28 February 2023

Montezuma Black Forest Cherry 70% Dark Chocolate (Sainsburys) By @cinabar

Montezuma Black Forest Cherry 70% Dark Chocolate

There are two things that appealed to me about this bar when I saw it in the shop. The first thing that caught my eye was the it is Black Forest Cherry and you should know Black Forest Gateau is one of my favourite flavour combinations. The second thing was that the whole packaging is recyclable. I hate single-use plastics, the wrappers around various foodstuffs that inevitably end up in the bin. Our council doesn’t collect soft plastic with our household recycling, and I worry about how many people actually recycle. This bar has none of that, which is a bonus.

I opened up the bar and found the paper wrapper inside the card box. Once I tour into this, I could immediately smell dark chocolate and cherries, which was lovely. The dark chocolate had a clean snap when I broke a piece off. The dark chocolate is rich and strong, with lovely clean cocoa tastes, the cherries are plentiful and delivered a fruity, zingy hit, which was a fun contrast with the chocolate. I enjoyed the sweet and sour mix. This bar is seriously good, and an absolute delight to eat. I hope that more businesses will follow suit with green packaging; it must be easily recyclable or biodegradable.

Montezuma Black Forest Cherry 70% Dark Chocolate

27 February 2023

Bunny Bites (Morrisons) By @cinabar

Bunny Bites (Morrisons)

I was looking for an interesting snack to have for a weekend film, and this new Bunny Bites caught my eye in Morrisons. I realise these are an Easter product, but we just had pancake day, so I'm in.The interesting thing is the mix of goodies within the bag. There are salted pretzels, white chocolate crunchy balls, mini eggs, chocolate peanuts, and chocolate raisins.

Each of the items is really nice, the peanuts are actually coated in caramel chocolate, and the nuts are salty too, which makes for a lovely sweet salty mix. The crunchy white chocolate balls are lovely. I couldn’t pick up on malt, but the texture and creamy chocolate were perfect. I could have eaten a whole bag of them. The raisins added sweetness, as did the milk chocolate mini eggs. The salted pretzel just nicely brought us back to the saltiness again.

The best part about this bag of goodies is how interesting it is to eat; there are so many different textures and a really nice sweet and salty savoury vibe running through it. It was easy to munch on and perfect for a night in. I will stock up with a few more bags of these Bunny Bites before Easter, as I don’t think there is anything else similar on the market.

Bunny Bites (Morrisons)

26 February 2023

Poldhu Beach Cafe Hot Chocolates & Views (@NLi10) @poldhu #Poldhutastic

We are staying in Cornwall for the week and on one of the coastal walk someone suggested that we try the hot chocolates in the bay - this was an unusual suggestion as you can't really do much exciting with a hot choc can you? 

The menu (and the Instagram friendly top pic) suggests otherwise.

They have 5 options (and a hashtag) Reeses, Oreo, Maltesers, Dairy Milk & Mini Eggs

We had a think about what we wanted and took the Papillions for a walk on the lovely beach

This is Pippin, he's a champion and off to Crufts in a fortnight. 

We had two mini eggs ones, and a buttons one.  All heavily loaded and with great quality ingredients - and in cups sturdy enough to withstand the wind and the heat.  The eggs gradually sink through the heavy cream and then melt gently at the bottom for a fantastic variation on a Cadbury Hot-Chocolate. Absolutely divine. 

I also had a bacon bap - less exciting but very necessary.

And got a warm hat with the local name on it (which like Dublin translates to Black Pool!).

We went back to this cove on other days too, but as the hot choc are quite sweet I decided to have another bacon bap and a tea instead.  I'd have loved to try the malty one and the peanuts one given enough time though.  Well worth a detour if you are in the area!

25 February 2023

Madri Excepcional Beer (Tesco) By @SpectreUK

Madri Excepcional Beer

I seem to have been out of the British pub scene for quite a while, apparently this Madri Excepcional is everywhere, or so I was told when I looked it up on a popular search engine. Brewed in Britain this 4.6% in volume big red bottle of lager was produced from a collaboration between a brewery just outside of Madrid, in Spain, called La Sagra which was bought out some years back by Molson Coors, who produce beers such as Carling, Blue Moon and Coors Light.

