Low Budget Gourmet: Boston Cream Pie Coffee? Home Goods Raid..Sorta

Today a friend and I went to Home Goods, which is a store that offers gourmet food/coffee, furniture, and bath goods for discount prices.  Think Marshall’s, Ross or TJ Maxx, but without the clothes. I love this place, because it’s easy to access quaint adorable tea pots, funky, vintage “distressed” mirrors and desks, and features the best flavored coffees available- all at a bargain, or a decent price. I appreciate the variety. I went straight to the gourmet foods section, passed the strawberry flavored balsamic vinegar, and the garlic olive oils, to the fun flavored coffees.  What caught my attention first was the flavored coffee syrups (for about $5.99 for a 25.4 fl oz bottle).  There were sugar-free vanillas, to classic hazelnut and regular vanilla, and even Kahlua all manufactured by Monin and Davinci brands, who seem too be the to leading suppliers of coffee syrups. What I appreciate is the lack of corn syrup Monin and Davinci brands offer, and the attention to the importance of making pure, and natural, Organic syrups if you will. And you should. 😀

 

Lovely...

Tangent: I prefer Monin over Davinci just because they offer a wider variety, and it just tastes better.  It does, however contain a little bit more sugar. I love getting the Vanilla syrups because they are a versatile item that can go well with milkshakes, in milk alone,cocktails, sodas (Vanilla Coke, anyone?) in smoothies, and of course in coffees and teas, not to mention a flavor enhancer for baking items. (I will post both websites below just in case you are curious about the flavors they carry.)  Monin has over 100 flavors, also, many which are fruit based like (Mango,Passion Fruit, Strawberry) to other types. Their Vanilla syrup uses pure Madagascar Vanilla. Fancy!

I moseyed over to the coffee, my eyes shifting quickly from the standard “French Vanilla” to “Kahlua” when it hit me- “Boston Cream Pie” flavored coffee. I literally squeaked because there is nothing more exciting than interesting flavors of food or beverages, and this was one flavor I was not going to find everywhere. Then it hit me again…. “Pralines and Cream”. I had a dilemma here, folks. The Pralines and Cream smelled rich and had caramelized nutty and vanilla notes that were enticing, but the Boston Cream Pie- that indulgent cakey base, with deep chocolate and buttery, creamy custard seemed to beckon me as well. I was afraid that the chocolate would override what vanilla custard was there, although I smelled creamy notes through the bag (it has a scent hole). I figured since it’s not a layered edible item, all the flavors would run together, and the chocolate may even be a tad bit muted by the vanilla. Plus, if you have chocolate syrup and vanilla creamer at home, you could probably duplicate this! Especially with a creamier vanilla based creamer, such as Vanila Latte (Coffee Mate) or Sweet Cream (Int’l Delights Coffee) or perhaps “Italian Sweet Cream” (Coffee Mate) Both bags were $4.99 for 12oz Arabia coffee. I will do a review on these items in the future.

monin carries a wide variety of flavors, offers free monthly recipes on their site and even has flavors like “Apple Pie, Pumpkin Pie, Pecan Pie and Blueberry Pie” to florals like”Lavender, Rose and Hibiscus” and your standards fruits, exotic fruits (Chipotle Pineapple) and dessert type of flavors. How innovative is that? o.O You can buy Monin’s syrups here baristaproshop. As for davinci  they offer Buttered Run which Monin didn’t have, and Zabaglione (Italian egg nog with Marsala wine) but has a smaller variety. You can shop on their site.

What interesting coffee flavors have you tried? Interesting cocktails or sodas that featured unique syrups? Please share and of course let us know if you’d recommend them to anyone else! Thanks for reading, and don’t forget to comment/rate/subscribe! 

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Coffee Creamer Wars: Sweet Buttercream Vs. Sweet Italian Cream

                                   

 Lately I have become  more adventurous in trying assorted flavours of coffee creamers (Either that, or I have too much time on my hands). Considering I’m a foodie who appreciates variety, I thought the challenge of being open to the arms of non dairy flavoured cream would be fun.  So far, I have enjoyed my coffee tasting richer and more exotic. Sadly, I have come up disappointed on a few occasions, but hey, maybe I expect too much to begin with.  Firstly, there are the two main companies I will be referring to: International Delights and Coffee-Mate. Both have strong flavours and much variety thus both appearing to be winners at slight.

With all the brouhaha over coffee these days, it’s no wonder companies are trying to capitalize on consumers need for variety.  Luckily for you, consumer, you can have fun trying all the different flavors to give your coffee a facelift.  If you shop at any main grocery store, like Wal-mart or Publix, you will see a huge assortment of coffee creamer flavors from these two main brands. Both reasonably priced, both different in flavor.

 Now, according to my taste buds I would prefer International Delights coffee creamers. They offer a more naturally flavored variety. Take their French Vanilla for example the creamy, smooth strongly vanilla flavor in soaked in richness and topped off with a beautiful aroma.  If I were to compare it to Coffee Mate’s French Vanilla, I would get a similar scent experience, with a slightly more artificial vanilla quality.

 The above photos shows two distinct products by both companies. Though I’d generally prefer Int. Delights to Coffee Mate, I will make an exception in these two flavours. The Sweet Buttercream is one to try as the scent is a dead on duplication of buttercream. A plus is that is not too sweet and even has a sweetened cream cheese undertone.  My favourite would be however, the Sweet Italian Cream. This lovely flavour is delicate yet bold in a sweetened vanilla taste that is surprisingly unartificial. It does justice to the brand, almost contradicting its normal artificial concept. This is also very versatile, as it can enhance any flavour you add it to, be it original coffee, or flavored coffee. It is also heavenly in tea. As for the sweet buttercream, I cannot say the same, though it is good in its own right. (Remember, I am comparing the 2 so results are based on the other’s flavor and not their own.)

Sweet Buttercream Yumfactor: 3 out of 5 tongues and a taste bud.

Sweet Italian Cream Yumfactor: 4 out of 5 tongues and a taste bud.