30 June 2017

Savoursmiths Truffle and Rosemary Potato Crisps (Waitrose) By @Cinabar

I don’t normally mention prices on Foodstuff Finds. Generally we don’t spend a lot of money to buy products to write about, a packet of crisps here and a chocolate bar there, we don’t tend to buy the really expensive items. That said, I went to Waitrose and I bought this bag of sharing crisps, and the price was £2.99, which I think might be the most expensive bag of crisps I’ve bought, so I felt it worthy of a mention.
So why are these nearly £3, well it seems they are flavoured with truffle, that remarkable rare and expensive mushroom. They are also from a range of luxury brand, and to be fair all the packs seemed quite expensive.

Inside the bag the crisp are fairly thickly cut, and hard and crunchy. The skins are on, and all the crisps looked quite small compared to others I’ve tried. Small crisps aren’t that odd, but I couldn’t see any large crisps in the bag at all.
I have to admit the flavour was very tasty. The rosemary gave this a lovely summery fresh herb taste, and the truffle added a nice rich taste of mushroom. Think herb butter coated mushrooms and you won’t be far off. They are not to strong but mushroom flavouring on crisps really worked, and the rosemary gave them such a good tangy finish, I did enjoy the bag.
These crisps are ideal if you want to have them out during a very posh barbecue and you want to impress. They have a place, but sadly at the price it isn’t everyday snacking. They are an occasion crips, and I look forward to thinking up an occasion to have them again.

29 June 2017

Professional Soya Drinker (@NLi10)

My local shop sells Soya milk for people like me that try to keep tabs on the dairy intake, and for some reason they picked up a batch of this one week - Soya for Professionals.

Always on the look out for something that I need to buy anyway but can review and took it home. I know that the ones they use in my Costa in the cinema are similarly badged so my natural assumption was that this was a thicker catering grade stuff, designed specifically for coffee.

The back is fairly standard and gave no clues as to why amateur Soya users should stay away. I took it to work to have in hot drinks presuming it's too much to go on cereal at home. In fact here is what I have at home at the moment.

My favourite - the super low calorie almond unsweetened (seriously - if you want to drink milk but lose weight then switch to this exact one) and the regular Soya.

And here we have the vital statistics. 

We got a new coffee maker at work so I tried the professional Soya with this and it worked like a charm.


It's got exactly he same nutritional qualities as the regular Soya above! Now, whether the international languages and coffee based packaging means there is a slight tweak the o the flavour part of the mix, it does nothing to the actual nutrition.  I'd been fooled by the packaging! Now I'd do a blind taste test, but for that I'd have to brong a carton of the regular Soya to work 

28 June 2017

Rowntree’s 30% Less Sugar Randoms / Fruit Pastilles [By @SpectreUK]

After two years of painstaking research Nestle have brought out new 30% less sugar versions of Rowntree's Fruit Pastilles and also Rowntree's Randoms. Achieved by increasing the level of fibre with even more fruitiness to an amazing 100%, these new pastilles and jellies sweets have fewer calories, so decreasing the guilt and they still have no artificial flavours, colours, and sweeteners. The only thing bothering me was on the front of both packets it stated; "Love to share", and I'm far too greedy for that!

Rowntree's Fruit Pastilles

There are five flavours and shapes of sugar coated pastilles (see photograph). The rounded Orange pastille has quite a sharp orange flavour and made my mouth water. The slim dark yellow Lemon slice is a mild sweet lemony flavour without being sour. Whereas the triangular pink Strawberry flavour has a very fruity tang to it, and suddenly became my favourite on first try. The green oval Lime flavour had a mild sugary sourness and was slightly more tart than the Lemon pastille. The diamond shaped Blackcurrant flavour immediately trounced the Strawberry on flavour and restored order becoming my favourite fruit pastille, which has always been the case where Rowntree's Fruit Pastilles are concerned. Blackcurrant for the win!

Information on the packet;
The 110g packet recommends 12 sweets per serving, which has 117 calories, 1% trace of fat, 14g of sugar and 0.11g of salt. Please photograph for ingredients.

