30 September 2017

San Miguel Gluten Free Beer (@DegustaboxUK) By @SpectreUK

Although I fortunately don't have Coeliac disease giving me an intolerance to gluten, I was intrigued to find out if this gluten free San Miguel lived up to the original, or in fact that it just tastes the same. I do like San Miguel and had a conversation with a guy on the train recently coming back from York who was going on and on about how much he liked his Spanish beer. I commented that if he checked on the back of the bottle he was drinking out of, he'd more than likely find that it had been brewed in Scotland. When he did, he almost fell off his seat, much to his wife's amusement and the couple that they were with. So, to this bottle…

I was pleasantly surprised to find that this gluten free San Miguel had in fact been produced in Spain. However, on opening it did smell slightly like regular San Miguel, but with something missing… Hmm… Could it be the wheat? I hear you say. Yes, replaced with maize. On pouring admittedly it looked just like a golden San Miguel and had plenty of jolly bubbly fizz to it. On taste the maize was apparent, with a slightly different initial taste than a beer made with wheat. However, it certainly tasted fine to me and the beer washed around my mouth pleasantly, with the slight sweetness from the malted barley and bitterness from the hops combined into the aftertaste. Having said that, if I saw both bottles on a shelf in the supermarket, I'd likely plumb for the regular San Miguel through personal taste and fortunately no need for necessity.

29 September 2017

New Chipotle Pulled Pork Pizza (@Dominos_UK) By @Cinabar

We decided to have pizza from Dominos for a quick tea. Spectre is still on crutches so a simple and tasty dinner was to be ordered. As there was a new pizza listed on their website, Chipotle Pulled Pork, it was easy to choose what to have. “New”, that’s how we roll at Foodstuff Finds.
We made no changes to the pizza, and had a medium size exactly as recommended. The pizza arrived and looked stunning, there was loads of topping. I was pleased to see plenty of vegetables too, red and green peppers, onions and sweetcorn. I love a mix of textures, and the crunchy vegetables mixed with the soft pulled pork, and the firm bread base was a texture combination mixed in heaven.
The pulled pork shone in terms of flavour too. The barbecue and tomato tastes from the meat and sauce was stunning, and I loved how the chipotle sauce added a really good burn from the chilli heat, my mouth could really feel the spicy warmth. This made the creamy garlic dip they sent heaven for dipping the crusts and cooling my mouth down.
In short this pizza was fantastic. Gorgeous spicy moist meat, plenty of fresh crunchy vegetables, and absolute treat.

28 September 2017

Happy Down - pre-mixed wine cocktails in funky cans (@NLi10)

Occasionally FaceBook adverts work. They show you something that you’d love to pick up and try.  Rarely do snack food companies advertise like this (it’s usually PROTEIN or FUEL based man things) but when they do I like to send them a message and see if at least they can point me in the direction of the product.

Here we see the product of one of these interactions - Happy Down, the upsettingly upside down drinks cans with adult beverages inside.

I love the patterns and logos and everything, but one of the group did say it was as upsetting as when someone opens their crisps at the bottom (which another of the group then immediately did).

First up we have Raspberry, Pommegranite and Basil. This was probably the most ‘poppy’ of the flavours and similar to the alcohol-pops that I grew up on in the 90s.  My fear of floating basil seeds never materialised, but the flavours were all there, maybe a little muddled but at least it was interesting. 

The company requested that I drink them in tall glasses with lime and so I bought one especially - and the colours do really shine here. These would be amazing for a home bar, or for a party. 

Next up we have lemon, cucumber and mint Which was my least favourite of the flavours, but it did evoke memories of Morrocan Whisky (mint tea) and was a good cocktail really but I’m no fan of cucumber.

Chester the cat enjoyed the party and didn’t even attempt to knock over any drinks.

THe final flavour was the most divisive, being lychee, guava and chilli.  The flavour wasn’t really recognisable, but the chilli vapours preceded every sip.  I enjoyed it but you really couldn’t drink this all night.

