15 July 2018

Village Hotel Room Tea - Bosh Tea Machine & Twinings Carts (by @NLi10)

We decided to have a half-way stop off north of Leeds on the way back from Northumbria, and chose a Village Hotel as we've liked them before.  We also upgraded to the 'premium pass' version as we wanted to use the gym (pool) and there was a lot of things to watch on the big TV with all the sports.

Eventually we got the things to work (we had to switch the room on at the door, reboot the Sky box manually, and then figure out how to change the temp on the Dyson fan).

What we are focusing on here is the tea machine.  It's one of those new coffee pod machines, but it also has tea pods.

It's by BOSCH and I've not seen this before - I'm guessing it has a fan base and the pods are in the shops.

The instructions are surprisingly hard to follow - with it not telling you where to fill the water, and the button to activate it actually being the panel on the front itself...

It looked promising as it's Twinings, less so for the non branded coffee for those guys.  I meant to try this, but didn't want to spend the whole car journey back desperate for the loo.

How it appears to work is that it puts steam (or at least really hot water) through the pod and it becomes a very small teapot.

And then it comes out the little nozzle.  That bit with the lights on is the 'brew' button.

And it does actually look like low, grade tea which is pretty cool.  I'd feared it was just tea powder to make it work so that was good.

The brewing process does make it taste like builder's tea though - if you like your flavours subtle or delicate then this is not for you.  This is coffee drinkers tea - the kind where they mash the teabag on the side of the mug just to get all of the bitterness into your tea.

So - overall we had just the one cup each and then relied on the breakfast tea downstairs in the next morning to get our fix the next day.

14 July 2018

The Wild Beer Company - Pogo (Gloucester Farm Shop @glouc_services) By @SpectreUK

After watching Angelique Kerber win at Wimbledon I fancy something a bit fruity. It's certainly hot enough outside for a refreshing pale ale with added tropical fruits. This Pogo pale ale from the Wild Beer Company had passion fruit, guava and orange added in the brewing. At 4.1% volume this pale ale was inspired by a fruit drink the brewer used to have when they were a child growing up in Hawaii. That tropical mixture has been added to this pale ale in order to produce a thirst-quenching hoppy beer. Just what I need on this hot afternoon.

On opening there was a tropical fruitiness and herbal hoppiness to the aroma of this golden straw coloured ale. I could smell the strong passion fruit and hints of guava before the hops tickled my nose. On taste this pale ale really steps out from the crowd. There is passion fruit to start with which mixes quickly with the orange and guava, producing a refreshing tropical fruit explosion on my palate. This tropical flavour then mixes with herbal hops and citrusy undertones and a touch more orange to the finish. This was a perfect hot summer afternoon drink to breathe new life into tired bones after a trip to the gym and a big lunch. I only wish I had another can or two to keep the heat at bay…

13 July 2018

Candy Crush Chocolate Mountain Ice Cream (Ocado) By @Cinabar

This brightly packaged and fun looking ice cream is based on the popular app game Candy Crush, and I spotted it on the Ocado website. I think it says something about technology that an app has influenced an ice cream flavour, and shows how many of us spend time playing phone games etc. My biggest problem with the ice cream is that whenever I look at the tub I inexplicably get an ear-worm and the song “I want candy” stuck in my head. Even now as I come to write this, “I want candy”. Oh well,
I’ll try and focus on the ice cream, it is called Chocolate Mountain and consists of a chocolate ice cream with white chocolate pieces and candy coated chocolate drops, which is handy because… “I want candy”.

I opened up the tub and was a little surprised to not see any candy, just ripples of chocolate ice cream. I scooped some to serve and could start to see a few of the goodies inside but there weren't many. As this is a Candy Crush ice cream I would have expected it to be more fun packed with all the extras, but there weren’t that many. I tasted the chocolate ice cream and that too didn’t feel very luxurious, it felt thin and watery, the chocolate flavour was quite dark and rich but not overly sweet. The problem is that this Candy Crush ice cream’s packaging sells fun and it ends of being a more adult grown up flavour, almost like a gelato. The chocolate drops and white chocolate pieces were nice, but I would have preferred more candy. I just don’t think the contents met my expectations, I was hoping for a little more luxury, something more thick and creamy and packed with candy extras. Did I mention this song thats still going round my head.... anyone have a remedy for ear-worms???

