20 May 2019

Strawberry Cold Brew Coffee (Costa) By @Cinabar

I have to admit it wasn’t really hot enough for an iced coffee but curiosity got the better of me. I decided to try this new Strawberry Cold Brew Coffee with my lunch in Costa. I love coffee and I love strawberry, but I wasn’t sure how the two would go together.
This Strawberry Cold Brew Coffee is made without milk, but had a lovely froth from the process on top and was served with ice. I gave the drink an initial sip and found myself confused. There was a strong coffee taste and a sweetness from strawberry, and the two flavours were a bit weird together. The strawberry wasn’t overly sweet, some syrups can be very sugary. There was however a mix of bitter and sweet and they weren’t natural friends. My first sip I was very negative about the drink, but by the end of the glass it sort of grew on me and I felt like I could appreciate the combination.
In conclusion I think I just couldn’t get my head around the combination of flavours. I certainly didn’t dislike it, but I’m not convinced I liked it enough to rush to have it again. For all the weird syrups I’ve had in coffee I think this might be the first I haven’t been excited by. I would say it is worth trying the drink as it is very different to other syrup coffees on the menu, and I suspect for some that more muted sweetness may be perfect. It is like trying sweet and salty popcorn for the first time, not what you expect but you might end up loving it.

19 May 2019

Iberian Eurovision part 1 - Spanish bread & olives (@LidlUK) by @NLi10

We love EuroVision.  Even with it's vote swapping jurys and our delegations insistence on sending media students instead of viable acts.  It's all about coming together with friends and celebrating diversity.

Lidl had a big range of Iberian snacks with lovely bright packaging and exotic names. 

So - with neon glasses on - we are ready for Eurovision 2019!

First up we tried the tomato and oregano toast.  It's like a pizza without the cheese, and much crunchier.

Just like the neon shades the bread isn't as exciting in person - but it does taste great.  The tomato is more like a soup flavour than the fruit so I suspect they have tweaked it a little, but it tastes fab!  

There are more of these left to eat and I'm looking forwards to them which shows that they are decently compelling snacks, if only bread and tomato.

We also had a mighty jar of olives!

This represents 22 servings of olives, but we got no where near this far as these are 'whole' with stones and not chopped and stuffed and marinated like the other olives on the table were!

One for further investigation in the future then, but largely untouched on the night.

18 May 2019

Mangoes on the Run - Beer (Aldi) By @SpectreUK

The name of this limited edition mango IPA amused Cinabar so much that she bought it and decided to torture me with it. I'm not a fan of mangos, unless they're in a chutney next to a decent spicy curry. Putting mango in beer seems sacrilege to me, but hey-ho! Innis & Gunn are a favourite brewery of mine, so this can't be all that bad, can it?

It states on the side of this 5.6% volume mango IPA that whilst drinking, you should listen to Son of a Gun by JX. My initial reaction to this was some impolite swear words, but it didn't take long to find it on YouTube. It's actually a classic and took me straight back to 1994, a favourite year of mine, a coming of age year so to speak. I finally reached manhood, as well as danced and drank most nights away. I certainly don't remember anything like mango IPAs in those days!

There was a fruity yet mild mango smell on opening the beer that struggled to win through against some pretty strong herbal hops, with a little sweetness from the barley malt at the back of the aroma. On taste is where it gets a bit whacky. You see everything seems to be trying to happen at the same time. There's mango. There's herbals hops. There's pale malt and sweet barley malt. It's a bit of a jumble. Mangoes on the Run is a beer like no other. It's like running at a crowded doorway and everyone or every flavour falls through it all at the same time. It certainly woke me up from a dozy afternoon resting after a morning at the gym!

17 May 2019

Cadbury Double Decker Ice Cream (Asda) By @Cinabar

I do like a Double Decker chocolate bar, I’d say they were one of my favourite Cadbury’s chocolate bars. I tend to buy whatever is new chocolate wise, but if I had to go back to a classic I think I’d happily pick this one. Although there hasn’t been a new or limited edition Double Decker bar the next best thing is this Cadbury Double Decker ice cream, especially as the weather seems to be brightening up. There may have been a spot of rain this week but there was sunshine too, so that is always a good time to buy some new ice cream.