Overall these were a hit, with people wanting to try them and me managing to finish most of the cans through the night.  I’m not sure I’d buy a 4 pack of any of the flavours, but I’d happily drink the non-cucumber ones again.  They are solid sipping cocktails and with a bit of inventiveness you could easily add some more pizazz to the drink and serve in pitchers as if you made it yourself.  Perfect then for a sleepy games night, but maybe not distinct or special enough to be someone’s first drink of choice.

27 September 2017

Hummus Chips Kalamata Olives flavour (Sainsburys) By @SpectreUK

There is nothing funny about these Hummus Chips from Wellaby's. Get it? Hummus - humorous? Okay, okay… sorry! Although having said that, I don't think I've eaten Kalamata Olive flavoured crisps before so this'll be two firsts.

Regular readers may know that I do like to try alternative snacks to crisps and nuts. So these Hummus Chips Kalamata Olives flavour sounded right up my street. I have tried hummus dip before with breadsticks at parties, and although I wouldn't run out and buy the stuff myself, I don't mind it all that much either. There was mention of a hummus sandwich in a comedy play I watched recently, which sounds like the most boring thing to eat on the planet. To me, hummus is like someone ran over a consignment of chickpeas and really needed to do something with it to make some sort of profit. I imagine these Hummus Chips are some castoff from that incident. They are baked, not fried, for extra healthiness and given a flavouring of the Kalamata Olives that were in the back of the truck that ran the chickpeas over.

On opening the packet there was a surprisingly spicy whiff of cumin mixed with the smell of baked hummus, with a light smell of olives at the back of the aroma. These thin rectangular pieces of baked hummus had a very good crunch to them. There was an initial Kalamata Olive flavour which washed around the mouth with the hummus, and then a medium spice from the cumin, which almost made them finish on a curry flavour.

The back of the packet recommends trying these hummus chips with tzatziki dip… I suppose a hummus dip would be too much of an overkill? Joking asides though I reckon they'd go just as well dipped in anything from a good spicy salsa to sour cream and chives. However, because of the cumin spice I'd recommend a cucumber raita to really draw out the curry goodness. And I'm sure that these Hummus Chips Kalamata Olives flavour would probably make a good alternative to popadoms.

Information on the packet;
The 120g bag recommends 30g servings which have 117 calories, with 1.8g of fat, 2g of sugar, and 0.65g of salt. These chips are wheat free, gluten free, nut free, MSG free, non GMO, and also a source of protein. Please see below for ingredients.

Potato Starch, Chickpea Flour (16%), Corn Flour, Milk Proteins, Lentil Flour, Rice Flour, Kalamata Olives (7%), Palm Oil, Sugar, Pea Flour, Sea Salt, Single Cream (Milk), Raising Agent: E503, Emulsifier: E471, Dried Lemon Juice, Kalamata Olives Paste, Dried Cumin, Dried Garlic, Antioxidant: Rosemary Extract

26 September 2017

Degusta Box September 2017 (@DegustaboxUK) By @Cinabar

That lovely delivery man has dropped my surprise box of goodies from Degusta. This is a monthly box packed with new and interesting food goodies, which you can subscribe to on their website. Each month is a complete surprise, and that makes it rather fun. So I started to unpack the box.

First up we have some interesting breakfast items. There is the new Cherrios Oat Crisps, which look rather like their version of a muesli. Plus here is quinoa milk to splash over them. I’ve tried almond and hazelnut milk, but this one is new on me. I might try some in smoothies too once I’ve opened it.

There is a Latin American theme too, with some Peanut Sauce and Coconut and Chilli Rice. I’ll have to pick up a pack of diced chicken and mix this up and try this out. There is also an Egg Custard Filling, which is popular with this kind of food. I will mix this up too, and make my own egg custard tart, with a sprinkle of nutmeg.

There are always good drinks in the box, and this is no exception. We have to new energy drinks to try from Virtue. These have no added sugar, and one is flavoured with lemon and lime, the other berries. There is also a bottle of beer in our box, at first I thought it was a regular San Miguel but it the new Gluten Free edition. I wonder whether Spectre will spot it?

