Monday, 1 September 2014

New Coca-Cola Life (Newsagent) [By @Cinabar]

There is a new Cola on the shelves, as Coca-Cola Life has just been launched here in the UK. I’m pleased to say that it doesn’t have any names on the bottle, so that is good at least. The wrapper is different to the usual Coke offering and is mostly green, with the line “Lower Calorie - Sweetness From Natural Sources”. I was trying to work out if this meant that the drink was all natural, and to be honest came up on a bit of a blank. It contains E150d as its colouring, which translates too Sulfite Ammonia Caramel, which doesn’t sound natural, but I have to admit to being a bit lost in the technicalities. Phosphoric Acid also doesn’t sound very pleasant, but I only read the Wikipedia page, I’m no scientist.
What is curious though is that despite this being sweetened with Stevia, a natural but low calorie sweetener, there is still quite a bit of sugar. There are 136 calories in the bottle (68 per half bottle), so this is neither a completely natural product, or a calorie free one, it is in some grey area in between. Which is a bit of an odd target audience.
That aside, the taste is actually really nice. It is sweet yes, but did taste a lot more like proper coke. I did prefer it to Diet Coke, but have to admit I never liked Coke Zero and proper Coke has too many calories for regular purchase. I have become accustomed to Diet Coke, but this is actually a rather nice alternative. The problem is I switched to Diet Coke as it has almost no calories, I eat enough snacks/naughty food, and I’d rather my liquid intake didn’t count towards my calorie intake. So as much I liked this, I’ll be back to buying Diet Coke I’m afraid.
It is a shame they didn’t make an all Stevia sweetened drink, with a far lower calorie count as then you would have swayed me into buying it. I guess Coke didn’t want a third ultra low calorie drink out on the market, and they though this would be something new. They could have gone with an all natural product, or an almost calorie free drink sweetened with natural sources (Stevia) but they didn’t commit to either idea in the end.
By Cinabar

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Ginger Grouse - Alcoholic Ginger beer with Whisky [by @NLi10]

My boss is a fan of this and gave me one of his bottles - notable because on the front it says that it is 40% abv due to a missing ".". On the back the correct value lurks with a note that says why this is a little more interesting than a normal alcoholic ginger beer.  It contains famous grouse whisky!  I've never tried this particular brand of whisky, but I'm sure I've had it at some point. 

My partner spotted it in the supermarket and picked one up for herself too - this one had the full stop in the right place on the front which was reassuring.  While we don't tend to drink at home and midweek this was a nice pleasant change (although cat Ollie doesn't approve).

I think that this is a little more 'beer' like than some ginger beers like Crabbies, and the ginger is certainly less aggressive - which I approve of.  It wasn't too strong in any direction and was very nice while watching TV after dinner on one of our last hot summer days.  I'd be more than happy to order this in a pub or to take round to a party.  It's interesting enough to be worth people trying but not odd enough to put them off.

I think a blend of familiar brands in new situations works well for alcohol.  We are all already so used to cocktails that premixed variations using quality options seems a good way to get people to branch out from having the same thing every time.


Saturday, 30 August 2014

Tutts Clump Rum Cask Cider [By @SpectreUK]

I bought this Tutts Clump Rum Cask Cider for a rainy day whilst we were on a particularly sunny holiday visiting Greys Court near Oxford. We were very impressed with the medieval donkey wheel, Tudor house and surrounding gardens, not to mention the fact that I beat Cinabar in a wooden sword and shield contest in the children's playground, which was hidden away amongst some trees at the back of the gardens.

That rainy day become something rather different when Cinabar mentioned that I was to be challenged by a friend to do the ice bucket challenge to raise awareness and donations for Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) also referred to as motor neurone disease (MND), as well as other Neurological diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease. Not one for ever wanting to be in a video on the internet I still felt pretty honoured to be thought of as someone who would want to take part in something selfless for a change and certainly for charities that I have never done anything for in the past. This sounds crazy when I think about it as the guy who sold me my first car has been wrecked by Alzheimer's and a previously super active relative ruined by Parkinson's. It was for these reasons I immediately jumped at the challenge and bought a bag of ice that day. It was a fairly sunny evening, straight after work and you can see the results on our Facebook page from this link.

After my quick chill I reached for this bottle to try and warm myself up again. There was quite a pungent rum liquor smell with the cider odour behind it on opening the bottle. Like the ice for my bucket this cider had come freshly chilled from the fridge. There was a decent dose of condensation on the outside of the bottle on pouring. There was a good fizz to the cider which had a deep yellow almost orange colour. I have to admit that the bubbles went straight up my nose on first taste, and mixed with the strong rum taste I almost sneezed. The sheer bitterness from the apples in the cider bit at the back of my mouth stopping the sneeze in mid-flow like a surprise pinch from a cheeky loved one. Each sip of this drink was like that. There was an almost alcoholic vinegar kick to start with mixed with the fizziness begging the question "shall I sneeze?" ending with the sharp bitter pinch answer of "no, you won't!" This drink is certainly not for the faint hearted. I must admit that the rum flavour did warm me up a little, but the dry bitterness and almost saccharin sweetness at the end of the taste made me shake after every mouthful. Not much of a pleasant relaxing sweet cider flavour here. Its strength made me forget the ice bucket pretty quickly though. If you like a liquor bitter burst from your dry cider this drink is for you.

