20 November 2018

Salted Caramel Mince Pies (Aldi) By @cinabar

I have been very impressed by all the new Christmas items coming into Aldi, and on our last shop even picked up an impulsive buy of a fibre optic Christmas tree that changes colour. It is super cool. It definitely hadn’t been on the shopping list, but neither had these Aldi own Salted Caramel Mince Pies. There are so many fab seasonal temptations, and I can’t seem to stop myself. Lights, glitter or novelty and I’m on it.

So these new pies consist of regular mince pie filling topped with salted caramel sauce all in a pastry case, so yes a touch of novelty. I tucked in and was pleasantly surprised by the fact the caramel sauce was still distinct inside, it hadn’t blended in with the mincemeat at all. The flavour was quite a blast of sweet, the filling didn’t really need the toffee like flavours and tones, but it did manage to carry it well. The pastry was fairly thick, but was lovely and buttery, as well as being fairly soft. I liked the salted caramel with the filling, but my taste buds have a high tolerance for all things sweet. This may have come across in previous blog posts. :-D Having said all that these are rich and one satisfied me perfectly, a second would have been very indulgent!

19 November 2018

Dairy Milk Cadbury Caramel Cheesecakes (Asda) By @Cinabar

There are some indulgent desserts arriving in the shops for the winter and Christmas seasons, and some of these are from the big brands. Cadbury have brought out these Dairy Milk Cadbury Caramel Cheesecakes, there are two pots in the pack, and they looked like a nice treat so I picked them up.

The pots have three layers inside, a biscuits base, a chocolate cheese cake section and a caramel topping. I tucked in and a few things confused me. Firstly the biscuit base was loose. If I’m making a cheesecake at home I press the biscuits bits into the base of the tin making them firm. These were quite loose, not a problem, just an observation. The next part was a bit more weird, the chocolate section was so chocolatey and light and airy I actually went back to the box to check this was supposed to be a cheesecake. Had it not said so I would have guess it was a divine chocolate mousse. It tasted really nice, loads of sweet creamy chocolate, but I think it missed the boat by having the cocoa overpower the cheesecake flavour. The top layer of caramel was fab, almost sweet golden syrup like, I could have eaten a tub of this on its own!!! Yum.
In conclusion this is a very tasty dessert with all the flavours of Dairy Milk Cadbury Caramel and plenty of chocolate, it is just not too strong on the old cheesecake section. Sadly it is called Dairy Milk Cadbury Caramel Cheesecakes and not mousse dessert.

18 November 2018

Green & Black’s Velvet Edition - two kinds (by @NLi10)

Ok, I admit it. There was a short while where I picked up far too many interesting chocolates and have got very behind on eating them. I think I was up to ten full size bars.

Here’s a couple I picked up from Cadbury’s World in the summer.

Essentially they are very similar, lovely Dark Chocolate, almonds and very flat. The only real difference is that the second one has orange in it, and I think the first he had more almonds.

Here is the just almonds version, nt too exciting visually, but the smell and taste is great. Lovely texture changes and deep flavours. But I’ll prrobably gift it to the office. Why? The orange version is just that little bit more special.

Looking pretty darn similar, but smelling and tasting of oranges makes this a win for me. Imagine a flat orange Toblerone and you aren’t far off. Lovely and festive without trying too hard. A nice little indulgence.

17 November 2018

Sadler's Hoptical Illusion Dry Hop Lager (Aldi) By @SpectreUK

Even after the end of October and Halloween has been and gone, I always think November is a spooky time of year. This 4.5% volume Hoptical Illusion Dry Hop Lager from Sadler's Brewery, in the Midlands, has a spooky skull on the front of the bottle with hops for eyes. It's supposed to look like a regular lager, but have a strong hoppy aroma of zesty Mediterranean Lemons, as well as subtle sweet malts. So if it's supposed to look like a regular lager, I'm hoping it doesn't bloat me like some regular mass produced off the shelf lagers can do!

On opening this Hoptical Illusion there was a very understated fizz. I know I wasn't expecting a champagne pop, but I usually get more than that when opening a bottle of beer or carbonated cider. I worried slightly and checked the date on the label, no that was fine, so I had a sniff. If Mediterranean Lemons smell so understated I'll stick to some other ones! Not that I sniff lemons often, but usually they are pretty sour without getting too close.

