Friday, February 1, 2013

A Mr Bite supermarket voucher and a shopping experience at The Herdsman

Mr Bite isn't a fan of conventional gift vouchers or gift cards. This is for the usual sorts of reasons (not personal, not useful...) and because he thinks the terms and conditions can be unnecessarily difficult and limiting. His view is that vouchers should never expire and should be redeemable with cash for change. As most retailers don't agree, Mr Bite has his own voucher system for immediate family and friends.

If Mr B thinks a voucher would make a good present, he makes one up for an activity, store or purchase type, and gives it along with cash to cover the cost of the item/s. I used to struggle with this concept, imagining that the receiver would just use the cash for day-to-day things and not get the benefit of a 'present' or special purchase.

Over time, though, I have come around to his approach. There are several reasons for this, but one of the most important is that it benefits me - and why would I not agree with that?

Last December, for my birthday, I was the happy recipient of a Mr Bite voucher for a shopping exhibition to The Herdsman. This is an expensive, gourmet supermarket that started as a growers market in 1979 and has evolved over time to its current and highly regarded status. The supermarket stocks lots of fresh produce, good quality prepared meals (think gourmet salads, sushi, and pies and desserts made in store), hard to find products, and lots of international foods. It is vaguely reminiscent of Waitrose, but on a mini scale.


The Herdsman is located next to a kebab store that Mr Bite visits semi-regularly. When he does, I sometimes get an opportunity to wander The Herdsman's aisles, making noises of interest and glee. Unfortunately, it is an expensive store, so I rarely make purchases. An exception was the Coco Luscious coconut ice cream I found a year ago, the first time I had seen coconut ice cream in Perth (The Herdsman is the sort of place you'd expect coconut ice cream to appear for the first time).

This week, I put my birthday voucher to use.

For those of you who share my enjoyment of supermarkets and new products...here is what I bought.



Moving from the bottom up, we start with Redwood Food's fish-free fish style fingers. I know, what a name. What a travesty of a fake meat product. And yet! Vegan fish fingers! How could I not try them, if only to compare them with the homemade equivalent?


These are made from soy protein and the usual fake meat ingredients. Will they taste like fish? I can't yet say. Am I annoyed they have carrageenan? Yes. Did it stop me buying them? Clearly not.



The frozen cherry frozen yoghurt is a Herdsman own brand product, and one I am quite excited to try. It is a dairy frozen yoghurt, but looked worthy of consumption nonetheless.


These Vitalia choco & nuts bars are dairy free and vegan, and are basically a snack bar with a protein boost.


 Star anise was purchased for the simple reason that I have never used it.


Coco Pure's chilli, goji and chocolate coconut butter was purchased because I haven't tried the commercial variety since my first jar, and I just wanted it again (even if I can theoretically make it myself).


Delicasey's Tasmanian pepperberry in dark chocolate (dairy free) was bought because I have wanted to buy it ever since I saw it way back in May 2011. Frankly, that is a long time to hold out.



The voucher was for $50. I think my shopping skill is reflected by the total cost coming to $49.51.

Yes, expensive!

My verdict on these products will have to wait for another post, but I can say that they have already brought me lots of joy, and I am seriously excited to work through them!

Any recent supermarket fun in your parts lately?

And what you do think of gift vouchers? I actually don't mind the standard sort, but can see why they get a bad reputation sometimes.

30 comments:

  1. 49.51 out of $50 score - great shopping!

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  2. I like Mr. Bite's idea. It is actually pretty good and thoughtful too! I sometimes do fun little vouchers to my hubby, but they are usually for a back rub, etc. :-)

    Looks like you got some great new things to try at the Herdsman. Let me know what you think of the chocolate coconut butter. It sounds amazing!

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    1. Back rubs would be vouchers well received I imagine - that's a sweet idea :)

      I have actually had the chocolate coconut butter once before and it is amazing! Seriously good.

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  3. I LOVE going to fun supermarkets like that! Sounds like a ton of fun. I don't mind gift vouchers (or certificates as we call them in the states) as long as they're to a place where I actually shop. I'd rather get them than a present that's equally as impersonal that I'll never use!

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  4. I think I'd rather shop for new foodie items than fashion accessories! I had fun coming on your shopping trip. Thanks!

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    1. I'm so glad you enjoyed it Heather :-) And yes, definitely food over fashion accessories!

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  5. I'll look forward to reading how you found the non-fish fish fingers. On the packet they certainly look like the real thing. I love star anise and use it quite often although mostly in Asian cooking. What a great bunch of 'things' and I'll look forward to seeing them pop up in your posts xx

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    1. Thank you Charlie, I will certainly let you know how I go with them :-)

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  6. You've never tried star anise?! OH KARI! Deliciousness awaits! Throw it in with stewed rhubarb, rice pudding, hot spiced sweetened almond milk... LOVE IT!

