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since 21/06/2000


Blossom Hill Californian Chardonnay 28/08/2002

A dry white wine from the Sunshine State

Blossom Hill Californian Chardonnay This review focusses on Blossom Hill Chardonnay – a dry, white, table wine from the US state of California. California, the “Sunshine State” is very much the heartland of the ‘modern’ wine industry in the USA, thanks to the Spanish missionaries who were the first to introduce the vine, towards the latter part of the 18th century. The missionaries brought with them seeds and cuttings, mostly of mediocre quality of different European varieties. The winemakers California have made vigorous efforts in recent years to produce wines that will match the greatest that the likes of Bordeaux and Burgundy have to offer. Modern, up-to-date machinery and technologies have been employed in both the Californian vineyards and wineries and the element of chance in wine-making greatly reduced. As a result California wine has come of age and can now rival or even surpass the world’s finest wines. Actually the Californian vineyards can be found from Los Angeles in the south – it was here that Spanish missionaries brought the first vines in the 1770’s – to the Redwood Valley, which is about 200 kms to the north of San Francisco. This part of California is renowned for a wide range of soils and climates as well as a local preparedness on the part of wine growers to innovate. It also has several other advantages not always readily available to some of the other major wine growing regions of the world. There is the widespread ...

Green Chartreuse 27/08/2002

The Elixir of Long Life

Green Chartreuse Green Chartreuse is reckoned to be the only liquer in the world with a completely natural green colour and is brewed to a secret recipe originally made by French Carthusian monks. It seems that only three of the monks are aware of the secret recipe but it known that it is made from a mixture of some 130 different herbs. It is ever so slowly aged in oak barrels and actually comes in two varieties : green and yellow. The highly aromatic Green Chartreuse liquer gets in colour from the addition of chlorophyll and the green variety is drier,more spicy and a higher proof than the less well known yellow variety. By alcohol by volume content Green Chartreuse weighs in at a hefty 55% (110* proof).It is packaged in a very attractive and traditional Chartreuse liquer bottle,with a embossed seal, and is widely available in major off licences and the big supermarkets usually have this popular liquer in stock.To be frank it is ages since I bought a bottle of the stuff so I am not sure of its currennt price in the market. Afficinados say to really enjoy this aromatic drink,drink it when it is very cold,even on the rocks.Green Chartreuse can also be enjoyed as a long drink.It also goes splendidly in a veritable range of cocktails- Bijou Cocktail, Black Wolf, Cat's Eye, Emerald Martine, Flaming Dragon, Green Poison, Sleigh Ride, Spring Feeling Cocktail and St Patrick's Day are just a few of the cocktails that bartenders use Green Chartreuse in. This aromatic,herby,liquer makes ...

Everything that starts with S ... 26/08/2002

Sushi is Healthier than Sandwiches

Everything that starts with S ... is Healthier Than Sandwiches Everyone knows the Japanese love their fresh fish, especially sushi. Sushi, moreover, is one of the healthiest types of cuisine and a diet, which includes a lot of raw, or fresh fish can apparently help protect smokers against lung cancer. Japanese research reveals that lung cancer rates are much lower in Japan than UK, even though smoking rates are as high or even higher in Japan. The difference has been largely attribute to the diet of the Japanese which is exceedingly rich in raw fish in Sushi cookery. Scientists at the Cancer Research Hospital in Aichi, Japan, found than men and women who consumed “large” amounts of fresh fish were significantly less likely to develop lung cancer. Eating a lot of fresh fish can prove to be a useful way to lower the risk of lung cancer. Well sushi, a much misunderstood foodstuff, is based on sushi rice: this is rice which has been carefully prepared with slightly sweetened vinegar. The rice and its toppings such as salmon, salmon roe, sea urchin, mackerel, sea eel, tuna and prawn, are wrapped in seaweed and served with the likes of soy sauce, pickled ginger and wasabi. The latter is a very hot horseradish style mustard. Among the major types of sushi are: ¨ Nigin :a block of sushi rice with a raw fish topping. ¨ ¨ Maki :a roll of sushi rice with a filling wrapped in seaweed ¨ ¨ California Roll : a roll of sushi rice with a filling, all wrapped in ...

