Tag: Cost Plus World Market

Fruit Gums – Nestle’s Sour Candy – A Critical Review

Fruit Gums – Nestle’s Sour Candy – A Critical Review

Fruit Gums are sour! Above and beyond what is normal for my dull taste palette. Seeing my pinched-faced reaction to the sour candy made my husband chuckle, though. He enjoyed the Fruit Gums, finding them pleasantly tangy and flavorful. If my fellow American has overlooked this particular candy, then allow me to describe who makes the sour candies, where to find them, and how they taste.

Nestle, a British-Owned Company Known Throughout the USA

Rowntree created both Fruit Gums and Fruit Pastilles.

I have very fond memories about – what I considered – the world’s best chocolate candy bar, named Crunch. Located in Oregon for a family reunion during my childhood, my father sat me down and happily explained to me about the Nestle company. Sadly, I retained nothing but the name: Nestle.

On the other hand, when I found out about Nestle’s British roots, I was ecstatic! For I learned I’ve been enjoying British candy since my childhood. And now I’ve learned about the company’s expansion into other food products, such as Fruit Gums.

To be specific, Fruit Gums comes from Nestle’s subcompany, called Rowntree. From this subcompany comes the various and distinctly British candies. Today I will talk about their traditional-flavored sour Fruit Gums.

Where to Find Nestle’s Fruit Gums in USA’s Northern California

We loaded up on all the UK candy.

Anyone who has searched through my previous blog posts will know exactly how much I love two particular markets in Northern California: Nugget Markets being my top favorite, and Cost Plus World Market standing solidly at second place. In this particular instance, the sour Fruit Gums came from Cost Plus World Market.

I remember writing before about the wide variety of British foods and candies found at Cost Plus World Market. There had once been question as to their products’s origins. However, the market’s products seem to  actually come from other countries, for my British friends seem to recognize the candy.

Earlier in Spring 2017, Alex and I had the opportunity to load up on British candy from this particular market. Unfortunately, we will need to load up again at a later date, for it went bad from the 100ºF and plus weather, which the Sacramento Valley has been suffering under for months. Therefore, to provide my readers with the full British experience, I will need to buy them again to review them!

We Know the Fruit Gums are Sour, but How Else Do They Taste?

We had opened the candy roll with great anticipation.

Before answering this question, I need to clarify a point: These particular Fruit Gums I tried were traditional Fruit Gums, and they had no relation to the intentionally, painfully, and saliva-inducing sour variety. For me, the traditional Fruit Gums have their very own ability to induce saliva. This downgraded the candy, in my opinion.

Otherwise, the Fruit Gums had very pleasant flavors. The traditional flavor list includes blackcurrant, orange, strawberry, and lemon and lime. Admittedly, I had no clue about how the blackcurrant would taste. Upon first biting into the small candy, I thought the candy had molded. Alex corrected me, emphasizing on blackcurrant’s somewhat bitter flavor – at least, bitter according to this American, who dearly loves her sweets. Once I realized my mistake, I thoroughly enjoyed all the flavors!

Alex enjoyed the grid on the candy’s top, but that seems to be where most of the sourness came from. Moreover, only people who enjoy hard candies, like Alex, would enjoy Fruit Gums, for they were made to be hard and chewy. Those who prefer softer candies, like me, would prefer something else.

When Deciding to Try Fruit Gums for the First Time

I object, adamantly and vigorously, whenever I catch someone turning up his nose at a specific food or dish that he has never tried. Everyone has a different taste palette. Even if two people come from the same culture, or even the same family, their tastes can differ dramatically. Therefore, when the question comes on whether to try Fruit Gums or not, I will always encourage people to explore different cultural tastes. And to try the candy!

*      *     *     *     *

Have you ever tried Fruit Gums? If yes, did you find them bitter and sour, or chewy and flavorful? What about the Fruit Pastilles? Have you ever tried them? How do you like them compared to Fruit Gums?

Yes, Honey, I’ll Eat ‘After Eight’

Yes, Honey, I’ll Eat ‘After Eight’

Nineteenth century English gentlemen and ladies would sometimes dine at eight o’clock in the evening. (So I say based purely on Jane Austen literature!) The dining time was especially practiced if said gentleman or lady had guests over for dinner.

