Monday, 23 October 2017
Pumpkin Spice Latte season is upon us and Halloween is but a week away, so it's only fitting that I review the only chocolate bar I know of (at least in the UK) to combine chocolate with the popular spicy flavouring this week. It took me a while to decide on whether or not to get this bar; after glancing at the ingredients I saw that it doesn't contain real pumpkin, but this is because it's not possible to add actual pumpkin to chocolate, Creighton's informed me on Instagram recently. So how do the other pumpkin spice latte elements work with white chocolate?
By chance I spotted the last few bars of this limited edition in Fenwicks at the weekend and decided it was now or never: I had to snap one up! For £3.99 you get 100g of "spiced pumpkin flavour white chocolate with coffee". I couldnt be bothered waiting to get home to try this bar, so I did what I often do - ate it whilst shopping!
Opening the paper wrapper it had a nice creamy and spicy aroma, I couldn't wait to get stuck in!
I took a bite. Initially I was hit by the flavour of the spices; the cardamom was particularly strong with the others creeping into the aftertaste. So far so good, it definitely had a strong spicy kick! This is balanced out with the sweet and creamy white chocolate which is great quality and does a good job of replicating a latte. It was maybe a bit too sweet for my liking (I've become used to darker chocolates lately so perhaps this is why!) I couldn't really taste the ground coffee beans; I could feel their crunchy texture though as I ate the chocolate.
All in all, this is a very nice bar of chocolate, and is pretty much what it's supposed to be: creamy and spicy, replicating the classic pumpkin spice flavour in bar form. It could have done with a stronger coffee boost for my tastes, but hey it's a chocolate bar not an actual latte.
I do hope they bring this out again next year, maybe in a dark chocolate version for the dark chocolate lovers amongst us? :D
Ingredients: White chocolate (sugar, cocoa butter, dried whole milk, soya lecithin emulsifier, natural vanilla flavour), ground coffee beans, flavouring, spices (cinnamon, ginger, clove, cardomom).
Nutritional Information (per 100g): 552 Calories, 35g Fat, 54g Carbohydrates, 53g Sugars, 5.9g Protein.
8 out of 10.
Saturday, 21 October 2017
When I heard Ben & Jerry's were launching their Non Dairy ice creams in the UK I was super excited indeed. There's a lack of variety in the Dairy Free market and so it's nice to see a big brand like Ben & Jerry's coming out with some quality flavours. They now do Peanut Butter Cookies, Chocolate Fudge Brownies and Chunky Monkey, all available from Tesco and Ocado.com. I couldn't try the first two since they contain gluten, but this Chunky Monkey variety doesn't - hurrah!
Described as "banana flavour dairy free ice cream with chocolatey chunks and walnuts", this is made with almond paste and coconut oil, and costs a whopping £5.50 in Tesco. Not cheap!
By the time I had got it home the ice cream was very runny, moreso than a regular half defrosted tub of Ben & Jerry's. This didn't bother me though since I don't like ice cream that's rock solid!
Taking a spoonful, it was instantly melt in the mouth and had a strong banana flavour. It wasn't at all artificial and tasted very fresh, and the lack of dairy seemed to make it taste even more refreshing than regular Ben & Jerry's ice cream.
The choclolatey chunks and walnuts give it a nice texture; the chunks aren't true dark chocolate but they still replicate the flavour well enough, whilst the walnuts give a nice savoury nuttiness that goes well with the banana flavour.
This is a nice ice cream, and definitely a lot tastier than the likes of of the Alpro Dairy Free Ice Creams launched last year, but is still a bit thin in texture and doesn't feel quite as luxurious as it could have. Still, it's great to see Ben and Jerry's bringing more variety to the Dairy Free/Vegan market. A shame they didn't do more varieties for those of us who are gluten free but let's hope they bring out more in future. The Non Dairy Cherry Garcia ones in the US sound great!
Ingredients: Water, sugar, coconut oil, walnuts, banana puree (5%), glucose syrup, almond paste (2%), fat reduced cocoa powder, pea protein, emuslifiers sunflower lecithin & soy lecithin, lemon juice concentrate, stabilisers guar gum & locust bean gum, vanilla extract, banana flavouring, natural flavouring.
Nutrition Information per 100ml: 218 Calories, 12g Fat, 25g Carbohydrates, 23g Sugars, 2g Protein.
8 out of 10.
Have you tried the new Non Dairy Ben and Jerry's Ice Creams? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!
