Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Foodie Find of the Week: Manners

Have I got one for you this week! Wouldn’t you love to hear me say that one day? I sure would like to write it, but this is not that week. My apologies in advance.

I had every intention of gushing over the Parmigiano-Reggiano BUTTER I spotted at Whole Foods the other day.(oh yes, you read it correctly Parmigiano-Reggiano BUTTER, as in made from the leftover milk of Parm cheese) Unfortunately for me, and you, I contracted the Papi Flu down in Nola while I was over the rainbow New Years Eve (more on that later) and it is not in my best interest to ingest dairy right now…not even the best, most selective dairy on the planet ;-) The butter will have to wait until next week. I suspect it will be worth it.

My replacement for the guaranteed heaven that was to be, turned out to be utterly disappointing. Have to you been introduced to these shameful cookies? Manner Hazelnut Crème Wafers, meet everyone. Everyone meet the Manner wafers.

Perhaps it was because I was not-so-secretly longing for the creamy deliciousness that awaits me in the dairy drawer of my refrigerator when I tested these, or even that the fight for the Foodie Find this week was unfairly posed, but the outcome has been terribly disappointing. Parmigiano-Reggiano Butter vs. Manner Hazelnut Cream Wafers. It’s like pitting a perfectly ripened mango against out-of-season, pale –pink, should’ve been left at the market tomatoes. Completely unfair. On one hand you have the mango: juicy, exotic, simultaneously creamy and clean, and just sweet enough. Perfection in fruit, if you will. On the other you have lifeless, bland, practically colorless, grainy tomatoes. Disappointment on a plate. That’s the equivalent of what I’m working with here: only replace the mangoes with the parm butter, and the lifeless tomatoes with the cream wafers. And you get the picture perfectly.

In their defense, after the first three or four, the flavor improves and the initial yuck-factor diminishes. This could possibly be because after two your tongue is completely coated in so much cloying sweetness as to not allow you to taste anything but sugar. Seriously, and I say this as nicely as possible, if there were such a thing as a place for misbehaving Nutella to be sent, like Nutella prison, this would be it.

My experience went a little like this: hmm…interesting packaging, feels like a brick. Hmm, opening packaging lends itself to a “Willie Wonka Golden Ticket” musical montage…peel back the little red ribbon and the odd coral-colored wrapper gives way to shiny silver foil, revealing the wafers. Cue the music and glamour shot of the cookies. Upon first sight, they look like long wafers, but grab one and it breaks mysteriously in half, sending wafer dust in every direction. Okay, irritating, but not that big a deal. Put said cookie into mouth and all disappointing hell breaks loose. The overwhelming plain rice cake flavor of the wafer snuffs out any good that could be done from the nutella-esque cream filling lurking in between. Crumbs are sent everywhere with each bite and the thought comes about that surely “they can’t be that bad”. Another is ingested with the same results, and another, until three are missing and the conclusion has been reached, that: Yes. They Are. That Bad. And how the hell did I get wafer dust on my shoulder?

Stay away! Don’t be lured by their enticing European labels, made in Vienna stamp, or promises of Hazelnut Cream. It’s all hype. The truth is, you’re left with a cookie that will make you rethink the Austrian palate, not to mention their baked goods.

If you are still curious, they only come with a ninety-nine cent price tag (should have been a clue right there!),incidentally are vegan, but “may contain traces of milk solids” (for whatever reason), and were procured at Fresh Market. I strongly advise against it. Spend your dollar at Taco Bell on some of those Fiesta Potatoes, while they may not be vegan, a foodie find, or even acceptable FOOD, they are damn tasty, made right here in America, and have been approved by yours truly.


1 comment:

  1. just a note: a bit of irony occurred to me after posting this. Given the dusty rudeness of these nasty little cookies, isn't ironic that they're called MANNERS? maybe it's a joke?


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