Information on the label;
500ml bottle at 7.5% volume. Tutts Clump Cider is produced in the Travellers Rest Farm, in Bradfield, West Berkshire. Made from locally grown eating, cooking and crab apples which were fermented and matured in oak rum barrels.
By Spectre

Friday, 29 August 2014

Muller Light - Skinny Cappuccino Yogurt (Waitrose) [By @Cinabar]

Just occasionally at Foodstuff Finds we have days when we think we may have over indulged a bit, and want to make ourselves feel better by eating something a bit lower in calories. This was one of the days, and it gave me the opportunity to see what is new in the low fat Muller Light section.
This Skinny Cappuccino seemed like an interest flavour combination, and not a flavour I associate with yoghurt. The packet says that the flavour had been chosen by the public, which means that Muller fans are a little more adventurous than some of the other brands out there… KitKat I’m looking at you.
When I pulled back the lid I found the yoghurt to be a little darker than I expected, and not that appetising in colour. It was, well - dirty looking for want of a better phrase.
The flavour was a total success though, the thick and creamy yoghurt had chocolate bits throughout, and combined with the sweet coffee taste perfectly. You’d have never guessed it was fat free and only 99 calories.
So don’t be put off by the colour, and thank the fans of Muller for coming up with a new flavour that is a bit different but works really well.
By Cinabar

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Nongshim Potato Flavoured Snack (Vanguard) [Review by @NLi10]

Another gaming session and more gamer fuel reviewed.  Up this time it's the brother snack of the sweet potato that I reviewed before (and we bought again).  Vanguard has these for cheaper than SooEasy so I can justify them more easily - hurrah!

These potato snacks are much more similar to English potato snacks than their South Korean origin would suggest, but have an unusual garlic/chive flavour to them.  I think the English version would have contaminated this with some synthetic dairy tastes which is why I quite liked these a bit more.

The USA version of the Nongshim site has a staggering array of flavours, and Amazon sellers are happy to charge $10 for a bag instead of the 69p that I paid!  I think I'll stick to my current strategy of Think Globally, Shop Locally and continue to try these things until I accidentally buy a fish one and go into a sulk.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Pelagonia - Cherry Peppers With Tuna (Brown and Green Grocers, Trentham Gardens)

Before heading off to the shops Cinabar's mom mentioned that we could have a mixed fishy meal that night which could consist of salmon, mackerel, prawns, battered deep fried prawns and some herby bread on the side. This seemed like a golden opportunity for me to pop open the jar of Cherry Peppers with Tuna by The Macedonian Kitchen that I'd picked up on our last jaunt to see the monkeys at Trentham Gardens. Once the dinner plates were arranged with their fishy delights I added a few of these Cherry Peppers with Tuna onto each plate. The cherry peppers were stuffed with tuna paste. The tuna paste had a good spicy taste to it from the capers mixed with the fishiness from the tuna and anchovies, there was also a hot kick from the cherry pepper. We all agreed that the smooth fishy filling and the chilli heat from the cherry pepper complemented each other very well indeed. These Cherry Peppers with Tuna were very tasty and went well with the other fishy morsals on our plates. There are loads of these Cherry Peppers with Tuna in the jar, so I can saver them with plenty of meals in the future. Those Macedonians certainly know how to stuff a pepper! ;-)

Information on the label;
Produced in the Republic of Macedonia. 280g net weight. Ingredients included; 45% cherry peppers, 30% sunflower oil, 20% tuna, 5% capers, olives, anchovies, vinegar and salt.
By Cinabar

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Wispa Biscuits (Pound World) [By @Cinabar]

There have been several different varieties in the past of these Cadbury biscuits, and the latest edition are these Wispa ones. They come in smart packaging that mimics the design of the chocolate bar’s wrapper. I do like a Wispa bar, and a Wispa Gold, bubbly chocolate does have a lovely texture to eat.
The problem for me is that Wispa, although a fab chocolate bar is just chocolate. It is all about the texture, not the flavour. With a biscuit, surely all the bubbly texture is lost with the crunch? Well, I guess I was going to find out.
There are eight biscuits in the pack, all quite spaced out with a plastic tray. I broke one of the biscuits in half and found that there was a decent amount of Wispa inside, hopefully enough to shine through. The coating of chocolate looked generous too, so I knew these would be a chocolatey treat.
The Wispa in the centre is nice, the aerated chocolate means that the centre has give in it when you bite in, a solid lump of chocolate would have been a bit hard going on the teeth in conjunction with the biscuit. The pleasure of the bubbles was, as suspected, a bit lost. The chocolate however is the usual good quality sweet treat and the biscuit had a nice buttery taste. These biscuits are nice, they are full of chocolate and tasted rather good. Offering these out as an afternoon treat with a coffee and nobody would complain, but they probably wouldn’t ask what they were either unfortunately. They weren’t an outstanding new flavour development, they are just a good addition to the Cadbury biscuit range and a nice chocolate biscuit.
Here is hoping that they releases a Wispa Gold Edition shortly too, now they could be amazing.
By Cinabar