Category Archives: a food lover

Food Review: The Ginger People

 

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“The Ginger People is the leading brand of ginger in North America. With state-of-the-art ginger factories in both California and Australia, we take pride in being the most innovative, quality-oriented and environmentally conscious ginger producer in the world.”
Their products are also available in the UK, from places such as Holland and Barret, Julian Graves and independent health food shops.

After getting in touch with the kind folks at The Ginger People after reading a press release from them, I was lucky enough to be sent a box of samples to review. Here are my thoughts:

004 Gin Gins hard candy was the first product I sampled,
From the website these are described as "Double strength hard ginger candies made with all natural ingredients. Enjoy as an after dinner digestive or a throat lozenge to both warm and soothe.”
Both the box (bright yellow with the ginger people logo) and wrapper are eye catching and attractive. The sweets are individually wrapped making them perfect for popping in your pocket or bag. The ingredients list is reassuringly short: cane sugar, glucose syrup, ginger and three sweets contain just 35 calories.

The taste? Fantastic. Strong, but not too strong ginger and not too sweet. I had a cold when I tried these and they really did soothe my sore throat and provided a warm feeling against the Autumn chill. I now keep a handful in my handbag for when sore throats, or nausea strike, or I just fancy a  taste of winter.

001 Next up to be tasted was Gin Gins Boost “Gin Gins BOOST is a super-delicious, super-soothing candy packed with a whopping 30% fresh ginger – our most potent candy yet!”
Again these came attractively packaged and individually wrapped. The ingredients for these are:  cane sugar, glucose, ginger, modified cassava starch, non-hydrogenated palm kernel oil (trans fat free), salt, soy lecithin and they contain the same calories as the hard candy.

Were they strong? Yes! But not too strong for this hardened ginger addict. These sweets are slightly chewy with a deeper taste than the original Gin Gins, a little reminiscent of some kind of toffee, without the jaw breaking stickiness.  As promised, these were fantastic whilst travelling (I tested this by reading a book in the car, an activity that usually brings about much nausea) and again, I keep a handful in my bag.

002 Moving on to the Ginger Chews, I firstly tried the original version. These are bigger in size than the Gin Gins and the packaging is slightly more muted in it’s colouring. “America’s #1 selling ginger candy and winner of Fiery Food Association’s Scovie Award for "Best Candy," our Original Ginger Chews are natural, stimulating and delicious. Given ginger’s queasy-quelling properties, Ginger Chews are great to fight off nausea while flying boating or going on a bumpy road trip. Surprisingly and satisfyingly spicy. The only candy that bites you back!”

These chews are 20 calories a piece and just three ingredients: cane sugar, ginger, tapioca starch. They are also gluten free and all natural.

Taste wise, this have a good ginger kick and a fantastic stiff, almost jelly sweet like texture. Wonderfully addictive the box didn’t last long once opened and I am thankful that the Julian Graves near me keeps these in stock!

003 By far, my favourite variant from the range was the Peanut Ginger Chew.
”Like the coveted cashews in a bowl of mixed nuts, Peanut Ginger Chews are the first ones to disappear first from our company candy dish. Our delicious peanut ginger candies are reminiscent of those chewy peanut treats from our childhoods. Peanut Ginger Chews capture the gentle sweet heat of ginger and the nutty goodness of peanuts. Beyond yummy, ginger and peanuts are also rich in antioxidants. Satisfy your warmest and nuttiest desires with these exceedingly pleasing candies.”

Again, each chew contains 20 calories and the ingredients are: cane sugar, ground peanuts, ginger, tapioca starch. CONTAINS: Peanuts.

These were just fantastic, they had a richer, darker taste than any of the other products, and having never tried ginger combined with peanut, I was wonderfully surprised at how well the two worked together. These are definitely one to track down if you are a ginger fan, they make the perfect Autumn sweet treat.

Other products in the range include ginger drinks, cooking sauces and crystallized ginger.

They seem to be a bit elusive to track down in the UK, but I’ve done some searching and found the full range of Gin Gins and Ginger chews on www.amazon.co.uk by searching for “the ginger people”, you’ll also find products available here https://www.yourhealthfoodstore.co.uk. Hopefully other online retailers will soon start stocking them! For US readers, you’ll find these treats widely available online.