Mars Snickers 24/08/2002

A Lovely Nutty Choccy Bar

Mars Snickers Snickers ranks among the very best loved and most popular chocolate bars in Britain. According to a number of surveys Snickers ranks very highly among crazy choccie loving Britons and some surveys have seen it in the No I spot among chocolate - or Candy -bars. Want still more confirmation of the huge popularity of this yummy chocolate bar ? Yes ! Well go down to your nearest supermarket or superstore. Take a peep at the point of purchase display at many of the check out counters. The chances are you will see rows of Snickers lined up in the display. The big supermarket multiples-who account for almost 90% of the trade in grocery lines- certainly know a good chocolate bar when they see one. Snickers is manufactured by Masterfoods UK, which is part of the giant Mars group. It was Frank Mars back in 1930 that invented Snickers and this product is slold all over the world. It comes ina brown,chocolatey,wrapper with the word Snickers in blue against a white background trimmed with a thin red line. In essence Snickers has a nu base-roasted peanuts make up almost a quarter of the contents-in a lovely goey caramel centre all encased in delightful thick chocolate. Yummy ? You bet it is ! You will easily find Snickers in the supermarkets such as Asda, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Somerfield, Safeway, and Waitrose,in the foodhall of Marks and Spencer and in most neigbourhood sweet shops. Cost ? Expect to pay around 30 pence for a 56 gr bar. The ingredients,according to the ...

Lindt Lindor Truffle 23/08/2002

Lindt Make Fine Chocolates

Lindt Lindor Truffle The Swiss certainly seem to have something of a passion for perfection and perhaps nowhere is this better demonstrated than in their delectable chocolates. One of the most famous Swiss chocolatiers just has to be Lindt. To give them their full title it is Lindt and Sprungli. They have been churning out Swiss premium chocolates since `1845 and go into posh chocolate shops or duty free chocolate emporiums at international airports and you will find plenty of products from this famous chocolate maker.The chances are you too that you will see a lot of shoppers snapping up the Lindt Chocolates from the shelves. Lindt produce some superb boxed chocolates including Lindt Connaisseurs which contain no less than 25 delicious assorted choccies. The 250 gr box sells for around CHF25.00 in its native country. Another utterly delectable boxed chocolate selection with 50 thoroughly exquisite premium chocolates is Lindt Traditionl de luxe.In Switzerland they cost CHF40. Aside from boxed chocolates the Swiss chocolatier also make Diabetic Chocolate-which I have not tried- Swiss Thins, delightful Chocolate Truffles, and several excellent dark chocolate products. Among the best known are Lindt Dark Chocolate 86% Cocoa and Lindt Dark Chocolate 70% Cocoa. Lindt Lindor Truffles,the subject of this opinion,come in a delightful heart shaped box and the choccies are all individually wrapped. Lindt's products tend to have a high cocoa content,usually higher than the British ...

Plymouth Gin 23/08/2002

A superbly Balanced Gin

Plymouth Gin Plymouth gin has been distilled for over 200 years in the oldest gin distillery in the West Country. Since it was the preferred drink of the Royal Navy,not surprisingly this fine gin travelled the world. Gin connoisseurs love this gin from the fair city of Plymouth for its delightfully junipery flavour,its balance and the full flavoured punch it delivers. This premium gin is a superb ingredient for sophisticated lovers of Martini and makes a great Gin and Tonic. Both Ian Fleming and Sir Winston Churchill were reputedly lovers of Plymouth gin and it was also greatly appreciated by Presidnt Roosevelt. It weighs in at 41.2% alcohol by volume (ABV) and among its ingredients can be counted juniper berries, coriander seeds,angelica root, orrisroot and cardomom pod. This is a nicely balanced gin and has many devotees. It is not difficult to see why it is so appreciated - its lovely flavour, its balance and its superb mixing abilities see to that. The Plymouth Gin Original costs around 12.99 pounds for the 70 cl bottle and the one litre bottle retails for 17.49 pounds. Among other products produced by the company are Plymouth Sloe Gin liquer, Plymouth Damson Gn liquer, and Marmalade with Plymouth gin.Most of the major supermarkets stock this premium gin. Tours,both individual and group, can be made to the distillery in Plymouth. The cost is 2.75 for adults and 2.25 for Old Age Pensioners and Students. The tour takes approximately 50 minutes. ...

