31 March 2010

Crunchy Nut Chocolate Peanut Crisp Bar (Superdrug)

Guess what caught my eye? It was the keyword in the title ‘peanut’ especially as it was so near my other favourite keyword ‘chocolate’. I’m sure you can imagine just how keen I was to try this bar.
When it came to it though, it didn’t meet my expectations. The whole point of a cereal bar, especially with peanuts in it is to have some crunch, but the honey glaze coating seemed to mute this. It did have good texture from the oats, crispies and nuts, but that distinct crunch was missing. Also the appealing concept of peanut and chocolate was disappointing as I felt the bar needed more chocolate. I know I have a sweet tooth, but really all the other flavours didn’t do it justice at all. There was just a lightly dipped base, but perhaps if it had been dark chocolate the cocoa would have come through more. Other than that the honey and nut flavours worked well together.
The bar is by no means bad, but it has so much potential with all those wonderful flavours that I felt it just missed the mark. Anyone else tried this? What did you think?

30 March 2010

Ben & Jerry’s – Fairly Nuts Ice Cream (Sainsbury’s)

I think it is fair to say that one of my favourite flavours is nuts. Ideally nuts with chocolate, but nuts and caramel is by no means a bad thing. This ice cream combines a vanilla based ice cream, with nut clusters, and caramel sauce, so it certainly sounds like a winning combination.
The ice cream is wonderfully creamy, and the caramel is surprisingly flavoursome, without being overly sweet. The best things here though are the nut clusters. They are crunchy as they have sizable pieces of nuts, the coating is gorgeous though, adding a softer texture and a good hint of hazelnut. Wow, Ben and Jerry’s have completely nailed the subtle flavour of nut, caramel and vanilla and made a fantastic ice cream.
Also the ice cream is named ‘Fairly Nuts’ as it is in their fair-trade range too, so there is no guilt in buying it.
I always think that companies that have a specific fair trade range, sound like their other items aren’t fair trade? Or perhaps they are just working towards getting them approved (hope so).

29 March 2010

Honeybuns Coppice Cake [Chocolate, Hazelnut and Cranberries] (House of Fraser)

I found this rather tantalizing cake slice in the cafe of a department store, and thought it looked like something perfect to accompany my mug of coffee. It was only after I sat down did I realise that this was a gluten free product, I wasn’t sure how this would affect it as I haven’t tried gluten free items before.
Well the first thing I noticed that was that this cake is incredibly moist, and also incredible fragile. Taking it out of the wrapper, it broke and I had to neatly place it back together for its photo. I also noticed a buttery residue on my finger tips too which was a little strange. I liked the lines of chocolate on the top, and was impressed by the darkness of the chocolate that shone through as the main flavour. The cake was not stodgy at all, just light, butter and very easy to eat, with a nice nutty edge. The cranberries were good too, but I could have done with a few more for my taste buds, just to add a zesty hint into the overall flavour.
I’m ashamed to say that normally the words ‘gluten free’ would put me off buying a product, and that I would assume that the item would never taste as good the proper thing.
I was very glad to have picked up this item, all be it by accident, as it just goes to show how wrong I was. This cake is a thoroughly sweet, sticky chocolate treat, and went rather well with my coffee. Lovely stuff, I will be on the lookout for more Honeybuns goodies to try.

28 March 2010

FoodStuffFights {via @Nli10} - Kellogg's Krave Vs Asda ChocoSquares

I'm a bit of a bargain hunter and unlike a lot of people I like buying the store brands of everyday things as long as you follow the 'no liquids, no reduced ingredients' rules. If you question these rules then try washing greasy pans with Value washing up liquid, or try own brand reduced sugar cola - I'm convinced that swapping these two round would result in similar outcomes to their intended uses...

Despite this often the biscuits are better for you than the popular brands. Imitation Jaffa cakes have dark choc and a thinner layer of it meaning less calories, and store brand biscuits have less expensive fat & sugar and more cheap wholemeal flour. It really is win-win.

To celebrate this I've come up with a new feature where I pit a store brand against a heavy hitter from the world of the big brands. And I'm starting with my favourite food type in the world - Cereal.

Big Brand: Kellogs KRAVE
Store Brand: ASDA Choco Squares

Although I've chosen to start with this comparison it's actually quite a reversal on the norm in that I've been buying and loving the ASDA version of this cereal for about 3 years. There are a wide range of imitation brands in the Asda range, Coco-Pops, Shreddies - nothing is sacred - and on the whole for a pound a box they represent decent value. The king of this section has always been the Choco squares.
The content of these is essentially Nutella, making me think that they imitate a Euro cereal or one that is long forgotten in the UK (like Kellogg's Start which you can still get and is still basically fortified with stimulants & concentrated sugar). Kellogg's make a big play on not making cereals for anyone else - this means that both these cereals must be different factories and recipes and the ingredients do show differences. As with all imitation cereals I automatically thought that these were going to be the big new thing and popped a box into the trolley with the other cereals (I typically have more than 10 kinds at any given time - think 18 is the most I've had...) despite them costing twice the price of the Asda brand.

Cinabar's original KRAVE review is here.