Rowntree's Randoms

There are loads of different shapes in the packet, from pink sundaes, to yellow Big Ben's, green palm trees and orange chess pieces. It's difficult to know where to start, so I attacked a purple foam snowman and was rewarded with a slightly raspberry fruity flavour. The orange multi-shaped jellies were a tart natural orange flavour, some having foam as well which enhanced the orange and with a little vanilla. The blackcurrant jellies and their foam sided friends all had a fruity natural blackcurrant, with that touch of sweet vanilla from the foam. The yellow foam rocket had a slightly sour fruity flavour. The green jellies were like biting into a sweet apple. And then came the strawberry and raspberry busting foam bottomed cakes which oozed fruity goodness from the initial bite. These Rowntree's Randoms delivered fun with there many shapes and assorted flavours, and natural fruitiness in shovels. Mmm… fantastic!

Information on the packet;
The 110g packet recommends 9 sweets per serving, which has 106 calories, 1% trace of fat, 12.9g of sugar and 0.02g of salt. Please photograph for ingredients.

27 June 2017

Twix Cappuccino (Poundland) By @Cinabar

I think that pound shops are a surprisingly good at supplying interesting snacks. Not only do they get a lot of new products quite early, they also have very affordable import goodies. I often keep my eyes open in there for new items, and that its where I found this Limited Edition Twix Cappuccino. As it was a bit warm the chocolate on my bar was a little smudge, so I didn’t get a decent photo of the insides, but it did look just like a regular twin bar of Twix, with the two sticks inside.
The aroma was very mild, chocolate wth a hint of some coffee to show it was a Limited Edition.
The flavour is where this bar succeeds though, the Cappuccino element worked magically.
The coffee flavour wasn’t too strong, but it was very much present and reminded me of coffee creams. Coffee and chocolate just work well together, and the more common place the matching of these flavours become, the happier I will be. I loved the addition of the milky coffee flavour to the Twix, and that combined with the crunchy biscuit, gooey caramel and milk chocolate and I was in heaven. This Twix Cappuccino bar with a coffee is the perfect afternoon pick me up.
I mentioned that these were in Poundland, well that is the other magic of the store, I got three of these for my one pound coin, I don’t think you can get better value than that.

26 June 2017

M&Ms Limited Edition Peanut & Hazelnut (PoundLand) By @Cinabar

There is actually a new variety of M&Ms out in the UK. An actual new variety, not those silly editions that they bring out at Christmas and Halloween and all they do is have some differently coloured shells, but the same basic product. Think bags of red and green peanut ones at Christmas. That is usually as far as the imagination goes for the UK market, but these ones are actually something different - hazelnut. Obviously they are treading carefully and have mixed half the bag with regular peanut M&Ms so as not to cause too much of a thrill in the UK, new flavour M&Ms are so very rarely seen here.
The bag is very smart and bright, half yellow and green and stands out nicely on the shelf. One thing I did notice is that there is no sticker on the bag to re-seal it, I took this to mean they are trying to tell me subliminally to eat the whole bag in one go. I did too - but I did share! ;-)
There seemed to be loads of the M&Ms in the pack, it was a very generous portion. Obviously I tried to see if I could work out which were peanut and which were hazelnut, but as both came in big or small I couldn’t work it out, there did seem to be about half and half though. The hazelnut edition was absolutely lovely. The distinctive hazelnut flavour worked very well with the chocolate and was a very enjoyable combination. The hazelnut has a slight hint of bitter to it, but this is nicely balanced with the chocolate. I thought they worked very well, so well in fact I’m hoping they get a release in the UK of a pure hazelnut bag, I’m sure we could handle the excitement.

25 June 2017

Italian Pizza (ish) Roundup - Florence, Pisa and Siena (@NLi10)

As a big fan of Italian food I could have eaten out for every meal, and essentially we did.  I tried to have one 'pasta' and one 'pizza' per day to make sure I tried as many things as possible.

Previously we've established that the best Pizza I had in Italy was actually in Pisa in a fairly touristy place (no one more shocked than I).

