23 January 2019

The Bees Knees Alcohol Free Wine (@DegustaboxUK) By @SpectreUK

The Bees Knees Alcohol Free Wine

I've been told by Cinabar that this month is "Dry January" for some. Don't worry, you may have noticed this hasn't affected my usual boozy Saturday blogs, but I thought I'd write about this non-alcoholic sparkling wine called 'The Bees Knees' to help those that are looking for the taste of wine, but without the dizziness that can come with it. I'm not much of a white wine drinker per se, but I have the odd glass with a white meat roast now and then.

The Bees Knees is produced by North South Wines and bottled in Germany, using non-alcoholic fermented grape juice and infused with green tea. It's marketed with floral aromas and a refreshing acidity. It is lower in sugar at about half the calories of a regular bubbly white wine. It is gluten free and vegan friendly. It sounds a bit too good to be true if you like your white wine sparkling. The trouble is, I don't… However, I'm always willing to try something different in some strange hope that the alcohol in sparkling white wine ruins the taste for me somehow and not the fizz itself!

After being nicely chilled in the fridge for a good long while, the 200ml bottle gave a dangerous fizz as I popped the lid. So much so that I lost a little of the liquid inside before I could shove the open bottle in my mouth, as I didn't have an empty glass close by enough. Certainly more grape than floral in aroma, at 26 calories and only 6.4g of sugar per 100ml, there is quite a lot of acid in the flavour of The Bees Knees. In fact, although not so vegan friendly; a little honey might have softened the face twisting acid bitterness that came with the first mouthful. I checked the date on the side of the bottle, just to make sure it hadn't gone passed its best. I couldn't tell if there was any green tea in the flavour, as I was too busy trying to coax my tastebuds back off the ceiling. If you like a (seriously) bitter non-alcoholic wine with your white meat, then this maybe for you, but not for me, I'm afraid!

22 January 2019

Cadbury Double Decker Chocolate Spread (Asda) By @Cinabar

Cadbury Double Decker Chocolate Spread

One of my favourite winter comfort foods is chocolate spread. Effectively chocolate thickly spread on toast is a treat, and what I like to refer to as a weekend breakfast, as it isn’t the most vitamin rich start to they day. This new Cadbury Double Decker Chocolate Spread is based on the chocolate bar of the same name, and consists of two sections in the jar, a chocolate part with crispies and a nougat flavoured section. Double Decker is one of those bars of chocolate I don’t have very often but when I do I’m always impressed by how nice the soft nougat flavour is.

This Cadbury Double Decker Chocolate Spread was spread on toast and the sections meant it marbled nicely, but the crispies seemed to more evenly distribute themselves. The flavour of the spread was deliciously chocolatey and rich. The nougat taste added a lovely creamy sweetness that made it a bit different from the normal chocolate spreads. The nougat was very similar to the actual bar, so I really liked it. The cocoa section was sweet, and added a good chocolate flavour too. The crispies pieces looked nice and are a nice idea but when spread on bread the texture is a little lost. It is a good attempt at recreating the Double Decker chocolate bar in spread form though, quite accurate on the flavour. I realise that chocolate bar on toast isn’t to everyone’s taste, but for me it was a lovely treat, back to porridge again until next weekend.

21 January 2019

Limited Edition Blueberry Cheesecake Hot Chocolate (Whittard) By @Cinabar

Limited Edition Blueberry Cheesecake Hot Chocolate Whittard

Well it is January, it is Blue Monday, but it is also my birthday. I am having a treat then and having a few luxuries today. One of the things I’m enjoying is this new Whittard Limited Edition Blueberry Cheesecake Hot Chocolate, this is the other new flavour from Whittard and NLi10 wrote about the Raspberry Ripple yesterday. The front of the tub on this one states as blue as a berry, so I was expecting something quite fun in colour!
I added some teaspoons of powder to my mug, and some hot milk and microwaved. Although it isn’t how they advised on the pack I find adding an inch of milk and microwaving for a few seconds works really well. I mix that up with the powder, top up the mug with cold milk and re-microwave until hot. The drink is very lilac, perhaps not blue as promised but still a very interesting looking drink.
The taste is spot on, the blueberry shines through and is sweet. The base flavour is creamy but there is a nice vanilla hint of cheesecake too. This is the drink you should have to cheer up in cold January, sweet, fruity, creamy and soothing. It is a proper yummy drink, forget Blue Monday I’d rather have Blueberry Cheesecake Hot Chocolate.

