24 May 2022

Lotus Biscoff & Go (B&M Store) By @Cinabar

Lotus Biscoff & Go

This biscuit and dip pack reminded me of being a kid. I used to pick up a pack of biscuit sticks with a chocolate hazelnut dip after school sometimes to have as a treat while doing my homework, and for reasons unknown haven’t really touched that type of confectionery for years. I guess the homework stopped? I couldn’t resist a new version though, these Lotus Biscoff & Go.

I think I assumed that these would be Lotus biscuit sticks with a Lotus biscuit dip, which, if I had stopped to think about for a few minutes, I would have realised it wouldn’t quite have worked. Lotus biscuits are rich and brittle and therefore making a chunky version for dipping. The biscuits inside are plain, it is just the dip that is Lotus Biscoff flavoured.

I scooped a good portion out with the biscuit stick and gave it a try. I loved the taste, it was rich and full of that nice spiced biscuit flavour, all with a lovely crunch. I found them fun to eat too, and filled with nostalgia. I have to say Lotus Biscoff & Go is a lovely twist on a classic treat.

Lotus Biscoff & Go

23 May 2022

What The Fanta 3 Mystery Flavour 2022 (Ocado) By @Cinabar

What The Fanta 3 Mystery Flavour 2022

We have been getting an almost annual What The Fanta Mystery Flavour, and it always causes mild panic in me. This is because I feel like I should be better at guessing flavours than I am. I taste test so many foods and drinks, and curious combinations that I should be able to do this, but inevitably I struggle. I know I’m over thinking this, I’ll just open the bottle.

Firstly, this drink is bright pink, it has an epic colour, but I’m also aware this bottle of What The Fanta 3 Mystery Flavour may in no way be related to the pink colour. Fanta are probably messing with us. Next thing to note is this drink is made with artificial sweeteners, worth noting as I know it puts some people off.

I took a sip and let the flavour wash over me in the hope that inspiration would kick in. I think there are two tones in the drink. There is a mellow tone which reminds me of peach or melon and a sharper berry tone, possibly blueberry. The drink is also sweet, very sweet through and through. I liked it, but then I have a very sweet tooth. I thought it was a fruity, refreshing drink for summer. I would still welcome anyone else's guesses. I fear I may be nowhere near the mark!

22 May 2022

Butterm!lk plan powered peanut nougat copy-bar - but is it a Snickers or a Mars? by @NLi10

We love the Buttermilk brand - it's probably the best thing to happen to Vegan snacks in years! It's genuinely better than the real thing in most cases.  Here we have an odd one - a copy-bar -  an imitation of a popular snack bar containing peanuts - it's a ...

...natural alternative to one of the more popular chocolate snacks on the market that is caramel and nougat so it must be a...

...smooth chocolate outer instead of the ridged surfaces - which suggests it must be imitating a...

... well - pass! It's got the half peanuts of a snickers, the nougat is somewhere between the consistency of the Mars & Milky Way - and it also has the caramel layer that if anything is sticky like a Twix. Argh.

Safe to say it's a little bit too soft for me - I prefer the hard Snickers & the crunch of the Twix - but it's a really nice mix up of all the popular snacks but completely vegan.  If you've always wanted a Mars with peanuts and a little more caramel then go for it!

21 May 2022

Veltins Pilsener Beer (Tesco) By @SpectreUK

Veltins Pilsener Beer

I have a huge schnitzel for dinner tonight. Very German, I know. I'll have it with some potatoes and vegetables on the side. What better to have a schnitzel with than a German beer? This Veltins Pilsener was brewed in Grevenstein, in Germany, by the Veltins Brewery which was established in 1824. At 4.8% in volume I'm just guessing that this Veltins Pilsener has Pilsner lager malt in it? Just a hunch, though.

So on opening the bottle there was a strong herbal hop aroma followed closely by a yeastiness and sweetness from the malts. This deep golden beer had an excitable bubbliness on pouring. Veltins Pilsener had quite a bite of herbal hops to begin with followed by the sweetness of Pilsner lager malt. I certainly found this beer a perfectly tasty accompaniment to my rather huge schnitzel dinner. It was all very tasty indeed. Cheers.

Veltins Pilsener Beer

20 May 2022

Hellman’s Gravy Flavour Mayonnaise (Iceland) By @Cinabar

Hellman’s Gravy Flavour Mayonnaise

I can’t help wondering how this Hellman’s Gravy Flavour Mayonnaise came about. It isn’t exactly an obvious combination of flavours. Don’t get me wrong, I have both a Northern parent where the cultural choice is chips and gravy and my other parent is European, where it is all about mayo and chips. The result is that I like either. I can appreciate both flavour combinations but, significantly, I like them separately. I have never ever thought of combining the two, but here we go.

