30 November 2009

Milka Santa Bar (Sainsbury’s)

This year, more than last, I noticed something about quite a few of the Seasonal products that we have available. An awful lot seem to be the standard items just with a Christmassy change in packaging, and no real change to the product underneath.
In fact I took a walk down the Christmas section at my local supermarket and spotted numerous items that fitted into this category, from sweets through to biscuits.
This Milka bar caught my eye in that section, and yes I have to admit it is just regular Milka chocolate underneath the foil too, but regular readers will know that my love of Milka chocolate meant I couldn’t resist.
It is beautiful sweet and creamy chocolate, nicely presented and would make a lovely stocking filler. Despite the lack of novelty Christmas flavour, I do have to say it is nice to find yet another Milka bar in the shops over here and may the varieties available continue to increase!

29 November 2009

Ovaltine Cookies/Biscuits/Galletas { via Nli10} (Asda)

You have to love the 'international aisle' at the modern British supermarket. It's region dependant and reflects the make-up of an area, and I'm lucky that my supermarkets have Asian, Polish, Caribbean and a few others crammed into that precious space. For someone who likes to try new things and add a bit of variety to their diet it's great.

From that section at my local Asda comes the above biscuits in their very international packaging. They are the produce of Jamaica and based around the popular night time drink from the 80s (at least in my house) Ovaltine. The contents themselves are separately wrapped in bundles of 5 and there are 4 of these included which means that you will always get nice crisp biscuits. They are very much a thin shortbread but with none of the sweetness and a really strong malt flavour. The first few bites I found that I was craving far more sugar than is in these biscuits, but after you get used to it the strong maltyness of the Ovaltine powder it is actually rather pleasant.

The closest I can compare it to in UK snack foods is like when you've eaten all the chocolate off the outside of a Malteser and then just eat the centre, but I understand that malt is a very important flavour in many parts of the world - in fact I have Guinness Malt & Guinness Import ready downstairs for a future review...

While I like these I can't see that they fulfil the main role of a British biscuit as part of the nice cup of tea and a sit down as they would overpower the tea. I can however imagine that they would be good as a side to a mug of coffee on a dark cold winter evening, which is where I plan to finish off the packet that I have.

28 November 2009

Christmas Pudding Cup Cakes (Starbucks)

Having recently tried the Black Forest Cup Cakes at Starbucks, on my return visit I felt obliged to try their other new flavour of cup cake, Christmas Pudding. I am officially now getting into the Christmas Spirit, and seasonal items are getting more and more appealing.
This cupcake has a lovely vanilla sponge, with raisins set inside it, which add flavour and texture. There weren’t too many raisins, but just enough to give the fruit flavour part of the overall Christmas Pudding taste.
The icing is where this cup cake really comes to life. It is soft and sweet and has a wonderful combination of warming cinnamon and other spices that just work so well. The cupcake practically says Christmas is here, and tastes divine. Even if you’re not feeling it yet, try this cup cake and it will put you in the mood for the festivities.

27 November 2009

Show us your Advent Calendar

Today I wanted to tell you about something a bit different, today is all about Advent Calendars.
Above is a picture of my rather long thin Advent Calender, I did my best with the photography!

One of my regular readers DavidH came up with this fabulous idea to have an Advent Calendar project. The idea being that people send in photographs of the contents each day, and each day I publish the pictures (or as many as I can). It should get us all into the Christmas mood, and will be a good way to see what all different Advent Calendars have to offer behind their window.
All you need to join in is an Advent Calendar, a camera and a Christmas spirit! Just email me the photos to the address at the top of the page. If you wish to join in, there is no need to send a picture every single day, just as often or as infrequently as you see wish. I hope lots of you want to join in, have Advent Calendars ready and may the Christmas countdown begin!

PS Don’t worry there will still be a daily update throughout December for my Foodstuff Finds, the Advent Calendar project will be an additional daily post.

26 November 2009

Bear: Cocoa Cherry Pie - Baked Granola Nibbles (Boots)

I decided to try this bad of ‘nibbles’ out as breakfast in the office with a cup of coffee. After all, the bag contains all natural ingredients and is only 99 calories, so it seemed like a good start to the day.
Inside the pack is a mix of grains, dried cherry and cocoa nibs, stuck together in chunks of no universal size. I was a little bit surprised by just how hard and crunchy these clusters of grains and goodies were. I found them tremendously crunchier than I had expected, and thought my jaw even ached a little after finishing the pack. They are not a quiet snack to eat either, and the office probably wasn’t the best place to tuck in!
Flavour wise, I really like them. I could taste all the different grains, the hint of cocoa from the cocoa nibs, and the zingy cherry really topped it all off. They were surprisingly sweet and tasty given that there is no added sugar. I also do like the idea of the contents being all natural, but the hardness of them could put me off a re-purchase.

