31 May 2010

Glico Pocky – Green Tea (China)

I would like to start by saying a big thank you to the lovely people living in China who sent me a wonderful selection of goodies to write about. I really appreciate it, and just love everything – so thank you!!!
The first thing that caught my eye was this strange sounding Pocky variety. I’ve seen Green Tea flavoured items before, but certainly not Pocky. I also admit to rather liking the idea that the Pocky was dipped in a wonderful green substance, such an interesting colour for a foodstuff.
The taste wasn’t what I expected, I could pick up on the Green Tea which was leafy, with an almost grassy flavour, but there was also a wonderful sweetness mixed in that really worked. Although I couldn’t find any trace of it on the ingredients, it did taste like it had some kind of tropical fruit flavour included too. Perhaps it was just the combination of sugar and green tea, but the fruitiness made them a pleasure to eat.
This is an absolutely lovely edition to the Pocky range, and I will keep my eye out on the import stores because I would definitely buy it again, they are absolute yum!

30 May 2010

Lizi's Apple and Cinamon Granola {by @Nli10} (Waitrose)

Actors are a strange bunch. They seem to put their name to anything vaguely interesting to get back on TV, or to earn a bit more money regardless of the quality of the item. This particular cereal is endorsed by Lizi Sure who is an actress who I remember but am not sure why. I'm always on the lookout for raisin free muesli, and with the mix of seeds, apple and other goodies this looked interesting so despite my reservations I gave it a go.
Frankly this is one of the best muesli style cereals that I have ever tried! The balance of flavours shows that someone has taken massive care and attention over the selection of ingredients and the hit of the cinnamon is wonderfully subtle. It is both crunchy and soft and really filling so the bag lasts a good while. I've only seen this in Waitrose but I will make a special trip to buy more, and hopefully these will do a kettle chips and get stocked by all. Maybe some actors sponsoring brands are in it for the wrong reasons, but Lizi sure knows her cereals and I will hopefully report back on other flavours.

29 May 2010

Walkers Crisps [By Spectre] Australian BBQ Kangaroo versus Japanese Teriyaki Chicken - Foodstuff Fight

During the Second World War the Australians fought alongside the British in a desperate jungle war against the relentless Japanese war machine in places such as Malaysia and Burma. They not only fought against samurai swords and machineguns, but lack of resources, dysentery and malaria, to name but a few. Of course the Japanese had the same problems, except they had the samurai swords. The Allies pushed the Japanese back in the end, but only after a horrendous mash of blood, bullets and death.
On first opening the Walkers multi-packs I thought of this titanic struggle. I also mused over the other food the Anzacs are famous for, which are Anzac biscuits. These are one of my favourite biscuits and never last long when I find them. Unfortunately I didn’t have any with me to eat after the BBQ Kangaroo flavoured crisps. I noticed a good smoky whiff on opening the packet and a flavour not dissimilar to BBQ chicken. I honestly have no idea what Kangaroo tastes like, and had heard it was illegal to hunt them Down Under. If this is anything to go by, I’d like the taste of BBQ Kangaroo, but aren’t they sweet fluffy bouncy animals that beat up Tom or Sylvester in cartoons? If you find yourself in Australia some time and you’re visiting your Barbie cooking mate’s house, when he passes you a slab of animal protein, give it a try, but just don’t ask what the meat is.
I’ve mentioned in blogs before that there isn’t enough Oriental flavours of crisps out there. Walkers tried Hoi Sin Duck flavoured crisps and recently Real came out with their own brand of Oriental spiced crisps. You can imagine I was really looking forward to these. The heavily onion flavoured Hoi Sin crisps had previously been corrected by Real, but would this Japanese flavour add to the pot of choice? On tasting these crisps I first noticed that the Teriyaki sauce flavour was not as appetizing as Teriyaki flavoured dishes I’d previously eaten in Japanese restaurants, such as Mount Fuji and Wagamamas. There was a strange flavour behind the sauce that just didn’t feel right. It took a moment to realise that this was the chicken fighting against the Teriyaki flavour, rather than working with it, like it should do in a meal. Don’t get me wrong, this wasn’t a wholeheartedly unpleasant munch, but perhaps Teriyaki should stay on a plate rather than in crisp format. It was hardly a titanic struggle to choose between these two crisp flavours. Did Walkers forget to chop up the chicken with a samurai sword?

28 May 2010

Seattle Ice Coffee Latte (Starbucks)

Starbucks selling ice coffee lattes is not a new thing, but they are usually made in store with the intention of them being drunk there and then.
This fine carton of coffee is found premade in the chilled cabinet designed to take home and have when you fancy it. As the weather is pleasant I love the concept of having an Ice Latte in the fridge ready to accompany a barbecue should a hot day allow it.
This drink is really very tasty, there is a wonderful rich, fresh coffee taste, complimented by the creamy tasting milk within it. There is a subtle hint of sweetness too and although I don’t take sugar in coffee (bet you weren't expecting that) this hint of sugar was a pleasant addition.
I have now stocked up with a couple more of these yummy drinks in the fridge, let’s just hope the sunshine shows its head again very soon.

