Heinz Sandwich Spread

HeinzHeinz Sandwich Spread has been around for as long as I can remember, way back into the 1960s, I thought I would try it again.

About

The ingredients are like a mix of salad cream and pickle relish. It’s difficult to describe the taste but it is very tangy. I won’t look too much in detail at the ingredients because I’m sure they would be bad for me.

It is most popular in the UK and The Netherlands, also in some other countries where ex-pats live. Here in Canada, it’s not available in general supermarkets but a general staple of many British stores.

I’m not sure about its history but I remember it from the early 1960s. In the UK it is quite cheap, more so than processed meat, so those on a low income might find this convenient for their budget. When I got my first home I had it for a while until I knew what my budget was going to be living in that property.

Other products that people would buy that are similar to this are Shipmans spread (or paste) range that they have. None of these products gets very good reviews as I think they are a product from yesteryear with a certain palette that goes along with them.

There is some more information on the product on the Heinz website. I have never seen the lower-calorie version they mention.

Serving Suggestion

Many people just put it in a sandwich as it is, but with some salad in between the slices of bread is better in my opinion. It is also good on some crackers like Ryvita. It doesn’t work on Ritz type crack for me. Keep in mind that it is a powerful and tangy flavour it can overpower other products. When putting Sandwich Spread on bread I don’t think you need butter on it, the flavour is hidden anyway.

Review

The price in Canada is over CAD $5.00 which doesn’t make it a cheap option to have on a regular basis.  In the UK though a jar is about £1.50 which is very reasonable since one of them could last a week. Sandwich Spread might be intolerable if not serving it with a variety of items, like salad inside, so whether it’s cost-effective in the long term could be questionable.

As I said above, the flavour is strong and tangy. If used sparingly in a sandwich, or other healthier type of bread or cracker, the taste can be great, and a little crunchy too. In this case, the spread would last a long time.

I worry about some of the ingredients which makes me think I shouldn’t overuse them. Back in the 1960s we rarely thought of these factors but people have become more self-aware of what is in the products they buy and where they have come from.

I’m not sure if you can make the spread yourself, or at least a healthier version, by mixing salad cream with vegetables and relish. The video below, from Texas A&M University, seems quite a healthy alternative to Sandwich Spread.

2021-11-05T22:56:49+00:005 November 2021|Food|

Tim Hortons Coffee Bar Review

Never heard that Tim Horton’s was producing a chocolate coffee bar before until I found some in the supermarket checkout aisle, so here is a review.

Who is Tim Hortons?

Tim Hortons was founded in 1964 by Canadian Hockey player of the same name, Tim Hortons, and Jim Charade. It has become Canada’s largest fast-food chain best known for its coffee and “Tim Bits” but also sells other bakery items plus sandwich type fare.

They were bought out by Burger King in 2014. Its majority own is Brazilian investment company 3G Capital. They now have outlets around the world including in China. The first Tim Horton’s I noticed in London UK was in Haymarket near Piccadilly Circus.

We don’t go in them too often, mainly when we are “on the road” travelling on vacation when we are desperate to use the toilet!

Chocolate Coffee Bar

Evidently Tim Hortons Coffee Bar has been in production since 2019, I discovered food blogs review the “Double Double” branded one since 2020. See Foodology. According to the site they are being produced in Miami, however, I did find one here in a supermarket in British Columbia. They might be available in their coffee shops; I haven’t been to any in 2+ years to find out.

Tim Hortons Coffee Bar

Review

Oh dear, it was bad.

I was hoping for better, but I didn’t enjoy it at all. It came with three large pieces, not very delicate looking at all with a coffee bean pattern on top. I think they could have been smaller break off chunks.

The alleged “coffee” flavour was completely overpowering I didn’t even notice the chocolate. The flavour tasted very bitter and a bit like chemicals. Then it left a sickening after taste in my mouth, I had to rush for something to mask it quickly. I’m not sure how they could have screwed this up so much.

The best coffee/chocolate combination I’ve had in Canada are the Milk Chocolate Coffee Creams in Purdy’s, fantastic combination of flavours, not overpowering, very mellow and creamy. They remind me of a Belgian coffee truffle from yesteryear. However, the Tim Hortons coffee bar was more like a cheap Hershey style chuck chemicals in it to make it last for years type product.

If anybody wants to try the Tim Horton’s product, they are available at Real Canadian Superstore for CAD1.88, maybe other locations too.