There are some other savoury items too, a tin of tuna, some beef stock in liquid form, and a Ramon Noodle Kit. I look forward to experimenting with all of these.

Finally there is always something for my sweet tooth and this box is no exception. We have a mixed packet of Mentos mints, which I will take to work. Perfect for sugar cravings and to freshen up before meetings. There is also the Green and Blacks Velvet Edition 70% chocolate. This is a new ultra smooth chocolate from them, and I can’t wait to give tit a try. Hoping for a lovely rich bar.

Yet again this was a fab selection of foodie products from Degusta. There was a nice Latin American twist, and plenty to tantalise the taste buds. Keep an eye out for the reviews of some of the products we try out.

25 September 2017

New York Deli Pastrami Sandwich (M&S) #mandsfreelunch By @Cinabar

Marks and Spencer are currently having a free lunch giveaway. Inside 100,000 packs of sandwiches are vouchers for a free lunch. I thought I’d pick up a sandwich in an effort to try my luck, and to give me the opportunity to tell you about my favourite sandwich from Marks.
My sarnie of choice is the New York Deli Pastrami Sandwich, on Rye. I think this is partially fuelled by an upbringing including watching American sitcoms and comedies, seeing people on the TV ordering “Pastrami on Rye” at their local sandwich shop and not really knowing what it involved. I never buy rye bread as a whole loaf, and save my experience for a sandwich treat from Marks and Spencers.
The sandwich itself is on a very soft version of rye bread, fluffy but a little richer in taste. The sandwich is a flavour sensation, there is generous portion of pastrami, a thin layer of cheese and pickled gherkins. You get such a lovely mix of flavours a zingy taste from the vinegar with the pickle, smooth creamy cheese, a hint of mustard and the pastrami meat itself. The tastes are very American, and it is full on, but I think a bought sandwich should be something a bit different, something you wouldn’t necessarily make at home, This neatly transfers me to memories of watching Friends, and takes me away from my desk during my lunch break on a busy day.
Anyway I didn’t actually win a free lunch, but the competition is still on, so I’ll have to pick up another pack.

24 September 2017

ZaraMama Gourmet Popping Corn Pop-A-Cob Midnight Blue (@NLi10)

It feels like i've had this for ages.  Every social occasion we get it out, and every time we ordered too much food and no one fancies pop-corn - UNTIL NOW!

We had just enough pizza and crisps to still be able to entertain the idea of popcorn - and more importantly it's still in date!

The idea is this - you pop the corn in the microwave and it appears magically off the cob.  It's a pretty cool idea, and we certainly had high hopes.

We bagged it as instructed

And popped it in the microwave as instructed.

I think this is where our problems began - the microwave we had available isn't that large and was possibly a bit weedy.  We had to open it a couple of times to allow it to move and not scorch in places and so I don't think we had the optimum cooking experience.

And I'm not sure where the midnight blue comes in because as we all know

Popcorn is mostly white!

You get a stupidly large amount and it's as fresh as humanly possible.  The flavour was maybe a little muted due to over-cooking some but still having some partially exploded grains.  If there were a way to add some sprinkles or butter to the top of this it would have been a massive party hit - as it was it was just really good but fairly plain pop-corn that came in a spectacular fashion.

I'm sure if there were a way to watch this happen live through the haze of the microwave we'd have got a little more out of the experience, but the popcorn was generally well received by the 5 of us and a good time was had by all.

23 September 2017

Druid's Brew Beer (Stonehenge Shop) By @SpectreUK

Autumn has just began and now we have the (even) damper and chiller months ahead of us before winter. I always think this is a mythical spooky time of year, what with the nights drawing in on us and Halloween just around the corner…

On a personal note I've been on crutches for a week now after my knee operation. Although I am slowly taking the odd step on my own, but they are tentative and more than a little wobbly. I have especially forgone any tablets today to drink this pint of Druid's Brew, from the Three Castles Brewery, in Wiltshire. That's certainly a mythical place to come from, err… well, the Stonehenge Gift Shop! I have some friends to thank for bringing this beer back for me. I haven't been there myself for many years, but I remember it was quite a sight from afar when I was a little lad trying to see it through the mist and pouring rain.

