16 October 2019

Snyder’s of Hanover Jalapeño Pretzel Pieces (Germany) By @SpectreUK

I could see my breath this morning as I took the rubbish to the bins outside after feeding the local birds. It's that time of year when we're starting to look for food that warms us up a bit. These Snyder's of Hanover Jalapeño Pretzel Pieces seem to fit the bill. Not only that, but they meet my usual criteria of trying to find alternative snacks to nuts and crisps.

I received these "flavoured sourdough hard pretzels" with a bottle of beer and some peppered steak sauce for a birthday present a while ago. The sauce has been enjoyed with a few steaks and other meals, and the beer drank, and now for the Snyder's of Hanover Jalapeño Pretzel Pieces. Besides I've always been a big fan of jalapeños. I like them on meaty sandwiches to give them a bit of a kick, and also meaty pizzas, and flavouring other foodstuffs. So I'm pretty confident that I shouldn't go too wrong with flavoured pretzel pieces!

On opening the packet there was a nose hair tickling smell of jalapeños. It cleared my sinuses and I almost sneezed. I immediately started to worry that this was one of those snacks that would be too hot for me to eat and enjoy. They are rare, but it has happened. There was also a bit of a whiff of garlic, so don't expect a kiss after eating these alone.

There were a few green flecks on the bright orange coloured pretzels pieces. On first taste, these pretzel pieces are pretty spicy. They are very tasty too. However, they made me wish I hadn't spent so long in the sauna and steam room at the gym earlier. Or at least had a longer cold shower. Snyder's of Hanover Jalapeño Pretzel Pieces are very moreish, even if they are a little steep on the calories. They made me sweat a bit too. Though at least they warmed me up a bit more than I thought they would!

Information on the packet;
The 56g packet contains 264 calories, 10.4g of fat, 2g of sugar, and 1.8g of salt. Please see photograph for the ingredients.

15 October 2019

Original Gourmet Cutie Cakes (Spa) By @Cinabar

Original Gourmet Cutie Cakes

Twinkies are not that easy to find in the UK but we do sometimes get them in the big shops but more often than not they are in import stores. I have had them and do find myself adding them to my shop when I find them, as they are quite rare over here. I say this because when I popped to the Spa shop and saw these they looked like a similar type of cake bar to them. These are cuter though, in fact each one had a character on the front and they are even called Original Gourmet Cutie Cakes. They were on offer too at three for a pound, so that sealed the deal and I popped them in my basket.
The decoration of the face is all on the wrapper so once out they do look a little plain. Inside the sponge is a neat chocolate creme filling, light in colour. The sponge is golden and fairly firm but with a nice vanilla taste. The chocolate creme is mild, light and sweet with a gentle cocoa flavour. It would be hard for me to compare these directly to Twinkies as I haven’t actually had them that regularly, but I think these were very similar just a little firmer.
So the Original Gourmet Cutie Cakes are an impulse buy, they brought a smile to my face and tasted good, so I think that was job done. It is also nice to have something similar to the American classic cake that is easy to obtain in the UK. I’d buy some more for Halloween treats, I’m just not convinced I’d share! ;-)

Original Gourmet Cutie Cakes

14 October 2019

Tesco Finest Ham with Spiced Cola Glaze Crisps (Tesco) By @Cinabar

Tesco Finest Ham with Spiced Cola Glaze Crisps

There isn’t a direct mention on the packet, but I fear these Tesco Finest Ham with Spiced Cola Glaze Crisps might be part of the Christmas range at Tesco. Maybe I’m imagining it, I’d prefer to think of them as an Autumn/Winter seasonal item.
My favourite flavours of crisps are the meaty varieties so I was keen to try these and I loved the sound of the spiced cola glaze as it is just so different. I was only saying the other week that I thought I’d got to the point with trying so many crisps over the years that whatever seemingly new flavour I was given it felt a bit like, “oh that one again”. There are nearly 450 crisps reviews on this site, so I think it is my obsession rather than an uninteresting market! These Tesco Finest Ham with Spiced Cola Glaze Crisps actually excited me, they sounded very different.
We opened the bag and the meaty aroma was very pleasing, it did smell like a Christmas (my bad) ham joint. The crisps are thick cut and quite crunchy, but they are part of the ‘Finest’ range which means they need to be seen to be different. The taste was mostly of juicy ham, and this was a very tasty meat base flavour. The glaze came across as a little sweet, a little spicy and a little smokey. It worked very well and complemented the ham perfectly. These are very good crisps and ones I’ll be buying again, I’m not sure I could have identified the undertones of cola if I’m completely honest, but I’m still glad I piked up the bag.

