Thursday, 30 April 2009

Elizabethan – Orange, Honey and Ginger Marmalade (Kenilworth Castle)


I picked this up on a lovely trip to Kenilworth Castle (definitely worth a visit should you be considering it). I do have to say though that I have seen this variety of preserves in quite a few National Trust gift shops and have been meaning to purchase some for a while.
It is a good thick marmalade that actually requires a little effort with the knife to tease it out of the jar, but it does spread acceptably well. In terms of taste it is full of flavour and rather zesty. There is a nice hint of ginger in the main flavour that adds a pleasant spice and is balanced off by sweet honey in the aftertaste. If this is an original recipe from Elizabethan times, then it is fair to say the Elizabethans knew a few things about marmalade!

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Smoked Tabasco Sauce – [140th Anniversary] Smoked Red Chipotle Jalapeños (Selfridges)


This sauce is a special edition brought out to celebrate 140 years of Tabasco sauce. Unlike the Tobasco sauce I know and love, this isn’t meant for splashing, it is a pouring sauce. So, unlike regular Tabasco it isn’t watery, it is thicker like a light Ketchup.
I decided to try it out with some cheese on toast. I poured a big dollop on the side of my plate and put a lashing of it on my fork. Then I tensed, if the sauce was as hot as I feared then I may end up looking for ice cubes, but nothing ventured nothing gained.
The heat from the chilli was not as bad as I suspected, it is a hot sauce, but good and tangy rather than eye watering. The sauce has a fantastic smoky flavour too, it’s not sweet like barbecue sauce, it is more edgy and flavoursome.
I did purchase this in Selfridges in their import section, but it is also available through Ocado for those of you who shop online. It is well worth seeking out!

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Organic Seed and Bean Company -Lavender and 72% Cocoa bar (Deli on the Square, Ludlow)


Wow, when you open the packet there is a wonderful aromatic smell of lavender. I like the idea of a lavender bar, I like Turkish Delight so am by no means put off by flowers flavouring my choccies.
Tucking in I found that the cocoa is bitter and strong, and the chocolate has a pleasant flowery almost herby taste mixed in with it. The only thing I am not keen on though is the sharp sweet aftertaste that is left on the palette. It’s a strange tang that hits after a few seconds of chewing. It is too sweet to have come from sugar and it is almost peppery in flavour. It is nice to try something different, but the aftertaste on this bar just needs taming.

Monday, 27 April 2009

Kettle Chips – Roasted Tomato and Basil (Sainsbury’s)


There is some sunshine outside, Easter is over and cue a rather fantastic new wave of products. Kettle Chips' new seasonal flavour is Roasted Tomato and Basil. It is nice to see them trying something more interesting than their previous ‘new’ flavour of cheese and onion. Don’t get me wrong, the cheese and onion variety were tasty, but not adventurous. Tomato and Basil does feel more like summer to me. There is something about these Mediterranean flavours that just make you think of sunny long days.
The crunch is as ever with Kettle Chips good and strong, and they feel quite satisfying to crunch. The tomato flavour is sweet and wholesome, that blends well with the addition of Basil. The crisps themselves are full of flavour and have a nice slightly salty edge that works well with the crisps. A very nice pack and definitely one to seek out.

Sunday, 26 April 2009

Kshocolat Little Black Box Mintettes (House of Fraser)


Well I found these choccies in a smallish box in a department store, and my first thought was that they were posh Poppets. Which reminds me, I am desperately seeking the new Poppets Choc Chip Cookie variety, which sound amazing!
Anyway, back on topic. These choccies come in several different varieties including chocolate coated coffee beans and honeycomb, and are in a small black snack size box. The product itself consists of a dark chocolate shell with a mint truffle inside. The contents consist of small round pieces, less than a centimetre apart and each one is quite firm. The truffle has a good flavour, but I still would have preferred it a little stronger. The dark chocolate is nice, but the chocolates are glazed which means if you suck them you become immediately aware of a layer on each chocolate. Pleasant enough as a product though, but not better than mint Poppets. I bought a couple of other boxes to try from this range. I will see how I get on with them and let you know.

