31 July 2011

Cadbury's Caramel Nibbles Corner Dessert [Limited Edition] (Sainsbury’s) [By @Cinabar]

It seems like it has been quite a while since the last Limited Edition Cadbury’s dessert, so I was rather pleased to see these in the shops. They combines one my current favourite chocolate products, Caramel Nibbles with one of my favourite, straight from the fridge, puddings.
Caramel Nibbles are like a chocolate button, with a thin layer of caramel sitting in the middle. Each one neatly has the Cadbury logo moulded into its base too, so you know it the real thing.
Cadbury corner desserts consist of a pot of milky sweet chocolate, in a consistency of that similar to a thick sauce, and then there is always a pot of something nice to mix in. When I pulled back the lid my first thought was that I would have preferred a few more Nibbles in the pot, as there didn’t seem to be that many. The picture shows the actual amount (5 or 6), and I thought it looked like there was space for a few more in there.
When I mixed them in with the sauce, I have to say I liked the mix of textures. The caramel from the Nibbles still shone through in the flavour and made for a really enjoyable dessert. Well worth trying if you spot them, they are full of chocolaty goodness. They are sweet easy, to eat, and taste like a proper treat. It may be greed, but I’d still prefer a few more Nibbles in the pot to mix in though!
By Cinabar

30 July 2011

Tiger Tiger – Easy Snacks Pad Thai Noodles [By @SpectreUK]

Takeouts in American movies and sitcoms, like Becker, always seem to come in small cardboard containers, which appear to me to be good for the environment, but worry me that they could leak sauce all over my lap. The same concern hit me when I saw this Tiger Tiger Easy Snax Pad Thai Noodles carton on the shelf in the local supermarket. Overwhelmed with curiosity I decided to give it a try, whilst blanking out the old saying regarding cats, death and curiosity. Let’s hope the cat’s dinner doesn’t leak all over his meatballs whilst he’s trying to watch a movie!
On picking an appropriate takeout movie, I decided on an old John Wayne classic, Rio Lobo. I packed Cinabar off to the shops and wondered over to the microwave oven. As you’ll see from the box’s contents in the second photograph; there was a packet of tagliatelle style noodles, a silver packet of Pad Thai sauce and a dodgy fork inside. I say dodgy because it just wouldn’t fit together and kept falling apart. Unless I was having a dippy moment the fork was dodgy! I decided to file the fork under recycling (exactly where the cardboard container would be going after eating its contents) and use a metal fork instead. I snipped open the noodles first, taking care with the scissors due to being a big kid and having no adults present, and flopped the slippery looking fellows into the carton. I opened the silver sauce packet next dumping the brown goo all over the noodles. Just less than two minutes in the microwave oven and the Pad Thai Easy Snax was ready to serve.
I enjoyed the first half of the old western with a sweet juicy Pad Thai sauce mixed in with the slim line slippery noodles. The Easy Snax cooled to an eating temperature nice and quickly, so there was negligible slurping at the start of the film. The sauce has a caramel sweetness to it with a hint of onion and spice from chilli, paprika and garlic. There was plenty of sauce to go around, which didn’t dry out during eating whilst watching Big John strut his stuff. There is a danger with a meal like this that you can get sick of the sauce before finishing. I was glad to enjoy the snack until the carton was empty. There was no pool of liquid at the bottom of the container and no leakage during the movie, asides some of my own when Big John took a slug in the leg towards the end. Rio Lobo was excellent and the Easy Snax was an enjoyable treat I will no doubt revisit. I’ll have to look for Tiger Tiger’s other flavours, which include Sweet and Sour, Green Curry, Satay Sauce and Penang Curry, and watch some other classic westerns just as soon as I can kick Cinabar out to the shops again!
By Spectre

29 July 2011

Milka Toffee Whole Nuts (Sweden) [@choccieman] [By @Cinabar]

I am not ashamed of my sweet tooth, and I am most certainly not ashamed of favouring Milka as a favourite brand of chocolate. It is sweet, creamy and has a lovely nutty edge. Warning: This review may contain bias, but that is because Milka is fab!
Anyway Choccieman knows I’m a Milka-holic, and very kindly treated me to this bar while on his travels. You should check out his amazing website with a huge choccie database too: http://www.chocolatereview.co.uk
When I unwrapped the bar I could see that each cube of chocolate had a button of Milka chocolate on top of it, to allow for the space of the hazelnut in the mix. I tried the chocolate and wow, it really is sweet. There is loads of rich toffee flavour cream, sweet burnt sugar liquid toffee and a woody hazelnut taste too. If that wasn’t enough the Milka chocolate is also there, and adds its touch to the flavours. This bar is a sweetness overload, but in the very best way possible way and is absolutely fantastic.
It’s not subtle, it’s all the sweetest tastes together, I’ve never seen both liquid toffee and mousse combined before! The hazelnut and Milka join the party, all taking us back to the days before we cared about chocolate percentages and back to when it was okay to enjoy the sweetest of tastes. This is a sugar high like no other, and I am proud to say I can still appreciate it for what it is, Milka at its very best!
Thanks so much Choccieman for getting this for me – you rock ;-)
By Cinabar (A self confessed Milkafangirl)

