Snack Time #21 – Ritter Sport Cocoa Creme

When Cousin Sip joined Mrs. Sip and I for our weekly dinner, she supplied dessert in the form of a trio of new Ritter Sport releases. I will focus on one of those treats.

The Cocoa Creme variation was my favourite of the bunch. It seems Ritter Sport knows what they have on their hands, asking: “Better than ice cream? Yes: cocoa creme!”

Ritter Sport Cocoa Creme.png

Made with crispy chocolate flakes and creamy filling, Ritter Sport go on to say the Cocoa Creme product “makes everyone twice as happy!” The limited edition bar is only available for a short time.

The other varieties Cousin Sip brought over were the Honig & Crisp (honey with crispy flakes) and Johannisbeer Streusel (red currant yogurt and crumble).

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Snack Time #18 – Twizzlers Pull ‘N’ Peel Watermelon

What do you get when you combine two of the Sip Advisor’s favourite things into one nice, neat package? A very happy Sip Advisor! Thankfully, we found this Twizzlers product at the Hershey World store inside the New York New York resort in Las Vegas.

The Twizzlers Pull ‘N’ Peel Watermelon release instantly caught my eye and knowing what a fiend I am for the fruit, Mrs. Sip promptly added them to our growing basket. I’m curious about some of the other flavours we came across in the store, such as Chocolate, Fruit Punch and their Filled Twists line.

Twizzlers Pull ‘N_ Peel Watermelon

Let me be clear, the Sip Advisor is a bigtime Twizzlers fan. No Red Vines for this guy and I just can’t comprehend someone liking the competition. Can anyone try to provide me with an argument for why Red Vines should even share shelf space with the amazing Twizzlers?

I’m not sure how easy it is to find this product elsewhere, but we did spot them at one of the pharmacy stores that line the Las Vegas Strip. We will also be gifting a pack of Key Lime Twizzlers to Ma Sip for Mother’s Day, proving again how great a son I am!

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Snack Time #3: Trader Joe’s Extraordinary Bark

Mrs. Sip and I picked up this little treat prior to the Christmas season, thinking it would serve as a good hosting gift or even to put out ourselves when friends stopped by for a drink and visit. Somehow, it managed to survive into January, where we devoured it this week.

The Trader Joe’s Extraordinary Bark is comprised of a dark chocolate bark with layers of mini milk chocolate peanut butter cups, pretzels, caramel popcorn and crushed almonds. The Sip Advisor would have loved for it to be all milk chocolate, but that’s a personal preference.

trader-joes-extraordinary-bark

The bar was good to feed four people for dessert and like many items at Trader Joe’s, was not very expensive at all. My favourite part of the confection was the salty pretzel pieces, which always work so nicely with any type of chocolate. The peanut butter cups were also solid.

The Extraordinary Bark is only available during the holiday season, so if you come across it, give it a whirl before it disappears. Fear not, though, as Trader Joe’s also carries a Springtide Bark, featuring dark chocolate bark, milk chocolate gems and a white chocolate drizzle.

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Mixer Mania #3 – It Does a Body Good

Got milk? The slogan became a pop culture phenomenon in the late 90s and early 2000s, thanks to the line of ‘milk mustache’ ads, featuring a who’s who list of celebrities during the time. Here’s a look at some of the best posters from the campaign (or at least the ones I felt like lampooning):

Kermit the Frog

Why a Muppet would need milk, I’ll never figure out… aren’t they more energy drink folk? Kermit does look quite dapper in this ad, which also included the tagline: “Milk isn’t just for tadpoles.”

got-milk-kermit

Austin Powers

Capitalizing on the popularity of Mike Myers’ secret agent character, the ad featured the spectacled one lounging on a couch, decked out in a silk blue robe (likely post-shag) with hairy chest that simply can’t be contained. Oh yeah, and martini glass of milk in hand wraps things up.

Steven Tyler

Typically the only white substance under the Aerosmith frontman’s nose is cocaine (aka booger sugar). Tyler’s mouth is iconic, while the caption “Make your bones rock hard” could certainly be misconstrued.

