Local Treats (Winter Garden Edition): David Ramirez’s Chocolates & Macaroons Review

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Macaroons are everywhere, and they should be. This decadent French treat has been around for centuries and has not lost its *insert trendy French word here to describe anything cope/cool/wavy/sassy, followed by a suffix of -ness*. These petite treats, of so very delicate and challenging to make are competition to many other baked goods, and you can find a variety in the Orlando, Winter Park and Winter Garden Area.

David Ramirez’s chocolates, a Winter Garden Plant Market vendor, has decadent varieties of macaroons. They’re honestly one of the best I’ve ever tasted, amongst my favorite (another favorite being Le Macaroon, in Winter Park). My first time there, I noticed the generous sizes and fun flavors, such as mango raspberry, staple flavors like vanilla, chocolates, strawberries, rose and lavender to fun fall flavors, like pumpkin and apple pie. My first out of three was the birthday cake. The “upper shell” and bottom tasted like a standard macaroon vanilla flavor, but the cream filling was a perfect replica of cake batter with fun sprinkles.The texture was pillowy.

Image may contain: foodThe pumpkin, my favorite, was spicy in terms of fall flavors, with a great combo of sweet and last- the mango raspberry, my favorite, has a perfect balance of mango and tart raspberry. On another visit, I tried bacon and peanut butter. Addicting. I love anything salty and sweet, and found this eccentric pairing a winner. Salted caramel was also memorable. The caramel having a deeply buttery aftertaste to dance with the salt.

 

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The chocolate varieties are a fun and colorful assortment. I decided to give the cinnamon habanero chocolate a try. Perfection. The dark chocolate subtly hugs the cinnamon and the habanero peeks its head out. Not at all overpowering.

 

 

Have you ever tried this chocolatier or the macaroons/gelato? What were your thoughts? Don’t forget to rate, comment and subscribe!

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Dunkin Donuts has an amazing new Donut!

Dunkin Donuts has quickly hopped on the pumpkin pie bandwagon, and has released exciting new coffee concoctions, such as pumpkin mocha coffee and pumpkin white chocolate coffee. I sampled the pumpkin white chocolate flavor iced coffee drink, and loved it. I had never had a white chocolate and pumpkin flavor pairing, but the buttery white chocolate rounds off the edges to any spicy overtones in the the warm pumpkin overtones.

Similarly, I also ordered a pumpkin pie filled donut. The center is mousse-like in consistency, a whipped, brown dollop of spicy cinnamon, clove and pumpkin flavors that roll off the tongue. The icing, which is a standard buttercream is nestled under graham crackers, which all balance the sharp spiciness in each bite.

Pumpkin Pie Yumfactor: 3 tongues (3 stars). This is a fantastic seasonal donut. The pumpkin flavor is pretty authentic for it to be in a donut, thought there are obviously natural and artificial flavors. There is a bit of a wax coating like finish as many sweets have, but worth a try.

 

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Limited Time Pumpkin Cream Cheese Review

This is a quick blog to express how much I love Philadelphia’s pumpkin cream cheese. I was hesitant at first, but this flavor is truly indulgent. Firstly, the cream cheese has a balance of pumpkin spices and the subtly of cream cheese. Warm cinnamon and nutmeg mesh effortlessly with a sweet pumpkin overtone. To be honest,I can’t get enough of this limited time product, and I’m sad it’s not available year round!

Idea: You can use this as a cream cheese frosting for seasonal cakes, pies and cupcakes!

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Yumfactor: 4 Tongues. (four our of five stars.) The balance of flavors and authentic pumpkin taste make this fun fall flavor truly enjoyable.

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Healthy Choice pumpkin ravioli (with asparagus, apples and butternut squash) Review.

Healthy Choice’s Pumpkin Ravioli with apples and Butternut Squash. What a mouth full.

Ever since the commercial with Mindy Kailing advertising new Healthy Choice’s Pumpkin Ravioli with apples and Butternut Squash, I was curious. Mainly because I wondered what butternut squash tasted like. It seems to have become more popular in dishes, such as soups, and as side items. But I also was curious about pumpkin ravioli.

This by far has been one of my favorite frozen entrees. Firstly, the warm flavors of the apple and the pumpkin bring a ring of autumn depth you often experience with rich flavors like these. The subtle butternut squash adds a tinge of sweetness to the tart apples. The asparagus is sharp, but blends beautifully with the delicate butter sage sauce. I could not imagine the harmony of this dish unless all the ingredients were mixed together. The meal contains 310 calories per serving.  My only gripe is that you get about 9 ravioli. Why? Because it’s so good, I always wish for 10. Or 12. Also, whenever I follow the microwave directions on the package, I notice that one ravioli gets hard, to where when I chew it, it’s overly cooked on the edges.  I have no idea why. This  has also occurred with the Lobster ravioli I sampled from them. (Post coming soon). This balance of bold richness, smart calorie content (which may not suffice if you’re starving, but hey it’s not supposed to) and important vegetables make for a convenient lunch or dinner, and invoke a unique flavor experience.

Another picture of what the box looks like.

