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Product Review: Nestlé Temptations Flavors of the World Dutch Speculoos Flavored Ice Cream

1511590_401086316690183_1776087462_oProduct Name: Nestlé Temptations Flavors of the World Dutch Speculoos Flavored Ice Cream
Type: Ice Cream
Price: PHP 215.00
Where To Buy: In all major supermarkets and convenience stores nationwide

Review In A Nutshell:
For a product that uses a not-so-simple ingredient, a clean, straight-forward presentation is all it needs to win an ice cream lover’s heart.

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Hi there! How’s 2014 shaping up for you so far? I hope it’s not as frazzled as mine because I do realize that I have let 2013 pass by with only a few posts added.  I sincerely hope to change that as soon as I get Sydney,  which is my laptop, fixed.

However, I’m taking some time off this self-imposed hiatus (sort of) to write this product review.  Can I get a hurray? Hahaha.  I figured since I just finished reading a companion novel that featured a handsome Dutch, why not celebrate this accomplishment by treating myself to a flavored ice cream inspired by that character’s country? The idea sounded good to me.  Also, this is me fulfilling a review request sent over by one reader (still surprised and thankful, so I shall blush).

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Challenge accepted! Oh, my poor wallet. Haha. 😉

Since I started doing product reviews for this blog two years ago, I seemed to notice some food fads. In 2012, it was this particular brand of ice cream bar. My review for that product was quite popular and it still remains to be one of my top-viewed posts on this site. In 2013, I think, the food fad was Speculoos Cookie Butter.

Truth be told, I have yet to try this brand of Speculoos Cookie Butter and it annoys me that I have not seen or bought a jar of it locally. Every local personality I know and love have either tweeted or instagrammed themselves eating this product enough to make feel green with curiosity and envy. The good thing with food fads in this country, there will be some enterprising company who will make treats using Speculoos Cookie Butter as an ingredient.  And I was right on the money; I did get my Speculoos Cookie Butter fix and surprisingly, all of them were ice cream. The first was with Bono Artisanal Gelato. The second was with McDonald’s. And now, Nestlé with their Dutch Speculoos flavored ice cream which is part of their Temptations Flavors of the World line.  I distinctly recall that Pancake House and Krispy Kreme offered Speculoos Cookie Butter products last year; I regret not trying them out.

Image courtesy of Vera Greutink of Grown To Cook (www.growntocook.com)

Image courtesy of Vera Greutink of Grown To Cook (www.growntocook.com)

Speculoos, to the curious mind, is a spiced shortcrust biscuit that is traditionally eaten on or before St. Nicholas’ feast in the Netherlands. Spices used include cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, cardamom and white pepper.  The amount of spices alone suggest that this is not your ordinary cookie; it has a bite and packs a really good punch flavor-wise.  I have recognized this in my first two fixes of Speculoos Cookie Butter ice cream and I was not disappointed.  Thus, you can understand my expectations as I try on this one from Nestlé.

Here I go! The family gets to share too. :)

Here I go! The family gets to share too. 🙂

The first thing that came to mind when I ate my first two spoonfuls was that sense of familiarity, like  seeing an old friend who disappeared for years. By the succeeding spoonfuls though, you start to see that your friend had a makeover and it shocks you enough that you cannot decide whether you like it or not. Then, you get to a point wherein you have formed your opinion and politely say to your friend, “I love you but no, it’s too much.”

In my recent review of the product line, what made it a win for me was that the flavors were delectable and luscious but not over-the-top with sweetness. The first three flavors had a lot of texture and contrast, something which I failed to experience with this new one.  Speculoos Cookie Butter as an ingredient is quite over-the-top so to taste it as the ice cream’s flavor base and swirls/chunks of it with every scoop (just to remind you what you are eating) is too in-your-face, more annoying than pleasant. I was looking for something to balance it out, which made me resort to eating some salty chips along with it — a habit I like doing more as an act of indulgence rather than compensation. Honestly, I’m not entirely disappointed about the product but I wished some editing was made in terms of the flavor and contrast aspect of the ice cream, either…

– loose the Speculoos Cookie Butter swirls/chunks but keep the flavor in the ice cream itself;
– add dried fruits or nuts for texture; or
– keep the swirls/chucks but make the ice cream just plain vanilla.

I know that by doing the latter, Nestlé would not be able to differentiate from the other companies who have been offering the same.  So I wished they would have gone for the first suggestion.  Sometimes, keeping it simple may end up being the best thing. And for a product that uses a not-so-simple ingredient, a clean, straight-forward presentation is all it needs to win an ice cream lover’s heart.