I like bright colours and this tub of ice cream is certainly that. Even with some frost on the side that packaging was glowing. Inside the tub there were two distinct colours, a beige and chocolate, but once served three sections became more apparent, and a darker beige appeared.

The chocolate ice cream was decent and had a plentiful supply of chocolate pieces. There was a nougat core that was supposed to have a different texture, but to me was only a little bit thicker than normal and a nougat flavour ice cream complete with crispy cereal. I have to say I was totally impressed that the crispies remained crisp, usually those sorts of things goes soggy in an ice cream, but the crisp texture was a pleasure and was impressive. The taste of the nougat was spot on too, creamy and made this distinctively a Double Decker in taste. Definitely worth checking out this Cadbury Double Decker Ice Cream if you are a fan of the bar.

16 May 2019

Strawberry Dream - Roses Cake Bars (@NLi10)

When I was a small person Roses were the height of luxury. Short of getting a proper box of chocolates that Roses selection box was the pinnacle.  Sure you may see Thornton’s in a few more expensive places, but a tiny box of these or Quality Street was the top.

Now, like the Cornetto, the brand has fallen a long way and become commonplace. It does mean that we get a few interesting hybrids - where Cadbury’s will now use these brands and flavours on other products - like these cake bars.

They are standard Cadbury cake bars in new wrappers
Surely? Maybe that pink goo is special?

Nicely wrapped, but small for me.

The pink goo is indeed new and interesting, like a mouse version of the Roses chocolate. Interesting enough to try, but not world changing. Now - a cake bar selection pack with all the Roses flavours would get me excited...

15 May 2019

New Babybel Spirolls (Asda) By @SpectreUK

I've always been fond of Mini Babybels since I can remember. These Babybel Spirolls taste just like Mini Babybels, but are in a 'spiral' shape, hence the name… well sort of! There are five in a bag and they are roughly the same size as a Mini Babybel, so they should fit just as easily in any lunchbox. Having said that, they may not be as good for the environment as a normal Mini Babybel….

You see the Spiroll comes in a plastic container in a plastic packet, whereas a Mini Babybel is covered with wax, then wrapped in some plastic film, and sold in a plastic net bag. You may argue that the plastic net bag isn't good for wildlife, as well as the plastic bag for the Spirolls, but I guess we could argue what's good and bad for the environment all day, when I'm sure most people will agree that any form of non biodegradable plastic is bad for the environment. Most plastics decompose in landfill between 450 years to 1000 years. I know some plastics are supposed to be recycled, but lets face it, most of it seems to be dumped in our oceans and seas to choke our sea life and sea birds.

On taste I can say that Babybel Spirolls do taste just like a Mini Babybel. "So what's the point?" you may say. Or maybe I say, because I'm feeling grumpy about the whole plastic container side? Well, I guess it's supposed to be fun for kids to open yet more plastic that's probably going to end up choking a sea turtle, so they can unravel some cheese they might choke on themselves if their parents don't read the warning on the side of the bag to cut the Spirolls up into bite sized chunks? Perhaps the kid would like to grow up with sea turtles, and other sea life and sea birds still existing in their adulthood instead?

Information on the packet;

The 85g packet contains 5 Spirolls at 47 calories, with 3.1g of fat, traces of sugar, and 0.26g of salt. Please see photograph for ingredients.

14 May 2019

Cadbury Delight (Waitrose) By @Cinabar

Sometimes when you are in the biscuit aisle of the supermarket and you see a new product you make an assumption that the item you are putting into your trolley is indeed a packet of biscuits. I may not have read the small print but I did see the picture. I admit I was in a bit of a rush doing a top-up shop and spotted these new Cadbury Delight “biscuits” and couldn’t work out why they didn’t have a “new” label as I hadn’t seen them before. They are new to me and I’m usually quite good at spotting new things, hence the blog.
Anyway that aside I made some hot chocolate, because biscuits need dunking, and I prised off the wrapper. There are seven biscuits in the pack and they are really quite big. For once the biscuits filled the packaging and I was impressed. The biscuits are thick though so I braced myself when I tucked in assuming that it was going to have quite a crunch in these chunky biscuits and then I realised they were very soft, spongey soft and my teeth sank straight through. I had another look at the packet and yes it does state that they are layers of sponge, like a mini cake. I guess this could lead into the debate of is a Jaffa Cake a biscuit or a cake, but even those are found in the biscuit aisle.
So the Cadbury Delights are two layers of vanilla sponge sandwiching chocolate spread and covered in milk chocolate and as the name suggests they are a delight to eat. They was plenty of chocolate and I liked the spongey texture. I might not have been able to dunk them but the just didn’t need it, they were so easy to eat and satisfying. Quite why nobody else (Jaffa Cakes excluded) haven’t put together mini cake style biscuits before is beyond me, I’m buying another packet of these ingenious Cadbury Delight chocolatey treats.