Tesco Finest Ham with Spiced Cola Glaze Crisps

13 October 2019

Doritos Collisions - Habanero and Guacamole (@NLi10)

We don't buy 'chips' all that often, it's more of a sharing thing.  We did pick these up to go with a lunch or two and they were a little bit more interesting than I'd expected.

Doritos Collisions (or Collusions as I'd oddly fixed in my head until writing this) have been around for a good decade now, but this is a new one to me.

It's a fairly standard twist, a hot one and a less hot one (although the dust meant they were both a little spicy).

Are you bold enough to give it a try??!! Well yes - even the spicy ones aren't that spicy.

Obligatory pack shot that makes it look like you don't get many!

I was fairly civilised and had mine with Olive bread with a pastel de nata for afters.  Yum.

And you know - they are fine - they are only Doritos after all.  More interesting than most of the standard flavours though and a nice change for lunch.

12 October 2019

Wild Beer Millionaire (Waitrose) By @SpectreUK

I'm sure Delboy and Rodney Trotter, from Only Fools and Horses, would want to have tried this milk stout once they became "Millionaires"! Brewed with lactose, caramel malt, Vairhona cacao nibs, and Cornish Sea Salt, Millionaire is a mix of sweet chocolate and salted caramel. This is a dessert stout that "wraps in you in a velvety cocoon, dresses you in a smart suit and takes you out for a special night on the tiles."

… Having quoted that from the bottle, I'm staying in to watch Strictly Come Dancing tonight. It's such a bright, happy and sparkly TV programme that you feel like you should treat yourself to something special to drink whilst watching it.

On opening the 330ml bottle of this 4.7% volume Millionaire I could smell the sweet roasted chocolate malt, and also slightly worryingly the sea salt at the back of the aroma. I couldn't pick up on the hops in the smell so much, though I presumed them to be more of the herbal variety, but the sea salt was definitely present. On taste the caramel seemed to be completely drowned out by the strong bitter coffee flavour from the chocolate malt, there were some herbal hops, and then the sea salt mixed in overshadowing the other flavours for a pretty odd aftertaste.

It reminded me of the time when my mom through absent mindedness mixed salt in the sugar bowl. My dad and I couldn't work out for ages why our Weetabix tasted so odd every morning. We kept looking at each other saying; "why does this taste so weird!?"

Unfortunately I didn't feel like a Millionaire drinking this beer, it was one of those very rare, almost unheard-of occasions that I tipped a beer away!

11 October 2019

Gigantic Mint Buttons (Marks and Spencer) By @Cinabar

Gigantic Mint Buttons (Marks and Spencer)

These new Gigantic Mint Buttons from Marks and Spencer come with quite a bit of a claim about their size, they didn’t choose the word big, or giant even, they went a stage further and went with gigantic. I have to admit I was expecting disappointment when I opened the bag, I just assumed that the size would be disproportionately smaller than expected, but I’m pleased to report that I smiled and found they were quite a decent size.
I ate the first one whole, I’m not sure why but I can confirm it was fun to try and fit a giant, sorry gigantic, button in my mouth. Sadly though despite theses looking like rather fab Gigantic Mint Buttons what they succeeded on, the size, was not what I needed from the after all. The mint tone was muted which was such a shame. The milk chocolate was decent, it had a thick soothing melting, the flavour was creamy and sweet. There were mint crystals embed in the chocolate and this gave them a light crunchy texture and a nice feel to bite into. The strength of the mint was so very mild though that it was a complete opportunity lost. Mint Aeros, After Eights, Mint Kit Kats in fact every mint UK chocolate bar I can think of out powers these by quite a long way.
So my worry with these Marks and Spencer Gigantic Mint Buttons was about the size but it turns out size really doesn’t matter, flavour on the other hand does.

Gigantic Mint Buttons (Marks and Spencer)

10 October 2019

Visiting Gloucester Services - Pt 2 - Savoury (by @NLi10) @glouc_services

Any holiday is improved by a visit to one of the Westmorland Family Service stations.  It's not so much somewhere to have a quick stop, as a big part of the journey.  They have natural surroundings, and lovely sustainable premises.  And food.  Food worth stopping for.