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Gift Guide Part One: Chocolateque

 

With Christmas fast approaching; 73 days if we’re being exact, if you haven’t already started shopping for gifts you soon will be.

We’re going to give you a helping hand by showcasing small businesses, putting together guides for specific family members and friendship groups and tracking down gifts to suit all budgets. From high fashion to hand made, you’ll find it all here.

Today we are kicking off with Part One, in which we introduce you to the online retailer of delicious sounding chocolates, made by Frederic Blondeel Belgium based company Chocolateque.

Frederic is famous in Belgium and abroad (especially in Japan) because of his exquisite skill to combine texture and flavour.
Can’t Help but Be are most tempted by the following:

  • Crispy Vanilla Caramel (Cralin M)
  • Sweet and Salty Green tea (Green Tea M)
  • Wasabi combined with Dark Chocolate (Wasabi F)
  • Pepper and Spicy Chilli (Charles Hot F)
  • Earl Grey (Earl Grey F)

For details of all the flavours available, visit the website, here

The chocolates are available in a variety of presentations for perfect gifts,
The boxes of chocolates start at 14.50 Euros for 250g (approx 25 chocolates) and are beautifully put together

ballotin_caramel  Caramel box

Also available are the beautiful looking Orangettes and Citronettes costing 6.95 Euros. We are most intrigued by these and think they would make a beautiful addition to any festive get together.

organgetes Orangettes

Chocolate bars are also in the range, but are currently sold out, but due to be re-launched with new packaging by the end of October.

All Chocolates are shipped via courier straight from Belgium
Postage to the UK costs £9 per order, which may be a little expensive for some, but given the rave reviews and great reputation of the company and chocolates, we think this is a small price to pay for an indulgent treat or gift for someone you love (or yourself, of course!)

Check out the website today and see what tempts you the most

You can also follow Chocolateque on Twitter for up to date news and coupons.

Already tried these chocolates?
Any flavour you especially like the sound of?

Get in touch, we love to hear from you!

(stay tuned for the next gift guide, coming soon)

Food Review: Cocoa Loco

By Laura

Cocoa Loco are crazy about organic chocolate. Their online shop offers a wide range of gifts for all occasions, including Brownies, Cookies, Gift Jars and so much more.

Can’t Help but Be were lucky enough to be sent a box of goodies to review, and so, for the sake of our readers we indulged in a chocolate tasting session of massive portions.

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The package arrived beautifully wrapped in yellow tissue paper and the chocolate was present well in clear cellophane with stickers bearing the Cocoa Loco logo, product name and ingredients list.
It was hard to know where to start, as everything looked, and smelled so good…after much deliberation we dived in and went for:

Cocoa Loco Buttons

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We were sent a bag of the milk chocolate variety, which cost £4.99 (inc delivery) for 140g. The buttons also come in a white chocolate pack, and dark chocolate (which is vegan friendly).

The website states that these are “100% scrumptious” and we agreed whole heartedly. The chocolate was incredibly smooth and not too sweet with a rich quality that meant you couldn’t eat the whole pack at once (despite us trying!). We first tried them at room temperature, and then out of the fridge. Either way, these were a gorgeous treat perfect for children and adults alike.

Organic Chocolate Bites; Dark Chocolate, Hazelnuts and Cocoa Nibs

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These aren’t yet available on the website, only in shops but they were too good not to include in the review. The dark chocolate was pleasingly bitter, with a crisp sweetness from the nuts and cocoa nibs. If you like dark chocolate then this is the treat for you. We preferred them straight from the fridge for some extra bite, but they work well served at room temperature as well.

Handmade Organic Chocolate Bar (milk and orange)

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Cocoa Loco do a large range of Handmade Chocolate bars with flavours ranging from simple milk, plain or white through to the more obscure white rose geranium. We sample the milk and orange bar, which (as do all the bars) weighed in at 100g and costs £4.99 inc delivery.