Flavour-wise I was surprised. There is more of a hazelnut flavour to the Krave than the Chocos but the flavour is much sweet and less subtle. Also the bit is a lot softer, with less of the coating than the pictures on the box to the extent that you can see the filling through the sides. These are not bad things, but it does give the cereal a much lighter texture than the Chocos. By contrast they are a much heavier, crunchier cereal and rely on the chocolate of the filling for the flavour. It is a much smoother taste with less of an edge to it. I'd say that both have their plus points.

And now the final important part of the comparison - mascots.

The Chocos used to have a really nice purple box with some kind of mildly psychotic looking rodent on the box. I thought it was cool. Now they have gone with a generic bear/dog for all their cereal range. He may be doing the rock hand-sign, but he's clearly like the guy who runs the youth-club who isn't as cool as he thinks he is. Krave seem to have a masked version of one of the cereal as a tiny mascot hiding in the corner. I'm sure he's on a TV advert on a commercial channel I don't watch. He has an air of mystery and beckons from the box that he will protect us - even though his eyes are badly done and don't show any depth.

Overall the question is this: Two boxes of Chocos, or one box of Krave?

And I think that the Chocos edge it at 1:1 pricing, but at £2 for two boxes instead of £2.30 for one it's no contest. Unfashionable as bear/dog is, the kids keep coming back to him because he has the best value cereal.
by Nli10

27 March 2010

Kit Kat Wasabi (Japan)

Last year seemed a time where I was bombarded with chilli flavoured chocolate from many different brands, whether I wanted to be or not. I tasted many of these bars and chocolate flavoured death tablets, and didn’t particularly like any of them. On two separate trips to the Japanese restaurant, Wagamama (if you have one near, I heartily recommend it), I have sampled their White Chocolate and Ginger Cheesecake with chilli toffee ginger sauce, and also their Chocolate Fudge Cake with wasabi and chocolate fudge filling. Both of these desserts are to die for and it’s hard to pick which one I prefer between the two. Both have a little heat and are a lot of pleasure to eat. This Kit Kat is made for the Japanese market. It was sent by Cinabar’s American friend Gigi and may have been from some sort of grab bag or selection box, as it’s pretty tiny. I thought about being dainty and taking a few savouring bites, but hey, that’s just not me. Besides after my mixed “hot” flavoured chocolate experiences in the past year or so, I wasn’t sure if I’d like it or hate it. I opened the wrapper to find a very light green double break Kit Kat. I dumped the whole thing in my mouth. The white chocolate mixed with wasabi flavour hits you pretty quickly as you bite into the usual wafer. Then the very mild heat was gone as quickly as it arrived. It’s a little bit like someone dipped the Milky Bar Kid in English Mustard, then wafted him under your nose from quite far away only to say, “Nah, Mate, too hot for you!”

By Spectre

26 March 2010

Reese’s Dark Peanut Butter Cup (America)

Another big thanks to Gigi for sending me all of these wonderful goodies from America. I had no idea that there was more than one variety of a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, so to say I was jumping with excitement when I saw what she sent would be an understatement. I have decided to rank these as I try them, for comparisons sake.
First up then the dark version. I might be biased, even the idea of dark chocolate and peanut butter seems to make me salivate. There two peanut butter cups in the pack, and they both have a good portion of dark chocolate. There are lovely strong tones of cocoa in the chocolate, and the flavour is lovely and rich. The contrast is perfect with the smooth peanut butter. The nuts, the salt, the cocoa, all blend together so wonderfully. This is going to be hard to beat! Reese’s certainly know what they are doing!

I found this carrot - is it yours?

We were mentioned as 'sponsors' on this week's Collings & Herrin podcast (104 - iTunes link here) at about 9 minutes in. It's very obscene and only suitable for grown-ups and those who are not easily offended. They do some food reviews of a curry sauce product and suggest possible recipes for it too which is nice, although they do compare us to the Wombles. Do leave a comment if the carrot is yours and we will return it to it's rightful owners - nyum, nyum, nyum.
by nli10

25 March 2010

La Suisse Caffé (Italy)

These were actually brought back as a gift from Italy for my mum from a friend of hers. I, err, well to put it politely helped myself to a couple! They were just so lovely, it would have been rude not to write about them!
The bag doesn’t look particularly like an Easter gift, but inside the bad were foil wrapped mini eggs around 3cm tall. The chocolate is very dark and rich, and obviously of a very good quality. It is quite thick too, which adds to the flavour. The filling though is out this world. I know that they take coffee seriously on the continent, and when you try these chocolates it really shows. The truffle has such an amazing, strong, rich freshly brewed coffee taste, they are just perfect. The flavours are spot on, work together really well and deliver a wonderful coffee hit.
Coffee fans will adore these, I just hope the likes of Cybercandy and the other import stores start stocking them, they are yummy and equally as good as the famous Pocket Coffee made by Ferrero.

