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This Week at Global Foods Archives

September 25, 2009

Green Walnut Marmalade

I've decided to start a new category for my blog. "This Week at Global Foods"

I make a trip to Global Foods almost every week, and usually don't have a shopping list. I just go because I want to discover something new. New to me, that is. So, I've decided to share the results of these weekly pilgrimages with you.

First, I'll post a picture of my haul. This week .....

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And then I'll zero in on one item that week. Something really special. And I'll give a report.

So this week, I'm starting with Green Walnut Marmalade, a product of Orhei-Vit in the wonderful country of Moldova. We almost visited Moldova last year when we went to Budapest and Montenegro. If we had had a couple of extra weeks, we would have. So, for now, I'm trying a few tastes of the country.

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As with most of the foods at Global Foods, the packaging is in the language of the country of origin. In order to sell it in the US, however, the importer has to label the item with the FDA nutrition label. And, as with most of these products. the label really looks like an afterthought, usually just slapped on with a bit of glue.

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When I opened the jar, the first thing I noticed was that it wasn't truly marmalade. It wasn't jelled at all. The fruit was sloshing around in a fairly thin syrup.

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The fruit itself is husk and all. It appears to be a walnut that hasn't matured enough to form a hard shell under the husk. It is soft and has a chewy texture. Since walnuts are a strongly flavored nut, I expected the same from this fruit. But it wasn't. In fact it is very mild. The syrup it is preserved in has a very faint taste of molasses and is the consistency of pancake syrup.

I'm trying to figure out how to serve Green Walnut Marmalade. I think it would be best as a topping for ice cream. Perhaps with the fruit chopped up first.


October 9, 2009

International Junk Food

I took two of my grandsons with me to Global Foods this week. Ages 6 and 4. That changed the focus of my browsing toward sweets.

We saw scores of cartons of all manner of sweets. No root beer barrels, licorice sticks, or jelly bellies to be seen. Instead this is what caught our eye. The six year old thought the coco apricot looked pretty good. The four year old wanted to try the pistachio nougat. And I wanted them all.


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In the Iranian aisle, we discovered fruit in a tube. Lots of flavors to choose from including sour cherry, apricot, and plum.


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A few of the healthy items that interested us were these huge yams from Ghana.


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And the banana blossoms from the Philippines.


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Then the six year old decided we just couldn't leave without marshmallows. Not the nice big fluffy bag of American style marshmallows, though. he wanted the Japanese version - stuffed with apple jam and wrapped in individual servings.


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So, here's the loot we came home with. For the boys the apple jam stuffed marshmallows and the almond cookies. For me the lucky sticks (same as pocky, just a different brand); espresso candy (much cheaper than Pocket Coffee. We will see if it is as good); two new varieties of Ginger Beer to sample; my favorite toothpaste from India, Neem; and the never before tried ingredient of the week -- Banana Blossoms.


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It turns out, I don't care much for banana blossom salad. But, hey, you don't know until you try, right?


October 22, 2009

Ginger Beer Taste Test

While in Scotland this summer, I became obsessed with Ginger Beer. I drank one almost every day. And the most common brand in supermarkets and convience stores was the canned Idris Fiery Ginger Beer. When we came home, I immediately went to Global Foods, knowing if I could find it anywhere in St. Louis, it would be there. I wasn't disappointed. Global Foods not only had the familiar red can from Idris, they also had five or six other brands. I was content to buy what I knew for several months.


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But, on my most recent visit to GF, it occured to me that one of the others might taste even better. So, I bought Idris plus three other brands to do a blind taste test.

On the left above are bottles from two different Jamacian companies. (Did you know that in the 1950s Jamaica produced the highest quality and the third largest quantity of ginger in the world?) I didn't either. The can, and the bottle on the right are produced in the UK.

I came home and set up a blind test, recruiting Dan to rearrange the bottles; pour the four brands; and then place the bottles behind the box so I couldn't see them.

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I had some preconceived ideas about which would be the best. I'll admit that those ideas were based mostly on the quality of their web sites. Just shows how susceptible we all are to marketing techniques, I guess.

Here are my notes on each:

#1 - strong, ginger smell tickled nose, but surprised at very mild taste. Thin mouth feel and no finish at all.

#2 - Smell not as strong as first one. Also a mild taste, but better body and some finish.

#3 - Amost no ginger smell, but an odd herbal overtone. Very weak taste and definite herbal taste. Not what I'm looking for when I drink Ginger Beer.

#4 - Not as strong a smell as #1 but MUCH stronger taste with a wonderful ginger after-burn.

Rank: Leader by far - #4; good but a distant second - #2; blandly in the middle - #1; Never want to taste again - #3.

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Here are the names and the website links of the four brands. Well, technically only the website links for the three losing brands. It turns out my favorite doesn't even have a website. Although there is an importer in Miami that claims to be the exclusive representitive of Jamaican Country Style products.

