HouseParty: Bertolli® Imported Cask Aged Balsamic Vinegar Paired with Caramelized Onion #Review #BertolliSauceParty

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I usually make our sauces from scratch and especially when the heirloom tomatoes start hitting the markets, with the quality and season being at it’s peak. I enjoy incorporating everything from a bell pepper medley to a combination of different onions. I make several jars worth and then have the freedom to create different meals and additions like ground lamb to pork. Then time gets in the way and especially during the “bottom months” where holidays start coming and I’m trying to make every comfort food we have been waiting to enjoy and sometimes you get that simple request of spaghetti and meatballs. I open the fridge and then memory strikes…..I used our last jar I made last time and now have none! So, I always purchase emergency back-ups and this means a jar or two of previously made sauces. I already feel bad when I let time get the best of me, but I don’t want to add by feeling bad about what I am serving at dinner time. So, I pick wisely and have found a few brands that I can depend on.

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Bertolli makes everything from sauces, olive oils, vinegars to frozen meals. They are a company that has been around family tables for over 150 years. Their sauces range from organic, white bases to their newer variety called Riserva. The Riserva brand is a rename of the Imported line “Gold Label”, you previously saw with the colored “old-style” font. Even the flavors are identical, so thankfully Bertolli did not discontinue the “Gold Label” line. I was able to pick-up a glass jar of the bottles, with the older version label, at my local Von’s.

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What I look for when purchasing a jarred sauce is simple ingredients like I would use when making it from scratch and also variety. I want something away from the norm, so I look for blends with wines or vegetables that we don’t commonly consume. I want also a sauce that does not need to be “fixed” to be enjoyed. I’m not going to dedicate 20 minutes to get a sauce to taste right when I could allot the same time to one made from scratch. So, the first thing I do is take a label apart when it comes to ingredients and thankfully the sauces by Bertolli contain what the label in the front states. The Balsamic vinegar is there as is the caramelized onions. Tomatoes in all forms from puree, diced and even in juice form are listed. To intensify the tangy notes, grape must was added and mostly you have real ingredients in this sauce. My only pause was to caramel coloring even though I know manufactures add it to enhance the look of the sauce since it may not look too pleasing in the jar without it, but I could have done with out it. I hope when Bertolli changed the label, they dropped the coloring off the list too.

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Verdict:
The Balsamic Vinegar and Caramelized onions by Bertolli advertises a nice balance in flavor where the sweetness from the caramelized onions goes very well with the tang you get from the vinegar. No bitter notes or after taste, and the sauce has a rich texture and taste. Very enjoyable and not a jar that needs additions to correct it, but you can always add a protein from chicken and beef to enhance it. Upon opening the jar, I expected to smell a wine like scent  from the vinegar, as I do when I add Balsamic to my marinara sauces. I unfortunately did not. I taste the sauce and it’s ultra sweet, like way too much sugar. It’s not the sugars I’m use to even when I have used sweet onion varieties like Cipollini onions. Even Shallots when caramelized never give off this much sugar and then I notice actual sugar noted in the list of ingredients BEFORE garlic and spice. Okay, so I start thinking what can I make with this and it hit’s me……a dip. This way the sauce stays unaltered and I make Mozzarella sticks from scratch. Everyone can then enjoy the sauce as it is and I can curb the sweet factor by the spices I add to the breaded cheese. Simple to make and also quick, plus batches can be kept warm in the oven while I make more.  This is unfortunately not a sauce I would buy again.  I will try this version again under the Riserva label if the ingredients differ.  So, far the only change I can tell is that the new label does not state “Imported” on it.  Unfortunately, Bertolli does not list the ingredients of their sauces on the site, just the nutritional facts, so I wan unable to compare beforehand.  My Mozz sticks are always a hit but I did ask for feedback on the sauce and thankfully received some honest remarks.  It’s sweet was the chief complaint and maybe this was a batch where the sugar over-spilled, but I was left with dip and this is uncommon at my house where I witness guests usually use even bread to clean a plate.  I feel that without the overpowering sweetness, this sauce could actually be good and enjoyed.  The warming of the sauce intensifies the sugar and when tasted cold, the sugars mellow out a bit.  Maybe adding a little to a pasta salad would help.

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Connect with Bertolli at:

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I received the above product(s) free of charge from Bertolli and HouseParty.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

Ozeri Serafino Double-Wall Insulated Drinking Glasses

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Temperature extremes are not a fun thing in this house. Hubby can’t stand heat, I don’t do cold. Strangely, this extends to our drinks as well, where Hubby doesn’t do hot drinks and I don’t like holding onto cold drinks. Ozeri, in their infinite wisdom, has come up with what might be a dream item for me: Double-Walled insulated glasses. Let me pour you a drink while I tell you this tale.

