PC Products Total about $125.00
I was planning this post last night and ironically I see a post about PC Thai curries at the top. The amount I have to spend is about $125.00, a bonus from banking use I believe! My post is qyite different as I have not been using PC products for over a year, so as to avoid too many local friends/acquaintances who stop to talk to me. This request is to ask you what PC products I should buy to try, frozen, jars, etc. Thanks!!
If you look on the PC website, many (though far from all) PC products have posted customer reviews. I can tell you from experience that these are not censored. They might screen for abusive or obscene postings, but they don't muck around with even very critical comments.
If several people rate highly something you might like, and their palates seem similar to yours, the product is likely worth trying. In every category, they range from exceptional to not worth eating.
Note, though, that PC points are counted as cash tender toward your order and can be used to buy anything in the store. They aren't restricted to PC products.
Thanks Embee, info much appreciated! I just thought I'd stick with PC products because I have been missing out and the products from Dave Nicol's creations to today seem well received. I won't even try most the other Supermarket's lines having generally found them failing and/or terrible!
Random quality products:
PC Organics honey almond granola cereal: my go-to cereal, really delicious. A better and healthier version of Quaker Harvest Crunch. I don't like the Blue Menu version; if you prefer a lot of granola flakes, get that one instead.
PC Crisp & Thin 8 Grains crackers: a tastier and healthier version of Breton's, and also doesn't break apart as easily. Good for spreads, with cheese, etc.
PC Dark Chocolate bar with almonds / bittersweet dark bar: good quality eating/baking chocolate from France. Big bars.
PC Frozen Desserts line: this is where they really excel. Numerous quality products, much of which is comparable to the good bakeries, i.e. banana/pumpkin/coconut cream pie, lemon tart, cheesecakes, pineapple upside down cake, and much more.
re: Chester Eleganté
"PC Frozen Desserts line: this is where they really excel. Numerous quality products, much of which is comparable to the good bakeries, i.e. banana/pumpkin/coconut cream pie, lemon tart, cheesecakes, pineapple upside down cake, and much more."
Come on, Chester - a somewhat dank crust with not-unpleasant topping is the best one can say for the PC frozen pies - fine to serve children or take on a picnic - in a pinch - but not remotely "comparable to the good bakeries" - surely you jest ? Have you tried Frangipane's lemon tarts, just to cite on example ? or Wendy's cream pies ? or ? or ?
PC desserts are servicable and a cut above Sara Lee/McCain - so let's celebrate that fact and not exaggerate what they are !
Most of them are a damn site better than Sara Lee/McCain. Some of them are comparable to good high end commercial bakers (e.g., Dufflet) and a few are of patisserie quality. Some of their best are also among their cheapest.
Their cookies are among the best mass market commercial cookies available in North America, and many are unique.
I find some PC desserts weird or inedible.The new Grasshopper Pie is disgusting. YMMV, but I give them credit for doing so many desserts well. This is one area in which they totally outclass their competition.
Embee, I said "a cut above" Sara Lee and McCain, so our difference is one of degree. But what product/s would you seriously say are "comparable to" Dufflet ? Are you referring to Dufflet's low-end squares and so on which you see in freezers ? Maybe. But not what you or I could purchase (admittedly at a much higher price point) fresh any day of the week. The cookies are fine for what they are - "mass market commercial cookies" - I think some of what you buy at Second Cup and Starbucks, supplied from local bakeries, are tastier. Does PC do desserts "well" ? Sure, give them credit for trying - but any comparison with the crust, freshness and mouth feel of a bakery product is, with respect, a bit of an exaggeration.
I commend PC desserts for their use of real cream, something that is absent from a lot of baked goods in Toronto; not, perhaps, from Frangipane or Dufflet, for sure. But, let's not compare them to the cream of Toronto's crop. That said, I would have preferred a PC coconut cream pie to the cardboard crusted, stale one I purchased at McEwan a week or so ago, at more than double the price.
We are, of course, discussing matters of personal taste, and it's clear that your taste and mine differ greatly.
We certainly seem to agree about Sara Lee (who actually made extremely high quality, good tasting products way back when) but is now just a "brand", and about McCain.
However, the giveaway about our differences is your mention of the desserts at Starbucks. I've always wondered how Starbucks manages to source an unending supply of sweets that I find inedible.
Everything Starbucks sells is, and has been (to my palate), variously too sweet, gummy, leaden, artificial, or various combinations of the preceding, not to ignore just plain bad. I have often tasted their samples and never liked anything very much. Whenever I buy something, I regret it. Indeed, the only sweet I ever really liked at Starbucks was the sugar free cheesecake (sourced from Carol's) that they sold during the Atkins craze and then discontinued.