2021-09-11T21:47:31+00:0011 September 2021|Food|

Maltesers Buttons Review

Maltesers ButtonsMaltesers is one of the most popular brands of chocolate in the UK, owned by Mars Inc, since 1937. I picked up a Maltesers Buttons product when visiting a local British store recently, here is a quick review.

About

It appears they product two of the “buttons” product, the original and the mint flavoured. I only saw the mint flavoured available so I bought that one.

It was a 32g bag but for the mint flavour, they produce 102g packet as well, not sure if they do any other sizes.

As you can see from the photo it has the original Maltesers branding but with add-ons. The product description is “Mint flavoured milk chocolate with honeycombed pieces”.

Review

The bag is pretty stuffed with decent size buttons so I’m happy they didn’t put it in an extra-large bag to make it looks as though you are getting more than anticipated.

Mint is the most prominent flavour, it’s quite powerful. It wasn’t until a bit later that I actually noticed the chocolate but I’m pleased it’s there. The mint could be toned down a bit so you can taste the chocolate more. It will take me a little while to get through them as they do taste fairly sweet, 3 or 4 at a time.

Netizens who have reviewed them rate them highly, they say “great tasting” and “good value form money”.

Here in Canada, they cost me CAD$2.00 which is about GBP£1.16. A little bit more expensive than it would cost in the UK but not too bad.

I would give them 4/5 and wouldn’t eat them on a regular basis.

Maltesers Buttons Commercial

2020-12-22T22:10:47+00:0022 December 2020|Food|

Review Shreddies Granola

Shreddies GranolaSince I enjoy Shreddies I thought I would pick up their new product called Shreddies Granola, here in Canada, to see what it was like.

In Canada, the Shreddies family has 4 different products; original, honey, banana bread and now granola. The honey and banana bread products don’t appeal to me at all so I was intrigued by the Granola one to see if I liked it. I didn’t.

The Shreddies in the box looked like the original we all know and love. Within the box were clusters, of varying sizes, of Granola chunks. The flavour of the granola tasted a little bit over the top, a little bit too false, and that had transferred onto the Shreddies themselves. I prefer my Shreddies with warm milk so maybe that spoiled the product, but I don’t think I was to eat any more. It was a good try though as the combination does sound interesting.

As long as they don’t mess with the original it’s no big deal as I will still continue to go along and enjoy that.

It looks as though the UK has a similar product to Shreddies Granola, they call it Shreddies Max as in much more protein, that is how they are marketing it.  There are two “Max” products, one with and one without Canberries. They have released a video advert for it, below. Shreddies in the UK also has Frosted Shreddies which is my favourite, I’m sad they don’t have this in Canada.

UPDATE 18 May 2020

Since opening the box we had problems getting rid of the smell of this product, must be the sugar content.  Very powerful.

2020-05-18T23:47:40+00:0030 April 2020|Canada, Food|

Making The Christmas Pudding Part 2

The day finally came to steam my Christmas Pudding, and the truth would be revealed whether I am facing a culinary disaster never experienced before.

I didn’t follow the method of the pudding recipe exactly as there are various ingredients I just don’t like, and the same for the steaming process too. I know, I am taking a risk as I’m not in any way shape or form a chef.

So, I put butter and flour in some plastic basins I had hanging around. Placed the pudding, that had been sitting in the fridge for a week, into the basins, about 3/4 full. I then put a circle of parchment paper on top, then covered with foil and secured with an elastic band.  We have a large steamer we got from the Chinese store so I used that, it fit 3 small basins. I still have more pudding mix remaining so I will have to find more basins from somewhere and repeat this exercise another day.

The recipe says steam for 4 hours, but I slightly reduced that as I spread the pudding mix over 3 small basins.

I was completely gobsmacked when I tried the pudding, it actually tasted very good. I was stunned. I guess my previous experience with Christmas Pudding, being as hard as a brick, frightened me off making any more. Well, now I have tons of Christmas Pudding that will last me months, and I can make it anytime I want. I am very happy.

2019-12-07T16:45:45+00:007 December 2019|Christmas Pudding, Food|

Making My Christmas Pudding Part 1

It’s not really in my field of expertise to make my own Christmas Pudding, I have only done it once and that turned out to be rock hard. I am quite happy others making it for me as they can do a better job. However, this year I thought I would be brave and do my own.

I chose a recipe that didn’t include the incredients I dislike the most:

  • Dates
  • Peel
  • Large nuts
  • Beer

Actually the recipe I did choose did contain some of those but I put extra dried fruit or alcohol to compensate.

