Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Roladin's Mascarpone Honeyed Kadaif Cake

Aside from Roladin's Honey Caramel Sticky-Bun Brioche the other Rosh Hashanah cake of theirs that caught my eye was the Mascarpone Honeyed Kadaif Cheese Cake. I thought it sounded creative and different so I wanted to try it.

According to the ad I had seen in the paper a full "strip" of the cake cost 59.50 NIS. I didn’t want to spend that much on a cake that I may not enjoy so I was not planning on getting it. When I was at Roladin I noticed that they also had "portion size" slices available. Although I thought 10.00 NIS was expensive for such a small rectangle of cake I decided that the cake was unique enough and I was willing to treat myself just this once.

The Mascarpone Honeyed Kadaif Cake is a mascarpone cheese cake with a middle layer of raspberry coulis (a thick sauce made from puréed and strained vegetables or fruits) with honeyed kadaif noodles on top and bottom of the cake that are sprinkled with powdered sugar.

Kadaif is a very fine vermicelli  like pastry that according to Wikipedia is sometimes known as shredded phyllo. It's very popular here in Israel seeing as it's used to make Kanafeh.

My first disappointment with this Mascarpone Honeyed Kadaif Cake came when I realized the kadaif was soggy and did not have the "crispy" texture you get when you bite into a kanafeh. I didn’t even taste the honey that was supposed to be mixed into the kadaif. If there was honey it was such a small amount that it got completely lost.

Next I thought the mascarpone layer had an overwhelming jell-o like taste and texture that I really did not enjoy. I know there was mascarpone in the mix but it was not the dominant flavor of this layer. Even Nestlé's "Nok-Out" Mascarpone & Lemon Ice-Cream Bar had more of a mascarpone flavor than this cake But what bothered most about this part of the cake was the waxy aftertaste it left in my mouth. 

רולדין מסקרפונה קדאיף בדבש

The layer of raspberry coulis was fine, neither here nor there. Since this Mascarpone Honeyed Kadaif Cake is part of Roladin's Rosh Hashanah "lineup" I wonder why they didn’t go with a pomegranates coulis and give the cake even more of a Rosh Hashanah "feel".

Bottom Line: I was disappointed with almost everything about this Mascarpone Honeyed Kadaif Cake and really happy I didn’t buy the full cake. In my opinion compared to their Honey Caramel Sticky-Bun Brioche this Roladin Mascarpone Honeyed Kadaif cheese cake was a major FAIL.

1 full cake 59.90 NIS
1 slice of cake 10.00 NIS

Kosher Dairy Rabbinate Jerusalem

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

Monday, September 26, 2011

Beit Yitzchak's Sheep's Milk "To Go" Yogurt

יוגורמה בית יצחק יוגורט מחלב כבשים
Last week I saw a press release about Beit Yitzchak's new "TO GO" sheep's milk yogurt. So I picked some up at the supermarket today but what I didn’t realize is that this sheep's milk yogurt is not new for the Beit Yitzchak dairy. What is new is the size of the container.
Not realizing I was looking for a small container (75 grams) that says "TO GO" on it, which I did not find on the store shelf, I accidentally bought the regular size container (140 grams). Seeing as the yogurt in both the full and mini size containers is the same and it's new to me, I figured I may as well post my review of this yogurt. Those of you, like me, who have yet to taste any of Beit Yitzchak's sheep's milk products, might enjoy reading what I have to say. Those of you who know and like this yogurt already will now know that it's also available in a smaller container.

The new size is possibly a more appropriate kid's size portion, or as Beit Yitzchak dairy intended, more covenant to take to work or on a picnic outing, hence the name "TO GO".

At first I thought it tasted somewhat like a goat's milk yogurt I often buy, but as I eat the yogurt it seemed much heavier and more sour than the goat's milk yogurt I like. I read on Wikipedia that sheep's milk is richer in fat, milk solids, and minerals than cow's milk. Therefore, as opposed to goat's milk, it's not an alternative for people with (severe) lactose intolerance, because it contains even more lactose than cow's milk. I found that interesting but it did clarify why this 5% fat sheep's milk yogurt seemed so thick and heavy to me.

The one benefit I found in this Beit Yitzchak Sheep's Milk Yogurt being so rich and creamy was that even after a small amount I felt full. That could be why they decided to add a smaller container option too. You don’t need as much to feel satisfied.

