Thursday, March 31, 2011

Tzabar & Chef Raffi Cohen's Potato Salad

Chef Raffi Cohen teamed up a while ago with Tzabar Salads to produce a line of better "commercial" salads. Their latest addition is a "Home-Style Potato Salad"

I was quite impressed with Raffi Cohen's/Tzabar "Grilled Eggplant and Techina Salad" that I recently tasted. It was much better than Achlah's Grilled Eggplant and Techina Salad, so I had high hopes for this new Raffi Cohen "Home-Style Potato Salad".

My first disappointment came when I realized they added hard-boiled eggs to the potato salad. I know there are many people who enjoy hard-boiled eggs in their potato salad but I'm not one of them.

The eggs in this salad are chopped much finer than the nicely sized, small, cubed potatoes and carrots. Although I would rather not have eggs in my potato salad that is not what bothered me most about this salad.

Aside from the welcomed pickles, the strongest flavor I tasted was pepper. I thought it was just way too much black pepper. For me, the pepper totally overpowered any other taste in this salad.

As with many potato salads there was a lot of mayonnaise, in my opinion, too much mayonnaise, it made the salad a bit too sweet. Or maybe it was the sugar that made it too sweet. If they really wanted a "home-style" salad I think they should have left out the extra sugar and skipped the added flavor enhancers.

Bottom Line: It's not the worst commercial potato salad I have tasted but I'm disappointed with it. I expected more from Chef Raffi Cohen. I'm sure he would not serve anything like this Home-Style Potato Salad in his restaurant. He surely would not serve this "Home-Style" potato salad in his home.

400 gram container – 14.00–16.00 NIS

Kosher: Badatz- all year, not Passover

Kosher for Passover – Kitniyot- Rabbinate Kiriat Gat

Disclaimer: All items were purchased by me. No one is paying me for this review. All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Spring's Peach-Plum & Pineapple-Lychee Soft Drinks

"Spring" has added 2 new soft-drinks to their ever expanding line of drinks; Peach–Plum and Pineapple-Lychee.

These Spring soft-drinks have 16% fruit and use only natural food coloring. They do not have any added preservatives but do have added vitamin C.

With summer just around the corner, Peach–Plum seems like the perfect new soft-drink combination. When I first poured a glass of this soft-drink the pleasant aroma of the peaches and plums automatically made me think of summer.

Peach being 13% of the fruit in this drink it was clearly the main flavor but for me the 3% plum was a nice extra touch.

As with most sweet fruit drinks I thought they added way too much sugar. After I diluted it with water I actually enjoyed the Peach-Plum soft-drink much more.  

This time the 12% pineapple was obviously the stronger flavor but I think the 4% lychee is an interesting addition and helped tone down the "tanginess", you normally get from a pineapple.
If you’re a fan of pineapple drinks, I think you may find this combination puts a slightly different spin on it, making it a little more exotic.

Again, for me, this Pineapple-Lychee soft-drink was too sweet. I needed to add some water but not as much as I added to the Peach-Plum drink.

I can see Spring's Pineapple-Lychee Soft-Drink working really well in a cocktail.

Bottom Line: After I diluted the Peach-Plum Spring Soft-Drink, I enjoyed the refreshing taste of summer.
For me, the Pineapple-Lychee was a little too exotic and different, but those who enjoy pineapple drinks would, most likely, see that as a plus.    

1.5 liter – 5.99 NIS

Kosher: Badatz (Kosher for Passover as well)

Disclaimer: All items were purchased by me. No one is paying me for this review. All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Sano's San Foam Dish-Soap

I've heard experts say many times that in general we use too much soap when cleaning, be it dish soap, detergent or any cleaning agent. The concept behind Sano's new "San Foam Dish-Soap" is to encourage us to use less soap and therefore less water to wash the soap away, and still get our dishes perfectly clean.

In a country where we rarely get enough rain and water is extremely precious (and expensive) the idea of using less soap and less water seems like a "win-win" situation.

With Pesach fast approaching I thought it would be a good time to review Sano's San Foam Dish-Soap.

I've tried foam face-soaps in the past and actually really liked them so I was happy to try Sano's Foam Dish-Soap.