We stopped on the way back from Cornwall (well - and on the way there...) and here are the sweet  savoury things we ate!

There are lots of veggie pasties.  There are even veggie oggys out there.  This one is a step above both with a 'F' added to the name to signify forest or fresh or farmhouse - i Forget which. 

My partner enjoyed this.  Not sure how it's possible to be more deluxe with veggies - better cheese I guess?

Meat on the other-hand... I'm not great on processed meats - the low quality sausages and pork pies do a number on my stomach.  Proper quality cuts of meat have never been an issue however.  So wonderful crispy sausage rolls like this are great.

They even look appetising uncooked!  If only I had some more meat to eat while it was cooking...

My dad makes amazing pies with real meat in them, but occasionally I treat myself to one of the comercial ones that are almost as good.

It's all real things, with actual meat and fruit textures and flavours as you'd expect, and the pastry is super-deluxe. I'd happily pick these up weekly as a treat if I could, but alas I don't make it to the farm shops as often as I used to.

As I said with the sweet treats I think that these work better as an occasional snack alternative to the everyday versions, but I wouldn't mind getting these just a little more often.

9 October 2019

Yushoi Sweet Chilli with Lemon Pea Snaps (Waitrose) By @SpectreUK

Back in mid 2017 NLi10 wrote about the Ready Salted variety of these 'pea snaps', or 'rice sticks' as they were called then. These Sweet Chilli with Lemon Pea Snaps sound like a hotter variety with a fiery looking ring around the Yushoi. I do like to search out alternative snacks to nuts and crisps, and I'm a big fan of chilli and lemon as a flavour. I don't think I've ever tried sweet chilli and lemon before though. So I thought I'd give them a go…

On opening the packet there were quite a few greenish orange sticks inside. I can see what NLi10 meant why the manufacturer didn't call them 'pea sticks'! I had to test them first, and yes, they do snap! There's a sweet and salty flavour to start with from each pea snap, then the lemon comes through just before the chilli. The chilli flavouring actually caught the back of my throat, which is peculiar, because these Sweet Chilli with Lemon Pea Snaps aren't particularly hot in chilli heat, but they are more than just a little spicy. They are certainly flavoursome and I'd definitely recommend them for an alternative snack!

Information on the packet;
The 21g packet has 90 calories, with 3.2g of fat, 0.8g of sugar, and 0.29g of salt. Please see photograph for ingredients.

8 October 2019

Matchmakers Gingerbread Flavour (Poundland) By @Cinabar

This is the second gingerbread themed item I’ve tried since October began, anybody would think Winter was on the way. I’m happy though I love the Winter spices and actually look forward to the limited edition items, it is just that I would happily eat them all year. Why can’t we have cinnamon and sunshine, it makes no sense to me!
Anyway I was browsing in Poundland, trying to to find the elusive Raspberry Fry’s Cream and not succeeding, I did at least find a box of Matchmakers Gingerbread Flavour. Something new with spice, it felt like a decent consolation prize.
The box is burnt orange in colour, and stood out on the shelf. Inside the Gingerbread Flavour Matchmakers look like the regular chocolate sticks, and there seemed a fair number in the box.
The chocolate are pleasantly sweet and there is a decent hint of spice about the flavour. As with all Matchmakers there are flavour crystals mixed into the chocolate which add a bit of crunch and these ones have that too. I like this added texture. The spice is a little disappointing sadly and I’m struggling to work out why to be honest. There is ginger and it is warming, but it seems flat somehow, there is no wonderful warmth and comforting gingerbread taste, just a hint of spice that left me wanting something more from each bite. I guess it is the depth of flavour that is missing.I don’t mean to over criticise as these are nice, but they didn’t exceed that for me.

