31 March 2012

Rekorderlig – Premium Strawberry and Lime Cider [By @SpectreUK]

Last time Cinabar’s brother came to visit he arrived just after dinner. I walked into the room as he was tucking into a sandwich, with this beer shaped bottle unopened on the table next to him. I immediately mistook it for one of my own beers and selfishly dived to recover it. He quickly mentioned that it was a present for me to write up for the blog. Feeling marginally guilty, I then noticed what it was and its flavour. Not much of a cider fan, as I remember being violently sick from drinking too much of it when I was a lad. This Strawberry and Lime Cider by Åbro Bryggeri, Yimmery, in Sweden, sounded like it could be a refreshing summer’s treat for some, but I’ve never been much of a fan of sickly drinks either.
With the onset of hot weather (well, a few degrees above the frozen norm), I cooled the 500ml bottle, and decided to drink it on a sunny afternoon. On opening the bottle I noticed a strong sweet smell of strawberries mixed with sourness from the lime. I let Cinabar have the first sip of this pinkish beverage. She immediately said that this drink should be frozen and made into ice lollies. I have to admit that this cider tasted great. The sweetness from the strawberries mixed with the sour kick from the lime made this cider the perfect sunshine indulgence. It was much more refreshing than most pretentious sounding cocktails, and there was not a hint of any alcohol in the flavour. This drink went down too quickly, and I certainly wanted another bottle once I’d downed the first. At 4% volume, Kids, don’t try this at home... or anywhere else for that matter, unless you want to get all dizzy, throw up and hurl abuse at Lego policemen!
By Spectre

30 March 2012

Club – New Honeycomb Flavour (Sainsbury’s) [By @Cinabar]

I haven’t had a chocolate Club bar for years, which in itself is a bit shocking. I used to have Club bars quite regularly in my lunch box as a kid, but never quite seem to buy them as an adult. Perhaps it’s the fear of getting the theme music “If you like a lot of chocolate on your biscuit, join our club!” stuck in my head. Oh dear! Perhaps it is the fact that it treads a line somewhere between being a chocolate bar and a biscuit, and as such confuses me! Either way the fact they have a new variety out was, on this occasion, enough for me to pick a packet up again.
The biscuit in a Club bar is quite dry, but has a nice buttery shortbread flavour and a substantial feel. The chocolate was thick enough to coat the biscuit well and provide a lot of sweet milky cocoa flavour. The new part in this bar is the layer of honeycomb cream. One of the things about honeycomb is its crunchy texture, so it is a bit odd to deliver the taste as a cream, but I guess Club bars are already pretty crunchy with all that biscuit. The layer of flavoured cream may not be very noticeable on the photo, but the flavour is actually balanced really well. You can certainly pick up on the distinctive honeycomb taste, with its brown sugar and slightly caramelised flavour. I found it worked well with the chocolate and biscuit and made a wonderfully sweet treat. The flavours are a perfect match, and the Club bar was perfect for an afternoon snack at work. Impressively the bar only had 116 calories, so I didn’t even feel too guilty either!
I can’t believe its been so long since I last tried a Club bar, and I may have to have a bit of a nostalgia trip and pick up a few of the classic flavours. I feel like I have re-discovered a favourite treat. Even if I am still humming that darn tune to myself!
By Cinabar

29 March 2012

Reese's Crispy Crunchy – America [By @NLi10]

This was in my snack parcel I got from the America's a good time ago - it contained the coke and lots of other little bits. This I'd been saving for a special time when I was at work, stuck and starving. One morning this occurred at about 11ish and I devoured the bar before heading to the 12 O'clock meeting.

This wasn't really a short term mistake, the bar is basically an American Toffee crisp - but longer. There is also an important difference in the sheer amount of mind bending chemicals that are hiding in here. I was slightly hyperactive for the whole day! I had to continually check that I wasn't just randomly talking out loud and over reacting to the situations. I also had to force myself to sit down and carry on with things. Hyperactive energy is great to funnel into work though so I got a lot done.

I think that the small Reese's things are fine as I only eat one from the pack per snack attack, but finishing all of this at once was probably a bit much.
By NLi10

Mini Review - Hazelnut Green & Black's Organic Mini Bar [By @NLi10]

I don't remember the hazelnut flavour being in the last multipack of these little bars that we had so thought it was worth a mention (with the scale Gecko).

It's not as dark as I'd hope for, but it's actually quite nice. The nuts are an interesting addition and a welcome change.

There was also a raisin based bar which I'd not seen but I ignored that.
By NLi10

28 March 2012

Hisaki Wasabi Peas (Pinoy Foods, Birmingham Indoor Market) [By @SpectreUK]

These Hisaki Wasabi Peas were described on the front of the bag as; “Asian fire snacks”. There was a graphic of a Japanese Rising Sun on front of the bag and a design of a dragon breathing fire on the back. Apparently there was an old proverb that stated; “Burn bright, breathe Hisaki fire into your soul.” The print on the back of the packet went on to say that legend stated that the discovery of the wasabi plant’s heat would cleanse the mind and purify the body. Therefore, I was expecting a very hot snack; I was expecting my senses to explode like a Japanese Rising Sun and my body to become a temple! These Hisaki Wasabi Peas were produced in Thailand for Hisaki Snacks UK Limited, in Rugeley (which didn’t sound very Japanese). Their ingredients included no hydrogenated fats, consisting of green peas, wheat flour, wasabi, palm oil, and sunflower oil. The bag contained 40g of Wasabi Peas which equated to 180 calories. The allergy advice on the packet stated that these Wasabi Peas contained gluten, soya, mustard and nuts.

