Product Review: Domino’s Peri Peri Pizzas

What is it: Domino’s Peri Peri Pizza

How much is it: $8.95 each

Where to order it: http://www.dominos.com.au/menu/pizzas

Contact:  Domino’s – 1300 366 466

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Thanks to Domino’s Australia, I got to try out the new Peri Peri Range, retailing for $8.95 each.

A delivery of three pizzas, a garlic bread, cold Coke and a lover’s lava cake arrived at our door and we were soon stuck into the pizzas!

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In the boxes were the Chicken Peri Peri, Beef Peri Peri and Prawn Peri Peri pizzas.

First off, the prawn.

It was bursting with freshness from the fresh, just cooked prawns to the juicy cherry tomatoes and green spinach. Delicious flavours and generous amount of prawns and vegetables.

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Next was the beef.

The beef pizza was a little dry. The sauce helped a little but I could do with more sauce due to the dryness of the beef. Not much vegetables on this one- definitely for the guys and kids!

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Finally, the chicken.

Soft chicken breast,  fresh vegetables and lots and lots of melted cheese.

A beautiful looking pizza and a very nice tasting one too. I really enjoyed the crispy crust and creamy cheesy centre.

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Rating

I give the prawn an 8/10, the chicken a 6/10 and the beef a 6/10.

Disclaimer: TCFB sampled the Peri Peri pizzas courtesy of Domino’s. All opinions expressed on this blog are entirely my own and are not intended to be factual and/or taken as advice. 

Product Review: Lotus Peak White Tea

What is it: Lotus Peak White Tea

Price: The 25 pack retails for $3.79 at Coles and Woolworths. The 10 pack retails for $1.80 at Coles and is not yet available at Woolworths.

Where to order it: see http://www.bhfinefoods.com.au. Also available in Coles and Woolworths and selected health stores nationally.

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About the product

Lotus Peak White Tea comes from the mountains of China, in the Fujian Province.

It is harvested from the same plant as black and green tea (Camellia Sinensis), but is prepared differently as it:

  • has a higher proportion of buds to leaves
  • the buds are picked before the leaves are fully opened, when the plant has silver-white leaves (where it gets its name from)
  • is only picked once a year during spring
  • is the least processed of all the teas
  • unopened buds are rapidly steamed then heat-dried to keep the leaves fresher and reduce oxidation

According to Lotus Peak, white tea was a sophisticated and exotic drink, drunk by Emperors and nobles, and recognised as the finest of all teas.

Health benefits of white tea

It has been widely stated that white tea has numerous health benefits, with some saying it is even more beneficial to drink than green tea.

Now I’m not expert, but a quick google and a little research will tell you more about why white tea has become increasingly popular.

Some of the benefits that have been mentioned include:

  • a higher concentration of antioxidants and polyphenols, a naturally occurring substance that is believed to reduce or eliminate cancer-causing free radicals
  • assisting with prevention of heart disease and strokes
  • it is antibacterial and antiviral and has preventative applications in retarding growth of bacteria which can cause infections, pneumonia and cavities
  • it can assist in reducing wrinkles
  • it has low caffeine content
  • it has no fat or sugar

Packaging

Lotus Peak White Tea comes in a box of 25.  My sample pack contained 10 tea bags.

The packaging is quite plain, with a white background and mainly black and green colours, reflecting the simplicity of the product and the calming nature of the tea.

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The tea bags themselves are also plain and simple.

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Overall, I think Lotus Peak could spice up their packaging a little, not necessarily with colours, as the black and white colours suit the simplicity of the product they are selling, but perhaps with some nice patterned borders and perhaps some silver text. A black box with silver and white writing would look particularly elegant!

Ease of preparation

The tea is very easy to prepare and is made just like any other tea.

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You place the tea bag in a cup (thanks go to MC for my cup, a Chrissie Present from T2!), then add boiling water and allow to steep (brew) for about 3-5 minutes, depending on how strong you like your tea.

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I brewed mine for about 4 minutes then discarded the tea bag.

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Colour and Flavour

After 4 minutes of brewing the tea was a beautiful golden colour.

It had a sweet and delicate aroma and smelt delicious and refreshing.

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The tea also tasted quite sweet, one of the reasons why milk is not added and sugar is not needed.

It was not bitter, unlike some green teas, and the flavour was not too strong or overpowering, like some black teas.

I really enjoyed the cup of tea and felt that it was a nice alternative to green tea.

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I think the health benefits of white tea justify incorporating at least one or two cups a day into your diet.

Replacing a coffee with a cup of white tea could also help you cut down on sugar and, as tea has a calming effect, can help reduce stress.

