Green & Black’s Organic Chocolate Tasting Collection

24 miniature bars of milk, dark and white chocolate with a small dark 70% chocolate bar and tasting notes

“A tasting journey around the world to discover the intense and refined flavours of Green & Black’s.”

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So I got this a while back and worked my way through each of the small bars in the collection. You get two small, some might call premium ‘fun size’, bars of each flavour and a ‘over the counter’ small bar of the 70% cocoa dark chocolate version. Along with these is a small fold out booklet with tasting suggestions, where you could use the particular flavouring of the chocolate and drinks to serve with them. Kind of pretentious. Kind of made to be reviewed by a food reviewing blog. Kind of ironically there isn’t too much to say on each flavour and the taking notes are more enticing in their description than my blunt version. I taste and then look what the ‘tasting suggestion’ says. Just like wine tasting you will inevitably think the obvious ‘yup that looks, tastes and smells like wine/chocolate, alright it’s definitely wine/chocolate… I am tasting what I expected to taste.’ I am being pedantic but you will know what you are tasting when you select a bar as there is no ‘mystery’ flavours or obscure naming confusing you expectations here. There is a map on the inside of the lid indicating where the ingredients come from which adds some interesting additional information for extra value.

The reviews are going to one or two lines, rather than my usual longer analysis, as this post is incredibly long already just having the basic ingredient information and tasting notes alone.

“Tasting is a special art. Each bar has its own distinct character comprised of unique aromas, textures and flavours… With these tips you can explore and enjoy a truly inspiring experience.”

395g Soil Association – Organic
Fairtrade
Suitable for vegetarians

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DARK 70%: DARK CHOCOLATE WITH 70% COCOA SOLIDS
ORGANIC DARK CHOCOLATE WITH 70% COCOA SOLIDS
ORGANIC DARK CHOCOLATE: MINIMUM COCOA SOLIDS 70%

Ingredients: Cocoa mass #, raw cane sugar #, cocoa butter #, emulsifier (soya lecithin), vanilla extract #, May Contain nuts, milk
# = Certified Organic, Cocoa, Sugar, Vanilla: traded in compliance with Fairtrade Standards, total 99%.

Review: Dark chocolate is dark chocolate. Tastes like cooking chocolate. I like extremely dark chocolate. It’s very bitter and savoury. Like the taste texture of black coffee though obviously not the same taste.

Tasting Notes: Let a single square slowly melt and see how many flavours you can pick out: rich nuttiness, roasted coffee, savoury notes, bitter cherry, smooth and sweet vanilla… Our original dark chocolate is anything but plain.

MILK CHOCOLATE WITH ANGLESEY SEA SALT

ORGANIC MILK CHOCOLATE: MINIMUM COCOA SOLIDS 37%, MINIMUM MILK SOLIDS 24%
Ingredients: Raw cane sugar #, whole milk powder #, cocoa mass #, cocoa butter #, Anglesey sea salt (0.7%), emulsifier (Soya lecithin), vanilla extract #. May contain nuts.
# = Certified Organic, Cocoa, Sugar, Vanilla: traded in compliance with Fairtrade Standards, total 73%.

Review: Luxurious milk chocolate. Melts in the mouth. Grains of salt. I like it. You may not. Anglesey is in North Wales so have to support the hometeam (but I would like this anyway). A unique flavour for the tasting collection unlike many of the others which you will find have been made by other companies to the point of being ubiquitous.

Tasting Notes: The delicate flakes of Anglesey Sea Salt are recognised as some of the best in the world, and we’d accept nothing less for our delicious chocolate. They really help to bring out the caramel notes in our 37% cocoa milk chocolate, and delight your taste buds with that moreish balance of sweet and savoury.

DARK CHOCOLATE WITH TOFFEE PIECES

ORGANIC DARK CHOCOLATE WITH TOFFEE PIECES

Ingredients: Cocoa mass #, raw cane sugar #, toffee # (15%) (raw cane sugar #, glucose syrup #, butter (from milk) #, palm oil #, molasses #, natural flavouring). cocoa butter #, emulsifier (soya lecithin), vanilla extract #, May Contain nuts, milk
# = Certified Organic, Cocoa, Sugar, Molasses, Vanilla: traded in compliance with Fairtrade Standards, total 93%.