7 October 2019

Manchego Cheese and Chilli Crisps (Marks and Spencer) By @Cinabar

I love cheese, one of my favourite easy meals is to get a selection of cheeses, some biscuits some olives, simple but heaven. I quite often buy Manchego cheese, firm, strong but with a creamy flavour, and it goes beautifully with a spicy pickle. Did I mention I love cheese? Clearly somebody at Marks and Spencer had a similar idea with the pairing though and they have brought out these new Manchego Cheese and Chilli Crisps, they are part of the posh ‘The Collection’ range. Yes Marks and Spencer which is already posh, has a posh own brand range.
As we are not that posh we shared these with sandwiches over the weekend at lunchtime. As much as I have a love of cheese, Manchego in particular, my top choice of crisps is usually the meaty flavours but I’m happy to give something different a try. The crisps look like they are dusted with a green herb, which I think from he flavour was parsley. The crisps have a decent crunch, but aren’t too thick. The first flavour to hit is the cheese, it is surprisingly distinctive as Manchego with a lovely smooth nuttiness too. The chilli was surprisingly warm, usually Marks and Spencer “hot” crisps are quite mild, but I loved the way the burn built with these ones, it started slow and ended up with a decent tingle. I thought I could pick up on some nice onion on the flavour too. These might not be meaty crisps, but I still rate them rather highly and will be buying another bag of these Manchego Cheese and Chilli Crisps for sharing.

6 October 2019

Visiting Gloucester Services - Pt 1 - Sweet (by @NLi10) @glouc_services

Any holiday is improved by a visit to one of the Westmorland Family Service stations.  It's not so much somewhere to have a quick stop, as a big part of the journey.  They have natural surroundings, and lovely sustainable premises.  And food.  Food worth stopping for.

We stopped on the way back from Cornwall (well - and on the way there...) and here are the sweet things we ate!

I'm a big fan of the teacake.  Tunnocks are the kings, but M&S was the ones I was brought up on.  These just outclass both.  You can't get a measure of the size here.  Almost too big.  Almost.

The trick to these services is to take a little home with you, not too much - at £3.60 per cake you could get a few boxes of the regular grade teacakes.

You can also pick up a big box of fresh fudge for your mom's birthday! I had a nibble of the rhubarb and chocolate one.  Scrumptious.

This is what I came for.  It's basically 4 teacakes in one - the biscuit is very crumbly - the jam is solid and fruity - the mallow is tasty and fluffy, and the chocolate is deep enough to make grown men weep.  

Naturally I ate it in one extended sitting.

It's not an everyday treat, its not even a once per holiday treat.  This almost begs to be rare and special -  it's Christmas Day good!  I think that a plate of these to have as a festive treat would be amazing, and part of a great tradition.  I'll have to see whether I can find an excuse to drive past nearer the time.

5 October 2019

Riggwelter Ale (Morrisons) By @SpectreUK

Not that I know anything about sheep, but the back of the bottle tells me that if a sheep is on its back and it can't get up (and I've no idea why a sheep would be on its back), local Dales dialect states that it is 'rigged' or 'riggwelted'. At 5.7% volume this Riggwelter dark ale from the Black Sheep Brewery, in North Yorkshire, might be a clue as to why the sheep has found itself in that predicament!

Gold winner of the World Beer Awards for United Kingdom, this "Strong Dark Yorkshire Ale" is showing a great deal of promise even before opening the bottle. So, I just had to open it. This deep dark brown ale has a strong smell of chocolate malt to it, with light roasted coffee undertones. The herbal hops tickled my nostrils at the back of the aroma.

On taste I can see why Riggwelter is a gold winner. The strong roasted coffee flavour springs to the fore to start with, closely followed by a sweetness from the chocolate malt, and finishing with a coven hoof stamping bitterness from the herbal hops.

Mmm… Many more of these and I may be joining the sheep on it's back… No… Hang on… that didn't sound right!! :-o

4 October 2019

Jewels Of The East Chocolatory KitKat (John Lewis) By @Cinabar

Jewels Of The East Chocolatory KitKat

On Monday I tried out the most expensive KitKat I have ever eaten, it was called Springtime in Japan Chocolatory KitKat, and is only really sold by John Lewis in very posh looking boxes. These are designer KitKats. This KitKat was in a twin pack with it and is called Jewels Of The East Chocolatory KitKat. This bar is made with a dark chocolate and is flavoured with rose and pistachio.

Jewels Of The East Chocolatory KitKat

Visually this is a very pretty bar, it is decorated with rose petals and patches of pistachio chocolate and and had a pistachio filling. The back of the Springtime in Japan was decorated with a distinct pattern in the form of a blossom tree, this bar is just sprinkled with nuts and petals which is pretty, but not quite as special.

Jewels Of The East Chocolatory KitKat

Inside the KitKat you can see the pistachio chocolate a little more clearly, and the pistachio and rose paste filling, with its green tinge.
The dark chocolate is at 53% cocoa, but does still taste stronger and is quite dark for that level. The flavour is set off really well with the nuts and pistachio, the flavours are rich and indulgent. The rose is a mild taste and as the chocolate is dark the flavour from the petals is a bit more subtle, just in the background, but it does add a nice edge. I thoroughly enjoyed this KitKat, perhaps not quite enough to justify the price but I did enjoy experiencing something a little more exotic.

