31 July 2023

Popworks Salted Toffee (Tesco) By @Cinabar

Popworks Salted Toffee

I was looking for a snack to munch on while watching TV, and I thought of popcorn. Then I spotted this bag of Popworks Salted Toffee, and I thought it sounded interesting. They are made from popcorn but shaped like triangular, bulky crisps. Weird shape, but they still looked nice. I opened the bag, and the aroma was lovely, very sweet toffee.

I gave one a try, and the first thing I need to talk about is the textures. They were crispy, but the shape made them interesting to eat and very enjoyable. The flavour element is a bit more difficult to explain. The first bite I had, I decided categorically that they were a little too salty and not enough toffee. Which is true, but something in them made me have another few, and I decided that the salty-sweet mix was quite pleasant, so I had a few more, and then I decided that they were the best thing ever. Long story short, the bag was mostly finished before I could work out how that happened. They are super moreish and an absolute delight to munch on. They are crispy, crunchy, salty, and sweet goodness in a bag. I need another pack!

Popworks Salted Toffee

30 July 2023

Mr Beast Feastable Bars - in the UK! (Spar) [@NLi10]

 I like Mr Beast’s videos - they are the right balance of silly and generous to push all the buttons that a good background video on YouTube should.  For those who don’t know he basically makes silly games up and people win money or cars.

And he’s decided to go to war on America’s terrible chocolate.  This too is a good cause, to Europeans American chocolate has a certain vomit-like aftertaste. So - he’s released these Feastable bars.

At 60g each they are pretty slim, and at £2.50 each thats luxury pricing.

You can win one free on the spar spin website - see my video review for the link :) (When I’m not in the car I’ll probably put it below too)

I bet if you scan the code here you get the same result!

The coco percent is higher than Dairy Milk, but the milk is lower.

They are modern, textured bars - very flat - nicely snappy.

The ‘milk’ one isn’t very exciting. Both my partner & I’s first response was ‘advent calendar chocolate’ - decent quality for that genre - but still exactly what you’d expect there

Luckily the peanut one is more interesting - the extra saltiness really helps bring the flavours to life.

But - at the luxury price this really is a hard sell - it needs to be about £1.50 to justify the slight portions and lack of excitement.

All this taken into consideration it’s probably the new king of American chocolate, but it’s not near the top ten in Europe.

29 July 2023

London Beer Factory Jungle Trip (Tesco) By @SpectreUK

London Beer Factory Jungle Trip

I'm not much of an adventurer these days. I used to like to explore when I was a kid, and we traveled all over Europe. Every year we'd generally go abroad somewhere hot, but these days I prefer to relax in a good spa hotel. With everything costing so much these days, I save my adventuring to food and travel programs on the box.

Jungle Trip may change that today, as I can at least imagine I'm enjoying a can of tropical citrus New England Pale Ale, whilst wondering around a rainforest somewhere hot and humid. LBF or London Beer Factory created this hazy 5.3% in volume beer with adventure in mind. Well, I've recently been to a spa hotel for a night, so I guess I'll kick back with a fish and chip takeaway from our local Chippy tonight instead.

On opening the can there was a tangy tropical citrus hops aroma from the hazy golden brew, with a promise of sweet pale malt behind it. On taste this Jungle Trip had a refreshing bite of tropical fruity hops and a slice of citrus to begin with, followed by a little oats and wheatiness mixed in with sweet pale malts. This beer was very flavoursome indeed, and perfectly washed down my fish and chips meal. Gorgeous.

28 July 2023

Popcorn Frappé and Light Whip (Costa) By @cinabar

Popcorn Frappé and Light Whip (Costa)

For once I finished work and got to the train station with 15 minutes to spare, I decided to celebrate the weekend and treat myself to the summer special from Costa. I bought myself a Popcorn Frappé and Light Whip to enjoy on the train. It looked lovely with its popcorn syrup splashed on the sides of the cup and its whipped cream topping and popcorn bits on top.