On opening the bag, I noticed it was full of dried wheat covered green peas. Popping one in my mouth I found that it had a mildly oily taste to start with, which was very quickly replaced by a sweet and seriously nose blazing wasabi burn, followed after a short time by a wheat and pea flavour. My senses certainly did explode on eating the first few Wasabi Peas. They were sweet, nose jinglingly fiery, crunchy and very tasty peas. There was finally a sweet wasabi, wheat and pea aftertaste. I found these Wasabi Peas very moreish indeed and had a good laugh sharing them with Cinabar and her Mom and seeing their faces contort on eating the first couple of peas. I reckoned the dragon on the back of the bag wasn’t breathing fire; it was just sneezing from eating these Wasabi Peas! However, our noses became used to the burn after a short while and we settled down to enjoy the pure sweet Wasabi, wheat and pea flavour. As they were greens, I felt these Wasabi Peas were healthier than dumping endless spicy nuts or crisps down my throat. After I’d got over the initial few Wasabi Peas and their explosions in my nose, I really enjoyed them and would recommend these Wasabi Peas to any hot and spicy snack lover out there.
By Spectre

27 March 2012

Wagon Wheels – Caramel [By @Cinabar]

I’m not sure that any chocolate biscuit evokes as much nostalgia as the humble Wagon Wheel. Well I’m pleased to announce the brand has relaunched and they have even had a packaging revamp. Also back on the shelves, albeit as a limited edition, is the Caramel version. I couldn’t resist giving it a try. Each of the round chocolate biscuits had a lovely layer of thick gooey caramel with a sweet brown sugar taste and mallow too for some additional sweetness. The biscuit is quit soft, and the chocolate coating is thin but still adds that necessary cocoa hit.
It’s hard not to love the traditional Wagon Wheel and I’m pleased to see them getting a bit of attention on the shelves. If you ask anyone about Wagon Wheels they tend to retort “Didn’t they used to be bigger?” I can’t help thinking it might be an idea for the brand to bring out some extra large special edition versions – just to keep everyone happy!
By Cinabar

Cadbury Dairy Milk – Come On Team GB (@CadburyUK) [By @Cinabar]

I’m loving this new bar of Dairy Milk from Cadbury. It is just the normal chocolate inside, but the packaging and contents are still a little bit special. You might notice from the British flag all over the pack that this is part of the Olympic goodies that are on their way out. Hidden within the box is a pre-paid postcard, addressed to GB Headquarters to be read by the British teams! This may not be a new bar, but it certainly a cool new idea.
Cadbury are giving you the opportunity to wish the team luck and send positive thoughts for the Olympics. It is such a sweet idea, and we couldn’t resist sending our own note to the team. ;-)
By Cinabar

26 March 2012

Walkers Ruffles Paprika (Asda) [@walkers_crisps] [By @Cinabar]

I’m not sure how these new crisps fit into the Walkers brand given that we recently had Walkers Crinkles released, and these are a rather similar concept. These crisp though are bringing out an old brand, and are going for some retro sales. Ruffles were around in the early nineties but I have to say I don’t remember them very well, and did have to google to find an old youtube advert!
The new crisps are also only available in large sharing bags, and happily state that they are ridged for dipping. I’m not sure that being ridged helps dipping that much, but it certainly catches the seasoning and adds to the flavour and the crunch. Each crisp is also quite big which does help with dipping and loading them with sauce. The crisps are quite thick too but have a soft crunch when you bite which makes them rather moreish and easy to eat.
I chose the paprika flavour for these crisps as I felt that it sounded the most different and tastiest, but the other new flavour was cheese and onion which will no doubt be popular too. The flavour was smokier than I expected but the gentle spice of paprika shone through, as did the flavour of sweet red peppers. These crisps are a long way off being hot, but they do taste good all the same. The final flavour was a hint of salt and a vaguely sour vegetable edge which just gave the taste buds a kick and made me want some more! I was also pleased to say despite sharing and munching through these none of us had greasy fingers which is always a bonus.
I was impressed with the mix of tastes and when these crisps are paired up with a sour cream and chive dip they made a snacking match made in heaven! I might not really remember them from my childhood, but I can honestly say I’ll be buying them again.
By Cinabar

25 March 2012

Grabits - Original Chicken on a stick; Quorn Light Bites – Roast [by @NLi10]

Sometimes you want a quick and effortless snack and you don't want anything sweet. Also the savoury options tend to be things like pastries which can be a bit messy, or breads which isn't that exciting. There has been a growing trend to sell these 'meat in a bag' style things that aim to fill that gap.

First up is Grabits Original (presumably the flavour) Chicken on a stick. This is exactly what it says - it's some cooked chicken on a stick. The portion is pretty good and if you got a skewer like this at a BBQ you wouldn't think too much about it. The flavour is nice and not that strong, and the texture is good and filling.

The package says "produce of Thailand" and do not refreeze suggesting that the frozen chickens are more well travelled than most of us are, and it seems a lot of effort just to pop some meat on a stick in the fridge. I was pleasantly surprised by this though and once your brain gets past the part where its meat in a bag from the other-side of the planet it's quite enjoyable.

The quorn option is a little different. For start off it's not actually meat, as Quorn is a kind of mycoprotein thing and suitable for both vegetarians and vegans (but not people who don't eat fungus - if they exist). It's a lot lighter in texture as you'd expect but the flavour is unnervingly close to that of normal bits of chicken. As most veggies I know aren't keen on eating meat this seems a bit odd. I think the target market is the calorie conscious but as the packets show - there are 18 less calories in the real chicken compared to the Quorn (although there is also 5g less stuff in the Grabits bag so it's actually 24 calories per 100g less).

The flavour is much more thought out, there is a delicate herb aftertaste here that would work really well with a lunchtime salad and a bit of dressing - this is ideal for a packed lunch that isn't just soggy sandwiches. The pack size was about right for a snack, but I ate both of these products with 1/3rd of a can of baked beans and some humus so had them as a proper meal (although proper meal is probably a bit strong).

