Sunday, May 20, 2012

Product Of the Year Community Event 2012 אירוע קהילת מוצר השנה

I had the privilege of being invited to an Israeli Product of the Year Community event which took place last week. As a blogger who has written about the winners of the local Products Of the Year items, I was thrilled to be invited. Everything about the event was so well organized and ran so smoothly, it was such a pleasure and extremely enjoyable. I thought today I would share with you some of the details of the event.

It took place at Cinema City, Glilot Junction. The first hour or so I spent mingling with the other guests whilst getting to see and hear about some of the winning products that I had not had an opportunity to see or try before. There were booths set up where representatives from the different companies told us more about their winning products.

I found it very helpful and interesting to get to see firsthand winning items like the Siemens i-Dos Washing Machine. What’s innovative about this machine is that you only need to add detergent once a month. The washer knows how much soap to use for each load. In a world where we tend to use way too many chemicals and lots more soap than we actually need for any given task I think it’s wonderful that this washer helps cut down on that problem, it seems to me that this is the right direction for technology to go in.
Along with pamphlets and information about the winning products some booths handed out a sample of the winning item. Milka, for example, gave a pretty purple reusable cloth bag that had two full size packs of cookies and a full size chocolate bar. If you read the review I did about their Choco Moo Cookies back in August you will know that I really enjoyed these cow shaped cookies. They have a generous layer of Milka’s creamy milk-chocolate on the bottom that adds a perfect amount of chocolaty goodness to a crispy tea biscuit-like cookie. 

As I said in that review, aside from these being a delicious and fun shaped cookie I was super impressed with the re-closeable wrapper that Milka uses for their cookies. The “glue” is really durable and the “lip” actually sticks properly to the rest of the wrapper thereby genuinely keeping the cookies inside fresher for longer even after the package had been opened and closed a few times.   

Starkist who won for their 99 Calorie Mini Tuna Cans also had a nice colorful re-useable bag for us. They put a small cookbook filled with tuna related recipes in the bag. As I told you back in September I liked these small one portion Starkist tuna cans. The idea of the re-closeable plastic lid would be much more helpful on the full size tuna cans but I have actually found it helpful on the small ones too. I was having a can of the Olive Oil with Lemon flavored Tuna, which I actually really like, on a picnic lunch and for one reason or another we had to move to a different park. I found it very helpful to be able to re-close the tuna for transit to the next location. I think these small tuna cans are very convenient to take on the go. Whenever I find them on sale, and it works out to be worthwhile price-wise, I pick up a few to have for whenever I need an easy “on the go” lunch. I was happy to get another sample of the 99 calorie Olive Oil with Lemon flavored Tuna from Starkist in my “goody bag” that night.   

As far as I could tell the booth that had the longest line was Café Elite’s Milkshake booth. That didn’t surprise me at all given that I remembered enjoying the Egozi milkshake when I tasted, and blogged about it last August (here), so I was more than willing to wait on the long line for a cup of this ice cold drink. I was so impressed with how patient the representatives working at the Café Elite booth were. These Milkshakes are a little more tedious to put together and have a lot more steps to them than making a cup of coffee or pouring a blended ice coffee. To top it all off Café Elite was offering one of their three “candy inspired” milkshake options; Egozi, Taami or Tiramisu, so they had lots of work and many eager “costumers” waiting for their treat.

I asked for the Egozi Milkshake and I enjoyed it just as much as I did the first time I tasted it. It was the perfect ice cold treat for this fairly warm May night we were having. I liked how all the different layers of flavors complimented each other in this Egozi milkshake but I especially savored the caramelized hazelnuts they sprinkled on top, they were just as perfect as I remembered them being last time.

Not long after I finally got my Egozi Milkshake it was time to head into the movie theater. As we entered the theater we were handed a mini bag of Carmit's Ego Milk-Chocolate Coated Pretzels. I reviewed the dark-chocolate ones back in September. When I told my friend in the USA how much I liked the mini bags of these chocolate coated pretzels she told me that Purim time she saw them on her local store shelves. She actually bought some at that point and really liked the mini size bag.

