Monday, 2 May 2016

The Crazy One [Chocolate Bar] (@MarksAndSpencer) [By @Cinabar]

I was looking for a sweet treat in Marks and Spencer and this new bar caught my eye. It is called “The Crazy One” and comes in a hot pink wrapper, so it would be difficult to miss. The bar promises a mix of butterscotch, popcorn and popping candy (which I assumer is the “crazy” element).

I opened up the bar and broke a piece off, which came apart quite easily. The bar is a little rough looking, which I think can be attributed to the unevenly sized ingredients it contains.
I could see that the chocolate coating was quite thick and the filing was filled with all sorts of goodies, golden but clear toffee and the white of some popcorn.
I gave it a taste test and loved the mix of toffee and butterscotch flavours with the chocolate, it is a tried and tested combination. The chocolate filling was firm but still soft and had a thick melt that coated the mouth in a soothing manner. The mix of textures were lovely, the butterscotch pieces gave crunch, the popcorn bits were soft and slightly chewy, and the popping candy made the fizzing and popping noises I like so much. I know it doesn’t add to the flavour but I do like its playfulness.
This is a fun bar, but it works very well with the classic toffee and chocolate flavours. I felt it was satisfying and had enough variation in the texture to keep me happy too.
By Cinabar

Sunday, 1 May 2016

Llaollao Frozen Yogurt - Madrid (by @NLi10)

One evening in Madrid we fancied a post dinner snack and spotted this small frozen yogurt place called llaollao. Having been here a few more days now we understand that like Subway in the UK it's a rather extensive chain, but at the time it was maybe the 2nd I'd seen.

It's a brightly lit beacon of coolness in a warm Spanish night. The yogurt comes out of Mr. Whippy style machines on the back wall.  It's all very green and white and the selections of toppings are extensive.

Naturally I went fruity.

I had Kiwi, Strawberry and Fruits of the forest sauce which initially I thought may have been a wasted choice but it was a really nice addition and brought the flavours out well.

It also made everything purple. The little green ladle is coming home with us because we have an ice-cream maker. There is a rival chain with pink ladles too!

Apparently this is a global chain. While I have no doubts that this shop would do amazingly in the UK (on the three days a year that it was warm enough for long enough to justify this) I don't think a UK wide chain would be viable. It would also need to serve warm drinks and cakes for the rest of the year, or more realistically just be a little machine at the back of a Subway store.

Saturday, 30 April 2016

Traditional Alcoholic Cloudy Ginger Beer (Waitrose) [By @SpectreUK]

This Traditional Cloudy Alcoholic Ginger Beer was brewed and bottled for Waitrose. It was made from dried Chinese Ginger Root and a serving suggestion on the 330ml bottle stated that this ginger beer goes well with a slice of lemon. I had no lemon to hand and was not too fussed about trying it over ice as the weather seems to go from cold windy rain, to sleet, to snow, to thunder, to hail, a slice of hot sun and then back to freezing rain again at the moment. Yes, winter is still here, but a crazy pseudo-winter throwing everything at us. A spell for this 3.8% volume ginger beer in Cinabar’s super cold fridge was enough for me to drink it, and to be refreshed whilst the central heating pumped and gurgled away in the background. There was a pleasing fizz on opening the bottle followed by a nose hair tickling smell of ginger. The lightly carbonated cloudy ginger beer had an initial fiery burn that just kept giving throughout each mouthful. Who needs central heating or ice? This drink was enough to keep me warm for a while with its fierce ginger taste and slight alcoholic buzz at the end of the flavour. All I need now is another bottle to warm me up before bed tonight!
By Spectre

Friday, 29 April 2016

Dark Snickers Rockin Nut Road (@GobstoppersUK) [By @Cinabar]