I wasn't really looking forwards to these, expecting the meat to be tough and the Quorn to lack the excitement of when I stir-fry it up with sauces and noodles. Turns out that these are both decent enough options if you want a protein based snack instead of carbohydrates.
By Nli10

24 March 2012

Southern Fried Chicken Pot Noodle [By @SpectreUK]

This was definitely the weirdest sounding flavour of Pot Noodle I’ve tried to date, and I’ve tried plenty of Pot Noodles for this blog. Southern Fried Chicken flavoured Pot Noodle appealed the least. I like a trip to KFC just as much as the next person, well just as long as the next person likes Kentucky Fried Chicken I suppose. I must admit, this Pot Noodle sat in the Foodstufffind’s Cupboard of “Deadly Sounding Foods” for some time before I dared to try it. It’s not that I thought it would be too spicy or taste revolting, it was the concept of Southern Fried Chicken flavoured noodles, without munching on actual pieces of chicken, which sounded so wrong in my head.

I pealed back the lid to find a sachet of tomato sauce, and a hard block of stringy noodles covered in dry sandy coloured Southern Fried Chicken mix with small pieces of sweetcorn, soya, red pepper, and onion. The ingredients on the back of the pot also mentioned “spices”, and oregano and basil herbs. I went through the usual motions of adding freshly boiled water to the pot, adding the sachet of tomato sauce, stirring, and leaving to cool for a short while before eating. I must admit there was a hint of Southern Fried Chicken smell in the air after stirring. The 381 calorie Pot Noodle had a fairly pleasant, lightly spiced, mild chicken flavour, but more like a very mildly spiced chicken curry than Southern Fried Chicken. I think I’ll stick with the other more flavoursome Pot Noodle flavours, as I do prefer to bite, gnaw and tear at my Southern Fried Chicken (of actual pieces of chicken), rather than slurp and chew at flavoured noodles, so I reckon KFC is safe for now…
By Spectre

23 March 2012

Kellogg’s All-Bran Breakfast Biscuits (Waitrose) [By @Cinabar]

Breakfast biscuits seem to be a bit of a new idea that is gaining in popularity. It follows on from the more usual cereal bar concept, but it is just as convenient to eat. As I regularly breakfast at my desk I thought I’d pick up a pack of these to try with my morning coffee and to start me on my day.
The biscuits in the box are individually wrapped so it keeps the others fresh, which is useful particularly if you are only aiming at eating one pe day. Each biscuit it bigger than expected, with a line down the middle which meant that it broke easily and split neatly into two. I have to say the large biscuit itself isn’t that smart looking, but the design does the job.
Once I bit in I found that the biscuit was more solid than expected and it delivered a hard crunch. The flavour had plenty of oats, bran and other wholesome tastes. It reminded me of a tough digestive biscuit with a different more complex texture. The biscuit was surprisingly sweet too, when I saw ‘All-Bran’ on the pack I just assumed it would have a lot less sugar than it did and my sweet tooth was pleasantly surprised.
Each biscuit is a decent size and has plenty of fibre which meant it put me on until lunch time and as it contained all the usual Kellogg’s vitamins it was certainly a good start to the day. A nice product, but I do wonder if it will be too sweet for All-Bran fans.
By Cinabar

22 March 2012

Heston: Earl Grey And Mandarin Hot Cross Buns (Waitrose) [By @Cinabar]

Oh Heston, I do love your creativity. I know we don’t always agree about the end results, but your sense of foodie adventure always makes me smile. His new twist is on the seasonal Hot Cross Bun, where he has jazzed it up by adding mandarin and earl grey tea. This isn’t as weird as you might think. In Japan green tea is used to flavour all sorts of foods, and if you ever get the chance to try Green Tea Matcha Chiffon cake, for goodness sake do – it’s one of the greatest cakes known to man!
Anyway when the packaging came off these buns, the aroma of early grey lingered around them like there was a freshly brewed pot of tea lurking. Although you can’t tell from the picture the hot cross buns are almost twice as thick as any I’ve seen before and even when split our (bagel safe) toaster only just managed to squeeze them in. I only very lightly toast hot cross buns, but do like the flavour of them gently grilled. I added lashings of butter and tucked in. The flavour was quite different to what I had been expecting. The earl grey had died down and left a slight lemony bergamot flavour. The mandarin shone through really enhancing the other citrus tastes, and made these absolutely divine. It’s such a clever fragrant flavour, and it is so well balanced. The usual spices and raisins are still present and it complements them perfectly. If you have a sweet tooth you might be a little disappointed as these buns are more on the mature zesty side, but I still loved them. To say they are quite thick, they felt firm then melted in the mouth and tasted remarkable light. These buns are pure heaven, and I think they are some of the best hot cross buns I’ve ever tasted. Heston has tinkered with the regular hot cross bun flavour very mildly but the results are pure magic.
By Cinabar

21 March 2012

Coldpress Bottled Juice (Waitrose) [By @SpectreUK]

Copella is my favourite apple juice, and I could quite happily yell it from the rooftops. I first discovered Copella in Waitrose. Recently I saw these 250ml plastic hexagonal shaped bottles in the store’s fridge from Coldpress and decided to give them a try. Apparently Coldpress pasteurise their juice cold, rather than using heat. Coldpress utilise cold high pressure processing (HPP), hence the name; Coldpress. This means, as the label on each bottle points out, the juice retains its pure taste of fresh fruit, as well as its antioxidants and nutritional values. Coldpress use 100% fruit juice in each drink, with no preservatives or concentrates, and no added sugar, colours or flavours. All this sounded very healthy and flavoursome, so I was quite excited before opening the first bottle. I was also seriously thirsty from one of my short, but sweet and sweaty workouts with my weights…

Golden Delicious Apple juice

On opening the bottle, the clear, almost transparent liquid smells of ripe Golden Delicious Apples. The initial taste was fresh, crisp, and could only be described as like drinking a Golden Delicious Apple, of course without the biting chewy moments. The website told me that Coldpress use the juice of three apples in each bottle, which equates to 112 calories. I would have quite happily drunk a litre of this apple juice, as it helped sate my thirst and left an exquisite aftertaste of Golden Delicious Apple rolling around my mouth.