Here is a quick tour of the Pizza side of things, in no particular order.

Here I ate essentially the same pizza as above, but at what can only be described as a take-away pizza place with a few tables by the road.  They seemed genuinely confused to see tourists eating in such a cheap place (Marini de Pisa is mostly for people with Yachts) at such an odd hour, but the pizzas were competent and tasty.  This is most notable however because the base was very much a focaccia instead of a regular pizza base, which feels like a regional variation I can get behind.  The effect was as if someone had fried the pizza base - if someone ran a chain like this in England they would be able to retire a Millionaire in two years tops.

Here in Siena I made my own olive based bread pizza - and naturally the real one arrived at the same time.  Ham pizza means ham pizza - and here we see the same luscious and fluffy pizza base with some ham slapped on.  A bit tourist trap (the view was great here) but essentially a really nice use of quality ingredients to do an efficient pizza.  Very tough to cut with the sloping table and basic knife though!

Here we see why ordering in posher restaurants can go wrong - this pizza has no sauce or tomatoes at all!  Maybe it's a response to a certain special diet, maybe it's a local delicacy of the back streets of Firenze. Essentially it's rocket, cheese and some kind of salted beef.  The beef was amazing and tasted like it was marinated in Marmite - and was mouth watering enough to mean that this wasn't a dry meal after all.  Strong and crazy flavours made this a real favourite, whether they were playing a practical joke on the English boy or not.
Interestingly this place was close enough to the back of a tourist museum for us to use the free wifi for the whole meal.  A lovely touch which enabled us to plan our evening in the cool peace of the restaurant!

This was another thing where I'm not sure that I ordered a whole meal.  I got steak, cheese (more than this - I gave some away) and leaves - the olives were in exchange for the cheese.

It was pretty expensive and initially I was a little disappointed - but then I tried the steak. Italians really understand how to get the best out of their meat! I really understand now why Europeans get upset with bland british food, and American sauces on everything.  The cooking has made this into something to be treasured. I'm sure if my Italian was better that I'd have ended up with some kind of side of carbohydrates (probably bread) with this but I was so full after this that nothing else was required.  As someone who isn't a fan of cheese this worked really well, but I am glad I stole some of the tomato and olives from the girls salads to round it out.

Last of all we have the first Pizza I ate in Italy.  I didn't know what my baseline should be so I went for this sausage Pizza - and I think it's a creation just to keep German teenagers happy!  It wasn't a bad pizza (the base and basic parts were fine) but I've had better toppings and felt like i'd thrown away one of my limited meal slots on something a bit too supermarket.  It did however do the job and bring all of the above into context so I could appreciate all of the different angles.

24 June 2017

Railway Porter Beer (Honest Brew) By @SpectreUK

I do like a trip on a heritage steam railway. There is one fairly close by in Bridgnorth called Severn Valley, amongst others we've been to dotted about the country. They're certainly not like the commuter filled bustling trains crammed full of grumpy faces on the way to work and back each day. There's something incurably romantic about steam engines and their large settee filled carriage compartments that you can snuggle in and enjoy a decent picnic as the engine huffs and puffs down the line.

This Railway Porter from the Five Points Brewery Company in Hackney, London, reminds me of those smoky steamy days out and about on holidays from the hustle and bustle. Brewed with chocolate malt, malted barley and caramel malt, as well as East Kent Goldings hops, this 4.8% volume beer has the very essence of pudding beer in its dark chocolate and coffee aroma. The thick dark brown almost black porter oozed into my waiting beer glass from the 330ml bottle. The expected malted dark chocolate flavour hit my tastebuds first mixing with the malted barley. Bitterness from the hops followed, and a slight sweetness from the caramel malt, then returning to the chocolate malt and an intense coffee bitterness moving into the aftertaste. I'd recommend sitting down with a bar of dark chocolate, a black coffee and a pint of this Railway Porter to wash them down with. Black as coal, capturing the spirit of a steam age almost passed, but never quite there; this dirty, filthy, oily, lovable rogue of a beer.

