Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Costa Ice Mint Mocha (@CostaCoffee) [By @Cinabar]

As I’m still looking for ways to cool down in the fabulous summer sunshine we have been having, I thought I would revisit Costa and see what was new in terms of refreshment. I did my usual Foodstuff Finds scan for the word ‘new’ on the menu, and picked the Costa Ice Mint Mocha. It wasn’t the most different sounding choice, and to be honest I wasn’t sure I was even going to blog about it, but the refreshing combination of mint and ice swayed me.
The drink itself was a bit of a surprise when it came, I noticed that the mint was actually proper mint, as in you could see green bits within the drink! I loved this touch, and it wasn’t expected. The flavour was a well balanced mix of coffee, and chocolate, with a natural refreshing leafy hint of mint. The minty flavour did seem perfect for the summer, and added to the cooling feeling from the ice base. The chocolate curls and cream on top were a bonus, a naughty one, but I still rather liked them. ;-)
It may not seems the most new combination of flavours, but there is no questioning that it works. It tastes summery, sweet and pleasantly refreshing, let’s just hope the sunshine keeps up and I can continue to enjoy all the ice drinks on offer.
By Cinabar

Monday, 21 July 2014

New Calippo - Bubble Gum Flavour (@Walls #GoodbyeSerious) [By @Cinabar]

We have just come back from a rather sunny week away in Portsmouth. We decided to have a look at the submarine museum, and had a tour on HMS Alliance which was interesting and fascinating. On our walk back to the ferry port we thought we would eat ice creams while we walked by the seaside. We popped into a small cafe near there and I stubbled across this Foodstuff Find, the new bubble gum flavoured Calippo. The photo shows the rather pretty tablecloth in the cafe, but as I said we were eating and walking after that so didn’t get chance to stay.
The ice lolly itself was a bright pinky purple in colour, and not the blue I had expected, for some reason I associate it with the blue colour, despite bubble gum being more commonly pink, or is that just me? The lolly pushes up as you eat, easing a little more upwards till you work your way through to the end. You then get to drink anything that has melted at the bottom, my favourite part.
The flavour was ever so sweet, but distinctively that of bubble gum (someone once told me that bubble gum flavour was a mix of orange, vanilla and wintergreen, but I’ve never really experimented to test the theory). It certainly appealed to the kid in me, with its fruity but soft sweet taste. The flavour was strong, but I thoroughly enjoyed it, and would happily buy it again. It is meant to for the kids, but those who are young at heart and have a sweet tooth will still love it. It didn’t however turn my tongue bright purple, I asked Spectre to check, which was a bit disappointing but probably meant I looked a bit more respectable when we went off for afternoon tea in the Spinnaker Tower.
By Cinabar

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Bounce - Natural Energy Ball (Protein & Defence) [review by @Nli10]

While out at the Glastonbury Festival I consumed a lot of new things I'd picked up at Holland & Barrettes - one pair of things was these 'natural energy balls'.

I'd not really expected them to be more than just a cereal bar in a round shape.

The round shape didn't really last all the way to the festival though - these looked more like burgers when I opened them.

And this first one looked suspiciously like haggis! I guess that being made of oats and such does have it's similarities to this but there is no meat in here.  It's flavour was advertised as spirulina and ginseng, but I couldn't really tell you whether the flavour was accurate.  The taste was definitely a nice one, and after a long day I tried the first of these and was pleasantly surprised.  The texture was firm but not too sticky and it didn't have that papery taste that most things that claim to have protein in them do.  I guess that being mostly oats, nuts and seeds helped that.  As this was the one of the two i'd been dreading I felt more confident about the remaining flavour.

This one didn't get eaten while outside, but at my first day back at work as kind of a recovery snack.

Again it was a little flat, but this time it was a lot more like a giant blob of peanut butter with a few extra nuts on the outside.  I found the texture to be far too sticky for my liking and it was also quite dry.  I think that had I eaten this outside I'd have found the energy hit to be welcome but would have needed a big drink afterwards.  As it was - at work I had to eat it over two sittings!

The peanut flavour was faithful and it was generally OK, but I'd much rather have had a second of the original defence flavour and wouldn't buy the second again.  If you were a big fan of toffees and other really chewy items AND love peanuts then go for it, but I just found it to be a bit much.

Maybe the goal for the first (fibre & defence) just lent itself more naturally to the kind of snack I enjoy than the protein of the second.

