31 August 2013

Pop Up Noodles – Thai Green Curry / Teriyaki (@HopperHeads) [By @SpectreUK]

This part 2 of Spectre's trial of Pop Up Noodles, part 1 (Chinese Five Spice) can be found: here

Pop Up Noodles – Thai Green Curry

There were 171 calories in this 45g pot, with 4.3g of sugar and 2.2g of fat. Suitable for vegetarians and containing gluten, the ingredients included; durum wheat semolina, whole powdered egg, maize, mint, coriander, chives, ginger, crushed chilli and lime oil amongst other things. There were lots of red bits of chilli and green bits of herbs mixed in with the ample supply of noodles and sauce. There was an aroma of lime and mint from the pot after I’d added freshly boiled water and mixed the contents together. There was a medium heat from the chilli and a decent flavour of lime and mint mixed in with coriander and chives. Mint was the dominant flavour, then the lime, making an almost lemongrass taste, although there was no lemongrass in the ingredients. I really enjoyed this Thai Green Curry and would have it again.

Pop Up Noodles – Teriyaki

I’d certainly never seen a Teriyaki flavoured Pot Noodle before, so was very intrigued by this flavour. I left it until the last of the three to build up some tension in my mind. I’d enjoyed the Chinese Five Spice and been pleasantly surprised by the Thai Green Curry, especially as it hadn’t been doused in lemongrass that can be so off putting to some (mainly to Cinabar who hates lemongrass). This 45g pot was 167 calories with 4.1g of sugar and 2.2g of fat. Again this Pop Up Noodle pot was suitable for vegetarians and containing gluten, the ingredients included; durum wheat semolina, whole powdered egg, maize, oatmeal, soy sauce, malt vinegar, garlic, ginger, black pepper, spring onion, natural honey, and caramelised sugar amongst other things. There was a strong smell of soy upon adding freshly boiled water and mixing the contents of the pot. Once the steam from the pot had settled there was a decent Teriyaki smell from the concertina pot. Mixed in with the noodles was a heavy supply of finely chopped onions, which was certainly not a bad thing. Once cooled, as I was becoming used to these Pop Up Noodle pots cooling fast, I found this flavour the most pleasant and rewarding of the three flavours of the Pop Up Noodle pots I had been fortunate enough to try. It had a subtle, quite calming Teriyaki and spring onion flavour, which went exceptionally well with my salmon sandwiches and a pickled egg on the side. I find Teriyaki always goes well with fish or chicken. I love a good piece of Salmon with Teriyaki sauce at Mount Fuji when I visit Birmingham shopping. This Teriyaki Pop Up Noodle pot was really tasty and was my favourite of the three Pop Up Noodles flavours. I would definitely have this one again, would seek it out and reserve it for salmon sandwich or bagel lunches as a must have healthy accompaniment.
By Spectre

30 August 2013

Katy's Kettle Corn - sweet and salty [by @NLi10]

A short while ago I was contacted by a PR company asking if I'd like to sample a new variety of PopChips designed by Katy Perry.  I said yes and they sent me a box - unfortunately it contained 4 flavours  which were not Katy Perry inspired!

The original was too salty and I gave the sour cream ones to someone who liked that flavour, but I did enjoy the salt & pepper and barbeque (which seems an unusual spelling) flavours.

A short while after this I received a new parcel with the Katy Perry versions.  To be honest I only really know one Katy Perry song, and that's because a comedian I like did a cover version.  I'm sure she's a very nice lady, but I am not the target market for these.

The QR code on the bag takes you to a pretty site that explains it all. (although the pictures of Katy look amusingly stretched on a computer not phone)

Naturally as with any sharing based snack I took these into work and shared them amongst the lab workers at break and lunch.  The first thing I noticed when people tried these was the face.  There was a very specific expression that people had after the salty crisp like item turned out to have a sweet aftertaste!

Naturally this almost universally resulted in people requiring a 2nd and third to properly evaluate the experience.  It seems that the majority of people did like them - I think only one person found them to be a bit tasteless for her. 

I think these are a bit thinner and more crisp-like than the earlier flavours and this made them snap more and be more crisp like. This positive step, with the cinema popcorn like taste sensation of mixing sweet and salty corn snacks at the same time.

This said - are they any good?  They are certainly interesting, and very moreish as most people seem to want to eat more.  I think that I'd probably gravitate more to the earlier flavours (sorry Katy) but this certainly one of the top ones.