20 January 2019

Whittard Raspberry Ripple Hot Chocolate (@NLi10)

I got lots of exciting things for Christmas, including this Whittard Raspberry Ripple white chocolate hot chocolate.  I've been drinking it over the colder days, and occasionally adding a bit of fluff 

Whittard Raspberry Ripple Hot Chocolate

Here I'm using almond milk, it doesn't taste quite as rich as the dairy, but it works well enough.

And here we are adding the fluff to the mixture.  Without it the flavours are surprisingly deep and sophisticated, and just the right amount of fruity.

With the fluff it becomes a lot sweeter, and the artificial flavours from the raspberry marshmallow overpower the hot chocolate a little, but it does add a fun extra dimension.

These limited edition Wittard Hot Chocolates are a great idea, especially for people like me who like a bit of variety.  I wonder what other flavours they have in store! 

19 January 2019

Twisted Tree Hopped Cider (Aldi) By @SpectreUK

Twisted Tree Hopped Cider

This Hopped Cider rings a bell. I thought I'd written about this cider before. Cinabar informed me that was a different hopped cider. I know I write a lot of beer blogs, and a few cider blogs, but hopped cider seems quite rare to me. Hops added to cider is more of a taste thing, perhaps, rather than a necessary preservative. However, saying that if hops were just a preservative for beer and not a taste thing, I guess there would only be one type of hops used in beer… Anyway, cider lasts quite a long time without hops, so I guess it's a taste thing here.

I'd like to say I know a lot about this Hopped Cider, produced by Twisted Tree, but the writing on the back of the can was a kind of massed together white typeface on a light blue background. So I couldn't read it very well. Although Cinabar could read it, so maybe my old eyes are going? Anyway better to taste the cider instead, I guess…

At 4% volume this Hopped Cider smells like the innards of a sweet apple pie. It really does, I'm not pulling your leg. It seemed a shame to start drinking it, this Hopped Cider smelt so good. It made me think of a good hot pudding after a Sunday Roast. Strange though because on taste the sweetness is quickly replaced by the herbal hops, which spring to the fore and then in turn bring out the slightly sour cider apple flavours into the aftertaste. From first smell I thought I'd be recommending this Hopped Cider as a sweet pudding cider, but it'll probably go well with any white meat or spicy meal, or enjoyed clinking glasses together after a good day out with friends.

18 January 2019

Cadbury Darkmilk - Roasted Almond (WH Smiths) By @Cinabar

Cadbury Darkmilk - Roasted Almond

Cadbury Darkmilk chocolate has been out for a few weeks but seems to have alluded me, and I have tried many shops looking for it in the West Midlands. Please note although similar in name to Dairly Milk, Darkmilk is a whole new product. I was popping into WH Smiths after a lovely day off work and a shopping trip to have a final browse at books when I spotted this new bar, Cadbury Darkmilk - Roasted Almond, on the counter. Obviously Darkmilk is doing well if they have already released a new flavour variant in the range.
So the idea of Darkmilk is a new chocolate from Cadbury that is a half way into being a dark chocolate (like Bournville) and half way to being a milk chocolate (like Dairy Milk). As a big fan of nuts and chocolate I felt this bar of Cadbury Darkmilk Roasted Almond was an ideal place to try out this new bar chocolate.
The bar itself does look quite dark, and the almonds are quite hidden on the front but are visible on the back. I gave it a taste and have to say I was impressed with the flavour. The bar is richer than Cadbury Dairy Milk, there is plenty of cocoa flavour and that enhancement I did really enjoy. The bar is silky too, and lovely and smooth. The nuts have a good strong roasted flavour and are crunchy and add lovely layers of texture. It is still sweet though, there was no bitterness from the chocolate. I thoroughly enjoyed this bar, it isn’t as soothing a Dairy Milk but the extra cocoa and richness is a lovely treat. I guess it is not better or worse than Dairy Milk, just different and perfect when you are in the mood for something a bit stronger.