21 February 2019

Nairn's Dark Chocolate Chip Oat Biscuits (@NLi10)

Sometimes the biscuits that get brought into work are a little more exciting than others.  Take these Nairn's Dark Chocolate Chip Oat Biscuits for example.

Made by the purveyors of luxury Scottish Oat Cakes, but with a little more sugar and chocolate than normal, these seem to be marketed at the healthy snack end of the biscuit aisle.

And even though I mistakenly cut off some of the nutritional values off the picture you can see that there is a bit less of the bad things and a bit more of the good things than average. Plus the individual biscuits are very thin and portion control would probably be quite easy.  In the interests of science I ate 5.

They are sweet like biscuits but have the consistancy of a Hob Nob or more oaty biscuit than the very processed ones that appear in normal tins.  For me this is quite a welcome variation.  I love the mixed up texture, and would be happy to eat fatter, rougher versions of this rather than have the 5 thin ones in a sealed pack.

Overall though a win, and if you are looking to add a little nutrition to your biscuit, and lose a little sugar then frankly these are a great idea.  But you'll probably end up eating all 5 too.

20 February 2019

Pipers Matar Paneer Crispeas (@DegustaboxUK) By @SpectreUK

I'm always on the lookout for alternative snacks to flavoured nuts, and these Pipers Matar Paneer Crispeas are made from marrowfat peas. They have a green colour to them in the image on the front of the packet. This sort of snack always reminds me of mashed and chopped up cooked Gremlin!
Matar Paneer Crispeas are seasoned based on a traditional North Indian recipe. I'm not going to pretend I know what it tastes like, because I'm fairly predictable and usually go for a Lamb Balti at the local curry house. From the ingredients it seems to have mostly every herb and spice I could just about think of if they whizzed passed me on a Generation Game conveyor belt, and these Matar Paneer Crispeas also have a touch of heat from Cayenne Chilli.

On opening the packet considering the Cayenne Chilli seemed to be almost an afterthought towards the end of the ingredients list, there was quite a thwack of it in the aroma of the multitude of greenish sticks. This was quite bizarre as there was barely any chilli flavour on eating, except a very mild chilli heat. I could also pick up on cinnamon, cumin and parsley in the smell, and also a touch of onion. The sticks were nice and crunchy, and there was plenty of mild curry flavours in these Matar Paneer Crispeas, which made them quite moreish. However, I did get the feeling that these are pretty heavy on the garlic and onion, so not good for kissing without a breath mint or two!

Information on the packet;
The 21g packet contains 91 calories, with 3.5g of fat, 0.7g of sugar, and 0.25g of salt. Please see photograph for ingredients.

19 February 2019

Cadbury Hazelnut Chunk Brownie (Asda) By @Cinabar

Cadbury Hazelnut Chunk Brownie

I found these Hazelnut Chunk Brownies from Cadbury listed under New Products on the Asda website, but when they arrived from my online order I realised they didn’t actually have a “New” label on them. I haven’t seen them before though, and I do keep an eye on these aisles in the supermarket obviously.
I found the packaging to be a little bit basic. Part of me thought when they arrived that these cakes were in fact a bake your own type kit, as they were just is a flattish cardboard box. This wasn’t the case, inside were 6 small individually wrapped Hazelnut Brownies.
I unwrapped one and saw that there were quite a few nuts baked in and that they looked quite thick and soft. The texture is good, they manage to keep that heavy moist feel, while still remaining actually quite light. Clever. I think this is the perfect Brownie texture, and that combined with a vey rich chocolatey taste and plenty of cocoa, I found myself loving every bite. The hazelnuts add lovely wholesome texture and I ended up reaching for a second Cadbury Brownie.
The packaging might be a bit basic, but the quality of the Cadbury Hazelnut Chunk Brownie was spot on, and I think that is all that matters. Time to order a box of the plain brownie version of these without the hazelnuts, for research purposes of course.