Saturday, 25 April 2009

Cadbury’s Clusters (WH Smiths)


I suspect many of us made cornflake cakes as kids. You know where you mix the cornflakes with chocolate, create a sticky mess and allow it to set? Well this is sort of a version of that, it consists of cornflakes and raisins stuck together with chocolate and allowed to set. The pieces are smaller than that of a regular cornflake cake, as they are each only around 3cm across. The addition of raisins makes them sweeter too, and there is definitely a higher ratio of chocolate than in the cakes I used to make as a kid. They are a lovely treat, but something at the back of my head wants them to be a little bit bigger!
These clusters come in a re-sealable bag, and make for a lovely moreish chocolate fix. Also in the newly launched range are giant buttons, chocolate coated peanuts and chocolate coated raisins. I’ll keep you updated as and when I tuck in!

Friday, 24 April 2009

Cadbury’s Cake Bars - Fudge (Sainsbury’s)


This is a limited addition to Cadbury’s cake bar range. It is in combination with a Cadbury's Fudge bar, and contains a layer of fudge within the cake. The cake itself is a chocolate sponge coated in a chocolate coating. The first thing that I noticed when I bit in was that the bar is much firmer than that of other cake bars I have tried. It is not tough or bad in any way, but it does feel more substantial in the mouth. Having said that the layer of fudge is not all that thick and the flavour isn't overly strong. It adds a nice hint of fudge to the chocolate and sponge and works very well. Cadbury's fudge isn’t as buttery as some other fudges which is an advantage as the cake isn’t too rich in flavour. It makes a nice addition to the range and it is a shame it isn’t permanent.

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Seriously Creamy Malaysian Coconut and Lime Ice Cream (Waitrose)


I don’t think that this is a new product, but as I previously mentioned the warmer weather has seen me checking out the ice cream section of the supermarket. I certainly haven’t tried this variety before, so it is a new product to me.
It is an own brand, but not a flavour that I’ve seen before. Within the tub is some lovely creamy coconut ice cream, rippled with a lime sauce. The coconut is very smooth and velvety, and the lime adds the necessary zing, and I love the contrast in flavours. The combination is spot on and the flavours taste fresh, without being overly sweet. A grown up refreshing treat that personifies summer, it is fantastic.

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Hershey’s Miniatures (Selfridges)


Well as promised after trying Hershey’s Symphony, I have decided to give Hershey’s chocolate another chance. I opted for a mixed bag of miniature Hershey’s bars, labelled as ‘A little something for everyone’. I felt that a mix bag would give me a quick introduction to several of their bars. The bars contained in the bag are:

Hershey’s Original
The chocolate isn’t smooth and creamy, and it just doesn’t taste like a luxury. I so want to be nice, but the short story is that I don’t like this chocolate. My tastes buds cannot get past the sour milk flavour that just lingers.

Mr Goodbar
This consists of Hershey’s chocolate and peanuts, the peanuts do help the flavour.

Krackel
Hershey’s chocolate and rice crispies, which I think add a little sweetness too.

Hershey’s Special Dark
The extra cocoa does deviate a little from the strong Hershey’s flavour, but it still isn’t something I would rush to re-purchase.

I feel like I have given Hershey’s a go and that I have discovered that I am not keen on their chocolate. When it is mixed with something it improves wholeheartedly, but on its own it’s not for me. I would welcome other people’s opinion on it.

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Carte D’Or Caramel Cinnamon Waffle Ice Cream (Sainsbury’s)


What is that outside, shining through the window? Oh yes, that would be sunshine! Summer is on its way, and the change in weather can mean only one thing – new ice creams in the shops. Carte D’Or seems to be on the ball with this cinnamon inspired dessert.
There is a brown coloured cinnamon ice cream, mixed with a white vanilla, topped with a toffee sauce and pieces of, well actually I’m not one hundred percent certain what the pieces are. From the name I want to say ‘waffle’ pieces but from the texture it is really more of a solid fudge.
I love cinnamon as a flavouring, it adds a lovely sweet and warming taste, which goes well with the creamy aspect of the ice cream. The toffee sauce is very rich, and works well with the spicy flavour from the cinnamon. A really good combination of flavours and a sweet summer treat.