28 July 2011

Toy Story Strawberry Cereal Bars (Tesco) [By @Cinabar]

These bars are a tie in with the Toy Story movies, and they are part of a selection of products in Tesco with the branding. I also picked up some bags of mini cheese flavoured Tortilla crisps, which I’ll write about in the future.
These bars consist of a mix of oats and strawberry pieces. They are firm, slightly chewy but thankfully still a long way off being hard.
The flavour is deliberately non offensive as it is aimed at the younger lunch box market. The strawberry is sweet, fruity but rather mild. It does taste natural, so no complaints there, it just doesn’t have any zingy fruit tones. The oat flavours where pleasant and wholesome and did work well with the strawberry. The combination was good, and there was nothing inherently wrong with these bars at all, I’ll happily finish the box, I’m just not sure I’d buy them again for myself. As I have an adult set of taste buds, I was just a bit disappointed with these. I wanted stronger tastes, particularly from the strawberry.
However if you are packing the lunch box for a fussy kid, I suspect the flavour balance will be just right for them. The cute packaging is winner whatever; each bar also has a character on the inner wrapper so they look good even individually and everyone likes Toy Story. These do meet a market requirement, and I think there target audience will love them.
By Cinabar

27 July 2011

Rocky Rocks: Crispy Crunch / Chocolate (Tesco) [By @Cinabar]

The concept of ‘grab bags’ seems to be growing, with more and more chocolate being available in this format. Last month we saw Cadbury BiscBits creating a biscuit variety in a sharing bag, and now I’ve found these from Fox’s. The Rocky brand is a bit of a favourite, and to have it available in bags seems like a good idea to me.

Crispy Crunch
First up we have the Crispy Crunch biscuits which are a miniature version of the bars they released earlier in the year. The have the same soft but light crunchy texture, and the same sweet milk chocolate coating. They have hints of caramel and the texture makes them a pleasure to eat. I think these will go down really well in the sharing bag.

The Chocolate ones are a more of the standard biscuit you’d expect from Rockys. It is a thick biscuit with a thick portion of sweet chocolate too. There is a lovely baked wheat and oat flavour from these, sweetened from the chocolate so they were very tasty. I picked up on a little salt too, which worked well with the flavour. Again the bag didn’t last long and went down really well.

I enjoyed both types of biscuit, and am sure that the new format will work well for the brand. They really are perfect for passing round while watching a film with friends etc. Here’s to more varieties joining the concept.
By Cinabar

26 July 2011

Welshcakes: Cranberry & White Chocolate / Milk Chocolate [Fabulous Welshcakes] [By @Cinabar]

I went on a recent trip to Cardiff and discovered an amazing little shop in the marina called Fabulous Welshcakes. Now Welshcakes are one of my favourite things about Wales, and I think any trip to Wales must consist of having Welshcakes at least once (per day). Welshcakes are a cake rather like a flat scone cooked on a griddle. Welsh people eat them with a sprinkling of sugar, English people inadvertently add butter, both sets of people think the other ones are doing it wrong. If you add jam on top while in Wales, everyone will know you are not Welsh... you may as well wear a St. Georges flag t-shirt and give up any pretence.
Anyway, when I saw the title of the shop Fabulous Welshcakes I obviously headed straight in. To my amazement I found flavoured Welshcakes, as I had only ever have the traditional raisin ones before I couldn’t resist picking up a couple of the flavoured boxes to take home. A closer inspection on the packet showed that these Welshcakes are made ethically, with free range eggs and even Welsh butter.

Milk Chocolate
These lovely Welshcakes have the usual soft base, but have fab milk chocolate drops instead of raisins within them. They are sprinkled with sugar, and come ready to eat. They have a creamy sweet taste, but there was also plenty of cinnamon and spice too. The chocolate was mild, but well balanced so that the traditional Welshcake flavour was present, and not overpowered. These are a nice variation on the usual Welshcakes and were a proper tasty treat.

Cranberry & White Chocolate
As per the Milk Chocolate ones, these Welshcakes are coated in sugar, but this time have white chocolate and cranberry pieces. I liked the mix in textures from the two different ingredients, the soft fruit and the slightly firm chocolate. The flavours were good the cranberry was sharp but fruity, and the white chocolate mellowed the taste adding a smoothness. Yet again the spiced Welshcake flavour shone through ensuring that this variety didn’t step too far away from the tradition recipe or taste. I loved the mix of flavours, and was greatly disappointed when the box was empty.

Both of these varieties are clever twists on the usual Welshcakes, but still maintain that traditional taste. If you are in Cardiff make sure you find the shop and give them a try as they are, like the name suggests, fabulous. It is a crying shame they aren’t available more widely.
By Cinabar

25 July 2011

Italian Dressing [Pizza Express] [By @cinabar]