18 February 2019

Belgian Milk Chocolate Wafer Bites (M&S) By @Cinabar

Belgian Milk Chocolate Wafer Bites (M&S)

There is a product that comes and goes in the UK called Kit Kat Pop Choc, essentially they are squares of Kit Kat completely coated in milk chocolate and sold in grab bags. I’ve seen them come and go several times over the years, with even a yoghurt version at one stage. I haven’t seen them for a while but as a fan of wafer these new Marks and Spencer Belgian Milk Chocolate Wafer Bites looked like they would be worth a try in their place.
As these are an M&S product the coating over the square of wafer is Belgian milk chocolate, to make them posh of course. There were quite a few in the bag and I gave one of the cubes of chocolate wafer bites a try. The first thing to note is that there is a lovely thick coating of sweet milk chocolate that was very lush. It is a rich thick melt chocolate and when you then hit the crispy wafer the texture is pleasant and thy are enjoyable to eat. These are nice chocolates to share, especially while watching a film, between the good quality chocolate coating and the texture they are fun and easy to eat. If you are a fan of Europe’s Kit Kat Pop Chocs and you can’t get them at the minute these new Marks and Spencer Belgian Milk Chocolate Wafer Bites look like something that will happily fill the gap until their next launch. Buy a couple of bags though, our didn’t last very long!

17 February 2019

Sushi Sandwiches - Avocado Chicken & Bacon (@NLi10)

A friend of mine shops in Marks & Spencer’s and alerts me to (and buys for me) their wonderful lunch offerings. As I’ve mentioned before - if our hospital ever gets one then I will be bankrupt.

A sushi sandwich it turns out it two slices of bread (rice) with a filling of luxury goodness (here Bacon chicken and avocado) wrapped in some seaweed so you can hold it.

There is also a sachet of yuzu and chilli dressing.

Look at all those ingredients!

And look at the yumminess of it all. It’s really fiddly to eat - like a roll you have to have a bite at a time. All of the bites are good though and one set of two was filling enough for a normal size lunch. I did eat some biscuits in the afternoon though. 

I’d have these again, once a week I think if I could!

16 February 2019

DE14 Flight Suit Orange Pale Ale (Sainsbury's) By @SpectreUK

I had one of those memory lapse moments yesterday. The one's where you're talking to someone about something and you just can't remember a word or name and it drives you crazy. I just knew I'd remember it after the conversation. I was at the gym being a bore as usual about the rehabilitation of my knee after surgery once I'd popped to the shops wearing my old (really, really old) cowboy boots. In the past I've amused Cinabar by walking like the mad robot cowboy in the '70's film Westworld. It's not like a John Travolta strut, it's something far more sinister. Westworld is a great Sci-fi yarn (not for everyone I suppose) about a futuristic holiday resort where the cybernetic robots end up going mad and trying to kill the guests. I just couldn't remember Yul Brynner's name until afterwards. It's all part of being off work for a long period of time and not keeping my brain in gear. Anyway, after parking my car at the shops I had managed scary Yul's walk for about three minutes before it hurt too much, which is pretty good considering up until now all I've managed is a dodgy limp.

I'm away with the fairies much of the time, daydreaming about everything and anything. So that's what this beer is about I guess… Flight Suit is an Orange Pale Ale from the DE14 Brewery in Burton-Upon-Trent. So bring out your fishy and or spicy meals to enjoy with this one, Folks. I thought I had a tuna sandwich tonight, but it looks like I have hot sausage rolls instead! Flight Suit has five different hop varieties for a super citrus burst, and a generous helping of Mandarina Bavaria hops to give this beer a marmalade aroma and an extra orange flavour. I do love marmalade on toast, but I'm not sure I'll get flight clearance to recommend this for a breakfast beer!

On opening the can this rather excitable 5.1% volume pale ale did smell reminiscent of marmalade, albeit a rather beery sweet barley and pale malt version of the breakfast spread. On taste this deep golden orange pale ale does taste orangy. Not the citrus blast I was expecting though. That bitter hoppy citrus often almost face twisting sharpness that can come with some orange pale ales. Flight Suit is pretty relaxing. It's more like Night Flight to Venus by Boney M. Yes, there's citrus bitterness on take off, but it didn't bother me in the slightest. I just sat back and waited for the flight attendant to pour the rest of my drink. The sweet malted barley came almost immediately soothing my tastebuds after the bitter citrus hops, and then the Mandarina Bavaria hops spaceship's thrusters fired, making me realise this is a beer to enjoy without food. And so the Mandarina Bavaria hops merged into the aftertaste with the sweet pale malt spiriting my palate to some far off orange planet allowing me to spacewalk in my Flight Suit with fantastic orange pale ale on tap.