Rating: 

It is a bit hard to rate the tea on its own, without comparing it to other types of white tea, plus tea is just difficult to rate anyway as there is not a lot to it.

For these reasons I decided to rate the tea based on how much I liked it.

I gave it a 7/10 as it had a pleasant flavour without being too strong (like some green and black teas), and a nice colour.

TCFB reviewed the Lotus Peak White Tea courtesy of BH Fine Foods.  All opinions are however, our own.

Product Review: Domino’s Wagyu Duet Pizzas

What is it: Two Domino’s Wagyu Pizzas

How much is it: $50 for two pizzas

Where to order it: http://www.dominos.com.au/menu/pizzas/P229TX

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What is it?

Following on from the Chef’s Best range, Domino’s has launched a new class of pizza. 

The pizzas feature 6+ marble score wagyu, truffle hollandaise sauce and creamy camembert cheese.

Domino’s CEO, Don Meij, is challenging diners to find the same quality Wagyu, for the same price at any fine dining restaurant in Australia.

Thanks to Domino’s Australia, I was lucky enough to be one of the first to try this new concept.

An interesting and unusual shaped box was delivered to my door one weeknight.

Wicko and MC were also at home that day, a strange happening during this busy Christmas period, which I can only put down to coincidence….or perhaps the fact that they knew I was getting a very interesting delivery!

Appearance

Just looking at the box, you could straight away tell that this was no ordinary pizza.

The box featured a black print with gold and silver writing.  It was quite an elegant looking thing, for a pizza box!

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However it wasn’t so much the box we were interested in, as what was inside the box.  

We opened it up to find two rectangular pizzas, about the length of a 30 cm ruler.

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Flavour

One was the Wagyu 3 Ways and the other was the Wagyu Truffle Hollandaise.

Each was different in colour and appearance, with the Wagyu 3 Ways being quite dark and covered in fresh herbs and a tomato sauce, and the Wagyu Hollandaise being light, and containing bright red tomatoes and just a few pieces of meat.

It is clear that with the Wagyu Duet, Domino’s wanted to create the type of pizza you savour and enjoy, not the type you scoff down or order when you can’t be bothered making any dinner.

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The Wagyu 3 Ways contains three types of wagyu (of course), wagyu rib fillet, bresaola (an air-dried salted beef), and wagyu sausage.

I enjoyed this meaty pizza with its hearty beef and bacon and sweet onion.  MC commented however, that it was like a Meat Lover’s pizza with bits of wagyu thrown on top, and Wicko agreed.

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I would have preferred it if the meat was larger and thinner, rather than having fewer, chunkier pieces, but I did enjoy it as it had a lot of meat, including bacon and and mince beef.

I also thought it had quite a rustic look and I enjoyed the appearance of the fresh herbs on the red and brown pizza.

I savoured the sweet red onion and the delicious bresaola, which I thought added tons of flavour to what would otherwise be quite a bland pizza, taking it from fast food to gourmet.

Overall, a pretty good pizza and quite tasty, worth close to its price of $25.

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The truffle hollandaise wagyu was not my cup of tea.

For me, hollandaise should be reserved for eggs and not much else.  I do not favour creamy sauces on my meats, and much prefer something sweet, spicy, tangy or savoury.

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While I enjoyed the delicious and fresh  cherry tomatoes, and the little bits of camembert cheese, I didn’t think there was quite enough wagyu on this wagyu pizza.

I would also have liked to see a thinner base for this pizza and a bit more green on it, such as some herbs or perhaps broccoli.

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 Price

It is not often that pizzas in general cost more than $25, particularly in fast food chains.

With the new Wagyu Duet pizza, Domino’s has, for the first time for a fast food chain, ventured into higher price range, with the two Wagyu Duet pizzas costing $50 in total.

While it is quite expensive for a pizza from a fast food store, a pizza at another gourmet store would cost about $20-25 anyway, so truffle, thick crust, hollandaise or wagyu lovers may choose to go for the Domino’s option instead. 

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Summary

Domino’s did quite a good job with the pizzas, adding plenty of fresh and high quality ingredients and investing a lot in packaging.

However I still don’t think they were up to the standard of Crust or Criniti’s, for example, where you could get a pizza for a similar price.

The flavours of both pizzas were quite nice and the presentation is very elegant and unusual for a fast food chain, but I think the pizzas are a little overpriced.

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What do you think, would you try the Domino’s Wagyu Duet? Would you pay $50 for it? What do you think would be a reasonable price for it?

Rating

I give it a 6.5/10.

TCFB reviewed the Wagyu Duet courtesy of Domino’s Australia.  All opinions are however, our own.