As the summer sunshine seems to be waving its head again, it certainly feels like salad season. Pizza Express has launched a new Italian dressing to cater for this, which is also perfect for picnics and lighter dinners.
The dressing consist of all the ingredients you would put in it if you were making it yourself, lemon juice, herbs, olive oil and a spot of honey for sweetness. I poured a decent drizzle over some young green leaves and tucked in. The sauce was fresh flavoured, and there were plenty of lovely herbs in the mix. I think I could pick up on the aroma of basil and oregano giving the sauce an authentic Italian feel. The lemon juice and honey really helped bring out the flavours of the leaves and enhance the salad. Although I used it on a green salad, I’m sure it would work perfectly in a more traditional salad with tomatoes and cucumbers too.
If you are after a quick and easy salad dressing, that still retains that homemade flavour, I’d recommend giving this a try. Let’s hope the sunshine continues and we can use this to add some flavoured greens to a barbecue meat feast.
By Cinabar

24 July 2011

Guzzle Puzzle Sweets [The Natural Confectionery Co] [By @Cinabar]

These fab new sweets from The Natural Confectionery Co are also a bit of a new idea. They are trying to be more than a bag of sweets, and have combined a bit of fun in the bag in that you can combine flavours and try and work out what the end taste result might be. There is a mini menu on the back of the bag to help you out too, as you puzzle over the flavours. The sweets come in two shapes, which are hooks and loops so that you can combine them easily by stacking them.
I poured out the contents of the bag to survey my options and was immediately disappointed. I realised that there weren’t that many sweets in the bag at all and that the variation of shapes wasn’t equal as there were more hooks than loops. More than that though, the biggest disappointment was that there were no cinnamon sweets in the bag. Cinnamon is one of my favourite flavours and when I heard that there was a sweet with this spice I was quite excited at the prospect of trying them, so having none at all in the bag was a big shame.
Still, I put together what flavours I had and stacked what I could to try the menu on the back. I also wanted to try the flavours individually to see what the basic ingredients were like.

Green – This had a zesty lime taste. It was fresh, tasty and sweet. It wasn’t too strong, but was lovely and natural.

Orange – This was a warmer orange flavour, it had lots of sweet citrus tones and was pleasant and well balanced.

Yellow – I was expecting this to be lemon, but it is actually banana as I suspect this gives more depth for fruit combinations than too many citrus sweets. The banana flavour is mild but distinct with a nice sweet edge.

Dark Pink- This had a subtle raspberry taste, again it was sweet, but lacking the wow factor.

Red – I didn’t get one of these, but it would have been cinnamon if I had :-(

This only left me with two possible combinations from the menu with what I had left:

Lime & Raspberry – This is supposed to make Pink Lemonade. It did have a nice fruity taste, and the raspberry and lime were nice together. I’m not sure I’d necessarily think it was pink lemonade but the flavours are sort of there and it was a good combination.

Orange & Banana – This curious mix is supposed to make Bubblegum. I actually could pick up a hint of bubble gum taste with this one, and it was an enjoyable sweet. The orange tang becomes more mild, and the banana develops into a even sweeter taste which makes a good fruity mix.

In conclusion then, these sweets have good natural tastes, and the jellies are soft and easy to eat. I did like mixing the flavours as it was kind of fun stacking them together. Instead of a random selection of sweets I’d prefer a measured and balanced amount in each bag. It is a nice idea, but I think it needs bigger bags too and a larger choice of menu if it intends to compete with the likes of Jelly Belly Jelly Bean combinations.
By Cinabar

23 July 2011

Red Sky – Roasted Red Pepper and Lime Flavour Crisps (Waitrose) [By @Spectre]

On seeing this big red 150g bag in the supermarket, its title reminded me of one of my favourites, which are Cofresh Chilli & Lemon Flavour crisps. The citric zest from the lemon really complements the spicy heat from the chilli. This Roasted Red Pepper and Lime flavour from Red Sky has 100% natural ingredients, which include; red pepper, cayenne pepper, onion, garlic, paprika, sunflower oil, coriander oil, lime oil, and cumin oil. With so many different varieties of oils in the ingredients I was left wondering if these crisps would slip out of my fingers before I had a chance to eat them.

On opening the bag I discovered the crisps had a strong paprika smell to them. On eating I found the crisps weren’t oily and their dominant flavours were paprika and lime, with a decent hint of red pepper. I found these crisps very tasty indeed, but not as hot as I expected and not nearly as spicy as the Cofresh offering. The lime did go well with the paprika taste, but didn’t result in the citric taste versus heat explosion that happens when I eat the Cofreah Chilli & Lemon Flavour crisps. Having said that, I would definitely buy the Red Sky Roasted Red Pepper and Lime flavour crisps again, as they went very well indeed with my favourite Mellow Yellow Mayonnaise. The paprika, lime and pepper taste really complemented the rapeseed flavour of the mayonnaise, and I usually have a jar knocking around the fridge somewhere. Failing that I have always believed that salad cream is one of the best crisp dipping sauces ever invented. If you doubt me, try it. You won’t be disappointed.
By Spectre

22 July 2011

Zotter Pineapple & Cashew Nut Chocolate (Germany) [By @Cinabar]