Pink Lady Apple juice

This fruit drink smells like a mature red (Pink Lady) apple. It is a clear liquid, with a much softer and sweeter flavour than the Golden Delicious Apple juice. Coldpress were exactly right when they described the process of cold high pressure processing as retaining the pure fresh fruit taste. Just like the Golden Delicious Apple juice, this fruit drink screamed Pink Lady at me as I drank in the succulent flavour. At a slightly healthier 105 calories, this juice left a lovely sweet aftertaste of Pink Lady Apple in my mouth.

Apple and Passionfruit juice

There was a strong smell of passionfruit on opening the bottle. When it stated 100% fruit on the bottle it made me wonder if it was 50 – 50 apple and passionfruit, or if Coldpress had added a lot more passionfruit than apple to this fruit juice. The initial taste was of pure, zingy, and slightly sour passionfruit. There was a mild hint of apple in the flavour that muted the sourness, but the drink mainly tasted of passionfruit. At 103 calories the drink has a lovely healthy feeling. The passionfruit almost overpowered the apple juice completely, leaving a good clean passionfruit aftertaste.

I was very impressed by all the three flavours that I tried. Coldpress is exclusive to Waitrose and their other flavours are Braeburn Apple, Valencia Orange, Apple and Raspberry, Apple and Lemon, Apple and Strawberry, and Gala Apple. I believe if Coldpress branches out to other stores it would make a strong competitor for other juice manufacturers like Copella. Out and about and fancying a quick healthy juice drink, I’d definitely go for Coldpress, but you can’t beat the big bottle of juice in the fridge for that thirst quenching fix after a workout. Coldpress should bring some bigger bottles out too…
By Spectre

20 March 2012

Lindt Excellence Wasabi (Waitrose) [By @Cinabar]

For a company that once told me that they had stopped making Lindt Coffee Intense because it wasn’t popular enough, this bar seems like a bit of an odd choice. For those that don’t know Wasabi is a Japanese sauce very similar to horseradish in taste but green in colour. It is usually eaten with sushi, but is also commonly used to coat other snacks such as Wasabi Nuts.
I actually love Wasabi on sushi – I always like to put more than I can handle on, and then wait for that endorphin rush as the heat hits my nose! As much as I love Wasabi, I have never once wondered what it might be like paired with chocolate. I guess the people that brought us chilli chocolate were looking for their latest fix, and this curious bar was put together. It is unusual for Lindt to have such a strange concoction, although lovely their chocolate is usually quite safe.
I unwrapped the bar and found that the chocolate looked and smelt like a regular Lindt dark chocolate bar. There was no visual clue to the filling, no green specs or Wasabi centre in each piece. The smell of the cocoa masked any of the spice too. This probably means that this chocolate is ideal for practical jokes – but that’s another story! ;-)
I broke a small piece of the chocolate off and gave it a test. The initial flavour was that of the smooth rich dark cocoa. Just as the rich chocolaty flavours were enveloping my tongue this vague horseradish flavour tingle started to show itself and very quickly it developed into a major burn. It felt as if my nose was on fire and it delivered an impressive whack of spice, and then as soon as it had appeared it slowly melted away. Weird. There was some heat burning on my tongue too, and it made me wonder if chilli was included in the ingredients, but I couldn’t see it listed. The chocolate is an experience, and you don’t get chance to decide if the flavour works as you are concentrating on the Wasabi kick being delivered to the back of your nose.
As I mentioned I like a Wasabi kick, despite the fact that my eyes were nearly watering when I tried a whole cube, I still felt that rush which meant I enjoyed it. To be fair though based totally on flavour it doesn’t work, but I still liked it. I know that sounds confused, but it is a strange bar, and it certainly bewildered my taste buds. If it wasn’t for the fact that I have clearly written several paragraphs on the subject I’d have said I was a bit lost for words on this and seriously couldn’t make my mind up on it.
By Cinabar

19 March 2012

Hotel Chocolat: Egg & Chips (@HotelChocolat) [By @Cinabar]

If you are looking for an alternative Easter Egg , then it doesn’t get much sweeter than this. Although it is still mimicking an egg, this chocolaty version looks like the fried variety and comes served with chunky chocolate chips! It is also a caramel lover’s dream gift as each of the chips if filled with a generous amount of runny caramel, as is the egg yolk.
I was a little surprised to find that the chips were filled, for some reason I felt they ought to be solid and chunky all the way through, but as I’m such a big fan of the Hotel Chocolat caramel, I didn’t let it bother me!
The chips still feel quite hearty, and despite the generous filling the chocolate shell still takes a bit to break into. This extra bit of chocolate helps balance the taste and enhances the centre. The milk chocolate is smooth, sweet and has a good rich cocoa taste. The sweetness of the thick gooey caramel shines through adding a burnt sugar and slightly salty hint, making an amazing indulgent flavour experience. I could quite happily eat a bag of chips! ;-)
The egg is fab too. The white chocolate is packed with vanilla, and I mean quite literally as you can see the speckles of natural vanilla seed throughout. This taste gives the white chocolate a smooth edge, that is sweet, creamy and easy going. There is plenty of white chocolate too, as the slab that makes up the egg white is impressively thick, and makes it rather substantial. The caramel in the egg adds a lovely novelty value and also gives another opportunity to experience the fantastic Hotel Chocolat caramel.
I would be over the moon to receive this for Easter, and love the look and idea of the product. The added bonus of all the caramel just makes it an absolute dream for anyone with a sweet tooth.
By Cinabar

18 March 2012

Pucca - Double Choco Pretzel by Meiji [By @NLi10]

Meiji makes a lot of things like this. Small biscuit that contains goo and is second only to the Pocky snacks in terms of its habit forming snack nature. This is unexpectedly different in that the outer is Pretzel and not biscuit giving it a savoury edge. The chocolate is much more runny and noticeable than in the Meiji Panda ranges (that I'm happy to eat, but not amazingly fond of) which means that this feels like a much more different snack despite all the similarities.