The chocolate was superb, Cocoa Loco clearly know their stuff, and the orange flavour was mild. This was another very pleasing product, our only complaint was that the bar was very thin so wasn’t as satisfying to eat. Still, none went to waste and we very much enjoyed this. Again, this would be the perfect present for all ages and there is certainly something for everyone flavour wise.

Flapjack

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This was another product not listed on the website, which is a shame as it is divine and I want more of it! The bar was very generous in it’s serving size and perhaps we should have split it in to two portions! There wasn’t much chocolate present but it made a fantastic afternoon snack and the addition of nuts really made the bar.

I must add that we were also sent a brownie to review, however it didn’t last long enough to be reviewed….it was amazing though!

Chocolate Orange Bites

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Another product not yet available online, and another orange themed chocolate. These were probably the star of the parcel we received! A stronger orange flavour than the bar and a much chunkier bite, these lasted all of thirty seconds between three of us once opened and we’re still dreaming of them days later. Incredible. These need to be on sale everywhere, pronto.

White Chocolate and Chilli Bites

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Again, not listed on the website, but there is a white chilli chocolate bar available (£4.99). These are certainly not for the faint hearted. Gorgeous, rich white chocolate with the flavour of the chilli gradually building up in to a quite intense heat. A gorgeously grown up gift, preferably to yourself.

So, on the whole, not one bad product,

the website www.cocoaloco.co.uk is well worth a visit as it showcases the full range of bars and gifts available and tells the story of the company, their ethics and the people who work there.

It’s quite clear that a lot of love and passion for all things chocolate goes in to making each and every piece and the staff are welcoming and open to enquiries about the range, and non-online stockists.

With thanks to Cocoa Loco for providing us with the chance to sample their gorgeous goods! We will definitely be placing an order in time for Christmas.

Food Review: Nibchoc

By Eloise for Cant Help but Be

We all love that pleasure that chocolate gives us, the comfort and feeling of indulgence it brings with it’s familiar taste, but how many of us would love to eat it and not feel the guilt afterwards? Well, prepare yourselves because now you can! The wonderful people at Nibchoc have developed their chocolate to be

“more than chocolate…without the guilt”.

Yes, you read it correctly; without the guilt. Now I know you may be thinking this sounds too good to be true but I’m here to tell you it isn’t. Nibchoc truly is an amazing taste experience, and with it being vegan friendly, low fat and fewer calories than normal chocolate it is a true pleasure.

The secret of this product is in it’s origins- the chocolates are produced with as few and as good quality ingredients as possible. Instead of using heavy manufacturing techniques which rid them  of their beneficial nutrients, nib choc use the chocolate nib in it’s purest form. The result- chocolate that’s good for you!

But how does it taste? Well, I was extremely lucky to receive sample chocolates from their range to try and I was blown away. The first thing that hit me as I opened my box of bountiful treats was the aroma. Forget the smell of mass produced chocolate, this is a heady mix of cocoa that tingles your nose and arouses your taste buds. It puts other chocolate into the shade, a bit like the first time you smell real coffee and realise how instant coffee just doesn’t compare.

In my box was a selection of chocolates, all square and dense but imprinted with various toppings- I had great fun using the ‘menu’ they supplied guessing the identity of each. And believe me, your nose is one of the best tools for the job- unlike mass produced chocolates these truly smell of their contents- no artificial perfumes added, just the natural beauty contained within.

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My first taste was the macadamia nut– a whole nut sat proudly amongst the nib choc. The texture of nib choc was a lovely surprise, I had worried it may crumble and dry in your mouth but I couldn’t have been more wrong. Instead a wonderfully rich chocolate hit coated my mouth but then it went so smooth and cleansed my palate- it really was a lovely light chocolate that left me wanting more.

The goji berry was my next try, and I may be alone here, but the whole goji berry phenomenon has passed me by. I tried a dried goji berry a few months back and was not impressed by the so called super fruit but I was wrong. This chocolate wasn’t just my favourite it was one of the nicest things I’d eaten in a long time! The heady strength of the nib choc was cleansed away with the most beautiful fruity taste, like a mouthful of summer, it was delicious- so delicious I could happily have eaten an entire box full of just those!