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My Rating:
2.5 out of 5 stars

My Two Cents:
If you want a quick Speculoos Cookie Butter fix, you can get a cheap one for about Php 45.00 a cup (until that food outlet changes their dessert menu again) or the more expensive yet decadent one for Php 130.00 a scoop (I doubt this will disappear in that gelateria’s menu).  If the first recommendation disappears, then your next affordable bet would be this product.  However, among the four flavors in the product line, this is going to be the last one I’d be tempted to buy again.

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DISCLAIMER:
This is not a sponsored blog post. Like my other product reviews, I purchased the product and tried it out.

Image featured at the top of this review is courtesy of Nestlé Ice Cream Philippines’ Facebook page. Other images featured are my own.

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Product Review: Nestlé Temptations Flavors of the World Ice Cream

1250_320387884760027_82622719_nProduct Name: Nestlé Temptations Flavors of the World Ice Cream
Type: Ice Cream
Price: PHP 199.00 SRP
Where To Buy: In all major supermarkets and convenience stores nationwide

Official TV Commercial:

Review In A Nutshell:
Each 800 ml. tub gives you an ice cream flavor that is unbelievably delectable and luscious, but not over-the-top with sweetness, which is definitely very European.

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Today marks the end of my long journey of eating three tubs of ice cream. Well, not really. Haha! The first time I saw this product in the cold storage of nearby supermarkets at work, I swore to myself I’d have my fill and make a product review. No regrets really despite the… uh… pounds I’ve added (*hides*) and… erm… the money I spent.

My European Journey Through Three Tubs of Ice Cream :P

My European Journey Through Three Tubs of Ice Cream 😉

Nestlé Ice Cream under its Temptations brand launched the Flavors of the World line-up in the Philippine market around April 2013. This new line-up features three (3) very European flavors — French Salted Caramel (France), Italian Coffee Affogato (Italy) and Belgian Chocolate Praline (Belgium) — adding up to its already enormous selection of ice cream variants. It retails at Php 199.00 and in it is only available in 800 ml. tub sizes.

At face value, it’s intimidating to try even a tub because it is very expensive. For its retail price of Php 199.00 and its 800 ml. tub size, you can get two (2) tubs or even a half-gallon of ice cream for the same price with other brands. Also, I think I’ve mentioned in my other reviews that I don’t have much of a sweet tooth so it did not really encourage me. However, when I do need a sweet fix, my instant go-to treat is vanilla ice cream! I don’t care where it comes from, as long as it’s vanilla ice cream, I’m good. In a way, the product itself passed the first stage of my curiosity maze: it’s ice cream so I’ll probably like it. What really got me to start trying these flavors were two words which sounded music to my ears: “Salted Caramel”. You can probably guess which of the three flavors I picked up first.

From Bottom Left to Top Right: Italian Coffee Affogato, French Salted Caramel, Belgian Chocolate Praline

From Bottom Left to Top Right: Italian Coffee Affogato, French Salted Caramel, Belgian Chocolate Praline

In terms of taste, each of the flavors offer something really different — from the rich salty, gooey caramel to the bitter coffee — but share one thing in common, it’s love with every spoonful. Each 800 ml. tub gives you an ice cream flavor that is unbelievably delectable and luscious, but not over-the-top with sweetness, which is definitely very European. With ice cream, I generally don’t finish a cup easily because of the richness of the buttermilk but I didn’t have a hard time with this. Also, the addition of cashew nuts (Italian Coffee Affogato) and bittersweet chocolate chips (Belgian Chocolate Praline) gave texture to the creaminess of the ice cream — plus points in my book. The longer you indulge in your tub of ice cream, you inevitably start forgetting how expensive it is. You even rationalize that it is still cheaper than buying two scoops of gelato from a mall stand or store in Greenbelt or Podium.

Desserts, such as ice cream, are the one of best indulgences a person can have. If Nestlé Temptations Flavors of the World Ice Cream’s goal was indulgence, it sure hit its target. However, I’m not sure how soon before I get another tub but it’ll definitely have one with either salty caramel or cashew nuts in it. 😛

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My Rating:
4 out of 5 stars (the price is still a deterrent, sorry)

My Two-Cents:
If you like ice cream and don’t really mind the price, this is definitely a must-try. And don’t scrimp, try all flavors, as in ALL. I hope they don’t remove it from the cold storage shelves anytime soon because I’m starting to see less of it.