27 May 2010

Mr Kipling Tuttie Fruitti Pies (Morrison’s)

Following on from the Raspberry Ripple Slices last week, we now have another ice cream flavour themed cake from Mr Kipling in the form of these Tutti Fruitti Pies. The other new item in the range, Neapolitan Bakewells will be written about shortly as I’m pleased to say I found a box of them too.
These Tutti Fruitti pies have some seriously interesting pieces of fruit tucked away inside them, including one fruit that is quite green, which I think must have been a variety of cherry. The flavour does have a mixed fruit taste, but it is quite consistent rather than each bite emphasising different fruits. Also, there is a predominant marzipan taste throughout the pie, which was pleasant, but I wasn’t expecting. Looking back the box does say “with an almond flavour” but I’m not sure how that fits in with the main Tutti Fruitti theme. Having said that I have to confess I did like the flavour, but if you aren’t keen on almonds I would give these a miss.

26 May 2010

M&Ms Coconut Edition [America] (Cybercandy)

We never seem to get M&M Limited Edition’s here in the UK, so if I see a strange variety in an import shop I always feel compelled to try them. This version seems like a Summery twist, and consists of M&Ms flavoured with coconut for a tropical taste.
There are three colours of M&M within the bag, white, green and brown; although they are (as per all M&Ms) the same flavour.
The M&MS have the usual crunchy crisp sugar coating, with a good whack of sweet coconut mixed within the chocolate contents. That’s the key thing here is that although the coconut is strong, but the whole chocolate tastes really sweet. Now I have a sweet tooth, so I loved them, but they might be a bit sweet for some.
Overall the coconut was creamy and tasty, working well with the chocolate, just a little sweeter than expected. If you want to try and win yourself a bag, do have a look at the competition I’m running!

25 May 2010

McCoy's Sausage Striker Crisps (WHSmiths)

Last week I told you about McCoys new chicken crisps, and this is the other variety in the McCoy’s Limited Edition football flavours.
The chicken crisps were absolutely fantastic, so it has to be said these had a lot to live up to. Opening the pack I was surprised by the tomato edge in the aroma. They were quite different to the other sausage flavoured crisps I’ve eaten. These had a good meaty pork taste, along with a decent hint of seasoning and that lovely tomato flavour mixed in too. Of course the base was the usual thick cut McCoys crinkle crisp, which is hard not to love. The more I ate the more I became convinced that the flavour was actually tomato and sausage casserole flavour. I really enjoyed the bag, they have a good wholesome taste. However out of the two new flavours, the Chicken ones have the edge, as they just recreate the flavour so perfectly.
Have you tried the different varieties? Which did you prefer?

24 May 2010

Win Goodies – Exciting Competition!!!

When I was shopping at the weekend, I picked up some wonderful goodies for a lucky reader to try. Up for grabs are five fabulous items from around the world:
  • Snickers Pods – Australian biscuit shells with a Snickers filling
  • Cadbury Sweet Marie – French chocolate and peanut bar
  • Junior Mints – American chocolate coated mints, not dissimilar to mint Poppets
  • Coconut M&Ms – American version of M&MS with a Summery twist
  • Pocket Coffee – German (European) dark chocolate filled with espresso (absolute yum)!
In order to enter simply tell me what your favourite personal foodstuff find is. Can be anything from chocolate, crisps, drinks, biscuits, ice cream etc from here or anywhere in the world. Doesn't have to be something featured on this site, just tell me about an item you love or something you found really interesting.



  • Any personal data will only be used for processing of this competition.
  • The winner will be chosen at random.
  • UK residents only.
  • Competition closes midday on Sunday 6th June 2010.
  • If I can’t get in touch with the winner in a reasonable amount of time to obtain an address another winner will be selected.
  • If you have any questions about this competition, please send me an email or leave a comment below.

Tic Tac [England Football] Fruity Limited Edition (Independent Newsagent)

Tic Tac are jumping on the band wagon and have released an England themed confectionary item. The pack shows the England red and white flag, and a football in support of the World Cup. Inside the pack are sweets in the England colours too, red and white, but flavoured with cherry and orange (more on this colour/flavour thing further down).

Cherry – Red coloured. This is quite a sweet cherry flavour, and although there is a distinct cherry taste, there is also an edge of ‘berries’ mixed in too. When I bit in, about half way through, there was a very pleasant sharp cherry hit that worked well. All in all, very pleasant!

Orange – White coloured. I have no idea why this bugs me, but it does, so I will mention it. They are orange sweets but they are white in colour. I realise that if Tic Tac went with the mint for the white you might get a bit of strange flavour combination with the cherry... but everyone knows orange should be orange. Otherwise I will just get all Confused. In flavour these are the same as regularly orange Tic Tacs, nice sweet and almost tasting like they have a hint of mandarin mixed in.

Of course I tried both varieties together, and that made a nice fruity combination too. I’m sure these are going to be popular over the Summer, whatever happens in the World Cup. Any new addition to the Tic Tac range has to be a good thing, but please can we have the American Cinnamon version here in the UK too!

PS Many thanks to DavidH for tipping me off about this great item!

23 May 2010

Health Potion, www.manapotions.com by @nli10 (via Cyber Candy, Birmingham UK)

It's not often I go into Cyber Candy in Birmingham. It's like the sweet shop of Tantalus as every sweet you ever wanted is there to see but they are priced just out of your everyday reach. This is sound economics - these things cost a bomb to import and to keep a shop in the centre of Birmingham is similarly steep - but it means I am limited to few impulse buys instead of a sugar fuelled shopping spree. I tend to limit myself to £5 per trip which means I get a nice treat but can still afford to get home afterwards.