24 March 2010

Magnum Gold?! (Waitrose)

I was quite excited about this product, I love Magnum’s and the addition of a gold to the range sounded just perfect to me. I opened the wrapper and was impressed to see a caramel coloured Magnum, with a slight metallic hint to the coating.
I tested the aroma of the product at this stage and was a little surprised to find that the item had very little smell, just a vague hint of caramel.
I bit into the ice cream and cracked open the ‘chocolate’ shell. Underneath the gold coating there was a darker substance which did look like milk chocolate, but there wasn’t much flavour there to confirm this. The ice cream inside was a very mild vanilla, and the thin veins of caramel were, well, there I suppose. There was no mega caramel flavour, and the whole thing was a little lacking in any magic in my opinion. I think this may be the first Magnum I’ve been disappointed with, and I rate all the other flavours miles above this one.
This product title has a question mark in it “Magnum Gold?!”, if it is genuinely a question, the answer from me would be ‘no’.
I understand that Caramac are bringing our some kind of Caramac Choc Ice this Summer, I do hope it hits the caramel spot that this ice cream missed for me.

23 March 2010

Glico Mikado White Chocolate (Sainsbury’s)

Yesterday I wrote about the addition to the Mikado biscuit range of dark chocolate, today I will tell you about the other new flavour; white chocolate.
The biscuit stick in all the Mikado products is exactly the same almost like a rich tea biscuit in flavour. However the white chocolate with the sweet biscuit does make for quite a rich over all taste. The chocolate is very sweet and creamy, and the flavour of this and the biscuit do go well together. I found myself happily enjoying and munching several. After that though I found the rich sweet flavour to be adequate on my taste buds, and I was quite happy to stop. I found the dark chocolate more difficult to put down, and out of the two new flavours dark wins out for me. This is not to say the white chocolate are bad, in fact they are another great addition to the range, and white chocolate fans will love them!

22 March 2010

Glico Mikado Dark Chocolate (Sainsbury’s)

As you may have spotted already, nli10 and I are big Pocky fans. A year ago, Mikado milk chocolate was launched here in the UK and became the first mainstream non import UK version of Pocky. For those of you that don’t know Mikado (aka Pocky) are thin biscuit sticks covered in a flavoured coating. There is always a couple of centimetres of uncoated biscuit on each stick to ensure they are easy to pick up!
Anyway, it has obviously been a good year for the biscuits as I have spotted that they have launched two new varieties, this dark chocolate one and a white chocolate version too. I’ll be writing about the white chocolate biscuits very soon!
I loved the smell of these dark chocolate sticks, I thought that the cocoa on them smelt lovely and rich. The flavour had a good bitter sweet edge, and went well with the biscuit. This is an excellent addition to the UK range, and I felt that the dark chocolate was full of flavour and enhanced the taste.
I am pleased to see they didn’t call this edition “Men’s” as they do abroad. It is a bit of a sexist view to assume that it is only men who like dark chocolate, and I’m not sure they’d get away with it over here!

21 March 2010

{via @Nli10} Pocky Almond Crush Bitter & Ice Cream Desert Rolls (Day In Supermarket - Birmingham), 81% Edel-Bitter choc (Lidl)

Just a few quick notes about some of the empty boxes I have on my desk currently.

Almond Crush Pocky is quite common in Thailand and is one of the standard varieties reviewed before. This seems to be a cross between Men's Pocky (dark choc) and the normal Almond Pocky. To be honest I couldn't really tell the difference until I ate both side by side! While the choc is definitely different the flavour of the almonds overpowers this so it's not worth hunting for, but is still nice.
J. D. Gross make the chocolate bar featured. It's essentially the most bitter chocolate I've ever found, and tastes like it contains caffeine or similar powerful natural stimulants. I tend to eat it a square at a time (there are 8 squares to a bar & 3 bars in a pack) and really savour the taste, definitely not one to sit and eat a whole bar of!
The 'Crunchy Chocolate Wafer Roll (vanilla)' appears to be either Korean or Chinese in origin, but has no English on the box other than the import label. These are a very light snack and many can be eaten while working away. They taste exactly like you rolled up a thin wafer and filled the middle with vanilla ice-cream. I seem to remember there were multiple flavours so may hunt those down for future snacking.
by Nli10

20 March 2010

Kit Kat Chunky Caramel {via Spectre} (American Version)

I’ve eaten my fair share of caramel chocolates in my time. Not to say I’m fat or anything, but let’s just say it hasn’t done my figure much good. Top of my league of caramel bars would have to be the faithful Cadbury’s Caramel bar. Not only because of the seductive bunny, but the caramel tastes sweet, and the Cadbury’s milk chocolate coating is in my humble opinion, easily the best chocolate in the world. Yes, Cinabar, you can keep your Milka, and other weird and wonderful brands of brown muck; Cadbury’s chocolate rules. Much to my confusion; the company were lately bought by the Americans. Who are famous for their rather odd tasting chocolate, Hershey’s to name but one. The only reason springs to mind is that our American cousins need Cadbury’s to show them how to make proper chocolate.