PopChips themselves are an ace idea (as one person pointed out - why has no-one done this before!) and I do hope the range continues.

29 August 2013

Cadbury Crispello – Vanilla Velvet (Boots) [By @cinabar]

In October last year Cadbury launched Crispello, in a Double Chocolate variety. It aimed itself as a lighter treat, perfect for an afternoon chocolate craving, while being lighter than the majority of other bars. It has obviously sold well as there is a new flavour on the market following in the same footsteps.
The new Vanilla Velvet still has three chunks in the pack, each having just 55 calories each. The pieces look like 3D diamonds, but my geometry knowledge doesn’t seem to go as far as knowing the official terminology for that I’m afraid! Each piece has a Cadbury chocolate coating, a crispy wafer frame and plenty of vanilla filling packed inside! The chunks feel very light to eat, which is nice, but they aren’t filling. I know they have less calories, but they feel it too. I did enjoy the flavour though, and eating my way through the chunks. The chocolate is sweet and creamy, the wafer adds a nice crunch and the filling is silky and soft. The flavour from the centre is nice, it has a sugary vanilla taste, but it is a little lost with the chocolate overpowering it. Having said that I do think it is nice to see a vanilla based confectionary product on the market, it is a staple flavour for so many things, but I can’t actually think of any other vanilla bars?
This new bar is a sweet and tasty treat, without too much guilt and is a nice addition to the Crispello range. I’m hoping they continue to develop it and add more flavours soon.
By Cinabar

28 August 2013

Chabaa Young Coconut Juice Drink with Coconut Flesh (Pinoy Foods) [By @SpectreUK]

I’ve had coconut in many forms from Bounty Bars to coconut biscuits; I’ve even had coconut milk in some noodle soups in Thai restaurants, but never really tried it as a pure drink before. This Chabaa Young Coconut Juice Drink with Coconut Flesh was produced in Thailand. The 230ml can was 110 calories with 1g of fat. The ingredients included; 70% young coconut juice, 9% sugar, 5% coconut flesh and antioxidant E223. I saw the can in one of my favourite Foodstuff haunts in the Birmingham Indoor Market, which is Pinoy Foods and just had to try it. So on one hot, some may say muggy, summer’s day I popped the can in the fridge and decided to drink it during a particularly gruelling gardening session. I say “gruelling” because the weeds had grown to the height of a large child and I’d noticed that some of the local cats had been lost in the tall grass of the lawn for a number of days. I opened the can and noted that this drink was not a fizzy one due to a lack of fizz, though no fizz had been promised on the front of the can anyway. I guess over the years I’ve become accustomed to opening a can and being greeted by a hearty fizzzzz! Unsurprisingly there was a strong whiff of coconuts from the drink. Gawping into the can opening I could see white chunks floating amongst the transparent liquid. On taking a good swig there was a strong coconut flavour, but not altogether sweet. There was sweetness to the drink but it wasn’t overpowering, which made the drink more refreshing than I thought it would be. This coconut juice drink was certainly a thirst quencher. The small white chunks of coconut flesh slipped daintily into my mouth as I took further swigs. These white coconut pieces melted in my mouth as I drank and chewed a little. I enjoyed drinking this refreshing Chabaa Young Coconut Juice Drink with Coconut Flesh and would have it again, as it made a refreshing and healthy change to regular soft drinks on the market.
By Spectre

27 August 2013

New Lindt - Pistachio Delight (Waitrose) [By @Cinabar]

As I was browsing the chocolate isle in Waitrose, this new bar from Lindt caught my eye. As a big fan of nuts and chocolate I eagerly picked it up. I noticed that although the bar is called Pistachio Delight, underneath that it states “With Almond Pieces”, which is fine I like all nuts.
Once home I unwrapped the bar, and snapped a square off. The insides were pale green from the pistachio, but it looked natural and pleasant.
I took my first taste and disappointment set in. Despite the fabulous dark chocolate coating, the inside tasted of marzipan. Now, theoretically, I should like marzipan. I love nuts, and that includes almonds, and I have a sweet tooth. But there is something about marzipan that tastes wrong, it doesn’t seem to resemble the flavour you would expect from mixing the ingredients, and instead ends up tasting the way I expect Play-Doh to taste.
I couldn’t get passed that, so couldn’t eat any more of the bar. If you like marzipan then you will most likely love this chocolate. The texture was good, the chocolate coating firm and the bits of nuts added a nice crunch. The dark chocolate was really special, very strong and full of rich cocoa tones, but underneath it lay the strange taste that is marzipan.
Luckily I have very few flavour aversions (beetroot and lemongrass are others), but the marzipan is one I can’t explain. I do feel bad being negative towards this bar, when the problem is clearly me and not the content. I’ll just put it down to it not being my cup of tea. My mum was fine with the chocolate, and took it off my hands! :-) I honestly think if you like marzipan flavours, it would be a seriously good treat.
Do you have any strange food dislikes you can’t quite explain? Did or does Play-Doh smell of marzipan? Maybe that is where the problem started...
By Cinabar