I didn’t really like how "sour" this Beit Yitzchak sheep's milk yogurt was so, in the spirit of Rosh Hashanah; I added a spoonful of St. Dalfour's Raspberry & Pomegranate Jam. The tartness and sweetness of the fruit spread worked perfectly with the more sour yogurt and I really enjoyed the rest of the container.

This Beit Yitzchak's sheep's milk yogurt has no added sugar, no preservatives and is gluten free.

Bottom Line: I don’t think I will buy Beit Yitzchak's sheep's milk yogurt  again because I found it a bit too rich and heavy for me, but if I do I would rather the new smaller "TO GO" container and I will surly add either fresh fruit, fruit spread or possibly honey to make it an enjoyable mid-day snack.

140 gram container – 5.60 NIS
75 gram container – 3.08 NIS

Kosher Dairy Mehadrin and Rabbi Eliezer Simcha Wiesse, Rabbinate Emek Chefer

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

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Roladin's Sticky-Bun Rosh Hashanah Brioche

As they do for each holiday, Roladin has a few special cakes and treats for Rosh Hashanah. The one that caught my eye and intrigued me most was the Honey Caramel Sticky-Bun Brioche.

According to Roladin's website this Honey Caramel Sticky-Bun Brioche won first place in a taste test that was done, by the Israel Hayom newspaper, of all the new Rosh Hashanah cakes. I'm not sure what other bakeries and cakes they were up against but knowing it was considered the "best new Rosh Hashanah cake" gave me the extra push to try it.

This Honey Caramel Sticky-Bun Brioche turned out to be exactly what I anticipated it to be; a buttery brioche base with a honey, brown sugar and cinnamon mixture, generously poured over it, then sprinkled with a few pecans.

רולדין בריוש סטיקי באנס בדבש

The brioche part was wonderful and enjoyable. It had a small amount of a cinnamon and sugar mixture "swirled" through the "layers", as you would expect in a cinnamon bun. Since the top is so abundantly sweet I was glad that the inside of the cake only had a bit of the cinnamon and sugar mixture. The cake part being fairly plain helped balance the overall sweetness of the sticky-bun. For those that prefer a less sweet cake they can cut off the top keeping only the center of the cake and still enjoy this brioche. I'll be happy to eat the top for them :)

Although the honey, brown sugar and cinnamon "sticky" mixture was extremely sweet I didn’t think it was way too overly sweet. I did taste the honey but it didn’t seem to be the dominant flavor of the syrupy topping. I'd say the honey was mixed well with the brown sugar caramel. I guess this Honey Caramel Sticky-Bun Brioche can be perfect for those that don’t love traditional honey cakes but still want to partake in the unofficial "custom" of eating some sort of honey cake over the Rosh Hashanah holiday.

There were only a few pecans sprinkled on top of the cake. I don’t think there were any pecans in the rest of the brioche. So for those who don’t eat nuts on Rosh Hashanah I think it should be fairly easy to remove the few pecans and still enjoy the sticky-buns.

The brioche was a little smaller than I anticipated it to be, after having seen an ad for it in the newspaper. It was about the size of 3 sticky-buns baked together and cost 37.90 NIS. As I think I mentioned in my review of Roladin's Oznei Haman Roladin is a more expensive bakery/café. As tasty as their products might be I don’t usually think their prices are justified. Although I did enjoy this Honey Caramel Sticky-Bun Brioche I still thought it was a little overpriced.  

Bottom Line I liked Roladin's Honey Caramel Sticky-Bun Brioche. I think it would make the perfect indulgent and sweet "breakfast treat" for Rosh Hashanah morning. Although it lived up to my "sticky-bun" expectations I'm not sure it's an award winning cake. Then again I didn’t taste all the other cakes it was up against in the Israel Hayom "competition" so it may have deserved the first place in their taste test after all. 

Kosher Dairy - Rabbinate Jerusalem

1 Cake 37.90 NIS

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

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Elite's Honey Hazelnut & Almond and Elite's White-Chocolate with Almond Pieces Chocolate Bars

 שוקולד עלית דבש אגוזים ושקדים
I noticed two new Elite chocolate bars on the supermarket shelve last week. One was a Milk Chocolate Bar with Honey, Hazelnut & Almonds and the second one was a White Chocolate Bar with Almond Pieces.