Sano claims one "pumps wroth" of soap should be the right amount for 10 plates. I found that not to be enough, maybe I still have to get used to using even less soap, but when I soaped up the dishes, without the water running, and then rinsed them all at the same time, I thought one pumps worth was enough soap for about 5 dishes.

The bottle is actually rather large and at this rate I think it will last me quite a while.    

It says they added Aloe Vera to protect your hands, but I always wear gloves when I wash dishes, so I can't say if the Aloe Vera  helps or not.

The bottle says the soap is made specifically for the hard-water we have here in Israel. It also says it has no Allergens and all the active ingredients are made from only natural sources.

Bottom Line: I liked Sano's San Foam Dish-Soap and the pump system works very smoothly. It left the dishes with a clean fresh smell. I'm thrilled to be using less soap and less water and still getting perfectly clean dishes.

1 Liter bottle – 15.99 NIS

Kosher: (non edible) Badatz

Disclaimer: All items were purchased by me. No one is paying me for this review. All opinions are my own.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Gad's 30% Fat "Cream Cheese"

"Gad" Dairy, who recently won a "Product of the Year Award", for their Feta & Bulgarian Traditional Cheese Line, have now introduced 2 new soft white cheeses.The new 30% fat "Cream Cheese" is available in natural favor as well as a vegetable cream cheese.

I tasted the vegetable cream cheese.

It was creamy, smooth and flavorful. Being that its 30% fat it is "heavier" than most of the soft white cheese spreads available here. To me it's still not what I'm used to as an "American style" cream cheese. It's thinner and a little more sour than say "Kraft's Philadelphia" cream cheese. (which is available here)

The vegetables; green pepper, red peppers and garlic are chopped up extremely small and thin but, taste-wise for me, they made a big impact. I think part of why they make such an impact is because Gad also added some flavor enhancers to the cheese, so you can definitely smell the garlic as soon as you open the container.

I actually would have preferred the natural cheese without the vegetables but my friend, who likes vegetable soft-white cheese, was very happy I bought this one. He said the vegetable flavor absolutely enhanced his sandwich.

Bottom Line: I've yet to see a vegetable cream-cheese from Kraft Philadelphia-cheese, here in Israel, so for those who like vegetable soft-white cheese, Gad's new cheese seems to be a winner, even if in my book I can't call it cream-cheese.

200 grams 11.38 NIS

Kosher: Milk Rabbinate Bat-Yam
חלב נוחרי

Disclaimer: All items were purchased by me. No one is paying me for this review. All opinions are my own.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Another "Osem Flat Pretzels" Update…

But this is a HAPPY update

 I saw the
 Osem Flat Pretzels
back on the shelf in 2 supermarkets this morning.

Both Rami Levi and ShuferSal had them.

Rami Levi only had the sesame ones but ShuferSal had both the salt and the sesame ones,
but they had more of the sesame than the salt.

 I noticed at least 10 people waiting on line who all had some
"Osem Flat Pretzels"
 in thier shopping cart
 So I'm not sure how long they will last on the shelf.

I had heard they would not be back on the self until after Pesach but I was happy to see that is not the case.

If you were looking for them before and could not find them, you might have more luck this week.

Disclaimer: All items were purchased by me. No one is paying me for this review. All opinions are my own.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Osem's Gluten-Free Biscuit

Recently Osem has introduced a new Gluten-Free Biscuit. This Osem biscuit joins a gluten-free pretzel and gluten–free cracker that Osem already has on the self.

I think it's about time and wonderful that they are slowly adding more gluten-free items for those who must be on a gluten-free diet.The gluten-free biscuit is thicker than Osem's regular tea-biscuit. It is a dry cookie but in a different way than the Osem "Petit-Beurre" tea-biscuit is dry.
Osem's "Petit-Beurre" Tea-Biscuit
Another difference is this cookie is crummier and much sweeter than the "Petit-Beurre". It also has a vanilla flavor that you don't find in the classic Osem tea-biscuit. In a way it sort of tasted like a butter cookie, to me, even though it's made with vegetable oil and not butter. 