My train was also surprisingly quiet (I got a seat), so that was a bonus too. I gave the drink a sip, and it was super yummy, sweet, and refreshing. There is clearly a lot of sugary caramel goodness in this drink, I also picked up on a touch of salt and, of course, that lovely flavour of popcorn. The taste was sweet but well balanced, and the popcorn added a slight, almost savoury flavour to the drink. The topping was good too, the bits on top weren’t actually popcorn as they melted away, but they had the flavour and plenty of caramel too. This Popcorn Frappé with Light Whip is such a good summer drink, perfect for a pick-me-up after a long day. The weekend starts here!

27 July 2023

Dadu - Lithuanian Pistachio Icecream Cone [@NLi10]

I was running early for a `peaky `blinders escape room in Birmingham so popped into the little Lithuanian supermarket bye Snow Hill

They had a surprisingly large selection of interesting import ices from Europe, so I had a look

And chose my favourite 

And it looks divine! The top is protected by choco fondant so it stayed fresh.

The cone is squidgy and weak, but that is forgivable

The Icecream in side isn’t that strongly flavoured (not like Kulfi) but was a really nice pick me up on a hot summer evening.

Will have to go back and try the rest!


26 July 2023

McVities’s Raspberry flavour Tartlets (Tesco) By @SpectreUK

McVities’s Raspberry flavour Tartlets

I'm not one of those people who works out like hell to just eat lettuce. I don't mind lettuce in a salad or a BLT, but I love a good pudding. I have a bad habit of counting my calories all day so I can leave room for a good dessert. It doesn't have to be anything fancy either, it could be just a packet of biscuits.

Now my greedy old self who used to be seventeen and a half stone would just eat the packet of biscuits. After three knee operations and five years of weight loss, I still want to eat that whole packet. So I burn it off through exercise. It's not for everyone I know. I get up really early and just keep going until lunchtime, and that can get pretty late on some days. The mountain, as I call it, isn't much fun, it's painful and time consuming, but just as long as I stick to my regular calorie level for the end of the day, and eat pretty healthily for lunch and my dinner, I get to eat whatever pudding a like.

These McVities's Raspberry flavour Tartlets are on my pudding menu for tonight, with a pot of low calorie vanilla ice cream. Now a 70 calorie pot of vanilla ice cream will go with just about anything. I've even used it instead of using Brandy Cream on a Christmas Pudding, and gosh, that was good.

McVities’s Raspberry flavour Tartlets

These McVities's Raspberry flavour Tartlets have a creamy and fruity centre. Oh I really do wish that some manufacturer or other would bring out a low calorie pot of Raspberry Ripple ice cream. Now that would be a day for celebration. Anyway, on opening the packet there was a super strong raspberry ripple aroma from the biscuits inside. Lovely and crunchy these Tartlets had a luscious creamy sweet raspberry flavour. Moreish to the extreme, I barely opened the ice cream before half the packet had disappeared. Gosh these are good.

Information on the wrapper; With 14 biscuits in the 100g packet, each biscuit contains 35 calories, with 1.8g of fat, 1.7g of sugar, and 0.06g of salt. Please see photograph for the ingredients.

McVities’s Raspberry flavour Tartlets

25 July 2023

Ambrosia Dessert Pots: Belgian Chocolate and Mint (Tesco) By @Cinabar

Ambrosia Dessert Pots: Belgian Chocolate and Mint

I suppose Ambrosia is a victim of their own success. You say Ambrosia, and I can’t get past the idea of custard and rice pudding. Turns out they have a few other items under their belt. I spotted these Ambrosia Dessert Pots, flavoured with Belgian Chocolate and Mint, in the supermarket and thought it sounded like a nice mid-week treat.

I think I might have been expecting a mousse, but inside it was like a chocolate custard, which, being Ambrosia, made sense. Underneath, there was a minty green custard too, so it had a contrast in colour. I gave it a try, and it was a lovely, thick, minty chocolate substance. The mint wasn’t too strong, and the chocolate was sweet and rich with plenty of cocoa. It had a nice creamy texture, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. This isn’t exactly what I was expecting as a dessert, but I’ll certainly look out for any other flavours of Ambrosia Dessert Pots, as they made a nice sweet treat.