This Madri Excepcional is supposed to capture the essence of the 'soul of Madrid', or 'El Alma De Madrid', and to help it along the way they have added a Chulapo to the front of the bottle. Chulapos are a tradition from the nineteenth century of smartly dressed men who represent their neighbourhoods in Spain.

On opening the bottle there was a pleasant wheaty aroma, with a little herbal hops and sweet malted barley. This deep golden Madri Excepcional had a strong taste of wheat to start with, and was not too belly burping bubbly. It had that yeastiness that comes with some lagers, which isn't all that unpleasant, but it was definitely present. That yeastiness was closely followed by a mild herbal hops and then sweet malted barley into the aftertaste.

I can see why this is such a popular lager. Madri Excepcional is a taste sensation, flavoursome to the max, and not overly bubbly like some mass produced lagers. This big red bottle of lager should definitely be proud of the neighbourhood it represents.

24 February 2023

Kit Kat Blueberry Muffin (Candy Mail) By @cinabar

Kit Kat Blueberry Muffin

It has been too long since my last interesting imported Kit Kat blog, so I thought I would have a look and see what I could find that was out at the moment. This American Kit Kat Blueberry Muffin did not disappoint, with a unique flavour and an even more unique colour! The packaging promises a lilac coloured bar, and I couldn’t wait to see it.

I opened up the wrapper and found a bar that was a bit dull in color; there was plenty of grey mixed in, which isn’t quite so appetising. The good part was the aroma, it smelled absolutely lovely.

I gave the Kit Kat Blueberry Muffin bar a try, and the flavour made up for the appearance, it was spot on. I was expecting, I think, a bit of a generic blueberry taste, but this was a proper blueberry muffin flavour. There was a lovely cake-like goodness mixed into the taste, the sharper berry hit off the fruit, and even a bit of warming spice like a touch of cinnamon mixed in for the full effect. It was a delight to eat! I totally forgive the colour of the bar, never judge a book by its cover, as they say.

Kit Kat Blueberry Muffin

23 February 2023

Milka Tender Cow & Bournville Cadbury Fingers (@NLi10)

We are in Cornwall this week so I took some snacks for the trip!

First up is the Milka Tender Cow - which is a childish chocolate chip cake thing - and in reality it looks like this:

Horror Cow! Tasty though - and as they are individually sealed they are very good for travel and tasty too. A win,

We also saw some Bournville fingers (and the Mini Egg Choc bars) in the local shop.

These are tiny and disappointing - not enough of the chocolate and the Cadbury biscuit centre just isn't as exciting as it once was - not great.

We are exploring the local shops and cafes so expect a Cornucopia of Cornish Snacks.


22 February 2023

Guinness Smoky BBQ Sauce (Tesco) By @SpectreUK

Guinness Smoky BBQ Sauce

I have always been a big fan of barbecue sauce. I usually have it on my chips and dunk whatever burger I have in it for a greedy bump up of sauce. This new Guinness Smoky BBQ Sauce sounded like a new regular treat. I have liked all other Guinness snack products that I have tried in the past, especially Guinness crisps. It states on the bottle that this BBQ Sauce is packed full of sweet, smokiness with a Guinness flavour. So, I should love this Guinness Smoky BBQ Sauce.

I decided to try this Guinness Smoky BBQ Sauce with a beef burger and chips, traditional style, with a little salad on the thick burger, and chunky baked chips. It did warn on the bottle that this BBQ Sauce was thick in texture. It certainly was, thick and a little gloopy once I'd managed to squeeze some out of the bottle. It's fortunate I have a strong right hand (enough said about that the better). On taste, whatever I dunked into this almost black gloopy sauce tasted okay, but didn't have the promised "oomph" on the front of the bottle.

This Guinness Smoky BBQ Sauce tasted almost in the middle of a pint of Guinness split on a plate of burger and chips and barbecue sauce during a bar fight. It wasn't unpleasant, but it wasn't necessary either. I was really surprised that I didn't like this sauce, as I love Guinness, especially washing down a good steak and chips. There wasn't so much sweetness or smokiness, or Guinness, just a mishmash of all three that didn't complement what I was eating at the time. I don't like writing negative reviews, but I'm afraid this Guinness Smoky BBQ Sauce was just not for me.