My box was brimming with flavours, manuka honey (the only non-vegan one in their range), vanilla and rose petal that was so pretty as it was sprinkled with delicate pink petals almost too pretty to eat (but I managed it and was delighted by this beauty), coffee– the scent of which immediately transported me to a coffee bar and it’s entire coffee bean nestled in the nib choc was a total delight as well as the original pure nib bite which was a chocoholics dream.

I do however have one confession, the nib choc with chilli was not to my taste. Perhaps it was because I had spoiled myself with other yummy flavours but I found this chocolate a little too dense and somewhat dry for my taste. But don’t take my word for it, we all have our favourites and one’s we prefer in a box of chocolates, it’s what makes sharing them even more fun!

The nib choc website www.nibchoc.com  is full to the brim with information, nutritional facts and of course provide the online shop where you can buy their entire range of goodies. If you are lucky enough you may even find nib choc in a store near you, the list of their current suppliers in England and Scotland are found here http://www.nibchoc.com/contact.php .

I really would recommend these to any chocolate lover, the fact they are vegan, diabetic and celiac friendly does not mean they lack in flavour nor substance. Far from it, this chocolate is pure indulgence and without the guilt!

Your Low-Cal Shop

By Laura

A few weeks ago I posted my review on PB2 powdered peanut butter, noting that the one place it’s available to buy in the UK is a site I’d never come across before: Your Low-Cal Shop

Simone Jacobs, the owner of the store got in touch to tell me a little bit about herself and her business and so that’s what I’m going to share today.

Simone Jacobs became obese at the age of eight and continued to gain weight until she became morbidly obese in her early twenties. After many unsuccessful attempts at weight loss, her doctors warning of impending illness finally gave her the wake- up call she needed to do something about her unhealthy size.

At 31 years old, and after finally reaching her goal weight (losing over 10 stone), Simone realized that a new chapter in her life had begun. She now faced new challenges on how to maintain her weight loss, and found the answer in a new career in the Low Cal food industry. After starting her business from home, of selling low cal dressings and sauces, her business has now grown into a full service E Commerce shop called Your Low-Cal Shop.

Your Low Cal Shop carries a variety of no calorie and low calorie delicious products such as coffee flavourings, cooking sprays, puddings, snacks, sauces and sensational peanut butter. The product line is continuously expanding and Simone is always asking for feedback and suggestions from consumers on her website.

In a short amount of time, and after a lot of hard work, Your Low Cal Shop has become the online destination of choice for a delicious selection of healthy foods to help you maintain a balanced lifestyle.

For more information, please visit the website: www.your-lowcalshop.com

The shop is a treasure trove of goods that have until now, only been available to the USA.
Perfect for dieters and those who like to save their calories for the main part of their meal, I’m most intrigued by Walden Farms Apricot Fruit Spread (£3.99), Froops Natural Apple Crisps (79p) and of course my beloved PB2, as well as flavoured Splenda packets for your morning coffee.

Simone is currently on an adventure in America tracking down new products for the shop and according to the website we can look forward to Low Carb Protein Cereals later this month. The website also features a newsletter and recipes, which include a tempting sounding PB2 French toast. Shipping starts at £3.50 for up to 1kg of products, which in my eyes is a bargain..much, much cheaper than a flight to the USA after all.

Simone,
many thanks for getting in touch with Can’t Help but Be, we look forward to seeing more from your shop and wish you the very best of luck with it.

Food Review: LoveDean Granola

By Laura

I’m a breakfast cereal fiend, I can’t think of a cereal I’ve ever tried and didn’t like. My favourite variety has to be granola though, for it’s versatility and health benefits, so when I came across LoveDean I was immediately intrigued.

LoveDean Granola is an award winning cereal freshly made with jumbo oats, nuts and seeds which are slowly toasted with oils including hemp and pumpkin, and is sweetened only by honey. Free of all E numbers and preservatives LoveDean is endorsed by many well known nutritionists and celebrity chefs and has won several awards since it’s launch in 2005.

