31 July 2012

Deans Coconut and Treacle Oat Biscuits (Westmorland Services) [By @SpectreUK]

I’ve always been partial to oat biscuits, as they can compliment a strong afternoon tea or even a pint of good ale or stout. Deans of Huntley, Aberdeenshire, produced the elegant 150g box of eight beige coloured thick round biscuits. The box stated that these biscuits had been “hand baked in Scotland” (…with very hot hands, I’m sure). There were 520 calories per 100g, with 28.4g of fat and 33.6g of sugar. The biscuit’s ingredients included; butter, oatflakes (13%), desiccated coconut (7%), and black treacle from black molasses (4%), also containing milk products, as well as wheat and gluten. The biscuits were prepared from the original recipe by Helen Dean, who began the business after cooking for family and friends. Also available in the Dean’s biscuit range are Apple and Cranberry, Stem Ginger, and Sultana and Heather Honey.

After a long day of running up stairs and sliding down waterslides in the Alton Tower’s water park, these Coconut and Treacle biscuits seemed an excellent treat with a late afternoon mug of tea in the hotel room before dinner. We go to Alton Towers for a couple of nights around my birthday every year, so the good thing was that we had the hotel spa to look forward to the next day and all the rides in the theme park the following day. The biscuits had a lovely sweet oaty coconut and treacle smell to them. There was an exceptional balance of coconut and treacle within these buttery sweet melt in your mouth crunchy oat biscuits. The box emptied far too quickly for my liking, which was a shame as it’s quite a long drive back to buy another box. Ah, well… another trip up to Westmorland Services beckons, and I’m sure I can fit plenty of these boxes in the boot (or trunk to our American friends)! ;-)
By Spectre

30 July 2012

Oat So Simple Morning Bar – Raspberry & Pomegranate (@Waitrose) [By @Cinabar]

Unless I’m on holiday, breakfast is a meal that takes place at my desk at work. This limits my choices, and on a busy morning, I find a cup of coffee and a cereal bar an acceptable start. I generally buy the chocolate versions of any bars I can find, as I have a self confessed sweet tooth! Today I fancied something different.
I have been known to have porridge at work too, but the communal microwave here at work isn’t the most appealing appliance to use so it’s a rare occurrence. I’m not sure who it is that doesn’t mop up spills, or who cooks stinky fish at lunch time in it, but either way I’ll pass on using the microwave.
These new bars from Oat So Simple pack a porridge flavour, but in a handy bar. They are jam packed with oats, and have come in a number of different varieties, but I thought I’d give the Raspberry and Pomegranate ones a try.
They are a thick feeling bar, but they aren’t sticky and the texture feels rather satisfying to eat. The flavour is sweet and pleasant, the raspberry adds a lovely berry flavour throughout, and the pomegranates ads its sweet fruity but floral hint nicely too.
The bar was tasty, but most impressively it was also quite filling. It may only look like a small bar, but it kept me full up to lunch time, without the usual tummy rumble just before 12 o’clock.
I will definitely buy these again, particularly if I know I’m having a late lunch one day. Also, dare I say it, the raspberry and pomegranate flavours were very different and it did actually make a nice change from my usual chocolate selection.
By Cinabar

29 July 2012

Koh-Kae Peanuts Tom Yum Flavour coated (Yum Yum Worcester) [By @NLi10]

I've tried a good few kinds of Koh-Kae peanuts since fist picking them up at a petrol station in Cambodia. I then discovered via the age old tradition of reading the packet that they were Thai and when we went back there a few days after I picked more up. Those were the more normal chicken flavour and were pretty moreish. When back in the UK we tried the wasabi flavour which was far too strong for the majority of us to cope with and they were donated to someone from another office foolish enough to finish them all.

Cut forwards about 4 years and I received these as a birthday present! I'd shied away from picking this flavour up purely because Tom Yum is a spicy soup and I didn't want to be in the same predicament as with the wasabi variety. I took these to work because I feared they would contaminate games and cards with their powder and dust coatings and on one brave day I decided to crack them open.

They are indeed spicy, but this fades pretty soon and with a drink at hand they are fine for anyone who likes spicy food. Tom Yum is hard to describe - I guess it's lemongrass and spices really but due to the name and the hint of sweetness I do want to suggest a kind of tomato vibe to it all (curse you red packaging!). I'm happily working my way through the tub.

The main thing that I get from these peanuts though is memories attached to the flavours. There aren't really many Thai things you can pick up that taste like they do in Thailand. Restaurants recreate as much as they can, but the freshness and the heat that surrounds you as you eat are missing to a degree. These Koh-Kae are essentially a canned version of that atmosphere.

Whereas other Thai produced products such as Pocky (a Japanese snack that is also produced locally then exported to the world) look to what other nations tastes and preferences are and aim to imitate them, these humble peanuts offer a uniquely Thai flavour experience which is truly unlike anything else.

