31 May 2011

Cadbury Flake Allure (Selfridges) [By @Cinabar]

It has to be noted that there has been more than a few new additions to the Cadbury’s range in recent months, and it is something that we at Foodstuff Finds are always pleased about. This new Flake is partially dipped in truffle and then dipped in Dairy Milk for extra chocolaty goodness. The bar is called Allure, so they are clearly aiming for an indulgent chocolate experience.
I liked the packaging of the bar, the brown tips on the wrapper with the gold detail distinguished it from its original variety and looked elegant but not overly feminine.

I ripped open the wrapper in a suitably decadent fashion to reveal the bar. The top of the chocolate looked like a regular flake but the other sides were coated in a layer of chocolate. You might think this would decrease the crumbling, but I can assure you I still managed to get chocolate everywhere, and the bar lived up to its slogan “the crumbliest, flakiest chocolate”.
Although there was quite a build up to this new bar, I couldn’t help but think it was lacking a bit of innovation. The truffle, being milk chocolate flavoured, didn’t seem to make much difference to the experience. The bar felt a little smoother, and extra chocolate is always a good thing but there wasn’t any additional flavour of note, and the texture is already quite complex and as such concealed the additional layers. Now if this was my first ever experience of a Flake bar, I think I would have absolutely loved it, as the chocolate is just so wonderfully light and crumbly and the whole bar is a total pleasure to eat. However this is a new variety, and as such I’m not sure that there is enough within its make up to differentiate it from the ‘original’ variety. I’m just having a few problems trying to work out what the truffle added, as both its taste and texture were quite subtle.
I like Flake bars, so I liked this bar too. There really is nothing to dislike, just loads of creamy sweet light chocolate layers. It’s just considering it is a new edition I would have preferred something a bit more significantly different from the original recipe. How about a fruit flavour or even a hint of mint? What would your dream Flake edition be? I’m thinking Flake Strawberry would top my wish list!
By Cinabar

30 May 2011

Eton Mess Limited Edition Chocolate Bar (@thorntonschocs) [Thorntons] [By @cinabar]

Eton Mess is a dessert that seems to be growing in popularity at a very rapid rate. Just a few years back I hadn’t really heard of it as a pudding, and now it appears on menus everywhere from posh restaurants through to being available at my local all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet. I guess it is its simplicity (just crushed meringue mixed with cream and strawberries) that make it such a popular choice, that and its unmistakable summer flavours.
I’m not the only one that has noticed Eton Mess going up in the ratings as Thorntons have been inspired by its ingredients too and have made this Limited Edition white chocolate bar based on its flavours.

When taken out of its wrapper the bar is very distinctive with its pink stripes over its white chocolate. You can see the lumps in the chocolate coating showing where the meringue chunks were trapped underneath.
I broke the bar in half and discovered that in the very centre was a strawberry mousse with a line of strawberry sauce laying through this. It was surrounded by white chocolate, and, as suspected, uneven pieces of meringue.

When I tasted the chocolate I was suitably impressed. Those of you with a sweet tooth, please step this way. The rich strawberry jam was packed with sweet fruity flavour, and the parfait just enhanced this. There was a lovely creamy flavour from the thick mellow white chocolate soothing it. The texture from the meringue added a lovely light crunch and really did feel as though the Eton Mess experience was being recreated in a bar.
I loved the textures, with the softness of the mousse, the firmness of the thick chocolate and the crunch of meringue giving it a complex but interesting consistency. The flavour was summer in a bar, with its zingy hit of strawberry and its smooth white chocolate adding a much needed creamy taste.
The bar may look a little small, but with its rich flavours it really is the right size. I loved it, but please bear in mind my insatiable sweet tooth. I’m certainly going to be picking up a few more of these, as I thought they really were the perfect summer bar.
By Cinabar

29 May 2011

GIANT Caplico by Glico – [A Gift] [by @NLi10]

One day the manufacturers at the Pocky geniuses decided to make ice-creams made out of the fondant on the Pocky sticks. Then someone decided to make a giant version that was the same size as a real ice-cream. This is that product. I've had this for almost a year in my pen pot on my desk as an 'emergency review' as I really didn't know when to eat it. Unlike real ice creams it's not suitable for hot weather and as it's a whole lot of sweetness I thought I'd need to be in the right mood. In the end I ate it instead of dinner one lazy day when I was distracted by the computer. Turns out it's a different beast to what I'd expected.

The presentation is perfect, it looks just like a Cornetto style home ice-cream except for the no drip no melt features. It does however crumble! After each bite I was picking up little shards of Pocky fondant off the wrapper on my desk and it was quite a fun & childish experience. The centre is brown chocolate flavour fondant and the outside is strawberry and very very similar to a typical Pink Pocky. It's less sweet than I'd expected which is a real bonus as there is an awful lot of the thing to eat.

One sitting was enough to finish it off and the wrapper had kept the cone still crispy and intact. I can't say I'd need to go out and buy these on a regular basis, but the whole experience was a whole lot of fun so a great treat for kids and childish grown-ups if they are around this summer too.
By NLi10

28 May 2011

Wonka Bottle Caps (USA / Import Shops) [By @SpectreUK]

These sweets come in quite a big colourful 170g box that you need super strong finger nails to get into, or a sharp knife and a deep breath to avoid cutting your hand open. The box is just over half full of these sweets which come in a range of colours. They are very hard centimetre round sweets with a bottle cap design embossed on one side of each sweet. The sweets are the same make up of Refreshers and I would love to try the cola sweets in a cola bottle, but I taste tested these at work and I didn’t think my colleagues would like me making a fizzy drink explode in the centre of the office. Well you never know….

Rootbeer flavour

Yak! These are a khaki colour. They taste like rootbeer, which to me tastes like dentist’s mouthwash. Not nice and I just couldn’t get rid of the taste for ages.