Review: Once as a student I decided to make caramel. I knew it was just melted sugar. We did this in the kitchen. What we had was an exceptionally bitter substance the colour of a brown glass bottle. Suffice to say I was the only one to consume anything more than a single lick of it. That is exactly what the toffee in this is like. Little shards of burnt toffee. The chocolate melts away like some sort of intentionally weak substance as if the intention was to harmfully prank someone by offering them some of this and, once the chocolate fades away quickly to the point it does literally melt on the tongue upon contact and the shards expel the taste of charred toffee. I like it but I like it for reminding me of the past, of a nostalgia that only I have, one I hoped never to remember. Masochistic. This might actually be even more to my taste than the extremely high coca content dark chocolate.

Tasting Notes: We add a nice touch of molasses to our burnt toffee pieces to give a richer flavour that stands up to our intense chocolate. Made in Yorkshire, their textured crunch is just as enjoyable as their bitter-sweet taste.

HAZELNUT & CURRANT
DARK CHOCOLATE WITH HAZELNUTS & CURRANTS

Ingredients: Cocoa mass #, raw cane sugar #, currants # (12%) chopped roasted hazelnuts # (8%), cocoa butter #, emulsifier (soya lecithin), vanilla extract #, May Contain nuts, milk
# = Certified Organic, Cocoa, Vanilla: traded in compliance with Fairtrade Standards, total 79%.

Review: The chocolate is good in a bitter way. The currants flavour intermingles with it successfully. The hazelnut is just kind of there. Just bits of non-flavour you have to choose through. It’s the kind of bar that would be good for hiking expeditions as its trial mix plus chocolate to keep your energy levels up but it always reminds me of that prank you can play by melting a bar of fruit and nut in your hand and asking a person in the next toilet cubicle for some toilet paper. Have never heard of anyone ever doing it but it reminds me of that.

Tasting Notes: The combination of the three main ingredients equals more than the sum of their parts: the bittersweet chocolate hits you first as it melts, followed by the roasted crunch of hazelnut and finally the sweet-sour currants bringing everything together in perfect harmony.

DARK CHOCOLATE WITH GINGER
ORGANIC DARK CHOCOLATE WITH CRYSTALLISED GINGER PIECES

Ingredients: Cocoa mass #, raw cane sugar #, crystallised ginger # (20%) (stem ginger #, sugar #), cocoa butter #, emulsifier (soya lecithin), vanilla extract #, May Contain nuts, milk
# = Certified Organic, Cocoa, Vanilla: traded in compliance with Fairtrade Standards, total 79%.

Reviews: The chocolate seems overly dried out and the ginger is weak compared to other chocolate and ginger bars I have tried. I like it but there are better alternatives out there.

Tasting Notes: 60% dark chocolate comes through initially and, as it melts away, is followed by the gentle warmth of ginger. Our crystalised pieces come from China, and offer a taste that lingers on the palate, until replaced with the next chunk’s chocolaty opening…

MILK CHOCOLATE WITH BUTTERSCOTCH
ORGANIC MILK CHOCOLATE WITH BUTTERSCOTCH PIECES

Ingredients: Raw cane sugar #, whole milk powder #, cocoa mass #, cocoa butter #, butterscotch (10%), (raw cane sugar #, glucose syrup #, butter (from milk) #, palm oil #, molasses #, natural flavouring), emulsifier (Soya lecithin), vanilla extract #. May contain nuts.
# = Certified Organic, Cocoa, Sugar, Molasses, Vanilla: traded in compliance with Fairtrade Standards, total 72%.

Review: Rapidly melting in the mouth chocolate. It lines the mouth with its butterscotch flavour. Then the small pieces of butterscotch are left to chew on. (Side note – the tasting suggestion uses the phrase ‘mouthfeel’ without irony… is this Adventure Time or something?!)

Tasting notes: Our butterscotch pieces are expertly made in Yorkshire, and are the star ingredient in one of our most indulgent bars. As well as the crunchy pieces, we add some of the finer butterscotch ‘dust’, so that the flavour runs throughout the bar, leaving you with a buttery mouthfeel at the end.

