19 July 2017

Ace Tea: Earl Grey and Lady Rose (@AceTeaLondon) By @SpectreUK

Ace Tea very kindly sent us some of their teas to blog about. Ace Tea have blended their teas to add an original twist to traditional blends. They state that the teas can be drunk hot, iced or blended in a cocktail. I personally like my tea hot and quite strong, so leave the teabag in quite a long time and squeeze it to death before removing. Never one for cocktails, virgin or otherwise, and the only time I drink cold tea is if I've forgotten about it at work! Anyway…

Earl Grey

Ace Tea have blended their Sri Lankan black tea with Oil of Bergamot to create the traditional tea flavour Earl Grey, with added Lemon Essence, and they've also put in orange and lemon peel, and cornflowers. I have to say that this is a very smooth combination of flavours. Of course the Bergamot springs to the fore on first taste, but there are floral undertones mixed with a spritely citrus zest. This is a very tasty and refreshing Earl Grey, especially after a time of digging around in the garden followed by drinking it down whilst watching the Mixed Doubles at Wimbledon.

Lady Rose

This is a big worry for me. I always hate anything flavoured with roses. From Turkish Delight to chocolate rose creams, rose water to rose lemonade; I can't stand any of them! This Lady Rose is their usual Sri Lankan black tea blended with Rose Petals and Rose Essence. Worst nightmare. At least I really enjoyed the Earl Grey!

… Anyway, opening the box of 15 tea stockings I tentatively smelt the first teabag. Yep, roses with a hint of black tea! Oh, boy… On taste it doesn't taste all that bad actually! If you like rose flavoured things, you'll be well in here, but also if you like floral drinks too. I do like floral beers, as some hops can be quite floral in flavour. So, this actually made me wonder what rose beer might taste like. Madness, I know!

Anyway… there is a stronger flavour of black tea to this Lady Rose, but the rose flavouring is by no means secondary in strength as it is springs to the fore after a split second of black tea and then it bashed at my tastebuds right through to the aftertaste. Having said that, and this is the weird masochistic part, I actually weirdly enjoyed it, and from that strange fact I will finish the box of this Lady Rose.

18 July 2017

Mini Cheddars - Stilton Edition (Sainsburys) By @Cinabar

I don't regularly buy Mini Cheddars. It is not that I dislike them, I’ve enjoyed them in the past, but they aren’t something I pick up very often. I guess they go into the category of being nice, but not regular purchases. Having said that there was a lot of advertising for these new flavoured Mini Cheddars around Saisnburys, so much so that I thought I had to pick up a bag. They had adverts for them on the trolleys, on the security tag machines by the doors, and in the aisle themselves, this was not a subtle quiet product launch.
Mini Cheddars are going for some new varieties which have gone from a generic cheese to more specific types. I decided to pick up a bag of the Stilton edition, as it is a cheese I love. The packet is blue, as the cheese should be, and it came in a multipack with six bags. I opened my bag up and had them with my lunch.
I have to admit the flavour was spot on, the cheese had the very distinctive flavour of Stilton, it was tangy and strong and worked remarkably well with the little biscuits. The biscuit flavour wasn’t overwhelmed either, it came across in a tasty creamy after flavour. The texture was the usual light crunch, which were nice and easy to eat. I was very impressed with these Mini Cheddars Stilton Edition, they reminded me how good Mini Cheddars are, and now I’m keen to try all the new limited edition cheese flavours they have brought out. I can't imagine them beating these yummy Stilton ones though.

17 July 2017

New Galaxy Swirlers - Shortbread Crunch (Sainsburys) By @Cinabar

This bar of Galaxy is designed to be swirled in a hot drink. When I saw that it was Shortbread Crunch I assumed that the main part of the chocolate was biscuit, and that this was ultimately for dunking.

What I actually had was a fairly regular bar of Galaxy, with a few shortbread bits mixed in, all in a new layout. The design inside shows that that each piece is meant to broken off and swirled in coffee or hot chocolate, hence the name Swirlers. I went to break one Swirler off, and two came away, I tried to break these in half and they split, but into several parts. I tried to break one off the other side, and it came away neatly. Not the best start though. I made myself a nice big mug of coffee.

Next I swirled it in my drink, but it made the chocolate melt and slippery. I ended up with a finger imprint on the end I was holding and sticky fingers. There wasn’t enough biscuit to soften like a proper biscuit, which is the best part of dunking. The drink gained nothing from the traces of added chocolate, and the chocolate gained nothing from the hot liquid.
Conclusion, I just ate the rest of the bar like regular chocolate, and it was divine. I’d forgotten how good Galaxy can be.

16 July 2017

Croatian Paste Chocolates - ChocOlive & ChocOrange (@NLi10)

Picked up at an airport by a colleague, today we have odd long bars of hand-made chocolate filled with paste matching the flavours on the box.  I was purely intrigued by the fact that it has Olive filling inside one of the varieties.

So first lets talk basics. These are nice, slabs of chocolate and are very fragile on top and strong underneath. The boxes are designed so that travellers can protect their investment and the tops don't cave in until you want them to.  The Dark choc is the Orange, and the Milk is the Olive.  I'm not sure this matters.

We tried to break them off in orderly lines - but it just didn't work - so we popped them in the fridge and tried again.  They basically shattered and there were no perfect chunks - but this created a pleasing effect where no two pieces were the same and we probably ended up eating more than planned at each sitting.

The goo was very much a solid paste and not like a caramel or liquid centre - which was good because that would not have worked with the shards of chocolate we had.

The orange wasn't that exciting, it tastes of orange, but less so than the typical UK roses and quality street options.  Enjoyable, but not that memorable.

The olive paste it turns out is mostly olive oil flavoured. This is even weirder than the salty olives I was expecting and am now craving.  Again - it was pleasurable to eat and not something I'd really ever hunt down again.

The chocolate however was great quality and probably the actual star.  Both versions were nice, and I guess you could have swapped the contents and not had any noticeable effect (although the weaker flavour was the Olive so they probably balanced it out for us).  Often things brought back from holidays are all packaging and no substance, but these are cool enough and interesting enough that I'd be tempted to grab some more if I wanted to dump currency at the airport and surprise my friends. Not a classic, but a good solid regional variation.

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