Cola flavour

These sweets are medium brown in colour. I still couldn’t seem to get rid of the horrid dentist’s mouthwash taste from my mouth; the cola taste was very mild and made no impact on my taste buds. I had to really wash my mouth out to get even a hint of cola and then I bit the inside of my mouth trying to bite through the hard sweet.

Cherry flavour

There was quite a heavy cherry hit from these pinkish sweets that reminded me of cherry flavour in Double Dip. My colleague sitting next to me hates cherry flavouring also, but likes actual cherries. He made the mistake of trying one of these and his face screwed up to the size of a pinhead! LOL

Grape flavour

These sweets are bluish purple. They didn’t really taste like a grape to me, rather what someone in a lab thought a grape might taste like having never eaten one.

Orange flavour

The orange flavour was unsurprisingly orange coloured. These have a mild orange sweet flavouring taste that’s not altogether unpleasant, but certainly not moreish either.

I tried these on two of my colleagues and neither liked the sweets, one described them as travel sickness pills mixed with Refreshers. He took them back for his own child as we agreed she’d probably enjoy them more than we did. Well, you never know, kids can be weird.
By Spectre

27 May 2011

Weight Watchers: Chocolate Biscuits / Caramel Wafers [By @cinabar]

Not everything that we snack on here at Foodstuff Finds has to be unhealthy, and if you are looking for a lighter treat I thought I’d check out a couple of the options from Weight Watchers.
From time to time I do feel the need to counter all the goodies I eat and have a bit of a health kick and take something a bit better for me in my lunch box. ;-)

Caramel Wafers
This is a bar of caramel and wafer, all coated in chocolate and then individually wrapped. They seem to be sized suitably i.e. smaller than a regular chocolate bar, but bigger than an aero biscuit! They feel rather more filling because the layers are packed tightly and the bar is quite firm. The chocolate is milky and sweet, and the chocolate flavour shines through. I really liked the mix of textures in this bar, and the satisfying feeling of biting in with the layers crunching away. The caramel adds a nice sweetness and aftertaste of brown sugar, and the bar totally satisfied my chocolate craving. It was just 78 calories too, which is pretty impressive.

Chocolate Biscuits
These biscuits consist of a chocolate biscuit base coated in rippled Belgian milk chocolate. The base is very crunchy, with lots of texture, and a really good baked flavour. Again the firmness of the bar made it feel quite satisfying. The chocolate coating is fairly thick and creamy, and also provides a decent hit of cocoa too. Combining this chocolate taste with the inner biscuit and the flavours really do come together. This chocolate biscuit is perfect for a guilt free treat with an afternoon cup of coffee, and for those counting it has just 89 calories.
By Cinabar

26 May 2011

Pieminister - Mini Amigo Pie (Ocado) [by @NLi10]

Happy Vegetarian week UK readers!

To celebrate I'm finally getting around to reviewing this lovely pie I had a few weeks ago. You see most snacks are in fact vegetarian, but this was one I bought presuming that the 'Amigo' pie was a mini version of the beef 'Matador' pie I'd had before. As it turns out it's more of a bean based affair and suitable for vegetarians, but with no reduction in quality.

For this reason it got sidelined and eaten after the other pies (including the mini chicken one and the lamb one which I am yet to type up). Turns out though in typical PieMinister fashion it's actually really nice and looses nothing by not containing meat.

The pastry is amazing as always and was helped this time by having one of the starch labels on it still which is always cool. The insides were more evenly mixed than a normal PM pie as I think the ingredients blended a bit so there was just one nice flavour throughout. The chilli was present but not oppressive and the size was more filling than I'd expected.

I couldn't see these in Waitrose on one of my rare 'posh shops' (even though if you are careful they are the same price as other places I still find myself exploring and buying loads of great review stock) so haven't been able to take them in for lunches, but will keep a look out.
By NLi10

25 May 2011

Cartmel Damson and Apple Crumble (Westmoreland Service Station) [By @Cinabar]

It was back last Christmas time when I first stumbled across the wonders of Cartmel Sticky Toffee Pudding. It was a rich and sweet dessert and was as every bit as tasty as you can imagine. The Cartmel brand has the slogan “The Home Of Sticky Toffee Pudding” which makes it a little difficult for them to branch out. Having said that I did spot this fine looking traditional pudding on the shelf, and couldn’t resist finding out what their take on damson and apple crumble would be.
It is a simple pre-made and oven cook dessert, and it came out of the oven looking really appetising. There is a good proportion of fruit in the crumble, and its striking red colour made it look pretty on the plate. The topping is thick too, and lovely and golden once cooked.
The flavour is quite a contrast from their Sticky Toffee as it is actually quite has a sharp, zingy fruit flavour. It is lovely and natural, but not as sweet as I was hoping and more damson than apple. The crumble part counters the sharpness as the crunchy topping adds a lovely sweetness to balance the flavour and a buttery aftertaste.
This pudding is very much aiming itself at the mature market, and would sit perfectly at the end of any dinner party. The flavour is fresh and fruity, but the tart tones may not appeal to a younger audience. If, like me, you have a very sweet tooth, I suggest a splash of custard to settle your sugar craving and to really make the most of the flavours.
By cinabar

24 May 2011

Mikado Clash [Pistachio] Biscuits (B&M Home Store) [By @Cinabar]