Ambrosia Dessert Pots: Belgian Chocolate and Mint

24 July 2023

Food Heaven - Heavenly Whipped Chocolate Cream Flavour Topping (Morrisons) By @Cinabar

Food Heaven - Heavenly Whipped Chocolate Cream Flavour Topping

I love hot chocolate pretty much all year round. At the moment, despite America and Europe having a heat wave, it is pretty cool and damp here in the UK. This makes drinking hot chocolate more acceptable, but just know that I often do on hot days too. I especially love making them special with cream and marshmallows, and I even have salted caramel sprinkles. What I'm trying to say is that this is my thing. I spotted the can of Food Heaven's Heavenly Whipped Chocolate Cream Flavour Topping and realised this could really up my game.

I made a mug of hot chocolate and sprayed the topping, which looked lovely in its creamy layers. I was generous. I gave it a taste, and it had such a good flavour. The topping is sweet and chocolatey, and very creamy too. It was light and was melting under the heat of the cocoa, but it was a delight to eat. I thought this was something a bit different for my hot chocolate, but something I would definitely buy again. It made the drink a proper treat. I’m going to have to see if they do any other flavours! Also, I think I need edible glitter!

On a side note, the Food Heaven Heavenly Whipped Chocolate Cream Flavour Topping says it is suitable for vegans but not those with a dairy intolerance (as it is made in a factory that uses dairy).

Food Heaven - Heavenly Whipped Chocolate Cream Flavour Topping

23 July 2023

Gatorade & creme brûlée [@NLi10]

 We were on the way to a family meal for a birthday and had to pick up some last minute bits and bobs from Sainsbury’s so I got a Gatorade to help with the heat.

This used to be a big go-to drink for me in the early 2000s but these days I just don’t see it around anymore - this was in the import aisle, but it’s the Britvic version made in Hemel Hampstead.

As a brand it’s still the number 1 sports drink, but Prime has to be almost overtaking that now.

This has things that just aren’t as fashionable anymore, sugar for one, and while it is nicely hydrating it’s veRy much a relic of the power & muscle era of sports nutrition. I think it’s been neutered to fit the sugar tax too as it just didn’t have that memorable hit.

The meal was great - no one wants to see a picture of a plate of meat so here instead is my lovely creme brûlée pudding. Like a layer of toffee apple on top. Yum!

22 July 2023

Bini Brew Co: Under The Manhole Cover Beer (@WeeBeerShop) By @SpectreUK

Bini Brew Co: Under The Manhole Cover Beer

There's something decidedly sneaky about this beer. Under The Manhole Cover has what looks like a private investigator or detective looking for someone who is hiding underground. They are trying to sneak around during the lockdowns we had when the pandemic was at its height. Now we don't need to sneak because rules and restrictions have been lifted in many places, but the question remains; would we be safer underground? Probably not if we all sneak around at the same time.

Brewed by Bini Brew Co. In Ilkley, Under The Manhole Cover is a 4.3% in volume dry pale ale. It was produced with New England yeast, barley, wheat and oats, with Citra, Simcoe and Mosaic hops. So I'm expecting a dry citrus tropical fruity bitterness to this beer, with a touch of pine. This beer could be a taste sensation, and not something to sneak around about.

On opening the can there was a strong tropical citrus hop smell from the murky gold contents. There was also a yeastiness in the aroma, with the sweetness of barley and a little wheat at the end. Poured with a cheerful fluffy head, on taste Under The Manhole Cover had a crisp bitterness of tropical fruits and citrus to start with, followed by sweet pale malts and a touch of wheat into the aftertaste. It certainly went very well washing down a super tasty homemade beef stew with Yorkshire Puddings. Yum.

21 July 2023

Kit Kat Caramel 4 Fingers (Tesco) By @Cinabar

Kit Kat Caramel 4 Fingers

There was something a little unconvincing about the word ‘new’ on this four-finger Kit Kat Caramel. Something just doesn’t feel that new or that different, if I’m honest. So I had a look back at previous Kit Kat reviews we’ve posted, and I found eight others that were similar. So this four-finger bar is new in the UK, but Kit Kat loves their caramel flavours, so it isn’t exactly that exciting.