However, Alex doesn’t expect me to dine late into the evening. He does expect me to eat his share of savory chocolate mints. And teasing me for eating After Eight mints simply makes him laugh!

Who Makes ‘After Eight’ and Where They’re Sold

A treat that stands above the rest.

It’s a crying disappointment how Nestle withholds these savory and mouthwatering chocolate mints from average American grocers. When searching for information on Nestle’s website, I found I had to change my country to “UK and Ireland” in order to simply find the mints!

Nevertheless, all is not lost. After some searching, I found two or three retail grocers who carried After Eight mints. This particular box I found came from – You guessed it! – Cost Plus World Market. This store had it discretely shelved on a lower shelf opposite the popular, worldwide candies. At least, so it was at this particular location in Northern California.

What Nestle Says About These Popular UK Treats

A social treat for family and friends.

Nestle talks about the elegance and savory flavoring of the After Eight mints, of course. But what I found interesting was the predominant ingredients in the mint. These ingredients include dark chocolate, 100% natural peppermint oil, and most unexpected of them all – fondant!

Originally, when Nestle first produced these savory mints, the advertisements appeared on television early after eight o’clock. The product’s design was based on an antique baroque, silver clock, as seen currently on the individual mint covers. And according to Nestle’s statistics, 50% of the mints consumed in the UK are After Eight mints.

What Drew Me To Them – ‘After Eight’ Aesthetics

Whoever designed the packaging, both the box and the individual wrappers, must have done extensive research. Several qualities exist that draw the buyers in:

  • After Eight mints are social mints. Twenty mints are included to share among a group, whether they be family or friends.
  • The outer packaging quietly draws attention to itself, telling us to look at its savory products.
  • Nestle officially labeled the product as ‘After Eight – Mint Chocolaty Thins’ with visually appealing letters.
  • The individual wrappers are – pardon my American vocabulary – thin and crinkly with beautiful golden clock designs.

 

Need I Describe How ‘After Eight’ Mints Taste?

As all the ladies and gentlemen say, “Yum!”

Once I learned about the 100% natural peppermint oil included in the delicacy, I was sold. To taste a smooth, creamy mint sounded like a good reason to stay at home in the evening. And as Alex and I soon learned upon purchasing the product, I was right.

The strong peppermint flavor leaves a strong, but pleasant, aftertaste. One mint satisfies me. Although, Nestle recommends five After Eight mints as a serving size. The portion is up to the consumer, as it always is. Overall, I highly recommend the product.

P.S. Don’t let the price scare you! The eight to nine dollar purchase price are dollars well spent!

HP Sauce, Mushy Peas, and Cromwell Somerdale Cheese Make for One Delicious British-Style Supper

HP Sauce, Mushy Peas, and Cromwell Somerdale Cheese Make for One Delicious British-Style Supper

Cooked and consumed before Alex’s and my wedding, this special supper included several British foods and sauces found at Northern California markets.

“Hold on. Don’t Mushy Peas belong with Bangers & Mash?” asked my loved one. “And shouldn’t we eat the Cromwell Somerdale cheese with the most common British bread?”

Preparing to cook.

“Yes,” I replied. “But we, as nothing but poor and unlucky Americans, need to eat the local beef and the frozen dinner rolls before they go bad.” (In this instance, I was half joking and half serious. I may not be lucky, but God provides me with many blessings.)

And so Alex, my parents, and I ate a sirloin steak dinner with British-style side dishes and sauces. Please allow me to detail the scrumptious meal.

Small Sirloin Steaks Completely Covered in HP Sauce

Sirloin steaks bought from a store fall somewhere between “tasty” and “merely acceptable” most of the time. On this night, Alex and I cooked the evening meal. Later we learned the steaks we served fell right dab in the middle.

Cooking the sirloin steaks and heating the Mushy Peas.

To help flavor everyone’s steak, I placed HP Sauce on the table. Browsing through Cost Plus World Market earlier in the week had enabled me to find this popular British sauce. Squealing with delight, I had snatched it quickly off the shelf.

Before tasting the sauce, I slathered it on my small sirloin. I was sure I would like it, and I was right. To me, who grew up with Worcestershire Sauce and A1 Sauce, it tasted like a mix between these two popular American sauces. How would my UK friends describe this sauce?