Guinness Smoky BBQ Sauce

21 February 2023

Munchies Gold Made With Caramac (Morrisons) By @cinabar

Munchies Gold Made With Caramac

Caramac is one of the greatest chocolate (like) products in the world, and it is heavily underrated. I am so excited to see it being used in a new product, so much so that I bought two bags of these Munchies Gold. Caramac has a similar texture to chocolate, but the flavour is all about caramel, so this sounded like a good combination.
Munchies Gold Made With Caramac

Oh my word, the second you open the bag, the sweet toffee and caramel aromas hit you hard. I mean, it was a proper blast of rich, sugary goodness. I gave one a try, and all that wonderful caramel flavour hit the taste buds, and I was in heaven. The texture combination is perfect, chocolate, liquid caramel and a crunchy bit of biscuit. They were an absolute toffee-enriched dream to eat. I had forgotten how much I adore Caramac, and it collaborating with Munchies for Munchies Gold is simply fantastic. I need to buy more bags because if this is a limited edition, I’m stocking up. The bag says "love to share" but seriously, these are mine, all mine!

Munchies Gold Made With Caramac

20 February 2023

Tango Paradise Punch (Sainsburys) By @cinabar

Tango Paradise Punch

This feels like a very summery new flavour for a soft drink, but I still couldn’t resist buying it even in February. Tango Paradise Punch was presented in a very 90s neon-colored pack that stood out beautifully on the shelf. I wasn’t completely sure what flavour to expect, but I was still looking forward to giving it a try.

The drink is a dark pink, almost red colour, but the flavour is far more golden. It is quite fizzy too, as you would expect from Tango. There is a lot of citrus burst with the taste and a lovely smooth sweet mango mixed in. There's also a berry aftertaste, possibly strawberry, that gives it a nice, sharp finish. I really enjoyed the drink; it has a good flavour combination and is more complex than I expected.

This drink may have a summer vibe, but the pack of cans I bought won’t last me that long. I can just sit inside in a jumper and pretend it is warmer outside than it is.

Tango Paradise Punch

19 February 2023

smol - tiny washing capsules to save the planet (@NLi10)

Not food today - but still kitchen stuff.  I bought these thinking they'd make a decent video, but really - who wants to see someone else's washing!

We've had the adverts for these Smol washing tablets for ages in the mobile games & FaceBook places that you usually see things like this - but as they have lasted for a while and made it into Sainsbury's I thought I'd give them a shot.

It's a nice compact box for 27 washes - designed to come in the post which is odd as I'd have thought that delivering everything at once to the supermarket was better for the environment.

The box has magic bits that stop your kids from doing the tide-pod challenge.

And science on the back to teach you how to use it (and open the box)

And they are right - a lot less plastic!

And they are pretty little things - and the washing smelled nice with no extra fabric nonsense added separately.

Assuming the chemicals inside are kind to the rivers & fish like our Ecover ones we currently use then these are a perfectly acceptable alternative to their big eco bottles - and easier to carry back from the shops too!


18 February 2023

Virginia Chess Pie Beer (The Wee Beer Shop @WeeBeerShop) By @SpectreUK

Virginia Chess Pie Beer

The name Virginia Chess Pie comes from the Southern accent for when they say 'chest', as in a pie made with anything in your chest, or pantry at the time. Generally sweet and custardy, a Virginia Chess Pie sounds just like something I wouldn't mind trying at some point. I had never heard of it until Cinabar bought this pastry stout from our friend up in Scotland.

12.1% in volume, Virginia Chess Pie stout was brewed by local innovators in partnership with Brouwerij Kees. Produced with a variety of malts, such as Pale Ale and Marris Otter, and then a few I hadn't heard of or at least couldn't find much information on; Haver, Cara, Zwart and Chocola. Both vanilla and lemon were also added in the brewing.

Feeling a bit lost on some of the ingredients, I wasn't sure what to expect from this pastry stout, so I figured it was probably more of a pudding beer. On opening the can, this Virginia Chess Pie pastry stout had a chocolate and creamy vanilla smell, with a little spiciness and herbal hops at the back of the aroma.