I already wrote about the fantastic Birthday Cake Flipz that we picked up from Gobstoppers in the Birmingham Bullring, but while we were there we also purchased a couple of imported Rockin Nut Road Dark Snickers.
This bar appealed to me because of its promise of textures, and it delivered. I love a mix of textures, soft and crunchy mixed together it just something that works for me, and this bar had it all. The bar is like a Snickers except for three changes; there is dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate, the bar contains almonds in the caramel and the major change is the soft nougat is actually a firm dense marshmallow! Such fun! I know the picture doesn’t show any almonds but there were plenty, I just managed to catch the photograph at an odd point.
The bar was perfect for me, I immediately loved the changes in texture with every bite. The almonds were crunchy, like they’d been toasted and the caramel wonderfully gooey. The marshmallow was full of vanilla flavour, and the soft but firm nature of it really added to the bar. I liked the darker chocolate with the lighter flavour of the marshmallow, the contrast worked well. It was a very tasty bar and I think one that would go down really well here in the UK if it got released. For the minute though I’m reliant on import shops, but a trip to Gobstoppers is never a bad thing!
By Cinabar

Thursday, 28 April 2016

Norwegian Air Plane Food - In Flight Review! (@NLi10)

For the first time I'm on a flight with WiFi and time to take advantage of it. This means I can watch a metal tube full of people staring at buffer screens and tending their city/farm.

I however chose this to do an in flight review of the sandwiches. 

The sandwiches had run out so I risked the tapas instead.

This came neatly portioned out - which was great because I didn't want the cheese but my travelling companion (of ten years today x!) did.

Due to the nature of air plane food it tends to be a bit dry and tasteless so it pays to go for stronger flavours. This paid off.  The olives were still a little crunchy and had a sharp flavour, the bread was a little hard but in a nice way. The ham's flavour was more delicate than the little sausages but I think given the space and non plastic cutlery I'd have been able to separate off the layers and eat it in a more civilised way.

I am assured that the cheese was also nice and strong - and "tasted of farm, but in a good way".

This, a can of iced tea, a regular tea and a muffin came to 13 Euro which for a hungry captive audience is pretty good. I do think that good in flight comforts are something I'd look out for - we are returning on a budget airline so are unlikely to get free wifi and reasonable food then...

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Deloba Bahlsen Biscuits (Waitrose) [By @SpectreUK]

Bahlsen, in Germany, made these jammy puff pastry biscuits. The jammy centre is a mixture of redcurrant juice and cherry juice. I was slightly worried; as I don’t recall ever tasting redcurrant before and I don’t really like cherry in anything. On tasting the first puff pastry it melted in my mouth as I chewed leaving a sweet jammy filling that was altogether very moreish indeed. Clearly these two fruit in the jam filling were meant for each other, and also intended to match my tastebuds. The sharpness of the cherry and been blunted somewhat by the redcurrant, working together to complement and make a perfect filling rather than battle against each other to produce a weird taste instead. This left a sweet succulent jam twist at the end of each puff pastry biscuit. Each biscuit was like a little puff pastry jam pie. The serving suggestion of five biscuits just wasn’t enough for my greedy nature, so I was rather relieved I’d been to the gym before polishing off the fifteen in the box for pudding with a hot white chocolate drink to wash them down with.
By Spectre

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Flipz Birthday Cake Covered Pretzels (@GobstoppersUK) [By @Cinabar]

We went for a shopping trip in Birmingham and spotted in the new Grand Central centre a new import shop called Gob Stoppers, it was stacked with interesting candy and goodies. We couldn't resist exploring and thought we'd pick up some chocolate coated pretzels. I love the combination of chocolat and salty pretzel but they aren’t easy to find in the UK sadly. More shops stock them at Christmas, but this time of year they disappear again.
When we saw that Gob Stoppers stocked Flipz Pretzels in birthday cake flavour coating, my head almost exploded in excitement. Remember chocolate pretzels are exotic here in the UK market, so consider my mind blown. :-D

Once home we opened them to give them a try, and they looked pretty too. The pretzels are covered in a white coating speckled with colour, rather like cupcake sprinkles. The sprinkles on ours were predominately red and blue.
The flavour worked like magic. They have a strong sweet vanilla taste, just like a proper cupcake frosting. When this combined with the salty crunchy pretzel underneath it created a taste sensation, stand aside sweet and salty popcorn we have a new player in the field. This is one of the nicest sweet and savoury combinations I’ve tried, lush vanilla and salt, who'd have though that would work so well. These Birthday Cake Flipz Pretzels may be hard to track down in the UK but they are worth hunting out. I know I'm going back for another pack!
By Cinabar
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