Mikado are Europe’s version of a favourite biscuit here at Foodstuff Finds, known around the rest of the world as Pocky. They consist of a thin biscuit stick, in a pretzel style and then have a coating of chocolate or a different flavour. Many import shops sell Pocky in its numerous forms, but if you are looking for a more easily accessible version, Mikado are stocked by many supermarkets and are a lot more easy to find. The only problem with Mikado is that it isn’t available in many flavours in the UK, as it is a bit of a new launch here.
When I was wondering around B&M Home Store I spotted the green box of Mikado on the shelf, and quickly realised that it wasn’t a flavour I had seen before. It seemed to be branded as ‘Clash’ and consists of both milk chocolate and pistachio. As nut choices go, pistachio is a bit of a curious one, but salted pistachios are a favourite snack of mine, and I do love my nuts and chocolate.
When I tasted the Mikado, the flavour really wasn’t what I was expecting at all. The biscuit sticks were really sweet, there was plenty of creamy milk chocolate but the other flavour wasn’t a woody nutty tone, it was more like sweet almond. I was actually convinced there must be some sort of marzipan listed in the ingredients, and was surprised when I found there wasn’t.
Marzipan isn’t a favourite substance of mine, and that really is what these biscuits tasted of. I wouldn’t say I didn’t like them, but I was more neutral to them than I was expecting. If you do like marzipan (and I know loads of people do) I think these will go down really well. If however you were looking for a chocolate / nut flavour combination, then these might just be a tad on the sweet side.
By Cinabar

23 May 2011

The Dormen Savouries Mediterranean Tomato & Herb [@DormenDetails] (Waitrose) [By @cinabar]

I know I have seen The Dormen nuts in delicatessens before, but this is the first time I have seen the brand in the crisps isle of the supermarket. When I got them home I did discover that these ‘savoury snacks’ weren’t exactly crisps, and there major ingredient was yellow split pea flour and not potato! I admit to having to google that, but it turns out I’ve tried these peas before in the form of Indian dhal, but certainly not in this sort of snack.
Inside the bag were plenty of penne shaped savouries, with a delicious and appetising aroma of fresh herbs. They tasted as good as they smelt too. The flavour was rich in tomato, paprika, oregano and basil. There was some background onion flavour too, but the crisps weren’t a sweet tomato, they were rich but had more of a salty edge.
I really enjoyed the taste, but the texture too was really quite special. The yellow pea flour made the consistency rather clever. They were firm and crunchy to begin, but very quickly melted away in the mouth making them feel lovely and light. This aspect made them very easy to eat, and as soon as you finished one you immediately wanted another.
Essentially these ‘crisps’ did recreate the taste of the Mediterranean with a lovely mix of herbs and flavours. We munched through the bag in one sitting, so it goes without saying we will most definitely be keeping an eye out for any other new products in the range.
By Cinabar

22 May 2011

Hit - Choc/Hazelnut & Choc/Vanilla [Biscuits] [by @NLi10]

Here at FSF we love Bahlsen and in my office the Hit wafer/biscuits were a massive success so when I saw these in the Polish grocers they had to be road tested. I took them in as normal and everyone was keen to try them out.

First up was the hazelnut variety - which when opened has an almost grey colour to the paste in the biscuits. The smell is a little artificial too, not as reminiscent of the actual nuts as I'd hoped. General consensus was a muted liking. I think that people enjoyed the new taste and were happy to eat them but just didn't seem that enthused. I really wasn't that keen - I only had about two before allowing free reign on them.

I'm much more keen on the vanilla variety, but again they just aren't as special as the originals. The flavours work a lot better than in the hazelnut version but I can't help thinking that I'd rather have the Oreo blend of flavours. The office seemed to agree with me but as we only opened these ones today I can't tell whether they are a total success. As we get through packets of the originals in a single session I guess these are a 2nd place.

I'm glad I picked these up as the layered biscuit is a classic and these almost wafer-like crumb marks them out as special. I'm not sure the flavours in this selection are as tailored to the English palate as the version you can get in Asda though, so will stick to those.
by NLi10

21 May 2011

Chip Shop Curry Flavour Golden Wonder Pot Noodle (Tesco) [By @SpectreUK]

I remember the good / bad old days when I used to crawl back from the pub most nights after drinking way too much beer. I’d prop myself up in the chip shop on the way home and enjoy dipping my chips into a sweet curry dipping sauce. Recently a regular reader recommended Chip Shop Curry flavoured crisps from Marks and Spencer’s as an alternative to searching for a civilized chippy. I enjoyed these crisps immensely, and decided to look around for other alternatives. On seeing this Chip Shop Curry flavoured Golden Wonder Pot Noodle I couldn’t resist testing the taste against the M&S crisps.
Although I didn’t blog about it, I also had a taste comparison between Pot Noodle’s Beef and Tomato flavour and Golden Wonder’s offering of the same flavour. Although I felt the taste of the Golden Wonder more muted than the Pot Noodle, I considered the snack to be more filling. On opening the Chip Shop Curry flavour I noticed there is a generous helping of short cut noodles in the plastic pot with bits of carrots and peas mixed in. I followed the instructions adding boiling water, stirring, adding the spicy mango chutney sachet, more stirring. I left the pot to cool a while before slurping eagerly. I found the curry taste quite muted, even with the spicy mango chutney. I checked the front of the pot which stated in big letters “new fuller flavour”. I can only imagine what it used to taste like or rather not taste like before they added more to the already long list of ingredients. Having said that, the Pot Noodle had a decent curry taste to it, but it just wasn’t sweet or spicy. There were no artificial colours or flavours in the ingredients, giving the Golden Wonder Pot Noodle a healthy feel to it, as well as being a filling snack. Besides, wouldn’t a whole Pot Noodle that tastes of real chip shop curry sauce be a bit sickly after a while? I guess it depends on how many beers you’ve had by the end of the evening I suppose…
By Spectre

20 May 2011

Twinings Green Tea Blend (Waitrose) [By @Cinabar]