I opened up the tub of Hellman’s Gravy Flavour Mayonnaise and dolloped a portion on the side next to my chips. I gave it a try and wasn’t sure about the flavour. The mayonnaise base is rich and creamy, which was nice with the salt on the chips. The meaty gravy flavour was also salty, but it was fine. It was okay with the chips. I think I will be quite happy to finish the tub, but I can’t honestly say I’d be rushing out for another pack. The conclusion is that, for me, it is still about chips or gravy, but not both.

As an alternate view, Spectre had some of this Hellman’s Gravy Flavour Mayonnaise the next day with boiled potatoes, and said it was fabulous, so perhaps I will have to give it a chance on other things too.

19 May 2022

Waterhouse Fayre - Raspberry Jam - by @NLi10

My partner liked to bring back food from her trips and this came from Westward Ho! which is the actual name of somewhere in England.  I'm not entirely sure where Waterhouse Fayre are based, but lets look together shall we.

So far, so normal - but again this has an award!

Small batch jam from what I presume is a West Country farm - awesome!

And look at that richness - exactly how jam should be - like a blob that slowly sinks into the scone or bread you popped it on.  This is full of fruit - lots of little bits of flavour and joy all rolled in to one.

And this only got Silver?  What were the judges thinking - I can only assume that Waterhouse Fayre submitted another flavour alongside this.  And I shall be hunting for that on our next trip to that area.


18 May 2022

White Chocolate Smarties (Morrisons) By @SpectreUK

White Chocolate Smarties

I love white chocolate. That's no secret. I often have a bar or two of white chocolate for pudding with a white hot chocolate drink, and a tub of low calorie vanilla ice cream for pure indulgence. I used to like Nestle Smarties when I was young, many, many, many moons ago. So these new White Chocolate Smarties sound like a real treat.

When I enjoy other chocolate bar puddings, such as milk chocolate, I have a habit of tipping Minstrels into my tub of low calorie vanilla ice cream. I feel that Minstrels and vanilla ice cream were made for each other. That does make me wonder if these White Chocolate Smarties, and now indeed regular Smarties would be the same. Well, there's only one way to find out.

White Chocolate Smarties

As you can see from the photograph on popping open the recyclable cardboard packaging (no original plastic Smarties tube tops here) there were a multitude of colours of White Chocolate Smarties. On biting one in half the Smartie was full of white chocolate. I thought these Smarties were nice and crunchy with smooth and creamy white chocolate inside. They also went rather well with my vanilla ice cream, so I'll have these again. A good bonus was that they made me feel young and gave me a smile.

White Chocolate Smarties

Information on the tube; The 36g tube had 87 calories per half tube, with 3.6g of fat, 11.5g of sugar, and 0.05g of salt. Please see photograph for the ingredients.

White Chocolate Smarties

17 May 2022

Tropical Muffin (Costa) By @Cinabar

Tropical Muffin (Costa)

The sun is shining, we can start to smell the barbecues, the pink flamingoes are roaming (maybe) and the summer specials are in at Costa. There are definitely pink flamingos all around his new Tropical Muffin from Costa. I couldn’t resist giving it a try, it is super cute too topped with a pink flamingo and did I mention the pink flamingo wrapper?

Inside the muffin there is a lovely tropical medley of fruit that tastes like summer. It is a golden fruit flavour combining mango and passionfruit, and I loved every bite. I was surprised by how much fruit there was, including small pieces in the texture.

The muffin itself was a plain vanilla base, but it was moist and sweet too. It was a good fluffy sponge. I love the decoration, the theming and now just want the weather to hold out. I am a big fan of mango and am so pleased to see the flavour becoming a bit more mainstream. It is perfect for the warmer weather, even when served with a hot coffee inside!

Tropical Muffin (Costa)

16 May 2022

The Best Katsu Chicken Curry Pizza (Morrisons) By @Cinabar

The Best Katsu Chicken Curry Pizza

Sometimes you just need a quick and easy tea, and what better than a limited edition pizza? I spotted this Morrison’s The Best Katsu Chicken Curry Pizza, and thought that it sounded a bit different and worth a try. Katsu Curry is one of my favourite Japanese foods, and pizza is my favourite take-away, so this sounded like it was made for me.

