31 August 2011

Belvita Breakfast Biscuits - Yogurt Crunch (Sainsbury’s) [By @cinabar]

I rather like the Belvita biscuits as a quick breakfast food in the morning. They are convenient and I can have one at my desk with my morning cup of coffee for a quick start to the day. I was pleased to see a new flavour on the shelves, and loved the idea that they were a sandwich style as they looked rather pretty on the packaging.
They didn’t disappoint when I unwrapped them either. There are two biscuits wrapped in pairs to keep them fresh, and each set has a floral design subtly on the biscuit. The filling looked fairly thin, but still nice.
Flavour wise the results were a bit mixed. The outer biscuits are similar to the ones in previous varieties, so there were no problems there. The taste is similar to that of a digestive or rich tea biscuit, wholesome and with a nice baked flavour. They are slightly sweeter if anything, but they need to be for the filling. The yogurt centre was quite a strong taste, and I found it distractingly sour. The biscuit taste did almost cover it, but I kept getting hints of it in waves, and found it was just a bit acidic for my palette. I realise the packaging states that it is a live yoghurt taste, but it also stated it was creamy which I didn’t pick up on.
I liked the texture though, and felt that the soft filling gave a lovely contrast with the crunchy biscuits, so the idea is good. I just wish they’d chosen a milder yogurt flavour.
By Cinabar

30 August 2011

Jordan’s Country Crisp – Honey & Nut [By @Cinabar]

I don’t really eat that many cereals, by I do quite like them as an early evening snack before going swimming. I think they are a good source of energy and get rid of any hunger twinges if I’m not intending to have dinner until 8pm. NLi10 really is the king of cereal, so I hope he doesn’t mind if I take a look at this new one.
The Country Crisps cereal consists of clusters of oats in a variety of different shapes. I poured myself a bowl full and the range of shapes was from small fragments to good sized chunks. I added the cool milk to the bowl and tucked in. One of the things I like about Country Crisp is its ability to stay crunchy for quite a while even when soaked in milk. The flavour was lovely too, I tend to go for chocolate cereals (who’d have thought it) but found this honey one to be lovely and sweet and the honey flavour was well defined. Underneath that there was a good wholesome oat flavour that worked well with the creamy milk.
To be honest honey works so well with this combination of ingredients I can’t understand why Jordans haven’t done it before. It has a lovely balance between being sweet and feeling healthy and I’ve been really enjoying the box. Total thumbs up from me, even as someone who normally goes for a chocolate variety.
By Cinabar

29 August 2011

Walkers Sensations: Smoked Monterrey Chilli With Goats Cheese [@walkers_crisps] (Sainsbury’s) [By @cinabar]

If I am totally honest, the concept of goat’s cheese brings me mixed emotions. I am quite adventurous with cheese, but I’ve been a bit hit and miss in the past with goat’s cheese. I was still intrigued by its inclusion as a crisp flavour, as crisps regularly end up with a very generic cheese taste usually not even bothering to declare an actual variety. It is really nice to see Walkers trying something a bit different and with the inclusion of some chilli I felt that this could really be a success. This is the second of two new flavours, the previous one being already written up: Mexican Fiery Sweet Chipotle
The crisps have a lovely rich flavour to them. There is a good sweetness from what tastes like regular red peppers, a lovely hit of smokiness and an aftertaste of goats cheese. Amazingly the goats cheese flavour was spot on, creamy but fragrant. It does have the distinctive musty air of goat’s cheese, but it isn’t overpowering and does bring balance to the sweet pepper. There is chilli present here too, but it is a warmth with a decent tingle on the tongue. It’s thankfully not the kind of heat which distracts from the other ingredients, far from it, it enhances them and gives these crisps an extra depth of flavour. These new crisps from Walkers really do match the description, and I’m so impressed that the goat’s cheese was properly distinguishable. Posh but tasty crisps, and I thoroughly enjoyed them.
By @cinabar

Blue Berry Pocky - Glico (CyberCandy, Birmingham) [by @HiImRy99]

This is a guest review by @HiImRy99 our pre-teen reporter in the field (or playground at least!)

The Icing may look nasty but it sure is good, the blueberry Pocky tasted mainly the same as any other Pocky but it had a blueberry taste.
My whole family tried the Pocky and was enjoyable so definitely something to buy and at a cheap price.
Also there is a competition in Japanese that you can’t take part in.
by @HiImRy99

28 August 2011

[New UK Product] Mars Triple Choc [Limited Edition] (Boots) [By @Cinabar]