There are an amazing array of teas on the market, and there is an impressive selection in our Foodstuff Finds kitchen cupboard too! We are tea addicts, and try all sorts of different ones! We can’t help but buy new teas too, from spiced varieties through to flavoured ones, but this is something new even to us. It is neither a pure green tea nor a black tea, but a mix of both.
The packaging suggests that it is predominantly green tea, the box is green, and the big bold lettering says “Green Tea” with the concept of black tea only referred to in the smaller print. Curiously though the guidance on making the tea says add milk to taste, which is much more like a traditional black tea. I take sugar in most tea (Spectre I hope you are taking note) but not green tea, so I was stuck for a minute on whether or not to add it. Just to add more confusion to the situation, the Twinings website has a page for this tea that states “always without milk”, which is a bit of a mixed message.
When it brewed it looked and smelled like a traditional black tea to me, so I went for my usual teaspoon of sugar and splash of milk. I was glad that I did as the black tea very much outweighs the flavour of the green, and the milk really worked with it. The taste is very traditional, similar to the flavours of Ceylon or Assam leaves. At the end of each sip there is a refreshing hint of green tea delivering a very delicate aftertaste. It is a fresh leafy flavour, with a very subtle acidic edge.
Although the cup had more black tea flavour than I was expecting, it still made a lovely refreshing mug and would be a good way to start any day. I have tweeted Twinings to clarify about the milk issue, but personally I thought it was lovely with milk and sugar.
By Cinabar

19 May 2011

Plush Chocolates - Fairtrade White Chocolate Petals with Raspberry & Rose [by @NLi10]

I received these as an anniversary gift (5 years - flown by!) from the lovely Ms NLi10 as I often wax lyrical about the wonders of raspberries and white chocolate.

I bought her some rose flavoured chocolates a while back (which I think I forgot to review) and these add that perfumed flavour into an already complicated mix. The question is - does this work?

I think the answer is 'in moderation'. The wafer thin petals of chocolate are dainty and snap satisfactorily revealing little bits of raspberry while the rose oil appears to be swirled within the chocolate and so each bite has variations in the flavours. A single petal really is enough to get a good hit of the taste though and eating two or three can leave your taste buds a bit perfumed.

As an event chocolate like a dinner party or as a gift these are perfect. They are something that shows a bit of thought and ideal for sharing in a small group (you maybe get 12-15 of the petals in the little bag). I think if you could find these for mother's day or for a loved one then they will go down perfectly.

As it looks like this is a Fairtrade choc brand I may have to explore to see if they have any other interesting combos.
By NLi10

18 May 2011

Rowntree's Sour Pastilles (WH Smiths) [By @SpectreUK]

Once I’d seen the advert on television for these new Fruit Sour Pastilles I just had to go out and buy some. I’ve always been a big fan of Rowntrees’ Fruit Pastilles and generally have a tube in my bag to chew on the train on the way home from work. I find chewing some kind of sweet after a busy day can not only give me a quick energy boost until dinnertime, but also helps to bring out the child in me, especially if it’s been a particularly long day!
It proudly states on the front of the sweet packet that there are no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives in these sweets and they contain 25% fruit. There are five different fruit shaped flavours available. The green colour is lime flavour; red colour is cherry flavour; purple colour is blackcurrant flavour; orange colour is melon flavour; and the yellow colour is pineapple flavour. As I chewed on these pastilles, they made me want to suck all the juicy fruity flavour out of them, and at least savour them for a little while until my fingers dived eagerly back into the packet for the next sour pastille. I found these pastilles very moreish. These are pretty sour, but in my opinion not as sour as Maynard’s Sour Gums or Haribo’s Sours, which are for the twistier faced sour connoisseurs. My favourite flavour was pineapple, with blackcurrant flavour a close second. Although the pastille flavours were not counted out evenly in the bag, so it is pot luck what flavours you get. There were lots of greens in both bags. The first bag didn’t have any pineapple flavour in it and the second bag only had one. So I guess I lucked out. I expect there’s a few lucky packets out there with mainly pineapple flavour in them? I’ll have to buy some more to see if I can find any more of the elusive pineapples!
By Spectre

17 May 2011

Dairy Milk Bliss [Scrumptious Toffee / Irresistible Hazelnut / Dreamy Chocolate Truffle] [By @Cinabar]

September last year Dairy Milk released their first Bliss bar, with a creamy vanilla filling. These bars are part of the same Bliss sub-branding, and again each is filled with a smooth filling. The bars are larger in format though, and very smartly presented with a cardboard box to protect them. My Vanilla Bliss bar from last year was sent through the post, and sadly got a little squished due to its delicate nature, but that wouldn’t happen to these. Inside the box the bars are sealed in posh gold coloured foil, adding to the luxury feel. The bars are lovely and chunky, each piece is large with a decent amount of filling and there are ten of them per bar. The coating of chocolate is that of classic Dairy Milk, and there are three varieties of centres, and I was very keen to get stuck in.

Scrumptious Toffee
This bar was wonderfully sweet. It may be a little sweet for some, but I have a good tolerance of such things and felt it was spot on for me. The centre is smooth in texture, soft and like satin, but the flavour is rich and tasty. Think burnt caramel and brown sugar, blending with the chocolate coating. My first word after eating a chunk was simply “wow”, it is a fab bar and although sweet and rich the indulgent toffee flavour makes it lovely and moreish.

Irresistible Hazelnut
I do really love nuts and chocolate as a combination, so it will be no surprise that I also really liked this bar. If you like the texture of nuts you might be disappointed as this is made with hazelnut paste to achieve the same smooth filling as the other bars. The flavour is not too strong, it just adds a delicate aftertaste of nuts and a good hit of silky chocolate. It is another very easy eating bar, and again I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Dreamy Chocolate Truffle
Last up is the chocolate truffle variety. I have to say as a Milka fan, this did seem to be a Dairy Milk version of a Milka Cream bar, not a bad thing as that Milka bar is one of my favourites. The centre of this bar has a flavour of chocolate that is just a notch more intense than Dairy Milk and adds a slightly stronger cocoa flavour, it blends well with the main chocolate and gives the whole bar a rich chocolate hit. The texture of the filling is that of an ultra smooth truffle, and the bar really did just melt chocolate goodness on the palate, another fantastic bar!