We popped it into the oven and then gave it the taste test. I was in two minds about this pizza. I think the first part was that it didn’t remind me of Katsu Curry. The base felt a little like a thin naan, and the topping like a mild curry, specifically a Chicken Tikka Masala with added cheese. I liked the cheese element, not a problem. So the other part is the fact that I really liked the pizza, there was nice spice from the chilli pieces making it hotter in places, plenty of chicken, spinach and a decent base. It was thoroughly enjoyable to eat. The only issue is this Morrison’s The Best Katsu Chicken Curry Pizza didn’t feel Japanese to me at all. I felt it was tasty. I’d even buy it again, but I couldn’t quite get passed the feeling that it did not quite hit the Japanese brief.

The Best Katsu Chicken Curry Pizza

15 May 2022

Miles Finest Teas - West Country Original Blend - by @NLi10 #TeasAroundBritain

 As part of my accidental (but ongoing) Teas Around Britain series my partner picked up this West Country Original Blend while on holiday in that general area.  The West Country is vaguer than the Black Country (where we all live) and is basically centred around Devon and that area (of which we are huge fans).

I'm not sure if she actually went to Porlock, but was in Devon next door and got this on the way back.  Dedication!

It's an Assam blend so people who like regular tea will be happy, and those who like to add fruitiness (or drink without milk) will also be happy.

Reasonable tea-bags and colour on brew.

I couldn't get a picture of the tea colour with the milk in, but it was fairly normal there.

It has a great taste though and is very much something you'd expect in a tea-room or cafe.  A good, all round blend that I could happily drink all day (especially as I've run out of the similar Lifeboat tea at the moment).

14 May 2022

Skinny Brand Premium Lager (Tesco) By @SpectreUK

Skinny Brand Premium Lager

I hate counting calories. I have to count calories. I hate counting calories!

I've been counting calories for about two years now. With a great deal of exercise from around 6am every morning, asides the weekends where I generally get a lie in until 10am, and then start exercising. My exercise is a mixture of light weights and yoga, and then also limiting myself to around 2,200 calories a day. I can pretty much lose a little weight, keep my muscle tone, and then keep my weight to a minimum. If I don't do this, I get fatter and heavier and can't walk upstairs due to my sore old knee after it's second rather specialist operation. However I'm now lighter and fitter than I ever have been, which is good for a guy in his mid-forties.

Did I say I hate counting calories? These new Skinny Brand Premium Lagers are 89 calories. So after some serious management I get my tuna sandwich,mpacket of Space Raiders, a tomato, protein yogurt, an apple, and a mini Soreen loaf for lunch. Then for dinner I can have a McDonald's triple cheese burger, small fries, and a McFlurry to finish, and then snack on a whole bag of Orange Maltesers Buttons whilst watching the end of Midnight Run later. Like I said, counting calories is time consuming and tedious, but really worth the effort to eat whatever I like within reason.

Skinny Brands is in Ashton under Lyme in the UK. At 4% in volume this 330ml bottle of Skinny Brand Premium Lager has 35% fewer calories than other premium lagers, and is said to be "Full flavour". On opening the bottle there was a citrus hop smell with barley malt just behind it. This was quite a fizzy and yet very flavoursome lager. It certainly didn't taste like such a low calorie beer. There was a citrus bite to start with and then that sweetness from the malted barley into the aftertaste.

I'll definitely enjoy the other three bottles with other meals in the future. Now with the onset of summer, this flavoursome, refreshing lager will be rather good in the garden with a good book, some sunshine, and a packet of pork scratchings on a lazy afternoon. Ah, counting calories isn't so bad you know, it's just a matter of balancing things out. Oh and there's the working out like a crazy person aspect with it though.

13 May 2022

Swiss Miss Luck Charms Hot Chocolate (Candy Mail) By @Cinabar

Swiss Miss Luck Charms Hot Chocolate

Swiss Miss is a brand of American instant hot chocolates, usually in sachets. I guess they are the USA’s version of our Options hot chocolate, they have various flavours and seasonal editions. I spotted this one via an import site and realised I hadn’t tried a mug of Swiss Miss for ages, and I could I resist the new one with the breakfast cereal Lucky Charm’s marshmallows.

Swiss Miss Luck Charms Hot Chocolate

Each sachet is is two parts, one with a portion of instant hot chocolate the other with the marshmallows. The mallows here are dried, they are like the ones you put in cereal, they need liquid to become squidgy again. I boiled the kettle and made the hot chocolate, it mixed up really well, no lumps even after a quick stir. 

Swiss Miss Luck Charms Hot Chocolate

I poured in most of the dried mallows and gave them a stir too. They were super fun shapes, rainbows, unicorns all the cool stuff. I left to go on top of some cream, because I was doing this properly. The hot chocolate looked fab, I couldn’t wait to give it a try. The drink itself had really good flavour for an instant. It is a little thin because it is made with water, but there was plenty of chocolate taste and it was a soothing sweet drink too. The Lucky Charms mallows were really pretty and a lot of fun, they added sweetness and made me smile. I came away making a note to get another box of these on my next order, so a total thumbs up from me.