I guess you could say they taste like this:

By NLi10

28 July 2012

Tango Orange and Apple flavoured Chewy Bonbons (Poundland) [By @SpectreUK]

Orange Flavour
Produced for Rose Confectionery Limited by the Britvic Soft Drinks Company, these Orange Chewy Bonbons quoted on the front of the packet; “Because good taste always hurts”. Opening the 150g packet with some trepidation I noticed many spherical white/orange bonbons. I somehow expected the bonbons to shoot out the packet at me and bounce ominously around the room. Per 100g there were 382 calories, with 74.5g of sugar and 6.8g of fat. The ingredients included; sugar, glucose syrup, vegetable oil, humectants, sorbitol, citric acid, pork gelatin, dextrose and soya lecithin, with no hydrogenated fat or artificial colours, but no orange juice either, which I thought a shame. There was a mild and slightly tart orange flavour, but nothing like the super sour twisty faced flavour such as the packet had lead me to believe. Sucking really hard formulated some sort of orange flavour, but nothing compared with the illustrated dynamite plunger’s suggestion of an explosion of orange taste. Sadly, I just didn’t feel Tango’d by these Orange Chewy Bonbons at all.

Apple Flavour
The message on the front of this 150g packet stated; “Shoots straight to the core” with an illustration of an arrow shooting through an apple. Per 100g there were 382 calories, with 74.5g of sugar and 6.8g of fat. There was the same sort of ingredients listed, but like the Orange flavour, no apple juice. Considering Britvic have shelves and shelves of juice to their name, I was extremely surprised that they hadn’t used any juice in these Chewy Bonbons. From the list of ingredients and my state of warranted disappointment from the Orange flavour, I opened the packet with a different sort of apprehension. These Chewy spherical Bonbons were apple green in colour and had a strong zingy sugar sweet apple flavour to them. I just had to chew and suck these bonbons savouring their juiciness. My disappointment with the Orange flavour was instantly drowned by the flood of juicy sweet appley goodness. Finally I felt properly Tango’d. Shame it wasn’t real apple juice and about the Orange flavour, but never mind, I polished off the Apple Bonbons in record time.
By Spectre

27 July 2012

Penguin Toffee Edition (Waitrose) [By @Cinabar]

It seems like it has been to long since the iconic British Penguin biscuit last got a mention here at Foodstuff Finds. I am pleased to report that on a recent supermarket trip I spotted their new toffee flavour, and p-p-picked up a pack to try. Although I don’t have Penguin bars that often, there is something wonderfully nostalgic about them to me, and they remind me of school packed lunches and afternoon treats.
Once I opened up the multipack, I spotted that each of the individually wrapped biscuits had a penguin related joke on the wrapper. It’s a nice touch, and it made me smile. I used to love it when you’d buy an ice lolly and there would be a joke on the lollipop stick, but I haven’t seen that for a good while either.
“Who do penguins wear glasses? … To help their ice-sight!”
Once I opened up the wrapper, I was impressed by the aroma of the chocolate and toffee, there was lots of lovely sweet tones that were very appealing. The bar consists of two layers of chocolate biscuit, with a toffee and chocolate crème filling, and the whole biscuit is dipped in milk chocolate.
The biscuits are lovely and sweet, the crunch from the biscuit is nice and firm, and the softness of the crème sandwiched in the middle adds a nice dimension to the texture. The toffee flavour is rather rich, but the milky chocolate helps calm it. I can imagine that eating a few of these might be a bit sickly, but a single serving with a cup of coffee was pretty much biscuit heaven.
By Cinabar

26 July 2012

Daymer Bay - Lemon Iced Tea (Cornwall) [By @NLi10]

I like local foods, I like bottled teas - spotting this near the beach was a great find! As with most non-premium bottled teas this is made from powders and not brewed and concentrated, which lowers my expectations but puts it in line with all the other UK based brands.

I found the lemon flavour to be quite strong and this gave the tea quite a distinctive taste. It was very refreshing and didn't last all that long on the hot drive back to the Holliday cottage.

Later in the holiday I discovered there was quite a wide range of Daymer Bay drinks and all looked of a similar quality and worth a try. I resisted only because by that point the sun had gone in and I'd presumed I'd spot more to pick up later in the week.
By NLi10

25 July 2012

M&Ms 65% Intense Cacao Peanut [By @Cinabar]

In the UK M&Ms are different from the rest of the world. We don’t get any interesting limited editions or seasonal flavours. The UK doesn’t have specials, like coconut M&Ms, or mint ones and we are never likely to see the raspberry variety on British supermarket shelves.
If we get any limited editions, all we get is the regular milk chocolate or peanut with a change of shell colour. Red and green at Christmas; red, white and blue for the Olympics/Royal Jubilee. Seriously – a change of colour, is that it? Even the M&Ms store in London doesn’t stock any flavoured M&Ms, which is a crying shame. We are a bit left out to be honest.
Thankfully though the import market is improving, and some rarer M&M varieties can now even be found hiding in pound shops. Lovely reader David H very kindly spotted these European (Polish?) M&Ms in an aforementioned pound shop, and picked me up a bag!!! Big thank you to him, I do love M&Ms and really appreciate the chance to try a new flavour.
These M&Ms contain a strong and impressive 65% cocoa, and have peanut in them too! The shells and outer casing look just like regular peanut M&Ms, but the flavour is a whole new ball game. The chocolate is fantastic and rich, and the lovely strong dark chocolate tones work perfectly with the peanut. I loved how there was so much cocoa, but the sweet sugar still balanced it off perfectly, and I found them seriously moreish. These M&Ms provide a super cocoa, hit with a mix of nut, and so, as you might expect, I was in heaven.
These may not be the easiest product to find on the British Isles, but I can I assure you, if you do hunt some down you won’t be disappointed!
By Cinabar