Did I mention that my dad brought back some fab chocolate from Germany? This is the second of the bars he brought back. As flavours go, it isn’t as odd as the other Zotter bar he brought me (review to follow) but it is still notably different to anything available in the UK.
This chocolate creation is a nice exotic twist on a fruit and nut bar, but the filling is smooth rather than textured with pieces.
I broke a chunk of the bar off and it came away very easily, as the filling is rather soft. The chocolate coating is quite thin, but the centre looks very substantial.
I was impressed with the flavour. The filling had a natural sharp pineapple taste, not marred by too much sugar and wasn’t overly sweet. The cashew nut taste was distinct and added a nice woody contrast to the flavour. The taste of the bar was quite busy, but the good dark chocolate coating held it all together and made it all work. The centre of the filling is very easy to eat as it is so soft. I like the texture of it, as it still had sustenance and was pleasantly granular in structure.
I felt that this bar had a clever mix of flavours and worked remarkably well, with good natural tastes. If you can find the Zotter range in the UK, I heartily recommend giving them a try because they are a well thought through bars with a clever range of varieties.
By Cinabar

21 July 2011

Dessert Gallery Summer Fruit Pudding Chocolates (Thorntons) [By @Cinabar]

I found these fine looking chocolates in Thornton’s, but you’d be hard pushed to tell from the packaging. Despite being made by them, the name and brand only appears in the small print on the back of the pack.
The chocolate consists of a milk chocolate cup, filled with a raspberry mousse and topped with a strawberry jelly. They are quite sweet to look at, but are more of an impulse buy than a proper gift, but they would work as a stocking filler too.
The chocolate is of a good quality, and there is a good amount of it proportional to the filling. The centre of the chocolate is rather sweet and zingy and the chocolate helps mellow this. There is a lot of flavour from the red fruits, and the raspberries are sharp, but the strawberry section adds the sweetness. They are easy to munch through, and are quite fresh on the palette rather than being rich. I have to say I was disappointed that I only picked up three chocolates, which is always a good sign.
If you find yourself searching out the selection boxes for the fruit creams, and you have a sweet tooth I’d suggest giving these a try, I really enjoyed them! They are perfect with a Sunday afternoon coffee indulging in front of the TV.
By Cinabar

20 July 2011

Seabrook Hot English Mustard Crisps (Tesco) [By @Cinabar]

After the amazing reaction to the Seabrook Jacket Potato Crisps blog, I felt it was about time I gave the brand another try. I know they have a few hot flavours in their range, but this is the first time I’ve seen the Hot English Mustard ones in the supermarket near me.
The marking on the front of the bag shows that they are a 2.5 chilli heat out of a possible 3, so I was expecting a bit of a burn. The crisps are crinkle cut too, which means the flavour will gather in the extra surface area for a bigger hit!
I tipped some out to have with a roast beef sandwich, which felt quite fitting. I know English Mustard has a kick, and it has to be said these crisps too were impressively hot. They had a wonderful burn, that was tingly, spicy and strong, but they weren’t inedible! The flavour wasn’t totally over powered by the heat, there was the good sweet, sour spicy taste of mustard shining through too and they were so wonderfully moreish. These crisps weren’t just great, they were perfect. They are everything I could want from a bag of English Mustard crisp, loads of flavour, lots of heat, tangy, crunchy and absolutely spot on. Dearest Seabrook this is what you are good at, please please please get back to your roots! Forget the sugar filled salt free crisps, let’s get back to perfectly done creative flavours!
By Cinabar

19 July 2011

Berger - Cherry & Coriander Seed Chocolate [Germany] [By @Cinabar]

This fine chocolate bar is from Germany, and my dad kindly picked it up for me on his travels. I hadn’t heard of the make Berger before, but I have to say I like their ideas for flavours, and I love the concept of cherry and coriander seed being combined in milk chocolate.
The bar has a smart cardboard sleeve, and is wrapped in a layer of posh grease proof paper underneath. When I opened up the bar I found that it is quite a thin bar of chocolate that was also supported by a piece of card. I noticed that despite it being quite thin, it was still a filled chocolate bar, with a layer inside with the cherry / coriander seed mix.
The flavour hadn’t been what I was expecting at all. The milk chocolate was the predominant taste, it was smooth, milky and gently sweet. The milk chocolate was clearly a good quality variety. There was also an aromatic taste mixed in, but it was rather mild. I could taste the coriander seed as the main taste, but there was a subtle deep fruitiness from the cherry too.
The chocolate was pleasant and enjoyable, so I guess there are two ways you could look at this. If you judge it on its own merits, it is a good bar of chocolate, with a well balance but mild aftertaste that plays smoothly with the main flavours. The chocolate is a good quality bar with an easy to eat flavour.
The problem arises from the bar’s variety, and the picture of the juicy cherries on the front of the wrapper. If you wanted a zingy sharp cherry taste, with some herbal flavours mixed in you may well be disappointed and just find the whole flavour a bit mild and almost boring.
Personally I enjoyed the chocolate, but can’t help feeling that if you create an interesting flavour combination that people would want a fuller taste, and that Berger played a little too far on the safe side.
By Cinabar

18 July 2011

Bassetts Jelly Mascots [Wenlock & Mandeville] [Sweets] (Sainsbury’s) [By @Cinabar]

Oh my, I think these are the first of the Olympic sweets! The Olympics is coming to London in 2012, and I think we are going to be seeing a fair few goodies on the shelf celebrating!
This bag of jelly sweets consist of two different shapes, one of Wenlock and one of Mandeville who are our two Olympic mascots for the event.
Mandeville is the rounder character with one eye (the dark red and green sweets in the picture). He is named after Stoke Mandeville Hospital which has the largest spinal injuries ward in Europe, and helps to promote the Paralympics which run in parallel with the event. Wenlock is the character with the slicked back hair (orange and pale yellow sweets in the photo). Wenlock is named after a town just a stone’s throw from where I live Much Wenlock. This town was the setting for the first Wenlock Olympian Games in 1850 which was the forerunner to the modern Olympics as we know them!
Still this is a post about sweets, and history aside, it’s time to eat! There are two shapes, but four flavours in the bag:

Orange: As you could probably imagine this orange coloured sweet is also orange flavoured. It has a good strong taste that is sweet and fresh. It has a very juicy flavour, and was filled with orange goodness.