If you ever had a Mars bar and felt that it didn’t satisfy your chocolate craving I think most people would be surprised. The Mars bar is a very chocolaty experience as it is, but Mars thought they could bring a little more chocolate to the party. This new Mars Triple Choc is a limited edition bar in which they have decided to try and add a bit more chocolate, for those that thought it was lacking. It is new to Britain, but it is a bar that has actually been available in Australia for a little while now, however this is my first experience of it. In addition to the chocolate shell, the new Mars now has chocolate nougat and chocolate caramel making up its triple chocolate credentials.
I bit in and have to say that I was pleasantly surprised by what I found. Firstly the textures are near identical to a regular a Mars, which was good as it kept the bar nicely within its branding and made it feel right.
The chocolate caramel was rich, there were tones of brown sugar, but mostly it had the sticky gooey feel of a really good chocolate sauce. The nougat was a little darker in colour than a regular mars, and that too had a good cocoa taste that still had a nice hint of sweet nougat about it. Altogether there is a good mix of textures and the taste still retains a good amount of the original flavours but with an extra helping of chocolate. I really liked the bar, it was still clearly a Mars, but had a nice chocolate twist about it.
The new Mars Triple Choc is incredibly indulgent, and really is every chocoholics dream. The flavours are rich and the bar made a wonderful alternative to a regular Mars, it’s definitely one I’ll picking up again - yum. :-)
By Cinabar

27 August 2011

[New UK Product] Twirl Bites (WH Smiths) [By @Cinabar]

It seems sharing bags are popular at the minute and Cadbury are expanding their range with another new one, this time: Twirl Bites.
Effectively Cadbury have created small chunks of Twirl bars and packaged them up for sharing. Twirls are thin folds of chocolate layered in a bar, which has then been dipped in chocolate. The insides aren’t dissimilar to Cadbury Flakes, and I’ve always felt the two products are surprisingly similar. The only ingredient in these Twirl Bites is chocolate, and it is the variety form Cadbury that I associate with Flake, i.e. not quite Dairy Milk as it has a touch less creaminess and hint more bitterness about it (rather like an Irish Dairy Milk).
The chocolate chunks aren’t very neat, and do vary in shape a little but I don’t suppose this matters. They are a little crumbly but as you eat them whole they aren’t too messy. The pieces are easy to eat, and I think they will be a big success because of their simplicity. It may only be chocolate but the texture is playful enough to make it a worthy purchase to be shared amongst even fussy friends.
By Cinabar

[New UK Product] Skittles Crazy Cores (WH Smiths) [By @Cinabar]

Just a quick news bite as we have a new product called Skittles Confused which are new to the British market.
I’m not going to write too much about these as Spectre has gone into far more detail about them when he had a bag from Cybercandy. These new Skittles are now available in the UK properly, and not just through import shops. The only bags I’ve seen them in are the large sharing bags so let me know if you’ve seen them in smaller packs. The UK version has all the same flavours as Spectres original review, so if you want more detail have a look here: Skittles Confused [Import Shop]

26 August 2011

Holy Cow - Mango and Chilli BBQ Sauce [By @SpectreUK]

After my taste sessions of Holy Cow’s Goan Extra Hot Lime (which went really well with fish and chips), I was slightly concerned that this sauce would also burn my mouth out (but in a good way). I noticed the ingredients included habanero chilli peppers, mango, tomato paste, dried mint and literally dozens of other ingredients, all of which are natural, with no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives. This sauce is also suitable for vegetarians, vegans and coeliacs, and is gluten free. It sounds all very healthy, so without further ado I sat down with a couple of beef burgers and a pile of potato wedges for dipping. I dumped a good blob of this red sauce amongst the wedges and dipped the first one in. The sauce has a good chilli and tomato taste to it with an added mint flavour at the end of each mouthful, which helps to cool the tastebuds from the chillies. This sauce is nowhere near as hot as the Goan Extra Hot Lime, but I never expected it to be as there is no “Extra Hot” in the title. There is a good chilli heat that sits prettily on the tongue after every mouthful, but it isn’t an uncomfortable heat. Although I couldn’t really identify a mango flavour as such, if Holy Cow changed the name to Tomato and Chilli BBQ sauce, I can’t see that anyone would notice. They’d be too busy dipping potato wedges in to the sauce to care!
By Spectre

25 August 2011

Rolo Biscuits (Tesco) [By @cinabar]

When is a biscuit not a biscuit? What does the phrase biscuit actually refer to? Let’s take a chocolate digestive and think about this... Is the chocolate on the digestive part of the biscuit? Or is it just the base that is the biscuit and the chocolate is a topping on it?
I’m afraid these Rolo “biscuits” put these strange thoughts into my head, as the more I look at them I can’t quite understand the name. Giant Rolo With Biscuit Pieces would be less catchy, but more appropriate! This isn’t the first product I’ve seen where I’ve questioned biscuit credentials, Aero Biscuits I’m looking at you.
Inside the pack are 6 individually wrapped giant Rolos, all with added biscuit pieces in the caramel. The chocolate is wonderful and thick, and the caramel oozes its sweet flavour pleasantly when you bite in and bursts out of the chocolate. There is a crunch from the biscuit, I won’t deny that, but it is gentle as there aren’t that many bits. There is no layer of biscuit though this which I found disappointing given the product name. The biscuit pieces flavour was also quite overpowered by all that yummy rich caramel, which was again a bit of shame. So what we have is some lovely flavours from the Rolo Chocolate and caramel, but only a minor biscuit appearance.
So if you like Rolos and fancy the giant Rolo experience these are fabulous, and provide a wonderful chocolate treat. If you were looking for the sort of biscuit you can dunk in a coffee, stop right there, these would mostly melt away.
By Cinabar

24 August 2011

Balisto Forest Berries Biscuits (Tesco) [By @Cinabar]

Any European readers from Germany or elsewhere on the continent will be reading this and already be familiar with the concept of Balisto biscuits, as they are quite commonly available across the channel. These biscuit fingers are manufactured by Mars despite this only being in the small print on the back of the pack. The biscuits come in a multipack, within which they are individually wrapped and perfect for lunch boxes. I have to say it is nice to see them finally make it to the UK, and bring with them some varieties we don’t normally see. I picked up this Forest Berries flavour as they sounded like a rather nice concept.