26 August 2013

Cadbury Eclairs – New Orange Twist Edition (Tesco) [By @Cinabar]

As I have a bit of a sweet tooth, I am rather familiar with regular Cadbury Eclairs, which have been around as long as I can remember. Recently though they have introduced a new flavour on the scene, Orange Twist. I actually spotted them on the Tesco website, and added a bag to my last order.
The bag is very similar looking to the original variety, with orange replacing the usually gold on the purple background. I unwrapped the first sweet, but couldn’t detect any orange aroma which did worry me a little. The sweet started off exactly as a regular Eclair, with the sweet gold caramel flavour on the chewy coating shining through. I do like the buttery toffee coating though, so I allowed it to melt a little in my mouth. When it was a little softer, and I could chew properly, the central flavour leaked through, then the sweet burst and the chocolate orange taste made its full appearance.
I really enjoyed the flavour that followed, the chocolate taste of Dairy Milk mixed with the warm citrus orange flavour. It was zesty and fresh, but still contained enough of the sweet caramel taste and chocolate to be true to the original. They really are a lovely adition to the range.
Apparently they have a new Hazelnut edition out now too, which I’ll be keeping an eye out for too.Fingers crossed they too are on the Tesco site!
By Cinabar

25 August 2013

Medieval Squealers (Birmingham Food Fayre) [by @NLi10]

I do like the variety of events and stalls that we get in Birmingham.  As part of one of the food festivals I spotted a new-to-me stall selling things like squirrel pie and rabbit but also something called a Medieval Squealer. 

This is essentially a sausage roll, but with just sausage meat and pastry.  This really doesn't do it justice though, as this isn't grainy pork dust but actual meat.  I tried a variety of different squealers (named amusingly after Henry the 8th's wives) the last of which was Jane Seymour which was a smoked pork based affair.

They were all very filling, much more so than the equivalent Greggs offerings, and if the stall was there past the Bank Holiday Monday then I'd certainly go back for a third visit.

While I'd feel bad eating a squirrel based snack, I'm happy to eat this interesting variation on the humble pig.

24 August 2013

Pop Up Noodles – Chinese Five Spice (@HopperHeads) [By @SpectreUK]

Pop Up Noodles

I recently noticed that my Foodstufffind’s Ready Meal and Pot Noodle shelf was heaving under the weight from the many different varieties of meals that I’d picked up from various different supermarkets and import shops, as well as those sent to us for me to try. As I was rummaging through the shelf a 45g Pop Up Noodle pot dropped unceremoniously onto my head. I thought this was very intriguing; a Pop Up Noodle pot that was easy to fit in an enclosed space, such as a small bag or lunchbox. I noticed I had a few other Pop Up Noodles pots from Team Grasshopper, including a few soups. The first Pop Up Noodle pot that had almost knocked me out was Chinese Five Spice. I boiled the kettle, took the cardboard seal off and opened the pot. I noticed that the pot didn’t expand a great deal as the plastic of the pot was very strong indeed. I added some freshly boiled water and the pot expanded a little more, but not to a Pot Noodle size pot. I mixed the noodles together with the other contents of the pot. The noodles and sauce was quick to cool, and the contents of the pot were eating temperature in a short amount of time. Pot Noodles can stay hot for longer, so are quite difficult and messy to eat especially at work if you have to rush to a meeting.

Pop Up Noodles – Chinese Five Spice

There was a spicy smell from the cooling liquid in the concertina pot and I noticed the multitude of noodles was hungrily soaking up the greenish coloured sauce. The cardboard sleeve showed me that there was 168 calories in the pot, with 6g of sugar and 2.3g of fat. Suitable for vegetarians and containing gluten, the ingredients included; durum wheat semolina, whole powdered egg, maize, bell pepper, soy sauce, tomato, honey, oatmeal, garlic, chilli, five spice powder and Szechuan pepper amongst other things. There were lots of bits of red and green mixed in with the sauce, which I took to be pieces of chilli and pepper. There was a spicy flavour to the sauce, with a tasty, decent medium heat from the chilli. This healthy feeling Pop Up Noodle pot helped to fill a hole and went well with a ham and mustard sandwich.