I know I've been reviewing quite a few chocolates recently (including from Merci & Loacker) and I still may have a few more chocolate reviews to post before the Holiday. It seems that Rosh Hashanah is a very popular time to début new chocolate. Many people are looking for treats to help sweeten the new year for their family and friends. So here are two more options to choose from.

Honey Hazelnut & Almond Milk Chocolate Bar
It took about a second for the strong honey flavor to overpower the chocolate taste of this Honey Hazelnut & Almond Milk Chocolate bar. If you’re a fan of say honey cake I think you might enjoy this honey flavored milk chocolate bar. It has the distinct sweet taste honey is known for.

This chocolate bar is also "chock full of nuts". They add wonderful texture, flavor and crunch to the chocolate bar. I just wish the Parah chocolates were a little bit of a better quality chocolate and didn’t seem so chalky to me.

Bottom Line: Given what a big star honey is over the Rosh Hashanah holiday this Honey Hazelnut & Almond Milk Chocolate bar can be a perfect Rosh Hashanah treat for anyone who enjoys Elite's Parah line of chocolates.   

White-Chocolate with Almond Pieces Chocolate Bar

שוקולד לבן עם שקדים של עלית
The White-Chocolate With Almonds didn’t seem all that unique to me. It was exactly what I expected it to be; Elite's Parah white-chocolate with an abundant amount of chopped almond bits. Only problem is, as I mentioned above, I always find the Parah line of chocolates to be a little "grainy". This chocolate bar was "OK" but it's far from a high quality chocolate.

I was sort of surprised that Elite has yet to make a white-chocolate bar with almonds but it clearly said "NEW" on the wrapper. I noticed that both of these chocolate bars are part of Elite's "Megadim" line, which has a Badatz Hecsher 

I looked to see if maybe it's only new to the Megadim line. I didn't see a white-chocolate with almonds anywhere else among the many Elite Parah chocolates in the candy aisle or on Elites website, so maybe it actually is new to the Elite Parah line of chocolates or maybe it's just new to me?

Bottom Line: if you like almonds and Elite's Parah white-chocolate, you're likely to enjoy this White-Chocolate with Almond Pieces. I personally think there are much better quality chocolate bars available to choose from.

100 gram chocolate bar – 7.49 NIS

Kosher Dairy Badatz

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

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Merci's Box of Dark-Chocolate Fingers

מרסי שוקולד מריר
Merci; known for their fine-quality, yet inexpensive, chocolates has a new Dark-Chocolate box on the market, just in time for Rosh Hashanah. Like the Loacker's Rose Of The Dolomites bon-bons, I recently reviewed, this Merci box of chocolates would also make a sweet hostess gift for the upcoming holiday.

There are 4 different flavors in this new box of dark-chocolate fingers; Dark Cream, Coffee & Cream, Dark Mousse and Marzipan.

I don’t think the flavors are new to Merci. If I'm not mistaken they are all available in the "classic" box of Merci Chocolates as well. The difference is that in this new box you get five of each dark-chocolate flavor, whereas in the classic box I think you only get two or three of each, because the classic box also has milk-chocolate fingers. So if you're a dark-chocoholic, like I am, you should be really happy to have all 20 chocolate fingers be dark-chocolate flavors.

As I was tasting the assortment of chocolates I thought they were fairly good and actually much better quality than many dark-chocolates I've tasted. They each had a rich and distinctive flavor that I enjoyed. That is until I came to the marzipan filled dark-chocolate finger. I'm not a fan of marzipan at all but I think those that are, will enjoy this Merci marzipan filled chocolate finger, because from what I can tell, Merci's chocolates seem to be made of fine-quality luxurious ingredients.

This new Dark-Chocolate Merci box joins Merci's Classic and Merci's Milk-Chocolate box of fingers, as well as their "petit" chocolates that are available in a heart shaped box and smaller bags. The bags can always be empted into a candy bowl for pretty presentation.

Bottom Line: I think Merci's Box of Dark-Chocolate Fingers will make a superb thank you gift for any and all who enjoy dark-chocolate.

250 gram box of chocolates 19.99 NIS

Kosher Dairy Rabbinate Berlin Germany approved by Chief Rabbinate of Israel
לאוכלי חלב נוכרי

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

Monday, September 19, 2011

Starkist Tuna 99 Calorie Containers

Starkist Tuna; one of the leading canned tuna sellers here in Israel, have a new mini tuna can on the market. The new tuna tins come in three flavors; Tuna in Olive Oil, Tuna in Olive Oil with Lemon and Tuna in Olive Oil with Herbs.

