17 December 2018

Advent Day 17

More calendars and more cats!

Hot Caramel Drink (Costa) By @Cinabar

I went Christmas shopping on Saturday and Wolverhampton city had gone all out setting up a Victorian market and fair. The weather fought back, and delivered heavy rain and wind, such a shame. I did feel for all the store holders, but still managed to pick up a few items for gifts, but I was drenched and cold by the end of it. The hood on my rain coat kept catching in the breeze and my hair well  I could feel the frizz springing into action. I decided to warm up in Costa and see if there was anything on their winter menu I hadn’t yet tried. I was thinking soothing and I was also thinking hot chocolate, but my eyes were drawn to Hot Caramel. A curious idea, and it sounded like just what I needed.
This drink only comes in a small size, which makes sense when you try it as it is very sweet. It has a lovely taste, somewhere between butterscotch and liquid custard. The texture isn’t too thick though, it is easy to drink but I was content by the end of my cup. Any more would have been too rich. It was the perfect pick me up after my shopping in what was traditional British weather, and once warmed up I headed back out. This is a lovely alternative to a hot chocolate, and perfect for a cold day. As a chocoholic I added a Lindt Lindor truffle to the side just for good measure, this probably wasn’t needed, but Christmas shopping is hard work!

16 December 2018

Box-Setting for Jesus - Days 1 through 10 of the missing advent calendar (@NLi10)

In the post Dec 1st sales I managed to get a lovely religious themed calendar for 50p instead of £6.99 - complete with festive story book.  As I first opened it on the 11th Dec here are the first 10 days.

I tried doing it by candlelight at first but it was very hard to read, so the candle is mostly there for atmosphere.

Advent Day 16 (@NLi10)

Some more door opening action for those following along at home.

15 December 2018

Advent 15... (by @NLi10)

A short late post for those following our advent adventures.

Wholesome Stout (Waitrose) By @SpectreUK

So what can I say about Wholesome Stout? Admittedly it's not the most interesting name the Wye Valley Brewery, in Herefordshire, could have come up with. I don't want to sound pretentious (although I probably do), but I almost didn't write about this stout because of its name. It just sounds like something that's been mass produced, quick as you like it, off the shelf or something like that. Not that mass produced stout isn't any good or anything. I have a Guinness every time I have a big steak meal, whether it's at home or in a restaurant (and trust me, I rarely eat anything else in restaurants).

Ignoring the front label and it's quite frankly dull name and having a read of the back and the Wye Brewery sell this Wholesome Stout like nobody's business. However, it's the front of the bottle and the eye-catching name that often sells a beer from all the others lined up by the shelf load in every supermarket. I know there's plenty of chocolate and coffee stouts out there, but at least they make me think; "Oh, interesting…" Perhaps Wye Brewery put all their efforts into brewing this Wholesome Stout, rather than coming up with a classic name as the back of the label eludes to?

On opening this 4.6% volume Wholesome Stout, there was initially an usually strong smell of herbal hops, followed by a little sweetness from the malted barley. Then there were undertones of malted chocolate barley and that roasted coffee aroma that often comes with it. The sheer amount of flavours just in this Wholesome Stout's smell made me stand back and think. The name of this stout clearly understates it. This stout pours like a deep black hole in a pint glass. And there is that "Mmm…" on first taste. There is an initial herbaceous hoppy bitterness from the Northdown hops to this beer that almost instantly mixes with the menagerie of malted barleys. I could taste them all jumbling playfully over my palate. There is pale malt here, flaked barley, roasted barley, the sweetness from the crystal malt, and lip-smacking chocolate malt followed by that classic roasted coffee flavour. I've certainly learned something here. Never be put off by a boring name like Wholesome Stout, as it can often do what it says on the label!