Green: This is the lime flavoured sweet in the bag, and again had a nice strong taste. It was a zesty flavour, with loads of citrus, and again very juicy.

Dark Red: When I tried this it was clearly blackcurrant in flavour, but it wasn’t as sharp as blackcurrant can be. It felt like it was softened by something, perhaps it also had a hint of strawberry. It was still a good berry taste, and was very enjoyable.

Pale Yellow: I had assumed that this might be lemon, but it seems that Bassetts went for a more tropical taste and chose pineapple. This sweet had a rich sweet flavour, and represented pineapple well, and it had a good after taste that remaindered me of pear too.

All the varieties are made with a lovely soft jelly base that is very easy to eat. They are quite squidgy, and only take a few chews to finish them. They all have good strong flavours, and are natural and tasty. If you want to get a bag for yourself, they are an exclusive to Sainsbury’s at the minute, but are well worth picking up.
By Cinabar

17 July 2011

Aero Caramel & Choc Bubbly Dessert [Mousse] (Waitrose) [By @Cinabar]

Aero Bubbly Desserts have been around for a few years now. One of the latest additions to their chocolate bar range is the Aero Caramel bar, so I guess this pudding does form a natural progression with product tie ins.
The desserts are named “Caramel & Choc” and the order of these items in the title does seem to be significant in that it is a predominantly caramel dessert. The pudding is very pretty and consists of loads of caramel mousse, marbled with lines of chocolate mousse. It is a pleasure to tuck a spoon in too view the different layers.

The flavour is really something too. If you like caramel, you will love this. It has a wonderful sweet buttery caramel taste that just goes so well with the chocolate. It is sweet, but amazingly not too rich. The texture is very light and fluffy, and it just seems to melt on the tongue. It’s very enjoyable, but it is one of those puddings where you scrape every last bit out the pot, because one serving just doesn’t seem enough!
I think I should say that although I love all the Aero Mousse varieties this one is certainly my favourite with its fab buttery caramel taste. If I’m totally honest I’d even rather have a pot of this than a bar of Aero Caramel chocolate!
By Cinabar

16 July 2011

Lakeland Special Tea (Penrith) [By @Spectre]

This Lakeland Special Tea is blended by John Farrer & Co in Kendal, Cumbria. They have been a tea and coffee merchants since 1819. I was quite excited to find a unique tea I’d never tried before. There are instructions to make a perfect pot on the side of the box. Recommending the best way to keep the tea bags fresh is in an airtight container. The box states to always use boiling water and a warmed teapot. I went straight for a mug, as I was in a rush for my first cup of tea after a busy morning at work.
I’d had a rotten journey and was half an hour late due to problems with the trains and a nutter with a bad temper trying to pick a fight with the bus driver. The box suggests to leave the tea to infuse for a few minutes and either have it with milk or lemon. I added milk (as I was fresh out of lemons!!) and left the teabag in the mug for a few minutes. After leaving to cool I braved a taste. This makes a lovely strong English Breakfast blend of tea. I could pick out the fortitude of Assam mixed with the smoothness of Ceylon. The tea is easy to drink and a pleasure to wake up to, especially soothing on a hectic morning after giving up on the bus and walking for half an hour. Once I reached the bottom of my mug, I couldn’t help looking forward to the next brew.
By Spectre

15 July 2011

Ryvita Crackers [Made For Cheese] Golden Rye & Black Pepper [By @Cinabar]

If there is one thing that shouldn’t be underestimated it is the simple pleasure that is cheese and biscuits. It is one of my favourite lunches, so simple to prepare and so tasty. Simply get a nice mature Cheddar, some Brie, a dollop of ploughman’s pickle and of course a pickled walnut. Obviously something else is required to fulfil the biscuit element, and on this occasion that was provided by Ryvita with their new Crackers Made For Cheese.
There are two varieties available Golden Rye & Black Pepper, and I prepared to tuck in. When I opened the first box I was really pleased to see that these crackers are sealed in sections, so that the ones you don’t eat stay fresh longer, which is a really clever idea. Obviously I don’t eat cheese and biscuits every single day!
I started with a Golden Rye cracker, and was rather impressed. It had a lovely baked flavour, which was creamy and smooth. There was a good crunch and its texture was the perfect contrast with the soft Brie.
The next flavour was the Black Pepper, which looked similar to the previous variety in appearance. The flavour was notable different though, with a spicy heat from the pepper. The good baked flavour is still present but the twist from the black pepper just gives these crackers a decent edge with the cheeses.
I was very impressed with both of these new Crackers from Ryvita, they are full flavoured and have a lovely texture. It seems like an excellent new line for Ryviat and did I mention that I love the fact that they are sealed in sections for freshness? I know I did, but that’s the first time I’ve seen that with crackers, and that alone is a selling point for me. Next time you fancy a cheese and biscuit lunch, I’d suggest giving these a try – they taste fab too.
By Cinabar