On opening this brown ale there was a herbal hoppy aroma with fruity undertones. On taste there was a definite herbal blast of hops to start with. Really bitter like an old druid who's seen too many wars and far too many unkind nobles in all his grey bearded years. I must say this really is a bitter start, so if you're ready for a kick in the tastebuds; go for it! There is malted barley at the back of the bitterness from the herbal hops, with a subtle sweetness from a dash of crystal malt, if I'm not mistaken. A jolly fruitiness follows closely after this succulent malted mixture, like a cheeky medieval dance that I could almost hear lute music from many years gone by. This drink is almost as if you meet a stern druid who slowly warms to you!

This is certainly a tasty cheerful brew after its almost angry start, and with no mistake. I'm hoping this Druid's Brew doesn't make me even more wobbly on my feet with its 4% volume. However, hopefully a friendly druid might lend me his walking stick?

22 September 2017

New York Cheesecake Kit Kat (WH Smith) By @Cinabar

Kit Kat is one of those brands where there seem to be lots of exciting flavours abroad, and more limited versions here in the UK. This means that when there is a new flavour out I get excited, and this new Kit Kat is flavoured with New York Cheesecake. This one doesn’t even contain caramel flavours, which they usually do in the UK. We’ve had Toffee Treat, Double Caramel, and Vanilla. The basic rule being, nothing too adventurous for the British market. Actually, this doesn’t sound that far off from Vanilla, as that is the main flavour in cheesecake. I’m however a fan of baked cheesecakes, my favourite being German style, so I still hoped this would be an interesting bar.
The New York Cheesecake Kit Kat is in the chunky range, and available as a single bar. I opened up the bar and there are marks to break it into three pieces, Inside a layer of fondant sits atop the usual chocolate and wafer. I gave the bar a try and the flavour wasn’t that dissimilar to a regular Kit Kat Chunky. It was a mild additional taste. The flavour of milk chocolate was predominant, then there was a nice hint of vanilla and creamy, cheesecake taste. I enjoyed the bar, and the hint of cheesecake was good, but it still isn’t much of a daring variety. It is one step up from vanilla, but it was still a little safe for my taste buds. If you are after an easy to like bar this will do, if you know about the crazy Japanese flavours (wasabi!) this will leave you a little disappointed.

21 September 2017

Monster Hydro - Red and Green (Beyond The Tracks, Birmingham) @bttfestival by @NLi10

Free stuff is just the best.  Walking into Birmingham's new Beyond The Tracks festival on the Sunday we were given four brightly coloured bottles of the new Monster Hydro Drink.  While I consider the hyper-calorific hyper-stimulant drinks to be a massive public health problem that is far more dangerous than alcohol, on a day out where I'm likely to need more stimulation and energy I think these are fair game.  

I mean its not like I'm going to be drinking these on a daily basis - even if these are the non-carbonated 'hydration' versions.  So what makes them special?

It's the next generation of refreshing energy drinks of course! Well, that's what the blurb says.  It's only lightly sweetened so it doesn't taste like organ failure anymore, which is nice, but there is still far too much artificial crap in here to be anything other than oily sugar-water.  Why bother triple filtering the water when you are adding 11% glucose syrup and coconut and rape seed oil?  There are a few token vitamins, but they don't add D for some reason - is that too helpful?

But that's not what these are here for, we aren't supposed to be enjoying the drink or getting nutritional benefits - these are basically legal highs and as an arthritic man at a festival I'm going to require all the stimulation possible to make it through to the main event.

The flavours are "Melon Bacardi Breezer" and "nondescript green" and are both forgettable.  Yes - you get a slight initial caffeine buzz like you left the teabag in for too long.  Yes - after a while the body metabolises the other caffeine derivatives and the fatigue appears to be gone.  I stood at the front (as in right by the barrier) for Wild Beasts and had a good time.  There was not much dancing (it's a festival, you always seem to be surrounded by people essentially waiting for the later bands), or knowing of the songs by most people near me, but I had a little sing and recorded some 4K video for later remembering purposes.  Thing is, i never once got any pleasure from drinking these. Poccari Sweat is a joy to drink, and even the ones that thought they reduced stress and acted as brain training had interesting flavours.  The job of these is to make you not notice that you finished them and to then just crack open the next one and keep gaming (i mean partying with the cool kids - honest).