Fentimans Ginger Beer
Old Jamaican Ginger Beer
Idris Fiery Ginger Beer
Jamaican Country Style Ginger Beer

I think now that I know my favorite of the four, on my next visit to GF I'll buy the rest of the brands available and test them against Jamaican Country Style. Maybe there will be a better one yet.

October 28, 2009

The Russian Aisle


I got stuck in the Russian Aisle at Global Foods this week.


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It was because I noticed something for the first time. Even when a product doesn't have a word of English on it, the shelf tags are in English. I wondered to myself, "Do they have someone on staff who speaks the language of every product they carry? How else would they be able to produce all of those shelf tags accurately?"

The first one I noticed was a bottle of beautiful deep green liquid. It was shaped like a whisky flask. There was no translation on the bottle. But the shelf tag not only identified the product, it also gave the English version of the company's name that produced it - Gold Cavier.


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These boxes of buckwheat cereal were on a bottom shelf.


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When I turned the box over, I noticed that they had thoughtfully translated the cooking instructions into both English and Dutch. I wonder if a native German reading his box will be as entertained as I was. I bought this one.


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On the top shelf was what appeared to be instant oatmeal in various fruit flavors. It was also translated into three languages, but none of them were English.


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Fortunately, the universal language of pictures - and simple preparation requirements - were enough to give me a complete idea of how to use the product at home.


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I'm really glad I bought this one. Unlike the pasty, mushy instant oatmeal we get from Quaker, this brand was as good as fresh cooked. Although, the pictures on the box are deceptive. There aren't real pieces of fruit in it. Only the flavor of the fruit. Oh, well. Can't have everything I guess.


After the packaged goods, I hit the refrigerated section to check out the Russian selections.


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I spent last week in Great Britian. This week, I had a very pleasant visit to Russia. Next week, I'm thinking Malaysia, because this caught my eye as I walked past the ice cream freezer cases.


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December 5, 2009

Fresh Jujube & Fresh Longan

OK, well, I have them. Now what shall I do with them? Recipe suggestions?


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January 4, 2010

Emping Belinjo

It seems my last trip to Global Foods was all about Asian snack food.

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I didn’t intend it to be, but this is what I came home with:
Snow pea crisps, I love, love , love snow pea crisps! Coconut dipped Pocky. Coconut flavor coated peanuts. And my new-to-me item was Emping Belinjo. Or, at least I thought it was new.

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I wasn’t sure what I was buying. The picture on the box indicated it was some sort of nut or fruit. But the box was very light and rattled.

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The ingredient list was short and the main ingredient was listed by its botanical name. So, no clues there.

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The side of the box (in a slightly flawed translation) suggested that I would need to fry something.

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Emping Belinjo (or sometimes with an M – Melinjo) are small crisp crackers made from the fruit of a Belinjo (gnetum gnemon) tree. Called a Belinjo in Bahasa Indonesian, this is exactly the same tree that is knows as Bago in the Philippines. The tree is an evergreen that has fruit about one inch long and shaped like a very large bean. The ripe red fruit are boiled then pounded and dried into flat little white disks.

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I’ve enjoyed these little crisps in Indonesian style restaurants. (I like them much more than the fish crackers in Thai restaurants.) But it never occurred to me that I could get them in the Indonesian snack aisle at Global Foods. Or that I would need to fry them myself. The disks, once completely dried, are flash fried – literally only 2-3 seconds on each side in a little bit of oil.

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They have the texture and weight of homemade potato chips. They are crunchy crisp and have an immediate nutty sweet taste. But there is a long-lingering bitter aftertaste. I can see how they could easily become as addicting as potato chips.

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March 26, 2010

Mocochinchi

My experience with dried peaches was the sweetened dehydrated kind you buy as a snack. These didn’t look so much dehydrated as fossilized. It was obvious they still contained their pits. They were as hard as a dried up walnut.

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How to use? My thoughts (surprise, surprise) went immediately to Everclear. Then I turned the bag over and saw that they sole purpose of Mocochinchi, at least in the country of Bolivia, is to make a sweet and spicy, alcohol free drink by the same name.

Having never visited Bolivia (an oversight I plan to correct some year soon), I had never heard of Mocochinchi. But, with summer coming, the recipe sounded so refreshing. It is a kind of cider made with peaches instead of apples and served icy cold.

I searched the web for other recipes and found a site called BoliviaBella. It’s a well designed and exhaustive resource for all things Bolivian. And when I begin planning that trip, it will be one of my primary resources. Within the site is a delightful section just for kids, and within that section are kid focused discussions of traditional Bolivian foods.

The recipe is here.

At the end of the recipe, an alternative is offered that involves burnt brown sugar as a substitute for white sugar. That sounds intriguing. I think I'll try it. Maybe with some Everclear?

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to Old Shoes - New Trip in the This Week at Global Foods category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

Susie's Candle is the previous category.

Visiting St. Louis Like a Local is the next category.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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