Part 2, with more Pop Up Noodles flavours, will follow next week ;-)
By Spectre

23 August 2013

Flipz – White Fudge Covered Pretzels (Asda) [By @Cinabar]

Flipz are an American product that used to be available in the UK. I can remember having them when I was at school, and loving their mix of sweet and savoury. Basically they are salty pretzels covered in a sweet coating.
Having said that, this particular bag of Flipz may well have been made in America, but they were sold in a UK supermarket, in the chocolate and sweets isle. I know Asda are linked with Wal-Mart, so have more American goodies than other shops, but I was quite excited to find them on the shelf. The Tesco not too far away from me stocks Lucky Charms too, interesting times!
These particular Flipz are a variety I haven’t tried before, and wasn’t sure what to expect. The phrase White Fudge doesn’t quite mean much to me to be totally honest, but I picked them up anyway! Once opened the aroma from the pack reminded me of breakfast cereal, I don’t mean your healthy muesli I mean the kids kind, aka my kind!
The flavour was quite something, as far as I can tell white fudge is a cross between regular fudge and white chocolate, but with a hint of Caramac about it! It should be sickly sweet but the pretzel flavour and the salt really break it up, creating the most wonderful tasty crunchy savoury sweet mix of flavour.
Ok so perhaps when I said the salt stopped it from being sickly, I hadn’t reckoned on eating half the large bag to myself before this blog was written... darn they are moreish though!
By Cinabar

22 August 2013

Conscious organic raw handmade chocolate - Wild at Heart and Goji &Coconut [by @NLi10]

A little while back (I'm still stuck in the summer backlog!) a site called detoxyourworld got in touch about review samples. This is a partner review to my last raw chocolate write up from them.

First up we tried the Wild At Heart.  We had this at room temperature at first which gave an unintended meltyness to the whole thing. This rough textured bar has a few flavours going on, but the vanilla and wild blue-green algae (yup - it's why I chose it) really do play second fiddle to the strong chocolate.  There are  no added lumps and bumps in this bar so it's just raw chocolate that keeps your interest here.  It's a solid experience (more so on day 2 when eaten from the fridge) but it lacks the wow factor of the LoveChock bars.

We then tried the Goji & Coconut bar.  This had a lot more going on than the plainer Wild At Heart which benefited it greatly.  I liked how the additions added a sweetness to it, but the chocolate was again the star.  

I decided these bars should go second based on the professionalism of the packaging. These are very giftable and look like a premium chocolate. Turns out the previous product was just more to my taste.  I think I've said a few times that I love chocolate bars where the chocolate isn't the main attraction (Twix, Bounty) and while I'd happily eat these over any non-raw chocolate (I really am that sold on the idea) I think the LoveChock gets the win.

If you are a pure chocolate fanatic though I can easily see that order being reversed.  I'd be happy to eat these again (and again), and finishing off the bars post review has really not been a chore.

21 August 2013

Fairfield’s Farm Crisps: Parsnip Crisps with Essex Honey & Black Pepper [By @SpectreUK]

These Fairfield’s Farm pan fried parsnip crisps were made with natural ingredients sourced from local producers, such as Essex Honey. There was a lot of friendly information about the product on the back of the 40g packet and about Fairfield’s Farm which is run by a couple, Robert and Laura, who clearly take a lot of pride in the crisps they produce. These parsnip crisps were suitable for vegetarians and coeliacs, were gluten free and made with non GM products. There were 460 calories per 100g, with 18.5g of sugar and 30.7g of fat. The crisps ingredients included; parsnips, sunflower oil, Essex Honey (from some particularly reluctant bees, as the packet reminisced about a rather stingy moment that Robert had encountered), spice, black pepper, lemon juice and citric acid amongst other things. There was a parsnip and sweet honey smell with a light touch of black pepper on opening the packet. These parsnip crisps had a good crunch, but not unpleasant to the roof of the mouth, were non greasy to the touch, with a parsnip and sweet honey taste and a mild spice from the black pepper. These parsnip crisps were very tasty, a great alternative crisps snack and I would have them again.