It's worth mentioning at this point that the festival itself was really well organised and a pleasure to attend.  The food on site was cheap for a festival, and even the drinks were good value.  I found a little yellow van selling pizza.

£7 for a pizza with real ingredients on it that was freshly cooked and took a lot less time than expected was pretty good.  This would have been £10 at Latitude!

Yes - they didn't slice it effectively enough (despite me asking) so it was a faff to eat with my malfunctioning hands in a field but the flavour (club sandwich - chicken AND Bacon) and ingredients were spot on. No complaints.  I recommended it so throughly that my partner had one (veggie) before the main event.

Editors are always good live, and while I don't get the same nostalgia hit from the new material they did talk about the old days in Kings Heath and the Flapper so I felt appreciated too. As you can tell from the barrier I'd flashed my wobbly person credentials at security by this point and moved my chair on to the accessibility platform (as there was a lot of space and by this point the Monster had worn off).

I think I drank about 1 1/2 of the Monster bottles and made it through about 4 hours of the festival before crashing which isn't actually all that long.  Maybe i'm just too tired, and maybe I needed the extra sugar that the cancer-can versions with all of the unnecessary calories provide.

We gave the other two bottles away to curious work colleagues and I have no intention of ever paying for this.  It just wasn't nice or that effective.  It's like a more grown-up version of Sunny Delight where there is a lot of things in there to make it a habit forming drink.  I'd probably not recommend it to anyone.

Unlike the festival - we should all go on the guitars day again next year - it was fab!

20 September 2017

Thor Dry Apple and Ginger Spritz (@DegustaboxUK @thordrinks) By @SpectreUK

I'm still hobbling around on crutches after an operation on my knee and sort of stuck upstairs through sheer wobbliness trying go up and down them. So I asked Cinabar to find me a suitably healthy blog out of all the snacks and drinks I have piled up downstairs. She came back with this Dry Apple and Ginger Spritz, from Thor Drinks, in London. Described as having a 'blend of apple and warm spice', Cinabar probably couldn't have found a healthier sounding drink. However, as I'm up here and she's down there, I'll have to take her word for it!

On opening the bottle there was a pleasant fizz from the carbonated water in the ingredients. There was an instant juicy apple smell from the pinkish liquid inside. The fizz got up my nose sniffing the bottle opening too much to retrieve much more than the mildest of hints from the ginger. Oh well, it did say 'warm spice', whereas I'm used to fire breathing bottles of ginger beer that burn the hairs in my nostrils. No super ginger spice was warned or promised of here, so I couldn't expect any. Having said that, a warm spice there was indeed. This warm spice tickled my nose hairs on first taste which mixed with the juicy sweet apple, and ran straight into the aftertaste. This is a very refreshing, lightly fizzy, tasty apple and warmly spiced drink. I'd recommend over ice, but I haven't been given a bell to ring and my phone is just too far away to hobble to…

Information on the label;
This 275ml bottle contains 69 calories, with 0g of fat, 0g of salt and 15.7g of sugar. Ingredients included; carbonated water, apple juice from concentrate (6.5%), cane sugar, natural apple flavouring, natural ginger flavouring, citric acid, and natural food colourings.