On taste this beer tasted reminiscent of a chocolate liquor stout. Creamy to the extreme, and chocolaty to the max, the innovators at Brouwerij Kees excelled themselves on this one. I felt the warmth of the alcohol in this pastry stout flow right down my throat. This jet black beer had a light pale malt flavour just lying underneath all that chocolate goodness, just to remind me that this was actually a stout I was drinking, and a good one at that. The vanilla added further creaminess, with an edge of citrus bitterness, and a touch of herbs and spices to add more warmth. Gorgeous, perfect last thing on a dark stormy night to send me off to cosy bed. Night night.

17 February 2023

Nescafe Gold Salted Caramel Mocha (Morrisons) By @cinabar

Nescafe Gold Salted Caramel Mocha

I was excited to see a new flavour of Nescafe Gold coffee, and I was taken in by the bright packaging. The box is really quite pretty and fresh. The new flavour is Salted Caramel Mocha which seems like a lovely new addition, not too adventurous but interesting enough for me to want to give it a try. Salted Caramel is a flavour that companies seem to go to when they want to bring out something new but safe, and we aren’t in a good place economically here in the UK. I think safe is going to be the way forward for a while. The cost of living crisis probably explains the other issue I have with this box of Nescafe. There are only seven Nescafe Gold sachets in my box, instead of the traditional eight sachets. There have always been eight. This is a cutback without a price reduction, which is always a bit disappointing, but companies aren’t doing well either.

I put that aside and made the drink. Always let the kettle cool a little after boiling before pouring to get the best flavour from these sachets. The drink mixed up well and had a nice froth. The flavour is really nice, there is a touch of chocolate and a touch of salted caramel. It isn’t overly sweet and seems less so than some of the other flavours I've tried over the years. I liked the soothing flavour and thoroughly enjoyed my drink. I’d be a lot happier if there were the usual eight sachets, though.

Nescafe Gold Salted Caramel Mocha

16 February 2023

Proppadoms - Poppadoms Done Proper - Jalapeno @myfamilysecret (by @NLi10)

My partner looks out for little snack things on her travels and picked these up from a garden centre I think.  I assumed that it was the same people as the proppercorn, but this is a whole new company to try out which is even better. 

It's what you'd expect - take a more interesting version of the crisp, add a more interesting twist on the flavour and then let it rip!  Only 25 g here so it's very much a portion, but we'll forgive them for that.

And look at all those ingredients! Almost all sound like things you'd cook with which is always a good start and they are based in Cradely Heath near us - and Dublin too!

And they certainly look like mini poppadoms, and they seem to have survived well in transit due to being a little thicker than the ones we get from the lovely restaurants of Bearwood & Cape Hill.

It's just a glorified crisp really, but they are incredibly tasty.  The Jalapeno is familiar, but not boring - and certainly isn't too powerful.  It's like someone's put Mexican starter dips out instead of Indian ones.  This in itself is an exciting combo, and coupled with the lovely rich poppadom itself makes for a very compelling snack. I expect these to end up winning those little award badges you see on all the good luxury snacks before long.

My advice is to get these into pubs and sell them (to me) alongside a nice selection of beers.  Fantastic stuff, and interesting enough that I saved the second bag of a different flavour to try a bit later just like this! 


15 February 2023

Spicy Broad Beans - Habas Picantes (Ludlow) By @SpectreUK

Spicy Broad Beans - Habas Picantes

At times I love shovelling large handfuls of snacks into my waiting gob. Of course I have to account for the calories, and cut down elsewhere, and that's often the amount of chocolate I eat on the evenings, but sometimes I have to lean towards savoury.

I do like to find alternative snacks to crisps and nuts, especially of the spicy pulse variety, as I can't eat nuts and seeds for dietary reasons. These Spicy Broad Beans - Habas Picantes were produced by Brindisa, in Spain. I picked them up in a local delicatessen when on a day out in Ludlow some time back. I do love a trip there for its castle, wine shop for its selection of ports, and the delicatessen nearby.

These traditional Spanish bar snack Spicy Broad Beans - Habas Picantes are fried broad beans with smoked hot paprika. So heat is promised here, plus the crunchiness of the broad beans. I'm going to eat them with a cheese and cold meats meal, with a glass of port, and some Tiger bread Cinabar has baked for the occasion. Cinabar is an excellent baker, and turns her hand to most things, from bread, to biscuits such as ANZACs and Ginger biscuits, and she makes a lovely Victoria sponge cake, even though there is always some protest from me on just how much buttercream I want filling and covering much of the cake.