I also tried the Lightly Salted Parsnip Crisps from the Fairfield’s Farm Crisps range and I really enjoyed their pleasant salty flavour. They went very well with a good pint of Old Speckled Hen, which I would have thought unusual, as Ready Salted potato crisps usually bring out the flavour of ale, but parsnip does have quite a strong flavour that I first believed would overshadow a pint of the good stuff. However, the parsnip flavour actually complemented the ale flavour praising the bitter hoppiness of the ale and tickling the smooth malty aftertaste. So don’t be afraid to try Fairfield’s Farm’s parsnip crisps just because they’re different than the regular potato variety, branch out, try new things and enjoy. After all, that’s what this blog is all about! ;-)
By Spectre

20 August 2013

Dowe Egburts – The Flavour Collective – Enticing Chocolate Coffee [By @cinabar]

I have to admit that the majority of coffee that I drink is instant, and that is about the convenience of it. Or indeed the location, there are no fancy coffee machines where I work. Although there are plenty of good instant coffees available, what is lacking from the market are the fancier coffees. Dowe Egburts asked me if I wanted to try their new instant chocolate coffee, and I was rather intrigued so decided to give it a go.
From the outside of the jar, the coffee looks like the regular instant, but on closer inspection I could see chocolates bits mixed in the jar. The particles were about the same size as the granulas, only darker. There was a lovely aroma too when I opened it, I put a large teaspoons worth in a mug and topped with hot water. There was no froth or strange consistency, it looked just like a regular thin coffee.
I took a sip. The chocolate flavour wasn’t overly strong, and strangely it wasn’t too sweet. I thought it added a lovely taste of mocha to the drink, without ruining the coffee element. I think if I took sugar in my coffee it would have enhanced the flavour more, but as a no sugar girl I liked the fact the drink wasn’t ruined for me. Thats the problem with syrups, is that they add sweetness more than flavour, but this drink was far more focused on the flavour element. The cocoa tones were there, without it feeling like I’dd added three sugars to my drink.
I also tried the drink made up with a little hot water, just enough to dissolve the granules, and then I topped it up with cold milk and a few ice cubes. It’s the perfect warm weather treat! It is a grown up taste, not a syrupy one, but I dare say if you add sugar it can go that way too. For me I like the complexity it added to the taste, and am rather looking forward to trying the other flavours in the range now too; vanilla, caramel and hazelnut.
By Cinabar

19 August 2013

Quality Street – New: My Green Bar (Local Newsagent) [By @Cinabar]

My favourite quality street chocolates are the purple ones, and back in 2011 they released those chocolates in their very own bar. I was in heaven! As fan of nuts and chocolate, my next favourite chocolate in the Quality Street tin are the foil covered green ones. So when I stopped by a local newsagent and saw the new My Green Bar, based on those praline triangles I snapped up a few!!
The bar is quite smart and is made up of four praline triangles all stuck together on a chocolaty base. Consequently the bar snaps neatly into four triangular pieces, perfect for simply breaking up before scoffing! The calories on the pack are marked at 98 per half bar; which I’m not happy about. To me a bar is the portion, I might be able to break it up into four pieces but if its praline based, I’m not going to share! :-D
The triangular chunks are the same as the Quality Street chocolates, with their nutty but smooth filling. I like the praline as it sweet and soothing, yet soft and easy to eat. The chocolate coating is a rich milk chocolate that adds to the sweet treat. It’s a seriously nice bar, a lovely blend of nuts and chocolate.
Knowing that there is a new bar on the market made up entirely of sweet chocolaty praline really makes me smile. It is something a bit different, and I can easily see this becoming my new favourite afternoon chocolate treat.
By Cinabar

18 August 2013

Loveberry - Raw Superfood Granola (One Earth Shop - Digbeth) [by @NLi10]

When digging around at the One Earth shop recently I found a bag of quite expensive granola cereal (£4.30 I think) that was bright red and full of fruits and caught my eye.  It was full of all the kinds of things you'd usually see in the premium cereal aisle but also both raw and with no added sugar.

I decided that it would be wrong of me to not take this with me, but it sat around on the work-surface for a while as I decided it was probably best eaten on a lazy Sunday morning and not in the pre-commute rush of the week.  The clumps were large, and the actual separate strawberry slices were few but probably there is one per portion (I'm expecting three from the pack).

The flavour itself is not as strong as I'd expected from the smell.  I guess it's like the fruit infusions - naturally unsweetened products just don't have that kick that you expect from the manufactured tastes we are used to.  This isn't to say the flavour wasn't nice - just a lot more subtle than I expected.