I felt a little unenthusiastic, but I unwrapped the bar. There was a heady aroma of dark caramel and chocolate, which was rather nice, to be fair. I split a finger of Caramel Kit Kat from the bar and gave it a try. There is no argument that this was a nice bar. The caramel was rich and dark, and it had a slightly bitter burnt flavour that was lovely with the chocolate. It was a tasty bar, even if there was no gooey caramel inside it. I think they are just sticking with the idea that you can’t go wrong with caramel, and you can’t; this bar does taste good. I am just struggling to get excited about another caramel bar on the market, but I appreciate that this won’t be the last caramel Kit Kat variant to appear on the blog. For those wondering, here are just some of the others I could find:

Kit Kat Senses - Salted Caramel 

Kit Kat Chunky Salted Caramel Fudge 

Kit Kat Chunky Double Caramel 

Kit Kat Senses Caramel Cream  

Kit Kat Chunky Caramel (American Version) 

Kit Kat Toffee Treat 

KitKat Caramel 2 Fingers 

KitKat Caramel Chunky 

20 July 2023

GNAW - Vegan Hot Choc Shots (the minty one) [@NLi10]

 We are still working through the Christmas supplies, and it’s almost August! Good job that cool summer evenings are great for hot chocolate too. 

Of the three - I chose the dark mint - and here are the ingredients

These are best made by dropping into some microwaved milk, but as it’s vegan AND we already had the velvetiser out I added some oat milk and spun away

So far so good

I overfilled the tiny stone cup

Some side slurps required

And then it vanished!

Well, mostly. Downside of the milk frothier method is it doesn’t get it quite as hot so the oils don’t break down as fast. A success though after a while.  The mint isn’t quite strong enough, and the Choc could have been darker. The texture as always on these stick ones is like you have micro-lumps of the chocolate in your drink.

Still lovely - we drank ours outside while watching the neighbourhood bat try to eat the fat kingfisher moths, and then we watched the International Space Station fly over! I look forwards to doing the same for the other two.

19 July 2023

Banks’s Mild Beer (Local Shop) By @SpectreUK

Banks’s Mild Beer

Oh, yes, it's back. You may not have heard of it or tried it, but Banks's Mild has been my favourite beer since I don't know when. They stopped making it a few years back. I think it was due to problems with sourcing ingredients, but they seem to have sorted that out. It came out in twenty-four packs a few months back from the brewery, but even I'm not sure I can drink that much.

Then a few days back Cinabar was looking for Foodstuffs in a local store and stumbled across a four pack. She teased me a little by saying she'd bought me something I would really like, but wouldn't tell me what it was. I couldn't guess Banks's Mild either, mainly because I'd pretty much lost hope of seeing it again.

The perfect time to enjoy a can is on my Birthday, which is today. On opening the can I was instantly reminded of the sweet malty goodness of Banks's Mild. At 3.5% in volume this deep brown colour beer transported me back to when I was drinking Mild all the time. First the malty goodness to begin with, then a smooth creaminess, followed by a light warming fruitiness from the hops into the aftertaste. Gorgeous. I'm so glad to see it's back in the shops again.

In Wolverhampton they say, "You can save your thanks's, I'll have a pint of Banks's."

18 July 2023

Hershey’s Cookies and Cream Dipped Pretzels (Local Shop) By @Cinabar

Hershey’s Cookies and Cream Dipped Pretzels

I wandered into an independent corner shop that I don’t normally visit, and to be honest, it paid off for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I picked up four cans of Bank’s Mild, Spectre’s favourite beer. It has been impossible to find recently, and Spectre was super excited to see it again. Expect a blog post shortly. Secondly, I got to browse some interesting import products, and amongst the goodies, I found these Hershey’s Cookies and Cream Dipped Pretzels.

These are imported from America and are a combination of cookies and cream chocolate, and pretzels. I poured some of the contents out of the bag, and inside were dark and white-coated pretzels and quite a lot of crumbs too. They taste fabulous, sweet, creamy, and with lots of chocolate flavours. The biscuit taste was nice too, as was the salt from the pretzels. They had a great crunch and were very moreish to munch on. I’m so glad I found these Hershey’s Cookies and Cream Dipped Pretzels, and it just shows that sometimes it is definitely worth taking a look in some of the smaller local independent shops and supporting the local community. 