The chocolate was very underwhelming at first, as my brain was expecting the sweetness of the biscuit to power it up, but after the first half of the bag (nom nom nom) I'd gotten quite used to the balance of tastes. The pretzel also doesn't crumble like the biscuit does so these are a perfect gamer snack and could easily be eaten without paying particular attention to grubby fingers or looking away from screens.

I'm really not sure why these are fish shaped, there is probably some archaic reason for it, but then again I don't tend to question the panda head shaped biscuits so I'm just happy to grab their little tails and pop them in and crunch away!
By NLi10

17 March 2012

Mmm… Mattesson’s Fridge Raiders – Piri Piri Flavour (Tesco) [By @SpectreUK]

This limited edition Mattesson’s Fridge Raiders Piri Piri Flavour was manufactured by Kerry Foods Limited, in Birmingham. At 118 calories and made with 100% seasoned chicken breast, Fridge Raiders are ready to eat 60g snacks for lunchboxes or those of us who like a good night out and get the nibbles when we arrive back home “slightly” inebriated. There are no artificial colours in the ingredients which include chilli, tomato, garlic, lime, onion, parsley and coriander. There was a tangy chilli heat to the chicken pieces and all the flavours mentioned above seemed to line up quite cheerfully on my taste buds whilst I savoured each bite. I thought the chilli heat compared to medium chicken in Nandos, but Cinabar thought the heat was more like a mild chicken, so perhaps I was having a wussy moment? However, I didn’t pass out whilst eating Barry Norman’s spicy pickled onions at the time, so I can’t have been that bad. This Piri Piri flavour would go perfectly with a beer chaser on arriving home a little smashed or for a snack at lunchtime. Other flavours of Mattesson’s Fridge Raiders chicken bites include Roast, Southern Fried, Barbeque, Tikka, and Hot and Spicy. I hope Mattesson’s change their minds on making these Piri Piri flavour a limited edition, but I better hunt some more of them out soon just in case though!
By Spectre

16 March 2012

Mexican Chocolate And Chilli Cooking Sauce (Asda) [By @Cinabar]

I was looking for a pot of chilli cooking sauce in Asda, the magic word ‘New’ caught my eye and I was drawn to this intriguing jar. It is part of the Asda Chosen By You range, and is quite adventurous for a supermarket sauce as it contains chocolate. Although these two ingredients do go together historically, I can well understand how the average shopper might be put off, naively expecting a sickly sweet mixture. In fact cocoa in itself isn’t sweet at all, and has quite a bitter edge. The hot spices from chilli do enhance it, and it is a combination that can work like magic.
I added the appropriate tin of red kidney beans and some minced beef and made the chocolate chilli. First thing I noticed was the colour of the sauce, it is a much richer and deeper brown than I was expecting. It has the unmistakable colour of dark chocolate, and did look very rich and appetising on the plate.
The chilli had a good heat to it, there was a nice spice, but it wasn’t so hot that it might put people off. I eat a lot of ‘medium’ heat sauces and this sat comfortably at that level. The sauce didn’t have much chocolate taste at all sadly. There was just the slightest hint of cocoa if you let it savour in your mouth and really looked for it. The sauce also seemed to be lacking a bit of depth, it had a harsh finish that left you feeling that there ought to be something a little more mixed in.
It’s not a bad sauce; it just wasn’t the clever concoction I had hoped for. I’ll be honest I ended up adding a tablespoon of secret ingredient (ok you got me, its tomato ketchup) before serving it, just to help finish it off. This improvement worked no end, and even enhanced the cocoa taste quite nicely.
Asda get full points for adding an adventurous flavour to the chilli sauce, and it has been done quite nicely too. I just felt that it needed a bit of titivating before I was totally happy with it.
By Cinabar

15 March 2012

Tropicana - Pomegranate Grape & Apple; @PomeGreat PurePlus with Blueberry [by @NLi10]

Fruit juices are great, and below the surface there is a lot more variety than you'd think. Take this pair of pomegranate drinks for example. The above Tropicana places Pomegranate at the head of its ingredients list but actually contains more grape and more apple than pomegranate! This to me seems a bit misleading as the name is in the wrong order! Now don't get me wrong, it's both still nice, and identifiably pomegranatey as that has a strong flavour, but it'd be nice to be able to tell at a glance which ones are the strongest!

This doesn't stop it from being very drinkable, it's a lovely flavour and while a bit straightforward (there are lots of grape and apple mixes out there) it's one I'll pick up again. And as it's not from concentrate and pretty much 100% fruit juice it feels like you are actually getting vitamins.

The Pomegreat (@PomeGreat) is another story as it contains more Pomegranate than any other fruit, but also contains grape, blueberry and aronia. Unfortunately this is from concentrate so only 33% fruit juice and is made back up to the original volume with water and sugars, so possibly less full of vitamins and goodness than it could be. With all the added extras this is quite a taste sensation (and the added extras appear to be non synthetic and all natural) but may be too powerful for some people's tastes - but certainly not mine. This Blueberry variety adds a welcome twist and zings over the top of the normal base-taste of the pomegranate.

I don't really have a favourite of these two - the first is a refreshing drink and the second a great sipping drink. If you dislike the acquired taste of the pomegranate you are unlikely to want to try either!
By Nli10

14 March 2012

Haagen-Dazs Secret Sensation: Crème Brûlée [@HaagenDazsLoves] (Sainsbury’s) [By @Cinabar]