So Stir Up Sunday, this year on 24th November, was the traditional day to make your pudding. This pudding is in two chunks, stir the incredients, leave for a week, then steam the pudding/s.

Unless I made an error the stirring part was actually incredibly easy.  Mix the dry incredients, add the fruit, stir in the wet stuff. I felt drunk just smelling it, did I put in too much alcohol or is there such a thing as too much?

So, I wait until next Sunday to do the steaming. Below are pictures of my first session.

2019-11-26T05:52:57+00:0026 November 2019|Christmas Pudding, Food|

Review Canadian Kit Kat

KitKatI’m not too bothered with the KitKat chocolate bar, it’s not something I eat on a regular basis but thought I would review the Canadian version of the product since it was on sale.

Each country appears to have its own quality of chocolate they use in their recipes and Canada is no exception. Whenever I used to visit Paris or Brussels friends used to ask me to buy KitKat there as the quality of chocolate appeared to be better than the UK.   So, how does the Canadian version pair up to its European counterpart?

Review

  1. The quality of the chocolate isn’t too bad at all, certainly wasn’t gross, I had the milk chocolate variety.
  2. Either my hands have got bigger or the bars have become significantly reduced in size and the price has increased.
  3. I couldn’t eat the whole bar in one go, it lasted me two days. I just don’t eat as much chocolate any more.
  4. The packaging has changed since the last KitKat I had in the UK, many years ago. It had an inner foil wrapper and an outer paper wrapper.  I actually prefer that compared to the one wrapper they provide today which I found fiddly to open, but not a big issue I guess.
  5. The chocolate melted quite quickly and I had it on a fairly cold day, I don’t recall that happening before.
  6. There was no bad after taste in my mouth.
  7. The wafer didn’t feel as crunchy as I remember it to be in Europe.

Summary

It was just….ok, but not something I would buy on a regular basis.  I would save up my money and buy chocolate from independent stores or small businesses.

Last Word

The KitKat website displays a range of products that I have never seen before, at least they aren’t available at any of the locations I shop at.  I often see a couple of different varieties in Asian supermarkets not available from Canadian retailers.  Some of the products listed on the KitKat Canada website link to Amazon, London Drugs etc but some I have no idea where you would purchase. Maybe they want to devoted fan to go out there and hunt for them but don’t have the energy for that.

Websites

2019-05-30T18:01:35+00:0030 May 2019|Food|

Weetabix vs Weetabix

When you travel around or have lived in 3 different countries as I have, you realise international brands aren’t the same everywhere.  This is definitely the case for breakfast cereal Weetabix. This is a comparison against Weetabix UK and Weetabix Canada.

What are the brand differences?

WeetabixIn the picture to the right, the Weetabix on top is Canadian and below is a box I bought from Tesco in the UK.

The UK is going for a more minimalist branding on Weetabix boxes with plenty of blank space at the moment, at least on the one I picked up. I have seen better designs in recent years and personally prefer it when they are busier.

Canada suggests their 12 size Weetabix product as their introductory first-timer marketing solution, at least that’s how it looks.  Rarely do I see boxes of 12 in Canada apart from in this format and I’ve only found them in London Drugs. They always have a $1 off coupon for their 24 size boxes, definitely worth picking up.

In the US Weetabix product placement usually goes in the “healthy cereal” area not among the American-style cereals which are generally full of sugar and other rubbish.  In Canada, I notice they are mingled in with the American cereals and aren’t so noticeable as generally, they don’t place them to sell well, usually in the uppermost shelf and only a 1 box row. There is an exception at London Drugs who often display them in the aisle rather than on the shelf or in a prominent position on the selves.

Here is one of the Weetabix UK commercials which I recall seeing before:

I don’t actually recall seeing any Weetabix commericals in Canada but there has at least been one:

Pricing

12 size

In Canada, London Drugs usually sell 1 box for $1.69 (GBP £0.95) or alternatively, 2 boxes or more for $1.50 each (GBP £0.85). In the UK, based on Tesco pricing, a box of 12 is currently £1.50.  So, based on a box of 12, Weetabix is cheaper in Canada.

24 size

In Canada, this ranges in pricing significantly from store to store. In Walmart, I’ve seen it at $3.97, in Real Canadian Superstore at $4.05 but in other stores can be as much as $6.00. In the UK, based on Sainsbury pricing, a box of 24 is currently £2.80, that is CAD $4.96.  Compared to its lowest prices a 24 pack of Weetabix is also cheaper in Canada.

Other sizes

I have not seen larger size boxes of Weetabix in Canada (ie 48 and 72) to do a comparison against the UK. I would prefer to buy larger boxes if I can assuming it would be a bargain for me to do so.