25 November 2009

Wonka Tinglerz (House of Fraser)

This is an import chocolate product, manufactured by Nestle, which has made its way into my local branch of House of Fraser. I have to say department stores seem to be getting better and better at stocking more interesting goodies from around the world.
The product consists of bits of chocolate, which crackle heavily when eaten. On top of the popping-candy contents, there are also bits of rice crispy in there too, which add to the texture and the crunch. The milk chocolate isn’t of the highest quality, but it does the job and delivers a nice cocoa taste, and the product if fun and enjoyable. One thing though, do not try a handful at once... let’s just say I’ve learnt from my experience, and I thought my mouth was going to do more than ‘tingle’! ;-)

24 November 2009

Vitamin Water [Lemonade]

This drink was actually being given out as promotional free sample to passersby at a train station. Although I have seen this drink in various shops, I’ve never actually tried it before.
The concept is that it is a lemonade drink which also gives you a burst of select vitamins too, mostly at 25% of the recommended daily dose. I sort of expected it to have no added sugar as well, in order to keeps its calories down, but it did not. As the bottle contained 95 calories in total I guess it wasn’t as bad as it could have been.
The flavour was pleasant, but wasn’t as zingy as I would have liked, but it did taste natural which was nice. It was refreshing just without the sharp oomph that lemons have the potential to provide.
I don’t take vitamin tablets as such, but there are days when I am quite sure that I don’t have all of my ‘five-a-day’, so this drink would provide a reassuring top up. A pleasant thirst-quenching drink, with added health benefits too!

23 November 2009

Anthon Berg - Chocolate Coffee Drinks (House of Fraser)

These caught my eye in House of Fraser, and as someone who loves coffee and chocolate, I really couldn’t resist! The box contains fifteen chocolate in four different themed coffee flavoured varieties. I know the box clearly states that there are fifteen chocolates, but when I opened the pack I couldn’t help but think the contents looked sparse.

Each chocolate is designed to look like a drink, and in order to achieve this they are tightly packed into a foiled wrapper, one that I found a little fiddly to open. Each chocolate has a very runny liquid centre, so I discovered they needed to be eaten carefully, ideally not bitten in half!
  • Toffee Macchiato – a very sweet toffee flavour liquid and sadly not much coffee
  • Espresso – I was expecting an intense coffee hit, but the overwhelming taste was sweetness and a little coffee
  • Cappuccino – I thought this was overly sweet with a vague hint of coffee
  • Vanilla Frappe – Very sweet and very similar to the Cappuccino variety
I felt the chocolate were a little sweet for my taste buds, and didn’t have the defined strong coffee flavour I would have liked. Having said that the quality of the exterior chocolate was good with its 55% cocoa and perhaps those with a (very) sweet tooth would enjoy them. If you’ve tried them before, please let me know what you thought.

22 November 2009

Oreo Strawberry Bar {via @nli10} Cybercandy Birmingham

After looking for the kind of thing I fancied in Cybercandy I ended up heading to the till with just a few odds and ends and saw these on the counter. It's a quite unassuming thing and looks like one of those power-bars that people who think they should have more muscles buy from Holland & Barrett. As such I expected it to be chewy and only to faintly taste of any of the included ingredients. I was wrong.
On opening you get the scent of the freeze dried strawberries, and then that familiar strong cocoa smell of the Oreo biscuits. Biting in it's a very crumbly bar (think Twix base) and has a fantastic texture, with the zing of the strawberries counterbalanced by the melting of the chocolate. There are rice crispies buried in there too, but they are outnumbered by the main bourbon-biscuity filling which the other ingredients are in. In short it's really nice but not all that filling - I could happily eat two.
So to recap - it's like a much more indulgent cereal bar, all of the biscuit and strawberry and chocolate - very little of the cereal. I will be buying this again - and looking for other flavours.

21 November 2009

Marmite Cereal Bars (Waitrose)

Many thanks to the people that emailed/twittered me to let me know about these bars being released, I do really appreciate it. It helps so much with the quest to try something new every day!