14 July 2011

Blueberry And Lime Dessert (Sainsbury’s) [By @Cinabar]

How pretty are these new puddings from Sainsbury’s? I just love the fact that from the side you can see the blueberries floating in the jelly and the nice layers. I spotted them on the shelf and just had to get them.
The very top layer of this pudding is pink in colour, and is an opaque blueberry jelly. It is only a thin section, but it has a sweet berry flavour, with a hint of a floral twist from the blueberries. The next layer is the clear jelly, and this forms the main part of the dessert. It has a zesty lime flavour that is fresh and tasty. There are some fresh blueberries floating in the jelly too, with obviously a very natural taste! One of the ones in mine was quite sharp, but the jelly balanced it out. The citrus taste goes surprisingly well with the blueberries, and makes a good fruity medley. I can’t remember having seen lime and blueberry combined together before, but the zesty taste of lime with the fragrant blueberries is a really good fruit match. I couldn’t help but think it would make a lovely combination for a summer drink too.
These desserts are perfect for a light summer pudding with their lovely fresh and fruity flavours. They are sweet and easy to eat, and I love the look of the jelly too. These would be more refreshing on a hot (or muggy) evening than a hot pudding with custar, and it is nice to see Sainsbury’s bringing out some lighter options.
By Cinabar

13 July 2011

Warburtons New Baked Pitta Chips – Sour Cream & Chive (Sainsburys) [@Cinabar]

This is a new snacking product from Warburtons who are usually famed for their loaves of bread. It consists of triangles of pitta bread which are baked until crisp, and then seasoned. I say ‘new’ which is justified by the big ‘new’ label top left on the bag, but my Spidey Senses picked something up. These snacks felt really familiar, and after a bit of a search I found that I had reviewed a very similar sounding Warburtons Chippidy DooDaa Pitta Chips last summer.
These chips are triangular in shape, and look rough on one side, and smooth underneath. They are a nice golden baked colour. These pitta chips are loaded with Sour Cream & Chive flavouring, but other flavours available include Salt & Black Pepper and Salt & Vinegar. They had a full on flavour that was impressively intense. It was both slightly creamy, but mainly full of onion tasting chive, and really nice. If you like sour cream and chive crisps, or indeed cheese and onion I would suggest giving these a try.
They had a lovely crunchy too, they were crisp and moreish, and the textured softened very gently as they were chewed. They felt light, but natural and were very easy to eat. I felt that these were a great alternative to crisps, and as they are baked so they are healthier and have less fat. Having said that, they taste so good that you wouldn’t know they were lower fat – which is always a bonus when you realised that you’ve munched your way through the whole bag! :-D
By Cinabar

12 July 2011

Brussels – Fruit Beer Apple (Waitrose) [By @SpectreUK]

I’ve tried a Brussels Fruit Beer from Tradition before. Tradition have been brewing fruit beers since 1905 and as I recall I was surprised to enjoy their last offering. Cinabar has subjected me to many alchopop style fruit beers in the past, which generally had an overpowering fruity taste that wiped out any flavour of beer. I can usually tell when there is no beer flavour as Cinabar will proclaim on tasting “Oh, I like that one!” The last Brussels Fruit Beer I tried I was happy to find that the beer dominated over the fruit flavour. There is a strong smell of apples mixed with barley and malt to this beer. This beer is flavoured with apple juice and is the colour of cloudy lemonade. It has a sweet fresh apple taste that almost tastes like cider, but doesn’t have the added brown sugar flavour like Timmermans' Lambic beer. There is a good hit of barley and malt flavour behind the apple flavour that reminds you that you’re drinking apple juice mixed with beer, but unlike the last fruit beer I tasted from Tradition, the fruit taste is the dominating flavour here. That’s not necessarily a bad thing as the fresh apple taste makes you feel refreshed and healthy, which is a further step away from the biker bar’s Snakebite of old. I much preferred Timmerman’s Lambic beer to this apple juice beer though, it must be my brown sugar sweet tooth, although some would say I’m sweet enough… Nah….!
By Spectre

11 July 2011

[New] Giant Extremely Chocolatey Cookies (By Sainsbury’s) [By @Cinabar]

One of my biscuit weaknesses are giant cookies. When I’m in Subway, I can never resist their meal deal with the cookie, and if I’m in a cafe a coffee and giant cookie can be rather tempting. I don’t tend to buy giant cookies from the supermarket, as you never really find them on the biscuits shelves – until now!

