I do like cupcakes, they have a fond place in my heart as they are so sweet, light and easy to eat. Obviously then when I saw that Café Nero had them as their new product, they soon made their way on to my tray! I chose the berry variety, and I have to admit that this was because I assumed that the sponge would be chocolate. I figured that the ingredients would mingle and make a mini black forest gateaux style cupcake. As it happened the sponge was vanilla, which was disappointing at first, but it was still tasty, fluffy and full of flavour. Underneath the berries lays a lovely thick layer of butter cream, which balances the sharp flavour from the berries. The berries are quite zingy, but the sweetness from the rest of the cake given the whole cupcake a lovely mature taste. I still think a chocolate sponge would have been perfect though!
I found this product in WH Smiths with a few other items from the same range. It caught my attention as it wasn’t from a make I had seen before. The concept of the range, and the reasoning behind the name, is that every item in it has just 100 calories. This doesn’t mean to say that the items are low calorie particularly, but it is all about portion control. There isn’t much of a description on the bar as to what the contents might be and the reference to ‘wispy’ in the name made me think it would have a Milky Way style filling. As it happens I was surprised to find rice crispies! The crispsies are coated in something sweet and sticky, and then part coated in milk chocolate. To be honest, I purchased this as a ‘chocolate bar’ and was disappointed to find that there wasn’t as much chocolate as I would have liked inside the pack. Having said that, the bar was sweet, tasty, and had a good crunchy texture. At just 100 calories, I really can’t complain.
On a similar theme to the Domo Attack energy drink, this is another energy drink with a TV tie in. This one links in with The Simpsons, and mimics the TV show’s Duff Beer. Of course this drink is a non alcoholic version, and doesn’t even mention beer on the can! Actually there isn’t much to indicate what the expected flavour might be either, but I do like a surprise! The drink has a strong but pleasant citrus smell. It is quite difficult to describe the flavour, but I will do my best. It is like weak orangeade in taste, which has an aftertaste of a strong but nonspecific sweetness. This aftertaste is quite sharp, and seems to stay on the tongue for quite some time. The drink is quite pleasant and gets better the more you get used to the flavour, but I like it mostly for the packaging!
This is another product to add to the ever so confusingly named snack products from Cadburys that are out at the moment. So to summarise Cadbury's Brunch Bakes and Cadbury's Brunch Breaks have Cadbury's Brunch Munch joining them. Similarly to quite a few products I've written about recently this comes in a bag, but this one’s not for sharing! Well there is no rule sating you can't, but the bag is small enough for one. Inside the pack are mini square biscuits coated in chocolate. Each one is lovely and wheaty, and the apricot shines through. The texture of the biscuits is quite varied from the grains which give them a lovely rustic feel. All the flavours work really well with the chocolate, and the whole thing makes for a lovely snack, or lunch box accompaniment.
I have definitely been told before now that popcorn is actually a healthy snack, after all it is mainly vegetable matter. I suppose this is why items like Snack A Jacks have a popped corn base for their products. It seems a nice idea then that Butterkist make a light version of their toffee coated popcorn too. We always tend to buy Butterkist if getting popcorn, as I am banned from the microwave variety... (don’t ask)! I was really pleased to find that this popcorn is still lovely and sweet and still has a good generous coating of ‘light toffee’. The flavour perhaps isn’t as strongly toffee as regular Butterkist, but still gives a good sweet flavour and is very tasty. The coating even makes the popcorn have that Butterkist crunch which I really like. I am all for a healthy snack product, particularly when they taste as good as this one!
In case you don’t already know, Domo is a popular Japanese TV character, with his own TV show, t-shirts and all sorts of branded items, including of course this energy drink! As you can see I am a Domo fan and even own a Domo plushie. :-) I decided to drink this after a long day at work, when I was very tired but Spectre still wanted to watch a film (Master and Commander). As far as I could see there wasn’t much of an explanation as to what the flavour might be on the can, so in anticipation I noticed that it had a lovely berry smell. The taste was also very fruity; there was berries, cherry and bubble gum in the mix. It was quite syrupy and rather sharp but the flavour really grew on me. After each sip, even a few seconds later there was still a strange sweet flavour left lingering on the tongue. Once I had acclimatised to the sweetness of the drink I really enjoyed it, and it gave me the boost to make it all the way through the film!
