DSC01653I got some chawklits from Iceland…

DSC01654My, that’s a handsome box…

DSC01655These are from Omnom in Iceland.  They have a pretty annoying web site.  Lots of lightbox popups…

DSC01656And Iceland isn’t known for their great chocolate.  To put it mildly.  But these ones are really delish.  Subtle and complex cocoa.  Nom.  Om nom.

The Book Review Club

I started off doing the cocktail thing basically off of Wikipedia, but I soon got The Essential Bartender’s Guide. It’s not a guide to essential bartenders, as you might have guessed, but a guide to making cocktails.

I really like it. It’s very opinionated. It describes frozen margaritas as an “abomination”, if I remember correctly. It might be wrong, it might be right, but it’s more entertaining reading a recipe book that has opinions than something that’s a “neutral” guide.

The only problem is that it doesn’t shy away from using obscure types of booze for delicious-sounding cocktails, so you end up with an excessive collection of bottles:

When this project is completed, I’m going to have somewhat of an excess of … stuff.

I sense a cocktail party coming sometime this summer to get rid of all this alcohol.

New Menu Fad Detected

Here in Utah, I have detected a new menu fad. I think. At least I can’t recall seeing this before anywhere:


So basically, they’re warning us that undercooked meat is dangerous. (And please no personal checks).

Ok… But I’m at a restaurant. I don’t want them to undercook my meat.

But there’s an asterisk. And what items are asterisked (that should be a word):


Err… meats… and mussels… and cheese… but cheese with meat…  And there’s bacon in the mussels!

They’re asterisking all meat dishes!  Which is (in Utah) basically all dishes.  Even the cheese and the mussels.

But not the potato chips.  Seems like a missed opportunity.

Anyway.  Is this just in Utah?  New law?  Did somebody get sick?

The wording on most menus is similar, but unclear.  “Undercooking your meat is baaad”.  But it doesn’t actually say “these are dishes that may contain undercooked meat, so if you die after eating them, it’s all your own fault”, which is probably what they mean.

America is so complicated.


Guest Blog: Pearls. Before: Swine

By guest blogger Bjørn Konestabo

In the world of candy, there is chocolate. There is liquorice. And then there is gummy. The gelatin based candy from the wondrous animal that just keeps on giving. Among the producers of such delights, the German based Haribo is the original G, molding the first gummy candy in the shape of a bear in 1922. The gummy bear is still their flagship product, and while other candy producers might foolishly boast to be still using their original recipe, Haribo claims to have continuously improved it for more than 90 years.

What sets these collagen-derived ursī apart from the rest are the flavors. While other gummy may contain barely enough flavors to mask the porcine origins, these gummy bears are positively bursting with flavor. The real magic happens when you scoff down multiple bears at once, unleashing a torrent of fruity excitement.

While Haribo has had a local presence in Norway for decades, the full assortment has not been available, most notably their most famous product, the golden bears, “Goldbären”, have been unavailable to norwegian consumers for quite some time, but today they can be found in a cheap household and party supply chain. This is an odd location for a premium product.

So are they the same thing? Amazon reviews suggest that all bears are not created equal, depending on country of origin. Preliminary testing finds the Norwegian sourced bears to be enjoyable, but unable to match cherished childhood memories of the originals. Then again, what is?


The way of finding things out.

The bags seem similar enough. Pictures of fruit featured prominently on both bags. The Norwegian sourced on the left is revealed to come from Denmark. Only the German one offers Freizeitspaß it seems. Production and best-before dates are close enough for comparison, with only a two month disadvantage to the German bag.

There are six flavors of bears: Raspberry, strawberry, orange, lemon, pineapple and apple. Selection of candidate bears revealed color differences that complicated testing. This meant that the tester was not allowed to view the bear before consumption. It is surprisingly hard to guess the correct flavor without a visual cue, and only one flavor was correctly identified: The highest scoring german bear, pineapple.

Test was randomized in the order of bears and blinded.


Type of bear German score Norwegian score
Raspberry 5 3
Strawberry 4 3
Orange 4 3
Lemon 5 4
Pineapple 6 2
Apple 5 4
Sum 29 19

It became clear for the tester that the bears could be segmented in two groups. One harder and more chewy, one softer and more flavorful.

Danish version states real fruit juices but not much. Also color additives are used.

Look at all the stuff that’s in the German bag! Brennessel? Stinging nettle? Seriously?

There can be no doubt. The Germans are keeping the good stuff for themselves, and while the ersatz bears are not an unpleasant experience, they fall far short of the greatness of the original.