Mushy Peas Served as the Required Greens

Earlier in the year, Alex and I had cooked, eaten, and posted about home-cooked British Bangers and Mash. When Alex re-posted the blog post on Facebook, one friend said in mock-outrage, “What about the Mushy Peas?” We were confused.

The main side dishes and sauces for the meal.

So, after a little research, we realized either Heinz Beans or Mushy Peas could serve as a side dish to the popular dish. We decided to try the Mushy Peas, and found them at both Cost Plus World Market and Nugget Markets. If I remember correctly, the product was slightly cheaper at Nugget Markets.

On the night we cooked, I heated the Mushy Peas over the stove-top until the wooden spoon glided through the mush. Serving them in a simple dish, I scooped some unto my dinner plate to try. They tasted like……peas. More accurately, they tasted like my mother’s split-pea soup. Alex enjoyed them, and I found them tolerably good.

Cromwell Somerdale Cheese because We Wanted to Cut the Cheese

Granted, serving cheese as a main side dish seems odd. However, Alex and I had found the cheese section at Nugget Markets. And among this grocer’s cheese selection were many, many imported cheeses, including French, German, Mexican, Irish, Scottish, and British! We had to try some.

Everything else…

After picking through the selection, we settled on the Cromwell Somerdale cheese. This looked particularly good because of the chives and onions within the cheddar cheese. According to a UK website selling the cheese, we should have grilled it. Regardless, Cromwell Somerdale cheese is good straight from the block as well.

Non-Alcoholic British Drinks for an American Soda-Drinking Family

Lastly comes the British beverages we found at Cost Plus World Market. While the store had a large alcoholic beverage selection, my family chooses to abstain from alcohol to prevent giving a bad example to others in our faith. So, I picked up four different flavors of the British soda beverages.

The meal laid out on the table for a scrumptious meal!

Looking at the picture now, I remember that I drank the Fentimans Curiosity Cola while everyone else drank the Barr’s sodas. The predominant feature I remember about the Curiosity Cola was how flat the beverage tasted. Whereas American soda pop has ample amounts of carbonation, this drink had none.

The flavor evades description. Again, I wonder how my British friends would describe the flavor? As for me, I recommend my American readers to go out, buy, and try this mystery drink for themselves!

This likely isn’t a traditional British meal. However, my family and I enjoyed the British flavoring found within the dishes. All it needs is some sort of potato, and it would be a British-style meat and potato supper!

Delectable Treats – Terry’s Milk Chocolate Oranges

Delectable Treats – Terry’s Milk Chocolate Oranges

Treats like these don’t grow on trees! Terry’s Milk Chocolate Oranges are mouth-watering, flavor-popping chocolates which open with a good, solid whack!

American born and bred, I raised my brow on first hearing Alex mention one of Great Britain’s most delectable treats: chocolate oranges. I questioned how chocolate could adequately include an orange flavor which would satisfy a fruit-lover. Since I don’t consider myself an orange connoisseur – something I shall never be due to the orange rind – I decided to someday test one.

Where We Found Terry’s Milk Chocolate Oranges

Terry’s Milk Chocolate Orange

On my day off from the drug store, Alex and I wandered over to a neighboring town. Once we had acquired and bought our day-to-day necessities, I asked to go to one more place to spend my Visa e-gift card. Where did we go? You guessed it: Cost Plus World Market!

The store manager at Vacaville’s location in the Nut Tree Plaza did the store harm in rejecting my Visa e-gift card. Especially since, when Alex and I stepped into the store, we were the only customers there. However! I am dedicated to this blog, and I enjoy trying British foods far too much to have turned away and never gone back.

Keeping a smile on my face, I headed toward the food section to see the available options. Lo and behold, the employees had set up an entire display promoting solely United Kingdom foods! British, Irish, and Scottish! I quickly spent my budgeted play money.

The Hard Decision between Terry’s Milk Chocolate Oranges and Terry’s Dark Chocolate Oranges

A whacked and unwrapped chocolate orange!

According to the chocolate orange experts, if eating a delectable treat with orange flavoring, then the best chocolate to use is dark chocolate. Health fans must cheer and share this opinion, since dark chocolate is supposedly healthier than milk chocolate. Someday I will try Terry’s Dark Chocolate Orange, but this time we chose Terry’s Milk Chocolate Orange.