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Stella Artois Cidre Raspberry [By @SpectreUK]

This new Stella Artois Cidre Raspberry was made with hand-picked raspberries to a Belgian recipe. Stella Artois very kindly sent me four bottles to try. It must be a birthday present, as it's birthday today. Therefore I decided to have two bottles. On opening the bright red liquid filled bottles I could smell a sharpe twang of raspberries with undertones of Cidre ("not cider" as the adverts state). There was a healthy cheerful fizz on pouring this Cidre Raspberry into my almost sheepish beer mug. My beer mug is used to all manners of beers, ales and stouts, so cider or Cidre touching my tastebuds is almost a rarity. I'm not saying I don't like cider (Cidre). Not at all. It's the bitterness in beers, ales and some stouts which I like that often leaves the sweetness or dryness of ciders on the shelf. The other beverages are complementary for snacking also, whereas a Cidre Raspberry sounds like it would more likely wash down a fruity dessert with lashings of cream. Not that a fruity healthy yet creamy pudding doesn't float my boat or anything, but I'm traditionally a late night ale and bowl of crisps kind of guy. Well not tonight. A change is as good as a holiday as they say. So I filled my rather surprised beer mug with the first 330ml bottle at 4% volume of fruity sweet fizzy Cidre and took a hefty glug. I was quite taken aback by the sweetness as the bubbles tickled my tongue. The crushed raspberries are definitely the dominant flavour, but the Cidre was definately apparent throughout the drinking, from the initial bouquet to the sharpened tip of the aftertaste. I was at first concerned that this would be a drink that would be more appropriate to the feminine touch, and I was happily wrong. I was concerned that this drink may be too much like a fizzy pop drink, and I was most certainly wrong. So happy birthday to me, and thanks to Stella Artois!
By Spectre

Friday, 18 July 2014

Drink Me Chai - Mango (Brown and Green, Trentham Gardens)

I have got quite into my Chai drinks recently, and I have tried various different brands. While we were in Brown and Green (a grocers at Trentham Gardens) I spotted a new flavour that looked rather different, mango chai. It is from the Drink Me Chai range which means that it is an instant hot drink rather than tea bags. I couldn’t quite picture how a tropical fruit would mix with Chai spices and a milk base, but one thing was for sure I was keen to find out.
Once home I added the three teaspoons to a mug and topped it up with hot water. The tub says you can make the drink with hot milk, but I chose the water out of convenience. The powder seemed to dissolve fairly quickly, but the minute I stopped stirring you could see specks of powder on the top of the drink. I gave it a subsequent stir and it looked a lot better, it was arich golden colour.
My first sip of this instantly got me hooked. The spices were mild, but just gave the drink a bit of warmth, and the mango was sweet and fruity. The milk base made this feel like a hot mango milkshake, it shouldn’t work, but it certainly did. All that tropical fruit flavour meant that this fell into my category of hot drinks that are good for summer, yes you serve it warm but the fruity aspect made it ever so refreshing. It is certainly something I’ll be searching out again to repurchase.
If you are after a tub yourself and don’t live near Trentham Gardens, it is available on Amazon UK site or the Drink Me Chai website.
By Cinabar

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Somerset Apple Treats (Glastonbury) [review by @NLi10]

While at Glastonbury I spotted these Somerset Apple Treats on a small store being sold by the people that make them. That's usually a good sign - if you can just sell one thing and make a stall of it then it's bound to be pretty good.

I used to buy dried apple snacks from the local health food shop as a child and these reminded me of them.  I happily tried a few and settled on the Braeburn as it was really sharp and exciting. This bag saw me through a few bands and shifts for Oxfam and I had to go back for a second.

Don't let the appearance put you off, these are like sun dried tomatoes and full of flavour!  Some people really didn't like the sharpness and sourness of these, but the second bag was Cox flavour and more people enjoyed that.

I'm not sure if you can pick these up at the website on the bag, but I'm sure that there are local shops that stock these.  I've finished the last of them now which is a shame, but hopefully I'll get to try these again. Maybe at another Glastonbury!

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Crispy Bacon & Maple Syrup Crunchy Kracklecorn (Brown and Green, Trentham Gardens)

Portlebay Popcorn was established in 2012 and this Crunchy Kracklecorn was hand popped in The Poppery in Devon. The Poppery sounds like a place to make popcorn akin to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory or a crazy popcorn shop in Harry Potter. Portlebay Popcorn make Kracklecorn by popping it in small batches with rapeseed oil and the addition of raw cane sugar, and then add a covering of their Crispy Bacon & Maple Syrup seasoning. On reading this description on the back of the bag I was intrigued how this Kracklecorn could taste both savoury and sweet at the same time. It sounded a bit like having your dinner and pudding on the same plate. I couldn’t help feeling a little apprehensive about this Kracklecorn, and yet was too interested not to open the bag. So I did. There was a strong maple syrup smell with a hint of bacon. The Kracklecorn had a mid-orange tint and a decent crunch. The strong maple syrup smell transcended to the taste with its sweetness only slightly dulled by a meaty undertone of lightly smoked bacon. This kracklecorn was sweet rather than savoury which at once confused and delighted my tastebuds. I found this flavoursome Crispy Bacon & Maple Syrup Crunchy Kracklecorn oddly moreish and would have it again. I’m certain it would make a great breakfast snack for those on the go.

Information on the bag;
25g, per 100g has 461 calories with 18.9g of fat and 31.4g of sugar. This Kracklecorn is gluten free, and made with wholegrain which is naturally high in fibre. For ingredients please see photograph.
By Spectre