I felt that the Scrumptious Toffee variety was my favourite, as it has such sweet moreish toffee tones. Spectre really enjoyed that bar too, but he felt his favourite was the Dreamy Chocolate Truffle because it was a purer flavour and very smooth.
In summary all these bars are worthy of being someone’s favourite, and its lovely to see the Bliss range expanding, as they are perfect for a bit of luxury indulgence.
By Cinabar

16 May 2011

Dreamy Coconut Drinking Fudge (@FudgeKitchen) [By @Cinabar]

I’d like to start by thanking my sister-in-law for passing this sachet of drinking fudge on to me. This is the Fudge Kitchen’s take on drinking chocolate, and consists of a sachet of fudge that you add to hot milk. It is a new product for them, and sounded quite an innovative idea.
As per the instructions I heated the milk in the microwave for just under a minute, and then removed it to add the fudge.

I squeezed the thick paste in, and gave it a bit of a stir. To be honest it didn’t stir in at all well staying solid, I made attempts to simply cut it into small pieces with the spoon. I was struggling, but decided to carry on with the instructions, which were to give it a second blast in the microwave. I did this, and as if by magic when I removed it from the heat this time all the fudge had dissolved, and a quick stir was all that was required. It really impressed me at the time, because I was a little concerned that it wouldn’t dissolve at all.
The drink has a very rich coconut taste, overpowering the chocolate base flavour. I looked at the ingredients list and the coconut contents outweighed the cocoa there too, which explained the taste. It’s not a bad thing, but it is just something to be aware of. I found the drink lovely and sweet, and the distinct coconut tones really enhanced the flavour and made the drink taste tropical and creamy.
I really enjoyed this drink, and it is an alternative to regular hot chocolate which is still easy to make. Drinking Fudge is available at the Fudge Kitchen website, and by the looks of things they have a quite a few other flavours I wouldn’t mind getting my hands on too!
By Cinabar

15 May 2011

Kubus - Banana & Kiwi Drink (Polish Grocers) [by @NLi10]

Within walking distance of my house is a little Polish grocer’s shop that sells all kinds of wonders. I forget which of these I've reviewed before but on a recent walk up to Cape Hill I picked up this lovely concoction. It's great to serve drinks guests that look like Shrek has had a particularly bad cold, and this one is even thicker and gloopier than the typical ones I buy.

The reason for this is that it's a little too heavy on the banana. Usually the kiwi & lime shine through in these green juice drinks but here it's much more like an innocent smoothie and less exciting for it. The texture and smell are really appetising and any first impressions people get from the appearance are quickly removed as it's just another evil looking, but nice tasting smoothie.

I did enjoy it and may explore the other flavours another day, but I think that bananas are best in ice cold drinks like milkshakes and apples are better for bulking out these fruit drinks.
by NLi10

14 May 2011

Badger’s Spring / Summer Ales [Golden Glory & Hopping Hare] (Tesco) [By SpectreUK]

Badgers have been brewing ales in Dorset since 1777. Personally I never knew they had it in them. Badgers are black and white dog sized mammals that live underground and feed at night on bugs and grubs. The last time I saw a badger was a rather dazed one in the middle of a country lane that had been hit by a car. I barricaded the road with my car and called the RSPCA, but after half an hour or so the badger got up, shook its head and wondered off into the bushes. Badgers are tough creatures and the thought that they’ve been running a brewery in Dorset for over two hundred years astounds me.

Golden Glory

The bottle label states that there is a delicate floral, peach and melon aroma to this beer and that it should go well with duck pate or cheesecake. Badgers are omnivores, so would probably drink it with either or both at the same time. I have no idea. This ale really does smell powerfully of sweet peaches. The first taste is of sweet peaches, and then there is a decent bite from the beer as it hits the back of your throat, perfectly balancing the sweetness of the fruit with the hoppy bitterness. The ale has a golden amber colour to it and at 4.5% volume this ale should get any badger a little tipsy after a while. Just mind the traffic and no driving. Drunk badger’s driving over people is almost as alien as badgers running a brewery.

Hopping Hare

Badgers outsourcing to bunnies sounds completely absurd. All bunnies do is eat, sleep and play with other bunnies all day. What do bunnies know about beer? My first thought would be carrot flavoured beer, but the bunnies would eat all the carrots before they could brew with them. Instead the bunnies decided to use three different hops to make this thrice hopped countryside ale. “Goldings” and “Cascade” hops give this beer a citrus grapefruit aroma and a decent floral taste, “Firstgold” hops adds the bitterness. This ale definitely has a strong floral and hoppy smell to it. It has a pale ale copper colour and a crisp, sweet and slightly spicy taste. Hopping Hare has a warm sharp bitterness that makes your tongue tingle when drinking. The label recommends that roast lamb or spicy Thai dishes would go well with this ale, which is probably a good thing as there wouldn’t be any carrots left to drink it with. At 4.4% volume, this is a lovely strong pale ale, easily on a par with Marston’s Old Empire, and possibly one of my all time favourites.

It is my conclusion that badgers clearly know how to make excellent beer. We should make friends with badgers whenever we see them. Drink toasts to them using their beer, whilst singing “Badgers, badgers, badgers…” Be polite and always… always ask for more!
By Spectre

13 May 2011

Nestle White Lion Bar [Polish] (Import Store) [By @Cinabar]

I’d like to start with a big thank you to DavidH for finding this fab bar. It is a Polish version of a Lion bar, but it is their new white chocolate version. White chocolate seems to be a popular summer trend, with many companies releasing white chocolate and fruit bars in the summer. I haven’t seen white chocolate Lion bars in the UK sadly. To be honest Lion isn’t one of those bars that have many Limited Edition varieties here in the UK at all. I don’t think I’ve seen one in all the years we’ve been doing the blog? If you have, please leave a comment below.