Friday, 20 October 2017
It's hard to find a good Gluten Free brownie, many of them are either too dry or conversely too fudge like. I've tried quite a few now and so far I like the Costa Gluten Free Brownie the best, but when I found these "Wonderfully Indulgent" Baked In Scotland, Specially Selected Gluten Free Brownies in Aldi (in Glasgow of all places!) recently I was super excited to try them. They're "hand crafted on the banks of Loch Ness with real Belgian chocolate" - how fancy!
They cost £1.79 for 4 which is very reasonable compared to some gluten free brownies in shops. Opening the pack, they looked super squidgy and moist.
I took a bite. The brownie was indeed very moist and squidgy, and very rich and chocolatey. These are super easy to eat, before I knew it I was onto my second piece! It's nice that they're squidgy rather than dry, but I did miss the more substantial texture of other brownies - I like a bit of bite to my brownies (Costa's has the perfect balance of moisture and firmness). Still, these were very tasty and certainly better than a lot of Gluten Free brownies I've tried. I would buy them again and I love how great value for money they are.
Overall, should you try these if you're gluten free? Absolutely yes! They're very indulgent and better than most gluten free brownies out there, they weren't quite the texture I wanted but that's just personal preference.
8 out of 10.
Tuesday, 17 October 2017
The Salted Caramel trend has been going for at least a few years now, and it seems that companies are determined to put it in everything. Galaxy Salted Caramel is a few years old, and more recently we got Salted Caramel Kettle Chips. Nestle have got in on the act too and added a Salted Caramel variety to their Matchmakers range (which now bizarrely has been lumped under the Quality Street brand, even though Matchmakers never had anything to do with Quality Street). This is no doubt a replacement for the Matchmakers Yummy Honeycomb which is still available in Home Bargains, although it could be old stock.
You can pick these up for around £1 in most shops currently - Tesco have them at half price and they're also in Poundland and other discount stores for £1.
They're described as "salted caramel flavoured chocolates with skimmed milk chocolate, dark chocolate and boiled sugar pieces". Yum - boiled sugar, sounds so enticing!
Opening the box they had a super strong butterscotch-like aroma, so strong there was no way it can be natural. It's so overpowering.
The sticks are the classic Matchmakers, perfect for nibbling on or stuffing as many in your mouth as you can fit! You get a good amount to munch on, which has always been one of the best things about Matchmakers in my opinion - they're great value for money.
They taste strongly of salted caramel, too strongly in fact. This isn't the sort of salted caramel that sits there on the fence - it's full on SALTY, strong and butterscotch like, and quite frankly after a few sticks these were too much. I did enjoy them but they become too overpowering and I think the fault lies in the strong artificial flavour (although the ingredients list "natural flavouring", hmmmm I wonder what it is?).
Overall, these aren't bad and I'm sure they'll go down a storm over the festive season if you like salty caramel flavours. They certainly make a nice alternative to the usual Mint and Orange Matchmakers. But they're a bit too much for me personally.
Ingredients: Sugar, cocoa mass, glucose syrup, cocoa butter, skimmed milk powder, vegetable fat, lactose and proteins from whey, whey powder, natural flavouring, emulsifier sunflower lecithin, salt.
Suitable for vegetarians.
Nutrition (per 4 sticks): 71 Calories, 3.1g Fat, 10.2g Carbohydrates, 9.2g Sugars, 0.5g Protein.
7 out of 10.
Sunday, 15 October 2017
This Christmas it seems to be the year of sweet crisp flavours for some reason. There's the new Kettle Discoveries Salted Caramel & Double Cream - which is actually pretty awesome - as well as these Candy Cane flavour Tesco Finest crisps. Last year we got a Rum & Cocoa Limited Edition from Tesco, which was really nice so I don't know why they haven't kept it this year. Even more so after trying these which were pretty horrible...
Described as "candy cane flavour potato crisps" and costing £1 these are available from most large Tesco stores, along with more savoury flavours like Pigs in Blankets and Pulled Pork. They're suitable for vegans, and 100% of the sales will be donated to Fareshare and The Trussell Trust.
Opening the bag, they smelled as you would expect: vaguely of toothpaste and not very inviting!
They tasted pretty horrible. The flavouring is just a sweet, sticky minty powder, not the sort of thing anyone wants on a crisp. It's just wrong! They tasted very sickly and unlike the Kettle Chips Salted Caramel, weren't very moreish at all. A waste of £1, but nice to know that it's at least going to charity.
