Sunday, 20 February 2011

Review of Byron Bay Butterbursts Biscuits, Byron Bay Crackers and Zuma Chai and Cranberry Drink

I've been reviewing a range of goodies sent to me by Beyond the Bean. Here is my review of the Byron Bay Butterbursts Cookies, the Byron Bay Crackers and Zuma Red Chai drink with Cranberry.

Review of Byron Bay Butterbursts Cookies

Byron Bay Butterbursts Chocolate and Hazelnut Cookies

I love a cookie. Especially if it's buttery, thick and made even more gorgeous with tangy and delicious flavours. When I first bit into one of these Butterbursts cookies I didn't expect it to be so crumbly. Or so buttery, despite the name. The flavours - chocolate and hazelnut, passionfruit and also lemon - were each very different. The sweet, nutty hazelnut and chocolate was my favourite – but then the lemon cookie really surprised me with its citrussy tang. The passionfruit cookie was certainly unusual - sweet and fragrant, the chunky biscuit studded with tiny fruity bits. The food blog Rhis Foodie World didn't like these at all, but I thought they were good, and when I tested them out on my 5-year-old she said they were her favourite.

Each biscuit was chunky and thick - small enough for a quick snack but then substantial enough to work for an energy boost with an afternoon cuppa. I've tasted many biscuits before that claimed to be "buttery" but can report that these really are, but without being too cloying and rich. I would wholeheartedly recommend them.

Review of Byron Bay crackers

A plate of Byron Bay crackers - the speckled ones are the Black Pepper and Chive flavour

You're planning a party. An evening of nibbles, even. You've decided on the cheeses you want, the meat platter and the pickles. What is interesting though is that up until now I had always focused most of my attention on the filling. But a delicate, fragrant appetiser does not always call for the robust, deafening crunch of a Ryvita. Or a thick, doughy cream cracker. Sometimes, just a delicate little whisper of a cracker is what is needed. A soft, wispy crunch, wafer thin but packed with flavour. This is where Byron Bay Crackers come in.

They come in various flavours, which include Original, Rosemary and Sea Salt and Cracked Pepper and Chives - gluten-free crackers are also available.  My favourite was the Rosemary and Sea Salt - the rosemary left behind just the right amount of woody fragrance in the mouth. The pepper and chives cracker was flecked with the green chives, and the cracked pepper left behind a pleasant little "hum". I could imagine these being especially good with a cream cheese and smoked salmon kind of topping where you would want some contrast.

These are too delicate I would say to bring out with the cheeses after dinner – the texture of the cracker could be easily lost under a thick slice of tangy cheddar. But you would still taste the flavours – the rosemary and the pepper in particular. I would definitely bring these crackers out at a party to experiment with different toppings.

Small, circular and wafer thin, they aren't to be underestimated - their flavours really do pack a punch.

Review of Zuma Red Chai and Cranberry

I was totally intrigued when I was sent these little sachets to try. I'd had chai tea many times in various coffee shops when I used to work my 9-5 office job. A milky, cinnamon-spiced drink that both soothed a stressful morning and gave me a little nudge to get on with the rest of my day.

When you stir the pink powder of the Zuma Red Chai and Cranberry drink into hot milk, you end up with a creamy, spiced and fruity drink. It's very sweet, I doubt even the most die-hard sugar addict would need to add it to this, but it does seem to soothe and calm after a busy day. 

The drink contains, among other ingredients, Rooibos, cranberries, ginger and cardamom. It comes in handy little sachets too. I don't think I could manage one every day, or one even a few times a day - any more than I could drink three or four Ovaltines in a day - it's the milkiness. But in a way, that's in its favour. It is fruity, milky, delicately-spiced and perfect for when you can snatch 10 minutes to sit back and enjoy this indulgent, creamy, scented treat. A real indulgence.

Thank you to Beyond the Bean for providing the samples. If you see them about, do try them for yourself and let me know your verdict in the comments below!

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