On pouring this Hoptical Illusion the fizz did liven up a little and this golden beer does look like a regular lager. On taste I'd say that the smell transcends perfectly, I'd argue against a mega citrus blast of lemons though, as the herbal hops fought against and mostly overwhelmed any flavour of citrus hops. Having said that, there is certainly nothing wrong with the flavour. The herbal hops have a good bitterness to start with, which almost instantly complements the sweet malts, whilst the citrus hops reared their lemon flavour towards and into the aftertaste for a slightly complex journey through my tastebuds. It also didn't blow me up with wind, so I'd certainly have this Hoptical Illusion Dry Hop Lager again, but be a little more wary of what the label says.

16 November 2018

Limited Edition Tassimo Costa Gingerbread Latte (Asda) By @Cinabar

At this time of year I do like the Christmas and Winter drinks that become available in the coffee shop chains. Sometime though it is nice to have a seasonal drink at home. We have a Tassimo machine and Costa makes drinks for this, this year they have brought out a packet of Limited Edition Tassimo Costa Gingerbread Lattes. There are eight drinks in the box and to make one you have to use two of the T-Discs, a milk based gingerbread flavoured one to start and then top it up with an espresso, which I think is standard and that part has no flavouring. Can I also mention size here, this is the largest drink size you can get from a Tassimo, it is a mug's worth but not a large mug. The largest drink you can order in a Costa coffee shop is practically bucket sized! :-D

I made myself a drink and gave it a good stir. There was a light ginger aroma but mainly the scent was off coffee.
I gave it the first sip and found the flavour to be far more subtle than I thought it would be. The gingerbread flavour does add a warming touch and a little sweetness, but it is far from being too sugary. If I had ordered a Gingerbread Latte in a Costa store I’m sure it would have come loaded with sweet syrup, covered in cream and topped with one of those cute miniature gingerbread biscuits, and probably some more syrup over the cream top too. This is a much cut back version. I’m sure you could add your own cream easily enough, but the sweetness isn’t there. I’m not saying this is a bad thing, it is just different, a toned down version. This made it very drinkable and enjoyable but not necessarily as much fun as you’d hope for in a Christmas drink.

15 November 2018

Nestle Extrême - salted caramel and white chocolate cone (Ocado) by @NLi10

I’ve been pretty good recently, not automatically adding puddings to every Ocado order I do, keeping the freezer reasonably spacious. Sometimes though you need to make sure you have some spare indulgent treats floating around. I spotted these, didn’t even see they were a big brand like Nestle and picked them up.

The Extrême is an odd beast, being basically a Cornetto but with more flavours, layers and luxury. There really is only soft textures here, but as the pic above illustrates there is a lot going on.

The multipack branding is plain.

The cone  itself is glorious, and stacked with chocolate and caramel. And it’s the same all the way down, getting sweeter as it goes - which is pretty interesting.  By the end of it I’d totally bypassed my internal caramel limit and was a bit overwhelmed, but I persevered. Enjoyable but just a touch too much - you REALLY - need to enjoy caramel with this one.

My partner will likely happily finish the other two while I explore the pot of vegan hazelnut ice cream we’ve had since the summer.

14 November 2018

New Rolo Snack Bar (Aldi) By @SpectreUK

I'm sure this is a Baader Meinhof, a phenomenon which is otherwise known as the Frequency Illusion. This is when you don't think of something for ages, then suddenly out of nowhere it crops up over and over… Well, I hadn't thought about Nestle's Rolos for years, which is crazy in itself, because they're great, right? It was coming up to Halloween and Cinabar had picked up a bag of assorted mini chocolates from the local supermarket. One of the brands that were in the bag were mini packets of Rolos. Cinabar's mistake was to show me the bag. Before she could tip them into the bowl for prospective Trick or Treaters, I nabbed all the Rolo packets and gorged on them all in one night. Mmm… I even forgot to share my last Rolo with Cinabar at the end of the evening, which as you can imagine I got into quite a lot of trouble for. I'm greedy! I often see it as an asset, as I probably have to bulk up during winter for hibernation or something…

