiny packaging. Like most other Christmas snacks, those Ritter Sport chocolate varieties disappeared from most grocery store shelves as soon as Christmas was over, with only one box of miniatures waiting to be picked up by the duck and me so that they could be tested by two of the most unsuitable taste testers out there:
Snacks: Getting ready for Christmas
It’s almost Christmas! You can tell by how many Christmas movies are currently added to some of your favorite streaming services, by the occasional fairy lights greeting you from foreign windows and by the fact that now Advent Calendars have joined the Christmas treats that have been hanging around the grocery stores since early September. Have I mentioned that the duck and I love Christmas? We do like Halloween, but having it not really be a thing in Germany means that we can start being excited about Christmas season even earlier than November 1st without feeling bad about it (not that we would).
Now that we’re way into November already, the duck and I finally decided to get our hands on some of those grocery store Christmas treats we only wrote about last year. Reviewing the whole baker’s dozen would have been too ambitious, at least for the 2020 duck and me, so we decided on Dominosteine, Stollen and Baumkuchenspitzen. Unlike most other super subjective taste tests that we’ve done in the past, neither of those treats are completely new to us. But since it’s been at least a year since we last had them and we are writing this in 2020, a year in which it wouldn’t be surprising if everything tasted slightly different, and since the duck and I are the ones making the rules on here anyway, we meekly present to you this year’s why-do-we-always-forget-that-we-are-super-particular-about-most-foods-and-on-top-of-that-terrible-at-describing-tastes – Christmas edition:
Snacks: Vacation Ritter Sport
It’s late summer! Well, it definitely felt like it just a few days ago. I even saw the duck rummage through our tiny collection of sunglasses in search of something that goes with a light summer bow!
This past summer sure was weird. In many ways. But it also was a lot of fun to go on vacation in our imagination (so cheap and comfy). In order to get some more of that vacation feel, we decided to add a few more senses to the mix and finally tested this year’s summer edition of Ritter Sport chocolates, called ‘Fernweh’, which roughly translates to ‘wanderlust’. The duck sure was happy to finally get to pose with the miniature box of summer edition chocolates. See, the first time we saw them at the local grocery store – as a big bag of mini bars (ha!) – it was still cold out. We looked at the packaging and thought that we might skip them because the pastel colors and the pictures of coconuts and mangoes made us think that all bars would be fruity and sport white chocolate. We are peculiar about chocolate and fruity chocolate is a thing we hardly ever like (though that’s mostly with darker varieties). Therefore we never had the urge to buy these vacation themed chocolates whenever we passed them at the store. Instead we fell in love with peanut butter Schogetten. But then summer came and we decided that once it was a bit colder (meaning: we wouldn’t have to worry about the chocolate melting away) we might actually give them a shot. So, we went out to buy a pack and it only took us four visits to different stores to get a hold of them (we even found a box of winter edition Ritter Sport during our search)! After our strange history with these chocolates, the duck and I couldn’t wait to try them and write another super subjective snack review: Continue reading
Snacks: Ahoj Brause
It’s summer, the season the duck and I use to reminisce about our childhoods (whenever we don’t think about turtle encounters); recalling days when life was much simpler and our butts less lazy always makes us smile. This is why, during a recent grocery shop, we decided to pick up a pack of Ahoj Brause, possibly one of the most prominent tastes of German childhood in summer. Ahoj Brause is a kind of sherbet powder that has been around for almost a century. And, looking at the fun logo and the bright packaging, I can see the appeal, especially to the (very) young. I can totally imagine lazing around in a pool float that looks like a giant sprinkled donut, wearing some very pink flamingo sunglasses and holding a cool glass of Ahoj Brause in one hand and some reading material in the other while the duck is swimming rounds in the adjoining pool, stopping from time to time to take a sip of Brause from the pitcher at the side…
A pack of Ahoj Brause contains five pairs of pouches with fizzy powder that, if poured into a 0.2 liter glass of fresh drinking water, promises to transform into a fun summer drink. There are four flavors: raspberry, orange, lemon and sweet woodruff. The duck and I had a hard time keeping ourselves from devouring the powder straight out of the pouch, like, I’m sure, a lot of German kids actually enjoy Ahoj Brause; but, in order to test today’s snack the way it is meant to be enjoyed, the duck and I wanted to stick to the rules: Continue reading
Snacks: Peanut butter Schogetten?!