23 June 2017

Mr Kipling Strawberry Cheesecake Whirls (Morrisons) By @Cinabar

Mr Kipling has added a summer twist to their biscuit Whirls, and have brought out Strawberry Cheesecake Whirls. They are packaged in a bright a sunny yellow box that (literally) says Summer all over it.
I opened up the packet and found six Strawberry Cheesecake Whirls to share out. The filling was a surprisingly bright shade of pink in colour and had two tones. I gave one of the Strawberry Cheesecake Whirls a bite and tested it. I think I had forgotten just how soft and crumbly Mr Kipling’s Whirls are, they are difficult eat tidily, but I was still enjoying them.
The flavour of the strawberry was quite dominant, and very nicely fruity. Strawberries are one of the main flavours of summer and this sweetened strawberry jam filling worked perfectly. The biscuit base was lovely too, buttery and creamy in flavour. The other part of the filling was the paler pink cheesecake part, which was okay. This section is the main part of the theme for the cheesecake, but it reminded me of yoghurt, and had a hint of sour. It wasn’t strong enough to significantly distract from all the good flavours, and it was by no means bad, I just feel it didn’t add a lot. I think I’ would have preferred a plain strawberry Whirl, or one that was strawberry and cream. The cheesecake just didn't quite work for me, and added a slightly sour distraction to the other rich flavours. Of course I suspect that was what they were aiming for, but personally I’d have preferred a full on sweeter taste.

22 June 2017

Staying cool with Italian Euro Ices (@NLi10)

In the UK it's hot at the moment, hot enough for absolutely everyone to be gloriously unprepared.  People are rushing out to buy a fan, and hoping that it's going to stay hot enough to use it for longer than a week.  It's mad!

In Italy it was warmer than this, and for longer, but they are better prepared with air-con and bigger fans, and a large selection of ices available wherever you look.  In fact the ices are more of an indoor thing because in the direct sun they melt pretty fast!

On our camp site we had a lot of exciting options, and I didn't get to try anywhere near as many as I wanted - here are just a selection.

This is a big Cornetto by anyones standards.  You know how big a Cornetto felt when you were a child?  Thats how big this actually is.

This is a lovely tub of ice-cream and fruity bits.  Not quite as indulgent, but equally cooling and lovely.

And look at that - they both actually resemble the pictures!  There were so many more nuts and bits of chocolate than I'd expected - I guess it's all scaffolding to hold in the melty goodness.

This was more like a Magnum, but with more layers and flavours going on.  I didn't have one of these myself but they looked good.

Gelato Break!  We had many different flavours of gelato over the week - but as you can see they melt as soon as they scoop them out so you are better off with the little tubs.  This raspberry was great with actual fruit and seeds, but the gelato laboratory in Marina de Pisa had loads of fun flavours too.  Much more affordable than the UK too.

This was a great one - can't decide whether you want an ice pop or an ice-cream? Have both! And coat them in chocolate and nuts too - why not - you're on holiday!!

Like a cherry freezer stick trapped in a Feast this was a fun ice cream, even though it did melt a little oddly because of the layers.  Could have done with a nicer flavour in the middle too - but hey, it kept me cool and that was the main thing.

21 June 2017

McVitie’s Digestives Mini Caramel Crispies (Morrisons) By @SpectreUK

I do like biscuits, especially with a good cup of strong tea. Maybe it's a bit hot at the moment in our mini heatwave, but I still can't help enjoying plenty of tea and of course; bring on the biscuits! These new McVitie's Digestives Mini Caramel Crispies are made with digestive biscuit pieces, which is good start, as I do love digestives, and they're mixed with caramel and crisped cereals and then covered in milk chocolate. On opening the carton I couldn't help thinking that these were more like little cakes or brownies, and that I'd got a bit confused some where down the line. However, they are called Mini Caramel Crispies and the only mention of biscuits was "Digestives" in the title.

On taste these three centimetre by three centimetre by two centimetre (approximate; as I'm a Blogger not a draftsman) blocks of milk chocolate covered biscuit cereal blocks tasted great. They certainly had a crisp texture inside as I bit into them. I could see in their centre the pieces of digestives and crisped cereals stuck together by caramel (see photograph above).