24 July 2012

Soreen - Two Buttered Slices (Sainsbury’s) [By @SpectreUK]

When I was a child (all those years ago…) my mom used to make my packed lunch for me for school. One of the items I usually found in my lunch box was two sliced and buttered pieces of Soreen malt loaf. As they were stuck together and wrapped in cling film, they were quite difficult to tear apart and eat separately. One malt loaf piece would generally steal most of the butter from the other slice. However I always enjoyed eating these two pieces, especially the more buttery slice. Nowadays I make my own pack lunch and usually have fig biscuits as my afternoon snack.

This new packet of two buttered slices of Soreen malt loaf is a great idea as an alternative to opening a whole malt loaf, slicing and eating it over a number of days, especially when it’s best to eat the malt loaf on the day of opening for freshness. The packet stated “The original malt loaf”, just in case non-believers out there thought that Soreen had changed the recipe. The malt loaf’s ingredients included; wheat flour, malted barley flour, dried whey (from cows’ milk), and raisins, amongst other things. At 208 calories, there was 6.7% butter on the slices, although how the old dinner lady with a knife and bucket of butter measured it out so exactly on each slice I’ll never know! Allergy advice on the packet stated that the slices contained gluten, barley, wheat and milk. The back of the packet recommended eating the buttered malt loaf with either cheese for savory, or jam or honey for a sweeter dessert. I have always preferred my buttered malt loaf straight for the full flavour, as it’s just so tasty without the need for adding any other bits and bobs to it.

On opening the packet, there was two fresh looking malt loaf slices stuck together. After carefully tearing the two pieces apart, I noticed the same old story replaying itself from all those (many, many… many) years ago, with the butter being mostly stolen by one piece of malt loaf. With the absence of a knife, I ate the piece with the least amount of butter on it first, leaving the buttery slice to last as a treat. Both malt loaf pieces had the usual Soreen healthy feeling fruity tasting goodness, and the butter added to the sweetness. I enjoyed eating both pieces, especially the one with the most butter on it. I reckon I’ll have one of these packets of two buttered slices of malt loaf in my lunch box to mix up my afternoon snacks from now on.
By Spectre

23 July 2012

Kellogg’s Rice Krispies Squares: [New] Honeycomb Crunch (Sainsburys) [By @Cinabar]

My sweet tooth means that I have a bit of a soft spot for Kellogg’s Rice Krispies Squares. I tend to have them in place of a cereal bar at breakfast, I can just handle that level of sweetness overload first thing in a morning, I think of it as a skill!
I was excited to see a new variety of Kellogg’s Rice Krispies Squares on the shelves, and couldn’t resist picking up a pack. . I got them as part of a multipack in the supermarket, but suspect they will soon be available singularly too. The new flavour is Honeycomb Crunch, and it comes in an impressive orange packet
Once I opened up the wrapper, the bar too looked golden, more so that the other Krispies Squares in the range. There was still a nice drizzle of chocolate on the top, but there was plenty of Crunchie style pieces mixed in too. It was a little difficult to identify exactly where they were hiding, unless you looked closely, as they were rather well camouflaged in all the golden goodness.
The texture had a nice crunch from the cinder toffee topping, and the rice krispies gave the bar a firm feel. There was still the lovely sticky texture you would expect, just with a bit of substance from the honeycomb crunch.
The flavour is sweet and golden, lots of brown sugar, golden syrup and caramel tones throughout, which I loved, and it worked with the chocolate perfectly.
It’s a sweet bar, but then I expected that even before I opened up the packet. I thoroughly enjoyed the bar, and it is a lovely new addition to the range.
By Cinabar

22 July 2012

Eden Project - Apple Juice: Fresh & Fruity [By @NLi10]

Holidays are great for snack exploration. One product that you take for granted locally can be scarce elsewhere and vice-versa. Also, many places have their own locally sourced products which mean you have to pounce when you see them.

Eden project has three of these in its giant sustainable cafe that links the two bio domes. The first of these is its bottled apple juice.

I had this with my lunch - it’s a self service, low impact cafe so I got to avoid potatoes and pile the leafy greens high. It's possibly not as luxurious in flavour as the innocent one, but it tasted very much of good quality apples and was very refreshing. I'd happily drink this again, but I think it's an exclusive.

In the gift shop (which we happened to mooch around before doing the bio domes) I found a lovely drinks bottle. This is one of the aluminium reusable ones and I'd been looking for one for work. What swayed me into picking this up was you got free refills of soft drinks all day with the receipt. Great value!

First up we tried the elderflower drink. This was in a big slushy type machine and they happily filled me up to go into the rainforest. This was well needed as it was easily as hot as the real rainforest (although it didn't smell the same), but the slight breeze from the doors did give the game away.

I liked the flavour of this; it was quite strong and not sparkling. In the heat t was amazingly refreshing and after coming out I topped it straight back up and drank that too. Elderflower is usually quite a delicate fragrance but it was nice to have a full on hit.