13 May 2019

Smashed Avo (@Pret) By @Cinabar

I’ve mentioned on here before that from my age some descriptions of Millennial just about include me, but at the older end of the scale. I have always felt that I identify as Generation X too. Today though I have gone all Millennial and I have just bought Smashed Avo on bread from Pret. Firstly missing the ‘cado part of avocado must be a millennial thing to do, lets just be cool and radically cut back on those lengthy syllables.
This Smashed Avo is a new item from Pret and I had originally gone in for a sandwich but my inner Millennial took over here when I saw the ultimate superfood favoured by this generation. It comes in a box on a seeded gluten free bread which I had to keep flat, and the avo(cado) is topped with red pepper salt and chilli and served with a wedge of lemon.
I have to admit I was worried by all the red powder topping as I thought that this might be too hot from chilli for my taste buds but it was actually very mild, but nicely seasoned. The squeeze of lemon added a nice acidity to the flavour and I found myself really enjoying this. It was a very healthy lunch, with nice fresh flavours that was tasty. I do like avocado, and would defiantly pick this Smashed Avo up again, it make a lovely summer’s lunch. Think that confirms it then, I’m a Millennial.

12 May 2019

Poopcorn... Proper Corn - Chocolate Popcorn - tasty but wrong (@NLi10)

I have colleagues, they buy all kinds of nonsense. This is great because I can review the nonsense and get someone else's perspective at the same time.

Here we have pop-corn.  A trendy and delicious snack. And it's made by proper corn who make great things.

This time they added chocolate - what could go wrong?

Hey - this huge bag is only 126 Kcal per serving! How many servings are there here - basically 4.  My colleague ate 90% of this bag solo in one sitting...

It's all natural, it's gluten free and vegetarian.

And it looks like this.


Now I understand why they put the white version on the bag.  This doesn't look very Hollywood.

Essentially it's popcorn rolled in cocoa powder, which I'm fine with, but it goes everywhere.  My highly respected college looked like a toddler who'd found a bar of dairy milk while his parent's backs were turned.  And it's odd - I like dark cocoa, but this feels like it needed either a sweet or a salty undertone.  It didn't really seem to have either, just the usual popcorn.

Now - I'd much rather have pretzels than popcorn, and I'm not sure anyone should be eating this in the dark in the cinema (not a date snack), but it's generally OK.  I mean it looks wrong, and it tastes wrong, but essentially if you like both of the things then you'll like this.  Maybe not three and a half portions worth of like - but you'll finish the bag eventually.

I'll stick to the Worcester sauce flavour ones as a rare treat, and binge on the breads instead.

11 May 2019

Lucky Jack American Pale Ale (DiscoverBrew) By @SpectreUK

What can I say about Lucky Jack? It's an American Pale Ale, and was brewed in Norway. This seems like a lucky beer. Mainly because of the name, but also because it was the only beer in date in the half dozen prize box I won from Discover Brew, or Discover-Disappointment-Brew, as I've now dubbed them. I'm glad it was Lucky Jack though. I need all the luck I can get these days. I overdid it in the gym this last week and hit more snakes than ladders in my quest to rehabilitate my knee and my old shoulder injury. Amongst other things, this has not been a lucky week at all. However, you have to roll with the punches somehow and get back up fighting, otherwise you get dragged down further. So I get up. I dust myself off. I try again.