Hershey’s Cookies and Cream Dipped Pretzels

17 July 2023

Kellogg’s Rice Krispies Strawberry Sundae Squares (Iceland) By @Cinabar

Kellogg’s Rice Krispies Strawberry Sundae Squares

It has been ages since I last saw a new version of these snacks, so I was pleased to pick up these Kellogg’s Rice Krispies Strawberry Sundae Squares in the shop. The regular version of Squares are readily available, but as you know from the blog, my favourite finds are the new or limited editions of things. And these sounded very American and interesting.

I opened up the wrapper and couldn’t help but smile when I saw the bright pink decorations on top of the Rice Krispies Square. These were Barbie pink! The flavour was very strong strawberry and creamy too, the flavour was full-on but fun, which is what it was supposed to be. The Kellogg’s Rice Krispies Strawberry Sundae Square tasted more like strawberry sweets than the promised Strawberry Sundae, but I’m not complaining, as I did enjoy them. Perhaps there was a hint of vanilla somewhere in the background too. The texture was nice too. The mallow-soaked Krispies were lightly crunchy and sticky, and the bright pink sprinkles on top actually added some crunch. They are a lovely summer edition. 

Kellogg’s Rice Krispies Strawberry Sundae Squares

16 July 2023

Waitrose Lemon & Lime Cupcakes [@Nli10]

We went to Nanna's house for the Wimbledon finals (the 96 year old one that reviewed PRIME for me) and we took strawberries and cream. In return she broke out the luxury cakes!

Nanna & I both love Waitrose and she'd requested these with her order to share with visitors. And we fit the bill.

They look almost like a version of the Christmas range in the pictures - very much something to impress the guests.  Tennis still ongoing at this point.

And the reality does match the pack shots too. Good definition on the frosting, and nice sprinkles.

And the inside is just good quality cake.  Lovely balance and great flavours - although lemon and lime are very hard to pick up in something like this they work well with the rich sponge flavour.

Another Ace from Waitrose.

15 July 2023

Attic Brew Co. Tightrope Beer (The Wee Beer Shop @WeeBeerShop) By @SpectreUK

Attic Brew Co. Tightrope Beer

The name of this beer reminds me of a favourite Stone Roses song. Second Coming is a brilliant album in my opinion, however some people may not like their music or have heard of them. I get the idea of using Tightrope as a title for this beer. Using Thiols derived from hops is a relatively new concept in brewing.

Thiols are more commonly known as mercaptan, having a sulphur atom, rather than oxygen, though that's enough of the science stuff, as it makes my head hurt. The main point is that using Thiols in predominantly dry-hopped beer, such as Tighrope, brings out more fruity aromas. In Tightrope's case, mango, guava, and passion fruit.

Hops such as Cascade, Idaho 7, and Nelson Sauvin were used in the brewing, with dry-hopping of Nelson Sauvin, Mosiac and Citra. So Tightrope should be a very hoppy flavoured ale. At 4.5% in volume, Tightrope was brewed not too far away in Birmingham by Attic Brew Co., working with WHC Lab.

Personally I'm hoping Tightrope will be rather good at washing down my Chinese Takeaway. On opening the can there was definitely a tropical fruity aroma from the pale misty golden contents. I'd agree with the notes of passion fruit and guava, with a touch of mango, and more citrus tones from the further hops. There was also a spicy touch of rye, even if the rye in the ingredients hadn't effected the colour.

On taste there was a cutting bite of fruity tropical and citrus hops to begin with, followed closely by herbal hops and spiciness from the rye. There was a touch of wheat treating my tastebuds with sweetness and then the pale malt to finish into the aftertaste. Tightrope is a very flavoursome pale ale indeed, and very moreish with it. It washed down my Chinese Takeaway a treat. I'd certainly have it again, and wish I had a few more cans in my beer fridge. I'd like to try it with my fish and chips takeaway from the local Chippy too.

14 July 2023

Harry Potter Butterbeer Sweets (CandyMail) By @Cinabar

Harry Potter Butterbeer Sweets

I think we all know I love a novelty snacking item, so I couldn’t resist adding a bag of these Harry Potter Butterbeer Sweets to my last candy import order. They are based on the drink from the Harry Potter films, Butterbeer. I know they sell butterbeer at some tourist places, like Warner Brothers Studios, and that version is liquid and non-alcoholic but very sweet. I haven’t tried it, but I wanted to get an idea of the flavour.

