Sunday, 27 July 2014

sBlended Milkshakes, Glasgow - Full Monty [review by @NLi10]

I'm having a weekend in Glasgow due to the Commonwealth Games (I've no tickets but family were coming up so I took advantage of the accommodation and company to explore this fantastic city).  While waiting for a custom made baby present to be finished I spotted this little drinks shop - which I'd not heard of but presume is a chain.  It took me a while to figure out the name...

It's just a little 'mall kiosk' style shop but has a staggering array of choices so I let the man guide my choices towards the Full Monty, which is choc fudge brownie, caramel sauce and Minstrels on top. 

The minstrels looked fab through the top and all that, but I ended up eating them all at the end due to them sinking. I'd have blended 80% of them a little and then put the rest on top for decor.

The brownie was great, offering cakey sludge occasionally through the straw and sweet flavour spikes, the caramel sauce ended up more as a background flavour - but a nice one. The minstrels sank and were less sweet so provided a weak finish.

The drink was satisfying and ended up being lunch, but was so sweet that I actually refused free organic chocolate tasters off another stall!

Those with more adventurous spirits would probably be better off customising their own flavour from the individual options, and now I've had a think I can see some great strawberry based ideas, but for speed the 'top 10' all seem pretty special.

One to look out for then, especially in the heat.

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Wyld Wood Organic Still Cider (@WestonsWyldWood) [By @SpectreUK]

I may have mentioned in the past that I'm not much of a cider drinker. H. Westons and Sons, in Much Marcle, must have taken this to heart. Some brewers very kindly send me a beer or a few for me to drink and write about. Westons sent me eight bottles and four three litre boxes of their Wyld Wood Organic Still Cider. Struck dumb with the shear volume of cider at my fingertips I couldn't quite decide what to do with it all. Westons hadn't even contacted Cinabar for a review or asked for one in the box on a compliments slip. This was a heck of a birthday present from someone you don't know, and no mistake.

Experiments such as how much cider I could drink in a day before I was ill or passed out, or if I sat in a bath full of cider could I get drunk by soaking it through my skin crossed my mind. However after some stern home truths I decided to drink it in moderation, as all alcohol drinkers probably should do (well, sneakily while no-one's looking). I also gave one 3l box to a friend of Cinabar's Mom, as he certainly seems a hardworking chap who constantly volunteers for charity. No one sounded more deserving of a tipple of his favourite drink!

I've never used one of these 3l boxes before either. Of course I've seen them at the odd party full of wine, but didn't know you could buy ones full of cider. After a bit of searching and some advice from my dad, I managed to find the push through hole in the side of the box and pull the tap out. It was then that I noticed the instructions on the bottom of the box!

I quickly decided that this box would accompany Cinabar and I on our holiday to Portsmouth. I can tell you that it was a delight to come back to the hotel room after a hard day of adventuring with Cinabar and Victor the Adventure Bear and have a few hotel room sized 200-odd millilitre sized glasses of cider on tap before a quick swim in the pool and dinner, which was then followed by a few more glasses of cider before bed. Echoes of "how many glasses have you had?" Could be heard around the lovely spa hotel. "Er... Hic! Don't know..."

Henry Weston first started producing cider 130 years ago in the same Herefordshire village. This cider was made from bittersweet apples grown in Soil Association certified organic orchards, which were fermented and matured in oak vats. Perhaps I could take a soak in one of those? Anyway, after Cinabar had showed me how to use the tap whilst I was eagerly waiting with my tiny glass, there was a strong sweet smell of cider on pouring the clear dark apple juice coloured beverage. There was a bitter bite at the end of the sweet cider smell that made my tastebuds tingle. This cider certainly has a lively refreshing full bodied fruitiness that laughs playfully in the face of lessor bubbly varieties. This jovial flavour instantly merges with the bitey tradionally crafted woody undertones at the end of the taste. Each mouthful of this cider is a luxury. I have tonnes of it! And yet the selfish greedy side of me wanted the other box back!