I broke the bar in half to take a peek inside, and saw the usual layers of wafer and caramel as you would expect in a Lion bar, but also a white substance which I assumed to be white chocolate.
As I bit in the layers of caramel and wafer gave the bar a lovely substantial feel and a fab sweet hit. The white chocolate worked really well, and made the bar creamy too, but it managed to save off being sickly because of a hit of coconut to break up the flavour.
I am convinced the bar is flavoured with coconut, it added its lovely tropical edge and I thought there was no mistaking the taste, but I couldn’t find any evidence of this on the packaging. Actually the packaging is in Polish, and I don’t speak Polish, but I do have the internet. Google told me the side of the pack said “waffle stuffed with caramel and rice flakes in a white glaze”, I’m assuming google meant wafer and white chocolate, but heck no obvious mentioning of coconut. Using my initiative I then googled the Polish for coconut, and discovered the work is “kokos” but sadly couldn’t find that on the wrapper anywhere either. I can’t back it up with evidence, but this bar tasted of white chocolate and coconut, and I trust my taste buds.
It was a gorgeous bar, summery but still substantial which is harder than you’d imagine to pull off. If you see one in an import / pound shop I’d recommend giving it a go as it is a lovely bar. I think we (the UK) really ought to lobby Nestle to release some New / Limited Edition Lion bars here, I can’t help but think we are missing out on some proper treats.
By Cinabar

Pieminister - The Royal Pear Commemorative Pie [by @NLi10]

This is the only interaction I had with the Royal Wedding. Essentially I was in the house revising and didn't turn the TV on for around three days so have only ever seen still footage of the happy couple (and the grumpy girl). I wish them all the happiness in the world, but weddings just don't excite me that much.

Pies on the other-hand do.

This is an odd one, it's essentially a posh pear crumble in a pie, and it's part of the new(ish) Pieminister puddings range and is half the height of a normal one. I decided that this was to be shared between two people and graciously let my own future wife eat the other half.

It was nice, and the pastry was great as usual but I was a little underwhelmed. It’s not as sweet, or as tart as I expected, and I guess is as refined as the occasion would suggest. This is a pie for gentry, not dirty old me and my taste for extremely sharp apples. I think pears just don't do it for me and while the choc is nice it's again a little too smooth.

I think that as a one off it was enjoyable, but I'm itching to eat the remaining pudding pie that I have to see how that compares.
By NLi10

11 May 2011

Chicago Town - Takeaway Film Feast Pizza [Limited Edition] [By @Cinabar]

If a pizza suggests watching a film in its title, who am I to mess with a winning combination. We decided to stick on the only Terminator film we hadn’t seen, Terminator 4 Salvation and prepare for our night in.
Taking the pizza out of the wrapper I noticed that the topping was decent and generous and that the crust was dusted with cheese, which always adds to the flavour. The pizza cooked on its own base, and as always with the Chicago Town range cooked evenly.
The base was soft but firm and exactly as it should be. There was a nice flavour throughout from the dough and it was of a good consistency.
I really enjoyed the combination of different meats on this pizza too and each one had its own flavour from the smoky ham through to the spicy pepperoni. There were plenty of green peppers (thankfully not chilli) that added a nice veg flavour throughout too. The thing I loved most about it was the crust, as this was stuffed with tomato sauce. I love the concept of a stuffed crust but do find the cheese ones feel a bit samey. The tomato in these added a lovely fresh taste, that even had a bite in the flavour which was both sweet and sharp.
It’s only now sorting out the photograph for this post that I noticed that there was a competition on the box to win a Trip to Hollywood, I’m not sure about the details – but I can’t believe I missed that! I will have to treat myself to another... ;-)
Anyway, Chicago Town pizzas are always a favourite of mine, but this new variety really did feel like a feast, with all the different meats in the topping. I have to say Terminator 4 Salvation is a surprisingly good film too, so a fab evening was had by all and I’d happily recommend both. :-)
By Cinabar

10 May 2011

Twinings [Limited Edition] Dark Swiss Chocolate Drink (Waitrose) [By @Cinabar]

Twinings are a brand we associate almost exclusively with tea, but a couple of years ago they brought out their first hot chocolate. I tried it back then, and enjoyed it too, but this is the first new hot chocolate of theirs I’ve seen since.
It is a Limited Edition, made with Swiss dark chocolate. If truth be told, when it comes to hot chocolate I think the stronger the flavour the better, so I was really excited to see this product.
The instructions suggested adding between three to four spoons of the cocoa to a mug, I chose four to give it that extra hit of chocolate. I placed the milk in the microwave and then added it to the powder I had measured. Thankfully it was easy to make, dissolving well and quickly with just a little stirring.

The flavour was wonderfully dark and really rich. The predominant taste is a lovely almost nutty cocoa, but it is strong and sharp and not that sweet. If you have a sweet tooth you may wish to add a little sugar, as the taste is surprisingly intense, think 70% chocolate. I have to say I loved this drink and its impressive taste. It shouldn’t be a Limited Edition, it should be the standard flavour from Twinings as the contents are spot on! I was only having the odd hot chocolate as the evenings have been so much warmer, but since buying this I have been treating myself to a mug most evenings.
If you are like me and feel that most hot chocolate are lacking an intense flavour, then this finally fills that niche on the supermarket shelves. Come on Twinings make this a permanent addition to your range, it’s too good to be temporary!
By Cinabar

9 May 2011

Galaxy Chocolate Caramel Bites (Nisa) [By @Cinabar]