Service Review: Rhys Barrington Private Master Class

What is it: a private cooking class by a trained Chef

For more information: http://rhysbarrington.com/

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About the Chef

Rhys Barrington is a Chef from New Zealand.

He started off as an apprentice at the Crowne Plaza in Christchurch before winning the New Zealand Toque D’or 2010 (a national competition for Junior Chefs) and becoming a finalist in the 2010 Fonterra “Proud to be a Chef” competition.

He then began working at the exclusive Blanket Bay Lodge in southern New Zealand.

He eventually moved to Sydney, decided he loved it and made it his home.

He gained further experience working at The Four in Hand restaurant in Paddington and eventually found his calling as a private Chef, cooking for people in their homes.

Rhys’ One on One Classes

Rhys runs one on one group training sessions for people in their own homes – teaching them how to cook – usually over a twelve week period.

The price is $250 per 3 hour session (excluding cost of food) for one person and a friend and the content and recipes are tailored to what each pair wants to learn.

Rhys provides all recipes, tailored to each individual’s kitchen and interests, and classes are held at the person’s house. Alternatively, a kitchen can be hired to run the classes in.

Rhys also does private dining events for cocktail parties, sit down dinners and other events, which is great for a special occasion.

Rhys Private Master Class

Rhys also runs Master Classes which cost $95 per person.

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I was contacted by Rhys a few months ago but due to other commitments we never actually got to tee anything up to discuss his new projects.

A short while ago he contacted me again regarding attending a Private Master Class session with a few other bloggers and some customers.

Wicko and I attended the class, located in Bondi. There were tables of 4-6 people per table and we were seated with a lovely and friendly couple towards the front of the room.

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Each table had a worksheet with the recipes for each course inside, and a pen to write notes with.

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The class began with a glass of white wine, poured and served by Rhys’ lovely helper, also a former Four In Hand employee.

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Rhys then spoke a little about himself and what we would be doing that day , before serving us the first course, Prawn Salad with Tomatoes and Asparagus.

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I thought the salad was lovely. While it was quite small, it was simple and light, would be perfect for summer and seemed to contain fresh and high quality ingredients which were inexpensive and easily accessible.

Rhys gave us some tips about the dish and how to prepare vegetables and prawns.

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He also taught us how to make “tomato water”, a clear liquid of pure tomato flavour which is perfect for dressing a salad or dish.

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Tomato water, looks clear doesn’t it?!

He then showed us how to actually present the dish on a plate, giving us tips such as working with the natural curves of the food and plating the dish in a straight line through the middle of the plate.

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Next up was the Braised Beef with Carrots, Fennel and Aioli.

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Some volunteers were chosen to come up and help Rhys with the dish.

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During the cooking process, we were served a glass of red wine, which Rhys said would perfectly complement this dish.

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Again Rhys showed us how to plate the dish. I liked the fact that each step was broken down and he really took the time to show us what was happening, coming around with plates and bowls of sauces and ingredients to show us what they should look like.

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We all gathered around to take photos and get a closer look.

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More volunteers came up to try their hand at plating and attempt to implement Rhys’ tips! ???????????????????????????????

The beef, carrots and salad, all plated up!

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The carrots had been cooked in orange juice, with a small sliver of ginger and then roasted in the oven until they were soft and tender.

The orange juice gave them a sweet yet tart flavour and they were probably the best carrots I have ever tasted!

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The fennel salad was light and fresh and went really well with the crisp radish and fresh leaves.

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The beef. The star of the show, it was tender, could be broken apart with the back of the fork, and was moist and full of flavour.

The delicious glossy gravy, a mixture of red wine, tomato juice, stock, tomato paste and herbs was shiny and flavoursome and just glided over the chunk of beef.

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Finally, we went over dessert, the Chocolate and Berry Summer Crumble.

Rhys explained that this dish was easy to make and cost-effective as well and explained that the texture of the chocolate part of the dish would be interesting and novel.

He began with the chocolate ganache mixture, going around the room to show us what it should look like.

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When the chocolate part was done, he showed us one he had prepared earlier, all cut into slices.

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He then went over how to prepare the berries. It was very simple: cut the strawberries, sprinkle with icing sugar and allow to macerate.

For the cherries, a simple syrup of sugar and water with vanilla was made and the cherries were infused in it for sweetness.

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When it was all ready he again showed us how to plate it up.

You can see Simon from Simon Food Favourites in the background getting the money shots! 🙂

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Finally, the dish was plated up, again with the help of volunteers.

The end result? Spectacular.???????????????????????????????