Did I mention that there is a fair bit of movement in the ice cream isle of the supermarkets? I was rather pleased to see that there are new ice creams from Haagen-Dazs, to add to the selection from Ben and Jerrys and Heston! They are packaged in mini tubs, which are also packaged in cardboard boxes! I only note this as the recycle police (aka spectre) isn’t a fan of excessive packaging, but was pleased it could at least all be recycled!
So inside the smart box are two tubs of the new flavour; Crème Brûlée. Each of the pots had a plastic spoon inside the lid to scoop with, so it did feel a bit like being at the cinema, only more refined! For those that don’t know Crème Brûlée is a soft caramel flavoured dessert served with a layer of crunchy burnt sugar on top. The ice cream edition has a caramel base flavour, and burnt sugar crystals mixed into it. Also in the centre (which is the secret mentioned on the box) is a spoonful of liquid caramel hiding away!
The flavours worked impressively well together. The ice cream is super creamy, but the caramel flavour is sweet and mellow so it’s a combination that works. It is enhanced when you hit one of the numerous burnt sugar crystals that add a fabulous crunchy texture and a burst of sweetness. The best part was finding the centre pot of gold. The liquid was intensely sweet and reminded me of the liquid that you get in a Crème Caramel dessert, i.e. pure yum.
This dessert ice cream could easily have been to rich, but Haagen-Dazs balanced it perfectly using a very milky ice cream to counter balance all the sweet sugary flavours. This was absolutely gorgeous. I have my eye out for the Chocolate Secret Sensation which has also been released, and I can’t wait to find it! When I do I’ll report back here of course. ;-) If you have a sweet tooth and you see the Crème Brûlée Ice Cream edition in the shops, I really can’t recommend it enough!
By Cinabar

13 March 2012

Weight Watchers – Milk Chocolate Digestive [By @Cinabar]

The Chocolate Digestive is a staple biscuit of the British nation. Weight Watchers have released a new healthier variety of this favourite biscuit, and I was keen to test them out.
I don’t follow the Weight Watchers diet but you may have guessed that from the website! However I do like to pick up healthier items from time to time, particularly when I am cutting back or just to see what they are like. I am a fan of Weight Watchers biscuits, and to be honest am a regular buyer of their Fruit Crumble Biscuits which are lovely afternoon treat at work, so I had high hopes for these Digestives and I wasn’t to be disappointed.
The biscuits are nice looking, with a decent amount of chocolate on one side, and nice swirly pattern on the other. The base is a thick oat concoction, it is crisp and crunches pleasingly when you bite in, and you can start to feel the biscuit almost melting after a few seconds. The chocolate is generously proportioned, it is sweet and has a good flavour and adds that bit of extra indulgence to the biscuit.
The biscuit taste was spot on, lots of oats and a wholesome wheat flavour too. They were lovely to munch on. The packet is re-sealable too which is a nice as it keeps the remaining biscuits (if there are any) lovely and fresh. These were thoroughly fab chocolate digestives, and the very best part is that you couldn’t tell from the flavour that they are healthier. In fact if you served these up to any guests with a cuppa, they’d munch away happily on them without giving it a second thought. The fact that each biscuit has just 51 calories is just an extra bonus.
By Cinabar

12 March 2012

Ben and Jerry's Core: Dough-ble Whammy (Sainsbury's) [By @Cinabar]

The weather is warming up and the new ice creams are appearing in the shops! This new one from Ben and Jerrys is part of the new Core range where there is a special centre in the middle off the ice cream. Dough-ble Whammy is a cookie dough, fudge and chocolate ice cream mix, perfect for a sweet tooth! The cookie dough element feels very American to me. I love cookies, and loved making them when I was a kid but never entertained the idea of eating the unused dough. Perhaps that’s the era I grew up in though, where raw eggs were seen as dangerous and so eating cookie dough was just never considered.
I realise that cookie dough is gaining in popularity as a flavour in its own right, and eggs are much safer now. I have heard of even sweets and chocolate being filled with cookie dough, so this new ice cream is a nice progression. You can see from the top of the tub the split which looks very smart, and means that there is going to be a nice jumble of flavours from the first scoop.
As ever with Ben and Jerrys I left the tub out for a little while before serving, it isn’t soft scoop and isn’t easy to get out of the tub if you try straight from the freezer, but it is worth waiting for! Once I got it into bowls I could see the three distinct sections. The white ice cream was super creamy, and the pieces of cookie dough added a biscuit taste whilst still remaining pleasantly soft. The chocolate ice cream was spot, loads of cocoa taste, sweet and the adding chocolate bits mixed in gave this a good full flavour. The only section I wasn’t that fussed by was the fudge core. The chocolate strength of it was so strong, it was just a bit overpowering. If you mixed a little with one of the other ice creams that flavour worked well together, but on its own the core was a tad darker than I would have liked. It reminded me of drinking chocolate milkshake syrup before its diluted (who hasn’t done that)!
All in all we enjoyed the tub, and the two main ice creams inside were top notch. I just found it a bit of a shame that the new ‘core’ aspect of it was the part that let it down a little.
By Cinabar

Competition: Win A Selection Of Curious Foods!!!

We eat a lot of different things here at Foodstuff Finds, and we thought it would be nice to give you the chance to try some too. I have put together an interesting mix of goodies for your taste buds, and all you have to do to win is:

1) Follow me on Twitter @Cinabar
2) Send the following Tweet:
Foodstuff Finds - for all your snacking news and a great comp to win some fab foods too: http://bit.ly/v3tES #FSFcomp

I will pick one random person from all the entries on Sunday 18th March at 8pm. If you want you can tweet it once per day to gain additional entries (but any more than that won’t be counted)! The prize is everything in the picture above.

• One winner will be chosen at random
• UK residents only
• Competition closes 8pm on 18th March 2012.
• If we can’t get in touch with the winner in a reasonable amount of time to obtain an address another winner will be selected.
• If you have any questions about this competition, please send me an email or leave a comment below.

11 March 2012

Kellogg's Chocolate Cornflakes [by @NLi10]

This is essentially the first recipe that children learn: take cornflakes, add molten chocolate and then wait. It's conveniently all done for you and in a nice box but how does it taste?

The choc is much more a coco-pops affair than proper cooking chocolate and gently turns the milk light brown. It's not a dark choc either and is light enough for all the family to eat. This means, however, that it's nothing too special and he same effect can be obtained by going halves and putting coco-pops on top of plain cornflakes. This is probably also a bit cheaper as these come in the smaller more expensive boxes of a 'premium' cereal.

