Sunday, 24 July 2016
I've been after this new Limited Edition Nakd bar ever since it came out...sad I know, but I do love me some uniquely flavoured healthy snacks! I've been steadily trying everything Nakd make now for a good while and most of it I've enjoyed, but this new flavour as well as the Peanut Delight and Apricot Crunch have eluded me...it took a trip to one of the larger Asdas in my area to finally obtain one!
This cost 75p, which is about standard for a Nakd bar, and was situated in the Free From section alongside the new Peanut Delight (review of that one due shortly!) Sadly they didn't have Apricot Crunch...boo :(
It's vegan, gluten free, vegetarian, 1 of your 5 a day, contains no added sugars and is completely raw. The specific ingredients comprise of dates, walnuts, raisins, almonds, cashews, carrots, cinnamon and a hint of natural flavouring; pretty much all the things that make carrot cake unique. For once the cashews were lower on the list at 5%, with the walnuts at 20%, which makes a nice change for a Nakd bar since cashews are usually most predominant. The bar contains 148 calories, 7.6g fat and 16.2g carbs (15.6 of which are sugars).
Onto the most important thing, then...the taste! As you can see in the pic above there were actual carrot pieces visible in the bar, making it look as authentic as it tasted. And it did taste of carrot cake! It was pretty much the same dense, fudgey, nutty, spicy amalgamation as a regular carrot cake in bar form, which is quite the achievement! I loved it, and soon scoffed the whole bar whislt wishing I had another one...
Overall, I have to say Nakd have really struck gold with this new flavour...it's the nicest I've tried in a while, and such a unique flavour that I think it deserves to be more than just a limited edition. I wouldn't be surprised if there's a very high demand for it...stock up while you can! (It's available on their website at eatnakd.com if you can't find it in Asda).
8.5 out of 10.
Friday, 22 July 2016
When this Made Without Wheat Blackcurrant Ripple Cake appeared in M&S recently I was practically elbowing people out of the way to buy one...okay, not really, but I was in spirit! It's mighty hard to get good gluten free cakes but this one looked and sounded amazing...it's a moist gluten free loaf cake with Blackcurrant sauce running through it, topped off with buttercream and extra Blackcurrant ripples. What could be better?
I must admit I do find it odd that M&S chose Blackcurrant as the main flavour for this cake, after all it's not a very common or popular flavour...raspberry or lemon are usually the go to cake fillings with good reason. I guess they wanted something that would stand out!
And stand out it does! This is a very rich, heavy going cake. The buttercream is sweet and buttery, but it was almost a bit too much for me. The Blackcurrant sauce gives a nice fruity kick but to be honest, combined with the rich buttercream it was all just a bit too much. Something lighter like raspberry or even passionfruit might have been more appropriate. The cake itself was just okay...it wasn't as dry as some gluten free cakes but it wasn't brimming with moisture and lightness either. I can't help but suspect the heavy buttercream and strong Blackcurrant flavour were meant to deflect attention from it.
Overall, I really don't mean this to come off as a negative review because as it stands, this is a tasty gluten free cake compared to what most supermarkets are offering. But it could be much better, and I hope to see yet more innovation in the Free From world...us gluten free folks demand cake, and we demand it now! I hope to see a gluten free Red Velvet cake one day...please consider it, M&S!
7.5 out of 10.
Thursday, 21 July 2016
It's Summer, so ice cream season is officially upon us! If you're vegan or allergic to dairy however it can be mighty hard to find a decent ice cream alternative...I mean there's the Dairy Free Swedish Glacé desserts, but if you're allergic to soya they may also be off the table. Luckily there's Tesco to the rescue (perfect advertising slogan right there, they really should pay me!) with their legume-based lupin protein iced dessert. I do enjoy Tescos Free From cones, and have always wondered what the filling might be like in a tub of its own.
This is a simple vanilla flavoured iced dessert, and so far is the only tub version I'm aware of that Tesco produce. I do think it'd have been better with some raspberry ripples running through it, but it was very delicious all by itself. These cost £2 a tub although according to Tesco's website, this product is currently not available.
The dessert melts very easily and has a great creamy texture, it's very similar to regular vanilla soft scoop ice cream in fact. And it's very yummy! It melts in the mouth and is just the perfect texture. It does seem a little boring after a few mouthfuls, so it's definitely meant to be jazzed up with extras such as berries, syrup, sprinkles, biscuits or whatever you fancy. But as it stands it's the perfect creamy base for a tasty dessert.
Strangely, these have been absent from my local Tesco since I initially purchased this tub, and even Tesco's website states they're not available...either they're very popular or they've stopped producing it...if anyone knows please do leave a comment!
8 out of 10.
Wednesday, 20 July 2016
M&S have been reducing a lot of bars in their chocolate range recently, and thanks to this I've had the chance to try a few I otherwise wouldn't bother with due to the high prices. This week, it's the turn of The Milk One and The Dark One to get reductions; they're down to 30p rather than 60p. I actually wanted to turn to the Dark Side and try The Dark One but alas, The Force was strong and prevented me from indulging on this occasion...(aka there weren't any left!)