These new Rolo Snacks have four in a box. They have to be stored in the fridge, which could be easily forgettable if left in there for a long time, so I should probably eat them all in one sitting… As you can see from the photograph, inside the wrapper it is almost a pyramid shaped chocolate bar covered in Rolo chocolate, with Rolo caramel at the top of the bar and squidgy cake underneath. The taste is reminiscent of a Rolo from the outer chocolate and the caramel, but the cake centre slightly distracts from that original flavour. It does taste rather good though, but don't squeeze it too hard as you bite it, as it could explode everywhere. So I guess with the added squidgy cake centre it is supposed to be a snack bar, rather than a full Rolo chocolate bar though… hang on a second… a full Rolo chocolate bar! Now there's a thought!! Mmm…

Information on the box;
Each 30g bar has 143 calories, with 8.6g of fat, 11.3g of sugar, and 0.05g of salt. Please see photograph for ingredients.

13 November 2018

Specially Selected Raspberry and Prosecco Marshmallows (Aldi) By @Cinabar

I am a big fan of Aldi, we shop there a lot and I am always surprised how a smallish shop has so many interesting and unusual products that come and go. I go on about my Foodstuff Finds in Aldi so much I sometimes think the ladies at work must think I’m on commission, I’m saying this because I love Aldi and the review that follows does not represent my usual view of items stocked there.
It started out okay, we were wandering around the store doing our weekly grocery shop and in the specials section I spotted this box of very posh looking Raspberry and Prosecco Marshmallows. They are from the Specially Selected range which means they are usually to a very high standard. I’ve had chocolate truffles filled with Raspberry and Prosecco which I loved so I had high hopes for this packet of marshmallows.

Once home I opened up the box, I was aware that the aroma was very curious, it was a little sour and I think was supposed to be the prosecco, but it was nearly akin to vinegar. There were a lot of mallows in that small box, that much impressed me. The Raspberry and Prosecco Marshmallows were very soft too, ultra fluffy, but I can’t praise the texture really as I found the flavour inedible. They tasted sweet, but not of raspberry it was so very artificial. The box doesn’t seem to mention artificial flavours directly so I’m aware this might just be me. They had almost a plastic like flavour to their taste to my taste buds. It was so bad I binned them. I don’t think I’ve done that before to marshmallows so I think it is safe to say these were not for me.
It is just a personal opinion, and as I said I have had very few items I’ve disliked from Aldi. Here is is hoping next week’s shop brings with it a few more specials which are on target.

12 November 2018

Plum Pudding Chutney (Marks & Spencer) By @Cinabar

Well I’m officially stocking up and testing out Christmas products, but this time it doesn’t come with an apology about being early. Christmas is just around the corner folks, even if I haven’t quite got the tree up yet!
Anyway, one of our favourite quick lunches or teas is to have a platter of cold meats, cheese, olives and biscuits. There is always a nicely chosen pickle to accompany the meal. We do vary the selection of goodies, but this time I had picked up a Christmas themed pickle, this Plum Pudding Chutney from Marks and Spencer. It promises all the flavours of Christmas in a jar which is quite some promise, I’m thinking both turkey and peppermint candy cane! Ok, I’m not, I think this is more Christmas pudding related. We scooped some out to have with our cheese and biscuits. I could immediately see the fig seeds in this dark pickle, like it was from a plum pudding. I gave it a taste and the flavour was remarkably well balanced, slightly sweet, lots of fruit and a lovely underlying Christmas spice that just gave it a good depth of flavour. The spices worked very well with the cheese on my cracker but also complimented the selection of cold meats well. We will use this jar up very quickly I think. It might not be “all the flavours of Christmas” but this Marks and Spencer Plum Pudding Chutney certainly has all the ones I would want in a side of pickle. I’m thinking it will be perfect for left over turkey sandwiches on boxing day too.

11 November 2018

The FIVE advent calendars that I actually DID buy this year (with video) by @NLi10

This Remembrance Day morning I did what any other citizen of a peace-loving free country would do and videoed my advent calendars ready for December.

This is a video - we don't do many of these so click it and tell us what you think!

For those of you on phones, or who aren't really into videos here are the three cheapest options I got.

At 89p (Home Bargains) I got the 20(18) Very Badly Behaved Elf calendar with the smallest amount of chocolate (40g!) and very low expectations.