Healthy Choice Pumpkin Ravioli with asparagus, apples and butternut squash Yumfactor: 4 tongues and a tastebud (4.5 our of 5 stars). I really like this. I find that the flavors are well balanced and very exotic. It can be a bit fall for some, however, it’s very tasty. If you are famished, I recommend possibly eating 2 entrees if you’re not into calorie counting and are buying this entrée just to taste it. That’s what I’m doing. If you don’t, you may be hungry an hour later, just as a sidenote. It may not be flavorful enough for some, but you can always add pepper, garlic or whatever else to spice it up.

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Pumpkin Pie Pop Tarts Review

This Thanksgiving holiday I was able to taste one of three new limited time holiday edition of pop tarts. They released Sugar Cookie, which looked like it would taste like an overly sweet, buttery, vanilla based cookie dough,  Gingerbread, which looked like it may be decent (but I’m not a gingerbread fan) and pumpkin pie, which scared me at first.  At first glance, I figured the pumpkin flavor would be too sweet, a hit or miss, (perhaps because of the sprinkles?) but mostly a miss because, well, sometimes the authenticity of the pumpkin flavor is hard to perfect when it comes to snack like commodities. It’s either too sweet, or too spicy in my experience. After tying it, I was surprised with the likeness it was to a pumpkin pie.

Sugar Cookie, Gingerbread and the addictive pumpkin pie flavored pop tarts.

Firstly, the pumpkin filling was delicate in sweetness and has a nice balance of spice to compliment it, as cinnamon and clove add an earth spiciness that rounds out the rich pumpkin. The toasted pop tart crust added a classic pie influence which brought out the flavor even more.  I’d say that this mirrored a pumpkin pie that  was not overly sweet and I finished them off very quickly. Only issue was I was not able to find these everywhere. I was hoping they’d stay out for the Christmas holiday, but  they were discontinued after Thanksgiving at the grocers in my area, which I thought was odd since they also had “Christmas” type of flavors like Gingerbread and sugar cookie. Although this review is slightly late considering they are no longer available, I did want to mention that Pop Tart did create seasonal and exciting flavors, and if they bring them back next year, at last you would have known about this flavor to try out. In the back of my mind, I keep hoping I’ll find these somewhere, because they are delicious! If anyone can find them, please let me know! 😀

Note: These taste different when eaten straight out of the package or”room temp”. Doesn’t compliment the traditional pie flavor, and it gives a slight vegetable-like quality.

Kellogg’s Pumpkin Pie Pop Tart Yumfactor: 4 tongues (4 out of 5 stars ). I was highly addicted to these because of the warm traces of clove and cinnamon, which danced boldly with the sweet but spicy notes of the pumpkin filling. The pie crust flavor was icing on the cake as it completed the pop tart pie experience. Worth a try!

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Sonic’s Pumpkin Pie Milkshake Review. (And Edy’s Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream Overview)

Too artificial and "spicy" to be well rounded. Just so you know.

I went to Sonic’s to try the pumpkin pie milkshake which of course is available for a limited time, along with their new Kickin’ Coney and Bacon and Bleu hotdog. I had a previous run in with a pumpkin flavored dessert that left me dazed, hurt and disappointed. Actually, I’ll name names 🙂 Edy’s pumpkin pie ice cream is overly artificial in flavor, with too much focus on the sweet with poor traces of spice.  And the spice that IS there tastes off balanced. Too cinnamoney to me. I was not a fan at all…Now, I know some of you are going to say “Duh, it’s ice cream. What did you expect?” Certainly not that frozen weirdness I tasted.  Apparently, Sonic understands what I mean. Why? because their pumpkin pie flavored milkshake is amazing; it has lovely layers of rich pumpkin flavor that delicately infuses traces of cinnamon nutmeg that do not over power the pumpkin flavoring.

I took a pic, but it got deleted, so I borrowed this one.

It’s not an overly spicy shake it’s just a nicely balanced cup of bliss.  And I think Sonic’s whipped cream is indulgent and creamy and the fact that it’s topped with pie crumbles makes it even more so epic. So take that all of you who think I should expect pumpkin pie flavored ice creams/shakes to be disgusting. 😛

The texture is rich, creamy, and thick, like regular Sonic shakes are.  There is an earthy depth to the shake, as the first sip is laden with ripe, sweet pumpkin that doesn’t scare the taste buds.  Then, there is a warm undertone of cinnamon and nutmeg that add a well rounded feature to it. I felt this milkshake aptly used fall flavors of pumpkin and spice to make for a fun and sweet shake- and I feel it’s very easy to mess up frozen pumpkin type desserts by over using spiciness. I got a medium for $2.29. I wouldn’t recommend it for diabetics. Again this is fast food, so it’s not for the health conscious who are concerned with calories, fat or sugar. According to their site,the calorie content is 710. Wow. 78 g sugar, 9 g protein, and 1 g of fiber. But hey, there’s 0 g trans fat! 😀 And that’s the best of it with nutrition, folks, bt what do you expect? it’s a milkshake from Sonics!

Pumpkin Pie Shake Yumfactor: 5  tongues!! (5 out of 5 stars) I think this is flawless, and I have a friend who is scared of pumpkin flavored drinks and she agreed that is was rich, true to pumpkin pie goodness and yummy.

Edy’s Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream Yumfactor: 2 tongues and a tastebud. (2.5 out of 5 stars) I wanted to like it, but it was not well balanced in flavor. I like the color though, so I added an extra “.5” 😀 It is “light” so perhaps the lack of extra fat manifests itself in the way it tastes.

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