One of these choice picks was a Health Potion. You know, like in computer games from the 90s. A little bottle of juice (40ml) for £3.60 doesn't sound that much of a good deal, but if you take a peak at the website then you will understand why I was tempted. Pop it open in another tab (or window) and have a look, It's all really professional and the drinks are marketed as a gamer pick me up. I figured that the little bottle was equivalent to 2 shots of premium drinks in a bar, and not unfairly priced for this so I bought one health potion, because I like Red flavoured drinks. Reading the site I should have gone for the MANA version as that is for the actual gaming session, the health potion is more to get you to work the following day after not sleeping due to a game launch. That said I'm a professional epidemiologist (no - really, I am - I even have half a Masters to prove it!) and know a good opportunity for a drug trial study when I see one, so I dug out Modern Warfare 2 for X360 for the first time in about 2 months, and got ready to play.

My methods were this. Blocks of 4 'every man for himself' matches with the exact same gear and skills set up. After each match I record the kills, deaths & score. After the first 4 'baseline' matches I down all the Health Potion and then keep going until I get bored (likely) or sleepy, or just plain run out of time. There are loads of flaws with this (Im bound to get better at the game as I go along) so it's not a proper study. Also it's not a blind trial - tempting as it is to have some other potions and drink one before each session it wouldn't work as I'd know which ones were which. Going into this I had a 0.60 ish kills to deaths ratio due to never taking the game seriously and always playing for fun with friends, and about 19 hours of playtime.

First of all I had to apply an update - it's the first time I've played since the DLC maps came out so I presume it was for that. Then I had to settle the cat so that I wasn't too interrupted as I went. It must have been about 7pm UK time when I jumped on.

All set up and without head-set I got 12Kills Died 14 times earning a score of 600 for the first game. I think I was a bit rusty and as I began to remember how all the radars worked and how not to run and shoot as it lowers accuracy I got 12K/11D/600 on my 2nd round which is a positive Kills to Death ratio (which is pretty good for me and my goal in every match) also I came 3rd in this game. Next up was a fantastic 17K/13D/850 with a 6 kill streak, and to finish the block 16K/11D/800 which by my previous standards was excellent. This meant that my baseline total was 57K/49D/2850 score, and a 1.16 Ratio. I was pretty chuffed with that - positive Kills to deaths and a few high finishes put me in a good mood so as planned I turned everything off and had some burgers. I watched a bit of TV and then about an hour and a half after switching off got back on again.

The potion itself was easy enough to open by hand with little dot perforations in the wrapper and a seal inside the lid for safety. It smelt odd. I think that ginseng and cinnamon is the best way to describe it, but as I suspected it didn't taste sweet. While the flavour was like a rather nice medicine, or red aftershock without the burn the most satisfying part was the sound it made as you drank it. That kind of precision touch is why the little things found their way to the UK I suspect.

After giving it a few minutes to settle into my system I could feel the caffeine start to work. I tend to restrict my caffeine intake these days (decaf tea - the works) just because I had a few problems with it when I was a teenager, but I've always been a big fan of sports drinks so was quite used to this. Traditionally I'd use them to survive festivals not gaming sessions (powdered energy drinks & free Glastonbury water is the perfect lightweight festival breakfast) but was willing to accept this might help.

First game up the matchmaker threw me into a mid match situation. As there was only a minute (out of 10) gone and I was only 100 points behind I made the snap decision that this match counted and after some close calls I came 2nd. Admittedly this was not a close 2nd, but 13K/6D/650 points was my best ratio so far! Could the potion be already working? Then I think the adrenaline kicked in and took the potion with it as what followed was some of the worst gaming ever witnessed. 10/15/500 , 10/17/500 and 9/17/450 were the rest of the scores for the session, more than offsetting my brilliant start. I was becoming twitchy, angry with the cat for ending my kill-streaks and beginning to think that I was playing NetHack and had quaffed the clumsiness potion instead. The session score was 42K/55D/2100 with a 0.76 ratio and you don't need to know statistics to know that was lower than the first session. In the last match my batteries had died and for that slim portion of time I only died once which probably improved my ratio. I was getting impatient and rushing into situations instead of waiting out and stalking my prey. I quit out so that I could fetch more batteries (I always have a spare set to hand, but these were low too) and had a comfort break.

When I jumped back in the next match was half way through and the leader already had 750 points (half of the target for the game mode) so I didn't count it. I got 8K/7D and 400 points which was only my 2nd positive result on the potion. The rest of the session was much poorer with a grand total of 46K/75D/2300 and a shocking 0.61 ratio. While my kills had increased my deaths had too. I found myself regressing to the play style of my teenage self, running into every firefight hoping for that one kill before I got shot down and giving everyone else all the points in the process. It wasn't a productive strategy.

The fourth (and final) session was not much better but did include one close game and one positive game to produce a 42K/50D/2100 and a 0.84 ratio which is similar to session 2 but with a few less deaths. At this point I became convinced that I could continue to play for a good few more hours, but the results would not change much so decided to write up then sleep. In this session I took a much more relaxed approach to the game, I stayed back and I focused on covering choke points so I could get a few easy kills. All these matches seem to be dominated by 3 or 4 players who knew what they were doing, used multiple weapon sets and also had the heart-beat sensor that I tend to use. This really contrasted with my earlier games where most people seemed to use the same basic gear that I have. I think that the main factor that influenced the trial was that better gamers tend to go on later, and play for longer. In the early evening I was earning the kill rewards for multiple kills and using them to at least keep myself alive. In the later games I got a few, but always the lower ones and was often picked off by the special weapons of the others. That 90 minute food break had really messed up the comparrisons as the gamers playing seemed to be a very different bunch of people.

I think if I repeated this with the MANA potion I'd do it on consecutive weekends in the same time slot to make it fairer with a similar set of opponents. As it stands I don't think that the ratios are different enough to say there is a true effect either-way and more tasty xbox sessions must be planned.