The other day, when the duck and I went on our weekly grocery shop and did our routine special offer bin check, we did not expect much. But then we saw it – the chocolate that had the potential to change our lives; it was sitting there telling us: “Let’s go,” let’s turn around our lives, let’s embrace everything that might come our way, let’s be optimistic! Or, to put it less dramatically, we saw that there was a new kind of peanut butter chocolate that had not yet met our tummies: the Limited Edition Schogetten “LET’S GO” Sweet’N’Salty. Schogetten is one of the most popular German chocolate brands. Same as Milka and Ritter Sport you can find them at most grocery stores. What we like about Schogetten is that you can easily pretend that you want to share them as they come in individual pieces – no breaking off required. Like Milka and Ritter Sport they have lots of different flavors to choose from and sport the kind of base chocolate that we like: smooth, not oily, and not too many weird ingredients, just a few. Schogetten usually come in 100g boxes. I guess the duck and I lucked out with the 150g box we found!
There also were two other ‘LET’S GO‘ varieties in the bin: “Tutti Frutti” with white chocolate, peaches, and passion fruit (“no thanks” to fruity chocolate) and “Nuts in Dark” with dark chocolate and roasted hazelnut pieces (booooring). The peanut butter and salty cookie pieces variety was the only one that managed to reach our hearts and made us, in turn, reach out and carefully place a box in our shopping cart (that we had to learn to navigate in the past few weeks, due to the new “use a shopping cart to keep your distance” policies in most grocery stores – usually we’re basket types… and cases? Who knows). Peanut butter can do that to us. I still remember that time I wanted to cut back on sugar and processed food and found myself eating a huge jar of unsweetened peanut butter in just a few days. I don’t think eating a salad and then half a jar of peanut butter counts as “eating healthy (and in moderation)”. But it definitely counts as ‘eating delicious’ and that is exactly what we were hoping for with our newest grocery store acquisition:
Snacks: Chocolate eggs
The duck and I actually wanted to write about German Easter candy last year, but back then we were fully occupied with being secretly lazy. This year, when we were sitting in our bedroom craving chocolate, the duck and I decided that we should catch up on this missed opportunity, partly because we’re always looking for an excuse to “try” some chocolate, partly because one of the things that we miss most about living in Tokyo is having lots of seasonal snacks to try out. In Japan we loved seeing how the seasons changed and how we could always count on the local Konbini (or grocery store) to stock up on new snacks to accompany this fascinating change. Last December we wrote about Christmas cookies, Glühwein, and other Christmas treats, but we did not actually review any of them. That shall finally change today! With an inside Easter for two coming up (social distancing is cool, everyone! All the hip kids do it!) the duck decided that we should taste test the one seasonal food that we missed in Japan: our favorite Easter candy, the chocolate egg! Germany doesn’t have the Cadbury creme egg. In fact, I don’t even know what kind of Easter candy is typical for Germany. I do, however, know what all the grocery stores are selling around this time.
Because we are still trying to limit our beloved grocery shopping trips to as few as possible these days, the duck and I decided to go exclusively with what we’d find at Aldi.
They had quite a few varieties to choose from, but since the duck and I pride ourselves on being extra expenditure enemies I went with just the ones that jumped out to me (quite literally. The duck had dived into one of the Easter candy bins and was rummaging through its chocolaty contents like a raccoon in a trashcan after Thanksgiving. I caught three bags of chocolate candy that flew my way, grabbed the duck, and made my way to the cash register while keeping a solid 2-meter distance from my fellow shoppers). I’m quite happy with what we got, though one of the three varieties isn’t even egg-shaped. But it’s chocolate, so it counts. This time around the duck and I probably won’t be able to write such fauxetic phrases as ‘they tasted like a steady chocolate-float ride through a peaceful matcha stream in the middle of (the week-long) cherry blossom season, just without all the crowds of sakura-admirers and instead with some extra sugar sprinkled on top’. (Wow!)
Berlin doesn’t give us those kinds of vibes. And I don’t think that’s a bad thing. At all. Let’s get to the testing: Continue reading