There are four varieties of granola in  range making it perfect for the whole family, choose from:

  • The Famous Original
  • Tangy Cranberry
  • Juicy Date and Apple
  • The Lite Fantastic (containing 37% less fat)

I was lucky enough to be sent a pot of The Famous Original to try out and share my thoughts with Can’t Help but Be.

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The plastic tub packaging (which is perfect for re-using for snacks on the go) is practical and looks sleek and classy. It also means the granola stays incredibly fresh and makes it easy to dip your hand in and snack throughout the day.

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I sampled the granola in several ways, initially just scooping out a handful for that all important initial tasting.

My verdict?
Impressive. Instead of being overly sweet as many breakfast cereals tend to be, this had a rich, dark taste and the flavours from the nuts and seeds shone through.

I also tried some for breakfast with both hot and cold milk; sprinkled over Greek Yoghurt and fruit, and I think it would be a wonderful addition to a fruit crumble topping too.

My only warning to you, readers, is that this is addictive stuff. Once you start eating it you cannot stop
(but considering this is so healthy, there is no need for guilt!)

Visit LoveDean at their website (www.lovedeangranola.com) for further information, many recipe ideas and stockists.
Currently LoveDean is sold at most of the UK Waitrose Stores and will hopefully soon be back up and running with mail order.

You can also read more about LoveDean creator Lucy O’Donnell here. An incredibly friendly and multi-talented woman, she’s on to a winner with her granola creations.

Food Review: PB2 powdered peanut butter

By Laura

I know what your thinking;
something along the lines of “What on earth is powdered peanut butter?” and “How can it possibly taste good?”
Allow me to explain.

PB2 is a fairly recent product from www.bellplantation.com
Their website states: “PB2 is made with premium quality peanuts that are slow-roasted to our specifications and pressed to remove the fat”.

It’s an all natural product containing no artificial sweeteners or preservatives, with the same consistency and flavour of full fat peanut butter but containing 85% less fat calories per serving.

Bell Plantation were kind enough to send me some samples of both the original PB2 and the newer chocolate variety to test out, after I contacted them wondering how it could possibly work. Here are my thoughts.

pb2_new_label2 A serving of PB2 consists of 2 tablespoons of the powder, mixed with approx 1 tablespoon of water, although I found I needed a bit more than this to get a good consistency for spreading on my sandwich. It can also be used in it’s powder form as a  mix in for yoghurt, shakes and any other liquid based food you care to think up (I’m planning on trying it in porridge next time I make some). A 2 tablespoon serving carries 50 calories and 2g of fat, making it an excellent choice for those watching their weight. It was very easy to mix up, producing a smooth paste with a strong peanut butter smell ( a good sign!). I was half expecting a powdery taste to the product but didn’t notice this at all, it tasted to me, very much like normal peanut butter but with a thinner, less sticky texture. This suited me fine as the main reason I don’t eat much peanut butter is that it sticks to the inside of my mouth too much. The serving size was generous and perfect for 2 slices of toast and I didn’t feel like I was eating the low fat, low calorie alternative.  I can see this being a staple product due to it’s versatile nature and guilt free advantages.

I also tried the original variety as a dip for crudités, which worked very well, especially paired with carrot sticks.

chocpb2-6 The chocolate variation of PB2 follows the same serving size and water ratio as the original. The calories are slightly higher, but not by much.
Again, I tried this on toast and it was fantastic. Just like nutella but less thick and with peanuts. It was a little bit sweeter, which I didn’t mind as I have a very sweet tooth, and again, felt like a much more decadent treat than the nutritional values would have you believe.

The website has heaps of recipes and uses for PB2, with suggestions such as cake frosting, smoothies and as an ingredient in cakes and pancakes. On my last check there were some 102 recipes and suggestions listed.

PB2 and Chocolate PB2 is available to order online through www.bellplantation.com for US and Canada residents and via www.yourlow-calshop.com for UK folks.

My final verdict: don’t be put off by the idea of this, it really does taste like the real thing and is easy to use. It’s also great in that you can just mix up what you need, meaning no sneaking spoonfuls of peanut butter from the jar (I know you do it too!). A versatile and all round useful addition to the store cupboard, PB2 is well worth the £5.99 price tag.

(photos, with thanks to www.bellplantation.com)