Cinabar was recently sent a Kit Kat Chunky Caramel bar by her friend Gigi in America. A few days back I munched down the British version of the Kit Kat Chunky Caramel, purely for research purposes, of course. And the fact that I only had 66p on me at the time. Not enough to buy the much preferred Cadbury’s Caramel bar. To be honest I wish I’d had the extra 3p. The bar was chunky, I’ll give it that, but for all the wrong reasons. It was way too hard! And where was the famous Kit Kat wafer? Where was the runny caramel? Disgraceful! So, when I was passed this American version I naturally wasn’t fussed about eating it. Expecting inferior chocolate, no gooey caramel or crunchy wafer, I stared at it for a while, put it in my office desk drawer, left it for much of the day and only opened it when I was seriously hungry. Oh my, does this bar have everything I was looking for! It has a full centimetre of crunchy wafer, and a nice thick layer of milk chocolate in the middle separating it from, yes; thick, gooey, yummy caramel. This bar tasted like a real caramel Kit Kat should taste, not a second-rate hand me down from some far off break away Russian state in constant fear of invasion. I was even able to appreciate a fine milk chocolate taste. Not as good as Cadbury’s mind, but still very nice indeed. So why is Nestle wasting their time dumping their substandard rubbish on us British? This proper Kit Kat Chunky Caramel would sell like hot cakes in this country. AND Kit Kat is licensed to the Hershey Company. Now what’s going on there??
By Spectre

19 March 2010

Perinaise (Nandos)

The concept of this mayonnaise is that it infused with some chilli spice to give it a kick, which is a rather nice idea. If you look closely you can see the red chilli specs mixed into the rich creamy dip.
I used this mayonnaise product initially as a dip to accompany some potato wedges at tea time. I thought it went perfectly with them. The heat from the thick creamy sauce isn’t overpowering, but the tingle is enough to enhance the flavour of the potato. As always with Nandos it is a well balanced flavour, good taste and has a nice bit of spice.
Just to test out the theory I also tried this mayo in a ham and salad sandwich with rather impressive results. This mayo brought the sandwich to life, so I recommend giving that a try too!

18 March 2010

Lee’s Strawberry Light Meringue Bar (Nisa)

When I first purchased this I wasn’t quite sure what to make of it. For a brief moment I was a little worried that I had bought a product I was supposed to serve with strawberries and cream as a proper dessert. I had to convince myself that this was actually a confectionary in the impulse buy sector, and that it was correctly positioned next to the chocolate bars at the till.
So it is a bit of a strange idea to have a purchasable slab of meringue, but as you are aware, I’ll try most things, and things that are a bit different usually have extra appeal. The bar is a very smart rippled meringue dotted with pieces of freeze dried strawberry, and it looked rather appetising. The smell too was good, sugary sweet and with a lovely hint of strawberries. The bar is quite dangerous crumbly, but the texture is pleasantly crunchy and light. The flavour is gorgeous, a really good meringue taste, with a wonderful sweetness and a lovely fruity zingy strawberry taste mixed in, I thoroughly enjoyed. It was only when I was half way through that I noticed the details on the wrapper, this bar is ‘fat free’ and only contains 60 calories. Oh my, can it really be something that tastes like a wonderful sugar overload and is that low in calories? I only have one word for such a tasty but low calorie treat – genius. This will now be a regular purchase, as it will fend off the mid afternoon sugar cravings without many scary calories, but full of fabulous flavour - fantastic stuff!

17 March 2010

Cadbury’s Mini Eggs [2010] (Sainsbury’s)

Okay so Mini Eggs are really by no means a new product, and I cannot lay claim to having never tried them before either. However consider this to be about the Mini Eggs released in 2010. I felt compelled to write this, after someone at work alerted me to the fact that Mini Eggs don’t taste ‘right’ this year.
I am well aware that Mini Eggs have never been filled with Dairy Milk chocolate, but I was curious to see what was meant by them tasting odd and not quite right. Firstly a bit of research shows that the calories per 100g has changed slightly since last year, which would confirm some sort of recipe change.
So, the verdict: I felt that these eggs tasted sweeter than last year, not as creamy and that the shell had a stronger flavour. This seemed to be the consensus from Twitter too (thanks to all those that replied)! I have to say I preferred last year’s recipe, but I did not find them in anyway offensive this year. As this seems to have caused some controversy, I would love second opinions on what you think of the Mini Eggs.

16 March 2010

Dove [aka Galaxy] Peanut Butter (America: thnx @Gigireviews)

It is official, America is the home of peanut butter chocolate, and the UK seems to be the home of ‘safe’ ideas. We have caramel bars, and white chocolate, dark chocolate and thankfully a good few bars with nuts, but we don’t exactly have adventurous bars. Germany gets exciting products like Milka with Watermelon & Popping Candy, but to be honest all I’m really asking for is a few more peanut butter bars on the market. The word ‘more’ implies we already have some, but with the exception of the occasional import Reese’s product I don’t think we do. If you have seen any UK made peanut butter bars, let me know and I will try to track them down!
I seem to have gone off on a tangent, so I will return to this Dove Peanut Butter bar, sent to me by Gigi from Gigi Reviews, who has done a fantastic job of showing me what peanut butter/chocolate creations are available in the USA – thanks Gigi. :-)
Dove is the equivalent of Galaxy here in the UK, but I thought the chocolate was a little bit different to the usual Galaxy I was expecting. The American version didn’t seem to be as sweet as the UK variety or as intensely creamy. It is by no means bad chocolate; in fact the flavour seems a little crisper and is easier to eat. The peanut butter inside the chocolate consists of a generous filling, and the nuts and saltiness mixes rather well with the chocolate. I think if this had been made with UK Galaxy the flavours would not have gone together as well, and the whole bar probably would have been too rich. However this is another example of a well balanced peanut butter and chocolate bar, and it just goes to show these flavours were made to go together. Come on UK surely we can do it too?