I took the wrapper off, and took a peek inside. They have a thick biscuit base within the chocolate that is buttery but firm. These certainly have enough biscuit in them to be considered proper biscuit bars, unlike some products I could mention… (Aero Biscuits I’m looking at you).

The cream above the biscuit it is sweet and fruity, and has quite a few berries hidden within it. These bits of fruit have a lovely strong fragrant taste that is sharp and sweet and very pleasant. I liked the way if you found a berry it changed the intensity of the flavour, and made different mouthfuls vary in flavour. The berries had a nice texture to them, and were even a little bit sticky in places giving it a real fruit feel. The chocolate round the edges keeps it all together and really makes the biscuit. I felt the biscuits were a bit on the small side, but were really nice. I’m hoping they release a few more of the flavours over here – and I wouldn’t object to twin packs either! ;-)
By Cinabar

23 August 2011

Cadbury Boost Cake Bars (Tesco) [By @Cinabar]

There are quite a few individual Cadbury’s cakes out at the minute, from mini rolls to Cadbury’s Caramel cakes. This is the newest in the range, and is based on the long standing Boost chocolate bar.
I have to say the Boost cake bar does seem to have an intricate sounding set of ingredients from the pack, from sponge, fondant wrapped in caramel, biscuit pieces to the chocolate coating!
I unwrapped the first cake and have to say it didn’t look that impressive, but when I broke it in half, the insides looked really interesting. I took a bite, and the first thing I noticed was just how substantial the bar felt. I assume that this was down to the fondant being thicker than most of those used in cake bars. I liked the caramel wrapped around the fondant too as it added a lovely rich sugary flavour to the bar and a sticky element. The biscuit pieces were within the chocolate fondant cream, and although there weren’t that many they did add a lovely crunch which broke up the consistency further. The soft sponge and chocolate coating added a wonderful rich chocolate flavour as well as also adding to the complex collection of textures.
These cake bars are really nice; they are sweet, interesting and more substantial than a lot of the cake bars out there. In summary these are my current favourite variety of cake bar, and they are an absolutely brilliant addition to the Cadbury range.
By Cinabar

22 August 2011

Cafe Direct - Sao Tome: Luxury Hot Chocolate (Sainsbury’s) [By @Cinabar]

I do like a cup of hot chocolate, so when I heard Cafe Direct where releasing a new instant variety I was very interested in tracking it down. So much was my enthusiasm for the product that I made an unprecedented hot chocolate drink at lunchtime on a Sunday, i.e. the second I got back from the shops!
The first thing I noted was how light the powder is. The chocolate is both light in colour and in weight, much more so than a regular cocoa. The instructions on the back said to use 3-4 teaspoons per drink, so I went with four heaped ones for maximum impact.
I have to say it dissolved pleasingly well. I hate fighting which hot chocolate potions to remove the lumps, so I give this one a thumbs up for easy preparation.
Sadly the drink was a little disappointing. It didn’t have the strongest flavour, and it wasn’t overly sweet. It was an acceptable hot chocolate, but it was a long way off being indulgent. I find it hard to understand how adding what looked like so much powder to the cup could resort in such a mild taste? The flavour was subtle cocoa, watery, and gently sweet. If you ordered it in a cafe, you wouldn’t send it back, but you wouldn’t make a point of having it again either.
Now I know I’m picky when it comes to hot chocolate, and I realise instants are a difficult market. However microwaving a cup of milk takes under two minute and mixing in to that some proper Cafe Direct drinking chocolate isn’t that much effort and it provides a rich chocolaty drink which is on another level to this one.
By Cinabar

21 August 2011

Walkers Sensations: Mexican Fiery Sweet Chipotle [@walkers_crisps] (Sainsbury’s) [By @cinabar]

I do love spicy crisps, so have been desperately trying to track these down since I first heard about them a week ago. I particularly like Mexican spice, so the flavour combination seemed perfect for me.
The crisps were really aromatic when I opened the bag, with a good scent of spices and herbs. The flavour wasn’t quite what I was expecting, as they started off with quite a sweet edge. This then mellowed to a rustic smoky flavour, and then a final kick of chilli heat. I loved the way the flavours developed and changed as they were eaten, and the heat from the chilli was at a good level too. It had a good strong taste, and the tingle built up pleasantly while I munched. It was certainly not enough to be offensive, but it was enough to give them a moreish heat.
I loved these crisps, a good mix of tastes and flavour and they make a lovely change from the standard sweet chilli crisps. There is also another new flavour out in the range called ‘Smoked Monterrey Chilli with Goats Cheese’, I’m not a big fan of goat’s cheese, but I’m still looking forward to tracking them down and trying them out.
By Cinabar