I have seen quite a few new sharing bags appearing on the shelves in recent months, but they are generally filled with chocolates. This is a slightly different idea as it is a bag filled with mini croissants, which is certainly a bit different. So first things first, the aroma in the bag was ever so slightly disappointing as I was expecting a lovely smell of butter and pastry. Instead there was a pleasant sweet cake smell which was nice but not one I would automatically associate with croissants. In appearance though they are clearly mini croissants, and the packet contained seven, which is a surprisingly hard number to share out! Surely a bag containing a prime number of items is always going to be difficult to split? Unless of course there are seven of you!?! Anyway, on to the texture these mini croissants aren’t as flaky as regular croissants, and have a soft spongy taste and feel. The chocolate inside consists of a decent gooey portion, and adds a light but pleasant sweet chocolate flavour. As they are quite small they are easy to eat, and only take around three bites. All in all the product is lovely, although not as similar to full-size croissants as I had imagined they would be. Apparently they also have a strawberry jam variety available, which I have my eye out for, and I will give them a go heated up when I find them!
I’m sure this packet of biscuits has a proper name and brand, but I have to hold up my hands and say – I don’t speak Korean. To the best of my knowledge, these biscuits don’t contain mushrooms either, but from the shape and packet design that’s what I decided to call them. I realised when I opened the pack that this biscuits were actually the other way up. Let me explain, look at the picture, imagine the ‘mushrooms’ the other way up then think KP Choc Dips. Now imagine the biscuit from KP Choc Dip sticks shrunk down and pre dipped in chocolate. Actually KP Choc Dips are a good comparison as the biscuit is almost the same as the ones in this pack. The chocolate is obviously a bit more solid than in the KP product, but it just as milky and sweet. I have to say I absolutely loved these biscuits, they taste great and the idea of the mushrooms is really cute!
I always love a new flavour from Walkers, and one which sounds like it should have a bit of spice is certainly a good find. First of all I performed the smell test, and was slightly confused to note that they smelt a lot like ‘Roast Beef’ crisps, which I wasn’t expecting. I can assure you that in taste though, the ‘Roast Beef’ likenesses had vanished. These crisps do have a complex flavour, which included roast chicken, a citrus taste something like lemon and lime, ginger and good hint of chilli. These are by no means the hottest crisps I have tried, but I did think their heat rating was slightly more than I would expect from a bag of Walkers! Absolutely moreish crisps, with a lovely new interesting flavour – and I can’t emphasis just how much I prefer them to ‘Builder’s Breakfast’!
As someone who has frequently purchased the Smints in the blue packet, I was surprised to find this item on the shelves. I say that as I am someone who thinks that regular Smints are already quite strong! However who am I to resist a new product on the shelves! The mints themselves are indeed stronger than regular Smints, but not in the overwhelming way I feared. My taste buds felt they were about 30% stronger than a regular Smint, and to be fair anymore would be overpowering! They seems to last longer in the mouth though and the refreshing flavour lingered on more than a regular Smint would have. They must have some strength to them though; I noticed that if you let them sit on the tongue in one place they had a tendency to tingle! Don’t be put off by the ‘Xtra Strong’ terminology these are lovely strong mints!
Percol are a brand usually associated with fair-trade coffee, but seem to have expanded their range to include this cola drink. Like their coffee this cola has the fair-trade label, and is a dark brown caffeinated drink! The label actually states that excluding the water it contains 98% fair-trade products, which I think means the sugar! Talking of the label, by the time I came to drink this item I noticed it was shedding colour. I had bits of red stuck to my hands. I assume this is due to the damp from condensation after it being in the fridge - bit it does says 'best served ice cold'. This cola is not as tangy as some natural colas which tend to be zingy like cola bottle sweets. It is mellow in taste, which I found I quite liked. I was surprised by how nice the lighter flavour was as I do usually prefer the stronger tastes however this rather palatable. A really nice drink, perfect for those looking for a more easy going cola flavour. P.S. The name made me smile.