12 July 2018

Chocolate cRaisins - Ocean Spray (Home Bargains) by @NLi10

I don’t like raisins, but I do like cranberries. I think there is some super taster thing going on as it’s a weird bitter taste that puts me off, and I can detect them and sultanas in puddings to the degree that even sharks are impressed.

Here we have an opportunity to see what all the fuss is about, chocolate raisins without the raisin. 

I think the idea behind it really isn’t that these are healthier than raisins, but I’m not really sure why - surely all dried fruit is equal? Maybe like with sun-dried tomatoes there are different ways of exatracting the moisture and still leaving the fruit edible.


My partner said they taste exactly the same as chocolate raisins to her and that we could have more of these. I didn’t get the aftertaste, so it was just like eating a little soft sweet thing inside some chocolate. Nothing too exciting or something I’d go crazy for. If these had biscuit in we’d be talking! So I guess I’m just not excited by dried fruit in chocolate, if these were strawberries and kiwi in molten chocolate at the German market then I’d like that too. So if you like raisins and you fancy a change or you can figure out the health benefits then give these a try!

11 July 2018

Canton Chocolate Tea (Gloucester Farm Shop @glouc_services) By @SpectreUK

I’ve tried a few chocolate flavoured teas before and usually enjoy them for an alternative liquid pudding after lunch or dinner, or even to complement a good chocolate bar whenever I feel like it. Produced by the Canton Tea Company, this Canton Chocolate Tea was mixed with Indian Assam and also Yunnan Black tea from China, as well as Peruvian cocoa nibs and Madagascan vanilla pod. Each of the fifteen biodegradable tea pyramids in the box are almost calorie free, and are packed with the same quality tea that is served by the Canton Tea Company loose leaf. The ingredients of each pyramid tea bag sounded as luxurious as they sounded exotic and slightly pretentious (if you ask me), but they have to sell the tea somehow…
There were very precise brewing instructions on the box. Temperature of the water should be 95degrees. I’ll just have a word with the work’s boiler manager in the canteen… nope there isn’t one! I guess whatever the temperature is of the fairly tepid water in the rusty boiler will have to do. One tea pyramid per mug seems reasonable. 250ml of water… damn, I left my measuring jug at home! Guess I’ll just fill my mug. Two minutes to steep? Yeah, right. If I remember to take a teabag out of the mug before drinking it at work, I’m lucky!
On opening the packet of tea pyramids there was a luscious smell of dark chocolate mixed with vanilla and a touch of black tea. After brewing for an age and adding some milk there was a velvety chocolate smell from the milk tea coloured liquid in my mug. It certainly looked like tea, but it smelt more like a hot chocolate drink. It was the strongest smelling chocolate tea that I’ve tried so far. On taste there was an initial maltiness from the Assam, followed by a slight smokiness from the Yunnan, and then the cocoa nibs kicked in providing my palate with a dark chocolate flavour and an added sweetness from the vanilla. To be honest this Canton Chocolate Tea actually tastes better than a regular powder hot chocolate drink in my opinion. It’s tasty, it’s rich, and it’s just pure unadulterated bliss.

10 July 2018

Walkers Poppables BBQ Rib Crisps (Ocado) By @Cinabar

I am a fan of textures and the idea of a crisps that “pops” sounded fun, so I added a bag of these New Poppables crisps from Walkers to my online basket. At least I assume the name Poppables referenced the texture, it might just be because they are good to “pop” in your mouth, I guess I was going to find out. When they arrived they came in quite a big bag, and it was quite full too. We shared them over lunch and there seemed to be quite a few each.

The crisps are 3D and oval in shape, with a criss cross pattern on either shell. I bit in and they are fun to eat, they don’t exactly pop, but if you crunch in it does make them collapse. I did enjoy the texture though. The flavour too was spot on, the BBQ Rib had a good defined barbecue sauce flavour that was sweet and smoky, and the rib element added a rich meaty taste. The flavour was very good and I managed to finish off my large portion and then go back to the bag to look for a few more, they were so moreish. These are definitely crisps I’ll be buying again, and I’ll be looking out for the other flavour that has also launched, which is Cheese.