Tuesday, July 15, 2008

vivanno?

I'm a Starbucks girl, I admit it.

It started with the iced Tazo Chai Lattes in the late 1990's and has progressed from there. When I was running with the Strollercize ladies after the birth of the Bean, I was in our local Starbucks at least 3 times a week. I've managed to cut down since then, but it's still my little luxury...

While out running errands today, I stopped in to discover they had just launched (today! this morning!) Vivanno Nourishing Blends. As far as I can tell (even before I saw this Business Week article), it's Starbucks' entry into the healthier, smoothie-type drinks (which, as the signs note in small lettering, still go good with espresso or green matcha tea). The two choices were Orange Mango Banana and Banana Chocolate.

I decided to try the Banana Chocolate. One whole banana, a proprietary whey protein and fiber powder (whatever that means), milk, ice and cocoa all blended together and served in a cup that uses 15% less plastic than their other ones (I'd like to see Starbucks recycle their cups, but that's another story).

My verdict? I am going to stick with what I think Starbucks does best: coffee (and Chai tea lattes). I found the BCV tasted most like chocolate milk, with a little bit of banana thrown in. The cocoa made the drink gritty. I'm also thinking that the whey and protein powders (which were also not blended in very well) don't exactly sit well with me either...judging from the way my stomach feels (not ill, but certainly not happy).

It will be interesting to see if these take off, or fall flat like their espresso-sized cups of Chantico did a few years ago (I had to look up the name on that one - how bad is that?).

What did catch my eye --and I will order this next time I go -- Baked Berry Stella.

[update August 31: I've posted my own version of the recipe for baked berry stella here...]

18 comments:

Rebecca said...

Definitely try the baked berry stella! I had it today...it was the first day my Starbucks offered it. I was reluctant because I thought it would be dry and dense. It was delicious! I am googling it online to try to figure out how to make it myself. It tastes like a healthy nutrigrain bar with real fruit on top but MUCH better!

Masterson said...

no kidding! if i could make a bunch of these for the weekday mornings i'de be a much happier morning person. Any luck on finding the recipe?

Masterson said...

here's what's inside:

OATS, BROWN SUGAR, WHOLE WHEAT FLOUR, RASPBERRIES, BLUEBERRIES, UNSALTED BUTTER, CAGE FREE WHOLE EGGS, WATER, INVERT SYRUP, RESISTANT MALTODEXTRIN, SOYBEAN OIL, HONEY, TAPIOCA DEXTRIN, CAGE FREE EGG WHITES, SODIUM BICARBONATE, VANILLA EXTRACT, SEA SALT, ALGAL OIL (DHA ALGAL OIL, HIGH OLEIC SUNFLOWER OIL, ASCORBYL PALMITATE, SUNFLOWER LECITHIN, TOCOPHEROLS), GROUND CINNAMON.

Anonymous said...

try this recipe, I had the berry stella and fell in love with it. i've been playing around at home and have come up with this:

start with 3 mashed bananas add 1 egg, 1/2 tsp vanilla, 3/4 cup brown sugar. beat until fluffy.

add 2 cups flour, 1 tsp each baking soda, baking powder and salt. stir just until moist.

pour batter into greased shallow, shaped muffin pans and top each with a sprinkling of oats, then brown sugar, then mixed berries. bake at 350 for approx 25-30 minutes.

Anonymous said...

I also have been searching for the recipe! I'll try the one above, but would like the actual one if possible.

Jennifer said...

If anyone tries the above recipe, or finds another, please post! These are so good. I usually get the banana loaf, but have officially switched!

Anonymous said...

I tried the above recipe last night, and it was just like the berry stella!!! I would recommend it anytime.

Anonymous said...

I am glad that there are people like you out there--on a recent Amtrak trip I 'discovered' the Stellas at the Starbuck's Union Station and decided as a do-it-yourselfer to 'google' the recipe, too. I didn't come up with the original, but better yet, found all your comments AND a great recipe to try. Thanks y'all!

Anonymous said...

I also just fell in love with a few days ago. THANK YOU for posting a receipe. I have been craving and want to make it for guests.

jenmcmtdora said...

I officially fell in love with the Stella yesterday as well. I was just searching to try and find the recipe online since I'm now off work today because of Fay. Thanks for the recipe, I'll try this one. It's funny though that a lot of us try to mimic these at home. Love Starbucks, it just can't be an everyday thing.

avra(ivegotfoodonmybrain) said...

Thanks to all of you who haveleft comments..and a recipe! I never would have thought this would be one of my more popular food posts..

I'm finally getting to a point where I have a little free time to research and test. I'll try the banana version, but I also want to try and come up with something that has no bananas, to stay a little truer to the original ingredients.

Masterson said...

So I tried out the recipe.

My versions were pretty tasty but not like the real thing. Actually, I'm not experienced with baking as much as grilling and cooking, so i have a few rudimentary questions.

What did i do wrong if they were too chewy? the Original stella almost crumbles and has variations in texture. my versions were flavored sponges with berries in them.

Second thing, i stored them in an almost air-tight container. as the days passed they became wet. what's going on here?

Sarah H said...

Wow what a site, my brother has just phone me from the States, I live just outside Lonodn, raving about the baked berry stella - I need to see one! I have tried to find the recipe to bake some him on his return but no luck - I will try the ones mentioned in this blog - so thank you and I'll let you know.

Sarah H said...

Oops! I have just re-read my blog, and I apologise for the spelling mistakes - that was the first time I have ever left a message on a blog page - a blog virgin from England. Thank you to the great American foodies!

avra (ivegotfoodonmybrain) said...

masterson: I'm no baking expert, but you may have had too tight a seal on your baking. I usually put my loaves and muffins on a plate and cover with a teatowel. Of course, baking never lasts much longer than a couple of days in our house anyway. Did you have anything between the muffins to absorb moisture?

As for the chewiness, I could take a guess that there was an issue with a ratio of flour/water/binder somewhere, but as I said, I'm no expert. I just know that measurements in baking are much less forgiving than any other form of cooking (a professional chef also told me this once.. you have to be more exact for baking to turn out well)

I haven't tested the banana-based recipe posted in the comments, but I did come up with something that is currently sitting on my stove tempting me with its smell.

I'm going to hold a taste comparison tomorrow with some family and a couple of Starbucks Stellas.

I'm looking forward to seeing how it compares!

Sarah H said...

Avra: Good luck with your sample tasting - looking forward to reading the outcome. I'm off to visit Starbucks in central London today to see if they are selling this amazing scone/muffin, I very much doubt it because ours are very basic and no choice compared with the States. One cake I always head for on my yearly visit to the States is the yellow crumb cake with cinnamon topping at Starbucks. I just cannot find a recipe at home for this, also our flours just do not turn the cakes yellow. If you are able to help with a recipe I would be really grateful.
With regard to the moist cakes in the box I always put a layer of kitchen paper on top of the cake to absorb any moisture and I always have to burp the box a good few times.
Have a good tasting!

avra (ivegotfoodonmybrain) said...

Recipe posted here, folks:

http://ivegotfoodonmybrain.blogspot.com/2008/08/baking-better-berry-stella.html

avra( ivegotfoodonmybrain) said...

Sarah H: do you have a name for that dessert you like? I'm not sure we have it here in Canada, either...