The chunks mostly crumbled easily when bitten but a couple did not due to hiding a chunk of fruit.  These were harder work to eat, but easily the most flavoursome parts. Yum! It was also quite filling.  I think that my portion size was perfect for me, but many people would probably get 5 or 6 portions out of the small bag.  Like with the other granolas I've tried I gave myself less than I'd usually go for and was still very satisfied.

I think that this is a nice change cereal, but at the price I'm not sure I could justify buying it over some of the more mainstream seeds and berries granolas that I tend to stock-up on.

17 August 2013

Robinsons Fruit Shoot Mega Sour Mix (WH Smiths) [By @SpectreUK]

Produced for the Monty Bojangles Fine Confectioners of London these healthy sounding (asides all the sugar on top) Robinsons Fruit Shoot Mega Sour Mix were made with only natural colours and flavours, such as fruit juice; raspberry, strawberry, apple, blackcurrant, orange and pineapple, as well as elderberry concentrate, with nettle and spinach extract, but sadly these gummies were not vegetarian friendly (not that it bothers me though, but it will some...) as they contained pork gelatine. They came in five flavours, but were not counted out evenly in the packet, which is unfortunately the usual case with many assorted flavours of sweets. Apple flavour was green, but there were only three of these in the packet. They had a fruity apple blast that reminded me of apple ice lollies in the summer and they had a good hearty bash from the sour flavour. Orange flavour was orange in colour (unsurprisingly), but there was only one in the pack though, this had a flavoursome orange zing with a sour thump. Blackcurrant and apple flavour which were a purple colour, only having two in the pack, these had a lovely Robinsons blackcurrant flavour with a good sourness. Summer fruits flavour was red and the packet had the most of these ones. The flavour had a predominantly natural strawberry flavour with a strong sour punch. Tropical flavour was yellow and were the second most amount in the packet, and had a primarily pineapple flavour with a hint of orange. Summer fruits flavour had a lovely sour kick and was my favourite flavour. All these sour gummies were very flavoursome, with a natural fruity taste and were very moreish indeed. In fact I promised to share them with the rest of my colleagues, but when I started to eat them I just forget to share! I could really taste the natural fruits and was most impressed by the flavour of these gummie’s, their chewiness and sour kick. I would definitely have these again.
By Spectre

16 August 2013

Cadbury Marvellous Creation – Cola Pretzel Honeycomb (Asda) [By @Cinabar]

The thing about Cadbury’s new Marvellous Creation range is its creativity. I also like things that are different or a bit more interesting and as such this range has gone down really well for me. Previously they released Cookie Nut Crunch and even Jelly Popping Candy, but now it is time for another mix, this time they have combined Cola, Pretzel and Honeycomb, and all I could think was bring it on!
The bar looks very similar to the others in the range once opened, with the lovely quirky shaped pieces moulded into the chocolate. I find that the bar looks pretty like that, but it is difficult to break up and share equally. I’m used to offering people a strip of symmetrical chocolate cubes but have to give out an oddly shaped corner instead – it is all chocolate though and it fits in with the bars theme. :-)
The chocolate bar does have a fabulous texture, as they have packed all sorts of goodies inside. The cola is in the form of jellies, the pretzels are quite chunky crispy bits, and the honeycomb pieces are smaller and shatter as you bite. I love it!
The flavours are an eclectic mix, with things that really shouldn’t go together, but it does actually work. Its fun to eat, one minute you get the sweet and chewy taste of cola mixing with the chocolate, then some extra sweet bits from the honeycomb, followed by the fabulous light crunch and salt of the pretzel. I loved it, and I was smiling when I ate it!
It’s a fun bar, with a bit of a crazy flavour combination. Its chocolate that’s meant to be enjoyed and not scrutinised, just let the lovely people form Joyville fill your taste buds with their fun ideas and relax, chocolate isn’t supposed to be serious.
By Cinabar

15 August 2013

Lovechock Mulberry & Vanilla // Pineapple and Incaberry (@detoxyourworld) [by @NLi10]

A little while back (I'm still stuck in the summer backlog!) a site called detoxyourworld got in touch about review samples. Nothing new there, healthy sites often run promos past us and want to share the latest not-quite-science miracle cures past us, but this place was a bit different - specialising in the raw and organic products that I often nab from the small local stores.  In fact it appears to be run out of one of those stores.  Their products show that it's more about not sticking the toxins in to your body in the first place than taking them out via dubious means!