Hovis Premium White Loaf 22/08/2002

It is Still a Mighty Fine Bread

Hovis Premium White Loaf Bread is very important to me - I like it very much -and I guess it is too to most Ciao members. It's something I eat just about every day,especially but by no means exclusively at breakfast time. As far as I am concerned its worth paying a few pennies more for getting nice tasting bread;some of the cheap sliced breads available in the market are really awful. One of the best breads is the Hovis Premium White Loaf. This famous brand is produced by the huge company, Rank Hovis McDougal and they certainly know a thing or two about flour and baking bread. RHM,together with Allied Mills,produce something like 50% of all the flour in the UK.Hovis is a name I have always associated with good brad ! My grandmother and mother knew and trusted Hovis and this trust was passed on to me and I have in turn passed this trust on to my daughters. Of course, Hovis,is not the cheapest bread in the market, a 800 gr loaf will cost you around 60 pence,but I would reiterate again,with bread it is worth paying for a bit of quality. Hovis bread has a nice taste and I particular like its texture and consistency. My big favourite is the thick slices. The reason for my preference for thick slices is basically because I am a toast and marmalade freak. Among the ingredients in a Hovis loaf are the likes of White Flour, Salt,Vinegar, Water, Vegetable Oil, Emulsifiers and Flour Treatment agents. Baking industry web sites that I have consulted confirm that Hovis Premium White Loafs are ...

Terry´s Chocolate Orange [TV Advertisement] 22/08/2002

Dawn Likes Them and So Do I

Terry´s Chocolate Orange [TV Advertisement] First a teeny wee bit of background to Terry's Chocolate Orange-the subject of this little review. This delectable offering is made in York by the long established confectioner, Terry's. They first began operations way back in 1767 and first became known as Terry's when Joseph Terry became a partner in 1823. One of their most popular choccies is Terry's Chocolate Orange-an absolute masterpiece of yummy.mooerish chocolate. Actually the first Terry's chocolate fruit was not the hugely popular Orang but Terry;s Chocolate Apple. Anyway let us get back on trck. Terry's Chocolate Orange is one of Britain's favourite chocolates. Every day the York factory produces around 180,000 of these delightful offerings. It seems too that surveys reveal that Terry's Chocolate Orange finds its way into about one in ten Christmas stockings in Britain Today this mouthwatering choccy will cost you around a pound. That dosent seem to stop that lovely,warm.bubbly,personality, Dawn French, devouring then in that TV advertisement. She is a excellent choice to play the part- telling viewers ... " It's not Terry's its Mine..." You dont just need to stock up on Terry's Chocolate Orange at Christmas time. How about Easter as well ? A nice present too to give the girlfriend or your favourite Aunt Mabel. Even grumpy old Uncle Bert might soften up if you gave him a Terry's Chocolate Orange. Summing up a good advert about a good choccy. A good choice of "choccy lady" and long may we find ...

Jacob's Cream Crackers 21/08/2002

Think Crackers then Think Jacobs

Jacob's Cream Crackers Think Crackers? Think Jacob's ! That is what Danone,who are the owners of Jacob's tell us. On reflection too I think it is about right- stop half a dozen people in any High Street in Britain and ask them to name a cream cracker and the chances are they will come up with the name of Jacob's. This household favourite is best described as a crisp,flaky,dry biscuit which uses no artificial colouring,flavouring or preservatives. It is suitable for both vegans and vegetarians. They are good,I reckon, to nibble any time of the day. Jacob's can be eaten at breakfast time with a wedge of cheddar cheese ,a dash of Marmite, or with cottage cheese.Feeling peckish in the mid morning then try a Jacob's with a thin slice of cheddar processed cheese or a dash of cheap black caviar. Afternoon tea is OK for you to have a nice cream cracker with butter or perhaps with plum jam and if you are a tad hungry just before bed time,help yourself to a couple of these ever popular cream crackers.Ty Jacob's with some anchovies or as a Cheese Snapper-just slip a cheese slice between two buttered cream crackers. I usually buy the 200 gr packet,cost varies between about 40 to 55 pence, and I am told they are actually quite good for me. They have vitamins,nutrients and calcium which are necessary for our body. I also happen to like the taste of Jacob's even though cream crackers are a bit dry. Try eating three or four of them in a minute without taking a drink. They are nice and crisp and very ...