I really didn’t like that when eaten alone it somehow gets stuck on and in-between your teeth. I'm guessing that might be because of the cornstarch it's made of.  I did actually enjoy it more with a cup of tea.
A friend who is on a gluten-free diet because of celiac disease tasted them. She said if they were not so expensive she might consider buying them for her morning coffee. But 11 NIS for 200 grams just seems too expensive. Granted it’s a specialty item and all specialty items are too expensive!

Pesach-style nut-macaroons
She said she can find cheaper "cookie-type" treats (like Pesach-style nut-macaroons) in her health-food store and these new Osem cookies were not "amazing enough" for her to spend that much money on them on a regular basis. She did mention she may consider buying them for a special occasion like when she makes a cheesecake for Shavuot.

Bottom line: I think Osem's Gluten-Free Biscuit is an "ok", sweet, buttery- cookie. It's not a BAD cookie but it's not an Osem "Petit-Beurre" tea-biscuit either. I see it as a step in the right direction for Osem to add gluten-free options to the shelf, but until they are reasonably priced I think most people who need gluten-free items have much more basic food items to spend their money on.

200 grams – 11.00 - 12.00 NIS

Kosher: Badatz

Disclaimer: All items were purchased by me. No one is paying me for this review. All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Mentos Gum

Being a fan of Mentos candy I was happy to hear they have started selling their Mentos gum here in Israel.

There are 5 sugar-free Mentos gums available here in 2 different categories;

Mentos PURE FRESH gums – has 2 flavors, Mint and Spearmint. For extra "freshness" they added green-tea extract in the center of each piece.
Mentos Fruit Juice Blast gums – gives us the 3 fruit flavors, Watermelon, Red Fruits & Lime and finally Tropical fruits.

I actually like the packaging it's convenient and has less wrapping to throw away. Plus it seems like it will keep the gum inside fresh for longer than a paper box would. Not that its new or innovative I've seen a few Must and Orbit gums in this kind of container too, but I just like it, so I mentioned it. J

As I've written before I prefer mint gum over fruit gum, so I tasted the Mint and Spearmint. I could tell very little difference between the 2 of them.

The Mentos gum is a little smaller and slightly thicker than Mentos candy. The Mint was white with blue specks and the Spearmint white with green specks. They have a slight candy coating just like the Mentos candy, so biting into it at first, it seems very much like the Mentos candy.

If you cut it in half you can see the green-tea extract in the center.

At first the gum was "fresh" and "airway opening" but that did not last past the first few seconds.
The mint taste of the gum lasted 10 maybe 15 minutes (and that’s really stretching it). That is by no means "long lasting" in my book. A friend who tasted the Must Cubes Gum said that it lasted her more than half an hour, closer to 40 minutes, that amount of time I would consider to be "long lasting". This Mentos Pure gum was not "long lasting" for me.

Bottom Line: I don’t think Mentos Pure Fresh Gum is a bad chewing gum but I don’t find anything extra special about it. It surly is not long lasting. I will continue enjoying the Mentos candy but for gum I'll choose the less expensive Orbit Aqua gum that seems to work just fine for me.

24 grams – 12 pieces of gum- 6.50 NIS

Kosher : Chatam Sofer 

Disclaimer: All items were purchased by me. No one is paying me for this review. All opinions are my own.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Strauss's "Magnum Desire" Ice-Cream Bars

Don't be fooled by this drawing
Strauss has a habit of introducing their new summer-line of ice-creams mid-March, toward the end of winter. Considering the mild winters we have here, there are very few days that ice-cream is not appropriate. Maybe their timing is not so odd and they just want to get a jump start on their competition.

Today is not only Shushan Prium but it's also the first day of spring so lets have some ice-cream.
Among Strauss's new ice-creams there are 2 new Magnum Ice-Cream bars that they are calling the "Magnum Desire" line.
Praline and Orange; orange rippled chocolate ice-cream, with nougat flavored pralines & orange cubes, then coated in bittersweet chocolate & chopped hazelnuts.
I've mentioned before that I prefer bittersweet chocolate. Since I could not find the bittersweet chocolate one in my supermarket; I tried the second one, which is
Praline and Nuts; almonds and nuts flavored rippled vanilla ice-cream with cinnamon flavored pralines, then coated in milk-chocolate & chopped hazelnut.
To me, "on paper" they both sounded very elaborate and intriguing. That is until I took my first bite. The coating was fairly hard and if I let it sit for a few minutes the ice-cream inside would have been so soft and melted off the stick too fast. Maybe they need to make the coating a little thinner.