MILK CHOCOLATE WITH 37% COCOA SOLIDS
ORGANIC MILK CHOCOLATE

Ingredients: Raw cane sugar #, whole milk powder #, cocoa mass #, cocoa butter #, emulsifier (Soya lecithin), vanilla extract #. May contain nuts.
# = Certified Organic, Cocoa, Sugar, Molasses, Vanilla: traded in compliance with Fairtrade Standards, total 74%.

Review: Milk chocolate is milk chocolate. Nice but nothing special. Easily melts in the mouth. Very nice… nicer than most…. But its milk chocolate.

Tasting notes: Our milk chocolate is rich in both cocoa and milk, for those that like a darker shade of milk chocolate. As well as the bittersweet cocoa flavours, you’ll discover dark caramel notes, and even subtle fruity flavours of figs and dates.

MILK CHOCOLATE WITH RAISINS & HAZELNUTS
ORGANIC MILK CHOCOLATE WITH RAISINS & HAZELNUTS

Ingredients: Raw cane sugar #, whole milk powder #, cocoa mass #, cocoa butter #, raisins # (12%) (raisins #, palm oil #), chopped roasted hazelnuts # (8%), emulsifier (Soya lecithin), vanilla extract #. May contain other nuts.
# = Certified Organic, Cocoa, Sugar, Molasses, Vanilla: traded in compliance with Fairtrade Standards, total 59%.

Review: There’s something in my milk chocolate. What it is I cannot tell. Oh wait… slightly sickly sweet moment. Sombre release of nut flavour when I bite into the chunk in the bar… on the whole I never liked nut and fruit chocolates growing up as it seemed to be missing the point that you wanted the chocolate – as if you were being punished by having bits of ‘better’ food inserted into your treat. Years later and I still feel like this. I want chocolate. Flavoured chocolate also. Not chocolate plus other stuff. If I wanted that I would go buy a biscuit. I always remember that there is a prank where you melt a nutty chocolate bar in your hand and pretend you act like you wiped your backside with you bare hand. I have never heard of anyone doing it but it makes me think of that prank.

Tasting notes: Milk chocolate is often described as containing ‘brown fruit’ flavours. That’s why the raisins almost blend into the chocolate, adding a quite distinctive texture, yet a surprisingly complementary taste sensation. The nutty crunch of hazelnuts adds a third texture and a welcomed savoury finish to the bar.

MILK CHOCOLATE WITH ALMONDS
ORGANIC MILK CHOCOLATEWITH CHOPPED ALMONDS

Ingredients: Raw cane sugar #, chopped roasted almonds # (23%) whole milk powder #, cocoa mass #, cocoa butter #, emulsifier (Soya lecithin), vanilla extract #. May contain other nuts.
# = Certified Organic, Cocoa, Sugar, Molasses, Vanilla: traded in compliance with Fairtrade Standards, total 57%.

Review: almonds. The texture always makes me feel like I am eating plastic wrapping. If you like almonds and chocolate you will like this but the texture to me personally is extremely offputting.

Tasting notes: Leaving the skins on, and roasting just to the right amount, helps to really encapsulate the savoury nuttiness of our almonds. As it melts, the cocoa-rich milk chocolate coats every nutty surface giving a sublime taste and texture combination, with a fragrant almond finish that carries on and on.

DARK CHOCOLATE WITH HAZELNUTS
ORGANIC DARK CHOCOLATE WITH HAZELNUTS

Ingredients: Cocoa mass #, raw cane sugar #, chopped roasted hazelnuts # (20%), cocoa butter #, emulsifier (soya lecithin), vanilla extract #, May contain other nuts, milk.
# = Certified Organic, Cocoa, Vanilla: traded in compliance with Fairtrade Standards, total 79%.

Review: As above. I am not a fan of nuts in chocolate. The hazelnuts drain the taste of the chocolate away.

Tasting notes: The rich flavour of toasted hazelnuts is the perfect partner for the cocoa-richness of our dark chocolate, also working beautifully with the fruity notes from our special Trinitario cocoa beans.

WHITE CHOCOLATE WITH 30% COCOA SOLIDS
ORGANIC WHITE CHOCOLATE

Ingredients: Raw cane sugar #, cocoa butter #, whole milk powder #, emulsifier (Soya lecithin), vanilla pod #, vanilla extract #. May contain nuts.
# = Certified Organic, Cocoa, Vanilla: traded in compliance with Fairtrade Standards, total 71%.