I was happy to get this size bag too, I’m a fan of chocolate coated pretzels; I like the bit of salt mixed with the sweetness of the chocolate as well as the nice crunch that the pretzel adds to the mix. Although when I first tasted and reviewed the Carmit  Dark-Chocolate Coated Pretzels I thought they could use a drop more salt then they had, now that I tasted the milk-chocolate ones I think this version had the perfect amount of salt to sweet chocolate ratio. Aside from the fact that these mini bag are good for portion control, my friend pointed out that somehow these smaller bags also helped prevent the chocolate coated pretzels from clumping together. Being that the clumping was the main big issue I had with this product when I initially reviewed it, I’m hoping that maybe Carmit will continue to make these smaller snack size bags and sell them, not only in the USA but, here in Israel as well.

אירוע קהילת מוצר השנה 2012
Once we were all seated in the comfortable and spacious Cinema City seats we had a few words from the organizers. We were told all about how the Product Of the Year winners are chosen and why they really deserved the title “Product Of the Year”. I explained it a bit in this post back in March of 2011 but you can find out all the details by going to the Product Of the Year website. In short the word that kept coming up over and over again was INNOVATION. They explained to us that Product Of the Year is constantly looking for the most innovative products that will make our life better, healthier or more enjoyable.

We were then treated to the movie called “What to Expect When You're Expecting”. 

I had to leave before the movie ended but from what I saw it was a comical movie and the crowd seemed to really be enjoying it. I plan on watching the rest of it as soon as I have the opportunity to.

On the way out of the event I was handed a huge bag filled with many more of the winning products. Including some of the non food items like the Toilet Duck Gel that I really like and told you about here).

I also received Colgate’s Max White One toothpaste which claims to make your teeth one shade whiter in one week.  As I told you in my recent review of Orbits White Gum I have no idea if these whitening claims are trustworthy or not but given that when I tried the toothpaste last night it didn’t bother my sensitive teeth in any way I am more than happy to keep using it for a week and see what, if anything, happens. In general when it comes to toiletries or cosmetics I like to try a product for a good amount of time before I give a review or opinion on them so that’s what I think I will do when it comes to the this toothpaste. I may post a full review about it sometime in the near future.

Same goes for the Neutrogena Deep Moisture Comfort Balm that was also in the bag. My first impression of the Balm was a good one, I like that its dermatologist tested and that it’s not only intended to be a body moisturizer but it’s also safe to be used on the face. I will wait until I use it for a while to see what I really think of it. I may post more about it at that point.

*Update* There are lots of English reviews of this product online so I didn't think I needed to add a full review of my own. I will just quickly add that I used this product for like 2 months. I'd say for me its a fine body moisturizer; nothing amazing or extraordinary, but I liked it enough and the price is right. Still there are other products available that I prefer and think are better for me.

As far as using this as a face moisturizer, that was a fail for me. I have very sensitive combination to dry skin and this Neutrogena Deep Moisture Comfort Balm caused me to brake-out every time I used it on my face.  

In the bag I got there was also a voucher to buy some of the perishable winning products like מה עז - Tzuriel Farm’s 9% Goats-Milk Cheese Roll/log (180 grams- Kosher: Badatz-10NIS). Back in October I told you about their Product of the Year winning Pear flavored Goats-Milk Yogurt but I really wanted to try this cheese as well. With Shavout right around the corner and the voucher I was given, now seems like the perfect opportunity to try it. I was pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed this 9% Goats-Milk Cheese. No, I am no cheese expert, but I really enjoyed this cheese. I was surprised that it was only 9% fat, it did not seem “low fat” at all. The cheese had a rich creamy and smooth texture. It was not overly “cheesy” but had the perfect amount of flavor for me. I plan on enjoying it speared on crackers or bread and I think it would work well baked into a few dairy dishes I know and like. 

I would like to take this opportunity to publicly thank Liran Davidovich; Assistant Manager of Superbrands Israel /Product of the Year Community Manager, as well as everyone else that had a hand in the event, for all he and they did to make it such a wonderful evening. I’m sure they put in many hours of hard work to put together such a successful evening. I, for one, think it was well worth the hard work, thank you for inviting me. Now I'm really looking forward to seeing what products will win the 2013 award. I wonder how many of them I’ve tried already and blogged about. I guess I will just have to wait and see.

Disclaimer: No one is paying me for this post. All opinions are my own.

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