File under interesting novelty (unless you are chocolate obsessed) and carry on.
By NLi10

10 March 2012

Lemonsi Delight – Lemon and Kalamansi (Pinoy Foods, Indoor Market Birmingham) [By @SpectreUK]

Lemonsi Delight is made by the Japanese company, Pokka, and is canned in Singapore. It has all natural ingredients and is vitamin C enriched. I’ve written about Gina’s Calamansi Juice Drink before. Calamansi, can be spelt with a “K” (so Wikipedia tells me), and through my previous experience I found it had a lime-like taste to it. On opening the can I noticed this drink had a lemony smell. On tasting, I found that Lemonsi Delight had a mild sour lemon zing to start with, and a gentle kalamansi polished finish. There was a definitively pleasant sweetness after the initial sour zing, not overpowering or syrupy at all, leaving a satisfyingly sweet lemon and lime aftertaste in the mouth. There were 152 calories in the 300ml can. Personally I would have loved a one litre carton of this. I recall saying the same thing about Gina’s Calamansi Juice Drink. This Lemon and Kalamansi juice drink is very refreshing and healthy feeling, especially after a few minutes (literally minutes and a few seconds…) sweating on my weights. I found it was hard not to down the whole can in one go, and probably would have downed a whole litre if a carton had been available...
By Spectre

9 March 2012

Hotel Chocolat: For My Mum [Chocolate Selection] (@HotelChocolat) [By @Cinabar]

I’m sure you all are already on to this, but just on the off chance it had slipped your mind, Mother’s day is coming up! It’s on the 18 March, and in case you want to treat your mum, I thought I see what the lovely new Mother’s Days selection from Hotel Chocolat was like.
This box contains eight chocolates and there are four varieties offering a good taster selection. As there aren’t too many, I wouldn’t expect your mum to share, but by all means try to get a taste! ;-)

Simple Milk Truffle – This prickly looking chocolate consists of a thick milk chocolate shell, filled with a smooth milk chocolate truffle. The filling is creamy and sweet, but not over powering. The firm chocolate shell contrasts the soft gooey truffle perfectly and delivers a wonderful milk chocolate hit. It’s a very pure flavour, but there is not arguing that it works.

Dizzy Praline – I love the look of this chocolate, with its smart white chocolate swirl decorating the top. I am a big praline fan, and it is one of those fillings that Hotel Chocolat really has perfected. The milk chocolate shell breaks easily when you bite in and reveals the smooth firm praline within. The flavour is quite rich, and the hazelnut taste is strong, but mellowed slightly by the chocolate. As a nut fan, I think this is just one of the best chocolates ever! A proper nutty treat.

Billionaires Shortbread – This is a very pretty looking chocolate, it sort of looks like a chocolate and caramel volcano on the edge of erupting and releasing a biscuit explosion! Inside this fine choc is a wonderful soft filling, with a good biscuit taste, and biscuit bits too which adds to the crunch. The chocolate and caramel support the flavour and make this a lovely comforting sweet treat.

Choc Chip Cookie– As you can see from the picture, the two chocolates here look quite different, one is quite neat and tidy, the other is over packed with goodies! It’s a s playful chocolate this one, packing in all sorts of ingredients from whole hazelnuts to soft biscuits bits. There is plenty of pure chocolate in there too, which makes it a rather substantial treat.

I felt that this was an excellent selection from Hotel Chocolat and even thought there are only four varieties they cover a wide range of chocolates. It is the sort of selection any mum would be pleased to receive, and I think if you want to win some brownie points on the day, it’s a gift you can’t go wrong with.
By Cinabar

8 March 2012

Lucozade Energy - Black Edition Cola (W H Smiths) [by @NLi10]

At Euston station while waiting for a platform announcement I had a mooch around one of those mini W H Smiths stores we tend to have and contemplating buying another Neuro Bliss drink for the two hour sleep back to Birmingham when I spotted the new Lucozade that I'd seen advertised. It's 'Limited Edition' (presumably unless it sells well :) ) so I figured worth a punt.

Black edition sounds wrong. It conjures up images of stealth and subterfuge, of covert moves and hidden agendas. The silver flashes and black wrapper also evoke James Bond at his most devious - although shaking Lucozade isn't exactly advisable unless you want a budget version of an F1 celebration. This is quite smart really, LKZ is a fairly energetic proposition and most colas targeted at men are oddly diet based (Max and Zero especially) to counter the feminine bias of the 11 O'Clock objectify men break. A man cola that actually fuels and stimulates would be good (unless it tastes like Red Bull Cola which is a bafflingly bad drink) and possibly find a hole in the market.

LKZ cola is an odd beast. It's definitely a Lucozade drink, it has the same sugary taste from the glucose syrup that all the range has (the sport varieties to a lesser extent). This is less noticeable than the normal sugar colas and while it's full of calories it's not too sweet. It's also definitely a Cola, this may just be flavourings and colours on top of the regular mix but it works. It’s sticky and refreshing and invigorating in parts, it's not too fizzy either. It's just a bit indefinable and I don't quite know where it sits.

I'm a Fentiman's junkie now and like my drinks small and strong. This isn't a thirst quencher and it's not a defined flavour so it kind of hovers in the middle. It's more interesting than Coke, but that’s not saying much. Maybe with a few tweaks it could be greater than the sum of its parts, but as it stands it's just Lucozade that looks and tastes like a Cola. This isn't a bad thing, but lacking its own strong flavour identity may make this a short, limited edition and not one for the ages.
By NLi10

7 March 2012

Tiger Tiger Hot and Sour noodles [By @SpectreUK]