19 September 2017

Morrisons Sweet Cola Ketchup (@Morrisons) By @Cinabar

When Spectre looked at this bottle he didn’t quite see anything significant, but all ketchups are sweet he remarked. Then his eyes scanned the bottle correctly and he saw the word “Cola”, and I could tell he wasn’t quite sure what to make of it. What a curious idea from Morrisons, Sweet Cola Ketchup. It is in their own brand range too.
I love cola, I drink it quite often and like it is different varieties, vanilla, citrus, etc. It is unusual for a food product to be flavoured with cola though, and I haven’t seen cola in a ketchup before. First try I decided to have it with chips, what better way to try out a ketchup?
The flavour of the cola was still predominantly tomato, but there was a definite tang of cola, giving this a heavier aftertaste. It wasn’t far off the rich flavour of molasses you might associate with a brown sauce, but was still sweet and full of tomato so I still rather enjoyed it. In theory I don’t like brown sauce, but for some reason I really enjoyed this ketchup, it is sort of a half way house. Sweet like ketchup, but tangy enough for brown sauce fans to enjoy it too. I have tried Morrisons Sweet Cola Ketchup with steak and chips, and it worked a dream. I have also had it on a bacon and egg sandwiches and it was pure heaven. I’m hoping this isn’t a novelty and it stays available on the shelves for some time to come.

18 September 2017

Kettle Discoveries New York Deli with Pastrami, Dill Pickle and Mustard (Sainsburys) By @cinabar

I think we are quite lucky in the UK when it comes to new crisps flavours. Whenever I browse the crisps aisle in the supermarket I’m always excited about some new flavour, which is impressive considering how many crisps we've written about in the past. These sounded particularly fun and like quite a complex flavour. Trying to pack in all of the ingredients of New York Deli with Pastrami, Dill Pickle and Mustard onto a single crisp sounded like it was going to be rather impressive.

We were sharing the bag so I poured some out onto plates to have with our mix of sandwiches. The crisps are fairly thickly cut, and a good size. The aroma from them was mild and just a little herby.
One of our food testers didn't know what the actual flavour was and so blind tested them, barbecue she guessed. That sounded a bit odd so I tried one too and had to admit there was a deep smokiness to these crisps. They had a tang of gherkin from the dill pickle, and a nice herby flavour, but what I couldn't pick up on was the pastrami. This was a shame as I love meaty crisps and felt that element was lacking or just too mild. Don't get me wrong these are not bad crisps. The mix of herbs, pickle and smokiness made them very enjoyable. For me though I didn't think there was enough pastrami or meatiness to the flavour.

17 September 2017

4 Hand-made Chocolate Truffles (Gloucester Motorway Services) by @NLi10

The twin farm-shop services of Gloucester and West-Morland (Tebay) feature heavily in our holiday plans as you can guarantee that you'll find some wonderful food to review.  These presents were brought back when dropping off our friend for his 9 day Land's End to John O'Groats cycle ride.

While cycling at all is out of the question for me, I think I can cope with some hand-made chocolate truffles.  So lets have a good look - in what will hopefully be order of strength so they don't overpower each other.

Raspberry and coconut

This is what you expect to find in fresh, hand made chocolates.  The centre is almost a fruit sponge its so fresh.  The very fruity, almost liquid centre is molten before you even come near it and the flavours just pop out of it.  The white chocolate then hits with the coconut texture and flavour to finish.  A definite hit.


This was very similar to the Ferrero Rocher and Kinder Bueno of the bunch, albeit with a slightly richer flavour.  As you'd expect everything was just that little bit fresher and crisper so the textures were more pleasing.  The praline in the centre was perhaps the least noticeable here, with the smooth slightly nutty flavour being dominated by the outer.  I'd happily eat more of these to see how the flavour changes with each hand-rolled bite.

Sea salt caramel

The caramel in this really is the clincher - if you aren't a fan then you won't be a fan of the whole thing - and for me it's a little too salty.  As you can see in the pic (this is the front one) the caramel is very runny and the chocolate case very thick so it's as good a quality as the others, but neither myself or my partner were fans of the flavour of the caramel so this was the least enjoyed of the bunch.

Dark Chocolate & Orange

Covered in white dust (and at the back of the picture above) this one had the most solid oaf all the centres.  After the caramel I feared that this too would be slightly too 'flavoursome' as sometimes the orange can be a bit acidic, but it wasn't too powerful.  I'd have maybe preferred a little more texture to it (orange peel or similar maybe) to make it linger, but as it is this was a nice melty orange sensation.

Overall I think that we started with the best, I could eat a packet of the raspberry ones!  That said I think if you were sharing these as a group that each one would find a favourite and that none would go to waste.  They aren't the cheapest things going though so it's probably best just to have a set as an occasional mid-journey treat.