After this I tried out their lemonade, which was very sour in flavour. I enjoyed this less, but it was very nice too - I think it may have been a touch too strong after all the heat to drink at the speeds I required. I think that this is more of a tasting drink than a downing one, but again I'd drink it again.

All in all a lovely day out and a clever idea on how to reduce waste in a tourist attraction.
By NLi10

21 July 2012

Milka Oreo (@CyberCandyLTD) [By @Cinabar]

It is no secret that Milka is my favourite brand of chocolate, it has a certain nutty and sweet goodness about its flavour that just really works for my taste buds. Sadly the best selection of Milka flavours hasn’t yet made it to UK shelves, but thankfully CyberCandy are on hand to help. The latest addition to their selection is Milka Oreo, also one of my favourite biscuits, and as both are owned by the Kraft brand it is easier for them to link up in this way.
This Milka bar is in the usual purple wrapper, but the Oreo logo sits neatly top right. Inside the packaging the Milka bar has a few clues to its contents with some crumbs of dark Oreo shining through on the surface, but once broken in half the filling becomes clear. There is plenty of white stuff within the bar, and lots of biscuit bits too.
Thankfully the coating provides a generous helping of Milka chocolate in this bar, and its flavour shines through perfectly. It is complimented by the filling which is silky smooth from the crème but broken up by the texture of crunchy Oreo pieces. The Oreo flavour is mainly the ‘stuff’ filling but the dark tasting Oreo bits add a good contrast flavour too.
It’s a sweet bar, but my sweet tooth knows no limits and I loved it. I liked the range of complex textures, from the outer chocolate shell cracking, through to the creamy filling and crunchy biscuit.
This bar was always going to be win win for me, it’s my favourite brand of chocolate mixed with a favourite brand of biscuit and the combination was a total sweet treat. I loved every chunk of the bar, and was honestly in chocolate heaven.
Now if only they would made an Oreo with a limited edition Milka filling or coating....
By Cinabar

20 July 2012

No Salt – Fairfield’s Farm Crisps (@FairfieldsFarm) [By @SpectreUK]

I first thought that crisps with no salt or added flavour were a bad idea. Quoting the packet; “Just the great taste of our home grown potatoes”, and after some consideration, I started to warm to the idea. After all, my favourite flavour of crisps to eat whilst drinking good ale is Ready Salted. I always feel that some light salt and no heavy added flavour helps to bring out the full bitter taste in ale, rather than try to block it out completely. Having said that, Steak or Beef and Onion flavoured crisps do go very well with a nice creamy pint of stout.

Produced by Fairfield’s Farm Crisps, in Colchester, and served in a 40g bag these No Salt crisps had no artificial colours or preservatives, were vegetarian, vegan and coeliac (gluten intolerant) friendly, and were gluten and GM product free. Per 100g there were 473 calories, with 1.2g of sugar and 25.3g of fat. I first tried a packet of these crisps on their own and found that they really do have a good honest potato crisp flavour without any fuss of flavour or salt. Crisp after crisp convinced me that these No Salt crisps were a genius idea and should sit happily in the camp of Ready Salted, Salt and Black Pepper (not to everyone’s taste so a recent poll by Cinabar found), and Salt and Vinegar crisps. This camp of crisps may not be for everyone, and I certainly agree that any flavour of crisps can be a joy to eat on any occasion, accept, of course, with ale. That is a moment reserved for Ready Salted and, I can now verify, No Salt at all!
By Spectre

19 July 2012

Juice Burst - Apple & Blackcurrant [By @NLi10]

While in a nice little Beach Cafe just down from Newquay I spotted this responsibly packaged juice drink.

With hindsight I think it's from a range which is also stocked in our works hospital canteen, but the new packaging encouraged me to pick it up. It's only 250ml instead of a more normal 500ml bottle, and seemed a similar price, but when out and about these things fluctuate.

The juice itself was very black currant flavoured even though it was the minority ingredient on offer. I guess those little guys pack a punch. It was refreshing and a lot more convenient for the beach in its pouch form, although I suspect a lot less frequently recycled. Enjoyable little drink, though I need another one now - it’s surprisingly sunny in Newquay.
By NLi10

18 July 2012

Pearl Milk Tea (Sing Fat Ltd., Birmingham) [By @SpectreUK]

As an avid tea drinker I have never been able to get to grips with drinking cold tea. I have always found cold tea very depressing, as if most of the flavour has been lost with the heat; it’s a bit like cold chips in a way. I generally let a cup of tea get to just about drinking temperature so I don’t disturb others by slurping noisily and enjoy my strong sugarless beverage. Giving up sugar in tea a long time ago in favour of my waistline, I usually leave a teabag in the mug for ages, often forgetting all about it as it sinks to the bottom of the mug. There have been a couple of meetings at work in the past where I have been drinking a mug of tea and had a mouthful of teabag and a shirt covered in tea!