Of the three slightly odd Holland & Barrett calendars on offer I chose the far right one.  I thought no added sugar may have been a bit much (but I do love dark choc), and that the white choc one may taste a bit odd.  I'm hoping that the dairy free vegan one at least has a nice texture. It was £4.

The most expensive of these (£6.99 B&M) was the McVitie's advent calendar which instead of being biscuit based has it's normal choc bars.  This is great in theory but is a little bit like the ration boxes I described in the last write up.  I suspect it will be a solid base line.

The remaining two in the video were both £9.99 from Ocado.  A teabag one from Pucca which looks like a flat box of teabags (?!) and a cat treat advent calendar which has great art but smells really funky.  Check the video for those and the scoring system.  See you in Dec for more videos and roundup text.

10 November 2018

Citrus IPA Greene King (Waitrose) By @SpectreUK

I've gone for blogging about a bizarrely summer ale this week. It's been pretty grey outside and ducking between short bursts of a little sun and mainly long showers isn't much fun for anyone. We're into the grim stormy season now with cold dank days ahead until Christmas. I'm even planning to have a glass of spiced meed wine that I've been saving for autumn and the winter months with my mince pies later. So I thought I'd dust off the last of my summer ales to cheer everyone up a bit.

The label of this Citrus IPA explodes with colour. Described as 'easy drinking', the ingredients state anything but. This Citrus IPA is flavoured with grapefruit and mandarin. I do love grapefruit, especially grapefruit juice for washing down my Full English Breakfast as a waker-upper whilst on holiday. I also do love mandarin, mainly as the flavouring for jelly! I'm not sure how mandarin will taste with beer, but a decent punch of citrus is promised from the flavourings and the Chinook hops and Mandarina Bavaria hops that this beer from Greene King, in Bury St. Edmonds, was brewed with.

On opening the bottle there was a heavy citrus blast from the hops and also the fruit, which mixed well with the pale malt aroma. It was a delicious smell. It made me want to taste it. Impatiently I waited for the over fluffy head to go down a little and the ale to settle. It's been a long time since I've been a barman, so my pouring skills are sometimes a tad rusty. On taste this 4.6% volume deep golden India Pale Ale is quite strong on the fruity mandarin to start with. This fruitiness combines with the citrus bitterness from the grapefruit and also the two varieties of hops, before the sweetness from the pale malt and crystal malt shines through towards the aftertaste. This is a beer that I'm sure would go well with a spicy fishy dish. Not really for a dark stormy night, but it did cheer me up rather than warm me up. The spicy meed wine is for that later!

9 November 2018

Nestle Whip Dessert (Asda) By @Cinabar

I am in two minds about these desserts. Let me start with the negative side, I bought this product because I buy (and love) Nestle Walnut Whips, the packaging of these desserts and the branding of the logo made me think of these Whips. The ones they do in multipacks without any hint of a walnut for unknown reasons. They are in a blue pack and they have the same cursive writing of the name in white. I thought there would be some theming to match the chocolates. A Whip consists of a solid milk chocolate case with a white vanilla whip inside. The dessert consists of a smooth (no obvious bubbles) chocolate section and cream on top. I don’t get it, its not even close. It should have been a vanilla mousse with a chocolate topping surely? The other way around and different proportions.

The positive side of this dessert is that it tasted rather good. The chocolate section was smooth and creamy, with a nice level of sweet. The creamy topping was nice and went with the cocoa. They reminded me of chocolate desserts my mum used to buy when I was a kid, so I liked the nostalgia too. It tasted nice, a fun chocolate treat.
In balance I don’t think I can get passed the branding. I bought these because they looked like the chocolate Whips I buy, and there was so little resemblance to that product I was left disappointed. The chocolate dessert might taste good, but it didn’t hit the mark for me.

8 November 2018

Eating at Giraffe - buns and filled churros (@GiraffeTweet) by @NLi10

We found ourselves in town and needing a nice little lunch so decided on Giraffe in Grand Central for a change as we only ever go as a couple when in an airport.