I know Galaxy chocolate has that standard brown packaging, but even so I couldn’t help thinking the bag for this new product was a little lacklustre. I think the bag being mostly matt brown and having no bright colour on it made it feel like it was missing something to jazz it up. Still the packaging is only a small part of the product, and at least its usual colour scheme will make it easy to spot for Galaxy fans
This new chocolate consists of a ball of caramel coated in Galaxy chocolate. The caramel is quite soft, but not liquid or oozing in anyway, this means they aren’t dangerous to eat! The flavour is rich, and reminiscent of brown sugar. It doesn’t have the buttery flavour of some caramels, but if you like the flavour of the Galaxy Caramels in Celebrations, you will know what to expect! The chocolate has a decent coating and the rich and ultra smooth flavours of Galaxy shine through.
Now there might not be anything new in concept in this bag, and you could even say that this product is another example of ‘caramel thinking’ but what it does it does well. The flavours work, and the bag was far too easy to munch through, which is always a good sign! What it lacks in innovation it more than makes up for by doing what is says on the tin (or in this case brown bag).
By Cinabar

8 May 2011

Kent Crisps: Oyster and Vinegar [@KentCrisps] [By @Cinabar]

A little while ago I read that Kent Crisps were launching an oyster flavour, and just knew I had to try them! Kent Crisps were lovely enough to send me a sample, because sadly they are a bit hard to find in the West Midlands.
Kent is known for its oysters, so if follows that this would make a nice unique idea for a crisp flavour based in Kent. I love unique ideas for flavours, but have to say I did fear these might be another excuse for a ‘prawn cocktail’ style crisp. I was reassured when they arrived though as the packet states that they contain ‘real oyster’ and they are clearly aiming for the higher end market.
The bag they are packaged in is lovely and bright, with a picture of a boat trying to paint the picture of the seaside and entice you in, and it certainly worked for me. I loved the taste of these crisps, there was a rich vinegar taste spicing them up and a lovely aftertaste of a fresh seafood flavour similar to white fish or scampi. They were quite different to anything I’ve tried before and make a clever alternative to regular Salt & Vinegar. The tastes were well balanced and really made you want to eat another, and another.
The texture of the crisps is spot on too as they are thick and crunchy, giving the potato base a strong enough taste to shine through. These crisps really did remind me of the seaside, and I loved the clever mix of flavours, I just really wish they were more obtainable in these parts as I assure you they deserve to be available far more widely.
By Cinabar

7 May 2011

Brain Licker (Gardenlands) [By @SpectreUK]

Read the instructions on this small plastic bottle. That’s all I can say. Well, I guess it wouldn’t be much of a blog post if I did just write that. I guess I have to try this super sour drink, though I’ve just looked at the bottle and found out that this 60ml plastic bottle holds no less than ten servings! Yes, that’s 6ml per serving. How do you measure that out at work, in a ballpoint pen lid? Each serving has 86kJ energy and 2.8g of sugar. There is enough syrup, sugar, acids, flavourings and E numbers in one serving to keep several small children running for a whole week. :-D

And now I have to taste it… Pulling off the cap I found the top of the bottle was a roll on deodorant ball. This made it almost impossible to get a sufficient amount of the pinkish liquid out of the small bottle to get any kind of sour hit. I lent my head back as far as it would go to lick the ball and only gained some funny looks from my colleagues. I licked the ball with the bottle in an upright position and tried not to get any liquid on my shirt. I squeezed the bottle to try and get more out (even though it warns on the label not to squeeze), but this made no difference either. What liquid I did get out of the bottle tasted a bit like sour strawberries, but I suspect kids will have more fun trying to get the liquid out of the bottle rather than drinking it. I became very frustrated in a short space of time as my tongue became sore from licking dry plastic. The more liquid kids manage to get out of the bottle will give them sufficient energy to get more and more out. At least they will find a way to burn off the sugar high!
By Spectre

6 May 2011

Lindt Excellence Mild 70% Cocoa Chocolate (Sainsbury’s) [New UK Bar] [By @cinabar]

I find 70% cocoa chocolate can vary immensely. I have had bars with the same percentage ranging from very bitter to really quite sweet, but it isn’t often that a company has more than one bar at the same percentage.
Lindt have launched this new bar in conjunction with the regular Lindt 70% for those after a gentler flavour. I spotted from the ingredients list that it included a little vanilla too, and milder cocoa beans.
Unwrapping the bar, I discovered that the chocolate still looked dark and strong, but the aroma was very different to its stronger cousin. This bar had a lovely sweet chocolaty smell, with hints of caramel and brown sugar flavours. I broke a piece off and the chocolate’s texture was firm with a sharp snap.
The flavours were impressive, there were plenty of cocoa tones, but they were sweet, aromatic and flavoursome. The vanilla shone through too, giving the bar a very easy going edge and making the chocolate easy to eat. I thoroughly enjoyed it, although it was mild, it still managed to show off the cocoa and sweeter tones without comprising on flavour. There was no bitterness, and no sharp aftertaste just one smooth rich flavour. The beans they have chosen for the bar are absolutely perfect.
It was a very moreish bar, and well worth trying if you normally think 70% is too strong, because I think you will be impressed by the taste. My hats off to Lindt for offering up two very different 70% chocolate bars, and showing the diversity you can have while still maintaining the percentage.
I know a couple of people that eat the stronger chocolates for health reasons, and I think this bar will appeal to people like that who want to try the stronger chocolate but have found the other bars a little over powering.
By Cinabar

5 May 2011

Weight Watchers Vanilla & Chocolate Ice cream Waves (Asda) [By @Cinabar]

I couldn’t help but think that this dessert reminded me of Viennetta ice cream. It’s not a bad thing, I have a retro love of Viennetta but I also get calorie guilt straight after eating some! I know it’s wrong but I always have more than the recommended serving, their slices always look SO small!
Weight Watchers have created a lower fat ice cream cake that looks lovely but it far lower in calories than you might expect. Inside the box there are two desserts, which I assume are one per person. I say this because I had a whole one to myself, as they aren’t that big, the photo shows them on small side plates – not dinner plates! ;-)