20 August 2011

Toy Story Cheesy Tortillas (Tesco) [By @cinabar]

Last month I wrote about the new Toy Story cereal bars that have arrived in Tesco. Under the same Toy Story branding, and also as a lunch box snack, we now have Cheesy Tortillas in the range.
These snacks still have all the Disney branding, and do look smart. The smaller bags also have the characters on them so they look nice individually too. I do have a weakness for Disney, so thought the branding was quite sweet.
I found the cereal bars to be quite mild in flavour, and I assumed that this was because they were aimed at more child friendly taste buds. It was a bit of surprise when I tried these and found the flavour to be really quite strong. There is a fair amount of intense cheese flavour, and a salty aftertaste. The crisps took me a bit by surprise, but they did grow on me the more I ate. The base was decent and had that nice tortilla flavour through and through. Not a bad snack by any means, they were just a little stronger in taste than I was expecting. I can’t really complain, what else would you expect from a product called “cheesy” tortillas?
By Cinabar

19 August 2011

Skinny Tea / Northern Brew / Baby, Its Cold Outside (The Tea Shed) [By @Cinabar]

I’m sure I have mentioned it before, but I am a secret tea fanatic. At work I drink coffee all day, but at home I switch to my secret identity as tea addict. When the Tea Shed got in touch with me and asked if I wanted to try some of their teas, there was no way I could say no.
I had a look at their website, and absolutely loved what I saw. Firstly the teas are packaged in take out tea cups, which is a really sweet idea. Secondly, I thought the names of some of their teas were absolutely brilliant. For example “Pick Me Up at 3 Tea” which is caffeinated Assam that is perfect for an afternoon boost.

I had three samples sent to me:

“Northern Brew”
This a Ceylon tea so called as this particular leaf works best with hard waters found in the North. It has a flavoursome breakfast tea taste about it, and works well with milk. I enjoyed the drink and felt that it was of a good quality as you could pick up on the delicate leaf flavour.

“Baby, Its Cold Outside”
This is the Chai tea, and the name refers to the lovely warm nature of the drink. It is a black tea, spiced with cinnamon and ginger, and has wonderful spice. I brewed it with milk and added sugar, and the flavours and spice were just perfect. I loved this drink, but despite its name, would happily drink it all summer too. :-)

“Skinny Tea”
Green tea boosts the metabolism, which is why this green tea has its name. You also don’t add milk, so there are less calories there too! I like a cup of green tea while having Japanese food, as it makes the experience feel authentic. The particular tea had a good leafy flavour, which was a little floral, but notable it had no bitter edge. It was a fresh refreshing drink and I heartily recommend it.

The teas from the Tea Shed, are beautifully packaged, have lovely names and crucially are of a very high quality. The whole concept of the products really make me smile, and they would make a lovely gift for the tea fan in your life.
Linky: http://www.the-teashed.co.uk/

By Cinabar

18 August 2011

Newcastle Brown Ale Ice Cream (Westmoreland Service Station) [By @SpectreUK]

On a recent trip to Northumberland we had a spooky night at Lumley Castle and a few nights enjoying the spa at Linden Hall Hotel. We visited many castles during our holiday, such as Bamburgh, Alnwick, Dunstanburgh, Chillingham and Warkworth. We had a great time and enjoyed exploring all the castles. They were all different; some in ruins, some well kept, and all were superb and still standing proud in whatever state they were in. Cinabar and I even had time for a boat trip to the Farne Islands from Seahouses. Bobbing up and down in the North Sea in our little tour boat, we saw grey seals and all manners of seabirds on a bright sunny day. Afterwards we had a very tasty sit down fish and chips lunch (and chip butties) at the Neptune Fish Bar next to the quayside.

On the way back from our holiday I drove alongside Hadrian’s Wall into Cumbria and we had dinner (curry and chips) in our favourite motorway service station just outside Penrith. I know saying “favourite” service station sounds a bit sad, but it is a really good service station (honest). The farm shop at Westmorland service station is an Aladdin’s Cave for Foodstufffinds. Cinabar quickly filled a trolley full of interesting goodies, one of which was this Newcastle Brown Ale Ice Cream. It’s made with Newcastle Brown Ale syrup, with less than 1% alcohol, fudge pieces and double cream from Doddington Dairy. The ice cream tastes sweet and deliciously creamy. It has a very mild beer taste and the soft fudge pieces melt luxuriously in the mouth. This ice cream would go down very well in cinemas and theatres, as well as enjoying it in the home for a pudding treat. I’m sure everyone would love this ice cream, from small beer curious children to tough guys who like their beer and worry about looking more than a little strange for enjoying a small cute pot of ice cream.
By Spectre

17 August 2011

Fruit Crumble Biscuits (Weight Watchers) [By @Cinabar]

Sometimes it’s nice to have a healthy snack, particularly if it is tasty too. I think these new Weight Watchers biscuits fit nicely into that category. They are ‘Crumble biscuits’ which are quite big, enough to be individually packaged. They are pretty biscuits, each with a nice thin wide base, filled with an appropriate jam and sprinkled with a crumble. The filling is pleasingly sticky, and works well with the texture of the base biscuit, which gave easily. The two varieties are:

Apple, Blueberry & Raspberry
This is the red biscuit. It has loads of strong zesty berry flavour, but was predominantly raspberry in taste. The fruit complemented the sweet biscuit base and turned it into a sort of Jammie Dodger flavour.