15 February 2019

McVitie’s Jaffa Cakes Nibbles (WH Smiths) By @Cinabar

McVitie’s have brought out quite a few biscuits in their handy grab bad format, but the latest ones are a bit different. They have chosen to merge one of Britain’s iconic biscuits (well technically cake, but that is a whole different blog post) with their new format and have produced these new McVitie’s Jaffa Cakes Nibbles.
I have to admit before opening the bag I had made two incorrect assumptions about the product, firstly was that the size of the Nibbles would be the same size as others in the range ie small, and secondly that in order to encase the orange centre the biscuit would need to be hard. In actually fact the McVitie’s Jaffa Cakes Nibbles are a bigger than the others, I’m guessing around double the size, and a a more flatter shape too and they managed to use a firm sponge to keep the theming correct.

The flavour is surprisingly moreish, chocolate and orange does just work. There is a higher chocolate ratio here in this format, and it means you can really appreciate the darker flavour from the cocoa. The texture works well, the softness made them very easy to eat, and the little burst of Jaffa jam was perfect delivering a lovely hit of orange. These are my favourite item in the McVitie’s Nibbles range to date and they have totally done the conversion to this format justice. Pure munchy sweet chocolate orange heaven.

14 February 2019

Higgedy Valentines Pie (by @NLi10)

My partner went to Sainsbury's big new store in Selly Oak and came back with lots of great things for me to review (and the cats to view with suspicion)

The first of these is this fairly simple chicken & leek pie.  

Sorry - TRIUMPHANTLY simple free range chicken pie, with ham and leeks (range unknown). Surprisingly it says you could eat it cold.  I'd never really considered that with other brands - but Higgedy are the masters of the cold pies with seeds and yummy goodness on top - it makes sense they'd pre-cook all the ingredients.  And the insides are like something out of a farm shop - but more on those later - first we have to deal with the outside...

My partner claims that she didn't deliberately buy one with a big heart on the top for valentines day.  She may not of consciously noticed, there is a big window on the box though so clearly her brain did.  I accept my loving gesture on Valentines week and look forwards to further spontaneous romantic things.

The big heart pie forms part of a lovely nutritious meal too - with those crispy potato things I always forget to buy.

And the insides are as expected - huge chunks of meat that actually require cutting up! Recognisable leek and tasty ham.  I'd happily have these again as a variation on my typical Pie Minister, and I'm now intrigued about the possibilities of me taking these to work and eating them cold!

13 February 2019

Petites: All Butter Sweethearts (Waitrose) By @SpectreUK

Petites: All Butter Sweethearts

Happy Valentines (for tomorrow)!

These Petites All Butter Sweethearts are what they say on the front of the box; "flaky pastry hearts glazed with caramelised sugar". Produced by Ardens in Coventry, these Butter Puff Pastry heart shaped Petits are recommended for dunking into hot chocolate and are sold as "sweet, dainty nothings that melt into bliss and beyond". Well my favourite hot chocolate presently is white hot chocolate made with milk. I find its more chocolatey than the usual powder milk chocolate and freshly boiled water hot chocolates, and besides it gives Cinabar something to do, as she doesn't trust me at all with hot milk and our rather temperamental microwave oven. It's quite funny because she won't take her eyes off the spinning mug of heating milk herself, one blink and it'll boil over everywhere…

So, white hot chocolate ready… On opening the box there was a multitude of caramel sugar glazed heart shaped Petites. They looked a little like Danish pastries. Baked to perfection and slightly crunchy, I just had to eat the first couple just to see what they tasted like. I attempted to dunk one into my hot chocolate and noted how the drink stuck to the outside of the biscuits. These biscuits are made of tough stuff and don't melt on dunking into an ultra hot drink (or possibly even a blast furnace). The white chocolate and the caramel coated biscuits made for a sugary taste sensation. They tasted very sweet and sugary, and not for the faint hearted. I have to admit, it was a little too sweet for me, but it made for a glorious pick-me-up after all the daily exercises I have to do to rehabilitate my poorly newly operated on knee!

