Works with any salad combination, perfect with salmon and chicken, pour over grilled asparagus or eggplant.
Coming up to summer salads are a staple for me and I'm always keen to find tasty new salad dressings. Castle Rock was not a brand I have been at all familiar with so it was great to try something totally new especially a flavour that sounded intriguing. That is also homemade (well in the cafe ) was also appealing.
I made up a salad with my usual preferences, greens, feta, tomatoes, cucumber, avocado and craisins and tossed a tablespoon of the dressing through. The strawberry taste was quite mild and the lemon and vinegar come through nicely I thought. I didn't really notice the mint taste so much. It was definitely quite a sweet dressing option which I found good as it satisfied my sweet craving (excellent when trying to avoid following up with chocolate biscuits!)
The only thing I found disappointing was the lack of nutritional information on the bottle. I do track calories etc so it was frustrating not having this information and not knowing other nutritional information like how much sugar there is in it.
WhileI loved the flavour, I don't see me buying it the future as the price is also off-putting. I thought I had been given a small sample bottle, $12 for 100ml is definitely too expensive for me, no matter how nice!
I had tried two of the other flavours in this range (the 'Balsamic Honey' and 'Blueberry and Thyme') and I loved them. But having only tried them as dips for ciabatta breads, I wanted to try another flavour in something else. Seeing this Strawberry, Lemon and Mint flavour, I was unsure how to use a sweet vinegar, so I just had a taste as it was; just dipped my finger right in there. It was very sweet, like a thin strawberry jam, with a sharp tang to it. For some reason, my mind just screamed "french toast!".
So that's what I did. Dipping bread into a mixture of eggs and vanilla essence, I gave 3 slices a quick saute (pan-fry with butter). A simple dish, that took less than 10 minutes to prepare and cook. Now I normally will add a heaped teaspoon of sugar (preferably brown) to each slice, and a generous squeeze of lemon juice. But as I'm trying to be healthier, I thought I'd replace all that with just the vinegar. Judging by how much I still have in the bottle I only ending up using 10-15ml in a dish, and that was able to act as a dip for the entirety of all 3 slices of french toast. The thin liquid properties of the vinegar meant less was needed to coat the food, so the 100ml bottle would actually get a large number of uses out of it. It provided that strong hit of berry, as well as the hit of citrus.
The lemon is quite a strong flavour, so I could only really see it working well in a dish that would normally have a lot of lemon in it (fish or chicken for example) but the strawberry and mint does give a great well rounded flavour.
My first experience with fruit vinegar was when I reviewed the Castle Rock raspberry vinegar. I loved it and found so many uses I couldn't wait to try some more of the flavours. When the strawberry, lemon and mint one arrived I couldn't wait to crack into it.
Examining the bottle I was a little disappointed that the label on the back didn't give any suggests on what to pair the vinegar up with, Popping online and reading reviews and hows others had used it soon solved that problem. I decided to try it on chicken, I sliced up some chicken breast marinated it for a couple of hours in a splash of the vinegar and then just quickly fried it up. While I enjoyed it I found it just a little too sweet, my husband however found it perfect for his tastes.
After trying it with chicken I tried to think of other ways to use it. I had some strawberries in the fridge so decided to try marinating some in the vinegar like you do with balsamic vinegar. After leaving them a few hours I dished them up with a little ice-cream and I'm pleased to say it was perfect. I think the vinegar lends itself to sweet dishes more than savory.
While I didn't enjoy this flavour as much as I did others I have tried, I have managed to find a few different uses for it. I think it is more suited to those like my husband who has a really sweet tooth because he has loved it in everything I have tried.
I was very interested about the flavour mix of the Castle Rock Cafe strawberry, lemon and mint vinegar. A combination of flavours I have not used before and was fascinated to see how they worked together. When opening the bottle the sell was sweet and I could individually smell each of the flavours. I was a little unsure how I would like it or use it but I decided to give it a go.
Unlike the other two bottles I had of the Castle Rock Cafe vinegars this bottles label on the back was different. There were no suggestions on how to use the vinegar or what it would blend well with. So I decided to add it to a simple green salad to see how the flavours worked. To be fair this was not a combination I would do again. To me the flavours were not that well mixed and I did not like the taste. I found the dressing to sweet and over powering.
When you taste the dressing on its own it is very sweet, so I put my thinking cap on as to how I would use this dressing as I thought it was more a dessert flavour of sweetness rather than adding it to meat, vegetables or salads. So I tried the vinegar drizzled over some vanilla ice cream to see what it would taste like. It weirdly worked a bit but again not a flavour I would crave or go back for more. I guess this strawberry, lemon and mint vinegar is for a specific type of taste buds which I gather mine are not keen on the sweetness and in saying that I do not have much of a sweet tooth so maybe that is where the problem is for me.
I loved reviewing the other items from Castle Rock and I was intrigued as to how I would feel about this product. I love different vinaigrette's and thought this would be something nice to put on a salad to give it a bit of a flavour. However I was quite disappointed.
To start with I wasn't sure how the flavours of strawberry, lemon and mint vinegar would mix together so I was looking forward to reviewing this. I put a small amount on a salad to try it to start with and the flavours were very sweet and overpowering. I am not sure it would be a flavour that I would be willing to try again on a salad dish.
I think this vinaigrette would be something that should be paired with something savory to help cut down the overpowering sweetness. I am going to retry this again next week in a chicken recipe and see if it makes my opinion on it change. However from just trying it on my salad I don't think it would be a flavour I would purchase myself.
I love the tall thin bottle however and think it is the perfect size to slot into my fridge. The price I think is really high for such a small amount.
I really wanted to try this Strawberry, Lemon and Mint Vinegar because I'd never heard of this type of vinegar or anything remotely like it before and I quite like to try new things. The flavours sounded very interesting and were of a combination which I couldn't even imagine what it would taste like.