15 March 2010

Milka Small Bars (UK)

Just a very quick note for UK Milka fans... although not a new bar as such, I did spot that Milka have released some smaller impulse 45g chocolate bars, in both milk chocolate and milk chocolate with Dime. I don’t need to re-review these, as you all know my feelings on Milka, but I just wanted to keep you all updated! Yum!
You can see the new sized bars here: Milka UK Website

Columbia VIA Ready Brew Microground Coffee [UPDATED] (Starbucks)

The people serving in Starbucks told me this product will revolutionise the way we drink instant coffee. They also told they would be doing a taste test the very next day to prove that this drink is identical to their two-pound-something-a-cup coffee. This little pack with three sachets in cost me £1.20 so I was rather tempted to ask them to make me a cup of that instead and charge me just 40p...
As it happens I did wait till I got it home to test out the coffee. I was quite surprised to discover that the powder inside each sachet was remarkably fine and light and powdery. The smell too was rather wonderful and rich, and this was before I had even added hot water. When I did, I discovered the smell intensified and did smell like a good fresh cup of coffee. The taste too was really good, full of flavour, with rich tones of coffee and it did taste surprisingly similar to proper coffee. I have to say I was impressed with this product. I have heard the claim many times that a certain brand of instant coffee tastes like fresh, and never found one that properly competes before. This Starbucks product makes one fine mug of coffee. The only problem I had with this packet was that because it was in sachets, I had to use my small mug to add the correct amount of water. I would much rather use my large Disney mug, so I have my fingers crossed that they will bring out jars of this product, making it easier to make a mug and halves worth instead.
Lovely stuff though, I would love opinions from anyone else who has tried it!

{UPDATE} I keep getting asked exactly how much coffee this sachet makes. It is nowhere near filling my wonderful Disney mug, but this is not to say that the portion is ridiculously small either. I have measured out the correct amount of water to show you all, once in a regular mug and what it looks like in my Disney mug.

14 March 2010

{via @nli10} FSF Hrvatska - Paprenjak & Sipak Caj (a.k.a Pepper biscuits & Rose-hip tea)

Dobar dan!

Recently I spent a week in Croatia on holiday and thought in the interests of the site I would check out the local snack foods and report on the most interesting ones.

First up are the Paprenjak, which are a Croatian traditional biscuit made with honey, black pepper & spices and are similar to the German Pfeffernusse biscuits or a spicier, crisper gingerbread. As we were given the biscuits on both of our Croatia airways flights into the country we presumed they would be the equivalent of Shortbread & Scotland and in every tourist shop available. This wasn't the case and we didn't see any of these biscuits until the airport shop on our return at which point we stocked up.

The biscuits themselves come in a variety of shapes and sizes and are really only eaten by locals as a Christmas thing. The flavour is strange, but after the first bite you really get used to it. The spices and pepper give a nice warming effect and the crumb of the biscuit itself is really smooth and yet feels more like a hob-nob than a shortbread. We both really liked these and brought some back as gifts, but also for ourselves. It seems quite a simple traditional recipe according to the internet so might be a nice one to try for next Christmas.

UK health food shops have always extolled the virtue of the simple rose-hip. Despite growing naturally in this country it's fairly inedible in its natural state, but once turned into syrups and preserves has a nice sweet flavour with a natural dose of vitamin C to boot. This led to me being fed large quantities of the stuff in syrup form as a child. I'm not complaining about this mind, it's like Ribena in that once you introduce a child to it you never have to worry about their vitamin C levels again (just their lack of teeth).

At breakfast on the first morning in the hotel we were presented with a box of tea bags including Indian tea (a harsher English breakfast but still nice) and various fruit infusions. As with much of Europe Croatia is of the opinion that hot water is sufficient to make drinks with, and while this is true of coffee it never quite gets the full flavour of tea. Herbal infusions such as fruit teas (which are not true teas being made with different plants) do not have this problem, and are often a wiser choice when out and about. I spotted the rose-hip and decided to give it a go.

The ingredients listed are rose-hips and hibiscus flowers, nothing else. When brewed from the provided t-bags it is drinkable without lemon or sugar, but as with any hot drink you can add to taste. The flavour is very sweet but not too sickly, and it was a welcome discovery and my hot drink of choice throughout the trip. Boxes of these were very common in the supermarkets, but I decided to stick with the brand from the hotel as it seemed to be the one the cafe's also went for. I even brought a box home for at work.

I'm sure that similar is available in UK health shops as they do have a wide range of herbal infusions. I will have to explore.