To be honest I’m not a regular purchaser of Snack A Jacks, but the shiny ‘New’ label on the front of the packet caught my eye while queuing in Boots. Smelling the bag I thought the contents smelt really nice, a mix of strawberry and blueberry in aroma and rather sweet. I didn’t think they looked very appetising though with their pink and yellow speckles in the corn snack. For some reason the strange colourings made them look rather artificial to me. I wasn’t too impressed taste wise either. Despite the lovely smell, the flavour was really quite minimal. I thought that although they were sweet with that popcorn like taste they were also only vaguely fruity. This product is by no means offensive, but it is a long way off full marks from me.
The name of this product really caught my eye, mainly as it is such a strange name. It is not a brand I seemed to be able to keep in my head, or decide how to pronounce - Mangajo. ‘Manga-joe’? ‘Man-gahjoe’? I also wasn’t sure what Goji berries taste like, and was keen to find out, as I think I have some growing at the bottom of the garden but have never tried them! The drink is lovely and sweet and tastes very natural and refreshing. It has a lovely sweet honey flavour and the main fruit was almost like peach in taste. I am not sure what makes the Goji berry a 'super berry', or what the health benefits really are, but I can tell you one thing and that is that the drink tastes good.
Before I begin I should point out that despite the reference in the name to pancakes, this product sits firmly in the biscuit section. It is a very thin wafer style biscuit, folded to look like a pancake and given a generous coating of dark chocolate. The chocolate is of a very good quality, with a strong cocoa taste but still sweet. It thickly coats each biscuit, particularly at each end. The biscuit it is covering is thin and brittle and lightly crunches in the mouth. The whole item only lasts seconds as the flavours mingle and then melt away. I think these may well be biscuits for people who don’t like biscuits, as chocolate is the major ingredient! They are just so easy to eat and so very moreish, I’m not sure where the rest of the packet went?
This is one of those desserts that you heat in the microwave in order to turn it into a hot sponge. The concept is simple, and it doesn’t take much in the way of culinary skills to make. However one of the things that struck me was just how annoying this item was to open. The microwaving part is easy, but the packaging was driving me mad! It comes in a plastic container with a piece of clear cellophane type material that you have to peel off. Well I fought to peel it off, and after a lot messing about it appeared to come off. Only it didn’t completely come off, it split, and left a thinner covering of plastic still sealing the pot. After a fight, and then using a knife, I opened it. I tried to open the second pot, but the exact same thing happened, it was rather frustrating. I hate resorting to a knife to get the plastic off, as I am always convinced I will leave fragments of plastic covering in the pudding, and it makes me eat rather cautiously. That annoyance aside, let me tell you about the dessert. The sponge was seriously good. It was moist and possibly the most flavoursome of all the microwave sponges I have tried. The apple topping was a lovely addition, again with a good flavour adding sweetness and a fresh taste to the mix. A really good quality dessert, just a shame the packaging annoyed me so much!
So Spectre asked me if I had ever tried Fridge Raiders before, when I said no he decided to rectify this and bought some of each flavour! I had no idea there were so many different varieties, and was keen to tuck in. The basic idea of the product is that they are a bag of bite size cooked chicken pieces which various added spices.
Roast – a really nice wholesome taste, that lets the full ‘fresh chicken’ flavour shine through.
Tikka – a warm mild spice, with a gentle tomato edge, lovely.
Southern Fried – again this one had a mild spice with a nice mix of pepper and paprika.
Chinese Spare Ribs – Quite mild in flavour, slightly sweet with a bit of a tang.
Barbeque – This tasted like good barbecue sauce, smoky and sweet.