Review: The milky bar kid is strong and tough, and milky bars are only good enough. Its white chocolate. A bit smoother than others I have had before. The tasting notes contain a spelling mistake. White chocolate isn’t my thing.

Tasting notes: The secret to our white chocolate is a generous dose of Madagascan vanilla. You can see the vanilla seeds speckled throughout the bar, which along with the organic whole milk, help to round of the sweetness of the cocoa butter-rich chocolate.

DARK CHOCOLATE WITH 85% COCOA SOLIDS
ORGANIC DARK CHOCOLATE WITH 85% COCOA SOLIDS

Ingredients: Cocoa mass #, cocoa butter #, fat-reduced cocoa powder #, raw cane sugar #, vanilla extract #. May Contain nuts, milk
# = Certified Organic, Cocoa, Sugar, Vanilla: traded in compliance with Fairtrade Standards, total 100%.

Review: Cooking chocolate. You put it in your mouth and there is bitterness. If you have never had such dark chocolate before you wouldn’t even think this is chocolate. It is near tasteless if you go chewing through it quickly. Let it dwell and there is the taste… like carcinogens. Like the nice sensation when you eat something burnt in that infinitesimally minute line between the cooked and carbonated sections. This is the black pudding of chocolate… except its good for you as it has none of the dairy of other chocolate.

Tasting notes: We use 85% cocoa solids for an intense hit of cocoa with just enough sugar to balance the bitterness and acidity, resulting in an almost savoury note. The generous organic vanilla content naturally seasons the chocolate and softens its bitterness, slightly increasing perceptions of subtle sweetness.

Visit http://www.info.fairtrade.net
PL-EKO-07 Non-EU Agriculture
Soil Association Symbol Holder P11117. Organic Certification PL-EKO-07. This product meets the Soil Association standards for organic food and farming

Overall review: A nice gift or way to try new flavours without investing in a whole bar that may not be to your liking. I would suggest you eat them as soon as possible as there are not the various preservatives you will find in many other bars and the chocolate with oxygenate over a short period (this however is more an appearance issue than one of affecting the taste). It suggests not eating more than six varieties on any one day so your palate doesn’t become desensitised but really these are ‘just got in from work’ snacks unless you have gatherings in which this tasting collection would be a desired pastime with friends or family. A nice idea to entice people to try premium chocolate but overall I would say if you want a range of tastes going with a generic box of chocolates is a safer bet compared to this which may come across as a bit too try hard. Personally I find their dark chocolate is their strength. The tasting notes and serving suggestions (which I have omitted but will add later if I find time) while interesting are not something which added much to the experience unless you enjoy bragging about where your food comes from and being more worldlier than others. Rather than enjoy the experience it feels like a task where you are now eligible to speak with authority about the taste of chocolate types. I like the chocolate itself but the pretension of the packaging and tasting notes make me less invested than they should in future purchases of this brand except for the Fairtrade aspect they heavily promote regarding the brand.


I wrote this a while ago but I probably have left a few aspects of the tasting collection out so it is better to see this post on the whole as a information dump of mini reviews about the brand.

Comment, Like and Follow – I welcome these all 🙂

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BEET IT – Organic Beetroot Juice

On the side of the carton is the following warning:

Be aware: Drinking beetroot juice may turn your urine pink – this is quite normal!

So as usual, interspersed with a few comments, let me quote all the information of the side of the carton so you can read it at your leisure rather than being one of thosse awkward looking people who stands in the isle reading the side of packaging like a neurotically obcessive calorie counter.

[Sorry but if you want to lose weight just move about more, not exercise necessarily, just find some excuse to me moving constantly and your body will burn it off without you noticing. you would be surprised how effective it is. Also snack less. you don’t even realise how much you are taking in as it is such an instinctive thing to graze when food is present in case you dont know where your next meal is coming from. Except of course, nowadays, we are not hunter gathers so that instinct is no longer vital, day to day, unless you find yourself in exceptional circumstances like traversing vast uninhabited areas, famine or war…]

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Soil Association Organic
GB – ORG – 05 EU agriculture
25 fl oz / 750ml
£3.69 from Tesco

… that’s expensive. If companie’s put words like ‘organic’ on their produce they think they can charge ridiculous prices.
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150ml of BEET IT organic beetroot juice provides one of your daily portions of fruit and vegetables.