Swiss Miss Luck Charms Hot Chocolate

12 May 2022

Cheerios Vanilla O's - Low Sugar and High Fibre - by @NLi10

 Breakfast time is a fun time, even though they banned all the toys in the packs.  Here we have the good old favourite of Cheerios but now with a hint of vanilla.

So - what's changed?

Same basic cereal but with a tiny hint of vanilla.

And dipping the cereal in the milk (here - almonds) washes all the vanilla off - but then it tastes like Cheerios in really very hint of vanilla ice-cream.

In all honesty I'd probably not have noticed the vanilla if the box wasn't different - but I did enjoy the cereal (although I always seem to be hungry by 11 with this sort of thing).

Worth a shot if you already like the cereal, but not a must buy like the Shreddies variants.

11 May 2022

Crazy Sours Skittles Giants (Sainsburys) By @SpectreUK

Crazy Sours Skittles Giants

I've tried Skittles Giants before and rather enjoyed them. These Crazy Sours Skittles Giants are the same three times larger than regular Skittles, but sour in flavour. Hence the name, I guess. It states "Share the rainbow taste the rainbow" on the packet, and as the bag was pretty high in calories, I opted to share them with Cinabar whilst watching TV on Saturday night. The packet also stated, "Same crunchy shell bigger soft centre" which I'm keen on too, as alternative sweet Tutti Frutti can be pretty hard on my old teeth.
Crazy Sours Skittles Giants

There are five flavours of Crazy Sours Skittles Giants; sour pineapple which was yellow, sour raspberry was pink, sour cherry was purple (I hate cherries, why could it not have been blackcurrant?), sour mandarin was orange, and finally sour apple was green. As you can see from the "Skittles Distribution Chart", there were quite a few of each flavour, so we shared them out as evenly as possible.

Crazy Sours Skittles Giants

I thought the yellow pineapple had a really good pineapple flavour, being very fruity and had the sourness into the aftertaste. I thought the pineapple was reminiscent of the old Fruit Salad sweets I loved as a child. Pink raspberry was quite sharp in raspberry flavour, again was very fruity, and with the sourness at the end of the flavour. Orange mandarin did really taste of mandarin (which is also my favourite jelly). However the mandarin wasn't very sour, but still was very fruity. It had a soft fruit flavour to it. Green apple was very much apple in flavour. Not particularly sour at first, but it became sourer. The Purple Cherry flavour had a dark cherry flavour to it, in fact very cherry indeed. It had a sweetness that made it quire nice and was face twisting sour at the end.

My favourite flavour was pineapple. I thought the most face twisting sour was the apple at the back of the flavour. And the Mandarin just made me want to eat orange coloured jelly again. Still all very nice indeed. I'd definitely have these Crazy Sours Skittles Giants again.

Information on the packet; The 170g bag contained 412 calories per 100g, with 4.2g of fat, 75g of sugar, and 0.02g of salt. Please see photograph for the ingredients.

Crazy Sours Skittles Giants

10 May 2022

Warburton’s Fruit Loaf With Orange (Asda) By @Cinabar

Warburton’s Fruit Loaf With Orange

One of my favourite simple things for lunch is toast. This might make me sound like an eternal student with my eating habits, but working from home it is quick and easy and tasty. Add in a chocolate spread and it is a winner. Today I thought I would try a different twist on it, and I picked up this Warburton’s Fruit Loaf With Orange, which I hadn’t seen before.

Now I think this bread is made for the toaster. The slices are small so you get a full toasting without any bits sticking out. Why do regular toasters insist on being smaller than some slices of bread? Who makes them like that? I hate having a raw edge. Anyway, no such problem here. The whole piece was submerged.

I added a decent layer of butter to the toast and gave it a try. I loved the sticky fruit in the toast, it was sweet and pleasing and it meant I wasn’t reaching for the jam. The bread toasted well, crispy on the edges, soft inside. The flavour was gently fruity from the raisins, but the taste from the orange was very mild, just a light citrus hint in the background. I would still buy this Warburton’s Fruit Loaf With Orange again, just the fuel I needed before the afternoon of work from home meetings kicked in.