Limited Editon: Hot & Spicy – I have to admit this was hotter than the others in the range, but I think I would still call it medium spice. The product is very nice with good flavour and it did leave a nice tang in the mouth.
I was impressed by the quality and concept of Fridge Raiders. I actually thought the idea for the product was genius when I tried it, the chicken is lovely and moist and full of flavour and very fresh. All the flavours were well put together and each met the description and expectations on the pack. I have to say these would easily satisfy those snacking moments when it just has to be something savoury!
Many milkshakes I have tried and purchased in the past are made with skimmed milk and then thickened. I found it unusual to find a company that went straight for the full fat milk. When I tried this drink though, I could immediately see why they did. It isn’t too thick in texture, but the taste is wonderfully creamy, and easy to drink. It is refreshingly different to some of the big brand shakes, and feels more like a milkshake should, light and clean. I choose this flavour as it seemed the most interesting of those in the range (there is also a chocolate, a banana, and a regular strawberry available). In flavour there are too distinct layers, a lovely natural strawberry taste and a creamy biscuit flavour too. It isn’t overly sweet and is well balanced. The flavour could have just as easily been ‘Jammy dodger’ though as I couldn’t pick up much on the cheese flavour. Having said that I did thoroughly enjoy this shake, and hope they release a few more interesting flavour to the range!
Well I’ve finally found myself a KitKat Caramel Chunky, which I've been searching for a week or so for. This product should not be confused with KitKat Caramel (the flat version) which I wrote about a little while ago, which has caramel flavoured chocolate rather than any substantive caramel. I have to be open, and explain that before I take my first bite, I have mixed emotions about this bar. I have the usual excitement that I always have when finding a new product, but I have disappointment too as this is the bar that will be replacing KitKat Peanut Butter Chunky (my current favourite bar). Opening the pack I was surprised by the lack of caramel smell. On tucking in I was also expecting to find a lovely layer of gooey caramel, but there was none present. Instead there is a caramel paste, of a similar colour and texture to that of peanut butter - oddly enough. The paste had a nice caramel flavour, but it wasn't very strong. It did go well with the rest of the chocolate and wafer flavours though. In fact the bar was perfectly nice. That's it though, not exciting, not anything amazingly different - but nice. A pleasant bar, but it doesn't live up to the magic of the peanut butter variety which it is replacing.
Can I just say that I think these are beautifully packaged. With their sweet pink and brown packet and ribbon handle they really would make a lovely gift. I bought them just for me though, and so that I could write about them here of course! They are a box of Cadbury’s truffles, all milk chocolate flavoured. They are individually wrapped firstly in a plain metallic paper then coated in a shiny branded brown ‘Koko’ wrapper. This does give them an expensive fell like they are something a bit special. The chocolates do have a distinctly Cadbury’s flavour, the coating taste like Dairy Milk as it is creamy sweet milk chocolate, and it has a decent thickness to. The truffle inside is also a sweet milk chocolate flavour, and is very smooth and silky in texture. Each bite provides a lovely sensation of sweet delicious chocolate truffle that it would be hard to dislike. Admittedly they are not the most adventurous new product on the market, but they are the sort of item that is tasty but safe and as such they make an excellent addition to Cadbury’s gifts range.
These crisps are a potato snack, presented in a crinkle cut format. They are quite light, thicker than a regular crisp and have a really good crunch. They also have a fantastic taste too. There is nothing subtle about the flavour, they are quite intense crisps and they just fill your mouth with an amazing taste. It is actually quite difficult to describe the flavour and I think it has three layers. Firstly there is a sweet and spicy taste, secondly following on from the spices is heat from chilli that leaves a decent burn and finally there is a refreshing cucumber taste. As the texture is so light, it makes them easy to eat and rather moreish. I thought the taste sensation was fantastic, and absolutely loved these crisps. They are the sort of thing that would be perfect served with a dip too. Very different and very nice, a surprisingly sophisticated snack!