VEGETARIAN

BEET IT ORGANIC BEETROOT IS BEST KEPT AND SERVED CHILLED. ONCE OPENNED KEEP REFIDGERATED AND USE WITHIN FIVE DAYS.

The juice has been pasteurised and contains no preservatives.

Be aware: Drinking beetroot juice may turn your urine pink – this is quite normal!

…I just assume that after the initial release of this drink they were inundated by people calling their customer care lie complaining or worried that their urine had become tinged by it. The red colour compound betanin is not broken down in the body, and in higher concentrations may temporarily cause urine and stool to assume a reddish colour; in the case of urine this is called beeturia. This effect may cause distress and concern due to the visual similarity to hematuria (blood in the urine) or blood in the stool, but is completely harmless and will subside once the food is out of the system. So it is understandable that people unfamiliar with it were worried but to go to the length of telling the producer, which I assume is what happened, is clearly just a ploy to get free produce. A jaded view but there are such people out there and this ‘warning’ is clearly meant to be a clear sign of contempt for those people.

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Why Organic?

Organic farming uses traditional methods like crop rotation and natural pest control rather than pesticides and chemical fertilisers which can end up in the final produce. Artificial preservatives and additives are also a no-no. And we end up with the best tasting juice on the market – why compromise?

Organic beetroot and apple juice

Ingredients: Pressed organic beetroot juice (90%), pressed organic apple juice (10%). Not from concentrate.

We add a small amount of apple juice to smooth the natural earthy taste of freshly pressed beetroot juice. BEET IT retains both the distinctive taste and smell of fresh beetroot. As well as benefiting from great quality ingredients, we want you to really enjoy drinking BEET IT!

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Nutritional Information:

Servings per pack: 3
Serving size 250ml

Average quantity… : …per serving / …per100ml
Energy: 430kJ/103kcal / 172kJ/41kcal
Fat: <0.1g / <0.1g
Of which saturates: <0.1g / <0.1g
Carbohydrates: 23g / 9.2g
Of which sugars: 22.5g / 9.0g
Protein: 2.3g / 0.9g
Salt: 0.1g / <0.1g

*Contains naturally occurring sugars.

[Similar nutritional information and localised contact information for other countries is available in Danish, Swedish, Finnish, Portuguese, French and Spanish.]

The natural dietary nitrate varies significantly from batch to batch, but with 90% beetroot juice in beet It, the nitrate content will on average be 0.8g per litre.

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BEET IT is a registered trademark of James White Drinks Ltd, White’s Fruit Farm, Ashboacking, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP6 9JS, UK
Tel: +44(0)1473 890111 Web: http://www.jameswhite.co.uk

Australia: Trialia Foods Australia, 424 Princess Highway, Noble Park North, Victoria 3174, Australia
Tel: +61 3 97011666 Web: http://www.trialiafoods.com

Product of UK / Patents pending

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JAMES WHITE FINE PRESSED FRUIT JUICES

James White Drinks started more than 25 years ago pressing fantastic single variety apple juices – Bramley, Cox and Russet. We are based at Whites Fruit Farm just north of Ipswich in Suffolk. In 1996, we launched Big Tom, our fabulous spicy tomato juice, which was granted a Royal Warrant by HM The Queen in 2002. Soon after, we started bottling beetroot juice, which we now increasingly supply worldwide.

In 2007 we were approached by a group of scientists who were carrying out both medical and sports performance scientific research with beetroot juice. We are very privileged now to be supplying research projects at many universities all over the world. It has been a very exciting experience and their published research findings have attracted much media interest.
For More information about current research and interest from the sporting world, visit http://www.beet-it.com

Please do visit ww.jameswhite.co.uk to learn about our full range of wonderful pressed juices and see some pictures of our new beetroot pressing plant – the first ond only one of its kind in the UK. Help us turn East Anglia purple!

Lawrence Mallinson

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Review: It tastes like beetroots obviously so either you will be okay with it depending on if you like beetroots or not. If you do not know what beetroot tastes like then… sweet initial taste an earthy tone once it is on the tongue… to be honest just go try some beetroot for yourself if you don’t already know the taste (in Britain it wouldn’t be surprising to find out someone has never tried it although my grandmother eat them almost constantly). The 10% apple juice is apparently added to ‘smooth the natural earthy taste of freshly pressed beetroot juice’. It is a refreshing juice with an earthy residual aftertaste but once you are used to it the taste is quite pleasant. The price is more alarming than anything, even for a market leading premium product, so maybe try an alternative if you are looking to make beetroot juice a regular part of your diet.