I feel that the PC lemon and chocolate tarts compare admirably with similar items from Dufflet. Neither PC nor Dufflet is perfect. The PC crusts are more buttery than those from Dufflet, but are too hard. I like the PC lemon filling better. The jam glaze on Dufflet's lemon tart competes with, and spoils, the lemon flavour. The PC chocolate tart's filling compares well with Dufflet's "intense chocolate" product.
The PC real cream pies are better than most fresh ones available, at any price, in Toronto, though the crusts aren't the best. Unfortunately, they often disappear for months at a time.
There are many other examples. The bottom line is that they are trying to make good products at low prices. Sometimes they succeed; sometimes not.
I'm living with the taste memory of a huge Brooklyn commercial bakery called Ebinger's. People of my background get all teary thinking about Ebinger's nearly 40 years after its demise. Then there was Sutter's, a little shopfront in my neighbourhood that put today's Rahier to shame.
Neither Dufflet nor PC can compete with my memories of Ebinger's, nor Rahier and its kin with Sutter's, but we do have some great local baking nowadays, something Toronto had little of when I first came here (RIP Cake Master). But "comparison with the crust, freshness and mouth feel of a bakery product is, with respect, a bit of an exaggeration" is off the mark.
I say this more with respect to the ghastly (or even just mediocre) "treats" that I've paid big bucks for at local bakers than as a declaration of PC product greatness. Still, PC deserves credit since no major competitor has anything comparable. Sure there are better desserts to be had, but I've paid big bucks for horrible products at highly reputed shops much too often.
Note that I'm praising only the frozen PC desserts, and only some of them. The stuff from Loblaw's "freshly baked in the store" counters is typically awful.
I have a few horror stories about the local ones.
I used to work near Rideau Centre and was always near the Second Cup in rideau centre before closing and the manager was always telling the employees to put the baked goods back in the plastic container to sell the next day.
The employee that day was new and wanted to throw the muffins out and the manager told her not to.
Also worked near the Second Cup on Slater (near o connor downtown) and would pass t here every morning and evening.
That one store, they never close their shades and you could see the same cheesecake there for 4 or 5 days only with 1 or 2 slices missing.
I guess you can say I'm quite an observant person as for my job I actually get paid to go to different stores and observe stuff and write reports on that-mainly for the many chain stores from clothing to food (and bars even...).
But for PC desserts I used to like the "flourless" chocolate cake.
Not sure if they still have that as I usually just make my own :)
The pineapple upside down cakes are good, but very fattening and kind of fun for "junk food".
Not sure if I'd say they were that good as t hey are not memorable at all to me (unlike the Stubbe cake slices I used to love and still enjoy-exept for eating too much marzipan cake one week and never wanting to eat that for at least 1 year, lol).
The most horrible and traumatizing pc food is the frozen sushi.
It is the worst smelliest, soggy sushi in the world.
Even day old restaurant sushi and a major improvement.
The pc tempura shrimp rolls (I usually love tempura shrimp rolls),
but these you miscrowave them (first bad sign I ignored....)
and the sushi is already put together and so of course then it is going to be soggy inside.
the fish also smelled overly fishy and the rice was quite soggy.
just bad overall...a good way to torture your friends or enemies though.
Now maybe if the shrimp were separate from the rice it might work,
but first they have to find a way to make sushi that does not smell....
I actually tried some very good frozen tempura shrimp,
they were from Aquastar I think, from AP (now metro I guess).
kind of a ripoff but good for a frozen item and came with dipping sauce that was decent. kind of a ripoff product but still very convenient (costs maybe $10 for 12pc....)
I also found out that a lot of the PC ice cream is made by Chapmans, esp the cheaper ones (nothing wrong with chapmans).
I learned this at a foodservice show.....
I love the new Blue Menu Roasted Pistacio nuts(unsalted)($5.99)
I like the fig tapenade($4.99)
The frozen portabello mushroom burgers are tasty.
Lots of good frozen seafood and fish products too.
PC Just Peanuts peanut butter is my fave PB these days. As the name suggests, no added sugar, no added oils, just peanuts. The downside is you have to refrigerate it, and you either have to invert it, or stir it when opening, as the natural oil tends to gather at the top. But it tastes great. Look to buy a couple of jars when it periodically goes on sale.
Another product I really enjoy is the PC "Cool Delight" tangerine grapefruit drink mix. As a diabetic, I need to avoid most sugars, and you can only drink so much diet pop. This has a refreshing taste that avoids the bitterness of Crystal Light. I also like the PC chocolate bars another poster referred to, but they have to be a rare treat for me. I bought one before Christmas, and still have more than half of it left.
But, as someone else pointed out, you can use PC points to buy anything, include meat, produce, and dairy (no cigarettes or lottery tickets, I believe). I believe you have to redeem at least 10,000 points ($10.00), and by 10,000 point increments after that. Every few months, when I get enough points, I'll just use my points, and pay the cash difference. E.g. $43.61 of groceries - 40,000 PC pts and $3.61 cash.