This Pearl Milk Tea was manufactured by Chiao Kuo, in Taiwan. The ingredients in the 320g can included; water (82.05%), sugar (8%), pearl starch balls (7.8%), black tea (0.45%), milk powder (1.7%), with nutritional values of 124 calories, 1g of fat and 24g of sugar. Opening the can straight from the fridge and pouring out the light milky tea coloured liquid, I noticed there were a good couple of centimetres of pearl starch balls languishing at the bottom of the glass. The drink had a strong and very sweet black tea taste to it, domineered by an almost condensed creamy milk flavour. Even though I’d given up sugar in tea sometime ago, I could definitely see the benefit of sugar in cold tea. I found this cold tea very refreshing after a hot bath, lip-lickingly creamy sweet and tasty. I even munched down the pearl starch balls at the bottom of the glass once I’d drunk off all the milky tea. I’d definitely have this again, and may even try other cold teas, but will most likely add sugar to cheer them up a bit!
By Spectre

17 July 2012

Kelloggs Froot Loops [UK Edition] (Waitrose) [By @Cinabar]

We write about a lot of goodies here at Foodstuff Finds, and we are quite happy to write about imported items too. So you may be forgiven for thinking that these have come from Cybercandy or some other fabulous specialist shop, but I assure you these Froot Loops were found in Waitrose.
Kelloggs are giving them a trial in the UK this summer to see how they go on British supermarket shelves. As almost every import shop I know stocks the US version, I suspect they will be a bit of a success. Now I have a confession, although I have seen these many a time before at the importers I have never actually tasted them before. I think that after I give the British ones a sample, I will have to go and get a US box and review them and do a bit of a comparison.
Back to the UK version for now. The box is fun and colourful and even has a puzzle on the back to amuse you at the breakfast table. I opened up the box and poured myself a bowl full. There were three colours of loops in the box, orange, purple and green. Here in the UK we are all a bit nervous over food colourings, so I would like to assure you now these are naturally coloured using blackcurrant, spinach and even carrots – so nothing artificial there, and no vegetable flavours shine through. Also the colours were a little more muted than I expected, but then I have had Lucky Charms before so had some American expectations to the brightness of the product. I love that Lucky Charms turn the milk blue/green!
I have to be honest although there is a vague fruitiness about this cereal, it wasn’t as flavoursome as I was expecting. I did try to pick out the individual flavours of the loops but I was struggling. I was aware of a vague citrus flavour that seemed to linger in the milk but nothing more specific than that. I found the sugar to be well balanced, they are sweet but nothing over the top and it made for a pleasant cereal. The wheat taste of the loops shone through too, and that felt a lot more wholesome than I imagined.
I actually thoroughly enjoyed the cereal and would recommend it to all, it’s a subtle tasty flavour, in pleasing natural colours. I am however going to have to buy a box of the American version to taste test, but I suspect it is like this but with the volume turned up! I also suspect they get more colours than us?
By Cinabar

16 July 2012

Heston Curry Spiced [Sweet] Popcorn (Waitrose) [By @Cinabar]

Popcorn is a very ‘in’ snack at the minute, and its one I find myself turning to increasingly. Although I have a sweet tooth, the salty varieties appeal to me more and more these days. I have come to terms with the fact that popcorn is equally pleasant in a savoury variety as it is sugar coated.
Heston is rather creative and he has taken this one step further and brought out this curry spiced edition which sounded rather appealing when I saw it on the shelf. Although it says on the bag that the ideal time to serve them is while sitting down to a Bollywood movie, I ended up pouring some out to accompany our lunches on Sunday afternoon.
The popcorn looked nice, big pieces, all coated in a dark yellow seasoning which reminded me of the classic chip shop curry sauce. They had a good spicy aroma, lots of curry powder and a hint of chilli, and all was looking good until I tasted one. Up until this point I was totally convinced that what I had purchased was a savoury bag of popcorn, but I had underestimated dear Heston’s creative flair on this occasion. This popcorn was sweet and curry flavoured. Imagine that lovely bottle of curry sauce that you find in the chip shop, and then imagine sprinkling it all over toffee coated popcorn. It’s just not right. I tried to let the flavours grow on me, but the curry was quite hot and the spices would have been really good if it wasn’t for the bizarre sugary taste. I actually quit eating them, and was just about to tip the remaining ones in the bin when something weird caught my eye. Everyone else was enjoying them. My mum tried them, and said they were great, and even Spectre (who never eats popcorn of any variety) was munching away happily.
So there you are, they didn’t work for me, but they are clearly worth a try as the combination of flavours certainly works for some!
By Cinabar

15 July 2012

Hajuku Raspberry Stick (@CyberCandyLTD) [By @NLi10]

There are lots of Pocky imitators out there. Many choose to copy the exact styles and add a twist. Hajuku have gone one better and taken the strawberry cream Pocky and replaced the fruit with the strictly better RaspBerry. The capitalisation there is by the manufacturers - a fruit so amazing it needs two capitals!

I'm pretty sure these are Thai, but other than the script on the box I wasn't sure. They don't taste like Pocky, the base flavour of the slightly vanilla stick isn't there, but these are nice.

The RaspBerry adds a touch of difference to this, as well as providing crunchy seeds to chew on. The freeze dried chunks are as pleasant as usual, if not maybe less numerous than on the glico versions.