I decided to choose just one thing off the Tapas portion of the menu (prompting a warning from the waitress that I hadn't chosen a big option) as I really fancied more buns after having some Dim Sum in the week.  This is a Katsu version which feels a bit culture clash, but I'm fine with that.  The authenticity mostly came from the smell of all the Asian restaurants that were surrounding me and glaring...

I enjoyed it, but it was a bit small - whatever can I do?

Luckily I'd spotted this before ordering and had a plan. Churros + buns was about the price of a normal lunch.

These aren't regular churros though - they are fat ones and they are filled!

Look - it's full of apple! Well, not full, and not real apple, but close enough to be interesting.  The outsides were crispy and the insides were not hot enough to sear flesh so they were perfect.  Not sure why we got an odd chocolate dip to go with the apple version - nice though.  5 wasn't great for the money (but it's what is on the sign) and I maybe should have got them from the market instead, but the quality was certainly high.

I can't wait to go back for more (mainly because we'll probably be flying somewhere nice!)

7 November 2018

Whip Divine Mocha (Poundland) By @spectreUK

"It isn't often that Walnut Whip bring out new flavours!" So Cinabar exclaimed excitedly.
"I can't eat walnuts!" I said with an unreserved lack of enthusiasm.
"These are are Walnut Whips without the walnuts!" she said, "That's why they're called 'Whips'!"
Makes sense, I suppose. I'm still not over enthusiastic though, but I do like the cute beige / brown almost golden packet they are individually wrapped in when you tear open the box full of three Whip Divine Mochas.

These new Whip Divine Mochas have the same whipped milk chocolate tower as usual, but they are full of mocha flavoured mallow. They don't have walnuts on top either, unless you buy your own, I guess, and stick it on top with superglue (don't try this at home folks). I haven't been able to eat nuts for some years now, but funnily enough Walnut Whips weren't the first things I initially missed. Coated Salted Peanuts, Balti Peanuts, Lion Bars and Waldorf Salad ("Pretentious, Moi?" As Cybil Fawlty would say) were high on the list though… Well, they still are in fact!

I popped open the top of my packet of Whip Divine Mocha. There was a decent Nestle Milk Chocolate smell on opening the packet, and a hint of creamy coffee. Cinabar informed me that a Mocha is coffee and chocolate combined. She regularly makes her mom them in the coffee machine. The closest I've been to making one was when I've been a bit drunk and mixed the coffee and hot chocolate jars together in one mug.

On taste there was an instant (get it?) creamy coffee taste mixed with the milk chocolate. The mocha flavoured mallow inside the Whip was slightly beige in colour from the mixed in coffee. On taste this Whip Divine Mocha tastes pretty fantastic. I can usually take or leave the coffee creams in boxes of chocolates in favour of the soft orange and or strawberry centres, but I did like this Whip Divine Mocha, and it did go well with the Latte Cinabar convinced me to drink with it. One of these Whip Divine Mocha is a decent size for a non-greedy person's after dinner desert. The whole box full may be pushing it though. It's probably lucky for my waistline that there were three of us!

Information on the box;
3 Whip Divine Mocha at 27.8g have 139 calories each, with 3.9g of fat, 16.8g of sugar, and 0.05g of salt. Please see photograph for ingredients.

6 November 2018

Cup Croissant with Nutella (Costa) By @Cinabar

I had questions when I first saw this Cup Croissant with Nutella in Costa. Questions include is it really a croissant? Is it cup shaped? Do you butter it? How do you eat? The solution was to buy one and try and work it all out. There was no offer of butter at the till, and as it already contained Nutella I decided to just roll with it. If this had been a cup cake and not a cup croissant I would have started by eating from the top, so this is what I did. The first bite was that of a dry croissant, there was butter and sweetness in the flavour but the overall texture wasn’t moist, the nuts were dry and crunchy too. I was feeling a little disappointed as the pastry layers flaked begging for some jam and butter. A few bites in and I hit the Nutella, a big dollop of chocolate and nutty goodness. This made the rest of the Cup Croissant light up, rich sweet and moist and suddenly all that flaky pastry found its purpose. The textures came alive and the sweetness was spot on.
I think then the conclusion is that if you have a regular large croissant and spread it with Nutella it makes for an amazing flavour and texture sensation, perfect for anyone who loves chocolate. Cup (cake) shaped croissants don’t seem to bring anything new to the table, the newness of the shape seems to put the flavours at a disadvantage, despite the fun novelty of it. You have to wait to get to the Nutella before the flavours start the party.