Garfield

The ad featured everyone’s favourite wisecracking cat with plate of lasagna. I don’t know about you, but I prefer my pasta with a nice glass of wine.

got-milk-garfield

Lindsay Lohan

I find it ironic that Lohan’s poster featured the tagline “The height of fame,” especially given the fall from grace her career and life would suffer in the years that followed.

Alex Trebek

The Jeopardy quiz master has one of the most iconic mustaches to ever exist – with or without milk. Add in the caption “Your bones may be in jeopardy” and that is one clever, if not intimidating ad.

Mixer Mania #3: The Sombrero

The Sombrero.JPG

  • 1.5 oz Kahlua Chili Chocolate
  • Top with Milk
  • Garnish with a Chocolate

Mrs. Sip actually collected these posters and magazine ads for a time and had her bedroom adorned with them. It was fun to have them in one place and see all the stars who had participated in the campaign.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
I prefer to use recipes that are a little more complex than this, but it provided the perfect opportunity to open my new Kahlua Chili Chocolate bottle. That liqueur packs a punch and I’m happy to say it comes as advertised. I wish I had thicker milk for this cocktail, but Skim is what Mrs. Sip prefers and it worked decently here, helping to cool the spicy Kahlua.

February 14 – Love Bite

Lover’s Quarrel

In celebration of Valentine’s Day, I thought it would be a good opportunity to look at some of the classic “will they/won’t they” TV romances. Nearly every show has one, hoping to bring in the hopeless romantic as a regular viewer. My favourite story is from NewsRadio, where the network wanted this element for the show, much to the chagrin of producers. So, they had Dave and Lisa sleep together immediately, before then teasing their relationship from that point. Well, on with the list:

#5: Ben & Leslie – Parks and Recreation

The Parks and Rec crew are quite incestuous with numerous couplings coming out of the small department. Despite stiff competition (Andy and April, Chris and Ann, etc.), Ben and Leslie get the nod for best “will they/won’t they” storyline on the show, as it took the nerdy Ben to finally reel in the ambitious Leslie, who was more likely to be married to her job than a living person. Ben and Leslie’s wedding was especially touching, as the Parks and Rec crew had to stage the event on short notice.

Ben and Leslie

#4: Niles & Daphne – Frasier

Niles loved Daphne from the first moment he saw her… the problem was, he was in a loveless marriage with the never-seen Maris. By the time Niles got his side of things all sorted out, Daphne was due to be wed to Donny – ironically, Niles divorce attorney. Well, true love conquers all, and Niles and Daphne ended up together, marrying and having a baby boy. Poor Niles waited many years – and through many boyfriends – for his chance to be with Daphne, but fate works in mysterious ways.

#3: Leonard & Penny – Big Bang Theory

For those who believe that opposites don’t attract, take for example the relationship between blonde bombshell Penny and her kind, but geeky neighbour Leonard. Despite taking a while to date and an extended break-up, the two have been together for a fair portion of the show’s run and at this point are even engaged. Rivaling Leonard and Penny is Sheldon and Amy, who most fans just want to see finally get into bed with one another!

The Gorilla Dissolution

#2: Jim & Pam – The Office (US)

Based off of the similar storyline of Tim and Dawn from the UK version of The Office, Jim and Pam go from co-workers with a mutual crush to lovers, having to evade obstacles such as Pam’s pending marriage to Roy, Jim’s transfer to another Dunder Mifflin branch, and Pam going back to school in New York. Once Jim and Pam were all securely married, Dwight and Angela moved into the spot of “will they/won’t they,” but their relationship was always a little odd and unusual.

#1: Ross & Rachel – Friends

These two went back and forth so many times, that it makes one’s head spin. In the end, they of course wound up with each other, following the typical last-minute ditch effort to save the relationship, with Ross rushing to the airport to stop Rachel from leaving the country for a job opportunity in Paris. Through the series, the two even produced a child, all the while teasing a reunion, but never really getting back together from the first time they became a couple and broke up.