It is perfectly reasonable to have Marmite for breakfast, i.e. spread on toast. It is also perfectly reasonable to have a cereal bar for breakfast, particularly if you are in a hurry. What doesn’t seem quite right to me though is a Marmite cereal bar. Don’t get me wrong I don’t sit in the Marmite hate camp by any means, it is just that cereal bars are always sweet and ideally chocolaty!
The smell of the bar is distinctly of Marmite, salty and almost meaty. In taste it was also quite salty with an aftertaste of Marmite which gave a flavoursome kick. The texture was good, not too solid, and it comes apart easily. It is filled with different cereals and oats, that do give a similar texture to a Tracker bar, but without the chocolate chips (obviously).
To be honest the bar does what it says on the pack, it is well presented and has the expected flavour and nice texture.
I personally would rather have a sweet cereal bar, and a bag of Marmite nuts for a snack in the afternoon.

20 November 2009

Pudsey Bear Cakes [Children In Need]

Hope everyone is enjoying Children In Need!

Just wanted to say a big well done to Tim from my mum’s place of work who made these cakes for Children In Need! They had a lovely vanilla sponge, jam and were absolutely beautifully iced. Nothing beats a handmade cake, and these were particularly tasty and for a good cause too. Thanks Tim! ;-)

Black Forest Cup Cake (Starbucks)

Back in August I wrote about the Berry Cupcakes at Café Nero. When I first purchased them I hoped they would include a chocolate sponge in order to create a Black Forest gateaux flavour, but I was a little disappointed that they did not.
Starbucks new cup cake seems to be my dream cup cake, as it actually is a Black Forest gateaux version. There is the loveliest layer of fluffy light sweet chocolate sponge, topped with a slightly sharp but tasty cherry jam medley. On top of this is a layer of something that it is half way between cream and butter-cream. It is thicker than cream, but much lighter than butter-cream icing, and tastes wonderfully rich and sweet. The cream layer is then topped with a dark glacé cherry and chocolate sprinkles, just for decoration.
As Black Forest gateaux is one of my favourite cakes, it will come as no surprise that I loved this cup cake. The flavours worked well and definitely reminded me of the dessert it was named after, so I couldn’t have been happier!

19 November 2009

Mr Kipling Cappuccino Slices [Special Edition] (Asda)


The first thing I noticed when I opened the packet was that these cakes smell gorgeous. There is a lovely rich, strong coffee smell that appeared and was rather appetising.
The cake slices are packaged in pairs, so they stay fresh after the box has been opened, which is a nice idea.
The sponge is lovely and soft and does not disappoint in flavour either, as it contains the lovely rich coffee taste that I could smell. The icing on the top adds the sweetness which when combined with the base merges to make a strong coffee cream taste. I found them to be well balanced, and not overly sweet as a whole which was nice.
The dark sponge and sweet creamy icing are mimicking a cappuccino of course, and I do like the concept. I’m not sure why these are a limited edition, they are such a tasty treat they really should be part of the permanent range.

18 November 2009

Terry’s Chocolate Orange [Melt In The Middle] Puddings (Asda)

I may sound a little picky, but one of the things that bothers me with a dessert like this is the packaging. They always come in a plastic pot with a clear sheet sealing the top. I have a slightly irrational dislike of this style packaging for fear that the clear sheet won’t just pull off, and I will end up with plastic in my meal. I have a similar fear of yoghurt pots, so I know I must be in a minority!
Anyway, if you do share my feelings you will be pleased to know that the clear plastic came away neatly, phew, I did not have to resort to a knife! I just wanted to give the makers an extra bonus point in my write up for this! :-)
These puddings can be oven baked or zapped in the microwave for a quick dessert, although I opted for the oven. I thought that the sponge was soft and sweet and that the sauce inside was a lovely touch adding the required moisture. The flavours of rich chocolate and sweet fruity orange mingle well and make for a lovely pudding. I served these exactly as they came, and I really liked it without anything else. However the other two people that tried them with me said they would have liked custard, as they felt the puddings needed something.
I felt that these made a nice tasty dessert, but it might be worthwhile stocking up on some cream or custard to serve them with, just in case.