The fab looking cookies are Sainsburys own, and come in this lovely looking cookie stack with 5 biscuits. The biscuits are a decent size, large and having a good thickness. They look very naughty as they are covered in chocolate drops, in both milk and white chocolate.
When I was eating them I discovered that there seemed to be even more chocolate than just that which was visible. Every bite had multiple chunks, I’ve never had anything quite like it. The base was spot on too. It had a good baked taste, and again lots of chocolate. The texture was quite firm, but still airy and fluffy and rather crumbly too. I ate mine cold, straight out of the pack, but there is an alternative. There is a serving suggestion to say that if you prefer your biscuits moist and sticky that you can microwave them for 35 seconds! This is genius, as it means you can have moist just baked style biscuits whenever you fancy, and it caters for both markets!
This biscuit was a piece of total chocolate indulgence, and I think it will prove rather popular for Sainsburys. There is also an Oat & Raisin flavour out, so I will be picking up a box of them when I next there. If these are anything to go by, they will be worth it.
By Cinabar

10 July 2011

Princessa Range - Nestle (Polish Grocers) [by @NLi10]

Sometimes I eat something and enjoy it so much that I mentally review it on the spot and remember to type it up that day. Other times I completely forget but become convinced that I must have reviewed it so never actually go back to write it up. This is the case with the Princessa bars. Chronologically these follow on from the Kubus and Hit reviews from May as they are from the same little Polish grocers (that I haven't been back to since then so will have to go stock up).

Nestle are a big company with lots of departments and variety across the range and countries. In the UK though I don't think we really have an equivalent to this. There are lots of EuroWafer biscuits out there - indeed the UK's own Tunnocks do a caramel one - but generally all are stodgy and heavy affairs. I bought these expecting the same but being interested in the flavours.

In reality these are much more like those little pink wafer biscuits I used to love getting from Kwik Save as a child. Light, crunchy and not all that filling as a small bite, but at these sizes and wrapped in chocolate they are fairly filling.

As it's been a while I won't go into as much detail but the flavours are White, Dark, Milk (all variations on a theme but with suitably different flavouring due to the chocolate) and Tiramisu (the Gold). This one has a bit more to it and a more deep flavour and sprinkles on the top. I expected to at least come out with a favourite, but all had their own redeeming features. Possibly the white choc one suited the lightness of the snack most, and also had a tiny amount of coconut involved in the filling pushing it over the edge.

I'll be venturing up to Cape Hill and going to buy more of these at some point, and I seem to remember there were more in the range. It seems odd that these aren't available in standard UK versions, but I guess that these are more of a treat than a filling snack and too chocolaty to be considered diet food.
By NLi10

9 July 2011

New Rowntrees: Sour Faces/ Very Berry Jellies / Jelly Aliens [Sweets] [By @SpectreUK]

Rowntrees Fruit Pastilles have always been a favourite of mine. I generally have a roll of Fruit Pastilles on the train on the way home for a much needed sugar hit. Chocolate can melt on overcrowded public transport and I worry about caking my suit with brown goo (try not to make your own jokes there!). Fruit Pastilles are easy to eat, fruity, tasty, moreish and mess free, well, asides a little sugar coating that may have fallen off a pastille. Let’s put it this way; I’m a big fan. Therefore it was easy to answer the question from Cinabar that probably didn’t even need to be asked in the first place. “Do you want to review these three new bags of Rowntree’s gum sweets?” I replied, “Er… YES!!”

Sour Faces

These Sour Faces are presented in a good bag size for sharing, but I’m terribly selfish. There are lots of different shapes, such as noses, eyes, lips and bow ties. There are four colours; Red is a sour mild cherry flavour; Orange, which (you probably guessed it) is a sour orange flavour; Green is a sour apple flavour; and white is a sour lemon flavour. These sweets are soft, chewy gums, with a good sour taste and have the traditional Rowntrees’ moreish trait. It was almost impossible to keep my fingers from diving back into the bag whilst eating these sour gums and Cinabar didn’t get much of a look in. I would definitely buy these Sour Faced gums again.

Very Berry Jellies

This is another healthy sized sharing bag, and with healthy sounding contents. It proudly states on the front of the packet that these gums contain 50% fruit, of which are apple, cherry, strawberry, blueberry, and raspberry. The bag is filled with lots of smiley faced gum shapes, which are all different shades of red. There was a powerful berry smell when I opened the bag. The gums have a sweet and naturally fruity taste. I strongly believe that these gums are the work of genius. They are a triumph to the sweet market. Everyone in the world should try one, just not one of mine. After I’d slaughtered the contents of bag, a forlorn Cinabar mentioned there was an optimistic seal sticker on the back of the bag. Phah! Resealing gummy bag I don’t think.

Jelly Aliens

Normally when I read on a sweet wrapper that there are no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives, I half expect to open an empty packet, but not with Rowntrees. There are all manners of gum shapes held within this grab bag, such as aliens, space men, flying saucers, and rockets. These shapes were presented in four colours which were; red for cherry flavour; orange for orange flavour; green for apple flavour; and dark red for blackcurrant flavour. I noticed that the green tasted like a mix of apple and pear, though strangely there was no pear in the ingredients. Letting Cinabar have a look in for a change, she agreed on the apple and pear taste. Some of the coloured shapes have white foam added on the bottom of the gum, which also tasted scrumptious. These gums tasted very nice indeed. They have the customary moreish trait and I couldn’t help wolfing them all down in record time.