So Lucky Jack is an American Pale Ale. It's 4.7% volume. On opening it didn't explode all over the place and get tipped down the sink like the out of date beers in the Discover-Disappointment-Brew box. It didn't exactly fizz either, which brought a moment of apprehension. Was this a dead beer? It certainly smelt mainly of herbal hops, with notes of sweet pale and barley malts. I noticed while I was typing that this beer had been slowly and quietly gurgling out of the top of the can on it's own and onto the kitchen surface. Not a lucky start.

On pouring it was a lot more fizzy than it first made out and froth filled my glass. Deep gold and fairly murky, this Lucky Jack has a bitter herbal hop taste to begin with. This hoppy flavour merges with the pale malts and malted barley in the beer, leaving it with a sweet hoppy flavour into the aftertaste. It's certainly very tasty. Hopefully Lucky Jack will bring me some luck next week. Although I feel that I should rub the can now or something…?

10 May 2019

Ritter Sport Cocoa Selection Nicaragua (Ocado) By @Cinabar

One of my favourite chocolate bars of all time is Ritter Sport Peppermint, and Ritter is a brand I really love. Dark chocolate is very much on trend for 2019, with lots of ordinary milk chocolate bars bringing out darker “dark milk” editions. Ritter Sport have gone with single origins cocoas in a selection of strengths of dark chocolate. First up is this Ritter Sport Cocoa Selection Nicaragua in 61% cocoa. The bar is brightly packaged in a yellow and turquoise with a cocoa pod on the front.The cubes inside are all embossed with the Ritter Sport logo and do look quite dark.
The pieces broke with a sharp snap and I gave one a try and was really quite taken aback by the flavour. The taste on this bar was rich and not too bitter. There is a pleasing sharpness from the cocoa which is immediately tamed by the a well balanced does of sweetness. The chocolate isn’t thick on the palate it leaves a lovely clean crisps feel that makes you reach for another piece. It is one of the silkiest chocolates I have tried and the balance of tastes is just spot on. Not too sweet, not too bitter I think this Ritter Sport Cocoa Selection Nicaragua might be my ideal dark chocolate. I am just loving how smooth this chocolate is. After this fab bar I am looking forward to trying the others in Ritter Sports Single Origin Cocoa range.

9 May 2019

Alpro - plant based Ice-cream and how to make it zing! (@NLi10)

Vegan ice-cream is one of those things that feels like it shouldn't work, but totally does.  After all there are lots of things you can freeze like fruits and berries that work really well, why should it only be dairy?  Gellato is a very good example of this.

Here we have an oddity - an iced desert that has been in our freezer for ages without being touched.

I'm not sure why this combination of Hazelnut & Chocolate from Alpro (who make the white stuff I pour on my cornflakes) just didn't seem as appealing at home as it did on the Ocado website.

Opening it up it looks fine - like cheap chocolate ice-cream, with very little Pizzazz.  But what is that conveniently in shot? Flipz are pretzels covered in chocolate - can the addition of (also vegan) chocolate and salt make this a little more exciting?

Of course it can!  I mean you could just add chocolate chips, but this is basically a whole (mini) desert.  Now I'm going to have to attempt to keep these snacks in stock so I can offer people a choice of toppings with their desert - such a hardship.

The not ice-cream is actually quite nice, the flavour is both nutty and chocolatey - like the brown Cornetto used to be - and the texture is firm if not quite as airy as the real thing is.  I guess you get more for your money this way.  Add some kind of topping and this is as good as any other brand to me - dairy or non.  Will see how quickly this goes down once the weather picks up again.

8 May 2019

Street Food Teriyaki Crisps (@DegustaboxUK) By @SpectreUK

I like to watch a lot of food and travel programmes on the TV. I like to see people in far off places I'll probably never go to eating food I'll possibly never try. Of course we have lots of diverse restaurants in the UK, so I can always dabble. For instance there's a Vietnamese restaurant in Grand Central Station, in Birmingham, I like to go to on the odd occasion. The street food in those far off places on the TV, even in any market here always looks inviting, but my weak tummy only lets me browse and maybe have a sniff rather than full on eating anything.