Post experiment I did a bit more reading on the website and found out that one of the Mana Potions contains as much caffeine as 2 cans of Red Bull - the drink that I stopped drinking due to the excessive effects it was having on me. Probably should have looked into that before hand really. On the plus side it probably won't wear off until half way through work tomorrow so if I don't fall asleep now, I probably won't then either. Writing food reviews at 1:30 am is not really typical behaviour mid-week though and probably not wise. They discuss how you can dilute it or drink half for a nice moderate effect, or go all in for epic gaming sessions or clubbing the night away. Again, probably should have looked into that beforehand. I think a single shot from the 2 shot phial would have sufficed for a midweek session on the MW2.

As for the drink, while I think that for MW2 it made me too hyperactive to play well within my skill limits (aiming is difficult enough!) but it definitely fulfils it's goal of allowing me to play for longer. I'd love to try it out while playing lazer quest or another real-world physical activity that really needs the energy. The flavour is good, the bottle is a keeper, and it certainly is a very cool concept. I don't expect many places in the UK will stock it though, which is a shame as a FoodStuffFinds staff outing on Left4Dead2, fuelled by Harcos Lab's newest product Zombie Blood would be a pretty cool experience. But not on a work night...

By NLi10 (GamerTag)

Additional notes:

The original review was done on Wednesday night and written up in the small hours of Thursday morning. I could still feel the effects of the potion throughout the day and while I hadn't really slept that much I didn't feel tired.
As usual after work on Thursday I (aged 30) went to visit my Granddad (in his late 70s) & Uncle (in his 50s) for our weekly three generations (board)game night which consists of Playing the modern upgraded & faster version of Risk. We have played over 30 times and with the exception of the first week last summer where I won because we didn't understand the rules properly I have only won on one other occasion, and that was due to some atrocious luck on the part of the other (far more experienced players). As both of them have been playing Risk for almost as long as I have been alive, and no one tries to throw the game it's good friendly fun.
And yesterday I actually won. While the Gdad probably should have won, one of the newer rules means you have to hold your capital city as well as three goals to take the victory. When he picked up his final goal he didn't have this so turn passed to my uncle. All he had to do was take my capital and I couldn't win, but he had spotted one of the goals that was easy for me to take (hold 18 countries) and went for it. It cost him pretty much all of his armies, but he got it.
On my turns previously I'd been gradually taking extra countries in Asia. In Risk it's pretty much impossible to hold Asia without having already got victory within your grasp so no one tried to stop me. As my uncle had moved his giant force out of Southeast Asia (Thailand) to get the 18 countries I only needed to take 4 countries with one army in each for the victory. As I had a good chunk of reinforcements and had left 3 ready to take Australasia this was fairly easy (with luck being a bit against me, but not too much).
While I'm not saying that this was all due to being under the influence of the health potion I think it must be considered a little coincidental that my first true victory that relied on my own strategy playing out was less than 24 hours after consuming a drink that gives you a gaming edge.

22 May 2010

Belgian Wheat Beer: Orange Peel and Coriander [By Spectre] (Marks & Spencers)

Yes… you’ve guessed it… Cinabar’s been at it again. She’s managed to find the weirdest and most revolting sounding beer to date. If the banana beer, raspberry beer and cherry beer weren’t bad enough, this beer has orange peel and coriander added to it during the brewing. Apparently this process brings out the flavour! Okay, so I could give this beer a chance. I know I like fine teas, such as Orange Pekoe and I’m okay with orange in chocolate, but orange in beer! This wheat beer is brewed in Huyghe Brewery, in Flanders, in Belgium. I personally think this beer came about by a fatal error when some Belgian brewer was having his marmalade on toast one morning and tripped over into a beer vat. The result was some other fellow saying, “Hey, this beer doesn’t taste half bad, we’ll sell it and see how it goes. We just need a thousand jars of marmalade and a dead bloke per container and we’re away…”
As you can imagine, I avoided opening this beer for some time. Then Cinabar’s mom mentioned she was cooking salmon one night. I noticed she’d boiled up some eggs for an eggy potato salad, with a green balsamic soaked salad on the side. This meal would be the ultimate fishy taste sensation and needed a full-bodied drink to match it. If this cloudy orange flavoured beer was ever meant to be drunk with a meal, this was it. After sprinkling lemon juice over my fish and pouring the beer in a short glass as recommended on the label, I tucked in. The orange in the beer really complemented the acidic lemon; both flavours seemed to collaborate together to draw out the fresh flavour of the fish. At the same time the edgy coriander taste in the beer worked well with the herbs and balsamic vinegar in the salad. Forget wussy white wine, this beer went so well with the meal that it feels like it was brewed solely for fish dinners. No wonder the label proudly states “Award Winning”. It will most certainly become a stalwart in the fridge for every time I have salmon or some kind of seafood dinner.
By Spectre

21 May 2010

McCoy's Chicken Winger Crisps (WHSmiths)

When I first saw this flavour I have to admit to being confused by the name. I naively assumed that Chicken Winger referred to chicken wings, as in chicken with a sweet and barbecue spicy taste.
It soon became clear that these are just regular chicken flavour, without any of the kick. The Wing in the title refers solely to a football tie in. Despite the lack of tangy taste, these crisps are still something special. They are the usually pleasing thick cut McCoys crunchy base, but the flavour is where it is at. The ridges in McCoys always catch the seasoning, and these do not disappoint on that front either. They taste beautiful. They have a wonderfully full flavoured meatiness to them, and they recreate ‘chicken’ in a way I’ve not seen a crisp do before. The flavour is just such a good match to its name; it was practically juicy in taste! Wow! These are totally fab crisps! If they are a football tie in, and a limited edition – get them while you can!