Having made quite a few good discoveries like the Mars Midnight and the Twix Cappuccino, I now feel obliged to sneak a peek whenever I pass a pound store to see what I find. Yet again this paid off for me when I discovered Hazelnut Snickers on the shelf! When I tried this bar I was a little surprised to taste peanuts. Don’t get me wrong, I love peanuts, but as the bar is a hazelnut edition I just thought it mean a straight swap with those and the peanuts. As it turns out this bars seems to be a mix of peanuts and hazelnuts which actually worked really well, I just wasn’t expecting it. The hazelnut pieces are cut into decent sized pieces and this flavour mixes with the saltier peanut taste. The bar seemed really substantial and filling and I did grow to love the nut combination. Nut fans definitely needs to seek this one out!
The texture of these bars is the same as it is with all the Jordan’s bars. They are indeed very crunchy and very brittle, and this is their selling point. I have to confess that this isn’t my favourite texture for a cereal bar but there are obviously fans. It also means that when you bite in they are rather crumbly and messy to eat! In flavour thought the bars are lovely. The butterscotch taste is very nice, sweet and with lovely hints of caramel. This kind of flavour mixes well with the wholesome taste of oats and really works. If you like the Jordan’s range or like the idea of a crunchy bar then I suspect you will love this new flavour in the range.
As mentioned previously, here is the promised write-up for Kelly's ice cream. I actually saw an advert for this product on TV and as it is from a brand I have not heard of before I felt obliged to track some down! The ice cream was fairly easy to scoop and served really well. In taste, well it’s actually hard to describe without salivating! This is the creamiest smoothest ice cream I have tried. When it melts in the mouth there is a wonderful flavour of vanilla and cream which is heaven. It is absolutely perfect and I loved it. If you buy this to serve with apple pie, I warn you now the apple pie will be shadowed by this fantastic ice cream!
Okay, another of my finds from Cybercandy. This bar is an Australian bar called Voodooo (correctly spelt with three ‘o’s at the end of the word)! My first thought of this bar was just how big and chunky it is. You can’t tell from the photograph but the bar is al least one and a half times as thick as a Mars bar. The bar is mostly milk chocolate, but with all sorts of goodies mixed in. I found peanuts, biscuit bits, red jelly and something that looked like a marsh mallow but with a very firm texture. I loved the wonderful mix of variety within this bar, and that each mouthful differed from the last. All the ingredients went well with the chocolate and it was quite a treat. As it is so big it does make the bar feel somewhat naughty, and requires a substantial chocolate craving!
I am still running with the theory that even though it isn't sunny, it doesn’t mean I can’t eat summery foods. So I decided to invest in a couple of ice creams I hadn’t tried before . Firstly I purchased this new limited edition cherry ice cream from Haagen-Daz, and I also purchased some Kelly’s clotted cream as I saw it advertised on TV. The Kelly’s write-up will follow very shortly. The Haagen-Daz Cherries and Cream variety is a wonderful rich pink in colour with lovely pieces of dark cherry mixed in that looked very appetising. The flavour is lovely and rich and fruity but with a creamy aftertaste. The ice cream is thick when it melts and the texture is quite sumptuous. The pieces of cherry add freshness and add to the overall juicy taste. I really enjoyed this ice cream, and felt that such a lovely fruity flavour is perfect for the summer. A really luxurious treat!
In the UK it seems that we don’t get that many interesting flavours of KitKat, and indeed when we get a new flavour, another seems to go. I talk of course of the news that KitKat Peanut Butter is being replaced by KitKat Caramel. This is a great loss to me as I just love peanut butter and chocolate, and there are so few UK bars with this combination. To cheer myself up I decided to see what flavours of KitKat are available elsewhere in the world, and found this Cookies and Cream variety in my stash from Cybercandy. Instead of wafer in this bar, there is a lovely crunchy layer of dark biscuit, topped with a tasty creamy fondant that adds mellowness both in flavour and texture. The chocolate, biscuit and cream layer work really well together, and as the biscuit is quite firm, the bar has a lovely substantial feel to it. A really well put together bar that will appeal to those fancying some chocolate coated biscuits as much as those wanting a proper bar.