Apple, Apricot & Peach
This biscuit was orange in colour, and had a slightly tropical taste despite the ingredients. The main flavour was the peach sweetened by the apple. As a whole it gave a fresh fruity taste, that worked well as a biscuit and it was really enjoyable combination.

Both flavours are really tasty, with vibrant fruit flavours and feel like a proper treat. Any reduction in calories is a bonus, and I found them perfect for taking to work to suffice the afternoon sugar craving.
By Cinabar

16 August 2011

Thorntons Cloudy Lemonade Chocolate [Limited Edition] [@thorntonschocs] [By @cinabar]

After last week’s popping candy spread from Sainsbury’s, you’d have thought that would be the last of popping candy goodies for a little while. It seems though popping candy is having a bit of a revival, and it features in this new bar from Thorntons.
The bar is a chunky white chocolate, infused with lemon oil and a portion of popping candy to recreate the fizz and flavour of Cloudy Lemonade. I broke a piece of the chocolate off and it had a firm snap particularly for a white chocolate.
The white chocolate flavour is really sweet and creamy, and of a really good quality. It is a very indulgent base for a flavoured bar. The lemon aspect was a little disappointing in that it was very mild. It was a decent natural taste, but it was quite weak. In one respect it was nice because it didn’t over power the chocolate tones, but it didn’t quite recreate the zing of cloudy lemonade.
I’m a popping candy fan, so I loved this fun element to the bar. There was a good portion and the chocolate bubbled and fizzed and cracked as I ate it. I thought it was a lovely way to bring out the carbonated nature of the drink and was a clever way of representing it. The lemon was gentle, but overall the chocolate gets a big summery thumbs up. :-)
By Cinabar

15 August 2011

Bettys Handmade Chocolate Selection (Bettys, York) (By @Cinabar)

My brother lives in Yorkshire and very kindly picked up this box of goodies for me to try. These chocolates are very traditional, and have a lovely elegant box, with a lady in classical dress. The varieties of the chocolates inside are also very classical, and I couldn’t wait to tuck in:

Blackcurrant Ganache Truffle – This was a milk chocolate, decorated with dark and filled with a thick fruit cream. The blackcurrant was zingy and tart, delivering a refreshing natural blackcurrant taste, softened by the sweet chocolate.
Vanilla Caramel Heart – There was a dark chocolate case, filled with a thick caramel liquid. The chocolate was quite thin, but the bitter tones still balanced the warm sugary caramel centre. The natural hints of vanilla really set this off.
Piedmont Hazelnut Praline – This chocolate was the prettiest one in the box, and had an elegant curved shape. The rich praline was very flavoursome, and the hazelnut shone through. I liked the fact there were crispy pieces mixed in, which broke up the texture really well and gave these a good edge.
Violet Cream – When it comes to classical British chocolates the Violet Cream has to be the centre piece. The rich dark chocolate worked perfectly with the thick perfumed cream within. The flavour was wonderfully sweet and floral. I could honestly have eaten a whole box of just these. The rich chocolate and sweet violet flavours were absolutely fantastic.
Rose Cream – These chocolates were very sweet and had a lovely exotic cream filling. The flavours are similar to that of Turkish Delight, with a gentler softer taste than the floral Violet Cream.

These chocolates were beautifully presented in an elegant box. The packaging was so smart I actually kept it as keepsake box. The chocolate selection within were a well thought through selection with some very traditional chocolates. Each chocolate was well balanced and had a good flavour, they were an absolute treat. It is a very elegant gift box, and I loved them. Big thanks to my brother and family for picking them up, it’s much appreciated.
By Cinabar

14 August 2011

Joe & Sephs Espresso Popcorn (Selfridges) [@joeandseph] [By @Cinabar]

Popcorn is currently one of my new favourite snacks, and I have a particular new love of the sweet and salty variety. Bags of the stuff seem to be appearing everywhere (even saw some in Costa) so my new snack seems to be very on trend.
I was wondering around the foodhall of Selfridges and stumbled across a new selection of popcorns from Joe & Sephs. They are in very appealing bags and had some good and interesting flavours. I picked up the most bizarre flavour I could find there which was this espresso variety.
The popcorn smells amazing when you open the bag, rich with a hint of fresh brewed sweet coffee. The pieces look quite large and fluffy, and are covered in a dark coating. They crunch pleasantly, but give easily. The taste is really good too, they start being sweet with a hint of burnt caramel, then the espresso hits with its good strong flavour. The coffee aftertaste is fabulous, loads of bean and a nice slightly bitter edge in the taste to finish it.
The bag the popcorn is in is re-sealable, but to be honest that is a bit of wishful thinking, as the bag only lasted us (I swear I didn’t eat it all on my own) one sitting! The ingredients are all natural too, so that is nice as well. It was a gorgeous bag of popcorn, and so nice to see such interesting flavours. Well worth checking out if you fancy giving your taste buds something a bit different to snack on.
By cinabar