On opening the packet of these Spicy Broad Beans - Habas Picantes, there was a smoky spicy aroma. On first taste these Spicy Broad Beans had a decent crunch to them. There was a smoky almost barbecue flavour, with a medium spicy heat of paprika, and quite a salty flavour to finish. In fact that saltiness was so dominant that it slowly distracted my tastebuds from the spiciness of the Spicy Broad Beans. I guess that's the essence of a bar snack though, to make you buy more drinks and spend more money.

However, Cinabar's Tiger bread was excellent, and a large glass of port helped wash down my meat, cheese and pickles meal rather well. I did share out some of my Spicy Broad Beans - Habas Picantes, which is never a good sign from a greedy soul like me. Although I did get to eat more chocolate for afters.

Information on the packet: The 100g bag contains 400 calories, with 16g of fat, 3.1g of sugar, 24g of protein, and 1.99g of salt. Ingredients included; broad beans, sunflower oil, smoked mild paprika, smoked hot paprika, and salt.

Spicy Broad Beans - Habas Picantes

14 February 2023

Krispy Kreme Valentine’s Doughnuts (Tesco) By @cinabar

Krispy Kreme Valentine’s Doughnuts

We don’t get as many limited-edition Valentine’s Day products as we should, but I spotted this funky pink box in Tesco and couldn’t resist. These are the limited edition Krispy Kreme Valentine’s Doughnuts, and there are four in the box.

We had a heart-shaped Strawberry Kreme Delight, a heart-shaped Choc Raspberry Escape, a round Sprinkled with Love and a heart-shaped Salted Caramel Temptation. All the doughnuts looked stunning, and there was a good mix of flavours. I hadn't had a Krispy Kreme in far too long, but these were the perfect after-dinner treat.

My favourite was the Salted Caramel Temptation, not only because it was nicely decorated but also because it was a divine caramel overload. The filling was fantastic, just the right amount of rich buttery caramel. Seriously, I could have spooned that on toast! I really must keep an eye on the Krispy Kreme doughnut editions going forward and not leave it so long next time.

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! Wishing you all a wonderful day. 

Krispy Kreme Valentine’s Doughnuts

13 February 2023

Kit Kat Mini Strawberry Pop Choc (Candy Mail) By @cinabar

Kit Kat Mini Strawberry Pop Choc

I got these super cute Kit Kat Mini Strawberry Pop Choc from an import shop. To be honest, the packaging is in Japanese, but they look like Pop Chocs, a product that Kit Kat makes and the pink and the fruit on the pack lead me to strawberry as a flavour.

Inside the bag are cubes of wafer covered in chocolate, they are in a resealable bag, but I’m not sure if Kit Kat understands how much I can munch in one portion.

I gave them a try, but I have to admit the flavour wasn’t as sweet as I had expected. The strawberry flavour is quite sharp and zingy, which was a good contrast with the creamier milk chocolate. They tasted good, and I liked the flavour combination, even if wasn’t that sweet strawberry cream flavour I’d been expecting. I wish we got bags like this Kit Kat Mini Strawberry Pop Choc in the UK as they are such a nice idea for gazing on during the day.

Kit Kat Mini Strawberry Pop Choc

12 February 2023

Cadbury Mini Eggs Flat Choc Bar - revisited! (@NLi10)

 It's back! Last year I failed to find any of the Dairy Milk with Mini Eggs to review - but Cinabar picked one up and was disappointed so I didn't stage a full hunt.

This year I spotted one right away so went for it! Flo approves.

So - what is it? Well it's not really Mini Eggs - it's more the leftovers from when they get all smashed up during manufacturing.

With Micro Mini Egg Inclusions.  Great marketing spin - but as Cinabar explained a little disappointing if that's not what you think going in.  One of my favourite New Cadbury bars was the one with bits of Daim Bar hidden in it so I was willing to give it a go.

Luna is also interested in the ingredients - but mainly I think this wrapper sounds like cat treats.

So far so Cadbury!