I've only seen these in the import store cybercandy so I'm not sure they could become a regular thing. I'd happily munch on these some more, a flavour that suits my raspberry loving taste buds more, even if it's a little milder.
By NLi10

14 July 2012

Essential Waitrose Onion Rings [By @SpectreUK]

Some would say onions rings are the essential snack for sharing amongst friends whilst watching a good long movie. It seems both Waitrose and I agree on that, although having said that, I sat down to a documentary about hurricanes whilst eating these Essential Waitrose Onion Rings. I’d just been to a job interview and filled my car with petrol at the garage next to the local Waitrose supermarket. I always fill up there, as my aging car loves the best of fuels. Something else we have in common, as I’m not only aging, but I also love the best of foods. Especially snack food. On this particular occasion, I’d been to a job interview that seemed to have gone rather well for a change, as they are usually a complete disaster, and it was coming up to lunchtime and I suddenly had a craving for onion rings. I went to pay for the fuel in the store and the first thing I clapped eyes on was this bag of onion rings sitting prettily on a shelf. The 100g bag with 506 calories, 5.7g of sugar and 28.3g of fat was begging for me to buy them to munch on. The ingredients were vegetarian friendly including no artificial colours or flavourings, with maize, rapeseed oil, fried onion flavour, semolina, leek extract, garlic powder and paprika for colour. The texture of the rings was light, fluffy and deliciously crunchy, with a strong onion and leek taste, polished off with garlic and rapeseed. The only mistake I made was to think that these were just another bag of onion rings. These are the Essential Onion Rings and will be forever on my shopping list from now on. I also got the job and start in a month or so. Bonus! ;-)
By Spectre

13 July 2012

Mars Dessert (Tesco) [By @Cinabar]

My sweet tooth tends to kick in at the end of a meal, and I always fancy something ideally chocolaty to finish on. As a fan of Mars bars when I saw these new desserts in Tesco it was pretty much given that pick them up.
I’ve seen quite a few of the chocolate bar themed desserts recently, so I am obviously not in a minority. They do then to be part of the Cadbury branding, so it is nice to Mars branching out in to this market too.
This is a split pot dessert, one section containing teeny chunks of Mars nougat coated in milk chocolate. The other section is the liquid section, which is chocolate and caramel flavour. The chocolate pieces are small, but there are plenty of them in the pot, certainly enough for each mouthful. Despite the size, the nougat texture shines through, but the flavour is a little hidden by all the chocolate goodness. I couldn’t pick up on much caramel either, again this was disguised within the sauce section.
The fact that the dessert provided a chocolate overload is by no means a bad thing!! I thoroughly enjoyed it, but it did mean that it didn’t fully recreate the whole Mars bar concept as well as it could.
By Cinabar

12 July 2012

Roast Beef and Spitfire Ale Flavour Crisps (@KentCrisps) [By @SpectreUK]

Produced by Kent Crisps, these Roast Beef and Spitfire Ale Flavour Crisps were flavoured with the Kentish Spitfire Ale, which was named after the famous aircraft that was designed by R. J. Mitchell to fight in the Second World War. With no artificial flavours or colours, these crisps were served in a 40g packet that had 189 calories, 8.8g of fat and 2.1g of sugar. There was a lovely Roast Beef smell upon opening the packet. There was a good strong flavour of roast beef to start with and then a bitter hoppy taste of ale. At that moment in a blind taste test I wouldn’t have liked to have staked my life on it being Spitfire Ale, but once I’d opened the bottle and poured the 4.5% volume dark amber ale into my beer mug and taken a good whiff and swig, it became pretty obvious. The crisps didn’t have the full ale taste, as the roast beef was their predominant flavour masking some of the spicy fruity tones in the ale, but there was definitely the bitter ale twang on the back of the roast beef. As I munched hungrily I actually found myself sucking these crisps to savour their full succulent and may I say ingenious flavour. I only wished I had a few more bags, but I reckon I would have scoffed the lot in one go, which probably wouldn’t have been healthy for my already oversized tummy. I really enjoyed washing these crisps down with the Spitfire Ale. I’ve drunk this ale on a few occasions in the past and always relished each bottle. I usually would prefer Ready Salted crisps with a good ale, so these Roast Beef and Spitfire Ale Flavour Crisps made a refreshing change. No wonder these crisps won a Taste of Kent Award 2012. I shall definitely be seeking these crisps out again, and next time I reckon I may have to scoff more than one packet with a pint or two of Spitfire Ale!
By Spectre

11 July 2012

Choka-Blok Gold Digger Dynamite (Tesco) [By @Cinabar]

Several people have emailed me and recommended these new Choka-Blok bars, so I thought I would search them out. I managed to find them on the shelves in Tesco, and I almost overlooked them as they weren’t taking up much shelf space. There were a couple of flavours, but the yellow packet with its promise of gold honeycomb took my fancy.
These bars all have the same concept, a chunky square bar of chocolate, where one side is flat and the other is packed with topping. The Gold Digger Dynamite bar is milk chocolate decorated with white chocolate, caramel filled milk chocolate cups and honeycomb style crunchie pieces. Oh my, what a combination!