Monday, 20 April 2009

Bournville Old Jamaica (Sainsbury’s)



This is a ‘new’ old product as it is a re-launch, but it is also the sister product to the newly launched Bournville Orange. For those who want a reminder of the original Old Jamaica, here is a link to it on the Cadbury’s site: http://www.cadbury.co.uk/ourproducts/yesterday/Pages/Yesterday.aspx (last item on the page).
I will be honest and admit that I can’t give you a direct comparison between this and the original product as I don’t remember the flavour well enough. However I can tell you all about this bar.
It consists of the dark but sweet Bournville chocolate packed with juicy raisins and with a good hint of rum flavouring. The rum is quite strong and personally I would prefer the flavour turned down a notch. The raisins are sweet and add a stickiness to the texture which is rather lovely. All in all a good bar, but if pushed to choose I would opt for the Orange version, as the flavour is a bit more balanced.
Orange and raisin – now that is an idea that needs exploring!

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Beer Chips (Selfridges)



This is another of those products that had packaging that has nice humour, for example “only tested on humans” is written on the front, and on the back there are instructions on how to eat crisps. You may notice from the title /packaging that these are called ‘chips’ and this is as they are an American product found in the rather wonderful food hall in Selfridges (I would happily move in should they ask).
Anyway, despite the fact that this feels like an obvious flavour for crisps, I don’t think I have ever seen it before. These crisps have a firm crunch, not as strong as a Kettle Chip, if anything more like the texture of Red Sky. The flavour is very moreish and pleasant, a nice mix of beer, salt and yeasty taste. Well worth seeking out!

Things That Made Me Smile This Week

Here are a couple of links of things that made me smile this week:
If you have a snacking related link that you think would make me smile, please do send me an email, and I may post them here for everyone to see!

Saturday, 18 April 2009

Ray Gray Pork Crackling with Apple Sauce Dip (Makro)



I have not seen pork scratchings sold with apple sauce before, and I do have to say that it seemed a rather nice idea. When I opened the packet and tipped out the contents I was a little disappointed that there didn’t seem to be too many pork scratchings in the bag.
Tucking in I found that these were the real deal, being impressively good quality pork scratchings. They had a lovely full flavour, meaty but with a good balance of salt. Texture wise they have a very strong crunch in places, but as with all pork scratchings a nice mix of textures. I wasn’t that fussed by the apple sauce, this is not to say that it was bad in anyway, in fact upon tasting it is sweet and pleasant. It is just that I couldn’t get into the habit of dipping the pieces into the sauce, they are tasty enough without it. A good quality snack, but I would have preferred the space taken up by the dip, to be replaced with more pork scratchings in the bag!

Friday, 17 April 2009

No Junk Organic Cocoa Cookie Bites [Organix] (Sainsbury's)


This is another of those products that prides itself on its ingredients, the 'no junk' philosophy means that the product is even approved by the Soil Association Organic Standard.
They are packaged in small bags each containing six mini cookies. When I opened the packet the most noticeable aroma was that of orange and chocolate biscuits. Orange isn't mentioned prominently on the packaging, but I did notice that orange oil is in the ingredients so that would explain the smell.
The biscuits themselves are disappointing, and nothing special. Despite the fact that they contain currants, orange oil and grape juice they are not very sweet. Palm oil seems to be the butter replacement, but the biscuits are still quite dry and with firm texture that could almost meet the label of being stodgy. The biscuits have a nice concept behind them, but aren't quite tasty enough to make them a repurchase.

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Hershey’s Symphony (Selfridges)


I have always had the thought in my head that I don’t like the taste of Hershey’s chocolate as it tastes sour. I know I had some and thought this, and it has meant that I have stayed clear of their chocolate. Recently however I tried Hershey's Cookies and thought that they were lovely, so I decided to try another Hershey’s product just to see.
I choose this Symphony bar as it contains almonds and toffee chips in milk chocolate, which is always a good combination! I was pleasantly surprised that the Hershey’s base chocolate was actually very pleasant. It is quite a creamy milk chocolate with a smooth flavour (no sour hint at all). The texture with the nuts and toffee was very nice, and made the bar crunchy to eat which I rather liked. In flavour the combination of both almond and toffee made it taste a little like a mild Dime bar, and it reminded me a fair bit of the Milka Dime bar I wrote about a while back.
This bar was so much nicer than I expected, it makes me want to go off and investigate more Hershey’s products!