{via @nli10}

13 March 2010

REAL Oriental Spice Flavour Potato Chips (Starbucks) via Spectre

Now it always worries me when someone shows me some sort of oriental flavoured crisps. To my rather limited knowledge, this type of flavour is all new, right? We’ve had all sorts of flavours through the years, in fact almost every flavour you can think of but Oriental... which seems odd when you think of all the fantastic taste sensations that come from Chinese, Cantonese, Thai, Japanese, etc... Why we can’t regularly buy Red Curry flavour or Oyster Sauce, Black Bean Sauce or Duck in Plum Sauce flavoured crisps I have no idea. Okay, so we have different chilli flavours coming out of our ears these days, sweet chilli, jalapeño, Mexican chilli... whatever. All of them are great in their own ways, just nothing much on the Oriental front. When Walkers came up with a six different flavours competition, the most I looked forward to tasting was the Duck in Hoi Sin Sauce. Now I don’t know what you thought of this product, but all I could taste was spring onions. It was really overpowering, and really not good with a pint of beer.

So when we popped into a local Starbucks. I say local, as they’re on most street corners these days. Wherever you are, you’re local to a Starbucks or McDonald’s. If you’re not, then you’re way off the beaten track. Probably surrounded by fields and dodging cowpat. Cinabar picked up a bag of these Oriental Spiced crisps. After my last painful experience I could not be blamed for being overly sceptical. On getting home, I had a bottle of Adnams Gunhill on Standby in case of emergency to numb my brain from overpowering onions, or just something to go nice with a heavily crossed limbed tasting session. I opened the packet and took a good whiff. I must admit, I was taken aback by the smell of different spices. Not much of a person to describe the aroma or different spices on eating, but I was relieved not to be assailed by any onion tastes. I was so enjoying these crisps; I forgot I had a beer waiting. On tasting the beer and crisps together, I found two life time buddies had just met. If I was in a field away from coffee shops and supermarkets I’d walk or crawl to get a bite of one of these crisps and be happy of a few cool beers to wash them down with. My only complaint: I should have got more than one bag!

12 March 2010

Strawberry Yo Yos (Bear)

Inside the rather pretty bright pink bag were two 'fruit yo yos'. Sadly I discovered that one of them was already slightly unwrapped, but this didn’t really matter as you'd be hard pushed to use it as an actual yo yo anyway! My intentions were purely to unwide then eat!
Also inside the bag was a fascinating fact, with a message about it being impossible to lick your own elbow. I have managed to resist testing this so far, but the card gives me the impression that this product is aimed at the younger market and possible school lunch boxes. Given the fruit composition, it would make a fun but healthy choice.
The texture of these items is surprisingly pleasant as they are firm but very slightly chewy. The flavour is predominantly strawberry, but I also noticed a hint of apple mixed in which goes particularly well. Overall this makes a tasty but healthy snack, that is fun and perfect for to encourage kids to eat some fruit without it being too taxing for them.

11 March 2010

Thornton’s Praline Small Egg (Thornton’s)


As someone who is known to be quite a strong fan of nuts in chocolate, I’m sure you can imagine that I was rather looking forward to trying this small egg from Thornton’s. The egg is filled with a decent dollop of nutty praline, and the milk chocolate shell has pieces of almond embed into it too, for the nut fans.
I was rather impressed by the shell of the egg, the milk chocolate is sweet, rich and creamy and the almond pieces add a nice hint of nuts and a bit of texture. The praline inside was good too, but not as silky as in a Lindt egg. However it was smooth and had a full nut flavour, and brought the whole item together nicely. A nice little treat from Thornton’s, and a nice alternative to the Cadbury’s Creme Eggs.

10 March 2010

Reese’s Fast Break (America)

Recently I have been involved in the most amazing candy swap with Gigi Reviews over in The States, we have both sent a stash of goodies to each other in order to compare and share items from different countries. I explained to Gigi that the thing that bugs me most about the British market is the complete lack of peanut butter chocolate bars, and oh my she has sent some fine examples for me to try.
I decided to write first about this Reese’s Fast Break, it was chosen a little at random, mainly because she sent me so many lovely things it was hard to pick where to start. Fear not though, I shall be making my way through them and letting you all know how I get on.
Strangely in the UK ‘Break’ in a product title tends to mean the literal break and the item usually has some sort of crisp biscuit. This is not the case for this bar, as its contents are actually quite soft and made with nougat. In fact the bar is ever so slightly chewy where the nougat is, but soft for the peanut butter layer. I absolutely loved all the different textures in this bar, it made it a pleasure to eat. The peanut butter has such a wonderful salty nutty taste, and goes perfectly with the chocolate, this was one amazing bar and I loved every bite. Regular readers will know me as a bit of a Milka fan girl, I think I have to add Reese’s fan girl into that basket too. If this bar is anything to go by, I’m going to love trying all the other wonderful choccies, thanks Gigi. :-)

9 March 2010

Bonne Maman Apple Tatin (Waitrose)

This dessert is an apple tart that is heated in the microwave and served hot. I have to say I have been rather impressed with the Bonne Maman range to date and was rather looking forward to this. I am pleased to say it did not disappoint.
These tarts have the most amazing rich toffee flavour mixed with a sweet fresh apple taste. The strength of the flavours are quite intense, and I mellowed them by serving them with a dollop of crème fresh which seemed to go perfectly. The flavour that this reminded me of was toffee apple, there isn’t a noticeable taste of cinnamon, just wonderfully rich toffee sauce and lots of apple. It made a quick and easy dessert, which gets full marks for flavour, providing you have a sweet tooth! Yum!