טונה סטארקיסט באריזת 99 קלוריות

If I'm not mistaken, these three tunas in olive oil are not new. I think it's only the packaging that's new.

If and when I eat canned tuna I normally go for the tuna in water so the Starkist Mini Tuna in Olive Oil with Lemon that I tasted was new to me. I really enjoyed it. I liked the touch of lemon and I thought the olive oil added a nice flavor as well.  

 These new tins are very convenient for taking to the office for lunch or on a picnic outing. They come with a hard plastic cap for reclosing the tin once its been opened. This new cap worked really well for me.

It also has a mini plastic fork attached to the inside of the cap. I had a very difficult time actually eating with the mini fork. Maybe small children would be able to use it but I think it's more of a gimmick than a real and usable utensil.

Part of Starkist's intention with this product is to help people who are looking for easy convenient ways to stay on their food plan or diet. Each tin is a 99 calorie portion. I thought the amount of tuna in the tin was the perfect portion size for me.

Bottom Line: I enjoyed the Starkist Tuna in Olive Oil with Lemon. I also really liked that I could re-close the tin with the new hard plastic cover. I thought the portion size was convenient but I'm not sure that the high price is worth the extra convenience.

95 gram (net weight) re-closable tin – 5.79 NIS
(I got them at Mega Bul 2 for 10.00 NIS)

Kosher Parve Badatz

 Update: Winner of 2012 Product of the Year Award Israel

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

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Elite's Honey Roll Nut Cream Filled Cake

For this new "Rosh Hashanah cake" Elite teamed up with Yad Mordechai; one of Israel's leading honey manufactures, to give us a Honey Roll Cake with Nut Cream Filling. 

רולדת דבש עם קרם אגוזים של עלית

Given that I'm not usually a fan of any commercial cakes that Elite (or Osem, among others) makes, I wasn't going to review this cake at all, but when I saw it on sale (at Rami Levy) it seemed a bit "unique" to me. The fact that it’s a honey roll cake and has a nut cream filling intrigued me. I decided to give it a try.

When I opened the package this Honey Roll Cake with Nut Cream Filling looked pretty. I liked the thin layer of milk-chocolate at the bottom; I thought dipping the roll cake in chocolate like that was a nice extra touch.

The cake was soft and spongy. It had a definite honey flavor but it was not totally overpowering, like many mass-produced honey cakes tend to be. Still, if you don’t like honey cake you most likely would not enjoy this one either. I guess I can call it a "Lighter Honey Cake" but it's absolutely a honey cake.

It's also absolutely mass-produced! Very quickly all things I dislike about such commercial cakes kicked in. There was a very powdery "flour" aftertaste to the cake that I really did not enjoy.

I didn’t really taste the cashews or hazelnuts in the nut filling. It seemed to be  somewhat more like shortening than cream; I certainly did not enjoy that.

Even the thin layer of chocolate at the bottom disappointed me; I thought it had  a waxy aftertaste.

Bottom Line: I liked the "idea" of Elite's Honey Roll Cake with Nut Cream Filling but in my opinion it had all the downfalls of a mass-produces commercial cake and I didn’t enjoy eating it. 

300 gram cake 11.99 NIS (was on sale for 8.00 NIS)

Kosher Dairy OU
חלב ישראל

(I didn’t want to spend any money on Osem's two latest cakes; Chocolate & Caramel Crumb Cake and Cherry Crumb Cake because judging from all the past Osem cakes I've tasted, I was almost sure I would not like them. If you tried either or both of the new Osem crumb cakes I would love to know what you thought of them, thanks :)

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

Friday, September 16, 2011

Elite's Gift-Basket Website

מתנות מתוקות ומעוצבות באתר של עלית

If you're looking for a candy filled

"gift basket" for

friends, family or employees

in honor of the upcoming

Rosh Hashanah holiday

Elite's new website

may be the place to look

You can find fun, colorful

gift boxes

filled with all sorts of Elite treats

 for almost any occasion

Most of the packages cost 149 NIS

They have some with wine and gifts

that cost a bit more

I also saw smaller gifts

in the 19 to 90 NIS range

They even have greeting cards

with a chocolate finger added

that cost 14 NIS

Although the site is completely in Hebrew

they seem to have a lot of

photos that may

help you navigate and

choose the perfect gift for your needs

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