Horse and Hound 21/08/2002

Horse and Hound Geared to the Horsy People

Horse and Hound I would like to begin this review with an important caveat-I am not in favour of hunting and whilst I am not an "active" animal rights campaigner, I would like to see in my lifetime, the abolition of fox hunting. This magazine is published by IPC Media and is the only weekly that is devoted to the equestrian world. It has a surprisingly wide coverage and aspects related to hunting are a relatively small part of its editorial coverage. Among topics covered are details of equestrian events,stories of stud life,articles on the care of horses,horse products,and product reviews. There are sections on horse racing and some practical advice pieces. A recent issue,for example,gave tips on horse trailer travel. Extensive news items are published including results of equestrian events,dressage competitions and such like.Equestrian shows are featured and several articles are published on dogs. Horse and Hound has a web site located at and among stories currently featured on the site are the likes of .."... New Initiatives for Stud Theft..","... Mare Survives Dog Attack.." and "... Funding Needed for Disabled Rider's Horses...". This glossy rather posh publication is clearly aimed at the well-heeled,"horsey" type readership but it does contain material that those who are not of that "ilk" could find enlightening and interesting. Technically it is a well produced publication,the quality of the illustrations are very good indeed and so to is ...

Waterways World 21/08/2002

A Thoroughly Interesting Read

Waterways World The canals and inland waterways of Britain are of immense historical importance. The canals,many of which were constructed in the 18 th century,were crucial for inland transportation during the early days of the "Industrial Revolution". They were a vital accelerator for industrialisation and carried vast amounts of coal and other bulky goods. Today while their role as arteries of commerce are more limited they constitute a vital part of Britain's heritage and play a critical role in leisure tourism and recreation. Thankfully in recent years the canals and inland waterways have undergone something of a renaissance,thanks to the work of various dedicated individuals and agencies. Waterways World is a truly splendid publication. Its "bread and butter" is the world of canals and inland waterways. The magazine has a good team of in house writers and links to freelancers and the end result is a very well written ,well illustrated,informative and emminently readable publication. The best thing of all it is written by people who obviously love their subject and write with great passion. This is high quality writing " from the Heart" and is all the more enjoyable as a result. The magazine contains articles on cruising the canals which is becoming an ever more popular pastime. There are interesting book reviews and product guides,stories about canal side restaurants and pubs, details of events,meetings, canal museums, and lots of interesting news items. Features ...

Lurpak Salted Butter 20/08/2002

Lurpak Salted Butter is Super

Lurpak Salted Butter Lurpak must be among the best known names in dairy products and their salted butter is just divine. It is distinguished by is natural,creamy,delicate taste and with a little salt, I reckon it is the greatest of all butter products. The product is churned out in Denmark-a country renowned for the quality of its dairy products-and the creamery uses the very finest creams,which again Denmark is justly renowned for. The Danish company actually produces five main butter products,viz, . Unsalted Butter . Flavoured Butter . Two Spreadable Butter's . Salted Butter-the subject of this opinion The product comes in a nice silver foil pack with bold blue and red lettering. It has a utterly delectable and creamy taste and colour wise it is less yellow than some of its rivals. I love to spread Lurpak salted butter on croissants and then dollop on some blackberry jam. It goes superbly on wholemeal bread with some rare roast beef and English mustard or for spreading on a baguette with the likes of corn beef, tuna, red salmon or egg. Lurpak has long been an esteemed producer of dairy products. The Danish producer was proclaimed as the best butter producer in the world as long ago as the 1879 World Exhibition which was held in London. Lurpak salted butter is well known to generations of British housewives and this venerable product is not just tasty but very versatile as well. It is a great ingredient for your baking and although it is a bit more expensive than some other ...