5 November 2018

Pigs In Blankets Crisps (@AldiUK) By @Cinabar

One of my favourite things about Christmas dinner has to be the Pigs In Blankets, the idea of wrapping a small sausage in bacon is without question genius, even if its intention is to sit on an already overload roast dinner plate. The idea does seem to have caught on quite well though, and I absolutely love them. In fact we like Pigs in Blankets so much at Foodstuff Finds we tend to buy them quite a bit at this time of year, and have them on the side with all kinds of meals. Consequentially when I saw these Specially Selected Pigs In Blankets Crisps in Aldi I knew I had to put them in the trolley.
We shared them with some sandwiches over lunch, and from the moment the pack was open we started to squabble on portion sizes. They smelt amazing. I love meaty flavoured crisps, and the aroma of bacon was just wonderful. The taste too did not disappoint, there is a bacon flavour that is very much at the forefront, and what followed was a slightly more herby sage taste from the sausage, that was very much spot on. I think they have done an excellent job of interpreting a Pigs In Blankets flavour for crisps, and one that those who like meaty flavours will fight over, literally in our house. A little birdie told me that Aldi is releasing a giant Pig in Blanket in December, I’ll be keeping an eye out for this too, it might be safer if we all have one each.

4 November 2018

Twin Peaks White (Poundland's Fauxblerone) by @NLi10 #TwinPeaks

If you don't know what these are then you need to check here for their launch and a cute snow owl - really, it's all good background.

So - I was in Poundland looking for cheap, amusing advent calendars (I got one!) and I spotted the new White Twin Peaks.  I guess it's been out a while but I'd not seen them.

What I did see on the poster was that the shape of the peaks had changed - no longer does it have the 'fangs' of the previous version, but now we have a twin slope effect.  They have managed this while still keeping the bar at 180g for £1.

The bars again were a little damaged, but not all snapped in half this year - maybe that was due to evil children not a transporting issue. This does make it easier to eat and snap them up, not by much, but the dental work is part of the appeal of the fauxblerone.

And the white one does have all the 'bits' in it the same as the other one which adds to the texture, but doesn't really add to the flavour.  My partner isn't as keen on white choc so I'll almost certainly end up eating most of this one myself - result!

But how does it compare to the real thing?

Well - the real things are three times the price!! But also double the size.  This means that it's only 1.5 times as expensive as the bargain version, but you do have to buy far more chocolate than you probably need.

I think I prefer the original mix of big bits and chocolate, but the Twin Peaks are great too.  In fact - I can't wait to see you all back here next year to review the inevitable Dark version!

3 November 2018

Treason Ale (@UprisingBrewery Waitrose) By @SpectreUK

Gunpowder, Treason and Plot. It always sounds like a war zone outside this time of year! It's coming up to November the 5th where in the UK every year we celebrate Bonfire Night, where Guy Fawkes was part of a plot to assassinate James 1st on November 5th in the year 1605. We traditionally burn the Guy on a bonfire and have many, many… many fireworks (by the sound of it). Don't ask me why we chose to celebrate this assassination attempt and what gruesomeness happened during the capital punishments to the plotters when they were caught. I don't think James 1st was particularly popular at the time, or the plotters, but we do like grisly history in this country and lots and lots and lots of fireworks!

This Treason West Coast IPA sounded perfect for this time of year. Produced by the Uprising Brewery in Windsor, Berkshire, at 6% volume it should certainly warm some parts of people if the bonfire and fireworks, and traditional baked potatoes don't. It's supposed to be based on an uprising to take the crown in the West Coast where winds whisper words of Treason, or so the label states. On opening the bottle there was a heavy herby hoppy aroma, with a sweet malted barley at the back of the smell. I could see what they meant by a 'burning bronze colour' to this Treason ale. The bubbles danced about my beer glass like plotters trying to evade the authorities. On taste the bitter herbal hoppiness shines through initially, and then the sweetness from the malted barley takes over into the aftertaste, like the guards catching the perpetrators and the sweetness of exacting their punishment, 'cause we do likes a good 'anging, see! "Hang 'em, draw 'em, quarter 'em…" That's what the King wants! 'eads on pikes before nightfall!!