On first inspection the bottle was nice and small and easily fit among my other vinegar bottles in the pantry. It had a lovely colouring of rose red to it, I guess this is from the strawberries added. The ingredients list on the back is plain and simple and stated what you'd expect based on the name with no added extras. I tried a little bit on it's own to get a gauge of the flavour and instantly I was hit with a sweet strawberry type taste with a hint of the lemon and mint, not quite what I was expecting from a vinegar.
I decided to go with the recommendation of trying it on a salad as a dressing first. I made a quick salad for my husband and myself and added the vinegar on top. I can't say it was the nicest salad I'd ever had but it did work together. I'm not sure I'd use it again as a salad dressing though because it wasn't really a taste I enjoyed. My husband didn't enjoy it either and although he ate it all, he said he wouldn't have it again.
After failing the salad test I decided to try it in a stir fry meal as part of the sauce. I fried up some beef and added chopped veges and cashew nuts. Next I threw some soy sauce, stock, honey and a generous amount of the Strawberry, Lemon and Mint Vinegar into the mix and added some noodles. I served it up into 4 bowls for myself, my husband and my 2 kids. My son downed his whole bowl and said thank you, my daughter complained the whole meal and barely ate anything, my husband said that it tasted quite bland and I wasn't overly impressed either. My husband's positive comment of the night was: "It wasn't the worst thing I had cooked."
I think my main problem with this vinegar is that I wasn't a fan of the base taste. I didn't really find anything I'd like to eat it with but after reading some of the other reviews maybe I need to branch out and try it with something sweeter, after all it is a very sweet vinegar. I don't think I would buy this product, aside from the price being quite high just like the other vinegar in their range, it's just not a taste that I enjoyed and couldn't really find a good use for it. But this is just my opinion and there is more than likely someone out there who raves about this.
Having tried many of the vinegar's in the Castle Rock range I was really looking forward to trying out the strawberry, lemon and mint vinegar. The sound of this reminded me of summer, sipping on lemonade and picking strawberries out at the strawberry farms. When Miss 3 heard me mention the word strawberry her face lit as strawberries are something she really looks forward to when in season.
Like the other products in the Castle Rock range this vinegar comes in a cute glass bottle and is well labeled, however I was a bit confused as to why the bottle didn't contain any nutritional information as all of my other bottles did? Perhaps they had just run out? However the ingredients list was provided and showed that this vinegar contained strawberries, lemon juice, mint and white vinegar. I was pleased to see that it contained all natural ingredients and no sugar!
The vinegar I thought was a beautiful deep red and very close to pink colour that I thought looked really nice. On my initial smell of the product, I thought it smelt just like mint and strawberries, a combination I had yet to try but liked the sound of. It smelt quite sweet and I decided this must be from the strawberries!
The first time I tried this vinegar was over a roast vegetable salad, and I have to be honest and say I really wasn't much of a fan as I found it to be to overbearing and sweet, the vegetables didn't really get a look in. I tried it again on a lettuce salad and again didn't think the flavours were very well suited, which was a real shame I love adding fresh strawberries to salads!
Thinking of other ways to use this product that may be more suited to the strong sweet flavour I decided to add a few drops to a glass of cool lemonade, this worked really well and made a very refreshing drink, the flavours when served this way were very subtle which I liked. I had made some lemon muffins, and decided to try the vinegar out in the icing, so after combining the icing ingredients I added a few drops of the vinegar, the taste wasn't really there so I slowly added a bit more at a time until it was just right. The flavours worked really well served this way, and everyone enjoyed the cupcakes, but were surprised when I said the icing contained vinegar as all you could taste was the sweet fruity flavours and a touch of mint, a perfect combination on top of lemon cupcakes.
A really nice vinegar in general that perhaps I will buy again, though I do have my favourites in the range so far!
Mint sauce is something that I enjoy with lamb. I thought that Castle Rock Cafe's Strawberry, Lemon and Mint Vinegar might have the same use as the standard mint sauce that we make at home. To be honest, I found it too sweet (just like the blueberry and thyme vinegar). The flavours are quite strong and very sweet, which means it is unsuited to many savoury dishes because the combination of flavours is overwhelming. I did try adding it to salad and also chicken, as per the serving suggestions, but it wasn't really suited to my taste. I think it would work better with just the lemon and mint as the flavours would then be more suitable to use with fish dishes and blander vegetarian dishes with couscous or quinoa bases.
Mr Six and Miss Four refused to taste it. They screwed their noses up when they caught the smell of the vinegar. I actually thought the strawberry smell was more powerful, but apparently adults experience it differently. My husband tried it but did not really like it either. It was far too sweet for him. My mother tried it too and said that it was not as good as the other products in the range although she would probably use it on plain ice cream and also mix it with strawberry jam to put on yoghurt. I have since tried those two suggestions myself. A minuscule amount on the icecream was quite nice, but I did not think the yoghurt was as successful.
As with the other products in Castle Rock Cafe's range that I have tried, I liked the fact that the ingredients were simple and recognisable. This is something that I really appreciate in food products that I try for my family.
I probably will not buy this product again as I don't think we would use it enough to warrant purchasing it, but if it were produced as lemon and mint without the strawberry. It would be worth revisiting.
Random listing from 'Food'...
Our tomato sauce is free from refined sugar and preservatives, with a whole lot of good stuff.
Made with NZ-grown tomatoes and pumpkin, then sweetened naturally with dates and apple juice, this sauce is a hit with the whole family.
Ingredients: New Zealand Tomatoes (30%), Water, Pumpkin (24%), Cider Vinegar (Brewed from apple cider), Apple Juice, Dates, Onion , Sea Salt, Spice, Garlic, Herbs.
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