13 August 2011

Chocolate Brownie Flavoured Milk [Limited Edition] (Tesco) [By @SpectreUK]

I’m always on the hunt for a decent chocolate milkshake to fill the chocolate craving that sometimes creeps up on me on the odd evening. My tummy size dictates that too much snacking is bad. The phrase “pregnant paunch” is an understatement. Some people have asked me when the twins are due! Therefore, I try to avoid chocolate bars as much as possible, so something that tastes of chocolate and doesn’t feed the belly fat is required.

This drink has no artificial flavours or preservatives and is made from semi skimmed milk and pasteurized chocolate fudge brownie flavour. It sounds good, but the back of the drink shows there is 330Kj energy, 12.2g sugar, and 1.4g fat. So it’s virtually a fist sized chocolate bar anyway. It tastes like a creamy liquidized chocolate brownie that is thick, but not gloopy and melts in the mouth. It gave me a decent, much needed chocolate hit, but I think I’ll continue my search for something a little healthier before my belt bursts or I give birth to something.
By Spectre

12 August 2011

Sour Cream Hula Hoops (Sainsbury’s) [By @cinabar]

Earlier in the week I wrote about the new Sweet Chilli Hula Hoops that have been brought out. These were one of two new flavours, the second one being this Sour Cream variety. I suppose Sour Cream is one of those flavours that is becoming more and more popular, so having it as a Hula Hoops flavour isn’t that surprising. What is surprising is that it hasn’t been done before, and it is a little disappointing the flavour isn’t a bit more unique. It isn’t a Limited Edition though, these are a new addition to the range, so I guess they are playing it safe.
I opened the bag and discovered the potato hoops had a light onion fragrance, and did smell rather appealing. I tucked in and as much I love the crunchy texture of the hoops, the flavour itself wasn’t all that impressive. It did have a decent chive/onion taste, with a creamy edge and certainly met the standard of ‘nice’ with no problem at all. It did everything you would hope of a sour cream taste, it just was quite mild. I enjoyed the bag, and will happily much my way through the other bags in the multi-pack. The thing was I felt the overall flavour was lacking that bit of magic. I think this was down to the strength of the flavour as it was milder than others, and it was lacking a moreish tang. By all means not a bad pack of crisps, but I’ll be more likely to go for a repeat purchase of the Sweet Chilli ones than these.
By Cinabar

11 August 2011

Popping Candy Chocolate Spread (Sainsbury’s) [By @Cinabar]

I am not ashamed by the fact that the words ‘popping candy’ make me happy. I know they are the Marmite of the sweet world, but I personally love that crackle in the mouth feeling. I have seen popping candy sweets, and chocolate, but this is a first on me – popping candy spread. The major ingredient is actually chocolate with a hint of hazelnut, but there are notable light coloured crystals showing where the popping candy is hiding.
I made some toast, and started to spread the chocolaty substance on to it. As I was doing this there was the occasional sporadic popping noise as I accidentally crushed a crystal into the chocolate spread – ace! The flavour of the chocolate spread is sweet, but it has a good strong chocolate taste and a nice hint of hazelnut as an aftertaste. It has a smooth flavour, rich and tasty and perfect on toast. The best part of it is the popping candy, and the more you munch the more there is the fizzing, popping and crackling noise in your mouth. I loved it, how can this not make you smile while you eat. Lovely sweet chocolate and chunks of exploding candy, it is just fabulous fun in a jar. I can’t recommend it enough, especially if you are still a kid at heart! :-)
By Cinabar

10 August 2011

Hula Hoops – Sweet Chilli (Sainsbury’s) [By @Cinabar]

Firstly I’d like to start with a thank you to the very nice guy at work who gave me a bag of these to try and to review. They are the new offering from Hula Hoops and are available in multi packs. Hula Hoops are crunchy rings of potato, and are a bit of a classic snack here in the UK. It is always good to find a new flavour of them too.
This new variety is called Sweet Chilli and I immediately assumed it would taste of sweet chilli dipping sauce, but when tested it didn’t quite represent that. The flavour isn’t bad, though and I did enjoy the bag. They have a light kick of spice, but are predominantly paprika in taste. There are other aspects to the flavours too, with hints of onion and the sweetness of tomato mixed in.
They have a tangy taste, and I was pleased that the chilli had a nice warmth. They are certainly a good addition to the range and I really enjoyed them. Most people I know who’ve tried them agree that they are good but one notably was unimpressed. Have you tried them – what did you think?
By @Cinabar

9 August 2011

Sticky Toffee Chocolates [Cartmel] (By @Cinabar)