3 October 2019

Actual Caribbean Drinks - Calypso (by @NLi10)

Multiculturalism has massive advantages for access to snacks and drinks. Sometimes I take odd routes just to end up in areas of Birmingham  which have supermarkets targeted at other people. Here is the drink selection from one such place.

Here we can see Irish Moss - which is Carrageen and other things to make it taste less like fungus water. Maybe another day. 

Here is Ting, it’s basically pop, but with very unusual flavours. I was tempted.

But then I saw this. A nice big glass bottle of kiwi lemonade. Calypso is the real deal, it’s like drinking a slushee with no ice, or undiluted cordial. It’s my kind of strong and certainly a memorable sensation. 

I loved kiwi fruit growing up and there really aren’t enough English brands brave enough to embrace this kind of power. And yeah - it’s better on a hot day, but I decided to walk instead of wait for the bus so did get quite hot by the end of it.

I’m sure there are chemicals in it that aren’t entirely good for you but I forgot to take a pic of the back. It’s always worth exploring the genuine import shops so maybe I’ll manage to get the other drinks too soon.

2 October 2019

Yorkie Chunks (Sainsburys) By @SpectreUK

No, Yorkie Chunks aren't a tragic accident that happened to a small overly hairy dog! These Yorkie Chunks are supposed to be itsy bitsy versions of the normal sized Nestle Yorkie milk chocolate bars. I must admit that I haven't had a Yorkie bar for so long that I can't even remember when my last one was. I used to eat them all the time, and then I met Cinabar and was reminded that the "men only" ad campaign at the time could be considered more than a little sexist…

… Besides other (dairy) milk chocolate bars are available. I don't eat chocolate during the day now and haven't for some time. I usually have something small and chocolatey for an after dinner treat washed down with my white hot chocolate drink. So these Yorkie Chunks could fit the bill, but then again…

On opening the packet (as you can see from the photograph) these little Yorkie Chunks look a little "rustic", as they may have banged into each other in the packet over time. They taste pretty good though. Solid milk chocolate usually does. I'd pretty much forgotten the taste of Yorkie Bars and can see why I prefer the more favoured (dairy) milk chocolate available. To me Yorkie milk chocolate doesn't have the wow factor and probably tastes a little stronger on the cocoa rather than the dairy milk I've always preferred. However, each to their own…

Information on the packet;
The 100g bag contains 129 calories per 4 chunk serving, with 7.3g of fat, 13.6g of sugar, and 0.06g of salt. Please see photograph for ingredients.

1 October 2019

Cadbury Dairy Milk Winter Gingerbread Edition (Co-Op) By @Cinabar

Cadbury Dairy Milk Winter Gingerbread Edition

I love the flavours of Winter and Autumn, warming spices are my thing. Mugs of Chai Latte, cinnamon swirls bring it all on. This new chocolate bar is so up my street, a spiced Dairy Milk, what more could you want. I found this Cadbury Dairy Milk Winter Gingerbread Edition in the Co-Op, which is a shop I don’t go into that often so it was nice to get a new Foodstuff Find.
The packaging is, dare I say it, a little but Christmassy? Ok it is just a gingerbread man smiling on the wrapper, but we seem to associate them with Christmas more and more. There isn’t a Santa, or anything overly seasonal so I’m going with it even if it is only just October.

Cadbury Dairy Milk Winter Gingerbread Edition

Once I took the wrapper off there wasn’t much to see, the Cadbury Dairy Milk Winter Gingerbread Edition bar looks like any other Dairy Milk bar, even the back of it was plain and flat with not clue to any of the ingredients. There was some spices in the aroma. I broke a line of chocolate off and then could see the gingerbread goodies inside.
The flavour was lovely, there was ginger yes but it was balanced by the sweet creamy chocolate, and seemed to have added cinnamon which made me smile. The crunch it added too made the texture lovely. This is a soothing chocolate, perfect for sitting inside in a cozy home watching something heart warming while shutting the winter weather out. These are my favourite flavours, and as such this is a wonderful Cadbury Dairy Milk Winter Gingerbread Edition bar.

Cadbury Dairy Milk Winter Gingerbread Edition