16 September 2017

Craft Beer Chocolates (Marks & Spencer’s) By @SpectreUK

I apologise to regular readers who may be expecting some form of a beer blog today. This is "some form of a beer blog", but not the bottled variety. Normal services will resume next week, but unfortunately I am laid up today after an operation on my knee yesterday. I was told by the clinicians that I am not to have alcohol for twenty-fours after surgery, because the anaesthetic is still in my system, so trying to be sensible (of rather being policed by Cinabar and her mom), I've had to abstain for the day.

These Craft Beer Chocolates are set in three flavours of twelve cute chocolate beer pint glasses (see photograph). There are two flavours in milk chocolate and one in dark chocolate. before tasting I imagined the London Porter beer would be the dark chocolate, as porters are generally darker in colour and are often brewed with chocolate malt, whereas the Cornish Pale Ale and Maritime Salted Caramel beer have been added to the milk chocolates.

From top to bottom I decided to try the milk chocolate with the light brown head, which on popping into my mouth was just about the best chocolatey thing I've eaten for ages. I could tell there was barley in there amongst the succulent milk chocolate, but no saltiness, so figured the top pint glass chocolate was Cornish Pale Ale. The next milk chocolate beer glass was with a white top. There was a subtle hint here on biting when this chocolate pint glass was filled with gooey salted caramel. There was also a hint of barley in amongst the flavour. Really very gooey and tasty. The last of the chocolate beer glasses was the dark chocolate. The London Porter beer. This was very definitely flavoured with porter. There were heavier undertones of chocolate malt here, and with a soft centre to bite into. Mmmm…

These chocolate pint glasses are not just a novelty. They are a really good M&S novelty. They'd be a classic after dinner treat to those that want a chocolatey snack before moving to the real pints of whatever your pleasure is. If you're off beer for a day, this is clearly the way to go. I couldn't help but save the rest for tomorrow though, as I'm back on the beer and I'm sure I can find a perfect match from the bottles in my collection that will go very well with them. I shall first look for a fitting porter!

15 September 2017

Tab x Tab Review (Coffee Shop) By Fey

You can’t miss Tab x Tab as you’re walking down Westbourne Grove, as I saw as more and more passers-by came to look around. The coffee shop has a beautiful outdoor area and the inside is interior design at it’s best. The space is open with lots of greenery and every aspect has been meticulously chosen - from the designers of the crockery and the trays to the preference of clear milk jugs vs metal. Customers can browse over School of Life books and cards as well as beauty and grooming products.

I was greeted by Lucas, who’s knowledge of the art of coffee making is extraordinary. This passion and the willingness to share with each customer is what creates the unique experience at Tab xTab.

First I was given an Ethiopian filter coffee. Whilst many coffee houses may show a preference for this in espresso form, I learnt that a filtered coffee retains it’s caffeine for longer as it has more time to mix with the water. It allows for a delicate taste with still a burst of energy. It was truly easy to drink, and I can imagine how this would be a great kick start for the day.

To balance things out, I then tried a matcha tea. This was in it’s purest form, unlike the latte’s that are commonly sold. Milk actually diminishes the antioxidants of the matcha. I had mine with just water and ice for a naturally refreshing drink. The richer the colour, the richer the taste and the benefits. This drink is perfect for a sustained, natural wave of energy.

Next, it was time for an espresso made from Brazilian coffee beans. This had an incredibly intense and nutty flavour. Paired with an Amaretto biscuit, this had the richest flavour, without being overbearing.

To finish, I was given the same coffee with milk, in a latte form. This was incredibly easy to drink and the milk really brought out the nutty flavour - especially when drunk alongside the a brownie bite. I was also able to see where the magic happens, thanks to the state of the art machine - one of the very few in London.

All the bevarages I tried at Tab x Tab complimented each other really well. I left feeling relaxed and ready for the day, thanks to both the kick of the caffeine and the kind and friendly staff. I’d definitely recommend a visit and soaking up the atmosphere.