20 May 2010

Cadbury's Dairy Milk - Black Forest [Australia] (Cybercandy)

Oh what wonderful temptations lay within Cybercandy, it is full of import goodness. I love Black Forest Gateaux, and the idea of a Black Forest Dairy Milk just sounded rather fabulous!
Sadly despite all the potential, I found myself being a little indifferent towards this bar. The picture on the front looks like the chocolate is packed with cherry and biscuit, but in my bar things were much sparser, there were even a fair few squares which had neither, and were just plain.
The biscuit pieces were nice and crunchy, but the cherry part lacked appeal. The cherry flavour was good in the jellies, but I didn’t like the texture, they were a little too firm and chewy for my palette.
Finally the chocolate didn’t taste like UK Dairy Milk. I thought that it wasn’t as sweet or creamy, and it tasted like any nondescript milk chocolate. So all in all this bar was far from unpleasant, but there was no magic to it that would make me rush out for a re-purchase. Don’t worry though, this wasn’t my only Cybercandy purchase, I’ll be writing about the others very soon!

19 May 2010

New Jammie Dodgers Lively Lemon Edition (Sainsbury’s)

Well there are two things to report in the Jammie Dodger world. Firstly, Jammie Dodgers seem to have finally removed the “New” label off their Jam and Custard flavour. When I started writing this blog just under two years ago I saw the Jam and Custard flavour and thought to myself back then, no I won’t review these as they’ve already been out a good while already. Practically every visit to the supermarket since I have checked the biscuit isle and spotted the “new” label still on the pack and smiled to myself. In fact the “new” label was still there just the other week, I love the word “new” but I fear keeping it that long is just milking it! :-D
Anyway, this brings me onto the second thing to report the “new” label has finally disappeared because there is now an actual “new” item in the range: Lively Lemon.
The first thing I noticed was that the jammy filling was slighter darker than the illustration on the pack, and was more of an orange colour than a yellow. The flavour was reassuringly lemon however, tasting like a sweet lemon curd, but with a firmer, stickier consistency. I liked the fresh sweet flavour, and they are a nice addition to the range. Lemon is a good Summer taste, and I look forward to packing a box of these in my picnic hamper on a hot Summers day.
All this talk of limited edition Jammie Dodgers takes me back to a wonderful variety they released a fair few years ago – Vimto. Gosh they were good, anyone else remember them?

18 May 2010

Mr Kipling Raspberry Ripple Slices (Morrison’s)

Yay! Summer is on its way! In order to honour the sunshine (please let it be a good year) Mr Kipling has released a selection of cakes to celebrate, all of which are themed on traditional ice creams.
First up Raspberry Ripple slices. Raspberry Ripple ice cream takes me back to my childhood and to me means having a shockingly sweet raspberry sauce mixed in a creamy vanilla ice cream. The packaging certainly conveys that ‘bright’ Summer feeling, as do the prettily striped cakes themselves.
But here is a funny thing, the taste – it is very pleasant and natural. Ordinarily this would be a good thing, but my taste buds were fully prepared and excited for an over sweet artificial raspberry flavour, and as strange as it sounds, I was disappointed.
Each slice has a fluffy vanilla sponge, real raspberry pieces and a sweet but genteel tasting raspberry icing. It was nice, they were good cakes, but they were just not what I was expecting.

17 May 2010

Cadbury’s Crunchie Rocks [New]

I have been loving the Cadbury’s range of bagged goodies, Cadbury’s Nibbles being the best thing since Buttons! So when I found a new item in the range, I couldn’t help but be excited!
I am also a big fan of Crunchie bars, and that sweet honey’d taste.
Inside the golden pack are chocolate clusters not dissimilar in appearance to the ones found in the Cadbury’s Cluster bag. Unlike the Cadbury’s Clusters, these consist of pieces of Crunchie honeycomb and cornflake mixed together and coated in chocolate. I like the combination, and I found that each one had a lovely crunch and a good sweet flavour. The Crunchie taste did shine through, and the bag and the size of the pieces made for easy sharing amongst friends. It is a really nice new Crunchie item, and I thoroughly recommend them!

16 May 2010

Sour Sweets Foodstuff Fight [By Spectre]

Japanese Cola Flavoured Sour Hard Gummies – Cola Shinge Superkix (Cyber Candy)

First up were these super hard super sour sweets. These are small cone shaped brown sweets that have the constitution of a Goodyear tyre and a thousand sour cola bottles. Popping one into my mouth was quite a taste explosion and I had to hold onto my chair quite tightly. I can only say that insane experimentation took place during the consumption of this 25g bag of doom. I popped two sweets into my mouth and immediately scrunched my face up to the extent that when I looked into a mirror I thought I saw my grandma. Three sweets and my whole head went numb. I then tried four sweets… and when I woke up… But seriously, if you want a sour sweet and aren’t too fussed about feeling the sensation of chewing the wheels off your car and the roof of your mouth caving in, these are the sweets for you. A good strong (serious underestimation) sour sweet.

