Friday, April 8, 2011

Adventures in (Cultured) Almond Milk

As a shopper, I'm prone to impulse buys. For example, one time I bought half a pound of cranberry cheddar cheese because I had a sample of it at the store and it was really tasty. Or the time(s) I bought vegan ham. Last week, on a trip to the whole foods to pick up some half n half, I stopped long enough in the yogurt section to notice something calling itself as Amande and describing itself as "cultured almond milk."

As a newish fan of almond milk, I figured cultured almond milk (aka almond milk yogurt) would be worth a shot, despite the $1.49 price tag and the voice in the back of my head warning me about those times I tried soyogurt (bleck!) or coconut milk yogurt (actually okay, but thick, expensive and you can't escape the coconut taste).

So I bought the Amande. Just one container of the strawberry variety. They also had blueberry and peach on offer.

And then it sat in the refrigerator for nearly a week while I worked up the courage to eat it. Today, I finally dove in.

Peeling the lid off of the container revealed a hot pink substance with the consistency of a slightly frozen pudding cup. It looked as though it would slide right out of the yogurt cup if I turned it upside down (it did not). It was studded with pieces of strawberries. A pinkish gooey syrup slid over the surface of it.

I dipped the spoon in and took the tiniest of bites.

There's the thing where you just know, you just have a sense that something isn't going to taste good and that you just wasted $1.49. I just knew after a few small bites that finishing the container of cultured almond milk would be the challenge of the week.

Soyogurt has that taste. I can't really describe it. If you don't prepare tofu properly, it sometimes has that taste. So does sour soymilk.

Almond milk also has a taste. It's not quite as strong as the soyogurt taste, but it's there and it is definitely distinct enough to interfere with your enjoyment of the almoyogurt.

But what put the nail in the coffin or whatever you will for me was the sweetness. It claims it's sweetened with fruit juice, but that trail of sugary syrup goo running across the top of it and the feeling that I had just drank strawberry syrup straight out of the bottle suggests otherwise.

In sum: cultured almond milk: only a good idea if you have $1.49 you can't find anything else to do with and enjoy consuming bright pink, sugary foods.

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