If there is one thing I have learnt from writing about Cartmel products, it is that they make an amazing Sticky Toffee Pudding. It is an indulgent rich dessert, and every bit as naughty as you would hope.
So, when I spotted they had gone in to the chocolate market, I couldn’t resist picking up a box. All the chocolates in the box are the same, and are based on the aforementioned pudding. They are 12 chocolates each consisting of a thick milk chocolate dome filled with a sticky toffee sauce. The chocolate is pleasant, it is sweet and creamy and has nice cocoa tones, but it isn’t the star of the show. It’s not a bad chocolate, but it does lack a little pizzazz. The contents on the other hand are fabulous. The thick liquid within is buttery and salty and has the most amazing rich toffee flavour. It is outstanding, sweet and tasty, and when you have had one, you immediately want another. There is nothing quite like placing one in the mouth, bursting it with the teeth and allowing the sugary substance to fill the palette. Absolutely amazing, if they could just up the quality of the milk chocolate coating they really would take some beating. Even as it is, it would wow those with a sweet tooth and is well worth seeking out!
By Cinabar

8 August 2011

Pringles Take-Aways: Margherita Pizza (Tesco) [By @Cinabar]

This is the next tube in the selection of new Pringles that I picked up from Tescos. Despite its obvious Italian sounding name, it isn’t actually part of the Mamma Mia range we have been looking at previously. This one is in the Take-Aways range, so the Italian favourite fits in there too.
The crisps don’t have the edge of green herbs on them like the previous flavours, but they certainly have the taste of Italy. There is a nice hint of cheese and tomato, the classic Margherita Pizza ingredients. The creaminess of the cheese was nice, but the tomato taste was more of a background flavour. There are lots of herbs in the taste too, I’m pretty sure I could pick up on Oregano as one of the dominant ones. I like the classic Italian herbs, which is why I have been enjoying the Mamma Mia range so much, and these were also no disappointment.
The crisps had a good mix of flavours that work well together. They are moreish as you would expect from Pringles, and they are a nice idea too. Can’t help hoping they brink out some additional flavours, for example and American Hot Pizza would be fab.
By Cinabar

7 August 2011

Peeps (Cybercandy - USA Import) [By @rychuxtreme]

Well I've seen Peeps a lot in American YouTube videos and as always when I go to Birmingham I need to go to Cybercandy so I had a good look and Peeps happened to be there and at a price of £1.25 I couldn't say no. The Peeps came in three different colours orange (as seen above), purple and green and as chicks are yellow (which they didn't have) yellow orange it is.

Peeps are mainly just fun coloured and shaped marshmallows and then covered in sugar (YUM) and who doesn’t like marshmallows and obviously there designed for Easter but who gives a damn. I especially enjoyed the tiny chocolate eyes on the Peeps which was a great way to add more, well, chocolate and the Peeps contained no fat but 34g of sugar so not all bad.

I will buy them again... and again and again and again and the price was very cheap so WIN WIN. But don't microwave them :O

by Hi-Im-Ry (@rychuxtreme)

6 August 2011

Liefman's – Fruitesse (Waitrose) [By @Spectre]

Liefman's of Belgium have been brewing this fruit beer since 1679, so I’m surprised Cinabar hasn’t found it to torture me with before now. The beer is a mix of strawberry, cherry, raspberry, dilberry, elderberry, and Barley Malt. Sounds like hell in a 250ml bottle. To back that statement up this beer is dark blood red in colour. It contains 15% fruit and is quite a strong beer at 4.2% volume. I dared myself to open it one night, knowing some other fruit beer would be discovered to take its place in the fridge once I’d drunk it.

In the past I’ve pointed out the taste of certain fruit beers could be considered as “child friendly” as they can be too easy to drink, having a pure fruit taste with no real flavour of actual beer. This beer is no exception, as it tastes more like a bitter fruit pop. I couldn’t really pick out any particular dominant fruit as they are all mixed very well together. I’m sure Cinabar would have enjoyed this drink, but I must confess that it was so small and so easy to drink that the beer had gone before I could share it. I must be getting used to these fruit beers, as they’re becoming less distasteful the more I drink them (note to Editor: Cinabar, that’s not a request for more fruit beer). This would make a good fruit pudding beer that would go well with some sort of fruit pie or chocolate gateaux. Failing that, it could be palmed off to the Mrs to keep her happy for a while…
By Spectre

5 August 2011

Jelly Belly - Ice Cream Parlour Jelly Beans (House of Fraser) [By @cinabar]