Information on the box:
The 100g box contains 72 calories for every two hearts (which are approximately 15g), with 2.9g of fat, 3.6g of sugar, and 0.17g of salt. Ingredients included; wheat flour, sugar (25%), butter (milk), (22%), salt, and barley malt flavour.

12 February 2019

Limited Edition Valentine's Berry Hot Chocolate (Starbucks) By @Cinabar

Starbucks Limited Edition Valentine's Berry Hot Chocolate

The poster advertising this new Starbucks Limited Edition Berry Hot Chocolate doesn’t actually specifically mention Valentines day, but their new hot chocolate is only available until next weekend, so has launched for a very brief time that does coincide with Valentine’s day week. The flavour is called Limited Edition Starbucks Berry Hot Chocolate but it is a much more delicate drink than you might expect from that title. The hot chocolate is infused with berry tea, an unusual start, and has a berry foam on top of the drink.
I was lucky enough to be at the front of the counter when the lady in Starbucks was making this Limited Edition Berry Hot Chocolate, and I saw how she made the foam. She placed a sachet of berry powder in the smoothie blender and and added milk and let it whisk, the amount in the blender went pink and doubled in size creating a mouse like substance. She poured this over the berry hot chocolate which had been made with hot milk and then sprinkled some berry powder on top. The drink was visually stunning. The temperature of the thick foam was cold, but the flavour was wonderful. It was quite zingy, especially when you tasted the powder topping, but otherwise it was fruity without being too sweet. The hot chocolate was delicate too, the strawberry taste was subtle, but the sweetness from he chocolate enhanced it. This is very different to the syrup filled hot chocolate they have at Christmas time, this is a mature gentle flavour that still manages to be soothing. It was a yummy drink, and one I think it is heart breaking (pun intended) that it has such a short shelf life.

11 February 2019

Kelly’s of Cornwall Rhubarb Crumble Ice Cream (Waitrose) By @Cinabar

Despite the weather I couldn’t resist a glance in the freezer section at the supermarket, and I had ice cream on my mind. We ate a lot over the Summer but haven’t bought any for ages so I was missing it. There hasn’t been a lot of new launches yet which makes sense given the season, but I did spot something I hadn’t tried before, this Kelly’s of Cornwall Rhubarb Crumble Ice Cream.
The ice cream looks quite stunning, it is pink in colour and is topped with a deep pink sauce and a sprinkle of crumble topping. We served some out and gave it the taste test. The ice cream itself is quite creamy, as you would expect from Kelly’s of Cornwall. There is a nice tart fruit flavour from the rhubarb, and the sauce is zingy and adds a lovely extra element to the over all ice cream flavour. The crumble adds a bit of texture but is mild in flavour and doesn’t add much to the dessert, but it didn’t need to as the rest of the ice cream is spot on. Rhubarb is an unusual flavour for an ice cream, but it worked very well. The ultra creaminess fro Kelly’s with the sharp flavour meant this was more like rhubarb and custard than rhubarb crumble and it is certainly a tub I will be buying again especially to fill the gap before the new Spring flavours launch.

10 February 2019

Guinness Clear - FizzFreeFeb (by @NLi10)

So - after the slight failure of Fizz Free Feb to capture my imagination (as it's really aimed at school age children) it was interesting to see one of the bigger alcohol companies getting in on the act.

I spotted and retweeted this on Friday

I mean their glass is a lot newer than mine, and they have the fancy new branding too but it's close.

And it tastes pretty good too!

I mean this was also my original solution to the problem of stopping drinking so it's worth me talking about it more.  