These Mini Caramel Crispies are very moreish and I had to take the plastic bucket away before I ate the lot. First of course comes the milk chocolate flavour as I bit through followed by sweet caramel, crispy cereals and then digestives moving into the aftertaste racing along side the sweet caramel and overtaking the cereals. Very nice indeed, try not to share with friends and try not to eat in one sitting, unless you've been to the gym or fancy a jog around the block, which I hadn't and definitely didn't!

Information on the plastic tub;

The 300g tub had 71 calories per 16g cake, which had 2.8g of fat, 6.8g of sugar and 0.12g of salt. Please see photograph for ingredients.

20 June 2017

Pipers Crisp Co - Wild Thyme & Rosemary (House of Fraser) By @Cinabar

After a busy shopping trip we decided to stop at the cafe in House of Fraser for a spot of lunch, we chose sandwiches and crisps to keep us going. The selection of crisps was quite interesting they stocked a range of Piper’s crisps which are actually quite hard to find in mainstream shops. I’ve never seen the flavour Wild Thyme and Rosemary before, so they were the easy lunch option for me. The fact that the crisps were in a pretty lilac bag only added a little influence. ;-)

The crisps were a nice thickness, firm and crunchy but not hard. I don’t like overly thick crisps, so these were just right for me. The crisps were dusted with seasoning, plenty of herbs and specks of red, which after reading the ingredients on the back I realised were tomato.
Taste wise these really were quite special. It was all about the Rosemary, they had such an amazing fragrant herby taste, and were absolutely divine. The flavour from the herbs was just so different, and they hit the spot perfectly. After the primary rosemary flavour hit, the thyme followed then a nice mix of sweet and salty from the tomato and the salt. The flavour was complex, but together the ingredients had a complete wow factor, perfectly balanced and such good herby flavours. They had me checking supermarkets online to see who stocks them. I came up blank, so I’m going to have to pop back to House of Fraser and get some to take out!

19 June 2017

Ben and Jerry's Topped Strawberry Swirled (Morrisons) By @Cinabar

I have to admit to enjoying the new ice cream season, aka summer. It is such an easy dessert, and there seem to be a rainbow of flavours that get released every year. Ben and Jerry's latest offering is this new Topped Strawberry Swirled. Under the lid you can see a thick coating of soft white chocolate sealing the tub, which of course is the inspiration for the name Topped. The ice cream consists of  creamy ice cream swirled with strawberry and marshmallow, containing white chocolate and shortbread pieces.

The base flavour of the creamy ice cream worked wonderfully swirled with the strawberry and this gave the flavour a lovely rich fruity flavour, it was summery too with its strawberries and cream. I liked that the flavour varied depending on how much strawberry there was, this kept the ice cream interesting. The addition of the shortbread pieces bought texture, and worked well with the other ingredients adding a nice buttery biscuit taste. The white chocolate topping was soft and very rich and sweet in flavour. I loved finding pieces of it in my bowl. The problem I guess is that I used up half the tub in two portions, and the way that it got served was that I used the top half and therefore all the white chocolate topping. I’m thinking the next serving isn’t going to be anywhere near as yummy as the first ones. Secondly the topping came away in quite big awkward pieces, which was ok but offered little benefit. The conclusion is that I loved the flavours and combination of ingredients but the actual style of the topping was more novelty than useful. I’d rather have had all that white chocolate from the topping in pieces like white chocolate drops mixed in the tub.

18 June 2017

The leaning soft drinks cans of Pisa (@NLi10)

Our holiday in Italy took us to many amazing sights - including this one The Leaning Can Of SanPellegrino!

As you can see tourists are flocking to pretend to hold the can upright and push it over.

Even I look shocked to see it!

In reality these luxury soft drinks that I only really see in restaurants in the UK are quite common in Italy, and it's great!  I get to drink top end fizzy fruit at a reasonable price - a Euro for a can is not too shabby.  I love the lemon and orange flavours and they do seem to help keep me hydrated in this sun.