17 November 2009

Jaffa Cakes – Lemon and Slime [Lime] (Spa)

This item seems to be a Halloween product, but I am going to be writing about it despite the current date being well into November. The thing is I have been searching and searching for these biscuits (cakes?) since I heard about them around a month ago, so when I did finally see them I felt obliged to buy them. I was strangely enough on a road trip and had made it to Beaumaris on the Isle of Anglesey when I found these. The busy shops/supermarkets in the city where I live don’t seem to have stocked them at all.
Despite being unseasonal, the biscuits were not reduced in price in anyway, and to be fair the best before date doesn’t actually run out till February next year.
I was initially put off by the word ‘slime’ in the title, but after I tucked in I have to say I found these biscuits to be rather nice. The Jaffa Cakes are labelled as lemon and lime, and had a nice citrus taste but the dominant flavour did seem to be zesty sweet lime, and they certainly get my thumbs up.
If you do like the idea of sweet tangy lime and manage to find some, don’t be put off by the pumpkin on the pack, they are very much worth a post Halloween purchase.

16 November 2009

Green & Blacks Organic Mint Squares (Sainsbury’s)

I spotted this nice box of Green & Blacks chocolate mints in the Christmas section of the supermarket. At first glance I assumed that it would contain a selection of chocolate mints, with various types of chocolate, white, dark etc. Upon opening the box I discovered that all the chocolates within have a dark 60% cocoa base, and are infused with peppermint oil. Each chocolate is individually wrapped, and forms a chocolate-thin. The flavour from the cocoa and the peppermint is blended well and has a good strong flavour which I really liked it is rather dark and rich.
I suspect the chocolates aren’t really aimed at the gift market, but a mint fan would not be disappointed to receive them in this way. However if you are off to a dinner party and looking for something extra to take, these would good down very well as they would be perfect with coffee at the end of a meal.

15 November 2009

Lindt Hot Grenadine [Pomegranate] {via @Nli10} - 99p Shop

I remember way back in November 2008 Cinabar reviewed a hot black-current and hot mango
choc bars
and around the same time while picking up a cheap drink for a train trip I stumbled across a third taste in the range. Naturally I bought it.

It's been on my desk for quite a while and occasionally I take a bite and remember why. Don't get me wrong, Pomegranate and Chilli are two of my favourite things, and this is a 70% dark choc bar so it's going to be pretty close in flavour to the Maya Gold chocolate that I love. The insides are runny which adds an air of opulence to that provided by the large 15g chunks the bar separates into.

But it just doesn't work. The almost liquor quality of the centre overpowers the choc taste, the strong choc masks the fruitiness, which leaves you with a lightly burning vaguely chocolaty aftertaste. Without the packet I wouldn't have had a clue what it was trying to taste like, and seems to have been focus tested on people who though that their cough mixture wasn't quite spicy enough.

I think that if the squares were individually wrapped and each of the various flavours were in the packet it'd be nice for after dinner on a cold winters night, like an explosive After 8, or a Benedicts of Mexico. Expecting someone to eat whole bar is a bit much and is the main reason why I still have those 4 squares sitting on my desk.

14 November 2009

Frijj – Hot(!) Chocolate Fudge Brownie Drink (Sainsbury’s)

Frijj Chocolate Brownie Milkshake has been out a fair while now, but the packaging caught my eye as it has changed a bit. It now suggests that you serve the drink hot, having zapped the contents in the Microwave. Sadly the bottle isn’t microwave friendly, which seems like a missed opportunity to me. Having said that it wasn’t too difficult to pour the liquid into two mugs and heat! There are 500ml in the bottle and a regular sized mug holds 250ml, so there is just enough for two.
Two minutes later and I removed the drinks from the microwave and was surprised that they looked a lot thinner that when they went in. I was impressed by the taste, the drink was absolutely gorgeous. It was full of flavour, lovely chocolate and nicely defined brownie and fudge. I am one of those people with a very sweet tooth, who always fancies a hot chocolate that pretty much tastes strong enough to be liquid chocolate, and I think I may have found it. Yes there is the added fudge brownie taste, but the whole drink is just yummy. Despite being sceptical about the concept of heating a milkshake, to say I am pleasantly surprised by the results must be the understatement of the year.