Super Saturday Shot Day: Love Bite

Love Bite Shot

  • 0.5 oz Cherry Liqueur
  • 0.5 oz Orange Liqueur
  • 0.5 oz Milk
  • Garnish with Chocolate

Honourable mentions go to Kevin and Winnie (The Wonder Years), Zack and Kelly (Saved by the Bell), Eric and Donna (That 70’s Show), and Fry and Leela (Futurama); some of which ended happily and others, not so much. Thankfully, my will they/won’t they with Mrs. Sip worked out pretty well!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (2.5 Sips out of 5):
The Cherry and Orange Liqueurs mixed together really well, but the Milk didn’t play nicely with the spirits, nearly curdling the alcohol. Luckily it didn’t get that far and the flavours could still be enjoyed. At least I always had the Chocolate garnish to enjoy afterwards!

Belgium – Belgian Mojito

Full Meal Deal

Belgium is a pretty creative place. After all, they are responsible for the saxophone, the Body Mass Index, Club Med, Jean-Claude Van Damme (the Muscles from Brussels) and these culinary treats!

Beer

Let’s start with the fact that there are over 800 brands of Belgian beer. When Mrs. Sip and I were in Belgium many moons ago, we decided to try a bunch of different types of brew (not a hard choice, really) and were handed a menu that read like a phonebook. Each beer comes with its own specialized glass, said to improve the overall experience. It’s estimated that Belgians drink 84 liters of beer per person, per year. Those are numbers to be quite proud of!

Belgian Beer

French Fries

According to lore, it wasn’t the French who invented one of the greatest side dishes ever known to man, but the Belgians. In fact, the Belgians have an entire culture devoted to the French fry, including most citizens owning a deep fryer so they can make their own at all hours of the day. As a sauce man, myself, I’m happy to note that the fine folks of Belgium will use an array of different toppings on their fries, including mayonnaise (the big one over there), tartar sauce, and many others.

Chocolate

The sweet stuff is a big deal in Belgium, with chocolatier and confectionary outlets on many street corners. Point being, they are not hard to find. Some of the most popular chocolate brands in Belgium, include Guylian (makers of the sea shell chocolates) and Neuhaus (inventor of pralines and even the method of gift wrapping chocolate purchases). The world’s greatest chocolate sales occur at the Brussels International Airport, as travelers stock up on the goodies before exiting the country.

Belgium Waffles

I’m not sure what exactly takes a waffle and makes it Belgian (apparently this is a North American term to describe larger, but lighter battered waffles), but if they want to lay claim to this breakfast fixture, I say let them have it. In Belgium, it’s more common to see the term Brussels waffle, but it seems to all mean the same thing. In Belgium, waffles are even sold on the street as a snack on the go and sometimes from ice cream trucks.

Belgian Waffles

Brussels Sprouts

One of the most child-despised food items to ever exist, parents of fussy eaters can thank the Belgians for this culinary gem. The sprout has been grown in Brussels for over 400 years and while it could have originated anywhere, Belgium has jumped aboard the edible bud train. Mrs. Sip has recently got into Brussels sprouts, providing they’re roasted and smothered in cheese. I’m still not onboard with the leafy green, but we have a ceasefire with one another.

Mussels

Or as they know it, moules-frites (mussels and fries), has often been given the title of Belgium’s national dish. I like mussels from time to time, particularly if done in a Cajun-esque style and in one of those big pots with other seafood, potatoes, and corn on the cob. Back to Belgium’s take on the dish, the shellfish is typically cooked or steamed with vegetables such as onions, celery, and leeks, although other, more savoury techniques can be utilized.

Jenever

This ancestor of gin has been the national spirit of Belgium for hundreds of years. In fact, Jenever is a protected product of origin and can only be manufactured in Belgium, the Netherlands (where we will sample it in a few weeks), and parts of France and Germany. The traditional serving method includes a shot glass fresh from the freezer and filled to the brim. The first sip should be taken without the use of hands, before you can return to normal sipping procedures!

Belgium: Belgian Mojito

Belgian Mojito Cocktail

As a beer and French fry connoisseur, I give great praise to the people of Belgium and that’s without even taking into consideration the Sip Advisor’s sweet tooth. I won’t even deduct points for their addition of Brussels sprouts to the international potluck!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
I’ve never put together what is basically a Beer Mojito, so I figured this was the perfect opportunity. My drink turned into its own ecosystem with all the greenery in there. It tasted pretty good, though, helping me further my claim to being the ‘King of Mojitos!’