Information on the box / bottle;
500ml bottle or 3l box. 6% volume. Ingredients; apples, lots of!
By Spectre

Friday, 25 July 2014

Beechs Dark Chocolate Marzipan [@BeechsChocolate] (By @Cinabar)

Beechs very kindly sent me some of their Dark Chocolate Marzipans to try out, following on from the Thank You chocolates I wrote about the other week. Marzipan is such a traditional chocolate, but I’m loving the modern twist on the packaging from Beechs, making them look all bright and modern, practically exploding from the box. I’ve never totally understood marzipan’s flavour, you mix two ingredients (essentially) sugar and ground almonds and end up with a substance that tastes of neither, instead it is a very different confectionary in its own right. Think Battenberg cake, or indeed Christmas cake, if it isn’t too early for that?
Anyway these marzipan chocolates are coated in dark chocolate, and presented in a neat box in lines, similar to the chocolate brazils that Beechs also make. I thought the chocolates themselves reminded me of the shape of strawberry creams, with there peaks on top, but obviously these were dark. The marzipan is not very sharp in flavour, it is smooth and sweet and is complemented well by the dark chocolate. I loved the flavour of the dark chocolate, and felt that these would have been slightly sickly with a milk chocolate coating, they needed that hint of bitterness to give them an edge.
Spectre took some of these to work, and everyone there seemed to love them too, and couldn’t get enough of them. It may not be a chocolate combination you buy that often, but it is worth revisiting to see what makes it such a s classic.
By Cinabar

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Chicago Town - The TakeAway BBQ Sizzler [review by @NLi10]

Stuffed crust pizzas tend to evade me as I really don't enjoy cheese that much.  So when I saw this - I had to have one.

Look - the crust is stuffed with BBQ sauce!

Of cours - I actually took this picture to highlight the fact that eating this whole pizza is 88% of your days calories, 92% of your fat, 180% of your saturated fat and so on.  Luckily my actual required calories on my little FitBit app is closer to 2,400 due to the amount of walking and things that I do, but still - if you intend to not share the pizza you may want to consider this.

I didn't share the pizza.

The stuffed crust has exploded open, which is cool as it kinda teaches you how to make your own (fold the edge over - partial calzone!) and allows us to see the sauce inside.  It's a thicker paste than the usual tomato base, but the flavour wasn't all that strong.

The pizza was very filling, and had that baked at home taste you expect from the part baked bases.  I'd choose this again easily, but the flavours of all the bits were less take away/restaurant than I'd hoped.  It's a decent eat-at-home pizza but anyone expecting a papaJohns pizza will be disappointed.

The sauce and the toppings did go well together and the fact that there is a different item in the crust was a massive plus.  I think that a chicken topped one with a  garlic crust would be insanely good, and if they tweaked the quality of the ingredients up a bit and charged more I'd be overall more likely to pick it up.

As it is it's a great sharing pizza, and one I'll manage to eat again as long as I promise to train a bit harder that week...

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Rowntrees Fruit Pastilles Froosions (WH Smiths) [By @SpectreUK]

I've always been a big fan of Rowntrees Fruit Pastilles especially as a pick-me-up on the train at the end of a day at work. The suggestion of "Love to share" on the front of the packet of these Rowntrees Fruit Pastilles Froosions made me smile. Being a greedy sort of chap I'd usually ignore such a suggestion, but Rowntrees have mitigated this response by packing these Froosions into a weighty 160g bag. Even though they were made with real fruit juice, they were still sweets and I couldn't help but notice my oversized tummy is preventing me from walking through narrow doorways lately. And so I decided to take these Fruit Pastilles Froosions to share amongst my work colleagues.

There were three Froosions of flavours. Yellow and green was lemon and lime flavour. Both flavours bashed together in what felt like a heated argument between two bosses of equal demeanour. This sweet epitomises the fusion or Froosion between two flavours. There was sourness here. There was sugary sweetness and the same juiciness I’ve always loved about Fruit Pastilles. As the lemon and lime flavours fight their way to dominance during the chewing they leave a pleasing sweet lemonade type flavour on the palette, tinted with an almost ginger buzz on the tongue.

Green and purple flavour was a Froosion of apple and blackcurrant. Blackcurrant was easily the dominant flavour whereas apple poked through during the chewing with a desperate hand like a drowning man in a ocean of juicy sweet blackcurrant waves.

Orange and yellow was orange and pineapple flavour. This was my favourite flavour and there were comments around the room during sharing that everyone really loved this flavour. It reminded people of a refreshing sweet tropical drink on the hot day in a our stuffy office. The pineapple and orange had a lovely harmonizing mix of flavours, both flavours intermingled pleasingly on the tongue compared to the other two Froosions sweets, whose flavours seemed to fight it out in some sort of chewy sweety gladiatorial contest between the gods of sugary fruit. These Froosions had the traditional juicy fruity sugary sweetness of their Fruit Pastille cousins with the added mixture of two flavours in each sweet. They didn't last long in the office as my colleagues scoffed the lot once I'd offered them around.

Information on the packet;
160g packet. Per seven sweet serving there were 93 calories with a trace of fat and 15.5g of sugar. Made with no artificial flavours, colours or preservatives. The fruit juices from concentrate in the ingredients were grape, apple, lime, blackcurrant, orange, pineapple, and lemon.
By Spectre

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