Thursday, April 26, 2018
Taste Test

The 2013 taste tests: from gelato to gluten-free pasta

In the past year, our tasting choices went from one end of the grocery store to the other and the full gamut of healthiness. Judges liked two foods — Marie Callender's Chicken Pot Pie (what's not to love) and the Sea Salt Caramel Gelato by Haagen-Dazs — so much that they gave them 90 or more points out of 100, which earned them spots in the Taster's Choice Hall of Fame. • We tried veggie burgers, frozen edamame and gluten-free pastas with surprisingly good results. On the other hand, we didn't favor some of the instant iced coffees on the market. This summer our tasting panel will celebrate 10 years of sampling food and beverages and reporting our findings to help our readers navigate the choices in local grocery stores and food markets. We try to taste what we think shoppers are buying. Our panelists aren't shy about giving their opinions on the appearance, flavor or texture of the products. We look for items with a variety of brands from which to choose and we occasionally try new foods on the market. We shop at the grocery stores in our neighborhoods, primarily, Publix, Walmart, Sweetbay, Winn-Dixie, Fresh Market and, sometimes, Trader Joe's in Sarasota. (We look forward to the opening of Trader Joe's stores in Tampa and St. Petersburg later this year.) In 2013, we continued to be impressed with the quality of store-brand foods and the number of new brands. In November, we enlisted the help of future food writers, using students in the Writing About Food course at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg. As always, we welcome suggestions from readers and look forward to trying all the offerings of particular foods — so you don't have to. • Here is a recap of how our year tasted. Kathy Saunders, Times correspondent

Comments
Taste test: vanilla wafers

Taste test: vanilla wafers

When it comes to cookies, our judges are all in. When it comes to vanilla wafers, most of them admitted to reaching for the familiar Nilla Wafers in the bright yellow box. Surprisingly, they liked the well-known brand least of the seven wafers sample...
Published: 04/23/18
A taste test for drinking water? They can be surprisingly different

A taste test for drinking water? They can be surprisingly different

BROOKSVILLEThey brought it in glass carboys, in jars, in 2-liter bottles. It stacked up at the entrance to the auditorium, some of it just slightly murky but most of it crystal clear.Water. For more than 15 years the members of Region IV Florida Sect...
Published: 04/18/18
Taste test: citrus-flavored sparkling water

Taste test: citrus-flavored sparkling water

Many years ago, I took a trip to Rome and learned enough Italian to find directions and order dinner from menus. I learned very quickly that if I didnít make it clear, I would get sparkling water rather than still water at every restaurant. My husban...
Published: 04/16/18
Taste test: cocktail sauce

Taste test: cocktail sauce

One of our judges has been perfecting her homemade cocktail sauce for nearly two years. It takes just the right balance of horseradish, ketchup, lemon, Worcestershire, hot sauce and spices. With the onset of warm afternoons and more daylight, many of...
Updated one month ago
Taste test: Hawaiian sweet rolls

Taste test: Hawaiian sweet rolls

Whenever I see sweet rolls at the grocery store I always take pleasure knowing I used to enjoy the originals baked on King Street in Honolulu while growing up on the islands. While nostalgic about the treats of my childhood, I am glad the soft rolls ...
Updated one month ago