Germany – Widow Maker

Just Too Sweet

In one episode of The Simpsons, Homer learns that Germany is the ‘Land of Chocolate’ and that is entirely true. In fact, Germany is home to a number of wonderful treats, even venturing beyond the world of rich, creamy goodness. Here are some of the notable items Germany is able to bring to the international potluck!

Ritter Sport

Who couldn’t fall in love with these little chocolate bars, which are divided into 16 bite-size pieces, making it easy to eat as little or as much as you desire. Although the company was founded in 1912, the famous chocolate bars for which the brand is most associated didn’t debut until 1932. The Sip Advisor’s favourite Ritter Sport choices, include Knusperkeks (milk chocolate with biscuit) and Knusperflakes (milk chocolate with cornflakes), clearly showing that mixing chocolate with a crunch is a preference. The company even has a museum dedicated to squares and everything they entail.

Ritter-Sport Truck

Haribo

Based out of Bonn, Germany, Haribo is not only a great gummy candy company, but they are the originators of the concept, creating the world’s first gummy bear in 1922. They have since dramatically expanded their lineup to include cola bottles, jelly beans, wine gums, sour cherries, and so much more, including numerous products you just can’t find outside of Europe. While I’m not the biggest fan of gummy candies, I do enjoy them from time to time and in small doses. Their slogan rings true: “Haribo makes children happy – and adults as well!”

Kinder

Although Kinder products originated with Italian company Ferrero, the brand name is German (meaning children), the chocolate is huge across Germany, and Kinder Schokolade  is kind of its own entity in the country… all that adds up to being good enough for the Sip Advisor. Mrs. Sip and I still pick up Kinder Surprise eggs from time to time, depending on what the toy inside might be. We’ve grabbed eggs that contained Disney characters – I was hoping for a Scrooge McDuck – and other lines, just for the thrill of opening that little plastic egg. The chocolate is alright, too!

Trolli

While Haribo introduced gummy bears to the world, Trolli made their own mark, unleashing gummy worms into the hands of curious children on the 60th anniversary of the gummy bear. Today, the company pushes 150,000 tons of gummies out of their factories around the world, including four in Germany alone. Trolli has been involved in one controversy that I actually find quite funny. In 2004, they released a line of Road Kill gummies, featuring chickens, squirrels, and snakes with tire tracks embedded on them. Animal rights groups squashed the candy, which seems like overkill… get it!?

trolli-weirdly-awesome

Marzipan

While marzipan is enjoyed across the globe, it is in Germany (particularly the city of Lübeck, whose marzipan is geographically protected by the European Union) where you can find entire stores dedicated to the almond meal confection. Ma Sip figures I’m a good German boy because I enjoy marzipan. That said, I did overindulge one Christmas as a teenager and ate an entire bar of marzipan in short order. Now I limit myself to small servings, spread over a few days and really only around the holiday season. When the Sip Advisor was last in Germany, I also made sure to pick up a bottle of marzipan liqueur for future cocktails!

Black Forest Cake

What foray into Germany’s famous confectionary treats would be complete without a slice of Black Forest Cake. The Sip Advisor is a huge fan of this dessert… we’re talking cake mush all over my face, grinning ear-to-ear into Black Forest Cake! There’s just something about the mix of chocolate, whipped cream, and cherries that works so well and turns this Cookie Monster into a cake lover for brief periods of time. Enjoying a cut while actually travelling through Bavaria should be on every traveler’s bucket list… get on it, my little sippers!

Germany: Widow Maker

Widow Maker Martini

  • 1 oz Jagermeister
  • 1 oz Vodka
  • 1 oz Kahlua
  • Dash of Grenadine
  • Garnish with a Maraschino Cherry

Germany is also home a number of famous car companies, from Porsche to BMW to Volkswagen and everything in between. I could have talked about that, but soothing my sweet tooth is so much more pleasurable!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
I garnished the drink with a Maraschino Cherry as an homage to the Black Forest Cake. I had a hell of a time finding Maraschino Cherries that had stems with them, as they look so much better in cocktails over stemless Maraschino Cherries. The most interesting part of this martini is how the Jagermeister and Kahlua go so well together. A very tasty cocktail that’s not too strong, at all.