Wham Riproll 100cm Tongue Tingling Belt – Sour Raspberry

I’ve long been a Wham fan. Not the dodgy pop duo from the Eighties, but the sweets. On opening the packet I was slightly disappointed that the 100cm roll was broken in a couple of places. I unravelled the roll and measured exactly 100.1cm. Okay, I’m just fooling with you. The only place this baby was unravelled was straight into my mouth, though Cinabar managed to snatch some off me by distraction (showing me her assets). She commented that the roll tasted more like Blackcurrant than Raspberry. She found that the main ingredient is Aronia, which is native to America and tastes like Blackcurrant. Whilst this roll was not as sour as the Japanese sweets, I found it a much more pleasant chew. Some of the sugar fell off whilst I downed the roll, making me feel like a child again. Once I’d finished eating the riproll, I wanted another one.

Barratt Natural Flavours and Colours Kola Bottles

The natural flavours and colourings in these cola bottle shaped sweets gave them a real “olde worlde” taste. Whilst not sour at all, they felt grown-up and almost good for me as I downed each sweet in quick succession. At a mere 15 calories per cola bottle, I guess they can’t be that bad for you. Although not claiming to be sour on the packet, I simply assumed they would be and was more than a little disappointed on first taste. Though, if I ever fancy a good-for-me, non-sour cola sweet in the future; I may just look these up.

Wham Fizz Sticks Tongue Tingling Sticks – Sour Strawberry

When I look back and think of fizzy sweets when I was younger (and less grey), I immediately think of strawberry fizzy sticks, well just after fizzy cola bottles anyway. This pack consists of ten roughly four inch long strawberry coloured sugary sticks. Although these were sourer than the non sour Barratts, I didn’t find these as sour as the Raspberry / Blackcurrant flavoured Riproll, and they didn’t make my tongue tingle. However, these were very pleasant to chew on and perhaps the most comfortable eat of the four. They also reminded me most of the days gone by of popping into the tuck shop by the school for something sour to chomp on during the walk home.

By Spectre

Strawberry Mousse [by Spectre] – Selly Oak Hospital

A few weeks ago I found myself languishing on a hospital bed about 6pm, wondering what had gone so wrong and what I had done to deserve my day of many health tests. I was not looking forward to a night in a hospital. The last time I stayed over in a hospital I had a sleepless night due to a confused old man repeatedly creeping into the ward and exposing himself! Anyway, I’d had a pretty sharp pain in my chest early that morning; with pains in my back and my whole left-hand side was experiencing pins and needles from head to toe. I was starting to get very worried by 9.30am, especially when my boss ordered me to go to A+E. Once there and after a explaining my symptoms to the receptionist, I found myself in the Medical Assessment Unit after a ten minute wait. Aren’t you supposed to wait for hours in A+E? This worried me more. Over the next few hours I was questioned by attractive nurses, hooked up to ECG heart machines, seen by several doctors (one of them was rather attractive as well, but had very cold hands), questioned some more, tested, x-rayed, jabbed with needles, poked and prodded (and not in a good way). Finally Suspected Acute Coronary Syndrome was mentioned to me. That sounds scary, I know. Especially when it means, “we think there’s something wrong with your heart, but we don’t know what it is!” By six o’clock I was starving hungry and devoured a salmon sandwich a good-looking nurse passed me. I watched with some amusement as the two other guys in the ward first complained about the lack of brown bread and then one refused to eat his chicken pasta dish, after pointing out that the pasta was rock hard and there wasn’t any chicken. I’d also picked out this rather unassuming pot of strawberry mousse. At first glance at the packaging I thought this would be a very clinical and tasteless mousse. Boy, was I wrong?! The contents tasted like a succulent milky strawberry ice cream. It was genius in a little white pot. I wanted more, but another doctor turned up at my bedside and told me that I’d passed all the tests and that there was nothing wrong with my heart. My complaint was more likely muscular! Thoroughly relieved and more than slightly embarrassed, I thankfully wondered off home without staying the night. I’m now receiving treatment for a trapped nerve in my back. I just wanted to thank all the staff at Selly Oak Hospital for looking after me and introducing me to this little gem of a mousse. I now acknowledge that not all hospital food is bad, but try to avoid the chicken pasta.
By Spectre

15 May 2010

Walkers Crisps {By Spectre} French Garlic Baguette and Dutch Edam Cheese (Asda)

It’s rare if we go for a meal in Chiquitos or Pizza Hut that we don’t share some garlic bread to start with. It’s even rarer if the garlic bread doesn’t have cheese on top. On seeing these two crisp flavours I thought they may complement each other. Garlic bread can be both high in calories and fat, so at about 8 grams of fat and 131 calories per bag, I thought these might be a bit better for you for a snack. I decided to taste test them individually to start with, then jumble them up and dive in.
On opening the French Garlic Baguette flavour I expected to be blasted off my feet by an overpowering garlic smell, but managed to remain standing nonetheless. The French are renowned for loving garlic (and being top lovers, though I’m not sure how the garlic breath fits in with that). I must admit, I do love a trip to CafĂ© Rouge for an Entrecote Rouge (big fat steak) with garlic butter melting on top. I have to commend Walkers here, as they have really captured the authentic garlic bread taste in this crisp flavour. There is even the usual aftertaste of garlic that lingers in your mouth afterwards, and that overriding knowledge that your girlfriend’s not going to kiss you for the rest of the day!
I’ve been a fan of Dutch Edam Cheese since I was a child. Part of the fun was to peel off the red wax surrounding it, and have a sneaky chew to find out what the wax tasted like. Making crisps that taste of Edam Cheese kind of takes away the (wax) fun for me. On first taste I must admit, I didn’t recognise any resemblance to Edam Cheese, more a light Blue Cheese flavour, which is a slight step away from Wotsits (but not by much) and other cheesy crisp brands. Having said that the taste was not a disappointment, just not a flavour I’d identify with Edam Cheese.
On mixing up the crisp flavours in my mouth I had a wonderful cheesy garlic bread taste sensation. If you can’t be bothered to put the oven on, I highly recommend you bunch as many bags as you can of both these flavours into a huge bowl. Then settle down to good long movie, preferably with French subtitles to get you in the garlic mood.
By Spectre