The ice cream cake is very pretty with white vanilla ice cream waved through it and a chocolate coating. Sadly there seems to be only two places with layers of chocolate, the very top and another inside towards the bottom, so there isn’t actually that much to crunch through, but there is enough for it to add flavour and look pretty.
The ice cream is remarkably light and fluffy in texture, making it a pleasure to eat, and still has a good creamy taste too and nice hint of vanilla. I guess the waves within the dessert give it that extra bit of fluffiness and help keep it aerated. This makes it feel indulgent, and I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed the dessert. I was impressed by the fact that each serving has only 111 calories, and these are something I will be keeping in the freezer as a lighter but yummy alternative to a naughtier pudding.
By Cinabar

4 May 2011

Jaxx [Milk Chocolate, Double Chocolate & Orange Chocolate Crunches] [By @Cinabar]

Jaxx is a new brand of chocolate in the UK, and their Crunches chocolates are aimed at the tween/teen market. They consist of pebbles of biscuit coated in chocolate and are packaged in these brightly coloured bags. They are launching in three flavours – and I was lucky enough to be able to try all three. Despite being a tad older than a teenager, I was still rather looking forward to getting stuck in.

Milk Chocolate Crunches (Blue Bag)
This particular variety is the closest Jaxx comes to plain, and thankfully that still consists of plenty of chocolate in the mix. The biscuit is firm and crunchy when you first bite in, but soon melts in the mouth in a very pleasant fashion. The chocolate is sweet and creamy and the baked biscuit flavour makes a lovely contrast. I found these very easy to munch on, and really enjoyed the bag.

Double Chocolate Crunches (Red Bag)
These chocolates were very similar to the previous variety, but the biscuit within was also cocoa flavoured and this time a dark brown in colour. They were rich and tasty and provide a good crunch, but I found myself preferring the contrast in flavours in the previous bag.

Orange Chocolate Crunches (Orange Bag)
These are currently the only fruit flavour Crunches available, and they worked so well that I really hope Jaxx bring out some more innovative flavours. The biscuit has a lovely crunch, loads of chocolate taste and a sweet juicy hit of orange. They tasted fresh and moreish, and the citrus hit was absolutely perfect for summer. These were my favourite by far, and that’s remembering I had enjoyed the others too.

To be honest I think these chocolates much surpass their target audience, as I would be happy to pick these up for an afternoon snack in the office. The orange ones in particular were gorgeous and are definitely something I would want to try again.
The only negative point I have about these chocs is that the bags were awkward to open, tore and were not re-sealable. This meant that I simply had to eat all the contents once opened, but perhaps every cloud has a silver lining. ;-)
By Cinabar

3 May 2011

Tyrrells: English Summer Barbecue [Crisps] (Waitrose)

I’m not sure what magic Tyrells have performed but on this packet but it states that their crisps help ‘coax out the sun’ and it seems to have worked! It’s been lovely weather here in the West Midlands for the series of bank holidays we’ve been having, and has very much put me in the barbecue mood.
This is Tyrrells Summer Special Edition of crisps, and they too are thinking about that great seasonal cooking treat. Being an omnivore, the idea of barbecue flavour crisps filled me with the thoughts of bacon, sausage and various other char-grilled goodies. Curiously though the crisp packet didn’t seem to mention any specific meats or foods and seemed to be a generic ‘barbecue’ flavour.
I’d like to start with the negatives about these crisps; they didn’t have a taste that I felt particularly represented the barbecue flavour. I suspected that they wouldn’t be very meaty, and this was true. There also wasn’t a char-grilled flavour, or smokiness, or even anything like a barbecue sauce.
Having said that I have to say I still really liked these crisps. The potato base was nice, thick and flavoursome. The have a firm crunch, and are perfect for a large sharing bowl. Despite not representing ‘barbecue’ to me, what they did have was a rich sweet paprika taste, and an aftertaste of chilli providing a gentle kick. The spicy flavours made them tasty and moreish and I will happily buy them again. I just think they are more appropriate to take to a barbecue rather than to represent the barbecue taste.
By Cinabar

2 May 2011

Twix Miniatures & Cadbury Dairy Milk Chocos [New UK Chocolate] [By @Cinabar]

As product development goes, these two items are a bit of sure thing. They are not made using a particularly risky Limited Edition recipe, but keep to a basic formula, repackaged and reshaped in a slightly different way. Having said that I really like both Dairy Milk and Twix, so shouldn’t really complain.

Twix Miniatures
When I wrote about KitKat Pop Chocs, somebody at work said to me that they really ought to make a Twix version. Clearly Mars where listening, as this have since appeared on the supermarket shelves.
The bag consists of miniature Twix bars, each individually wrapped and in a bag ideal for sharing. The ratio of caramel to biscuit is consistent and it does seem to be a Twix shrunk down and shortened. The chocolate is sweet as you would expect, the caramel is soft and the biscuit adds that golden flavour. The combination really does work, and Twix fans will absolutely love these. As much as I liked them too, I can’t help but wish Twix would try out a more innovative formula in the UK, something like the Pods they launched in Australia.

Cadbury Dairy Milk Chocos
Cadbury’s Dairy Milk is already available in many different sizes in the UK market, from small thin bars right up to 5kg bars! This is quite different though as it makes the chunks a lot easier to share, or indeed have a few and put the rest away for later. Unwrapping the tube I found the contents to look much like solid Rolos, each with the Cadbury’s “C” neatly moulded in to the top of each piece. I don’t really want to start reviewing Dairy Milk, but I think it is enough to say that I really enjoy the flavour finding it sweet, creamy and indulgent.
I munched on these while watching a film, and found them easy to pass around and enjoy. Again these are not the most inventive new product in terms of taste, but are certainly a winner for Cadbury’s fans and it is nice the see the chocolate in a new format.
By Cinabar