Though I enjoy dark chocolate as well as milk, I let Alex decide on what to choose on that day. As the source behind all my chocolate orange knowledge, he knew what most people preferred. However, he chose the milk chocolate one. I happily plopped one into our shopping basket.

How Terry’s Milk Chocolate Oranges Look and Taste

A chocolate designed after a true orange.

The design on the chocolate is pleasing to the eye with its ridges imitating an orange’s rind and fruit. Whacking one of Terry’s chocolate oranges is also a fun way to enjoy a delectable treat. Moreover, if the weather climbs to 100 degrees or more, the chocolate oranges refrigerates well, for the chocolate oranges are still easy to bite into when refrigerated.

Terry’s Milk Chocolate Oranges taste smooth, sweet, and stupendous! The orange flavoring in the milk chocolate has a strong flavor, but isn’t overpowering. Terry’s uses orange oil, an ingredient that reminds me of the orange peel used in my mother’s orange rolls, nice and sweet.

Intending to please my sweet tooth, I had planned to eat half of this chocolate orange for breakfast. However, it was far too sweet! Though this fact guarantees I will buy more in the future. Unlike the recommended serving, I recommend savoring Terry’s Milk Chocolate Oranges and eating only two or three slices at a time, as opposed to five slices.

Just a Little History on Terry’s Chocolate Oranges

Terry’s Milk Chocolate Orange

Terry’s used to run their own organization in York, United Kingdom. Established in the mid to late 1700’s, they produced products (such as chocolate lemons for a little while) for several years before they first handed over the reigns to a larger organization. Mondelez Global now ultimately produces this particular Terry’s chocolate orange.

Poland manufactured the chocolate, on machines that also process nuts and wheat, and sends the chocolates around the world. Terry’s original recipes are currently held and processed from three different European countries. It closed its doors in York in 2005, one year after the delectable treats began exporting to the United States – to my great delight!

 

How to Make a Very UK Breakfast from Northern California Grocers

How to Make a Very UK Breakfast from Northern California Grocers

Back when Alex and I were still engaged and actively searching for ways to make United Kingdom foods, we stumbled across a means to make a very UK breakfast! Let me tell you where to find the items and our experience in making them.

Our Favorite Grocers Make a Very UK Breakfast Possible

Items needed for a very UK breakfast.

The necessary items for this meal came from grocers mentioned in previous posts: Nugget Markets and Cost Plus World Market. Few items were needed, and they included Irish scone mix, blackcurrant jam, and luxury clotted cream. Cost Plus World Market carried the scone mix and clotted cream, while Nugget Markets carried the British jam.

Alex’s research revealed UK citizens would normally eat larger breakfasts that included meat. While we hope to make such a breakfast someday, our budget allowed for a few tasty scones for breakfast this time around.

Two Inexperienced Bakers Fussing with a Scone Mix

Though I’ve made banana nut bread countless number of times, I’m relatively inexperienced as a baker. Having never made scones before, I was clueless about what to expect during the process of mixing and shaping the dough. Therefore, Alex caught some very messy pictures of a very messy Mary trying to knead some very messy dough.

The items used to make the scones.
Struggling to roll the dough.
Trying to place the unbaked scones on a baking sheet.

Eventually I learned what my trouble was after placing the first set of Irish scones on the baking sheet: I neglected to use enough flour. This was an easy mistake to fix, and soon the unbaked scones began to look like real scones.

One box created two such baking sheets of scones.

Alex stopped taking pictures after the first batch, because he thought the proper scones looked worse than the messy and hard-to-make scones. Something only a cook would think, not a baker.

How to Eat Scones in the UK Style

A new breakfast favorite.

Since in this scenario our very UK Breakfast consisted of Irish scones, we had to add a British element. To do this, Alex and I purchased more luxury clotted cream. When we learned about the English adding jam on top of clotted cream, we went out and found an imported UK item called blackcurrant jam.

The combination of these three elements was truly delightful. Freshly baked dough, creamy clotted cream, and fruity blackcurrant jam had Alex and I devouring almost all the scones in one sitting.

Try a Very UK Breakfast at Home!

Alex and I highly recommend this breakfast to anyone with a light appetite. Even better yet, maybe add some meat – of which I still need to learn Great Britain’s favorite breakfast meat – and some potatoes, and it would be a full meal!