Importantly this offer arrived just after I'd tried Ailey Mae's raw chocolate and totally fallen for it - and on their site they had to new to me brands that offered similar delights.  Here is a link to their Raw Cocoa section.  Today we look at the first - lovechock

Here we see Baskerville guarding the chocolate at work.  I've started taking more things in to share because snack-mountain is starting to get faintly ridiculous at home.

Each small bar is 4 segments long which means its hard to share and still have a lot left to eat for yourself.  Both varieties come with what appears to be life advice, and are in fully biodegradable packaging.

First up we tried the Mulberry and Vanilla.  The texture was a lot more coarse than I was expecting after the lightness of the previous raw chocolate experience.  There was an awful lot going on with the flavours too.  The chocolate was about 80% dark (vegan friendly) with a very high quality flavour and the fruit was muted but noticeable.  I shared this with three others and all were overcome with the powerful flavours.  it also contains what it describes as lovechemicals (things that make you happy) and all of the fruity bits are from super foods.  This is one of the first things that an office sampling has had my normally quite reserved boss stating that he'd happily buy some of which is quite a recommendation!

For the second bar on the following day of Pineapple and Incaberry I decided to be more frugal and only share it with two others - afterall it was really really nice! This one is sweeter than the first (not from sugar, but coconut blossom!) possibly due to the choice of fruit.  The flavour mix is similarly well balanced under the strong chocolate, and interestingly the amount of bits in the bar hive it another harsh texture.  It really is more like a non-sticky nougat bar in that it's full of decent sized proper bits to get stuck into.

After eating I noticed that the boxes open up and their plain exterior hide inside a world of wonder.  This could just be the lovechemicals talking though...

This is definitely one I'm ordering more of - and as I've not seen this dutch creation anywhere else in the UK yet I guess I'll have to go back to the same site! All in all a pretty unique bar, packed full of surprises.

14 August 2013

Delmonte Fruit Burst: Fruity Pineapple & Raspberry [By @SpectreUK]

Delmonte very kindly sent us this drink in the post with a free Delmonte Rubiks Cube! I managed to completely destroy Cinabar’s ordered world as soon as I saw the cube by twisting and turning it for ages until it was a complete mess. It took Cinabar ages to get the Rubiks Cube back to normal. She then foolishly showed it me all smart and proud of herself. So I snatched it off her and locked myself in the bathroom and completely ruined it again, which took her ages to sort out. She wisely didn’t show me the completed Rubiks Cube a second time and has now hidden it somewhere! :-D

The design on the front of the carton of this Delmonte Fruity Pineapple & Raspberry Fruit Burst oozed simplicity. This design was a eureka light bulb with a raspberry and hefty chunk of pineapple inside it with the slogan underneath; “Fruit fuel, it’s not rocket science”. The ingredients were; water, pineapple juice 12%, raspberry juice 3%, citric acid, malic acid, carrot, blackcurrant, sucralose as a sweetener, with vitamins B1, B3, B5, B6, B12 Folic Acid, which helps combat tiredness and fatigue, and Biotin aka B7. The 200ml carton had 16 calories, with 3.4g sugar, and no fat. There were quirky things to do on the carton, like make a pen holder from the empty carton, complete a word search and a quiz called the Fruit IQ Test. The drink itself smelt very fruity, being simply a mix of pineapple and raspberry. The taste was like liquid Fruit Salad sweets, which a mix of pineapple and raspberry, but a little less sweet and so fortunately not overpowering, being more of a healthy fruity flavour. I found this drink a very refreshing, very pleasant, and healthy feeling thirst quencher and would definitely have it again. Now to look for that Rubiks Cube...
By Spectre

13 August 2013

Cadbury Pebbles (Asda) [By @cinabar]

Another day, and another new grab bag chocolate Foodstuff Find! This time I found these in the supermarket, but heck I couldn’t resist. It may not be the most innovative new item on the shelf, but sometimes all you need is something simple. These are sugar coated chocolate bits, all presented in pebble coloured shells.
There are three colours in the bag, yellow, grey and purple, and the colour scheme is reminiscent of an arty pebbled beach painting. Each of the chocolates are in the shape of a squashed tear drop, and actually a very tactile shape. They look different, actually quite posh and have a nice feel to them. I could imagine these poured out into a glass bowl sitting on top of a posh coffee table and looking quite at home. Being the classy person that I am, I ate them straight out of the bag!
The chocolate under the shell is Dairy Milk, and it has the pleasing sweet and creamy flavour you’d expect. The shell is crispy, but none of the colours were noticeably flavoured. I like them though the shell added an extra bit of sweetness and lovely light crunch to the texture.
It’s simple yes, but any new product is a nice find and given that Cadbury do release a lot of creative goodies too, we can’t be negative when they release a simple product, but do it really well.
By Cinabar

