A couple of days ago I was very pleasantly surprised by courier. Well, to be honest, my first reaction wasn’t very delighted as I was just taking shower when I heard the doorbell ring. I was wondering who dares to disturb me in this very moment. Luckily my husband was at home and he could open the door and check who was there.
After I came from the bathroom, my husband said: “You have some parcels waiting”. I often order things online, so I couldn’t guess which of my orders had arrived. My surprise was even bigger when I noticed what the parcels contained: cute-looking boxes of Natvia sweetener.
I took a closer look and was again delighted to notice that the sweeteners contained only natural ingredients, erythritol and stevia. Those are basically the only sweeteners I use because of their safety.
First I had to take some photos of the packages as they looked so cute. I was full of excitement when I started to open the packages. Usually erythritol-based sweeteners tend to have that typical cooling effect, so I really was waiting to try out this brand to see its quality.
Natvia for Baking
I was holding these cute packages in my hands and wondering which one to try first. I opened the pink box with sweetener meant for baking. Immediately I could feel a strong odor of caramel. It was boldly bursting out of the package. Well, that wasn’t bad, actually it was very promising!
The texture of the sweetener was quite powdery with tiny granules, so it wasn’t that hopelessly dusty like my currently preferred sweetener. I always got problems when mixing that powdery sweetener in my batters, frostings or whatever I was cooking or baking. The fine dust covered my table and floor, and it almost made my hand mixer get stuck and break because the sweetener dust was rushing inside the mixer while mixing. Well, luckily the solution was easy: folding the ingredients with a spatula before using the mixer to prevent the fine dust spread all over.
Anyway, nowadays I prefer powdered sweeteners because they dissolve so well in fluid, batters, etc. I still sometimes use erythritol crystals when baking, but not very often anymore. This Natvia sweetener looked powdery enough to dissolve well.
When I tasted the sweetener for the first time, I was prepared to feel the cooling effect of erythritol or the bitter aftertaste of stevia, or in the worst case: both. To my amazement, there was almost no aftertaste. The caramel odor was strong, but in a positive way. I wouldn’t mind if I could taste that in the baked stuff as well! After a while I felt a note of bitterness on my tongue, but the caramel flavor compensated it quite well.
This is how Natvia for Baking for the US market looks like (photo by Natvia):
Natvia for Icing
I opened another box. That baby blue package contained sweetener for icing/frosting purposes. There was no caramel odor and the texture was more powdery than the previous sweetener I tested. Actually, the powder was extremely fine, just like dust. Well, most probably it would spread on my table and floor while using it, so it might be a good idea to fold it in the frosting first with a spatula or then use the lowest speed of the mixer.
Excitedly I tasted the sweetener. Absolutely no caramel odor or taste, but a slight cooling effect, however fortunately only very slight effect. Sweetness was just right and what was the most important thing, there was enough sweetness.
I compared Natvia with two other powdered erythritol-based sweetener brands which I had at hand. The first one — my current favorite — gave the same amount of sweetness, but there was somewhat dull aftertaste. I would expect that oligosaccharides were responsible for that. The other brand wasn’t just that sweet and it felt gritty on my tongue. Moreover, the third sweetener had quite strong cooling effect. In my opinion, Natvia was the winner of these three.
By the way, to my understanding this Natvia for Icing is not sold in the US, only in the UK and Australia.
It’s very fine powder…
In addition to the two pastel-colored big packages there was a smaller container of granular Natvia. The granules weren’t that hard and crystal-like than those of pure erythritol crystals but anyway crunchy.
When I tasted the sweetener I felt gentle sweetness lingering on my tongue. There was almost no aftertaste, about which I was very pleased. All in all, I was very happy with this sweetener as well, it would make a great “sugar” coating for example for donuts and it would be a perfect table sweetener. The only drawback was the small size of the container. I bet that would make the sweetener quite costly to use.
As a conclusion, I was very delighted about the taste and quality of Natvia. However, as I’m used to erythritol-based sweeteners I might overlook the cooling effect which indeed could disturb some people. Also the strong caramel odor in Natvia for Baking might turn some people off, however I personally consider the smell very pleasant. I didn’t do any price comparison between different sweeteners, but to my understanding, Natvia is more or less in the same price range than other powdered erythritol-based sweeteners.
This is what you get when you combine them… mmmmh!