Out of all the packets, I preferred the Very Berry Jellies myself, but I would happily buy either one of the other two gummy sweet bags again. I would recommend you buy two bags of each; one for gorging yourself, and the other for sharing, so your friends stay your friends when they see you devour the first bag!
By Spectre

8 July 2011

Ribena [New] Sparkling Raspberry Drink (WH Smiths) [@ribenauk] [By @Cinabar]

What is this new drink from Ribena? Firstly it isn’t blackcurrant flavoured, but more than that it is fizzy! It does seem a few steps away from their regular market, but innovation is good and I love a new product. Although who hasn’t tried adding fizzy spring water to Ribena cordial... mmm...
I opened up the bright pink bottle and took a sip. I was impressed by the fizz, it was good and not too strong. I have to say I liked all the bubbles as they were sparkling rather than over fizzy, it made the drink rather refreshing.
The flavour was impressive too. Although raspberries are known to be sweeter than blackcurrants, the drink still holds a decent tartness and has a pleasant tang to its flavour. The aftertaste is more mellow, but that first sip is sharp, but distinctly that of raspberry. I would say that it was a fair bit zingier than regular blackcurrant Ribena. The fruitiness was very natural, and didn’t taste at all artificial, which I was pleased about. I always associate Ribean with a ‘proper’ fruit taste and this didn’t disappoint on those grounds.
I liked the fizzy aspect of this drink, and there apparently there is also a fizzy regular blackcurrant Ribena out now too! As a fan of carbonated drinks this one is a success, and I look forward to trying the blackcurrant too!
By Cinabar

7 July 2011

Malaysian Coconut & Lime Ice Cream - Waitrose Seriously Creamy (Waitrose) [by @NLi10]

It's summer again, you can tell because the rain is warm, and that means the shops are full of things to cool you down.

It seems that since Ben, Jerry and Carte D'Or managed to convince us to pay slightly more for a tub of frozen milk by butting stuff in it that more and more brands are getting in on the act and producing their own luxury deserts. Most of these are a bit pathetic and just lovely packaging for ordinary ice-cream. Waitrose seem to have got the luxury part right, and gone for a few more unusual flavours.

The one I chose is essentially lime & coconut with a few adjectives thrown in to keep the marketing team happy. The first thing to note is that this is a good quality ice-cream and is indeed 'seriously creamy', the second is that the flavours are very, very strong. The first time I served this up I gave us both very generous helpings and by the end of desert I think we were both overfull and overpowered by the lime in particular. The next time I gave out smaller portions and this suited the experience more. The lime is refreshing and the coconut adds an unexpected texture to the mix.

I think that Ben & Jerry's satisfies the kid in you that wants the largest present under the Xmas tree, but that this is a much more adult and sophisticated experience - like wanting the most expensive present under the tree. I'm certainly going to be going back to this range and exploring the other flavours, hopefully before the weather turns back to its regular schedule.
By NLi10

6 July 2011

Fanta Beach [New] Strawberry & Kiwi (Tesco) [By @Cinabar]

I think we have established that the market forces feel that strawberry is an appropriately seasonal flavour. Fanta have cottoned on to this and brought a strawberry soft drink with a twist of kiwifruit, for a tropical edge. They have named it Fanta Beach just to make sure if it isn’t sunny outside, we still have that seasonal feeling.
I poured a glass of Beach out for myself, and saw that it was a pleasant strawberry red in colour. I gave it a sip, and the first thing I noted was that it was very sweet. Now I have a sweet tooth and it usually is quite open to all such flavours, but this was bordering on being a little bit syrupy for me.
I liked the flavour concept though, the strawberry was very fruity and had a good berry taste. The strawberry was more natural in taste than I expected, but it was still rather strong. The kiwifruit came as a more subtle aftertaste, adding a sort of watery edge to the final flavour. There was definitely another fruit present, but if someone had told me it was watermelon, I’d have believed it. Either way it did give the drink a decent finish.
On a hot Summer’s day, a glass of this while sitting in the sunshine sounds remarkably pleasant, but make sure you have your sweet tooth turned on.
By Cinabar

5 July 2011

McVities Quirks Biscuits – Double Chocolate (Tesco) [By @Cinabar]

These biscuits are from a new range brought to us by McVities. They consist of a shell of biscuit with a soft crème filling, making them a sort of inside out biscuit!
I know they look a decent size in the photograph, but they were smaller than I expected. I can’t tell if I’m getting greedier the older I get or if biscuits are shrinking, but this isn’t the first time I’ve though a biscuit was on the small side.
I broke one of these biscuits in half, to take a peek at the filling and there were crumbs everywhere when it snapped. The biscuits are messy that’s for sure. Spectre felt they were small enough to eat in one bite, which alleviates this problem, but not everyone can eat that much biscuit at once! Although dainty, they still needed multiple bites from me!
The shell of the biscuit has a nice chocolaty buttery taste and a good baked flavour. The texture is very flaky and a little dry for me. The filling does help a little, it is a smooth and creamy soft paste, and again has a good rich chocolate taste. I liked the flavours, but the textures just weren’t balanced enough for me. There wasn’t enough moisture to counter the shell.
In conclusion the biscuits were nice enough, and had good flavour that would meet any chocolate craving, they just aren’t my favourite offering from McVities. If you fancy giving them a try, let me know what you think. As well as chocolate, they are also available in hazelnut varieties.
By Cinabar