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See, each glass is made from borosilicate shatter-resistant glass (the same stuff Pyrex is made from), it resists the thermal shock that causes some glasses to shatter or crack when hot liquids are poured into them. Being double walled also means that they won’t be transferring as much of the internal temperature to the handling surface. The elegant contoured shape gives you a sure surface to grip as well, and the double walls just tend to look really cool, too. There’s always bonus points for that. Microwave, dishwasher and freezer safe, these are durable and well made. And while some folks mentioned they “shattered” when dropped, I would imagine just about any fine glassware would do just the same thing. So I don’t plan on dropping them, from any height. The four pack came packaged perfectly, and when something is glass and delivered by UPS in one piece, you know someone did their homework and packaged these excellently.

Nice to look at, a functional 12 oz. size, and solves a problem that is suffered at different extremes by both people in the house at once? Yes, please! I’m loving these glasses and have plans to start switching over more of my regular glasses to these Ozeri Serafino glasses. And it’s Ozeri, so you know they stand behind EVERYTHING they sell 100%, and these are no exception. A one year warranty and your satisfaction is guaranteed. There’s no reason to not give them a try and see if you don’t love them as much as we do.

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Get in touch with Ozeri’s family of products:

I received the above product(s) free of charge from Ozeri.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

 

Ozeri 5-Piece Wine Bottle Corkscrew & Accessory Set

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We go through a bit of wine here even if we hardly ever drink it. But we do cook with it several times a week and that tends to empty bottles a lot faster than you’d think. Ozeri recently sent me a product that I had no idea would be so incredibly useful, and I liked it so much I can think of a few friends and family that will be getting these as gifts in the future.

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This 5-piece set has everything needed to make a quiet picnic, or a trip to a vineyard, an absolute delight. The set includes a stainless-steel corkscrew with foil cutting knife, a drip-stop collar, a combination wine pourer/stopper, and a dedicated foil cutter. all packaged in a handsome wine-shaped package with a smart magnetic closure. It can be stored vertically on the counter or just stashed in your wine rack at home, ready to pop out and open all James Bond-style, cool and smooth.

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Awesome for entertaining, always handy, and stocked chock-a-block with tools for the aficionado of casual enthusiast alike. It’s stylish, it convenient, and Almost everything is made to last a long, long time. The only tool in the kit that I have a few reservations about long-term usability would be the dedicated foil cutter. In my experience, plastic pieces that rely on tension will, over time, break. This seems like it’s high-quality ABS plastic, so it should last for many, many years, but I’m one of those “I bought it, it should last forever” people.  Overall, it’s a tremendous value and a well made kit from a company that stands behind everything they sell 100%. I recommend this Ozeri 5-Piece Wine Bottle Corkscrew & Accessory Set to everyone who has, enjoys, or even just cooks with, wine. You’ll be glad you gave it a try!

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Get in touch with Ozeri’s family of products:

I received the above product(s) free of charge from Ozeri.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

 

Smiley360: Boursin® Cheese #Review #BoursinCheese

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Who doesn’t love cheese? I think everyone at least likes one type. In my house when we go grocery shopping, we need to narrow down what we have from the cheese aisle! We bake with cream cheeses, enjoy spreads on crackers, to just munching on them as they are. Goat cheeses to raw milk cheeses, we have tried and/or been gifted most. I was so thrilled when Smiley had the Boursin Cheese campaign because it was a perfect fit.

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Boursin Cheese has been making cheeses and spreads since 1957. Francois Boursin, created the first variety (fromage frais/fresh cheese), which was a cheese base that guests then customized by adding their own seasonings and herbs. You can imagine the varieties and blends created and why Boursin still continues to delight us with their cheeses. Boursin has now made things easier by pre-blending their herbs, spices, and seasonings for easier enjoyment.

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You have Boursin Cheeses and Boursin Gourmet Spreads made with a French-style cream cheeses to choose from:

Boursin Cheeses-

  • Original
  • Pepper
  • Red Chili Pepper
  • Garlic and Fine Herbs
  • Shallot and Chive
  • Boursin Light
  • Cranberry & Spice (Seasonal flavor)
  • and many from fruit blends to savory ones too!

 

Boursin Gourmet Spreadable-

  • Garlic & Fine Herbs
  • Light Garlic & Fine Herbs
  • Red Chili Pepper
  • Spinach & Artichoke
  • Sundried Tomato & Basil
  • Creamy Asiago & Roasted Red Pepper
  • Vermont White Cheddar & Sage
  • and many more with seasonal flavors too!

 

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There is something for everyone and one is sure to make your cheese platter pop. What I like best is that you don’t need a special occasion to enjoy Boursin cheeses, as we many times pick-up one or two versions to just enjoy before meals.  Boursin cheeses are also made with simple ingredients and look for yourself at their ingredients list, you will be pleasantly surprised.  Their new Creamy Asiago and Roasted Red Pepper spread captures that red bell pepper sweetness and spice, which goes so well with the nuttier notes from the Asiago cheese.  The french style cream cheese base has a nice tang that just makes everything meld together perfectly. I will hunt to find this new version alone!

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Find your favorite(s) with Boursin because you don’t need a holiday to celebrate when it comes to enjoying Cheese:

I received the above product(s) free of charge from Simley(360) and Boursin Cheeses.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

 

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