Does anyone have a favorite scone recipe or scone mix which they would like to recommend? Does anyone know about other UK jams? Please comment below!

Breaking News! Cost Plus World Market Has Restocked English Luxury Clotted Cream!

Breaking News! Cost Plus World Market Has Restocked English Luxury Clotted Cream!

What Transpired

  • At half past one o’clock in the afternoon, Mary placed her dirty cleaning rag in the laundry bin and clocked out from work.
  • Ten minutes later, she met her fiance at her house, where they decided to grab a bite to eat and do some shopping.
  • Between half past two and half past three pm, they spotted the English Luxury Clotted Cream at Cost Plus World Market.

What Feelings Came to Pass

Hidden in a corner was a delectable treat…

Was I so glad to be wrong! If anyone who stumbled across this post has read my earlier post about Double Devon Cream at Cost Plus World Market, then he or she knows the great disappointment Alex and I experienced with the store’s English cream selection. This time was different!

Hidden in the top cupboard of the small food items’s bottom shelf was the long-coveted English Luxury Clotted Cream. Though we had searched in this section in an earlier visit to the store, this particular location must have run out of stock on the delectable treat. There was hope in Cost Plus World Market’s collection after all!

Chagrin played a major role in my feelings, for I have misinformed others on the company’s reliability in their multicultural selections. Although, some evidence gathered today also proves how some product origin labels may differ from the products’s manufacturing countries. More on that later.

What was Found

To be tried later with tea…
For the next time we enjoy British bangers…

Cost Plus World Market had imported many, many food products from England, Ireland, and Scotland. And, if the United States had manufactured the items, the items at least claimed to be a United Kingdom product. (The same applied for the products representing other countries.)

Alex snapped the photos displayed in this blog post. Some of the products we bought today. Others we plan to purchase when we have more money. Our experiences with these products we will share with you at a later date!

 

Our Conclusion

Soft drinks for later…
What in the world do we eat this with…?

Nugget Markets still reigns supreme as the multicultural market to shop at in Northern California. However, due to our experiences today, Cost Plus World Market comes to a solid second in providing multicultural foods to purchase and enjoy.

Prices are higher than the discount grocery stores, such as Walmart Neighborhood Market, but they remain reasonable. My soon-to-be-husband and I will remain loyal customers to Nugget Markets and Cost Plus World Market to satisfy our need to explore different cultures.

And for me to write this blog about all things in the UK!

Double Devon Cream Found at Cost Plus World Market

Double Devon Cream Found at Cost Plus World Market

Double Devon Cream is different than English Luxury Clotted Cream.

In an earlier blog post, I mentioned how my bridal shower spurred me on to search for English Clotted Cream in local retail markets. My hurried research introduced me to Luxury Clotted Cream and Double Devon Cream, two products very similar, but different, to each other.

During this search, I found a means to order the Luxury Clotted Cream via an online marketplace, but I refused to wait two or more days during the shipment. So, I searched specifically for the English Luxury Clotted Cream in stores around my central area.

Cost Plus World Market and Their British Products

Double Devon Cream next to a gift from my bridal shower.

To know exactly who messed up in creating the SEO for Cost Plus World Market’s Double Devon Cream in an online search is something I have yet to learn. However, when my Internet search showed an image for Luxury Clotted Cream, advertising its location at Cost Plus World Market, it messed up big time.

The nearest Cost Plus World Market carried only Double Devon Cream, and the Luxury Clotted Cream didn’t even have an empty slot in the store’s shelves, even though their website advertised otherwise.

Later experiences at different stores revealed the unreliability of actual British food and miscellaneous British products being available at Cost Plus World Market…though we still would shop there despite this fact.

Double Devon Cream and Homemade Blueberry Preserves

A scone with Double Devon Cream and blueberry preserves.

In my confusion, I went ahead and purchased the Double Devon Cream 5.6 ounce jar. Thoughts of how I must have misunderstood what I read online about the two products and how they must be the same filled my mind.

Alex had recently received two mason jars filled with his friend’s mom’s homemade blueberry preserves. However, my parents, Alex, and I first tried the Double Devon Cream on its own on buttery scones. My mother and I immediately and adamantly pronounced its inferiority to the clotted cream at the bridal shower. So, we tried the cream with the blueberry preserves.