Another thing I did not like about the coating was how grainy the chocolate itself was. To me, it tasted like a very low quality chocolate. In many ways that sort of fit with the low quality of the ice-cream itself, which was more ICE than CREAM!

I saw so little almond and nut ripple that I could hardly taste it. There were only 2 pralines in the whole bar. Yes, it was a mini-bar, but for a 4 inch x 1 inch bar that seems like a ridiculously low amount to me. The 2 I did have were way to hard in comparison to the ice-cream. I did not taste any cinnamon in them. I didn’t really enjoy them; maybe it's not so bad that there were only 2 pralines to be found. 

Bottom line: In my opinion, there was nothing desirable about this Magnum ice-cream bar. If I want to indulge in ice-cream I'll stick to Chubby Hubby and leave Straus's "Magnum Desire Bars" in the store freezer.

Box of 5 mini bars - 30.99 NIS (Full Bar 9.40 NIS)

Kosher: Milk Mehadrin

Disclaimer: All items were purchased by me. No one is paying me for this review. All opinions are my own

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Kinley's Pear-Apple Soft-Drink

Kinley is a carbonated water that comes in a variety of flavors. They have now added a new flavor to their "Gentle" line, which is a more mild soda-water with a very subtle flavor added to it.

The new Kinley flavor, Pear-Apple, joins the already existing Pomegranate-Berries, Peach and Lemon-Nana (mint) gentle soft-drinks. All of which are low in sugar. The Pear-Apple Kinely is enriched with honey extract and vitamin C. It has no preservatives or artificial coloring added.  It's a clear drink so it didn't really need any coloring, still I'm glad they didn't add food coloring just to make it a light green pear-apple color.

Before I took my first sip I noticed a sweet pear-apple aroma. That actually enhanced this drink for me, it was not overpowering like with the Wissotzky Exotic Love Leaves Tea. The Pear-Apple taste of this soft-drink was very gentle as promised.

One friend thought it was a little too sweet, I found it appropriately sweet but it wouldn't bother me if they used even less sugar.

Our resident "bar-tender" was really excited when she tasted the this Pear-Apple Kinley. She thinks it would work very well in many creative cocktails she has up her sleeve. She plans to try some of them at her Purim celebration todayJ  

Bottom Line: Although I don’t normally enjoy carbonated soft-drinks, I did find this Pear-Apple Kinely to be refreshing and enjoyable. Some may say the flavor is too subtle but for me that was a plus.

1.5 liter bottle -5.50-7.50 NIS

Kosher: Chief Rabbinate (לנדא)
Disclaimer: All items were purchased by me. No one is paying me for this review. All opinions are my own.

This week's Haveil Havalim Blog Carnival is now up on

Friday, March 18, 2011

Bulletin: Same Product New Packaging

Oftentimes when a product gets a new packaging the company writes
 חדש -NEW
 In big huge letters and "Packaging" in smaller, little letters, trying to get consumers to buy it thinking it's something new or different and only later realizing it’s the same old product. I find it odd (desperate on their part) that sometimes they even do a press release as though it's a new product!

So from time to time I will let you know when it's not a new product just new packaging.

This week I saw (and read about), what was being presented as, a new taffy from Elite for Purim a

JFunny-Face TaffyJ 

I thought it would be fun to taste them and review them before Purim. They reminded me of a face decorated hard-candy that was popular, Purim-time, years ago where I lived, in the USA.

When I read the "finer print" I saw it said "New Packaging" but I could not understand why in the press release it said the taffy itself was new and it made it sound like the funny face was on the taffy too. I opened the package to find that only the wrappers have a funny-face, the taffy inside, was in-fact the same old taffy. Major disappointment!

Maybe next Purim they will actually make funny-face taffies. For this year we have the "sour taffies" from Carmit to enjoyJ.

Chag Purim Sameach

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