Essentially when I stopped drinking I just moved on to the sweet fizzy drinks.  And by the end of the night if you are 'keeping up' with all of the rounds and such you end up drinking 2 litres of pop.  I mean that's not a problem weight wise (I'm very underweight for various reasons - mostly medical) but that sheer amount of sugar and caffeine messes with you quite a lot.  Sugar hang-overs are a real thing!

So - I gradually just accepted less drinks and switched to the premium social drinks of Fever Tree and of course Fentimans.  People would offer me diet drinks - but I'd counter with the fact that I may as well drink water.  And then one day - I did.  I don't object to buying the bottled water from the pub (it probably costs them more to buy in than the spray colas do), afterall you are paying for the service and the seat too!  The reaction from the work drinking group particularly was a little odd.  It was almost freaky how it made people react - this must be how real vegans feel!

I think that a fashionably branded water could work well, but frankly even I'd never thought of just branding the glass.

Yup - Guinness Clear is tap water in a nice glass.  Frankly I'm going to try ordering some of this in a few places and see what happens - most bars do have the official glasses (ours was from a gift set before you ask...).  Hopefully it'll start a few conversations and make it a little easier to buy water and non-sugar non-diet drinks in pubs.

And if you want to charge me £1 for the pleasure for some chilled, or ice & lemon tap water then I'm all for it!

9 February 2019

Papa Passionfruit Beer (@edenriverbrewcoGloucester Service Station) By @SpectreUK

We're well into the love month of February with Valentine's Day just around the corner during next week. Most people have or want that special someone in their life, whether it's in a long term relationship, marriage or otherwise, and of course we should always appreciate them not just during this month, but all the time of course. However, February is in fact a loved up month without a doubt. Having said that I always get pretty crazy during the Spring months, but that's another story!

If you're not in a long term relationship, or a bit of the naughty kind (not that I'd encourage that sort of thing, of course, but each to their own) you may meet someone new in any place, for instance whether it's a work or college crush, a quick fumble in a night club, or even that sexy someone at your local gym during the January / February crush (a quick and healthy get fit tip). You never know when that special spark is going to electrify your desires and you meet someone you wish you'd known for years. This is the month… the week in fact… to say "Hello, my name is…" and take it from there. You never know where it's going to take you. Don't do what I used to do when I was a kid and moodily stare longingly at your crush across the other side of the room like someone out of Twilight, it'll more than likely freak them out and result in a restraining order.

You may like to treat them to a drink… "Ah!" You say, "he's finally getting to the point!" This Papa Passionfruit from the Eden River Brew Company could be the one for both of you. I say that, because the last passionfruit beer I tried was so sour it stripped all the hairs off my chest! This 5.9% volume India Pale Ale with passionfruit, as well American Amarillo, Summit and El Dorado Hops could be the key. If not, you can always hum the Tony Christie Amarillo song and stare longingly at your El Dorado crush over the other side of the room.

Another reason I chose this beer today is the crazy design on the can. It reminds me of a conversation I had with a friend at the gym yesterday about my heady art college days. This design was produced by a student at the University of Cumbria, presumably after he'd drank several cans of this Papa Passionfruit!

On opening the can there was a surprisingly refreshing herbal and citrus hoppy smell, with a touch of passionfruit at the back of the aroma. On pouring this pretty fizzy Papa Passionfruit has a shine like solid gold. It's beautiful to behold in my pint glass, I can tell you. The passionfruit smell at the back of the aroma really comes into its own in the initial flavour right the way through almost into the aftertaste. There is passionfruit and a bitter citrus hops flavour to begin with, then comes sweetness from the barley and pale malt, followed by more fruitier passionfruit flavours mixed unsparingly with herbal hops, but then there's this "what was that?" at the end of the flavour that took me joltingly into the aftertaste. I can't describe it really. Its a little like eating the whole passionfruit and then noticing a little peel at the end. It's like a bitter aftershock that made me want to drink some more just to get over the flavour.

Hmm… not sure about the end result of this Papa Passionfruit, but the fun is often in the tasting. After half the pint the sheer strength of the beer made me not really care about the weird flavour jolt anyway!