Overall, I wouldn't recommend trying these at all, even for the novelty factor - no one will like them! Go for one of the savoury varieties instead or better yet the Kettle Discoveries Salted Caramel. For the same price they'e a lot more enjoyable! Oh Tesco, what a shame you went and replaced the Rum and Cocoa Crisps with these... *sad face*
Nutrition Information (per 25g): 130 Calories, 7.2g Fat, 14.7g Carbohydrates, 1.1g Sugars, 1.4g Protein.
Ingredients: Potatoes, sunflower oil, candy cane flavour seasoning (sugar, dried glucose syrup, salt, colour beetroot red & paprika extract, flavouring).
3 out of 10.
Friday, 13 October 2017
When I first saw these new Salted Caramel flavour Kettle Chips I laughed. It seems a bit ridiculous to put the Flavour Du Jour (which is fast becoming the Flavour Du Yesterday!) on crisps, I mean who wants sweet crisps? Is it a new trend? (Tesco seem to think so - their latest weird Christmas flavour is Tesco Finest Candy Cane crisps - click for my review!)
I'm glad I put my reservations aside and gave these a shot though. They're only £1 in Tesco at the moment, and I thought they would at least make for an interesting review. They're described as "Hand cooked potato chips with salted caramel and double cream seasoning", and are Gluten Free as well as suitable for vegetarians.
I tipped the bag right into a bowl and dug straight in - no messing about! They had a vague toffee-like aroma that seemed more savoury than sweet. Intriguing!
And they tasted...rather amazing! Now I don't really know how to describe these other than moreish - they're sort of cheesy, possibly owing to the double cream, with a strong savoury edge and saltiness. There's a very slight buttery sweetness there under the surface from the salted caramel - which is apparently Tiptree Salted Caramel Spread. I couldn't stop myself from eating one after the other...they're soooo good!
Overall, should you try these? Yes, yes you should! Like the Chocolate Coated Cinnamon Tortilla Rolls from M&S they're a snack sure to get people talking this Christmas, and one that will no doubt be a big surprise to all. You may even want to buy an extra bag so you can have one all to yourself...
Nutrition per 100g: 26.1g Fat, 59.3g Carbohydrates, 3.2g Sugars, 4.5g Fibre, 5g Protein.
Ingredients: Select potatoes, sunflower oil, salted caramel and double cream seasoning (dried salted caramel spread extract, golden syrup, condensed skimmed milk, butter, double cream, sea salt, dried cream, demerera sugar, sugar, dried buttermilk, sea salt, dried caramel syrup, dried dorset cream, salt, natural flavouring).
8.5 out of 10.
Have you tried these Salted Caramel Kettle Chips? Did you love them as much as me? Let me know in the comments!
Thursday, 12 October 2017
Todays review is a face off...well...a jelly baby off between the new Tropical flavour Jelly Babies from Maynards Bassetts vs the Original Jelly Babies. It seems incomprehensible that a new variety could beat the originals, so this will be interesting!
Firstly, I must mention the new name: Jelly Babies were originally labelled as Bassetts, but Mondelez have put both the Maynards brand (which is on things like Wine Gums and Sports Mixture) and Bassetts (which includes the likes of Liquorice Allsorts - who can forget the character Bertie Bassett?) I'm not sure it's a good idea to lump two brands together like this, but I guess it fits with Mondelez' marketing strategy of making everything the same.
First up, the Tropical Jelly Babies. These come in mango, pineapple and BANANA (ooh!) flavours so straight off they are at a disadvantrage of containing less variety than the Originals, despite the fancy flavours. But are they good flavours? Yes, they are as it turns out! They are all fruity, tropical and lovely, and make for a nice change from regular Jelly Babies. The banana is interesting and if you like banana sweets you're bound to love them...it's a bit less artificial tasting than foam bananas. The mango and pineapple are both lovely, fitting the tropical theme perfectly. I really enjoyed these! 8 out of 10.
The originals are...well, the originals and the best! They have a wider variety of flavours, with citrus as well as berry, giving a nice contrast. The berry flavours distract a bit from the overly sweet citrus ones, and strawberry is always a winner. Overall, a fantastic and classic selection that has stood the test of time. 8.5 out of 10.
Overall then there's a clear winner - original Jelly Babies! The Tropical ones certainly make for a nice change and I've always loved tropical sweets in general - I used to love the tropical Fruit Pastilles available when I was a kid, more so than the originals. These Tropical Jelly Babies don't quite beat the originals, but they are certainly very tasty. And they get extra points just for including a banana flavour...because we need more banana flavour sweets on shelves!
Which ones did you prefer? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!