They also go really well with luxury pizzas.  I was worried that at this particular location I'd be paying tourist tax and not getting something that was worthy - but this was the best Pizza of the trip.  A lovely mix of meats, rocket and just enough cheese to add flavour without making it a salty mess.  Bellissimo!

I also got to try the other main soft drink that I lived on Lemon Soda.  This is maybe a little less sweet than the San Pel, but that just means It's more of an accessible drink for everyday use.  Not something I'd need to seek out back home, but I'll certainly be drinking more when I go back to Italy some day.

I even took a picture of the can for you all!

17 June 2017

Sadler’s Hop Bomb Beer (Waitrose) By @SpectreUK

It's certainly been a hot day here in the Midlands. I caked myself in Factor 50, with Cinabar covering my back, before I had a long cool swim outside at the gym. So I thought I should pick a summery sounding beer to write about to reflect the glorious sunny day. This Sadler's Hop Bomb was brewed with Maris Otter Pale Ale malt, as well as Caramel malt and wheat malt. Hops used in the brewing were; Amarillo, Cascade, Citra, Chinook, and Nelson Sauvin. Quite a concoction of hops there, so no wonder this beer is called what it is.

I could tell why they called this ale Hop Bomb as on opening there was a heavy citrus and floral hop aroma. This pale ale filled my beer glass with a cheerful fizz and all the golden glow of summer. Instead of a bustle of bitter hops fighting over each other for first taste, this beer delivers them all in unison in one bitter blast of citrus fruity and floral flavour. Boom! As the hop explosion dissipated on my tastebuds there followed the pale and sweet malts driving into a slightly floral hoppy aftertaste. This is a very refreshing beer, perfect for a hot sunny day and a spicy smoky barbecue outside with some friends and family.

Happy summer! ;-)

16 June 2017

Oasis - Kiwi Apple Sour (Independent Cafe) By @Cinabar

I found this new Kiwi Apple Sour drink from Oasis in an independent cafe. When I asked for it, to go with my sandwich, the lady serving took it out of the fridge but told me it was the first one she sold as they had been newly put out that morning. As it happens I saved it for the train on the way home. The drink doesn't mention anything on the front of the bottle about it being sugar free (or indeed new or limited edition),  but the label on the back describes itself as being a fruit juice drink with sweeteners, and I couldn't see any added sugar on the label. Perhaps that is the way of things these days with companies trying to reduce added sugar, that it is just becoming the norm.
I was a little wary of the word “sour” in the name, and hoped it wouldn't be too acidic, on a warm muggy day I was hoping for more of a focus on refreshing. On this the flavour delivered. Kiwi is an unusual choice for a mainstream drink but it forms the initial taste and is surprisingly soft and every enjoyable. The sour taste kicks in with the aftertaste, and this is the sour apple element. It isn't too sour but leaves a lovely fresh clean zingy flavour that lingers on the palette. The taste is just enough to be refreshing but still steers away from lip twisting. The conclusion is that kiwi and apple go surprisingly well together, and that there really should be more kiwi flavoured items on the market. I noticed a second new Oasis flavour in the shop too which was Sour Cherry, I’m going to have to give that the taste test next.

15 June 2017

Italian late night Snacks (by @NLi10)

One night in Italy we timed our food badly as Siena isn't as late night as Florence and all of the restaurants had closed. To avoid going to bed too hungry (we had a massive lunch) we visited a tabacco shop and raised the snacks.

Seen here with the surprise plane for scale.

The Twix was just a regular Twix but the others were new to us.

The crisps were the fantastic waffle cones we had abroad before, a vegetarian smokey flavour with a lovely crunch. Would have been better with the salt and chocolate of Norway but at least we could afford these.

They did not last long at all.

I think that the Nutella B-ready is a breakfast bar but as a late night snack it was good too. The bready outside has a Nutella filling with flakes too and was really nice.

It didn't crumble either so was a good way to eat this while out or sitting on a hotel bed.

Both things I'd happily eat again if I saw them in the uk!