13 November 2009

Kettle Chips – Red Onion Chutney [Seasonal Edition] (Sainsbury’s)

As festive flavours go, Red Onion Chutney doesn’t seem particularly Christmassy or Wintery to me, but the flavour is a limited edition for this time of year. I hate to labour a point but I am as likely to have red onion chutney in a cheese sandwich on a picnic on a hot Summer’s day as I am having the chutney in Winter, but I shall attempt to put that aside.
The crisps themselves have the usual Kettle Chips quality, with a decent thickness and solid crunch. I loved the aroma from the packet, it was filled with an enticing sweet and spicy smell. The flavour is rather good too; the sweetness and onion flavour takes precedence, and works rather well as a flavour for crisps. The spices were milder than I expected, but there was a slight tang to them. I thought that they made a lovely sweet onion crisps, but didn’t have that extra edge you would expect from a chutney. I felt that they just needed a little something to make the flavour that bit more authentic, perhaps a little more spice and a hint of sour.
I did enjoy the crisps though despite feeling they weren’t an exact match for the label on the pack, and think they would go down rather well being shared round friends at Christmas time.

12 November 2009

Kinder Father Christmases (Wilkinsons)

I think we are all aware by now the Christmas goodies are officially with us, and now that Bonfire and Halloween have passed there is nothing to slow the onslaught of the Christmas stock appearing in the shops.
These chocolate Kinder Santas caught my eye, as I have always had a bit of a weakness for Kinder chocolate (as it has a slightly nutty flavour). When I first saw them I have to say that I thought that these novelties would be filled in some way, ideally with a creamy fondant. I was a little disappointed to find that the chocolate was actually completely hollow. It did have the layer of white chocolate on the inside of the milk chocolate, the same as with a Kinder Egg, but alas no toy to build either.
Other than that, the chocolate was nice, and the presentation of these items is quite sweet and would make nice stocking filler, but personally I would rather have a set of three Kinder Eggs!

11 November 2009

Nescafe Green Blend (Waitrose)

I understand the concept that green tea is filled with antioxidants, but I have to say this is the first time I have seen green coffee available as a drink, marketed as having similar health benefits. In actual fact there are a mix of regular roasted and green beans in this drink, it isn't entirely made up of green beans.
When the drink is mixed up I have to say it looks and smells exactly as you would expect Nescafe instant to be, the drink isn’t green in colour or anything else strange (thankfully). I added a little milk exactly as I normally would when making coffee too.
I thoroughly enjoyed the flavour, but again I couldn't pick up on any tremendous differences from regular instant coffee. The drink had a pleasant rich but fresh flavour which I would happily buy again. It made a good cup of instant coffee and any extra antioxidants can’t be a bad thing!

10 November 2009

Fruity [Plum Duff Chocolate] (Feeding Your Imagination)

I really wish my photography skills did this product justice. It is beautifully presented in a card wallet, sealed with ribbon, and it opens up to reveal a very alluring chocolate bar. The whole design concept from Feeding Your Imagination is about chocolate that makes you feel good, and the lush packaging is definitely a good start.
The chocolate has a lovely aroma too, and I think I can pick up on brandy, fruit, cinnamon and other warming spices. The chocolate itself if firm, but not overly hard and has a good texture. I loved the flavours within the chocolate I thought they all worked well together and had a lovely Christmassy taste, the fruit and spices all complimented one another rather well.
The only criticism I have is that the lovely spices and flavours do over shine the chocolate a little, and those in search of a strong cocoa hit may have preferred this in a dark chocolate. However, that aside, as a Christmas pudding flavour bar it is undeniably a fantastic bar.

9 November 2009

Kia-Ora Real Fruit Pastilles (Home Bargains)

I was pleasantly surprised to find these sweets in Home Bargains, I don’t think I have seen the drink associated with other products before. Kia-Ora are famed for drinks and cordials available in a range of fruit flavours, and I think owned by Coca Cola company. The minute I saw these sweets I had the 1980s advert stuck in my head. “It’s too orangey for crows, it's just for me and my dog”, “I’ll be your dog”.*
Kia-Ora is named after the Maori word for good-health, and just to make sure these sweets have added vitamins so might be helpful to those trying to fend off a cold.
Inside the pack I found the sweets to be consist of very soft jelly sweets, and each one was pleasant but very sweet. There were:
  • Orange – Rich full of flavour, very sweet, lovely nice citrus taste.
  • Lemon – Mild lemon flavour, could be more zingy but the sweetness over powers it a little.
  • Strawberry – Surprisingly natural taste, sweet and almost like wild strawberries.
  • Blackcurrant – Good fresh zingy taste, not too sweet this one and my favourite.
I’d happily buy them again, I have a very sweet tooth! ;-)

*If those two quotes don’t mean anything to you, I’m not mad – here is a link to the original advert: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5LvLn9PWln8