This bar is described as simply a "Solid Creamy Milk Chocolate bar" and weighs in at 32 grams. Opening the wrapper, it has curved shape blocks, a bit like the new Dairy Milk block design (they're clearly copying the same idea), with the last block helpfully saying "the last one"...perhaps propesizing the fact that I won't be buying another one of these bars!
I've tried "The White One" before which I thought was quite nice, so I had hopes this one would be good but alas, it left me disappointed. It's okay, it's sweet and creamy and what you'd expect from milk chocolate, but it's hardly mind blowing. In fact it's rather boring and I didn't feel it differed in taste much from Tesco's Value branded milk chocolate bars, which are also 30p. It was perhaps a tad creamier, but that's about all.
Overall, I'm glad I only paid 30p for this because I'd feel a bit shortchanged paying any more. It's an ok bar of chocolate, but it's not really upto the perceived quality standards M&S would like us to have of their products.
7 out of 10.
Monday, 18 July 2016
Being gluten free, it's hard to find good gluten free cakes, but luckily the choices are slowly expanding. One new gluten free product I've been itching to try are these "Authentically French Classic Madeleines" from Mrs Crimble's, who are perhaps better known for their Coconut Macaroons.
These come in both classic and chocolate varieties, and are available in Tescos Free From aisles for around £2. I didn't fancy paying that much for them, but when they appeared on a local market stall for only 69p I really couldn't say no!
The Madeleines are individually wrapped, making them perfect to take out and about for a quick snack.
Opening the wrapper, it had a nice fresh, vanilla cakey aroma. I couldn't wait to eat one with a cuppa!
I took a bite...the cake is very nice, with a fresh vanilla hinted flavour - you can tell this is an authentic Madeleine recipe. However what let it down was the dryness of the cake...at first it's not too noticeable, but after chewing it for a while it becomes quite evident. I don't know if that's due to these being gluten free or if they were slightly spoiled, but it did take away my enjoyment of them.
Overall, it's nice to see some gluten free cakes like this, but personally I won't be buying these again as they're a bit too dry. I'll stick to Mrs Crimbles Macaroons instead!
7 out of 10.
Thursday, 14 July 2016
I've been eyeing up these new "Almond & Raisin Raw Choc Brownies" from Pulsin Foods for a while now, ever since they appeared in the Tesco Free From aisle. They were reduced to £2 a box recently (still expensive!) so I thought I'd give them a whirl. They're gluten free, dairy free, vegan, vegetarian, soya free and contain no GM ingredients.
Each box contains 3 individually wrapped 35g bars, and the ingredients consist of cashews, dates, chicory fibre, almonds, raw cacao, raisins, brown rice bran, cacao butter, grape juice, rice starch, sea salt and green tea extract. Phew, that's a lot of ingredients...thank goodness they are healthy ones! Each brownie contains 149 calories, 8.3g fat, 12.8g carbs and 3.6g protein.
I was disappointed when I removed one of the brownies from it's wrapper...it was a tiny, squidgy looking thing. I had expected these to be small but I didn't expect them to be this small! The smell reminded me of other similar products such as Nakd bars, not chocolatey as such but there was a definite raw cacao aroma.
Despite being described as brownies, these didn't live up to the name...they were stodgy but not Cakey, and surpringly not that chocolatey, the cashews and dates were far more prominent. They're more of a glorified Nakd bar really. There were pieces of chopped nut throughout which I found unpleasant in texture, they were too jarring for what's supposed to be a brownie.
Overall, I hate to be negative about such a healthy product, but I do feel these are overpriced and don't deliver what they promise. Firstly the high price doesn't really justify the amount you're getting, secondly they're not remotely brownie like and shouldn't pretend to be (I've had raw vegan brownies before that were much more authentic than these). They're still rather high in sugars at 9.7g per 35g bar, even if they're from dates rather than refined sugar.
If you've tried these I'd like to hear your thoughts...were you as disappointed as me? Let me know in the comments!
6 out of 10.
Wednesday, 13 July 2016
I was recently offered to review the new Extra Strong Sugar Free Polos, and as I haven't had Polos in years I thought why not...I'm always trying to reduce my sugar intake so I can't pass up a new sugar free product!
I was sent some regular Sugar Free Polos as well as the Extra Strong for comparison purposes. Those tasted just as I remember; a pleasant sweet minty flavour that is all too easy to eat too many of. Which you wouldn't want to do, since eating too many has "unintended effects", and you all know what I mean...
The Extra Strong ones definitely had an edge over the regular variety, they were a lot bolder in their minty flavour, very strong indeed. These are sweetened with sorbitol, a type of polyol sweetener. I did like these but to be honest, sugar free mints annoy me simply because they'e so addictive and easy to mindlessly suck on all day...yet the "unintended effects" of the sweeteners mean you have to be careful of doing just that.
Overall, these are nice mints and a good alternative if you need to avoid the sugar...just be careful of eating too many!
7.5 out of 10.