8 March 2010

Cadbury’s Crunchie and Caramel Biscuits (Sainsbury’s)

These biscuits were in a strange place in my local Sainsbury’s, they were on a promotional stand, in the chocolate and sweet isle, and not in the biscuit section. I think perhaps the reference to Cadbury’s chocolate bars, confused whoever were putting these out, because they are undeniably biscuits.
The Caramel version consists of a layer of buttery shortbread biscuit, with a thick layer of runny caramel all coated in Cadbury’s chocolate. I loved that these biscuits contained proper caramel and that the chocolate proportions were generous. All the flavours went together really well, and made an absolutely fab biscuit.
The Crunchie biscuits were also good. The biscuit base on this variety was a rich golden coloured and was flavoured with cinder toffee. On top of this is a layer of Crunchie pieces, broken quite small, but a decent layer all the same, and again it is coated in Cadbury’s chocolate. The Crunchie biscuits were sweet and rich and the cinder toffee flavour was lovely and sweet and undeniably Crunchie. Another rather tasty biscuit in the range.
I thoroughly recommend both of these biscuits, it is hard to call it between them, but they both represent their chocolate bars perfectly, with lashings of flavour.

7 March 2010

{via @Nli10} MilkyWay Minute (red flavour), Juicy Fruits Crvena Naranca (Blood Orange?)

Dobar dan!

Recently I spent a week in Croatia on holiday and thought in the interests of the site I would check out the local snack foods and report on the most interesting ones.
This week covers a couple of snacks I picked up from a small shop in the old town part of the city of Dubrovnik in Croatia. First up is the MilkyWay minute, which a quick Google tells me is actually quite a widespread snack. In Eastern Europe It's essentially a breakfast bar, with a hard biscuit base with protruding sides which are filled with a mix of yogurt and bits of fruit. These fruit parts seem to depend on the colour of the wrapper with apple and cinnamon being mentioned a lot, but being the red flavour this had either strawberries or raspberries in it. I'm not quite sure which as the wrapper did not make it home.
Like a lot of bars with dried fruit the flavours in this are really quite strong, and the yogurt and biscuit means that despite their small size (drink in picture was for scale) they are actually fairly filling. If they did these in the UK then I think I'd buy them for work breaks, and as we do get a lot of Eastern European foods popping up in 99p style shops it might be worth a hunt.

The drink, shown pictured from the walls of Dubrovnik, was a strong orange flavour leading me to think that the translation of the label is blood orange. I remember Orangina's version been mentioned on these very pages by Cinabar some time ago, and while I was a fan it wasn't something you could drink in large quantities. This was a lot smoother, and a welcome purchase as we did a lot of walking on the day I picked this up (although not as much as on the day we went to the top of the hill in the back of the picture)!
I think the fact that this was a blended drink from concentrate actually helped the flavour as it's a lot more refreshing experience and a lot more drinkable than some of the stronger tasting drinks over here. I saw a lot of adverts for similar drinks so I think that in Croatia it's probably one of the leading brands.

6 March 2010

Bacchus Belgian Raspberry Beer {via Spectre} (Sainsbury's)

Generally when anyone mentions raspberries to me, the first thing that crosses my mind is fart gags. Like most people, I'm not a fan of traffic wardens and have been caught on several occasions blowing raspberries at them in the street. I can also entertain myself for hours blowing a diverse range of noises on Cinabar's tummy! I do like raspberries. Well, artificially enhanced things that taste like raspberries (example: raspberry ripple ice cream... er... that's about it). Oh, oh... I like raspberry jam! And as far as I know, that has raspberries in it somewhere. I also like beer. Though mixing the two together seems like violating some unwritten code. Raspberry beer doesn't sound like a manly drink, sorry to sound sexist, but hey, I prefer my beer to have some bite at the back of my throat. Don't get me wrong, raspberry beer sounds like a good idea in principle. It might make a good pudding beer to have with something sweet, such as ice cream, cake or chocolate, or especially if you're having the missus for dessert... At the ultimate least, if you drink tonnes of the stuff then it might taste great on the way back up! With all this in mind, as well as my previous episodes with odd flavoured ales (see *bane of banana beer* and *cherry beer catastrophe*), I unwrapped and popped open the bottle. Although it was the same reddish colour as the cherry beer, no overpowering aroma of berries blasted me off my feet. I took a tentative sip and was surprised at how sweet, but not unpleasant this beverage was. I drank a little more of this beery berry wine, and although I couldn't quite tell that it was specifically raspberry flavoured, I found it strangely moreish. Was I finally getting in touch with my feminine side? Whilst humming the theme tune to Friends and after some strange looks from Cinabar, I tore open a bag of Nando's HOT flavoured crisps in an effort to blunt the syrupy taste and kill the camp feeling. I was surprised to find that they went rather well together. The hot spices complimented the sweet tasting beverage and I suddenly noticed both beer and crisps had gone. Although I don't think I'd dash out to buy another, at least I can say I marginally enjoyed drinking a fruit flavoured beer for a change. I just have to learn to steer Cinabar away from the new / weird flavoured beer section in the supermarket...