London Flavours have brought out these Street Food Teriyaki flavoured potato crisps. They sound a good alternative snack to actual street food. I can get the flavours of Teriyaki I always love and am used to from various restaurants in a packet of crisps. On opening the packet there was that unmistakable blend of soy and ginger from the Teriyaki seasoning. On taste the greedy side of me was instantly glad that these Street Food Teriyaki flavoured crisps came in a 40g packet. There's a sweetness that hit my tastebuds first from the muscovado sugar and molasses, then there's a tastiness from the garlic in the ingredients and towards the aftertaste there's a decent salty bite. These crisps do have a Teriyaki flavour running almost right through them, however there's a heavy flavour of garlic added in the middle and that unusual saltiness towards the end, reminding me that I'm eating potato crisps. They're certainly very tasty though and I'd enjoy them again.

Information on the packet;
The 40g packet contains 507 calories, with 27g of fat per 100g, 3.2g of sugar, and 0.85g of salt. These crisps are gluten free and Vegan friendly. Please see photograph for ingredients.

7 May 2019

Mavericks Orang-Utang Poppin’ Corn (Sainsburys) By @Cinabar

This strange sounding snack called Mavericks Orang-Utang Poppin’ Corn caught my eye on a promotional strip on the end of an aisle in Sainsbury’s. I had actually been in a bit of a rush and didn’t take that much note of what I was buying, a new make and flavour of popcorn I assumed.

Once home I looked at the bag in a bit more detail and realised that although these are described as “Poppin’ Corn” the image on the bag didn’t quite look like normal popcorn, more like Wotsits. I was impressed that the bag only had 50 calories and what seemed to be quite a bit of contents. I tried one and they didn’t work for me. The Mavericks Orang-Utang Poppin’ Corn are very light and dissolve into almost nothing quite quickly. I am a big fan of texture and felt that this was lacking for my tastes. The flavour varied from plain and almost nothing more than the maize to weirdly sharp and sour, like a very zingy glass of orange juice that you wouldn’t want to drink. They were mostly quite plain but the odd sour one wasn’t really any better. I ate a few, but I got through less than a quarter of the bag before I decided they weren’t for me. I thought if I persisted I might get used them, but I think they might be a bit of an acquired taste. Fair play to Mavericks for trying something different and for bringing out such a low calorie snack, I’m sure there are people that love them too.

6 May 2019

Chicken Katsu Sando (Marks and Spencer) By @Cinabar

Chicken Katsu Sando (Marks and Spencer)

I went into Marks and Spencer to pick up a packaged sandwich and I saw a man dithering by the counter. He was looking at the Vindaloo sandwich Marks’s has brought out and wasalmost wanting to but it. There was a warning in the background stating “is this the hottest sandwich in the world?” And he couldn’t deiced if he wanted to go there. I mention this because I was in the same place, the novelty of a super hot sandwich is exciting, not being able to eat my own lunch less so. Marks and Spencer have brought out a new range of ‘street food’ inspired sandwiches and this ultra hot vindaloo one was in that range. I know my limits so picked up this rather lovely sounding Chicken Katsu Sando, also in the range, the other man eventually did the same. I know I can’t handle too much heat, but I may pick up the Vindaloo edition for an unsuspecting Spectre at some point…
Anyway my Chicken Katsu Sando sounded much more my thing. Chicken Katsu curry is a Japanese dish usually consisting of chicken in breadcrumbs with a mild curry sauce poured over the top. It is my favourite dish in Wagamamas if you are looking to try it.

I had a peek inside my sandwich before tucking in and it was very green. The sandwich has in it a green cabbage coleslaw that was dominating the colour, but the chicken looked pleasingly meaty underneath. I gave it a try and thoroughly enjoyed the taste and texture. The chicken shone through, as did the creamy curry sauce and the texture from the slaw was spot on. The texture was satisfying to munch on and the creamy curry taste was perfect for a sandwich. Seriously I’ll be buying this sandwich again very happily. It is a nice mix of new flavours, and I hope their other ‘street food’ range of sandwiches are as good. I’m happy I chose the right sandwich for me. However if you have been brave enough to try the new Marks and Spencer Vindaloo sandwich do let me know how you got on? I might work up the courage of somebody tells me it isn’t too hot…

5 May 2019

Jelly Meerkats from The Honeypot (@NLi10)

I was brought this bag of jelly sweets from a visit to the Lake District and a little shop that we loved.

It’s Jelly sweets - but in the shape of tall Meerkats!

