21 April 2019

Jazzie Egg - Marks & Spencer Food (@NLi10)

My easter present from my partner this year was this lovely Jazzie Egg from Marks & Spencer.  As you can see - it's not in the box anymore!!

It's here - open and confused - because I'm not sure how to get in without causing a lot of cleaning up.

It looks fantastic though!  The box has holes on both sides to show it off and so no-one is confused about the lack of Jazzies on the back.

The plastic case keeps it solid and and means that the shop is not full of Jazzies and that the whole think is easily recyclable.

It just means its the first Easter egg I remember where I've had to sit there with a plate to eat any!

In the end I put it Jazzies side down, and then pushed the sides in so I can eat the normal M&S (decent) chocolate and then leave the Jazzies safely in the plastic and not too many escaped.  Over the next week I'll slowly rotate and snap off the coated sections and eat the sweeter sections and hopefully not get them everywhere.

I dread to think what the factory looks like!

Lovely though, both to look at and to eat, and a nice reminder that these things don't have to be branded or complicated to be special or memorable.

20 April 2019

Dark Star Hophead (Ocado) By @SpectreUK

This is my Easter themed beer for this year! What do you think? Okay, okay… so, I couldn't find a real Easter themed beer, but bunnies are synonymous with Easter and bunnies hop, so this is the best I could do at short notice… Okay, okay… so Easter comes around once a year every year, but I forgot about this one, it just crept up and surprised me… or something!

So Hophead is produced by the Dark Star Brewing Company, in West Sussex. Dark Star is named after a song(ish) by the Grateful Dead. I'd never heard their music before, but YouTube can be very (un)helpful at times and now I wish I hadn't listened to the 2015 remastered version. To try to be kind; I'd have to say that it's not my sort of thing, even though I like most music types, asides some rap music, and definitely not the Teletubbies and Mister Blobby! It seems that at 3.8% volume I'd have to drink a heck of a lot of this Hophead to actually enjoy the Grateful Dead's music, but that's besides the point!

Brewed with Malted Barley and Cascade Hops, there is fruitiness in this beer promised on the label. I imagined when I picked this beer up off the supermarket shelf that "Hophead" would refer to a menagerie of hops rolled into one beer bottle. However, just the Cascade hops in this Hophead possibly won't overcomplicate the flavour. On opening there is a fruitiness in the aroma of this deep golden almost straw coloured ale. As the almost overpowering fruity hops smell collides with the malted barley, there is an almost biscuit aroma to finish. This is a beer I could smell all day.

On taste Hophead is actually a complex flavoured ale. There is thick sweet malted barley to start with that's pounced on almost immediately by the fruity bitterness from the hops. The malted barley wrestles with the hops like a stubborn child trying to steal an Easter Egg off a rabbit! This battle of flavours runs straight through into the aftertaste. The sweet almost biscuit flavours from the malted barley and that fruity bitterness from the Cascade hops fight madly away at each other. There is more fruitiness into the aftertaste, so I suspect the bunny wins the Easter Egg and hops off into the Spring evening sunshine!

Have a Happy Hoppy Easter, Everyone!

19 April 2019

Maryland Cookies Wonder - Toffee Popcorn Crunch (Aldi) By @Cinabar

These heavily loaded cookies were found in the wonderful section of Aldi with the Special Buys. This means they don’t normally stock them, they are just there for a short term only, and as you can imagine it is one of my favourite aisles to explore. This weeks find were Maryland Cookies Wonder - Toffee Popcorn Crunch.
I couldn’t decide how popcorn would work on a cookie, but I certainly liked the idea. I opened up the biscuits, I had a cup of tea next to me but on this occasion I decided not to dunk. This is pretty dedicated stuff from me, I do dunk biscuits but I wanted to try one out without the tea, to see how the popcorn element worked.
So these Toffee Popcorn Crunch Maryland Cookies have lots of sweetness, and the first flavours I picked up on were caramel and chocolate. These flavours pretty much dominated the biscuit taste, with just a slight hit of popcorn afterwards. I couldn’t pick up on the texture of the popcorn apart from where I had a little bit of the inner kernel shell in my biscuit. The biscuits were chunky and the chocolate pieces were big and these things hid the texture of the popcorn too. Overall I enjoyed these biscuits, they were sweet, chunky, crunchy and had lots of chocolat on them. As an exciting way to try out popcorn on a biscuit I felt they missed the mark.

18 April 2019

Choc Affair - Three Artisanal Chocolate Bars (@NLi10) @ChocAffairFT

Happy Chocolate Weekend! Let us celebrate Ostara by consuming beans and sugar in a variety of flavours and shapes!

We've bumped into the Choc Affair products a few times over the years *Geraniums*  and *Bergamot* and agreed that they are rather fantastic.  I remarked that they are very gifty - and I got all these as gifts!  Will deal with the top one another day - promise.

We actuially dealt with the PEach And Raspberry flavour in a previous review - but frankly it's appeal has only grown on me since then so I'll keep saying how amazing it is.

As you can see here it has lots of bits in it which I love.  The other two have lots to compete with.

Fortunately Dark Chocolate, Lime & Sea Salt are three of my favourite things.  There is a little crunch here and there but otherwise this is smooth, salty chocolate with a kick of lime and a little salt left in the teeth afterwards.  A much darker mood than the light peach melba version, but equally exquisite.

That leaves us with the Mango - which was always going to be the most unusual of the three.  I'm not sure I've had Mango chocolate ever!

The smell is amazing - of all the three this is the one that permeated the room, and turned heads.  And the taste has enough of the mango to be just as satisfying.  The chocolate itself is soft, and much more friendly than the version with the raspberry bits.  I think I'd almost say this is more traditional - and certainly has a flavour which I could see being used for eggs and other shaped Easter goods.

I don't think I really have a clear favourite here.  I know the raspberry one will be finished first, but I'd be more likely to buy a Melon one as a quirky present for someone.  Yet again - Choc Affair have delivered high quality, but more importantly starkly different treats that only pretend to be ordinary chocolate bars in wonderfully crisp gold foil.