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos
I do like jelly beans, I love the amazing variety of flavours and it always seems there is something new to try. This new bag is a selection called Ice Cream Parlour, five new varieties of which only three are ice cream flavours, the other two are desserts!
Chocolate Chunk - Brown - This one definitely has a chocolate taste, but it is super sweet too. Nice in that it is a sweet so you allow it a little artistic licence but not a high quality chocolate taste.
Chocolate Mint - Light Green - There was a hint of mint with this bean, but mostly it tasted cool like menthol. There was some chocolate mixed in, but it wasn't my favourite sweet.
Strawberry Sundae - Pink - The beans are certainly getting better, with a strong berry taste very much reminiscent of strawberry ice cream, yum!
Birthday Cake - Speckled White - Quite a pretty sweet this one with a mix of colours, and it is not disappointing in flavour either. It is filled with a wonderful vanilla/caramel taste and a fab baked after taste. Its just absolutely lovely and a really good bean.
Apple Pie - Beige - Although this sweet had a lot to live up to, it still managed to make me smile. It was full of sweet rich apple tones and a good dose of cinnamon too. I do love cinnamon, so it will be no surprise to hear this sweet went down rather well.
All in all I like this selection of beans, although the mint was the weakest, the apple pie and cake flavour are absolute diamonds!
By Cinabar
Typed on my IPhone due to technical difficulties with my laptop/broadband... :-(

4 August 2011

Mr Men – Mr Happy & Friends Sweets (Tesco) [By @Cinabar]

I spotted these as I was leaving Tesco, as they were by the newsagent section, and made sure I purchased a bag before I left. There are actually a few themed Mr Men sweets but who could resist Mr Happy as a first try. The sweets are jellies, which all have a soft foam base.
They are called Mr Happy & Friends, but Mr Happy’s friends look just like him – except being different colours. I’m not sure they are characters from the books... but by all means correct me if I’m wrong in the comments below.

The contents of the bag:

Yellow (aka Mr Happy) – these ones were sweet, with a very mild citrus taste. There is no zingy lemon here, more a very sweet lemonade flavour.
Pink – This variety was probably the mildest in the bag, it had aspects of berry, but I couldn’t specify which fruit. I’d guess raspberry, but I wouldn’t put money one.
Red – This one had a light strawberry taste which was sweet and enjoyable.
Green - This was the strongest taste in the bag, and my favourite. It had a good defined apple taste, which was sweet and tasty.
Orange – Although mild, this was definitely orange. It was a sweet citrus flavour and almost honey like, very nice.

Each of the sweets have a nice texture, soft, but still with a decent amount of chew. The flavours are gentle, but easy going and still surprisingly moreish. I liked them and recommend them, particularly if you are fan of the books as they are a lovely tie in.
By Cinabar

3 August 2011

Sweet and Salty Popcorn (Sainsbury’s) [By @Cinabar]

Sometimes I go out of my way to find a Foodstuff Find, other times I’ll just spot something in the supermarket, but on this occasion it was a bit of fate. I ordered a (okay four) bags of my favourite Tyrrell’s Sweet & Salty Proper Popcorn from Sainsburys online, but when the delivery man came he brought this bag instead. They were out of stock, and this was a replacement item. I almost said no to the exchange, but then thought I could review it... so here we are!
This is a much larger bag than the Tyrrells, clearly aimed at a group wanting to share. The bright pink bag is fun, and looks perfect for a night in with a movie. The popcorn is lovely and fluffy but still mildly crunchy, exactly as it should be. There is a lot of topping on the pieces, so the flavours were good too. There is a good mix of sugar and salt, and I loved not knowing what the predominant taste would be on each piece. It is so very moreish!
In fact I was pleased with the replacement that Sainsbury’s sent, and I thoroughly enjoyed the contents. I would give it a decent 8 out of 10. I still give Tyrrell’s a 10 out of 10, and it is based on the oil content. The Tyrells bag is lower in fat, and I like it because it is a healthier snack without loss of taste. The Sainsbury’s version has a flag (top right on the bag) that notifies us that it is high in fat with a red warning. Although it tasted lovely, I did notice the build up of oil on my hand as I snacked on it too, which was a bit of a sign.
They both tasted lovely, but I think the version with the lower fat has to win on this occasion. Still, if Sainsbury’s bring me these as a replacement if the Tyrell’s are out of stock, I’ll be happy to except.
By Cinabar

2 August 2011

Shokomonk – Mohn [White Chocolate with Poppy] (Germany) [By @Cinabar]

While writing for Foodstuff Finds we try quite a few interesting curious combinations of flavours, but this one is still a first on me – poppy and chocolate. The wrapper has a drawing of a poppy and the German word “Mohn” for poppy, so I assumed that there was some poppy flower content. When the bar was unwrapped it was clear that the ingredients were poppy seeds. The bar did look amazing though, the white chocolate base allowing the black seeds to shine through and create the speckled chocolate.
The bar has a sweet aroma, sugary and distinctively that of rich white chocolate. Surprisingly there is little poppy seed in the scent. The bar has a good texture, the size of the bar means that the pieces are lovely and chunky. The chocolate is firm, but not too solid that it is uncomfortable to bite. The poppy seeds add a lovely crunch, but the flavour is also very mild. To be honest, there are so many poppy seeds packed within the chocolate that it would be hard to imagine the flavour would be so subtle, but all they add is just a little nuttiness to the taste of the bar. The flavour of the white chocolate is creamy and suitable sweet, and the bar does have a lot of positive points. I loved the texture and the flavour. They also get full marks for coming up with an innovative idea, but I just couldn’t help wishing the poppy flavour was a little more defined.
By Cinabar