Sunday, December 16, 2012

Beatles for Sale…and so am I!

Well, not really.

A long time ago, in a galaxy not that far away (Marlboro, to be exact), Elayne and I used to go to a particular craft fair held at the Marlboro Royal Trade Plaza, or some crappy name like that. While Elayne liked the scarves and the like, I preferred to go around and sample the foodstuffs. Many people were just re-sellers, but some were also the inventors or manufacturers; those I liked best. What they didn’t like was my brutal honesty about their product. If they asked, after I sampled: “so?”…I’d tell them the truth, whether they liked it or not. That’s what makes me the Critical Palate…honest to a fault.

Those of you that have been faithful readers from the very beginning know that my focus has primarily been food, with an occasional dabbling in popular culture and movies. I am now adding something else: product reviews, done with Critical Palate flair. How will this differ from what already is going on these pages: it won’t, really, but I am offering my Critical Palate review skills, and those of my crack research and taste-testing team, to those of you food purveyors out there looking for market research. My team is made up of a culinary school graduate, several lawyers, a CPA and teenagers…I can serve any market or demographic. Use our tongues for your benefit (that didn’t really sound quite as good as I hoped…or did it?).

Recently, two different purveyors reached out to me and asked that I review a few of their products. Tutorosso Tomatoes sent me three cans of their certified Kosher tomato products: Crushed, diced and whole. I expect to use and test them shortly.

Even more delicious, Aigner/Prensky Marketing Group recently contacted me and asked me to review three items: Two pepper jellies and a calendar! The pepper jellies are right up my alley…I love the sweet/spicy/savory umami thing, and the calendar…wow!

Aigner/Prensky Marketing Group is the marketing firm for the New England Food Truck Festivals, and as it says on their website: “…[we] wanted to create a product to raise money for CommunityServings, whose volunteers, sponsors and staff prepare and deliver 7,500 lunches and dinners to hundreds of homebound individuals and families in Massachusetts.” The pin-up calendar features hot models in throwback pin-up style dress, in front of the food trucks. This is a very well made, beautiful to look at calendar, and most importantly, raises money to help those that can’t get out and eat like me, and the Critical Palate team. Learn more about it here, and help this worthy cause.

Pepper Jelly Triumvirate

For sampling, we tried “Sweet Heat” pepper jelly, original flavor, produced by “Stir It Up Cuisine”, a catering company in Weymouth, Massachusetts that is now breaking in to retail sales of pepper jellies; you can see where you can buy these here. Our crack team was on this like flies on trash. With great anticipation, we broke the hermetic seal, drove the plastic knife in to the jelly, and spread a tasty layer on a wheat thin. I like it…a lot. Critical Dave thought it was too hot (baby!), and Critical Sterling, who has made some homemade pepper jelly in the past, thought it was a little too sweet and was missing some mystery flavor she couldn’t quite identify, but thought it needed. It didn’t stop us from eating a lot more of it, and within the next few days, we’ll be dipping our pretzel sticks and wheat thins into the bottle of “Orange-Mango Sweet Heat Pepper Jelly”. You can do a lot of things with this pepper jelly. Use it as a glaze on chicken or fish, or slather it on a wedge of cheese or a wheel of brie, then spread across a cracker…that’s good eatin’.

Stay tuned for more information on our Orange-Mango jelly review, and while you’re waiting, visit the food truck web site here to buy your calendar…

Our crack sampling team stands by, ready to receive your treats to be put to our taste test. We eat for you!

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