Taste Differences

Many might think that Weetabix tastes the same no matter where you buy it, but this is not the case.

The Canadian box states that it is manufactured in Canada. The UK box doesn’t say where it’s manufactured but does state it contains 100% British wholegrain wheat. It’s difficult to assess if the nutritional facts are the same due to how differently each country displays them on the packaging.

Getting right down to it, I actually prefer the British Weetabix.  The texture of the British product seems crunchier and rougher compared to the Canadian equivalent, I think I must have got used to that over the years. Yes, and there is a slight taste difference, I do prefer the UK taste over the Canadian. The British product is better when I put hot milk on it too.

I would pay a higher price for the British product. Some specialist stores in Canada do sell the British version of the product, just like they sell other products that have Canadian equivalents, however, they are very expensive to buy, as though I have paid full price for them to be shipped all the way from the UK.  I guess British people know the difference between UK products and their Canadian equivalents.

I wish I had bought more British Weetabix back with me from my trip. Oh well. Where ever you buy Weetabix it’s still a great product and recommend you try it if you haven’t done so already.

Resources

Weetabix UK: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Weetabix Canada: Post Website (No Dedicated Canadian Site)

Weetabix USA: Website | Facebook (was a US site redirects to Weetabix International) | Twitter (hasn’t been updated since 2015)

2019-03-27T15:05:59+00:0027 March 2019|Canada, Food, UK|

Shreddies vs Shreddies vs Chex

One of my favourite cereals that I must have is Shreddies. Over the years I haven’t noticed a change in the taste, at least since I’ve been eating them which is probably for almost 50 years now.  I only eat Shreddies in hot milk, I know some people like to mix it up with dried fruit and other cereal with cold milk but this isn’t for me.

So who has the better Shreddies?

Shreddies UKUnited Kingdom

Production of Shreddies in the United Kingdom began in 1953, much later than in Canada. They were first manufactured by Nabisco until they were taken over by Nestle.  This is probably the best of all the Shreddies, as in better quality and flavour profile.  I enjoy two of their products, both Original and Frosted.  I don’t care for the Coco flavour but haven’t had the chance to try their Shreddies Max product. The price of Shreddies is GBP£2.00 for 415g, at least this is the current price from Tesco, the cost is very reasonable. [Shreddies UK]

Shreddies CanadaCanada

Production of Shreddies in Canada began before that of the United Kingdom, in 1939, by Nabisco.  Post Cereal went on to buy them out. This hasn’t got the same taste as the UK version but its pretty close, however, I still enjoy this product very much.  I only like their Original Flavour, they don’t do the Frosted variety in Canada as much as I have lobbied them to introduce it into this market. The price of Shreddies in Canada is around CAD$3.97 for 100g but depends where you buy it from, there are always deals and sales. [Shreddies Canada]

Wheat ChexUnited States

Shreddies isn’t sold in the United States so when I lived there the closest I could find was Wheat Chex, this is manufactured by General Mills. The taste is very different, more bitter, is harder and just not as enjoyable.  I don’t enjoy any of the other Chex products.  I bought Wheat Chex when it was on sale and would eat it occasionally. Some Chex products are available in Canada but not the Wheat brand.  Chex isn’t available in the United Kingdom.  I’m not sure of the price of Chex in the US. [Wheat Chex]

So, who wins in this contest?  Yes, British Shreddies. Canadian Shreddies coming in as a close second. US Chex is third.

2019-02-12T01:16:54+00:0012 February 2019|Canada, Food, United Kingdom, USA|

Crystall Mall

Today we did one of our regular trips to Crystal Mall.  This shopping centre has mainly Asian businesses or ones that target the Asian community. It is best known for its Food Hall and food shops. There are many other businesses such as travel agents, kitchenware, immigration advice, hairdressers and toy shops.

There are a number of routes to the shopping centre and is conveniently located in Burnaby near Metrotown, Metropolis at Metrotown is a mega-shopping centre.  Metrotown can be very stressful so we tend to keep clear and keep to Crystal Mall.

What a fantastic array of choices there are in the Food Hall from Chinese, Taiwanese, Korean and more. Unlike many other standard food halls this one is of very high quality, maybe it’s because the competition is great with the other stores.  We do like to have DimSum there, a couple of outlets do this very well, but spend time and discover for yourself.

Here are some photographs from our trip to Crystal Mall today.

2019-01-16T01:00:33+00:0016 January 2019|Canada, Food|