Winner of Capricorn Best Blog Award July 2013

I was really pleased to hear from Capricorn, that we are the winner of the Best Blog Award July 2013. What really makes us proud is that the decision is based upon a public vote, so I wanted to say a big thank you to all those who supported us!
We have a lot of fun writing this blog, but it is still quite a task. We’ve all been through a lot but kept the blogging up. From studies to challenges with new jobs etc, we’ve done our best and maintained a daily post. Although we do get some lovely samples to reviews from very kind companies and from family and friends too, by far the majority of items reviewed here are bought out of our own pocket, so it is lovely to see the site being appreciated in this way.
Thank you so much for all the support our readers have given us, and we have every intention of keeping up the good work. :-)
The Foodstuff Finds Team

12 August 2013

Twix Mix (WH Smiths) [By @cinabar]

Whenever I wander into the WH Smiths on site at work, and search the chocolate section for new goodies there regularly seems to be some sort of new grab bag concoction. I’m not complaining, it’s just that I can remember back a few years ago when they barely existed as a chocolate choice and were the exception rather than the rule.
The new theme seems to be turning already existing chocolate products into bag editions, think Mars bars, Yorkies, Rocky’s etc.
Twix has joined in and created this easy sharing grab bag edition of the bar. As you’d expect from Twix there are two varieties of chocolate goodies in the bag, chocolate enrobed balls of biscuit and chocolate enrobed balls of caramel. I have to say I liked the fact you couldn’t really tell which was which, meaning you really did get a nice mix.
The biscuit bits had quite a good biscuit taste, crunchy and buttery and there was almost a hint of malt in the flavour. The caramel bits were a little bit stickier than I expected, but still pleasantly soft and sweet. The flavour was a sweet caramel, not buttery like some; it had more of a brown sugar edge to it. The chocolate coating was sweet and milky, and the same as you would find on the bar.
The chocolate balls were all quite small, and my favourite thing to do was to grab a few and munch on them together. They really did recreate the flavour of a Twix bar, but depending on what you picked it was sometimes heavier on the caramel or the biscuit. I liked that, it made each mouthful different and added to the moreish factor.
These are a nice addition to the range, and something I would buy again.
By Cinabar

11 August 2013

Little Things Round Up - picture fest! [by@NLi10]

When I photograph things to review I drag the pictures to my desktop so that I can choose what to do next.  Occasionally my desktop is a mess of single pictures that don't warrant long reviews - so here they are!

This charity mint box for Lion Mints was in Norway in a posh Hotel (that was where we picked up the key cards for our much dodgier looking rooms)

Turns out they are from an Australian charity.  Not amazing flavours as they were pretty much just solid sugar free white stuff with a bit of mint oil.  They helped keep hunger at bay.

Also staving off hunger in Norway (and actually in the hotel room mentioned above) is a carton of Tine Hel (or whole) milk.  How is this worth a review?

The milk carton turns into a farmhouse when you use the free ap!  Totally review worthy!

There are animations and you can give it mad colours and play with the cows. A great way to get the youth interested in milk.  Also as Norway is a country that understands dairy it was milk that tasted similar enough to English milk that I could drink loads of it.

We also ate a lot of these Lefse godt in Norway.  I'm still not sure what they are but they were filling and sweet.  They were kind of a mix between cake and bread.

They use a local flour which presumably can grow on mountains.

On the way back we had a small amount of left over Kron so we bought this bar - a Freia melkesjokolade Boble.

It's basically an Aero with a bubbly bar - but after a week with very little snacking this was very, very welcome. It helped distract from Ryan air...

Here is another green drink - Frugo - very nice but very similar taste to the other kiwi drinks.  An easy choice to buy again.

This American Air-Heads chew looks exciting!

This American looks and tastes like sweet plastic! Still finished it though.

This Higgidy Balsamic Onion and Mature Cheddar Quiche was a very nice luxury quiche. It was a lot more posh than your typical quiche with better quality pastry and cheese.  I guess quiche just isn't that exciting.

I got this bottle of Bodnant apple juice for my Birthday as I don't like wine.  It was fantastic, but as with most locally produced, small scale things neither I or you will probably see another bottle.