8 November 2009

Chunsi Udon Noodles {via @Nli10} (Yum Yum Worcester)

Decent Udon noodles are another one of those things that only the restaurants seem to have. Wagamamma customers will know them as the big fat white noodles that are reminiscent of a very square-sided worm, but I suspect they make their own. When fried after boiling so they are slightly crispy and taste amazing.
While Tesco used to stock a Yutaka straight to wok variety that fit the bill (which can now only be bought at Selfridges it seems) these days I've only found the flatter dried noodles in even the Asian supermarkets.
This particular variety does fatten up quite nicely when cooked and in conjunction with beef and some of the eastern sauces available in the supermarket, it made an excellent side. Each bunch of noodles is a generous portion for one person and with the increased amount of meat & leafy greens I served was easily enough for two.

I'll certainly buy these again, but the search for a dried fat Udon noodle continues.

7 November 2009

Fentimans Rose Lemonade (Waitrose)

I have been a big fan of Fentiman’s Victorian Lemonade and Curiosity Cola for a fair few years, so was pleased to see a new flavour in their range. As a fan of their Lemonade and a fan of rose flavouring (for example Turkish Delight) I was expecting to be in for a treat.
As it happens I felt this drink tasted a little mixed up, and I didn’t feel that the lemon and rose flavour complimented one another. The base lemon flavour is of a good quality, and the floral aftertaste is by no means bad, I just found myself craving regular Fentimans Lemonade while sipping this drink. The slightly sweet rose aspect seems to soften the zingy sharp lemon bite that I usually like so much.
I would be interested to know what other people who have tried this particular offering thought.

6 November 2009

Galaxy Probiotic (Waitrose)

It has been a long time since I first tried a probiotic drink, and to be honest it wasn't a great first experience. It was several years ago, and it was a free sample from a promotional stand. It had a very strange taste, acidic but creamy, and with a slightly sharp flavour mixed in, all in all not very nice. I remember thinking that they would have to improve the flavour a great deal before I would consider purchasing them again. Since then I know there have been quite a few improvements and fruity varieties are readily available.
However Galaxy Chocolate have just taken us to the next stage, with a chocolate flavour probiotic drink. I am pleased to report that this probiotic has a really good taste, to all intents and purposes it is like a slightly sweeter version of their chocolate milkshake, and it even has the same creamy texture. It does have a slightly sweet after taste that does give it away, but ultimately it is still a lovely drink too. It should be a welcome change for those people looking for an alternative to the fruit flavour probiotics.

5 November 2009

Taste of Turkey – Turkish Delight (Borough Market, London)

So while on my travels through London I made a point of visiting Borough Market, and what a wonderful place it turned out to be. It was full of interesting items from curious ales, to chocolates and this fine Turkish Delight.
The Taste of Turkey stall selling this was heaven, half of the table had olives, the other half Turkish Delight, and I wanted to buy everything! In fact I was having problems choosing which flavours of Turkish Delight to have, so I had a selection box of pieces that covered a fair few! Here is what I purchased:
  • Rose – the classic variety and it was floral and rich in flavour, with a sweet syrupy after taste.
  • Pistachio with Cocoa – it was coated in coconut and in smaller pieces than all the rest, but with a lovely pistachio flavour, and just a hint from the chocolate and coconut.
  • Apple and Cinnamon – strong hints of honey, and apple and a delicate sprinkle of spice from the cinnamon, very autumnal.
  • Cherry – this had a sweet natural cherry taste, not over powering, but no mistaking it.
  • Mint – with tones of menthol and liquorice as well as the deep mint flavour.
  • Honey and Walnut – this had a rich, nutty full walnut flavour, with a lovely honey aftertaste
  • Carrot Puree with Hazelnut – The strangest of all the flavours purchased, and it was firmer in texture than the others. It had a good crunch from the nuts, making for a nice mix of textures. It was sweet and reminiscent of carrot cake.
  • Cinnamon – Wow! This was rich and Christmassy. It had a wonderful spice and a lovely sweet flavour. How have I not had cinnamon Turkish Delight before? It was my favourite of the bunch!
  • Coffee – with a good creamy coffee taste, rather like a luxury latte.
  • Melon – refreshing and sweet and juicy tasting, a different flavour for Turkish Delight, but one that worked rather well.
  • Fig and walnut – sweet and treacle like with the full flavour of figs, rich and I liked the nutty pieces.
When I was at home I had no menu to work out which Turkish Delight was which flavour, but each piece was wonderfully defined in taste and the job of matching them up was easy. I take this to be sign of good quality. All the Turkish Delight was sumptuous and some of the nicest I have tried, and I loved the range of flavours that were available!