5 March 2010

Starburst Strawberry Milkshake [Mars] (BaeGo)

Before I write about the taste of this milkshake, I wanted to spend a minute discussing portion sizes. I bought this drink and had the whole thing with a sandwich at lunchtime. I would like to think that this doesn’t make me crazy greedy, one bottle with 440ml of shake and one sandwich. However the bottle has the calorie content for one portion on the side, and the portion is actually LESS than half the bottle. Not only that, but it even states 2.2 (that's two, with a decimal, point two) portions in the bottle - madness. If I was to split it up, one of the days I'd only get 40ml which is a bit rough. So what I’m saying is, given that most people would drink the whole contents probably within the day I would rather have the calories per bottle as I think this would be a lot clearer. Yes, it sounds scarier as it works out as 316.8 calories per bottle, but that is just the facts. The concept of 2.2 portions per bottle just seems so strange to me! How long before we see calories per teaspoon, or some other strange but factually correct awkward way of calculating calories. It wound me up.
Anyway the milkshake itself is labelled as thick shake, and does have a good creamy consistency. The flavour is rather sweet, which makes the whole thing taste a little artificial, but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing with strawberries. I enjoyed the sweet fruity shake, and found it perfectly pleasant. It is marketed as being a Starburst drink, but I think it would need to be a little bit zingier to live up to that reputation, still a good shake though.

4 March 2010

Bonne Maman Le Petit Chocolat (Waitrose)

I initially thought that this was a bag of mini cakes for sharing, but was surprised to see that each mini cake is also individually wrapped. This is really useful as it means they keep fresh longer, and that I could save some for taking to work too.
The cakes consist of a dark brown chocolate ring of sponge, with a portion of cream coloured vanilla sponge in the middle (like a filled in doughnut).
The cakes are very moist, sweet, and soft and have lovely cocoa tones. The chocolate sponge is mild, so that the vanilla flavour is still noticeable, but it was chocolaty enough to still come through at a good level. Theses mini sponges almost melt in the mouth, and make for a rather lovely treat. I was rather impressed by these; I’m looking forward to trying all the other lovely items in the Bonne Maman that keep appearing in Waitrose!

3 March 2010

[New] Brelvita Breakfast – Fruit & Fibre (Waitrose)

This item is really more of a biscuit that a cereal bar, but it is enriched with fibre and designed as a breakfast food. Inside the box there are portion sized wrapped packs of four biscuits. They have a lovely fresh aroma of wheat, and do smell quite appealing.
I had these biscuits for breakfast at work with a morning coffee. The biscuits are quite thin, and I made the mistake of dunking, and sadly they are a little bit fragile, and part of my biscuit broke off, so I don’t recommend dunking!
The biscuits themselves have a good level of sweetness to them, with the fruit bits adding texture and flavour. The underlying taste is a bit like that of a digestive biscuit as there is a good baked wheat flavour mixed in. They made a nice alternative to my usual cereal bar at work, and I’d certainly buy them again.

2 March 2010

Bonne Maman Crème Caramel (Waitrose)

I have to say I really do like Crème Caramels as a dessert, I guess you could say it is one of my staples as a pudding choice, and I have sampled a great many varieties too. This particular version smelt of rich caramel, and was rather appetising. Inside the pot I could see that it had a very thin skin on top, which you don’t see very often. I found that the main creamy section of this dessert was spot on. The flavour included a hint of egg and was really creamy, and it had a lovely thick velvety texture too.
The part I thought that I thought let it down was the actual brown caramel liquid. Despite being flavoursome, I didn’t think it was sweet enough to give that caramel kick that these puddings usually have. It wasn’t bad as such, it was just lacking an extra special taste.
Overall these were nice puddings, I just would have preferred a bit more or a rich sauce to complement the rather nice Crème Caramel.

1 March 2010

Grabits Nice & Spicy Chicken on a Stick (Morrison’s)

Well I have tried a few of the Fridge Raiders products, but fancied trying something a little bit different. I have to say ‘chicken on a stick’ doesn’t sound as appetising as you may have imagined to me, but I was tempted in by the promise of spicy flavours.
I unpackaged the item, and I have to say, it didn’t look all that appetising to me either. I thought the product was ever so slightly unattractive to look at.
It markets itself as being less than 3% fat and marinated chicken. I was pleased to discover that the flavour was quite pleasing, I could taste chicken, and it was quite succulent. There was also a good hint of paprika and a bit of heat, that developed as I munched my way through the product and ended up being quite a reasonable burn. It was much tastier than I expected, and would be nice as a snack to keep in the fridge.