The transformation from something barely edible to a mouthwatering delectable treat occurred with everyone. Soon, my family and friends were making requests for scones with Double Devon Cream and blueberry preserves.

A Personal Opinion on Double Devon Cream

The special-ordered clotted cream at my bridal shower was creamy and sweet, something to eat on a scone by itself. This Double Devon Cream had an entirely different taste and texture, which might truly be closer to what British citizens eat. I only wish I knew.

Somerdale Double Devon Cream tastes like unsweetened cream made from cow’s milk, a radical difference from the clotted cream’s sweet flavor at the bridal shower. The consistency was also hard and crumbly, unlike the clotted cream’s creaminess.

Blueberry preserves, strawberry jam, or any other sweet jam makes this British product a delight. All it takes is a little imagination. Blueberries and cream on a buttery and flaky scone, a combination made in heaven.

Four Out of Five Stars for Double Devon Cream

Sweet treats with solid drinks.

Overall, I recommend this product to everyone! However, I recommend doing a proper search on how to best eat this product. The Somerdale jar made a recommendation, which I knew once I actually took the time to read the labels. And it recommended strawberry jam. Do the British really prefer strawberry over any other jam?

At Cost Plus World Market, the Somerdale Double Devon Cream costs 7.99 dollars. A price that beats the Luxury Clotted Cream price by far. So, if the reader cares to have some cream on his or her scones and wishes to save on cost, then this product fits the bill.

Double Devon Cream – The Poor Man’s Substitute for English Luxury Clotted Cream.

How We Found Out Where to Shop for Jelly Babies

How We Found Out Where to Shop for Jelly Babies

“Jelly Babies were Tom Baker’s favorite!” exclaimed my fiancé. “I’ve been wanting to try them for ages. I think David Tennant likes them, too.”

What are Jelly Babies?

For those who’ve lost touch with popular British television, Tom Baker and David Tennant are the two most favored Doctors known in the over-50-years-old BBC television series called Doctor Who.

Gerrit J. Verburg Jelly Babies

Jelly Babies, self-described on Gerrit J. Verburg packaging as gourmet English style sweets, are jelly candies that come in various bright colors and fruit flavors, such as orange, lemon, and grape.

A Short History on How I Learned about Them

Alex, my soon-to-be-husband, told me about these colorful candies early on in our relationship, an icebreaker for our anxieties and common-ground for our self-declared loyalties to Doctor Who.

When Alex and I stumbled across this candy, my fiancé positively jumped for joy and immediately began talking about how for years he has visited stores without ever spotting a single bag of Jelly Babies. Never, until that day.

But before I disclose the stupendous store that carries this coveted candy, allow me to provide a short background on how Alex and I ended up at this store:

To celebrate my upcoming marriage, a friend from work collaborated with my maid-of-honor in throwing me a bridal shower. The theme was a tea party, or simply phrased, afternoon tea.

Double Devon Cream and Jelly Babies

“Oh, so the hostesses tried to resemble a British tea party with Jelly Babies,” one might think. Nope! The hostesses introduced something different to me that day: clotted cream, a luxurious and delicious blend from a nearby tea house.

My mother and I came home from the bridal shower raving about the clotted cream. In fact, I enjoyed the clotted cream so much, I searched the Internet to find a nearby store who carried the product. We avoided the tea house, for it exceeded our budget.

The Big Revealing

Wishing to try this new food product, Alex drove me to the store to buy the cream. The store carried only Double Devon Cream that day – which I will speak more on in a later post – but at Cost Plus World Market, we found Jelly Babies!

Tea, scones, and Jelly Babies for two at home.

That’s right, Cost Plus World Market carries the classic British candy. The market sold the Gerrit J. Verburg brand, where the chews come in a resealable bag. Although, be warned, the seal may separate from the bag. To solve this issue when it happened to me, I used a chip clip.

Everyone who wishes to experience a little British culture while confined in the States should try this delectable treat. Albeit, the brand sold at Cost Plus makes the product in and sells from Fenton, Michigan, but as a girl who can only dream about visiting the United Kingdom, they do just nicely.

My Opinion about Jelly Babies

Oh! And my opinion about their taste is chewy, yet satisfying. They look like little gummi bears, but they have a slightly tougher consistency. Sugar abounds in this small treat, yet the fruity flavors give the candy its true pizzazz. And the candy design? Adorable!