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A chance for me to enjoy a respite and any relaxation is a rare occurrence during the school summer holidays, and to actually concur with some hot sunny weather is even more obscure. But just like a lottery win, these things do happen, and once the children had temporarily vacated the premises in order to pursue their hectic social lives, it was my prompt to hit the sun bed and lap up some rays.
Twas a lovely day too, laying there, my mind drifting off to a fantasy beach on a fantasy isle... Somewhere tropical, where warm ebbing waters tickled white sandy shores. Basking in the sun and dreaming... aaaa this was the life... I was suddenly gripped by a desire to compliment my newfound freedom with my latest discovery whilst in Sainsburys, a Del Monte Pineapple 'Fruit Ice' lolly.
Although Del Monte now makes wide ranges of juices, drinks and snacks, for me the name always sparks two memories. The same can of Pineapple rings always haunting my mother's cupboard as a child, and that well-known TV Ad from which 'The Man from Del Monte - Heeee say YES!' was born. Whether either of these two things contributed to my purchase subconsciously I'm unsure, but pineapple always having been a favourite flavour of mine was far more likely to be the cause. Plus, myself being lactose (milk) -intolerant and the lollies being lactose-free contributed to their appeal, as did the fact they were on a BOGOF offer, meaning I got 8 x 75ml lollies for just £1.99!
Visiting the Del Monte website I discover this famous company is over 100 years old, American-founded and named after the prestigious 'Hotel Del Monte' in California. The Del Monte red, yellow and white shield has become a symbol of product quality and trust to many millions of consumers worldwide. These lollies are actually made under licence by a company called Frederick's Dairies, as are Del Monte's 'Fruitini' ice-lolly range.
The pineapple 'Fruit Ice' lolly I'm reviewing here only comes in one other flavour; Orange.
The cardboard box is adorned in traditional Del Monte style, incorporating the Del Monte shield logo against a green background. Having consumed a fair few of these 'Pineapple' lollies already, I can verify that the quality generally associated with Del Monte products, is as evident as it ever was.
The box is a neat, brick-shape and size, with a detailed picture of what lies within boldly languishing across the front. The box's resilience is high, as proven by weathering the most brutal attacks by my children, whilst engaged in frenzied rummages in the freezer.
The box also contains detailed nutritional information, which is rarely so impressive!
**A 'Del Monte Promise' states that these lollies are virtually fat free, that each lolly contains 100% of the recommended daily amount of Vitamin 'C', and that they DO NOT contain any artificial colours, flavours, preservatives or sweeteners.
There's no mention of any 'E' numbers at all, and we're informed that these lollies are made with 75% pineapple juice from concentrate. Sugar and water have been added featuring 2nd and 3rd respectively on the list, along with natural flavouring and natural colour (Curcumin). Also listed are, Locust bean gum, and pectin. Vitamin C (Ascorbic acid) is listed towards the end of the ingredients, so I therefore assume some Vitamin C has been added.
Each 75ml lolly contains only 78 calories, 19.3g of carbohydrate, and only a 'Trace' of fat.
The box also informs me that if kept frozen, below -18oC they can be stored until the 'best before date', which in my case is 3 years hence! As if...
There is also a statement declaring their suitability for vegetarians.
**CAUTION: These lollies have been produced in a factory, which handles NUTS!
So back to my recliner and tropical images, clutching my individually wrapped reward for a hard mornings work. (The paper wrapping is similar in decoration to the box)
Having indulged myself before, I'm in high anticipation, as I know what to expect as soon as I strip the lolly from its trappings. That sudden burst of fresh, fragrant pineapple weighs heavy on the static hot air; a slight mist encumbers its golden yellow and firm torso. The enticing body of the lolly is approximately 1 ½" in width, and about 3 ½" at it's longest point. The lolly curves round at the top before entering into a more rectangular mode towards the bottom. Mounted on a good quality bow-shaped wooden stick, this provides a most manageable and perfect tool with which to begin chilling out.
Admiring it's torso again I see it's smooth with no flecks or little pieces of actual fruit. There's no gloppy syrupy gunge at the top of the lolly, and it is uniform in colour and texture. Accompanying the sweet almost floral aroma I now have taste, and on contact with my tongue the rich pineapple flavour floods out in unison with its coldness. There's depth, there's body, there's quality and most of all there's a wonderful naturalness to the fruity flavour. There's no bitterness at all and I'm unable to detect anything else with regards to taste, as the pineapple's dominance is total. Any added sugar is beautifully balanced and blended. There's no let up in the satisfying refreshing powers of this lolly, which neither faltered in the consistency of its flavour or prowess to please throughout.
Whether I licked or bit into the yielding succulent, juicy layers, none of the fruit ice fell wildly to the wayside or vacated the stick onto me. Unlike some other lollies I've tried, I incurred no profuse amount of drips down my fingers either, which otherwise trespass on the spontaneity of the occasion. No, this lolly was constructed to last, and it did so, for at least 10, long, heavenly minutes. The whole experience procured a temporary escape from the heat and stress of a stifling day.
It didn't leave me feeling unquenched or wanting in any way. My mouth and throat as well as my mind felt cool and chilled. No nasty superficial after taste either, just a fresh, natural cold feeling as if I'd eaten fresh real fruit. The only evidence/souvenir remaining was the naked stick with the Del Monte logo upon it, which was quickly dispatched to the bin. Not only did I feel refreshed but invigorated, and for at least an hour afterwards, which was plenty of time to embrace the sun once more in preparation for the next round of reality.
Whilst I enjoy these 'Fruit Ice' lollies immensely it did cross my mind that parents of toddlers may be attracted to their healthy attributes, especially in comparison to other lollies which are riddled with E numbers and who knows what? Due to the fairly wide width of these lollies, some parents might want to consider the longer, narrower lolly such as is in the 'Fruitini' range, which sound equally delicious and refreshing.
I would dearly love to be able to purchase these 'Pineapple Fruit Ices' individually, perhaps whilst on a day out at the seaside, but having received a prompt reply to an e-mail today from Del Monte, I'm afraid this cannot be, as they are only sold in boxes of 4. The e-mail also confirmed my suspicions that these 'Fruit Ices' are in fact suitable for a Vegan diet, and that as well as Sainsburys they should also be available for purchase from some Tesco stores.
I think these 'lollies' are my best find this summer and a great alternative to ice cream and for lactose-intolerant people like myself. To me they more than recompense and satisfy, and not only that, but even at a normal price of approximately 50p each, I think they're not only a bargain, but also a delicious and healthy treat too!
The Customer Care Manager (Cirio Del Monte) Frederick's Dairies Ltd, Prospect Place, East Pimbo, Skelmersdale, Lancashire WN8 9QD