A Taste of America

There is no disguising the fact that I love Florida.  I’ve been three times now and really really really love it.  There is just something about holidaying there which makes me happy.  I have some fabulous memories of recently holidays there, from scary rides to fantastic meals out. 

One of the things everyone has to do when they visit Florida is go to a supermarket.  Where we stay we have a Publix very close, which is probably the size of an average Tesco in the UK – stocking just about everything you could need for your self-catering holiday and more. 

Publix and Walmart in Davenport, Florida

But then there is Walmart.  Less of a supermarket more of an entire shopping centre.  Just massive.  Food takes up just a small amount of the place, then there is everything else you could possibly want such as clothing, sports equipment, healthcare, electrical goods, fishing rods, home furnishings, tyres, garden supplies and I’m sure I even saw guns! 

The real reason we went to a supermarket was of course to stock up on groceries for our holiday.  While all supermarkets seemed to stock UK products there was no point getting those… we wanted American products.  And we discovered we liked them!  Mountain Dew, Hershey’s chocolate, caffeine free Dr Pepper (please bring that out in the UK!!!)… yum. 

Thankfully recently I have discovered American Soda, a company in the UK that imports American groceries and other goods to buy here.  The items cost slightly more than you would pay for their UK equivalents, but that is understandable considering they have been imported, and the prices are not extortionate. 

American Soda

You can view their website here: 

American Soda recently sent me five products to review for Splodz Blogz, all food products, including candy/chocolate, sweet and savoury goods.  As I normally do for Splodz Blogz, I will take each product in turn. 

White Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups’s-Peanut-Butter-Cups.aspx 

White Reese's Peanut Butter Cups

I have eaten many Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (including in a Blizzard from Dairy Queen – gorgeous!), but have never tried white chocolate ones.  And as I love white chocolate I could not wait to get the packet open and those little discs into my mouth!  Ok so I did wait a little while… the parcel arrived at work and I waited until after my meal in the evening to try them!  But they were the first of the five products that I tried. 

I wasn’t disappointed as these are gorgeous. Basically, they are a chocolate small pie-shaped case with soft peanut butter as the filling.  But I have to say that I couldn’t taste much difference between the white chocolate ones and the milk chocolate ones.  I think in future I’ll stick to the “original” variety, but these were still very good. 

Hershey’s Cookies n Creme Bar 

Hershey's Cookies N Creme
Hershey's Cookies N Creme

One word. Wow! Totally gorgeous. Amazing. I need more! 

This one is from the most famous American chocolate company – Hershey’s. It is a fairly thin bar of white chocolate with cookie bits set into it.  And it was very difficult to share with my other half – the only problem we could find was it just wasn’t big enough!  It had a great creamy texture with what seemed like bits of Oreo in it – the flavour of the chocolate was a bit like Milkybar. 

We definitely need this one on the shelves of our newsagents, are you listening Mr Hershey? 

Strawberry Twizzlers—Strawberry.aspx 

Strawberry Twizzlers

I love the flavour of red laces here in the UK and so I had high hopes for Twizzlers, especially as they are all over the place in America and get loads of publicity on television programmes like the Simpsons.  I will choose jelly sweets over chocolate on a normal day, and so I was guaranteed to enjoy these, wasn’t I?! 

Er… no! 

The first thing I noticed when I opened the packet was the distinct smell of marker pen.  Yes, marker pen.  You know, that strong chemical smell that really hits you when you use a new marker pen for the first time?  It really didn’t make me want to eat the Twizzlers!  But I did… still hoping that the strawberry flavour would be really strong and the sweet would be really juicy and lovely.  Again, no.  With a distinctly rubbery texture it tasted of, er, nothing – there was no sign of fruit.  It was really chemical in flavour. Yuk! 

I wondered if it was just me but when my other half and a good friend tried one each they thought exactly the same.  Not good.  Not something to buy.  I have absolutely no idea why they are so popular in America or why they have been around since 1929.  Maybe I had a bad packet?  I don’t know, but that smell and that taste has put me off Twizzlers, however famous they are, for life! 

A1 Steak Sauce 

A1 Steak Sauce
A1 Steak Sauce - love this label

Described as being used in 9 out of 10 steak houses I was looking forward to giving this a go (the best meal I think I had on my last trip to Florida was in a restaurant called Texas Roadhouse where you could pick your steak on the way to your table).  It would have been nice to have some barbecue weather while I was doing the testing of these products, but as that was not forthcoming we tried it with two indoor-cooked meals – gammon steaks with roast potato cubes and beef steaks with home made chips and onion rings. 

The flavour of this sauce was not what I was expecting.  I was anticipating something with a barbecue flavour, possibly smokey.  What I got was more of a fruity brown sauce – a bit like HP.  It was still good, and went really well with the meals we had.  I would imagine it would go well with a bacon bap, like HP sauce does, and also on chicken or anything really.  I could imagine having it with a barbecued vegetable kebab, and will have to try that when we eventually get warm enough weather to get the fire lit. 

Hershey’s Hot Fudge Topping,-Peanut-Butter-+-Syrups/Hersheys-Hot-Fudge-Topping.aspx 

Hershey's Hot Fudge Sauce
Hershey's Hot Fudge Sauce - mmmm pancake

The description on the American Soda website says “heaven when on ice cream”… I was hoping for amazing things with this jar of chocolate fudge!  You can eat it as it is or put it in the microwave (with the lid off!) to warm it up.  And warm is how this sauce is meant to be enjoyed – on ice cream, pancakes, chocolate cake, and anything else you fancy putting a warm sweet fudge sauce onto. 

There is no doubt that I have saved the best product till last.  We decided the most ideal way to test out this product first of all was to make fresh pancakes.  And wow!  We were a bit dubious about putting the jar in the microwave, wondering if the sauce would end up with a slightly burnt flavour – we needn’t have worried.  It came out warm and beautifully smooth, and when eaten on pancakes with ice cream it had the most velvety texture and gorgeous fudge flavour.  Pancakes will never be the same without it (it even beats golden syrup on pancakes for me!). 

Since that evening we’ve had it a few times on ice cream, and are totally in love with it.  As far as I am concerned this is now an essential stock item for our kitchen!  Well done on the most amazing fudge sauce I have ever tasted Mr Hershey! 

Overall Opinion 

I have to admit this was a fabulous review to be able to write for Splodz Blogz (apart from the Twizzlers!!), and I’ve already placed an order for more products from American Soda (for Hershey’s Cookies and Cream and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups).  My order was despatched within 24 hours which was excellent service.  I will be ordering again without a doubt and it’s helping to keep my memories of eating in Florida alive until I’m able to go again. 

As far as the five products I had to test goes, two of them were amazing (both Hershey’s products), two were really good (A1 sauce and the white Reese’s) and one was completely disgusting!  There are many more on American Soda’s website I’d like to try, and I’m sure I will do that in due course. 

Thank you very much to American Soda, who sent me the products to review.  If you would like to see a review of your product on Splodz Blogz, please get in touch.

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