I think I have been waiting for some sunshine for long enough. I have a lovely selection of barbecue sauce just begging to be used on a hot summer’s day but the weather doesn’t seem to brighten up. However I do have a grill, and as such decided to crack open this Jack Daniels sauce for grilled kebabs instead. And what a treat they were! I basted the sauce over meatballs, mushrooms and peppers, and served with potato wedges, and a further dollop of sauce. They were absolutely lovely. The sauce had a lovely sweet, vinegary, tomato base with a lovely hit of smokiness mixed in and was perfect with these ingredients. It was lovely to dip the wedges in too. It made a great dinner that was quick and easy and tasted wonderfully summery despite the rain! I do hope the next time I get to try it out it is on a barbecue on a lovely warm day!
Well I still have a decent stash of goodies from my London trip and visit to Cybercandy, so I thought it was about time I tucked into another product. This one reminded me so much of a Bounty bar, that I thought I would do a direct comparison. Both bars are split into two smaller bars, and visually the Mounds bar has the darker chocolate. The Mounds bar is much softer than the Bounty, the bar was so soft it actually had some cardboard inside the plastic wrapper to support and protect it. The centre of the Mounds is more buttery in flavour and does not quite have as strong a taste of coconut as the Bounty. I think the Bounty had stronger tasting chocolate too, despite the slightly lighter colour. I prefer the meatiness of a firmer bar and the defined coconut flavour, so I have to declare Bounty the winner!
I really don’t go in to McDonalds very often, and when I do, as you might expect, it is the new and specials that catch my eye. Now I don’t think that I have had one of their milkshakes since I was a child, but the idea of a ‘Dairy Milk Caramel’ variety meant I just had to buy one! My first taste of this product was that of caramel and banana (no chocolate), which really isn’t a good sign. It made me worry for a moment about how the machines are used to produce different shakes, as banana clearly wasn’t supposed to be there. I decided to stir the drink a bit and noticed it got visibly darker when I did that, like the caramel (with banana) and chocolate taste were separate and as I mixed them up the chocolate became more prominent and the drink went browner. After doing this the banana flavour subsided a great deal and chocolate was also noticeable for the first time. In texture the drink was quite thick and (very) cold, but it did go up the straw okay. As it happened I liked the shake, despite this error in taste, but the making of the drink was obviously poorly executed by the assistant.
I’m sure I’ve mentioned before that I think that there are two camps of people, those who love banana flavoured products and those who hate them. I happen to be one of the people who think bananas are great, and banana flavoured products are aces. So when I saw that Sugar Puffs were making a limited edition banana flavour special, I got rather excited! I bought some, poured on some cold milk and tucked in. My first discovery was that the honey flavour was still present and made for a rather yummy banana honey flavour cereal. They are sweet, but they are not overly strong. My warning though, you need to love banana flavours and be able to handle that flavour first thing. Thankfully I’ve got that covered and loved them!
According to the label this is a Limited Edition flavour of Volvic, but they are requesting feedback to find out if purchasers like it. This leads me in to believing that if this variety is well received they may reconsider its 'Limited Edition' status. I always think the idea of taking lovely fresh mineral water and adding sugar, flavourings, and preservatives to it is a strange idea. Surely adding all the extra stuff negates the whole mineral water ideal? This Volvic contains 17% of an adult’s recommended daily amount of sugar in 500ml. The aroma from the bottle worried as there is quite a strong smell of apple. Thankfully this was milder when I tasted the drink. The flavour is, I think, that of Granny Smith apples as it has a tart edge to it. Over-all the drink is refreshing and has a crisp fresh taste. I suspect people who like the strawberry or lemon and lime variety will really enjoy this apple flavour too, as it is of a similar strength in taste. I would love to know what anyone else who has tried it thinks?