14 May 2010

Katjes - Salty Herrings [Sweets] [Salzige Heringe] (Germany)

When I think about sweets in the UK, I think about traditional sugary delights such as delicious sounding Rosy Apples and Rhubarb N Custards. Salty Herrings don’t sound sweet, and don’t sound appetising either. Whatever 'sweetness' was within the pack, the salt didn’t feel like a natural accompaniment.
When I took them out of the bag I was relieved to discover these strange black jellies were in actual fact liquorice. Liquorice and salt though? I tentatively licked the granular coating, and found it to be sugary, with a very gentle saltiness to it. There was part of me that was worried and was expecting it to be pure salt, which would have been rather sickly!
The sweets themselves are soft like a firm jelly flavoured with liquorice. The subtle salt does enhance the taste, and does work well together.
I liked them more than I expected too and thought they made a fun bag of sweets. However liquorice purists may prefer a proper liquorice product, without the salt. Worth a try for those with curious taste buds.

13 May 2010

Frijj - Caramel Cheer Milkshake (Morrison’s)

There seems to be a fair few “England” products arriving on the shelves, some are interesting limited edition products and some are just patriotic packaging changes. I guess World Cup fever will be starting soon, and everyone ones to support their team!
This Frijj milkshake is special edition flavour of “Caramel Cheer” neatly packaged with the England flag on the bottle.
Having tried the Cookie Dough flavour and found it sickly, I was a little worried about this milkshake. Thankfully though, the flavour is well balance. It is smooth and clean tasting, with a decent amount of caramel that isn’t over sweet. It has all the good caramel flavour of the Cookie Dough, but thankfully none of the rich egg flavour that follows. I found it very easy to drink, and thoroughly enjoyed it.
Now, anyone for a Mars Bar for afters?

12 May 2010

Cadbury Creme Egg [Limited Edition] Ice Cream (Morrisons)

I do love Cadbury Creme Eggs, every year I never fail to get excited seeing them for the first time just after Christmas!
Obviously I was rather pleased to find this Limited Edition Creme Egg flavoured Ice Cream. Opening the tub, the ice cream was an impressive yellow and white ‘goo’ colour, and I hastily tucked in. Now I have a sweet tooth, some may say a VERY sweet tooth. Even so I felt this ice cream required a high sweet tolerance thresh hold! It was good, but there wasn’t quite enough chocolate in it for my taste buds, the sweet almost powdery goo was quite prominent. It is more of a Creme Egg Goo flavour than a proper Creme Egg taste, as there wasn’t enough chocolate to balance it out. With a more generous proportion of choccy pieces this would have been an easy regular re-purchase, but as it is, it is more of a novelty treat.

11 May 2010

My Gummy - Grape Sweets [Korea] (International Shop, Birmingham)

Due to the popularity of blackcurrants in the UK, purple sweets seem to be rarely flavoured with anything else. I am a big blackcurrant fan, and love Ribena, but I would like to have some grape flavoured sweets here in the UK too, just to mix things up.
Spectre found these grape sweets in an import store, they are actually from Korea, and that really is all I know about them. There is only the minimal of English on the pack!
The foiled packet was remarkably hard to open, and despite my tries required scissors in the end. That cut into the package did something strange, it released the most pungent grape and chemical smell you can imagine.
After the pack was fully open I made the mistake of taking a full on inhalation of the contents. It was the most intense thing, like grape mixed with nail varnish remover, and it left a strange feeling in my throat. It was ridiculously overpowering! I have no idea how one small bag of sweets could possibly contain that amount of smell. If I could go back in time and choose not breathe it in, I would!
As you can imagine I was a little put off trying one of these sweets, but I battled on. They looked harmless enough in appearance, small purple jellies, shaped like a bunch of grapes, quite cute really.
I let the courage build, and tried one. Now here is the funny thing, they had very little flavour. They were sweet and certainly tasted of grape, but it wasn’t the strong overwhelming taste I expected, and there was no chemical edge to it either. I ate a few more, and found myself quite liking them, but they did leave me with some questions. Does the company make sweetened but flavourless jellies, pop them in a bag, and flavour them using powerful scented gases? Or did I use a super human breath and somehow inhale all their taste? Either way, the smell and flavour combination just don’t add up!

10 May 2010

XXX Mints With A Kick Of Chilli (WH Smiths)

I was having a look at what’s new in the mint section next to the check out in WH Smith, I saw the usual XXX Mints, then saw this red tube sitting next to them. XXX Mints are not something I ever considered mild, but it seems Fox’s felt the flavour needed further invigoration. In order to spice things up, quite literally, they added chilli!
The sweets inside the tube are the usual white lozenges you would expect, but the tell tale sign was they are also speckled with red. They look harmless enough, almost pretty in fact, but I still sensed something sinister about this small sweet.
I braved it, and tried one. My first thought was that the main flavour was the usual intense XXX Mint, this was just before I noticed the burning sensation on my tongue! The chilli flavour kicked in, and my mouth was ALIVE and experiencing something HOT, and something intensely COLD all at once. If you think the flavours would balance themselves out, it turns out you would be wrong, they sent my taste buds into overdrive! Wow!
They certainly are an experience, and I have to say my nose has never been so clear, but I’m still waiting for my mouth to forgive me.