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  7. I don't mind gift vouchers but I usually give ones for an experience rather than just to a shop. Something like tickets to the premium cinema lounge or a massage.
    My only word of warning with star anise is that it is surprisingly strong so start with a less is more mentality but it is super yum.

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    1. I do experience ones quite a lot actually - with age, I've found it makes more sense than buying 'things' for people who already have a lot! Both of the ones you mention are lovely ideas.

      Thanks for the warning about star anise, too! Knowing me, I'd have been so enthused I put in way too much and then have a bad first experience :P I will apply caution.

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  8. I've never really been into vouchers but I can see that sometimes they are a real treat - and I have started giving cinema ones on request. I would worry like you that Mr Bite's approach would just lead to the cash being spent any old how but you are proof that it works and I think I would love a wonder in the Herdsman - glad you finally got a bar of that chocolate - what delayed gratification! My favourite use of star anise has been in an amazing split pea soup - http://gggiraffe.blogspot.com.au/2008/06/split-pea-soup-goes-asian.html - I keep meaning to use it in pho - maybe one day

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    1. Cinema ones are definitely something I am happy to give, because the cost of cinemas is so exorbitant these days and most people can manage to make it within 6 months or so of the gift (the expiry point). I suppose part of it is picking vouchers wisely.

      I love the sound of that soup - thank you for the link - and I am becoming increasingly amazed that I went so long without using star anise. Everyone seems to love it!

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  9. Oh yeah, sometimes it's very fun to splurge on awesome grocery items! Especially vegan fish fingers. Star anise is beautiful! And yeah, you've got some mad shopping skills, way to stretch the bill, ha ha!

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  10. Yay Cocoluscious! It's made right here on the Goldy - such great stuff. I think you did a marvellous job on spending your voucher - Cocopure is SO GOOD.... I love their cacao/cashew spread.... haven't tried the chilli one though. Looking forward to a chocolate review :)

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    1. Ooh, I didn't know that (re. Cocoluscious)! I think I prefer them over the So Delicious coconut ice cream range, although am so delighted to have not only one but two brands to choose from that I happily endorse both ;)

      I am sure you'll get a chocolate review, and I would love to work my way through all of the Cocopure flavours. I've had the cashew one too and it was gorgeous. I saw a vanilla coconut one on this trip but the chilli chocolate won out!

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  11. hehehe that's pretty close to perfect gift voucher amount ;-)

    I am one of the anal people in the world so when given 'gift money' I always pop it into a different part of my wallet & then I buy myself something with that money that is like a real gift from the person! hehehe and then I always remember what ever I've bought as if it was a gift from them!

    PS those fishless fingers are SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO good! They have got to be one of my fav vegan faux meats! :-) I hope you enjoy them!

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    1. Oh wow, re. the non-fish fingers! I am so glad I bought them now :-) Thanks for letting me know.

      Mr Bite would love your approach to gift money - that is exactly what he thinks should happen to it!

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  12. I love going to gourmet stores like that, even if it's just to browse. Haha. I always find joy in finding new and interesting food products. It's always fun to experiment with new foods. I think that's why I haven't had much trouble with going vegan. Though I have to steer clear of dairy, the cherry frozen yoghurt looks oh-so tempting. :)

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    1. I get a lot of fun from browsing too (which is just as well given that the cost would build up otherwise!) :-)

      I think my frozen yoghurt love is why I keep occasional dairy in my diet...I really do adore it. The tartness isn't the same in soy varieties. That's not a nice thing to say to someone who is fully vegan though, so I'll focus instead on the fact that everything else on this trip was vegan ;)

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  13. I don't mind standard gift vouchers, but I can also easily get on board with Mr Bite's vouchers. Thanks for sharing your shopping trip with us - it was lots of fun.

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    1. I'm so glad you enjoyed it - thank you :)

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  14. Why can't they make being a vegetarian more affordable?! GR! I did a big veggie meat shop the other day and I bought 4 things and they were $40! Everything you bought, I totally would have bought. I particuarly want to know how those fish fingers taste! I hate giving gift vouchers because they feel so... slack. But I do love Mr Bite's idea.

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    1. I know what you mean...I always insist that vegetarianism is cheap, because fresh produce and legumes and grains are, but if you want to venture into processed foods or non-meat equivalents, it gets pricey very, very quickly! I'll let you know about the fish fingers :-)

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  15. What a great idea! And it is still personal because you took home on the shopping expedition!... I love pepperberry and I always use star anise, especially if a recipe has cinnamon... it lifts everything to another level :)

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    1. After trying it this week, I can say it really, truly does! What an amazing spice.

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