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Information about the humble beetroot:

In preliminary research, beetroot juice reduced blood pressure in hypertensive individuals and so may have an effect on mechanisms of cardiovascular disease.

Dietary nitrate, such as that from consuming beets, may be a source for the biological messenger nitric oxide which induces the endothelium of arteries to signal smooth muscle, triggering vasodilation and increased blood flow.

The beetroot is the taproot portion of the beet plant, also known in North America as the table beet, garden beet, red or golden beet, or informally simply as the beet. It is several of the cultivated varieties of beet (Beta vulgaris) grown for their edible taproots and their greens. These varieties have been classified as B. vulgaris subsp. vulgaris Conditiva Group. Other than as a food, its uses include food coloring and as a medicinal plant. Many beet products are made from other Beta vulgaris varieties, particularly sugar beet.

Beetroot is an excellent source of folate and a good source of manganese, and contains betaines which may function to reduce the concentration of homocysteine, a homolog of the naturally occurring amino acid cysteine. High circulating levels of homocysteine may be harmful to blood vessels and thus contribute to the development of heart disease, stroke, or peripheral vascular disease. This hypothesis is controversial as it has not yet been established whether homocysteine itself is harmful or is just an indicator of increased risk for heart disease.

The usually deep purple roots of beetroot are eaten either grilled, boiled, or roasted as a cooked vegetable, cold as a salad after cooking and adding oil and vinegar, or raw and shredded, either alone or combined with any salad vegetable. A large proportion of the commercial production is processed into boiled and sterilised beets or into pickles. In Eastern Europe, beet soup, such as borscht, is a popular dish. In Indian cuisine, chopped, cooked, spiced beet is a common side dish. Yellow-coloured beetroots are grown on a very small scale for home consumption.

The green, leafy portion of the beet is also edible. It is most commonly served boiled or steamed, in which case it has a taste and texture similar to spinach. Those selected should be bulbs that are unmarked, avoiding those with overly limp leaves or wrinkled skins, both of which are signs of dehydration.

Beetroot can be peeled, steamed, and then eaten warm with butter as a delicacy; cooked, pickled, and then eaten cold as a condiment; or peeled, shredded raw, and then eaten as a salad. Pickled beets are a traditional food of the American South, and are often served on a hamburger in Australia,[4] New Zealand, and the United Arab Emirates.

A traditional Pennsylvania Dutch dish is pickled beet egg. Hard-boiled eggs are refrigerated in the liquid left over from pickling beets and allowed to marinate until the eggs turn a deep pink-red colour.

In Poland, beet is combined with horseradish to form popular ćwikła, which is traditionally used with cold cuts and sandwiches, but often also added to a meal consisting of meat and potatoes.

When beet juice is used, it is most stable in foods with a low water content, such as frozen novelties and fruit fillings. Betanins, obtained from the roots, are used industrially as red food colourants, e.g. to intensify the colour of tomato paste, sauces, desserts, jams and jellies, ice cream, sweets, and breakfast cereals. Beetroot can also be used to make wine.
Food shortages in Europe following World War I caused great hardships, including cases of mangelwurzel disease, as relief workers called it. It was a consequence of eating only beets.


Next time… I don’t know what I will post. Nothing involving beetroots that’s for sure.

It reminded me of that 1990’s cartoon ‘Doug’ where the characters seemed obsessed with ‘beets’. There was a character called Beebe Bluff as seen in this clip who had a highpitched screeching voice who was the resident ‘over privileged’ stereotype and her design is very beet inspired it seems:

Obviously Jim Jinkins, the creator of the series, had issues with them for some reason and was working through them during the series. It was such a pretentious show and I never liked the colour palette used nor, if I am honest, the character designs although it had its moments. I think there were just too many ‘reflecting on my schooldays’ kind of shows at the time like ‘The Wonder Years’ and ‘Boy Meets World’ (well okay the last one isn’t really but in tone is was very similar). ‘Hey Arnold’ was quite similar but that at least had heart even if sometimes it was a bit heavyhanded in how it addressed certain topics.