Happy Valentine's and don't forget to seize the day! ;-)

8 February 2019

McVities Club Orange Cake Crunchies (Asda) By @Cinabar

This new product from McVities is a cake bar with the crunch of biscuit; McVities Club Orange Cake Crunchies. Club bars are one of the big brand biscuit products for McVities and they have tried to take the Club biscuit and turn it into a cake bar. I like fruity flavour and the second the outer wrapper came off I could pick up on the sweet citrus scent. The cake bars are individually wrapped so perfect for a treat in the lunch box.

The bars have a thick layer of spongey cake a milk chocolate coating and a fondant top which include “crunchy” biscuit pieces. Now there were some biscuits bits, and it did add a little to the texture but it would be a stretch to call this properly crunchy. The biscuit bits only added a little bit of texture, albeit a nice bit. What I did love was the orange flavour, the sweet citrus tones were lovely and mixed wonderfully with the milk chocolate. I thoroughly enjoyed the flavour, but the Club biscuit tie in was a little weak. I’m still looking forward to putting these McVities Club Orange Cake Crunchies in my lunch box over the next few days.

7 February 2019

VOLCO CHOC - by Sondey and @Lidluk (@NLi10)

The discount supermarkets of Europe offer a great variety of 'knock off' chocolate bars, and some of them are much easier to find than their real world counterparts.

I'm sure I've seen (maybe even eaten) the genuine version of these Sondey Volco Choc from Lidl, but again I can't remember their brand name.  I do remember that they look like the back of my friends original smart phone (I want to say it was a HTC or something).  Today is not a good day for remembering.

In the box these look a lot less 3D than in the picture (or my memory)

I guess it depends on the angle

With the right lighting they do look quite 3D.  Of greater interest though is the freckles.  These are little crispier bits and something I don't remember before.

It has a lovely chocolate overhang - this suggests the original is a Bahlsen

The underside also looks very modern art.

Despite a quick Google I can't find the originals. :(

Thing is - these are pretty good anyway.  I ate three just while trying them out.  The chocolate is good because of the bits.  The biscuit is a little buttery and just right.  And sure - they could be a little larger, but you get a decent amount in a box (18 I think) so that's 6 portions of 3.

If they are mimicking a Bahlsen brand theme there are probably other dark choc ones to be eaten so I'm sure I can keep going on these.

6 February 2019

New Twix White Xtra (WH Smiths) By @SpectreUK

I often have a regular Twix for pudding after my dinner at night washed down with a black coffee. Tonight I have a Twix White Xtra washed down with my favourite white hot chocolate drink. It was kind of strange breaking into the packet to see white chocolate bars instead of milk chocolate covered bars. However, I like white chocolate just as much if often more than milk chocolate, so I couldn't help but look forward to tucking in.

It might sound a little odd to say, but this Twix White Xtra tasted completely different to the milk chocolate version. "Of course, it's white chocolate," you may be thinking. On biting in there was much more flavour from the biscuit than usual, with less sweetness from the caramel, even though there seemed to be the usual amount. In the milk chocolate version the caramel flavour stands out much more. The white chocolate coating had a creamy slightly milk powder flavour with a touch of vanilla for added sweetness. The bar tasted great though, especially coupled with sips from my piping hot white hot chocolate drink. I'd certainly have these again as an after dinner treat.

Information on the packet;
The 75g bar contains 188 calories per 35.5g stick, with 9.4g of fat, 18g of sugar, and 0.15g of salt. Please see photograph for ingredients.

5 February 2019

Salted Caramel Mini Whips (Marks and Spencer) By @Cinabar

The latest item to join the “grab bag” format for chocolates are walnut whips, well ok there is no walnut, and they are not full sized either, but close enough. Here we have New Salted Caramel Mini Whips from Marks and Spencer. There are ten in the bag, and they are about half the size of a regular whip, that is my guess at least.
Because of the packaging and them being inside a bag the whips do have white marks on them where the chocolates have grazed one another, but all are intact. Miniaturising these whips increases the chocolate ratio to the filling as the outer shell is the same thickness as for the larger whips. The centre though with its salted caramel flavour is still nice and strong and adds a lovely almost burnt caramel taste to the chocolates.
I found I had two of these as a snack, and wondered how that compared calorie wise to eating a full size whip. I went back to have a look at the previous review and spotted that they were 135 calories none full size whip, but the originals were also surprisingly different to these whips, with there being an actual layer of caramel inside. https://www.foodstufffinds.co.uk/2016/02/salted-caramel-whips-m-by-cinabar.html That is quite a design change. As these are 152 per quarter bag (which is 2.5 whips annoyingly) then I think they are about the same over all. I like the grab bag format and it made these whips shareable which is nice, and I thought the salted caramel flavour worked well. The only downside was the lack of liquid caramel and the weird portion recommendations.