9 May 2010

Orange and Spice Dark Choc [by @Nli10] (Co Op)

Due to being at my parents I am dislocated from my stash of food but luckily opposite a branch of the co op. Having a look through their new range of things I spotted a nice choc that I haven't seen before. I like dark (or mens choc if you are a Pocky fan) flavored choc and the green and blacks orange spice is probably my favourite. This is a similar product but I think more geared to the mass market. It's a nice flavour but it's really not that spicy or orangey. This does have the advantage that you can eat a lot more before you have to stop due to choc overload. Think that this is perfect for carrying around and snacking on but for flavour and spice you still can't beat the green and black.
By Nli10

8 May 2010

Choi Time's Thousand Year Red Flower [By Spectre]

This funny little bulb was passed on to me by a friend the other day as she knows how much a like fine tea. I was a little taken aback as I noticed this wasn’t leaves in a teabag or loose tea leaves, but some weird hard red flower. She mentioned that I should pour boiling water into a mug and drop the flower bulb into the water. “It sounds a little like a freshly guillotined head falling into a bucket of water” she mentioned. Though tempted at times, I’ve never actually chopped anyone’s head off and dropped it into a pale of the wet stuff. However, the bulb did make a sizable splash when I dropped it into the mug. I stared at it for a good thirty seconds and nothing happened. I prodded the bulb with a teaspoon asking it if it spoke English. At this moment I took a step back as the bulb opened up freakily staring at me with one big red eye. Whilst the bulb didn’t actually reply, the leafy bits waggled menacingly about in the cup reminding me of some terrible alien being from a Doctor Who episode. I let the beastie drown a while in the hot mug before hastily fishing it out and dumping it into the nearest bin. I let the darkened green liquid cool before taking my first tentative sip. A slight fear crossed my mind that this was how the alien impregnated its victims with its eggs to hatch more red eyed bulbs, but that soon passed. A decent taste of jasmine hit my wary taste buds and I settled down to a nice healthy feeling beverage. My only complaint about this tea is the price. It’s £15 for a jar! Come on, it’s not like they could even be bothered to put it in a teabag.
By Spectre

7 May 2010

Walkers Flavour Cup Crisps Italy and South Africa (Asda)

This isn’t so much a foodstuff fight, consider it more of a catch up on a couple of the new Walkers flavours.

Italian Spaghetti Bolognaise
Ok, if you ask most Brits to name a popular Italian dish, the first response is likely to be Spaghetti Bolognaise. So it does seem the obvious choice of flavours to represent Italy. The taste is surprisingly meaty, it seems to be beef with an aftertaste of herbs, most prominent of which was Basil. I liked them, but felt they would need more tomato to truly represent the flavour.

South African Sweet Chutney
The funny thing with this flavour was that even when I first opened the packet, the aroma was very familiar to me. It took a few minutes, and some collaboration with my work colleagues, but I think we nailed it. If you were to take a packet of Ketchup flavour crisps, and mix them equally with Worcestershire sauce flavour crisps, you would have something very similar to these Chutney flavour crisps. They are lovely because I really enjoy both of the tastes, tomato with a nice tang. One of the better flavours.

6 May 2010

Golden Syrup Flapjacks (Morrison’s)

I don’t eat many flapjacks, they aren’t really my favourite treat. Sometime I find them a little stodgy, and I can’t usually finish a whole one, so I tend to avoid them. I am however a Lyle’s Golden Syrup fan, love their ice cream and couldn’t resist giving these a purchase.
I’m very glad I did too; they were certainly not even vaguely heavy.
The texture of them was firm, but it did give way easily gently when bitten and it was nice and moist. The flavour is sweet, and the oats weren’t as prominent as in other flapjacks that I’ve tried before. I found this a good thing but others may disagree? The golden syrup flavour dominated, and made them truly tasty though.
The chocolate was lovely, dark enough to contrast the sweet flapjack flavour, and thick enough to provide a full taste. I would like to put in a request, that they make a version completely coated in chocolate, as that would be excellent!
Did I manage to finish a whole flapjack? Yes, with ease... ;-)

5 May 2010

Artisan du Chocolat - Election Buttons (Selfridges)

Wow – 6th May is going to be a big day in politics. It’s a curious time, because anything could happen. I don’t really want to do specific politics on my blog, but do allow me (and these chocolates) to remind you – “Don’t Forget To Vote”! Let your voice be heard, whatever your opinion.
What better way to celebrate the election than with these wonderful Artisan du Chocolat novelty discs. Actually I hate the word novelty, I have to admit that I went looking for something election related to write about, but I can assure you these chocolate are something rather exquisite indeed.
Inside the box are milk and dark chocolate discs each with a rich layer of salty caramel hidden within. Split one in half and the caramel oozes out.

The caramel inside is well balanced in taste. The salt calms the sweetness and enhances its flavour, giving it a very tasty mature kick. Both varieties of chocolate are full of flavour. The milk chocolate is smooth, creamy, sweet and has lovely mellow tones of cocoa. In contrast the dark chocolate is woody, nutty and its richness made it a perfect combination with the filling.
I just loved these chocolate so much, and the brand has well and truly intrigued me now. I can’t wait to go back and see what other fine delights are on offer. For those of you worrying that you have missed out on these elections chocolates, I did spot similar looking patterned discs, so I assume they are available all year. I heartily recommend them!