4 November 2009

Merryland White Choc Chip Mini Cookies [Maryland Cookies] (Sainsbury’s)

Maryland Cookies have had a seasonal change of name, and become Merryland on a temporary basis, which is quite sweet. The box is (dare I say it) Christmassy too, with one biscuit wearing a Santa hat and the sledge and snow scene.
The cookies are mini ones, a bit bigger than a ten pence piece and fairly thick and, filled with white chocolate chips.
The biscuits have a nice baked buttery taste, and I really liked the texture. They were crunchy, but immediately started to melt once bitten. There was flavouring from the white chocolate chips, but it wasn’t that strong to me. I think these are lovely cookies but that they need a more generous helping of big white chocolate chips to make them my perfect biscuits. Having said that, I can’t imagine anyone being overly disappointed with a purchase and imagine they would go down very well once shared among friends!

3 November 2009

The Grenada Chocolate Company – Organic Dark Chocolate (Liberty’s)

A few months back I was watching Trevor McDonald’s The Secret Caribbean, and I noticed he visited an award winning business called The Grenada Chocolate Company. Naturally I had a quick Google to see how available the chocolate was here in the UK, but I couldn’t find a stockist at that time. Last week though I was in London, doing the tourist things and I couldn’t resist a look at the chocolates in Liberty’s. In there the bar I had been searching for caught my eye. This one is a 60% dark chocolate, I’m not sure if they make milk chocolate, but it certainly couldn’t see any in the shop on that occasion. I was so excited to find this bar though, I was just so hoping it would live up to expectations. Opening the wrapper and there is a lovely strong cocoa smell, which is sweet, woody, but rich and sumptuous. The snap when I broke a piece off was clear and sharp, and chocolate is obviously of a very fine quality. In fact the texture of the chocolate is firm, but silky smooth when it melts. In taste the chocolate has a good balance of sweetness and strong cocoa; there is a fruity edge in the tone that almost reminded me of fruits of the forest. Finally as the chocolate melts away on the tongue there is a gentle note of mixed spice. A full flavoured chocolate, clearly worth the hype and very definitely worth hunting down. Yum!

2 November 2009

Lotus Galette Bretonne Biscuit (London Bridge Hotel)

Whenever I think of Lotus biscuits I think of their spice biscuits (including the wonderful chocolate and spice) which I absolutely love. I found this offering in a hotel room as a complimentary biscuit with the tea and coffee, I'm afraid I haven’t found them for sale anywhere yet.
Opening the pack and it is impossible to miss the rich sweet smell of butter and shortbread which is wonderfully appetising! The biscuit itself is quite thin and the top has a medium brown glaze, the back of the biscuit on the other hand is a pale cream.
The biscuit is very much like shortbread, with a slightly egg and caramel taste mixed in but surprisingly no spices that I could pick up on. It is a very rich biscuit, but a nice accompaniment with coffee. I wonder if it will get a wider release, I do hope so.

1 November 2009

Nissin Demae Ramen - Miso Flavour (Orange bag) {via Nli10}

This was picked up in Yum Yum Worcester, but is fairly common now in even the more mainstream western supermarkets.

Essentially Ramen is Batchelors Super Noodles, but in more exotic flavours (and I'm guessing was the original). Miso soup has long been my favourite 'go to' lunch dish when visiting the Japan Cultural centre in London, especially with the tempura flakes (or 'fish food') added, but as this is London and a little upmarket this can get expensive.

This little make at home pack is ready in 3 mins and produces very little washing up and is perfect for lunch. Boil the water, add the noodles, wait 3 mins, serve the noodles without draining and add both sachets.

The flavour is essentially that of brewed Soy Sauce, but with maybe a meatier flavour too. The packet does state that it may contain 'traces of crustacean' which is an unusual claim but for eastern foods I’d have thought this to be standard.

The noodles were soft and could easily be eaten on their own having a nice flavour, but with the two sachets added become a taste explosion, if not a little hard to describe. With the fish roll and other added herbs of the restaurant variants this was more of a snack than a full lunch, but I'm sure that the MSG (E621 on the pack) I’ll have enough energy to see me through the Sunday afternoon.