The essence of the label
Even if you think you’re familiar-enough with the many (13 at the moment) flavors of La Croix sparkling water, you might not be aware that there is an entire second set of flavors, apparently new although not labeled as such. It is La Croix Cúrate, and there are six versions, each of which is a pairing of two fruit flavors (as are several of the regular La Croix offerings).
For reasons that pass right by Mr. Tidbit, each of the Cúrate dual-flavor varieties is named half in one language and half in another, as in Cerise-Limón (cherry-lime). While we’re at it, Mr. Tidbit also doesn’t understand why they’re called “Cúrate,” which in English, at least (and ignoring the accented U), is a verb meaning to organize/oversee/present a collection. It also means an assistant clergyman. OK: But if somebody organized or blessed Cerise-Limón, that too passeth all Mr. Tidbit’s understanding.
But wait! Mr. Tidbit’s hasn’t gotten to the best part: While almost all of the regular La Croix varieties list the ingredients as “carbonated water, natural flavor,” all the Cúrate versions have this ingredient list: “Only carbonated water, naturally essenced.”
Mr. Tidbit is unsure of the difference between adding natural flavor to carbonated water and essencing it, but if there is any difference, he suspects that essencing is somehow dodgier than flavoring — like making chicken soup by standing over some hot water and whispering “chicken.”
Some of the regular La Croix entries also are now labeled “essenced.” Perhaps we’re in the middle of La Croix-wide conversion away from natural flavor. Your guess is as good as Mr. Tidbit’s. Essentially.
Scouting the cereal
Just in time for the annual Girl Scout Cookie drive, General Mills is offering two “sweetened whole-grain corn” Girl Scouts cereals: Thin Mints and Caramel Crunch. Both packages feature a small inset photo of the cookie in question (in the latter case it is Caramel deLites).
Although it obviously lacks the Thin Mints cookie’s chocolatey enrobing, and the corn-puff crunch is different from that of the cookie, Mr. Tidbit acknowledges that the cereal’s flavor is agreeably like that of the cookie. (It is, however, kind of an odd flavor for a cereal: It doesn’t go well with fruit.)
He finds it harder to go that far about similarity to the cookie with Caramel Crunch cereal, as Caramel deLites cookies are “tender vanilla cookies, covered with caramel, rolled in toasted coconut, and striped with a rich, chocolaty coating,” and the cereal tastes mostly of caramel. Nice, potentially breakfasty, not all that Girl Scouty.