It's pretty much like they turned a mini egg inside-out and you've got all the choc with the minimal amount of the shell.  I'm not sure this is traditional Dairy Milk crumb, I'll have to acquire some of that and compare.  I could happily sit and eat this in one or two sittings, which is very unusual for me as I'm more of a 'one square' kinda guy when it comes to choc.

So - if you want Mini Eggs buy mini eggs (the new bigger bags are great) but if you want the taste of mini-eggs in a bar form then this is probably slightly better value and a great tasty snack.  It just lacks the crunch and texture hit of the actual eggs.

11 February 2023

London Porter (Marks & Spencer) By @SpectreUK

London Porter

I fancy a pudding beer tonight. London Porter may not be classed as a pudding beer, but with seven varieties of malts in the making, a sweet caramel promise, and a rich chocolate creaminess, personally I'm having this beer with some Cadbury's Salted Caramel Creme Eggs after dinner. In fact the suggestions on the bottle were to use this London Porter to wash down meats, cheeses and oysters.

At 5.5% in volume London Porter was brewed in Greenwich using a recipe from the 1700s that was closely associated with London of that time. This deep brown almost black beer packs a whopping 230 calories per bottle. So I had to adjust my calorie intake for the day to suit. I'm sure it would go rather well washing down my beef stew, if I hadn't already decided to have it with my chocolate afters.

On opening the bottle there was a lovely boozy deep chocolate and caramel aroma. On taste the variety of brown, caramel and chocolate malts swirled around my tastebuds in a delightfully creamy flavourful experience. There was a little biscuit and sweet caramel flavour to start with, followed by only a touch of herbal hops for the bitterness, and then the creamy dark roasted chocolate taste kicked in oozing over my palate into the aftertaste. London Porter was perfect for washing down the remnants of my lovely beef stew, and with some salted caramel ice cream and my Salted Caramel Cadbury's Creme Eggs. Perfect.

10 February 2023

Snickers Berry Whip (Candy Mail) By @cinabar

Snickers Berry Whip

I don’t think I have ever eaten a Snickers and thought, "This needs strawberry," but here we are because somebody did. This Snickers Berry Whip is an import from India, although it is called "berry whip," the picture is very much that of strawberries, and the packaging is very pink.

I opened up the wrapper, and, as with a lot of imported Snickers and Mars chocolate bars, I noticed how much smaller they were than the UK versions. I gave the bar a try, and the strawberry taste was lovely and prominent; it was like strawberry cream with peanut. It's not an obvious pairing, but it was a fruity delight to eat. The textures from the nuts, the sweet tones of the milk chocolate, and the berry were a lovely combination.

I may not have thought Snickers were missing a strawberry flavour but it turns out it does work. I was rather impressed by this Snickers Berry Whip and would definitely buy it again. Also, it is quite a cute stocking filler for Valentine's Day if you know someone who likes things that are a little bit different.

Snickers Berry Whip

9 February 2023

Gü Plant - Spanish Lemon - and Vegan?! (@NLi10)

 We like the Gu (or Gü as I’ll type once for the records) puddings in this house. We have all the ramekins, and they are great for teabags, sauces and you can use Pringle lids to seal them to pop stuff in the fridge!

When a new one appears it’s a guilt free way to generate some reviews by trying a different, yet familiar thing. But this one - this one’s a bit odd.

Billed as Gü (oh it autocorrected!) Plant - Spanish Lemon this is part of a new vegan range - but has cheesecakes written on the box too - but no cheese here! This is great because I dislike cheese.

So far so normal!

Now that looks a little odd - the smell is new and it’s more similar to a milk jelly texture than the traditional cheese cake ones.

This would not be possible with the real cheese Gü product - Luna gave this a sniff before trying to hit it, instead of attempting to eat it.  And why is this - it’s because it’s got coconut in with the citrus fruits.

This means it’s more of a coconut mousse than a cheesecake (not a problem), and then the base is odd too.  This doesn’t hold together like a normal cheesecake and is pretty much like a sugary crumble.  To this end I think they should flip this - call it a lemon crumble or similar and put the fluff on the bottom and the crunch on the top!

So - nice then (very nice) and gluten free AND vegan which is a pretty powerful trifecta.  Would buy this again, but not when I’m in the mood for a thick creamy heavy cheese cake, but a light summery desert.

Will have to try the rest of the range now too!