My Ranking of the Three Flavors, Taste-Wise
1. French Salted Caramel: if you haven’t tasted any ice cream with a hint of salt, introduce yourself to this flavor.
2. Italian Coffee Affogato: for coffee-holics out there, this is definitely for you.
3. Belgian Chocolate Praline: what surprised me is that it wasn’t too sweet or chocolaty, good for a non-chocoholic like me.

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DISCLAIMER:
This is not a sponsored blog post. Like my other product reviews, I purchased the product and tried it out.

Images above are courtesy of Nestlé Ice Cream Philippines’ Facebook page. Other images featured are my own.

Product Review: Marks & Spencer’s White Chocolate Coated Raspberries

936160_598924783465978_1722782484_nProduct Name: Marks & Spencer’s White Chocolate Coated Raspberries
Type: Chocolate
Price: PHP 425.00
Where To Buy: In all Marks & Spencer outlets nationwide

Review In A Nutshell:
Fruits covered in chocolate… what’s not to love? However, for a not-so-chocoholic person like me, it really begs the question.

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Hello readers! How’s your payday weekend shaping up so far? With several malls on sale, I hope your shopping sprees are stress-free. Also, next Sunday is Mother’s Day. Have you thought of a gift for your mom already? If not, perhaps you may like to check out a Marks & Spencer branch near you for their Mother’s Day treats.  I tried out one yesterday: White Chocolate Coated Raspberries, which are freeze-dried raspberries covered in white chocolate with a dusting of dried raspberry powder.

Fruits covered in chocolate is perhaps one of the most quintessential pairings in food. What’s not to love about it? It’s one of the best indulgences around; think dipping fresh fruit bites in a chocolate fondue. However, for a not-so-chocoholic person like me, it really begs the question. And Marks & Spencer is a locally-known luxury brand: you hardly see items there that are below Php 500.00 especially with their clothing line.  Is it really worth buying a pack?

Erm, this pack was finished as of this writing.

Erm, this pack was finished as of this writing.

I guess you can already surmise from this review that my curiosity won over my own bias enough to buy one.  True, I may not be a chocoholic person but I do have some exceptions; I like white and dark chocolate, and I enjoy indulging on them when I need the fix. And I love munching on fruits so this product is a treat. I managed to get through the whole pack in one sitting — it’s just 120 grams so don’t shoot me — enough to write down my thoughts about it.

Let’s start off with the most important bit: taste.  If you’re a fan of contrasting flavors, then this will win you over. The tart taste of the freeze-dried raspberry cuts through yet blends well the sweetness of the white chocolate. What I also liked was that white chocolate coating was generous enough but not too thick; anything thicker would’ve overwhelmed it.  The outer coating of dried raspberry was not merely for aesthetic; it also adds to the tart flavor of the product.

What the product looks like inside.

What the product looks like inside.

If eating an Oreo would require you to do the twist-lick-dunk method, for this little treat, the best way is to bite through it, chew then swallow. Don’t make the mistake of popping one in your mouth and letting it melt.  If you do that, what hits you immediately is the sourness of the dried raspberry coating which may take you by surprise. I was, in fact, when I did just that.

I also like the texture of each chocolate-covered fruit; it makes the treat a little less boring.  However, if you’ve eaten enough, you will realize that added texture are the raspberry seeds.  They are tiny enough that it’s not a big deal but it can stick between your teeth so be careful when chewing.

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Despite the above advertising vs. retail store pricing boo-boo, the price is relatively reasonable enough for an imported chocolate treat. At Php 425.00, it’ll give your wallet a sizable burn.  It’s good enough to buy once or twice just to indulge or as a gift for special occasions.  Anything beyond that is nuts (unless you have more than enough cash to go around, go ahead).

Since I finished my pack faster than expected, I think I may have to drop by the nearest Marks & Spencer to get another one. Good thing, there’s a branch near to my workplace. Well, good for my craving though but not for my wallet. 😛

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My Rating:
4 out of 5 stars

My Two-Cents:
If you like chocolates with fruit, be sure to buy one pack (or two to share with your friends) to try out and indulge. It’s a good gift idea too for those really special occasions.

Other Mother’s Day Treats available at local Marks & Spencer outlets:

– Mum Cupcake Bar

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– Luxury Chocolate Ganache Truffles

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– Turkish Delight with Roasted Pistachio

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**as with my recent experience, call your nearest Marks & Spencer outlet to check out the retail prices of these treats

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DISCLAIMER:
This is not a sponsored blog post. Like my other product reviews, I purchased the product and tried it out.

Images above with the pink background are courtesy of Marks and Spencer Philippines’ Facebook page.  Other images featured are my own.