I unwrapped the bar and was rather impressed by the amount of topping that was packed into the one side of the bar, it was super impressive to look at. The other side was more simple, with some groves for squares to be broken off.
I have to say the chocolate was quite something. It was a thick bar so it came across as being rather chunky, but it was still fairly soft and had a silky texture when you bit in. The base flavour of the chocolate was rich in cocoa with lots of milky tones, offset by the sweet topping. The white chocolate decoration is a little bit lost in the bar, because the caramel chocolate cups and the honeycomb pieces just add wonderful sugary tones through and through. I loved the crazy texture from all the goodies packed on the bar; it made it a pleasure to eat.
This really was a wow bar, and if you have a sweet tooth I can’t recommend it enough. It was totally indulgent and ticked all the boxes for me, beautifully decorated, full flavoured cocoa, good complex texture, chunky, sweet and heaven!
By Cinabar

10 July 2012

Pot Noodle – Jamaican Jerk! Flavour [By @SpectreUK]

I’ve always been wary of Pot Noodles since I was a kid and was passed one on a Cub Scout camping trip. I didn’t like it back then and must admit I hadn’t tried one up until Cinabar coxed me into writing for this blog. I have tried and enjoyed many Pot Noodles since and many many others from around the world. This Jamaican Jerk Flavour came with a Mango Sauce sachet. The 90g pot had 430 calories, with 15g of fat and 9g of sugar. There were no artificial colours or preservatives, and it included the usual stringy Pot Noodle noodles. The ingredients in the sauce included tomato, chives, basil, thyme, spices, garlic, and barley malt, with added vegetables of red peppers, onions and lots of green peas. On adding freshly boiled water and stirring, the brown coloured sauce smelt wholesome and spicy. After a few minutes of cooling I braved a taste. This Pot Noodle had a lovely Caribbean medium spicy tang to it. My tastebuds were smacked with a high quality flavour, which was really very tasty, and I certainly didn’t get sick of the sauce whilst eating it. In fact I wanted more. This was definitely one of the best Pot Noodles I’ve tried and will certainly have one of these in the cupboard for a decent hot snack or sandwich accompaniment for lunch and a movie. Nice one Pot Noodle, keep them coming! ;-)
By Spectre

9 July 2012

Strawberry Lemonade & Raspberry Ripple Cupcake (@CostaCoffee) [By @Cinabar]

The weather outside might be a bit changeable and rather wet, but at my table in Costa, summer has arrived. The menu has not been put off by the rain, it has still tried to capture the key ingredients of summer to cheer us all up. To be honest on a muggy day, a new ice drink sounds perfect, and the new raspberry cupcake is just about the smartest looking cake ever.

Strawberry Lemonade
The Strawberry Lemonade is a still drink, and although it is not ice blended (ie ice through and through) there is a fair amount of ice added to it to keep you cool on a hot day. The flavour is sweet but natural. The strawberry flavour takes the initial hit, and the lemon kicks in at the end of each sip with a slightly sharp edge to finish. It’s a super refreshing drink, and is perfect on a warm day. I much prefer this style of cold drink to the totally ice blended ones which just take far too long to drink, as you wait for them to melt.

Raspberry Ripple Cupcake
Well this cake is just stunning, reminding us of seaside ice creams complete with its own flake. Underneath the mountain of soft icing, was a lovely vanilla sponge, it was soft and had a good fresh baked flavour. Hidden inside it was a dollop of natural tasting raspberry jam, which wasn’t too sweet but added a nice touch. The topping was super sweet, but also soft and remarkably creamy. The ripple sauce was also very sweet, and exactly what you would expect to find being laced over your Ninety-Nine at the ice cream van. It’s an amazing treat, but with all that sweetness you have to be in the mood for it! I have a very sweet tooth so was in total heaven.

Thank you Costa for bring a little sunshine to our table on a very wet and muggy day.
By Cinabar

8 July 2012

Cookies 'N Cream Bites (@CyberCandyLtd) [By @NLi10]

There are some international products that just beg to be located and eaten, and others that you hear about for ages but never try.

The pretend Americans in sit-com-land go crazy for cookie dough, and these are cookie dough bites - but in a cookies and cream flavour. I always figured these to be a bit too close to the Oreo to be worth bothering with, but after the nice folks at CyberCandy gave us the vouchers I decided that these should be high up on the priority list. I almost chose one of the stranger flavours but experience has taught me that going for the closest product to the original is usually best.

I must admit I expected these to be like unbaked cookie lumps, soft but with the texture of say part-baked biscuits. They are essentially lumps of icing with bits of cookie in them.

They are oddly misshapen and apparently this bag is two servings. This is a little crazy to me as after maybe 5 or 6 the sweetness was a little too much! I liked the flavour and I enjoyed the odd soft, modelling clay texture but I don't think I could get through half a packet in one sitting. I was tempted to save these to do as a cinema snack, but I broke them out during the F1 and Wimbledon (which hasn't finished yet), and they are a very distracting proposition. I find that the more I eat the less I notice the sweetness and the more the cookie flavour comes out. This is nice and very Millie's Cookies in a way, and I'm sure the reason that they are so successful.

Maybe it's the 'cream' portion that is the hyper sweetness, maybe it's just my body telling me I don't need more sugar right now, but I can't help feeling that a slightly toned down version of these would be gorgeous and worth all the pop culture references. Maybe Americans just like more sugar in their tea, and maybe I should find the original cookie dough - just to check that it's not always like this.