The dish was something you would expect to be served in a hatted restaurant. It was well presented, tasted divine (especially that chocolate jelly/ganache), and was also the perfect combination of fruity and sweet.

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Overall

Our overall experience at Rhys’ Master Class was fantastic.

Rhys was welcoming, entertaining, funny and very skilled.

We learnt a lot of great tips about how to make simple vegetables taste delicious, and got some great recipe ideas.

It was a fun night out and I think Rhys’s class would be great for a Christmas or engagement present, a birthday party or pre-hens night dinner.

His private classes would be perfect for proposals or special occasions and a great gift for those who have always wanted to learn how to cook.

I would definitely suggest giving Rhys’ class a go.

If you are interested, more details can be found on his website (above).

GIVEAWAY & Product Review: Cheeki Tea Flask

What is it: Cheeki Vacuum-insulated Tea Flask

Price: $19.95

Where to buy it: http://www.eatdrinkstainless.com.au/cheeki-tea-flask/

For more information: http://www.cheeki.net.au/products/tea-flasks/

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Last week Adele Feletto Publicity sent me a free Cheeki Tea Flask to review:

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What is it?

The Cheeki Tea Flask is a vacuum-insulated stainless steel flask which is specially designed to keep drinks warm for up to 6 hours.

Aesthetics

As a regular tea drinker I was really looking forward to trying this flask out and I was pleased with the funky colours and look of the flask, a welcome change compared to some of the other ugly flasks on the market!

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The flask has a nice smooth and streamlined design which is the perfect size to wrap your fingers around.

It also features a stainless steel interior to keep drinks hot and has vibrant and colourful patterns on the outside for a stylish look.

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The Real Test

I used the flask with tea leaves at home and made a black tea one evening.

The flask has a strainer basket for the tea leaves and there is also useful spot in the lid which you can use to keep the strainer in when you are using a tea bag or having a coffee, for example.

I used Dilmah tea leaves and put a couple of teaspoons in the top of the strainer basket. I then filled the flask with water and closed the lid for a couple of minutes.

While at first it was a little difficult to locate the handle of the strainer from underneath all the tea leaves, when I eventually found it it was easy enough to empty the strainer and then store it in the lid.

The metal lip of the flask was a bit difficult to drink out of as it was quite hot, and I think a rubber lip would make it much easier to use.

Apart from that, I enjoyed using the flask and I think it did a good job of keeping my tea warm.

I drank some of the tea from the flask that night and then put the lid on the other half and left it overnight.

When I woke up in the morning, about 6.5 hours later, I opened the flask the tea was still warm!  It wasn’t very hot but it was warm enough to still be enjoyable.

The flask has passed the test and I will enjoy using it at work to keep my tea warm when I forget to drink it!

Rating

Overall I give it a 9/10.

It definitely does the job by keeping tea or drinks warm for hours.  It is also stylish and I liked the funky designs and colours.

My only suggestions would be that it should have a rubber lip to drink from as drinking from the metal lip is a bit difficult when the tea is really hot, and that the strainer basket should be easier to remove.

Giveaway

TCFB along with Adele Feletto Publicity are giving one lucky TCFB reader the chance to win their very own Cheeki Tea Flask!

All you have to do to win is comment below in 25 words or less why you would like to win a Cheeki Tea Flask or LIKE us on Facebook and SHARE our post about this competition!

Terms and Conditions

  1. This competition is open to Australian residents aged 16 years or over.
  2. To enter, either comment below in 25 words or less why you would like to win a Cheeki Tea Flask or LIKE us on Facebook and SHARE our post on this competition!
  3. Please include your name and email address so we can contact you if you win.
  4. The competition commences Monday 25 November 2013 at 1.00pm AEST and concludes on Monday, 2 December 2013 at 1:00pm.
  5. Winners will be notified by email by Friday, 6 December 2013. If we are unable to contact you or do not hear back from you within 5 days of  the date of our email we will choose another winner.
  6. By entering this competition you agree to give us your postal address and to allow us to pass it on to Adele Feletto Publicity so your prize can be sent to you.
  7. The prize consists of 1 Cheeki Tea Flask.
  8. Prize is not redeemable for cash.
  9. This competition is hosted by The Casual Food Blogger at http://www.thecasualfoodblogger.wordpress.com.

Good luck!

Product Review: Obela Hommus Dips

The product: Obela Hommus Dips- varieties

Where to buy it: Woolies, Coles, IGA and specialty grocers

For more information:
http://obela.com.au/
https://www.facebook.com/ObelaAU?fref=ts

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I was super excited when this package arrived in the mail one weekday.

Along with a funky picnic rug, I got 6 delicious flavours of Obela hummus dips to review including:

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Who are Obela?