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Milka Amavel a la Birne – Mandel [Mousse with Pear and Almond] (Germany)


This is one of the Milka bars where the pieces are triangular shaped and contain a mousse as a filling, rather like the Orange Milka bar I wrote about a little while ago. This bar is made up of milk chocolate with a pear and almond flavour centre.
Okay, I will start with one small negative aspect about this bar and that is that the almond flavour is barely noticeable, I wouldn’t have noticed it at all if it hadn’t been mentioned on the packaging. Okay that is the negative part aside, and it is easy to push to one side as the bar itself is gorgeous. The milk chocolate is enhanced by the fruity centre, which isn’t overpowering, but adds a lovely hint of pear. It is a natural taste, with a soft sweet tone. This chocolate bar just works, the fruity mousse is just spot, and the flavours are balanced and mingle perfectly.
It becomes clear that flavour such as this work, and yet many other manufacturers never seem to get any further than chocolate and orange, I do wish they would be a little more adventurous.

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Old El Paso Mexican Style Grated Cheese (Sainsbury’s)


I actually bought this cheese to use as part of a Mexican meal, but changed my mind and decided to see if it worked as cheese on toast. The grated cheese has lovely flecks of red and green from the chilli content, which is why I thought it would make a nice twist to regular cheese on toast.
I sprinkled the cheese on the toast, popped them under the grill, and watched as the cheese bubbled and went golden. This cheese is labelled as ‘medium’ in terms of spice level, and I think that that is a valid comment; it had a nice tang without it being uncomfortable. The grilled cheese is a mix of mozzarella and cheddar, the mozzarella added a lovely gooey feel and the cheddar added depth of flavour. All in all the experiment was a complete success, and I recommend giving it a go yourselves!

Monday, 13 April 2009

Twix Milkshake [Super Thick Shake] (Makro)


Well a few days ago I mentioned the M&Ms milkshake I had, and I have found this Twix one in the same range. The milkshake isn’t actually Twix flavoured it is caramel, then there are a bag of what looks like mini Twix bars to mix in. On closer inspection they aren’t actually mini Twix biscuits, they are just the shortbread coated in chocolate, the missing caramel is the main milkshake flavour instead. The biscuits are pleasant enough, but I would have loved them if they had had a mini layer of caramel too! Never under estimate my sweet tooth!
As stated on the packet, and as per the M&Ms drink, the shake itself is very thick and creamy, and the straw stands up in it. The caramel flavour is gorgeous. There is a lovely sugary sweet taste that is just heaven, rich and luscious. It is very definitely superior to the M&Ms variety.

* I feel obliged to point out, this drink doesn't actually fly as per the photograph!

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Lindt Milk Chocolate Lindor Egg (Selfridges)


HAPPY EASTER EVERYONE!!!

I suspect that this will be the last of the small eggs I review, but I would like to point out that as of tomorrow all of them are likely to be reduced in price in the shops!
This particular egg is from the same range as the Lindt Dark one I mentioned a few days back, but this is the milk chocolate version. The filling is a wonderful silky rich milk chocolate truffle and it is encased in a fine milk chocolate shell. It is a fair bit richer than the dark chocolate egg, and it seems more indulgent as there is a creamier flavour.

Saturday, 11 April 2009

Nando’s Peri Peri Chicken Crisps [Medium] (Sainsbury’s)



I heard about these crisps a while back, but it is one of those things that has taken its time making its appearance in my neck of the woods. The Nando’s crisps aren’t just available as ‘medium’ spice there is also a ‘hot’ variety about.
Firstly, I would like to take a minute to appreciate the packaging, it is written in a very light hearted style and it made me smile. It is reminiscent of some of the smoothie companies that also seem to pride themselves on slightly daft and amusing text! As you can’t quite read it in the photograph above I will rewrite it: “These ones are medium. But not the kind of medium that can contact the spirit world.”
The crisps themselves are nicely spiced, but not hot enough to offend. When I am in Nando’s restaurant I usually order my chicken spice as ‘medium’ and I felt these came in at just under that heat. The spice is good though, and the added flavour of chicken makes these fantastic crisps rather lovely. The texture also works too; they are a good quality crisp with a strong crunch. Rather yummy, and I am keeping my eye out for the ‘hot’ version.