I opened up the pack, and the aroma was immediately one of strong caramel. I knew these were going to be good. Each sweet is shaped like a beer tankard with a handle, and they were a little squidgier than I thought they would be. Flavour-wise, they are a complete, strong hit of rich, buttery caramel. They are super sweet, but in a good way, the end flavour almost has a creme brûlée burnt sugar flavour. They were really nice. The texture is fairly soft and lightly chewy. These Harry Potter Butterbeer Sweets might be based on a novelty idea, but they are a quality batch of sweets that are very tasty, especially if you have a sweet tooth like me.

Harry Potter Butterbeer Sweets

13 July 2023

Gran Luchito Mexican - Zingy & Tangy Tomatillo Salsa [@NLi10]

Seeing as we have one of the UKs most highly rated Mexican restaurants on our high-street we've been eating authentically a lot more often.  Consequently I crave these flavours more when we make our own wraps.

I picked this up at one of the dog shows (bizarrely, but they do have a farm shop on site)  and have been slowly adding it to things.

First up - it looks authentically terrible and only the gentle smells entice you in.

Goo on ingredients!

And for my personal tastes it's almost too mild! I think that a medium would have suited us more.  That said this does have the deep flavours that I'd now associate with a trip up the road, but not quite the blend that they have.

So - not a substitute for A La Mexicana, but a nice thing to have at home to add to a veggie burrito or two.

12 July 2023

Walkers Monster Munch Pickled Onion potato crisps (Tesco) By @SpectreUK

Walkers Monster Munch Pickled Onion potato crisps

There was either a mix up of flavourings delivery trucks or Walkers may be starting to run low on new ideas. These limited edition Walkers Monster Munch Pickled Onion potato crisps are another step away from using maize, but with the same ingredients and branding. I tried the Walkers Cheesy Wotsits* the other day, so here I am with my favourite flavour of Monster Munch.

No monster's paws present on opening the bag, the usual Walkers potato crisps were there instead. I must admit, I was a little disappointed at that. I didn't mind the Wotsits so much, as I don't eat them very often, but this seems a little like sacrilege. It's a bit like when a famous singer goes back to their previous work and makes a hash of a brilliant song they sung, but with slightly different words and meaning.

On smell these Walkers Monster Munch Pickled Onion potato crisps smelt just like the original Monster Munch flavour. They were certainly strong. Unlike the Cheesy Wotsits potato crisps, these Walkers Monster Munch Pickled Onion potato crisps didn't particularly smell of potatoes, they smelt of super pickled onion flavour. On taste they packed a massive punch of pickled onion to start with, and that punch-up of pickled onion ran straight through to the aftertaste. Wow, Walkers might just be on to something with this brand flavour potato crisps mash-up. Yum.

Information on the packet; The 5 x packets of crisps in the multipack contained 113 calories per 24g bag, with 4.9g of fat, 0.2g sugar, and 0.26g of salt. Please see photograph for the ingredients.

Walkers Monster Munch Pickled Onion potato crisps

11 July 2023

Walkers Quavers BBQ Sauce (Ocado) By @Cinabar

Walkers Quavers BBQ Sauce

I think Quavers are one of my favourite types of crisps, we often buy the cheese-flavoured originals. It has been nice to see Prawn Cocktail earlier in the year, and now we have another new variety, BBQ Sauce. These crisps look like regular Quavers, but the aroma had a nice tangy smell. The texture, too, is the same: an ultra-light and crispy bite, which is one of the things I love about them. They are fun to crunch. I always like interesting textures. The new flavour isn’t too strong. It is like a mild barbecue sauce, there is a little spice, a little salt, and a little tomato. These are very easy to eat. The flavour isn’t strong, but they are moreish and tasty. I hope the new Quavers BBQ Sauce stays available for a while, as they are a lovely addition to the range.

I have to admit I am kind of hoping for a mixed flavour pack from Quavers with cheese, prawn cocktail, and these new BBQ ones all in one bag. I am enjoying the new varieties from Quavers and hope to see more too.