Obela is a brand created through a partnership between PepsiCo and Strauss Group.

It is a Mexican brand which incorporates many South American flavours, including capsicum and garlic, into its products.

The range includes refrigerated hummus dips, and it aims to be a fresh and healthy option whilst also offering variety and flavour.

What is hommus?

Hummus (Arabic for “chickpeas”) is a Middle Eastern spread or dip, which has been eaten in the region for centuries.

It is made using cooked and pureed/processed chickpeas, olive oil, garlic, tahini, salt and lemon juice.

It is generally high in iron, vitamin C, folate, and vitamin B6. It is also a good source of dietary fibre.

It is an extremely versatile spread which can be used on sandwiches, as a snack and as a dip. It is great with crackers, chips and veggies and does not have a very strong flavour.

My review

I tried the dips with two types of crackers:

1. the crackers I got in my Obela delivery; and

2.some Lebanese bread that I cut up and threw in the oven until it was crisp and brown.

Both were great with the dips but I think the plain Lebanese bread was a healthier alternative and really showed off the flavours of each dip.

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Crackers

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Lebanese bread chips

The dips had a slightly creamy, nutty flavour yet they would still be smooth enough to spread on a wrap or sandwich.

The packaging was great, I loved the beautiful rich maroon and the pictures of the ingredients on the front, which made the product feel more authentic.

I think the presentation is good enough to actually serve the dip straight out of the packaging at a dinner party (less washing up!).

They dips were quite thick and held all the bits of toppings (garlic, capsicum etc) in place even if you shook them up or moved them around (yes, I did). There was also a generous amount of toppings in each packet and I felt that they added some colour and excitement to the dip.

The hummus was very easy to eat with the Lebanese bread and between Wicko, Mum and I we managed to demolish a dip easily within about 20 minutes.

I think this product is versatile and tasty and is a great healthy snack to have in the fridge with carrot sticks, celery or even crackers.

I give it an 8.5/10.

Disclaimer: We tried Obela Hommus dips free of charge thanks to NakedComms. This does not affect the content or opinion of the review as all views expressed in this article are our own.

GIVEAWAY & Product Review: Apple Guava Rekorderlig Cider

If you read my blog regularly you will know that I feature a lot of Rekorderlig products.

Rekorderlig offers a sweet and refreshing alternative to the usual beer or wine. It is light and easy to drink, making it a great choice for those who aren’t keen on the taste of wine or beer, like myself, and is something different to the usual vodka lemonades or champers.

Since MC introduced me to them following his visit to the UK, I have been hooked to the sweet and exotic flavours.  Some of the flavours available include Strawberry-Lime, Mango Raspberry, Wild Berries, Passionfruit, Orange and Ginger, Apple and Pear.

Given my love for, well all the Rekorderlig flavours (except perhaps Orange and Ginger), I was super excited to find out that Rekorderlig has launched a new flavour- Apple Guava!

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I’m was looking forward to trying it out and was super excited when I got a complimentary sample to review.

Buns & Balls 7.11 (3)

Review

The drink presented beautifully in the glass, it was slightly pink and beautifully bubbly.

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I thought the guava flavour wasn’t as strong as it could have been, but you could definitely taste the bitterness of the guava, which made it less sweet compared to some of the other flavoured ciders on the market.

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Overall, the drink was very refreshing and summery and a great addition to the Rekorderlig range.

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I give it a 7/10.

Giveaway

To celebrate the launch of Apple Guava, Rekorderlig Cider Australia has given us an Apple Guava gift pack to give away.

All you have to do to enter the competition is comment below in 25 words or less and tell us “what is your favourite fruit combination and why?”.

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Terms and Conditions

  1. This competition is only open to New South Wales residents aged 18 years or over.
  2. To enter, simply comment below, in 25 words or less, “what is your favourite fruit combination and why?”
  3. Please include your name and email address so we can contact you if you win.
  4. The competition commences Sunday, 17 November 2013 at 12.00pm AEST and concludes on Sunday, 24 November 2013 at 12:00pm.
  5. Winners will be notified by email by Wednesday, 27 November 2013. If we are unable to contact you or do not hear back from you within 5 days of  the date of our email we will choose another winner.
  6. By entering this competition you agree that you are over 18 years of age. You also agree to give us your postal address and to pass it on to Rekorderlig Australia so your prize can be sent to you.
  7. The prize consists of 1 Rekorderlig Apple Guava cider giftpack.
  8. Prize is not redeemable for cash.
  9. This competition is hosted by The Casual Food Blogger at http://www.thecasualfoodblogger.wordpress.com.

Good luck!