Friday, 10 April 2009

Go Ahead Muesli Fingers (Sainsbury’s)



These are available in several flavours and I bought both the “Cranberry and Sultana” and the “Apple and Sultana” varieties to try. It has to be said that these are healthier options on the snacking front. The come packaged with two ‘fingers’ per sachet, and a note that each finger has just 46 kcals.
In flavour both varieties are nice and fruity, with a good taste of sultanas in both. I preferred the cranberry pack as it was the sweetest, but the apple still had a good natural taste. The consistency was a bit of a let down though, as the bars were rather tough. I realise that they are packing lots of oats and muesli in which contributes to this, but I would have preferred something softer. To combat this problem I resorted to dunking them in my coffee, and that worked remarkably well! It tasted as good as dunking a bad-for-me fruit biscuit, but without the guilt!

Thursday, 9 April 2009

Credit Crunch [Dark] Hokey Pokey Fun by Laura Santini (Selfridges)


It is nice to see that somebody is using the current financial problems to come up with an innovative product name! I like the text on the wrapper too; “A different kind of sticky situation”.
The product itself isn’t that innovative though, it is actually a childhood favourite of mine, cinder toffee but coated in dark chocolate. For those that don’t know what cinder toffee is, it is the stuff they put in Crunchie bars and I think some call it Hokey Pokey too, as that get a mention on the packet.
Firstly I was a bit taken aback by the great quality of the chocolate coating on this item, as I had naively thought it would be of cooking chocolate. I was very wrong; the chocolate has a wonderful silky rich taste and a good cocoa content too. The dark chocolate works well with the sweet contents, and left me very impressed as the flavours mingled so well. The addition of the dark chocolate coating changes the product from being just a fun novelty to also being a quality gift too.

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Hershey's Milk Chocolate Layered Cookies (Selfridges)


The product is in a very sweetly sized snack pack, which comprises of four biscuits. Each one is designed to look like some chunks of actually Hershey’s chocolate sandwiching a cream filling.
They seem to be quite similar to Oreos to me, except for the fact that the inside of each biscuit is coated in milk chocolate. Despite the references to milk chocolate, the biscuit layers are actually quite dark, and have a nice strong cocoa flavour. The filling is looser than an Oreo, but just as creamy, rich and tasty. The added layer of chocolate between the biscuits really adds to the sweetness of the flavour and I thought it was a good addition. I haven't had any Hershey's chocolate for a while, but I do remember thinking that it had a strange after taste when I last tried it. I am pleased to confirm that these don’t have that aspect of Hershey’s, and they make a lovely biscuit.

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

M&Ms Milkshake [Super Thick Shake] (Makro)



It must be nearly summer if the market for cool milky drinks is increasing. This is a wonderfully enticing and nicely packaged M&M flavoured milkshake. To be honest though M&M flavoured just means chocolate flavoured, but I don’t want to distract from this tempting product. Besides it comes with a small bag of M&Ms, which you can either eat or mix in with the shake, which re-enforces the branding.
The packet describes the shake as thick enough to stand your straw in and indeed it is! Actually the straw that is given has a spoon shape on one end and is telescopic, the combination of these two factors means that it is impossible to drink the last centimetre of liquid!
The shake itself is a lovely thick chocolate gloopy drink with a wonderful rich cocoa taste. As it is so thick, it takes more than a little effort to drink, but it makes it feel like a real treat. For the record I ate the M&Ms separately, which added to the indulgence, but I also wasn’t convinced they’d fit through the straw. Maybe I will have to buy another shake just to check out that theory..?

Monday, 6 April 2009

Cappuccino Filled Muffin (Sainsburys)


I was walking past the bakery counter in Sainsbury’s and this caught my eye. Not just a regular muffin, but a filled cappuccino muffin no less, what a wonderful idea. I have never seen a ‘filled’ muffin before. I obviously don’t spend enough time at the bakery counter!
Tucking in, I discovered that ‘filled’ was a little over egging the pie, it wasn’t hollowed out as I had imagined, just cut in half with a concave shape. The filling is like a coffee flavoured butter cream and complements the cappuccino flavoured moist sponge that make up the rest of the muffin. Inside the sponge there were also flecks of lovely dark chocolate which really made it something special. A very nice treat, and a nice alternative to a regular muffin.