I’ve eaten Thai food in restaurants and know it can be pretty spicy. There is a quote on the carton of this Tiger Tiger Hot and Sour noodles that states; “Authentic Thai taste”. On reading the quote and seeing the two chilli heat warning on the back of the carton, I figured this could be very “hot and sour”. On opening the cardboard carton I found a Pot Noodle type plastic pot inside. I’m not sure why some manufacturers insist on this unnecessary extra packaging, but at least it was all recyclable. I ripped off the top of the pot to see slim cut noodles and bits of carrot, cabbage and leak inside. I added boiling water, then the sachet, and stirred. Leaving the pot to stand a while for the liquid to cool, I dipped a metal fork in to taste. I found this noodle soup had a pleasant flavour to it, but it was more spicy than hot and had a mild sour taste. I can only imagine that the two chilli heat warning on the back of the carton must mean mild? Although gentle in heat, there is a good taste to this noodle soup. It is suitable for vegetarians, with no artificial colours or preservatives and has less than 5% fat. There are peanuts in the ingredients, so people with nut allergies wouldn’t be able to eat it, unless there’s a new suicide by pot noodle craze I haven’t heard about? The peanuts and soy sauce flavours stand out in the taste, as well as the tomato and mixed spices. Even though I was disappointed by the lack of chilli heat, the more I ate of this noodle soup, the more I enjoyed the spicy taste. However I did feel that Tiger Tiger were going easy on me. When the packaging warns you that a food stuff will be hot, manufacturers be warned; make it HOT!!
By Spectre

6 March 2012

Spicy Chorizo Flavour Handcooked Crisps (Boots) [By @Cinabar]

I haven’t really reviewed many of the Boots own range of crisps, but discovered at the weekend that they have a wonderful variety of flavours. I decided to right this wrong and picked up a selection of interesting sounding packs, which I’ll be writing about over the coming weeks.
First up is this bag of Spicy Chorizo crisps from the Delicious range. The crisps seem to be fairly unhealthy, with 223 calories in the bag (Quavers are less than 100 for comparison) and they have 12g of fat too, which is a fair whack. Having said that it isn’t from a deliberately healthy range, so perhaps I shouldn’t judge them on this?
There were lovely rich meaty aromas when I opened the bag and peered in. The crisps were rather thick and sprinkled with a large amount of dark orange dusting for flavour. I noted that a surprisingly high proportion of them were stuck together too, so when I did bite in I found they were very firm and crunchy. In fact they were a little bit too hard at times, especially the doubles.
The flavour was lovely and rich though, and there was a good depth to the taste. I could pick up on ham/pork, red peppers, garlic and black pepper and the taste was rich, and certainly reminiscent of juicy chorizo. At the very end there was kick which came out of nowhere and delivered a chilli burst to the back of your throat. This made these crisps spicier than you might expect, but I totally enjoyed the warmth, and they do have ‘spicy’ in the title!
The only disappointing part was that I noticed a residue of grease on my finger tips when I finished the bag, which managed to smudge its way onto my iphone when I tried to take a call. It served as reminder to the fact they were a little higher in fat that other crisps and was a little off putting. Other than that though, I love the new flavour from Boots, and am rather looking forward to trying the other new crisps in the range.
By Cinabar

5 March 2012

Thornton’s Lemon & Sea Salt Milk Chocolate (@thorntonschocs) [By @Cinabar]

Over the weekend I popped into our local branch of Thorntons and had a nosey at the bars of chocolate to see what was new. There were a couple of summery sounding bars and in the block section of chocolate this interesting combination caught my eye. Again it sounds really quite fresh, and clearly part of the new spring stock. Chocolate has often been teamed up with lemon, and more recently salt, but this is the first time I‘ve seen both ingredients in one bar.
I slid open the blue box and carefully unwrapped the bar from its foil seal. The scent of the chocolate was quite mild, sweet but with just a vague hint of citrus. I snapped a piece off and let it melt carefully on my tongue. It seemed to be quite a soft chocolate when I broke it apart, and it melted quite quickly too. The milk chocolate is very smooth, and has a thick melt that coats the taste buds. The chocolate is very flavoursome, and soothing with the Costa Rican cocoa adding a rich taste almost like honey. The lemon was milder than expected, and the flavour comes from a lemon oil rather than the more sharp juice. The taste of the lemon is sweetened by the chocolate and seems fruity but mellow, it is consistent all the way through. The salt aspect proudly states that it is Cornish, but I have a funny feeling all salt tastes the same? Chemically at least salt is salt wherever it is from! Anyway the salt crystals aren’t evenly spread through the chocolate, but every cube I tried had a least some. I liked how the taste of the salt was uneven and that it meant that no piece of chocolate was consistent. Somehow it made you want to keep having another chunk of the chocolate so that you could replicate the pieces with the different levels of salt. The salty edge worked so well with the mellow sweet flavours adding a real zingy aspect to the bar and it was clean taste to mix with sweet chocolate. The lemon and the salt balance each other out really well.
Despite not being totally sure about a bar that mixes both lemon and salt, I can honestly tell you the combination is not just for fish! They have really pulled off a special chocolate bar, with a clever balance of flavours that keep you going back for another piece. I’m impressed that it worked so well, and loved both the flavour and the innovation.
By Cinabar

4 March 2012

Tropicana Still Lemonade (Co-Op) [by @NLi10]

Still lemonade is an odd concept. You find a product that has a defining characteristic such as the fizziness of lemonade, that separates it from ordinary lemon juice and then you take it away. It's an odd kind of novelty because taking things away doesn't encourage people to spend more. Fortunately for us there are other things that make lemonade special such as sugar, and... well just the sugar in this case.

Tropicana are a brand that make mass produced drinks that are as fresh as you could reasonably buy without one of those juicing machines from Spanish streets or Camden market. I gravitate towards 'not from concentrate' and while I fully understand that 100% fruit often hides more product manipulation and fruit blending than the lay person would expect. The Tropicana people do this better than most, especially when there are raspberries involved, so I'm happy to grab for them when thirsty.

As a post shopping treat a big lemonade without the fizz is a pretty tempting prospect. The flavour is sharp and crisp but without all those bubbles that prevent you from drinking deep and long. This is prefect summer day fare and if you stuck this in a jug on a hot summer’s day with ice cubes it'd be ideal.

It's still good on a rainy British Sunday too, but as the year moves on it will end up in my basket more often.
By NLi10