Sunday, July 31, 2011

Goodie(s) for this girl!

On my first visit to the States I was trying to find South African products on American shelves. Needless to say I was not very successful, if at all. Yes, in some instances I found products that we also have in South Africa but not the brands and flavors that I am necessarily used to, e.g. condensed milk (one of my favorites)! In South Africa nothing beats the sweet, smooth, creamy flavors of Clover but in America I’ve only found the Nestle brand. It is not bad. It is condensed milk but it is not Clover.

On my second visit I am a bit more like a kid in a candy store and I'm actually finding some real treasures so far. I thought I'd share a few with you.

Weight Watchers Coffee Cake – WOW! WOW! WOW! One of the best snacks that I have found so far! These remind me of the miniature caramel swiss rolls that I’ve discovered at Woolworths. Although I have seen it in one or two other shops nothing beats the ones at Woolies!

There is few differences: Instead of the sugary sprinkled coating of the swiss role this cake is has a crumbly streusel topping and instead of the caramel it has a rich cinnamon filling. Although the cinnamon is a prominent taste (though not overwhelming) I’m reminded quite a bit of the creamy caramel filling of the swiss roll. It’s the kind of cake that makes you want to close your eyes and savior every moment of palette pleasure!

Something new yet wonderfully familiar! Again just WOW! It’s a pity there’s only four servings per box :( I guess it is not called Weight Watchers for nothing ;)

Mounds (coconut covered in dark chocolate) – In the part of America where I am peanut butter is king when it comes to chocolate. I’ve had days when I wondered if it’s not peanut butter it’s not chocolate. For me, however, peanut butter is more synonymous with a peanut butter and syrup or peanut butter and jam sandwich than anything else; certainly not chocolate. At present my absolute favorite chocolate is called Aero Mint made by Nestle SA and it is not available in the US with exception of two chain stores that import it (as far as I know), but they are located a far way from where I am :(

After watching a bit of American television and chatting with some people from other parts of the US I’ve been able to look for a few different possibilities and I have found some, of which Mounds - made by the famous Hershey’s - is one. It reminds me very much of the Niki bar made by Beacon SA but I have to say that I prefer the dark chocolate of the Mounds to the milk chocolate of the Niki.

Orville Redenbacher’s gourmet popping corn – Can I just say it: I LOVE the movies! I used to go and see the new releases every week. For me movies are like therapy. Depending on whether I needed a good laugh, a good cry or just to get a busy load off my mind I would choose a comedy, a drama or a good action or suspense drama and around 8pm on a Friday night I was ready to have an awesome weekend.

What is a movie without popcorn! I’ve become so spoiled with choice. In SA we buy our popcorn fairly plain at the cinema - slightly buttered and salted – the rest is up to you. Whether you like BBQ, more butter salt, salt and vinegar, plain salt, sour cream and chives or whether you want to mix it up there’s enough containers, each filled with a little taste of heaven for you to shake to your heart’s content. Yum!

Americans seem to love butter! - A little too much to my liking though. They seem to like popcorn with their butter instead of the other way around. As a result butter is pretty much the only flavor that I’ve been able to find so far, until last week when we went grocery shopping and I had a closer look on the shelf. Much to my delight I discovered Orville Redenbacher’s Tender White popcorn. The Tender white flavor is the only one I could find so far that is not drenched in butter and salt. I keep tripping over the butter when I consider how unhealthy it makes a perfectly pleasurable movie snack – a movie snack with a drizzle of cardiac arrest.

However, it is lightly enough seasoned that should you prefer to add flavor you can, and if it be more butter or salt, then so be it. Different strokes for different folks, but it remains a fact that you can always add, but once it is in it is harder to take it out. Finally I have popcorn that works for me (again)!

And just as I was ready to accept a gentleman’s defeat in the seasoning arena (gracefully settling for lightly salted as an only option) I stumbled upon Kernel Seasons’ Popcorn Seasoning!!! There weren’t more than three flavors on the shelf so I picked the best one which, for me, was the White Cheddar. Three is better than nothing, right?

Then – I can almost not believe my good fortune – in reading up for this blog I discover with overwhelming joy (for the simple pleasures of life) that they have a staggering thirteen savory flavors (including my favorite: salt and vinegar) and three sweet flavors (including chocolate marshmallow); the latter maybe a little too adventurous for my taste buds but innovative… I’ll hand it to them. The packaging is in no way misleading: not only does it entice me to pick it up off the shelf but it bursts with flavour!

Some delightful finds indeed! I think the one good thing about shopping in a strange country is that I look with different eyes, searching for new products and ideas. Because everything is new to me I have to really look and read vs. just darting for the familiar brands and products that I would usually buy. Initially I felt rather out of my comfort zone but I am slowly warming up to the idea of having a new adventure instead! Strange how changing your mind can improve your vision ;)

So if you have any suggestions of products that you think is simply f-a-b and I should look out for them or try them, feel free to pass them along!


  1. Whenever I travel, it's the supermarkets I hit first, I just love seeing foreign products.

  2. If you look over your shoulder you won't see me there just yet, but I'm catching up for sure! ;)