Thursday, January 07, 2016

Shari's Berries

Update Review, January 2016

Given my original review of Shari's Berries (below, go read first if you wish for context), as you can imagine, I didn't actually seek out more of their products.  But, another co-worker received a gift box from Shari's Berries, and after everyone else consumed all the good looking options, there was one sad cookie left.  Now, I'm not a cookie lover, as you well know.  But ... it looked so sad, and clearly, no one wanted it.
Hand Dipped Oatmeal Raisin Cookie.
Why did no one want it?  Well, it was oatmeal raisin, the general loser of all cookie categories.  And Shari's Berries specializes in, well, berries, not cookies.  Why would anyone want this?

But, I couldn't let it sit dejected.  Plus, it wasn't just a cookie .... it was a dipped cookie, as Shari's Berries dips all the things (fruit, pretzels, chocolate, caramels, nuts, etc).  Even if I wasn't excited for an oatmeal raisin cookie, I do sometimes love sweet white chocolate coating (judge away).

The verdict?  Well, I liked it.  The top was covered completely in white chocolate, as were the sides, but the bottom remained uncovered.  The white chocolate was just crazy sweet, but, I was in the mood for it, and it paired nicely with my coffee.

The cookie itself was not a wholesome, hearty, almost-healthy-seeming oatmeal raisin.  Yes, it had oats.  And tons of raisins (that were NOT rock solid).  But it too was super sweet, and clearly horrible for me, even without the white chocolate.  It was crispy and sweet, and well spiced.

Would I go purchase these?  Obviously not.  But, uh, I enjoyed this quite a bit.  Far more than most cookies, even soft, fresh out of the oven, homemade cookies.  Perhaps I was just in the right mood for it?

Original Review, May 2013

My mother is the master of care packages.  I honestly can't believe that I've lived away from home for so long, yet still continue receiving amazing boxes for every holiday.  This past year, for Valentine's Day however, my mom did something a little different.  I did not get a box filled with standard Valentine's candy.  No conversation hearts, no red hots, not even chocolates!  In fact, Valentine's Day was approaching, and I hadn't received a box at all!

So when my concierge notified me that I had a perishable package that afternoon, I thought, "ah, how sweet, my mommy sent me flowers for Valentine's Day".  I knew flowers would be fine without me rushing home to pick them up, so I went back to my busy day and forgot all about the package.

When I arrived home much later in the evening, I was shocked to be handed a large box, with the words PERISHABLE and KEEP FROZEN all over it.  Whoops!

I eagerly opened it, and discovered that my mom had decided to try something totally different, sending treats from Shari's Berries.  I only vaguely knew of them, from seeing advertisements somewhere.  I had no idea what to expect.

I didn't love any of it, but it was nice to have something different.
One of two boxes, nice packaging!  
They win on presentation points, but not on taste.
Half Dozen Gourmet Dipped Swiveled Strawberries.  $19.99.
"Each strawberry is individually dipped and swizzled then gently tucked into a protective gift box, waiting for you to enjoy."

The strawberries are their signature item, and it is easy to see why.  The packaging was impressive.  Each berry was in its own little slot, on top of a doily, and the entire box had a very thick foam protective layer inside of it.  They were so pretty!  The OCD person in me couldn't stand the distribution of the berries in the box though ...

Speaking of the berries, there were 2 each of 3 varieties.  The berries were clearly real berries, as they were all totally different sizes.  They also ranged in ripeness, but I was pretty disappointed with how un-ripe they were.  It is winter, but still ...
  • White chocolate dipped with dark chocolate swizzles: The white chocolate was exactly the sort of white chocolate that makes people hate white chocolate.  Basically just sweet wax.  And the berry I had inside this one wasn't ripe at all.  The tip was pink, the middle was white, and the top half was actually still green.
  • Milk chocolate dipped with white chocolate swizzles: Unremarkable chocolate coating, less waxy than the white, but not great.  In this one, the strawberry was at least more ripe.
  • Dark chocolate dipped with milk chocolate swizzles: The dark chocolate and milk chocolate seemed exactly the same.  Again, a fairly unripe strawberry.
I just really didn't cafe for these, but Ojan like the non-white chocolate ones. Someone was happy with this gift!
Mini Cheesecake Trio: Classic New York, White Chocolate, Rocky Road,.  Each 3".  $19.99.
Next up, was a far more exciting box - a cheesecake trio!

Classic New York Cheesecake

Traditional cheesecake, chocolate graham crust on top and sides, chocolate frosting, and a white chocolate drizzle.

I'm surprised they called this a classic New York.  Does a classic NY cheesecake have chocolate fudge on top? Or chocolate crust?

Anyway.  The cheesecake itself was a plain one.  It didn't really have much cream cheese flavor.  It wasn't that creamy.  Honestly, the cheesecake I make is better than this.  But at least it wasn't bad like the one from Soup Freaks!

The crust on the top and bottom was apparently chocolate graham, but was basically just soggy black stuff.  Calling it a crust is generous, as it was more like a spray-on coating.  It was too finely crumbled to even add texture.  Did not like.

The chocolate fudge layer on top was very thick, and didn't go with the cheesecake very well.  It was very creamy however. It also went very well with the fresh sliced strawberries I added to jazz the whole thing up.

Sadly, the white chocolate drizzle on top was my favorite part.  No, I'm not joking.  Least favorite of the trio, would not get again.

White Chocolate Cheesecake

This was a white chocolate cheesecake, topped with a layer of white chocolate, a chocolate decoration, and the same thin chocolate graham crust around the sides and bottom.

It was very creamy, but I would not have known it was the white chocolate one, rather than the Classic New York.  I had to look it up online to figure out what variety it was.  The white chocolate flavor in the cheesecake itself was very, very subtle.  The white chocolate on top was thick, brittle, and hard to cut into, a strange choice for a topping, but I liked it more than the white chocolate used on the strawberries (which is strange, as I expected it to be the same).

The crust was again very thin, really just adding a slight brown color to the outside and bottom.  It was too thin to really taste like anything.

Second favorite of the trio, but I still wouldn't eat again.

Rocky Road Cheesecake

This was a chocolate cheesecake, topped with a chocolate fudge layer, mini marshmallows, mini chocolate chips, and chopped walnuts with the chocolate graham crust on the edges.

I don't normally like chocolate cheesecakes, but this was pretty good.  Again creamy, smooth, with a nice chocolate flavor and some cream cheese essence coming through.

The fudge layer on top was the same as the Classic NY, very thick, but unlike the white chocolate, it wasn't brittle so it was easy to cut through.  It added another layer of richness to the already ridiculous cheesecake.

And then it was covered in assorted "rocky road" toppings - mini marshmallows, mini chocolate chips, and chopped nuts.  I'm not really sure it all worked together that well, marshmallows on top of a cheesecake are a bit weird, but it was a good representation of rocky road.

My favorite of the trio, and I would get it again.
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