Quaker Oats 19/08/2002

They Are Really Very Good For You

Quaker Oats No less a famous personage as Edingburgh born inventor Alexander Graham Bell extolled the virtues of porridge oats, the Scottish breakfast cereal. The inventor of the telephone was well aware that porridge oats are really good for you. They don't contain sugar,they are filling yet are reputed to have anti cholerestorol properties. Now that can't be bad eh ? One of the best known and most popular porridge oats in the market are Quaker Oats. They are a name you can trust.You will find most grocery stores,supermarkets,hypermarkets and the corner shop stock their produce.. They come in an attractive packet,as well as tins, and are available in various convenient sizes for the single person,the small family and the large family. I make my porridge the traditional Scottish way,ie with water,hot that is, but confess that I do often add things to my porridge. Over the years I have experimented with additions such as prunes,dried apricots, raisins, currants,sliced bananas and chopped apple. I have also added A spoonfull of honey and also coconut jam but dont really recommend the latter. When I slurp my way through my morning bowl of Quaker Oats I know not only am I enjoying a good breakfast but just like Alexander Graham Bell, I am eating something that is actually good for me .Unfortunately despite all my years eating this delectable cereal I have not found my grey matter to be quite as good as Mr Bell's,but that is another story ! Thanks for reading

Hotpop Microwave Popcorn 19/08/2002

Popping Your Way Through Popcorn

Hotpop Microwave Popcorn I must confess I think I nmust have something of an addictive personality. Ever since my boyhood I have been addicted to popcorn and this habit seems to have stayed with me into my "mature" years. When I regularly went to the local cinema during my boyhood I would always end up buying at very least one carton of fresh popcorn ; sometimes I was so greedy it would be two. In my "middle-age" whilst I could resist candy floss I always seemed to head for the popcorn kiosk at the seaside. Whether it was Worthing, Weston Super Mare, Margate, Herne Bay or Brighton,I just had to sample the popping corn. Occasionally for some inexplicable reason the popcorn seemed not to pop but still I couldnt resist buying the stuff. Now as I am in my more mature phase-dont say old age- I still do not intend giving up popcorn. I have found a number of outlets of McDonalds do a nice turn in popcorn which I buy for the equivalent of 50 pence a carton. Even before I get home I have devoured half the carton and clearly I am not a nibbler,a muncher but a unashamed devourer of this most interesting fun food. Then there is Hotpot Microwave Pocorn-just put it in your microwave and before you can say Jack Robinson,you have popping pop corn that smells nicely and is full of nice buttery flakes.It is a high fibre easy to eat snack food. Actually too it has quite a nice taste as well,with a rather mild butter type taste. I believe is has moderate to low salt content but it is not very ...

Sainsburys (Shop) 18/08/2002

Still One of The Best

Sainsburys (Shop) Sainsbury's until comparatively recently were the largest British supermarket chain but that title now goes to Tesco,who have also been more aggressive in their overseas expansion. Sainsbury's undeniably have long enjoyed a reputation as a well run,high quality,supermarket group and most of their stores are in good locations, have a very impresive range of products and the standard of store service is also normally very impressive. Like the other supermarket groups Sainsbuty's have developed a number of super stores or hypermarkets in starategic out of town locations,one such example is near Whitstable in Kent close to the Thanet Way trunk road. Most of their super stores are architecturally more attractive than many of their rivals-indeed a number of Sainsbury;s stores have won architectural awards including their high tech architectural wonder at Canterbury in Kent. Many of their larger stores provide postal facilities,newspaper outlets and a cafe where you can enjoy reasonably priced snacks. The stores themselves stock an enormous range of produce including bakery produce, good deli's, plenty of canned goods, freezer loads of frozen goodies, fruit and vegetable sections, and beverages. Generally I find the quality of the produce in the Sainsbury;s outlets are of very high quality. Their fish counter is outstanding and they have a tremendous range of breads including great Italian syle offerings.As far as ethnic foods are concerned Sainsbuty's hold their own ...
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