2 November 2018

Cinnamon Coca Cola Festive Limited Edition (Sainsbury’s) By @Cinabar

This is a new product from Coca Cola flavoured with my favourite spice of all time, cinnamon. There have been quite a few variations of Coke flavours over the years and I have really enjoyed the Mango Coca Cola released over the summer. The second I heard that cinnamon was coming out the hunt began to find the new drink, and it really was a hunt. I searched a lot of shops for this, including my local WH Smith’s at the train station that usually has all the flavours. I live in the West Midlands, but even managed to check a supermarket in London after a work meeting there, but still no luck. One of the guys from work helped me with my quest though and he also checked shops/supermarkets near him and eventually found some bottles of Cinnamon Coca Cola Festive Limited Edition in a branch of Sainsbury's!!! Many thanks to him, I was very excited!! :-D Two large bottles appeared on my desk.
So does it live up to the hype? It very much does. I always thought that cola went better with the more acidic flavours, lemon for example, but the warmth of the cinnamon works really well with it. The drink isn’t too spicy, the cinnamon tones are dark and warming and add a lovely dimension to the drink, rather than taking over the flavour. The flavour builds as you sip it, the cinnamon is very much present but not too strong. Personally I loved the balance of flavours, and I am savouring the second bottle until I can find a more regular supply. The weather has turned colder now, so it is about time this festive drink became a bit more commonly available. Pumpkins away, is it time to put the tree up yet?

1 November 2018

The Advent Calendars That I Am Not Buying This Year (@NLi10)

I blame Lego. 

Hello readers, and welcome to a quick round up of things that I didn't buy, won't buy and all sorts of craziness in between.  Someone else from FSF may end up with something below, but it isn't for me.

Here is a typical supermarket or bargain shop's Advent Calendar selection.

These are from B&M - a store I rarely visit - but that other sites had suggested had a large array of themed sequential snack foods for December.  I mean I don't know how you choose.  Most of these are the poor Kinnerton chocolates which for less than a pound will ensure that anything you buy the child for Christmas HAS to be better than 24 days of not-quite-chocolate.

But - there are also calendars aimed at adults.  As I opened with, this is Lego's fault.  Making advent calendars that contain limited edition adult focussed toys (that kids will enjoy) in calendars that can cost quite a lot has become a big annual thing. And it seems this year is peak sequential tat box as there are now a lot of different options.

Smelly candle calendars?


Beautification and cleansing calendars?

The top one isn't even a full 24 days.

Then we get to the really, REALLY poor value calendars.  I have to be careful here as I may get one of these off the family, but all the 'festive favourites' are here.

Have a guess at how many grams of  Quality Street you get for £5.  Go on.

222g - not including the wrappers.  That's £21.79 per Kilo.  That's Pick_n_mix at Woolworths territory right there

Ah - but inflation - maybe that's what Quality Street costs now because of Brexit.  Nope 7.99 for 1.2 KG or 6.66 per KG, or 3.27 times cheaper than the calendar.  It's getting silly.  And there aren't even that many different options to have in the calendar - but it's still basically the same as a random grab from the tin.

Nice house - are you getting £5 worth of sweets inside or less than in the £1.50 grab bag we gave to the Trick or Treaters?

And now.  There is actually something worse. Non sequential advent calendars.  I mean they still number the doors but you get 23 identical items, and then on day 24 you get one mildly different item.  This isn't advent, this is RATIONING.

And it's not just a single brand - there are a lot of these this year.  Yummy luxury - no surprises. Worst unboxing ever.

And for £8.99 you get the ultimate mix of the two.

24 Kellogg's mallow bars 

And TWO Pop Tarts.  For those not familiar with these bars they are essentially white rice pops, brown rice pops, then Frosties as a separate thing.  That's essentially two types of thing, with Christmas Day Pop Tarts.  I went to B&M to get this - thinking it'd be about £2.99.  Maybe it will be in January as I can't see these flying off the shelves.

So what I did buy - for December - is:
One really cheap nasty calendar
One midrange unusual calendar
One overpriced, but a little more varied calendar
and one weird one that I'm ordering from Ocado

The countdown to opening those begins now!