4 February 2019

Limited Edition Daim Mint (Poundland) By @Cinabar

Limited Edition Daim Mint

I can’t resist having a look around Poundland when I’m in the town centre as there are often new and interesting items. This week I spotted a multi pack of these new Limited Edition Daim Mint bars. As it happens mint is one of my favourite flavours so I was quite keen to try these.
I liked the pale blue of the packet of the Limited Edition Daim Mint bars and realised that there wasn’t any other chocolate bars using that or a similar colour in its packaging. ,Inside the pack where three wrapped Mint Daim bars. Daim bars consist of a a layer of nut cracknel covered in a thick layer of milk chocolate. The minute the wrapper was opened the mint aroma was noticeable, and it blended pleasingly with the chocolate tones. The bar itself is predominantly minty, and the peppermint is at decent strength, it does cover over the nut element a bit, but the chocolate and caramel are still very much present. I love the texture of Daim bars, with the soft chocolate and brittle centre which crunches and snaps. As a mint fan I thought this bar was a success with lashing son cool mint washing over my senses. Think solid After Eight, mmm. I can imagine that some may think it defers from usual the nutty base flavours of the caramel, but I guess that just means more bars for me.

3 February 2019

FizzFreeFeb - is it a good idea? What about cider? (@NLi10)

There is a new initiative int he UK to help with the epidemic of childhood obesity called FizzFreeFeb.  Essentially they are encouraging children to cut out all fizzy drinks for 28 days and see what happens.  It's an interesting idea, and if the parents have just finished the alcohol free January thing then it's probably fairly easy to enforce.

But should we be joining in?

I tend to join in with the Public Health initiatives whenever I can.  Late on the 31st I had my last fizzy drink - a 'rare' blue Fanta (it's grapefruit so looks like lemon Fanta if it's not in the bottle).  I dislike real grapefruit but this is zingy enough to be fun.

First weekend of Feb I find myself at a show (Fight Club Pro for people who like the wrestling) and usually I'd have three cans of Pepsi (total 108g of sugar & 405 calories).  Instead - for the health and sugar reasons I switched to two cans of Dark Fruits.  Do you think I cut down by doing this?

Despite drinking 880ml of the stuff over 2 cans - and it being sweeter than the regular Strongbow - there is actually 35.2g of Carbs here - most of which is probably sugars.  That's basically a third!  Granted the total calories is 352 because of the alcohol content which is still a touch lower, but due to oxidative priority until the alcohol has gone from your system your body isn't going to even begin to burn that sugar off. Oddly though this was the lower-sugar and calorie choice.

The following day we were out on an RSPB reserve watching the birds skate around on the frozen lake.  Afterwards I decided that I really felt dehydrated so cheated and picked up a sparkling drink to go with my tea and two little (very good) snack bars.

As this is almost a Fentimans quality drink I assumed that it was closer to the low end of the sugar range with all the flavour coming from the other bits.

Here, if we factor up to 330 ml like a can of Pepsi we have 132 calories vs 135 and 32.67g of sugar vs 36g of sugar.  So all things considered they are basically what the Pepsi values are.

Fentimans itself has 7.8g of carbs per 100ml which is 25.74g per 'can' of 330ml, which is lower again, but still a hefty amount.  The sweeter Cherry cola seems to contain the same amount which is surprising (it was higher before the sugar tax).

I think that as an adult I won't be fully participating in the FizzFreeFeb, but for the sake of my teeth and waistline I may cut back a little and switch to just having more tea (without sugar of course!)