Sunday, 5 April 2009

Nestle Aero White Choc Bubbly Dessert (Asda)



White chocolate mousse is a fantastic concept, and it wasn’t too long ago I was frustrated that I couldn’t find any in the shops anymore. Milky Bar desserts have been available for some time now, and are really nice, but aren’t a mousse as such.
Don’t worry though, this is the real deal. Sweet, fluffy and creamy white chocolate mousse, but rippled with a darker chocolate sauce. The rippling idea is genius, and it does make the pudding look very appetising and pretty in the pot. There is a good taste of white chocolate too, which is lovely and light without being over rich.
I guess it is a clever way to represent Aero, as the fact that it is a mousse means you really can feel the bubbles melt!

Saturday, 4 April 2009

Seabrook Tomato Ketchup Crinkle Cut Potato Crisps (Asda)



This isn’t a new product, but it is one I haven’t tried before. I was drawn to it after reminiscing about Walkers Tomato Ketchup flavour crisps, and I realised that I hadn’t seen that flavour for ages. Looking around the shelves in a local supermarket I found these, and thought that they looked like they would be worth trying.
These are a crinkle cut crisp with a nice crunch. There is a good depth of flavour, with a lovely strong tomato taste with a hint of paprika and onion. They are not as sweet as I remember the Walkers ones to be, but they do have a lovely zingy taste. Well worth trying if you are missing the other variety.

Friday, 3 April 2009

Banana Creamy Yogurt with Mini Smarties (Asda)


This is a little bit like the Mini Eggs dessert I told you about last month, i.e. there is a section of yoghurt and a container with the chocolate that you tip in to complete the dessert.
This particular variety though doesn’t have a liquid chocolate section, it has a pot of banana yoghurt with mini Smarties to tip in. The Smarties compartment is only about two thirds full which seems like a disappointing portion, but once they are tipped in it seems an acceptable amount.
The yoghurt has a creamy banana flavour and is silky smooth without any bits. Once the Smarties are in, they bleed there coloured shells into the white yoghurt and leave a colour trail. As the Smarties are all natural the colour trails are at least not artificial. The dessert itself is very sweet as it combines rich banana and chocolate, but my sweet tooth enjoyed it very much. For those of you who aren’t into banana flavoured products, it is also available with vanilla or strawberry yoghurt. I will update you when I have tried those too!

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Red Sky West Country Bacon and Cream Cheese Crisps (Waitrose)


There seems to be an increasing number of new crisps on the market, and an increasing number of 'all natural' products. This product fits into both those categories, as it has no artificial flavourings. However, as these are a completely natural flavoured bacon crisps I feel I should point out that the bacon comes from actual animal source and therefore these are not vegetarian. After discovering that several of the meat flavoured pot noodles were vegetarian it does now come as a surprise discovering products that are and aren't vegetarian.
The crisps themselves are thick cut and have a good crunch. They have a slight greasiness though, not as much as a regular Walkers crisp, but not as crisp as a Kettle Chip. I thoroughly enjoyed the flavour, although the cream cheese is just an undertone and the salty bacon flavour sits in the frame. I love the concept of an all natural product, and the flavour really benefits from the natural ingredients. I'm looking forward to trying the other products in the range.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Milka White and Rice (Germany)



Of all the fabulous Milka bars sent to me, this was the biggest! It isn’t just a longer bar compared to that of a standard Milka bar, the chocolate is also much thicker and the pieces are quite chunky. It is in fact a huge bar, and each chunk takes quite a hearty bite.
When I first tucked in I was expecting the rice to be like that in a rice crispy breakfast cereal, but this contained puffed rice like that in sugar puffs. Actually the word ‘contained’ doesn’t do this bar justice, it is packed with puffed rice! The chocolate itself is a creamy and sweet white chocolate base. It is of a really good quality with a lot of tone within the flavour. The rice breaks up the chocolate nicely, and as the grains are so plentiful the chocolate bar feels like an amazing naughty treat, and a pleasure to eat.