Great for sharing, though I'm not sure a box and an inner bag is necessary!

By NLi10

7 July 2012

Limited Edition Golden Wonder – Heinz Tomato Ketchup Crisps (Tesco) [By @Cinabar]

Ketchup flavour crisps are one of the world’s greatest inventions. Although I would never dip a crisp into ketchup, (although Spectre dips his crisps in salad cream) flavouring a crisp with ketchup adds a perfect balance of sweet and savoury. To be fair I think ketchup should be up there with salt and vinegar and ready salted, but the variety can be quite elusive and certainly isn’t stocked regularly on my local supermarket shelves. Occasionally I kind find the Walkers Ketchup crisps, but you can never count on them being in the shops.
Golden Wonder have seen sense, and brought out a Special Edition ketchup variety, and it’s not just any old ketchup this is the official Heinz brand, and wow are they good. Golden Wonder crisps are thin cut, and although we associate thicker cut crisps with being posh there is a lot to be said about thinner crisps. They are easy to eat, and the lighter texture means they sort of melt away when you munch.
The flavour combines an excellent balance of sweet but tangy tomato with a vinegary hit to finish. There is a lovely depth of spice mixed in too, it isn’t overpowering but helps the taste to develop. If anything it reminds me a little of Worcestershire sauce mixed in.
These crisps are genius. The flavour is well balanced, moreish and super tasty. I have my fingers and toes crossed that when Golden Wonder say “Special Edition” what they mean is it’s so special it is soon to become a permanent feature for the brand. ;-)
By Cinabar

6 July 2012

Traditional Porter (Tesco’s Finest) [By @SpectreUK]

Brewed by the Harviestoun Brewery, in Scotland, this 6% volume Traditional Porter is packaged in a 330ml bottle and branded as one of Tesco’s Finest. The label states that this porter is a “Modern twist to a 19th Century classic”, claiming it has rich chocolate and coffee flavours. This beer certainly has a chocolate smell to it on opening, but with only a hint of coffee, which suited me after the last coffee beer I tried. The ingredients included barley, hops, and yeast, but there was no reference to coffee or chocolate, which made me wonder how the brewers may have exploited the taste from the barley and hops. This Traditional Porter has a smooth dark, almost black, texture that reminded me of the chocolate stouts I have tried in the past. Indeed the beer initially tasted like a mild chocolate stout, giving me that warming filling feeling a good rich stout can lend to. The early chocolate hit was then balanced by the bitterness from the hops and a hint of coffee. The affluent dark chocolate flavour with the bitterness and mild coffee followed through to the aftertaste, leaving a pleasant tingle in my mouth and making me wish the bottle had been a little larger. This is a gloriously strong porter, of which I will definitely hunt out again. It would go equally well with a meat and gravy meal or for an after dinner treat with a side of dark chocolate. Indulge in this Traditional Porter; after all, it’s one of Tesco’s Finest!
By Spectre

5 July 2012

CyberCandy loot - Golden Oreos, Strawberry Pelotty, Aether Cola (CyberCandy Birmingham) [By @NLi10]

Here is the first batch of loot from our CyberCandy visit to the Birmingham Store.  See the previous review for more details and pics of the shop.

First up we have Golden Oreos - this is a standard Oreo 3 pack but with two crucial changes - vanilla biscuit and what appears to be a caramel cream.  Essentially these are Oreo shaped but completely not Oreos.  They don't even slightly taste like Oreo which is a disappointment, but our mini focus group of three agreed that they were nice enough.  I'm sure that if you had these in a biscuit tin and didn't have the thought of Oreos in your head then you'd enjoy them. With no intense cocoa hit and creamy-filling these feel wrong,  nice, but wrong.

Next up is the Pelotty which is a chocolate Lollipop on a plastic spoon like thing.  Like most of the Glico (the Pocky guys) products this is more of a fondant than a chocolate but it's a nice variation as the fruitiness blends in.  I didn't spot until I'd opened it that the back is traditional chocolate flavour (you can just see in the pic) so you get two flavours in one.  The online CyberCandy shop doesn't appear to have this flavour in stock, but they do have a Chocolate Vanilla Custard Pelotty which I may have been tempted for just because Doraemon is on the packaging, but custard flavoured sweets may be a little too much.  I'll probably stick to Pocky to get my hit of this kind of flavour, but as a one off it's quite nice.

This has a nice stand in the middle of the shop - and even has CyberCandy printed on the can as the importer, but I can't really recommend it.  It's essentially just fizzy table-water with a cola flavour added and comes across as a little odd.  Yes - the can is excellent and was kept by one of the group to go on his shelf, but we shared the can between the three of us and no-one really wanted to finish it.  Clear cola's have never been that successful in the UK, Tab Clear disappeared almost as soon as it came out.  Maybe there is a kind of part of the process that normal cola undergoes that makes the liquid a funny colour so they add caramel to get the brownness to cover it? Who knows - stick to Fentimans - heck  CyberCandy are missing a trick not selling that range!  They do sell a wonderful selection of exotic drinks in store, and it's the one thing I neglected to take a picture of, but I think next time I'll stay away from the pretty cans and stick to the tasty drinks instead!
By NLi10