And they are suitable for vegetarians! This is good for me because they are more gummy than your usual jellies. And they are very, very fruity.

And they look ace too. These are sometimes two colours too which is nice  as you get twice the variety.  One to pick up as a treat I think.

4 May 2019

Li Jing Lemon Saison Biere (Gloucester Service Station) By @SpectreUK

I sometimes look into stuff a bit too much, I guess… Looking up Li Jing resulted in several Chinese commanders from different ancient dynasties, to a rather fetching actress, to a deity in Chinese folklore. The deity seems to match the image on the can created at the University of Cumbria for the Eden River Brew Company. Li Jing didn't get on with his third son and battled him after his reincarnation finally trapping him in a burning tower… Anyway, I'm not sure what that has to do with lemons, but perhaps neither would Li Jing or his ill fated third son?

This 5.6% saison beer was created in the traditional Belgian style of fruity and possibly spicy beer, with the omission of bottle conditioning, I'm sure, as it's in a can! It's made with Savinjski Golding hops and New Zealand Motueka hops, and some lemons to add to the already citrusy boost from the hops. This misty pale golden coloured beer is certainly big on fizz and almost filled my glass with a huge fluffy white head. There were spicy citrus and lemon aromas from my glass as the beer was slowly calming down. On taste the warming spices from the hops intermingle with the citrus and lemons all the way through the flavour, with sweet pale and crystal malts swimming around somewhere underneath all the white fluff. I'd certainly have this again, especially washing down another tuna sandwich.

3 May 2019

Aero Bliss Mixed selection (Asda) By @Cinabar

A year ago I wrote about Kit Kat Sense selection box from Nestle and as I looked at these new Aero Bliss Selection also from Nestle I could see similarities. It started with the box, the first time I saw it (on the Kit Kat Senses) I thought it was wonderfully innovative, opening up into a bowl like structure and this box of Aero Bliss Mixed selection is the same. I’m not criticising, I think it is a lovely packaging idea.

The flavours were similar too, a nutty one, a salted caramel one and plain one in the Aero box, here we have Praline, Salted Caramel and Milk Chocolate. I see what they did there. The chocolates themselves though are obviously very different, these aren’t in the least like Kit Kat. The chocolates are domes with a filling of what I assumed would be Aero chocolate but that didn’t seem to be the case either.

Milk Chocolate
The Milk Chocolate one wasn’t filled with Aero bubbly chocolate but something more similar to a mouse with bits in it, which were cocoa pieces according the the box. It was a nice chocolate, smooth and soft and was sweet and pleasant. It wasn’t something that was obviously Aero like.

I love nuts and chocolate so I like the flavour here, it was sweet and the roasted hazelnut worked well with the mousse like filling. That was my problem though, where is the solid Aero filling? If it didn’t say Aero on the wrapper I wouldn’t have minded.

Salted Caramel
Now the taste of this particular chocolate was amazing, the caramel and salt were strong and the salt enhanced the toffee like flavours. Each crystal in the mousse worked remarkably well. I really liked this chocolate but couldn’t get passed the missing Aero section.

To me these are just soft truffles in a box. I’d go as far as saying they are tasty and enjoyable soft truffles in a box, and very much worth trying. Unfortunately I couldn’t work out the Aero connection, mousse and Aero aren’t really the same thing. As much as I liked the flavours and the packaging, if you are an Aero fan you might be disappointed with the contents. I wanted solid chocolate bubbles with interesting flavours not just mousse.

2 May 2019

Easter left-overs from McVitties (@NLi10)

A colleague at work visited Tesco and Found all the Easter snacks reduced to 25p. This is the result.

While most of these are not unusual things I thought I’d have a go at all the McVitie’s ones


These are Alice in Wonderland themed, because rabbits, and it works well. We are off to the loopy dotty hatters tea party.


He’s not on time for an event of large importance!


And the resulting lemon Jaffa cake bar is gorgeous, if not a little small... more please!

Here is the tiffin!

It’s a little disappointing - I thought the biscuit would carry it, but it’s just not that exciting.

Here we have the dotty Choc crunch - it’s basically the same as the tiffin 

Again it looks pretty, but it’s just not that exciting. Worth 25p of anyone’s money, but not that special .

I’d just get the lemon bars first.