Warburton’s Fruit Loaf With Orange

9 May 2022

Soda Folk - Blueberry Muffin Soda (Holland and Barrett) By @Cinabar

Soda Folk - Blueberry Muffin Soda

I loved everything about this drink, unfortunately, except the taste. I wanted to like this Soda Folk Blueberry Muffin Soda, I really did. I love the ethos of Soda Folk with the natural ingredients. The bright purple design on the can made me smile. The flavour sounds quirky and interesting. There aren’t many drinks flavoured with cake. I was truly excited to give this drink a try and see what they had done with the flavour.

It is a dark red/purple shade of drink, and fizzed pleasingly when poured. The aroma was nice and fruity. I took a sip and that is where I was disappointed. The drink has a milder flavour than I was expecting, there is certainly a blueberry flavour there and it tastes natural, but it is reminiscent of something else, like a milder version of cough sweets and I just couldn’t find myself enjoying the drink. I couldn’t pick up on the baked muffin taste at all. The flavour lacked depth, but this might just be because I am so used to all the strong flavours of artificial drinks. Maybe that is on me.

Soda Folk - Blueberry Muffin Soda

8 May 2022

Wagon Wheels Orange - Very Citrus, Much Wow @NLi10

 I spotted these in the Nissa by work and decided that this was a really clever idea and wondered why we hadn't seen them before.

Turns out that Cinabar talked about these in July 21, but now they have escaped from Iceland and made it in to the real world.

Burton's have done a few variants over the years, but a good strong Orange is something that I've always fancied.

And here it is - hooray!

They look larger in the pictures than in person - I do wish they did a grown-up size of these too.

But - it is full of the jam - and the taste is almost too strong and acidic - mainly as the jam seems to have pooled in one area. And these were nice enough to want more of, but not so nice that I didn't give the whole rest of the pack away to colleagues to try.

I think these would work better with some really dark chocolate, and maybe some bits of Orange in the jam, but that would make it a very different biscuit indeed.  A nice variety indeed.

7 May 2022

Crabbie’s Rhubarb Alcoholic Ginger Beer (Tesco) By @SpectreUK

Crabbie’s Rhubarb Alcoholic Ginger Beer

I love rhubarb. Not with custard. Even though there was a particularly crazy cartoon called Rhubarb and Custard when I was a child. I love rhubarb for pudding all sugared up in its own juice. I love rhubarb juice too. Although I probably have it way too sugary when made from rhubarb grown in the garden.

I love ginger beer. Not particularly ginger ale, as it's not fermented, and is generally made from ginger flavoured carbonated water having a tendency to not be very fiery. Although I have tried a few ginger ales that have been fiery. I tend towards the ginger beer, and always have a glass to help settle my stomach every night after dinner.

So what could go wrong with this Crabbie's Rhubarb Alcoholic Ginger Beer? I have confidence that nothing can go wrong with it. I've had Crabbie's drinks before and generally liked them. In fact I've tried a Rhubarb Cider by Crabbie's in the past and I'm sure I enjoyed that.

This 4% in volume Crabbie's Rhubarb Alcoholic Ginger Beer has a sweet rhubarb aroma with a fiery ginger beer smell right behind it. As you can see from the photograph this rhubarb ginger beer was bright pink in colour.

Served cool from my beer fridge this screaming pink drink welcomed in the spring for me. There was the sweet rhubarb to start off with, and then a warming spice from the ginger beer into the aftertaste. As soon as I started drinking it, I could not stop. It turns out that I love Crabbie's Rhubarb Alcoholic Ginger Beer too.

Crabbie’s Rhubarb Alcoholic Ginger Beer

6 May 2022

Hershey’s Cookies and Mint (Candy Mail) By @Cinabar

Hershey’s Cookies and Mint

It is green! This new chocolate from Hershey’s is inspired by the ice cream Chocolate Mint Chip, and it looks very much like the ice cream. Each jaunty piece has an ice cream design on the front too. The colour of the bar is bright green, on the back of the bar you can see loads of dark cookie pieces. The aromas was minty and gorgeous. I couldn’t wait to get stuck in.

Hershey’s Cookies and Mint

I broke a piece off the Hershey’s Cookies and Mint bar and the flavour is spot on. The first flavour to hit is a lovely sweetness, that then became a strong sweet refreshing peppermint. It was surprisingly strong but I love mint so I was more than happy to have the hit of sweet cooling tones on my taste buds. The cookie bits add a lovely texture that feels satisfying to eat. They are not too hard and crunched nicely while I was eating. They also added a nice dark chocolate cookie flavour that worked well in the bar to helping with the mint cool-down.

Basically it tastes like a bowl of mint chocolate chip ice cream in a bar, and I want more. Apparently Hershey’s also released a Birthday Cake edition that I need to hunt down too, but honestly what I really want is another of these.

Hershey’s Cookies and Mint